HOWTO: DLPlus on Ubuntu

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by Jonathan Rose

Since most modern computers (rather stupidly) do not come with a serial port, some of us have had to make do with USB-->Serial adaptors to get Laddiecon or Desklink to work with our m100s. Currently, there are known issues with Windows Vista and these adaptors (when used with the above programs). There are alternatives, however. Linux actually works flawlessly with the cables, but there are no real instructions online as to how to actually get this setup up and running, so I figured I'd explain how I did it. Note that this is not a tutorial on Linux itself. Basic knowledge of terminals, file structure, and the like is required. Feel free to copy and paste this onto the wiki, or anywhere else you guys might think useful , guys:

1. Download DLPlus from

2. Extract the archive somewhere convenient. I used /home/downloads/dlplus, but anywhere will do so long as it's convenient.

3. Open a terminal and change to the newly extracted directory

4. Type 'Make' (or ./make if that doesn't work). You should get a message saying 'dl' is compiled. That's the linux executable of Desklink. If you can't make the file, update your linux libraries (which is beyond the scope of this tutorial). Most current distibutions will have no difficulty. Note that Ubuntu users *may* have to type 'sudo make' and supply the admin password.

5. Now the fun part. Get your USB-> Serial cable out and ready, but do not plug it in yet. Type 'lsusb' (minus the quotes) in the terminal and hit enter. You should get some lines of text in the following format:

Bus 001 Device 001: ID 0000:0000

6. Now plug the cable in. Type 'lsusb' again. You should get an additional line with the the info for the USB adaptor. It should be labeled as such, but if not, no biggie. Write down the two four-digit numbers following the 'ID' on the NEW line (the ID XXXX:YYYY numbers).

7. Now, you're ready to install the driver. Use the following command, where XXXX is the first four digit number from the lsusb command listing, and YYYY is the second:

sudo modprobe usbserial vendor=0xXXXX product=0xYYYY

Note that non Ubuntu users may have to switch to super-user (type su and hit enter) mode and drop the 'sudo' from the above command.

8. Ok, it should be working now. Type 'dmesg' (minus the quotes) and look for a listing in the report that says something about USB & serial. The text may vary, but it should give you a device code like 'ttyUSB0' or ttyUSB1'. Remember this. It's the device you will use to activate desklink.

9. If all is well, and the device is listed in the report, you need to make the change to your config file so you don't have to do this each time you want to use Desklink. Add the following line to your /etc/modules file. In ubuntu, just type 'sudo gedit /etc/modules' at the command line, and add the following line to the end of the file, where XXXX & YYYY are the same numbers as above (from the lsusb listing):

usbserial vendor=0xXXXX product=0xYYYY

10. Now save the file, and (optionally) reboot the pc. You are ready to go! To use the program, just open a terminal, switch to the extracted Desklink directory and type:

./dl /dev/ttyUSB0 *

(* Note that the 'ttyUSB0' might be something else. It will be what I told you to remember in step 8, the listing in the dmesg report. Common device names are ttyUSB0, ttyUSB1, ttyS0, ttyS1 etc)

The desklink program is now running (hopefully)! There is no text, as it's running similar to a daemon. Hit control-c to exit back to the prompt. Connect your Model T laptop via a null modem cable and activate TS-DOS (or follow the directions in the new extraxted directory for setting up TEENY.CO using the provided 'teeny-linux' program.)