Friday, July 24, 2009

Some Things I Do After Each Installation

Things differ from distro to distro..
Some things I like to be my way...
I might have repeated some, just because this was not edited all at once.

  • Edit grub
    • Remove unwanted lines, for example, remove the lines for the same distro, older kernels
    • Reduce timeout to just enough to enter when alert. 5 Seconds is sufficient when you are alert to press any key
    • If there is no "quiet" or "splash" add them

  • Update the distro

    • Most of the distro's have the default auto-update enabled. I try to make sure I wait for this to popup and execute it.

  • Make sure wireless works, make sure sound works (I still have some distros with problems with one of these two.)

  • Install vlc
    • It may be as simple as sudo aptitude install vlc or using "add/remove software" type application.

  • Install latest firefox (curently 3.5)

    • Install Ubiquity Addon

      • Change the keystroke to CTRL+SPACE (go to settings tab on ubiquitiy's help page)

    • Remove the Bookmark Toolbar (I can just type CTRL-B to see th e bookmark toolbar)

    • Use small icons for toolbars (View->Toolbars->Customize->Use Small Icons)

  • Remove Thunderbird (if exists)

  • Fine tune the desktop

    • KDE

      • Date format, add date to time display

      • Lock all the panels, after I am happy with the setup

    • Gnome

      • Reduce the icon size to 66%, set list view as default, etc

      • Workspace switcher increase to 4, two rows and two columns

      • Remove one of the panels either top or bottom and include all the stuff on the only one left out

    • Common

      • Create shortcuts to terminal (konsole/gnome-terminal), firefox etc

      • Remove any unwanted shortcuts (mail, trash, show desktop)

      • Try to set the font on the terminal to a convenient size.

      • Adjust the default terminal size (use gnome-terminal --geometry 100x25 for example)

  • Install flash - Each distro has its way to install the flash, mostly have to follow instructions when prompted for.

  • Install vim/gvim

    • On Ubuntu sudo aptitude install gnome-vim works

    • Other ways include looking for vim in the package manager (add/remove software)

  • Make sure user ids and groups ids match the existing distros to access the common stuff

    • I have a /dump partition which is common to all the distros. Here is where I store all my music, pictures, etc.

  • Depending on the box I am on, configure compiz (Its System->Preference->Appearance->Visual Effects->Extra On Ubuntu based distros

  • Try to get the terminal (gnome-terminal or konsole) to have transparent background (40%), Color->White on Black.

How to install other language fonts

Before I did not know the easy way, I did it the hard way.

Download the font (whatever.tar.bz2). Then unzip it (tar jzvf ) to ~/.fonts directory (mkdir if does not exits).

Finally run fc-cache. Restart the browser (most of the times refreshing the 'foreign' page worked for me).

Was it simple? Well I found it was simpler to just start synaptic (mintlinux, probably common on all 'debian' based distros) and search for the font, right click, say mark for installation, then 'apply' (of course restart/refresh the web page)

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

My latest linux "hop" - Fedora 11

Fedora 11 (leonidas) - one word "impressive".

Downloaded the KDE Live version - did not look at the "type/version" carefully, which lead to a little bit of "circus" I had to do. I had downloaded a "ext4" version (also looks like I got a i686).

Understand that Fedora does not allow you to have /boot on a ext4 partition. But the liveCD I have does not support installation on a a ext3 partition! This situation is new to me.

Here is what I had to do for getting my installation:
a) Delete the existing partition.
b) Create a partition for /boot (ext3)
c) Create a partition for / (ext4)

The "copying to disk" part of installation was real quick, took little more than 5 minutes.

Hoping for not needing to do any wireless setup, disconnected my lan cable and fired up the live CD. Right after booting, I clicked on the "disconnected" computer icon in the system tray and was able to provide my wireless key and connect to the internet immediately! Very impressive! I was unsuccessful in getting this USB dongle to work with Debian (but it works with OpenSUSE, with a little work and with Mandriva, without any effort)

The liveCD did not seem to like to shutdown. After ejecting the CD, it started complaining something about /sbin/shutdown ..... did not jot down the exact error message :( Ctrl+Alt+Del kept repeating the same message. I forced the push button reset to poweroff.

The music on boot, is familiar, not sure if it belongs to KDE4.

Kpackageit, came right up and "informed" me that there are 2 enhancements, 59 updates and 1 bug fix - WHAT??? It is just a day since the release and there are already 62 updates???? Anyways, I just let it do its job and now it is all done.

Here I noticed one thing. While the Kpackageit was running, my terminal (konsole) had become unbelievably slow.

I have to refresh my yum commands! It has been a while since I have used fedora. I guess fedora 8 was the last one I tried. Somehow I started disliking fedora since then. But fedora 11 brings me back!

Just had to do a
yum install firefox thunderbird gvim

Fedora 11 came with python 2.6, perl 5.10, gvim 7.2, pretty much what other distros come with. Now I got firefox 3.5b4, Thunderbird 3b2 - not what other distros give you!

Not very straight as I had expected, to get idle (and bonus tcl 8.5!)
yum install python-tools

Little bit of googling (does binging help??) and got vlc with the following commands
rpm -Uvh
yum install vlc

I do not have openoffice as of yet (I guess just "yum install" should do it). But I just tried to open kspread, and it opened up in split of a second.

There is no wait time (timeout 0) on the grub. Was this made to "speed up" the boot time? The actual boot time is not anything greatly different from other distros (they say <20 secs??). Though I did not time it, I did not feel any difference between mandriva 2009.1 and fedora 11.

The screen is impressive, the icons are cool.

Few observations:
a) After selecting to boot (I pressed enter while it was counting down from 10 to 0) on the live CD, there was no sign of anything going on for few seconds. Right when I was about to press the "reset" switch on my PC, I started seeing some movement.
b) This Wierd baloon like looking thing at the center of the screen. Happens to be the fedora logo without the "f" in the center, and a single light blue color!
c) The waves that float right below fedora logo, beautiful!

This happens to be one of my longest posts. The reason is partly because I am so impressed with fedora 11. Before trying fedora 11, my best experience of KDE4 was with Mandriva.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

My distro hopping

If you have read my posts before, I like to experiment with distros too. Given the problems I am facing and considering the time I have put in, it becomes intimidating to try distros.

I try to stick to KDE, but most of the "live" versions come with xfce. I then install KDE.

Of late, I found Mandriva 2009 to be one of the best "work right away" distro on my Lenovo J15 AMD64, USB wireless machine (no wired connection). Everything basic worked right away, without having to do a thing after installation. I hate the 'urpmi' thing, as I am more used to aptitude/apt-get, but geting used to it slowly. The best versions of KDE4, I would say.

OpenSUSE is worth a shot. The display works, the wirless, I am unable to get to work. I reinstalled a 32 bit version, but still could not get the wireless to work.

Arch is good once it starts working, but takes some effort to get it to work. Again, I am unable to get the wireless working. I have a feeling, as my wireless dongle vendor (Dlink DWL-G122 rev D1) does not provide a 64bit version of the driver, it is not gonna work.

The two biggest problems with most of the distros is getting wireless and the xconfig working. With nvidia, the newer distros have are getting more and more complicated IMHO. In kubuntu, there are at least 3-4 versions of nvidia-glx. In older versions, I just had to do aptitude install nvidia-glx. Now I am not sure what to use (there is legacy, new, 96, 173, 177 etc).

Saturday, May 16, 2009

BASH aliases

An easy way to move around using command line, without using "cd " command always.

Create ~/.bash_aliases or add to existing ~/.bash_aliases the lines below (or any long directory names which you use frequently)

alias plbin='cd /home/usr/perl/bin'
alias pllib='cd /home/usr/perl/lib'

Then you just type plbin instead of "cd /home/usr/perl/bin"
Remember to do a ". .bashrc" before you can get it to work, well also have .bash_aliases in your .bashrc

So... your ~/.bashrc should contain the following

and your ~/.bash_aliases should contain the lines
alias plbin='cd /home/usr/perl/bin'
alias pllib='cd /home/usr/perl/lib'

Use a '\' to escape any special characters in the directory names

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Screen Manager

Can be used instead of using tabs on konsole (or gnome-terminal) terminal.

Just type screen on the terminal.
For more screens, type screen again

screen --help displays a help
When in a screen, to get help type CtrlA+?

Some useful commands
CtrlA+A (uppercase) to give a title to a screen
CtrlA+" To list the screens
CtrlA+' To select a screen
CtrlA+p To go to previous screen
CtrlA+n To go to next screen

Monday, February 16, 2009

Debian 5.0!

Fantastic, it works!

Was released on Saturday 14th Feb (they say). I was looking for it on Saturday but did not get it. On Sunday, I saw it was released.

On my Compaq presario 2701T laptop (2001), running kubuntu (+xubuntu), I decided to try Debian 5.0 "lenny".

This time around, I tried something different. Installed unetbootin, and did a netinstall of Debian 5.0 "lenny", on a pre-existing partition.

By default, xfce was installed. I then did install a KDE desktop - aptitude helps.

Amazingly I did not have to do much for getting my wireless (Trendnet PCMCIA card TEW421PC) work - this has been a problem with almost all the distributions (including ubuntu). While I had to do a "ndiswrapper" thing on kubuntu, on lenny it started working right away. Only thing I had to do was to provide the credentials of my network.

Was a little confused when I could not find firefox/thunderbird (aptitude search). After a bit of looking around (synpatic) installed Icedove, Iceweasel was already installed.

Sound does not work on my laptop, not sure if it is a hardware problem or it is my configuration.