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I Have No Phone and I Must Connect

I live a few miles off the electric and phone lines with no line of sight to a repeater dish in one of the largest and poorest counties in the US.

For those of us with remote homes in the mountains near the Canadian border who have gotten computers during the last few years, internet access is many miles away.

While DirecPC works with a satellite connect down, one needs a telephone line out to the Net. Many of us do not have phone access, yet a radio system less expensive than the Ham radio would make a great change in our lives. Our download needs are greater than our upload needs. How do we make this work?

—Robert Thomas,

You can run DirecPC from Linux with a router from They are scheduled to come out with a two-way router for bidirectional DirecPC in the third quarter of 2001. My suggestion to you would to be set up a network with your neighbors with a caching server to speed access.

—Ben Ford,

Community net groups are using standard WiFi cards and modified satellite dishes to make high-speed connections that span miles. You might be interested in using this technology to share your satellite access with neighbors. See

—Don Marti,

Adding a Hard Drive

I installed and partitioned a second hard drive, but I can't make a filesystem on it.

—Kevin Williams,

First, figure out what device you are talking about. Here is a simple chart to determine device names: /dev/hda1 master drive on primary channel, 1st partition /dev/hda2 master drive on primary channel, 2nd partition /dev/hdb1 slave drive on primary channel, 1st partition /dev/hdb2 slave drive on primary channel, 2nd partition /dev/hdc1 master drive on secondary channel, 1st partition /dev/hdc2 master drive on secondary channel, 2nd partition /dev/hdd1 slave drive on secondary channel, 1st partition /dev/hdd2 slave drive on secondary channel, 2nd partition Next, choose the filesystem you would like on it. SuSE includes reiserfs with their distro; I recommend that as it doesn't require tedious filesystem checks on a bad reboot. Then format the drive. The command used to make reiserfs partition is mkreiserfs <devicename>, where <devicename> is the device name of your partition. If you want to stick with ext2, use the same command but replace mkreiserfs with mke2fs. Now you have a useable drive partition; all that is left is to mount it. Choose or create a mountpoint in your filesystem. I will use /mnt/storage for this example. Create the mountpoint with mkdir /mnt/storage. As you see, the mountpoint is nothing more than a directory. Now mount the drive like this:

mount <devicename> /mnt/storage -t <filesystem

where <devicename> is the device name of the partition and <filesystem type> is the type of filesystem. You now have another useable hard drive. One step remains. I assume you want this accessible next time you boot the system, so we need to add the partition to /etc/fstab. Add a line like this to that file:

<devicename>     <mountpoint>     <filesystem type> defaults     0 0
where <devicename> is the device name of your partition, <mountpoint> is the mountpoint you are using and <filesystem type> is the type of filesystem on that partition. If you choose to use reiserfs, leave the last two numbers as 0 0. If you use ext2, make those numbers 1 2.

—Ben Ford,

Can't ping

The installation of Red Hat 6.2 on my Dell OptiPlex GX150 went well. However, after the system came up, I couldn't ping any host, even on the same subnet. I typed arp -a and the system hung. The system has an integrated 3Com 920 10/100 BT card.

—Khoa Nguyen,

Use netconfig to set up your networking. You can also use lsmod to see if the module for that card is loaded. I would guess that the module for that card would be the 3c90x. You may have to load this module by hand if the card isn't automatically detected by using the command modprobe 3c90x. If this works, edit the file /etc/modules.conf and add the line alias eth0 3c90x.

—Ben Ford,



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Regressions in the installation programs of recent Linux distros

masinick's picture

I have a Compaq Presario, 2001 factory refurbished vintage. It comes with the Compaq OEM Internet keyboard (a USB keyboard), an OEM version of the Logitech basic Wheel Mouse, 64 MB memory, a 20 GB Quantum Fireball disk. To this, I have added another 20 GB Western Digital disk, a 3COM 905B series Ethernet adapter, and an additional 256 MB stick of memory, bringing memory capacity to 320 MB and disk capacity to 2- 20 GB disks.

I have installed several versions of Linux. Mandrake and Red Hat are two of my favorites. The 8.0 and 7.1 versions of each installed flawlessly. Recently, I installed the new 8.1 and 7.2 versions, respectively. The Mandrake 8.1 version now has problems using the mouse during installation, and the Red Hat 7.2 version cannot even detect the keyboard.

I have two questions:

Any ideas what cause these regressions?

Are there any good workarounds or fixes available for either distro?


Brian Masinick

Re: Regressions in the installation programs of recent Linux dis

Anonymous's picture

I have the exact same problem...

I have the new Presario 8000 serie with the AMD XP and the compaq USB internet keyboard. I tried to installed Redhat 7.2, but it couldn't detect the keyboard. Actually, I should say: it does detect it once in a while (once every 5 or 6 reboot).

It seems like before it loads the USB support from the kernel, the keyboard works fine (Numlock, caps lock works), but most of the time after the USB is loaded, the keyboard doesn't work aymore...

I don't know what's wrong, especially since I had Redhat 7.1 before on the same computer and it was working great!?

Thank you.