I’ve always been a lover of all things Linux and open source because it forces you to learn cool new stuff on a daily basis in your quest to use other devices with your system. When you experience problems on your Microsoft OS, you just want to blame Microsoft whether or not they are to blame. But when you experience problems on your Linux OS, you feel like you’ve broken something even when your Linux OS is to blame. If different people from all over the world testify to the wonders of open systems like the Linux OS and it doesn’t work properly for you, then you haven’t done something right, right? This feeling motivates you to learn more and more. I just love that feeling and I try to apply it to other aspects of my life.

Enough about my obsession with Linux OS. I recently purchased an MTN ZTE MF667 HSPA+ USB modem and as soon as I connected it to my Microsoft OS, it auto ran itself and installed the MTN GUI and in no time, I was Googling and Facebooking. Next on my agenda was to use the modem on my Ubuntu OS because that’s what I use most of the time. Normally, on Ubuntu, once you connect a modem like the popular Huawie ones, it appears under the Network connection icon and once you click it, you just need to go through a simple set-up like selecting your country and your mobile network provider’s name from a preoccupied list. Once that is done, you are up and running but in some cases, you might need to enter additional details like the Access Point Name (APN), Username and Password. These details are readily available to find on the almighty Google.

I thought that was all I needed to do. But upon connecting the ZTE modem to the Ubuntu OS, the Network only detected the ZTE USB modem as an Ethernet connection. There was no start-up configuration as with the Huawie modems I was used to. I thought to myself, “here we go again”. The first thing I did was to check the content of the USB modem and fair enough, there were three folders named Linux, Mac and Windows. I opened up the Linux folder and found a PCL_MTNNIG.tar.gz file then I opened up the tar file and found a PCL_MTNNIG folder that contained four files including a readme.txt file. At this point, being an intermediate linux user, I thought to myself “all I have to do is to extract the tar.gz file and compile its contents. But lets have a look at the readme.txt file first”. The readme.txt file contained the following instructions under Installation:

Before installation, make sure you have the needed dependencies installed (qt3, wvdial1.5.6 or newer).

Make sure you are in root privilege.

The steps of installation are as following:
– Copy the installation packet “PCL_MTNNGA.tar.gz” to Desktop or other path;

– extract and get a folder, the folder include following files or folders:
MTN_F@stLink.tar.gz This is a installition packet;
install.sh This is a setup script;

– Double install.sh in the directory to install the software;

System Requirements: Linux Kernel version 2.6.20 or higher.


After reading the installation instructions, I proceeded to install the needed dependencies qt3 and wvdial1.5.6. During the installation of these dependencies, I was prompted to install the following libraries first:


Once these libraries were installed, the required dependencies were successfully installed and I was now ready to proceed to the next instruction. The next step was to extract the folder and “Double install.sh in the directory to install the software”. This didn’t make sense because even if you right-click on the tar.gz file and extract the folder in it and then double-click on the install.sh file, it would just open a text file with codes in it. That’s not really helpful to someone following the instructions on the readme.txt file as they would get stuck there with no more directions to follow.

This is where the learning process begins for this particular scenario. How do I install a tar.gz file on ubuntu? After a quick googling of this question, I found a solution as follows:

# Copy the tar.gz file to any folder e.g. Desktop
# Open up a terminal
# Change your directory to the location of the tar.gz file
$ cd Desktop
# Unpack the tar.gz archive
$ tar -xvzf PCL_MTNNIG.tar.gz
# Change your directory to that of the extracted folder
# Check the content of the extracted folder
$ ls
# Finally, run the installer
$ sudo ./install.sh

The MTN software was installed successfully and I was up and running on the internet in no time.

Like many other software out there, the documentation of the installation process is of paramount importance. When companies fail to provide proper documentation of the installation process of their software, it causes problems and upsets the customers. MTN or ZTE corporation (the modem manufacturers) probably don’t care about their customers who use Linux OS because they are the minority of their customer base. But regardless of the Minority status of Linux users, customer service should be an all inclusive feature of any organization and MTN has failed in this regard.

Chima Okechukwu C