Department of Mathematics FAS Harvard University One Oxford Street Cambridge MA 02138 USA Tel: (617) 495-2171 Fax: (617) 495-5132
FAS Computer Services to Harvard University IT: (617) 495-7777.

Starting September 30, 2009, there is No modem access any more.

For Modem connection to FAS using Macs or PC's, software is available at FAS . See their guides. To set up the connection by hand for the mac, proceed here. For trouble shooting in general, see here.

Here is some information to produce a ppp connection with the Unix flavors Linux and Solaris .


The following files were used under Linux Mandrake 7.1, a Redhat based Linux distribution and worked well. Adaption to other Linux distributions should be straightforward. The directory '/etc/ppp' contains file ppp-on and ppp-on-dialer . The second file contains the chat script. The file /etc/ppp/peers/isp . is also necessary. These files need to be adapted to your situation. The variable ACCOUNT in the first file is the user name in your FAS account. The speed be adapted in case you have a faster or slower modem. Dial in with a terminal modem connection like 'minicom' or 'kermit' to see what response comes instead of 'CONNECT 38400'. The speed of the modem can be adjusted in '/etc/ppp/peers/isp'. You start the connection with '/etc/ppp/ppp-on'. You might have to change permission of the 'pppd' program with 'chmod +s /usr/sbin/pppd' so that a user different from root can start ppp-on. Note that before the serial connection is established, the chatscript has sometimes to wait, up to a minute.
These files are available together as a gziped tar ball .


The following files were used under Solaris 7 and also work well. To connect from a home with a modem from a machine running Solaris 7 or Solaris 8, follow the guide at (which we found only after having tried three other guides unsuccessfully). The first important file is /etc/ . The chat script is contained in the file /etc/uucp/Systems . We have then two scripts harvard_up and harvard_down to start or stop the ppp connection to Harvard. So far, this is explained well in all of the literature. Crucial in our case (fortunately the kempston guide mentioned it) were three additional things: 1) to inhibit sending RIP packets by creating a file /etc/gateways , 2) to stop the system acting as a router (create an empty file named /etc/notrouter), and to disable host caching by uncommenting 'enable-cache hosts no' in /etc/nscd.conf and restarting the nscd daemon with /etc/init.d/nscd stop; /etc/init.d/nscd start. If the webbrowser should not yet get out, replace the line in /etc/nscd.conf with 'enable-cache hosts yes' and restart nscd.

Simplicity, Clarity, Generality B.W. Kernighan, R. Pike, in "The Practice of Programming".