Who are we ?
This page is intended as list of local (or not so local) resources for Linux users. eg Good computer shops, ISP's, Broad-band access. Suggestions from members are welcome.
Computer fairs are a good source of cheap computer parts for more experience computer users. However, beware of rip-off merchants. Never buy equipment marked untested and always get the address of the vendor for any expensive parts.
Three companies currently organize regular fairs in Birmingham, they are :
Telewest's Blueyonder service is available in some parts of Birmingham. Offers 512kb download and 128kb upload speeds. Linux is not officially supported, but the cable modems plug straight into an ethernet card and are very easy to configure under Linux.
ADSL is available in most parts of Birmingham, offers 576Kb download and up to 288Kb upload (distance dependent). Recent cuts by BT in the wholesale price of ADSL services mean that some ISP's are now able to offer this service for less than the cost of a cable modem.
As with Cable Modems, Linux is not officially supported. Most users can now go for a self-install ADSL product, which allows you to choos and buy your own ADSL modem. Linux users would be well advised to go for an ethernet connectable device, however, for those on a tight budget, the Alcatel Speedtouch USB modem does have a Linux driver. Their are currently two different drivers sets available for the Speedtouch ADSL modem, an official one from Alcatel and an unofficial one, known as the Benoit Driver. The install procedure for the official driver runs to several pages and involves kernel re-compiles and patching of other programmes and downloads of components from several locations. The Benoit driver, by comparison is easy(er) to install and does not require kernel re-compiles (although a kernel patch is required for stable operation over a long period of time.) or patching. The author spent many hours wrestling with the official driver, before giving up and trying the benoit driver, which worked after barely 30 minutes of effort.
For a full list of ADSL providers, look at the ADSL Guide. Be aware that many providers are now able to offer packages that are cheaper than the standard BT offering.
South Birmingham Linux User Group, United Kingdom