Ethernet adapters supported by Minix

rev. 14 April 2005

Update 2005-04-14

There are several major ethernet card families for which support is now available. The old Western Digital (now manufactured by SMC) WD8003/8013 and related cards, the Novell NE1000/2000 family, and the original 3Com 3C503 cards all use variants of the DP8390 chip and all have been supported for standard Minix for a long while (see below). The Minix 2.0.4 distribution adds support for Realtek RTL8029- and RTL8139-based PCI ethernet cards.

Here are some new contributions, most of which can be found here in the Contributed Software section on this site, and one of which is a work-in-progress, hopefully to be available soon:

Original June 1999 information

Minix as distributed on the CD-ROM 2.0.0 supports only SMC/WD80*3 and NE1000/NE2000 cards. There is a patch available by ftp to support 3Com 3C503 cards.

The Minix 2.0.2 distribution supports the same 3 basic card types without needing any patches.

All of these supported cards use the 8390 ethernet chip. Many other ethernet adapters use this chip also, and many other adapters are compatible with either (or in some cases both) the WD/SMC and the NE family. In some cases jumpers are used to change the type of emulation.

There have been occasional questions about the 3C509 or other 3Com adapters. The answer has always been that the 3C509 is quite similar to the 3C503, and a careful look at the source code for drivers for these cards under some other system ought to provide the information necessary to develop a 3C509 driver for Minix. This has not been done, or at least, as of this writing, nobody has reported success or posted a new driver.

Back in the days of Minix 1.5 an add-on networking package called Tnet (written by Michael Temari) was available, and a Tnet-compatible set of ethernet drivers was contributed by Mariusz Ostrowski. This code included support for both 3C503 and 3C509, and would be a good place to start for anyone interested in writing a 3C509 driver for Minix 2.0+. Mariusz's Minix 1.5 ethernet driver package is still available at minix1.hampshire.edu.

Other places to look for source code are, naturally, in the source directories of an OS like Linux where driver source code is available. Also, the famous Crnwyr packet driver collection provides free MS-DOS assembly source code for a large number of different ethernet adapters.


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