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Preparing your Linux Machine

4. Preparing your Linux Machine

In a nutshell, here's what's required. I'll explain the first three in detail.

  • Compile your kernel to include SLIP and TCP/IP

  • Edit some files in /etc

  • Install and configure dip

  • Install pppd (optional, for PPP only)

You will also need to get an emulator binary appropriate for your remote host and install it. SLiRP is available at Sunsite and other fine Linux FTP sites. All of the relevant info for TIA is available at TIAs home site.

That's it! Let's get started.

4.1. Compiling your Kernel

If you have never done this, you should. And you should read the FAQ first, but don't worry, it's easy. If you want, you can e-mail me and I'll help.

I'll assume that you have here, for the sake of brevity. When you 'make config', look for "Network Devices". Say 'y', of course, then say 'y' to SLIP, CSLIP, (or PPP) and TCP/IP and 'n' to everything else, unless you have ethercards or need some other protocol for something else. If you don't do this, it won't work! Finish compiling and installing the new kernel, then,

4.2. Edit some files in /etc

These files will set up your routes to your remote host. /etc is the directory for system configurations. Replace everything in double quotes with the appropriate values, naturally (but don't include the quotes - they are there for reference). There are three files you need to edit, they are:

  • /etc/hosts
    #The next line is required to be EXACTLY as below.       localhost
    #Note at the end of the next two entries the hostname is repeated. 
    #This abbreviation is an alias, and is required for the first entry.
    #If you're on a LAN, you'll need to substitute your IP address for 
    #the first one below.       "yourhostname.domain.name  yourhostname"
    "XXX.XXX.XX.XX"	"remotehostname.domain.name  remotehostname"  

  • /etc/host.conf
    order hosts, bind
    multi on

  • /etc/resolv.conf
    domain "yourdomain.name" 	
    #The next line usually uses the same remote IP address that's in /etc/hosts
    nameserver "XXX.XXX.XX.XX"

  • To use an NNTPserver, put this line in your /etc/profile
    export NNTPSERVER="remote.hosts.nntpservername"

4.3. DIP

DIP (Dialup Internet Protocol) is what you will use to dial up the remote host, start the emulator, and convert the line to SLIP/PPP. It comes in the "N" set of Slackware, along with a bunch of clients and utilities, some of which you may want to install also =). It is also available at Sunsite in an individual tar file

Once you have it installed, you will need to have a dip script, Here's a sample, just plug in the appropriate stuff where the double quotes are (but don't include the quotes, they are there for reference).

  get $local "yourhostname.domain.name"
  get $remote "remotehostname.domain.name"

#Your port here
  port cua"?" 

#Use 115200 for 28.8 modems 
  speed 57400

#don't use spaces in your AT command string! 
  init AT "string of commands" 
  wait OK 5

# This will redial. If it doesn't work, play with the wait time (listen 
# to your modem). If it still doesn't work, mail me.
# See also; the note at the bottom of the script re: error codes.

  dial "phonenumber"
  print Dialing...
  if $errlvl != 0 goto error

#You may need to change this wait time to suit your modem
  wait BUSY 20
  if $errlvl == 0 goto dial	

  print Connected and Logging in...

#This wait and send gets me past my hosts Annex. Change for your site!
  wait ==> 60
  send 4\n
  wait ogin: 60
  if $errlvl != 0 goto login_error1
  send "LOGIN"\n
  wait assword: 60
  if $errlvl != 0 goto login_error2
  send "PASSWORD"\n

  wait "SYSTEM PROMPT" 60
  if $errlvl != 0 goto shell_error
  print Logged in!
  send "emulator startup command"\n
  wait "emulator startup response" 60
  if $errlvl != 0 goto emu_error

#The recommended mtu setting is 1500, but this is faster interactively. 
#Ftp may be slower, so adjust to taste.
  get $mtu 296

  print CONNECTED to $remote with address $rmtip
  mode CSLIP
  goto exit

  print Dialing Error

  print No Login

  print No Password prompt

  print No shell prompt

  There was a problem starting the emulator


#This will error out when the -v flag is used, but work when run normally 
#(ends dip at a local prompt).


4.3.1. DIP Notes

Newer versions of dip don't return modem status codes (BUSY, NO CONNECT, etc.), they use numbers instead. Here's a table:

  • 0 = OK

  • 1 = CONNECT

  • 2 = ERROR

  • 3 = BUSY

  • 4 = NO CARRIER

This would make your dial section look like this:
  dial "phonenumber"
  print Dialing...
  if $errlvl != 0 goto error
  wait 1 20	
  if $errlvl != 1 goto dial

Thanks to Lee Olds for that bit.

\n = newline, \r = carriage return. You may require one or the other (or both) in the appropriate places. If the ones provided don't work, experiment.

A word about the form of the wait and sends. If it isn't clear by the example, here's what's happening:

wait ogin: 60

The script will wait for the remote to send 'ogin:' for 60 seconds. When it gets it, the script advances. If it doesn't get it, it will advance after the timeout of 60 seconds.

if $errlvl != 0 goto login_error

(This whole line is optional.) If the script is advancing because it got what it was waiting for, this gets skipped. if the script is advancing because it timed out, it will go to where you tell it to ('login_error1' in this case.

send "LOGIN"\n

DIP will send 'LOGIN' and a newline

You can put in sleep statements if you need to, like this: "sleep 10" This will make the script pause for 10 seconds.

After editing this file, rename it, say, remote.dip and put it in /root. Then, as root, run 'dip remote'. Use the -v flag the first time to debug it ('dip -v remote'), this will show you all the steps dip takes.

Dip will only run as root, but there is a way to make it run from a user account. For now, if you need this info, ask. I may include it in this file later if enough people want it.

If dip errors out right away, try removing the comments from the script.

4.4. PPP

The above gets you rolling with CSLIP, which is really fine most of the time. It truly is easy to get working, since the protocol is supported at the kernel level - just make sure it's in there and it works.

However, some of you will want PPP, for what reasons, only you can say. I'm not going to tell you how to set it up here, there's a whole other HOWTO written just for that. What I will do is tell you what the gotchas are when using PPP with an emulator.

First, the latest version of DIP says you can use it to start PPP, and you can, BUT it only starts the PPP daemon - no flags, nothing. So if you want to use DIP to start PPP, be sure to put all of your startup info in the /etc/ppp/options file, or it won't work.

Speaking of the options file, one of the things that MUST be in there no matter how you start pppd is this: ''. What this is is 'localIPaddress:remoteIPaddress'. You need it there because normally pppd can fill in the blank itself, but fails when connecting to an emulator.

Be sure to get the latest and greatest pppd package. It seems there were a few versions recently that had a bit of trouble.

Lastly, unless you have a good reason to use PPP, or just want to learn how it works, you really don't need it. I have tried them both, and didn't notice any performance difference with the standard set of clients. Of course, Your Mileage May Vary. :)