Update on the Intel e1000e Linux Bug

Sep 25, 2008

A bug in the series 2.6.27-rc Linux kernel can permanently damage Intel's e1000e Gigabit Ethernet card. Linux distributor Mandriva offers a few suggestions -- and not only to its own customers.

The kernel bug had been reported earlier against the Beta 1 versions of openSUSE 11.1 and SUSE Linux Enterprise 11. The openSUSE project had warned against using these versions with CPUs containing the Intel e1000e network card.

The French firm Mandriva has now publicized further details on its official blog. In Mandriva's case the bug affected all pre-releases of their Mandriva Linux 2009, but not any of their stable Linux releases or the final Mandriva Linux 2009.

Apparently ICH8 and ICH9 chipsets with the Intel 82566 and 82567 network interfaces were affected. Mandriva offers a few tips to remedy this in their blog. The first is to find the affected chipset by issuing the lspci command as root:

lspci | grep 8256[67] 

Then issue the lsmod command to determine if the network adapter is using the e1000e card:

/sbin/lsmod | grep e1000e

If any output is returned, the hardware is affected and the content of the EEPROM might be overwritten, causing damage to the card. To avoid this, Mandriva suggests issuing a command to back up the EEPROM data to a file for safekeeping:

ethtool -e ethX > savemyeep.txt

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  • ethtool -E can't be used

    If the eth NVM is compromised, the system fails the NVM checksum and doesn't load the e1000e driver. Without the driver, the network interface is unavailable so ethtool -E reports that the interface eth0 doesn't exists.
    Re-flashing the BIOS didn't help. The BIOS can be flashed successfully ensuring that no BIOS area is compromised, but the NVM seems to be excluded by the flash procedure.
    Is anybody aware of an utility that can reprogram the NVM? Intel site seems quite empty of information about this.
  • Re: How to restore the dumped eeprom?

    Apparently this is more difficult than dumping the contents. I am told Intel have a set of proprietary tools for the job.
  • Re: How to restore the dumped eeprom?

    > How to restore the dumped eeprom? Using ethtool -E one byte at a time?

    there's probably a better way, but you can definitely use a 'for' loop and solve the problem that way big-smile
  • How to restore the dumped eeprom?

    How to restore the dumped eeprom? Using ethtool -E one byte at a time?
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