Modem/PPP fails on Progeny, works on Mandrake
First, apologies for the cross-posting; I'm not sure which list this plea
I finally took the plunge last weekend and made my switch to Progeny Debian
from Mandrake 7.2. I'm not going to talk about Progeny's (horrible) installer
in this message. Suffice to say I got Progeny installed, at the cost of losing
my windows and Madrake partitions.
After I got it installed, and got my non-standard modem IRQ configured with
setserial, I got to work configuring my internet connection. I've done this
before on Mandrake, so I figured it would take 5 minutes. Wrong. The following
narrative is somewhat abridged, but it captures the essentials:
I get my /etc/ppp/peers/provider and /etc/chatscripts/provider configured. I
try to dial in. The modem is *amazingly* slow to respond. But it dials, and
then sloooowly the ISP's prompts appear. Now, before, I had been dialing up
and then immediately authenticating with PAP; I hadn't even known that the
ISP's system would give a login prompt if a ppp session was not immediately
started. Hoever, the default chatscript I modified had the "ogin:"/"sword:"
expect/reply pairs in it, and I had went ahead and used them. Turns out the
ISP /does/ give login prompts, albeit verrrry slowly. Thinking nothing of it,
I watched the prompts go by in my syslog, and then watched pppd hang up as some
timeout was reached. After awhile I got various timeouts tweaked so that
neither chat nor pppd would timeout while waiting for a response. Once I even
managed to get as far as seeing the PPP data begin to stream over; but no
matter what I did, pppd was unable to negotiate a connection. I kept getting
LCP response timeouts; or simple an "alarm" message in pppd's log and then an
exit. I tried changing the lcp timeout and lcp-max-configure setting, to no
At some point a light bulb turned on and I realized "Hey! I never had to use a
chat script to enter login and password before! I was using PAP!" So I modified
the chat script to only go as far as dialing and waiting for a connection; made
sure the "user" option was in my 'provider' file; and verified all the right
info was in pap-secrets. No deal. pppd reported "response not 8-bit clean" or
somesuch. After searching around from my work internet connection, I discovered
that this meant that the ISP was not switching over to ppp. "Huh" I
thought. "They must have changed their login procedure at the exact same time I
decided to upgrade. I guess now they require a manual login".
There followed a period of my tweaking every possible ppp setting; trying
various different changes in my chat script; trying other dialup configuration
programs, such as pppconfig and kppp. Nothing. I couldn't just switch back to
Mandrake or Windows to see if /their/ connections still worked, because
Progeny's installer had summarily erased those partitions from my boot record.
Finally, this morning, I created a new partition and reinstalled Mandrake 7.2.
I configured kppp with my usual setup; with PAP authentication. I hit "Connect"
and within seconds, I was connected on the first try. No long pauses; no LCP
errors; no timeouts.
So, I'm stumped. I can't figure out what's different. It almost seems like my
ISP acts differently depending on which distro I use. Absurd, I know. The one
suspicious thing all along has been the fact that my modem has been strangely
slow in all it's responses to AT commands when used under Debian. It's a
Motorola VoiceSURFR 56k, not a winmodem.
I guess what I'm saying is: HELP!!! Does anyone have any idea what's different
about Progeny/Debian that makes me unable to use my modem to get online? I
*really* want to switch to Debian; but until I can get this resolved that's not
going to happen.