My PC has pppoe software, a Realteck RTL8139 NIC, connected to a Westell
Wirespeed modem, connected to a DSL phone jack, connected to SBC, which is
connected to the internet. I've installed SuSE and it's working as a
standalone Unix, dual-booted with Windows ME.
SBC normally has good tech support, but they are VERY clear they won't have
anything to do with supporting Linux.
I got SuSE mostly because they offer phone support as part of their
package. I even tested the phone support before buying SuSE, calling the
number to see how long it took to get a human being on the line (response
was immediate. Impressive!) I was especially concerned about the critical
where I've installed Unix but have not yet brought up internet
communications. I was confident that Unix would work once installed, the
main glitch I was worried about, the main worry, was connecting the thing to
the internet without any support from my ISP.
I read the entire manuals that came with SuSE before attempting
installation. OK, I skipped over some stuff, like how to do Word
processing, but I read all the installation stuff.
Well, I'm still blacked out. I'm sending this via a reboot to Windoze.
I've tested all my devices, Unix is up and working fine, better than I
expected (my 100 Mb USB zip seems to be working while the SuSE website said
it wouldn't). I've tested it pretty thoroughly.
Someone, an SBC user, told me privately that SuSE would give me a simple
to configure my DSL with and that would be it. The menu turned out to be
indeed quite simple, exactly as he described it, so much so that I'm sure I
filled it out accurately, but that wasn't it. My DSL is not connected.
When I do
it responds with
connect: network is unreachable
Just for good measure, I tried
which responds with a line after line of responses like
PING 0.0.0.0 (127.0.0.1) from 127.0.0.1 : 56(84) bytes of data. 64 bytes
from 127.0.0.1 icmp_seq=1 ttl=255 time=0.040 ms
repeatedly, with times ranging from 0.034 ms to 0.040 ms.
(I think that's it, I wrote it down on a piece of paper so I could type it
in after rebooting to windoze). Anyway, that looks to me like the machine
just pings itself when you give it 0.0.0.0. "man ping" was of no help, it
says there is a "destination" field for "ping", but does not define its
behavior, and I am not a "ping" expert.
It would be good if I knew of a static IP address of a machine that I could
count on being there to ping. If I just copy an IP address from an email
header, it might be dynamic and not there anymore, giving confusing results.
As further evidence that I am not on the internet, I went into the web
browser (in this case Konqueror) and tried to bring up http://cnn.com and it
An error occurred while loading http://cnn.com
Unknown host cnn.com
So either Cable News Network crashes every time I go onto Unix and comes
back when I boot back to windoze, or my Unix isn't connecting to DSL.
So I gather my DSL is not connected.
When I called SuSE's much vaunted installation support for help with my DSL,
I got a human being on the line right away (hooray) but the good news ended
there. They told me DSL support was "advanced support", that it would cost
me about $40, and more importantly that no one currently present could
provide it and I should call back tomorrow (no guarantee was made that
anyone qualified would be on hand tomorrow, nor any prediction of when I
could rely on such a source being available). I said Oh.
I experimented with Kmail, tried to configure it and was confused (the
manual is pretty vague), I called SuSE again saying I had an e-mail problem
and the story was similar, they say e-mail was an advanced topic, that it
would cost. I asked if the support doesn't include e-mail support what DOES
it include? The guy didn't answer that directly, he just said to e-mail in
my request for support, because some topics are supported by e-mail but not
by phone, but he wouldn't define which were which. I sent in an e-mail,
we'll see if I get anything back.
Every ISP I've ever had was willing to hold my hand through setting up
e-mail. I know it's not rocket science, but that's one of the most basic
things that customer support can possibly do. What can the SuSE support
people do, then? Teach me Unix? I don't need that! I've spent 9 years of
my life banging applications code on Unix machines with systems
administrators taking care of me, it's the networking and administration
where I need some help now.
It looks like they've got me where they want me. I don't really see a more
attractive alternative to paying the $40 for DSL support and hoping that
fixes it and the e-mail problem either goes away or can be remedied via
e-mail from windoze.
It reminds me of a story that I heard about when Chinese prospectors were
traveling by ship to Australia to dig for gold over a century ago, they
couldn't swim, and the (Australian or British) ship would drop anchor off
Robe, South Australia, a few hundred yards off the shore, and inform the
Chinese that being ferried those last few hundred yards in a rowboat was
going to cost them twice the fare they had already paid for the thousands of
miles they had come from China. (OK, this isn't quite as bad as that, but
the principle is the same).