According to common wisdom the NE2000 network adapter, a fimiliar means of last resort in emulating older system, is a piece of …, well, not so good. Especially it was deemed so in the Linux world. Wikipedia will tell you so, as well. However, as often, if you dig into the history, popular myths often disperse into the mists they are founded on. As is the case with this salty article at the OS/2 Museum. Maybe a bit technical, but fun to read.
"Was the NE2000 Really That Bad?" (OS/2 Museum)
Bonus content: some assorted Ethernet adapter-related comments from early Linux source code:
Do not purchase this card, even as a joke. It’s performance is horrible, and it breaks in many ways.
The driver is less efficient than it could be. It switches through receive mode even if more transmits are queued. If this worries you buy a real ethernet card.
The driver still allows only the default address for cards when loaded as a module, but that’s really less braindead than anyone using a 3c501 board.
“Detected 3Com 3c501 (THROW IT AWAY!!!)”
“%s: 3c501 EtherLink at %#x, using %sIRQ %d, melting ethernet.\n”
(All quotes found at https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=26755293.)