Community Blogs

Slackware Linux Tip-of-the-day: Use your documentation

One great benefit of using Slackware is that documentation is provided by default for nearly every command and application that is installed on your system. If you run into an issue try looking in the following locations for assistance: 

  • The application manual pages (example.. man bash, in konqueror you can go to man:bash for a html presentation of the manual)
  • The application info pages (example.. info bash)
  • Your /usr/docs/ directory – this usually contains text and html based manuals to help you find your answers.   

If you still cannot find a resolution in those locations you can try the following communities/sites:  


Smaller update sizes in Fedora 12

After spending the past hour installing and getting my new Fedora 12 box set up "just right" I noticed that I had around 400MB of updates to install.

With my internet quota almost gone, I was going to put off installing the updates until later that night when I get free data, but decided I should just bite the bullet and go for it anyway. (Australian ISPs have crazy download quotas, if you're not already aware).

I was suprised to see that the package sizes where considerably smaller than they have been in previous releases.  Curious, I decided to do some reasearch and found that they now use a different compression type and that deltarpm is enabled by default.   Nice work Fedora!

More info at:


New isn't always better?

 My problem with my web cam was actually with Skype after upgrading, Before, all was well.. so I went backwards to see if anything changes. I have nothing against progress, but if something works, why change it. I like the 8.04 version. It's a lot simpler, not so many applications- many of which I don't need or don't understand.  I am not a computer programmer. What I know is from experimenting... mostly trial and error. More error! We learn more from our mistakes. 

I'll  give the  web cam a try this week end when I talk with my sons. If it works I'll post it. ( I came upon this in one of the forums.  Where someone said that the webcam  worked fine in a previous distribution,  but not in  a recent update. )   If this is the case, I will have solved the last of my problems, and will have become a faithful Linux/ Ubuntu user. Also I went back to the debian version of skype instead of Ubuntu 9.04, which was beta. I might return to the newer versions in the future, when I learn more.

It's nice to have choices.  It is also nice to be able to  experiment. I feel that I play  an important part in designing  something that is suitable for me. I have learned more about IT through Linux, than any other OS, and have taken a more active interest in OS's that in the past. I have surpassed my cousin,  who has studied computer programming in  university, and now I think he's jealous. He looks at me differently. This was made possible by reading various forums and sites, like this one. Thanks  for being here.  Keep up the updates, even if I don't. (I have a collection of all the distributions, so if I feel adventurous, or  get bored....I can change.


more to come

Well, I know that I haven't been here for a while.

I have found drivers for my printer/scanner. Works great! So does my digital camera. Microphone working, still no luck with webcam, but a friend is helping. He also (fortunately uses Ubuntu), and he will help me with searching for the right command for the webcam. I have installed Skype for Linux as well, and it works great, will be even better with video.  Does anybody know what Xv support is?


NiHao Home Desktop User Troubleshooter QA Blog

This blog is a simple FAQ and Troubleshooter blog for the Linux users that have downloaded and / or installed the NiHao Home Desktop Live Cd.

Myself; Grant K, of NiHao Studios will post known bugs here and workarounds as well as recieve questions from other users regarding the NiHao Home Desktop Live Cd.

- A short historical account regarding the background of NiHao Studios.

Nihao Studios was created in 2002 by a team of teachers, and programmers while on their big OE in China.

It started small with the development of language learning software solutions for universities and colleges in and around Fujian Province.

Then later over coffees discussions were based around RPG gaming in China and the "Metaverse" (as written about in the book "SnowCrash" by Neal Stephenson [1]) and how these elements could improve the students ability to acquire new languages and / or skills.

The idea that gaming, education, and a better overall internet user system could be developed prompted allot of what is known today as NiHao World.

The first step was the building of the 3d world in which all of what we considered to be worthy of keeping from the internet of today could be housed. This project still and always will be in development is known as NiHao 3d. [2]

Then the NiHao Studios team went onto developing a CMS Portal Named NiHao People [3] based upon the Boonex Dolphin [4] CMS Script. 

Shortly after completing a running build of Dolphin on the NiHao servers the NiHao Studios team worked in conjunction with Intel(TM)[5] within the confines of the Intel Software Partner Program to aide in the development and testing of the then new release of Moblin [6].

It was after gaining Linux experience with Moblin that the final part of the NiHao set of software packages that is to become the NiHao rendition of Neal Stephenson's Metaverse began its existance with the NiHao Home Desktop [7].

It was ofcourse natural that a 3d world, a community portal, and moblin tools be based in the world's best operating systems - without saying more than needs to be said - Linux systems.

So we started out with a openSUSE [8] base, and developed our first release; the Home Desktop, and then went on to develop the Gamer edition, and finally the Server SDM suites.

It is the NiHao Gamer edition that will encompass all of the NiHao Empire products and software packages for it was with the "Metaverse"  (see[1]) in mind that all of the above story came to be and eos2 Gamer will be its host and base.

It is an enormously big project to build Neal Stephenson's Metaverse and I wonder if we will ever achieve it. Being said we are however enjoying the task whether it be fruitful or just another great Linux build.

We do welcome like minded folk to join our team whether it be for scripting or other. Its an impossible task but its a happy road.

I hope all that try the Nihao Systems and other software entities created by the NiHao Studios team find enjoyment within our creations, and do freely give feedback either here or at the NiHao sites.

Our motto "For the People, by the People" being similar with that of the Linux Foundation's  "For the Community, by the Community" ecompasses all that NiHao is....

We started as a scrabbly bunch of tourists meeting by chance in China and are now the Grandfathers of the China experience, and have been helping China develop since then by the works of our own hands.

We believe strongly in contribution and callaboration, and ask our users to follow the same simple principles belonging to the world of Linux.

For comments, bug reports, help requests, and general chatter please feel (GNU-GPL) free to add to this post :) 

Link List:

Link [1]: Wikipedia - SnowCrash, book by Neal Stephenson. 

Link [2]: NiHao 3d website.

Link [3]: NiHao People website.

Link [4]: Boonex Dolphin website.

Link [5]: Intel Corporation website.

Link [6]: website.

Link [7]: website.

Link [8]: website.

Grant K of NiHao Studios


openSuSE 11.2 RC1 non-U.S. keyboard problem

I am in the process of installing openSuSE 11.2 RC1 on all of my systems.  One of the first things I have found is that it still has a problem with non-U.S. keyboards.  No matter what keymap I select during installation, the installed image ends up with the U.S. definition.

You can manually change the definition by editing /etc/sysconfig/keyboard and changing the KEYTABLE value.  Look in /usr/share/kbd/keymaps/i386 to find the known maps - and don't overlook the fact that there are separate directories for qwerty and qwertz keyboard maps.  Reboot after changing.

jw 15/10/2009


A Tip for Mandriva 2010.0 RC2 Installation and Configuration

I've been installing the new Mandriva 2010.0 RC2 distribution on various of my notebooks, netbooks and nettop  this morning.  Well, trying to, anyway.  It has turned out to be a bit more difficult than I had expected.  I can only speak about the Mandriva One KDE LiveCD, as that is the only one I have tried, but I would assume that this is true at least for all of the One LiveCD versions.

The first problem is that the LiveCD failed to boot on my Fujitsu Lifebook S6510, which is really a pretty standard Intel Core2 Duo system with an Intel 965 graphic controller, and on my HP Pavillion dv2-1010ez, which is a not-so-standard AMD Athlon Neo CPU and ATI Mobility Radeon 3410 graphic controller.  What I finally found was that Mandriva is still trying to auto-generate their own xorg.conf  file, on those two systems they got it sufficiently wrong that the X display server couldn't even start.  However, they are using the latest server (1.6.4), which is plenty smart enough to figure out everything it needs to know on its own, so it doesn't need an xorg.conf file.  So the solution was to just login as root on the text console, delete the file /etc/X11/xorg.conf, and then run startx to get the X display server going so that you can then use the LiveCD graphic installer as usual.

The second problem is that after installation, at least on the S6510 (Intel 965 graphics), the screen resolution was incorrect (1024x768 rather than 1280x800).  Once again, the problem is that they tried to auto-generate an xorg.conf file, and got it wrong, and once again the solution is to just delete (or rename, if you are very conservative) the xorg.conf file.  Then reboot, or otherwise restart the X server, and all should be well with the world.

In fact what I have done is delete the xorg.conf  file after the installation completes, even on those where they "got it right", because it's not necessary and I don't see any benefit to having it any more.  I have checked screen resolution, keyboard maps and such, and it all seems to work just fine.  If anyone should try this and find a system which does not work properly, I would be very interested in hearing about it.



New distribution...

I have just installed Ubuntu 9.04 from a cd that came with the Linux format magazine. Wow!

It has so many applications. I'll enjoy learning them. I hope there is one for a webcam driver.

I no longer have any other OS's , only this.  I'm new to this, so it'll take time.


ojuba Linux 3 is released

After the release of ojuba Linux 2 (code named
alqahira which means victorious) we are pleased to announce our third
release of ojuba Linux code named "arrebat” (which means standing firm
before enemies)

ojuba Linux is an Arabic/Islamic focused Linux distribution based on Fedora (and rpmfusion). Ojuba which contains many patches (for example Arabic shaping in wine)

ojuba is gnome centric our LiveDVD/USB is a gnome desktop

we also provide an installation media which contains kde and other desktops

this release contains kde 4.3.1  and it supports off-line installation of packages

note: ojuba means wonderful or incredible.


Linux Mint Xfce on Notebooks and Netbooks

Two of my favorite things converged over the weekend - Linux Mint, which I think is an excellent distribution for average users, and the Xfce desktop, which I find myself using and liking more than either Gnome or KDE, especially on netbooks.  So the Linux Mint 7 'Gloria' Xfce Community Edition was a welcome addition for me.  The following are a few notes that I have made about installing and configuring it on various of my notebook and netbook computers.

- The Mint Xfce Community Edition is built from the Xubuntu distribution, in much the same way that the standard Linux Mint distribution is built from the standard Ubuntu distribution.  It looks like it includes all the 'mint' utilities, such as install/update/backup/disk/nanny, and the same artwork and themes as the standard Linux Mint distribution.

- Installation is essentially identical to installing the stand Mint or Ubuntu distributions.  When the installation is complete it boots to a gdm session manager, and on login you get a pretty standard Xfce desktop (very similar to Xubuntu).

- When the installation is complete, the first thing to do is let mintUpdate install all updates.

- mintUpdate does not pick up all of the updates that have been made by Ubuntu for the base distribution.  At the present time, for example, Linux Mint still runs on the 2.6.28-11 Linux kernel, while Ubuntu is running 2.6.28-15.  If you want or need to have all of the latest updates, you have to run the Synaptic Package Manager, select "Status" from the display options at the bottom left, then "Installed (upgradeable)" from the status list.  That will show you what upgrades are available, then you can select the ones you want, or simply click "Mark All Upgrades" and "Apply". 

- Even after updating with Synaptic, you're still not quite home free.  Mint Xfce uses Wicd for network management, and like Xubuntu it is using version 1.5.9.  The latest version, though, is 1.6.2 - and I have found that on my HP 2133 Mini-Note with a Broadcom wireless adapter, the older version of Wicd causes the system to hang during boot very frequently if the wireless adapter is enabled, but the newest version of Wicd does not.  So, I update to the latest Wicd by adding their Repo to Synaptic.  Of course, you could do this before doing the full update with Synaptic, and it would then be updated along with everything else.  The Sourceforge pages for Wicd contain instructions for doing this.   (Hint: the -O- in the wget command is an upper case letter O, not a numeric 0, it is used to direct the output of the command to stdout; if the entire command works, you should get a response of "OK")  After adding the key and repo, all you need to do is click "Reload", then "Mark All Upgrades", then "Apply".

- The sound on all three of the notebook/netbook systems I have installed on was working immediately after installation, but after installing all updates there was no sound.  I had to click the mixer icon in the panel, select controls and add "Master", then un-mute and set the volume level.

- The mintDisk program will automatically mount any FAT or NTFS partitions it finds on boot.  If you don't want/need those to be mounted you can control that through Applications/System/mintDisk

- The visible desktop icons are selected in "Desktop Settings...".  Because screen space is at a premium on netbooks, I remove the Trash, Home and Filesystem icons; on ordinary notebooks with larger screens, I leave them on.

- On my netbooks, I set up two panels on the Xfce desktop.  In addition to the standard one at the bottom of the screen, I create a new one on the right side of the screen.  I move all of the simple "icon only" objects there, such as the mixer, clock (which I change to analog), workspace switcher, notifier and show desktop, and I add a Logout button.  That leaves only the text items on the bottom panel - the menus and task list.  I then set both panels to "Fixed position" and "Normal Width", and the bottom panel to Autohide.  The idea behind all of this is that netbook screens are small, so I need to save space, but there are certain icons I like to be able to see and access at all times.  For those, the netbook screen generally has more room to spare horizontally than vertically so I shift them to the right side and don't hide them, and then hide what is left on the bottom panel.  I like the result, but it is really a matter of taste.

- I was very pleased to see that Linux Mint includes Opera in its Software Manger package list (aka mintInstall) - and it is even at the latest version (10.00) already!  Firefox is of course included in the basic installation, but I prefer Opera in most situations.  It's nice to have it included in the package manager, so it will get updated automatically and thus save me from having to keep an eye on Opera updates.

- In fact, it is interesting and probably worthwhile to start mintInstall (Applications/Software Manager), and just click the "Featured Applications" to see what is there.  Lots of good stuff.  I generally also install Picasa and the VLC media player, for example.

That is essentially what it took to get the Linux Mint Xfce distribution installed and configured on my systems.   I strongly recommend it to casual users, and I honestly think that even experienced users are likely to be pleased and impressed with it.  I certainly am.

jw 15/9/2009 


Caution on GRUB with Ubuntu 9.10 (Karmic Koala) Alpha

I have mentioned this topic in passing before, when talking about Ubuntu Karmic GRUB, but I have since discovered that that issue is serious enough, or at least the consequences can be serious enough, that I think it deserves a separate and more detailed explanation.

During the installation of Ubuntu 9.10 Alpha 5, there are no questions about installing GRUB.  It does not ask if you want to install GRUB or not, or even where you want to install it, it quietly installs GRUB 2, and it installs it to the MBR (Master Boot Record) of your primary disk.  There are at least two specific things you need to be careful about related to this:

- First, and most important, if you intend to preserve your existing bootloader, meaning that you want to keep your MBR intact as it is, you are going to be surprised and disappointed.  Even if you install to a second disk, an external disk, or whatever, it will overwrite the MBR on your primary disk.  To be honest, I would love to be wrong about this because I think it is at the very least a bad idea, if not outright dangerous.  Certainly in the case of installation to a second disk, I would think that the very most it should do is install GRUB to the MBR of that drive, and not just silently modify your primary drive.  But I have tried the installation more than once, in several different systems and configurations, and this is what it has done every time.  Please, if I am wrong about this, someone tell me about it.

- Second, if you have a multiboot installation, and you are using Legacy GRUB for other Linux partitions, you are going to have to learn to deal with mixing the two versions of GRUB.  My blong entry, mentioned above, gives some more information about how to do this.


P.S.   According to the Release Announcement,  "GRUB 2 is the default boot loader for new installations".  This implies that if you upgrade an existing installation, it will not install GRUB 2, but since I never install an Alpha release as an upgrade (and it probably wouldn't be a good idea to do so in any case), I can't vouch for what it does in such a case.

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