October 6, 2008
Since my last kernel update the driver e1000e was not blacklist anymore. I am not sure if it is the final solution. This is the bug fix solution (from kernel.org):
Set the hardware to ignore all write/erase cycles to the GbE region in the ICHx NVM. This feature can be disabled by the WriteProtectNVM module parameter (enabled by default) only after a hardware reset, but the machine must be power cycled before trying to enable writes.
Although the e1000e was unblacklisted I had to modprobe it again to work on my Ubuntu Intrepid. On a terminal:
sudo modprobe e1000e
September 24, 2008
As a desperated measure, the maintainers of Ubuntu Kernel decided to put the e1000e driver on the blacklist. It is a temporary measure to avoid more problems, but also disabled ethernet on a huge number o machines (including mine 🙂 ).
I hope this issue will be solved as soon as possible.
September 23, 2008
In the Ubuntu 8.10 Intrepid Alpha, the kernel used is the 2.6.27 which contains a very dangerous version of the e1000e driver. This specific version of the driver maps the firmware of the hardware on memory and gives write access to it, so a misbehaved kernel (which is common in a development branch) can overwrite the firmware.
The attempts to recover the firmware using the Intel’s tools just make the things worse and brick the entire network card (the card is not recognized as PCI device anymore).
In other words, the driver allows a sequence of events to destroy the network card, which in many cases is onboard or at a laptop (there is already some occurrences of this fact).
You can track the bug on LaunchPad.