fedora vs. Debian?

John Heim jheim at wisc.edu
Thu Jan 25 14:58:15 UTC 2007

> the wrong driver for my network card. In Fedora it's easy, just change the 
> alias eth0 in modprobe.conf. I haven't found an equally easy way of doing 
> it in Debian yet

I think you're looking for /etc/modules.

I used to use Red Hat. I switched to debian when RH started charging money 
for their linux. There was a brief period where fedora was very unstable and 
Red Hat linux cost like $200.

Anyway, back then, if you bought new hardware, you often had to edit the 
file that determined which driver was used for each card. If you do an 
lspci, it will list the PCI cards in your machine. Each one has a unique 
string of characters that identifies it. Then there's a text file (who knows 
where it is now) that relates these strings to a driver. Probably that text 
database is messed up. I think the text file comes with the kernel though. 
So it might be that the kernel development team has to fix it. That would 
explain why you see the same problem with fedora and debian.

That is how things used to work. I would imagine it still works pretty much 
the same except that now it's automatic. When you boot your machine, the 
kernel asks each PCI card to identify itself. It checks the database for 
that ID string and loads the appropriate driver. If you have trouble with a 
piece of hardware, it is probably because the PCI database is old. In other 
words, you probably need a newer kernel and your problem probably isn't 
related to the distro you're using.

PS: If you use speakup, you can get very new kernels from debian with 
speakup built in. deb http://people.debian.org/~shane/speakup/kernel ./
1. Add the following line to your /etc/apt/sources.list file:

deb http://people.debian.org/~shane/speakup/kernel ./

2. Update your dpkg cache:

apt-get update

3. Choose a kernel. This is rather complicated and depends on your kernel. 
But you can get a list of the kernels available by doing this:

apt-cache search speakup | grep image

4. Install the new kernel:

apt-get install <your choice>

Apt-get will update your boot loader and everything. All you should have to 
do is reboot to use the new kernel. 

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