RTL8139A and Etherboot
Mon Oct 11 13:02:25 1999
> On Mon, 11 Oct 1999, Bryan Clingman wrote:
> > I have a 'noname' RTL8139A 10/100 PCI card that I'm using in a diskless Linux
> > box. The system boots off of (for now) a floppy containing an etherboot-4.2.9
> > rom image that tftp's a kernel containing the RTL8139A driver. I'm using
> > driver 1.08a in a 2.2.12 kernel. This is on a 10mbps network, _not_ 100.
> I'm uncertain of what rtl8139 code is in etherboot.
I don't know either. I'd guess it's based on the linux code. I'll
> > When the kernel gets ready to NFS mount it's root filesystem, I get a several
> > kernel messages indicating
> > "Oversized Ethernet frame, status XXXXXXX"
> > If I increase the debugging level, I get
> > "eth0: Abnormal interrupt, status 0x00000020"
> > and the above message. (This is an RxUnderrun status BTW). These messages
> > repeat with no effective network usage. (i.e. system won't finish booting).
> The new RTL8139 chips ('A' or 'B' suffix) overload the RxUnderrun bit. It
> now means LinkChange, and you must read register 0x74 to figure out what
> > When the card initializes, I get:
> > "eth0: Setting half-duplex based on auto-negotiated partner ability 0000"
> > After a couple of tries at debugging, I decided to comment out the check for an
> > 8139 in mdio_read(), to try to get a value other than 0000 returned. When I
> > did this, the card worked fine!!!!! The system finished booting with no more
> > errors???? The mdio_read() function still returned 0000. I double checked,
> > it's an 8139A with nothing else but the tranceiver on board.
> Please clarify this: does the board have only the RTL8139A chip, or does it
> have a RTL8139 chip plus a second transceiver chip?
I'll look to double check later. It's a bare-bones card. Maybe I'm
thinking of another card.
> > - Could etherboot be leaving the card in an 8129 "emulation" mode and not
> > resetting the card? If this is the case, who should reset the card? Etherboot
> > or rtl8139.c?
> The rtl8139.c driver should always reset the card, even if it's in a weird
> state. The reset is only done in open(), not probe1(), since it shouldn't
> be necessary to detect the card.
> > - Is this just something to do with the RTL8139A? I don't see anything
> > mentioned about it. Maybe it's a new version of the silicon without a new PCI
> > ID.
> There are two enhanced chips, the common 'A' version that adds WOL and fixes
> the "twister tuning" issue, and the new 'B' that adds CardBus support. I've
> only seen one prototype 'B' card, but I expect most new shipments with use
> the latest version.
> > Here's my patch to the driver....
> This is pretty much evil, unless you actually have an MII transceiver on the
Agreed. It was just to prove the point. I still don't know why it
> Donald Becker firstname.lastname@example.org
> USRA-CESDIS, Center of Excellence in Space Data and Information Sciences.
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