How to connect to internet on DSL/Dialup BEFORE installation

Being connected to the internet is almost a prerequisite for any Ubuntu distro I’ve tried to install. My problem is that I cannot connect through my DSL SpeedStream modem/router to my ISP until AFTER I have an operating system to do it with.
I’ve learned to get ppp0 installed using pppoeconf but even that now is problematic… the command is NOT available from “Try Ubuntu” and, in my experience, when I try to use it after MATE 16.04 installation, it’s still NOT available. The craziest thing is that this is the ONLY command/program needed to get connected but when you try to run it, it suggests you use sudo apt-get install to install it! I cannot get online to install it… what am I missing here?
I have eventually found a way to put the pppoeconf.deb file(s) onto a thumb drive and then, using GDebi, get it installed and then connected to the internet.
I’ve been building, using, teaching “computers” since the 1980s, and I can offer this observation to any developer who cares… the reason Windows took over the computing world is because the programmers understood that the average user is NOT able to, or interested in, learning the complexities of a computer system just to be able to use it. MATE is by far, so far, the most user friendly Linux system I’ve seen, but even it has a LONG way to go to garner mass appeal. The sooner the programmers design the software so that IT figures out “what’s wrong” and FIX it rather than to expect a new user to do it, the sooner everyone will be using Ubuntu. Imagine how popular buying and using a car would be if drivers were required to become mechanics in order to get out of the driveway!

The people building linux systems work for little or nothing and give away their product without charge.

So if that used car is for free I would indeed figure out how to get it out of the driveway :slight_smile:

Welcome to the forums, yet another free service :slight_smile:


Hi @rae,

see my answer # 6 here:

I understand your frustration but your question should be directed to the devs at Ubuntu!.

And welcome to the forum btw!. :smiley:

Thank you for your viewpoint.
I appreciate that this OS is built, to some degree at least, by those volunteering their time and expertise. (I don’t for a second believe that those at Canonical et al are doing anything for free.)

That said, “giving” me a Ubuntu, with it’s endless supply of gotchas and profound mysteries, is like giving me a free airplane with known and unknown flaws, assuming I know how to fly. This is a fundamental error made by the developers. I submit that MOST potential users have neither the ability to learn the OS so as to fix the inevitable problems, nor have any inclination to spend the hundreds of hours necessary to learn to do so.

So I stand by my original posting… Microsoft will continue to dominate the market for the main reason they understand my viewpoint… and are willing to cater to it. Ubuntu, when it works as well or hopefully better than the other guys, is terrific. But for Ubuntu to become a major OS it needs to become both rock solid reliable and dead simple for newbies to install and use. The average user understands plain English and clear instructions. MATE has a good start on accomplishing this.

Thanks, wolfman for your reply and advice.
It’s my view that it is the SOFTWARE that should be doing the work, not the USER.

Why is pppoeconf and how to use it not prominently displayed on PAGE ONE - right between Try Ubuntu and Install Ubuntu - since it is far preferable to be connected to the internet before attempting to install?

To make matters even worse, pppoeconf is NOT AVAILABLE even AFTER the installation is complete. Typing sudo pppoeconf results in the software telling me to install pppoeconf using sudo apt-get install pppoeconf. In order to get connected users need to follow some sort of procedure as you have outlined.

My question is… just how many potential newbie users do you know that would have a clue what you’re talking about? It ain’t gonna happen. Ubuntu needs to figure out what the problem is… and FIX it. Stop expecting potential users to do it… as I said, it ain’t gonna happen.

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I agree with you which is why I included the link to directly contact Ubuntu devs to let them know of your frustrations!. :smiley:

Thanks again, wolfman.
I’m afraid I’m coming across as some sort of crank complainer but that is sure not my intention.
Here are just two more “frustrations” that should not be necessary for anyone to have to troubleshoot:

  1. Attempt to play a DVD using VLC as it comes configured in UM16.04. YOU CAN’T DO IT… and furthermore the system doesn’t offer a clue as to what is wrong. This oversight causes untold frustration and is completely unnecessary in my opinion. It’s just that no one ever thought to actually USE VLC before releasing it. I finally stumbled over the “fix” in the Software Boutique - had to install something called “libdvdcss2” to “enable VLC to play DVDs.” To expect a new user to spend his/her time stumbling around in the dark trying to find this fix is infuriating.

  2. Here’s another: Attempt to use Firefox to view video on the usual news sites - CBC, CTV, BBC and likely others. All you get is a message that you need to upgrade your Adobe Flash. Isn’t that great! What’s the new users supposed to do now… waste another huge gob of time accessing Adobe, downloading and learning how to install Flash only to learn that the latest Flash is more than two years old and WON’T WORK anyway? Again, I had to stumble around until I fell over “sudo apt-get install browser-plugin-freshplayer-pepperflash” to get Firefox to play a video on a standard news site. Again… to expect a new user to solve this problem is an abuse and really unfair unless those offering UM 16.04 state right up front that this software is a work in progress and not suitable for anyone not experienced in solving computer systems problems.

Please pass these along to those who care and can possibly do something about these sorts of errors. I think Ubuntu needs any army of beta testers - NOT GURUS - to find these fundamental problems. Those skilled in the OS just make far too many assumptions - they’ve long forgotten the frustrations of us newbies out here.

Your doing ok :slight_smile:

But I think your setting some high request. Where's the resources going to come from?

That’s a fair question. At this point, I have no idea how Canonical et al earn money but I’m willing to bet my pension few if any who work for that rather larger corporation are doing it without good pay.

Even as full of strange behavior as UM16.04 has presented to me so far, I find the product worth paying for. If it cost $100 for 5 years, and I could rely on it working out of the box, I’d be glad to pay. Now that I’m retired I know my time isn’t worth much, but I’m sure I’ve spent more than $100 worth of my time so far cursing the oversights I’ve run into.

I’m a BIG booster of Ubuntu and my comments are intended as THOUGHTS and FEEDBACK. If the developers want Ubuntu to actually grow to take a big bite out of market then they’ll have to understand that MOST users do not want to use their computer’s operating system as a HOBBY… they just want a computer that works.

There are those who love cars and like to tear 'em apart and modify and repair, and there are those who simply want to drive them. Two different flavors of users. Right now Ubuntu and Linux are a hobbyist’s dream - but they could easily satisfy both. Someone needs to take it to the next level, as UM16.04 has started. Fix the “stupid” mistakes that really turn off new users, and the “resources” will come. People will always pay for quality.

Hi rae,

Adobe dropped Flash for Linux support so you will get weird messages from time to time, if you want to watch live online UK TV, go here:

and click on UK live TV and select a channel!.

Things like the package "libdvdcss2" are out of the hands of Canonical because it is a licencing issue, if they pre-install codecs for DVD playback, it can cause problems in some countries so it is left out but is available to install on demand! (some versions of Linux pre-install it anyway!). :smiley:

A complete beginner should start with something like a beginners guide of which there are many around on the web!. An example below:

A simple web search can often bring an abundance of info like DVD playback!:

The package "libdvdcss2" was added to the Software Boutique by the Ubuntu Mate devs and isn't sanctioned by Canonical as far as I know!. :smiley:

Lastly, any questions relating to this or any other version of Linux can be answered on their respective forums of which I am sure you are well aware!. :thumbsup:

For your points #1 and #2, they should be accomplished with the Welcome program / Software Boutique… that’s the point of it after all.

  1. DVD Playback Support is also under Getting Started (new versions have this for sure, it may require the opt-in “subscribe for updates” for 16.04 out of the box). @wolfman has a point about why it’s not included by default, legal issues… it has to be an optional “restricted” thing.

  2. Adobe Flash is in the Software Boutique under Internet, that should do the trick.

For the original purpose of this topic, in my view I think dial-up is just overlooked, since many users have broadband, satellite or a blazingly fast connection speed like fibre optic.

It does seem like a flaw that a user cannot connect via dial-up without ironically downloading a package they need. I suggest reporting this as a bug on Ubuntu MATE’s launchpad to see if the required packages may be included in future releases.

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Thank you to both wolfman and lah7 for your explanations, referrals and suggestions. I appreciate them… and hopefully others will too.

It seems my attempts to make my basic point remain a failure. It’s not that there aren’t a plethora of workarounds and fixes available (to those who know the lingo and how & where to look for answers). Oh no… the internet is awash in suggestions about how to fix problems (only a small percentage of which actually fix the problem).

My point, succinctly, is that a program whose main purpose is, in the case of VLC, to PLAY MEDIA, should be complete and ready to perform. To issue such a program that is essentially crippled, for ANY reason, is bogus nonsense, in my opinion. I’ve used VLC on many computers (Mac & Windows) and have never had “legal issues” involved in playing a common, ordinary DVD until I hit Ubuntu. So whatever the “legal issues” are they negate the usefulness of the program to the newbie. Full stop. It doesn’t have to “be an optional “restricted” thing” - it is MADE to be a problem by those involved. New users simply won’t use the OS if they’re being forced into a steep learning curve.

Wolfman… please look long and hard at the Warning in CAPITAL LETTERS in the Ubuntu Users Guide you quoted. Think of yourself as a newbie. This is a guide for BEGINNERS and I defy you to find ANY beginner who’ll understand one damn word in that warning. “BACKUP ALL YOUR DATA” assumes many things that a beginner likely will not know how to do… even if they had any DATA to backup. “ONCE YOU START PARTITIONING…” - give me a break! There isn’t 1 in a 100 users, let alone beginners, who have a clue what you’re talking about.

And that’s precisely the point I’m trying to get across. Those such as yourself who are knowledgeable FORGET that the average user does not want operating his/her computer to be a lifelong, ongoing learning curve of a hobby. They just want to turn it on… and it works. And that’s the job of UBUNTU… not the users.


yes I know which is why a link to this guide is included within the beginners guide!, if people cannot simply copy and paste their important data to a USB stick or external drive to back up their data; then I'm sorry but I cannot help them!:

I'll reiterate @anon42388993's point earlier, it's free software and as such freedom may mean sacrifices. Ubuntu isn't of course entirely "free software" unlike other distributions, the multiverse repository contains the stuff that is "restricted by copyright or legal issues".

There is an option during installation that states "Install this third party software" but this explicitly states in the package description that DVD playback is not installed:

This software does not include libdvdcss2, and will not let you play
encrypted DVDs. For more information, see
RestrictedFormats/PlayingDVDs - Community Help Wiki

It also states on the wiki:

Legal warning: Check with your local laws to make sure usage of libdvdcss2 would be legal in your area.

Unlike say, Windows, they can release variants of their CDs for countries that forbid certain features. Also as Microsoft have acquired the licenses, they can add convenience of proprietary codecs and DVD support at the cost of price. Windows 10 have already dropped native DVD playback support, even users upgrading from previous versions lose this functionality.

You may see that Linux Mint did/do offer a "codecs version", but the last I heard they were planning to drop this to avoid being in that grey legal area.

This would be true for any operating system. Heck, I find Windows very infuriating to find solutions. :angry: I wouldn't expect a novice computer user to have ever re-installed Windows from scratch, so some learning is required when they bravely jump to Linux.

Until manufacturers / OEMs pre-install and test Linux distributions by default, the getting started and uncertainty of knowing all the hardware works flawlessly remains. That in itself is a different topic.

Shout out to @fixitleeds for refurbishing computers at a local scale. :thumbsup:

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Hi again, wolfman.
Back in the 80s and 90s (DOS & Windows 95) I actually taught “How to use your computer” - type classes. It was an eye-opener to be leading a roomful of “newbies” (mostly middle aged or older) and watch as their eyes glazed over whenever I wanted them to type and execute even a “CD …” command. It would take 5 minutes for everyone to get it right. At first I thought these people were all possessed of room-temperature IQs. I was wrong, as I learned many years later when I went to university and learned about Learning in Later Life.

A FUNDAMENTAL roadblock in adult learning is the use of unfamiliar terminology… and if there’s anything loaded with arcane terminology it’s computer user guides and especially a Linux user guide. A simple example from your clip above is the very first word… “GParted.” That word is unfamiliar to most and means absolutely nothing to a newbie. To go rattling on about the rest of the suggestions in the “guide” is a waste of breath when the newbie is still saying to him/herself “what the hell is a GParted” - where is it, how & why I need it or use it, etc., etc. The only “partition” most people are familiar with is a wall in their house or office. To “defragment” a drive - well, we both know that’s a whole other can of worms. I doubt that most computer users have any idea about how hard drives work and why they might need defragmenting.

My point is that learners, especially older ones, need “mental pictures” to be drawn connecting what they already are familiar with to the new and strange world of the computer. And that goes for ALL of us - even those who are familiar with the mysteries of Ubuntu Linux et al, I’m sure are stumped every day by terms and concepts used in guides. And those guides that are, in my opinion, mislabeled as for “beginners,” are FAR BEYOND beginner level. Too bad those writing them don’t state clearly, right on Page One - “This Guide assumes the user has a basic understanding of how computers work and terminology used in the world of computer programs, including operating systems.”

It is disappointing to read a view that ends in “then I’m sorry but I cannot help them.” It’s not true, of course. You clearly could help if you would try to imagine yourself attempting to learn some new skill - say woodworking - and you had no idea of what was meant in a beginners guide that stated “using your vernier calipers, marking gauge and sliding bevel, scribe the appropriate line across grain with your V-point knife or bradawl tool.”

Anyway, I thank you and others for your time and patience with me and my unsolicited views and opinions. My partner said the other day - “If the damn OS frustrates you so much why use it?” When I find the answer I’ll let you know.


please feel free to write your own “beginners guide” if mine does not live up to your obvious excellent standards and qualifications.
You have pressed a button and it is seldom that I am inclined to delete your remarks as personal and as offensive they may be to me. If you do the same to anyone else on the forum, you can say goodbye as I consider you a “troll” and not a forum member that is here to help anyone except yourself, an “Agent provocateur” if you like.

For wolfman…

Before I retire from contributing to this forum I’d like to thank you for your suggestion to contact the “devs at Ubuntu” regarding my original problem. I did so. I received a courteous and detailed response from Martin Wimpress that my frustration was indeed worthy of their action and, if I understand the two pages of detailed action he sent me, the Fix has been Released.

I apologize if my observations and suggestions have somehow offended you. They are intended to offer my Thoughts & Feedback. I guess I misunderstood. Goodbye.