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Thread: Dial-up Redux

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    Dial-up Redux

    DIAL-UP REDUX

    A few years back I started a thread on dial-up. It was an impertinent thing to do, considering I didn't know much about dial-up. But with input from duncan and some others I'd like to think that we helped a few people. Ubuntu has come a long way since then. Dial-up support has not. Some would say it's regressed. Wvdial has been absent from the default installation since Jaunty, and Karmic has a problem with USB-connected modems. Some of the “official” dial-up documentation is difficult to follow and outdated.

    On the other hand, Dell's winmodem drivers have helped some folks, and US Robotics/3Com recently introduced the 5637, which has helped others to get online.

    I thought it was time to start another dial-up post. I'm going to stick to what I know. Not going to delve into 3G modems. I aim to keep this as straightforward as possible, since some of the readers will be new to Linux.

    Almost every modem in every PC is a winmodem, or softmodem. That means it's a device that pawns some of its workload off to the CPU. To do that the winmodem relies on drivers that talk to Windows. Hence the “win” in winmodem. Winmodems are inexpensive. That's why the PC manufacturers love 'em. Dial-up is a backwater, so there has not been a tremendous amount of effort to reverse-engineer winmodems. There are a few resources, such as Linuxant, but I've never done that. From the posts I've seen winmodems for the most part are still a hassle.

    I'm going to recommend just one type of modem. The serial hardware external modem, best represented by the US Robotics 5686's. “Serial” refers to the old serial port. “Hardware” refers to the fact that the modem has a smarter processor and doesn't rely on the OS. Hardware modems could be thought of as little computers that do just one task – try to get you online at the fastest speed they can negotiate. “External” means it sets outside your computer, taking up desk space. I hated the extra clutter at first, but now have come to appreciate it for two reasons. The USR's have 7 LED's on the bezel. Whenever the connection is acting goofy I can glance over at those LED's to see what's happening. I know immediately if the ISP has dropped me. The volume dial is handy too. Turn off the speaker when everything's working like it should, turn it up for testing.

    The USR's are expensive new, but relatively cheap on eBay or craigslist.

    All is not lost if you don't have a serial port on your PC. Just use a serial-to-USB adapter cable. These cables are different than most cables. There's a little chipset in the cable. You want to get one that's compatible with Linux. I have the Sabrent SBT-USC1M. It works. It's supported at the kernel level. There are others.

    Phase 1 – New Install, Get Online

    ISP – You need to find an ISP that's compatible with Linux. “Compatible” is not the same as “supported”. Almost every ISP will say they don't support Linux. What they mean is they don't understand it, Linux isn't mainstream, and they don't want to get thrown into that briar patch. In the U.S., Copper.net, BasicISP, frys.com, natblast, and hundreds of others will work. The ones you hear about, the ones with an advertising budget, often won't work because they want you to install their proprietary, Windows-based, software. PeoplePC and Juno are good examples of ISP's to avoid.

    Don't put the cart before the horse. Until you have a modem, and an ISP, that will work with Linux it's pointless to try connecting. You will need to have your ISP username, such as “newlinuxuser@natblast.com”, your ISP password, and all local phone numbers before beginning to configure dial-up.

    On January 9, 2010 I installed Karmic from scratch using a LiveCD that was burned about a month after 9.10 was released. I did this so that people reading this post can have some confidence in the following directions. Wvdial was dropped in the 9.04 release, so as far as I know you have just one tool in a fresh installation to establish a dial-up connection. In Applications>Accessories find the Terminal. Right-click on it, then left-click on “Add this launcher to panel”. You now have a launcher for the terminal in the upper panel. Open a terminal, and type in (or copy/paste directly from this post):

    Code:
    sudo pppconfig
    and hit the “Enter” key. Type in your password at the prompt, then hit Enter again. You'll get an archaic piece of software that utilizes an awkward combination of tab, space bar, Enter key, and the up/down arrow keys. So read the directions and pay attention. There are some guides on the internet. If I can find a good one I'll include it here.

    Pppconfig isn't technically challenging. You don't need a Unix degree. It's just odd and confusing the first time or two. You can open pppconfig at any time and blow away or edit a botched config so try to get it right but don't panic if you set it up with “Static” DNS instead of “Dynamic” and you have to go back and fix it. I plugged in my ISP username, the ISP password, one of the local phone numbers (you can add *70, to the number if you have call-waiting), set DNS to “Dynamic”, left the connect speed at the default, accepted “provider” as the name for the configuration, manually entered my modem as /dev/tty/S0 (first serial port), and left the handshake at the default PAP. You can set up more than one phone number in pppconfig, but you have to create a new configuration from scratch, with a different “provider” name. I've done it, but for now let's stick to your best bet - picking one good phone number and using it.

    I'm just rattling off the settings from memory, so the above description of pppconfig settings isn't in order.

    Note: With a serial-to-USB adapter, the USR is usually recognized at /dev/tty/ACM0. However, I remember seeing it recognized as tty/usbsomething-or-other on one PC. You should be able to type

    Code:
    lsusb
    into the terminal to find where the modem is located.

    Addition: Here are some directions posted by George Vita for finding your modem:

    ttyS0-ttyS3 are the h/w serial ports (com1-com4 at old PCs).
    Although these ports are not all (0-3) physically implemented, they exist for compatibility reasons (some h/w addresses and interrupts are reserved).

    ttyUSBx is used for a typical USB peripheral that most times can be used as a serial communication port. A 'general' driver (usbserial/option) is used.

    ttyACMx, ttyHSx, ttyHSFx, etc. are other 'names' for USB communication ports created by more 'specific' drivers (Linuxant creates ttyHSFx).

    Puppy Linux integrates more drivers for dial up modems (also sometimes it goes better with 3g).

    wvdial and wvdialconf search for /dev/modem /dev/ttySx and /dev/ttyUSBx (by default). To test another port you can firstly see if it is created (dmesg or 'ls /dev/ttyXYZ') and then try to communicate with it. Easier communication can be done with the command screen (read more using 'man screen').
    Code:

    screen /dev/ttyUSB0

    Note: screen command may 'lock' this port (reboot to be sure). You can 'release' any port by 'killing' screen' processes. Check with 'ps -A | grep -i screen' and 'sudo kill xxxx' any 'screen' process.

    When the modem is 'external', tests can be done with the following procedure:

    - Boot without modem, wait for the system to load
    (if you are using USB to RS232 cable or i/f DO NOT attach it)
    - do NOT RUN any communication/connection program
    - open a terminal window and try: sudo dmesg -c
    (this will show all system activity till then and will 'clear' this log. Next simple dmesg will show only 'new' activity)
    - from terminal: lsusb
    - attach modem, power it ON
    - wait 30-40 seconds
    - from terminal: dmesg
    - from terminal: lsusb

    Notice any changes comparing 'lsusb' outputs. The 'new line' must be the modem.
    Quote:
    Bus 001 Device 004: ID 19d2:2000 ONDA Communication S.p.A.
    The vendorID : productID numbers are your 'search string' to find help. For above output you must search for '19d2:2000' and their HEX definitions '0x19d2 0x2000'

    Second 'dmesg' will show all system activity, possible drivers used and any communication port created. If you see something like ttyUSB0 you can 'list it' using: ls /dev/ttyU*

    In general, most new communication ports created can be listed with:
    Code:

    ls /dev/ttyU* /dev/ttyA* /dev/ttyH*

    If you need help, add the output of the terminal command: uname -a


    If you set up pppconfig correctly, you can open a terminal and type

    Code:
    pon
    You will get an error message, something about not being a member of the dip/dialout group. Easily fixed. Close the terminal if you want and open a new one, or just use the existing prompt. The username that you type into the next two commands is your Ubuntu username, the one that you gave the computer when you first installed Ubuntu. NOT your ISP username. Type in

    Code:
    sudo adduser username dip
    and hit “Enter”

    Then type in

    Code:
    sudo adduser username dialout
    and hit Enter.

    I want to make sure we have this clear. If my Ubuntu username is “jib”, and my Ubuntu password is “jab”, the above two commands would be

    sudo adduser jib dip
    sudo adduser jib dialout

    Then you have to reboot the PC. The dip and dialout changes will not take hold without a reboot.

    Now try “pon” again at the terminal prompt. Watch the lights on your modem. As soon as you see the lights start to flicker, and/or hear the modem starting to squawk, type “plog” at your terminal prompt to get a basic log of what's happening. The last two times I set up a new pppconfig profile, I had to try “pon” several times before it finally connected. On this new install I tried about seven times before pon connected. Don't know why that is; I didn't do anything any differently the seventh time. I thought it was going to connect, then the process stopped abruptly and the modem went back to just the one “on” light. If you're not sure what happened, type

    Code:
    poff
    into terminal. This turns off pppconfig. If you get a message that says something about “no pppconfig running”, then you know that pppconfig failed to connect and already shut itself down. If you don't get an error message with poff, then pppconfig was still trying to connect.

    Once you have pppconfig properly set up, there are just 3 commands to deal with. That's pon to start your dialer, plog for the log, and poff to get offline and release the modem.

    Easy, eh?

    Phase 2 – Synaptic Package Manager and gnome-ppp

    The first time this happened to me several months ago, I thought Synaptic was broken. I had tried to search for some packages with a brand-new installation and Synaptic couldn't find anything. However, the exact same thing happened with this fresh Karmic install. I opened Search and typed in “gnome-ppp”, nothing. Typed in “wvdial”, no response. The fix is to Reload the packages. Fire up the terminal, type in pon, get online, start Synaptic, click the Reload button, and have yourself a cup of coffee 'cause this is gonna take a while. We usually get about 40Kbps at our house. I asked Synaptic to Reload its package lists late in the evening when the lines are less busy. It still took over an hour.

    DETOUR – DETOUR - DETOUR

    Do you have a laptop, or does a friend have a Linux PC and broadband? If so, there's a pretty easy way to get all the updates for the dial-up PC. If you're interested, follow these extra steps. Got a 1GB+ USB thumbdrive? Plug it in to the Linux PC. Create a folder on the thumbdrive. Give it a descriptive name, something you'll recognize later.

    Now, go back to Synaptic after it's finished Reloading the package lists, and click on “Mark All Upgrades”. Then go to File>Generate package download script. You'll get your typical Save window. Give the file a name, and save the file (actually a script) to the folder you created on the thumbdrive if it shows up in the list. If you don't see the thumbdrive in the list, save the script to the Desktop. The reason why I say save it to the Desktop is that on January 9 I tried to save the script directly to the thumb drive and it wouldn't let me. So I saved it to the Desktop, then went to the script's properties. For some reason the permissions were restricted so I changed them to “read and write”. Only then was I able to drag/drop the script to the new folder in the thumbdrive. Eject the thumbdrive. Then go to this thread for more discussion about what to do with the thumbdrive. The topic comes up at post #132. Simple updates are pretty darned easy. Getting optional packages can be a little more complicated but if I could figure it out so can you.

    FINISHED WITH DETOUR – BACK ON THE MAIN PATH

    After Synaptic has finished updating there are two ways to go. If you Marked All Upgrades, as described in the Detour above, you have to close Synaptic. You'll get a message saying that settings will be lost. Quit anyway. Then re-open Synaptic.

    If you did not take the detour and did not Mark All Upgrades, you just let it Reload all packages and then did nothing else, click on the Search button (make sure you've maximized the Synaptic window or you may not see it) and type in

    Code:
    gnome-ppp
    Synaptic will find gnome-ppp. Mark it for installation. Synaptic will say it needs some other packages. That's exactly what we want. Click OK, then Mark All Upgrades and let Synaptic go get 'em. Of course, this will only work if you're still online!

    Thankfully, it'll take much less time to download the packages needed to install gnome-ppp then it took Synaptic to update. When it's done installing, you'll find GNOME PPP under “Applications>Internet”. Right-click on it and put a launcher on the panel like you did for the terminal. Then you can click on the launcher and configure Gnome-ppp. Gnome is easier to navigate than pppconfig. If you successfully set up pppconfig, Gnome will be a breeze. Go into Setup, the external should be detected when you click the “Detect” button. If it isn't you know where it is already from pppconfig. You can add several phone numbers, just make sure to click “Enter” after each one or they won't be saved. Same with init strings. I was experimenting with init strings and couldn't figure out why they kept disappearing. GeorgeVida got me straightened out.

    I don't understand init strings, but will point you to the thread where we talked about them. My Windows init string is at Post #154. The ones I copied from the Windows side of our dual-boot PC seem to be working fine. Are there better strings? I don't know. Probably. The ones described seem to work pretty well with our USR 5686E. But no init strings at all seemed to work OK too! If you delete the one init string that's supplied in Gnome-ppp, save it to an OpenOffice or “text editor” document so you can copy/paste it back in if necessary.

    Gnome-ppp will place an icon – a monitor overlapping another - in the upper right panel when it's online. Whoops, no it won't, not automatically anyway. Open Gnome-ppp, click on "Setup", click on "Options", and activate the "Dock in notification area" option next to "On connection:"

    Now you'll get an icon in the upper right panel. You can click on that icon to disconnect. As soon as you do that the main Gnome-ppp window will pop up again on the main screen. I've found it's helpful to click “Quit” in the main window to make sure that the modem is released. Sometimes I didn't do that, and the modem got hung. Couldn't dial out until I “Quit” Gnome-ppp and restarted it.

    If you're running Karmic and a serial external with a USB adapter, or any USB modem, there's a bug that complicates things. You have to remove modemmanager. Doesn't appear to be difficult. I'll include a link. Post #7

    Oh, something else – there's been an ongoing annoyance with Firefox and dial-up for a couple of years now. Firefox would always start in off-line mode. There's a simple fix, described in Post #2. I did not have to do anything to Firefox with this new installation. It came up in Online Mode. Yay! I'm guessing that the Offline problem remains in earlier distros

    I'm sure I missed some things, so ask and maybe we can get some screenshots and stuff added to make things clearer. I'll be adding links and comments to this over the next few days/weeks.

    Good luck!
    Last edited by Bartender; February 3rd, 2010 at 03:40 AM.

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    Re: Dial-up Redux

    Here's a link with the instructions to stop Firefox from starting in Offline Mode...

    http://support.mozilla.com/en-US/for...57?s=downloads

    Here's the pertinent text...

    To get firefox to stop starting in the offline mode:

    1.Start firefox
    2.Type “about:config” in the address bar (without the quotes)
    3.acknowledge that you promise to be careful
    4.Type “toolkit” in the filter bar that comes up
    5.Look for the line that says “toolkit.networkmanager.disable”
    6.Double click on this line to toggle it to “TRUE”
    7.Exit firefox
    8.On the next restart the “work Offline” box should be unchecked.


    As mentioned in above post, this does not appear to be a problem in Karmic. Expect to deal with it in all earlier versions.
    Last edited by Bartender; February 2nd, 2010 at 04:29 AM.

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    Re: Dial-up Redux

    Great thread topic, Bartender. Hope somebody benefits from it!

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    Re: Dial-up Redux

    Thanks, Secret -
    I'd like to make a guide with more screenshots and stuff, but this will have to do for now. If I had broadband I'd probably try to make a YouTube video.

    duncan passed on a link that illustrates pppconfig pretty well.

    The problem is that you can't just copy what this person entered. Everyone's pppconfig is going to be different! However, you can pretty much leave everything at default except username, password, and phone #. Don't forget to set DNS to dynamic. And if you're only going to create one profile, you can leave the "provider" page just the way it is too.

    I'll keep adding to this as anything noteworthy comes up, or if someone points out mistakes. There's at least one post in development. After waiting around for the Karmic PC to "Reload" all the package lists, I created a Package Download Script. That script is saved to a thumbdrive. In the next coupla days I'll take our laptop into town and run the script, then attempt to install the packages to the Karmic desktop. The laptop's running 9.04, not 9.10. I'm pretty sure that the Jaunty laptop can run the script for Karmic packages but want to try it before saying anything more.

    Another thought rattling around... If someone wants to install an optional package such as hugin or hplip, maybe we can help each other by sharing PDS files (?)
    Last edited by Bartender; January 11th, 2010 at 07:20 PM.

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    Re: Dial-up Redux

    OK, new problem and the more experienced folks are probly gonna laugh at me. On the Karmic machine, when I ask Synaptic to create a Package Download Script, the PDS is owned by root. I have very little experience with permissions. If someone knows an easy answer to get Karmic to stop doing that, please share.

    Here's my so-called solution. Save the PDS to the Desktop. Right-click on the file, left-click on Properties, left-click on Permissions. If all the options are grayed out and it says "You are not the owner.." along the bottom, open a terminal and type

    Code:
    cd Desktop
    and hit Enter. For this example let's say that your username is super and you named the PDS vlc. The following command will change the file's ownership from root to super. Type

    Code:
    sudo chown super vlc
    The vlc file will now be owned by you, and you can move it, save it to a thumbdrive, what have you.

    I'm sure there are better answers to this problem (and it seems to be a Karmic thing because Jaunty's not doing it) but this will work for now.
    Last edited by Bartender; February 2nd, 2010 at 04:32 AM.

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    Re: Dial-up Redux

    good work bartender for setting this up; some do still use dial-up and great to point them this way;

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    Re: Dial-up Redux

    A few comments on the USR Sportster modems. I attached a picture of two Sportsters. The beige one has a "56K" sticker on the front, the black one says "V.92".

    As you probably guessed, the groovy black ones are newer than the boring beige ones. If you're shopping for these on craigslist or eBay, there are a few things to watch out for. Older beige models can be much slower, with stickers on them saying 28.8 and 36.6.

    US Robotics offers a Windows-based flash utility (it can be done in Linux too but I'm pretty sure it's easier in Windows) on their website that will allow you to flash the firmware. It's possible that the firmware update will bump a slower modem up to 56K. But I don't know about that. So I made sure to buy newer ones that could run 56K out of the box, then I flashed them anyway just because.
    If you're buying a used one, be aware that the wall wart power supply must be 1000mA or better. I tried running one of these with a Radio Shack 800mA wall wart. The lights came on, and everything seemed fine, but it would not connect. As soon as I plugged in a US Robotics 1000mA wall wart, the modem worked. Another odd thing about the USR wall warts - they're AC output, not DC. Maybe the modem has a small AC to DC converter inside?

    There are eight little tiny switches on the back. 3, 5, and 8 should be in the "down" position. That's the way they come from the factory, and I imagine that most people never change them.

    In the picture you can see the short cable with the blue ends. That's a Sabrent serial-to-USB adapter cable. As mentioned previously, if you don't have a serial port these adapter cables work great.

    There are other serial hardware external modems available, and it would be great if some people posted with ones that work. There are a lot of old Actiontec external modems floating around from the days when AOL was handing them out like candy. I tried one a few months ago. I didn't spend a lot of time trying to get better performance out of it, just downloaded/installed the latest Windows drivers, swapped it out for our USR, and ran it on the Windows XP side of our dual-boot home PC for a few days. The Actiontec connected at about 2/3 the speed of the USR. I have no idea if the USR's are just better modems or what, but I'm sticking with what works.

    EDIT: A quick comment for right now until I get it sorted out a little better - the US Robotics 5610 internal PCI modems are hardware-based too. I'm typing this from a PC equipped with a 5610. When I have a little bit better notes I'll expand on this. For right now, here's a link to a thread that explains briefly what I did.
    Attached Images Attached Images
    Last edited by Bartender; February 4th, 2010 at 05:56 AM.

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    Re: Dial-up Redux

    Some notes on getting Package Download Scripts (PDS)

    OK, so I'm at the library wearing out my welcome. I had 5 PDS's to download so tried a few things. The screenshot is our laptop running five PDS's at the same time. You don't have to do them one at a time! You know how you can't run Synaptic and Update Manager at the same time? I thought that maybe the same restrictions would apply but that's not the case.

    You don't get a "Done!" message or anything when the PDS is finished. So next time I try this I'll double-click on the script while on the dial-up PC at home, and choose "Display". Then I'll count the number of packages listed in the script and include that in the folder name. Such as "hugin_14".

    Additional note on this: the basic idea works well, but I forgot to mention that the script itself counts as one file within the folder. So count up the packages, then add one for the script. For instance, "hugin_14" would become "hugin_15". I tried some more downloads at the library and this worked fine. It appears that the folder doesn't count the package files until they've been completely downloaded, then placed into the folder.

    To open the packages while you're at home on the dial-up PC, I think the better option is to right-click on the PDS, then pick "Open with" and find gedit or text editor, depending on your version of Ubuntu. They're the same program, just described differently in Karmic. Once you have the PDS opened in gedit, the easiest way to count up the packages is to maximize the window so all packages take up only one line. Then go to Tools>Document Statistics. This window reports the number of lines in the document. As long as all packages are only taking one line, you subtract one for the very first line (#!/bin/sh), then you know how many packages there are. Then close gedit.


    When you're in town and ready to download, you click on the script, then click "Run" and it'll take off. The script icon remains highlighted. Click off the icon into an empty part of the field so that the icon isn't highlighted anymore. That way you'll get a readout in the lower left corner of each window that tells you how many files are accumulating in the folder. Compare the name of the folder, such as "hugin_15", to the number of files accumulated and you'll have a good idea when it's almost finished.

    The little wireless activity light on our laptop blinks continuously while downloading. The thumb drive light blinks less frequently, so don't use the thumb drive light as an indicator that you're done!

    NEXT DAY EDIT: Was able use the Jaunty laptop to download the Karmic packages. I updated the Karmic PC, which was a huge download. Then ran "restricted extras" PDS, then ran "vlc" PDS. The goal was to download the tools I'd need to watch some movies on the Karmic desktop PC. The only problem I had was that the "mscoretruefont" package (or whatever it's called - something like that) from the restricted extras PDS did not install so it was skipped. I'll probably look that package up from Synaptic and see if I can create a functional PDS for just that one package. Maybe a dependency got skipped?
    Attached Images Attached Images
    Last edited by Bartender; February 2nd, 2010 at 04:37 AM.

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    Re: Dial-up Redux

    As described earlier, I used the Synaptic PDS tool to do a complete upgrade of our Jaunty desktop PC. It worked. I went online with the desktop PC after installing the truckload of packages and Synaptic said it was updated.

    I tried doing the same thing with the Jan. 9 Karmic desktop install. Asked Synaptic to give me a PDS of all upgrades to bring it up to date.

    Attached is the error message I got regarding mscorefonts, referred to in previous post, when I tried installing the "restricted extras" PDS.

    I figured what the hey. Connected the Karmic PC to a USR modem, went online, asked Synaptic to get ttf-mscorefonts-installer. Synaptic went to work, and I clicked the "Details" arrow. Synaptic was accessing sourceforge, not the Ubuntu servers. Maybe that's why PDS failed to pick up the mscorefonts?

    It took about 28 minutes on our dial-up connection to retrieve the package. I think everything's OK now. I had no idea that Synaptic went anywhere but Ubuntu servers!

    So just a heads-up to anyone who tries to run a "restricted extras" PDS. You'll have troubles with the mscorefonts. I'd suggest installing mscorefonts via dial-up first, then ask Synaptic to generate a "restricted extras" PDS.
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    Last edited by Bartender; February 2nd, 2010 at 04:44 AM.

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    Re: Dial-up Redux

    Anyone want to try an experiment?

    I'd like to see if we can share Package Download Scripts. Maybe there's a quicker way, but here's what I want to try today.

    I'll post the guts of a PDS I created. If someone could copy the entire contents to a blank Package Download Script (PDS) then try and run the script on a broadband connected PC, that would be super helpful!

    Here goes. This is the entire PDS for Extreme TuxRacer on Jaunty. I tried it, and Tux Racer installed successfully.

    Code:
    #!/bin/sh
    wget -c http://us.archive.ubuntu.com/ubuntu/pool/main/libm/libmikmod/libmikmod2_3.1.11-a-6ubuntu3_i386.deb
    wget -c http://us.archive.ubuntu.com/ubuntu/pool/main/s/smpeg/libsmpeg0_0.4.5+cvs20030824-2.2_i386.deb
    wget -c http://us.archive.ubuntu.com/ubuntu/pool/main/s/sdl-mixer1.2/libsdl-mixer1.2_1.2.8-5_i386.deb
    wget -c http://us.archive.ubuntu.com/ubuntu/pool/main/t/tcl8.5/tcl8.5_8.5.6-3_i386.deb
    wget -c http://us.archive.ubuntu.com/ubuntu/pool/universe/e/extremetuxracer/extremetuxracer-data_0.4-1ubuntu1_all.deb
    wget -c http://us.archive.ubuntu.com/ubuntu/pool/universe/e/extremetuxracer/extremetuxracer_0.4-1ubuntu1_i386.deb
    It's extremely easy to create a blank PDS. Well, almost blank anyway, you'll see what I mean if you create one.
    1) Open Synaptic
    2) Go to File>Generate Package Download Script.
    3) Give it a name, save it to your Desktop.

    As long as you don't Reload or search for any packages, Synaptic will create an (almost) empty PDS.

    OK, this is weird. Now Jaunty is creating locked PDS's too. Well, as described a few posts back it's easy to change. Attached is a screenshot showing what I had to do to change permissions on the "mt" PDS.

    "MT", empty, get it??

    So even though I have no idea why the Jaunty Synaptic is now choosing to create locked PDS'es, it's no big deal to change them.

    If someone would be so kind as to
    1 - create a blank PDS,
    2 - copy the above script,
    3 - open their blank PDS,
    4 - erase the short line of text inside,
    5 - paste the above script into their PDS,
    6 - run the script on a broadband connected PC,
    7 - save the resulting PDS to a thumbdrive,
    8 - install the PDS to a Jaunty PC that does not have TuxRacer by opening Synaptic, going to File>Add Downloaded Packages, and opening the thumbdrive to Run the PDS

    We'll know if it's possible to share these things.

    I wonder what would happen if someone tried to install an entire update PDS to a PC that had never gone online to Reload packages? Maybe you'd have to force the update?? I created a PDS for our dial-up Jaunty PC just a few days ago that would have everything except gnome-ppp and wvdial...
    Attached Images Attached Images

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