Wednesday, December 01, 2004

Modems and WinModems in Linux

GNU/Linux is far from a title "Perfect Operating System", just like the other Operating System, including Windows and Mac OS, especially when it's related to hardware detection, such as Modems. In Linux's platform, there are two type of modems. The first is the real modems and the second one if a winmodems and sometimes referred to as software or controllerless modems, they tend to be less expensive than controller-based modems. The real modem (it will be named modem for now on) is often an external modem which has a capability to run it's own process without utilizing processors, while winmodem will use computer's processors to do some processing, such as converting analog/digital signals. Winmodems works perfectly in Windows, but in Linux, this type of modem is rarely supported by default. You might have to look for the perfect driver on the Internet, install, and configure it manually.

However, if your system came with a Winmodem, all is not lost. The Linux community is nothing if not resourceful. Even when manufacturers are slow to notice Linux users, the same isn't true the other way around. As more and more people run Linux, this becomes less and less of a problem. In time, hardware manufacturers may be building for Linux first and Windows second. In the meantime, there are a couple of things you can and should do. The first place to look is your Linux distribution. Commercial Linux distributions sometimes provide drivers (SUSE and Mandrake come to mind). This usually involves purchasing the boxed sets as opposed to just downloading an image and burning your free distribution. If that doesn't bring you any satisfaction, check out the Linmodems.Org Web site at and you should be up and running shortly. Another great companion site is the "Winmodems are not modems" site at Tons of information here including a fantastic list of what modems work, don't work, and everything in between.

You can find more information about configuring a winmodem in Marcel Gagné's article in Tux Magazine.

Hopefully this article will help you.

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