Posts Tagged ‘ethernet’

Ubuntu Ethernet Install

November 20, 2009

sudo ifconfig will give certain into on the ethernet card including an address which is needful.

I could not succeed in getting my Ubuntu machine to connect to the Westell Verizon DSL modem via Ethernet.

One link suggests that I use synaptic manager to install wicd, a GUI network manager, which will DELETE network-manager-gnome and network-manager, so I need to make a careful note of what wicd will DELETE in case I want to reinstall it later.

Wicd is a general-purpose network configuration server which aims
to provide a simple but flexible interface for connecting to networks.
Its features include:
wide variety of settings.
* ability to connect to (and maintain profiles for) both wired and
wireless networks;
* support for many encryption schemes, including WEP, WPA, WPA2 and
custom schemes;
* wireless-tools compatibility;
* tray icon showing network activity and signal strength;
* lack of GNOME dependencies (although it does require GTK+), making it
easy to use in Xfce, Fluxbox, Openbox, Enlightenment, etc.

TODAY I purchased a ethernet card and stuck it in an empty slot. It claims to have a linux driver, but there are no instructions on how to install it. There is already an ethernet card in the Gateway, and I can tell that there are circumstances where it connects to the router, but still no internet.

These are some links that discuss wicd, just for reference but nothing dramatically helpful or encouraging.

There IS ONE sentence in the above link which is encouraging:
Configuration of Wicd is extremely simple, and automatic for wired clients..

I already have Belkin wireless working, and I could live with that, but it BUGS me that I cannot get ethernet DSL working. Yet, I dont want to do something that will lose my Belkin wifi connection. I was relieved to see that I could REMOVE my Belkin from the USB, play around with Wire and USB configurations (which didnt work) and yet plug the Belkin back in and get my internet connection back.

Since I am a little nervous about what this WICD install will do to my pure Ubuntu Gateway, I have decided to try it out first on my old Compaq Presario Wubi Unbuntu install under windows. If THAT gets trashed, it is relatively easy to reinstall and reconfigure the WUBI. Also, the Compaq does have an ethernet card, so Wubi should be able to connect to DSL through that. I will do that WICD install on the Wubi machine right now. I note that WICD in synaptic manager says WIRED AND WIRELESS NETWORK MANAGER.

I marked it for install, and it mentions that it will install python-urwid and remove network-manager and network-manager-gnome. I am hoping that after the install I will still have wifi connection.

It is now prompting me to choose USERS to add to the netdev group, and there is only one, BRYAN, so I check that, and then click FORWARD. The install finished and I still have wifi connection. So far, so good!

I went to system and looked for network manager, and it says it cannot be found because, obviously, those gnome packages were removed. BUT, when I drop down APPLICATIONS, I now see a new option for Wicd Network manager, and it is lit up to indicate that it senses the Belkin wifi. This is a good sign.

When I click on it, the GUI manager comes up and shows ALL the various wifi channels available in my building (all of which are protected) in addition to my own channel.

I checked off the box on my network to say ALWAYS connect to this and exited the GUI. Then I re-entered the GUI, and to my dismay saw that I lost my connection, and that it needs me to re-enter my WEP key. It offers a confusing array of options which I do not fully understand. But the one which finally accepted my WEP and reconnected me was WEP (HEX 0-9/A-F). I also notice that there is a tab where I can define a wired connection to Eth0. The PREFERENCES tab shows me TWO interfaces, wland0 which is WIRELESS, and eth0 which is WIRED. There are two boxes which I check off to 1.) Always show wired interface and 2.) automatically switch to wired interface whenever available. I am working with desktops but obviously, this would be a convenience for anyone with an Ubuntu laptop.

NOW, I shall reboot, and see if I automatically go back into my wireless connection. If THAT works ok, then I shall connect the cable to the Ethernet, and see if it connects automatically.

It is rebooting now. I suddenly realize the tremendous advantabe of having a test Wubi install on one machine, to try things out before you do them on the pure Ubuntu machine (which would take a LOT more work to reinstall).

FIRST, I let the Wubi machine boot into Windows, to see if I still have my wifi connnection in Windows.

YES, wifi still works in the Windows boot.

NOW, I am booting into Wubi Ubuntu. YES, I have my wifi connection. NOW, to plug the cable from the Westell router into the Ethernet card, and see if it automatically switches. The network icon at the upper right of the desktop “launch pad” says “connecting to wired network.” And the the Firefox broswer works.

Next, to UNPLUG the ethernet cable, plug in the Belkin, and see if it automatically senses and switches or if it FREEZES.


The only problem is that when I clicked on the browser, the machine froze. SO, I have unplugged the Belkin USB WIFI adaptor and am booting JUST with the wired ethernet connection.

I first boot into Windows. Obviously the WIFI is not connected. I click on Start => Control Panel => Network, and enable the LAN local area connection. And yes, the browser works on the wired ethernet under windows.

Next to boot into Ubuntu.

Yes, it senses the wired connection, and Firefox works. Next I unplug the ethernet, and it says NOT CONNECTED on the internet icon. Now to plug in the belkin and see if it switches and works, or freezes.

The WCID install went ok on my Gateway, but unfortunately, it cannot recognize the ethernet card on that machine.

Here is the WCID support forum and what looks like an ICQ channel chat.

#wicd on freenode

is a client that works for me under Windows. Join #wicd

I installed ircii in synaptic manager, but it gives no clue as to how to launch it, so then I installed Konversation which is a full gui irc client, and it comes right up, and automatically puts you in a Kubuntu channel.


Installing LAMP on Ubuntu

November 18, 2009

I worked 20 hours straight to prepare an old Gateway tower with 280 gig drive for an Ubuntu 9.10 install. The Gateway was hopelessly unbootable in Windows because of some operating system problem (not hardware problem). I realized that I should drop down to C: and type format, to just reformat the entire drive which took about 30 minutes. I forgot that I should have typed FDISK first, to set up the necessary partitions, but it was too late.

I downloaded an ISO image for GNOME partition and burned it to a bootable CD.

I booted the GNOME partition utility. It took me literally hours to guess at what I should do.

Finally I realized that Ubuntu expects THREE partitions. The first is referred to as ROOT but the actual name you give it in the partition process is simpl “/” (forward slash omitting the double quotes).

The second partition will have NO name, but you will designate its format TYPE as swapfile, and that will become the system swap file.
The third partition is called /home.

I had no idea how much space to allocate, so I gave 512 for root and 512 for swap, and the huge remainder for /home.

The software warned me that root and swap were too small. Just for the heck of it, I changed root and swap to 5000, and it worked.

Then it took me dozens of tries installing Ubuntu. I had a 2008 Ubuntu disc and a 9.10 disc I had created last week. Time after time, I would boot from each one, say INSTALL UBUNTU, and it would chug away for a long time, and then die with no messages. FINALLY, but why or how I dont know, the 9.10 unstall brought up an Ubuntu desktop with what looked like all kinds of error messages. There were TWO icons on the desktop which I had never seen before. One said EXAMPLES which I never looked at. I was about to give up in dispair when I decided to click on the icon marked Ubuntu. AS IT TURNS OUT, that is the icon which COMPLETES the install process, and it first brings you into its OWN partition software. I cant exactly remember what I did next. I do remember that GNOME partition utility offered me literally 20 DIFFERENT format types to choose from for each partition (one of which is swap-file). I had no clue what to choose. I did some google searching on my other machine (and you NEED a windows machine attached to the internet to look these things up). I discovered that format type ext3 is good for Debian Linux (and Ubuntu is a flavor of Debian) so I went with ext3.

Finally, I had a working bootable pure Ubuntu 9.10 machine.

My next Sisyphean agony task was to connect it to the Internet. The tower already had an Ethernet card. I was informed that IF I connected a cable from the ethernet to the router, then Ubuntu would automatically sense the ethernet connection and configure it. The ethernet board DID light up and pulse when I connected the cable to my Westell router. But Ubuntu never recognized it. Later I read that only certain ethernet cards will be automatically recognized, so I guess the one in my tower was not a compatible one. My next choice was to try and get my Belkin USB WiFi adapter working. I went to ADMINISTRATION -> SYNAPTIC PACKAGE MANAGER and keyed ndiswrapper into the search. I was prompted to place the Ubuntu install cd into my drive. It kept giving me errors. I placed my Belkin adapter install cd in the drive and looked around for the ini driver file, but could not see it. Finally, out of despair, I plugged the Belkin wifi adapter into the USB and LIKE MAGIC Ubuntu recognized it, asked me to choose a connection and enter the WEP key, which I have now done many times with other machines and during the Wubi Ubuntu install on Windows. So now I had a working Ubuntu machine connected to the Internet.

I went to J&R computer store up the street and found a $10 USB 4 gig memory stick by which is REALLY cheap. I recently discovered that the Sancor memory sticks that I love actually have a lot of SOFTWARE on them, which only works under windows, AND if you have a password set on the device, then Ubuntu wont even read it.

I had to go into synaptic manager and search on usb for some installs. Again, it was trial and error, and I dont know what finally made it work, but finally, Ubuntu recognized the memory stick.

TODAY, I had to meet my step-son near at Borders Book Store next to Penn Station. This was lucky for me, because while I waited for him, I browsed the computer book section on the second floor. I found a $9 small Linux handbook reference of commands by Daniel J. Barrett (O Reilly publishers) so I got that to practice all the hundreds of Linux commands that I dont know but need to know.

I browse various books on Ubuntu and Mysql.

I found the key thing I needed to know for my next project, to install LAMP (Linux Apache MySQL PhP) on my new Ubuntu desktop.

All one needs to do is enter TERMINAL, and key in

sudo tasksel

(you will be prompted for your system password next)

A task selection window will pop up with many packages available for install, one of which is LAMP. Now here is a mystery that took me an hour to solve. You can arrow down to highlight LAMP, but you dont have a clue in the world as to how to CHECK it for install. Google revealed the secret: YOU SIMPLY PRESS THE SPACE BAR AND IT IS MARKED CHECKED FOR INSTALL. Then you press ENTER and the install proceeds, Apache, MySQL and PhP. You will be prompted for the MySQL admin password.

Next I wanted to install phpmyadmin to administrate mysql, creating databases, tables, etc. I went to SYSTEM-> Synaptic Manager and searched on phpmyadmin. I think there is only one. BUT HERE IS A SECRET. Once your LAMP install finishes, then power down and boot back up; otherwise, certain files will remain locked by processes and the phpmyadmin install will fail.

Once phpmyadmin installs (and you will again be prompted for that pesky password), then you can open firefox and key in http://localhost/phpmyadmin

You will be PROMPTED FOR A USER NAME AND PASSWORD. This is tricky and confusing. You have to key in the user name “root” without quotes, and then give the password that you have been using all along throughout this. Now you are in phpmyadmin, and you can go to Privileges, and create a new user and give him all possible privileges.

Then, I found a $50 book, also by O’Reilly, entitled
“Head First – PHP & MySQL”. THIS book looks like the perfect way to teach myself how to develop php mysql applications which will have proper security (which is a very complex topic).

I didnt purchase that book tonight, because I wanted to come home and see first if I could successfully install LAMP and phpmyadmin, which I just now finished.

The Head First book gave me links to try the book on line free for 45 days. Money is kind of tight, so I decided to see how far I can go without any additional purchases, but if I get things working, I will buy the book one day. It is interesting that O’Reilly also offers a link to an on line university which can grant degrees in computer science.

I signed up at Oreilly for a trial access of the electronic version of the above-mentioned book.

Here is something I tried which crashed my Ubuntu. I wanted to copy the introduction to the book, from the OReilly site, and PASTE it into an Open Office Document. The first time Open Office died, and the file was shown as requiring recovery. I did the recovery, opened it again with Open Office Document, and then the whole Ubuntu system crashed. I rebooted, and had to go through a long complicated reconstruct procedure. I thought perhaps I would have to install everything from scratch, but fortunately, Ubuntu repaired itself. Moral to story is paste into GEDIT and save, which I guess eliminates whatever hidden characters are in the webpage which cause Open Office to crash the system.

There, I found a link to download all the source code from the book.

I downloaded the zipped file of all the source code.

Next, I went to the source code for chapter 1. They have a beginning version (which I guess you make changes to, and then a final version).

I tried to copy and paste report.html to var/www which is where Apache wants to find pages loaded from local host. I was not allowed to paste because I do not have superuser privileges. So, I went to terminal and typed SUDO GEDIT, which gets me into gedit with super powers, so I can now navigate to the unzipped code in my DOCUMENTS in a special folder I created, open report.html, then do a save as to var/www.

THIS WORKED, because now, when I open Firefox and key in localhost/report , it runs the Chapter 1 example webpage.

FOR MY NEXT TRICK, I must figure out how to copy a chapter 1 tutorial image of a dog (fang.jpg) from the location where it unzipped (in a folder in my Documents) and copy it into var/www where I do not have Admin privileges. SO, I open my OReilly handbook of Linux commands and find the CP command. I open a TERMINAL session and key in SUDO CP which I know will executed it with super admin privileges, but NOW I do not have a clue as to what the PATH names are for the file source and destination.

I am permitted to copy fang.jpg from the unzipped file into DOCUMENTS, just to simplify things.

Using PLACES -> COMPUTER, which brings up the FILE BROWSER, I first navigate to home/Documents and I RIGHT CLICK on the fang.jpg image, and click on PROPERTIES which will SHOW ME that the path is
/home/bryan/Documents/fang.jpg (I use bryan as my user name, but that is my step-son’s name). Next I do the same right click trick on any file which is already in var/www such as report.html, and I discover THAT path, which tells me that the command I should issue in TERMINAL is

sudo cp /home/bryan/Documents/fang.jpg var/www/fang.jpg


Then I realize that I should close my other applications, because they are somehow LOCKING UP something that the CP command needs. Sure enough, once I close a bunch of applications, the SUDO CP command asks me for the PASSWORD and then copies fang.jpg to var/www

I can now bring up the image by opening Firefox and typing


into the browser address field.

NOW that fang.jpg is in var/www, if I once again open Firefox and type

the exercise 1 page loads and also shows the picture of the little dog fang.jpg

I still need to copy report.php and style.css from the place where they unzipped to var/www. Since I can launch gedit with sudo and have superadmin powers, I may open them in that fashion and do a save as.

I ran the finished example, hoping that it would actually send me an email.

I realized that I must examine my php.ini and somehow reconfigure it. I went to some pains to locate that file, but did not post notes as I went, and now I must reconstruct what I did. I still have not succeeded in getting the app to actually send an email through php. But I feel it is more essential for me to move on to other lessons in the HEAD FIRST book.

Terrified of Westell Modem & Verizon DSL

November 15, 2009

Posted at

A member wrote:
You plugged a XP machine into the modem/router and nothing happened. So I was curious why you would think a Linux based machine would make a difference. Sorry if it came off as snotty. And I have always said, the only stupid question is the one un-asked.

The other thing you could look into is

Sun VirtualBox. I have Ubuntu and Win7 RC installed inside it. But you can install all kinds of OS’s, mess with them all you like. That way you aren’t limited to just that version Linux, you could install them all, as long as you have the hard drive space.

My reply:
Aha, you misunderstood. I have NEVER until now had the guts to plug anything into the Westell router, because we have little money, and I cant afford the headache and expense of messing up my home internet. But now, from what you tell me and what I have read in google (and I wrote a long support question to Startech, who will probably get back to me next week about their Ethernet card which is only $10, and claims to have Linux drivers).

Also, here is a funny true story. Last week, I thought my stepdaughter was telling me that she has an old tower she doesnt want, and I could wipe out the drive with a pure Ubuntu install. She just called to say her husband was bringing it over with a monitor (which I can keep)…. but when I told her my plans, she was horrified, and said that she wants me to CLEAN UP THE VIRUSES and give it back to her, because right now it will only boot in F2 Safe mode. Ha ha! I am glad I asked, and she should have been less vague and cavalier. But now I have little fear about plugging the cable from the Westell jack into the ethernet jack. Besides, it stands to reason what when any software is about to modify anything, it would prompt.

Although, here are two things I didnt understand about Verizon DSL. Once, I changed the password on the Verizon email account, and that DISABLES the modem that is connected to that account, and a service technician must do a number of things over the phone to restore the DSL service. That was a painful lesson. Another time, DSL was down, and I though I should take a pen and hit the reset button on the Westell. I didnt realize that doing that WIPES OUT EVERYTHING in the Westell, and you have to get on the phone for an hour with a technician to reset the Westell. So perhaps those two horrible experiences contribute to my fear and hesitancy to mess with the Westell.

Old saying: once burnt, twice shy. Plus, if it ain’t broke dont fix it. Years ago we had our first home DSL with AOL. My stepson who was only 13, decided one day to reinstall AOL from a new diskette that came in the mail. That WIPED OUT THE DSL, and AOL was NEVER able to restore it, and their tech dept was not too worried about restoring it.

Thanks for your feedback, it did help! I wasn’t hesitant about hooking up an Ubuntu machine. I am just scared to death of Verizon and Westell. I did take the courage to go into the Westell setep to enable Wifi with WEP key protection. 3 years ago in my 27 story high rise, one could pick up all sorts of unprotected wi-fi. NOW, all the channels are protected and one is even named “GET AWAY!!!”. People began to realize that other people could steal bandwidth.

I would like to close by suggestion something that I think Thomas Jefferson would suggest were he alive today: namely FREE PUBLIC WIFI in every city. Jefferson asked that only two accomplishments be mentioned on his tombstone: that he signed the Declaration of Independence, and that he founded the University of Virginia. Jefferson suggested free education for all, which in his day seemed like a strange idea. After all, education was only for nobility and the wealthy. The peasant farmers and laborers didnt need to know how to read. But Jefferson realized that unless ALL were educated, even laborers and farm workers, then there could NEVER be a government “of the people and by the people.”

What does this have to do with free wi-fi, you ask? Everything. Today, computer illiteracy is the new danger. In 1960, my mother had to fight to get me a $2000 World Book encyclopedia so I could do my homework in 6th grade, because there were no libraries close by. But today, who buys an encylopedia, when there are search engines and things like Wikipedia?
Every child NEED computers and internet access. True there are dangers and abuses in chat rooms etc, but then there are dangers in the postal mail system. That does not mean we should do away with the post office. It means that we should find safe guards and establish punishments for crimes committed using the U.S. mail or the internet. We must make it a crime to shout FIRE as a joke in a public auditorium, but we must preserve freedom of speech. And if there is ANYTHING at all in this world which will unify all peoples and nations and creeds it is the communication and understanding provided by the Internet. I know because I have a friend of 10 years now in Tehran Iran, who loves Plato and Tolstoy and Dostoevsky and everything that is western and free.

In a very poor neighborhood in one large city in India, where there are many high tech computer firms, as an experiment, they installed many rugged computer terminals in the alley ways where homeless street children dwelt. Those children quickly learned how to be very

Ubuntu, Ethernet, and Empathy chat

November 15, 2009

My reply at

One member answered my question:
Why would plugging a PC, no matter what OS is installed on it, into a modem/router change it? So no I wouldn’t worry about the Westell.

My reply:

Thanks! That’s just what I needed to know. But, obviously, I am not technically versed. So what is OBVIOUS to you may not be obvious to me.

A professor of Russian language, in the 1970s once said to me “There is no such thing as a foolish question, for IF it is a question in your mind, it is a LEGITIMATE question. There are only foolish answers.” Beginners should be encouraged to ask questions, and not ridiculed, for that is how they learn. And those who are fortunate enough to have expertise and experience should not gloat in their knowledge as if it were wisdom.

I once mentioned to an examining physician something very obscure and little know, about the anastamosis (joining) of a one vein to the left renal vein which is totally different on the right. He was astounded and asked how I could possible know that, not being a physician. I explained that all one has to do is read, and remember a fact, and the only difference between a physician and a plumber, is that plumbers still make house calls, but physicians do not.

Plus, if I had 5 routers, and 3 providers, and money flowing out my kazoo, I would just plug the cable in and see what happens. But, if something DOES go wrong, then since I only have one router and one provider, then I must spend hours on the phone with tech support, or, if that fails, spend days waiting for a technician to show up from Verizon.

Oh, by the way, I found a free beginners manual in PDF, on Ubuntu, which also mentions that IF the Ubuntu machine has an internet card, THEN connecting it to the router should give instantaneous internet access.

And, this is a bit off topic, but I spent much of last night experimenting with that Ubuntu chat program EMPATHY. When I initially clicked on Empathy, it launched a wizard asking me first if I wanted a Jabber account, and then asking me if I want to add AIM, MSN, Yahoo, ICQ, etc.

I only added Yahoo. Later, I tired to add other things and could not see how to get back into that wizard dialogue. I googled and found other posts suggesting that there was some problem. I UNINSTALLED REMOVED and reinstalled EMPATHY, but still no wizard. THEN I discovered that F4 will bring up a window to ADD other chat programs (which is not intuitively obvious to a beginner). I was pleased to see that my Wubi Ubuntu install is stable enough to remove and reinstall Empathy without crashing things.

I am very curious to explore the limits of the Wubi install on a Windows machine. Tonight I will have that old tower, and do a pure Ubuntu desktop install, and first I will try the wrapper technique with a Belkin Wi-Fi, and later I will experiment with the cable from the Ethernet to the router. I was a bit confused as to whether I should install Ubuntu DESKTOP or Ubuntu Server, but reading up on it made me realize that I am better off with the Desktop, because that gives the most GUI, and then ADD LAMP (Apache, MySQL, PhP) with the synaptic manager, since that is all I really want anyway and I will not use the machine as an actual server to other clients.

Question: Westell Startech Ubuntu

November 14, 2009

Here is the post that I want to submit to

I just spent a LONG LONG TIME typing this post into the above forum and it disappeared. SO, I am composing it HERE first in my BLOG so that it will NOT disappear.

I use Verizon DSL with a Westell 327W Router. I have one Dell Windows XP hard wired to the router, and second XP connected via WiFi with a Belkin USB adapter.

I want to take a 3rd computer, an Ubuntu desktop install, and use a ST100S 10/100 mbps Ethernet PCI, which claims to have a Linux driver.

BIG QUESTION: If I do succeed in attaching the Ubuntu Desktop through the startech ethernet, is there any danger that the Westell modem will somehow be reset or reconfigured or disturbed so that I lose Internet and have to wait for a Verizon technician to show up and fix things. IF there IS such a danger, then I will go with wifi for the Ubuntu desktop. Ubuntu Intenet Connection

November 14, 2009

I looked at all the WiFi and Ethernet products at J&R Computer World and found only ONE that mentions Linux, and it is 10/100 MBPS Ethernet PCI ST100S Netware ODI for DOS Linux

Here is the support question I submitted to

I want to do an Ubuntu Install, use your ST100S 10/100 MBPS Ethernet PCI, and connect it to my Westell modem running Verizon DSL and working fine with my Windows machine. 2 questions: 1) Can I easily do the unstall in Ubuntu. 2) WILL MY WESTELL MODEM BE ALTERED IN ANY WAY, by the install,.. am I in danger of losing all internet?
Can you suggest any other product or USB Wifi that well help me connect an Ubuntu Linux install to Internet through my Westell 327W Verizon Modem?

If I can make it work, I will spread your Company’s name and praise in many Ubuntu Forums!

P.S. – Ubuntu looks so promising to me that it is hard to believe not one single WIFI or Ethernet product mentions ANYTHING except XP Vista Windows3 etc.

The additional Ethernet port was obtained by installing a $12 Startech ST100S 10/100 Mbps Ethernet PCI Card from This card uses a RTL8100C chip and works with the 8139too Linux driver already being used by the motherboard Ethernet interface.