Bug 7243 - Include driver for Realtek 8168 Network Card
Summary: Include driver for Realtek 8168 Network Card
Alias: None
Product: Drivers
Classification: Unclassified
Component: Network (show other bugs)
Hardware: i386 Linux
: P2 normal
Assignee: Francois Romieu
Depends on:
Reported: 2006-10-01 06:41 UTC by Flo
Modified: 2006-10-20 16:09 UTC (History)
1 user (show)

See Also:
Kernel Version: 2.6.18rc5
Tree: Mainline
Regression: ---


Description Flo 2006-10-01 06:41:45 UTC
Distribution: Linux 2.6.18rc5
Hardware Environment: Realtek 8168 Network Card
Problem Description: 
Realtek 8168 card doesn't work, kernel only include 8169 driver by default.

New drivers for kernel 2.6 are available on Realtek website since about one month :

Is it possible to add them by default ? This network chip is now used in many
Asus laptop (for example).
Comment 1 Francois Romieu 2006-10-07 05:22:03 UTC
> Is it possible to add them by default ? 

As far as I am concerned, the wholesale inclusion is excluded [1]:
- arguable/random CodingStyle
- apparently less stable than the in-kernel driver
- almost no ethtool (no VLAN, no TSO, no checksum, no WOL, etc.)
- no revision control
- no publicly known maintainer
- no NAPI (ok, akpm does not care)

Most notably, with help of several people, the current in-kernel driver has been
(imho) carefully maintained and tested over time. The relevant changes from
Realtek's successive drivers have been extracted and the recent chipsets seem
very close to their predecessors: a new driver would not necessarily be a clever
idea from a maintenance viewpoint.

Regarding the current (2.6.19-rc1) kernel, there is some support for the 8168
but the merge of Realtek's latest changes has been reported to need further
changes [2]. You can try 2.6.19-rc1 (and you will be welcome to report how it
behaves) but there is a high probability that it will not detect the link
correctly. If so, mii-tool should help.

[1] It does not mean that I am not grateful to Realtek for their linux effort

[2] If the 8168 is available on something less expensive than a laptop (say
PCMCIA, PCI adapter or random el-cheapo lan on motherboard), I can afford to buy

Comment 2 Flo 2006-10-10 02:53:31 UTC
I've found some motherboards : Abit AB9-Pro, Asrock conroe945g-dvi board
(depends of models). 

And I've found a patch made for Gentoo, if it can help...
Comment 3 Francois Romieu 2006-10-10 03:52:59 UTC
The Gentoo's patch is already included in 2.6.19-rc1 (in a different way but it
will not make a functional difference).

It would really help if you could give 2.6.19-rc1 a try.

Comment 4 Francois Romieu 2006-10-20 16:09:21 UTC
The link detection issue happens with the device 0x8136, not with the 8168.

The code is available in any 2.6.19-rc.


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