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YoLinux Tutorial - Using PPP with Compuserve

Dialing Compuserve "Classic"

This refers to the old legacy Compuserve "Classic" accounts with login names consisting of 10 numbers. Configurations for ppp must be performed as root. The ppp connection will then allow you to use Netscape to surf the web etc.

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Command line ppp and Manual configuration:

This example is the manual configuration specific to Red Hat 5.2 /6.0/6.1/6.2/7.1 and a US Robotics 56k modem.

Perform the following configuration as user root.

Edit the following files:

/etc/resolv.conf - Network configuration file. Add: [Compuserve specific]

domain compuserve.com

File: /etc/nsswitch.conf - Change to: (older systems use hosts.conf)

hosts:      dns files nisplus nis

File: /etc/ppp/options - File should look like this:

debug                   - log transactions to /var/log/messages
/dev/ttyS1              - ( S1 = COM2, S2 = COM3, S3 = COM4)
115200                  - Baud rate 
crtscts - Use hardware flow control asyncmap 0 defaultroute - PPP becomes the default route to the internet noipdefault lock - Don't let other processes besides PPP use the device connect "/usr/sbin/chat -v -t 240 -f /etc/ppp/chat-compuserve" :

Valid baud rates: 300, 1200, 2400, 4800, 9600, 19200, 38400, 57600, 115200, 230400, 460800

File: /etc/ppp/chat-compuserve - File should look like this: [Compuserve specific]

''     ATZ
OK     ATE1M1V1X4L3S0=0Q0&C1&D2DT*70,XXX-XXXX    - Use dial in number specified by your district
XXXXXX,XXXX/GO:PPPCONNECT                        - Use Compuserve login numbers
sword: your-password

Configuration Done!

Using PPP

  1. Login as a user.
  2. In a command shell, su (to switch user to root) and login as root.
  3. As root, /usr/sbin/pppd
Test connection with command "ifconfig" and look for device ppp0

Hang up / Disconnect: (From root shell)

  killall -HUP pppd


   MRU (Maximum Receive Unit): 1500
   Connection: 8 data bits, parity: NONE
   News server: news.compuserve.com  
   Mailserver:  mail.compuserve.com 

[Potential Pitfall]: If it doesn't work try a different access number. For example, I once found one Redondo Beach CA access number to be useless.

Compuserve RPA Mail:

Use fetchmail to get your e-mail.

See: Fetchmail - YoLinux Tutorial and Links

Compuserve Terminal sessions using minicom:

A terminal session does NOT use ppp and does NOT require the set-up above..

Minicom set-up:
As root, minicom -s. This creates/configures the file /etc/minirc.dfl.

  • Serial port setup:
    • Serial Device: /dev/modem
    • Bps/Par/Bits: 115200 7E1
    • Hardware Flow Control : Yes
    • Software Flow Control : No
  • Dialing directory: Add an entry and then edit it by giving the name (title) and phone number.

Use minicom to dial Compuserve:

Compuserve Login sequence:

   carriage return
   carriage return
   Host Name: CIS

   Password: password
   carriage return

Compuserve Terminal Commands:

Command Description
T TOP menu page
M Previous menu page
GO word GO directly to a service
FIND topic FIND all references to topic
sign off
S n SCROLL from n
R RESEND a page
B BACK a page
N Display NEXT menu item
P Display PREVIOUS menu item
SET option SET terminal option
PER exit to Personal File Area

"GO" Topics: GO CAREERS, GO TAXES, GO INETWC (Internet guide), GO MOBILE, GO PAGER, GO CALLCARD, GO TRWREPORT (credit worthiness), GO WORK, GO OURWORLD, GO PASSWORD (change password), GO HELP, GO QUESTIONS, GO BILLING (credit card billing info), GO CHARGES (review your charges), GO RATES, GO CSHELP, GO CSLIVE (Live chat with someone in service), GO MAILHELP, GO INDEX (find topic), GO FIND, ...

Use the phone number 1-800-848-4480 and the "Host Name:" NETWORK to get a list of toll-free local numbers. (Or login as normal and use the command "GO NETWORK". Or use "GO PHONES")

Compuserve customer support (USA): (800)848-8990 (They don't know anything about Linux)
Member services: (800)336-6823
Business account representative: (800)226-0928

Compuserve national dial-up numbers:

  • US: 1-800-331-7166, 1-800-572-1959
  • Canada: 1-800-843-0378

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