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openSUSE Weekly News 177 is out!

I'm pleased to announce our new openSUSE Weekly News Issue 177. As ever available in two different html styles and one pdf.

In this Issue:

  • openSUSE renames OBS
  • Bryen Yunashko: Ready…Set…Code!
  • Andreas Jaeger: Factory Progress
  • Matt Barringer: SUSE Gallery Desktop Client
  • and many more ...

You can download it there:

We hope you enjoy the reading :-)

If you want to help us collecting interesting articles for the openSUSE Weekly News, so you can all your stuff into our new ietherpad:

Found Bugs? Please place it in our Bugtracker:

Features, Ideas and Improvements can placed in our Featuretracker:

Older content can be found there.

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Build your own Linux? Where to start...Two powerful distro's you need to know..

The two distro's that will not make you headache when building a system are available from Bodhi Linux and iqunix. Both big systems with minimal  software. Iqunix is new to me and I liked it instantly and will use it for a build. Huge improvements by Bodhi. I tested Bodhi Linux about a year ago and although it had the best looking eye candy there were too many bugs to enjoy and it felt danty. This time no issues and it still looks Pimp offering various levals of distros to choose from on install including one with ( I forget maybe 3 apps at most) . Bohdi and iqunix are calling you if you want to build your own system!!! And yes they have the software to remaster your dev.




openSUSE Weekly News 176 is out!

We are pleased to announce our openSUSE Weekly News Issue 176.

In this Issue:

  • openSUSE Conference 2011 to be creative and open!
  • Manu Gupta: My GSoC Project – SaX3
  • Linux Tag 2011
  • Will Stephenson: Have you BURPed yet today?
  • and many more ...

You can download it there:

We hope you enjoy the reading :-)

If you want to help us collecting interesting articles for the openSUSE Weekly News, so you can all your stuff into our new ietherpad:

Found Bugs? Please place it in our Bugtracker:

Features, Ideas and Improvements can placed in our Featuretracker:

Older content can be found there.

Flattr this


The Free Technology Academy comes to Greece

The Free Technology Academy (FTA), an advanced virtual campus which seeks to educate and promote the adoption of Free Software and other Free Technologies, just partnered with the Association of Greek Users and Friends of Free/Open Source Software. Details and contact info here.



Vatican University asked Microsoft manager to show THE way to digital entrepreneurship

In April 2011 there was a Forum at the Pontifical Athenaeum Regina Apostolorum in Rome devoted to “Youth Communication in the Social Media Age”. A Microsoft manager explained that, if we care about young people as future digital entrepreneurs, we should be worried about... lack of protection for creativity and intellectual property". No, seriously!


Create a custom distro: building the build machine (p.2)

This page follows from: Create a custom distro: building the build machine (p.1)


Installation Process

The first thing to do is to partition the virtual hard drive, fdisk is my favorite tool and you'll be able to create a boot disk quickly:

root@slax:~# fdisk /dev/sda[ENTER]

The number of cylinders for this disk is set to 1044.
There is nothing wrong with that, but this is larger than 1024,
and could in certain setups cause problems with:
1) software that runs at boot time (e.g., old versions of LILO)
2) booting and partitioning software from other OSs

Command (m for help): n[ENTER]
Command action
e extended
p primary partition (1-4)
Partition number (1-4): 1[ENTER]
First cylinder (1-1044, default 1): [ENTER]
Using default value 1
Last cylinder, +cylinders or +size{K,M,G} (1-1044, default 1044): 900[ENTER]

Command (m for help): n[ENTER]
Command action
e extended
p primary partition (1-4)
Partition number (1-4): 2[ENTER]
First cylinder (901-1044, default 901): [ENTER]
Using default value 901
Last cylinder, +cylinders or +size{K,M,G} (901-1044, default 1044): [ENTER]
Using default value 1044

Command (m for help): t[ENTER]
Partition number (1-4): 2[ENTER]
Hex code (type L to list codes): 82[ENTER]
Changed system type of partition 2 to 82 (Linux swap)

Command (m for help): a[ENTER]
Partition number (1-4): 1[ENTER]

Command (m for help): p[ENTER]

Disk /dev/sda: 8589 MB, 8589934592 bytes
255 heads, 63 sectors/track, 1044 cylinders
Units = cylinders of 16065 * 512 = 8225280 bytes
Disk identifier: 0x17159cab

Device Boot Start End Blocks Id System
/dev/sda1 * 1 900 7229218+ 83 Linux
/dev/sda2 901 1044 1156680 82 Linux swap

Command (m for help): w[ENTER]
The partition table has been altered!

Calling ioctl() to re-read partition table.
Syncing disks.



Now you've a drive with two partitions (resize them according to your needs), let's format them:


root@slax:~# mkfs.ext2 /dev/sda1[ENTER]
mke2fs 1.41.3 (12-Oct-2008)
Filesystem label=
OS type: Linux
Block size=4096 (log=2)
Fragment size=4096 (log=2)
452480 inodes, 1807304 blocks
90365 blocks (5.00%) reserved for the super user
First data block=0
Maximum filesystem blocks=1853882368
56 block groups
32768 blocks per group, 32768 fragments per group
8080 inodes per group
Superblock backups stored on blocks: 32768, 98304, 163840, 229376, 294912, 819200, 884736, 1605632

Writing inode tables: done Writing superblocks and filesystem accounting information: done

This filesystem will be automatically checked every 27 mounts or
180 days, whichever comes first. Use tune2fs -c or -i to override.
root@slax:~# mkswap /dev/sda2[ENTER]
Setting up swapspace version 1, size = 1156676 KiB
no label, UUID=1bbc1448-eef5-4faf-874b-f6d9f873459d
root@slax:~# swapon /dev/sda2[ENTER]
root@slax:~# free[ENTER]
total used free shared buffers cached
Mem: 510880 272320 238560 0 38944 183456
-/+ buffers/cache: 49920 460960
Swap: 1156672 0 1156672

Now it's time mount the target drive into your system:

root@slax:~# mkdir /mnt/sda1[ENTER]
root@slax:~# mount /dev/sda1 /mnt/sda1[ENTER]
root@slax:~# df[ENTER]
Filesystem 1K-blocks Used Available Use% Mounted on
aufs 306528 916 305612 1% /
tmpfs 255440 0 255440 0% /dev/shm
/dev/hdc 204850 204850 0 100% /mnt/hdc
/dev/sda1 7115576 15900 6738216 1% /mnt/sda1


As you can see my virtual appliance mapped my virtual CD-ROM unit as /dev/hdc, please change your settings according to your virtualization software if needed because it's time to enter into the CD-ROM root and copy everything in the virtual hard disk, here's:


root@slax:~# cd /mnt/hdc/[ENTER]
root@slax:/mnt/hdc# ls -la[ENTER]
total 10
drwxr-xr-x 4 root root 2048 Aug 4 2009 ./
drwxr-xr-x 5 root root 100 May 20 12:59 ../
dr-xr-xr-x 6 apache apache 4096 May 20 10:31 boot/
dr-xr-xr-x 7 apache apache 4096 May 20 10:31 slax/
root@slax:/mnt/hdc# cp -R * ../sda1/[ENTER]

I've just copied the entire content of the Slax CD-ROM drive in the hard disk, now we only need to install LILO to have a bootable hard disk.

Enter into your hard drive location and issue the command, it's fairly simple to understand what it does, by the way this script will explain you what it's for and asks you to read few messages to continue the installation


root@slax:/mnt/hdc# cd ../sda1/[ENTER]
root@slax:/mnt/sda1# ./boot/[ENTER]

Welcome to Slax boot installer -=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-

This installer will setup disk /dev/sda to boot only Slax from /dev/sda1.
Warning! Master boot record (MBR) of /dev/sda will be overwritten.
If you use /dev/sda to boot any existing operating system, it will not work
anymore. Only Slax will boot from this device. Be careful!

Press any key to continue, or Ctrl+C to abort...[ENTER]

Flushing filesystem buffers, this may take a while...
Updating MBR to setup boot record...
Warning: The initial RAM disk is too big to fit between the kernel and
the 15M-16M memory hole. It will be loaded in the highest memory as
though the configuration file specified "large-memory" and it will
be assumed that the BIOS supports memory moves above 16M.
Added Slax ? *
Disk /dev/sda should be bootable now. Installation finished.

Read the information above and then press any key to exit...[ENTER]




We did it. Now your machine is fully bootable and ready to go, power off the system and remove your virtual CD-ROM from VMWare configuration menu, it's not needed anymore.

Next step will prepare your new build machine to host a “simple binary toolchain”, with it you'll be able to create appliances and understand Slax configuration as well

As normal just drop me a note if you'd like to have information about it or if you'd like to have more details on what I've done


Previous Chapters

Next Chapters


Andrea (Ben) Benini


Create a custom distro: building the build machine (p.1)


Back again with a new episode of my favorite saga: Creating a custom live distro for a special appliance, if you've read all the introduction articles (this link goes to the summary) you may know that now it's time to go deep with some serious stuff. As I told you before in previous episodes I've taken SLAX as my base due to its marvelous features if you need to deal with custom distro like me.

What I'll do now it's to create “the building machine”, from there you'll create new distros and explore its powerful features: create new packages, install them, do some custom stuff and so on.





The first thing to do is obviously download an ISO from their site (, you may add or remove your favorite software from the basic installation, if you visit the site for a while you'll notice how simple is to get something from them, for this example and this custom build machine it's not necessary to download additional software, just grab the ready made slax machine as it is, it's about 200Mb so it's not that big. In the download area get the ISO image, we'll use it to install our machine.


Create the Machine

Now to work in a clean environment I'll create a virtual build machine and I'll install Slax there, you don't need to worry about your host operating system, this build machine is a virtual appliance so you may move or use it wherever you want. I've used VMWare because that's what I use more often, obviously you may create your own machine with your favorite virtualization software. If you're lazy and you don't even want to create your machine, you may ask me a clean Slax build machine. I don't have a web space online for 200Mb, if you can supply me something I'll publish this machine for free in that area

Now this virtual machine has just basic components: CPU, memory (512Mb), CD-ROM, hard disk, nothing more is required for a basic startup.

  • Memory is not an huge problem, our Slax will run even on memory constrained systems, my choice is to use 512Mb of ram
  • CD-ROM needs to be mapped to your fresh ISO just downloaded from Slax site, you don't need to burn a CD for a virtual machine (even if is up to you to decide what to do), after your final installation you may remove the CD-ROM device, we'll install Slax in a virtual hard drive 
  • Hard Disk, just take a standard 8Gb virtual disk, even if Slax will never use it all




Here's a screenshot from my VMWare Player with my basic startup configuration


First Boot

Now power on your virtual machine, we'll install the exact image contained into the CD-ROM in our hard drive. After the boot you'll see Slax splash screen, just select “text only boot mode”, we don't need XWindow now

Wait for a while until you'll see your login and type “root” as username and password “toor” as reported in the welcome message; now you'll see the prompt and you're ready for your clean install.



In the next page there's the installation process








Installing VMware Tools on Debian Squeeze GuestOS

Hi all,
thought I would put down the steps I had to go through to get the VM Tools for ESXi to work on my latest Debian Squeeze deployments, as by default ESXi doesnt recognise the OS as a Debian distro, I initially posted this in the site and my own blog, but figured I would put it here too.

Ok, here goes, on your Debian Squeeze guest:
apt-get install make
apt-get install gcc
apt-get install libc-dev
uname -a and find out what your kernel version is then apt-get install the relevant kernel headers as follows…
apt-get install linux-headers-2.6.32-5-686

(All of the above apt-gets are needed as they will allow you to compile the VMTools programs contained in the .tar.gz file, as some of the programs replace some system defaults like network adapter drivers and replaces the NIC driver with the vmxnet3 driver (for example)).

mount /dev/sr0 /mnt
cp VMwareTools-4.0.0-xxxxx.tar.gz /usr/local/src
cd /usr/local/src
tar zxvf VMwareTools-4.0.0-xxxxx.tar.gz
cd vmware-tools-distrib

Follow all of the usual on-screen prompts for the rest of the VMTools install.
Once the install has completed, you’ll be able to log into your ESXi console using VI client and observer that there is now more granular information available for your guestOS.

Matt Palmer



Install stock VMWare Player on Gentoo without portage


If you've followed my previous virtualization articles you've already seen a lot of material related to VMWare and Gentoo as well.

I use Gentoo as my primary desktop distribution and I often use it on servers as well, one of the biggest problems on Gentoo portage is VMWare support for the player, if you're using an AMD64 release (Gentoo on x86 with 64bit support) you're stick with v2.x but recent 3.x version has introduced a lot of cool things (VM machine creation and better HW support), if you want to install it you're on your own.

It's not a complex installation but on Gentoo there're few tips to remember for a clean installation/uninstallation. Here's what I've did on my own:


Download and Install

First of all just download the package you're looking for from VMWare download area, you need to be registered to get something from them but it's not a problem, at the time of this writing version 3.1.4 it's the latest one but I don't think this procedure would not change later on


Now follow few HTML pages (vmware player link, registration area and then you'll be redirected to the download area) and you'll see something like this:



You need to download proper binary file according to your architecture (32bit or 64bit), I've downloaded for example “Vmware-Player-3.1.4-385536.x86_64.bundle” in my /tmp directory


now add executable bit to it:

chmod +x VMware-Player-3.1.4-385536.x86_64.bundle

So you'll get something like this:

# ls -la Vmware-Player-3.1.4-385536.x86_64.bundle
-rwxr-xr-x 1 andrea software 103561067 May 18 19:51 Vmware-Player-3.1.4-385536.x86_64.bundle

now just execute the bundle file (as ROOT)



Select NO if you don't want to check for products updates (like me)


and select NO if you don't want to send anonymous data to them (like me)

These choices are up to you, but they're not important for this installation.


Then click INSTALL to install this program, this is a fairly clean installation as in a Windows environment, wait for a while until the installer program will stop with a pop-up like this one:


Don't worry about that, installer is complaining about a missing vmware service file, maybe because it thinks to be running in a mainstream distribution like Fedora Core or Ubuntu, simply ignore the warning and continue with your own installation. At the end of the process you'll see a screenshot like this one



Now Some tweaking

Installer ended its job, now it's time to tweak few things in your system to get everything working

First of all: we need to create a service file and put it under /etc/init.d, I've grabbed a good skeleton from /usr/portage/app-emulation/vmware-player/files/vmware-3.0.rc but I've adapted it to be fully compliant with the VMWare .bundle file, particularly I've payed attention to the uninstallation process. Don't copy vmware-3.0.rc, take mine because it works:

# Author: Andrea Benini (2011-05-18)
# Distributed under the terms of the GNU General Public License v2
# Original script taken from /usr/portage/app-emulation/vmware-player/files/vmware-3.0.rc
# Slightly modified so I can use it with stock VMWare Player Bundle file from their download area
# This scripts fixes troubles for services installed from scratch as well as vmware manual uninstallation
# script.
# Report me problems if they occours (andrea benini GMAIL com. No dots, between name and surname, add @ where needed)

depend() {
need localmount
use net }

start() {
ebegin Starting VMware USB Arbitrator
#start-stop-daemon --start --exec /usr/bin/vmware-usbarbitrator
/usr/bin/vmware-usbarbitrator eend $?
ebegin Starting VMware services
modprobe -a vmmon vmci vsock vmblock vmnet eend $?
/usr/bin/vmware-networks --start
eend $?

stop() {
ebegin Stopping VMware USB Arbitrator
start-stop-daemon --stop --exec /usr/bin/vmware-usbarbitrator
eend $?
/usr/bin/vmware-networks --stop eend $?
ebegin Stopping VMware services
modprobe -r vsock vmci vmmon vmblock vmnet
eend $?

stoppable() {


Tweaking considerations

I've just added few things if you compare mine with the original one: usbarbitrator is needed from version v3.x and above (according to vmware docs) and it needs to be run as a service. I've also added the stoppable status because if you'd like to have a clean uninstallation you'll run into troubles without it, I've fixed it to avoid troubles and have a nicely installed package (with a nice uninstallation as well...)

Now copy my own vmware service file reported above and name it /etc/init.d/vmware, and place executable bit on it

# chmod +x /etc/init.d/vmware


Now if you run it you'll see something like this:

# /etc/init.d/vmware
Usage: vmware [ flags ] < options >

Normal Options:
start stop restart pause zap
Default init.d options.

Additional Options:
Extra options supported by this init.d script.

Suppress output to stdout, except if:
1) It is a warning, then output to stdout
2) It is an error, then output to stderr
--verbose Output extra information
--debug Output debug information
--nocolor Suppress the use of colors

Configuration files:
/etc/conf.d/vmware /etc/rc.conf

For more info, please run '/etc/init.d/vmware help'.




Did you noticed the “Additional Options: stoppable” area above ? It needs to be there if you'd like to have a clean uninstall, if you don't have it (like original Gentoo script file) or if you don't understand what I'm writing just drop me a note for it


Final steps

We've done a lot of the job, now it's time to link vmware modules to your own running kernel, you need to have linux kernel source code and headers (emerge sys-kernel/linux-headers sys-kernel/gentoo-sources) installed in your system. Well if you're an average Gentoo user you'll probably have them already installed (if you follow the installation handbook and you compile the kernel by yourself you already have them where needed). By the way just check if you've them in your system:

emerge --search sys-kernel/linux-headers
emerge --search sys-kernel/gentoo-sources

Now it's time to link vmware modules to the kernel, always as root user just run:

# vmplayer

You need to wait for a while until modules and sources won't finish their compilation process, at the end you'll see this nice window:



And that's it, you're set and you don't need anything else, just add vmplayer command to your favorite menu in your Window Manager (Gnome, KDE, Fluxbox, ...)

if you can see this VMWare main window you've successfully installed everything fine, if you cannot see it you're stuck somewhere else, just drop me a note if you need some help



Final considerations

  • This procedure is tailored on Gentoo but it could be easily ported to other distros as well: Slackware, Arch, LFS and so on

  • Use my /etc/init.d/vmware service file, this works and it's fully compatible with Gentoo and VMWare as well, I've payed a special attention to the installation/uninstallation process. A lot of people are complaining about troubles when uninstallation process is run, it seems VMWare player uninstaller is looking for a particular feature to stop running services, that's why I've added “stoppable” status

  • To manually uninstall the VMWare Player just issue this command: vmware-installer --uninstall-product=vmware-player, always inside an XWindow command shell, a graphical installer starts and their procedure is really easy

  • You may start/stop virtual ethernet cards with the /etc/init.d/vmware file (/etc/init.d/vmware start|stop|restart|status|...), you don't need to fire up this service when your machine boots, when you run vmplayer networks interfaces are automatically started for you

  • If you're using a different distribution please pay attention to the lack of support when you're using a distro that is not RPM or DEB based, you just need to place a service file for starting up virtual network services (in /etc/rc.d or /etc/init.d or something like that), also add the status “stoppable” to your service file so you may have a nice clean uninstall if needed

I guess I've covered everything, please let me know if you need further information


Andrea (Ben) Benini



Low Power/Low Cost Embedded Desktop Linux PC



I thought this was amazing, cheap and innovative..

The people at the Raspberry Pi Foundation have designed a tiny embedded desktop linux device slightly larger than a 20 pence piece, and it will be available for approximately $25.

It includes a HDMI and composite port and is designed to be plugged into a TV.


Take a look at its proposed key features:


  • 700MHz ARM11
  • 128MB of SDRAM
  • OpenGL ES 2.0
  • 1080p30 H.264 high-profile decode
  • Composite and HDMI video output
  • USB 2.0
  • SD/MMC/SDIO memory card slot
  • General-purpose I/O
  • Open software (Ubuntu, Iceweasel, KOffice, Python)


The thought behind this is that its a really cheap way of introducing computer science into educational institutes. Its great because it gives schools an alternative platform environment to teach the students apart from the candidates that are usually on offer.

Take a look at their site for details on how to purchase/get involved

I think the amazing thing about this (apart from its size and feature set) is the possibilities it opens up for poorer communities/developing world and establishments on a budgets to learn computing skills.

Cant wait to get my one!







What people think of ChromeOS and chromebooks

There have been many different takes on the Google's chromebooks since it was announced that products will soon be on the market. The review of the potential of the product is based upon each user's needs which makes it difficult to guage how it will effect the PC and laptop markets. Many of the writers and bloggers that are commenting are doing so with second hand knowledge and little or no market testing, this article will share how the chromebooks are being viewed by a beta user and multiple user groups that have been allowed to play on one of the Cr-48 chromebooks that Google sent out to beta testers.

Read more... Comment (0)
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