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Purpose of the mini-HOWTO

2. Purpose of the mini-HOWTO

The purpose of this document is to guide you to make your PCTel HSP MicroModem work in GNU/Linux.

First let me explain what is so "special" about these PCTel modems that made me write this guide. These modems fall in a special class of hardware, specifically made for M$-Windows systems, and have device drivers which are specific for  M$-Windows ...These modems are also called  "Winmodems" and are one of the most troublesome pieces of hardwares for GNU/Linux. Most of the winmodems do not work with GNU/Linux (the manufacturers use patented technologies and so drivers for these modems cannot be developed as Open Source). For a few of these winmodems, drivers have been developed

The PCTel modems belong to this category and fall under linmodems.


Please do note that PCTel provides proprietary drivers, and in the free world of GNU/Linux, proprietary drivers are not the solution. These drivers can turn out to be a great threat as the Free Software Movement evolves and matures. So, at the very beginning, please consider whether you want to surrender your "freedom" to PCTel, or whether you want to go out and buy a new modem which has a GPL'ed driver. I understand, that for many, buying a new modem is not possible, and hence, this doc exists. But whatever you do, please do send a mail to Mr. Jack Seller of PCTel's Public Relation department at this address asking PCTel to release the source code of their drivers.

Remember that when you are using proprietary drivers, you are giving up your freedom.


Though I am referring PCTel modems here, actually PCTel only manufactures the chips for these modems, so if you have say, XXX modem and you get a

00:09.0 Communication controller: PCTel Inc HSP MicroModem 56 (rev 01)

when you issue the bash$ lspci command, then do not worry, you have what we call a PCTel linmodem.

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