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2. Introduction

"PLIP is Parallel Line IP, that is, the transportation of IP packages over a parallel port." Donald Becker (

Writing a PLIP install HOWTO seems useless nowadays since Ethernet cards are cheap: NE2000 cards cost about the same as a Null-Modem cable. This is true for desktop computers, but not for laptop computers, in which the PCMCIA card costs more than 10 times as much the Null-Modem cable. Moreover, there is a parallel port on every computer, but not always a network card.

Of course, this howto can be used to install Linux on every personal computer without loss of generality.

This paper is just what I've done to install a Debian GNU/Linux distribution on a Toshiba Portégé 620CT laptop, from a NFS exported cdrom drive, via a Null-Modem cable.

A Null-Modem cable is also called a Null-Printer cable.

A Null-Modem cable is also called a "LapLink" (or "Turbo Laplink") cable but the word "LapLink" is trademarked by Traveling Software under the number 75466713 since 1986, so I won't use it anymore.

This HOWTO will be obsolete when every Linux distribution includes a PLIP install option. For example, the Debian installation only needs to add two commands to make this HOWTO obsolete (ifconfig + route). I hope one Debian maintainer will consider this point.

I hoped this HOWTO would become obsolete but in fact it seems that it will never be, because some builders of some distributions do include PLIP installation sometimes but forget to maintain it in new releases (REDHAT for example).

I would be happy to know if someone used the PLIP-Install-HOWTO to install other Linux distributions from other network protocols (ftp, http, nfs, samba, or even NT/Novell servers)

Feedback with typos, bad English, comments, money, job, joy, fears, cries are welcome and recommended (not all with the same eagerness).

If a translation in any language exists, please let me know, I'll be happy.

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