Using “free” wi-fi on Linux

I recently found myself at a train station that claimed to offer “free super-fast wi-fi”; but when I connected to it, I was stuck with a little question mark in the gnome toolbar, and the chrome dinosaur.

I’m not the first person to note this, but I did manage to get it working… eventually.

I opened up a terminal, and even though the browser was sad, I could ping:

$ ping
PING ( 56(84) bytes of data.
From _gateway ( icmp_seq=1 Destination Net Prohibited

Sort of. DNS was working, anyway. So I tried curl:

$ curl -vL ""
* Rebuilt URL to:
*   Trying
* Connected to ( port 443 (#0)
... snip ...

And it looked like I was getting the actual Google homepage, not a hijacked page, which was interesting.

At that point I took the IP address from that request, and stuck it directly in the browser, hoping to skip straight there; and now the browser decided to show me the T&C page I needed. Once I’d ticked the right box, I was online.

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