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New HOWTO: Modem-HOWTO - page 16

Table of Contents

  • April 12, 2001
  15.  Communications Programs And Utilities

  While PPP is used for Internet access you also need a dialer program
  that is designed to work with PPP.  Such a dialer program will dial a
  phone number.  When the other side answers the phone then three things
  happen: PPP is started at both ends and you get logged in (often
  automatically).  The exact sequence of these 3 events may vary.
  Dialer programs for ppp include wvdial, chap scripts, kppp, and gnome-
  ppp.

  There are also other dialer programs which can dial out directly (thru
  a modem) to local libraries, etc.  This isn't the Internet.  minicom
  is the most popular followed by Seyon (X-Windows only) and Kermit.
  People have likely also used these programs for dialing out with ppp
  for the Internet but it's not what they were originally designed for.


  15.1.  Minicom vs. Kermit

  Minicom is only a communications program while Kermit is both a
  communications program and a file transfer protocol.  But one may use
  the Kermit protocol from within Minicom (provided one has Kermit
  installed on one's PC).  Minicom is menu based while Kermit is command
  line based (interactive at the special Kermit prompt).  While the
  Kermit program is free software, the documentation is not all free.
  There is no detailed manual supplied and it is suggested that you
  purchase a book as the manual.  However Kermit has interactive online
  help which tells all but lacks tutorial explanations for the beginner.
  Commands may be put in a script file so you don't have to type them
  over again each time.  Kermit (as a communications program) is more
  powerful than Minicom.

  Although all Minicom documentation is free, it's not as extensive as
  Kermit's.  Since permission is required to include Kermit in a
  commercial distribution, and since the documentation is not entirely
  free, some distributions don't include Kermit.  In my opinion it's
  easier to set up Minicom, there is less to learn, and you can still
  use kermit from within Minicom.


  15.2.  List of Communication Software

  Here is a list of some communication software you can choose from, If
  they didn't come with your distribution they should be available via
  FTP.  I would like comparative comments on the dialout programs.  Are
  the least popular ones obsolete?


  15.2.1.  Least Popular Dialout



  �  ecu - a communications program

  �  pcomm - procomm-like communications program with zmodem

  �  xc - xcomm communication package


  15.2.2.  Most Popular Dialout



  �  PPP dialers for getting on the internet: wvdial, eznet, chat, pon
     (uses chat),

  �  minicom - telix-like communications program.  Can work with
     scripts, zmodem, kermit

  �  C-Kermit  - portable, scriptable,
     serial and TCP/IP communications including file transfer,
     character-set translation, and zmodem support

  �  seyon - X based communication program


  15.2.3.  Fax

  By using a fax program, you may use most modems to send faxes.  In
  this case you dial out directly and not via ppp and an ISP.  You also
  pay any long-distance telephone charges.  email is more efficient.


  �  efax a small fax program

  �  hylafax a large fax program based on the client-server model.

  �  mgetty+fax handles fax stuff and login for dial-ins


  15.2.4.  Voicemail Software



  �  mvm < http://www-internal.alphabet.ch/~schaefer/mvm/> is a Minimal
     VoiceMail for Linux

  �  vgetty is an extension to mgetty that handles voicemail for some
     modems.  It should come with recent releases of mgetty.


  15.2.5.  Dial-in (uses getty)



  �  mgetty+fax is for modems and is well documented (except for
     voicemail as of early 1999).  It also handles fax stuff and
     provides an alternative to uugetty.  It's incorporating voicemail
     (using vgetty) features.  See ``About mgetty''

  �  uugetty is also for modems.  It comes as a part of the ps_getty
     package.  See ``About getty_ps''


  15.2.6.  Other



  �  callback is where you dial out to a remote modem and then that
     modem hangs up and calls you back (to save on phone bills).

  �  SLiRP and term provide a PPP-like service that you can run in user
     space on a remote computer with a shell account.  See ``term and
     SLiRP'' for more details

  �  ZyXEL is a control program for ZyXEL U-1496 modems.  It handles
     dialin, dialout, dial back security, FAXing, and voice mailbox
     functions.

  �  SLIP and PPP software can be found at
      ftp://metalab.unc.edu/pub/Linux/system/network/serial.

  �  Other things can be found on
     ftp://metalab.unc.edu/pub/Linux/system/serial and
     ftp://metalab.unc.edu/pub/Linux/apps/serialcomm or one of the many
     mirrors.  These are the directories where serial programs are kept.


  15.3.  SLiRP and term

  SLiRP and term are programs which are of use if you only have a dial-
  up shell account on a Unix-like machine and want to get the equivalent
  of a PPP account (or the like) without being authorized to have it
  (possibly because you don't want to pay extra for it, etc.).  SLiRP is
  more popular than term which is almost obsolete.

  To use SLiRP you install it in your shell account on the remote
  computer.  Then you dial up the account and run SLiRP on the remote
  and PPP on your local PC.  You now have a PPP connection over which
  you may run a web browser on your local PC such as Netscape, etc.
  There may be some problems as SLiRP is not as good as a real PPP
  account.  Some accounts may provide SLiRP since it saves on IP
  addresses (You have no IP address while using SLiRP).

  term is something like SLiRP only you need to run term on both the
  local and remote computer.  There is no PPP on the phone line since
  term uses its own protocol.  To use term from your PC you need to use
  a term-aware version of ftp to do ftp, etc.  Thus it's easier to use
  SLiRP since the ordinary version of ftp works fine with SLiRP.  There
  is an unmaintained Term HOWTO.


  15.4.  MS Windows

  If you want someone who uses MS Windows to dial in to your Linux PC
  then if they use:

  �  Windows 3.x: use Terminal

  �  Windows 95/98/2000: use HyperTerminal

  Third party dial-out programs include HyperTerminal Private Edition.
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