I have a Dell 710 with Quad Bcom NetExtreme 5709s. In the name of expediency, I'm trying to boot off the Squeeze live CD, but the Broadcom drivers are in non-free, so they don't come up when you boot.

No problem, I think to myself. I will sneaker-net the bnx2-firmware deb and all is good.

I can see the interfaces in lspci, I have unpacked the deb and successfully executed modprobe bnx2; however I still can't see the interfaces in ip link show. What else should I do to bring these interfaces up without a reboot?


I have old entries in /var/log/kern.log about the failure to load bnx2 at boot, but the modprobe completes successfully with no other log entries...

$ lsmod | grep bnx
bnx2                   57385  0 
  • Does loading the module produce anything in /var/log/kern.log? (They usually do.) – Gilles May 2 '11 at 21:31
  • @Gilles, I have bnx2 failure messages in kern.log while booting, but nothing with a timestamp around the time of my modprobe. I expect the messages on boot because the firmware isn't there. – Mike Pennington May 2 '11 at 21:42
  • And you did rmmod bnx2 before modprobe bnx2, right? As well as rmmod of any auxiliary module it might be using? – Gilles May 2 '11 at 21:49
  • @Gilles, rmmod bnx2 and another modprobe worked. Thank you, please repost your answer below so I can accept. – Mike Pennington May 2 '11 at 21:57

The firmware must be present at the time you load the driver. So be sure to unload the module and reload it:

 # <install firmware>
 rmmod bnx2
 modprobe bnx2

For some drivers (I don't know about this one), you may need to unload auxiliary modules that it's using. lsmod | grep bnx2 will show what modules bnx2 uses. Call rmmod on all of them in reverse dependency order.

Most modules emit some log messages when they're loaded and they find a potential device, sometimes even if they don't find a potential device. These logs would be on /var/log/kern.log, at least on Debian and Ubuntu.

  • I should have thought to remove the module... I am getting rusty – Mike Pennington May 2 '11 at 22:32

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