Alpha/Beta Testers, Breathe Easy, e1000e Patch Available
A bug surfaced recently in the pre-release versions of the 2.6.27 Linux kernel (up to 2.6.27rc7). The bug affected the e1000e driver module, which supports a number of onboard Intel ethernet adapters. The driver would corrupt the EEPROM/NVM of adapters with ICH8 and ICH9 chipsets, rendering them useless.
The silver lining was that since the kernel is a pre-release, only distributions with releases in the alpha or beta stages, or custom compiled testing kernels, were affected. The Intel team released a patch Wednesday to prevent further damage.
The patch issued today will prevent writing to the EEPROM/NVM once the driver module is loaded. The Intel team is currently working on narrowing down the details of how and why these chipsets were affected. They also plan on releasing patches shortly to restore the EEPROM on any adapters that have been affected, via saved images using ethtool -e or from identical systems.