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Dual Boot Setup Headache and Warning

December 6, 2008 was an important date in my life. That evening we had a launch party in New York for the start up I'd been working with since September. More significantly, it was my last day with a Windows computer in my home. In reality, I was supposed to be getting doing a dual boot installation so my family could continue to use the Windows software they were accustomed to, and I could play around in Linux world. All on the same computer. It seemed so simple.

The directions were in front of me, printed out from the Internet several days before. I hardly needed them, though, as I had read through them again and again as I struggled to work up the nerve to do the installation. The whole process took less than half and hour, but as I rebooted a problem appeared.

When a standard PC boots up you see BIOS working.  What was supposed to happen was that I would see an option to log into Windows or go ahead and boot into Ubuntu, which was the new default. That option appeared, but no amount of key-tapping would make it change. Time and again I rebooted, only to be sent -- after a brief wait -- into Ubuntu.

Scouring the Internet and trying different tricks got me nowhere. Folks on the Ubuntu forums were very kind and tried to be helpful, but this was a no-go.

My wife managed to pull me away from the computer to get ready for the launch party. We had a very good time, but the computer problem at home gnawed at me.

We got home late, and I stayed up even later. By the time 2:30am rolled around I had accepted the inevitable and we had a full Ubuntu installation on our computer. I was glad I'd backed up our personal folders of documents and pictures.

It took a few days to realize completely what had happened, but now it is crystal clear. Our computer does not have any PS2 ports. Instead, the keyboard and pretty much everything else uses UBS connections. The version of BIOS on this desktop doesn't recognize USB ports, so the keyboard fails to be identified and cannot be used in BIOS. Since the average user would never have any reason to be poking around in BIOS, this normally wouldn't be a problem. Neither Windows XP nor Ubuntu 8.10 have any problem with USB keyboards.

So, if you are thinking about setting up your computer for dual boot Windows/Ubuntu use, take a closer look at your hardware and at BIOS. If you have USB ports only for the keyboard and if you see the magic words "keyboard failure" anywhere as your computer boots up, don't try a dual boot install.

That said, now that I've learned my way around Linux to some extent, I wouldn't want to go back. I've done maintenance on friends' Windows computers since switching to Ubuntu and have been shocked at how shoddy Windows looks in comparison.

Note: This post originally appeared on my blog, Igneous Quill.  Some minor editing to the text was made for this post.


Convert a .svg file to a .png in Ubuntu

Install ImageMagick for converting:

sudo aptitude install imagemagick

Convert the image with antialiasing:

convert +antialias image.svg image.png

 Confirm that the file is indeed a png:

file image.png


Xen: Create a Jaunty DomU using xen-create-image

These are instructions for creating an Ubuntu Jaunty DomU on Debian Lenny Dom0 using Xen 3.2.1 that comes with Lenny.  I'm installing into an LVM rather than using a file image.  See this HowtoForge article for background of my particular setup.  This tutorial assumes you're working from a similar setup with an iscsi target and LVM-based VMs.

 The reason I'm posting this is because I had such a hard time finding some combination of tools that worked correctly to do this.  I tried a few options but had little success:

  • debootstrap - Didn't seem to work with Jaunty at all.  It would just crash
  • vm-install - Doesn't support LVM-based VMs by default, but there is a procedure for converting the qcow image to an LVM
What I found is that I could find no way of creating the LVM-based VM in Lenny.  I actually had to create a sid instance first and then install my open-iscsi and xen-utils into the sid VM, then use SID to populate the VM. 

Perform the following actions in your SID vm or workstation

Note:  You'll need your /etc/xen-tools/xen-tools.conf setup like the instructions in the HowtoForge article (things like gateway, netmask, broadcast, passwd, fs type, install-method, etc).

Whenever I would try to build the vm with the default partitions, it would always fail.  For some reason the resulting vm would have an fstab that shows something like sda1 and sda2 instead of xvda1 and xvda2.  I had to create my own partition scheme before anything would work right.  Here's mine:

$ sudo cat /etc/xen-tools/partitions.d/with-data



 You will need to create a symlink for jaunty so that the option is recognized at the command-line. 

$ cd /usr/lib/xen-tools

$ sudo ln -s edgy.d jaunty.d 

Now, finally, you can create the image.  This step may take some time

$ xen-create-image --hostname=myserver --dhcp --lvm=vg_xen --dist=jaunty --mirror= --size=4Gb --memory=512Mb --swap=512MB --arch=i386 --partitions=with-data

 Since you're building the LVM on a different machine than it will eventually run on, you'll need to  copy the resulting xen config to the correct server:

$ scp /etc/xen/myserver.cfg root@realhost:/etc/xen/

That should be all you need to get this working.


Install NetBackup Client on Ubuntu Jaunty (i386 and amd64)

Many enterprises use the Symantec NetBackup software to backup machines.  Last time I checked (6 months ago?), they didn't support Debian-based distros.  I've been using this process since around Hardy and just recently tested this in a Jaunty Xen VM and it seems to be working (waiting for admin to run a backup on my machine to check)

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My first entry.

My first entry.
This is my first entry. Right now just looking around and stuff. Will post more soon.


The Calculus Integrator

The Calculus Integrator
Also, if you have not been to my open source program that I am creating, The Calculus Integrator, I would highly recommend to go to my sourseforge page:
Thank You.

GNU ARM toolchain embedded development on Linux

There is a crying demand among mobile phone vendors for talented ARM programmers, and there's plenty of work to be done. This article provides a starting point for understanding the software side of embedded systems development by describing one set of commonly used tools: the GNU ARM toolchain.

About the program

The Calculus Integrator
So, what is The Calculus Integrator? This project was registered on on May 6, 2009.

It is just a simple program, with loads of functionality, that I am working on. As of right now, it can do very basic integrals, and that is it. It is a alpha release right now, but very stable. My program is licensed under Gnu Public licensed version


OpenSUSE Weekly News #73 WIP

Hello Friends,

ATM i'm working on the Weekly News. If you have some Ideas, Posts or Blogs you can send it to: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it


Virtual Bridges Grows Worldwide Partner Ecosystem to support Virtual Desktop Offering with IBM and Canonical


Attractive Economics of Linux Desktops Drives 16 Resellers to Offer VERDE;

VERDE Now Allows Users to Access Virtual Desktop When Offline Too

Austin, TX - May 21, 2009-- Since the December 2008 announcement of IBM and Canonical teaming with Virtual Bridges to provide the company's Virtual Desktop Infrastructure technology as part of a Microsoft-alternative desktop offering, Virtual Bridges partner sign-ups have seen a dramatic surge.


Sixteen new partners have embraced the offering in the first quarter of 2009. These new resellers reach clients in Germany, France, England, Italy, South Africa, Japan, Indonesia, Mexico and the United States.  This more than doubles the partner network for Virtual Bridges offerings.


"The global recession is driving companies of all sizes to seek the cost savings that a virtual Linux desktop can provide," said Jim Curtin, president and CEO of Virtual Bridges. "The surge in our reseller ecosystem indicates that PC management has moved to the top of IT priority list. The IBM-Virtual Bridges-Canonical desktop delivers a sea-change in desktop infrastructure cost versus Microsoft products."


VERDE is Virtual Bridge's flagship Virtual Desktop Infrastructure technology (VDI) solution that allows organizations of all sizes to transform the cost of desktop management and provisioning. The joint desktop combines VERDE with the world's leading desktop Linux OS, Ubuntu from Canonical, and IBM's collaboration and productivity software, Open Collaboration Client Solution (OCCS).


With VERDE 2.0, Virtual Bridges has added clients a major new feature -- the ability to use their virtual desktop software when they are offline.  Users can be disconnected from the Internet and still be able to use applications locally.  This expands VERDE from being VDI-only to being a true desktop management infrastructure offering. Virtual Bridges expects the retail, education, government, healthcare and transportation industries to find immediate value.


Midas Networks in Austin, Texas is now offering clients VERDE 2.0 as a hosted desktop offering. This "software as a service" offering looks like a traditional desktop but the hosted applications permit the users access their desktops on any network-connected device where ever they happen to be.


"We're seeing the move to a Linux desktop-even in a staged deployment-is highly compelling financial opportunity for companies," said Inna Kuznetsova, director of IBM Linux strategy. "Virtual Bridges' extended network of partners means that more companies around the globe can take advantage of the cost savings of virtualized PCs, centralized IT management, and open source software."



New partners reselling the virtual desktop offerings include the following:


6PAC - German-based 6PAC Consulting AG, brings people and technology together. This maxim directs their approach and services. Processes can then market and customer effectively organize, when the people, structures and supporting technologies are optimally matched. Their strength is in the competence of business solutions, system solutions and services, with the IT strategy of SMEs and large enterprises a holistic view.


ArchéTech - Rome-based ArchéTech Srl is a highly-skilled professional team of business and technical consultants operating as solution providers on the whole Enterprise resource scenario. The company offers solutions for Business Intelligence, Open Source applications, Desktop virtualization, Ubuntu desktop/server migration and customization, deploying latest-generation products aimed to cost reduction and avoidance. ArchéTech is the first Italian certified Ubuntu Solution Provider.


Cell Systems - Mexican-based Cell Systems provides network and Linux solution to provide maximum productivity in their client companies.


Cloverworks - Japan-based, Cloverworks is a technology company that provides innovative, eco-friendly secure and reliable solutions, based in open-systems, to companies of all sizes.


FedResults - U.S.-based FedResults provides innovative technology solutions that support mission-critical customer applications in government agencies and Fortune 1000 corporations.


Hermitage Solutions - Hermitage Solutions, a Hermitage Group company, is a provider of solutions for security and networking. The Group has offices in France, Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia.


Inkululeko Technologies - Inkululeko is one of South Africa's leading open source ICT Solution Providers in the Education and Development Sectors.


KitASP - Japan-based KitASP distributes and resells of network solutions.


Lille Corp - U.S.-based, Lille Corp provides office systems technology for companies that place a premium on quality, efficiency, reliability and a positive return on investment.


Mainline Information Systems - The Mexican division of Mainline is a leader in developing solutions that address companies' major wireless network needs: high-speed access and bandwidth, security and information back-up. Mainline teams with leading network partners to deliver unified wired and wireless solutions. These solutions support real-time business applications and create a secure, mobile, interactive workplace for organizations deploying WLANs (wireless local area networks).


Midas Networks - U.S-based Midas Networks specializes in web hosting, server
co-location, IT infrastructure deployment, and managed IT services.


MobileIT - UK-based solutions provider specializing in Mobile applications through their MITS system developed specifically for schools.


NorthLan Solutions - U.S.-based, NorthLan Solutions looks for the intersection of enterprise class technologies, value and market acceptance, and strives to make these results available to medium and small business networks.  NorthLan Solutions delivers both open source and proprietary solutions, with community and commercially supported options.


ThinTeknix - Canadian-based, ThinTeknix is a system integration company with a mission to implement green computing solutions in small businesses and enterprise.  Armed with innovative technologies like thin clients / server based computing, virtualization, Ultra low power computers and cloud computing, Thinteknix aims to introduce about environmental friendly computing solutions.


TND-Solutions - Indonesian-based TND Solutions provides networking and computing solutions.


Topalis - German-based Topalis Group is an alliance of companies for providing qualified IT consulting services in numerous segments. They have a strict focus on effective advice and services in clearly defined areas.


Other major partners will be announced over the next couple of weeks.


For more information on becoming a VERDE reseller and partner, please contact Virtual Bridges at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .


For more information about Win4 branded products, please visit Win4Lin Site. For more information about Virtual Bridges, Inc., please visit Virtual Bridges site.


About Virtual Bridges

Virtual Bridges, Inc. develops small and medium-business and enterprise virtualization solutions for business and education. Virtual Bridges' products are multi-platform and are aimed at businesses that want to use virtualization solutions to create sustainable business advantage.


VERDE, Win4, Win4Lin, Win4Lin, Win4BSD, and Win4Solaris are trademarks or registered trademarks of Virtual Bridges, Inc. All other trademarks are the property of their respective owners.


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