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Arch Steps Up - Debian Takes a Backseat

I recently did some soul searching regarding my GNU/Linux philosophy. I found that I wasn’t being true to myself.

For years now, I’ve run Slackware Linux as my primary operating system and a second, fully updated version of Debian as my  secondary OS. I’m a firm believer in simplicity and stability. I enjoyed both of those qualities in Slack and Deb, of course. They are both rocks when it comes to stability. I’ve never had a crash in either operating system that was due to the OS itself. Any crashes were usually caused by something stupid that I had done.

All that being said, while contemplating upgrading from Debian Lenny to Squeeze, I had an epiphany. Slackware and Debian are not very much alike, other than their common quality of stability. Where Slack has a relatively small application set; Debian’s repos are huge. Where Slack uses close to the newest versions of its software; Debian uses versions that are typically three to four releases old (VERY stable and proven stuff).

It was always difficult for me to sync Slack’s apps with Debian’s in my primary and secondary operating systems because of the discrepancy in releases; especially so with Mozilla apps like FF and TB. This got me thinking… maybe Debian, even though it had always been my fall-back operating system, might not be serving my purposes that well after all. Is there something better out there for what I want to do?

As most of you know, I have five tester slots on a dedicated drive just for trying out and learning other distributions of GNU/Linux. No, I don’t do virtual. I like to REALLY install and set up operating systems. Virtual computing is like virtual sex. It works, but it’s not nearly as much fun (or as messy). In one of my tester slots there is almost always an installation of Arch Linux. Why Arch? Well, it’s a cool distribution. That’s why.

Seriously, Arch is a very stable, very robust distribution of GNU/Linux. It’s been around about ten years now. It’s a fork of the old Crux branch of the Linux Tree. I started playing around with Arch about three years ago, I think. I was impressed right off the bat. One of the greatest things about Arch is its outstanding support community, particularly the wiki. There is an abundance of information for Arch users of all sizes and shapes. Support is a good thing!

As a result of all this deep thinking and philosophizing, I decided to install Arch as my official secondary operating system. I spent the past three days installing and setting it up. I’m using it now to post this article. I have everything set up to closely match my Slackware installation. I keep both sync’d (manually) and updated. If my Slack craps out, I can always boot Arch and seamlessly carry on until I fix my Slack. Odds of Slack crapping out? Null. You never know, though.

Give Arch a try. You might be impressed. For a very good tutorial on installing Arch, see securitybreach’s tutorial at Scot’s Newsletter Forums – Bruno’s All Things Linux.

My Arch w/ Xfce Desktop Environment

Later…

~Eric

*A repost from my Nocturnal Slacker blog (@Lockergnome.com)

 

 

 

SimplyMEPIS 11.0 Beta 1 needs testing help; it is a great distribution

I have seen a couple of sites mention problems with the Beta 1 implementation of SimplyMEPIS.  Perhaps that was news to them for the simple reason that MEPIS has an excellent reputation for quality.  I would like to point out the need to test, and the need to provide equally high quality feedback for the developers, not only of SimplyMEPIS, but for whatever software you happen to use.

Personally, I have been a big fan of the MEPIS community since May 2003 and I have installed and tested nearly every build since I first heard of the project.  One reason that I have done so is that I am consistently impressed with the high quality of the software.  Even when there are defects in various components in the early builds, the remaining components are well put together, and many times, even early builds work well.  The few times I have encountered issues, I've jumped right in, provided my hardware configuration and a clear description of the issues I have encountered and how to reproduce them, and in every single case, the very next build resolved the issue.

My friends, that's how many of us, whether we are developers or not, can be active contributors to the free software movement.  Some of us can develop, but many more of us can test, evangelize, write documentation, or help others with issues.  The collective work that we donate helps keep free software alive and vibrant.

I hope that many of you will want to test out SimplyMEPIS and help iron out the remaining issues so that the next release maintains the high standard it has set for itself, and even improve upon it.  Warren Woodford is an outstanding developer, but even he cannot do it all on his own.  In fact, he gets most of the components of his software from others.  What he does so well is integrate it and put it all together.  Let's help him do his job well, and in return, he will deliver us yet another excellent example, not only of his work, but that of the MEPIS Lovers Community.

Special mention, in fact, should be given to the MEPIS Lovers Community, one of the finest free software communities.  The helpful attitudes and the desire to keep pettiness to a minimum and helpfulness at a maximum is perhaps not unique to the MEPIS Lovers, but it is as strongly modeled there as in any forum that I've seen, so they deserve to be highly commended along with Warren for making MEPIS such a solid, stable, well designed, well documented, useful system.  It takes more than one: Linux started the kernel, the GNU project created many utilities, developers from all interests developed excellent applications, and great system integrators put it all together, with the help and support of their communities.  Everyone plays an important role, so let's remember our own roles and do what we can to support and promote freely available software.

 

Security tip: Avoid fork bombing on popular distro (check your system)

Few days ago I've talked with another Linux technician, a very smart guy with great experience and competence, in a skill test I've seen an expression like this:

:(){ :|:& };:

I didn't realized it was a shell fork bomb, maybe because it was 9.00pm and I was dealing with tech problems from 8.00am, I was thinking about some voodoo regular expression and I've realized what it was after a while (when I finally decided to connect my brain). I've tested it on a console shell in an Ubuntu Laptop machine and after few seconds I've had a frozen Linux system. A quite common system (Core 2 duo, 2 Gb RAM) may saturate the environment with dumb processes in just 10-20 secs so be carefully about it if you want to make a short test.

This happens because on certain Linux distro, mostly popular ones, there are no limits set for maximum number of processes a user may have. For example if you run:

ulimits -u

you can discover maximum number of processes a user may run on a system (run ulimits -a to discover all current limits in your system).

To avoid this little and annoying problem you need to manually set user maximum number of processes in your kernel if you compile it, or you may edit this file (/etc/security/limits.conf) and add a line like this:

*    hard    nproc    1000

to limit for example the number of processes to 1000 for an user, Please note "1000" is just an example, limit it to whatever you need.

I've checked other Linux systems around me in these days but I didn't seen this alarming output reported from my Ubuntu 10.10 “stock” distro

~$ ulimits -u
unlimited

The desktop I'm using for my every day work has Gentoo running on it, no troubles are reported for this, the same for Debian (Lenny) machines, Slackware (13.1) and few LFS I've around; so I'm pretty comfortable with what I'm using now (except for that laptop where I've now set the ulimit).

You may need to set maximum number of processes accordingly with your computer usage but at least you need to set to something different than “unlimited”.

I hope someone working on “major or popular distros” will read this simple post and will add these basic settings to their all purposes kernels to avoid these things, it could be embarrassing if you want to promote your system instead of other closed source windows operating systems.

I'm glad to read your comments here, please report your current ulimits configurations (ulimit -a) so we may publish some sort of open document related to standard kernels on major distros. Please put:

  • Distro name and version (if applicable)

  • Kernel name and version (uname -a) if you're not using a ready made one

  • Ulimits output (ulimits -a)

  • If you've manually set something on /etc/security/limits.conf please report even this setting

 

 

Hope it helps someone

 

Andrea (Ben) Benini

 

 

Kubuntu to OpenSUSE : A short story

I'll make this one short as it is late and that I don't want to go into endless details right now about my experience with Kubuntu 10.04.

In short, it hasn't been very successful. Too random bugs. Package manager sometimes refuse to launch, network management failed after suspend to ram, sometimes it didn't even go pass the boot screen. In short : It gets the jobs done, but it's not stable enough. It's a combination of small annoyances.

I have now installed OpenSUSE 11.3 on my laptop. As expected, the wireless card did not work out of the box. For everyone who have a System 76 Pangolin Performance and want to have the network working, here's a nano-turbo-brief how-to to make it work. It doesn't apply only to OpenSUSE.

A dmesg with some filtering gave me this info about the wireless card in Kubuntu:

"Linux kernel driver for RTL8192 based WLAN cards"
"rtl819xSE 0000:06:00.0: firmware: requesting RTL8192SE/rtl8192sfw.bin"

Basically, you need to get the Realtek RTL819xSE driver from their Web site and compile it. The 8192se driver is here. Now, all you need to do is install the kernel headers, the basic compilation tools that comes with your distribution and compile the driver.

On OpenSUSE, I installed gcc, gcc-c++ (although I doubt this one was needed),  make and kernel-devel. Extract the driver somewhere and from the directory in which you extracted the driver, make and make install (you might need root access to do so). Reboot (or modprobe the newly compiled driver and restart networking services) and enjoy.

I didn't need to do anything else for now to get things up and running in OpenSUSE. I have yet to test the Web cam - I see a /dev/video0 entry, but I didn't test it yet in an application. That's about it. So far so good with OpenSUSE. Let's hope it stays that way!

 

openSUSE Weekly News, Issue 146 is available

We are pleased to announce our new Issue 146 of openSUSE Weekly News.

This Week:

 

  • openSUSE ass-kickin’ keynote
  • openSUSE News: The openSUSE Build Service 2.1 released
  • Rares Aioanei: Kernel Weekly News 23.10.2010
  • Make Tech Easier/Tavis J. Hampton: Advanced KDE Administration
  • Nelson Marques: openoffice.org and Libre Office…

 

 

Like ever we have now finshed just the english Version under: http://en.opensuse.org/Weekly_news. From now on startsthe translating Process. You can see the actual results under: http://en.opensuse.org/Weekly_news#Translations. If any Translation is ready the Translation Team moves the Language up to "Available".

 

No we hope you enjoy the reading :-)

 

Comments, News and Wishes can send to This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

 

 

openSUSE Weekly News, Issue 143 is out!

We are pleased to announce our new Issue 143 of openSUSE Weekly News.


This Week:

  • OSC2010 Sneak Peaks – Take an LPI exam at openSUSE Conference 2010
  • Uwe Gansert: AutoYaST and Image Creation/Installation
  • Nelson Marques: Marketing @ openSUSE Conference, Across Borders!
  • Techthrob: Softlinks vs. Hardlinks: A Quick Explanation
  • Andreas Jaeger: New design of lizards and avatars

 

Like ever we have now finshed just the english Version under: http://en.opensuse.org/Weekly_news. From now on starts the translating Process. You can see the actual results under: http://en.opensuse.org/Weekly_news#Translations. If any Translation is ready the Translation Team moves the Language up to "Available".

 


No we hope you enjoy the reading :-)

 


Comments, News and Wishes can send to This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

 

openSUSE Weekly News, issue 141 is out!

p, li { white-space: pre-wrap; }

We are pleased to announce our new Issue 141 of openSUSE Weekly News.

This Week:

 

  • openSUSE Conference 2010 – Collaborate Across Borders
  • Jos Poortvliet: directions – openSUSE and Fedora
  • Javier Llorente: KDE bug triage report
  • Bryen Yunashko: A Great Weekend in Columbus at the Ohio Linux Fest
  • TWUUG: Linux File Structure

 

Like ever we have now finshed just the english Version under: http://en.opensuse.org/Weekly_news. From now on starts the translating Process. You can see the actual results under: http://en.opensuse.org/Weekly_news#Translations. If any Translation is ready the Translation Team moves the Language up to "Available".

 

No we hope you enjoy the reading :-)

 

Comments, News and Wishes can send to This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

 

openSUSE Wekly News, Issue 140 is out!


We are pleased to announce our new Issue 140 of openSUSE Weekly News.

This Week:

 

  • openSUSE News: SUSE Studio Contest – you have until the end of this month!
  • Rares Aioanei: openSUSE kernel news – 11.09.2010
  • Sankuru: Using ffmeg to batch convert cd audio files to mp3
  • OMG!SUSE! team: Geeko Gist - September
  • Network World/Joe Brockmeier: Linux desktop market share: Small no matter how you measure

Like ever we have now finshed just the english Version under: http://en.opensuse.org/Weekly_news. From now on starts the translating Process. You can see the actual results under: http://en.opensuse.org/Weekly_news#Translations. If any Translation is ready the Translation Team moves the Language up to "Available".

 

No we hope you enjoy the reading :-)

 

Comments, News and Wishes can send to This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

 

 

WIFI Problem in Ubuntu 10.04 SOLVED!!!

      Hey all you ubuntu, openSUSE, Debian, Slackware and other open source linux OS users out there, I have a fix to a serious bug that has happened in 10.04 lucid lynx ubuntu but may have happened in other versions of this or other OS's.

      I recently upgraded to 10.04 from my old jaunty distro and i love the new desktop interface!!!  the only thing was that i could not connect to the internet for some reason. The wifi applet in the notifications bar said that it was connected but firefox wouldn't load a page for some reason. I had been researching for days and hadn't found anything, except for NDISwrapper which wouldnt install for some strange reason.  But then, while patrolling the forums, i found a post by our very own mfillpot saying something about wicd, an app that handles wifi supposedly better than the native applet. Well, he's right, as always, and it even comes with a GUI!!! So i downloaded it from terminal and it installed beautifully. I then just had to enter the WPA key for my wireless network and i was in. must have had an integrated driver. that or i just hadnt set up wifi correctly, both are possible, seeing as i am more of an end-user software IT guy than an OS setup guy. XP

 

P.S.  i am running an hp mini with broadcom wireless card and ubuntu 10.04

 

HOPE IT HELPS,

PAYTON

 

openSUSE Weekly News, Issue 139 is out!

We are pleased to announce our new Issue 139 of openSUSE Weekly News.


This Week:

  • Jos Poortvliet: Strategy sucks
  • Rares Aioanei: openSUSE kernel news - 04.09.2010
  • IBM developer Works/Roderick W. Smith: Resizing Linux partitions, Part2: Advanced rezising
  • openSUSE Forums: Google Video/Chat Plugin
  • KDE News/Sebastian Kügler: Help Test the Next Generation of KDE's Kontact

 

 

Like ever we have now finshed just the english Version under: http://en.opensuse.org/Weekly_news. From now on starts the translating Process. You can see the actual results under: http://en.opensuse.org/Weekly_news#Translations. If any Translation is ready the Translation Team moves the Language up to "Available".

 


No we hope you enjoy the reading :-)

 


Comments, News and Wishes can send to This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

 

openSUSE Weekly News, Issue 137 is out!


p, li { white-space: pre-wrap; We are pleased to announce our new Issue 137 of openSUSE Weekly News.


This Week:

  • Sirko Kemter: Improve artwork openSUSE 11.4
  • Javier Llorente: KDE Release Party in Madrid
  • Softpedia/Lucian Constantin: Critical Vulnerability Silently Patched in Linux Kernel
  • Tips4Linux.com: Convert eBooks in Linux
  • opensource.com/Ruth Suehle: Ready to be an open source contributor but don't know where to start?

Like ever we have now finshed just the english Version under: http://en.opensuse.org/Weekly_news. From now on starts the translating Process. You can see the actual results under: http://en.opensuse.org/Weekly_news#Translations. If any Translation is ready the Translation Team moves the Language up to "Available".


No we hope you enjoy the reading :-)


Comments, News and Wishes can send to This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

 

 
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