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Our experts answer your technical questions.
Setting Up kermit

I have searched through all of the suggested resources and have been unable to find an answer. How can I set up kermit or Linux so that they can talk to each other? I am trying to use ckermit 6.0.192 to dial a pager, and I get the message “Warning: terminal type unknown ...” each time I start up kermit.

Once I get to kermit and try to dial a number, I get the error message “unable to initialize modem”. I have used minicom to dial my modem and it works fine, but the application (Big Brother) which uses the modem is set up to use kermit. —John Willoughby,

Try to force the TERM variable to vt100 before starting kermit:

export TERM=vt100

At the kermit prompt, try this sequence (I am assuming /dev/modem is a correct link to your modem device):

set line /dev/modem
set speed 57600

This works fine for me. —Pierre Ficheux,


I am a newbie at installing Linux so I am not quite sure what I may be doing wrong. Here is my problem:

I am trying to install Red Hat on my machine, which currently has Windows 95 on it. I have a 6.4GB hard drive and I have used Partition Magic to free up about 2GB of space. Windows 95 is on three partitions; one of those is an extended partition. I decided to use Disk Druid to make the Linux partitions because I am not totally familiar with fdisk. I first made a root partition, which worked fine, but if I try to create any other partitions, I get an error with unallocated partitions and the reason is “no free primary”.

I don't really want to format my hard drive, but if it comes to that, so be it. —Ben Barth,

You may only have four primary partitions on your hard drive. If you need more, you can make an extended partition instead of a primary. Under DOS, this is how logical drives are created. Linux has no problem residing on an extended partition, so you should be able to install it once you create the extended partition. Remember that you will probably want to make two: one for the file system and one for the swap space (usually about twice your system RAM in size). —Chad Robinson,

Getting Started with Applications

How do I run a new application or install it into X? For instance, my Red Hat bundle had a CD with lots of software on it. I used RPM to install Word Perfect 7.0. Now I have an /opt directory with a /wp70 directory under it and a bunch of subdirectories under it. Which one is the executable? What magic word or process am I missing to make WP run? All the files seem to be there. This is the first question I haven't figured out, and I have spent a lot of time trying. My system is working great but this is just too nebulous for me. —Sean Wyatt,

Usually, applications that install in /opt install a link to their binary in /opt/bin. So, all you should need to do is put /opt/bin in your PATH. In the /etc/profile file, you can add:

export PATH

Should the executable be absent from /opt/bin, you can locate it using:

find /opt/bin -follow -type f -perm -700

then create a link yourself and add whichever directory it lies in, to your PATH. —Marc Merlin,

Mysterious Messages

After recompiling the kernel, I get a message along the lines of:

modprobe: cannot find net-pf-4
modprobe: cannot find net-pf-5

at various times. It does not seem to affect the behavior of the system, but I would like to know what it means and what I should do about it. —Frank McCabe,

net-pf-4 and net-pf-5 refer to support for IPX and AppleTalk, respectively. You can avoid the modprobe messages from appearing at boot time by including aliases for each in /etc/modules.conf (or /etc/conf.modules), i.e., add these lines to the file if they are not already there:

alias net-pf-4 off
alias net-pf-5 off

Most of this information can be found in /usr/src/linux/Documentation and I would recommend becoming familiar with the resources in this directory. Note: /usr/src/linux is just a symbolic link to your current source tree of the Linux kernel. —Andy Bradford,