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Old 01-28-2008, 12:34 PM   #1
The Other Guy
Registered: Jan 2008
Location: Canada
Distribution: Vector Linux 6.0
Posts: 41

Rep: Reputation: 15
My long, uneducated Ubuntu odyssey

After over a month of reading and learning about this new Linux thing I kept hearing about, after asking around for weeks to see how I could get a copy, I was finally able (earlier this month) to acquire a copy of Ubuntu 7.04 Live. I was both nervous and excited as I changed my BIOS and watched my computer boot from the D drive for the first time. When it was finally done, I was faced with a nice-looking GNOME desktop that looked somewhat like Windows. Yay! Only now I wasn't sure what to do, so I decided to connect to the internet.

That was where it started. After trying to connect using tools like "Network" and "Connect to server", the Ubuntu help directory revealed that most 56K modems weren't initially supported by it, and that I would have to get myself a driver to make it work.

With this in mind, I decided to make a dual-boot installation so that I could properly change and keep files. Unfortunately, I didn't remember how easily Ubuntu installs itself, so I decided to partition my hard disk manually using fdisk. This was a struggle in itself; I had to reinstall Windows 98 all over again, and then, when I finally clicked "Install" on the Ubuntu desktop, I saw that I could have had my disk partitioned automatically right there. I got intimidated when I clicked "Manual install", so I decided to go back and format my hard drive AGAIN, this time with only one partition, and let Linux take care of the confusing part.

Once this ordeal was all finished, I began looking for drivers. I combed, I spent tons of time Googling "US Robotics chipsets", before I found out that since I had a hardware modem, I didn't need drivers (this was thanks to one of you members!). Now, I had known how hardware modems work, but from the way the help topics phrased it, it sounded like I needed some kind of driver to make Linux recognise it.

Now came the part where I spent days trying to get wvdial to work properly. This was not its fault, I just didn't know how it worked yet. I spent hours going back and forth to linmodems to see what file to edit next, called my ISP, everything. I couldn't keep a connection. Then, just as I was about to make a plea to this forum, I found another page on

It turns out all I ever needed to do was add three lines to /etc/wvdial.conf

I felt like a complete and utter n00b.

On the bright side, I'm now typing this on my Ubuntu system, using a wvdial connection.

What we've learned from this:
  • When you're installing a distro, ALWAYS check to see how you can make it install first, to avoid wasting time partitioning and configuring (but follow the proper guidelines as well)
  • If the terminal won't open a file, check to see if you've spelled everything correctly (this is how I came to think that I had corrupted a file and needlessly reinstalled Linux a second time).
  • If you've got a hardware modem, chances are you're good to go. If not, THEN check and/or these forums.
  • wvdial is your friend. Once you run "wvdialconf /etc/wvdial.conf", all you have to do is open /etc/wvdial.conf, add your username, password, dial number, and then the following 3 lines:
Stupid mode = yes
Carrier Check = no
Auto DNS = yes

...and make sure you've configured the right port for your modem! Type the path to it on the line "Modem ="! Don't waste your time like I did!
Old 01-28-2008, 12:44 PM   #2
Registered: Nov 2002
Location: Kent, England
Distribution: Debian Testing
Posts: 19,192
Blog Entries: 4

Rep: Reputation: 471Reputation: 471Reputation: 471Reputation: 471Reputation: 471
Any time spent learning something new is not time wasted You have managed to learn Linux the best way - install it, break it, install again, figure out where you went wrong, try not repeat the mistake, rinse, repeat.

Congrats on getting it running and more congrats on not giving up in disgust!
Old 01-28-2008, 01:42 PM   #3
Stefan J
Registered: Oct 2006
Location: Leicestershire, England
Distribution: Ubuntu 7.04
Posts: 45

Rep: Reputation: 16
Well Done - keep us posted on your future adventures.
Old 01-30-2008, 09:26 PM   #4
LQ Newbie
Registered: Jan 2008
Posts: 1

Rep: Reputation: 0
Thats great to hear! Keep us all posted!
Old 02-10-2008, 03:29 PM   #5
The Other Guy
Registered: Jan 2008
Location: Canada
Distribution: Vector Linux 6.0
Posts: 41

Original Poster
Rep: Reputation: 15
Wow, thanks for the support guys. Yeah, there were definitely times when I was at that low, this-close-to-screaming point.


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