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January 29, 2008

Education in the Philippines : Spreading the Freedom of Linux

by @ 1:01 pm. Filed under General Linux, Linux News, oss news

Linux is beginning to thrive pretty nicely in Philippines schools. You know, that’s where it should start. I wrote about the need to introduce Linux into the educational system almost two years ago. Where else will people learn about it? Are you going to rely on peoples’ desire to spend untold hours learning how to use Linux? Let’s be honest, it is easier than it used to be, but people don’t like to spend time learning. The world is getting more and more impatient with each passing day. People don’t like to spend time learning, unless it is spoonfed to them. Meaning: if you take your average person and sit them in front of two computers, one with Linux, and one with Windows, they will choose the one they’re most comfortable and familiar with. That’s just what human beings do. However, if you sit someone down and get them exposed to Linux, provide them a course or ten, and personal instruction and help, they are 10,000% more likely to accept it.

Try throwing a LiveCD at someone and tell them to learn Linux. It won’t work. Sit them down, show them the latest Compiz Fusion-enabled system, and they will be mesmerized. Spend some time with them. Be objective with your explanations about why Linux is a great alternative. Give them a stable environment where they can get the help they need, and people will be much more likely to use Linux. This is the potential of the education system. It provides a stable environment where people can learn. You just need to have a competent instructor that can explain things well, just like any other type of class.

There are a ton of ways that putting Linux into High Schools and such will benefit many, many, many people. The younger generations will be able to know life without the agony of dealing with proprietary operating systems. They will know the freedom of open source. Who knows, they may even spread the concept to things like Open Source cars. Maybe an open source aircraft? How about an open source spacecraft? What about open source scientific and physics research? Once people grasp the mindset that sharing benefits all, this type of thinking will spread to other industries. Not immediately, but soon enough, you’ll see that the sharing of knowledge benefits humanity. Capitalism is based off the concept of making money. That is fine. It’s the people who push it to the extreme and hoard knowledge to make their $10 Billion+. How much do you need, seriously?

I’m seeing a future where people will move more towards the knowledge sharing mindset and the guy hoarding resources for gross amounts of personal gain will be shunned. Wait, that’s already happening. Many people who know both Windows and Linux (according to M$’s own survey) prefer Linux. Look at what is happening with the RIAA and the MPAA. People are fighting their iron-fisted tactics and winning.

At the same time, it seems like our society is getting more and more greedy. What is really happening is that the chasm between general benevolence and general selfishness is widening. People seem to be moving further to one end or the other of that continuum.

Whatever.

How much do you know about Linux? Would you like to know more? 🙂

January 28, 2008

Want the new Linux 2.6.24 Kernel? Easy Upgrade Tutorial

by @ 7:11 am. Filed under General Linux, General SUSE, How-To, kernel, Linux tips, SUSE Tips & Tricks

INTRODUCTION

Now and then, you will likely need to familiarize yourself with a technically scientific process called “Fiddling With the Kernel.” There is quite a bit of documentation on this topic. I don’t want to go too far into the specifics of which options to set and how to tweak everything.

What I hope to do here is introduce you to a general overview of the steps involved with upgrading your kernel. I can hear it now, “You mean I can upgrade my kernel without knowing what CONFIG_INIT_ENV_ARG_LIMIT or CONFIG_USB_EHCI_ROOT_HUB_TT or CONFIG_SOUND_TRACEINIT means?” Why yes, yes, you can. I did this very process only yesterday, and I realized that I had done this process a number of times successfully. Thus, it seemed only fair to release it into the wild in hopes that someone else may benefit from it.

What on earth would possess someone to do something like upgrade a kernel? Well, let’s say you are using an RPM-based distro, such as OpenSUSE 10.x. You need the kernel source header files so that you can install the Nvidia driver for your new ultra-sick Nvidia card. You may need to compile the ndiswrapper kernel module. You may need to install VMware, which compiles a kernel module. Easy, right? Just install the kernel-source package that matches the kernel version you are running.

K, what if you have a newer kernel installed that the newest kernel-source package available? Or, what if you were anxiously awaiting some feature of the kernel that was just released, and you don’t want to wait for it to be available from a repository? There could be a host of reasons why you’d want to upgrade your kernel. This is a gentle introduction to one way of doing this.

Please be aware, though. You will usually not want to put a brand new kernel onto a production box, unless you have an exact reason in mind. Also, understand that you are doing this stuff at your own risk. Like I said, I did this yesterday, and have done it many times before. If you do it and your computer turns into radioactive hazardous waste (which it really shouldn’t do), don’t come crying to me.

All that disclaimer-ish junk out of the way, let’s get on to the cool stuff.

What will we be doing?

Step 1. – Download and unarchive the kernel source code
Step 2. – Prep and compile the kernel
Step 3. – Install the new kernel
Step 4. – Set up Grub
Step 5. – Reboot into the new kernel

GET THE KERNEL SOURCE

First things first. We’ll need the latest release of the kernel source code, available from none other than http://www.kernel.org/. On this page, you are looking for where it says, “The latest stable version of the Linux kernel is:”. Just to the right of the date on that line, there is a hyperlinked “F”. That is the Full source to the kernel. Right-click, copy the link.

Then, open a terminal and switch to root (with ‘su’). Change over to the /usr/src/ directory. Then, download the source using ‘wget’. When you’re done, unarchive it. This process should look something like this:

[1314][scott@linux:~]$ su
Password:
linux:/home/scott # cd /usr/src
linux:/usr/src # wget http://www.kernel.org/pub/linux/kernel/v2.6/linux-2.6.24.tar.bz2
--13:14:20--  http://www.kernel.org/pub/linux/kernel/v2.6/linux-2.6.24.tar.bz2
           => `linux-2.6.24.tar.bz2'
Resolving www.kernel.org... 204.152.191.5, 204.152.191.37
Connecting to www.kernel.org|204.152.191.5|:80... connected.
HTTP request sent, awaiting response... 200 OK
Length: 46,737,783 (45M) [application/x-bzip2]

100%[=============================================>] 46,737,783   578.56K/s    ETA 00:00

13:15:36 (604.56 KB/s) - `linux-2.6.24.tar.bz2' saved [46737783/46737783]

linux:/usr/src # tar -xvf linux-2.6.24.tar.bz2

Then you hang for awhile until the source decompresses.

PREP AND COMPILE THE KERNEL

Next, we need to make sure we have everything installed as necessary. Depending on the machine and what you already have installed, you may need to install one or more packages. Here are a few of the packages I have had to install to make things work properly:

gcc – this is the compiler – you won’t get far without this
nfs-kernel-server – on pre-OpenSUSE 10.3 boxes, use nfs-utils
oprofileabout this package
ncurses-devel

An easy way to see if they are installed or which need to be installed is with the rpm command. Install missing packages with yast. Recheck to make sure everything is there:

linux:/usr/src # rpm -qa gcc nfs-kernel-server oprofile ncurses-devel
gcc-4.2-24
linux:/usr/src # yast -i nfs-kernel-server oprofile ncurses-devel
linux:/usr/src # rpm -qa gcc nfs-kernel-server oprofile ncurses-devel
gcc-4.2-24
nfs-kernel-server-1.1.0-8
ncurses-devel-5.6-41
oprofile-0.9.3-25
linux:/usr/src # 

If one of the packages doesn’t show up, go ahead and use YAST to install it. Also, note that the one package is nfs-utils on OpenSUSE 10.2 and older, and nfs-kernel-server on OpenSUSE 10.3.

Next, we need to compile the kernel. Put away the defibrillation paddles. Contrary to popular belief, this step does not cause cardiac arrest (at least it didn’t in the lab rats we trained on kernel upgrades).

In your terminal, make sure you are in the directory with the kernel source code, something like /usr/src/linux-2.6.24/. Make sure you are working with a clean directory. Then, we are going to grab the configuration of the kernel that is currently running. This is as simple as:

linux:/usr/src # cd linux-2.6.24/
linux:/usr/src/linux-2.6.24 # make mrproper
linux:/usr/src/linux-2.6.24 # zcat /proc/config.gz > .config
linux:/usr/src/linux-2.6.24 #

Just about every time a new kernel comes out, new configuration options appear in it. If we were to just jump right in and start compiling the kernel now, it would stop when it reaches each new option and ask us what we want to do with it. Fortunately, there is a simple way around this. Unfortunately, the cost of simplicity is that you are accepting the default values for these options. But again, the object here is to keep it simple. If you’re feeling leet and hardcore, you can always go back and fiddle.

To get around this problem, we run make menuconfig just like if we were going to go in and hand-tweak the kernel. Instead of doing a thing, however, we tab over to EXIT and hit ENTER. We make sure to save the configuration.

We are ready to compile the kernel and all the modules, done by running this commandline:

linux:/usr/src/linux-2.6.24 # make ; make modules ; make modules_install

Because we have left everything with default settings, we will be compiling here for a long time. Actual time spent depends on your hardware specs.

INSTALL THE NEW KERNEL

When all the compiling finishes, you need to do two more things. You have to install the new kernel and configure grub to use it upon restart.

Next, we have to get our new kernel installed. We just copy a few files and create an initial ramdisk. We will copy the kernel image and System.map to /boot. We can then generate an initial ramdisk from that kernel and System.map file. Finally, I also like to back up .config to /boot as well, just so everything is in the same place. To accomplish all of this, these are the commands you will execute:

linux:/usr/src/linux-2.6.24 # cp arch/`uname -i`/boot/bzImage /boot/vmlinuz-2.6.24
linux:/usr/src/linux-2.6.24 # cp System.map /boot/System.map-2.6.24
linux:/usr/src/linux-2.6.24 # cp System.map /boot/System.map
linux:/usr/src/linux-2.6.24 # cp .config /boot/config-2.6.24
linux:/usr/src/linux-2.6.24 # mkinitrd -k vmlinuz-2.6.24 -i initrd-2.6.24

Kernel image:   /boot/vmlinuz-2.6.24
Initrd image:   /boot/initrd-2.6.24
Root device:    /dev/disk/by-id/scsi-SATA_WDC_WD1200BEVS-_WD-WXEX07392815-part2 (/dev/sda2) (mounted on / as ext3)
Resume device:  /dev/sda1
Kernel Modules: processor thermal scsi_mod libata ahci pata_atiixp fan jbd mbcache ext3 edd sd_mod usbcore ohci-hcd uhci-hcd ehci-hcd ff-memless hid usbhid
Features:       block usb resume.userspace resume.kernel
Bootsplash:     SuSE (800x600)
36561 blocks
linux:/usr/src/linux-2.6.24 #

Because I don’t really care to type all of that out every time, I have created a script that will do all of this for me:

#!/bin/sh

# EDIT THE KERNEL VERSION AS NECESSARY
KERNEL_VERSION=2.6.24

# REMOVE THESE FILES IF THEY ALREADY EXIST (I.E., IF WE ARE DOING THIS AGAIN
# FROM A PREVIOUS ATTEMPT)
# THE -f IS SO WE DON'T GET ALERTS IF THE FILES AREN'T THERE
rm -f /boot/bzImage-$KERNEL_VERSION
rm -f /boot/System.map-$KERNEL_VERSION
rm -f /boot/config-$KERNEL_VERSION

# COPY THE KERNEL OVER TO /BOOT AND BACK UP THE SYSTEM.MAP AND .CONFIG FILES
cp /usr/src/linux-"$KERNEL_VERSION"/arch/`uname -i`/boot/bzImage /boot/vmlinuz-$KERNEL_VERSION
cp /usr/src/linux-"$KERNEL_VERSION"/System.map /boot/System.map-$KERNEL_VERSION
cp /usr/src/linux-"$KERNEL_VERSION"/.config /boot/config-$KERNEL_VERSION

rm -f /boot/System.map
cp /usr/src/linux-"$KERNEL_VERSION"/System.map /boot/System.map

#MAKE THE INITIAL RAM DISK FOR THE NEW KERNEL
mkinitrd -k vmlinuz-$KERNEL_VERSION -i initrd-$KERNEL_VERSION
rm -f /boot/System.map

You should now have a kernel compiled very closely to the one your system is currently running, but with the newest kernel source. The compiled kernel image should now be in /boot, along with an initial ramdisk to go with it. All we have left is to set up grub to see the new kernel. Then, we can reboot into it.

SET UP GRUB

This is one of the easiest steps. We are going to open up a text file, copy and paste a few lines, change just a bit, and save the file back out. So go ahead and edit /boot/grub/menu.lst in your favorite text editor. You will see something like this:

# Modified by YaST2. Last modification on Sun Dec 30 21:00:56 MST 2007
default 0
timeout 8
gfxmenu (hd0,1)/boot/message
##YaST - activate

###Don't change this comment - YaST2 identifier: Original name: linux###
title openSUSE 10.3 - 2.6.22.13-0.3
    root (hd0,1)
    kernel /boot/vmlinuz-2.6.22.13-0.3-default root=/dev/disk/by-id/scsi-SATA_WDC_WD1200BEVS-_WD-WXEX07392815-part2 vga=0x314 resume=/dev/sda1 splash=silent showopts
    initrd /boot/initrd-2.6.22.13-0.3-default

###Don't change this comment - YaST2 identifier: Original name: failsafe###
title Failsafe -- openSUSE 10.3 - 2.6.22.13-0.3
    root (hd0,1)
    kernel /boot/vmlinuz-2.6.22.13-0.3-default root=/dev/disk/by-id/scsi-SATA_WDC_WD1200BEVS-_WD-WXEX07392815-part2 vga=normal showopts ide=nodma apm=off acpi=off noresume nosmp noapic maxcpus=0 edd=off 3
    initrd /boot/initrd-2.6.22.13-0.3-default

Copy the section that begins with the line “####Don’t change this comment – YaST2 identifier: Original name: linux###” and ends at the line “initrd /boot/initrd-2.6.22.12-0.1-default”. Your version number may be different. We are just duplicating the original kernel entry. We are not going to edit that one directly, because we want to use it to get back into the system in case things go south.

You should now have something that looks like this (the green is what I pasted as a new entry):

# Modified by YaST2. Last modification on Sun Dec 30 21:00:56 MST 2007
default 0
timeout 8
gfxmenu (hd0,1)/boot/message
##YaST - activate

###Don't change this comment - YaST2 identifier: Original name: linux###
title openSUSE 10.3 - 2.6.22.13-0.3
    root (hd0,1)
    kernel /boot/vmlinuz-2.6.22.13-0.3-default root=/dev/disk/by-id/scsi-SATA_WDC_WD1200BEVS-_WD-WXEX07392815-part2 vga=0x314 resume=/dev/sda1 splash=silent showopts
    initrd /boot/initrd-2.6.22.13-0.3-default

###Don't change this comment - YaST2 identifier: Original name: linux###
title openSUSE 10.3 - 2.6.22.13-0.3
    root (hd0,1)
    kernel /boot/vmlinuz-2.6.22.13-0.3-default root=/dev/disk/by-id/scsi-SATA_WDC_WD1200BEVS-_WD-WXEX07392815-part2 vga=0x314 resume=/dev/sda1 splash=silent showopts
    initrd /boot/initrd-2.6.22.13-0.3-default

###Don't change this comment - YaST2 identifier: Original name: failsafe###
title Failsafe -- openSUSE 10.3 - 2.6.22.13-0.3
    root (hd0,1)
    kernel /boot/vmlinuz-2.6.22.13-0.3-default root=/dev/disk/by-id/scsi-SATA_WDC_WD1200BEVS-_WD-WXEX07392815-part2 vga=normal showopts ide=nodma apm=off acpi=off noresume nosmp noapic maxcpus=0 edd=off 3
    initrd /boot/initrd-2.6.22.13-0.3-default

Now, for the edits. Go to the ‘title’ line of that section you pasted. Change the title to reflect the new kernel, maybe something like this: “title openSUSE 10.3 – 2.6.24 [TEST]”. Then, we’re looking for the line that starts with “kernel”. Change the version on the end of “vmlinuz” to the correct version. In this case, it is 2.6.24. Then, change the line that starts with “initrd” the same way. These two paths are pointing to your new kernel image and your new initial ram disk image, respectively.

If you want to make sure that you have the paths correct, you can use file. If you have the correct files, this is what you will see:

linux:/usr/src/linux-2.6.24 # file /boot/vmlinuz-2.6.24
/boot/vmlinuz-2.6.24: Linux/x86 Kernel, Setup Version 0x207, bzImage, Version 2.6.24, RO-rootFS, root_dev 0x802, swap_dev 0x1, Normal VGA
linux:/usr/src/linux-2.6.24 # file /boot/initrd-2.6.24
/boot/initrd-2.6.24: gzip compressed data, from Unix, last modified: Sat Jan 26 19:44:58 2008, max compression
linux:/usr/src/linux-2.6.24 # 

If the files do not exist, you will see this:

linux:/usr/src/linux-2.6.24 # file /boot/vmlinuz-2.6.24
/boot/vmlinuz-2.6.24: cannot open `/boot/vmlinuz-2.6.24' (No such file or directory)
linux:/usr/src/linux-2.6.24 # file /boot/initrd-2.6.24
/boot/initrd-2.6.24: cannot open `/boot/initrd-2.6.24' (No such file or directory)
linux:/usr/src/linux-2.6.24 # 

At this point, you should have the right paths to these two files and that you have them in your menu.lst file correctly. It might look something like this (the green bits are what I have changed):

# Modified by YaST2. Last modification on Sun Dec 30 21:00:56 MST 2007
default 0
timeout 8
gfxmenu (hd0,1)/boot/message
##YaST - activate

###Don't change this comment - YaST2 identifier: Original name: linux###
title openSUSE 10.3 - 2.6.24 [TEST]
    root (hd0,1)
    kernel /boot/vmlinuz-2.6.24 root=/dev/disk/by-id/scsi-SATA_WDC_WD1200BEVS-_WD-WXEX07392815-part2 vga=0x314 resume=/dev/sda1 splash=silent showopts
    initrd /boot/initrd-2.6.24

###Don't change this comment - YaST2 identifier: Original name: linux###
title openSUSE 10.3 - 2.6.22.13-0.3
    root (hd0,1)
    kernel /boot/vmlinuz-2.6.22.13-0.3-default root=/dev/disk/by-id/scsi-SATA_WDC_WD1200BEVS-_WD-WXEX07392815-part2 vga=0x314 resume=/dev/sda1 splash=silent showopts
    initrd /boot/initrd-2.6.22.13-0.3-default

###Don't change this comment - YaST2 identifier: Original name: failsafe###
title Failsafe -- openSUSE 10.3 - 2.6.22.13-0.3
    root (hd0,1)
    kernel /boot/vmlinuz-2.6.22.13-0.3-default root=/dev/disk/by-id/scsi-SATA_WDC_WD1200BEVS-_WD-WXEX07392815-part2 vga=normal showopts ide=nodma apm=off acpi=off noresume nosmp noapic maxcpus=0 edd=off 3
    initrd /boot/initrd-2.6.22.13-0.3-default

With this step, we’ve opened the grub configuration file and made a copy of the entry running the current kernel. Then, we’ve changed it to give it a new title, and pointed it to the new kernel and initial ramdisk. Save the file and exit.

REBOOT INTO YOUR NEW KERNEL

All that we really have left now is to reboot into the new kernel. We still have the original installed and working. The grub configuration for the original is still intact. Because of this, if we have any problems whatsoever, we can just reboot and use that kernel instead. So, we can reboot with this command:

linux:/usr/src/linux-2.6.24 # shutdown -r now

Broadcast message from root (pts/2) (Sat Jan 26 20:32:20 2008):

The system is going down for reboot NOW!
linux:/usr/src/linux-2.6.24 # 

When the grub menu comes up, make sure you select the entry called “title openSUSE 10.3 – 2.6.24 [TEST]” (or whatever you called the new one). You should be able to boot just fine off this kernel (this process has always worked for me). If not, reboot and select the original one when the grub menu appears. This will get you back into your original kernel.

January 25, 2008

Linux commands for “What is taking up all my space?”

by @ 6:49 am. Filed under bash, command-line, General Linux, How-To, Linux tips

Terminal Icon

When you’re in the trenches, pounding out solutions, it’s nice to have any added advantage that you can. Finding the source of what is taking up all the space on a given Linux partition may just find itself on your priority list some day. And when you need to know right now where it is, it’s great to have the following solutions.

Should you need to find the source of what is taking up the space on one of your Linux boxen, you can use this command to get you through:

stage:/ # du -s * | sort -g
0       proc
0       sys
4       media
4       mnt
16      lost+found
68      tmp
100     srv
112     dev
2564    home
7568    bin
9280    sbin
9916    boot
28528   etc
70844   lib
209624  var
221708  root
429396  opt
1848788 VM
2686844 usr
stage:/ # 

So now obviously, my /usr path is taking up the most space. Let’s head into /usr and run the command again:

stage:/ # cd usr
stage:/usr # du -s * | sort -g
0       tmp
12      X11R6
16      i586-suse-linux
76      local
3404    games
12124   include
18100   sbin
100424  bin
331616  src
1103240 share
1117832 lib
stage:/usr # 

We then see that /var/lib and /var/share are taking up the most space.

Once you find the culprits, you can archive them, back them up, truncate them, or just plain rm them (please use ‘rm’ with care).

Also, if you are looking for all files on your drive larger than a certain size, the following script may be useful to you. Don’t forget to ‘chmod +x’ it to make it executable:

#!/bin/sh

# In kilobytes on older machines
MINSIZE=1000

IFS=$'\\n'

# Find the files and put them in a list
FILELIST=`find . -size +"$MINSIZE"k -print`

for FILE in $FILELIST ; do

        FILESIZE=`stat \-\-format=%s "$FILE"`
        FILEM=$(echo "scale=2;$FILESIZE/1048576" | bc -l)
        printf ""$FILE"\\n"
        printf "\\tsize is "$FILEM" Megabytes\\t"
        printf "\\ttype is `file -b "$FILE"`\\n\\n"

done


You may ask, “What is this IFS thing?” Well, it is explained quite well on tldp.org. But for those of us who don’t want to go read that, I’ll just copy and paste the important part for ya’ll:

internal field separator

This variable determines how Bash recognizes fields, or word boundaries, when it interprets character strings.

In other words, bash by default uses spaces to separate things into lists. You are telling it to split the list of files up by the \n or carriage return character rather than by spaces.

Anyway, use the command demonstrated above, and the bash script demonstrated below, to find the files that are taking up all your space.

January 24, 2008

CRM company dumps M$, recommends fishing waders

by @ 5:01 pm. Filed under General Linux, Linux migrations, Linux News

I love the headline given by Tina Gasperson to a recent article of hers: “CRM company dumps Microsoft, remakes itself with LAMP.” That’s great. I might have said something like, “Etelos buries its foot further into Microsoft’s back end than expected, recommends chin-high fishing waders for other companies looking to do the same.”

Rather than trying to find a catchy quote from this article to pique your curiosity, I will just share a few of my favorite quotes, because frankly, it’s too hard to pick one best quote.

Danny Kolke, CTO and founder of Etelos said, “We quickly decided that because we wanted to distribute our product as a Web application, the Microsoft model was very expensive. To try and scale that infrastructure, with a per-CPU cost, and with the ASP pricing model, it would cost multiple hundreds of thousands of dollars. And we didn’t see that much value in [Microsoft’s] core stack.”

Multiple hundreds of thousands of dollars. It isn’t a Dodge Hennessey Viper Venom, people. It’s an operating system that runs on a computer. It’s development software. It doesn’t cure cancer (might cause it, you never know). And it doesn’t fill those duties all that well, anyway.

“What Kolke and his team found was that with the low cost of a LAMP stack composed of CentOS, Apache, MySQL, and PHP, they were able to produce a range of hosted CRM solutions that wasn’t possible on a Microsoft infrastructure. ‘Originally, we were intrigued by the pricing and distribution model [of open source] and then by the economics of developers in the community working on the code.’ The collaborative and cooperative nature of the open source community struck a pleasant chord with Kolke. ‘We were early users of the SOAP toolkit, and we had run into several walls with Microsoft where we had problems with it but couldn’t get clear answers on when they were going to resolve the issues. We got the “we know about it and we’ll get to it” answer. With the open source community, we found a lot more support, and with having access to the code base we could contribute fixes. So the support was a lot more appealing for us, along with the rapid development cycle.'” [emphasis added]

I love that he says that it wasn’t even possible on a M$ infrastructure. Why? Apparently, the software was buggy and they couldn’t get M$ to give them the time of day.

People are starting to realize that there are open source options available that are much more appealing. Why? The cost is much lower, you are not locked in to one organization’s way, and you are free to add functionality as you see fit. Where can your company use Linux?

Read “CRM company dumps Microsoft, remakes itself with LAMP”

OpenSUSE Build Service – now supporting Red Hat and CentOS

by @ 12:40 pm. Filed under General Linux, SUSE News


The OpenSUSE Build Service now builds packages not only for OpenSUSE, but also for Red Hat Enterprise Linux and CentOS, as well. Support was already in place for Ubuntu, Debian, and other Linux distributions. This means that we don’t have to fish around for packages that are only available for one distribution. My good buddy Michael Loeffler put it this way:

“As its name suggests, the openSUSE project is committed to choice and opposed to the exclusion of innovation simply because it may have originated in another project,” said Michael Loeffler, openSUSE product manager at Novell. “By adding support to build packages for CentOS and Red Hat Enterprise Linux, the openSUSE Build Service makes it even easier to build packages across multiple Linux distributions, thus further enabling innovative ideas to spread quickly throughout the free and open source software community. As we seek to streamline and improve collaboration between all Linux developers, the openSUSE Build Service continues to innovate and improve the way packages are built by providing a common framework that works with any Linux distribution.â€? source

I think that it is pretty obvious about the major benefits such developments provide to the community.

My question is: How does this relate to the Novell / Microsoft partnership? What, if anything, will occur here because of that controversial relationship between the two companies? Yes, the Build Service allows open source to spread faster, which is spectacular. But is this effort coming because of the M$ deal? Or are they doing it to spite the ‘softies? I mean, they are obviously not afraid to sue the Redmond software giant. I guess I’m just aware of the obvious surface-viewable benefits. What about long-term?

Should I take off my tinfoil hat, or what? Understand, though, that Ballmer and his co-conspirators are capable of some crazy stuff.

Stallman on Craigslist? *REALLY*!?

by @ 12:13 pm. Filed under General Linux, humor

This can’t possibly be Richard Stallman’s personal ad on Craigslist, can it?

Here’s his ad:

I’m a single atheist white man, 54, reputedly intelligent, with unusual interests in politics, science, music and dance.

I’d like to meet a woman with varied interests, curious about the world, comfortable expressing her likes and dislikes (I hate struggling to guess), delighting in her ability to fascinate a man and in being loved tenderly, who values joy, truth, beauty and justice more than “success”–so we can share bouts of intense, passionately kind awareness of each other, alternating with tolerant warmth while we’re absorbed in other aspects of life.

My 23-year-old child, the Free Software Movement, occupies most of my life, leaving no room for more children, but I still have room to love a sweetheart if she doesn’t need to spend time with me every day. I spend a lot of my time traveling to give speeches, often to Europe, Asia and Latin America; it would be nice if you were free to travel with me some of the time.

Reply and we’ll see where it leads.

0

view the original here

Another Success Story : Federal Employment Office switches to Linux

by @ 8:55 am. Filed under Linux migrations, Linux News


More and more Linux migration stories are popping up each day. More governmental agencies throughout the world are picking up on the enabling and empowering experience of using Linux on their computers. This time, a German governmental agency, the Federal Employment Office, has made the switch to OpenSUSE 10.1. Their explanation as to why the switch is consistent with the many who have gone that way before:

“The BA explained that the migration was necessary because, ‘The previous combination of Windows NT and Internet Explorer could no longer keep pace with technological developments in how current media content is displayed and was not up to the demands of modern hardware.’ In making the switch, the decision for Linux was based on cost and security considerations. On the one hand, implementing Linux carried no licencing costs, on the other hand migrating the clients enabled standardised automation and maintenance procedures, since the BA servers also run Linux. Another plus are the flexible configuration possibilities with Linux.”

Read the entire article.

January 22, 2008

The Linux Bandwagon : More Seats Please

by @ 1:54 pm. Filed under General Linux, Linux News

Tux - Linux Mascot

I love it: “The Linux Bandwagon is Going to Need a Few More Seats”. That is the truth right there. An article by MrCopilot discusses a handful of the most common types of devices which are running Linux. He talks about a number of Desktop PCs, laptops, Tablets and UMPCs, and Mobile Phones that are currently available and running Linux. This is fits nicely with “Moving to Linux : Why the increased demand?” that I wrote last week.

Here is an excerpt from MrCopilot’s article:

“In 2007 the Linux operating system proved more popular than ever. 2008 is set to be a banner year with even more PCs and devices running Linux behind the scenes. Here are just a few of the new Linux powered devices scheduled for 2008.”

Read the rest of “Linux in 2008: The New Linux Powered Devices”

January 19, 2008

You should read the “Top 50 Linux Quotes of All Time”

by @ 6:51 am. Filed under General Linux, humor

Tux - Linux Mascot

Here is something you might find enjoyable. It’s called Top 50 Linux Quotes of All Time. Here are a few of my favorites:

“I develop for Linux for a living, I used to develop for DOS. Going from DOS to Linux is like trading a glider for an F117.” — Lawrence Foard, entropy@world.std.com

“Linux is not user-friendly. It _is_ user-friendly. It is not ignorant-friendly and idiot-friendly.” —Source unknown

“When you say ‘I wrote a program that crashed Windows’, people just stare at you blankly and say ‘Hey, I got those with the system, *for free*’.” (By Linus Torvalds)

“We are using Linux daily to UP our productivity – so UP yours!” — Adapted from Pat Paulsen by Joe Sloan

Read the Top 50 Linux Quotes of All Time

January 18, 2008

OpenSUSE 11 Alpha 1 Released

by @ 3:39 pm. Filed under General SUSE, Linux News, SUSE News, SUSE releases

From our friends in Germany:

With the new year beginning we kick start major development into the next version of openSUSE: openSUSE 11.0 (roadmap). A very early alpha version, Alpha 1, is now available for download and testing.

openSUSE 11.0 Alpha 1 Installer
The Beautiful New Look of the Installer

Despite many other products being developed in parallel to Factory, we have seen a heavy stream of development on it, so it is really worth a try if you have time for testing. Note, however, that it is not suitable for production systems.

Changes since openSUSE 11.0 Alpha 0

We have seen 1026 package check-ins since Alpha0 and countless bugs fixed. The main changes against Alpha0 are:

Most Annoying Bugs

Due to the huge amount of changes, there are also several noticeable bugs:

Media and Download

Please refer to software.openSUSE.org/developer for direct links to all the available media.

Have a lot of fun!

Dr. Evil – user of Linux (wallpaper)

by @ 11:47 am. Filed under humor, wallpapers

Here’s another Linux wallpaper I found rather entertaining:


CLICK FOR 1600X1200 VERSION

Your heart : saved by Linux

by @ 6:57 am. Filed under General Linux, Linux News

Tux - Linux Mascot

It’s always interesting to see what kinds of devices people are embedding Linux into these days. Well, apparently, there are some students at Calvin College in Grand Rapids, Michigan that are making an electronic stethoscope which runs an embedded version of Linux.

Why are they doing this?

The Rhythm Reloaded team is building the stethoscope as part of a senior design project. The team hopes its device will be the first electronic stethoscope able to record, filter, and store computer audio data from a medical patient.”

“The Rhythm Reloaded team hopes its design can improve upon traditional acoustic analog designs, by offering reduced ambient noice and higher recording quality. Audio files will use a format convenient for transfer to PCs via a USB interface.”


Read more about the stethoscope that runs Linux

January 17, 2008

Want to be a Linux admin? 8 Ways to hone your skills

by @ 4:31 pm. Filed under computer tips, education, General Linux, How-To, Linux tips, My Opinion

Tux - Linux Mascot

Every once in awhile, I am asked, “How do I get good at Linux?” Semi-jokingly, I reply, “Beats me. But please let me know when you find out.” Thus the question, “How does one get to become known as ‘the Resident Linux Guy’?” To take it even further, what if one wishes to have a career as a Linux system administrator? Here are a few suggestions on how you might wish to go about this. By no means is it comprehensive:

  1. Try Stuff – The first thing that I might suggest is to “try stuff.” Build yourself a small lab out of a few computers and a switch. Get creative. Do whatever it takes, but get several machines. Experiment. Set things up. Try things out. Create an environment where you can screw things up and it doesn’t matter. Find tutorials on how to install and configure various types of applications and services. Learn to set up servers, services, processes of varying types. Web server, email server, database server, DHCP server. Learn to set up a router from a machine with two NICs. Learn to install and configure PHP, Perl, or Python.
  2. Solve Problems – One of the things that will help you to learn Linux is to assume the role of your own technical support. Take ownership of all problems that occur. Learn the process of troubleshooting. Gather as much data as you can about the problem. This includes any output, any logs (especially system logs), or any hardware specs that may relate to the problem. Gather information. Learn to look up problems on your favorite search engine. Paste any errors into Google exactly as they appear.
  3. Network with people – Build a network of people who are interested in Linux. Don’t focus solely on the people who know more than you. You don’t want to be a sponge. Look for opportunities to help anyone who may need it. You don’t have to know the solution to their problem to help. You just need to know how to solve problems. Solving problems teaches you skills.
  4. Be persuasive – Learn to argue your cause. I have to tread a little lightly with this one, because I’m not saying learn to argue. I have learned from personal experience that pushing as hard as you can to get others to adopt your point of view does result in movement on their part. Away from Linux. You do, however, need to learn persuasive conversation. Learn to discover others’ hesitations about using Linux. If they are valid, don’t push. If they are not, outline why you believe they may wish to reconsider. For example, let’s say someone says this to you: “I thought you had to install Linux from the command line. I could never do that. I don’t want to try Linux.” You might ask, “What makes you believe that?” or “Where did you hear that?” or “Have you ever tried installing Linux? When?” Based off their answer, you can show them that installing OpenSUSE (and several other distros) is really a matter of being able to click a button with a mouse.
  5. Learn how to learn – Do you know the most effective way for you, personally, to learn? Are you a visual learner? Do you prefer to learn things conceptually? Can you learn by just reading? Do you best learn by hands-on practice? Do you learn best when someone is teaching you one-on-one? Or do you learn best when you do your own research at your own pace? Figure out the process that works the best for you and stick with that in your quest for Linux mastery.
  6. Buy books – There are several excellent books available for getting started with Linux. Go over to Amazon. Search the books for “Linux.” Read the reviews on the books. Pick a couple and jump into them. There are a number of great Linux books from SAMS, O’Reilly, Wiley, and Apress, etc. I bought one of each for OpenSUSE.
  7. Contribute – Find a way to make some kind of contribution to the cause. Participate in the local open source community. This may be by any combination of the following: attending or organizing install fests, creating a blog and writing about the things you learn, letting other people know that you are available to help. There are a very large number of ways to contribute. Are you a developer? Work on the code. Are you great with documentation? Help out with that aspect.
  8. Classes – I left the most obvious for last. Take classes or courses on Linux. A bunch of certifications are available. There may be a Linux class in your vicinity that will introduce you to Linux. Many people have found The Easiest Linux Guide You’ll Ever Read to be quite helpful. You may also benefit from the “Intro to Linux” course avaible from the right nav on my Linux blog.

The number of ways to get started with Linux is limited only by your creativity. Most importantly, just start somewhere. Then, work with what you have to learn the best way that works for you. Give it some time, work at it diligently, and don’t give up. At some point, you’ll have the skills and knowledge that you seek. Good luck, and enjoy the journey.

Linux preloaded on new Sears computers

by @ 7:00 am. Filed under General Linux, Linux News

Freespire Logo

Wow, the Linux excitement and momentum just keep building. Sears is offering a machine pre-installed with Linux for $199. The machine comes with an Intel Celeron 1.6GHz Intel Celeron processor, 1GB memory, 80GB hard drive, and Freespire 2.0.

Excerpt from the article:

“Linspire, Inc., developer of the commercial Linspire and Freespire community desktop Linux operating systems, and developer of CNR.com, a one-click digital software delivery service for desktop Linux users, along with Mirus Innovations, a leading North America PC manufacturer that brings innovative digital lifestyle products to consumer and small business customers with a focus on high-value and low-cost, today announced the immediate availability of a $199 Linux PC, after $100 mail-in rebate, through Sears.com (http://www.linspire.com/sears).”

Read more about the $199 Linux PC offered by Sears.

January 16, 2008

30,000 desktops and 1,880 servers migrated to SUSE Linux

by @ 4:47 pm. Filed under General Linux, General SUSE, Linux migrations, Linux News, SUSE News


30,000 desktops and 18,880 servers is quite a huge amount of machines to migrate. But that’s just what Elcot (Electronics Corporation of Tamil Nadu) has done over the past couple of years. It all started with one little laptop and SUSE Linux. But as people saw just how easy it is to use, how well it works, and how economical it is, they just had to have it, too.

It’s all part of the Linux movement gaining increasing momentum, about which I wrote a couple of days ago. This particular migration took place in India.

Here is a quick excerpt from the story:

“That day, Elcot’s managing director, C. Umashankar, walked into his office in Chennai, Tamil Nadu and was handed a brand new laptop. He recalls promptly giving it back to his PA. ‘I asked him to load Suse Linux on it. I guess he was surprised. But when the installation — complete with drivers and wireless networking — only took 45 minutes and very little external effort, there was a new confidence in my PA.’ That confidence spread quickly. And with it came more penguins. Within weeks, the Rs 750-crore(Can$192 million)Elcot was undergoing a enterprise-wide migration to Suse Linux. A year later, Umashankar and his team had moved 30,000 computers and 1,880 severs belonging to some of the state’s schools to Linux — creating possibly the largest Linux rollout in India.”

Read more about one of the largest Linux migrations in India history.

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