Monday, July 31, 2006

UTP Free / Open Source Lab installation done

Today i woke up early to go to the lab. My other subject's lab classes wont be starting until next week, so i have some time in the morning to play around with the FOSS lab.

My first priority there is to recover the GRUB for solaris 10 which was broken after GHOST. Last week we havent succeed in recovering it. So i want to continue it today.

At first we are having a big problem trying to reinstall the Solaris' GRUB because of the different FS that it is installed on. Googling with many combination of keywords brought us to sites that doesnt fulfill our needs. Then we found a site which have the required info. However, i missread it, and used

# installgrub /boot/grub/stage1 /boot/grub/stage2 /dev/dsk/c0d0s0


I'm not familiar with Solaris, and got confused between /dev/rdsk and /dev/dsk . I though rdisk means Remote-Disk or sumthing like that. So i got some errors that gave me no clue whats wrong and failed to install grub.

Then i continue googling for other ways to install it. Then i come upon an idea of creating a boot floppy, so, i fire up man installgrub on a working Solaris box to find a way to create a boot floppy. On the man page, it also uses /dev/rdsk which makes me wonder why.

Feeling curious, i restarted the GHOST'ed machine with the solaris CD1 again, and tried using the command

installgrub /boot/grub/stage1 /boot/grub/stage2 /dev/rdsk/c0d0s0


And walla, it succeeds!. Damn, all that hassles doesnt worth it. Well, at least we got the Solaris running.

Friday, July 28, 2006

Missing in Fedora's Menu: hal-device-manager

At the UTP opensource lab i noticed theres a utility in ubuntu that shows all devices in a very informative way (at least for me), the hal-device-manager. After playing around with it a little bit, i started to wonder if there is one for Fedora. So, google away~. Juz after less than 2 minutes googling, i saw the RPM for the tool is hal-gnome, ey wait! I do have that installed in my box!. Immediately i fire up the console, typed hal-device-manager and hit enter.  There it goes, its there all along with fedora but hidden from users' knowledge. まったく, Fedora should at least put that shortcut somewhere. The informations shown by that program is very usefull if you wanted to strip down your kernel bcoz it shows most of the drivers used by the system.


Monday, July 24, 2006

The first day at UTP-OpenSource Lab

Today is the first day of the semester in UTP. And i got a chance to go and help setting up systems at the UTP-OpenSource Lab. A postgrad student is the one in charge of the lab.

He shown me the box that will become a ghost image for the whole lab. It runs Ubuntu 6.01, Sun Solaris 10, Mandriva 2006, and FreeBSD 6.1. I helped to test the functionality of Ubuntu and set-up KDM to start automatically on the FreeBSD.

That time was also the first time I had a chance to try using Solaris. Its quite slow responsive compared to other OS installed on the box. And the package management system is quite confusing to me. Guess i need to learn a lot more for using it.

I heard they ( the lecturer in charge and the postgrad guy ) will ghost the system to other computers in the lab. Perhaps tomorrow i will see a whole room with *NIX. purely without any WindowS around :P


Sunday, July 23, 2006

Tiring 2 days at UTP

i came back to utp yesterday, and to my surprise the room i registered got somebody else staying in it. Due to that, i had to go through quite a hassle trying to get a new room to stay, sadly, only managed to get a room at the old residential village. *sigh*

Guess i'll be serving that old village for another 1 semester .. *sigh*

Friday, July 21, 2006

Connect Googletalk to other IM's using Jabber Transports

I found this nice article while playing around with Gajim to connect to my googletalk account using port 443

http://blog.outer-court.com/archive/2006-05-02-n79.html

http://en.newinstance.it/2006/06/24/gtalk-jabber-and-other-im-protocols/

Super kewl, because the contacts also appear in Gmail's Chat sidebar!! :D

Finding What Process is Binding Network Socket / Port

I found a very usefull site for this purpose. It guide you step by step on how to find the process.

http://linux-sxs.org/networking/portnumid.html

From the site, I wrote a script to ease the process.

#!/bin/bash
#
# Script to find what process is binding to which network socket
# Usage
# portowner <port>
# portowner all
#
# Author
# Mohd Izhar Firdaus Ismail <kagesenshi.87@gmail.com>
#

findproc(){
PIDS=`fuser -n tcp $@ 2>/dev/null`
echo "--------------"
echo "Port $@"
ps $PIDS
echo "-------------"
}

if [ "$1" == "" ];then
echo "Usage:"
echo " $( basename $0 <port> ) "
echo " $( basename $0 ) all"
elif [ "$1" == "all" ];then
PORTS=`netstat -na|grep tcp\
|grep LISTEN|sed s/"\:\:\:"/"0.0.0.0\:"/g \
|sed s/"\:"/" "/g|awk '{print $5}'|sort|uniq`
for PORT in $PORTS;do
findproc $PORT ;
done
else
for PORT in $@;do
findproc $PORT ;
done
fi

Popping gnome-run from script

I wanted to create a .desktop file to pop gnome-run and put it at the gnome-menu ( the new gnome-menu doesnt have it ) - simply because the reason that new GNOME users might not know the existence of CTRL+F2 hotkey. But i couldnt found anywhere in bin folders for that. Gladly i stumbled upon this blog

http://darkness.codefu.org/wordpress/2004/07/24/152

Its gnome-run.c script works perfectly.

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Some tweaks for increasing Firefox's application performance

This might be an oldie, i know that there are quite a number of sites have given similar tips. But their tips brings more latency to my firefox instead of improving it. So, i played around to find what worked fine for me.

Reduce Cache Memory Allocation

Lots of people say allocating more cache will give better performance, however, i found out having too much RAM allocated for website cache is somewhat unnecessary. You dont need the RAM's speed to cache your visited websites, the harddisk's cache speed is high enough for that. Even a slow hdd will have more than 10MBps speed which is very fast for loading websites. Also, the RAM cache will build up and makes other applications that need the speed become very sluggish.

Here are the options in about:config for this

browser.cache.memory.capacity
browser.cache.memory.enable


You may choose to reduce the value ( in KB ), or disable it altogether. Be sure to enable disk cache because if you disable both, performance will drop.

Enable Pipelining and Increase Max Connection Per Server

This is the most common tweak around. It enables firefox to request webpages and images using multiple connections.

enable these two

network.http.pipelining
network.http.firstrequest

Set these to some value higher than default, i recommend not setting it more that twice of the default value because it will increase load at the server and yourself. if youre using proxies, you can also turn on proxy pipelining.

network.http.max-connections
network.http.max-connections-per-server
network.http.max-persistent-connections-per-server
network.http.max-pipelining-piperequest

Set Images to Draw Immediately

You may notice firefox waited images to be loaded in some percentage before started drawing it. If you dont like this "feature", you can turn it off by setting this value to 0.

nglayout.initialpaint.delay

From Mozilla Knowledgebase:
Lower values will make a page initially display more quickly, but will
make the page take longer to finish rendering. Higher values will have
the opposite effect.

Limit Caches for Previously Visited Sites

This options will allow you to control memory consumption for storing previously visited sites' cache.

browser.sessionhistory.max_total_viewers

Set this number to your preference. Keep in mind that for each cached pages, around 4MB of RAM is used.



Try not to use Fasterfox

This might be a crazy advice, but my experience with fasterfox makes firefox sluggish. The tweaks set by fasterfox is for faster browsing experience, but it eats up system resources. Its better to find what fasterfox modifies and set it manually by yourself.


Seems like the latest version of this extension on firefox2 doesn't hog system as bad as before.

www.IE7.com - Owned by Firefox

Try visiting

http://www.ie7.com/

you'll see a big firefox logo .. ;D

neat~

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Integrate meebo with firefox using Meebo sidebar by tones


A great extension for integrating Meebo with firefox so that you can save time searching through tabs/windows for your Meebo

http://gis.stcstm.org/meebo-extension/



FC6 Test 2 Slips again *sigh*

From FedoraNEWS.org

With the update to a 2.6.18-rc based kernel, Xen requires some more
effort to get to working. Given that Xen is one of the big features for
Fedora Core 6, trying to ship the second test release (and thus the
feature freeze) without Xen seems like a less than ideal situation.

Therefore, after discussion within the Fedora Board, we have decided to
slip the freeze for test2 until Xen is working again with current.

*sigh* I was really looking forward to FC6T2 and hoping it'll be distributed today. Hope  this slip wont be long. My holiday is coming to an end this week.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Frank Herbet - First Prophet of Linux

http://digg.com/linux_unix/The_First_Prophet_of_Linux
http://www.linuxextremist.com/?p=42

A nice article about how the linux environment similar to Frank Herbet's themes in his popular novel series - Dune.

Novell's Gnome-Main-Menu on Fedora 5

I recently stumbled upon a blog post about RPM package of Gnome-Main-Menu / Gnome-Slab for FC5 ( http://fullo.wordpress.com/2006/07/11/gnome-slab-for-fedora-core-5/ ) .  So i decided to try it myself from gnome-cvs. ( http://cvs.gnome.org/viewcvs/slab/ ).

Here are some screenshots:


The Panel Applet



The Application Menu



The Control Center Menu



It runs quite well on Fedora with only the "Recently used application" list at the panel applet is not working. Some buttons are SuSE specific and require a manual editing of the schema to make it uses a fedora app ( fullo's RPM package from the link above already fixed this ). The interface are very much near Windows XP start menu with a little twist - applications are shown on a whole new window - very friendly to Linux newbies. The control center application reduces the confusion to Windows users who want to find where to change their systems settings because everything are gathered and arranged in a way that they are very similar to windows' control panel.

Overall i like the design very much because of the beauty and properly arranged icons thats confortable to the eyes. The default gnome-menu is quite closely arranged and having a lot of apps in one menu always brings confusion to me when searching for what app i want to run - making me running those apps from terminal (due to my laziness to look through the menu ). However, when it comes to speed, the default gnome-menu is much faster because you dont need to another application to load to show you where the menu it. Having both of them side-by-side is quite fun and usefull. :)

Monday, July 17, 2006

Seminar about FOSS @ UTP

Today was a quite tiring day. There was a seminar about Open Source Software Initiative at UTP today. Mainly consist of what Malaysian government have done for migrating Malaysian agencies to use OSS.

The main speakers are Tn. Hj. Muhammad Rosli, ICT Policy and Planning Division Director,Manpower and Management Planning Unit, Prime Minister Department and Dr. Azman Firdaus, Founder Chairman & CEO, Open Source Systems Sdn Bhd.

the day started off with a boring speech my the government guy, about why Malaysia want to adopt FOSS and its current progress in migrating the public sector. I did mention to him about why the E-Filing system are not compatible with FireFox, but the answer was quite dissappointing. The answer was off-topic and seems like he doesnt understand my question. Well anyway, i dont like asking too many times, so i leave him as it is. Perhaps the guyz from MyOSS can debate more with him. :P

Next was a speech from the Dr. Azman CEO of a company that specialize in grid & cluster computing using opensource stuff, Open Source Systems Sdn Bhd (personally, i feel that using the name "Open Source" for the company might confuse new users. They might end up thinking "Open Source" is the company, not a concept, and that is bad~~). His speech was nice, with quite an input about the capability of FOSS, its future and its relevancy with ICT/BIS industries. He explains quite well about the community and how it works, however, i'm quite disagree about his opinion that to be an OSS expert requires user to give a significant amount of code. To me, an OSS expert is someone who knows a lot about the community itself and contributed (codes might be one of them, but thats only one of the many things that can be done) to the growth of the community.And on the afternoon we got discussion sessions about FOSS movement with the participants of the seminar. Dr. Azman answers were satisfying and very informative. His explainations are not too detailed yet nicely done to encourage ppl into FOSS community.
Open Source Systems also gave some briefing about LPI, RH, and Novell certifications that they plan to collaborate with UTP to create a course here. Thats good news for me because i wont need to make myself trying to find an exam center where i can "fit in".

Overall the seminar was okay, (yet i think the myOSS meetups would be more preferable to those who are already a part of the community) . The speakers are good, particularly Dr. Azman (frankly speaking the ministry dept guy are very boring~) . Not many new inputs i got however, anyway, its a seminar to pull people into FOSS, while i'm quite already in it :P .

During the seminar i also got to meet the postgrad student thats working on the UTP-HPC project and the OSS Lab, had some nice chat with him. :) . and he invited me to join the OSS Lab project and become a tester for their systems . yay!! ... :D .. i can start to come and play next week! :P. And i also got a chance to give one CD of Ks-X LiveCD to a person from OpenSourceSystems.

I'm looking forward for the LPI certification program in UTP, hope it wont be too expensive bcoz from what i know, only taking the exam is around RM120 (this is community based exam held by MyOSS volunteers,  i'm not sure if the company will charge diffrently).


Sunday, July 16, 2006

Ks-X LiveCD ver 0.1 is now Available!!!


Big news!!

i've completed my very first Linux LiveCD!!!.. everyone may get the file at http://linuxtracker.org/torrents-details.php?id=2399

Please give comments if you used it .. :)

btw, this LiveCD is just something i created during this holidays to fill my free time, and i dont really know whether still got bugs or not. If there are, feel free to inform me . :)


Saturday, July 15, 2006

Wheres my DMA???!!!!!

I just realized that my latest custom kernel didnt have DMA support for my box !!! ... thats explains why my harddisk is darned slow lately~ ... haha

now i'm lost, not very sure which option to enable for my box. In the end, i pick the kernel .config which i  used in my liveCD , and compile everything as module~ ... lol .. hopefully it will work and get back my previous performance...

lag~ lag~ lag~

Capset module makes me in a little bit confusing problem

the NetworkManager daemon requires BIND/named to start along. but i keep getting errors from named saying the capset module is not loaded. 'modprobe capset' says module not found.

assuming that i might missed out the option in the kernel config, i go back to the livecd kernel sourcetree. and spend half and hour trying to search for that capset option. guess what?. didnt found it. ~duh~

googling for 'capset module kernel config' brings me to nowhere. gladly from the manpages of capset.h i found a reference to 'capability module' . and 'modprobe capability' solved the problem

i think they should say 'capability module' in the error instead of 'capset module' because capset() is a function. :( .. anyway .. at least i found my way around ..

[need help] Trying to create installation CD for Ks-X

Version 0.1 of Ks-X liveCD has been completed, i've tested it on qemu with only 128MB RAM allocated. To my surprise, the liveCD consume only 85-95MB after a clean boot!!!

amazed with the achievement, i started wondering on how to create an installable version of this liveCD. I have tried to use anaconda, but ends up with frustation. The comps.xml file is very tedious. I only want a simple installer that acts like the Ubuntu installer, no need for customization of packages, juz install all.

if anybody out there know how to do this, could you give me some tips to make this installer??...

Friday, July 14, 2006

Kadischi will be released on FC6??

This is what i read from Fedora People blog

Chitlesh Goorah wrote:

- We have a spec file for kadischi. We thought to push kadischi in Fedora-extras-development only (not Fedora Extras).
why ?
+
because if approved, we can see whether kadischi builds on x86_64,
since there isn't syslinux on ppc, kadischi won't build on ppc. I'll
try to find time to use grub instead.
+ perhaps we could have more contributors and testers. Till now, only Jasper and I are working on Kadischi.
+ this will make us work harder and know what is failing and on what to work on.

Do share with us your views about it.

But, yes there is a but, the GUI we have for kadischi in CVS isn't ready at 100%. DamienDurand proposed to work a python glade version of it.Once ready, we may push kadischi to Fedora-extras-development.

http://clunixchit.blogspot.com/2006/07/kadischi-some-updates.html


After kadischi is released, there will be a much more easier way to create liveCD. No more of this messy chroot and manual clean-ups.

However, from my experience using kadischi CVS a few months ago, i dont really like the all-automated-create-livecd-to-iso stuff. It didnt give me some space to do some manual tuning on the liveCD. Hope they will develop this sooner

Ks-X LiveCD - Build Start

(the title is a little bit out-of-sync ... bcoz i've started this a few days ago)

I'm creating a liveCD based on Fedora 5 ( http://fedoraproject.org ) ... using the scripts from Linux-live.Org ( http://www.linux-live.org ) and some scripts from CentOS 4.3 LiveCD ( http://www.centos.org/ ) ... currently i named it as Ks-X LiveCD (KageSenshi's Linux LiveCD) until i got a good name for it  ... (oh yeah, i have tried using kadishi ( http://fedoraproject.org/wiki/Kadischi ) but on the version i used it uses anaconda for installation and i doesnt have the power to control extra stuff from it - at least that what i experienced .... looking forward for the official release of Kadischi)

The system is build on vanilla Kernel 2.6.16 with SquashFS 3.0 and UnionFS 1.2 patch ... with a GNOME 2.4 Desktop ...

Primary purpose of the LiveCD is to promote Fedora 5 to newbies ( and some not-so-new Linux users ) in its most functional form - complete with media support and some eye-candies. Another purpose is to create a template for me to create other special purpose liveCDs for my private use for improving the administration of UTPchat systems and for use during my studies.

Installed packages includes :-
  1. GNOME Desktop Environment
  2. Firefox - with FlashGet, Performancing, Imagebot, Tab Mix Plus extensions
  3. OpenOffice.org
  4. Liferea Feed Reader
  5. Mplayer-GUI
  6. Totem
  7. Qalculate-GTK
  8. Anjuta C/C++ IDE
  9. Bluefish Web Editor
  10. Cssed
  11. GIMP
  12. Xchat
  13. Downloader4X
  14. Gdesklets
  15. gFTP
  16. Avidemux2
  17. Audacity
  18. Muine Music Player
  19. XMMS
  20. System-Config-LVM
  21. SuperTux
  22. GL-117 Fligh Simulator
  23. Armagetron Advanced
  24. Enigma
  25. Frozen Bubble
  26. Video LAN Client
  27. GNOME Deskbar Applet
  28. Webmin
  29. Apache HTTPd
  30. Mysql-server
  31. Mysql-administrator GUI
  32. +++ more~
Screenshot of the desktop




Current Status of Development:

  • Tested to run without GUI - running without any problem
  • X11 with GNOME desktop is able to start without noticeable problems
  • Extra packages are installed
  • Sound still not working - reason : forgot to compile ALSA in kernel :P
Known Bugs:
  • gnome-panel's shutdown button seems to hang when clicked .. need to run 'init 0' to shutdown
  • immediate shutdown after eject CD -- will add pause at the halt script
To Do:
  • correct the halt script
  • add ALSA in kernel
  • create a better splash screen
  • find and replace any by-default-is-visible fedora trademarks
  • test.. test .. test ..

Monday, July 10, 2006

Binding eth device to a MAC address

Having multiple network cards can be a little confusing. The device associated with an eth device might got mixed up when you change your kernel. Here is a little guide to overcome this.

1st : Getting the MAC address

run /sbin/ifconfig , copy HWaddr value and figure out which network card it belongs to.

eth0 Link encap:Ethernet HWaddr 00:E0:4C:43:D8:80

2nd : Edit the conf

as root, open /etc/sysconfig/networking/devices/ifcfg-ethN (N is the number of your eth device) using your favourite text editor. Add this key into the configuration:

HWADDR=device-MAC-address
3rd : Restart computer

restart the computer to apply the bind. (if you are very good in kernel modules, you can try to apply the setting without restarting)



Reference

http://www.redhat.com/archives/redhat-list/2003-August/msg00817.html

Friday, July 07, 2006

MyOSS July Meetup

Just returned from MyOSS July Meetup at SEACEM, Bangsar. The main topic for this meetup is the OLPC project (a.k.a MIT's USD$100 Laptop) presented by Jaya Kumar, an Embedded System Architect that works on the laptop's audio system.




We were presented with the working mainboard of the system (i was expecting a full system preview, *sigh* ). The system is powered by 3 processors (1 for applications, 1 for wi-fi, and 1 for graphic), using a 512 NAND memory for storage, and 128MB SDRAM. There are no display available yet because the display technology is still under development - so we connect it to a CRT display (somebody forgot to bring a projector *lol*). The system runs Linux (well, what-da-ya-expect?) with kernel 2.6.17.

The system runs Xorg smoothly (well, there is only an X-term there. So it SHOULD be smooth. hehe). Mr Jaya Kumar shown us a presentation slide using Xpdf on the system, and played some videos using Mplayer to show the task the laptop capable of performing. From the demonstrations, the laptop performs quite well.

Overall, the meetup was great!. We got to learnt a lot from the presentation because Mr. Jaya also touch about the technology behind LCD screen, some economics, ethics, and plenty of hillarious jokes. (They even forgot to get a speaker for audio demonstration and we end up using a pair of headphones - and we can only hear some whispering from it :P .. hey! at least we know it works .. hehe ). And the meetup ends with a usual 'mamak' session.

Looking forward for the next meetup next month. Hey wait! The next meetup that i can attend will be on the next semester break *sigh*.

Monday, July 03, 2006

Read digital comics and mangas like a real book - use Comical

JPG comics are becoming more common in the internet, especially for FanSub'ed Japanese mangas. Usually these comics comes in zip archive and reading it will need the reader to uncompress the file and open one by one of the pages, often quite tedious to manage. Comical is a very convenient software for reading this type of comic. It can open a comic directly as a zip file, view the comic in either 1 pane or 2 panes, and even set the reading order for it - left to right, or right to left. I've been using this since FC4 and really satisfied with it



Get it at http://comical.sf.net. Available for Linux, MacOS and Windows