August 2, 2008

Ask Linux.com: Quotas, Java, and Linux in the car

Author: Linux.com Staff

In the most recent chapters of the ongoing Linux.com forums saga, readers discuss implementing disk storage quotas, juggling primary partitions, launching uncooperative Java applications, and how to choose a Linux distro suitable for a car PC.

All about disks

PerlCoder raised the disk storage quota question in the Applications forum. He is running an Ubuntu 8.04 machine with multiple user accounts, and needed a friendly way to manage storage quotas for the users' home directories. "Friendly" in this case meaning anything better than hand-editing configuration files. Fedora user proopnarine pointed toward a tutorial on the low-level options for ext2, which should work with any distro. Shashank Sharma provided links to additional, in-depth information, including some command-line tools.

Reader capatt wasn't running out of space -- just partitions. He has a dual-boot system with one Windows partition and three partitions for Ubuntu (root, home, and swap). That makes four primary partitions, which is the limit. Now capatt wants to use the available space on the drive to install another distro, and asked for advice on shifting around the contents of the partitions without losing data. "I want to preserve the Ubuntu installation. So, is there a way to convert one of these primary partitions to an extended partition into which I can add more logical partitions? How? Is there a simpler alternative?"

Khabi recommended a four-step process based on firsthand experience: copying the contents of /home to a temporary location, then using fdisk to convert that partition from primary to extended.

Java and jalopies

User hailer ran into Java trouble when trying to install the GroundWork IT monitoring environment. He followed the installation manual to the letter, but the app complained about the JAVA_HOME environment variable pointing to the wrong location. Johannes Truschnigg replied with advice on how JAVA_HOME is intended to work, and how to figure out what the GroundWork installer was expecting that was out of the ordinary.

Speaking of out of the ordinary, BrAd1150 joined the forums and on his very first day asked a head-scratcher. He wants to find a Linux distro to install on his Thinkpad 760XL -- a machine without a bootable CD-ROM drive -- which he intends to use in his car as a music player. He tried Slackware, which can boot from a diskette then install from CD, but without luck.

Readers Johannes Truschnigg and rokytnji brainstormed for other distros that still release boot floppy images, and eventually rokytnji provided a link to a diskette installation tutorial for Damn Small Linux.

When unanswered questions ruled the world

BrAd1150's quest -- like all forum topics -- is still open for additional input. But there are others so daunting, so perplexing, that no one has yet scraped together a solution. If you've got the nerve, step right up.

Reader prat is trying to set up a CCTV camera system, and needs help configuring network traffic shaping and Quality of Service so that the feed does not swamp every other service. Are you ready for a close-up?

5KITZ is also setting up a peculiar network -- a multi-distro Linux cluster, using the tiny Puppy Linux distro for the nodes, and something more powerful for the master. Can you teach this cluster some new tricks?

And user pantha is stuck in the OpenOffice.org database manager Base, unable to save changes and losing new entries as a consequence. Who will save the day?

The friendly world of forums

Last but certainly not least, Linux Hawk posted a helpful thread designed to guide new Linux converts through the process of migrating over from Windows. He includes 10 steps to help you prepare your PC, your data, and your installation media, to choose a distribution, and to find the help you need along the journey. If you are new to Linux or are still contemplating the move, give it a read.

That's all for now. Don't forget: post responses to all of these topics in the linked forum threads themselves, not in the comments section below.

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