Category Archives: Ubuntu

Agere DSP / Martian modem on Ubuntu 10.10

Dial-up modems have always been a pain on Linux.  I got this one working though.

System: old PC running Ubuntu 10.10 (yes, still).

Modem: PCI card with Agere DSP chipset — i.e. a 'winmodem'.

Scanmodem reveals that it will work with the 'martian' driver, which is available on Ubuntu as packages 'martian' and 'martian-source'.

Having installed the packages, there is still some work to do which has to be repeated every time the Linux kernel gets updated:

  1. Make sure that you've got the linux-headers-xx package that matches your current kernel.
  2. As root:
    cd /usr/src/modules/martian-modem/source
    make install
    depmod -a
    modprobe martian-dev

  3. Now you can run 'martian-modem –daemon' which sets up the modem as /dev/ttySM0
  4. I found that, after rebooting, it all Just Worked — /dev/ttySM0 was there and accessible.
  5. So I could set up Gnome PPP to use /dev/ttySM0
  6. Sorted.

(Those instructions are fairly minimal, but you should get the idea.)

Updating from Ubuntu 9.04 to Xubuntu 11.10

I was working on a client's laptop, on which I'd installed Ubuntu 9.04 a few years ago and it hadn't been updated since then.

I wanted to bring it up to date, and knew that the client wouldn't want the look-and-feel of it to change radically, so to avoid Unity and Gnome 3, I decided to install Xubuntu 11.10.

I backed everything up, expecting to do a clean install of the new system.  But the Xubuntu installer offered to upgrade directly from 9.04, so I tried it, and it worked! 

The only minor glitch was that Thunderbird didn't find the old profile.  I had to rename ~/.mozilla-thunderbird to ~/.thunderbird, and then that worked too.