From Kenneth.Scharf on Thu, 26 Nov 1998
In general your answer is correct. There are however a breed of PCI ne-2000 cards based on the Real-Tek chip that do work fine under Linux. I bought two of these cards for less that $15. They came with drivers for Windows (3.1, 95), os2, even sco unix. I tried to get these cards to work under windows 95 and failed! Both and early version on win95, and osr2B failed to work with these cards. The Linux ne2k driver (both the old isa driver and the new pci specific driver) work very well with these cards and required no special parameters. They autodetected just fine. I did have to re-set the bios in my computer to perform a fresh pnp cycle in order to get the interrupts correct, but after a single re-boot all was well forever. My computer is a K6-233 on an Intel TX (triton2) chipset based motherboard (made by AZZA).
I agree that there are much better ethernet cards than these Real-Tek ne2000 el-cheapos, but they work fine in my home lan with one linux machine and two windows machines. (the windows machines have 3c509 isa cards in them). The network is thin-net coax, and is used to share the internet connection with the modem on the linux machine. It will also provide shared printer service and file backup.
It sounds like damning with faint praise here. I wish the DEC Tulip chipset was staying in production --- since the $29(US) Netgear cards using those are rock solid 10/100Mbps PCI adapters. They are my favorite and I only have a couple left unopened.
The newer Netgear cards (same model) seem to be "okay" as well (actually much better than these Real-Teks that you're talking bout).
[ What I miss about those marvelous DEC Tulip chips is that the drivers just plain work - both in Linux, and in Windows... because there is only one MS Windows driver for them! With some other "plug and play" cards there are several drivers available, and if you pick the wrong one, your net is flaky or worse. But, enough said about Brand X for now. -- Heather ]