Reasons why linux rocks no. 42232118887676
image from airplane window at height looking over Nicosia

Last week I was in transit through a European airport (which shall remain unnamed) and I was very pleased to find that free wi-fi Internet access was provided. This was however limited to 60 minutes after which time you would have to pay for continued use. I immediately wondered how such a limit might be enforced… the obvious candidate is by Mac address… how else could they do it right? So after enjoying a coffee and my hour of gratis, sure enough I was ‘cut off’. Opening up a terminal I did the obvious…

  sudo ifconfig wlan0 down
  sudo ifconfig wlan0 hw ether 00:11:22:33:44:55
  #i.e., change to some address other than your own
  sudo ifconfig wlan0 up

Well, ‘obvious’ but ofcourse google helped with the exact syntax. The connection to linux? Well, my travelling companion was using the latest incarnation of that other popular OS (not the fruity kind…) and wondered ‘how did I do that’ (he was also cut off). Queue much digging around in the system settings, web searches, looking at registry entries … we (I :) … ) even downloaded an app that supposedly let you do that for his OS but no luck. I have very little love for ‘that OS’ but even I was left surprised at how seemingly impossible it is to achieve a simple MAC change (granted its a hack, but I should have control over my own machine right?). Queue much silent smugness at the awesomeness of my free, open OS.

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