November 22, 2008

Ask NAS, Find, Squid, and EFS

Author: Staff

Gather round the table for a hearty feast of homemade dishes straight out of the forums. All your favorites are here -- heartburn-inducing Windows-to-Linux file permission problems, savory search tips, and little bits of GNOME and Squid for those with an adventurous palate. And, of course, for dessert there's a fresh slice of grandma's old-fashioned unanswered questions.

Entree: harvesting old Windows files

New user Alex wrote in to ask for help with the common task of safely transfering his old Windows files to his soon-to-be-installed Linux system. The wrinkle in his case was file permissions: his Windows profile was password-protected, locking him out when not logged in. How then to move the files?

PerlCoder and arochester recommended that Alex burn a live CD distro such as Knoppix, boot into it, then copy the files onto USB storage. When Alex followed up with concern about the file permissions, fninja, USAF Long, and Reed assured him from personal experience that Linux does not even see the Windows file permissions, so everything was readable and copy-able.

Finally, LnxTc capped off the discussion by explaining how Windows permissions work -- there is a way to lock a Windows profile and make its files unreadable, but only through the encrypted file system EFS. And even then, he added, you can still access the partition if you know the certificate and key.

An abundance of sides: files, nets, and remounts

Fortunately, not all helpful tips involve meaty explanations and encrypted filesystems.

For example, frip runs a Squid-based proxy, and asked how to set up a message or redirect to automatically notify users when the Internet connection is down. Raluxs replied that such functionality is available in the squidguard redirection add-on, and can be easily managed through Webmin.

User xoxoxo asked for help with a command line puzzle: how to use the find command to locate all files modified within a fixed date range. Find's built-in options allow culling the results based on modification time, but not by date alone. Tophandcwby responded with a solution that uses regular expressions.

Mark had a question about his Ubuntu Server-based network attached storage (NAS) box. He used /etc/fstab to make the shared storage read-only, but wondered if there was a simpler method to switch to read/write for occasional maintenance -- simpler than unmounting, changing /etc/fstab, and then remounting the entire volume. Khabi had a solution making use of mount's -o remount switch to do the entire change in a single command.

And new reader mamadou got philosophical, asking the forum "is it wise to use Linux to program in C++?" Proopnarine answered for just about everyone, saying "Not only is it wise, it is one of the best things that you can do in life."

Be thankful for unanswered questions

Either our forum regulars are getting much, much better at answering the toughies, or it is simply the general downturn in the economy, but we leave you this week with just one industrial-strength unanswered question. Don't rush your way through it!

PerlCoder posed a double question to the Applications forum, asking (1) for a recommendation for a simple X11-only image viewer (i.e., not requiring GNOME or KDE), and (2) for a recommendation for console-only image viewer -- perhaps one that can render artwork into ASCII-art. Tophandcwby tapped feh as a good viewer for situation 1, but was at a loss for situation 2. If you have something to add, share it with the world.

Aww, who are we kidding -- one unanswered question just isn't that filling. So to close things out, help yourself to a reheated unanswered question leftover from a few weeks ago.

Back then, khriz stumped a lot of forum readers by asking how to terminate his GNOME session from the command line, and how to do it cleanly. Well, ed k and jimgoodall finally came through with the goods: gnome-session-save --kill --silent.

That's all for now. As the tryptophan kicks in, take one last sleepy look at the >a href="">forum guidelines, and let them really sink in.


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