Re: More about getting an address book to dial the phone.

From: Stan Goodman (
Date: 09/11/05

Date: 11 Sep 2005 06:47:02 GMT

On Sat, 10 Sep 2005 22:25:01 UTC, ibuprofin@painkiller.example.tld
(Moe Trin) opined:
> In the Usenet newsgroup comp.os.linux.misc, in article
> <uViCr8LlbtmJ-pn2-dG6Tdv0QMqW6@poblano>, Stan Goodman wrote:
> >I have installed kppp, and am trying to get it to dial the phone. In
> >going through the configurtion, I was immediately struck by the fact
> >that it never asked me to tell it what port the modem is on, or
> >whether I want it to use tone or pulse dialing.
> Yes, it's trying to be helpful, and not bother you with technical details.
This is very Windows-like, and one of the things that I like least
when I see Windows on my neighbor's machine. It seems fair to ask why
is Linux trying to be like Windows?
> >There are two modems in the machine (I have removed one until I get
> >kppp squared away), so even if kppp thinks it knows how to identify
> >a modem, it better ask me which one. Same for dialing method.
> Most people don't have more than one modem installed. As for dialing
And Linux is only suitable for most people. That's very disappointing.
One would have thought that configurability would be important. Why it
should want to hide technical details from me, when I might have a
good reason for wanting to know them, and even to set them, is beyond
> method, it assumes tone dialing, as that is fairly widely used. You
> could file a bug report with the program author if you feel otherwise.
LOL. Very funny.
> >*****
> >You don't have sufficient permission to run /usr/sbin/pppd. Make sure
> >that kppp is owned by root and has the SUID bit set.
> >*****
> >
> >This is nonsense. The permissions for pppd have three Xs, and kppp is
> >indeed owned by root, and also has three Xs.
> That's great dude - but to mess with hardware, you need to _be_ root. If
> you wish to run as a user (highly desired), then you might want to have
> the binary SUID - permission -rwsr-xr-x (4755) or -rwsr-x--- (4750) if
> you don't want everyone to run the binary. There are several other ways
> to do this, including a User Control mechanism and sudo.
"Messing with hardware" must mean getting the dialer to dial.
> >Searching for the meaning of the cryptic "SUID" I found that neither
> >"man/info/apropos suid" has anything informative to say about it.
> >This, I have learned, is par for the course, in spite of the
> >exaggerated regard in which these much vaunted facilities are held.
> [compton ~]$ whatis whatis
> whatis (1) - search the whatis database for complete words
> [compton ~]$ apropos whatis
> apropos (1) - search the whatis database for strings
> whatis (1) - search the whatis database for complete words
> [compton ~]$
> Try those two man pages first. Once you understand what they are looking
> at, try changing the keyword you are looking for, such as
> apropos permissions
> man chmod
> >In subsequent attempts to dial, I got a dialog box with the Title bar
> >"ATI Query", and reading "Unable to open modem". I am not surprised
> >that it can't find the modem.
> Please understand this isn't Windoze. This isn't OS/2. This is different.
> The various GUI desktops try to make things appear as they would on a
> windoze box, but they've still got to play by the rules. If it makes
> you feel any better, I chucked both KDE and Gnome desktops as a waste of
> CPU cycles and diskspace - but then, I've been using UNIX for more than
> twenty years.
> That "ATI Query" is a technique to try to find the modem for you. It tries
> sending ATI commands (see your modem manual) to each of the serial ports,
> hoping to find the modem. It won't work if you have a non-standard
> configuration (which includes using a PCI real modem), nor will it work
> with non-modems. See the Modem-HOWTO. By the way, it helps if you give
> details, like what kind of a modem you are using.
I did, in a line which you appear to have omitted. It is a USR
sportsman. Are you telling me above that a modem on a PCI card is
non-standard, and cannot be expected to work?
I now see that the inability to accomodate a second modem is a
consequence of trying to use a separare dialler, instead of embodying
a dialler in the program that needs one. Personally, I do not think
this is a wise approach; it is certainly not a liberating approach for
> >The modem, which by the way is on what is called elsewhere COM3, works
> >fine under OS/2 on the same machine. I use it to dial telephone
> >numbers from my address book there. Can someone suggest what might
> >need to be done to get it to work under The OS of the Future, Linux?
> Rather than fumbling around clicking on icons and randomly wasting your
Where have you seem me fumbling around clicking on icons? Why do you
assume that this is what I do?
> time, try the man page (man kppp and man pppd) and the fine HOWTOs. The
> PPP-HOWTO would be a good place to start. You are dealing with a GUI
> application, and these make assumptions. In a lot of cases, they are
> correct - sometimes they aren't. That is the nature of GUIs. You could
> do this manually, where you control things, but that takes more knowledge.
> >I had intended to use kppp with kaddressbook.
> Can't help there - I don't need windoze wannabe programs.
Aren't you fortunate. I need an address book, and I need it to dial
the telephone. I do not need it to be a "Windows Wannabee".
> >I notice that kaddressbook, like every other similar program I have
> >found has no facility for including an international access code in a
> >single location, so that one would have to consider the access code a
> >part of each individual foreign number. This is extremely clumsy,
> >especially in the event of a change of international service providers.
> The few times a day I dial out of area, I have to include an area/access
> code. The rest of the time, the calls are local, and do not require such
> a code. This seems to be standard.
It is interesting to learn of your needs. I am not sure that your case
needs to define the needs of others. You seem to be provincial.
See, we do not all live in the US, which is still, even at this late
globalized date, largely a self-contained society. Some of us live in
more connected societies, and smaller ones, so we find outselves
dialing out of the country more (not only to a different area code);
my existing address book contains hundreds of entries that are
not in this country. To dismiss this need by saying "This seems
to be standard", is equivalent to "You will do things our way, or not
at all", a very Gatesian approach which I find repugnant. I think I
need more freedom than that. I need two modems in the machine,
and I'm sorry that Linux thinks it knows better and won't let me have
it. Linux seems, then, to be quite narrowminded.
> >I find it difficult to bellieve that any business office is actually
> >using these programs. Yet I have been able to find none more useful
> >for Linux. This seems not to be the kind of need that calls out to the
> >programmers for solutions. It is very hard to be optimistic.
> Then maybe you shouldn't be wasting your time trying to use this O/S.
I believe that you are right. I thought Linux would broaden my
possibilities, not limit them, as you have told me in quite definite
terms it is doing. It is fortunate that I have very little money tied
up in it.
> It's obviously not meeting your expectations. I realize you are having
> a hard time, and are frustrated, but this isn't windoze nor OS/2. There
Why do you keep mentioning Windows? Have I ever indicated that I want
it to be like Windows? Part of the problem is that, in some respects,
it is trying to emulate Windows, and I don't like that. Michael
Heimings pointed out a while ago that SUSE discourages the user from
using the CLI, which is quite true. I like to use the CLI, and I find
limitation confining.
Why too do you keep telling me that Linux is not OS/2? If I wanted it
to be like OS/2, I wouldn't have tried it at all; I already have OS/2.
SUSE will stay on this machine and be my secondary OS, for it has some
software capabilities not available to me otherwise. For most tasks
(certainly for newsreaders), I am far better served there than here,
and will continue to use what I have.
> is an enormous amount of documentation to help, but you have to try to
> use it. Even scanning something like the 'user-guide' and 'sag' (system
> administrator's guide) from the LDP would help -
> is a place to start.
The documentation available within the OS is deplorable. You are
correct in seeing that there is a limit to the amount of time I am
able to devote to chasing external documentation. I don't go for merit
badges anymore.
Several people have been very generous in offering their help to me,
and I am most grateful to them. As for others, who have talked down
to me condescendingly (a special Linux phenomenon which I haven't
experienced elsewhere in technical or other online forums, and which I
shall not miss), well.....

Stan Goodman
Qiryat Tiv'on