Registered: Dec 2010
Puppy bug when using mobile broadband: well here's a Heath Robinson fix
Hi. Just joined. Floundering around in a sea of possible Linux lightweight distributions. Tried a few and could not get mobile broadband to work. With Puppy Lucid 5.0.1. things changed as you can now connect (fairly!) easily. My computer is a Pentium III 650Mhz, with about 500Mb RAM, I have used various small hard drives, but now it has a 40GB hard drive.
Here are some discoveries that may be of interest. Sorry its a bit rambly.
So install Puppy and you click on the connect button on the desktop and a small list comes up. You click on wireless broadband and then a box comes up asking for mysterious information...um. What now?
If your dongle is plugged in before you boot up the computer should see it as something like /dev/usb/ttyUSB0
If you look at the small print under the box asking you for this information you should find it listed, along with the path for your regular modem card in the computer (the modem used for landline connections). Be sure you use the path with "usb" in the path, as shown here (your whole path may be different). Also "ttyUSB0" ends with the numeral zero, not an capital O.
It is very important, due to a bug in Lucid Pup, that you enter the information correctly the first time, as once clicked on okay and loaded up you cannot get back to this screen again it seems, unless you re-install Puppy. You also can only load up one dongle, and cannot swop say from Orange to Vodaphone.
First, how do you get the rest of the information is asks for? Well prior to installing Puppy you could try this, it worked for me. Install Xubuntu (I say Xubuntu because is is light, but not quite fast enough on my spec of computer..you could use Ubuntu I suppose if you have a better CPU and more RAM, and a drive of about 10GB minimum I think. Hence I used Xubuntu. I actually like the visuals and smoothness of operation of Xubuntu slightly more than Puppy, but it does seem slower on my lowly machine, so I chose Puppy. That dog logo is really great!) Okay so you install Xubuntu (this might work straight off the Xubuntu CD I do not know) and at the top right of the screen is an icon for mobile broadband connection, right click this and fiddle with this till you work out how to get to the mobile connect screen, Xubuntu then does the rest. Go back to the edit screen and there are the settings worked out for you. Write these down and go install Puppy and enter them: vola! It does not seem to need a phone pin at all, so I left this blank.
I then tried a "frugal instal" of Puppy on top of the hard disk installation of Puppy, and this works. I booted from the Puppy CD and clicked on instal and chose frugal. It then lets you choose a new folder, named as you like, and you can save the lupu save file there with another name too. Now on this frugal install put your other mobile broadband dongle settings (got from using Xubuntu). When you want to use a different dongle, shut down, change dongles, and reload the alternative version of Puppy.
If you do this second frugal install over the full install, you need to add some text to the file for Grub boot loader for this to work, but a screen comes up showing what you need to add. Copy this small bit of text, open the file they say and add it after the entry that ends "config ends". I also added the extra lines, top and bottom, of the text you find already on the file there. It is an begining and end label of sorts, something that starts with a hash and ends with "#.....config begins". I then pasted the text under this and at the end of the pasted text put the line "#......config ends". Just copying the pattern the file follows for the earlier entry.
I have to say with a better computer and more modern printer and scanner I would use Xubuntu. However Xubuntu will not recognise my Epsom Stylus Colour 600 printer, nor will Xubuntu recognise my Plustek OpticPro 1236P scanner. With a bit of fuss, you can get Puppy to work both of these.
The other thing is that Puppy will recognise Fat32, Fat16, ext2, partitions on drives and shows them at the bottom of the screen, and you can open each by click once on any of them. I found Xubuntu would not do this. So if you plug a hard drive with a Fat32 partition into the USB port (given that you have the correct power connectors for this) Puppy will let you open this and save work to it. Also you can have two hard drives in your computer, one acting as a backup of the first (one master, the other slave). Using something like Easeus Disc Copier that boots off a CD you can then clone your master to the slave. So if something goes wrong you can clone it back again, or if you loose work you have it on the second drive. For this I found anything above 40GB takes too long to clone (hour and a half to clone a 40GB drive on my machine), so having smaller discs in you computer is an advantage for cloning. You can just clone partitions across, but I found they would not then boot sometimes, so I only clone the whole hard drive at the moment. Why not save the work to USB pendrives instead: then if your computer is stolen, you still have your data. (Who would steal a Pentium III?...well you never know) and they do not.
I find DVD's plays the most smoothly on my old Windows 98, and better if you copy the DVD to hard drive first. So when using Xubuntu I had to have a dual boot, with Win98 alongside Xubuntu. I could also use the scanner and printer from Win98, but could not get online with W98 using a dongle: so that compromise worked for a while. But with Puppy that printer/scanner problem was solved. I also notice DVD's do play okay enough, and better that Xubuntu (on my low spec machine), but if you want to use any drop-down menus from the DVD play it takes ages for them to react, and you cannot move forward easily or make adjustments, you just have to watch the DVD from beggining to end more or less. So observing this I made a SECOND frugal install onto my Puppy installation, choosing this time the lowest Resolution settings, in the belief the DVD may play better with a lower screen resolution (again once this resolution choice is entered it does not seem you can change the screen settings later)
Both these frugal installations can easily be removed by deleting the lupu-save file for each and then reinstalling a frugal instal. If you have set up the printer and scanner settings on the full hard drive installation this will not then be lost. You just have to reboot from one to the other of the installations for what you want to do, and Puppy does boot quickly.
If you boot from the CD you can then make changes to the size of your partitions on the hard drive using GParted. You cannot do this if you are booted from the hard drive, as GParted will not let you make changes to the hard drive when it is in use.
GParted disc formatting tools seems to work faster in Xubuntu, but Puppy does the job.
So my new Puppy has played around, ran up the curtains to the ceiling, pooped on the carpet a few times, but smiles back from the screen asking me to play some more. But though I would let you know this in case it helps.