Ask automounting NTFS, hidden directories, and macro recorders

Help with how-tos: NTFS, remote files, and finding directories

Three questions last week came from users with problems to solve. As is often the case, with Linux there can easily be more than one solution.

In the New to Linux forum, hailer has an Ubuntu system with an NTFS drive that mounts correctly for root, but he could not get it to automount properly for non-privileged users. User linuxdynastry replied with the appropriate options to /etc/fstab, and provided a link to an off-site resource explaining the configuration in further detail.

In the Applications forum, user Tom_ZeCat asked for advice on remotely administering the audio collection on a "jukebox" Linux machine. Rather than edit the music player configuration and audio files while standing at the home entertainment center, he wanted to manage it from his office PC. Khabi remarked that there are a lot of ways to copy files between Linux computers, but suggested that rsync and its user-friendly graphical front end grsync best met Tom_ZeCat's needs.

And in the latest of the increasingly popular "how do I solve this from the shell" questions, miklee posed this head-scratcher: write a command to show the content of the last five hidden directories in the home of the current user. Both tophandcwby and miklee pose some solutions; if you're a shell buff, try your own hand at the challenge.

Help with whys: desktop effects in a virtual machine, and games that don't install

But "how do I do x" isn't the only kind of help new Linux users need. Two readers posed questions that resulted in more of an explanation than a fix.

User gilberto installed Ubuntu inside a Virtualbox virtual machine (VM). The new OS is excellent, he says, but he could not turn on the wobbly windows and other desktop effects of Compiz Fusion. Khabi told him there is no way to do it, then explained why: the Ubuntu installation is inside a VM, and thus only has access to the "virtual" graphics card hardware. Compiz Fusion works only when it has direct access to the 3-D video card itself. So no wobbly windows inside the VM.

Turns out Khabi was on a roll, also providing the answer to spirit1776's question about the game of On The Rain-Slick Precipice of Darkness. The official installer for the Linux version of the game just didn't work. The trouble, as Khabi discovered, was a faulty set of permissions inside the installer. Fortunately, correcting the permissions by hand isn't hard while you wait for an update from the publisher.

Unanswered questions are the spice of life

Heat wave keeping you up at night? While away the hours with these unanswered questions.

If you know Samba, dance your way over to djsitng's thread, and see if you can help him get his Samba file server to work the same way in CentOS 5 as it did in Red Hat 9.

Alternatively, if legalese is your thing, neorou needs help understanding how developers in the proprietary software industry handle working on open source code without running afoul of their employment contracts.

Or maybe you know how to easily record keyboard and mouse events for playback as a macro. User empty61 has only found one possible solution, but it is several years out of date and doesn't seem to install.

Finally, perhaps you can help theoldwizard, a longtime VMS sysadmin who is just getting into Linux. He knows DLT and LTO tape drives under VMS -- including hard and soft errors -- but he wants to know how SCSI tape drives work in Linux, particularly with regard to error reporting. And yes, if you are under the age of 40, it is OK to look up those abbreviations before you attempt an answer.

That's it for today. Remember that you can post your own questions to the forums, in addition to answering others'.