Fedora, Mobile Broadband and Conky

It was over 12 months ago that I blogged about using my Optus mobile broadband with Fedora. I’ve noticed there have been a few searches on that subject recently so I thought it was about time I updated.

With Fedora 11

When I first plugged the 3g modem in it generated a SELinux error and I had to set SELinux to permissive to get it working. That is no longer the case with Fedora 11. Nor does it load the modem as an usb drive. It is recognised as a modem and Network Manager just handles it.

I must add that this seems to apply only to Fedora. I have tried it in Mandriva and Ubuntu derivatives like Gos and only Mint has worked.

This will improve in Fedora 12 with a new feature that will automatically set up the requirements for each provider. Looks like a great feature for those who need to change the default settings.

Working with Conky

Conky is a very useful system monitor. I have often thought of doing a post on Conky but in the interim I’ll just talk about monitoring the Mobile Broadband.

When I firstĀ  set up the Mobile Broadband I couldn’t get Conky to report on it. I tried “dmesg | grep usb” and it reported that the modem was using ttyUSB0, ttyUSB1 and ttyUSB2. However none of these would report any activity. Searching around I found that these were redirecting to ppp0. I can’t remember where I found this but it has been consistent across multiple Fedora versions and computers. I can now see the current activity on the Internet connection.

If it is useful here is the code I added to my .conkyrc to get it working

${color0}INTERNET $color(${addr ppp0}) ${color0}${hr 2}$color
${color1}Down:$colorĀ  ${downspeed ppp0} KB/s${alignr}${color1}Up:$color ${upspeed ppp0} KB/s
${downspeedgraph ppp0 25,120 color1 color2} ${alignr}${upspeedgraph ppp0 25,120 color1 color2}$color
${color1}Downloaded: $color${totaldown ppp0} $alignr ${color1}Uploaded: $color${totalup ppp0}

Hope that helps.


USB Keyboard

I recently updated my keyboard and for the first time have one that plugs into USB. It works fine, WindowsXP required driver installation but Linux just worked. However I had one problem.

As you may gather this is a multi-boot machine, it has Windows and a couple of versions of Linux. I have a Grub menu at boot up to select the OS to use. That was the problem, the keyboard wouldn’t work until an OS started up. I could only access my default OS. Checking a couple of forums I found a comment that some (most new) bios have an option to activate USB at boot. I checked mine (using an old ps2 keyboard) and the option was already set. Still no luck.

My computer has 2 set of USB ports (3 if you count the ones on the front panel). There are some directly on the motherboard and some on an expansion card. I had plugged the keyboard into the expansion card. As a test I rearranged some of my USB devices plugging the keyboard into one of the ports on the motherboard and rebooted. Problem solved, it worked fine.

As an aside both Linux systems handled the rearrangement without a problem however Windows went into a flap trying to set up all my “new” hardware and insisted on a reboot before it would work. That’s one reason why it isn’t my default OS!