OpenSUSE Linux Rants

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March 31, 2006

Open Source, Linux, and Education

by @ 6:04 am. Filed under General Linux

If your friend turned on a flashlight, and you went past him at the speed of light at that instant, what would you see? If you could travel away from the earth faster than the speed of light, could you then turn around and view the earth’s history? Well, light always travels at 300,000 km/s relative to everything. So, even if you are going at the speed of light, the light waves you are chasing will still be going 300,000 km/s away from you. Those same light waves will be also be going the same speed relative to someone standing still. How wild is that?

Hey, I didn’t make up the theory. If you have any questions, call Einstein.

Why is anyone still using Internet Explorer? Well, I know that only 18.2% of the visitors to this site use IE. That’s a very comforting statistic.

A Brief History of Microsoft FUD is something everyone should check out. I’ll give away the ending (I do this with movies, too): “Ballmer’s comments do indicate, however, that Microsoft has reached the end-game as far as FUD is concerned. After patents, there is nothing it hasn’t already tried. So what will Microsoft do then? Simple: lose.”

Binghamton University and STOC Launch Linux Collaboration Center – Now this is what I have been talking about!

One thing new Linux users complain about is what to do when a problem occurs. Yesterday, I gave some places to go for help. Today, I am too tired to do much yammering. However, I will suggest one thing: When something goes wrong, a great place to start looking for answers is your system log file. This will generally be a file located at /var/log/messages for issues involving the actual operating system. For Apache and/or X problems, look around in that same folder (/var/log). Just look through your logs periodically. You’ll be surprised what you can learn.

Quote of the day: “One thing about the Internet that we sometimes forget is that it was and in some sense still is a frontier for the technical elite to be able to define and sculpt technology in an open forum, in view of peers. This leads to technological advances that would not be possible in a closed environment.” – SUSE Linux 10 Bible

March 30, 2006

Getting Help on SUSE Linux 10.0

by @ 4:57 am. Filed under General SUSE, SUSE Tips & Tricks

For all you Rob Zombie fanatics House of 1,000 Corpses will not let you down. That movie has to be one of the most brilliantly disturbing mind screws of its time. Rob, bro, you outdid yourself on this one. Especially with that cowboy hitch hiker chick. You crazy dog, you. I can hardly wait for netflix to send me Devil’s Rejects.

Can you believe all of the CxOs that are leaving Novell? Is there some kind of exclusive party somewhere that I don’t know about? Can anyone get me tickets? We have Amnon Harman, Juergen Geck, and Hubert Mantel. They have all jumped ship. They probably went to Rob Zombie’s house to star in his next movie. What a party that would be, huh? Tell you what.

For everyone who doesn’t know that Linux is more secure than Windows, you all should seriously read this.

OK, so what’s the latest SUSE tip on the platter for the day? How about a detailed explanation of what RTFM means. Actually, we’ll be looking at ways to learn about your operating system, especially if it’s SUSE Linux. This kind of thing is really great if you are just learning about SUSE or want to broaden your vast knowledge and mastery of it.

What resources exist from which we can find answers?

If you’re just looking for general tips tricks, and how-tos, you can try this page. Other such general info pages exist, such as:

That’s great for general knowledge, but what if you need specific help with, say, a single command?

That’s where the man pages come in. If you are using KDE like good little boys and girls, open up Konqueror. In the address bar, put man:/ and hit ENTER. You are taken to the main UNIX Manual Index. From there, you can locate the command you want help with. If that’s too much work, open up a terminal and type the following:

man [COMMAND]

Where [COMMAND] would obviously be the command you want to know more about.

You can also use the info command. This is used from the terminal much in the same way that man is used:

info [COMMAND]

These are some ways to get help with a particular command. But are there resources available for things like hardware issues, networking problems, software installation trouble, and things like that? Little hint: If the answer were no, I wouldn’t have posed the question. Fine. What are they?

This is where forums are your friend. A handful of them are as follows:

Nice. We have resources for general reading, specific reference, and places to resolve problems. What if we’re interested in news about SUSE Linux?

There are some really great news feeds available for this:

I can already hear you saying, “I don’t want to add all of those feeds by hand.” Well, for everyone using Thunderbird 1.5, you can just import my OPML file to get these, and about 20 more Linux- and Tech-related feeds.

OK, well, that should get you deep enough into information overload that you should be feeling it by now. If you know of any other great sources that I have missed here, please post them for all to see. Let’s get a nice comprehensive list of help resources here so that everyone interested in SUSE Linux can find something that will catch their eye.

Don’t forget to enter the Logo competition. You could win $100 if we pick yours.

March 29, 2006

Illegal Aliens and SUSE Linux

by @ 5:07 am. Filed under General SUSE, SUSE Tips & Tricks

I love Latin people. I lived in Venezuela for 2 years, and speak fluent Spanish. Latin people are generally a lot nicer to a stranger on the street than most Americans. If you’re a guest in their home, they’ll offer you whatever they have, or apologize profusely if they are unable to. Their food is to die for. I seriously have nothing against them being in the United States.

I just don’t want them here illegally.

Illegal aliens should be deported. Period. Please contact your local city’s Mayor and have him do the same thing that the Mayor of Costa Mesa, California did. I don’t want them coming into my country working for less than what’s even legal because Americans don’t want to. I don’t want them crowding the prisons and jails here. I don’t want them abusing my welfare system, or making my healthcare system go to hell.

Seriously, Latinos, come on into the U.S. My only question to you is: What have you against doing this legally? Move here, be a legal American citizen (just like I am), work at a legal job (just like I do), pay your social security (just like I do), pay your health/home/auto insurance (just like I do), pay your taxes (just like I do) and be a contributing citizen of this country (just like I do) instead of a sponging leech, destroying our economy.

Tell you what, I was listening to Michael Savage last night on the radio. I had to turn it off because I was getting so pissed off at this whole situation.

Come on in, do it legally, and everything’s all good. Hell, come to my house and we’ll make some tamales and have a fiesta. I’ll even buy a pinata.

There are a hundred other things wrong with having wide-open borders. Read this article and tell me it doesn’t grab you by the crotch. We’re just saying, “Hey, Bin Laden, come drop a dirty bomb right down our throats.” The guy that did the investigation was surprised it hadn’t happened already.

* DEEP BREATH *

Alrighty, now that I have myself back under control and the veins are not popping out of my face and neck, let’s get back to SUSE stuff.

When first learning Linux, I wondered how to control what services start when the system boots. Well, if you have physical access to the system, you can do this with YAST. Select SYSTEM from the options on the right, and SYSTEM SERVICES (RUNLEVEL) from the options on the left. You can then enable and disable services. In advanced mode, you can also start and stop them in real-time.

But what if you don’t have a graphical environment? What if you want to do it with a script or need to do it over ssh? Well, luckily, there is a command called chkconfig that can help us with this. Keep in mind that this command should be run as root.

A quick consultation of chkconfig –help reveals basic usage of the command.

How can we list all of the services and the runlevels they will be executed in? chkconfig -l will do this. We’re also going to pipe the output through the less command so we can scroll through the output easily:

To add a service, do the following:

To remove a service:

To make a service start up at the next boot:

To make a service not start up at the next boot:

The end.

So, if you wanted a quick run-down on how to add, remove, enable, and disable services for boot time, there you are.

March 28, 2006

Installed Packages on SUSE Linux 10.0

by @ 5:31 am. Filed under General SUSE, SUSE Tips & Tricks

How can I tell what I have installed on my SUSE Linux 10.0 machine? What if I’m doing it via ssh? How can I tell if I have a particular package installed?

This is all very easy to do from the command line, which is a necessity if you are doing this via ssh.

To check all of what packages you have installed:

To check if you have a specific package installed:

Some pretty slick quick tips if you’re using SUSE Linux.

Also, I wanted to include this cool quote from the SUSE Linux 10 Bible supporting my earlier post of why Linux runs circles around Windows:

Is that true or what?

March 27, 2006

Logo Competition – Win $100 / Request a How-To / Wireless NIC Article Update

by @ 4:58 pm. Filed under SUSE Blog News, Work-Related

Did everyone have a weekend? Good.

I’d like everyone to think of your favorite graphics artist. Now, send them a link to this page. Yeah, just do it. I’m having a logo contest to see if someone with more creativity than a slab of limestone can make this site look good despite its obvious defects. If you win, I will personally send you $100 (via paypal). Entries should be submitted as Photoshop (PSD) or Gimp. If I can’t open it, my dog eats everything, so I’ll give it to him. Email submissions to logoentries -at- suseblog -dot- com. For more info, see the Logo Competition – Win $100 page.

Looks like I need to update my Setting up Wireless article. Seems that the Netgear screenshots are a little much. Heh, sorry. Will-do, but it will have to be in the morning.

In the same vein, it also looks like people want to know more about getting NICs to work that won’t just plug and play (like the Netgear one did in the article). Well, I’ll tell you what: If you will send it to me at Novell, I will see what I can do to get it working, and write up an article on how I did it. If you’re worried that I will just take it and run, well, that’s why I’m having you send them to me at Novell. Contact me here if you are interested.

I just don’t have enough budget to buy every wireless NIC that doesn’t “just work” in SUSE 10.0. But, I’d like to try and help where I can, so this is what I have come up with. Other suggestions are welcome.

March 24, 2006

Automate Insertion of YAST Installation Sources

by @ 3:53 pm. Filed under SUSE Tips & Tricks

Topic of the day: YAST Installation Sources

I like to automate tedious tasks. Probably more than anyone I know. This includes entering Installation Sources into YAST. Thus, I have created a small script that will do this for me. That way, I don’t have to put them in by hand every single time.

I do need to tell you something about the script. I’m putting said information before the link in hopes that it’ll get read. It is as follows: As the script runs, it tells you whether the Install Source was inserted successfully or not. Some of the sources will return with the following error: ERROR(Media:operation is not supported by media). However, apparently, they still work just fine. You can go into YAST, and the ones that gave that error are in the list. You can even refresh them, etc.

Oh, that reminds me. You will need to go in and manually enable REFRESH on each of your Install Sources. Instructions on how to do this will be displayed as the script finishes.

Also, you will need to run this as root or superuser (su). It will not even find the command otherwise.

Before I forget, I had better put a link to the script (by the way, it has been tested with SUSE 10.0 only). Enjoy.

Take note that I have a version for 64-bit machines here.

If you have an improvement for the script, post a comment in regards to this blog entry. Include your email address.

Topic Change: Concealed Weapons Permits

Kansas lawmakers override veto on concealed guns

Do You Know the Truth About Concealed Carry?

I have such a permit myself, and I wish everyone could enjoy the truth of these two articles.

March 23, 2006

Counting Crows in SUSE Linux

by @ 1:48 pm. Filed under SUSE Blog News

Psychiatrist: So, why do you think you have such a poor attitude?

Scott (this is me): Because I was molested as a child? Because everyone really is out to get me? Because I’d rather claw my face off than expend any more energy pretending I care?

Shrink (aforementioned Psychiatrist): No. Here’s your reason.

This conversation was a work of fiction and any references to historical events, to real people, living or dead, or to real locales are intended only to give the fiction a sense of reality and authenticity. Other names, places, characters and incidents either are the product of the author’s imagination or are used ficticiously, and their resemblence, if any, to real-life counterparts is entirely coincidental.

The Brainshare entertainment show last night was great. Counting Crows played all the songs we know and love. That dude has some hair goin’, man. I thought he had a dead baby orangutan nailed to his skull. Eventually, I saw that it was some dreadlock-ish things that were, in fact, growing out of his scalp. I then concluded that he had it that way on purpose, and ended my phone call to 911.

I did get some very poor shots (with my cell phone) of the concert, during the Mr. Jones song. If you listen really hard, you can hear them playing it as you look at the picture. As soon as I figure out how to get the pictures off my phone, I’ll post them somewhere so some of you can have a look or something. Unless you don’t want to.

Before Counting Crows played, however, Don Friesen made me nearly urinate myself. He did this bit about the Southwest Airlines pilots that had me just dying. Normally, all a comedian gets from me is a blank stare. Crude humor, profanity, and other forms of fake humor rarely evoke much more from me than a yearning to break the sound barrier getting myself out of the building. Don was great. He did this bit about how the pilots must have to be on some kind of Xanex or something. One of the funnier lines was, “Do you ever have a dream that you’re flying? And then you wake up… and you are?” If you don’t get it, well, I guess you had to be there… much in the same way that I was.

Well, I got X going on my new AMD64 box last night. And why would one care about this? Because I’ve decided to make it a Gentoo machine. I really love Gentoo. And I really love SUSE. I don’t really love other men, though.

Some cool stuff about multiple LiveCDs on one DVD.

A classic about trying to file a bug report with M$.

March 21, 2006

Brainshare and SUSE Linux Enterprise Server/Desktop 10

by @ 6:38 pm. Filed under General SUSE, Work-Related

I was at the Novell CoolSolutions booth at Brainshare again, today. “Hey, have you seen the Novell CoolSolutions sites before? Oh, really? What products do you use it for? Oh yeah? Have you taken our survey? If you take it, I’ll give you a T-Shirt. Are you interested?” I cannot possibly count how many times I have said that in the past two days. I did go around to some other booths to get some free stuff. Let’s see, I got a mini Nerf football, a blue mini beach ball, several pins from here and there, and a couple of little mini staplers. I got a cool Magic 8 Ball from IBM, who are collectively the man because of this. For, as you know, Magic 8 Balls can solve any problem you may have.

Last night I was introduced at the Novell Users International presentation. They had us over to the Hilton, fed us some great food, and introduced us. They were discussing how they are working with Novell to create great online communities for Novell’s products. I was there as the Linux representative the CoolSolutions slice of that effort, which was pretty cool. It’s been really great to meet some of the folks who find value in the CoolSolutions sites. We all enjoy editing, writing, and publishing the content for each of the sites. If you take a look at my author page, you’ll see that I do, indeed, have a small obsession with writing about Linux. Yes, I’m having a mental health professional check that out.

Another thing that Novell is unveiling this week at Brainshare is SUSE Linux Enterprise Desktop 10 and SUSE Linux Enterprise Server 10. Here’s a little more info on this. I was also interested to see that Novell had announced SUSE Linux 11 for 2008.

March 20, 2006

Going Wireless in SUSE Linux 10.0

by @ 7:12 am. Filed under General SUSE, SUSE Tips & Tricks

Portability and independence are two things that people love, and will do things like this to get it (because, of course, Linux is so versatile). In my work at Novell CoolSolutions, one of the biggest topics that readers request articles about is setting up wireless networks. So, using SUSE 10.0 as the client machine(s), I have written an article on the subject. This article also explains a simple way to search for the most compatible hardware for your system. I kind of cheated and just asked the SUSE guys in Germany. The guy that responded, Joachim Gleissner, happens to be over the part of the SUSE Linux platform that deals with wireless NIC compatibility. He gave me some good info to go off. Here’s some info provided to me by Joachim when I asked which wireless NICs play well with SUSE 10.0:

“This depends to some degree on your requirements. First of all, you can find a list with WLAN chipsets and their support status here: http://en.opensuse.org/HCL/Network_Adapters_(Wireless)”

“The page does not contain information about the quality of the drivers nor WPA support, though. I guess most people want 54Mbit/s and WPA support, which substantially reduces the choice. The Intel PRO/Wireless 2200 and 2915 chipsets fall into that category, but they are not available as PCMCIA cards. So it boils down to Atheros based cards for the moment. But even Atheros cards can not be recommended without restrictions, as SL10.1/NLD10 will not support them out-of-the-box, as we won’t ship the driver anymore. The customer will probably have to download the driver package somewhere to get his card running.”

“For non-WPA modes nearly all chipsets as listed on the page linked above should work, with Ralink devices as exception. We also won’t ship the driver in 10.1. The list is missing PrismGT devices, which do work in case it’s a FullMAC one (typically the older models).”

Using this info, and a little research of my own, I pounded out this article at Novell CoolSolutions, which outlines how to set up a wireless network using SUSE Linux 10.0 machines as clients. Additionally, I outline how to secure the WLAN once installed.

Future articles about this will include ways to switch between your wireless networks at home, work, and school. Stay tuned for more info on that.

I will be at the CoolSolutions booth at Brainshare in Salt Lake City on Mon., Tue., and Wed. this week. Come by for some “blinkies” (you’ll know what I’m talking about if you were there last year) and/or a T-Shirt. Our theme for this year focuses on this survey that I’ve been working on since the beginning of the year.

March 17, 2006

Today’s interesting Linux ‘stuff’ that accumulated on my radar.

by @ 4:54 pm. Filed under General SUSE

First of all, it was sure fun to stir up the hornet’s nest yesterday. It’s incredible how one well-placed crack of a whip can hit such a nerve with M$ zealots. My guess: they just can’t see the truth for what it is. Honestly, M$ did their own study that found that 86% of admins who knew both Windows and Linux preferred Linux. So, these pro-M$ guys can get hot and bothered all they want. That’s ok, I get a kick out of it. Based on the feedback, I’m not the only one.

I sure wish I had more time to post today, but I have been swamped all day. I just got back from picking up a new AMD 64-bit 3.2 Ghz setup. I’ll have to post more info. Downloaded the 64-bit Eval DVD and threw it on a disc to work some magic later.

I ran across some interesting stories, today. First, Tom Adelstein shared some findings from chatting with some admins around the field. He found that “Debian accounted for 44.6% of the Linux systems deployed while SUSE had 11.4% of the systems deployed. Fedora and Red Hat legacy distributions accounted for 9.2%.” I was slightly surprised at these stats. Though Debian is definitely known for its stability, so it does make sense. Previous to my working at Novell, the IT department used Debian on all their non-Windows boxes. Not being super familiar with Debian, I’m not personally acquainted with how easy it is to use. Can anyone fill me in?

I ran across this other story about SUSE Linux Enterprise Desktop 10. If you’re in an enterprise, looking for a way to cut budget costs, SLED 10 may be something to consider. There are considerable enhancements made to this latest version of the newly-renamed Novell Linux Desktop 9.

For anyone who is familiar with Dave Kearns’ “tell it how I see it” writing style, here’s his take on SLED 10.

And finally, I feel that it is my duty to at least mention that SUSE 10.1 Beta8 has been released.

Everyone have a badass weekend.

March 16, 2006

Top 10 Reasons Linux pwns Your OS

by @ 6:53 am. Filed under General Linux, General SUSE

1. Security and Stability

2. Ratio of money spent versus quality of software

3. Configurability and control

4. Ease of installation of software

5. Excitement in industry / momentum of Linux movement

6. Built as a networking platform and is adapting to the desktop, not the other way around, as Windows was.

7. A wealth of online help and documentation is available

8. Running Linux is very enabling and educational.

9. Linux is unbelievably versatile.

10. Using Linux makes you l33t. If you don’t agree, then you are wrong. STFU n00b.

March 15, 2006

Everything is all good, now.

by @ 1:21 pm. Filed under General Linux, SUSE Blog News

My apologies, folks, on the downtime this morning. It should be up and crackin’, now. I just installed postfix and cyrus/courier on this server so I could have some email. I must have jarred something a little too hard. Anyway, a baseball bat and death threats to the server seem to have scared it back to life. Carry on.

Need a liveCD for security testing? Read about the top 10 Best Security LiveCD Distros. These things look pretty mean. Most of the pen-testing I’ve done has been with stand-alone apps (dsniff, nessus, cain, ettercap, etc).

Is there anyone that could get a hold of one of these for me? That bad boy can do embedded Linux. It also has tons of interfaces, including bluetooth, infrared, USB, built-in sound and headphone jack. So…. why aren’t these things available, yet?

Hmm… whoops.

Everyone have a good one – I need to proof my article on setting up a secure wireless LAN for a SUSE Linux 10.0 laptop. I’ll post the URL here as soon as it is up.

March 14, 2006

Wireless on SUSE Linux / SUSE Linux Enterprise Desktop

by @ 12:29 pm. Filed under SUSE Blog News, SUSE Tips & Tricks

I am in the process of writing an in-depth article for my Novell CoolSolutions sites about setting up wireless networking on SUSE Linux. I’ll cover things like choosing the best card, wireless terminology, how to set it up, and then how to secure your network. I’m hoping to have it up some time this week. Many people seem interested in this topic, and I wanted to help out, so that’s my main motivation. I will keep you posted.

Also, there’s been a lot of hype lately about SUSE Linux Enterprise Desktop. As I find more info about this new platform, I’ll post it here. Here is something to get you started.

I have a few more things up my sleeve here, for this site. When they become a little more solidified, I’ll post the info here. We have some cool things coming. Check back soon.

Here is a cool tip for today. It may be useful to determine the exact version of SUSE that you have installed on your machine. To do this, type the following at a command prompt:

cat /etc/SuSE-release

It will display something like this:

SUSE LINUX 10.0 (i586)
VERSION = 10.0

That, of course, will be the information you are looking for.

March 13, 2006

How can I get info on my YAST sources for SUSE Linux without opening YAST?

by @ 11:05 am. Filed under General SUSE, SUSE Tips & Tricks

No doubt you can display your YAST installation sources by going into the INSTALLATION SOURCE module. SUSE offers another way to discover information about these installation sources. First, there is the simple command:

installation_sources -s

This displays each of your current installation sources. This allows you to copy and paste if necessary (such as while installing SUSE on another Linux box).

More detailed info is available from the /var/adm/YaST/InstSrcManager folder. Inside this folder is another subfolder for each of your installation sources. They appear to be in the format: IS_CACHE_0x000000## where the # symbols are a number representing which install source it is. If you go into one of these folders, such as IS_CACHE_0x00000001, you will see 3 subfolders, one of which is DESCRIPTION. If you go into this folder, there is another file called ‘description’ which contains a detailed description of that install source. To see the contents of that file, run the following command inside the DESCRIPTION folder:

less description

You will be able to move through the contents of the file with ease.

I’m wondering if there is a way to export these install sources to simply import them on another machine. It gets tedious to do this by hand every time. Has anyone had any experience with this? Any additional pointers or suggestions? Let us know what you think!

Also, I will have some T-shirts that I will be giving out at Brainshare. If you come by my booth and fill out the survey, I will give you a T-shirt. Come on by and get yours!

March 10, 2006

SUSE Linux and Brainshare

by @ 11:14 am. Filed under General Linux, Work-Related

As many know, Brainshare is coming up. I will be at the CoolSolutions booth between Monday and Wednesday. Feel free to drop by and say hi. If you have any suggestions that would make CoolSolutions better, or have a request for an article that you need written on how to do something in Linux, or anything like that, please come and tell me about it. We are always looking for great ideas that will help people out. Even if you have ideas that you’d like to post here, I’m all ears, baby.

There are a number of great events occurring in the Linux community of late:

Novell has announced SUSE Linux Enterprise Desktop, which I wrote a little bit about, yesterday. More information can be found at some of these links:

http://www.eweek.com/article2/0,1759,1935771,00.asp

http://desktoplinux.com/articles/AT7426654704.html

http://www.novell.com/products/desktop/preview.html

And I’m sure that there are many more. If you do see another article featuring SLED, post a link here.

Opinions are great to have. It gives people a sense of self, identity, and purpose. However, they’re not very good for establishing objectivity. That’s what research and cold, hard numbers are for. This is why I receive such great joy when I see studies whose outcomes are in favor of Linux (and if I’m lucky, SUSE Linux). For example, I read a study a while back about putting naked Linux and Windows boxes on the Internet. The Linux machines were still going after several months. The Windows machines had been blown away after mere hours, and in some cases, minutes. Read the PDF of the research and results.

Well, another study on the security of Linux versus the lack thereof on Windows has been done. Let’s hear it for Linux. Unpatched Linux machines were not even breached, while unpatched Windows machines were eliminated in just over an hour. Make no mistake: Linux security is your friend.

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