I have an old Averatec notebook that I use for travel and when I don't want to take risks with my main PC. I'm planning a trip so it's time to update to the latest debian distribution. After the update, everything seems to work, except the via-rhine wired ethernet.
The symptoms appear similar to Debian bug report 708757 . After a lot of hacking and experimenting, I finally upgraded to the latest kernel in wheezy-backports and the problem went away.
Details:lspci shows the device as:
00:12.0 Ethernet controller: VIA Technologies, Inc. VT6102 [Rhine-II] (rev 74)
It does work with Debian kernel packages:
linux-image-2.6.32-5-686 # Old, from previous Debian distribution.
linux-image-3.14-0.bpo.1-686-pae # Very latest, bleeding edge.
And does not work with
linux-image-3.2.0-4-686-pae # debian stable kernel for my system.
Fix:To get the very latest kernel, you need the backports repository. Best instructions I found were:
1) add wheezy-backports to /etc/apt/sources.list
2) apt-get update
3) apt-get -t wheezy-backports install linux-image-3.14-0.bpo.1-686-pae
4) done. reboot to use the new kernel.
Cleanup:One side effect of the bug is that it returns a wrong and somewhat random MAC address for the ethernet controller. Recent versions of Debian try to ensure that each MAC address is always associated with a consistent eth* number. So each random mac address gets assigned to a new eth* number. If this is happening the output of dmesg will show messages like:
Every time udev sees a new MAC address it adds it to
udev: renamed network interface eth0 to eth7
so the fix is to edit that file and remove all the junk MAC addresses.