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Dialup will be dead soon?

October 12, 2011 — BarryK
Forum member mrbubl3s asked "Am I the only one still using dialup?":

The USA has been rather slow on the uptake of broadband, but they are getting there. The latest estimate, as far as I can determine, is that about 10-12% of Internet users in the US are still using analog modem dialup:

That is a very high figure. In most parts of the world, including third-world countries, broadband in some form has become the norm.

I don't personally know anyone here in Australia who is still using dialup. I recently let my dialup account with Netbay lapse, as last year I only used it about twice.

Which raises the question, what about the future of Wary? Wary currently uses the 2.6.32 kernel and supports a range of old analog modem cards. However, I might only keep this up for another year, after that, advance to a later kernel -- which will still support some analog modems -- anyone still on dialup will just have to get a compatible modem. You can buy a brand new USB hardware analog modem for $40-$50, so for a few people still lingering on dialup I don't think it is asking too much for them to upgrade their modem hardware.

Here is a blog post awhile back, with link to such a modem (US$45.95):


Dialup digital!
Username: maveorg
Yes, here (Germany) I'm using broadband (DSL) but sometimes (in our office cause of a reaching a spacial VPN-service) we're dialing with an (digital) ISDN-Modem. Not USB, but external serial, runs like analog on AT-commands (54kbits or 128kbits on two channels). Puppy without dialup, not the best choice ;-) Markus/mave

Analog dialup
Username: BarryK
"maveorg, I am not talking about the various broadband dialup modes. This discussion is about the old copper-wire public telephone analog Internet modem access. Limited to 56KB/sec. The modem support that I want to phase out eventually is the "software modems" for which we have drivers that only compile with the 2.6.32 kernel. Such modems are no longer made and are disappearing as they fail or get retired. There are however, such software modems that will continue to be supported by Puppy, with recent kernels. True-hardware analog modems will of course continue to be supported. All external serial modems are true-hardware modems.

Username: ozsouth
"For (most of) Oz, TPG have a $5 month for 500mb mobile broadband plan. Makes 56k dialup redundant for most of Oz. I delete /usr/sbin/slmodemd when I remaster, as the 1.27mb file is useless to me. Probably others could go too.

dialup forever
Username: scsijon
"Personally, it depends on what I am doing as to which I use. I have satellite for most things and when I expect to download something big, but my dialup account stays and is used for security sites such as my taxation, sometimes banking, quick checks and lookups, and of course at the end of my sat month when i'm about to run out of download bandwidth. However, there are a lot of our "seniors" and local farmers on farms and remote locations out here, that still use dialup as they only need ocassional access for family emails and browsing. Personally I'd like to see it stay as is, but maybe you should consider turning out a final release of wary that morphs into something like what Ttuuxxx's Puppy 2.14x has become. regards scsijon ps, if you change the modems necessary, I can vision that my (unpaid) community workload the next time I go to 'fix things', after they having played around, as they will :-) expect the latest version as part of the visit, they always do....

Username: Sage
"Yes, I still keep a real, external, hardware, serial port DUN modem and it's account running for the few times when broadband goes down and miscellaneous activities. Those USB devices, SW and HW, were specifically design for the devil's OS. Clever coders have made them run in Linux, but that may not be a good idea as they absorb cpu cycles for breakfast. There's no reason to continue supporting USB modems. Anyone wishing a 'proper' modem can pick one up from a boot sale for a tenner, probably less. Desperate punters of impecunious disposition could try giving me a call - there may be a few spares lurking in the loft. The outstanding advantage of real, HW, etc, etc modems is that they work on anything.

Username: Dewbie
"Have a look at this: (Full disclosure: I'm still on dial-up.) [b]scsijon wrote:[/b] "...maybe you should consider turning out a final release of wary that morphs into something like what Ttuuxxx's Puppy 2.14x has become..." I was thinking the same thing. :cool:

Free Internet
Username: BarryK
"Here in Australia, if you live in a city or very big regional town, you can get free Internet at various places. Libraries. McDonald's stores have free wireless, as do many shopping centres, some coffee shops. I remember last time I was in Melbourne, seeing people sitting on the steps of the main CBD railway station with their laptops -- the train station has free wifi.

Username: Dewbie
"Pretty much applies here in the States, too. Of course, if you don't live [i]very[/i] close to one of those facilities, laptops are a must.

Username: Scrooge McDave
"I live in Perth and still use dialup. At the moment it is the most affordable option for me. I find most of my modems at verge clearance times. Get enough of them and one is bound to work. Verge clearances are where I get my computers too, not to mention some nice flat screen monitors. I have to say though, that if it wasn't for Puppy (I usually use an early version of Wary) I probably wouldn't be on the net at all. For me it is the best thing since button up boots.

"free wireless"
Username: Sage
" - you mean as in 'free lunch'?! Prevalence in the UK is declining somewhat due to adverse publicity. Many young folks are pretty savvy in the UK these days; the bush telegraph works quite well amongst the teens and twenty-somethings. It is a statutory duty for libraries to provide 'free' InterWeb access in England and Wales {not sure about Scotland?}.

Username: kirk
"We released Fatdog64-521. Mainly a bug fix release with a few additions and upgrades. Forum post: Home page:

Winmodems and Wary
Username: session
"You can also say it's not too much to buy a new PC and skip Wary entirely... But I suppose you weigh these features individually. Winmodem support wasn't my first draw to Puppy Linux--I had my winmodem working in Ubuntu 8.10. But as Ubuntu and the Linux kernel marched on, Puppy (and then Wary) made it a point to support older devices while updating its apps and libraries; this thoughtfulness became a tremendous draw for me, even after I switched to broadband. But the support was still practical: a few months ago I had a desktop-publishing gig that was strictly to be performed on a PC setup for occasional dial-up browsing... guess which OS I brought along? Anyway, at the moment dial-up support doesn't affect me directly, but I'll be sad to see it go.

Username: carolus
"At our vacation cabin in rural Maine there is no alternative to dial-up other than satellite, which is prohibitively expensive for a seasonal dwelling. Fax is still needed for banking and legal documents, and is a safer way to send a credit card than by e-mail (for example, to a small bed-and-breakfast that has no secure web site.) Without a modem I would have to drive 5 miles to a free wi-fi, or 10 miles to a commercial fax site. The U.S. has poor communications infrastructure in regions of low population density. The USRobotics USR5637 USB dongle works out-of-the box with Puppy, and it may not be necessary to support a lot of old modems.

Not a mind-reader
Username: Dewbie
""All external serial modems are true-hardware modems." "...missed the point! We did all this topic to death..." He said "all," not "only." That's easy to misinterpret.

Re dropping dialup
Username: BarryK
"Interesting, some posts are pleading not to drop support for dialup, yet nowhere have I said that I was thinking of doing that. I have only suggested reducing the offerings of analog modem drivers. Some of them are gigantic. For example the Conexant and Intel kernel modem drivers -- about 3MB and 18MB uncompressed. Yes, 18MB! Compress that down, to say 7-8MB, that is dead weight added to the live-CD unless you are one of the very few people who actually have an Intel modem. So, I can knock 8-9MB off the live-CD and still offer support for a range of analog modems. We would just have to tell people, if your modem is not a hardware-modem and has a Conexant, Intel, (Lucent, ESS, PcTel, Rockwell) chip, please buy a new modem. Possibly we could even create a test script that identifies a modem that is not supported and advises the user.

Username: scsijon
"Maybe we missunderstood your heading and what the top four paragraphs implied. From your last comment, I know I did! However, I would still like all the modems to be available, even if in a pet or z file. Especially with all those good quality but now old portables and laptops, now going out there for a song, and mostly they are equipped with working internal modems (yes I know '!winmodems yuck!, but they are out there).

Another solution?
Username: Dewbie
"Given that Barry has discontinued "retro" builds, perhaps someone else can eventually do something like this:

Tags: puppy