installing a NIC card

Derek Broughton news at
Wed Nov 21 16:23:25 UTC 2007

usabdasc at wrote:

> Greetings,
> I reciently installed Ubuntu 7.04 on a Dell Optiplex GX260.? Everything
> went well but I didn't seem to have any access to the ethernet.? Since my
> coworkers were willing to let me have the box it is reasonable to assume
> that something is wrong with it.? Having the onboard ethernet not working
> made sense.? Thus, I went to my local clone shop and bought a $19 NIC card
> with a Realtek 8139 on it.? My problem is: how do I make Ubuntu see and
> use the NIC card without doing a full reinstall?
> After Googling I tried:
> * modprobe rtl8139
> * modprobe RTL8139
> * modprobe 8139
> * modprobe RT8139
The two 8139 drivers installed with Ubuntu are 8139cp and 8139too.  I'd try
those; the 8139cp first - on the guess that the 'p' stands for '+' and you
seem to have an 8139C+.

Note, I don't know anything about these modules...  However, udev really
should have installed the appropriate module if there was one - which makes
me suspect neither of those might work for your card.  otoh, it could  be
that the card identifies itself slightly differently from similar cards, or
it could be that you have the appropriate module blacklisted somewhere
in /etc/modprobe.d/ (seems unlikely).

> Also, I assume "modprobe" is short for "module probe".? The man page was a
> typical "technically correct but worthless as a tutorial" page.? A quick
> Google for "modprobe tutorial" didn't turn up much.? Are there any good
> tutorials for modprobe or is it very module to module specific?

modprobe inserts and removes modules from the kernel.  That part is pretty
generic, and I can't imagine there's much missing from the man page. It
also takes arguments to be given to the driver when inserted - and those
are _extremely_ module specific.  Fortunately, very few modules need any

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