The mysterious little DFE-670TXD



The DFE-670TXD is a mysterious little ethernet card, because it's turned my old ThinkPad 600E into a very picky eater. With this card plugged into either of the PC Card slots:

  • My beloved FreeBSD installs, but throws errors upon booting despite the fact the very card is named and supported in /etc/defaults/pccard.conf
  • NetBSD not only refuses to install, but just reboots the machine before it’s even finished booting of the CD-ROM
  • My Linux distro of choice Slackware detects and installs the card, but upon using it after installing the base system, the entire system hangs forcing a hard reset

Curiously, the only operating system which installed and detected the card perfectly was… OpenBSD! I have no idea what OpenBSD is doing differently, but booting of the CD and going through the installer the card is detected automatically. When I reboot the machine with OpenBSD installed, I can use the internet, share files on the local network and synchronise with time servers without any problems!

FreeBSD is my operating system of choice generally, but OpenBSD for some reason which completely baffles me right now is the only one that works. I'm completely baffled. Did I mentioned I'm baffled? Bamboozled? Anyone with knowledge on how OpenBSD drivers work know why or have any theories?

In any case I guess I'd better brush up on the OpenBSD FAQs, because I have an OpenBSD machine now!

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Ruben Schade is a technical writer and infrastructure architect in Sydney, Australia who refers to himself in the third person. Hi!

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