Linux and the hungry Penguin

CentOS 4.4 Single Server CD

Category: Linux
Posted: 2007-03-21 08:14, Edited: 2007-03-21 13:14

There is a great article over at about the CentOS 4.4 Single Server CD... Of course I am biased as I wrote it!!!

Getting started with the CentOS 4.4 Single Server CD


Receiving remote X connections

Category: Linux
Posted: 2006-12-21 06:32, Edited: 2006-12-21 12:32


I use several Linux boxes and I like to open applications on remote boxes and have them displayed on my local Linux machine.

By default openSUSE 10.2 disables this functionality and remote X connections are not allowed. Every time I install or upgrade I need to reconfigure this option and I keep forgetting how to do it. So this time, after search the web for the answer, I thought I would blog about it so that I know where to look next time!!!

By default the X server is started with "-nolisten tcp" which stops remote X clients connecting to the machine. This ability to make remote applications display on the local machine is a major plus point of X and it is something which Windows desperately needs with having to hack the system with various 3rd party workarounds.

Anyway to enable this feature run YaST:

Click on System.
Then /etc/sysconfig Editor.
Select Desktop.
Select Display manager.

Set this to "yes".

Restart the X server and all will be well.


Grub Error 21

Category: Linux
Posted: 2006-12-21 06:22, Edited: 2006-12-21 12:22


To install openSUSE 10.2 (see previous post) I installed a new hard disk in my machine and installed it on that.

Everything went well including the install but I hit a problem when I did my first reboot. I got a Grub error:

Grub Loading Stage 1.5
Grub Loading please wait....
Error 21

Aaahhh! It looked to me like openSUSE 10.2 could't handle getting the boot loader right for a multiple disk machine. But I was wrong the problem was all mine.

Before discovering the problem I used the various excellent boot modes from the install DVD and I was able to restore the old 10.1 boot loader and boot back into 10.1. From there I started looking on the web.

Error 21 means "Selected disk does not exist. This error is returned if the device part of a device- or full file name refers to a disk or BIOS device that is not present or not recognized by the BIOS in the system."

Weird, I knew the disk was present as I just installed 10.2 on it! After lots of head scratching it turned out that I forgot to add the second disk to the BIOS. The 10.2 installed didn't rely on the BIOS information to find the disks, so it was able to detect and install onto the new disk with problem. However Grub uses the BIOS information to get the disk configurations.

So once I added the disk to the BIOS it all work fine! :D


First impresions of openSUSE 10.2

Category: Linux
Posted: 2006-12-21 06:15, Edited: 2006-12-21 12:15

I downloaded and installed the DVD version of openSUSE 10.2 and my first impressions are that it is a good, stable and feature rich release.

I prefer KDE over GNOME and this version uses 3.5.5. The star menu has been spruced up and a new multi-pane sliding thingy which looks nice but I feel that over time I might start to get quite annoyed with it, we will see.

I liked the 10.1 release and 10.2 doesn't contain any major shocks or changes.

I like it, 10/10... More once I have used it in anger!



Category: Linux
Posted: 2006-11-24 05:02, Edited: 2006-11-24 11:02

Japanese TurboLinux announced a Linux powered mp3 player this week dubbed Wizpy.

It's an MP3 player. It's an FM radio. It's video and photo display device. It's an e-book reader. It's a sound recorder. The Wizpy comes with 4GB flash memory and is able to run Linux applications like Firefox. Features of the Wizpy include 1.71 inch color OLED display, OGG,MP3, WMA and AAC audio format support, DivX video support, FM radio, voice recorder and 10 hour battery life.

Way to go Linux!!!


Why There is Better Driver Support in 64-bit Linux Than 64-bit W

Category: Linux
Posted: 2006-11-09 04:43, Edited: 2006-11-09 10:43

I use Linux everyday, it is the main operating system on my PC and I use it for everything. I have a 64-bit Athlon machine and I run SUSE 10.1 64 bit. Recently someone bought be a copy of Windows XP Professional x64 Edition and I thought I would give it a try. This is what happened.

Having backed up all my data and made notes of how my hard disks were partitioned I slipped the Windows XP disk into the CD drive and rebooted. Up came the Windows installation procedure and everything went painlessly. Good I thought, Windows XP x64 looks and installs just like the 32-bit edition. After the installation was complete the desktop appeared and all looked well.

First to configure the display driver. 800x600 isn't really good enough. But here came my first shock. Opening the display properties told me that I had only a standard VGA card. What I actually have is an nVidia GeForce 4 Ti. No problem, I was wise enough to download the 64 bit nVidia drivers before I installed. So I run the driver installation which politely, but firmly, told me my card wasn't supported.

I went back to their web site and what I discovered is that the slower, poorer GeForce 4 MX is supported but the faster, better Ti isn't. So Windows XP x64 has fallen at the first hurdle. Needless to say that under Linux the 4 Ti is supported natively and by nVidia. As a work around I forced Windows to use the Microsoft driver for a GeForce 4 MX. Now I could change the color depth at least!

Next to the network card, I have two network cards in my machine, an nVidia card incorporated in the motherboard and a Belkin Gigabit PCI card. Both work flawlessly under 64-bit Linux. Windows by default didn't recognize either. My motherboard came with a CD which claimed to have Window XP x64 drivers but after installing them no new hardware was recognized. Off to the nVidia site again and this time I download the latest drivers and now the audio and the network work. The Belkin is a different story, no driver on their site, no driver in Windows, so the Belkin remains dead under Windows XP x64.

So with some network connectivity and a semi decent display I was able to connect to the network storage I have on my LAN and start to install some software. I started with FFDShow the DivX/Xvid codec and a player. They seemed to install OK but when I tried to play a video clip I got sound only and no picture. This might not be the fault of the codec or player, it could be the lack of correct video driver as these players tend to use video overlays which need the graphics card working fully.

Thankfully Firefox works which you would expected as it is open source, cross platform software. Then I tried to install Media Player 10. No success. Media Player 10 isn't supported on this platform. At this point I stopped as I knew I had a battle on my hands and I really didn't have the energy to start that battle today.

The initial result of all this is that Windows XP x64 is next to useless for me. The question is this, why is there better driver support in 64-bit Linux than in 64-bit Windows XP? The answer is simple. Linux is open source and Windows is closed source and proprietary. In the open source world the drivers are available for everyone to see, use, change and improve. If I need a 64-bit driver I can take the 32-bit one and change it to work in the 64-bit environment. If I don't have the skills to do that myself I can find someone who has. But in the closed source world I have no choice and no freedom. I am powerless.

When I made the switch from 32-bit Linux to 64-bit Linux it was painless. Everything that worked in the 32-bit environment also worked in the 64-bit one. The same can not be said for Windows.

One of the reasons I don't use Microsoft is because I can't afford it. Every couple of years they ask me to spend hundreds of dollars upgrading to the next version of their OS. When XP came out I made the permanent switch to Linux. The reason this copy of Windows arrived in my hands was because the person who bought it couldn't get the drivers for his hardware... Now I understand what he meant.

In the free world of Linux I have a working, usable, fast and stable 64-bit operating system. In the secret world of Microsoft I will have to return to using the 32-bit version. But the question is will I? I think I will stick with Linux. It looks like I need to go back on my hands and knees and beg forgiveness from my SUSE 10.1 system for every doubting it and for my unfaithful fling with Microsoft.

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