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Linux on Netbooks

It is so annoying (but not unexpected) that Microsoft swooped in and fixed it so you can't find a netbook with Linux on it in any store, but this is the icing on the cake:

http://popey.com/Asus_The_Fair_Weather_Friend

I was in Costco a couple of weeks ago and I was looking over the netbooks to see if there was one with Linux installed (of course there wasn't).  The salesman came up and asked if I had any questions.  I said "yes, where can I get a one of these with a decent operating system instead of Windows".

I can say that I won't ever buy another machine with Windoze pre-installed. I did that once and I have regretted it ever since. I tried to get my money back for the unused copy of Windoze that came with it, but finally gave up. I am mad at myself for giving up too easily, I should have fought the battle just on principle.

It occurred to me that we should grab the "itsbetterwithlinux.com" URL and put up a rebuttal, but it looks like somebody already has it. I certainly hope it isn't a Redmond lackey cybersquatting.
 

Goodbye Zenwalk and welcome back Fedora... sigh...

Well I've made another switch once again.

I had  been fooling around with Zenwalk yesterday, mostly with trying to install rygel which I ultimately deemed nearly impossible since I had to build almost everything from source and I was getting way too many error messages. Of course I'm not saying nobody can do it, it is just beyond my personal reach.

Thanks to rygel, though, I did learn about vala. I got interested in vala. I tried to install vala, which went ok, up to the point where I wanted to install val(a)ide, which went completely wrong without actually telling me what was wrong. So I got annoyed a little.
I looked into the other solutions and noticed a vala plug-in for gedit, I was again intrigued and started nosing around. To my shock, even though I had already switched from xfce to gnome, that netpkg did not have a gedit package. I was crushed with amazement by this. I thought gedit was a fairly common package.

Well, anyway, I downloaded gedit source and started trying to compile it, but of course it refused. Something was missing.
This was kind of the last straw for me. I finally had enough and decided to get rid of zenwalk and move on to another distro once again.

I just wasn't sure which one I wanted. I'd heard good things about Mandrive, so even though I hate Mandrake I gave it a shot, downloaded, burned it and tried installing it, but it was just too slow. I couldn't get through the install process, so I started looking for another distro.
After Mandrive I thought I might take a look at Fedora again, but when I saw that Fedora was getting a new release in a few days I thought it'd be best to wait and see what happens. So I looked on. Took a look at Arch Linux, even took a look at LFS.
In the end though I decided Fedora would be easiets, so I downloaded and installed it.

I am already kind of sorry I did, becuase of course it did not recognize my video card or my monitor, so I installed the NVidia drivers. It still wouldn't recognize my monitor so the drivers actually made it worse, first having a 800x600 res and now the maximum being 640x480.
I was able to fix it though by installing system-config-display and then running system-config-display --reconfig to choose the drivers and then system-config-display --set-resolution=1280x1024 and after reboot it finally worked.

I might use this for a while now again, but I got very close to installing Arch. I wonder why I still feel I haven't found the right distro yet.

 

NOOB's adventures in Linux From Scratch

Back again,

 I'm about 3/4 of the way thru the first prerequisite . Feeling the first inkling of understanding of what it takes to put a command line together. Not just a  single command. 

   I personally don't think that the  http://www.linuxhq.com/guides/LUG/guide.html  could be the best one to learn from as it's somewhat dated and I the NOOB even find many mistakes ...  It for one is not easy to follow,  it jumps all over the place. Command examples  are not with the paragraph that  writes about it. They're  is sometimes three or four paragraphs away from it, with no direction or no# linking the example with the paragraph... confusing to say the least.  There are mis-spelled commands.  Easy for an established person to realize there's a problem here. But, I found myself lost on many occasions following along blindly lost as to why I wasn't getting the same answer at they get.. or getting an error about the command , only IRC and Google saved me.  None the less,  I'm committed to my goal of getting the knowledge I need to successfully build LFS. I'll finish reading and making notes, and follow up with google and other pages as needed. Actually, thats probably the reason I'll be more competent. I won't give up... I'm making everything work before I move on so the end result is more information is sticking to my brain because of the mistakes :) It is aggravating but that's exactly why I'm retaining more info ???

  I've been at this now about 3 weeks. I quickly read through the prerequisites only to fall flat on my face building LFS. I've really made the point of studying all the info pointed out in the prerequisites  this time...so that I will fully comprehend what I've read.  At this point in time , I believe that just the prerequisites will not be enough for me. We shall soon see.

 

 

Intel Core 2 Quad... Which version of Linux do I have to install?

This is my first contribution to the community, I hope it will be at least from a practical point of view, useful for some of the new Linux users, as I actually am.

I recently purchased a nice computer. I mounted the components (which was kind of an adventure) and decided to install Debian on it. I faced the very first question as I was going to download it: which architecture is the one I should use?

My processor is an Intel Core 2 Quad 8200, so I knew I could run on 64-bits.  But the amd64 version looked weird to me, since my computer had an Intel processor (Intel64...) not an AMD. The answer is quite straight forward: for Core 2 amd64 is the one.

Read more... Comment (0)
 

How I got involved with Linux

I am a technical writer. I've written hundreds of thousands of words about the Linux operating system over the years. I currently write for three different companies - one of them our beloved linux.com.

I thought I would introduce myself by way of discussing how I got involved with Linux in the beginning....

I came into computers rather late in life. I was just joining the professional world as a professor at a university and realized I had to have my first computer. So I bought an Acer Aspire with a 75 Mhz CPU. At the time it was sweet. I was on AOL and having a blast...that is until Windows 95 decided to do its thing and reveal to me my first "BOSD". At that point I assumed it was a "feature" and plodded on. But that "feature" continued creeping into my daily computing life. No matter what I was doing I found myself having to reboot my machine with either the three or the one finger salute. 

After a few years of that I heard the whispers of another operating system - one that wouldn't frustrate me beyond belief, one that would actually do what I wanted it to do. Being the curious monkey I am I had to know what this operating system was. That was circa 1998 and I finally heard the name Linux.

Being on dial up, the only way I was going to have this operating system was either: 1) from Cheapbytes or 2) from the local retail. I got lucky and the local retail shop had a copy of Caldera OpenLinux. Believe it or not I did get this installed. It was rough...like thermo-nuclear physics rough. I had never installed an operating system before and was, well, a bit taken aback by the process. 

Eventually it was installed and I was up and running. Only problem was I wasn't doing much. It took me a while to finally figure out I was the proud owner of a winmodem, so I couldn't get on line.

Ah the beauty of the US Robtics external dial up modem. It worked like a charm and I had Linux up and running and on line! I flipped the bird to Windows and never looked back.

Now I can say I have tried every distribution I can get my hands on. I have covered nearly every aspect of Linux one one or more sites. My writing about Linux has been published and translated into multiple languages.

Linux has been, and always shall be, my friend.

 

ASUS Ai Remote driver

Everybody with a ASUS P5E3 or a similar Mainboard has got an infrared remote control, that can be connected to the PC via USB. I had some trubles making this thing work with LIRC, so I wrote a Python script, that maps the remote's signals to keycodes.

Read more... Comment (0)
 

test „ÉÜ„Çπ„Éà

Test „ÉÜ„Çπ„Éà
 

Preventing unauthorized SSH access using Denyhosts

Once when I was doing a regular tail -f /var/log/messages, I came across a number of messages like these.

sshd[29924]: PAM_NAM: User donk unknown to the authentication module
sshd[29924]: Failed password for invalid user donk from 'IP address here' port 63410 ssh2

My SSH was under continuous attack! . Hmm.., until I found DenyHosts..

DenyHosts is a cool little python script by Phil Schwartz, which will parse the logs and identify repeated authentication failures and add the IP address of the offenders to /etc/hosts.deny, thus preventing them to connect to the server in the first place.

Installation

As the program was not available in the official repositories for SLES 10 SP1, I had to do some manual configuration. The installation steps were detailed in the ‘Readme.txt' file within the package.

First, the python-devel package has to be installed. It is not installed by default

zypper install python-devel

Download the latest version of DenyHosts from http://denyhosts.sourceforge.net/

The version available at the time of my setup was 2.6. After uncompressing the sources

tar zxvf DenyHosts-2.6.tar.gz

cd DenyHosts-2.6

python setup.py install

The above step install the scripts and config files in /usr/share/denyhosts and in the site-packages of the python directory.

Configuration

Before proceeding the file denyhosts.cfg must be edited to suit the installation environment.The example config file is fully commented so it should be easy to follow. I had the following config

#/usr/share/denyhosts/denyhosts.cfg

SECURE_LOG = /var/log/messages
HOSTS_DENY = /etc/hosts.deny
LOCK_FILE = /var/run/denyhosts.pid

After this, I did the following step (as mentioned in the readme) to run denyhosts as a daemon during system start.

cd /usr/share/denyhosts

chmod 700 daemon-control

ln -s /usr/share/denyhosts/daemon-control /etc/init.d/denyhosts

/etc/init.d/denyhosts start

tail -f /var/log/denyhosts # will contain messages related to the start

If it is working as intended, enable it to start automatically by doing

chkconfig denyhosts on

It had happend occassionally that some valid IP's are listed in /etc/hosts.deny. To prevent this, the genuine IPs from which users connect can be added to a file called ‘allowed-hosts' in /usr/share/denyhosts/data. There is no specific format. Just add the IPs to the file one below the other. Also, edit denyhosts.cfg to change the following variable and restart denyhosts.

ALLOWED_HOSTS_HOSTNAME_LOOKUP=YES

That's it..

 

Using lftp to synchronize folders with a FTP account

lftp is a powerfull FTP client than can be used to sync with a remote account. In Ubuntu 9.04 it is already installed so all you have to do is figure out how to use it. :)

First, you'll need 2 "scripts", one to download files from the remote FTP server to your computer an one to upload them from your computer to the server.

Download script:

Create a file named download.x with the following content:

open -u user,password -p [port] [server]
mirror -c -e /remote_directory /local_directory
exit

You will need to write your username and password; also specify the port, usually 22, and the server address (eg: ftp://domain.com - you can also use sftp://). Also insert the absolute paths to the remote and  local directories.

The effect of the option -e  in the second line is that files that don't exist anymore in the remote directory will be deleted from the local directory; you may want to change this if you don't need this option.

Upload script:

open -u user,password -p [port] [server]
mirror -c -e -R /local_directory /remote_directory
exit

 

There are only a few things changed in the upload script: the -R option is used because we want to upload from the local directory to the remote one. Also note that the order of the two folders changed from the download script.

There are many other options for lftp; just, you know, man lftp.

Now, to download the files from the remote FTP server to the local directory open a terminal an type in:

$ lftp -f download.x

Note: if the download.x file is not in your home directory, you'll have to write the path to it.

To upload the files to the remote directory use the command:

$ lftp -f upload.x

 

Hope this helps.

 

A secure remote folder share while traveling

Task, provide secure access to your home fileserver via Internet.

Instructions are geared for Debs...Ubuntu/Debian based systems.

Task: Set up a file repository on your home webserver, so that you can access your files anytime you are out connected to a hotspot, coffeeshop or through tethered your ATT phone via bluetooth* (*see my other blog for how to do this one)

Add ssh to your webserver, apt-get install sshd

Harden SSH so that it is more secure, 1. change the default port, 2. disallow root access.  3.  specify only needed users.

1.. For security reasons, we move ssh from port 22 to something higher up..like 10022 for example.. (network scanners are less likely to find you and attempt to break in via brute force username/password attack)

You do this by modifying /etc/ssh/sshd_config and change the statement "port 22" to a port number above 1024 and below 65535,       port 10022

2..  then change "PermitRootLogin yes" to "PermitRootLogin no"

3.. Then add a statement that restrictrs who can login, keep it minimal like this: AllowUsers foo1 foo2

Restart ssh like this:   sudo /etc/init.d/ssh restart

 

now, test your login by attempting to log in ssh as root...should be denied, then try your login name that you spec'd up above in #3

works?   good, so far so good...

Now move along to your laptop, Eee machine, or whatever you carry around with you...  On Ubuntu, go to "places" then "connect to server", then select SSH from the service type pull down menu.  In the Server box, type in your webserver's IP address, in the PORT box put in whatever you used in   #1 above.

Username will be your user name that you allowed in #3 above.

Then when you hit connect, it will prompt for a password, which you enter, and then choose to "remember it forever".

Once this is done your "remote" folder will show up in your file browser, to pull files from your home server as needed to your remote device.

Enjoy..!

Jim

 

 

Been using Wine to play some old windows games.

Strangely these 6 to 8 year old commercial windows games run better under Linux using wine than they do on a fairly modern Windows XP box.

 Myth, Starcraft, SimCity3000 all just worked on Linux.

 I have also found Linux based Clients for several games that work perfectly. The quake 2 and 3 source code compiled very easily on my system and worked flawlessly. 

 Source code for Quake 2: http://www.icculus.org/quake2/#download

I had to install a few libXxx* libraries to get the code to compile.  To get sound to work I had to edit the Make file and have it build sdlquake and run that version to get sound working.  

 I used a couple of set commands to set the 1280x800 resolution of my monitor.: 

quake set r_customwidth 1280 set r_customheight 800 set r_mode -1

Source code for Quake 3: http://ioquake3.org/source-codes/

Here is an interesting site that analyzes Quake source code: http://fabiensanglard.net/quakeSource/quakeSourceNetWork.php

The following site has a lot of installers for many older games to run them under Linux:  http://www.liflg.org/?catid=3 

 I also got the Linux version of Myth II Soulblighter installed using these directions :  http://grokthink.com/wordpress/?p=184

 I haven't played any of these games for years, one nice thing about being unemployed.  :)

 Happy gaming.

 
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