How to dial into Rice

Here is the script I use to establish my link to Rice. Here is the script it executes in return.

Here is the ppp-on and ppp-off which is used at Stanford. I could not make this work for me. More on this in the debugging section.

Debug your dialup

When doing dialup, your machine should log messages into the /var/log/messages file on Linux machines (A similar place for other platforms or versions). The errors are cryptic but often help.


First, test things with kermit. Here is how a typical kermit session for dialup into SEP may look like:
450 konocti> kermit
Executing /etc/kermit/ckermit.ini for UNIX ...
Executing /etc/kermit/ckermit.local.ini ...
 Adding system dialing directory /etc/kermit/ ...
Good Afternoon!
C-Kermit 6.0.192, 6 Sep 96, for Linux
 Copyright (C) 1985, 1996,
  Trustees of Columbia University in the City of New York.
Default file-transfer mode is TEXT
Type ? or HELP for help.
C-Kermit@konocti> set line /dev/cua0
C-Kermit@konocti> set speed 19200
/dev/cua0, 19200 bps
C-Kermit@konocti> c
Connecting to /dev/cua0, speed 38400.
The escape character is Ctrl-\ (ASCII 28, FS)
Type the escape character followed by C to get back,
or followed by ? to see other options.
@ Userid: yourshivaid
Password? yourshivapassword
Shiva LanRover/8E, Version 3.5 95/03/07
Escape character is '^]'.
IRIX (kana)
Note that after CONNECT 19200/ARQ/V34/LAPM/V42BIS statement you need to hit return twice before being prompted for the userid. Remember that during the kermit session your escape key is control-\ so for example you logout by typing control-\ c.

The kermit session let's you test your modem, and your dial up. Furthermore, In kermit, you can see the dialog and expectations of the terminal you dial up (some places ask for "Userid:" others for "Username?"; your dialin script needs to know which one to expect).

Concrete problems I encountered

This is not complete since I did not keep a log of all I did. But I hope it helps.

My modem did not even dial when asked to by kermit. The jumpers on my modem were set incorrectly. I had to open the box and set the jumpers according to com1 irq4 so that the device /dev/cua0 would be addressed. See the Gateway modem manual.

I used the wrong expect value for userid and password (see kermit above).

At boot time my computer set itself up to use ethernet. This took a while to dawn on me since I believed the Linux 2 startup setup (for home machines) did not configure ethernet, but it does. A good thing it does, since on-campus home machines benefit from that. You can see what your computer configures by typing ifconfig. I had to take "down" the ethernet configuration with ifconfig eth0 down. You can probably disable this in your rc.config setup. I have forgotten most details about this problem. See your system manager.

I had to change the permission on my /var/lock since the SEP dialup script wants to write a file there. I thought that was the reason why I had to run the ppp scripts as superuser but it was not (or at least not alone). I could not figure out why the SEP dialup script worked better with superuser than without (in my case). Bob and Sean use the same script successfully without running it as superuser. I could never make it work (see next paragraph).

I finally ended up with an error message in my log file:

Apr 10 19:28:22 konocti pppd[620]: ioctl(PPPIOCGUNIT): Operation not permitted
Apr 10 19:28:22 konocti pppd[620]: ioctl(PPPIOCGDEBUG): Operation not permitted
which I could neither understand nor remove. I still have no idea what that is. I gave up after struggling with it for hours.

Finally, I am told it is helpful to look at the error messages logged by the dialup terminal (The shiva in SEP's case). I could never do that: at Rice the terminal is not accessible to a standard user. At SEP, I could not figure out how to access the shiva box: the terminal that was connected to the shiva box seemed to have disappeared.

There were probably half-a-dozen other things that I encountered and forgot. I am not an expert on dialup. But probably neither are you if you read this. This account is not very detailed but it may help you a little bit.

Stanford Ethernet

I ended up giving up on the SEP dialup and asked Stanford to supply ethernet directly to my dorm room (lucky me, I have a dorm room: this option would not have been available off campus. For off-campus people the University offers dialup services but I have not tried since they do not permit on-campus users to use those dialup terminals).

It takes about 2 days. They of course do not support Linux so don't ask them for any help on the system administrative part. Just request an ethernet connection for Windows95 or WindowsNT. They will ask you for your name, sunetid, sunetpassword, room number, the number of your ethernet plug in your room, and your ethernet hardware number. If your system configures your ethernet connection at boot time you can look up the ethernet hardware number by typing ifconfig. Otherwise, look at the vendor manuals that came with your card. They also ask you for a name that you want for your machine. Make sure the name is not taken by looking it up with whois myDesiredName on any Stanford machine. Once they have everything setup for you, they will supply you with an ip address and a name.

Now you will have to configure your Linux box for that new ip address and name. I simply used the Redhat configuration tool, control-panel. Look at your Redhat manual. You need to invoke network. Remove any existing setup for your ethernet card. Type in the new information. Be aware, that if you are in a dorm your netmask is not like for all the other Stanford ip addresses starting with 36 (such as the ip-addresses in the office). Make sure you press the activate the entry before closing the control panel.

Shutdown your computer, connect the ethernet cable (make sure you use T-connectors on both ends) and reboot. For home-machines you want to boot to Linux 2 runlevel which is the default for home-machines.

That is all I can remember. It took me about one and a half week to figure all this out. It probably would have been a bit faster had I brought my system administration books from Houston.

Matthias Schwab