kinternet alternative in FreeBSD

Ian Smith smithi at
Sun Sep 16 18:17:12 UTC 2012

In freebsd-questions Digest, Vol 432, Issue 6, Message: 15
On Fri, 14 Sep 2012 11:26:57 +0200 Polytropon <freebsd at> wrote:
 > On Fri, 14 Sep 2012 11:05:03 +0200, suseuser04 at wrote:
 > > Matthias, Polytropon:
 > > Thank you for your answers.
 > > I am using KDE 3.5.10. I would like to use FreeBSD as a desktop machine
 > > for replacing openSUSE if it is possible at all.
 > I don't see a reason why this shouldn't be possible. Many years
 > ago, FreeBSD 4 obsoleted Linux as my home desktop, and I do not
 > regret the choice. Depending on what _you_ actually *do* with
 > your computer, there _may_ be certain "obstacles".
 > > For clarity, I do not need exactly kinternet, I want only an GUI frontend
 > > for pppdial which possibly resides in system tray and can be used to control
 > > network connections.

 > As I said, I've heared of a tool named kppp, and according to
 > the traditional naming convention in KDE (of _that_ time), I
 > assume this is a KDE program for dealing with ppp. Even though
 > networking is done at OS level which doesn't have such a tight
 > integration with desktop environments as this is done in
 > Linux (as the "big three" desktop environments are quite
 > Linux-centric), ppp can be invoked by the user (if he has
 > been granted the required permissions by the system administrator).
 > If a KDE program can "communicate" with the ppp command line
 > tool, it should work.

Well the trouble is that KPPP only ever supported pppd, and FreeBSD had 
finally dropped pppd by 8.0.  Many users requested user ppp(8) support 
in KDE and specifically KPPP, since nearly everyone was using ppp(8) 
even while pppd was supported.  KDE folks showed no interest, and noone 
on "our side" worked on adding ppp(8) support - as I recall, anyway :)

No wonder Linux folks hide pppd operation in wrappers and tray gadgets; 
manually configuring pppd on Mandrake or Debian with half a zillion conf 
files is a job best left to robots, indeed.  It wasn't nearly so bad on 
FreeBSD, as detailed in: 
(for FreeBSD 7.X only) but pppd still lacked functionality that had been 
straightforward in ppp(8) since at least '98 when I set it up for ISP 
dialout and 3 dialup 33.6kbps modems .. no X on that box of course.

 > > In openSUSE kinternet is a frontend for smpppd package.
 > > smpppd requires ppp. I will try to look into it whether  smpppd  can
 > > work with FreeBSD's ppp.
 > That sounds like an interesting approach. Good luck!

On this 8.2-R system I checked /usr/ports; no mention of smpppd. 
grepping /usr/ports/net/* for pppd|PPPD found a few things, including a 
port of pppd itself, presumably one could install that.

t23% find /usr/ports -iname \*smpppd\*
t23% find /usr/ports/net -exec grep -Hi smpppd {} \;
t23% find /usr/ports/net -exec grep -Hi pppd {} \;
[.. snippets ..]
/usr/ports/net/Makefile:    SUBDIR += pppd23
/usr/ports/net/l2tpd/files/patch-Makefile: # pools to pass to pppd ...
  syslog(LOG_DEBUG, "CTRL: pppd speed = %s", speed);
  syslog(LOG_DEBUG, "CTRL: BSD userland ppp system label = %s",
usr/ports/net/pppd23/Makefile:# New ports collection makefile for: pppd 2.3.11
/usr/ports/net/pptpclient/files/patch-aa:-PPPD = /usr/sbin/pppd
/usr/ports/net/pptpclient/files/patch-aa:+PPPD = /usr/sbin/ppp
/usr/ports/net/rp-pppoe/Makefile:# New ports collection makefile for: popular pppd pppoe client
/usr/ports/net/xisp/pkg-descr:The xisp package implements a 
  user-friendly X interface to pppd/chat

The latter might be of use with the ports pppd 2.3 (or later by now)

"The xisp package implements a user-friendly X interface to pppd/chat
and provides maximum feedback from the dial-in and login phases on a
browser screen, as well as a manual login terminal window. It also
provides greater versatility in interrupting a call in progress and in
general enhances the user's feeling of "what's going on", especially
if he/she is not all that well acquainted with the intricacies of
system log files. Xisp also has means to track your phonecosts.


So if suseuser wants to stick with the familiar rather than learning to 
use FreeBSD's ppp(8), perhaps some of that may help.

 > I know that's basically possible. Many years ago, I wrote
 > a Tcl/Tk-based frontend with buttons to enable / disable
 > the connection, see the status and the elapsed time. If
 > that has been possible, chances are good that KDE in its
 > much advanced manner has something comparable.

Maybe there's something new in KDE4.  I'm sticking with 3.5 on my T23; 
I only have 768MB RAM :) and it does everything I need on the desktop.

It's not that hard to setup KDE desktop bottons to run whatever scripts 
you might need to start/stop/whatever with user ppp(8), but I've never 
bothered since mpd does a fine job of fulltime PPPoE, and gkrellm keeps 
and displays good enough traffic stats by day/week/month.

cheers, Ian

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