technology and zen of life

“A heisenbug (named after the Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle) is a computer bug that disappears or alters its characteristics when an attempt is made to study it.”

Installing transmission and dnsmasq on a NAS

Introduction

In our student’s  dorm, we want to share files. We also have one shared internet connection using ADSL. The download speed is OK, but the uplink is weak. Many students like to use torrents, which quickly drain the uplink and the connection table of the modemrouter. So I set up a server with a torrent client, which was accessible by a web interface. I replaced this server by a Iomega StorCenter Ix2-200 Cloud Edition Network Attached Storage (NAS) device, which I will refer to as ix-2.

The default torrent client on the ix-2 is bad beyond imagination, so I wanted to install transmission-daemon. Read the rest of this entry »

Working together on text and source code with Gobby and infinoted

While Suze is typing this Latex code, Angel sees that Suze forgets a backslash (\\), so she adds that backslash. Suze works straigh on, but she sees the backslash added by Angel instantaneously. It is marked with the user color of Angel, so it draws her attention. She knows that she probably made an error, so now she chats with Angel, asking why she has to add a backslash when typing C#. gobby

Suze and Angel are working on a highly confidential technical paper. Trusting the drafts to “the cloud” or a third party system was out of the question. They installed this software for collaborative editing on their own Linux server, although they also could have installed it on their own Windows XP client computers. But the server setup allows them to automatically produce a PDF version of their report each five minutes.

Read the rest of this entry »

Bypassing the DELL unrecognized adapter issue

Dell is notoriously infamous for selling adapters that tend to go bad after few years of heavy usage. In the last 3 years of my laptop use, I’ve already had to change my adapter thrice due to an unrecognized adapter bios warning. You can read about why this issue occurs here .

I don’t really mind this message but dell has gone further to annoy their consumers by forcing a cpu throttle to the lowest scaling frequencies. Also, they will not allow you to charge your battery if this message pops up, for no reason but to force you into buying a new adapter. Since this is expensive business and all three of my dead and dying adapters work perfectly fine as far as the voltages required for operation are concerned, I was desperately searching for a software bypass to somehow allow frequency scaling on my CPU and work on reasonable speeds. However googling didn’t help much at which point I started reading up on BIOS and ACPI, the ones responsible for power management. Finally, I stumbled upon this beautiful solution to bypass this limit dell forces upon me.

On probing ACPI on the linux kernel I came across /proc/acpi/processor/CPUx/bios_limit which is the limit the bios is asking the kernel to respect. Hence, all one needs to bypass it is to ask the kernel to ignore bios_limit using a kernel parameter via grub namely processor.ignore_ppc=1. So just add this line to grub.conf [ or to GRUB_CMDLINE_LINUX in /etc/grub.d/grub if you’re using grub2] and you’re set.

Alternately, you can use rmclock[gui] on windows to achieve the same. However don’t forget to set the processor type to mobile if you’re using a laptop to get the right voltage values for various p-states. I hope this helps folks who’ve been annoyed by the way dell handles its adapters like me.

Linux on the Desktop still unpolished

This week, I installed Linux Mint for my girlfriend after her Windows installation crashed. The idea was to temporarily use Linux until the new (and bigger) harddrive that we ordered would arrive. Linux Mint is based on Ubuntu, but has some additions like codecs installed by default.

Installation went smooth. After the installation, she could easily access the NTFS data partition (modern Linux distributions use NTFS-3G for read/write access) and the computer booted up much faster than with Windows XP.

But she encountered a few problems:

  • Openoffice Calc sometimes showed a very high CPU usage when selecting multiple cells, rendering Calc very slow and unusable. After some Googling, I found that it is in the Ubuntu bug database, bug number 568892. But the reactions of the developers do not show much interest. I replaced it with the less-featured Gnumeric.
  • Many websites, including Gmail, suffer from bad font handling and anti-aliasing. In fact, most websites are a pain to the eyes. I tried Firefox, Epiphany, Arora, Konqueror, Chromium, and another browser which name I forgot, and numerous font settings (including Microsoft fonts), but nothing helped. [ Addition: The Ubuntu team works on a better font. ]
  • When switching from Gnome to KDE, the KDE menu did not show a “shutdown” option because the Gnome and KDE login managers, also called display managers (gdm and kdm) are not compatible with each other. Only one of the desktop environments can show a shutdown option. When you want to shutdown your computer in KDE, use the kdm. Same for Gnome and gdm. Funny thing is that five years ago, someone posted a solution for this, but still the problem is in the normal software repositories.

I use Linux on some servers for years. It’s great software if you want to have control, stability, speed, easy remote access, easy software installation and so on for your server. But Linux on the desktop has always been somewhat of another story, and although much improvement has been made, I believe that Windows (XP of 7, never Vista) with Office 2003 or Office 2010 (skip 2007, it’s kinda beta of 2010) is still unbeatable for desktop computing. Some Apple users wouldn’t agree, though.

How to make your Linux applications use proxy

Hi,

If you are frustrated by Linux and your college’s network, which is windows based or sysadmins can help you with windows only, and sysadmins for a request call, replies as “use Windows”. If you are in a university then I am sure they use that damned( or good) software called as proxy (squid proxy to be specific). And you are a linux newbie then, here are some quick tips for you.

TIP # 1

You want your download manager (wget), updates by apt or aptitude to use a http proxy, you can use the following commands to export proxy to your environment

export http_proxy=http://user:password@proxy:port/

or

export http_proxy=http://proxy:port/

Things to note here are

  • Type the command as it is, don’t leave unnecessary spaces.
  • Username/password is the username and password you use to access the proxy, that is the same password which you type when you access internet using a web-browser. If you don’t use one, then use the second version of the command
  • Proxy and port are the values that are the same as used in your web-browser, or you can ask check them out with your sysadmin, or anyone who has a working internet on the same network.

After you do this you can use apt or aptitude and it will use the http proxy you specified!


TIP # 2
For GNOME users : GNOME allows users to specify a proxy from a GUI, which you can find in

 

Preferences –> Network Proxy

It also allows you to specify username/password, by clicking on “Details”


TIP # 3
Using socks proxy with evolution (the e-mail client)You need a package named tsocks

 

sudo apt-get install tsocks

for Ubuntu users

or you can download it from here, http://tsocks.sourceforge.net

then just type

tsocks evolution

you might want to read the man page for configurations too.

So, that’s it. I hope it makes your life a little easier with Linux on network. Tell us about your experiences of using Linux behind proxies. Remember google search is your best resource!

Make a Live USB disk for any Linux distribution

How many of you feel frustrated having to burn a CD/DVD every time you want to try on a new OS? Well UNetbootin helps create bootable USB drives, which you can use either as a live CD or as an installation media.

UNetbootin is a very handy tool, which runs on both Linux and Windows and offers a wide variety of operating systems that you can choose to load to your USB disk. It can even download all the popular distributions off the internet for you. It can also be used to boot many system utilities from the USB disk. It uses syslinux to make the USB disk bootable and thus any distribution or utility that can be booted via the syslinux interface works with UNetbootin.

UNetbootin offers two variations for installation. One is to create a USB disk and the other is a “frugal” install. A frugal install means that the iso resides on your hard disk and only the boot loader is reconfigured to run load the compressed kernel image from the hard disk, which can then be used to install the OS, or just run as a live CD.

Using UNetbootin is quite easy. If you are on windows just run the utility and you will be provide with a screen like this:

screenshot

Now you can either choose an operating system or specify your own ISO image for which you want to create the bootable USB disk.

The second option is to specify the USB disk or the hard disk (in case of frugal install) and you are all set. The target disk is not formatted so you will not lose any existing data on the disk.

What’s more it supports 9 different languages but if you want to change the language the only way you can do that is by providing command line argument <lang = xy> where xy is the language code. Here is the list of languages supported with their codes

  • English (en)
  • Español / Spanish (es)
  • Português / Portuguese (pt)
  • Français / French (fr)
  • Italiano / Italian (it)
  • ?? / Simplified Chinese (zh)
  • ??????? / Russian (ru)
  • Norsk bokmål / Norwegian (nb)
  • Magyar / Hungarian (hu)

Links:

UNetbootin Homepage

NTLM authentication proxies

continuing from the last post. If your network is all Windows based, then using the tricks mentioned in the previous post are of no use to you. That’s because Windows servers use NTLM authentication. It’s different from normal authentication, in the sense of a user, you won’t be able to use Linux happily on a network with that kind of authentication scheme. You need to keep an eye on how to use this tip to your benefits.

You need this to create your very own NTLM workaround proxy server. It’s called NTLM Authorization Proxy Server.

Setps for those-who-don’t-know-and-want-to-learn

  1. Download the NTLMAPS script.
  2. Download python.
  3. Unzip the NTLMAPS zip file and install python.
  4. Configure(edit and save) the server.cfg (read below).
  5. Double click on runserver.bat

voila, you see a console!

Configuring the server.cfg

You will need to modify these variables in the config file named “server.cfg” according to your network needs

LISTEN_PORT:5865

PARENT_PROXY:your_parentproxy

PARENT_PROXY_PORT:8080

NT_DOMAIN:your_domain

USER:username_to_use

PASSWORD:your_nt_password

And these variables if you need, normally they won’t require a change, but you might need to.

LM_PART:1

NT_PART:0

SCR_DEBUG:0

ALLOW_EXTERNAL_CLIENTS:0

FRIENDLY_IPS:

For me the configuration looks like

LISTEN_PORT:4000

PARENT_PROXY:10.100.56.45

PARENT_PROXY_PORT:3128

NT_DOMAIN:your_domain

USER:200301001

PASSWORD:

LM_PART:1

NT_PART:0

SCR_DEBUG:0

ALLOW_EXTERNAL_CLIENTS:0

FRIENDLY_IPS:10.100.90.90 10.100.96.69

Note, if you don’t fill in the password, it will automatically ask when you run the “runserver.bat” file.

So now it’s all done, tell me if you use it successfully, or failed at it miserably!


DarK is a Sony Vaio user who cannot learn enough about networks. He hates his laptop and loves it at the same time. You can catch him on twitter at http://twitter.com/abhishekchhajer

How to make your Linux applications use proxy

Hi,

If you are frustrated by Linux and your college’s network, which is windows based or sysadmins can help you with windows only, and sysadmins for a request call, replies as “use Windows”. If you are in a university then I am sure they use that damned( or good) software called as proxy (squid proxy to be specific). And you are a linux newbie then, here are some quick tips for you.

TIP # 1

You want your download manager (wget), updates by apt or aptitude to use a http proxy, you can type

export http_proxy=http://user:password@proxy:port/

or

export http_proxy=http://proxy:port/

Things to note here are

  • Type the command as it is, don’t leave unnecessary spaces.
  • Username/password is the username and password you use to access the proxy, that is the same password which you type when you access internet using a web-browser. If you don’t use one, then use the second version of the command
  • Proxy and port are the values that are the same as used in your web-browser, or you can ask check them out with your sysadmin, or anyone who has a working internet on the same network.

After you do this you can use apt or aptitude and it will use the http proxy you specified!


TIP # 2
For GNOME users : GNOME allows users to specify a proxy from a GUI, which you can find in

Preferences –> Network Proxy

It also allows you to specify username/password, by clicking on “Details”


TIP # 3
Using socks proxy with evolution (the e-mail client)You need a package named tsocks

sudo apt-get install tsocks

for Ubuntu users

or you can download it from here, http://tsocks.sourceforge.net

then just type

tsocks evolution

you might want to read the man page for configurations too.

So, that’s it. I hope it makes your life a little easier with Linux on network. Tell us about your experiences of using Linux behind proxies. Remember google search is your best resource!

DarK is a Linux newbie who is frustrated by network admins across India. His recent project is installing Linux-from-scratch. He is the How to’s master here!

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