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Re: Fw: X Windos System will not start

Hoyt Bailey wrote:

----- Original Message ----- From: "Kent West" <westk@acu.edu>
To: "debian-user" <debian-user@lists.debian.org>
Sent: Friday, October 31, 2003 21:43
Subject: Re: Fw: X Windos System will not start

Hoyt Bailey wrote:

Ok Sold.  I'm game but I need to get stable "stable" enough to get PPP

Chances are you have a so-called "soft-modem" (aka "winmodem"). You
_might_ get it working, but it'd be a whole lote easier to just put a
real modem on one of your serial ports.


The modem is a:
PCI Slot 3(PCI Bus 0, Device 11, Function 0)
Mounted on Com3
I believe it is a 56K V92, that is all I know about it. Exceot that it works
with Windows XP and has caused no problems.
1.  Is it a winmodem?
Yes, it is a "win-modem". From http://www.intel.com/design/modems/:
"The Intel® 536EP is a controller-less modem chipset . . . ."

2.  What is a real modem?
A real modem has all the hardware necessary to MOdulate/DEModulate a signal. Controller-less chips (aka "host-based", "soft modem", "win-modem") have only enough hardware to interface the computer to the phone line; all the modulating/demodulating is down via software: This has two advantages:
   1) It's cheaper to manufacture
   2) It's fairly easy to "upgrade"
However, I believe the disadvantages of a soft-modem outweigh the advantages: 1) It sucks up resources (RAM, CPU cycles) that would otherwise be off-loaded to the modem hardware 2) It requires driver software, which can only be written if by someone who understands the internals of the chip. In essence this means that only the manufacturer of the modem can write the software, and typically the manufacturer only writes software for one OS only, that being Windows. A few dedicated hackers will often reverse-engineer a driver, but that takes time, effort, and may produce a driver with severe shortcomings. In other words, if you have a win-modem, don't expect to use it in Linux, and especially don't expect to use all the features it's supposed to have. 3) It's much more difficult to diagnose communication problems. With a real modem, you can use a simple command from the command line to give you some valuable information about the state of the hardware; with a soft modem, you can never be sure if the problem is the OS or the driver or the modem or the phone line or the protocol or the username/password or . . . . 4) There's less "insulation" between your computer and the lightning strike in the next county over. Of course this can be greatly mitigated with a surge suppressor on your phone line. 5) You can't just yank the modem out of one machine and connect it to another if need be. Instead you've got to connect it to a computer with the right OS, and then install the driver.

3.  Why might it be difficult to get it working?
See above: Disadvantage #2. I didn't do much research, but accordng to this posting on the Linux Kernel Mailing list at http://www.cs.helsinki.fi/linux/linux-kernel/2003-23/1091.html, it looks like support for this modem has not yet been reverse-engineered yet. If you have any influence at Intel, go complain to them; it's they who are making your life difficult on this issue, not Debian.



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