Tuesday, February 9, 2010

AT&T: Linux is why the Internet isn't Working

I have very basic AT&T DSL at my current place of residence. Late last month when I tried to sign online my browser was promptly redirected to an AT&T webpage informing me that the master account password for the DSL had been updated and I needed to enter the new information. I rent, I don't own - the DSL is in my landlord's name. I promptly gave her a phone call and within a few moments my landlord and I were on a three-way phone call with AT&T tech support trying to get it sorted out.

They walked me through your standard idiot checks:
  • Yes, my computer is on.
  • Yes, my modem is turned on.
  • Yes, my modem's internet light is green.
  • Yes, my computer is connected to router properly.
Then they asked the question that all tech support are bound to ask "What operating system are you running?" Before I could say anything my landlord chimed in with "I think he uses Linux or something like that." Well, so much for avoiding that bomb shell. The tech operator's next words could have been scripted "Odds are that is the issue, do you have access to a computer with a Windows-based operating system?" I sighed a bit under my breath "The exact same issue is present on Windows 7 and XP - its something on your end."

He then wanted to walk me through checking my router settings, but not before he said "To log into your router you will need to boot into Windows and load Internet Explorer." I rolled my eyes and promptly clicked on the Google Chrome launcher on my Gnome panel and logged into my router, checking all the settings he listed off to me (they where all set correctly).

In the end it ended up being an issue on AT&T's end (after all I was still online it was just redirecting any pages I tried to view to AT&T's website). A couple days later and some paper work later needless to say my internet was back online - Linux and otherwise.

It just irks me greatly that companies always try to blame a third party when their own equipment is not functioning properly. Anyone else ever have a similar experience?

~Jeff Hoogland

79 comments:

  1. Jeff

    Get used to it. It is called pass the buck. Open source is not immune to it either. I was trying out getdeb on my mint box and one of the pieces of software I wanted to try had a dead link. I clicked on the contact getdeb so that I could inform them and got an email 3 days later telling me that they don't support mint. Sad to see.

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  2. all the time. But I hate the fact that most DSL routers din't actually support Linux (last time I faced this issue was in 3 years ago in India with some lame device)

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  3. Luckily have a great local isp that runs linux and bsd themselves. I have had to deal with this though in the past. Once I realized there methods, the first thing I would do is tell them I had a fresh install of windows just to by pass the whole blame the customer mantra.

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  4. What I don't get is how a router/switch can NOT work with Linux. The internet is based on platform independent protocols, and from my experience, Linux is far more standards compliant than Windows. So unless the router/switch is designed and built specifically to support only Windows BS than it shouldn't matter.

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  5. Vote with your feet/dollars. Use an ISP which understands technology, such as Speakeasy. Only buy hardware which is known to be FLOSS friendly. You have the power to make a difference, if it is important to you. Sometimes this involves sacrifice.

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  6. The problem is that they don't know how to support linux. Their level 1 helpdesk monkey doesn't have a set of linux idiot checks to run through. And I'd be willing to bet the vast majority of their support calls aren't problems on their end.

    Frankly, Linux is not easy to support, especially for level 1 highschool student support monkeys.

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  7. Nobody knows how to diagnose problems with Linux, but Macs are popular enough that I can lie and say I have one, and the service desk will continue to help me.

    This happened recently when I moved and got new service. The router required the use of a Windows utility to set it up. I called the service department, told them that their service didn't advertise "Windows required," and asked them how to set it up with my Mac. They walked me through the process. I translated the steps in my head.

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  8. Boy, have I ever! I once went through a similar dance with QWest, only I successfully lied and told them I was using Windows/Explorer, while following the tech's directions in Linux/Firefox. Problem turned out that they'd changed my account's password without telling me! (Why?)

    But on various occasions I'd quickly learned that mentioning Linux immediately shut down whoever I'd be talking to at QWest. "Sorry, we don't support that." and then "You mentioned Linux. That's probably what's wrong."

    I have now moved to Iowa Telecom, and to my relief they *welcome* Linux users - at least they don't hate me for it like QWest did, although they still tell me "You're on your own support-wise, but we'll hold up our end!" Also, in two years now I've never had an issue with them - connection's stayed up even during our legendary blizzards and ice storms this winter.

    By the way, has anybody else noticed that the cursor keys don't work in this comment box?

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  9. The cursor keys don't work? It's probably because you're using Linux...

    ;)

    PS. Yes, I've noticed the cursor issue... also, try putting two spaces in a row.

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  10. @Last Two Posters,

    Not sure what you mean by cursor issues... I'm using Google Chrome on Ubuntu and it works just fine for me :)

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  11. You think it's bad ?

    I have a HTC Dream running Android that wont connect to the Internet until I follow a 8 pages PDF to update my OS. The first steps reads something like "Download and install Active Sync..".

    I asked Rogers and they confirmed that I absolutely need a Windows machine to update my Linux phone.

    And we all know it's their fault if the end users is forced to go through this mess by side-stepping Google's update channels only because they wanted absolute control over the software running on the device.

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  12. @Anonymous Sorry if I can't sympathize much. I distrust Google/Android after their recent loss of Android code from the kernel tree...

    Want a truly FOSS phone check out a few of my postings about Nokia's N900 :)

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  13. I hate that crap. I had verizon do the same thing to me NUMEROUS times and to make matters worse im also bridging a dd-wrt router which they always try to blame. Every time i have to call for problems now a days i just say yes to everything, and if someone has to come over i revert to saved 'stock' settings so i can eliminiate the excuses.

    I also was told that because my cpu was running at 32% by a tech that was why i could not get to the internet, because it was too high. They connected remotely, i showed them conky and my 2 processors, they shut up and sent a tech out the next day.

    amen brotha.

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  14. In the bad old days, we had X25 and later fractional T1, and AT&T -NEVER- found a problem on their end on the first call. Their tests aways worked. Then we would test or replace the Smart Jack or CSU/DSU, and it still wouldn't work, so we would call AT&T again. And then they would find and fix their problem.

    After 25 years, AT&T is still giving people the runaround.

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  15. I worked in a call center supporting printers over the phone, back in the day. Time is money for these companies that are outsourced. In fact if you don't complete the call in a given amount of time ( 10 minutes ) the support tech's score will be downgraded and can lead to them being fired.



    Now the funny part. The router that your using more than likely is running Linux too.

    :P

    Linux FTW!

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  16. Funny I had a simmilar problem with AT&T DSL. I upgraged to a faster plan and suddenly nothing work. I called and they asked me what system I was using I said Linux and Windows 7 RC and all I got was grief for a while till I finally convinced her that windows 7 rc was a valid windows (this was last year before windows 7 came out). All it was is that they had changed my password and username. My linux machine would've worked just as well to fix the problem. I think they just don't know how to fix the problem. They jsut read from a script.

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  17. Everyday! Here in Madagascar, even vendors hesitate to sell me hardwares when I (deliberately) tell that I use Linux ;)

    But it's not a problem: it proves that I'll have some jobs for years ;)
    An Internet Provider told me that their hardware (USB) and services won't work with Linux. I proved them that it work great.

    No-problem: I could convince the whole world that everything work great with Linux, and I like that ;-)

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  18. No offense, but it sounds like your problem is that your landlord uses AT&T for a DSL provider. Anything more than the bare minimum they must provide (namely the dry loop) and you're bringing it on yourself.

    Move? :)

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  19. I used to work for desktop support for HP computers.
    Half of the calls, were internet issues, and we had to do a three way call with the customer ISPs because otherwise, the ISPs will always say: "It's your computer's fault, call HP!"

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  20. Belkin had the same approach when I couldn't get one of their routers to work correctly. The "fix" was to download a (non-Belkin) tool from a freeware site to make some changes to the router. When I told them that I was not running Windows, they told me to return the router to where I bought it because there was no way it could be fixed outside of a Windows environment.

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  21. Telling someone on the front line that you are going to send letters to the CEO and VP in charge of marketing explaining why their behavior is outrageous, is often a great motivator. They may not like having to bump you up to their second or third tier of support, but they will to get you off their line.

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  22. I had a similar problem with CenturyLink(Embarq). It is for these occasions that I reluctantly maintain a small Windows partition on my machine that I can boot into when necessary.

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  23. That happened to me a lot when I was using Wild Blue satellite internet. I had a home grown linux router connected to the satellite modem. The service went down *often*, and evertime, I had to tell the tech that my router didn't have a brand and that my computer didn't have internet explorer, but yes, I know it's all working properly.

    Eventually, I stopped answering truthfully. My router became a linksys, my operating system became windows XP, and it took 1/3 as long for them to realize the problem was on their end.

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  24. 1)I have face exact problem which you faced. In India I have BSNL as me Internet provider. When I called them they asked me to work on Windows XP rather than Linux even if I had checked and my IP settings and modem ON. They were not even ready to send their engineer to my home.

    2)I PC was having some problem in SMPS and I took it to a shop to get it replaced. When the guy saw a Ubuntu Linux sticker on my PC, he just refused to me without even looking at the problem. Guy says: "Sir, Linux always dose that. You need to install Windows."

    Lots of people have lots of wrong idea about Linux and Unix and specially in India people think it in totally different way. Since Linux is free, it is not so good enough. Which is not True.

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  25. Unfortunately Comcast takes the same stance. I was told by a supervisor that he could not get internet working on my box because I wasn't running windows.

    He told me this because he couldn't install the standard Comcast setup.exe file on the machine.

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  26. Had this problem with an ADSL provider here in the Netherlands a few years back.. I noticed my internet had stopped working, and checked my router settings. Nothing had changed.

    I couldn't ping or even tracepath out of the house, so I decided to call the customer support. The first thing the guy wasked was: Have you been messing with your router settings? I answered I had but I knew what I was doing because I'm a sysadmin. He went on about how it was probably something I screwed up in my router, but I kept on insisting it was their problem and he would then blame me again. About 2 minutes of pointing fingers at each other and he all of a sudden said, "Oh, about 3000 people just joined the phone queue. Maybe you are right, let me check something.". About 10 seconds later he comes back and apologizes that it was indeed their fault and that I had to hang up quickly because they had to go fix it.

    I can't get enough of telling that story, the guy really sounded ashamed when he had to tell me I was right :)

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  27. Unfortunately my two options are AT&T DSL or Cox Cable. I went with Cox, and faced this same issue many times.
    "Hmmm that's odd. What operating system are you using, sir?"
    "I have a company macbook, and several Linux machines."
    "I'm afraid we don't support those."
    "My router isn't working either."
    "We don't support routers either, perhaps you should call your router's manufacturer."

    And the game continues until I somehow manage to make them realize that I'm pulling a bad IP, and that has nothing to do with my OS or router, since it worked ~5 minutes before.

    I find it especially funny since Windows was originally built to be a single-user, non-networked OS, and the same certainly can't be said about *nix.

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  28. There will be the day, and it's coming faster in the EU than it is in the states that these ISPs are going to be forced to start finding out what Linux is all about. Because they won't have a choice.

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  29. Have had the same issue with Charter. Of course, if you get a tech on site, many of them run Linux or BSD and it ceases to be an issue.

    AT&T, though, takes the cake. It took them almost three weeks to figure out that San Carlos, CA was a long distance call from TX and that their redirection coding required a "1" in front of the area code. But the tech who finally figured it out couldn't fix it; had to wait a few more days for a "software engineer". Go figure ...

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  30. To fix the getdeb issue on Mint Linux, look at your repos in the package manager and you will notice that they say mint linx or something like that. Just change that to karmic and you will be able to download the getdeb updates as Mint Linux is Ubuntu.

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  31. I wrote some DHTML that works on every browser except MS IE (all versions). IE gives me the error message: "unknown runtime error". Everyone I asked to test it is seeing it too. I reported this to MS. They replied with essentially the same kind of basic idiot checks. (try updating, rebooting, etc.) Did I do this? No - it's just easier to have my client switch to an open source product that works - Firefox. Now if I can only get him on Linux. ;)

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  32. The service is not at fault. Management generally fears Linux users and does not want customer service dealing with them.

    When I explain that I can ping my gateway and trace the path to an IP on their network (or whatever was required to place the fault squarely on their shoulders), they bump me up to tier 2 (American) support. When I explain to tier 2 that I train CCNA level techs including their colleagues, they are much more cooperative.

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  33. I had no problems so far with customer support. When I was still using Versatel (major German ISP), the problem occured that I could log into the router but had constant problems accessing the internet (sites would only load after many tries.)

    Thus I called support and described the symptoms. The support person asked me whether I used their software; I denied and stated that I had configured the router manually once and had not changed any settings since then. Then it went on like this:

    "Which Windows do you use?"

    "No Windows at all, I have Linux running here."

    "Uuuhm... well..."

    At that moment I felt the instant urge to turn the tables and support customer support. "The version of Linux I use has a Windows-like control center, I can just give you my network settings." (I used Mandriva at the time, which has extensive GUI configuration.)

    So I walked him through my IP and DNS settings and also added that I had not changed them for quite some time, either.

    It ended up with him doing some remote measurements and he told me that the router dropped the connection and reconnected all the time, probably a hardware failure (it turned out to be true). He even asked me with a respectful voice which distro I use :-D

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  34. I've also experienced this farce.

    When forced to use a Windows box to diagnose the problem try the following if you want to wreck the operators day.

    You:
    OK I'm booting my Windows machine.
    Wait, it says I need to restart due to updates.
    OK, it is restarting, wait now there is a blue screen with white writing! What did you do??? Where is my mouse arrow??? You broke my computer! It was working fine until you made me do this update stuff!!! I need it fixed!!! Get me your superior, I need my computer working now!

    You can substitute a virus problem, noting that wasn't there on your Linux box, now all the computers are infected because they made you use Windows...

    Immature Evil Geek >: )

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  35. I had a similar experience. I was forced to use windows to go through a web based form. The only thing it did was set up the dsl modem. They refused to help me if I used linux. I would never recommend anyone to AT&T DSL.

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  36. In the UK I used to use British Telecom (BT) as my ISP. Their support was not good. I had a dual-boot Windows/Linux PC. When I lost internet access one day they told me to reinstall some Windows software. When I said that I wasn't getting internet access from Linux as well, they said that Linux would still be loading the Windows drivers. I explained (without being condescending or rude) that it wasn't, but they refused to accept it.
    I had to go along with it - cursing my own lack of persuasiveness - and waste time on pointless Windows configuration changes before they would move to the next step.

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  37. A number of things regarding AT&T Tech Support that I have personally found when contacting them:
    1. The AT&T DSL Level I Support/Helpdesk Tech is probably located in India.
    2. A higher-level AT&T Manager probably WROTE that Level I Tech's troubleshooting and problem-isolation guides many years ago. It's entirely possible that the Manager writing these is no longer even WITH AT&T any more.
    3. Standard operating procedures in these guides are to AT LEAST request from the end-user reporting a DSL problem a) their name and/or AT&T account, b) their AT&T e-mail address, c) the operating system on the computer used to setup the DSL modem/router (this setup computer can be called the "remote" computer), and d) info on the actual DSL modem/router, e.g., its model number, the device's operational status-check, and the password used to remotely setup/administer the DSL device.
    4. Once this Level 1 Tech has this info from step 3, the Tech then MUST run the ordained AT&T troubleshooting-guide procedures one-by-one until the DSL issue is resolved. If there are any customer-initiated "changes" in steps 3c or 3d, e.g., using Linux on the "remote" setup computer or replacing the original DSL modem/router model with another, then the Level I Tech MUST either encourage the customer to get AT&T-approved OS's and/or devices -or else- basically just STOP supporting the customer with the DSL problem. Some attempts to escalate such AT&T Customer's DSL problems to Level II / Supervisory Support (i.e.,"passing the buck") are little more than AT&T-approved attempts by the Level 1 Tech to isolate the Customer and STOP supporting them.
    5. Some KEY hints when using Linux and HAVING to use AT&T's DSL Technical Support:
    a) You must never tell the English-speaking Help Desk Level I Tech that you are using Linux OS on your "remote" setup computer. As others have already suggested above, tell the Level I Tech that you are using Windows XP instead (even if YOU know that this is untrue). If you mistakenly blurt out that you are using Linux, then fix this mistake by then telling the Level 1 Tech ASAP that you have JUST switched to using a networked computer with WinXP on it.
    b) Ensure that the physical networking connections of your Linux remote computer and the DSL modem/router are all functional. Power on the DSL modem/router, then power on and boot up the remote computer into Linux (if you have not done so already).
    c) Log into your Linux box as a normal non-root user, start X-windows (if not automatically started), open your Linux browser (I use Firefox) and then open at least one terminal window, e.g., gnome-console. konsole, xterm, rconsole,...etc. Change to the superuser/root-user by using the 'sudo su -' command at the terminal prompt, followed by the superuser's /root-user's password if needed.
    d) Tell the Level I Tech that you will be setting up the DSL modem/router MANUALLY from your browser. Enter into your browser address-bar, the IP address the Level I Tech gives you; this is likely to be something like '192.168.1.254'. You then follow along the Level I Tech's setup and troubleshoting procedural steps just as if you were REALLY using Windows instead of Linux -- again, never TELL them you are using Linux!
    e) When the Level I Tech asks you to check network connectivity by the WINDOWS commandline command 'ipconfig /', use the LINUX terminal 'ifconfig' commands instead, these from within your su/root terminal window --- a good idea is to briefly scan the 'ifconfig' man page for its own switches; enter 'man ifconfig' for this.

    Hopefully, higher-level AT&T management will get the hint and maybe they'll better support us Linux users.
    Wishful thinking for sure!

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  38. I think the question, "what OS are you using?" is pretty funny. I don't remember ever installing anything locally on the pc to get a modem or router to work, and you can get into a router with any browser with the IP address.
    I'd say the best thing to do is right off the bat, tell them you can ping the router so it is not a PC issue.

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  39. Hey, I'm with BrightHouse-Orlando.

    I've had both the good and bad experiences with them and others. I get the same tier 1 script reading kids with "we don't support Linux" (after is the computer on? and rebooted both modem and router?). Connectivity problems have always been on their end. But to their defense, I schooled in Linux admin/certification classes with two of their sys-admins.

    Another time some guy attempted to set up a phishing site on my development box. BrightHouse security shut down my account. When I finally was routed to the network security dept. (after going through 3 tier levels and RoadRunner inet provider) he said to do a fresh re-install of Windows. I explained that I was on Linux, then he said, "we have found that Linux users understand their systems much better than Windows users. Just fix the problem and call us back." Then he gave me the direct number of the dept. I fixed it in a few minutes and called, bingo back on the Internet!

    Years ago I was with Earthlink and they gave me a compliment for using Linux (even though they didn't support it). The tier 1 tech then proceeded to ask me questions about administering a Linux box. It seems several techs in the support dept. were installing it at home! They quizzed me for their tech support!

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  40. I have to say, when I set up my comcast cable internet, I had initially had trouble and couldn't get a connection. When I called Comcast, I was prepped and ready for a big battle, since I have only linux machines at home. I went right out and told them I use linux, but they was decidedly uninterested in my operating system, fiddled with something on their end, and in a few minutes I was up and running.

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  41. When I got ATT/DSL I, too, was ready for trouble. Instead the techs that I ended up dealing with were wonderfully supportive. They said up front that they had to tell me they don't support Linux, but after that everything was cool. They were very interested in what I was doing at my end and in what browser I was using (weirdly, the setup page didn't display properly in Firefox and I ended up installing and using Konqueror--they were interested in the whole install process, too.) They even took notes for future reference. So I guess it depends on who you get.

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  42. I suspect it is as much incompetent techs as corporate policies that lead to this kind of problem. With my provider, Qwest, I've encountered this sort of issue with some techs, but not with others.

    Of course, the responsibility for the education of their techs can be laid at the corporation's feet.

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  43. Here's how you can do it without lying. I *always* say I don't have "Internet Explorer" because it doesn't exist for my platform. Then they just assume I'm running a Mac and they work with me. Once the problem gets fixed, *then and only then* I tell them I'm actually running Red Hat or Ubuntu GNU/Linux. They go, "really, it works with Linux?" I say yep, it does. Dumbfounded, they go "oh...wow...umm, ok."

    Stupid script followers....

    --SYG

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  44. When you outsource customer care to companies that just use scripted care workers to keep costs down, you get what you pay for.

    When I have issues out of my ISP (Comcast) and they go down the scripted answer path, I ask to speak to a technician who can help me troubleshoot the issue.

    As one poster mentioned, it is usually not anything to do with the in-house router but some misconfiguration upstream. The only way to get these things resolved is to know enough about network troubleshooting to get by the minimum wage tier and to a real technician.

    Learn how to use ping, traceroute, and ifconfig from the command line. You'll be shocked at how quickly you can identify the issues yourself and avoid the timewasting calls to scripted responses that were created for Windows.

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  45. My university does the same thing. They will not support Linux issues at all. In fact I wonder if the wireless network deliberately causes issues with Linux. My Ubuntu system inevitably gets kicked off the wireless after 10-20 minutes and cannot connect again until it reboots. This happens on no other wireless network ever, so its not a driver problem. Windows XP does the same thing, ironically, but Windows 7 does not. I wonder what's different.

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  46. When I first got Brighthouse for cable modem I had not only a Mac, but a home network with Windows, Mac and Linux. The guy installing the cable modem looks at my setup and says "I don't know anything about Macs." I told him that was fine I had other machines as well but if he could assure me the cable modem was working that I would finish the setup himself, which I did, leaving him scratching his head.

    I NEVER tell the people on the other end of the line what OS I run and have even had to ask for a supervisor when I traced a DNS issue on the ISPs end from another provider. The people you get on the first call read out of a book and have no concept of what any of it means.

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  47. where are they supposed to draw the line? the bigger the ISP, the more commodity support personnel become and to what level are they supposed to train these guys? they're cheap for a reason, 80% of the calls are easily scripted fixes, 20% arent and they can't train these guys to deal with everything.. should they be equally versed in openBSD? how far do you want these guys to go when its easier to say hey we support one platform... if you don't like that response you should escalate. thats what i do to get someone with a brain.

    now, that being said.. companies need to at least acknowledge we're not all carbon copies of eachother.. the the COOLEST call i've ever had was 2mo ago when my lenovo battery died.. everything in lenovo documentation showed my battery was on the recall list. but the *ONLY* way to get it recalled was to run this windows utility that would collect and ship the info to lenovo.. it wouldnt run in wine, it wouldnt run in a vm. i wasnt going to reinstall windows so i called support and asked if there was an alternate method. haha, lenovo support actually told me flat out that they do not support linux and since the laptop is NOT supported it is NOT covered under the recall. i was absolutely taken aback and after counting to 10 to avoid a tidal wave of profanity i kindly asked her how lenovo could refuse a defective battery RECALL(not warranty claim!) based on the software i was running.. furthermore, LENOVO SHIPPED THIS MODEL WITH LINUX INSTALLED(i didnt mention mine had actually come with windows at the time) and she, much to my surprise didn't even budge.. she stumbled around for a minute on the whole linux being shipped with it but told me sorry thats their policy, you can go purchase windows and run the diagnostic utility.. there is no other method. i told her i wanted a supervisor who was smarter than her.. he quickly got me off to a level 2 guy who was able to put me through a manual process.

    for that reason alone, i'll never ever EVER buy lenovo again.. but just because a first line support guy says "gee whiz sir linux is a mystery to me can you please run windows.." i'm not going to rule the company out..

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  48. Nathan, I think Linux users need to get serious about filing antitrust complaints against Microsoft whenever possible. The more complaints, the more likely someone with power and resources will investigate.

    I would love to see distros be made with a simple form that pops up (when??) that allows the user to quickly file a complaint of this and similar nature to the relevant officials.

    Microsoft should have loaded each new OS they ship with anti-Linux measures, eg, gratuitous changes that they have researched will cause Linux to "break" and which they then know how to overcome (possibly by breaking standard protocols or going around them).

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  49. Yes here. Former Earthlink client. After a major Ohio storm, where power to lots of people and business was down for days, I was able to connect to every internet site except my employer. I managed to finally convince levels 1 and 2 that neither my non-windows computer nor my router (nor even the cable modem) was to blame, by sending tcp traces, but at Level 3 there was gridlock. Earthlink is affiliated with Time-Warner in my area, and each Level 3 was blaming the other company. I had to drop them and re-up with someone else. Wide-open west is serving me well, thanks.

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  50. So You think AT & T is the only telco that allways blames others? Obviously none of you have ever had to wait 45 minutes in a Telstra queue only to find out the problem is on your pc or router, nevermind that all of a sudden the given password just doesn't work or some other issue on their end. I'm a technichian, and can tell you I run into these things almost daily. Oh, I've learned to remove all antivirus/firewall software before placing that support call....it's their favorite item to fault THEIR problems on. When asked what OS I'm dealing with, of course it's allways windows, why tell them anything else, because you already know the answer to that. My conversion rate of switching my clientelle away from the TELCOS is roughly 99% once the end-users contract with the Telcos expire, and I do that free of charge, leaving me with happy repeat for pay customers. The odd thing is, once the Telcos are out of the picture as the actual ISP all associated problems see to just go away.

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  51. I always had the same problem with Charter, they wouldn't help me unless I had a windows computer directly connected to the modem. The worst part was that my connection to Charter went down everyday and wouldn't go back up until I called them. Everytime they tried to blame my router since by the time we disconnected the router(or I told them I did) and connected a win laptop directly to the modem and restarted the modem they would have it up and running so of course it was my router. The time it finally broke the camels back is when it took 2 or 3 phone calls and several hours to get it working and all I wanted to do was play a 360 game with my friends on-line. Since they always blamed my router I directly connected the 360 to the modem and then called them and they said they could not help me with the 360 directly connected and I told them I was trying to avoid my router since they always blamed my router. They eventually blamed it on the fact that I had the 360 directly connected to the modem. If their crappy service only works with the modem directly connected to a windows pc and thats acceptable I said I don't want your service and I cancelled. I never had a problem with my router with the provider at my prevouis house and I have never had a problem since with my new provider. If you can't have decent service then you need decent customer service.

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  52. Here in Canada too. Sympatico and their support team who actually Eastern Indian, not even Canadian, blame anything that isn't on their script. The OS, the client ("we don't support Thunderbird, go to the manufacturer's site"). Up here I've been told TekSavvy Solutions Inc. WILL support geberak e-mail clients (As opposed to Outlook and Outlook ("hack me, I'm yours") Express. I'm telling people to use ISP's with real techs that know what they are doing. 8-8 support with real techs is better than 24/7 with know-nothing script readers.

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  53. The sad thing is that just about every home office router runs Linux. But nooooo your ISP doesn't support Linux. Its just the only reason anyone can connect to the Internet in their own home.

    Dumb AT&T. I shouldn't be surprised. They are just like every other huge corporation. Staffed by a bunch of people that can barely fog a mirror and attempt to mind numbingly read a screen of non-sensical text back to you when you have a problem.

    There are like 10 people that know what they are doing. Good luck calling and getting one of them :)

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  54. Had a similar problem with Comcast years back. I had a Linux box that had been running for months with no problem. Then one morning, I wake up and DNS queries took forever. Yet none of my other machines (Windows) had problems. Even more curious, my laptop which dual booted saw the problem only when I was using Linux, not XP.

    The tech argued with me that it had to be my Linux configuration, even though nothing had changed from when it worked before. Long story short, I changed my router to use DNS servers other than the Comcast servers, and the problem disappeared.

    Extremely frustrating that they can't get something that's so universal as DNS lookups to work properly with all platforms.

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  55. I had a problem with my cell phone (HTC Dream G1 android t-mobile phone) with AT&T. The problem was that my wife would try to call and it would quickly be disconnecting. I was sick of the nagging, so I called AT&T and explained the problem. (AT&T has me on their network with a Samsung BlackJack II) After cheching the account and both phones, she transfered me to a technician. After a little delay, I asked if I need to do something. He said that he was looking in the manual for "Blacklist" for my BlackJack II. Laughing to myself, I went through the Android menus and found the black list, and removed the numbers there. Told the tech, that I found it and we were good to go...

    Sometimes it does help to call tech support.

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  56. It's not "pass the buck", it's poor tech support. As a tech support guy myself, I can vouch that that kind of service just wouldn't be acceptable...if one of our users has a problem, it doesn't matter if it's on our end, their end, whether it's our configuration that's causing the problem or their code that's buggy, we fix it.

    Admittedly, I work at a supercomputing facility that has a great many fewer users than AT&T, but I routinely fix things that are very much not our fault, and if I don't understand something, it's my responsibility to learn enough about it to help the user. That level of service is simply inexcusable.

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  57. We have a similar situation at my Job. Not exactly about customer OS (we're in an other market), but about customer-controlled equipment in general.

    Our simple strategy is that we have a few proven, supported setups, where we offer phone-aid for troubleshooting etc. If the customer chooses to run something else (completely home-brewn or whatever), or do not wish to troubleshoot his/her own stuff, we simply warn them that we will assign a technician, but if that technician discovers that the problem was at the customers end, the customer will be charged a standard-fee corresponding to a one hour-payment of the technicians time. (around 70$)

    Most customers then decide to go through their own setup once more. Sometimes they come back and actually asks for a technician to have a look, but usually our logs show them "magically" coming online again just after the call.

    It's a good system, we can allow just about any configuration without really supporting more than we can handle, and the best part is that we're reducing so much customer visits for our service partners that we rarely need to actually charge the fee. When given an incentive, most customers helps their own problem.

    And yes, as some others have hinted, ~90% of our incoming technical calls actually seems to be due to problems at the customer end.

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  58. All this AT&T bashing. I have had problems with every service provider I've ever dealt with, AT&T, Verizon, Cox, Charter, etc...

    Don't forget AT&T invented UNIX in 1969 so they can't be all bad.

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  59. I had a similar issue with AT&T (back when they were still SBC). Although there is some light at the end of the tunnel. More recently I moved into an area that had a cable provider. I had some issues with my internet connection. The support person said "Are you using Windows?" In most cases I simply lie and tell them I am, but occasionally I do tell the truth. This was one of those cases, but almost reluctantly. I took a deep breath almost sighing "No." The support person said, "Oh, you're using Linux, so you already know what you're doing, let me check something." A few moments later the connection was restored and it was all working. I didn't even mention Linux myself. I figured she'd think it was Mac, but no... she assumed Linux. I was in total shock.

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  60. I have had a totally different experience with AT&T in regards to Linux. I purchased their U-Verse service last year, and when the techs came out, they left me Ubuntu, Fedora, and openSUSE Live CDs. I played dumb and let them explain, and they did a really good job in doing so. I then let the cat out of the hat letting them know I am a core Ubuntu developer and KDE developer. They hung out for a bit and geeked out. Since then they both are friends now. I had to recently call AT&T for a problem and when asked which operating system I used, I said Linux, they then asked which Distro. I told them Kubuntu, and the response back was "That is one of the Ubuntu based distros correct?" I was impressed, and they even slung some Linux commands at me. Come to find out in the end, it was a problem with the fiber system coming into the house.

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  61. While your Internet is still operational, write down your network settings. Then, when it does go down, you will be ready.

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  62. I have had this issue so many times in the last 14 years I have run Linux I don't even tell them I run it anymore. Right away I know they will blame Linux for everything and say its not supported.

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  63. "Don't forget AT&T invented UNIX in 1969 so they can't be all bad."

    Just for the record, the company that "invented" Unix was Bell Labs which is now part of Alcatel Lucent, not what is now known as AT&T. So please feel free to continue the AT&T bashing.

    http://www.alcatel-lucent.com/wps/portal/!ut/p/kcxml/04_Sj9SPykssy0xPLMnMz0vM0Y_QjzKLd4w3MXMBSYGYRq6m-pEoYgbxjggRX4_83FT9IH1v_QD9gtzQiHJHR0UAaOmbyQ!!/delta/base64xml/L3dJdyEvd0ZNQUFzQUMvNElVRS82X0FfNDZL

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  64. In South Florida it seems you must have XP SP2 or later and IE in order to setup a new ATT dsl account activeX controls are needed.

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  65. Someone commented that Linux is difficult to support. Someone else pointed out that the support doesn't have a script to read from for Linux. Our experience is that Linux is actually easier for us to support than Windows, here's why:

    a) We see a tremendous amount of Windows machines infested with spyware and viruses.

    b) We see a lot of people who come in with machines that don't have genuine Windows licenses.

    c) Linux actually tends to have more drivers than Windows XP working right out of the box.

    Supporting Linux isn't that difficult. But as others have pointed out, it helps to have a database to refer to for tricky problems. Google is a friend here, but we maintain our own database based on an internal Drupal site with a bunch of CCK fields customized to support our technicians.

    The same thing can be done for Linux rather than saying "we don't support it."

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  66. So since AT&T is all one big happy family, when you have a problem with your iPhone connecting to the internet, should you install windows XP or 7 on it?

    GOOD LUCK!!!

    So much for AT&T and their future plans for Android Phones... since linux is the problem for them... I guess they better drop the iPhone and forget the Android phones too...

    What a bunch of Idiots *AT&T* sucks!

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  67. I can't say I've had this specific experience, but I have had my fair share of experience with AT&t Tech "Support" (if they can call it support).

    Right before I switched to Roadrunner, my AT&t service was out 95% of the time, obviously an issue on their side, so I called to try and fix it. The guy said that, because I used a third party modem (after theirs BROKE), they couldn't help me. Such bullshit... one of many reasons I'm happy to be done with them.

    Plus, if you're not already familiar with it: http://www.eff.org/cases/hepting

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  68. I've run into the same thing with a home NAS I bought. The printed instructions with it admonish the user that they must run a windows setup utility and open a port through their firewall/router so that when you connect to the NAS to admin it via the web interface, you actually bounce out to the company's server then back to your NAS.

    I figured that was BS. I connected to it via Ubuntu and Firefox just fine, kept my whole system secure, etc. All by simply knowing the IP address my DHCP server had assigned to it. When I called tech support on a different issue (the HD in the NAS died) the guy I talked to was astounded it could work without following their directions to the letter.

    The irony here? Internally the NAS is running a variant of Linux...

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  69. Do not feel like the lone ranger..

    I too had a similar problem with AT&T. They informed me that I needed to load Windows. The lowly AT&T outsourced support was really surprised at my response.

    "No, I do not run Windows. I run Linux and it is not the fault of Linux." "We do not support Linux, he replied. "Yes you do," I responded. "No, we don't. It is not on our list." "Yes, you do. Would you like to take a guess at where I work and what I do?" I inquired.

    "I am sorry sir, that does not have anything to do with the problem," he responded.

    "Well, yes it does. You see I am a senior level architect at AT&T, and our systems run on OS390, Solaris, and Linux."

    After a brief conversation, needless to say, I was not the one apologizing, nor did I boot Windows. :)

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  70. Wow!!! and I thought this problem was only with my local ISP and only in Bangalore. Every Dam ISP in India runs on Linux and every tech support guy I have spoken to in the last 5 years has flatly refused to help unless I used a Win machine... and just because of this I have been maintaining one XP machine in my office.

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  71. Netherlands: Former Wanadoo, now Ziggo. Internet is gone..
    Checked my settings, all good. Checked the modem, no connection.
    I call the supportdesk, and told them: no internet.
    Yes, my pc is on, yes my modem is on, yes my router is on and i have local networkconnection. What kind of router do you have? A Belkin. Aha, thatś the problem, not compatible with our modem. But it worked very good untill today. Yes, but we updated your modem, so you have a better and faster internet. Well, not now. Ah, i see in our database that we have a new firmware for your router, iĺl email that to you. I DON'T HAVE INTERNET!!! I'll just emailed it, goodbye sir..
    I installed my very old router, received the email with attachment, installed to Belkin router, uopdated the firmware, and, No internet. Call the support, sorry wrong version, i email a new , i installed the old router etc etc, still no internet.
    Borrowed a Linksys router, and yes internet......
    Send then a email, and the answer: Our modem only works with Windows XP sir. And what about the fact that i emailed this with Thunderbirs under Linux Mint???/
    No answer....

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  72. That's odd, I always thought Ziggo only supported Netgear and Sitecom and even then told you to go to the manufacturers website ;-).
    I work as one of the script monkeys and an additional problem for us in first line support is that we get about a call a month from a linux user... It is a fact that linux users generally have a better understanding of their systems and networks. This also means it isn't cost effective to train us. Nor is it easy for us to support linux because you do not get the familiarity with the problems and the procedures.
    I know, lame excuses, but unfortunatly true none the less.

    Posted from Iceweasel on Sidux.

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  73. QUOTE - Nathan
    My university does the same thing. They will not support Linux issues at all. In fact I wonder if the wireless network deliberately causes issues with Linux. My Ubuntu system inevitably gets kicked off the wireless after 10-20 minutes and cannot connect again until it reboots. This happens on no other wireless network ever, so its not a driver problem. Windows XP does the same thing, ironically, but Windows 7 does not. I wonder what's different.

    --

    try restarting smb nmb winbind and network, or use network manager and disconnect from the network then reconnect...saves a couple minutes

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  74. AT&T's Bell labs invented UNIX in 1969. Bell Labs was created by the merge of Western Electric Research Labs & part of the AT&T engineering division in 1925. Bell Labs was part of AT&T until 1996 when it was spun off into what became the corrupt Lucent Technologies. So saying that AT&T had nothing to do with the invention of UNIX is absurd.

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  75. The current AT&T is SBC in diguise. These are the same clowns that tried to force all computer bulletin board operators in Texas in the 1970's to have business phone lines (every minute of connection in-bound or out-bound is metered and charged to your account). Why? Sheer greed. The current management has not changed their attitude in 40 years.

    When they bought out Ameritech (central USA, including Illinois, where I live) in the 1990's, SBC found that it was cheaper to pay the public utility commission fines for poor service than to actually meet their service commitments. Their attitude is: Customer service be-damned, we just want your money.

    So, yes, blame the cheap slime that run AT&T and hope that something comes along an ruins their business model. They deserve it.

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  76. Admitting that you use Linux can sometimes be useful. The live in manager in my building uses XP and he hasn't got a clue when it comes to his PC. He's somehow got himself onto a telemarketing list and so he gets lots of calls from people selling Windows related stuff.
    On top of this his English is pretty bad, it takes him 10 minutes before he knows what they're calling about.
    One time I happened to be there when his phone rang, they were trying to sell him some Windows product or other. All I had to do was tell them that we used Linux (I use Ubuntu) and he hasn't had any more phone calls from telemarketers. Worked like a charm.

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  77. Each company should have good call center representatives who can attend to customers' needs for assistance. Most often, the success of companies relies on the people who represent them. The ability of call center agents to answer customers' inquiry the best way possible can make a big difference to an organization's image and the kind of service they're providing.

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  78. say what U will..but the *NIX boxes are holding UP the internet.

    itsw the windows ones that are breaking it, especally after more and more are brought up. They are FAR FAR less secure, less self-aware, and less prone to attack. PROVIDING the ADMINS KNOW WHAT THE HELL they are doing.

    If they don't they shouldnt be using *NIX. They should go back to thier day jobs as programmers.

    --This coming from both a programmer and IT Professional of 10 years.CERTIFIED in the FIELD.

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  79. I'm all for starting new divisions within both ATT and Comcast just for Linux support. Most flavors all connect via the same settings anyway.

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