October 12, 2008

Ask Linux.com: Perplexing permissions, beaucoup browsers

Author: Linux.com Staff

This week in the ongoing town-hall debate that is the Linux.com forums, the participants were asked about troubleshooting file permissions, testing Web pages on multiple browsers, and deciding what counts as a low-resource machine. All that, plus your chance at a one-on-one session with unanswered questions.

It's easier to ask forgiveness than to change permissions

Peter wrote in to the Applications forum to ask for help with mysterious permissions problems on his NFS setup. He mounted the NFS volume as root, and could read, write, and erase files, yet whenever he tried a chmod or chown -- also as root -- he was denied with an "Operation not permitted" error message. Glock24 replied with a link to NFS documentation explaining mounting options that can cause just such peculiarities.

Peter wrote back to say that the docs had, indeed, proven helpful, and he posted his own solution. If you have wacky behavior on an NFS share, check it out.

Browsing spree

Familiar forum face Ante asked for advice on how to install every Web browser in order to thoroughly test pages. And talk about thorough: his list included Internet Explorer 6, IE7, Firefox 3, Opera, Safari, Chrome, Epiphany, Konqueror, and Dillo.

Khabi cautioned that that many browsers was probably overkill, and that he usually settled for IE, Safari, and Firefox. He also recommended the browsershots.org Web service, and advised Ante to look into the Multiple IE tool if he insisted on trying to install both IE6 and IE7 on the same machine.

Glock24 also weighed in, noting that because several of the browsers listed share the same rendering engine, testing on all of them is unneccessary. He also suggested the IE NETRenderer add-on for Firefox.

RAMming speed

In the Hardware forum, zsporing sparked a discussion by asking for help finding a distribution that would support his rather unconventional network hardware: an old serial port to Ethernet converter. Rokytnji asked for more specs on the machine, but assured zsporing that any distro would support the serial-to-Ethernet dongle equally well.

The specs zsporing provided describe an older machine, fit for forum favorites Damn Small Linux or Puppy Linux. But both rokytnji and Glock24 thought that zsporing's 512MB of RAM opened the door to more mainstream distros. Processor speed and graphics card limit what sort of visual flair a Linux PC can handle while still being responsive, but when it comes to apps and desktop environments, nothing beats more RAM, and half a gigabyte is still plenty.

Neither the commission nor the candidates have seen these unanswered questions

But unlike Tom Brokaw's dog-and-pony show, we will get to all of them.

Reader gstarnes asked the Miscellaneous Discussions forum for help setting up an HTTP proxy on his home Internet connection that he could use as a WAP gateway for his mobile phone. He knows it has been done before, but can't find step-by-step instructions. Do you have the plan he needs to implement?

Banker finds himself at a roadblock with bash scripting. He wants to add a new command flag to an existing script, but can't figure out how. Wall Street's woes aside, can you bail him out?

And Jeff is seeking the Linux distro best suited for use as a thin client running Remote Desktop Protocol (RDP). Who would you appoint and why?

That's all the time we have this week. Remember to register your opinion on all the important issues in the forums, and be sure to re-read the posting guidelines every now and then for inspiration. They're like your online Bill of Rights.

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