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Just Another Tech Blog

Anything and everything having to do with technology, computers, science, and most of all... Linux! The documentation of my Linux endeavor.

KNOPPIX 5.1 Released!

Sunday, December 31, 2006

Finally, it's done. Just in the past couple of months, there has been quite a lot of new and exciting development in the GNU/Linux world, which of course should also be present in the current Knoppix version. Even that some of the new and optional features (like the 3d-desktop beryl) are still in experimental stage. Repeatedly, new Kernel-/KDE-/OpenOffice releases have spoilt our planned release dates, but on the other hand, now all these are available in the new release as well (2GB of software on CD, 10GB on DVD)...

(Apart from the usual tons of updates and bugfixes)
  • Update to Debian etch/testing as base distribution
  • Linux Kernel 2.6.19(.1) + fuse 2.6.1
  • cloop 2.05 Realtime Decompression with extended block-buffering for reduction of CD/DVD access latency
  • Replacing unionfs by aufs for better stability & performance
  • KDE 3.5.5
  • OpenOffice 2.1
  • ntfs-3g (12.12.2006) for full transparent NTFS write support, also tested with boot options knoppix tohd= and knoppix fromhd=. Please note the hints about ntfs-3g below.
  • ntfsprogs-Update (ntfsresize, ntfsmount, ntfsfix)
  • integration of 3D desktop beryl+emerald as add-on for KDE (manual start with gnome is also possible), via boot option knoppix desktop=beryl. Please note the hints given below.
  • Experimental script for creating a bootable flash-pendrive from a running KNOPPIX live session (mkbootdev by Martin Öhler)

Of course, this is all from the official Knoppix 5.1 release notes! Check them out @ Knopper.net. Or head on over to the mirrors list!

posted by linnerd40, Sunday, December 31, 2006 | link | 0 comments |

Clone Your Ubuntu installation

Here's a very helpful post from Ubuntu Geek that helps you clone your Ubuntu installation. This is very helpful when wanting to create a new system very similar to your current Ubuntu installation. Since Ubuntu uses apt, this can apparently be done quite easily. Check it out at Ubuntu Geek.
posted by linnerd40, Sunday, December 31, 2006 | link | 1 comments |

Enlightenment... WOW!

Saturday, December 30, 2006

Wow is all I have to say... just wow. Enlightenment is THE most appealing window manager I have seen... EVER. I booted up a miniPentoo LiveCD, which uses Enlightenment as its default window manager. Upon start up... I was instantly blown away. What a spectacular environment. Everything was perfectly laid out, and the theme was simply amazing. With a click of my mouse, I could enter the menu where everything was logically and very simply laid out. Beatiful effects. I have no time to write much now... but expect a full review as I attempt to get Ubuntu to look like this! WOW!

posted by linnerd40, Saturday, December 30, 2006 | link | 0 comments |

BackTrack 2.0 on USB Flash Drive!

Friday, December 29, 2006

w00t! I finally got around to installing BackTrack2.0 on my USB Flash Drive. It was very easy. Simply start up the BackTrack Installer ( Menu > System > BackTrack Installer), and then point the installation towards your USB flash drive. Keep in mind you will need a flash drive with at capacity of at least 1 gigabyte. This is for the 700MB "Live" install. I suppose, if you had a large enough flash drive, you could go about the FULL (Real Install). The Live install will give you a Live, bootable USB Flash Drive. This is even more useful than a LiveCD really... I mean a flash drive can fit in your pocket, and won't break that easily. The install takes about 5-10 minutes depending on you rsystem. Performance when running from the flash drive quite exceptional, considering a whole operating system is running from your Flash Drive. Just be patient with the boot, it took my system a good 10 minutes to start up (at first you will just see a black screen with:
starting slax.....................Don't work, it keeps going, and then you get to the more graphical boot up. By default, backtrack boots into just a root terminal. You could theoretically make another partition on your USB flash drive to store files under. Which would be quite practical. Read my review of BackTrack2.0 here.
posted by linnerd40, Friday, December 29, 2006 | link | 5 comments |

Why is KNetworkManager Evil? (Caution: RANT)

Why? I have done nothing to offend it! Nothing. Yet, whenever I boot a Linux OS (Live CD or hard drive intall) and KNetworkManager is present... I never get my wireless internet connection up. Never. It just hasn't happened. I was playing around with Sabayon Linux 3.2 (which, btw is an EXCELLENT distro), and it uses KNetworkManager as the default... network manager. But, it also has a slew of other internet configuration utilities. It even had the RT2500 Configuration Utility (from RaLink!). That really surprised me! My network card was recognized by default... and everything. But, when I go into connect through KNetworkManager... it always gets to 28% (configuring device) and then it fails. It then brings up a config dialog for the wireless interface. This encludes areas to fill in the "essid" of the network and the encryption. I choose the WEP Hex encryption, and enter the key. Then I try connect. Again, 28% and then it fails. WTF??? The config dialog comes up again... but I notice that the encryption type has been changed to "Passphrase." No... I don't use a passphrase... I USE A 64bit WEP KEY! So, I choose WEP Hex again, enter my key, click connect. Again, 28% and it fails. BUT, when I used the RT2500 Configuration utility (on Sabayon) everything worked fine, and I was "supposedly" connected. Everything is green, everything is go, go, go! Why then, when I open Firefox, can no page be displayed? WHY? Everything should be working.. but no. Does everything have to go through the KNetworkManager to work? I closed that, because it didn't work. I even tried the manual way with iwconfig and ifconfig. Nothing. My card is RECOGNIZED. I don't see why I can't connect. And then I get distros like SUSE (using Kinternet) and Ubuntu, and BackTrack, that JUST WORK! No, this is not right! Please help... any reader with an idea? This is very frustrating.

Ok, /RANT. Well, that turned out to be about more than just the KNetworkManager... but still... why can't I connect, when my wireless card is clearly recognized? I know this is not the best way to go about a problem... but honestly, I need to vent :D .Help.

UPDATE: Well, it may be a problem with my static IP... and DHCP not working right or something. Oh well.
posted by linnerd40, Friday, December 29, 2006 | link | 8 comments |

Rotating the compiz cube with the Wii mote (VIDEO INCLUDED)

Today, David has brought his Wiimote at Mandriva office so that we make some experiments with the Wiimote linux drivers. I've started with WMD, which is a python program that can generate input events based on the info sent by the Wiimote (on Bluetooth). It just required python-xlib and pybluez to run (I've uploaded packages in Cooker), to load the uinput kernel module, and to configure it in WMD config.

Since I don't have a sensor bar here (and haven't found time to build one), I can only use the accelerometer info. I've wrote a quick patch for WMD to send button events when a reasonnable acceleration is detected on the Wiimote X axis (see the motion analysis).

By mapping the relevant buttons on Ctrl+Alt+Left on Ctrl+Alt+Right, it gives a nice result in compiz: the Wiimote makes the 3D cube rotate \o/
This is awesome! Read more @ blino. Digg this!

Uploaded by blino
posted by linnerd40, Friday, December 29, 2006 | link | 0 comments |

Linux: Data Corruption Bug Fixed

After several days of effort, Linus Torvalds tracked down and posted a patch for a low level data corruption bug [story]. In a series of emails, Linus thoroughly explained the thought process involved in isolating the exact problem. He described the bug as being a difference of expectations between the filesystem and the VM.
Excellent. Read more @ KernelTrap.org.
posted by linnerd40, Friday, December 29, 2006 | link | 0 comments |

lshw: The best command for finding hardware info

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

If you ever need a very in depth look into all your hardware, lshw is the answer. For best results run this command as super user (root, su):
$ su
# lshw
The result will be a detailed outline of all your hardware. Enjoy!
There is also a short version:
# lshw -short
And you can filter based on class. Ex:
# lshw -class cpu
posted by linnerd40, Wednesday, December 27, 2006 | link | 0 comments |

The Best Geek Quotes

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

The classics. Courtesy of The Board of Wisdom.
  1. There are 10 types of people in the world: those who understand binary, and those who don't.
  2. If at first you don't succeed; call it version 1.0
  3. Microsoft: "You've got questions. We've got dancing paperclips."
  4. My pokemon bring all the nerds to the yard, and they're like you wanna trade cards? Darn right, I wanna trade cards, I'll trade this but not my charizard.
  5. 1f u c4n r34d th1s u r34lly n33d t0 g37 l41d
  6. I'm not anti-social; I'm just not user friendly
  7. I would love to change the world, but they won't give me the source code
  8. Programming today is a race between software engineers striving to build bigger and better idiot-proof programs, and the Universe trying to produce bigger and better idiots. So far, the Universe is winning.
  9. A computer lets you make more mistakes faster than any invention in human history - with the possible exceptions of handguns and tequila.
  10. My software never has bugs. It just develops random features.
Number 7 and 8 are simply the best. I actually have a t-shirt with the first quote (Binary People @ ThinkGeek) :D. w00t! Here's anther one I like [also on a t-shirt I have (@ ThinkGeek)]:

"Go away or I will replace you with a very small shell script."

I love the looks I get when I wear that one to school!
posted by linnerd40, Tuesday, December 26, 2006 | link | 0 comments |

Ubuntu So Far: What's Hot.... What's Not

So I've been using Ubuntu for about 2 and a half weeks. Really, I am quite enjoying the experience. Here are some thing's I've noticed that I like/ dislike:

What's Hot:
  • apt-get style of package management. GREAT system. No dependency hell, updates are quick and easy. Lots of software repositories.
  • Hardware detection. All my hardware was detected.
  • Beryl: The most fun you will ever have you with your desktop
  • Good variety of applications pre-installed.
  • Performance is very good. Firefox finally has a reasonable load time.
  • LOW RAM USAGE!!! Remember my posts about how my RAM was being eaten up? No more of that. My RAM usage usually hovers around 400MB/ 1.5GB. That's with Firefox, Amarok, Gaim, and Liferea open.
What's Not:
  • Gnome. Ugh. I really don't like gnome that much. Not very "useable." After having used Konquerer for such a long time, nautilus was really hideous (However, it is nice and simple... not bloated).
  • Removable media handling. Why can't I just open an Audio CD in nautilus or a file manager? Why does sound juicer open? Tried changing this... didn't help.
  • Gnome apps. I had to install K3B, Konquerer, and Amarok. Gnome really has nothing as good as these. However, I do like Rhythmbox.
  • Some of the n00b guards really get in the way. But I can over come that.
  • Ubuntu keeps thinking that I have a floppy drive!!! I hate that... very unnecessary.
So all in all, there is a lot to love about Ubuntu. The cons... well, I think I can live with most of them. Great distro, on a scale of 1 to 10, definitely a 9. Good job Ubuntu team! Can't wait until the next release!
posted by linnerd40, Tuesday, December 26, 2006 | link | 1 comments |

Happy Holidays!

Sunday, December 24, 2006

I'd just like to wish a very Merry Christmas to all my readers! Enjoy the rest of the holidays, relax, be with family, enjoy the presents and food!

posted by linnerd40, Sunday, December 24, 2006 | link | 1 comments |

Science of Santa Claus

If you’re skeptical of Santa’s abilities to deliver presents to millions of homes and children in just one night, North Carolina State University’s Dr. Larry Silverberg, professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering, can explain the plausible science and engineering principles that could allow the Jolly Old Elf to pull off the magical feat year after year.
[Santa and his north pole elves]'s advanced knowledge of electromagnetic waves, the space/time continuum, nanotechnology, genetic engineering and computer science easily trumps the know-how of contemporary scientists.
Ha! I knew it! It does have to do with physics! Thought so! Read more @ news.ncsu.edu.

Ooo.... more evidence over @ PhysOrg.
Calculations maintain that the laws of physics should prevent Santa Claus from delivering all his gifts and that Santa would burn up in the atmosphere if he tried. The internet magazine, forskning.no, has put together a team of four top researchers to look into the case. The panel’s conclusion is clear: Santa can do the job and Christmas is saved!
This time there's an ion-sheild... w00t! " 'Santa obviously has an ion-shield of charged particles, held together by a magnetic field, surrounding his entire sleigh. This is how he solves the heat problem,' points out Knut Jørgen Røed Oedegaard."
posted by linnerd40, Sunday, December 24, 2006 | link | 0 comments |

MplayerXP -0.6.1 Released

Saturday, December 23, 2006

"MPlayerXP is a branch of the well known mplayer (http://mplayerhq.hu) which is based on the new (thread based) core. The new core provides better CPU utilization and excellently improves performance of video decoding. Main goal of this project is to get monotonous CPU loading during movie playback."

The new version of player contains multiple bugfixes and improvement performance of SOFT-quit, swscaler, QT codecs, added support of new codecs and gcc-4 compilation improved. Visit the MplayerXP homepage for more info.
posted by linnerd40, Saturday, December 23, 2006 | link | 1 comments |

Finding Hardware Details of your Linux Machine without Using A Screw Driver

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Many new Linux users have trouble determining the true specs of their Linux machine from command line. Linux GUI software’s have evolved over past few years and provide the same details in very beautiful laid out manner; however an administrator/home-user may not have luxury of those tools on every machine.
So in this quick guide we will learn how to find specs of your Linux machine from command line. By the end of this guide you will be able to obtain full inventory of all components on your Linux machine within minutes. This should also help you in finding correct drivers and support for your hardware’s chipset.
Read more @ SecGuru. Awesome guide. These are very useful commands in all sorts of situations... especially the dmesg command. Good stuff!
posted by linnerd40, Thursday, December 21, 2006 | link | 1 comments |

Setting Up A PXE Install Server For Multiple Linux Distributions With Ubuntu Edgy Eft

This tutorial shows how to set up a PXE (short for preboot execution environment) install server with Ubuntu 6.10 (Edgy Eft). A PXE install server allows your client computers to boot and install a Linux distribution over the network, without the need of burning Linux iso images onto a CD/DVD, boot floppy images, etc. This is handy if your client computers don't have CD or floppy drives, or if you want to set up multiple computers at the same time (e.g. in a large enterprise), or simply because you want to save the money for the CDs/DVDs. In this article I show how to configure a PXE server that allows you to boot multiple distributions: Ubuntu Edgy/Dapper, Debian Etch/Sarge, Fedora Core 6, CentOS 4.4, OpenSuSE 10.2, and Mandriva 2007.
This is useful stuff right here. Read more @ HowtoForge.
posted by linnerd40, Thursday, December 21, 2006 | link | 0 comments |

Linux Blasts Off in U.S. Tactical Satellite

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Linux was shot into space Dec. 16, as part of a second-phase Air Force Research Laboratory program aimed at making space more "operationally responsive." The TacSat-2 (tactical satellite) program aims to create "micro satellites" that can be launched quickly and cheaply, to support tactical military operations.
That is just awesome. Linux in space! Never hear about Microsoft accomplishing stuff like this.
Read more @ LinuxDevices.com.
posted by linnerd40, Tuesday, December 19, 2006 | link | 0 comments |

Defining Keyboard Shortcuts in Gnome (Metacity)

Monday, December 18, 2006

A glaring usability problem in most gnome setups is not having the ability to easily map a custom keyboard shortcut to launch and application/ command. But, it can be done through use of the gconf-editor. Here's how:
  1. Run the gconf-editor
  2. Go to "Apps->Metacity->Keybinding Commands" Here is a list of twelve slots for commands. Say you want one of the to run... Firefox. Choose a slot (remember the name/ number). Double click (or right-click and choose "Edit key" in the popup-menu), to edit the key. In "Key Value", enter "firefox" (or whatever command opens your application of choice). Press OK.
  3. We have set the command, but we must still tell Metacity what key to press to
    run it. Go to "Global keybindings" (in the list to the left). Scroll down until you find the line "run_command_1" (or whatever number slot you had chosen).
  4. Select the line and double-click or select "Edit key". Change the key value to whatever you want (Control and Alt are placed within < >). In my case, I entered F . Press "Ok".
And there you have it! A custom keyboard shortcut made to fit your needs! Thanks gnome-hacks.com!
posted by linnerd40, Monday, December 18, 2006 | link | 2 comments |

Ubuntu Edgy: So Far... So Good

As a reader of my blog might know, I recently purchased a new 250gig hard drive. w00t! But what to do with it? I decided to install Ubuntu... and that has perhaps been the best decision I have made so far in my life... but it didn't come completely without problems. Since I have and AMD Athlon 64 processor, I decided to go with the 64 bit version of Ubuntu. Stuff worked nicely... until I got to having install plugins for Firefox. Nothing worked... I tried multiple guides, but I just couldn't get any Flash or Java to work. I started reading up on 64 bit Linux, and learned that, although it has come a long way, it still isn't quite there yet. (UPDATE: Really, it is wrong to say that 64 bit Linux is not there yet. It is, it is just some proprietary software holding it back. Thanks Jure and Roy for bringing this to my attention!) So, I decided to hold off on 64 bit (performance gain was truly minimal) and went with 32 bit. Absolutely no problems. Everything just works... everything. The install was really easy, and only took about 20 minutes!
Of course, the first thing I went on to do was install Beryl. To do so, I first had to install the nVidia driver. No problem. Worked fine, better than on my SUSE 10.1 install. Also, OpenGL is fully working, where as I could never quite get the best performance out of it in SUSE. So, on to installing Beryl:
  • Ensure all packages up to date
Install your *ubuntu-desktop metapackage specific to your DE, e.g. sudo apt-get install ubuntu-desktop
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get upgrade
sudo apt-get dist-upgrade
  • Add repositories
gksudo gedit /etc/apt/sources.list
  • Add the following line at the end of this file (x86 and amd64):
deb http://beryl.lupine.me.uk/ edgy main
  • Add key
wget http://beryl.lupine.me.uk/1609B551.gpg -O- | sudo apt-key add -
  • Save the edited file
sudo apt-get update
  • Install Beryl
sudo apt-get install beryl emerald-themes
  • Back up xorg.conf
sudo cp /etc/X11/xorg.conf /etc/X11/xorg.conf_backup
gksudo gedit /etc/X11/xorg.conf
  • Add this to xorg.conf "Screen" section
# Enable 32-bit ARGB GLX Visuals
Option "AddARGBGLXVisuals" "True"

# If you are using an older version of compiz that
# does not support rendering into the Composite
# Overlay Window, you will need to disable clipping
# of GLX rendering to the X Root window with this
# option, or you will get a blank screen after
# starting compiz:
Option "DisableGLXRootClipping" "True"
  • Add this to xorg.conf "Device" section
Option          "TripleBuffer" "true"
  • Restart X with ctrl+alt+backspace
  • Start Beryl (if it doesn't start on its own)
  • Start Emerald (if it doesn't start on its own)
emerald --replace
The best way to use Beryl is by creating a separate session for it. This is done by making a startup script and an X session file. So:
To create the session shell script, open up your favorite text editor (eg. gedit or kedit) as Root and create a new script named startberyl.sh:
 gksudo gedit /usr/bin/startberyl.sh
Enter the following text:
sleep 4
exec gnome-session
And save.

To create the session, create the file /usr/share/xsessions/Beryl.desktop, and give it the following contents in a text editor (again, as root or using gksudo/kdesu):
[Desktop Entry]
Now when GDM or KDM starts, you should have a session called Beryl available for selection; if you log into this session, Beryl will run (via the startberyl.sh script) and load GNOME or KDE for you. Logging into your normal session will give you a standard, un-accelerated desktop for troubleshooting or running programs which don't play nicely with AIGLX.
That came from the Ubuntu Guide @ ubuntuguide.org and the Beryl wiki. Simple as that. Beryl is great fun. There are tons of options to chose from to customize your setup. Beryl manager is very practical in that it easily lets you switch from Beryl to Metacity and back. Good for games.

The other thing I love about Ubuntu is the apt-get way of installing/ managing packages. Nothing could be easier. Just navigate over to the Ubuntu Guide, and learn how to add extra repositories. With those in, you can basically install anything you want, quickly and easily. Best thing... NO DEPENDENCY HELL!!! YAY!!! For you GUI lovers, there is the great synaptic package manager, which lets you very easily install/ uninstall/ update packages all from the comfort of a GUI. w00t!
The only thing that actually annoyed me about Ubuntu was the lack of a root password/ account. But, I quickly took care of that.
sudo passwd root
Enter your password, and then set the desired password for the root user.
So, overall I am extremely happy with Ubuntu. Although it sometimes over simplifies stuff a bit, it is only to help the new Linux user. But don't be fooled, Ubuntu is great for every skill level!
posted by linnerd40, Monday, December 18, 2006 | link | 4 comments |

HOWTO Compile SUper Tux 0.3.0 (Milestone 2) [UBUNTU USERS]

Thank you Mark from diveintomark.org! He has provided everybody with a great HOWTO on how to compile/ install the latest version of SuperTux... MILESTONE 2.... for Ubuntu users! Simple, and easy, just copy and paste! I am sure this can be adapted for a a variety of systems.

Debian (unstable) and Ubuntu (Dapper or Edgy) users:

  1. Install prerequisites:

    sudo aptitude install checkinstall subversion autoconf jam g++ libsdl1.2-dev libsdl-image1.2-dev libphysfs-dev libvorbis-dev libogg-dev libopenal-dev
  2. Download the source and unzip it:

    tar xvfj supertux-0.3.0.tar.bz2
    cd supertux-0.3.0
  3. Fix the level names to work around an installer bug:

    cd data/levels/world1/
    sed -i -e "s/ - .*.stl/.stl/" worldmap.stwm
    for f in *" "-" "*.stl; do mv "$f" "${f/ - *.stl/.stl}"; done
    cd ../../..
  4. Compile:

    ./configure --prefix=/usr
  5. Install:

    sudo checkinstall -Dy "jam install"
SuperTux M2 is AWESOME. It is almost impossible to quite playing. The biggest new feature is omni-directional maps. Instead of just being able to move forward (as in milestone 1) you can move forward, backward, up, and down! There is also brand new music (sounds great!), new level themes (including "light forest"), new enemies, and new actions (power ups). Just awesome. Well, wait no longer... start playing! Thanks again Mark!

Check out the SuperTux wiki with more info on Milestone 2.

posted by linnerd40, Monday, December 18, 2006 | link | 5 comments |

Awesome Linux Distro Time-Line: 1991-2006

A great visual to see just how Linux is all related... and how it has evolved over the years! Check it out (big image).
posted by linnerd40, Monday, December 18, 2006 | link | 2 comments |

New Digg Features!

"New Digg Features O ’ Plenty by Kevin Rose at 6am, Dec 18th, 2006 in Digg Website Big update today. Tons of new features to share with you – many inspired by feedback you’ve given us over the last few months (thanks!)."

Head on over to the Digg Blog to see the video showing some of the new features. Overall, some great stuff added! Best thing: the new layout. Digg finally takes up the whole screen! w00t!
posted by linnerd40, Monday, December 18, 2006 | link | 0 comments |

RPM: Plans, goals, etc.

Saturday, December 16, 2006

Everybody knows it, RPM needs a serious overhaul... so why isn't anything being done? Well, turns out, Fedora has stepped up to the plate:
There has been a lot of discussion in the past few months about RPM -- its present state, its future plans, and its leadership team. In particular, the Fedora Project has received numerous requests asking us, "what are you guys doing about RPM?"
Here is our answer, in a few words. Then if you want more, you can read the rest of this note:
The Fedora Project is leading the creation of a new community around RPM. One in which the leaders can come from Fedora, from Red Hat, from Novell, from Mandriva, or from anywhere. Job #1 is to take the current RPM codebase and clean it up, and in doing so work with all the other people and groups who rely on RPM to build a first-rate upstream project.
What is being done?
What we're doing here is collecting together everyone who has a stake in the future of RPM and building a healthy community around it. This involves major bug fixing, development work, performance work and making regular, predictable releases. As it stands today, we don't have these things. This is a good first step. Could you call it a fork? Maybe. But we're doing it because we think it's the right thing to do, for distributions all the way down to the individual users of RPM.
Here are some initial goals of the project:
  • Give RPM a full technical review, based off of RPM 4.4.2. This is the common base for Novell and Red Hat. Look what vendors have on top of 4.4.2 and work towards a shared base. Figure out which pieces or code paths are unnecessary, poorly implemented, or receive little to no use, and either clean them up or clear them out. Make RPM simpler.
  • There's a lot of folks out there who are using RPM, including the various Red Hat/Fedora based distros, Suse, and Mandriva, just to name a few. Simplificaion and focus on the parts of RPM that are core to these stakeholders is a good way to start.
  • Do a better job with bug fixes. Squashing bugs that already exist, or closing out bugs that are related to parts of RPM that are superfluous.
  • Give RPM the stability that it needs to continue to be the cornerstone of many distributions.
  • Enhance the rpm-python bindings, which includes understanding and gathering together the work that already exists in this area.
I have forever had mixed feelings about the RPM style of package management. In theory, it is a great package manager and on the surface it looks wonderfully simple, but from the first time I experienced "dependency hell" I had my doubts about the whole system. Now, with work that Fedora is doing, it looks like a marvelous rebirth of RPM could be in store. For now though, I'll stick with Ubuntu (more on that later) and the apt package manager.

Read more @ fedora-announce-list redhat.com and at All About Linux. Digg this story.
posted by linnerd40, Saturday, December 16, 2006 | link | 0 comments |

Triple Booting

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Triple booting can be a tricky issue. But, with the right preparation, it can be done. This post is inspired by a reader who left a comment on the message board, I will try my best to answer it.
Do you know anything about triple booting? i installed backtrack on a 3rd partition and it took over... no other os's booted :(
The best thing to do in this case is reload GRUB, or add the other OS's to the boot loader from the OS currently running. The MBR or GRUB configuration was likely over written by the BackTrack installer. To get the other operating systems to boot, first try to find ways to add boot entries from your OS that can boot. There is often a tool present somewhere in the OS to et you do this. If not.... well then you will have to manually edit the menu.list file. Add the information for you operating system to this list, you will have to add something along the lines of :

title Ubuntu Edgy Eft
root (hd0,5)
kernel /vmlinuz root=/dev/hda6 ro quiet splash
initrd /initrd.img

for every operating system you want to boot. First line denotes the title you want the entry to have. The second line specifies where the OS is present. The third and fourth address where the boot image is found, and the fifth and sixth finish it up.
Do get a better idea of what to enter, Google is your friend. Search editing GRUB boot entries, or GRUB. Ask around at forums, to see what exactly to put for you specific distro.

Another option is to reinstall GRUB.This is not as difficult as it may seem. A good guide to follow is on the GRUB page. This process uses the "Alternate Install" on the Ubuntu CD. You can also use the Super Grub Disk. Read up on how to use it @ the Super Grub Disk Documentation Page.

Another great article to reference is on the GRUB page. This fairly detailed and easy to follow HOW-TO, shows you how to add multiple Linux OS's to GRUB, and have them boot/ appear properly. Although not exactly pertaining to this question, it is helpful in learning how to edit GRUB.

Also, learn how to backup/ restore GRUB. Having a backup is always very helpful in situations like these where a single OS overwrites the MBR or GRUB configuration. Learn how to back up GRUB @ the GRUB page.

I really hope this helps. If not, look around at forums, and see what others tell you to do. THE BEST THING TO DO IS TO TAKE EVERYTHING SLOWLY. DO NOT DO ANYTHING THAT YOU HAVE NOT THOUGHT THROUGH FIRST. YOU DON'T WANT TO LOOSE DATA.

Good luck, and fill me in on how everything goes! If you supply the specific OS's that you have on the rest of your disk(s), I may be able to help more. But this should give a good start.
posted by linnerd40, Wednesday, December 13, 2006 | link | 1 comments |

OpenOffice 2.1 Released!

OpenOffice 2.1 has been released! What's New:
  • Gascon is a real locale
  • "Run Query" button in query designer toolbar moved
  • CTRL+F starts the record search in the table view
  • query design: keyboard shortcuts
  • Support for NetBSD, Linux 64 bit, Linux SPARC in TestTool Environment
  • Extension Dependency OpenOffice.org-minimal-version
  • And More!
Head to the download page, or check out more on the release notes.
posted by linnerd40, Wednesday, December 13, 2006 | link | 0 comments |

Coolest Places You Will Find Linux Directing Operations

Saturday, December 09, 2006

This list of interesting Linux uses is by no means exhaustive. I just picked linux uses that interested me and I hope you will find it interesting too. Most of the picks can from Linuxdevices.com. You can check it out and see their cool stuff.
Awesome list. I, for one, didn't know that Linux ran in the S-Class Mercedes! Wow. Check it out.
posted by linnerd40, Saturday, December 09, 2006 | link | 0 comments |

Most Awesome Beryl Plugin: XglSnow

"XglSnow is a plug-in for beryl that brings the familiar xsnow christmas and winter feeling to the X-desktop." Check it out @ Cornergraf.net.

  • Snowflakes falling in a 3D space
  • Configurable
    • Number of snowflakes
    • Speed of snowflakes fall
    • 3D space

posted by linnerd40, Saturday, December 09, 2006 | link | 1 comments |

openSUSE 10.2 Officially Released!

Thursday, December 07, 2006

The latest version of the popular openSUSE distro, has finally been released! Version 10.2!
For download we offer as ISOs the 5 CD open source version plus our add-on CD with proprietary portions, such as Adobe Acrobat Reader, RealNetworks RealPlayer, and Sun Java Runtime Environment.
DVDs for all architectures are available and contain the open source version plus proprietary add-ons.
For the first time we offer a language add-on CD which offers support for languages which are not part of our base language set up. The Live DVD will be release next week.
Upgrades/ Addons Include (Thanks to Linux and OpenSource Blog for the info):
  • Distribution renamed to openSUSE
  • Available for i386, x86_64 and PowerPC architectures
  • Package groupings are handled differently, 10.2 will use Patterns instead of selections.
  • numerous improvements to the package manager stack, including a new update notification applet (opensuse-updater) and a console application called zypper which are both non-ZMD based.
  • Linux kernel, using only SMP kernels (The kernel-default package contains the standard kernel for both uniprocessor and multiprocessor systems. The kernel comes with SMP support and runs with only minimal overhead on uniprocessor systems. There is no kernel-smp package anymore.)
  • glibc 2.5
  • X.Org 7.2rc2
  • using opensync instead of multisync for much better syncing
  • integration of powermanagement features into hal
  • support to install multiple gcc versions in parallel
  • removal of several unneeded SuSEconfig scripts
  • no reboot after CD1, display of slideshow during all media
  • autoconf 2.60
  • bison 2.3
  • gcc 4.1.2 cvs
  • gdb 6.5
  • make 3.81
  • both KDE and GNOME feature improved start menus compared to upstream
  • additional CD with non-tier 1 languages
Major Change: The now default filesystem is the high performance ext3 filesystem! It is replacing the resierfs that SUSE has used for most all releases in that past.

Download now! Read more @ the openSUSE mailing lists.

Enjoy! Downloading my copy as I write!
posted by linnerd40, Thursday, December 07, 2006 | link | 0 comments |

Tabbed Browsing, Circa 1588

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

In 1588, the Italian Engineer Agostino Ramelli described a novel invention to facilitate the reading of multiple books at once:

A beautiful and ingenious machine, which is very useful and convenient to every person who takes pleasure in study, especially those who are suffering from indisposition or are subject to gout: for with this sort of machine a man can see and read a great quantity of books, without moving his place: besides, it has this fine convenience, which is, of occupying a little space in the place where it is set, as any person of understanding can appreciate from the drawing.

More @ The Proceddings of the Athanasius Kircher Society.

Note from the Nerd: Wow, tabbed browsing in 1588, but it took microsoft untill 2006 (IE7)! Just a thought...
posted by linnerd40, Wednesday, December 06, 2006 | link | 0 comments |

Firewall your applications with AppArmor

"Traditional methods of securing a computer have revolved around controlling access to critical services. So, if you need to secure network applications, you need to police network traffic. But security vendors are realizing that securing a computer, in effect, boils down to protecting the applications instead. Novell's AppArmor is designed with just this is mind." This is very useful for security concerned users. Since SUSE 10.1 has AppArmor... may as well give it a try! Read more @ Linux.com.
posted by linnerd40, Wednesday, December 06, 2006 | link | 0 comments |

w00t! My story on diggnation!

Sunday, December 03, 2006

A while ago, I submitted a video to digg showing the OLPC Linux interface. Looks like it got enough diggs to make it on diggnation! w00t! Check it out, download episode #74 @ Revision3. Check out the video here.
posted by linnerd40, Sunday, December 03, 2006 | link | 0 comments |

openSUSE 10.2 is done!

openSUSE 10.2 is ready for release!
Our build folks have created the first set of ISO images and will continue to create all of them - and the complete ftp distribution - early next week. We'll start syncing soon the images to the ftp mirrors so that they have all files on thursday, 7th December, for the announcement.
CD production is starting now and I hope to see some shiny green openSUSE 10.2 boxes on the shelves before Christmas.
Awesome, can't wait to download my copy! Read the full announcement @ the openSUSE mailing list.
posted by linnerd40, Sunday, December 03, 2006 | link | 0 comments |

BackTrack 2.0

Saturday, December 02, 2006

Yesterday night and this morning, I have been messing around with the BackTrack 2.0 LiveCD. BackTrack is the ultimate security oriented Linux distro around. It includes a huge variety of Security and Forensics tools providing everything you need to test the security of any network/ computer to the MAX (penetration testing). More on features later. Here's some background on the distro:
BackTrack is the result of the merging of two Innovative Penetration Testing live Linux distributions Whax and Audito. Combining the best features from both distributions, and paying special attention to small details, this is probably the best version of either distributions to ever come out. Based on SLAX (Slackware), BackTrack provides user modularity. This means the distribution can be easily customised by the user to include personal scripts, additional tools, customised kernels, etc.
Note the last part, about how it provides "user modularity." This is what makes BackTrack truly awesome. Here's how it works. Basically, you head to a site like the Slax modules page and download whatever module(s) you need. These modules are user made and provide everything from drivers for wireless devices, to whole programs and frameworks. You can then take these modules and insert them into the .iso file of your slax based distro. This is most easily done with the MySlax creator. Sadly, the MySlax creator is only available for Windows based systems *humph*. No problem for me though, I just quickly booted up my Windows XP VM, and installed it on there. The MySlax creator is extremely useful in not only insterting modules into your .iso, but also in creating bootable USB flash drives (Parallels has crappy USB support though, so I couldn't try it) and configuring boot options for the LiveCD (gui, no gui, environment, etc.). Let's hope MySlax is ported to Linux soon! The only module I chose to instert was one containing the drivers to my wireless card based on the RT2500 chipset. Once you have the custom .iso made, you can burn it to a CD and boot up the distro.

Boot up was no problem, and most all my hardware was automatically detected. Boot time wasn't bad, considering it was loading the whole OS off the CD, it can be lowered by disabling hotplug hardware detection. BackTrack has a nice uncluttered feeling right from the top by not offering the scads of boot options found in Knoppix. By default, it doesn't enter into a GUI, but rather stops at the shell. Just type:
start x
to bring up the GUI. Or, use the MySlax creator to customize boot options. The desktop is wonderfully free of icons (thank you BackTrack team!) upon start of the GUI (KDE), adding to the uncluttered feeling. Overall organization is great. Connecting to the internet was not too difficult. Using a combination of the good ol' shell commands iwconfig and ifconfig, along with the use of the the installed wireless assistant, I had my connection going in no time. Performance is quick and snappy, even when running from the LiveCD.

On to the features. As I mentioned above, BackTrack has the ultimate collection of pentest related programs. The default desktop environment is KDE, providing an excellent overall UI. Open the BackTrack menu from the KDE menu, and you see tools for scanning, spoofing, sniffing, wireless, password cracking, exploits, database (Oracle), cisco, tunneling, proxies, and more. If you can think of it, BackTrack's got it. There are even GUIs for most of the tools, but the best way to utilize BackTrack is through hard core shell work. Installing to a hard drive is no hassel, using the provided "BackTrack installer" you can have BackTrack 2.0 up and running from your hard drive in no time!

In short, BackTrack 2.0 is the definitive security based Linux distro. Every network/ sys admin should have a copy of the LiveCD in his/ her arsenal. The team really did some good work on this distro, I can only begin to imagine what the next release holds!
Check out the BackTrack homage @ Remote-exploit.org. Or, head straight to the download page! Happy hacking [don't do anything illegal though! =) ] Screenshots:

posted by linnerd40, Saturday, December 02, 2006 | link | 2 comments |