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Old 02-01-2008, 09:38 AM   #1
rpwillia
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Why do distros support soft modems so poorly


From what I see these days there are only about 3-4 types of soft modems out there. If the distros can support a few variations of ethernet cards and such, why don't they support soft (lin or win) modems. It is a royal pain for those of us with just dial-up to upgrade and then find our modems don't work anymore and you need to download drivers, compile a driver and link it in. Fedora Core 8 which I just upgraded to is a perfect example.
 
Old 02-01-2008, 09:51 AM   #2
acid_kewpie
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i hope your not blaming the linux community for that poor support... if a hardware vendor doesn't provide linux drivers, or even an open api for developers to write GPL'd drivers for then makring a softmodem, which is, as the name suggests, very software intensive compared to a decent modem, extremely hard. vendors provide windows drivers, the windows "community" plays no part in that whatsoever, they just expacet and get ready rolled drivers to install. linux developers are faced with a shitty little pci card which doesn't work yet, vi and a compiler...
 
Old 02-01-2008, 10:42 AM   #3
b0uncer
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True words.

I know how it feels to have a piece of hardware that isn't "supported right out of the box", but it's just insane to expect a software community like a distribution maintaining community, or gpl folks for that matter, could write and maintain drivers for a zillion different hardware cadgets - it would be much easier, if every hardware maker would either write drivers for all major operating systems for the hardware they've made themselves (and thus know how to deal with it) or provide means to more or less easily write the drivers. Some manufacturers release a piece of hardware, but don't tell anything about how it works, and have their lawsuits remind you that you must not peek inside or try to hack anything without paying some $$. That makes it a difficult situation to write drivers even if you are familiar with such a job: you should make a thing work that you don't know what it holds inside, nor are you allowed to take much actions to find it out.

However with dialup modems the story is nowadays, in my opinion, slightly different. A lot of people still use them, so they are still manufactured - a lot. In addition to those poor software modems that I consider as means of cheating the customer (you pay for something that only works on something that you need to pay more to get, and if you happen to lose the drivers, you might have to pay more to get them back), there are good "hardware modems" on the market, that do work without a big driver party. If you buy a "real hardware modem" from a store, you've got good chances that it "just works" when you plug it in. And those things don't cost much today - around 10$ if I'm not becoming blind. That's not much if you consider that you have probably paid ten - twenty times more on your operating system licence! Now if you're willing to upgrade your OS, save a big bunch of money when you choose Linux, and it appears your modem doesn't work...well, I'd say you can easily spend a few bucks and buy a real working thing. It saves a lot trouble.

And if everybody did that, or at least the majority, manufacturers would get the message that people want working things with drivers available to the operating system you select to use, not semi-working things that require drivers that only work on one pc operating system.
 
Old 02-01-2008, 11:26 AM   #4
farslayer
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the industry I work in uses modems extensively, and quite frankly the winmodems/software modems are garbage. We use mostly external modems or the more difficult to find PCI hardware based modems. They are more expensive than the softmodems, but at least they work properly. and I'm referring to these being used under windows.

One of our developers wrote an application to dial into the terminals in the field to retrieve journal reports.. the program failed miserably when using soft-modems, but runs flawlessly on hardware based modems and external modems.. and I'm talking about 2400 baud connections, not high speed.

Buying the right hardware is definitely the route to take, rather than fighting with cheap unsupported junk.
 
Old 02-01-2008, 03:31 PM   #5
lazlow
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Continuing the assault on soft modems, they really are junk. I used to run a soft modem and switched to a hardware modem (same brand) and my speed increased almost 25%.

The other way to look at it is: what is your time worth? Is running around looking for, compiling, and debugging, a driver (even once) worth more than the $10-$15 paid for a hardware modem?
 
Old 02-02-2008, 08:03 AM   #6
rpwillia
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Where are the hardware modems found

CompUSA is gone, most of the mom and pop computer stores are gone, Best Buy and Circuit City are pretty useless, so where does one find a hardware modem. My preference would be a pci based internal hardware modem.

But, my current question still applies. I have one of the Stratitec modems (that came with Linux drivers for a different distro from the majors) and every time I upgrade it is a real hassle to find the drivers, load the kernel headers, etc. If Linux really wants to go mainstream, ...

Enough said.
 
Old 02-02-2008, 10:48 AM   #7
lleb
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you do know why it is called a WIN-modem dont you? simple it uses WINDOWS to run the modem. it is not a true hardware device thus Linux will not have good support for it. you can not blame Linux for not supporting things that are NOT HARDWARE related issues like a win-modem.

buy a REAL modem, ensure it is NOT a win-modem and you will be good.


also to answer the question about were to buy new hardware, try the internet. i agree it sucks that compusa is gone, but their prices were way to high for most items anyways and about the ONLY thing i bought from them consistently were UPS.
 
Old 02-02-2008, 11:24 AM   #8
farslayer
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Actiontek used to sell a hardware based PCI modem, but I don't see any on their site now.. hrm..

I currently use Multitech for my external modems.. looks like they have Controller based PCI and PCI-e modems as well..

http://www.multitech.com/PRODUCTS/Fa...MultiModemZPX/
http://www.multitech.com/DOCUMENTS/C...s/86000491.asp
Code:
Features

    * V.92/56K download speeds and 48K upload speeds when connecting with V.92 servers
    * V.44 compression improves data throughput rates
    * Class 1.0 and Class 2.1 faxing at speeds to V.34/33.6K bps (Super G3)
    * Error Correction Mode (ECM) provides fast and reliable fax transmissions
    * Voice support for voice mail and full duplex speakerphone (voice models only)
    * Plug-and-Play installation under Windows 95/98/Me/XP/2000/2003 (PCI only)
    * Windows NT and Linux compatibility
    * U.S. Caller ID reporting
    * Global approvals in many countries for worldwide use
    * 3.3V and 5V Universal PCI or ISA models
    * Telco adapters available for country localization
    * Built-in processor that does the work, so your computer doesn’t have to
    * Remote configuration for centralized setup and management
    * DTMF tone detection
    * Flash memory for easy updates
    * Ten-year warranty
They are not cheap, but you do get what you pay for imho.. Lowest price on Goole price search - $65.23 I should mention I buy from this company all the time and have nevr had an issue with them. Quick order turnaround and shipping. so I'm not linking you to someone I have not purchased from before.

Last edited by farslayer; 02-02-2008 at 11:26 AM.
 
Old 02-02-2008, 12:33 PM   #9
lazlow
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Newegg us probably the best place to go looking for hardware:

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...72&name=56Kbps

There are several advantages to external modems. You pretty much know that they are hardware modems being one of the most important. I would stay away from usb modems. The lights on most of the external modems can help diagnose a lot of issues.

There is even a Ethernet connected modem listed: http://www.actiontec.com/support/mod..._username.html

As far as linux not supporting winmodems it has mostly already been said. The hardware manufactures (for the most part) are not making the drivers, releasing the specification to the hardware, or working with Linux in general. There are (relatively) so few people using modems that there are very few programmers willing to "waste" there time working on winmodems when hardware modems can get the job done and do it better.
 
Old 02-02-2008, 01:09 PM   #10
v00d00101
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This one seems to work on Ubuntu according to people who left feedback, and costs very little, in the scope things.

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16825134002

I used to run an old 33.6 external that i bought for the equivalent of about one US dollar. It still works now, and i got the thing 8+ years back. Stay away from software modems, they are a pain to setup, assuming you ever get them running.

Incidentally if you are running an Intel modem, you may be able to find a working driver on their site, as long as you dont mind running a 2.4 kernel, or have one of the distros they built there driver on. They i suppose do tend to make a small effort. As do IBM (sometimes).

http://downloadcenter.intel.com/filt...9&submit=Go%21
 
Old 02-02-2008, 03:56 PM   #11
Junior Hacker
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I have many computers and many soft modems, some hardware modems. I prefer using the internal PCI soft modems. I've been able to install many successfully in Linux but narrowed it down to the Lucent win modem with mars chip because it is the only PCI soft modem that can be configured to work in 64bit Linux, I have 3 or 4 of them.
I have many distributions including Fedora on occasion. After installing the same driver in all of them countless times, it becomes "routine" and "simple" to recompile modem modules. Kernel source headers are always installed because I'm on dial-up and will need them. When the time comes, I change into the appropriate directory and issue three commands and re-boot, then connect and carry on. A process that takes 5 or 6 minutes maximum.
Been using the same source package for that modem for two + years now, same for most other modems if needed.

What do you people mean when you say "run around looking for drivers"? The only modem I used to look for kernel specific modules is the Conexant modem in my laptop, but because I'm running Debian testing and sometimes Sid kernels, the Conexant folks don't always have pre-compiled binaries for my kernels so I've been staying with the same src.deb Conexant package for a couple years also. Just change into my shared data partition where it's stored and issue a command and hit enter a few times, then dial out and surf. What's so frustrating about that?
I don't fork out money for modems or modem drivers in Linux because I don't have to, and that's why there's not much "quick fix" Linux soft modem support.... "no money".
 
Old 02-02-2008, 04:06 PM   #12
cmnorton
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GovConnection

Quote:
Originally Posted by lleb View Post
you do know why it is called a WIN-modem dont you? simple it uses WINDOWS to run the modem. it is not a true hardware device thus Linux will not have good support for it. you can not blame Linux for not supporting things that are NOT HARDWARE related issues like a win-modem.

buy a REAL modem, ensure it is NOT a win-modem and you will be good.


also to answer the question about were to buy new hardware, try the internet. i agree it sucks that compusa is gone, but their prices were way to high for most items anyways and about the ONLY thing i bought from them consistently were UPS.
Gov Connection has good prices and fast delivery. NewEqq is good, as well. MicroCenter is good; if there's not one near you, you can order on line.
 
  


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