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xKLAATUx

I'd heard that the Fedora 9 release was going to be pushed back, and maybe so...but today the Beta was released and is being eagerly torrented even as I type this... I'll probably install it tonight.I've also joined teh Fedora art team officially, I guess, and have begun work on the KDE-related art for Fedora 9. I also found a really cool Fedora project that is all about getting Fedora Live CD onto a Live USB pendrive. Funny, because I'd been searching and searching for this for days all last week, yet found nothing....and then I go to knock out some requests for artwork by Fedora-related projects, and I stumble upon this Fedora Live USB project. Ah well, at least I know about it now.Here's the art I did for it.

xKLAATUx

On the X11-users Apple mailing list, it's a known issue that X11 in Leopard is broken. So this post is basically pointless....but:Actually, it's not X11 that is broken. I mean, who's problem is this, really? Is it X11's probem? I don't think so. Their software works fine. I know because I use it HARD when I'm at home on Linux. It works great. The variable here is QuartzWM / Mac OS X....QuartzWM is broken, Workspaces is broken.....and we're in 10.5.2 (that's two pretty hefty system updates now).Whilst using that scandalously free program, Inkscape (I know, I know, why aren't I using Illustrator?), Workspaces just keeps stealing not just window focus from other apps but it will even randomly grab me off of one workspace and dump me back into X11. So even while I write this post, I have to be careful about the movement my mouse makes, because one wrong move could shift me to my Inkscape workspace, whether I like it or not.Admittedly it's an improvement that X11 works with workspaces at all. If memory serves, it didn't work with workspaces at all in 10.5 ... but still, I'd like to be able to run this fancy Unix thing I keep hearing about without having to fight QuartzWM to do what I'd like it to do.I know, I know...bugs in softare, who'd have guessed? But the thing that gets on my nerves is that Apple charges for the software, charges for major upgrades, and claims that they are the most innovative, the best, the most user-friendly, etc. Give me Linux software any day; it may have its share of bugs, too, but at least I didn't pay for it and at least they actively solicit bug reports and feedback.Oops.. I guess this post is over. Leopard is changing my workspace again. Hopefully I can hit the publish button......

xKLAATUx

Called out sick today because I didn't feel like going in to work, and as a result got A LOT done! Further proof that without pointless employment, a person can be quite productive:1. Played with mplayer, read lots of documentation (prep for next HPR episode..?)2. Did two or three spec boot screens and wallpaper art for slast, the live asterisk linux distro.3. Did a boot splash for the KDE 4 version of Fedora 9 and submitted that to the Fedora art team.4. Did a quick and very fun Phone Losers of America wallpaper...no reason...just did it.5. Posted episode 2x14 of Bad Apples.6. Got an email from a guy who once had a Fedora podcast; I may be taking that over.7. Got my NAB tickets in the mail, arranged for a cheap hotel.Yeah, it's good to not go to work.

xKLAATUx

So I got round to thinking it'd be cool to have portable slackware. first checked out zipslack, the official minimal install of slackware......except that it isn't. It's a way to get the basic installer onto a USB drive or other small media so you can boot into an installer, then continue installing via network or whatever.

Next option, obviously, was Slax. By coincidence, a new version was just released - Slax 6.0.2 - which has an installer especially designed for USB thumb drives.

Initial install went great, everything worked fine. Hanging around in ##slax on irc.freenode.net, however, someone asked me for installation help. I tried an installation again and utterly failed several times.

So it turns out that there are a few pitfalls here and there during installation; here's what they are and how to avoid them:

1. extracting

> the way you want to extract what you download is as recommended:

in the terminal:

$ cd /media/usbdrive // or wherever you have your usb thumb drive mounted

$ tar -xvf ~/path/to/slax-6.0.2.tar // that is, where ever you have the slax tarball

$ sudo ./boot/bootinst.sh // running the installation script for vfat (more on this in a moment)

and from there, ideally, it just installs itself! If you don't set it up that way, however, the paths of certain files aren't going to resolve and you could have installation problems.

A successful install is fairly verbose. It tells you that the installation is complete; upon error, it tells you what error it ran into.

2. File Systems

You can put Slax onto a drive formatted a number of different ways. I guess one of the most typical formats is vfat, created by:

$ umount /dev/sdb1 // you may have to be root to do that

$ mkfs.vfat /dev/sdb1 // or whatever the path to your usb drive is

If you use a vfat formatted drive, you will need to use the ./boot/bootinst.sh method of installing.

You can also put Slax onto an ext2 or xfs formatted drive. To create this you'd do:

$ umount /dev/sdb1 // again, you may need root...and /dev/sdb1 would be whatever your usb location is

$ mkfs.ext2 /dev/sdb1 // or, if you have xfs capabilities installed, mkfs.xfs /dev/sdb1

This is important: if you use these filesystems you MUST use run ./boot/liloinst.sh during installation -- not ./boot/bootinst.sh

If you try bootinst.sh with ext2 or xfs or anything but vfat, your installation will fail.

3. Booting from USB on a Mac.

> Probably only 95% of people reading this care, but some people, like me, are stuck around Macs at work and occasionally would like to boot into a sensible OS like Slax, from USB. It's easy from Slax/CD - you pop in the CD, reboot holding the "C" key. But I like USB keys...but that's too bad, because Macs don't. An Intel Mac will not boot from USB. Possible exceptions? The Apple TV might, given that its sole USB port is by default looking out for a USB drive with all kinds of interesting updates for it. Whether it will actually BOOT or not, I don't know yet, but there's a chance. Another idea I've had is to get a physical USB-to-Firewire adapter, and seeing if I can trick the Mac into booting off the drive that way. Seems unlikely, but it'll be worth a shot sometime. Maybe.

4. Where's my AIM?

> Pidgin on slax don't got AIM or ICQ. You'll have to recompile it to get it in there.

5. How can I make it persistent?

> Actually, my install is just magically persistent. I don't know why...I think the Slax guys might have made it persistent by default with 6.0?

But supposedly, you can make a directory on your flash drive. Let's call it "slaxrc" for kicks. When we get to Slax's Lilo screen, we can use the boot parameter:

changes=/slaxrc

and then slax will know where to put all of our changes and where to find them again later. I suppose you could even add this boot param to your Lilo settings in Slax....haven't bothered doing it myself but maybe i will sometime.

xKLAATUx

MBR

MBR Some notes about Linux installs. Through a series of troublesome installations, I have discovered a few important things about the Master Boot Record. (I've also found out some cool things about kernels and how they relate to file systems, but more on that later.) The Master Boot Record (MBR) is written on the very edge of the harddrive; it is the first thing to load when you turn on a machine that you have installed Linux onto. It prompts you for what system you would like to boot into. There are two boot loaders that are used; there is LiLo (Linux Loader) and there is GRUB (Grand Unified Bootloader). Both do the same thing and are pretty easy to configure via a text editor and some config files. So far every distro that I have installed (and there have been many) have been able to auto-configure a boot loader. The last few days being the exception, the auto-configuration function usually works really well. Ubuntu, for instance, detected that I had Slackware 11 on my first partition, and when it created a GRUB menu, it reflected this accurately and I never had any problem access either my Slackware or Ubuntu partition. And the same is true when I installed Slackware 12; it auto-detected Ubuntu on my second partition and over-wrote the Ubuntu GRUB with a little LiLo menu that accurately enabled me to boot into either Slack12 or Ubuntu. The problem arose after I tried to install freeBSD onto a third partition. Whether it was a user error or whether it was BSD not playing nice with Linux, my experiment with BSD was disastrous. BSD cursed my system, crippling it beyond being bootable. And recovering from this turned out to be an all day thing, and the problems that I had while trying to reconstruct my system stemmed entirely from the bootloaders. ______________Symptoms and Side Effects_______________ The freeBSD install went fine on the surface. It, like all the Linux distros I've tried, had the option to install a boot loader. I theorize that perhaps letting it install a boot loader was my real error. Otherwise, it seemed like I'd done a successful installation, but when I rebooted, the computer froze and the keyboard just gave error beeps when I typed. So I re-installed Slackware and then re-installed Ubuntu, clearing off the BSD partition entirely (and throwing the installation CD-R into my kitchen trash for good measure). The quirky thing about the always friendly Ubuntu is that it doesn't allow you to choose whether or not you want to install GRUB. It just does it. Normally I'd be fine with this, but after a few re-installs, I started to realise that some weird stuff was happening in the MBR. It's easiest to sum it up by comparing it to Mac OS X. If we were going to do a complete reinstall of OS X on a system, we would instert the OS installation disc, we'd wipe the harddrive completely, and click INSTALL. No problems. Everything is erased and everything is freshly installed as if the harddrive had just come out of the factory. The way I was installing, and the only way I know how to so far, was trying to (in a user-friendly fashion) keep track of the systems I had on that computer. So each time I re-installed something -- even if I was drastically re-partitioning the drive -- the MBR was being auto-detected, and whatever was written to it was added to the new bootloader. So, I'd re-install Slackware 12 and then Ubuntu. I'd reboot and I'd find that there were four Ubuntu versions listed and two Slackwares. I'd reinstall again and there'd be a different four Ubuntus and two more Slackwares. I'd re-partition and install again and there would be two Ubuntus but four Slackwares. All day I ran this vicious circle. The key, at last, was with Slackware. It has the option, when installing, to do an "Expert" LiLo installation. I ventured into that menu and it was there that I was able to force a new LiLo header to be written, I was able to manually add the partitions that I wanted to appear in the LiLo menu, and all seemed well. Of course, it wasn't. But it almost was. Because then I tried one more time to install Ubuntu, and it tried one more time to be helpful and install an auto-configured GRUB. _______________Root File Systems________________ Forcing a new LiLo header to be created solved my Slackware problems but for some reason Ubuntu would not load properly. It would boot, but then give me strange errors and finally boot into a crippled version of its usually robust OS. Apparently, what was happening, as I would find out later, was that Ubuntu was attempting to load its OS using the Slackware kernel. Not a big deal, except that the Slackware kernel was newer than the Ubuntu default kernel, and some of the automatic things that Ubuntu does really really well just weren't happening with the Slackware bare-bones default kernel. I tried repairing this from the Ubuntu side of things and messed it up worse, to the point that Slackware 12 broke down during its bootup and went into kernel panic. The solution, finally, was a magic trick involving the loading of a file system using a kernel from an installation disc. The *nix file system begins with / It is called the ROOT of the file system. And from the root everything cascades down in a family-tree kind of format, with certain folders being default and having certain functionality. As long as you can get into the root folder and establish that it's the path from which everything else should flow, you're basically in that system soundly and securely. But obviously in order for the computer to run properly, there has to be a healthy kernel running. Turns out that if you have a good installation CD or rescue CD, you can get the computer up and running by booting off of the CD. The computer loads the CD's kernel. Then, you can tell the computer to boot into the file system of your choice....while still using the CD's kernel. It looks something like this: % hugesmp-s root=/dev/sda1 rdinit= ro Something like that. Where hugesmp-s is the kernel, root=/dev/sda1 is the drive partition of my file system, and rdinit=ro has something to do with login items but I'm not sure what... all I know is it works. So I was able to sneak into my Slackware partition by distracting the computer with the installer kernel, and once I was there I could log in as root, open up my bootloader configuration file, and make the necessary corrections. It only took about three lines of text to fix it. Ubuntu was trying to load off of a Slackware kernel, and the Slackware menu selection was being pointed toward the wrong partition, or something like that. I don't recall exactly. But all I had to do was correct the file paths according to what I knew to be true, save the config file, and then run % lilo so that the computer would update the MBR. Then I rebooted again. And everything was fine. At last. ____________Lessons Learned______________ The MBR lies just outside of the normal file system. It will not necessarily be erased with a fresh install because even a fresh install assumes, in a very migration-assistant-user-friendly way that you want to keep track of the other bootable systems on that computer. There are, presumably, two ways to get around this: 1. Learn how to properly format an entire hard drive under Linux so that the fresh install is truly a fresh install. 2. Early on - not after thirty desperate re-installs of different distros and different bootloaders - force Slackware to generate completely new LiLo headers (ie, use Expert settings and configure this yoruself), or install Ubuntu or other distros from the command line rather than via some user-friendly automagical way. ______________Caveat_________________ Having said all of this, it seems like this whole thing was basically a freak incident stemming from a botched install of BSD. I don't think that normally the auto-configuration of bootloaders is a problem.

xKLAATUx

HOWTO install... slackbuilds I can't take credit for this instructional guide, but I can take credit for posting a question in the forums asking how to do it. Basically, I wanted to install packages in my Slackware system. Unlike the big popular distros, Slackware doesn't have a repository full of ready-made software packages for you to just RPM or apt-get. No, it must be done from source, more or less. Luckily there are people who build SlackBuilds.....scripts that make installing a bit easier. But not so easy that it didn't take me a month or two to figure out. Anyway, here's how it's done....

You are doing something wrong. 1. Download the slack.Build script for your program (someprogram) you want to install. untar the script: tar -xzvf someprogram.tar.gz You will now have a directory called someprogram in your build directory. Download the source for someprogram. Move the source inside the some program directory. cd into that directory. 2. Inside the someprogram directory there will be a build script called someprogram.SlackBuild. 3. Become root type su, enter root password 4. Type #chmod +x someprogram.SlackBuild 5. Execute the build script by #./someprogram.SlackBuild 6. Sit back and <Either I cannot spell or I am so unoriginal that I re-used a lame internet meme that has no value whatsoever to these forums and have been wordfiltered>ch as your slackware package is created. 7. cd /tmp 8. #installpkg somperogram-i486_SBo.tgz
That's it! It worked. I confirmed it. Good going, "hitest" at linuxquestions.org!! Next up.......installing straight from source code........maybe some time next year.....
xKLAATUx

Ubuntu version 7.10 was released a week ago, and I've installed it on my Linuxbook. And am beyond pleased-as-punch and well into amazed. With Gutsy Gibbon (for that is the codename of this version), the Linux desktop has truly arrived for the mainstream. The installation was quick and easy. The functionality is smooth and pleasant. Sure, there are things that are different in Linux than on another OS.....but no more drastically than Mac OS X differs from Windows. Linux lacks nothing now, it only differs. And in that regard, Linux developers and fans no longer need to look over their shoulders to see if they've caught up to their competitor Operating Systems. They've arrived. They've made it. Their OS is ready for the world. Will it install on X or Y machine? Well, probably. Will it require the cliche command-line adjustments for this-or-that to work? Well, probably not, but in some extreme cases, maybe so. But these are issues that anyone taking a software meant for hardware X and trying to put it onto hardware Y. If I took Leopard and tried to install it on the lowest spec allowable, there would be issues. If I took Leopard and tried to install it on a spec LOWER than the given sys requirements, it would require a lot of tweaking. So Linux WILL install. No problem. But unlike Apple, which dictates what hardware goes into their machines for compatibility with their system, there is no single Linux hardware manufacturer, so the consumer has to do this work for themselves before making their purchase. There is one company that has shown a real dedication to making sure their hardware works with Linux. That company is Intel, and they even have a classification for computers made with all the important components being Intel. These classifications are "Centrino" and "Santa Rosa". If you buy a PC that is certified Centrino or Santa Rosa, you can absolutely expect the Linux distro of your choice to install easily and to work OOB (Out Of the Box) just as smoothly as Mac OS X would work on the Apple system is was sold with. So no more debate about Linux. It's there. It even has two broad system types that is made "just for it". Now, why is Gutsy Gibbon so freaking cool? Let me count the ways. Installation This isn't news to longtime Ubuntu users, but the installer is great. It's friendly and easy. Far easier than a Windows install, and just as easy as a Mac install. Fluidity of Operation Finding my way around on the desktop (not the Finder, not Windows whatever, but "Gnome") is intuitive and fast. There is a "Places" menu which automatically shows you everywhere you might want to go to in your computer, whether it's a folder in your Home directory or whether it's a hard drive you've just plugged in. All the applications you've got installed are in the Applications menu. And your system preferences are in the System menu. And that's all the menus you need. Three menus for everything you want to do! Want to configure stuff? Right click on it. Typically the options available for that element appears and takes you to its configuration window. Very simple. Very intuitive. Virtual Workspaces Mac OS X just came out with something they are calling SPACES, which essentially is a more-animated version of their progressive EXPOSE feature. Linux has virtual workspaces as well, but in Linux you can actually use them. You can define how many virtual desktops you want to have, you can define which window goes to what desktop, you can give each desktop a unique look and feel, you can easily move apps between desktops, and much more! Modern Convenience Through Useful Eye Candy Vista is lambasted for it, Mac OS X is admired for it, and Linux uses it — to its fullest useful extent! Onscreen animation and effects are enabled in Gutsy Gibbon, and brings a certain modernity to the desktop that is pleasing to the eye. But with the installation of an extra in-depth configuration menu, you can use onscreen animation to a level far beyond what any other OS provides. You can switch between applications quickly with the press of a key, or you can animate the switch with different transitions and make the transition happen at whatever speed your workflow demands. You can enable transparency in windows as needed. You can cause windows to make room for each other as you move them around, you can make them flip their corners so you can see what's behind them, you can whisk them off your desktop temporarily while you manage files.......the list is endless and it's all actually useful! But if you're not quite that work-oriented, there's plenty of animation and effects to apply in completely fun and useless ways, too (my favourite? making a window burst into flames while being closed). Integration The Linux Desktop consists of many many different small programs that act together to create one user experience. In the past, this may have felt just like that - like you were running a host of different programs all patched together to appear as one. But with Gutsy Gibbon, everything is integrated and feels like a complete system designed together, with one goal in mind. Does this seem like a small achievement? Well, not when you consider how patch-worked some of the interfaces going into Tiger and Panther were; some apps had the infamous brushed-metal look, others the original OS X pinstripes, and still others the newer grey-blue solid colors. And Windows? Well, all bets are off. Gutsy Gibbon Yes, it's ready. It's here. Linux is now ready to go BEYOND.

xKLAATUx

Am I glad I "lost" my iPhone and got a Nokia N800 instead? Well, let's approach this logically, mathematically, scientifically. What can my Linux-powered Nokia N800 do that my iPhone could not? _COPY & PASTE_ Well, that alone would sell me on a Nokia over an iPhone. Copy and Paste (to say nothing of Cut) were kind of early computerized word processing capabilities that...well, are a standard feature in most everything computerized. Except the exciting, feature-packed, best-iPod-and-Cell-Phone-Ever-that-even-runs-OS-X iPhone. _Multimedia_ The iPhone may have been the "best iPod ever" according to Apple marketing, but in fact it was the worst multimedia player I have ever had to struggle against. Getting my music on the phone was a chore as it would only accept music that was in a specified iPhone-sync folder on my computer, and if those songs were to ever leave my computer and I made the mistake of syncing the iPhone, those songs also disappeared from my iPhone. So there is no option to just add one song to the iPhone; you sync it all or you don't sync. This means that those 6 or 7 gigabytes of multimedia I want to dump on my iPhone had better be on my computer...forever. And forget about getting stuff OFF the iPhone. Whereas other iPods were little portable harddrives, the iPhone is a one-way street. Not that Apple told anyone that....they just kept saying "it's the best iPod ever!" (without any of the same functionality!) The Nokia does it all. I can even download music and video from the web ONTO my N800, and then <Either I cannot spell or I am so unoriginal that I re-used a lame internet meme that has no value whatsoever to these forums and have been wordfiltered>ch them or listen to them - right then and there. I don't have to download to my computer first and then sync. I just download and <Either I cannot spell or I am so unoriginal that I re-used a lame internet meme that has no value whatsoever to these forums and have been wordfiltered>ch. _Access the File System_ This isn't just a hacker kind of thing, this is a question of accessing your own data easily. _Use Applications_ My choices for applications on the iPhone were a notepad from which I could barely extract my notes, and a online applications to which I did not care to commit my data. On the N800, I can download and use whatever application I care to use. _Camera_ There's a camera in the N800, and there was a camera on the iPhone. The only difference is that the Nokia's camera also does video. And web chat. _Customize_ On the iPhone, I had a weather widget and a stock quote widget and a YouTube? button. I had the option of adding a iTunes-Store button to take me to a storefront of DRM'd media I would never buy. And there was no way of getting rid of these pointless, useless features. On the N800, I can add apps, I can change themes, I can position buttons and menus and widgets. _Terminal_ The N800 has an easily accessible and robust terminal application, so I can practise Python coding on it. The iPhone has an Apple-condemned hack that will enable an OK terminal that overheats the phone's CPU whenever I used it. I could also practise Python on it. But if I used it, I ran the risk of breaking the phone if I ever chose to do an Apple-sanctioned software update. _Memory_ Two memory slots on the Nokia allows me to add as much memory as I want with SD cards and similar.....plus its onboard memory. The iPhone had 8gb. _IM_ I can IM from the Nokia. The iPhone featured a pay-per-use SMS txt messaging cleverly disguised as an IM application. Hm. _VOIP_ The Nokia N800 can make VOIP calls, including video-chat. The iPhone was a cell phone with web capability, but without VOIP or chatting ability and no video camera for video-chatting. _Free_ The N800 features free software that is expandable by anyone who can code. The iPhone has a weather widget and a stock quote widget and a notepad that lacks any normal text editing functionality. The N800 features software that is free. The N800 costs nothing beyond the initial price of purchasing the unit itself. The iPhone requires a monthly contract with AT&T in order to function (except for a 9-1-1 call). _Health_ The iPhone probably causes cancer to the brain. The N800 has been shown to reduce cancer. OK, so except for the last point, I think it's a pretty accurate summation of the whole iPhone vs. Nokia N800 Sorry, iPhone, you lose. Of course, it's not the iPhone's fault. Let's face it, if it had just come out as any other iPod had, no-one would have batted an eyelash. Some people would have bought it because they needed a phone, and that would have been that. But it was marketed as the best phone, the best iPod, and a device that runs OS X. What they might have said was that it was the best phone, with some iPod functionality, that runs a modified Darwin kernel and is compatible with Macs running OS X. The Nokia is billed as an internet tablet. Wow, the understatement of the year.

xKLAATUx

Fedora 8 + iBook G4. A Love Story. Installing Linux on your Mac?There are a few things to consider, most beyond the scope of this HOWTO....but let's talk distros. Ubuntu no longer releases for PowerPC, so the knee-jerk choice of Xubuntu PPC or something like that might not be a great choice. Let's face it; all support for PowerPC is pretty much going away, but there are a few distros still releasing for PPC. They are: Fedora, Yellow Dog (Fedora based), Debian, and Slackintosh. So if you're going to install Linux on your PowerPC Mac, you might think in terms of who's going to have stuff in their repositories for you, and who will be releasing updates over the course of the next year or so. And by that time, when all PPC support dies completely, you can go out and get one of them fancy new multi-core processor computers.Anyway, let's talk Fedora 8 on PowerPC (iBook G4 / 933 mhz / 1.1 gb RAM / 80 gb user-installed harddrive)The installation was straight-forward and simple, with only a few notes: I needed a Mac OS partition. Fedora will allow you to use a drive's "Free Space" to create a default partition scheme for the Fedora system.....but it's not free space until you wrench it free from Mac OS X. I figured the way to do this was to simply do a clean install of Mac OS X Tiger, called an "Erase and Install" by the Mac OS install disc. Interestingly, this does NOT erase the drive! After much experimentation, I learned that to really really erase the drive, one must FIRST boot off the installation DVD, navigate to the Utilities Menu > Disk Utilities. From the Disk Utilities, erase the volume in question. After you've erased it, partition it as desired. Designate one as a Mac OS X volume, and the other as FREE SPACE. MASTER BOOT RECORD The master boot record are the few kilobytes placed at the forefront of the physical drive which will give the user the power to boot into a particular partition on the drive. Apple's bootloader is accessed by holding down the OPTION key upon start-up. It will be familiar to anyone who has dual-booted between Mac OS X and Mac oS 9, or Mac OS X and Windows (apparently some people do this). You can use this bootloader, or you can use yaboot, which will be installed by the Fedora installation. Yaboot requires no special keys to be pressed and simply gives you the options to boot into Linux, Mac OS X, CDROM, and so on. INSTALLATION Fedora has an easy-to-understand graphical installer. The first few screens set the language, date, and time. Then it's onto partitioning the drive. As long as one partition of the drive has been designated as FREE SPACE, Fedora immediately recognizes the free space and suggests a partition scheme for its self. It also offers you the option of simply erasing the entire drive and installing itself as the sole OS, or to allow a custom partition scheme. Note that this partitioner — even the "custom" option — will NOT allow you to resize the Mac OS system if you have not already partitioned the drive yourself. It will ONLY see "free space". For example: I initially had an "erase and install" clean installation of Mac OS X on the drive. I'd stripped it down to a 2gb system; no extra printer drivers or fonts, just Mac OS X and X11. So I figured I should have about 68gb free on the drive. Not so! Only about 14gb were really "free space" and so when I went to install Fedora, I only had 14gb to play with. You MUST make a partition of FREE SPACE in order to maximize the room for your Fedora installation, or possibly switch to a terminal during Fedora installation and run cfdisk or some such command-line partitioning program...but let's keep it simple. Also, take note of what /dev/hda your Mac partition is called here. You will need to know it later. If you don't get the hda number, that's OK...but it's easier if you grab it now and write it down. For example, mine was /dev/hda3 After the drive has been partitioned with a fairly typical Linux partition scheme, Fedora then asks you to set up your Firewall (what services you'll allow IN), and configure SELinux, which is a security system, and to create a user account. Finally, you are asked what kind of programs you'd like installed; you have your choice of Office & Productivity, Software Dev, and Web Server. And then the installation begins. Because there are big software programs being installed, it will take longer than, for instance, a Mac OS X installation, which installs pretty much just an OS. So wait for it. After this was finished, I was taken to the Log-In? screen and I was in business. If you are dual booting, you can then boot off the Mac OS X installation disc and install the Mac OS X system on the Mac partition. The master boot record is untouched, and the Apple bootloader recognizes the Linux partition as a bootable option - complete with a Penguin icon. LEOPARD INSTALL 933mhz G4 technically will take a Leopard installation. But not if you have only 256mb RAM. Fedora 8, released around the same time as Leopard, installs without complaint. Kinda nice. USER ACCOUNT From what I can tell, this initial user account, just like in Ubuntu and Mac OS X is a hybrid User/Admin identity....so if a bad guy finds out your user password then the bad guy just found out your root password by default. So after I've installed and set up my system, I set up a second user that I'll use on an every day basis with a unique, non-administrative password. To do this, it's quite simple: go to the System Menu > Administration > Users and Groups. The control panel that comes up is self-explanatory. WIRELESS Airport Extreme cards use a Broadcom 43xx chipset, notorious for being incompatible with Linux. My iBook's Airport Extreme card was no exception. There is, luckily, a way around this problem. It's intense, but it can be done! My research into this problem suggested that I had to "flash" new firmware onto the Airport Card, which seemed a frightening prospect; could I ruin my card entirely? If the card didn't work with Linux, could I at least go back to Mac OS X and still use the card or would it then not work with Mac OS X either? Would I have to learn C and talk in binary? To fix the Airport Extreme card, one does NOT have to "flash" the card. One instead is extracting its firmware from the card and copying it to one's Linux system, thereby enabling Linux to talk to the card. It doesn't write any new code to the card, it doesn't ruin it, it doesn't really touch the card at all. The Airport Express will still work in Mac OS X.....and it will also work in Linux. I gathered a number of tutorials on the subject; the two most significant were from Yellow Dog Linux (now only a google cached page) and one from linuxwireless.org I also received quite a bit of help from linuxquestions.org and two blokes by the names of f_newton and hellork of the #fedora IRC channel on freenode.net Here is exactly what I did: 1. Whilst in Linux, discover the exact firmware version on the card in our system: $ lspci | grep -i broadcom Mine returned this: 0001:10:12.0 Network controller: Broadcom Corporation BCM4306 802.11b/g Wireless LAN Controller (rev 03) 2. Now we have to go get the software that will go into the card and get a copy of its firmware for us. I don't know the legalities of this, but I know that the resulting file cannot be re-distributed or else Broadcom shareholders would, apparently, have hemorages. Why? no-one knows. berlios.de has the software you'll need. To complicate matters, there are two versions, so get both. To be safe, we'll get copies of all the different firmware options and just leave it up to the Linux kernel, smart as it is, to use the one it finds most appropriate. 3. Now we must compile the code so we can use the software to get the firmware. First extract the downloaded files: $ tar -jxf bcm43xx-fwcutter-006.tar.bz2 $ tar -jxf b43-fwcutter-008.tar.bz2 Second, compile the code: to compile the bcm43xx program: $ cd bcm43xx-fwcutter-006 $ make to compile the b43 program: $ cd b43-fwcutter-008 $ make These should result in lots of feedback code telling you that everything went well; if you see the word "error" or "failure" anywhere, it's a bad thing and you're doing something wrong. But if you're doing well, then you'll have a little program called bcm43xx-fwcutter in one folder and a program called b43-fwcutter in the other. Now you're ready to go steal some Broadcom code. 4. To get the Broadcom code, you'll need to mount the Mac OS partition into your Linux system. (If you don't have a Mac OS X partition then you'll need to go to some machine running Mac OS X with the exact same card and do a slight variation of what we're doing here. You'll get the idea of what's going on pretty quickly, I think.) Essentially all we're going to do here is go into the Mac system, located the firmware in its system, and copy it into /lib/firmware on our Linux system. Here is how to mount the Mac OS X partition: First we need to make a place for the Mac OS X partition to mount: $ cd /mnt $ mkdir macos Now, you need to know the device name of the Mac OS X partition. This is not always easy to find out, but it ought to be "hda" and some number. The way I ended up doing this was simply by trying this: $ mount /dev/hda1 /mnt/macos and if that didn't work, I tried mounting /dev/hda2...then I'd cd into /mnt/macos and look around; if there was nothing there, or at least nothing that was obviously my Mac partition, I would then try /dev/hda3, and so on. It turned out that hda3 was the correct device to mount for me. So now we can begin to steal code. $ ./bm43-fwcutter -w /lib/firmware/ /mnt/macosx/System/Library/Extensions/AppleAirPort2.kext/Contents/MacOS/AppleAirPort2 Note that each command is really on one line; it's just a really long command. And you'll want to get the older firmware just in case... $ ./bcm43xx-fwcutter -w /lib/firmware/ /mnt/macosx/System/Library/Extensions/AppleAirPort2.kext/Contents/MacOS/AppleAirPort2 This is a pretty quick process, and the end result is that you'll notice files in /lib/firmware by the names of b43, b43legacy, and a whole series of files starting with bcm43xx. 5. Now we should add drivers just in case they're not already in the distro we're using. They can be downloaded from: http://downloads.openwrt.org/sources/broad...80.53.0.tar.bz2 http://downloads.openwrt.org/sources/wl_apsta-3.130.20.0.o You'll need to untar these and place the document called "wl_apsta-3.130.20.0.o" in the BOTH the b43-fwcutter-008 and the bcm43xx-fwcutter-006 folders. Place the document called "wl_apsta.o" in the b43-fwcutter-008 folder. 6. Do this as root: For bcm43xx: # bcm43xx-fwcutter -w /lib/firmware wl_apsta-3. 130.20.0.o For b43legacy: # b43-fwcutter -w /lib/firmware wl_apsta-3.130.20.0.o and for b43: b43-fwcutter -w /lib/firmware wl_apsta.o 7. You're done! The hard stuff, anyway... I rebooted my system so that the kernel would pick up on the new drivers. And when the system was back up, I discovered that, alas, I had no wireless connection. I had kind of expected this because all of my wireless configuration experience had been with Slackware, Debian, and Ubuntu...so the /etc folder was pretty foreign to me on a Red Hat system. But the troubleshooting tools are still the same, right? # /sbin/iwconfig revealed that there was an apparently active wireless device on something called wlan0, which sounded quite foreign to me...but certainly would make sense if that were my wireless card. However, try as I might, I could not get the thing to attach itself to my network. After much trial and error, I realized the problem was really with my network, in a way. Whatever WPA key my network was using just wasn't agreeing with what I was doing in iwconfig — it has to do with wpa_supplicant. Anyway, solutions were found having more to do with network configuration than with the card or drivers itself. No big deal. Just remember that while getting the card online, it certainly helps to have an OPEN network so that the security protocol you're using is not a variable! Don't waste 3 hours like me trying to figure out why your Airport Express Card isn't working only to find out later it's your choice of WPA key. Another invaluable troubleshooting tool was a simple $ dmesg | grep bcm and $ dmesg | grep b43 as well as, obviously: $ lsmod From all of this, I found out that in fact the modules HAD loaded upon reboot, so my iwconfig was not lying. There really was a card called wlan0 active and alive in my system. A sure-fire way to see if the card is sending out signals and receiving signals was to do this: Bring the card onto the network: # iwconfig wlan0 essid NameOfNetwork then scan the network: # /sbin/iwlist wlan0 scan ...which returns a LOT of data about the surrounding wireless environment — all the networks in range, signal-to-noise, etc. Very handy! Network Manager Applet Somewhere along the line, it struck me that I was doing everything the Slackware way, when I'd really kind of expected Fedora to have a more Ubuntu GUI kind of way of doing things. Not that I mind so much, but it was odd because Gnome is well known for its friendly graphic interface. Turns out that I didn't have the nm_applet enabled. The nm_applet is the "Network Manager" applet — a little icon that sits at the top of the screen and helps you find the list of networks around you, which one you'd like to join, and so on. To turn this on, go to the System Menu > Administration > Services and turn on the two nm_applet services there. You may have to prompt it to start in the terminal or a reboot, but the nm_applet will from then on appear in the top right corner of the screen and help you locate your networks without resorting to iwconfig and iwlist. Fedora And so my iBook G4 now happily is running Fedora, and already I've installed Blender and will soon enjoy a much more robust support for a much wider array of codecs than in Mac OS X. Say good-bye to transcoding! The only complaint I have is that I do now have as much RAM as I should have to run Fedora well. But I have ordered an upgrade and will soon be enjoying a faster system. All in all, I'm quite impressed so far with Fedora, and am happy to be running it. I'm also quite glad to have a small, portable machine like this iBook running Linux; taking my Sony Vaio out is OK, but the iBook is even smaller and lighter, so it's kind of nice to have it running a proper form of *nix with all the great software that comes along with it. Fedora 8 PPC - I applaud you! And the people over at Berlios — brilliant work for cracking the Broadcom code!!

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remapping the apple & enter keys to act as mouse buttons in Linux This definitely works on my iBook G4 running Fedora 8. Some slight variation may be necessary for a Debian system but the idea is the same. My Slackintosh partition had this functionality turned on by default...but then again, by the time I installed Slackintosh I knew enough to be VERY careful about what keyboard to choose during installation. The iBooks have a single button below the trackpad. The Linux system was designed with the expectation that there are at least two, if not three, mouse buttons present. A good way to adapt to this is to remap the right Apple key and the small Enter key next to it to become the middle and right mouse buttons. It's not an absolute necessity but it is helpful since many functions in the Gnome desktop are easiest to access with a right click, and certainly in Blender it is very much a necessity. To remap keys in Fedora: # cat >>/etc/X11/Xmodmap keycode 108 = Pointer_Button3? keycode 116 = Pointer_Button2? then hit control-d twice to commit the cat. This adds the modifications to the Xmodmap. Log out and log back in and the change should take effect. If not, try a reboot. If you can't be bothered to reboot at the moment, or you just need to enable the modification temporarily and would rather not have it in the Xmodmap forever, you can run it on a per-session basis by simply typing: $ xmodmap -e "keycode 108 = Pointer_Button3" $ xmodmap -e "keycode 116 = Pointer_Button2" That's it. Now the right Apple (aka Command) key will be your middle mouse button and the Enter key next to it is the right-button. If you try this and it doesn't work, hold down the "fn" key when you hit the Apple or Enter key, and it should work just fine.

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The Apple technical sheet for the G4 933mhz 14" iBook states that the maximum amount of RAM for the system is 640mb (12bmb built-in and one slot for additional). Popped the RAM into the iBook, and sure enough both Mac OS X.4 and Fedora 8 recognized that now there was not just 128mb RAM, not just 640mb RAM, but a full 1.1gb RAM. Has it made much of a difference? It's made a world of difference! At least in Fedora 8, whereas I could not turn on desktop effects like having my workspaces on a 3d cube and the infamous "wobbly windows" effect, now I can not only have them turned on but I can use them without any sacrifice in performance. I can have as many apps open as I want, I don't have to wait for windows to re-draw themselves when switching workspaces...and so on. Huge difference. On my Slackintosh partition of the iBook, KDE actually has been running faster than Gnome <= Compiz, but I still appreciate the extra RAM once I start opening up apps or downlaoding one of the webs from the internets. I am curious as to why Apple would say the limit is 640mb. Was it to discourage people from purchasing an iBook G4 if they were "power users"? Perhaps; a similar technique has in fact recently been used when salespeople have been instructed to tell people that Final Cut Pro will not run on a MacBook — when in fact it absolutely does run on a MacBook without any hack or workarounds involved. Or was it just that a 1gb chip of that kind of RAM didn't exist back when the tech sheets were written up? I'm not sure...but the point is, I guess, not to necessarily believe all that the tech sheets say....!?

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Turning Touchpad Tapping Off so it stays off in Fedora 8 The default touchpad settings of Fedora 8 "Werewolf" on an iBook G4 are frighteninly sensitive. The merest brush of the touchpad sends the cursor flying to the opposite corner of the screen. A slightly heavier brush against it and you've clicked on something by accident. It is enough to drive a former Mac user nuts. Under Ubuntu, it is quite simple to configure the touchpad settings with Gsynaptics. But for some reason, with Fedora+iBook it was quite difficult. Adding "SHMConfig" "on" to my xorg.conf rendered no results, and GSynaptics would not start. In the end, the answer lies in some serious xorg.conf modification, and since this is the only iBook I've tried Fedora on, I can't really say whether duplicating the following xorg.conf settings will definitely work for any Apple laptop or just the iBook G4 models or all iBooks but not PowerBooks...et cetera. However, this is my new xorg.conf, which seems to properly configure my touchpad so that it does not take Taps as Clicks. The first time I did this, it also seemed to have the side effect of disabling my fancy Desktop Effects (wobbly windows, desktop on a cube, and so on). I was willing to sacrifice the desktop effects since it really can't hurt to have that spare memory for more important things....but it was odd and annoyed me. I backed up the xorg.conf file, screwed it up to force an auto re-generation of the file, and then just pasted in the touchpad section. From then on, the touchpad worked properly and I also had my desktop effects. Here is my working xorg.conf: --------------------------(BEGIN) # Xorg configuration created by system-config-display Section "ServerLayout" Identifier "single head configuration" Screen 0 "Screen0" 0 0 InputDevice "Keyboard0" "CoreKeyboard" EndSection Section "InputDevice" Identifier "Keyboard0" Driver "kbd" Option "XkbModel" "pc105" Option "XkbLayout" "us+inet" EndSection Section "Device" Identifier "Videocard0" Driver "radeon" Option "UseFBDev" "true" Option "UseFBDev" "true" EndSection Section "Screen" Identifier "Screen0" Device "Videocard0" DefaultDepth 24 SubSection "Display" Viewport 0 0 Depth 24 EndSubSection EndSection ------------(END)

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Enabling Compiz-Fusion in Werewolf Fedora 8 by default has a few lightweight compiz-fusion effects available. You can turn these on in the System > Preferences > Look and Feel > Desktop Effects. Simply click "Enable Effects" and it will attempt to turn on compiz-fusion. If your graphics card does not support this, it will let you know, and you can set about the long, arduous journey of finding Linux drivers for your graphics card. My iBook G4 (Radeon 9200) and Sony Vaio (Intel 950) graphic cards are both well supported by now, so I didn't have to do anything more than click Enable. However, just as in Gutsy Gibbon, there are many more effects available to you with the installation of some extra packages. To get the more robust plug-ins and a more detailed effect manager, simply go to Applications > Add/Remove Software. This opens up your package manager, and here you'll be able to search for "compiz". You'll find extra plug-ins available, as well as the Gnome-Compiz-Manager?. The former will add greater control over the effects you already have, new effects like quick desktop viewers and interior cubes and so on. My iBook G4 handles all these effects with flying colors.

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Adding Fonts to your Linux OS - Fedora 8 Open an application on a Mac and you'll see quite a few fonts. Many you'll never use. But some you'll appreciate...and you'd better, because you've paid for them. What you don't get with those fonts is the permission to actually use them in any way you like. With Linux, you get fewer fonts typically, but the freedom and ability to add whatever kind of font you want, including Free and GPL'd fonts. Free fonts abound on the internet. One site I frequent is http://www.dafont.com, which features free, free-for-personal-use, and non-free fonts. I don't bother with anything but the free free fonts, but you can get whatever you want. Installing is easy (and even though I did this on Fedora, it works pretty similarly on Ubuntu or whatever; just a few menus are in different places within the GNOME System menu): Fedora 8 / Gnome Go to System > Preferences > Look and Feel > Appearance The Appearance controls appear, and at the top there is a tab labeled "Fonts". Click into this tab. At the bottom of this window there is a button "Details", which opens up a new window, at the bottom of which is another button: "Go to Font Folder". Your system's font folder then opens. Place all the fonts you've downloaded into this folder. The fonts themselves are the files ending in .ttf so don't try to add any of the .txt or .rtf files that may have accompanied the fonts in your download. These are typically notes from the font designer about the license or where to find more fonts, and so on. Once you've added the .ttf files, you can restart your system, and the fonts will now appear in all of your applications! Customizing You can also really customize the look of your system by utilizing these fonts system-wide. To change what fonts are used in different places on your system, simply go to System > Preferences > Look and Feel > Appearance Open the Fonts tab, and select which font you wish to be used in different places across the OS. For Fedora, I have been using the font Howie's_Funhouse because it is quite similar to the Bryant2 (non-free) font used in the Fedora logo. This font works great in all categories in the font control panel except the monotype font, which should be kept as a fixed width font. But otherwise, Howie's_Funhouse brings a consistency to the OS and looks quite distinctive compared to its Mac counterpart. It is also more pervasive than when the font in the Mac OS is modified, and really is used in most of your applications.

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Sleep Mode on an iBook G4 + Fedora 8Getting laptops to properly go to sleep is a notoriously difficult hurdle, but at least on my iBook G4 with Fedora 8 "Werewolf" it was as simple as installing a single little app. # yum install apmud apmud is the power management system for the PowerPC computers, and works like a charm. I close the lid. The iBook sleeps. I open the lid. The iBook awakens. === Bonus BinRev blog ONLY! material: ====One bug I have noticed, although have not really sat down to analyze when and why exactly it happens, is that some times the iBook won't be able to get back onto the network it was on before sleeping. Going into the terminal and typing % su% (enter your root password)# ifconfig wlan0 down# ifconfig wlan0 upgets you back online within seconds. Still, it's a bug, and I'm trying to follow the pattern so I can actually make the bug known to Fedora. All in all, it's no more bothersome than the little bugs Mac OS had when it would sleep and occasionally decide not to wake up.......in fact I'd much rather have to reset the wireless card than to have my computer just screw me out of any unsaved changes to data. So I guess in that way I'm much better off.

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This has probably been covered a million times before, and actually it's far from my preferred method of using an iPod. I'd rather wipe the firmware off the thing and just put RockBox on it. And that's what I do. Even so, before I knew about RockBox I had to search far and wide for a straight, simple answer regarding how to get my iPod to work on my Linux laptops. Hopefully this will spare someone from having to look around: (but try RockBox)The iPod works contrary to common sense; what is obviously a two-way device is for no apparent reason limited to being a one-way street. Music goes on and cannot come off unless it is deleted off. Furthermore, looking into the iPod via its desktop icon shows...nothing. No music is there...although one knows there is music on it. Looking into it via the Terminal reveals a great mess of hidden Database files with a bizarre file structure (folders named with numbers, and random names given to all the songs in those folders; no apparent order whatsoever). iTunes has always been broken; from version 1, in my mind, it was a huge step backwards for media players. Sound Jam and Audion were great media players far better than iTunes, but because of the iPod's link to iTunes, and because it shipped with Mac OS, iTunes took over. And whether you like it or not, your music gets added to your Music Library — even if it is just a 2 second sounds sample from some sound effect site. And should you ever move an album, iTunes won't be able to find it again unless you reconnect it one song by one song. Does this mean you can just move the albums from within iTunes and it will keep track of them? No, iTunes doesn't provide that functionality, even though it has reached version 7. So, in short, the iPod and iTunes pair never was such a great combination, and so using your iPod in Linux is not just a matter of convenience, but a marked improvement over using it in Mac OS. Adding an iPod interface to your Linux OS takes no more than installing an app called gtkPod. This can be done on Ubuntu thusly: $ apt-get install gtkpod and on Fedora: $ yum install gtkpod gtkPod is not an iTunes clone, although because it is dealing with the iPod's backwards database, it has similarities. Plug in the iPod and it will load all the songs, fairly slowly the first time, but after that it's fairly quick. gtkPod is pretty self explanitory to use and has many different ways to view the contents of your iPod. The coolest thing? You can drag songs right off the iPod onto your computer! the way it SHOULD work. It gets tricky when you want to take songs off, or put songs on the iPod. The iPod is Journaled by default under Mac OS, and for gtkPod to be able to write to the iPod journaling must be disabled. This can only be done via Mac OS X. On an OS X box, plug in the iPod. Open the Terminal. First you'll need to figure out where the iPod is mounted. To do this, type: $ diskutil list This will give you a lot of feedback about what is mounted into the filesystem. You'll see your iPod in the list, but it will be divided into parts; it may be, for instance, mounted as disk1, but then have partitions listed within that. Look for the largest partition; for my 20gb iPod, its 18gb partition was mounted as disk1s3, for instance. Now we'll disable journaling with this: $ diskutil disableJournal /dev/disk1s3 You'll see confirmation that journaling has been disabled. Now you can eject your iPod, and go back to Linux. gtkPod will now be able to both read and write to and from the iPod.

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Setting up OpenPGP

To spare myself from going into great technical detail of how it all works, this article assumes you're ready to set up an OpenPGP key so that you can encrypt your email and files, and also ensure that the people you think you are emailing are really the people you are emailing. The way that this is done is to create for yourself a Public Key. The person on the other end also creates a Public Key. You trade Public Keys with one another. When you encrypt email destined for that other person, your system encrypts it in such a way that only that person's system, with their special Private Key, can decrypt it. This is all made possible by OpenPGP, specifically on most Linux systems with a Gnu software program called GPG. So, here's how you set up an OpenPGP system on your system: ''Note that % means a regular user and # means root.'' __Create your Public and Private Key__ In your terminal, type this: ^% gpg --gen-key^ A text menu pops up, giving you a choice of encryption methods or something like that; I used the default by typing in 1 You are then asked how many bits you'd like in your key. The default is 2048. You can go lower or higher. You then must choose if and when you'd like this key to expire. The default is Never (0) but you can do anything you feel necessary. Confirm all of these choices with "y", and then you'll need to assign a user, email address, and an optional comment to that key. It prompts you for each of these, so enter the email account information you wish to use with this key. We will go over adding more accounts to this key later in this article. Your system then sets about generating a random number -- and at least in the case of a long key it may literally ask you to do something else on the computer so that the random number generator has data to work off of. Eventually, it will generate enough bits for your key, and returns this information: ^gpg: /home/klaatu/.gnupg/trustdb.gpg: trustdb created gpg: key 12345678 marked as ultimately trusted public and secret key created and signed. gpg: checking the trustdb gpg: 4 marginal(s) needed, 3 complete(s) needed, PGP trust model gpg: depth: 0 valid: 1 signed: 0 trust: 0-, 0p, 0m, 0r, 0f pub 2034D/12345678 2007-12-25 Key fingerprint = 4C72 DEAD E45F F314 8929 FD67 EF23 6B33 3779 2739 uid Klaatu (thebadapples) <gort.klaatu@gmail.com> sub 2368g/DF66E34E 2007-12-25^ Note, on the second line, the key "12345678". That is your Key ID, which you'll use to configure your system. (It is not your public key that you will send to friends with whom you wish to have encrypted conversations.) __To Add Users and Accounts to Your Key__ I have at least three email accounts in my desktop email client, and I hardly want to have a separate key for each account, so I need to add these accounts to my key. To do this, simply type % gpg --edit-key 12345678 You will be given a prompt, at which you'll need to type "adduid" and then you simply have to follow the prompts. You can do this as many times as you need. This is what it looks like, with some content edited out for readability: ^% gpg --edit-key 12345678 gpg (GnuPG) 1.4.7; Copyright © 2006 Free Software Foundation, Inc. This program comes with ABSOLUTELY NO WARRANTY. This is free software, and you are welcome to redistribute it under certain conditions. See the file COPYING for details. Secret key is available. [content edited out for readability] Command> adduid Real name: Gort Email address: gort@ncc1701.com Comment: thebadapples You selected this USER-ID: "Gort (thebadapples) <gort@ncc1701.com>" Change (N)ame, ©omment, (E)mail or (O)kay/(Q)uit? O [edited for readability; your key password will be required here] Command> quit Save changes? (y/N) Y^ __Exporting Your Public Key__ Now you've set up the GPG system. Note that the GPG information that your system uses and refers to has been saved to your home folder, in a hidden directory called .gnupg ^/home/username/.gnupg^ Now you need to extract your Public Key from this information so that you can have the key as a physical file that you can send to your friends. ^% gpg --armor --output klaatukey.asc --export^ This creates a file called klaatukey.asc, which I can attach to emails that I send to people. If they are also GPG users, they will import this key into their trusteddb file and from then on you can email back and forth with encrypted messages that will be able to be read by you both, but no-one in between. You can set Evolution and Thunderbird to encrypt your messages automatically as well as attach the actual klaatukey.asc file, but if you're using webmail you'll probably have to attach it manually, so you may want to either upload this to your own server or put it on a USB drive or your Nokia N800 or something that you keep on you. __To Import Someone Else's Key to Your Trusted Database__ If someone has attached their key in their email, you can download it and then run this in your terminal: ^% gpg --import pubkeyfile.asc^ In Evolution or Thunderbird, you can simply choose to import the key to your trusteddb from menu options. There's also a way to go get public keys from key servers, but you need to know the address of the keyserver. You can go to the keyserver, search for the person's email address, and download their Public Key. You are then able to encrypt your email using their Public Key so that only they will be able to decrypt it. ^% gpg --keyserver http://www.KeyServerUrl.com --keyserver-options honor-http-proxy --search-keys Email@Address.com^ __Transporting Your GPG Information to Another Computer__ The days of one computer per person are in the past. In the past, I have had up to 6 active computers at a time. Now I am down to 3 or 4 (2 personal laptops, 1 work laptop, another work laptop, and a fixer-up soon to be donated to someone who needs a computer). Anyway, the point is that if I set up GPG on one system, I probably have at least two other environments I'll want that GPG infrastructure installed. Luckily, all you'll need is the .gnupg directory from your $HOME. So, either copy this directory to a USB drive and sneakernet it over to your other system, or send it over your LAN, or whatever, but it really is as simple as that. ^ user@desktop: % cp -r ~/.gnupg /media/jumpdrive/ user@laptop: % cp -r /media/jumpdrive/.gnupg ~/ ^ Once you've copied the .gnupg directory to the other system (in the example above, from one's desktop to one's laptop), the GPG system on the second computer detects the .gnupg information and now it's automagically configured. Nice, huh? If you don't have GPG installed on the second computer, you should be using Linux. __HOWTO set this all up in Evolution__ On my Fedora iBook, I use Evolution as my mail client. Setting up GPG is simple: ^Edit > Preferences > Accounts^ I have three accounts set up here, so for each account I would do this: - Click on the account you wish to add the GPG key to. - Click EDIT - The last tab in the new menu that appears is "Security"; click on this - In the SECURITY tab, the top selection is OpenGPG, so enter into the KEY ID field your key ID...that's the 8 number thing that you were given earlier. - Click on whatever selections you want; I usually have the automatic options turned on so that my emails are always signed. - Click OK, and then either repeat these steps for other accounts or click OK to leave preferences. That's it. __Setting This Up in Thunderbird__ On my Ubuntu and Slackware laptop, I use Thunderbird. First you must install the [https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/thunderbird/addon/71|EnigMail] Add-on for Thunderbird. ''Note: When I did this, I had not yet set my system environment to recognize Thunderbird as its default mail reader, so Firefox didn't know what to do with the install file and kept trying to install Enigmail into itself. To get around this, I did this: '' ^% wget https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/thunderbir....95.5-tb+sm.xpi ^ ''I think I had to send an option along with wget to bypass a secure connection, or something, in order for mozilla.org to let me get the file...although I just tried it again and it worked with a normal wget. Anyway, the point is, get the .xpi file onto your computer, then go to Thunderbird > Tools > Add-ons > Install and select the .xpi file. Thunderbird installs it and offers to restart. '' Restart Thunderbird. Now there will be an OpenPGP menu available to you in the main window of Thunderbird. There's not much to do here, although I do go into OpenPGP > Preferences > Show Advanced Options. As long as you've imported your .gnupg folder, frankly EnigMail seems to just pick it up without any further settings from you. It's fairly transparent. __Revoking a Key__ So what happens when your arch-enemy's robotic minions discover your Private Key? Well, you'll need to revoke that key and get a new one. And be more careful next time ED-209 comes knocking at your door asking to see your Private OpenPGP Key. ^% gpg --output revoke.asc --gen-revoke 12345678^ You will be asked why are revoking the key, and then it will generate a revoke certificate. Now, what do you do with this? I have no idea, because I've never had to revoke one before. I reckon I'll cross that bridge when we get to it.

xKLAATUx

"Overriding Your Linux OS's default Mail Client" This is all easy GUI stuff: I've been using the typical Gnome default mail client, Evolution, on my Fedora iBook, but I use Thunderbird on my Ubuntu laptop mainly because I knew Thunderbird from having used it on Mac. Since Ubuntu comes with Evolution installed as its default, after you install Thunderbird from the repository, you must then tell the system that instead of using Evolution, you'd like to use Thunderbird for all those mailto: links and things like that. This is easily done by going to System > Preferences > Preferred Applications In the Preferred Applications window, simply select Thunderbird from the drop-down menu under the "Mail Reader" section. Click OK, and you're done. Should work like a charm. To do this on Fedora 8, it is basically the same, except that the menus are ordered in this way: System > Preferences > Personal > Preferred Applications As a side note, perhaps related.....typing in about:config into Firefox's URL bar brings up all kinds of interesting options for Firefox. Haven't played around with it yet at all, but came across it in my google search for how to set my mail client.

xKLAATUx

Two things: 1. Funny thing about mp3 files...that file format, so ubiquitous on our machines, we don't own. In fact we barely have the right to make mp3s ourselves and it is only because we paid for our OS that we can use them at all. Bad news for people who aren't paying for their own OS; cuz in that case, who's paying for the oh-so-important honor of getting to use the .mp3 file format? and the .mp4 format? to say nothing about .mp2, .ac3, and others? 2. So far I haven't ever bought an iPod, although I've acquired three iPods, an iPod shuffle, and an iPhone. OK, so I traded the iPhone for a Nokia N800, but everything else I still have. Funny thing about iPods...the way it interfaces with the computer is via iTunes, and I just love iTunes. You know what I hate, though? When a simple list of well-defined items are stored in completely cryptic and random order. For instance...here is a list of items on my desk right now: "magazine" "iPod" "lamp" "Linux Format Magazine" "coffee" Here is what that list would look like in the iPod database that iTunes creates: F1 F2 And within those items would be: F1 = "EJGUD" "JDUNN" "LKMDP" F2 = "HDNSA" "YEMFF" Make sense? Oh, hey, since you're looking around in there, could you hand me my coffee? What? you can't tell which one is my coffee? and you can't figure out how to get it out of F1 or F2 anyway? Oh yeah, and I forgot....I hate iTunes. And I hate that an iPod, which theoretically costs anywhere from $250 to $350 (or $600 if you count the iPhone price when I was given one) can't read or play but three or four file formats. For instance, what if I don't want to call my music "JDHUE" in a folder called F34 in a hidden directory called itunesdb? And what if I want to plug in my iPod to ANY computer I have access to and be able to add or subtract music from it without first erasing the whole thing? And what if I get a file in an ogg format or even, God forbid, a wma format? Shouldn't I be able to put that on my supa fancy hi-tech media player? I was having a terrible time, honestly, with my 4th-gen iPod because I would use it on my Linux computers at home and on my Macbook Pro at work. Everytime I plugged into iTunes, all stuff I'd put on the iPod under Linux would get corrupted, and I'd lose gapless playback, and then I'd get home and it would take forever for my Linux OS to reassess what was going on in the iPod. And no matter what, the Apple firmware on the iPod just is NOT going to play anything but .mp3, .mpa (all-time stupidest idea for a codec: let's split mpeg4 into two halves so nothing else will know what to do with it!), and .aac (oh wait...THAT'S the all-time stupidest codec). No ogg playback for me. Previously I'd installed Linux on the same iPod, but it really was LINUX for the iPod. It was a fully-functioning OS loaded onto an iPod, sans keyboard or mouse. Sure it played media back well and effectively, but it wasn't a self-contained OS for a media player, and in fact it read its information off the same iTunesDB that the Apple firmware does. What I was looking for was something that would be a good media player OS and would free me from any sign of an iTunesDB or anything like it. I wanted to put my music on my iPod without the need for an extraneous, backwards, badly executed interface. And if it could look cool,that'd be OK. I found just what I was looking for with [http://www.rockbox.org|Rockbox], an open source all-out replacement for the native Apple firmware of the iPod. No more iTunes. No more itunesDB. Just your music, in the format you want it in, where you want it. All that with customizeable themes so it will look cool, too. __Installing Rockbox on Your Media Player__ I am leaving the title generic ("Media Player") because from what I've heard, the iPod isn't exactly the only media player out there with a bad bad interface. Rockbox supports many, many media players. The installation is either going to be very easy, or very hard, depending on what kind of iPod you're starting with. Rockbox requires an MSDOS (FAT32) formatted iPod and will not work on HFS+ (Mac) formatted iPods. This was bad news for me because I have NO access to a Wind0ze machine on which I could re-format my iPod. Luckily, there is a workaround...but it's not easy and the instructions from Rockbox are only for Mac OS X, not Linux - I believe because the defacto mkdosfs program on Linux will not create bootable FAT32 volumes, whereas the mkfs_dos program in OS X will create bootable FAT32 volumes. So if you have access to Wind-ze running iTunes, just plug your iPod into that and let iTunes do what it does best: screw up your music. iTunes will erase your iPod and reformat it into a FAT32 volume. Once that's finished, unplug it from the Wind0ze box (it could have virae), and shut down Wind0ze. Put in an Ubuntu CD, reboot, and install Linux on the box. (OK, you may not want to do that if the Wind0ze machine doesn't belong to you.) Anyway...to reformat an HFS iPod into VFAT, the best place to look is the Rockbox [http://www.rockbox.org/twiki/bin/view/Main/IpodConversionToFAT32|wiki] but here is how it went for me: I first tried all this under Linux, and everything went quite well until I realized that when the man page for mkdosfs said it wouldn't create a bootable partition, it meant it wouldn't make a bootable partition. Reboot into OS X. 0. First you must unmount but NOT eject the iPod. Easiest way to do this is open up Applications > Utitilies > Disk Utility and choose UNMOUNT from the toolbar. 1. Download the partition map (mbr-xxxx.bin) for your model of player from the Rockbox wiki 2. Open up a terminal and do this: ^% diskutil list^ This lists all connected drives to your system, including the BSD name of that disk. Let's assume that your iPod is located at disk2 3. Now do this: ^% dd if=mbr-xxxx.bin of=/dev/diskN^ where mbr-xxxx.bin is the partition map you downloaded, and diskN is the location of your iPod. 4. To complicate matters, on iPods over 30gb the following steps do not work due to FAT32 limitations, so you'll have to follow different instructions on Rockbox. However, mine is a 20gb 4th gen, so I was able to: ^newfs_msdos -F32 -v iPod /dev/rdiskNs2^ This doesn't give you a whole lot of feedback, but provided there are no errors, you've just reformatted the iPod as a FAT32 iPod. __Installing Rockbox...for real, this time__ Since I'd already tried installing this on Linux and failed, and since I was in Mac OS X anyway, I figured I'd try the GUI tool provided by the Rockbox team to do the installation. So I downloaded their binary and ran it, and it also failed miserably. Lesson learned: Reformat the iPod in either Mac or Windows, then go back to Linux and do the installation. This is all very well documented in the Rockbox installation manual. Here is a brief summmary, but the manual will serve you just as well if not better: Again: we're back in Linux for all of this: 1. Download the latest daily build of the Rockbox [http://www.rockbox.org/daily.shtml|installer] from their site. 2. Connect your iPod to your Linux box. 3. In a terminal: ^% unzip rockbox.zip -d /your/iPod/^ (where /your/iPod is where ever your iPod is located on your system; usually this is in /media or /mnt) 4. That created a hidden directory on your iPod, so don't be alarmed if it looks like nothing happened. Just ls -al to see what's there, and you'll be pleasantly surprised to see a .rockbox directory now at the root of your iPod. 5. Now download the [http://www.rockbox.org/twiki/bin/view/Main/RockboxExtras#Fonts|fonts] package from the Rockbox site. 6. Once again, in the terminal, do this: ^% unzip rockbox-fonts.zip -d /your/iPod/^ 7. What the Rockbox manual does NOT mention is that one file may want to overwrite another file, but it gives you the option to rename the new file so that the old one is not overwritten. I renamed it whatever-fonts and have since just deleted it entirely. Working fine for me. Rockbox is now installed. But it won't boot until we..... __Install the Bootloader__ 1. Download the [http://download.rockbox.org/bootloader|bootloader] that corresponds to your device (iPod, iRiver, gigabeat, whatever] and OS (Linux). 2. This gives you a little script that you'll need to make executable. To do this, cd to where ever the file you downloaded is, and then, as root: ^# chmod +x ipodpatcher^ 3. Now it's executable, so execute it by tying in, as root: ^# ./ipodpatcher^ 4. You will be asked for confirmation, and not long after that, you will hav a bootable Rockbox Media Player. __The Concept of the Box that Rocks__ The Rockbox interface is similar to the native iPod interface, with pages of menus that span "horizontally", if you will, and you navigate through them by pressing the horribly mis-labelled MENU for "previous" and the not-labelled-at-all MIDDLE-BUTTON for "next". You can scroll over the scrollwheel to make selections within each menu. The coolest thing about Rockbox, for me, is that you decide where in the file system your music will be stored, and how. To put music onto my iPod now, I simply drag a folder containing the music onto the iPod on my desktop. No need to jump through hurdles to put music on or take music off. Full ogg support included :) I never made playlists for my iPod anyway, but if you want to, you certainly can make them -- but you don't need a computer interface for this. You can make playlists right from your iPod. The Rockbox manual can tell you a lot more about this, though, so check with it for full details on all the myriad functions and capabilities of your new Media Player OS. __Themes__ Another cool thing about Rockbox is that you needn't settle for one look for your interface. You can install Themes and also "While Playing Screens" (wps). These are located in the [http://www.rockbox.org/twiki/bin/view/Main/RockboxExtras#Fonts|extras] section of the Rockbox site. These a bit tricky to install, as they seem to be packaged differently depending on who created the theme. There are two variations that I've seen. Some themes are quite self-contained and will disperse the appropriate files into the appropriate places on your iPod with a simple ^% unzip theme.zip -d /your/iPod^ These come as one zipped folder, and if you look into this, you'll see only a .rockbox directory. So if you see this, it is safe to simply unzip the zipped folder you downloaded to your iPod, and it will NOT, as I initially feard, overwrite the real .rockbox directory on your iPod; it simply adds itself into it. This is, as I understand, a pretty fancy feature of the unzip command. Other themes come in three parts; let's say we've just downloaded a theme called penguinix.zip What we would see in this directory is: penguinix.cfg penguinix.wps penguinix The penguinix.cfg you should copy into your iPod's .rockbox > themes directory. You'll know it's the right directory because you'll see lots of other theme .cfg files there. The penguinix.wps and penguinix directory will need to be copied to your iPod's .rockbox > wps directory. That's it. You'll see how to change themes from your iPod during normal use. Enjoy Rockbox.

xKLAATUx

In Slackware, the tendency is for an administrative user to set up accounts for the users. Users either don't have access to commands like iwconfig or iwlist or ifconfig and things like that, or else they just don't need them that often so there's no need to make these commands easily accessible to the regular user account. On Ubuntu, the default is that the initial user on the system is an admin/user hybrid, in which most of the typical admin commands are just one command-type away, although they may require a password in order to be executed. On my Fedora 8 install, it would seem that the Slackware approach is taken, which I like quite a bit; so in Fedora, when I type iwconfig, I get a return that "-bash command is not found" or whatever the error message is. Nice to know that layer of admin vs. user separation is there...but a little inconvenient for me since in fact I am the only user as well as admin. So, if this sort of thing happens to you under either Slackware, Debian, or Fedora, or any other Linux OS you install, you may want to modify your PATH. The symptom is this: In order to get a command like iwlist to work, you have to type /sbin/iwlist The fix is to set your environment. To do this, simply edit your .bashrc in a text editor and define your variables. So, to beef up the paths on my Fedora system, I simply did this: % cd ~ % vim .bashrc and then typed this: # added by klaatu 12-31-07 PATH="/usr/bin:/usr/sbin:/sbin:/bin:/usr/games:/usr/local/bin:/usr/locate/sbin" Or something like that; basically I just kept everything Fedora had already defined for me, and added my own. To make the system reanalyze its environment settings, type: % source .bashrc And that was that. Well, almost. I was really getting annoyed at having to go all the way up to the Application menu just to play Tetris. I also always forget that it's isn't Tetris, it's Gnome-Falling-Bricks?. To make it so that I could just type "tetris" and be playing Gnome-Falling-Bricks?, a game similar in many ways to the classic Tetris game, I needed to set an alias. This again would be done in my .bashrc. Simply add this: alias tetris="gnome-falling-bricks" Again, run % source .bashrc and you're in business. Caveat and Apologies This all applies only to bash, hence hence the modification of the .bashrc file. If you are using a different shell you'll need to modify its corresponding file. For instance, in Slackware I'm using the Z shell, so these settings, or similar ones, would be entered into .zshrc Change Your Default Shell One of the variables of your environment can't be entered into your .bashrc or .zshrc or .csh or .tcsh or whatever; it's the default shell. This must be set by running this command: % chsh you'll enter your password, and then define your choice of shell PS Here are some of the environment variables on a Linux system: PATH — sets directories that executable programs should be found HOME — your "user" or "home" directory EDITOR — your default editor TEXEDIT — your default text editor VISUAL — your default picture viewer LD_LIBRARY_PATH — directory in which libraries to run programs are found HOST, HOSTTYPE, VENDOR, OSTYPE, MACHTYPE, REMOTEHOST — info about your computer LINES, COLUMNS — sets your terminal size MAIL — your system email mailbox TERM — sets type of terminal you run (rxvt, xterm, &c) TZ - timezone SHELL — your default shell

xKLAATUx

For quite a while, I was fine with my Slackware system not allowing normal users to mount external drives or optical discs -- because I very rarely used external drives or discs under Slackware. Lately I purchased a small portable drive that I am using to organize and keep my personal data, so I've been moving a lot of stuff from DVD-Rs to this drive, and it started to become bothersome to "sudo mount" everything and then "sudo umount" and enter the passwords and the device locations and mount points. So I decided to figure out how to allow my normal user identity to mount these external devices. This is very poorly documented in the books I have on the subject, so here's how: ''Please note that the # indicates things done as root, and % denote regular user.'' 1. As root, open in a text editor the /etc/fstab file. I use vim, but you can use pico or nano or whatever you like.

# vim /etc/fstab

2. There are already entries here by default, and they look a little something like this:

 /dev/sda1	  /				  ext3	 defaults	 1 1  /dev/hda	   /media/cdrom	   iso9660  user,ro	  0 0

(and so on...) the idea here is that the first column is the device location and the second is the mount point. The third is what kind of filesystem it will default to. The fourth is who gets to mount it. And the fifth and sixth are related to fsck (file system check). Many of the entries in /etc/fstab by default are the mount points of your actual operating system. So there's the root mount point, there's the mount point for proc and maybe a floppy drive (or SD card reader, in the case of my Vaio). You probably won't necessarily need to mess with the root and proc mount points; instead, you'll be either adding or editing the entries for the optical drive, SD card reader, and external hard drive. So if you know your optical drive is located at /dev/hda and you know you want to put it in the /media/cdrom folder when it's mounted, the entry would begin as such:

/dev/hda	  /media/cdrom

Optical discs are pretty much always the filesystem type of iso9660 so that's the third column. The fourth column - the users who get to mount it - is the tricky one. If you want only ROOT to be able to mount that device, then put the word "root" in the fourth column. If you want any USER to be able to mount that device, then put the word "users" (not the username; the actual word "user"!) in the fourth column. And just to be clear about this, the presence of ROOT in the fourth column will make it so that ONLY root will be able to mount it. So if you want a user to be able to mount it, ONLY "users" should be placed in the fourth column, not "users,root". We must assume that if a user can mount a drive, so can root.... but if root can mount it, then only root can mount it. Makes sense if you think about it. If the device is read-only, add the word "ro" in the fourth column. If it's readable and writable then add "rw". The last column you can leave as is. So in the end, my /etc/fstab had this added to its default list:

 /dev/hda	   /media/cdrom	   iso9660  user,ro		  0 0  /dev/sdb1	  /media/hd		  auto	 noauto,user,rw   0 0

This allows the user to mount a cd or dvd as read-only at the mount point /media/cdrom as well as a hard drive plugged into the USB port (regardless of filesystem type, which will simply be auto-detected) as a read-write device at the mount point /media/hd As user, type in simply

% mount /media/hd

and it will be mounted for you. No need to type in % mount /dev/sdb1 /media/hd or anything complex like that. If you do this, you will be prompted for more information because it is assumed that you are attempting to override fstab.Why not use /mnt instead? Simply because, since I sometimes use Konqueror, it's easier to mount things by default to the /media folder, as Konquerer by default checks /media for mounted filesystems. No reboot required, no logout required! It just works right away! That's it!Actually that's not quite it. There MAY be a permissions issue, depending on your distro. If, for instance, you are defining the mount point as /media/hd and the USER has no permission to write to /media/hd then the USER won't be able to copy files on the hard drive. So as root, you'll need to change permissions of the /media/hd directory to something that includes write permission for the everyday user. Like so:

# chmod -hR <USERNAME> /media/hd

Now mount the drive to that directory and watch in amazement as the everyday user is able to read and write to the drive!That's it.

xKLAATUx

About two months ago, I embarked on a journey to rehabilitate an old G3 iMac with a Linux installation so I could send a really functional and nice computer to Skirlet's little cousin in Mexico whose family could not afford a computer. The installation went splendidly. NOTHING else would even cause this computer to boot, but that trusty old "Net Install" Debian disc bootstrapped the computer, allowed me to install the barebones system with a few clicks (well, hits of the RETURN key), and then it pulled the rest of the system in its most up-to-date form from the internet. The Debian installation method is quite quite progressive; all you need to do at first is download the Net Install CD image. This is a 100mb download, maybe, so it's a quick download. Burn it to CD as a bootable disc and boot off of it. Start the installation, which is entirely menu-driven; very clear choices are given to you...almost difficult to screw up, really. The rest is downloaded straight from a Debian mirror (so obviously you must be hardwired into an internet connection) - so you're installing really up to date stuff every time you install. It's great. For the iMac, this installed all components flawlessly; I used all the default settings so there wasn't any fancy partitioning I needed to do. It took a while to download all the packages (although no longer than Leopard typically takes to install from its installation DVD) but once it did, it prompted me to reboot. It then booted straight into a GUI environment, a GDM login screen, and is now purring like a kitten. Fast, too! As fast as OS 9 would be on the computer, but having the funcionality of OS X. The specs on this machine are: iMac G3 "Grape" / 333mhz 6mb VRAM 128 + 64mb RAM No wireless card. What's now running on it: Debian Etch 4.0r1 Gnome desktop XFCE or Enlightenment (both faster than GNOME) It's a beautiful thing.

xKLAATUx

whatf or

% dmesg | tailMy wiki went down because of bad hosting. Lucky for me I'd backed up all the good posts I'd made to the wiki, so I am going to first place all those old posts here in this blog, and then I'll be able to start posting new (and perhaps useful to more people than just myse) thingslf.% whoamiklaatu% echo $HOMEthebadapples.infoa little podcast i do when i can. chekc it out if u like linux.