linux n00b

Finding Duplicates based on Filename

Posted in General by downforce on June 22, 2010

Found this brilliant snippet utilising Perl to find duplicates based on filename only, not comparing size (fdupes wins this!)

Full credit goes to radoulov, a member of forums and cursory link to post in thread

perl -MFile::Find -e'
  $d = shift || die "$0 dir\n";
  find { 
    wanted => sub {
      -f and push @{$u{$_}}, $File::Find::name;
    }, $d;
  @{$u{$_}} > 1 and printf "found %s in: \n\n%s\n\n", 
    $_, join $/, @{$u{$_}} for keys %u;    
  ' <dirname>

Posting from my mobile!

Posted in General by downforce on March 31, 2010

Posting from my mobile!

Secure HDD wipe

Posted in General by downforce on January 17, 2010

Selling off an old hard drive, I wanted to wipe it clean.

Found the tip here

shred -vfz -n 100 /dev/hda

Here /dev/hda is my whole hard disk. And I am asking shred to make (-n) 100 passes by overwriting the entire hard disk with (-z) zeros. And shred program (-f) forces the write by changing the permissions wherever necessary.

Video Card …. RIP

Posted in General by downforce on May 31, 2007

Sad to say but my XfX 6600GT AGP has given up the ghost. After about a week of testing I’ve come to the conclusion it’s something to do with 3D acceleration.

Testing under Linux has been difficult. Most games I’ve found that are ‘free’ aren’t very intensive so it was hit and miss if/when it failed.

Eventually the other day though, it finally failed as soon as it started loading into GNOME. This was under Ubuntu.

To give it a good test run, I decided to install PCLinuxOS2007 on a 3rd partition as I’ve been reading some good stuff on it as a desktop distro and thought it’d give me a good chance to identify where/when/how my video card problems were occurring. More on this in my next post!

Anyway, I eventually established that the problem occurs as soon as the nVidia driver loads. I established this as PCLinuxOS was working fine (most of the time) with the nv driver, installed nvidia through apt-get and then the problems reoccured the same as under Ubuntu.

I thought it might be driver related, but alas, I tried 9755 (repo), 9754 (from nVidia site) and 100.14.06BETA (repo) and all the same.

Finally I caved and booted into Windows and same problem, the desktop loads with the lovely white boxes.

I’m not an expert on drivers, but I’m assuming here that the nVidia drivers must access some part of the card that nv open source or basic vesa drivers don’t but has failed and hence it’s been such a bitch to figure out?

I’m now waiting for XfX to return my emails about RA as the retailer wasn’t interested. The card is 14mths old and they only offer 12mth warranty. ūüė¶

XFS Defrag

Posted in Administration, General by downforce on May 20, 2007

I was checking out Micke’s blog post Feisty Performance – ‚ÄúFly Like A Butterfly‚ÄĚ and one of the tips was XFS defrag.

My file server has a 500GB LVM partition in XFS spanned across 3 HDD’s so I thought I’d check how fragged my system was. Here was the result:

actual 352480, ideal 58355, fragmentation factor 83.44%

83.44%! WOW! I’m amazed … I does contain a lot of files I download through TorrentVolve that usually get extracted then moved around so I wasn’t surprised it was fragmented. I’ve left it running now, wonder how long it’ll take?

And of course – thanks for the tip Micke!

Tux500 vs Microsoft (FUD) patents claim – Which is better publicity?

Posted in General by downforce on May 16, 2007

I’ll admit I’m a GNU/Linux FOSS news whore and as such I frequent both (my preferred) and probably 2-3 times a day.

There are two story threads which are hitting the headlines at the moment which I’m following quite closely, that’s the effort and the Microsoft/Linux 235 Patent FUD claim, hereby referred to as the MSPFUDC – cos we all love acronyms.

It got me thinking … the aim of is to raise awareness of [GNU/]Linux and so far, to me at least, it’s gain a lot of awareness in the Linux news circles, a couple of Indy 500 news articles and well, that’s pretty much it. It’s failed to peak the big distro’s interest or mainstream media. OK there was one article (at least that I’ve seen) but that’s it.

On the flip side, MSPFUDC has already had articles published in some 3 or 4 major news sites including Washington Post and plus various announcements by Microsoft. These are sites visited by probably millions of people each day.

From this I’m hypothesising that the MSPFUDC will expose Linux to a greater user base, who WILL actually use Linux then the effort. Why you ask?

I still don’t think Linux is an operating system for the masses, not at least yet. A few distros are making huge in-roads but until manufacturers start releasing open-source Linux drivers at product launch and multimedia codecs/apps become GPL to be included on installation CD, I don’t think it ever will. There are a few other factors but these can be discussed another time. But the point being, the people who are going to get an interest in will probably check out Linux and go “Oh, OK it’s an operating system. I have enough trouble with Windows, why try this?” or “Oh, OK it’s an operating system. Windows works well enough, why learn something new?”. They have a new awareness but wont necessarily do anything about it.

Now the people reading the MSPFUDC will already have some sort of active interest in computer applications/operating systems in first place to even bother clicking on the link. They’ll read the articles and if they believe what Microsoft is saying it might be a thought along the lines of “Hrm, maybe Linux isn’t different from Windows if they are using MS technology” or read the rest of the articles and say “Hrm, if Microsoft is so worried, maybe Linux isn’t as hard/bad/evil as I’ve been led to believe.” From here, continue on and download some LiveCD or whatever else.

On to watch I guess.

A side issues where I feel the project could ultimately work against Linux is those without the knowledge of forums or user-groups or think of Googling to solve Linux installation/usage problems. They’ll go and install Linux, it ‘breaks’ their system completely, get completely lost and confused, wipe the photo’s of their grandchildren as they now have some “Linux partitioned” hard-drive and haven’t taken backups beforehand. This permanently tainted the Linux reputation for these people, potentially forever.

My Current Projects

Posted in General, Projects by downforce on May 9, 2007

I’ve been a bit quite on the blog postings lately. There are a few reasons ….

  1. I found another ‘linux noob’ blog by a guy who sounds vaguely like me. Got into Linux and started blogging about it. (Sorry I’ve lost the link, it was a week ago!) and got to the point where is was almost an addiction. I could tell I was starting to head the same way and it made me realise and I’ve slowed down a bit!
  2. Learning PHP. It’s something that’s been on the back of my mind for a while now. My programming experience is pretty minimal, just writing huge-ass VBA scripts in Excel and Access ‘apps’ connecting to various datasets (itself, MS SQL and previously Oracle). I took the plunge last week and so far I’ve almost got a working webapp, it’s pretty simple but it does what I wanted it to do and got some (I think) fancy features, like charts!
  3. Other projects …
    • UPS: I’m currently trying to get my Power Shield Defender 650vA UPS to communicate with my Linux server (Ubuntu 6.10 server). It’s causing great grief at the moment. The support emails I’ve received replies too have been less than helpful, the documentation doesn’t relate to the product (it wants RS232 and it’s a USB interface!) plus the whole thing of USB under Linux is something I haven’t got my head around yet. I’m sure I’ll write something about it another time.
    • Mail server: I broke my mail server trying to get virtual accounts setup. It became too hard with the time I had available so I left it broke for a couple weeks. I’ve just got it back working using’s Perfect Server setup.
    • VPN server: Looking into setting up a VPN server on my linux box. Seeing if it’s possible to access my home network from work. So far hit a snag with my router not passing on GRE messages to the linux box. I spent two nights on it and that’s it. Still a WIP (work-in-progress!)
  4. Most importantly, I’ve been spending time with my baby boy and wife. Believe it or not I’ve spent about 1-2 hrs per weeknight and 2-4hr per weekend day doing the above. When you look at it like that it’s pretty productive!

On that, I have a few other projects I’m going to start looking into. These are

  • Using lighttpd over apache2. I’ve been reading good things about it and given the extremely small scale of my server it might work. Just want to make sure the things I run (gallery/wordpress/phpmyadmin/torrentvolve/mediawiki) all work under lighttpd. I’m hoping the setup and config is easier than apache2. I’ve been having serious problems gettings SSL to work under apache and virtual servers/sub-domains are problematic, it keeps dieing when the reloads for the logs to rotate … grrrrr
  • Test out openSUSE on my desktop a bit more
  • Figure out why my PC keeps freezing … stupid white blocks. I suspect hardware, in particular video card, at this stage, but not ruling out some graphical config. It’s a XFX 6600GT which I’ve had just over a year. Need to see what the warranty is on it. Different regions have different warranties, Asia is 2 years, Europe doesn’t say and US is lifetime. I’m not sure what Australia would come under, I would assume Asia but who knows these days!
  • I have about 3 drafts I started and never finished. I just posted one about Google Docs as a Knowledge Base, although I’ve been using it for a couple of weeks and I’ll post some follow up.

    My brief flirt with Debian 4.0 Etch

    Posted in Desktop, Distributions, General by downforce on April 23, 2007

    I feel my Linux journey is coming to the point where trying one distro over another actually means something slightly more rather than looking at the window manager/desktop. Don’t get me wrong I don’t know all the ins and outs, but I’m getting a better feel.

    So with that, I went and installed Debian 4.0 Etch via a netinstall. In fact I’ve installed it 3 times now, 2 different VM images and also on a partition of my main rig. I’m mainly dealing with the install on my main rig as that’s the one I really tried to use.

    Not surprisingly it installed almost exactly the same as Ubuntu. I even tried it with the installgui option. TBH this is just fluff and without the video card acceleration, it’s painfully slow refreshing.

    I decided on a “Standard Installation” and “Desktop Installation” and went with KDE (as I’m tending to favour over Gnome now).

    Everything installed great and was working fine, with the exception of sound. Sound under every installation has been painful, woefully painful. Oh I lie, Ubuntu (7.04 beta) with a seperate wajig install kde worked great!

    It wasn’t before long I got frustrated. The main reason? The packages in the repo’s are sooo old compared with Ubuntu. As a desktop, I want bleeding edge, I want wine 0.9.35, OpenOffice 2.2, not wine 0.9.25 or OpenOffice 2.0.

    In a commercial setting where stability is key I’d go for Debian, as felt nice and stable, not didn’t work. I know if, or should I say when, I need to rebuild my server, I will go for Debian instead of Ubuntu.

    I’ve just installed openSUSE instead on that partition. It’s my first non-debian based distro. I’ll let you know how it goes.

    Wow – A 1000 views!

    Posted in General by downforce on April 23, 2007

    The blog is only just approaching a month old and I’ve already had 1000 views. I’m quite impressed I’ve had that many!

    Of the total views almost half are from the two articles on installing VMWare Server on Feisty and another 25% on fixing Opera from one of the Feisty patches.

    Thanks to everyone whose reads my blog!

    EDIT: Wow, I wrote this Friday night, but didn’t post it til Sunday. Over the weekend I had a HUGE flood, it’s already 1800!!¬† I guess with all the installed of Feisty, this is a common problem!

    PengiunPete &

    Posted in General by downforce on April 18, 2007

    This is a response¬†to¬†PengiunPete and your¬†posts¬†about I wrote this comment on your site, but seeing you’ve disabled comments I’ll post it here until I can post on your site.

    Once reading your posts, I became slightly more suspicious. I have to admit I did have some reservations to begin with, mainly on the basis of the short period of time they are attempting to do this in.

    So, I did some research of my own and I tend to this this isn’t a scam. I might be overly ambitious, but I don’t think it’s a scam.

    My evidence:
    Check this LinuxToday editors note:

    [Editor’s Note: As full disclosure, it should be noted that I am acting as an volunteer independent auditor for this fund-raising project. This is being done as a personal project, and does not imply endorsement of this project by Linux Today or Jupitermedia. I will be happy to answer any questions regarding the project to the best of my knowledge. -Brian Proffitt.]

    Next, the image. Check out that article and look at the bit at the bottom right “Web:”. Go to his website and you’ll see he’s a graphic designer of car liveries. He did the Firefox car, so it’s no wonder you think Tux500 one looks like the Firefox one. Also, as a racing fan (F1 not Indy, but still), those actual cars don’t look that similar.

    Now I’m not saying you ARE wrong, but I think there are way too many people involved for this to be a scam.

    Helios has been going crazy promoting this. It’s his project so why wouldn’t he? Some of his posts are obnoxious but at least he’s giving it a go.

    It may not be the best cost/benefit solution but at least someone’s trying something different. It’s created a reaction in the Linux community, maybe someone will do something else that works better, and it may come off the back of this.

    Lastly, to Helios, who I’m sure it checking back here … what will happen to the money if you don’t reach $350k? Going for a small sponsor package, giving it to other FOSS communities? Please tell us.

    For this alone I haven’t donated yet.