By the way, thanks Mel and Kate for the help with extracting the new
I wouldn't have tried a new kernel until I'd got the printer and modem
working under the default one...(what, me paranoid? :-)
After trying for a month to configure the printer and to get a dial out
under minicom - reading messages like 'device offline' or 'dev/modem
locked' - have I stumbled across a conspiracy to deny me using Linux
properly. Are M$ telling me that all my hardware has to go and be
replaced or am I being paranoid?
No, but those two are _really_ rare messages IMHO.
a. /sbin/shutdown now, power off, lift the lid, take out the modem
card (I'm assuming it's an internal modem), dust it off, vacuum
round the slot, and re-seat it carefully and firmly. Close lid
and restart. If it's an external modem, check all connections
carefully for broken wires, bent pins etc.
b. become root, cd /var/lock and check file LCK..modem If this exists
type cat LCK..modem (yes those really are two dots) and note down
the number it says. Remove leading zeros and type ps ax|grep NNNN
(where NNNN is the number you just got). If that gives you a line
of data, it will show what program is using the modem. If you can't
find that program running on your screen, kill it anyway (type kill
-9 NNNN). If the ps command gives no line of data, then nothing is
using the modem and the lock file must be left over from a previous
crash^H^H^H^H^H session. In either case, type rm -f LCK..modem
c. Run linuxconf and go to PPP (I'm assuming the problem is related to
your PPP trying to autodial: that's the only thing I know that
might try to start up automatically). Click ppp0 and the Networking
tab. Make sure Activate interface at boot time is UNCHECKED.
Accept. Repeat if you have a ppp1, ppp2, etc. Then go to shutdown
d. Now you should have a virgin serial port and modem with nothing
trying to dial automatically (unless you've set up something odd
like an autodial minicom script, in which case rename and disable
it before you do that reboot above).
e. Go to Control Panel, click Modems, and check your modem is
correctly assigned to the COM port it ought to be (I can't tell you
this one, you have to know it from its previous DOS incarnation, or
whatever assignment your hardware assembler thought fit to give
f. Now run minicom, it ought to bring up the modem immediately and
give the OK. If not then I draw a blank, I'm afraid: this would
indicate a very unusual modem assignment or configuration, or
possibly some odd piece of software in a corner somewhere
interfering with things.
I keep a DOS floppy with a copy of ProComm so I can boot any PC and
run the only comms program I know to be 100% safe and controllable
in a primitive standalone environment. At least I can then fiddle with
settings and find out what makes it tick without running the risk of
affecting anything else. I know you can do the same with a Linux boot
or rescue diskette but configuring them is a pain in the butt.
Maybe I don't understand enough but it seems as though the modem and
printer will only operate under windoze.
I'm fearful of the answer to the above but someone better put me out of
No, both should definitely work under Linux unless they are recent
Plug'n'Play WinModem or "Windows-ready" printers, which are
deliberately crippled and which you should return to the store for
replacement with real ones.
For the printer, become root, go to Control Panel and use the
PrintTool and create a new printcap entry called foo, set to the
plaintest ASCII printer on the list. I'm assuming your installation
did recognise your print port correctly: I know mine didn't, and I
managed to spot it and correct it. For some odd reason it thought my
printer was connected to lp1 instead of lp0, I've no idea why.
provided that setting is right, quit PrintTool and manually edit
/etc/printcap and remove all entries except the one you just added
(keep a backup of the file, natch). Edit /etc/motd and type a line of
welcome message like Hello World. Save and quit. Type lp /etc/motd
and see if anything prints. If it fails to print plain ASCII, your
printer is in trouble (unless it's PostScript, which we come to
below). If not even the light blinks, check to see if lpd is running
(type ps ax|grep lpd). If not, run it (just type lpd) but check it's
not dying on some misconfiguration somewhere). Try printing again.
If it really won't print, you have a dead printer.
Now rebuild /etc/printcap by adding back the old settings that failed,
stage by stage, until you have a working /etc/printcap, complete with
the relevant filter (presumably you picked the right make and model
at installation :-)
Next stage, install an application that prints. TeX should be on the
machine by default, so create a file called test.tex containing:
Hello World \bye
Save and exit, type tex test, let it process, then type dvips test
and it should print the page. If it prints garbage, your filter is
Finally, install something that runs its own filters, like the free
WordPerfect for Linux (on this month's Personal Computer World
CD, or download from somewhere but it's a 27Mb hit...).
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