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Get Slack!

The oldest Linux distribution in existence is Slackware. It’s about time that I actually posted something about my favorite Linux distribution on this blog.

Like most X-MS Windows users, I did not come to Slackware directly. I took a round-about route through a few other distributions first. The very first distribution of Linux that I installed on my machine was Ubuntu 6.06 “Dapper Drake”, an impressive offering from Mark Shuttleworth and the Canonical folks. I still have a copy of it on CD. It was impressive to this frustrated MS Windows user. It was also like having a lifeline thrown to me as I was drowning in frigid North Atlantic waters.

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Please click HERE to read the article in its entirety.

Thank you!

Until next time,

~Eric

 

The Benefits of using a Corporate Funded Distro

Recently I attended the Linux Foundation’s Linux Collaboration Summit in San Francisco, CA, USA. During my time there I had the opportunity to meet several kernel developers, community leads, journalists, etc... from all of the world that work with Linux based systems, I had several conversations with many people in which during my discussions I kept unintentionally stumbling upon the questions about the notable contributions and actions that specific companies had made to make their distros easy to use, that cannot be accomplished by a pure community based distro.

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ubuntu cannot show the chinese characters (Okular)

I recently find the fact that on my Karminc Ubuntu , i cannt read the chinese characters using Okular and other utilities.

i get it it lost a file of the Poppler library(poppler-data)

$ sudo apt-get install poppler-data

 

and then it's ok now.

 

 

Reference:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Poppler_(software)

 

a mysterious struggle

 

 a mysterious struggle

if you can do well with c++ , what else do you want ? --- python

 

Since last night , i have been tweaked Debian GNU/Linux , which  just like the cet4  is a nightmare for me . Prior to this , i alwalys used centos , ubuntu, mandriva, pcbsd(unix desktop distrio) and fedora. unlike the desktop distroes such mandriva 2010 and ubuntu , Debian is difficult  to some extent . one of the tinny troublesome stuff is the locale and the fcitx (a type of chinese input methods ), it's absolutely weird and did scare me a lot . i did the confiuguration of locale :
>> vim /etc/locale.gen
and del the # notation and looke like this :
en_US.ISO-8859-1
  en_US.ISO-8859-15
  en_US.UTF-8
  zh_CN.GB2312
  zh_CN.GB18030
  zh_CN.GBK
  zh_CN.UTF-8
  zh_HK.BIG5-HKSCS
  zh_HK.UTF-8
  zh_TW.BIG5
  zh_TW.EUC-TW
  zh_TW.UTF-8
then
>> /usr/sbin/locale-gen
next is the config of fcitx :
>> apt-get install fcitx
>> vim /etc/X11/Xsession.d/95input
...export LANG=en_US.UTF-8
export LC_CTYPE=zh_CN.UTF-8
export XMODIFIERS=@im=fcitx
export XIM=fcitx
export XIM_PROGRAM=fcitx
export GTK_IM_MODULE=fcitx
export QT_IM_MODULE=XIM
fcitx
though it works , it doesn't satisify me to the effect .
and another issue is the dependency of the programs .  i once had a try of Debian half year ago . it was it that bothered me so much at that time . and until now .
...

 

Dual booting

I've been playing.

One of the essential features of a Linux user appears to be the "how does this work?" mentality.  In fact, it might be the defining characteristic.  The more experienced people (they're the ones who have figured out why you should back up) are called "dev's", and spend their days creating new things for other people to try to break.  Disappointingly, when the users are successful, there isn't the "gotcha" that usually happens in this electronic game of hide and seek; all we get to do is fill in a bug report. 

Anyway, having a whole 18 months experience in Linux, I figured it was time to try breaking exploring something else.  I've already got a dual boot with Vista, but it's more of a legacy of times gone by now- the only real reason to use it is to see if it really takes that long to boot up (it does), and to see if the fingerprint reader really works (not supported in Linux; good on ya Dell!)  So, I figured if dual was no sweat, why not try triple booting?  Ubuntu is nice, and has it's strengths, but the mono debate and the Ubuntu One stuff are making me a little wary.  I've been backed into a corner regarding my options before on a PC, and don't want it happening twice.  While I'd played with VirtualBox, and got a system running, it wasn't the same as a full install, and - well, I've backed up now, so how bad could it get?

Apart from a /home backup, the other useful bit of data before you start is a wee file with the package list. This is one site that documents the process nicely: http://kevin.vanzonneveld.net/techblog/article/restore_packages_using_dselectupgrade/

Debian was my choice.  I had a look at Fedora, but the installer was a bit keen on taking up the whole hard drive.  LVM is a great idea, but with an inverse amount of documentation to its brilliance, I'm fairly sure.  The notion of getting locked in was driving me, and Debian has freedom to burn.  In addition, I figured it couldn't be too different to Ubuntu, given it was the originator.  You can have too much change, after all...

First up, the partitioning proved to be more challenging than I expected.    Sharing the swap partition is well documented and was supported in both installs.  A separate /home partition makes good sense, and it's well documented.  What's not so well documented is that - like toothbrushes- it's not a good idea to share /home between distros, even though that's where your data is.  The problem is that there's a heap of hidden files and folders, including the Gnome settings.  I'd run into this before with upgrading; ndiswrapper files left behind caused me a reasonable amount of downtime, so sharing my /home was a no-goer.

So, I ended up leaving the /home folder in the install partition, and creating a separate data partition, mounting it separately at /mnt/data/  .  That's where all the stuff I want to share across installs goes, and it's easy enough to set it up to mount automatically on any new install.  

Next up was GRUB.  Grand and Unified, but again not fantastically documented.  Grokking man pages is OK for a bit, but when I'm trying to figure out an installation, partitioning, and a new OS I'd kill for a walkthrough (incidentally, there aren't any on how to  dual boot distros that I could find).  I ended up installing Debian (without too much difficulty).  Unfortunately,  Debian lenny doesn't support ext4 without some fiddling, so wouldn't find my Ubuntu install and add it to GRUB.  I could get back into my Ubuntu partition with a live disk, but reinstalling didn't work without deleting /home.  I was getting a white screen after the login; I'm pretty sure it was the compiz drivers not being installed, but the xorg settings requiring them.  Once again, feeling very virtuous/lucky/relieved that I'd backed up, I reinstalled with a format of /home, and everything worked fine.  By reinstalling Ubuntu, I got GRUB2 again, and was able to get both installs automatically added to the GRUB menu.

Debian is niiiice.  If you're thinking of trying a new distro, I'd recommend it.  I always change my desktop background to one of my recent photos; no problems there.  Epiphany is the default browser, but Iceweasel is also installed, and I like to be able to sync bookmarks, so while I'll use epiphany when I can, Iceweasel is more compatible with Firefox and seems to run the add-ons without any problem, whereas epiphany has its own addons, so is much more limited. They're both fast, and I'm thinking I'll have to change to Iceweasel in Ubuntu now.

Wireless was a bit of an issue- now there's a surprise.  Getting the Broadcom drivers for my wireless card, again, not too difficult, although it helped that I've broken that before now.  Gnome Network Manager is installed, but the System/Network app modifies your etc/network/interfaces file directly, and NetworkManager won't manage any interface that's mentioned in the etc/network/interface file... it took a wee bit of figuring out.  I guess you can't please everyone, and it's not like it was a huge issue.  My assumption when I started this was I'd learn something, and I've done that.

 

 

Slackware Linux Tip-of-the-day: The /etc/profile file

When working with your system(s) there is no such thing as a perfect solution out of the box, so manual configuration changes and inclusion of additional software (sometimes customer software) is needed. Sometimes when modifying the defualt configuration of a system you need to manually add of remove some deault values from your chosen shell, this is where the /etc/profile file comes into effect.

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Slackware Linux Tip-of-the-day: Hardware Information

Some people prefer using GUI tools for their needs, but when you want to figure out what hardware you are using the  CLI is the best tool, and I will prove it to you now.

The commands/programs of interest for hardware discovery are: 

 

  • dmidecode
  • lspci
  • lsusb
  • lsscsi
  • lsdev

 

These commands can give anything from simple output to highly details verbose output telling you hardware features, I/O ports and absolute block files used.

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Eeebuntu 4.0 Beta released, now based on Debian

 

eeebuntu 4.0 beta

The developers of Eeebuntu have released Eeebuntu 4.0 Beta...

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Wisconsin Ubuntu Hour

We are generating some interest around the great state of Wisconsin in having Wisconsin LoCo Members participate in Ubuntu Hours.  So far, we have interest in Duluth(MN)/Superior(WI) and some people from the Madison Linux User Group (Madlug).  What are Ubuntu Hours, you ask?

According to the Ubuntu Hour Wiki, it's a pretty simple event.

  • Head over to a public place (like a local coffee shop, etc) and use Ubuntu in a place that you will be visible to others.
    • Of course, check with management before you do this.
  • Perhaps have a sticker and/or make your desktop more easily visible that it's something different.
    • A stock theme is pretty distinguishable from Windows or OSX, which is probably the method I'll use.
    • Wobbly windows or the desktop cube can be eye-catching.
  • Maybe have a stock of Live CD's and some documentation about it if anyone were to ask what OS you're using.
  • Of course, follow the Ubuntu Code of Conduct while you're there.
  • Remember kids, stay safe offline - meet in a public place and take a friend.
  • Document!  Send an email to the mailing list, blog about it, etc.  We'd like to hear what's going on!
  • Be approachable (it's kinda the point)!

It's a pretty laid-back event with little expectations.  If nobody asks one week, maybe you'll talk to 4 people the next week.  It's a good time to get some coffee, catch up on some work, or just browse the internet.  I'll probably even take pictures of where I am each week.

Please, don't forget to document, tell us what you've been up to, when and where you are, etc.

 

Slackware Linux Tip-of-the-day: Compiling Firefox 3.6 on slackware64-current

On the recommendation of a member if the Slackware Linux User Group on Linux.com I will share the instructions for compiling firefox 3.6 on slackware64-current.

First I would like to give credit to manwichmakeameal, Pig_Pen and the other great users in the #slackware channel  at irc.freenode.net for giving me the instructions to share with everyone else.

 

  • First off download the contents of the firefox source directory from slackware64-current at ftp://slackware.mirrors.tds.net/pub/slackware/slackware64-current/source/xap/mozilla-firefox/, you do not need the file firefox-3.5.7-source.tar.bz2 because you will be using the new source.
  • Download the new source archive (http://mozilla.osuosl.org/pub/mozilla.org/firefox/releases/3.6/source/firefox-3.6.source.tar.bz2) into the directory that holds the downloaded content.
  • Open the slackbuild file (mozilla-firefox.SlackBuild) with your favorite text editor.
  • Change the Build Line (39) to include some designator that you built it, I changed mine to "BUILD=${BUILD:-1_MF}"
  • ChangeThe MOZVERS Line (41) to 1.9.2
  • Add a to the end line 130 to note that an additional configure argument is being added.
  • insert "--disable-libnotify" as line 131
  • Close the editor and save your changes
  • In a terminal type "su -" to log in as root with the user environment loaded.
  • Navigate in the terminal to the directory that contains the slackbuild file.
  • run "sh mozilla-firefox.SlackBuild" to begin the compile process.
  • Wait ~30 mintes, depending on the system, for the compile process to complete.
  • After it is done use the upgradepkg command to upgrade the package from the location that was specified at the end of the compile/build process.
Please remember that this is not an official package, I recommend replacing it with the official package once it is released.

 

 

Slackware Linux Tip-of-the-day: The Included Slackware Kernels

Currently in Slackware Linux you have the option to use difference kernels, the current kernels include the following options:

  • smp - SMP (Symmetric Multi Processing) allows a 32-bit operating systems to efficiently utilize multi-core processors under a 32-bit architecture.
  • non-smp - This is generally only useful if you have a single-core CPU or if you have encountered errors running an SMP kernel.
  • huge - These kernels have most file-system and generic drivers built in, but can slow down your boot time and utilize additional memory compared to the generic kernels.
  • generic - This kernel has the minimal amount of items built it, most kernel items are compiled as modules which mean that you will have to build a custom initrd image to boot your system, but the benefits are lower memory consumption and increased speed.
When installing the system generally by default you install a huge smp kernel to guarantee that your hardware work on the first boot. But after that point it is a good idea to move to the generic kernel to reduce resources used and refine the support that your system can perform. The steps to install a generic kernel and build the appropriate initrd file are located in any installed Slackware system at /boot/README.initrd, or you can read them at http://slackware.osuosl.org/slackware/README.initrd
And and with most things in Slackware additional information about this can be found in the README files on the root directory of the installation disk.

 
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