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.1) The Manual method
First 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/kernel_version_number/net/ . 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.conf file to let the machine detect the card each time the machine boots.
alias eth0 3c59x
Note: 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.Now you have to load the module into the kernel.
root# /sbin/insmod -v 3c59x
Next configure an IP address for the network card using ifconfig or netconfig or 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 192.168.1.2552) 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/netconfig to configure the IP address and network settings. The configuration will be stored so that it will be utilized upon system boot.