This article is outdated. Please see - Configuring a network card in Linux for the updated information.
There are different ways of installing a network card in linux - and that too depending on the linux distribution that you are using. I will explain each one of these methods here.
The Manual method
Open the computer case and insert the network card into an empty PCI slot. Then boot up your machine to load linux.
In linux login as root and then navigate to the directory
/lib/modules/. Here you will find the modules supported by your system. Assuming that you have a 3Com ethernet card, in which case, the module name is 3c59x , you have to add this in the
/etc/modules.conffile to let the machine detect the card each time the machine boots.
#File: /etc/modules.conf alias eth0 3c59x
If you have only one network card, it is known by the name eth0, the succeeding network cards in your computer go by the name eth1, eth2 ... and so on.
Next, load the module into the kernel.
root# /sbin/insmod -v 3c59x
Configure an IP address for the network card using
netconfigor any other method if your machine gets its IP address from a DHCP server. Eg:
root# ifconfig eth0 192.168.1.5 netmask 255.255.255.0 broadcast 192.168.1.255
The Easy way
RedHat/Fedora distributions of linux ships with Kudzu a device detection program which runs during systems initialization (
/etc/rc.d/init.d/kudzu). This can detect a newly installed NIC and load the appropriate driver.
Then use the program
/usr/sbin/netconfigto configure the IP address and network settings. The configuration will be stored so that it will be utilized upon system boot.
Also see Assigning an IP address to know more ways of configuring an IP address for your network card.