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Re: Newbie Modem Q

Chris Share wrote:


I've just installed Debian 3.0 r1 on my PC. I'm a musician so I'd like to use it for recording and various musical tasks.

The PC runs Windows98/2000 and has an internal SwannSmart II modem (on a PCI card).

One of the programs I'd like to use, requires Debian "Unstable", so I'd like to move to the unstable release. I assume I need a working modem to do this.

Or if you have CDs, you can use them. Or if you have a broadband connection (or LAN, etc), you can use it. Or you can temporarily install a hard drive that has the appropriate .debs, etc. But if you don't have the above, yeah, a modem is your best route.

Is it correct that internal modems won't work with Debian?

So-called "winmodems" (or host-controlled modems, or software-based modems, etc) are designed to work with Windows. They are not designed to work with anything else, such as Debian (or Mandrake, Redhat, etc) or Macintosh or BeOS or Amiga or etc etc. As a general rule, the manufacturer of those modems don't write drivers for Linux, and won't release enough specs for Linux developers to write the drivers. The result is that winmodems (or winprinters, or winscanners, etc) are not the best choice for any OS except Windows.

However, because of the hard work and dedication of Linux hackers, many winmodems have been reverse-engineered sufficiently so that drivers are now available. So if your modem is a winmodem, there's a chance it will still work with Debian.

If it is a true hardware modem (does it have jumpers? if so, it probably is), it should work without any problems. I just did a google for "linux swannsmart" and one hit indicated that it is a true hardware modem. I didn't do any further research; I left that for you to do. But you have a fair chance it'll work.

In that case, I'll need to get an external modem.

Is there any particular type of modem that I need to get?

USB modems tend toward the win-hardware style also. Others on this list who use modems will probably be able to give you some advice here (I'm on cable modem, so haven't used a modem in some time.)

If you have "wvdial" installed, you can run it to autodetect your modem (maybe). Or you can run "pppconfig" and let it autoprobe for the modem. If either of these finds your modem, you're well on your way to getting connected. Even if they don't find your modem, there still might be hope. Google is your friend.

Kent West (westk@acu.edu)

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