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Installing Ubuntu 9.04 on a IBM X41 tablet

I recently obtained an IBM Thinkpad X41 Tablet from ebay. It came with no OS, which was exactly how I wanted it, since I planned to install Linux on it. This post will describe my attempts to install Ubuntu 9.04 on the aforementioned tablet PC.
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Slackware Linux Tip-of-the-day: Slackware Security Updates/slackpkg

In Slackware there is a simplified method for installing the necessary security updates for the official Slackware packages, that tool is slackpkg.  This tool is used to talk to a Slackware mirror and install remove, update packages and clean obsolete packages from your system. 

The options for Slackpkg are (this was extracted from the official --help document): 

slackpkg - version 2.80.2

Usage:  

        slackpkg update [gpg]           download and update files and package indexes               

        slackpkg check-updates          check if there is any news on Slackware's ChangeLog.txt     

        slackpkg install package        download and install packages download and upgrade packages 

        slackpkg reinstall package      same as install, but for packages already installed                 

        slackpkg remove package         remove installed packages         

        slackpkg clean-system           remove all packages which are not present in the official Slackware package set. Good to keep the house in order                           

        slackpkg upgrade-all            sync all packages installed in your machine with the selected mirror. This is the correct way to upgrade all of  your machine.                         

        slackpkg install-new            install packages which are added to the official Slackware package set.  Run this if you are upgrading to another Slackware version or using current.

        slackpkg blacklist              Blacklist a package. Blacklisted packages cannot be upgraded, installed, or reinstalled by slackpkg

        slackpkg download               Only download (do not install) a package

        slackpkg info package           Show package information  (works with only ONE package)

        slackpkg search file            Search for a specific file in the entire package collection

        slackpkg new-config             Search for new configuration files and ask to user what to do with them.

        slackpkg generate-template      Create a template with all official Slackware packages installed in your machine.

        slackpkg install-template       Install selected template.

        slackpkg remove-template        Remove selected template. Be careful.

You can see more information about slackpkg usage and some examples in slackpkg's manpage. You can use partial package names (such as x11 instead x11-devel, x11-docs, etc), or even Slackware series (such as n,ap,xap,etc) when searching for packages.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

 This application is installed by default on all slackware installations and can be used for maintenance of stable or current systems.

The steps to use this tool are outlined below.

  1. The first step to use this tool is to choose a mirror to use, for this you edit /etc/slackpkg/mirrors and comment out the line that lists your chosen server.
  2. Next you update the gpg key using the command "slackpkg update gpg", this grabs the official Slackware pgp key so that the application and verify the integrity of the packages you are attempting to install.
  3. Next you want to update your files and package indexes using the command "slackpkg update". If you have any non-official packages installed you will want to blacklist them so that slackpkg will not interfere with the use of those applications and so it won't continually ask to remove the packages.  You do this with the command "slackpkg blacklist {pkgname1} {pkgname2}"  an clean example of this command is "slackpkg blacklist openoffice.org yakuake". 
  4. To successfully run the update functions you would want to run the following command in order: slackpkg update, slackpkg upgrade-all, slackpkg install-new, slackpkg clean system. These command are pretty self explanatory, update the changelog, update all packages that have upgrades available (this prompts a menu allowing you to deselect specific packages), install new packages (this also directs you to a menu) and clean system which removes packages that are no longer part of the official Slackware package tree.   
If configuration files are planned to be overwritten the application prompts you to choose to Overwrite, Do Nothing or Prompt for each, I personally prompt for each config file to make sure that I am not overwriting a file that I have modified.  Please keep in mind that when a new version of an application is released the config options may have changed, so you choose to do nothing then the associated application may not work, it is always best to backup your original config files, overwrite the files and manually merge the two to guarantee that the functionality is maintained.

To simplify the  use of this tool I have added the line 

alias UPDATE="sudo slackpkg update;sudo slackpkg upgrade-all;sudo slackpkg install-new;sudo slackpkg clean-system" 

to my .bashrc file which allows me to run all necessary upate function from a single command. 

If you have any questions please post them as a new discussion in the group, reply to this blog post or ask in the Linux.com Forum.   

 

Ubuntu sources.list China

# ibus
deb http://ppa.launchpad.net/ibus-dev/ibus-1.2-karmic/ubuntu karmic main
deb http://ppa.launchpad.net/ibus-dev/ibus-1.2-jaunty/ubuntu jaunty main

# google-chrome
deb http://dl.google.com/linux/deb/ stable main

# karmic 9.10
deb http://mirror.lupaworld.com/ubuntu karmic main restricted universe multiverse
deb http://mirror.lupaworld.com/ubuntu karmic-proposed main restricted universe multiverse
deb http://mirror.lupaworld.com/ubuntu karmic-security main restricted universe multiverse
deb http://mirror.lupaworld.com/ubuntu karmic-updates main restricted universe multiverse
deb http://mirror.lupaworld.com/ubuntu karmic-backports main restricted universe multiverse
deb http://us.archive.ubuntu.com/ubuntu karmic main restricted universe multiverse
deb http://us.archive.ubuntu.com/ubuntu karmic-proposed main restricted universe multiverse
deb http://us.archive.ubuntu.com/ubuntu karmic-security main restricted universe multiverse
deb http://us.archive.ubuntu.com/ubuntu karmic-updates main restricted universe multiverse
deb http://us.archive.ubuntu.com/ubuntu karmic-backports main restricted universe multiverse
# deb http://mirror.rootguide.org/ubuntu karmic main restricted universe multiverse
# deb http://mirror.rootguide.org/ubuntu karmic-proposed main restricted universe multiverse
# deb http://mirror.rootguide.org/ubuntu karmic-security main restricted universe multiverse
# deb http://mirror.rootguide.org/ubuntu karmic-updates main restricted universe multiverse
# deb http://mirror.rootguide.org/ubuntu karmic-backports main restricted universe multiverse
# deb http://lug.mtu.edu/ubuntu karmic main restricted universe multiverse
# deb http://lug.mtu.edu/ubuntu karmic-proposed main restricted universe multiverse
# deb http://lug.mtu.edu/ubuntu karmic-security main restricted universe multiverse
# deb http://lug.mtu.edu/ubuntu karmic-updates main restricted universe multiverse
# deb http://lug.mtu.edu/ubuntu karmic-backports main restricted universe multiverse

# jaunty 9.04
deb http://mirrors.163.com/ubuntu jaunty main restricted universe multiverse
deb http://mirrors.163.com/ubuntu jaunty-proposed main restricted universe multiverse
deb http://mirrors.163.com/ubuntu jaunty-security main restricted universe multiverse
deb http://mirrors.163.com/ubuntu jaunty-updates main restricted universe multiverse
deb http://mirrors.163.com/ubuntu jaunty-backports main restricted universe multiverse
deb http://mirror.lupaworld.com/ubuntu jaunty main restricted universe multiverse
deb http://mirror.lupaworld.com/ubuntu jaunty-proposed restricted main multiverse universe
deb http://mirror.lupaworld.com/ubuntu jaunty-security main restricted universe multiverse
deb http://mirror.lupaworld.com/ubuntu jaunty-updates main restricted universe multiverse
deb http://mirror.lupaworld.com/ubuntu jaunty-backports main restricted universe multiverse
deb http://us.archive.ubuntu.com/ubuntu jaunty main restricted universe multiverse
deb http://us.archive.ubuntu.com/ubuntu jaunty-proposed main restricted universe multiverse
deb http://us.archive.ubuntu.com/ubuntu jaunty-security main restricted universe multiverse
deb http://us.archive.ubuntu.com/ubuntu jaunty-updates main restricted universe multiverse
deb http://us.archive.ubuntu.com/ubuntu jaunty-backports main restricted universe multiverse

# intrepid 8.10
deb http://mirrors.163.com/ubuntu intrepid main restricted universe multiverse
deb http://mirrors.163.com/ubuntu intrepid-proposed main restricted universe multiverse
deb http://mirrors.163.com/ubuntu intrepid-security main restricted universe multiverse
deb http://mirrors.163.com/ubuntu intrepid-updates main restricted universe multiverse
deb http://mirrors.163.com/ubuntu intrepid-backports main restricted universe multiverse
deb http://mirror.lupaworld.com/ubuntu intrepid main restricted universe multiverse
deb http://mirror.lupaworld.com/ubuntu intrepid-proposed restricted main multiverse universe
deb http://mirror.lupaworld.com/ubuntu intrepid-security main restricted universe multiverse
deb http://mirror.lupaworld.com/ubuntu intrepid-updates main restricted universe multiverse
deb http://mirror.lupaworld.com/ubuntu intrepid-backports main restricted universe multiverse
deb http://us.archive.ubuntu.com/ubuntu intrepid main restricted universe multiverse
deb http://us.archive.ubuntu.com/ubuntu intrepid-proposed main restricted universe multiverse
deb http://us.archive.ubuntu.com/ubuntu intrepid-security main restricted universe multiverse
deb http://us.archive.ubuntu.com/ubuntu intrepid-updates main restricted universe multiverse
deb http://us.archive.ubuntu.com/ubuntu intrepid-backports main restricted universe multiverse

# hardy 8.04
# deb http://mirrors.163.com/ubuntu hardy-proposed main restricted universe multiverse
# deb http://mirrors.163.com/ubuntu hardy main restricted universe multiverse
# deb http://mirrors.163.com/ubuntu hardy-security main restricted universe multiverse
# deb http://mirrors.163.com/ubuntu hardy-updates main restricted universe multiverse
# deb http://mirrors.163.com/ubuntu hardy-backports main restricted universe multiverse
# deb http://mirror.lupaworld.com/ubuntu hardy-proposed restricted main multiverse universe
# deb http://mirror.lupaworld.com/ubuntu hardy main restricted universe multiverse
# deb http://mirror.lupaworld.com/ubuntu hardy-security main restricted universe multiverse
# deb http://mirror.lupaworld.com/ubuntu hardy-updates main restricted universe multiverse
# deb http://mirror.lupaworld.com/ubuntu hardy-backports main restricted universe multiverse
# deb http://us.archive.ubuntu.com/ubuntu hardy-proposed main restricted universe multiverse
# deb http://us.archive.ubuntu.com/ubuntu hardy main restricted universe multiverse
# deb http://us.archive.ubuntu.com/ubuntu hardy-security main restricted universe multiverse
# deb http://us.archive.ubuntu.com/ubuntu hardy-updates main restricted universe multiverse
# deb http://us.archive.ubuntu.com/ubuntu hardy-backports main restricted universe multiverse
 

Qimo 4 Kids- Linux for Children!

Computers can be wonderful tools for education if they are configured properly. Configuring them to be kid friendly, safe, educational, and fun can be a difficult task. Not so if you use Qimo for Kids! Qimo for Kids is a distribution designed for kids ages 3 and up. It's based on Ubuntu and uses the XFCE window manager, so it can be installed on slower machines, as it isn't as resource intensive as other OSes. I'm currently working on a Qimo install for a Sony PCG-9241 laptop- an ancient laptop with a P3 500 MHz laptop, 192 MB RAM, NeoMagic NM2200 MagicMedia 256 onboard video, Yamaha DS-XG sound, 20 GB hard drive, Toshiba 8X DVD-ROM drive, but no wired or wireless network adapter. It does, however, have a rather large screen (14.1 inches). I figured it would be a great candidate for Qimo, as it's just above the minimum requirements. If you're interested, the minimum requirements for Qimo (as indicated on the Qimo 4 Kids FAQs) are:

Qimo needs a minimum of 256MB of memory to run from the CD, or 192MB to install. At least 6 GB of hard drive space is recommended, and a 400MHz or faster CPU.

Installation was rather straightforward, although it took longer than expected, as I didn't burn my Qimo install CD correctly. Since the laptop had a relatively slow optical drive, it moved slowly, but it wasn't a difficult install. A word of warning: The installation process will ask you to create a user, enter a password, and ask you if you want to log in automatically. DO NOT CHOOSE TO AUTO-LOGIN. The Qimo install has already created a customized autologin, and the information you are entering is for the parent/administrator account. All in all, the install went well. Sound and graphics configured themselves automatically.

If you've got kids, or are working on a computers for people who have kids, give Qimo 4 Kids a try. The kids will thank you for it.

 

Visit zootlinux.blogspot.com for more blog posts!

 

Phoronix Releases PTS Desktop Live 2009.3 - Benchmarking Live-DVD

Good news for all of you benchmarking junkies out there. Phoronix has recently released PTS Desktop Live 2009.3, a live-DVD version of the Phoronix Test Suite for use in benchmarking Linux, BSD, OpenSolaris, and Mac OSX systems. Along with the live-DVD, they have also announced version 2.0 of the Phoronix Test Suite. A link to the changelog is here.

To provide a little history about the Phoronix testing suite, Phoronix has been on the forefront of Linux benchmarking for several years. The original intent of the testing suite was to provide a uniform set of benchmarking tools for the Linux/BSD/OpenSolaris/OSX crowd, as the tools that were previously available, such as glxgears, were not as informative as Phoronix would have liked. Since no tools existed, they decided to make their own internal tools in 2004. Eventually they realized that the public had the same needs, so they decided to release a public version of the testing suite, as well. Their initial public release (0.2.0) of the Phoronix testing suite was released on April 2, 2008, and they have been providing a steady stream of updates to the testing suite since then. I had used early versions of this testing suite, and I had found it a little clunky and difficult to manage on an installed Linux system, so this live-DVD provides a real landmark in the usability of these benchmarking tools. Also, since every system will be running the live DVD, it provides a certain measure of standardization to the testing process, as the Live DVD makes the test environment standardized among different systems.

System Requirements of the PTS Live DVD are:

 

- Intel / AMD x86_64 CPU
- 2GB+ of RAM Recommended
- Internet Connection Recommended
- ATI, NVIDIA, or Intel Graphics

A link to the download is here. Hosting is being provided by Softpedia at the moment. The MD5 is 93a7a9cc202b146162c211d41bbeaa99.


Phoronix is not resting on its laurels, either. They are planning on releasing the Phoronix Certification & Qualification Suite (PCQS), a stress test for use in validating system hardware on Linux system, sometimes later this year. It will be another useful tool for Linux system administrators.

Another tool that is in beta testing with Phoronix is Phoromatic, a remote management tool for the Phoronix Testing Suite. Starting with version 2.0 of the Phoronix Testing Suite, remote management will be available through an account on phroromatic.com (or via a LAN version of the phoromatic software). No news on the intergration with the live DVD, but I'm thinking there is a good chance it will be able to do that, too. The following description comes directly from the site:
Phoromatic is a remote management system for the Phoronix Test Suite. Phoromatic allows the automatic (hence the name Phoromatic) scheduling of tests, remote installation of new tests, and the management of multiple test systems all through an intuitive, easy-to-use web interface. Tests can be scheduled to automatically run on a routine basis across multiple test systems. The test results are then available from this central, secure location.

Phoromatic is able to communicate with any system running Phoronix Test Suite 2.0 or newer whether it be running Linux, Mac OS X, BSD, or OpenSolaris. Creating a single-user account at Phoromatic.com is free, easy, and can then connect to one or even dozens of test systems running the Phoronix Test Suite. Phoromatic can also be installed on a LAN / intranet for professional support customers of the Phoronix Test Suite.
 
 
Visit zootlinux.blogspot.com for more blog posts! 
 

ClamAV Live CD project

 Recently, while attempting to resurrect a Windows laptop that was no longer booting due to viruses and trojans, I stumbled upon an excellent project, and that project is the ClamAV LiveCD. The ClamAV LiveCD project is based on Clam AntiVirus, which is a GPL'd antivirus software that is available for Linux, BSD, and Windows. Since packages are freely available for Linux, Brandon Perry decided to create a LiveCD with ClamAV packages, so that computers that are unable to boot successfully can be scanned for viruses in a LiveCD environment. The project is based on Ubuntu, and has been posted to Launchpad and his personal website, which is volatileminds.net. For those that are not familiar with ClamAV, an excellent tutorial has been made available in English, German, and Polish.

This project is now up to version 2.0, and is based on Ubuntu 9.04. The LiveCD also features a Department of Defense (DoD) compliant hard drive erasing utility called Darik's Boot and Nuke (DBAN), a tool used to remove pesky Windows passwords called chntpw, a hard disk and partition verification and recovery tool called testdisk, as well as a variety of other Linux utilities.

Equipped with this disk, you are well on your way to sanitize those virus-ridden machines that end up on workbenches of computer system admins and volunteer techs across the globe.

 

Visit zootlinux.blogspot.com for more blog posts! 

 

ULTILEX- excellent LiveCD tool.

I'm a big fan of liveCD tools. They allow me to interact with systems that normally would be either unusable, such as machines with no OS, or difficult to use, such as a PC with an unstable or virus-ridden Windows install. As far as utilities are concerned, I'll take as many as I can get, and apparently Ivan Davidov agrees with me.

ULTILEX, which stands for "Ultimate Linux Experience", is a liveCD with a variety of different projects all crammed on to the same CD. Ivan Davidov was able to fit Slax, Puppy Linux, Tiny Core Linux, System Rescue CD, Parted Magic, FreeDOS, the Ranish Partition Manager, AIDA hardware recognization, Windows password viewing utilites, and hard drive diagnostic and wiping utilities on the same CD (as of Version 4.0). Oh, there's a RAM tester, too. This CD can also act as a PXE server for other machines on your network, if you wanted to try out PXE network booting.

A CD such as this one is invaluable when working on donated computer equipment or used equipment that you are trying to get back in shape, as it allows you to easily test the hardware and run a useful live environment without having to permanently change the hard drive partitions (unless, of course, if you WANT to change the hard drive partitions).

This is another tool that has worked itself into my computer toolkit. Good stuff.

 

Visit zootlinux.blogspot.com for more blog posts! 

 

Moblin4Children: release 0.1.0

After some days of work I can release a First Package of Moblin4Children.
It's nothing of special at the moment. It's just a package that copy a precompiled GCompris under /usr/local and overwrites the default /etc/xdg configuration (be careful).
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Ubuntu 9.10 - GRUB Bootloader Changes Coming

I have been testing Ubuntu 9.10 (Karmic Koala) Alpha 3 for the past few days.  I like it, a lot.  It has a lot of really good changes, improvements and fixes.  One of the biggest, though, needs to be handled with care - they are changing from the original (legacy) GRUB bootloader to the new GRUB 2 (aka grub-pc).  There is always a certain amount of risk involved when changing such a fundamental piece of software, but I have installed Karmic, with GRUB 2, on all of my systems now, and none of them had a problem with it.  However, users who have multi-boot systems, and those who are accustomed to editing their GRUB configurations, are in for some surprises, and some adjustment.

I don't intend to go into a lot of detail here about using or configuring GRUB - that is covered adequately on the <a href="http://www.ubuntu.com/testing/karmic/alpha2">Ubuntu 9.10 Alpha 2</a> announcement and related pages.  What I want to describe here, briefly, is how I have set up my multi-boot systems to have both Januty and Karmic installed, retain legacy GRUB for Jaunty (and other multi-boot use) and use GRUB 2 for Karmic.

The first step is simple.  Install Ubuntu 9.10 Alpha 2 to a separate partition on your disk.  I did this, and didn't pay any attention to GRUB installation, and what I ended up with was GRUB 2 in the MBR of the disk, which makes it the default bootloader.  Because I multi-boot a LOT of other Linux distros and XP Professional on this netbook, and I am totally clueless about configuring GRUB 2, I wasn't too happy with that.  I restored legacy GRUB after booting the existing Jaunty partition, but then I couldn't use the standard configfile notation in the Jaunty GRUB configuration to boot Karmic.  Ugh.

The Karmic Alpha release mentions that GRUB 2 can be chainloaded from a legacy GRUB installation.  The instructions there describe installing GRUB 2 into the existing Jaunty system, and then chainloading to run it.  Also not what I wanted to do.  Knowing that chainloading is not terribly complex, I decided to try to set up what I really wanted myself.  It turned out to be even easier than I expected.

I booted the Karmic installation again, and used grub-install /dev/sda14 to get GRUB copied into the header of the Karmic partition.   After a little bit of whinging from GRUB about this not being a good idea, it copied in just fine.  Then I booted back to the Januty installation, and editied the legacy GRUB config file /boot/grub/menu.lst.  All I did was add this:

title Ubuntu 9.10 (Karmic Koala) Alpha 3

root (hd0,13)

chainloader +1

 

Then I rebooted, chose the new Karmic boot option, closed my eyes and... it worked!  GRUB 2 came right up, I booted Karmic from there, and life is wonderful.

There are obviously a number of other ways to approach this problem.  The best is probably to learn enough about GRUB 2 to be able to configure it the way I want for multibooting, but I'm a bit short on time right now, and I would really rather not be under pressure when I set about learning that.  So this got what I needed done, and gives me a GRUB 2 bootloader installation that I can use to learn the new GRUB configuration.

One last warning.  Changing something as critical as the bootloader is risky business.  Make sure that you know how to recover from whatever errors you might make, BEFORE you start.  Your mileage may vary.

jw 2/8/2009

 

openSuSE 11.2 Milestone 4 - X Display Server Quirk

I have been loading openSuSE 11.2 Milestone 4 on various computers around here, and I have come across an odd problem.  The good news is, it is relatively easy to work around.

On my Fujitsu Lifebook S6510, which is an Intel Core2Duo system with a Mobile 965GM graphic chipset and a 1280x800 resolution display, the installation process itself looks ok, the display resolution is correct, but when the installation finishes and the installed system boots, the display comes up at 800x600.  Ugh.

My first shot at getting around the problem was to just get rid of the X configuration file - although I am careful enough that I simply renamed it rather than deleting it, in case this didn't work

# mv /etc/X11/xorg.conf /etc/X11/xorg.suse

Then restart the X server, either by killing the running server or by simply rebooting... and it works great!  The display comes up at 1280x800, everything else works, and it's all just beautiful.

For those who are curious, I will be installing this openSuSE release on all of the desktop/nettop and laptop/netbook systems around here.  I will write a more complete report later, but so far I have installed it on this S6510, an ASUS N10J, and my self-assembled Dual Atom nettop, and so far this glitch is the only problem I have had.

 

jw 31/7/2009

 

Android Live CD: Not Quite There Yet

 Originally Published on Igneous Quill

Yesterday I learned that a live CD version of Android was available for download. I've been curious about this OS and have tried out several Linux live CDs of other distros, so I thought I'd give this one a look. I went to the Google project page for the Android Live CD and downloaded a copy of the iso for v.0.2 from a mirror (a link can be found in the readme). I then burned the image to a CD and rebooted my notebook (a Dell Inspiron 1545). I got as far as the Live Android startup screen and everything stopped. I let it set for nearly 10 minutes, but nothing.

After rebooting a couple of times I decided it just wasn't going to work. So I waited until today to try again.

This time, rather than download the complete iso from a mirror, I downloaded the file in two parts from the project page and merged them with the following:

cat liveandroidv0.2.iso.001 liveandroidv0.2.iso.002 > liveandroidv0.2.iso

Again I tried rebooting with the live CD, and once again it froze on the start screen. In all honesty, the *buntu distros (Ubuntu, Kubuntu and Xubuntu) have probably spoiled me. It is incredibly easy to create a live *buntu CD boot from it and either install or just try it out. Except for the time two monitors were involved I haven't had a problem yet. So, patience with Android.

Since I couldn't get Live Android to run the way a live CD normally does, I decided to fire it up in VirtualBox OSE. Sure enough, there it was.

Having gone through all this I went back to the read me page for the Live Android project and found this: "In liveandroid v0.2, only a few of video card and net card driver added, so if you encounter freeze problem, please feedback to us, we are glad to fix it."

Scrolling further down on the read me page you'll see that this problem of freezing up is fairly common.

The idea of a live CD for Android is certainly a good one, and if you are interested in the OS go ahead and download it. Be aware that you may need to run it in VirtualBox or something similar. Poking around on the OS it should become obvious fairly quickly that this isn't ready to serve as your only or primary OS. It's just something to play with, at least for now.
 
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