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(?) The Answer Guy (!)

By James T. Dennis, tag@lists.linuxgazette.net
Starshine Technical Services, http://www.starshine.org/

(?) modem disconnect problem?

From Osborne A. Martin on Thu, 14 Jan 1999


I am a Linux novice but successfully managed to load, configure and get RedHat on the net. However, I ran into problems when trying to close my connection. I am using the "exec pppd ..." command to make the modem connection. Everything is great here, but the thing doesn't want to disconnect. I use "ps ax" to find the running 'pppd' and "kill -9 <PID>" but I still don't disconnect. Any idea how to solve this one?

Thanks in advance, Osborne

(!) Sounds weird to me. What if you just run 'pppd' (without the 'exec' command)? What user are you running the 'kill' command as? (If you get a "permission denied" or "operation not permitted" error --- it would be because pppd is setting itself into its own process group and running as 'root' --- while you are trying to issue the 'kill' command as an unprivileged user).
For a simple home system where console security is a non-issue --- just leave a 'root' shell laying around on one of your virtual consoles or in an 'xterm' and issue your 'kill' command from there.
You could install can configure 'sudo' to run a kill script as 'root' --- listing your normal login ID as one of the users that's allowed to execute this command. You could write an SUID perl (sperl) script or a small C wrapper to accomplish the same thing (but that requires more background than I have time to give at the moment).
Sometimes the fact that Linux is a multi-user operating system with a tendency to protect system processes and files from "normal" users can be a bit inconvenient. On the other hand it is the principle reason why computer viruses are virtually unheard of under Linux or any other form of Unix. (I've only encountered one case of virus infection "in the wild" in all the years that I've used Linux and none for any other version of Unix --- and that victim was just being silly).

(?) P.S. Every Linux site should have in large bold letters at the top of the site; "stay away from win modems of any type and modems with the Rockwell driver set". I purchased one of each before buying a Zoom Modem that actually worked with my Linux box. I found this type of info. very hard to find when it should be shouted from the mountain tops.

(!) Every responsible retailer should also ask if you're running Windows before selling you one of the blasted things. Every responsible manufacturer should clearly label the package as FOR WIN '95 AND WIN '98 ONLY.
At this point I have not sympathy for any losses of business that winmodem manufacturers suffer as a result of the RMAs (return merchandise authorizations) they get from sell these pieces of junk to us (and Mac users, et al).
It's not just a matter of educating new Linux users --- it's a matter of educating the whole industry; this is not an MS Windows world! (It never really was --- though a big chunk of the media and market place have been so deluded for the past few years).

Copyright © 1999, James T. Dennis
Published in The Linux Gazette Issue 37 February 1999

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