Linux support for AMD Opteron with Broadcom NICs

Simon Hogg seth at
Wed Jul 2 05:31:53 EDT 2003

At 17:41 01/07/03 -0600, Andrew Shewmaker wrote:
>Martin Siegert wrote:
>>I have a dual AMD Opteron for a week or so as a demo and try to install
>>Linux on it - so far with little success.
>>First of all: doing a google search for x86-64 Linux turns up a lot of
>>press releases but not much more, particularly nothing one could download
>>and install. Even a direct search on the SuSE and Mandrake sites shows
>>only press releases. Sigh.
>>Anyway: I found a few ftp sites that supply a Mandrake-9.0 x86_64 version.
>>Thus I did a ftp installation which after (many) hickups actually worked.
>>However, that distribution does not support the onboard Broadcom 5704
>>NICs. I also could not get the driver from the broadcom web site to work
>>(insmod fails with "could not find MAC address in NVRAM").
>>Thus I tried to compile the 2.4.21 kernel which worked, but
>>"insmod tg3" freezes the machine instantly.
>>Thus, so far I am not impressed.
>>For those of you who have such a box: which distribution are you using?
>>Any advice on how to get those GigE Broadcom NICs to work?
>The evaluation box I had an account on ran SuSE and Mark Hahn is running 
>RedHat 9 without problems.  Other than customizing a regular x86 distro,
>you'll probably have to buy an enterprise or cluster version for now.

As you say, at the moment the best bet seems to be to *buy* the enterprise 
editions.  For those of us who are loathe to spend any money or who 'just 
like' Debian, there is a bit of waiting still to do.  According to one 

"There is work ongoing on a Debian port, but it will be a while yet - the 
x86-64 really needs sub-architecture support for effective support (to 
allow mixing of 32- and 64-bit things), and that is a big step for us. Feel 
free to chip in and help! :-)".

However, as far as I am aware, it should be possible to install a vanilla 
x86-32 distribution and recompile everything for 64-bit (with a recent GCC 
(3.3 is the best bet at the moment I suppose)).

However, your original problem seems not to be how to get it installed, but 
rather how to get your Broadcom GigE to work.  I'm afraid I don't know the 
answer to that one!

I know this doesn't answer your question, but hope it gives somebody some 
more impetus to get this darned Debian port finished :-)

HTH (although probably won't).


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