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This is the same problem I had in Sarge and am having again in Etch. I've done some searches and I had previously found other references to this problem but no solutions.
I used KPPP to dialup the internet. But I can not set a modem up. In the configuration when you go to choose a modem the OK button is grayed out so you can't save the settings. I can select my modem (/dev/ttyS1 for the internal or /dev/ttyS0 for the external, doesn't matter). and then query the modem, no problem. It detects the modem and populates the modem commands fields. but the OK button is still grayed. from here you can only click cancel and loose all the settings. I can go in and setup an account and it creates the .kppprc file but will not setup the modem.
What I used to do was I kept the .kppprc file from my old mandriva install and just put that in the .kde directory (in the right spot) and it worked fine. Also now I'm using pppconfig and links to pon and poff to dial the internet so it's not the modem. This is specifically a problem with KPPP. Anyone else see this and does ANYONE HAVE A SOLUTION? This is only Debian's KPPP since mandriva/mandrake's kppp worked fine. And using gnome-ppp isn't an option. It is only a front end for wvdial which won't work since I need pap authentication. I'm looking for a way to FIX KPPP not work around it.