there's been a lot of confusion regarding the nforce2 chipset along side the new 2.6 kernel.
first and foremost, you will notice that the ethernet drivers that nvidia made do not work under the 2.6 kernel; they haven't been designed to yet (or will they?). also, sound is used in alsa(advanced linux sound archetecture) as opposed to oss (open sound system), so you will need to take a few extra steps to make this work.
here's the options you will want to set. wether you use a module or not is preference and depends on how much you've already got built in to the kernel. personally i prefer to load everything straight into the kernel; knowing that i will always use them every time i boot.
first, go into the kernel configuration:
Processor type and features:
-- Processor Family:
(if you have a gig or more of ram)
-- High Memory Support (off)
-- ATA/ATAPI/MFM/RLL support:
--[*] AMD and nVidia IDE support
-- Networking Support:
-- Ethernet (10 or 100mbit):
--[*] Reverse engineered nForce Ethernet support (EXPERIMENTAL)
(ignore the EXPERIMENTAL part, the drivers will not damage
your system, but may not perform optimally [although no
problems at all here with performance])
** if you have a gigabit card
-- Ethernet (1000Mbit)
--[*] Realtek 8169 gigabit ethernet support
** note, do not select the ATI display drivers in the Graphics
support section unless you have a radeon 9200 or less.
--[*] Sound Card Support
-- Advance Linux Sound Architexture:
--[*] Advanced Linux Sound Architecture
-- PCI devices:
-- Intel i8x0/MX440, SiS 7012; Ali 5455; NForce Audio; AMD768/8111
of course, there are other modules and parts of the kernel that you will need to enable/disable depending on your system, but generally these are always needed for nForce users.
once you are booted into your shiney new kernel, be sure to remember on gigabit systems, your gigabit port is eth0 and your 100mbit port is eth1. (possibly the opposite of what you expected).
next, you will need to enable/configure ALSA for sound. many people mistake alsa to not be working with their new kernel when it actually is, heh.
** note in gentoo you will need to edit /etc/modules.d/alsa and then do rc-update alsa to get it to start with gentoo
of course, you can use whatever editor you prefer, i just prefer nano.
here, you will need to create or uncomment the file to make it have the following configuration:
alias snd-card-0 snd-intel8x0
alias sound-slot-0 snd-card-0
alias /dev/mixer snd-mixer-oss
alias /dev/dsp snd-pcm-oss
alias /dev/midi snd-seq-oss
next, you will need to start the alsa-sound daemon by doing /etc/alsasound
** note: if it says permission denied, type chmod +x /etc/alsasound then try
**** note2: if you have gentoo, you will need to do rc-update add alsasound boot, and to start it you will need to do /etc/init.d/alsasound start
next, you've got to unmute the channels on alsa. this is the part that confuses most people. you will need alsa-utils package before being able to do it. i would think that there is an RPM of this somewhere, but i really am not sure where you would get it. gentoo users just need to type emerge alsa-utils
type "alsamixer" in a console to bring up the ncurses based sound mixer. to toggle mute, hit the m key. to raise the right channel, hit E... for the left Q. if you get bad static, lower the volumes and try muting the surround sound channel. always mute the sections of the card which aren't going to be used, as they might cause interferance. i strongly suggest lowering your PCM volume to around 70%, at the default of 100% the sound is too high and has horrible tearing effects.
after this, you should be done. if you got stuck at the enabling part and can't use alsamixer or can't get the audio to work, try rebooting as a "sure-fire" way to make the alsa configuration that you set has been applied.
** disclaimer ** -- i've written this totally from memory, so i may have screwed up some steps in there. if you see an error that needs to be fixed, feel free to post a reply with it. also keep note that i'm a gentoo-native user, so the gentoo notes will most likely be accurate, but there's a good chance i may have messed something up on non gentoo distros.
i hope this helps someone, i would have loved this kind of attention to my motherboard when going through the upgrade to 2.6 kernel; heh.