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Moblin4Children: Some Ideas

My trip in Moblin4Children is going along. Read this PDF to understand something more about this project.

I don't know if people like these posts. Maybe my English is not so good ... but do you like the content?

Moblin4Children on SourceForge.

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Pardus 2009

So sad because i miss the release. Im at holiday but cant leave the comunity.So happy about our new Pisi :) Here some information about Pardus 2009:

  KDE 4.2.4
 Linux kernel 2.6.30.1
 OpenOffice.Org 3.1.0.6
 Mozilla Firefox 3.5.1
 Gimp 2.6.6
 K3b 1.66
 Xorg 1.6.2
 Python 2.6.2

With this version Pardus start to using its own template called "Milky" you will love it ^^ We made a good first impression with Ozgurlukicin's E-Magazine(turkish). Still you can read first rewiev from here. I hope everyone enjoy this distro. As a user i do!

 

Finishing openSUSE Weekly News #81

Hi Guys. I'm finishing the OS Weekly News #81. If you have any interesting, you can post it to: http://2tu.us/iog

 

HOWTO: VMWare Server 2, Disable Web Server Interface

Here I am, back again with episode 2 of VMWare Server, if you've already read HOWTO: Install VMWare Server 2, I guess you've a linux server with VMWare 2 up and running.

First thing I did after my installation was to reboot the machine to see memory usage and look at security issues. With no surprise I've seen Virtual Infrastructure Web Access enabled and when using netstat -a to see opened ports I've seen few more ports opened by VMWare webserver interface (apache tomcat and catalina folks laying around), I've previously used VMWare Server on a Windows desktop machine and I've already seen it.

When I create a system I always adopt the golden rule: "If you don't have it, you don't break it" and I tend to build servers with the fewest services as possible, this is for saving memory resources, CPU cycles and getting top performances from the machine I've (Gentoo/Debian/Slack users know what I mean); and even: Closing TCP ports is my first task when I want to start to secure a site (the less ports opened, the best control you've)

As most of VMWare users I'm really upset with the web interface: it's ugly, slow and too classy, I always prefer the "dirty and fast" approach, VMWare management console (from version 1.x) was simple, beautiful and damn fast, when I've tried Virtual Server (from Microsoft) I've told: "I'll never use it, I hate web interface for these things". So when evaluating VMWare Server 2 i was impressed by fewer limitations, 64bit support and other things; but the web interface is one of the most important disadvantages

After a good search I've seen you can control VMWare Server with VMWare Infrastructure Client (VIC) used mainly by VMWare commercial products; as you can read from my previous post I'm not so happy about it because the client is windows only (at the moment), but at least is fast and you'll save hundreds of megs of RAM for Apache/Tomcat/Catalina web interface on the server side.

I've seen different methods to disable VMWare Server WebAccess, after reading init files here's my solution, I think it's the simplest, you only need to comment one line.

Locate your VMWare init script (/etc/init.d/vmware on Debian and Gentoo, a quite common name for other distros as well), here's original VMWare code:

service_vmware_mgmt() {
# See how we were called.
case "$1" in
start)
if [ "`vmware_product`" = "wgs" ]; then
echo 'Starting VMware management services:'
vmware_start_hostd
vmware_start_webAccess
#clean up output from webAccess
echo
fi
;;
stop)
if [ "`vmware_product`" = "wgs" ]; then
echo 'Stopping VMware management services:'
vmware_stop_webAccess
#clean up output from webAccess
echo
vmware_stop_hostd
fi
;;
restart)
"$SCRIPTNAME" stop && "$SCRIPTNAME" start
;;
*)
echo "Usage: "$BASENAME" {start|stop|restart}"
exit 1
;;
esac
}

Here's modified code:

service_vmware_mgmt() {
# See how we were called.
case "$1" in
start)
if [ "`vmware_product`" = "wgs" ]; then
echo 'Starting VMware management services:'
vmware_start_hostd
# vmware_start_webAccess
#clean up output from webAccess
echo
fi
;;
stop)
if [ "`vmware_product`" = "wgs" ]; then
echo 'Stopping VMware management services:'
vmware_stop_webAccess
#clean up output from webAccess
echo
vmware_stop_hostd
fi
;;
restart)
"$SCRIPTNAME" stop && "$SCRIPTNAME" start
;;
*)
echo "Usage: "$BASENAME" {start|stop|restart}"
exit 1
;;
esac
}

So just comment out one line (line 1191 on my file) when you see "vmware_start_webAccess" and you're set. I'll suggest you to keep function server_vmware_mgmt() running, just comment the line for disabiling web server startup

In this mode you'll save plenty of ram on server and avoid to use the webserver interface, Infrastructure Client is better and fast, if you work on guest machines as developer you'll notice the difference by accessing your machine through the VIC instead of the web interface

 

Hope it helps someone

Ben

 

HOWTO: Install VMWare Server 2 on Debian Lenny, AMD64 (64bit)

Intro

Everybody knows about VMWare Server, now with stable 2.x version my favorite feature is 64bit host native support.

I don't need to run guest 64bit OSes (yet) but 64bit native support is fine if you've a recent CPU and you'd like to take advantage of new servers outta there, and most important you can use a stable and working real 64bit application on your 64bit Debian system.

I've just installed a Debian Lenny (v5.0) host with AMD64 flavor, so a 64bit compiled OS on a brand new Xeon Quad Core, a bunch of ram (8Gb), hw raid array with hot swap and spare disks as well; in short: HP Proliant DL180G5 machine, hp basic config with no fancy features but stable and fast enough for a Debian host. Lenny with AMD64 flavor is not a surprise, it's a well documented and a stable release, so proceed forward with a common installation, you don't need a lot of software, just proceed with a bare bone install (no X, no additional software), when it just boots you're set.

 

Let's start with VMWare

VMWare Server is now declared stable, at the date release 2.0.1 is available for 64 bit Operating Systems. No deb packages are available from VMWare Site, only .tar.gz source and RPM packages, just download the common .tar.gz, it's working and it's good for us. Take a look carefully at the download page and grab the 64bit version, 32bit on a 64bit system doesn't work at all (without 32 compat libs but we don't want them).
Login as root and start with the configuration

Requirements

As a prerequisite you need to have these packages installed:

binutils
gcc
libc6
libc6-dev
make
linux-headers-2.6.26-2-amd64 (or other version according to your installed kernel)

And install dependent packages as well, with them and with a bare bone install you're able to install vmware server v2

Optional: Create a non administrative user, useful and nice if you'd like to run the service without root privileges (user: vmware for my host), assign an home directory, we'll use that for local vmware storage

 

Download and Install VMWare

At the date this is what I've downloaded: VMware-server-2.0.1-156745.x86_64.tar.gz
AMD64 version, .tar.gz format

decompress it wherever you want:

tar -zxvf VMware-server-2.0.1-156745.x86_64.tar.gz
cd vmware-server-distrib/

And run

./vmware-install.pl

Reply to installer questions by choosing the default answer, these are common for a basic installation, you don't need to worry too much unless you know what you're doing. The only thing I've changed is VMWare virtual machine storage directory according to my unprivileged user (user: vmware)

When installation is complete you'll have vmware three more networks up and running: NAT, HostOnly and Bridged; networking autodetection and assignment is working fine and without troubles

 

Dirty hack on modules compilation (if needed)

If you've just installed GCC and you've a running debian system with a stock image (2.6.26-2 in my case) you'll run into troubles with VMWare modules compilation. VMWare installation script may complain about your running kernel compiled with GCC v4.1 and current GCC version (now 4.3), it refuses to go on until you switch to gcc 4.1.
As a little and dirty hack you only need to switch to gcc 4.1 for a while, compile vmware modules and go back to gcc 4.3 (or whatever version you've)

vmhost:/usr/bin# ls -la gcc
lrwxrwxrwx 1 root root 7 2009-07-13 09:20 gcc -> gcc-4.3
vmhost:/usr/bin# rm gcc
vmhost:/usr/bin# ln -s gcc-4.1 gcc
vmhost:/usr/bin# ls -la gcc
lrwxrwxrwx 1 root root 7 2009-07-13 09:20 gcc -> gcc-4.1

 

Remember to switch gcc back to 4.3 version when finished with VMWare

And that's it

Nothing more, installation is very easy and without troubles if you take a look at the compiler issue, license key version is provided when you download the package from the web site, write it down on a note and enter later in the installation script when asked, nothing more.

Next step is to disable web access console (ugly and slow for me) and leave VIC (VMWare Infrastructure Client) as your only and fast access.

Sadly if you've a Linux workstation like me you don't have a native Infrastructure client for basic configuration, VMWare provides Windows only clients, if you're upset like me please take a look at this thread and email directly VMWare for requests (I think they're flooded from Linux users like me); WINE emulation isn't stable enough to be used in a production environment

 

I'll come back with web access configuration for the next blog
Stay tuned

New episode: HOWTO: VMWare Server 2, Disable Web Server Interface
Check it out


Ben

 

Disable IPV6 on Debian Lenny (quick howto)

Here's a very quick howto on disabling IPV6 on Debian (Lenny), this is not a new argument and neither an unknown solution, it's just how to disable IPV6 on Debian with less impact as possible on your machine config in "the debian way".

Sometimes you don't need IPV6: you've an already existing IPV4 net and you're happy with it,  you don't want to waste memory or cpu cycles, you'd just like a very basic networking and setup.

There're a lot of way to do this, this mode is more "debian friendly".

Just place a file named for example "00local" in your /etc/modprobe.d directory, it should look like mine:

luke:/etc/modprobe.d# cat 00local
alias net-pf-10 off
alias ipv6 off 

These two aliases should disable IPV6, this is a quite common config used in other distro as well, easy to port if you upgrade frequently or change from a major common release to another one.

 

Hope it helps

Ben 

 

My turn to weigh in on Google OS

The buzz all last week and weekend has been about Google OS.  With more than just one pundit going on and on endlessly about how silly it is for Google to introduce a second OS for NetBooks when they were all ready getting traction with Android blah blah blah blah.  Try this one on for size

Android is Google OS.  Always was. Always will be.

You see Android in it's current form is an excellent platform for smartphones.  However last time I checked you and I want a lot more out of our Netbooks than we do out of our phones.  (though I have to confess I can't find enough ways to explain how much having a smartphone has improved my life.)  But it doesn't replace my netbook or notebook.  So then how can I say that Android is Google OS.  Simple, let's look at what Android really is, even more so, what is any Linux "OS". 

Android is, as any "Linux OS" a kernel with a collection of tools on the backend.  In other words no matter how you stack things on top of the kernel it's still Linux.  Most Linux Distro's are really a combination of the Linux Kernel and GNU tools backed up by X.  Android is the Linux kernel, with GNU tools, backed up by Dalvik JVM.  In short to go from Android to Google OS you need to change drivers, change the compile options (x86 arch instead of ARM)  remove things like dialers and utilities specific to the phone world and poof.  You have GoogleOS. 

Browsers?  Google already has it.  It's chrome.  Office Suite, Google docs.  on and on all those things that so many mistakingly think are part of their OS Google already has.  What Google was and is missing is the one thing they thrive on. Data. The only way to get that data is, as it always has been to poke at the world around them and see what happens.

Since Google announced rather surreptitiously, that there would be a GoogleOS, pundit's have been climbing the walls with their critics of the design of something that existed only in a blog.  In other words, if Google ever wanted to know how best to create a NetBook OS for the masses, they needed only to put out a hint and let the masses design it for them.  

In the end GoogleOS needs only the kernel, toolset and windowing system from Android, and they will be off and running.  In the end the name changes but the players remain the same.  So now you know.  Android is really a Transformer ;)

 

New hardware… Enter Linux Mint 7

It all started a few weeks ago when I got a wonderful fathers day GIFT. As you can imagine I was rather excited. When you are a tech guy like myself there is nothing like getting hardware upgrades. So I unboxed my shiny new toy and got to work moving things around and untangling wires. I decided that rather than just replacing my old flat screen I was finally gonna go dual screen and try to increase my "productivity".

I got everything hooked up and began to try and configure my new dual monitor setup. For the life of me I could not get it to work right in Mandriva! Basically I could get the nvidia settings manager to correctly configure my displays to span the way I wanted, but when I would go to save the config to the Xorg.conf it would give me some permissions error bullshit. I tried to do it as root. Tried logging in a root. I don't know what the hell I was doing wrong. I love Linux but I am by no means a "guru". I kept fighting it a few days. Having to configure it every time I logged in. Only took three or four clicks. But it just ate at me that it wasn't right. About that time I got a good look at some of the screen shots and reviews from Mint 7 and decided to give it a try.

I downloaded the .iso from Linux Mint's website and burned it. Did one last backup and booted to the CD and ran through the installed. Lets just say that things went off without a hitch. We have all read a million reviews with details of this and that. The main thing I want to emphasize it that this edition of Mint is VERY nice looking. Once I ran updates and loaded proprietary drivers for my video card I was able to configure dual displays and compiz fusion with ease. I have been using it a few weeks now and everything is wonderful. Tweetdeck works great. All my hardware worked out of the box. No complaints here. Great Distro. Pulled me away from Mandirva and KDE and that is a hard thing to do. Afterward Picture.

Mint 7

 

Ubuntu netbook remix on a Lenovo T61

In order to check if the Ubuntu Netbook remix would be suitable for my wife parents I set myself to test it on a Virtual Machine or on laptop (which is running Karmic since Alpha one).

I started at http://www.ubuntu.com/getubuntu/download-netbook. There isn't an iso available to download, but an img file. This isn't surprising as the targeted hardwares (in many cases) have flash memory instead of hard drives. The image file is designed for Atom processors as they dominate the market (damn it).

So I turned on my Karmic laptop and set to search for the Ubuntu Netbook remix in one of the standard repo using apt-get and I found it, or them:  ubuntu-netbook-remix and ubuntu-netbook-remix-default-settings.

Before I installed the remix I decided to add Chinese language support in order to see what it will be like for my in-laws, if we ever get it installed for them.

I first installed ubuntu-netbook-remix-default-settings, rebooted but nothing had changed on my Gnome desktop (it must be default configuration files only). So I install the ubuntu-netbook-remix package and there I had it.

So, what about it? Well, not so much, but what did I expect ;).The main element of the netbook remix is the desktop applet which puts the Gnome menu on the desktop. And has a picture is better than a 1000 words, here's a set of screen shots:

 ubuntu-netbook-remix Gnome landing

You probably noticed that I elected to get all the default folder renamed to their Chinese translation. It looks okay with a screen definition of 1440x900 on a large screen or on 1024x768 VM but I'm not sure if it'd be the same on a 12" screen (the Chinese characters are a tad small for my liking on the 1024x768 resolution).

There are a few glitches or surprising elements for seasoned computer user: screen decoration are stripped off by the launcher, so there's no minimize, maximize (fine so far) or close button. And this is where it's a little weird to me. Do netbook have a hard button for closing windows, or do we expected users to go through the application provided standard menu?

Here's Firefox with the windows decoration off:

ubuntu-netbook-remix firefox

The next issue is with the netbook-launcher desktop application. It fades the menu icons when you move from one menu folder to the next, however on the VM as well as the T61 this doesn't always happen in a timely manner (it can take up to 5~6 seconds and sometime you need to click on the launcher to have the central pane refreshing the icons so you have the overlaid icons messing up before that).

Now I wasn't expecting everything to be 100% fine, or to suit my needs. At least I have seen it running and I think it could be a good option for my in-laws. And given this is just an add-in to a standard Ubuntu desktop this is pretty much risk free.

So let give the thumbs up to Ubuntu!

Note: The screen shots are taken from a fresh VM running Jaunty.

 

Distro comparison data

This is my lost message to Brian  Proffitt. I published it so it won't get lost. (My original message was marked as spam :( )

 

Hello Brian,

 

I think linux.com should provide more meta data about the different distros. I mentioned my idea in the comment section of the recent Distrowatch Weekly ( http://distrowatch.com/weekly.php?issue=20090608 ). Caitlyn Martin liked the idea. I'll cut&paste&edit to safe time ;)

 

--snip comment #18--

 

Please provide more indepth comparison data for distros. For example I would like to know how long CentOS takes to provide the RHEL updates (I heard it sometimes takes months.) Or how fast distros patch security bugs. For how long distros provide updates and how many have been shipped. And maybe have an activity index for distros. Maybe just how many releases a year or how many releases so far etc. Those infos would really help to weed out the show offs from the hard workers IMNSHO. I think if somebody would be able to pull this off, then it's Ladislav (of DW fame) or the Linux Foundation (they employ gods). How about some nifty yum, apt, zypper,etc grabber/analyzer thingie? Encourage competition & quality! That would be really a great service and contribution to the distro world and FOSS. -- snip -- Caitlyn Martin liked the idea. -- snip comment #24 unedited-- #18: I like your suggestions. There is material for a number of articles there, some of which I don't exactly feel qualified to write. Maybe you'll inspire Ladislav or Chris to write an article or two on those topics. The only problem I see with comparisons is that with 500+ distros you have to be very selective in what you include and someone is always going to feel left out.

 

---- snip ----

 

I think this is a worthy long term goal and I think your supporting members would greatly benefit from such a comparison, because a lot of those 500 distros don't really support them with (security) updates and they do. So maybe they would even encourage this level of transparency and competition. If a hacked solution (grep apt, yum, zypper, security announces whatever) isn't desirable then maybe an open data format for publishing update/security/version data on the web so that it can be freely aggregated and analyzed would be a worthy goal. That would solve the problem with people feeling left out.

 

What do you think?

Cheers,

- Udo -

 

Slackware Linux Tip-of-the-day: xorg.conf setup

In Slackware the default setup has an unconfigured xorg.conf file (screen setup), this usually irritates newer users and causes many to use different ways to configure the xorg.conf file.  I have personally seen many new users with the misconception that they must manually configure the file, which leads to frustration and in some cases giving up on Slackware.

There are in fact many ways to configure that file and the use of those methods depends on your level of knowledge about your hardware. I will list them in simplest to most difficult order.

  1. Run xorgsetup, this is a simple menu driven configuration script that auto-detects most hardware and massively simplifies the installation.
  2. Run xorgconf, this is a CLI base script that asks questions about your hardware, it requires some knowledge to configure.
  3. You can also install the proprietary drivers for you video card which will auto-build the xorg.conf file for you and add some additional functionality.I highly recommend for new users to use xorgsetup to get their systems into a GUI for the first run.
  4. Manually edit the xorg.conf file, this will provide the most controlled setting but it also requires you to know all about your hardware and has a very high potential for user errors.

 
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