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Will Linux still work with copper wire 56k dial up?

Discussion in 'Getting Started' started by Jay Blair, Apr 27, 2019.

  1. Jay Blair

    Jay Blair New Member

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    With all the continuous background things going on in Windows 10, I have both friends who live where faster speed internet is available and neighbors here in the sticks without cable or dependable satellite and we are still using dial up copper line dial up and USRobotics fax modems.

    Regardless of connection abilities, all of us are trying to find if a Linux o/s will work for our minimal online uses without the slow services of the current Microsoft offerings.

    In this area even cellphone access is sketchy but the coverage shortfalls are usually of minimal concern in exchange for the peace and quiet.

    The common thing myself and the others getting tired of MS making our Win 8.1 harder to use to check mail , simple platforms and correspondence chess sites are looking for is a Linux that is close in ease to the Windows we have used for decades.

    When I was asked to look into it I thought that maybe Mint would be a good alternative because some sites indicate the desktop is similar enough to Windows for the retirees in this quiet out in the sticks hollow.

    Would the latest Mint version play okay with 20th century 56k?


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    I understand Linux is the open source progression of Unix and although retired 20 years out of the hardware and server maintenance tech side of the industry, I remember how the old Unix systems were almost as confusing as programming in machine code when we repaired hardware and the software guys gave us diagnostic software to load to test the repairs.

    Would Mint be a good version to load to a live USB for me to familiarize with and move 11 folks in their 60s to 80s to before Windows 8.1 loses support in 2023?

    The five of us living in this square mile or so of 1999 on dial up could keep whatever Linux version updated from higher speed connection if I can bring updates home on USB from the 6 of our group with high speed internet as part of their urban area cable TV 10 miles away.

    My apologies at the length of this post but at 20 years out of the computer and I.T. sector as a hardware mechanic , I accept that I am a technology dinosaur, but Windows has made it easy to date for the simple needs those of my group have until the new MS era. Now I as a dinosaur have to find the best non MS alternative for 10 dinosaurs older than I.

    Clarifications regarding the many Linux options that would load and work best with our restricted access options is appreciated.
     
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  2. wizardfromoz

    wizardfromoz Super Moderator
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    We are almost birthday twins, Jay, but I am 27 September and 1957

    (Wizard appears in a puff of smoke)

    G'day @Jay Blair and welcome to linux.org :), I am Aussie, did anything give it away, Mate?

    WOW that is an interesting question!

    The Linux kernel was developed by Finnish born Linus Torvalds in 1991, while all the rest of us were going WOW at Windows 3.0 and Windows 3.1. So it was initially built to run on slow speeds.

    You would effectively have to deploy a "standard fit" to every dinosaur's computer - same Linux Distribution (eg Mint), same version, down to the dot point. For example we are into the LM 19 series currently, at v19.2. The 19 series is based on Ubuntu's 18.04 'Bionic Beaver', and they support that until April 2023, which would certainly suit your timeframe.

    The weakest point in the chain will be the stegosaurus who has the PC with the lowest grunt, and to choose a Linux that suits that PC. That might require getting the specs of each and every reptile's rig, and then running the lowest common denominator by us.

    I run 90 LInux spread mainly over 2 rigs, so I will certainly have some recommendations, if you are interested.

    You could also Google up

    Linux User Groups <my state>

    and see if there is one near you, they may have input.

    A little reading for you is on DEs (Desktop Environments), these are a bit like the Look and Feel differences between the various versions of Windows, and some have certain apps and File Managers attached to them. Some of the DEs will more closely resemble Windows, some not.

    https://renewablepcs.wordpress.com/about-linux/kde-gnome-or-xfce/

    Also make distrowatch.com your friend, and its Page Hit Ranking page will show you which Distros get the most hits for downloads.

    MX-18 is currently top, and one of my recommendations.

    I have to go for my evening DownUnder, but I will keep an eye on this Thread.

    Chris Turner
    wizardfromoz.
     
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  3. TechnoJunky

    TechnoJunky Active Member

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    Just for the record Jay, internet speed is internet speed, regardless of your OS. Linux won't be any different than Windows is with a 56K modem. What's going to be different on a slow connection is how long it takes to download your updates and load web pages.
     
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  4. Vrai

    Vrai Active Member

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    I think it will - but it has been so long since I've used a 'dial-up' modem that I have forgotten all my modem 'mojo' knowledge!

    There is some good info on The Linux Documentation Project which would be worth a perusal.

    https://www.tldp.org/HOWTO/Modem-HOWTO-2.html
     
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  5. atanere

    atanere Moderator
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    @Vrai has a good link there, and I am also far removed from dial up days now too. When you said "USRobotics modems" though, it did make me think you have a chance if everyone is using those... and assuming that they are the old hardware type mode with jumpers so you can set the COM port and IRQ. These are serial devices, and Linux will not identify them like "COM 1" but it is possible to communicate with them and make them work. Well, it used to be possible... I just can't say anymore. My memory is very vague, but I think you'd set COM1/IRQ4 on the modem, and Linux would identify that as /dev/ttyS0.

    You'll probably need to Google around for "PPP" (Point-to-Point Protocol) and how to configure it. It's probably still contained in mainstream Linux, but maybe not... you may have to install it.

    Cheers
     
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  6. Jay Blair

    Jay Blair New Member

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    Thanks for advice, suggestions and links, I will study them all and make notes if I find myself hitting a wall and not understanding something. Hopefully though the links will take me through live USB creation on one of the PCs I loaded with basic DVD 8.1 o/s as this copper wire connected PC so the next time I am here I will be trying out a live distro and a step closer to ditching Windows instead of asking for more advice. :)
     
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  7. arochester

    arochester Moderator
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    5 cents worth (well 1 and a half cents?)

    Some internal modems will struggle. They were designed for Windows and, for the obvious reason, they are known as Winmodems,

    ALL external modems should work.

    This page might help: https://www.aboutdebian.com/modems.htm
     
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  8. Vrai

    Vrai Active Member

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  9. Jay Blair

    Jay Blair New Member

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    I did get to a DSL speed PC to try to load a live USB with a distro and the integrity file , which from reading verifies the Linux distro similar to EPROM programming devices in the old days did checksums from the master program ROM .

    Unfortunately while trying to copy the files, the attempt failed and in further reading of Linux USBs since, some information indicated 3.0 flash drives and ports were needed and the only flash drives I have at this time are 2.0 mid capacity drives and my 2 week paycheck isn't here yet.

    So while waiting to get the cash to buy some large capacity 3.0 flash drives to try make a live drive again, I verified which ports were 3.0 on this PC.

    It's a pain living on a retiree budget, but paying the bills to keep the lights on while waiting for the paycheck from the company pension plan with some not earmarked for bills in it provides time to study so I don't lobotomize any of our PCs before we are ready to totally ditch Microsoft from our lives :)
     
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  10. atanere

    atanere Moderator
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    Not true. USB 2.0 drives, or even 1.0, will work fine. If you have USB 3.0 ports on the computer, they are backward compatible. Save your money! :D But your USB drives DO need to be large enough to write the .iso file... probably a 4GB minimum (without persistence, or with little persistence).

    Verifying the checksum of the .iso download is always a good idea. An excellent (free) Windows program for this task can be found at https://bhoover.com/how-to-verify-checksum-windows/ (Linux has built-in tool for this.)

    Cheers
     
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