Monday, October 25, 2004

cd read / write

I tested my linux system cd burner and it worked fine. I created a data disk (backedup my downloaded stuff directory) in jouliet format and both my linux system and my wife's windows xp system read it just fine.

Sunday, October 24, 2004

cd read/write device

A while back a swapped my read only cdreader for a cd read/write device. I have not had a need to actually burn a cd so I have not paid too much attention to it. Yesterday I was reviewing some system logs and noticed that there was a message that I was using a depricated driver for my cd devide, so I ran cdrecord --scanbus and got some messages that said that my device driver was 'malformed' for the device. I also ran k3b and it told me that my cd drive was not properly configured and that it would take a very long time to write a cd.

Today I did some research. I loaded up knoppix, using the 2.6 kernel, and checked system log messages and the output of cdrecord --scanbus and everything looked fine. This meant that my cd rw drive could be properly configured and work with Linux 2.6. This is a good use for knoppix type live cd's.

I then did some searches on the internet and found that all I had to do was put the perameter hdc=ide-sc on the kernel line of the grub (linux loader) menu file. I did this and all worked well.

What seems to have happened was that since I had a read only cd drive installed when I installed Fedora Core 2, that was how my system was setup. When I changed drives, the old setting remained since the new device checker, kudzu, comes into place only after the kernel is loaded. THe device driver, scsi emulation modules are laoded by the kernel as it is loaded which is before kudzu is executed. So I need to make the manual change to the loader file to pass, to thje kernel, the need to load the appropriate mondule for my cd drive. If I had had the cd read/write device installed when I installed my system this would not have been a problem since the setup software would have detected the drive and put the appropriate parameters into the grub file. It's this sort of thing that can drive someone crazy.

This again is another example of where Windows does better than Linux. Device detection and driver setup in Windows is a lot smoother than in Linux (although Linux has improved a lot over the past few years).

I installed OOo1.1.3 on my wife's xp system and on my linux system. The install in xp is a bit easier than the install in linux. The main reason I got the new version cd is because it has the new java runtime environment on it.

I also added an entry into fstab for my fash card reader and it works just fine.

Thursday, October 21, 2004


Yesterday I tried to use my sd disk card as a flash drive on my linux and my wife's windows xp pcs and it worked like a charm.

I have two sd card reader / writer usb devices and I put one on each machine. Windows xp just recognised the drive without any problems. On Linux I had to mount the drive as /dev/sda1. Kudzu might recognize it if I have the drive plugged in when I boot I will have to try this. Knoppix recognizes it without any problem. Otherwise I can just put an entry into /etc/fstab to auto mount it. Windows does do a better job than linux in this regard.

In any case, it all worked great. This will be convient when I have only one machine up and I download a file that I want to move to another machine later. Also it is cheaper than the thumb drives.

Tuesday, October 19, 2004

mythical man-month

I just finished reading the mythical man-month; a clasic book on system development practices that was written in the 70's and revised in the early 90's.

It is interesting to read this in conjunction with the cathedral and the baazar and with the linux and unix philosoph books I have mentioned before. The mythical man-month is a book about the cathedral method of system development. I can't really argue with any of its points - if one is going to build a large project in the cathedral mode, this is the book on how to do it. I was struck by how 'dated' it seemed to be - it is so 20th century.

Sunday, October 10, 2004

suse #2

Last night I loaded up the suse 9.1 live cd and I was able to connect to the internet via dial-up. THis shows the worth of live cd's; I was able to try out a key feature without having to install the whole operating system on my hard drive. I still have to try out the network stuff (telnet, ftp, and samba) but I doubt this will be a problem. Now I have a viable alternative to fedora if (when) fedora's requirements exceed my pc's available resources.

Saturday, October 09, 2004

suse distribution

Yesterday I tried the suse 9.1 live cd that I got from a magazine. It worked fine and now I want to make sure that the network, modem, etc. stuff works. I am still concerned with the memmory requirements for Fedora. Right now Fedora recommends a machine with 256 meg memmorywhich is what my computer has and I am concerned that the next release of fedora will need more. My machine is maxed out. I do have a spare machine with 512 meg, but to use it I would have to swap my cd burner and my hard drive and I prefer not to do all that work. Suse requires only 64 meg.

Thursday, October 07, 2004

application service providers

I have noticed that application services providers are starting to get active again. I wonder if this business model is about to come into its own. ASP, as a business model, started becomming popular about 8 years ago, but never got anywhere. Now, with wide spread broadband, cheep servers, commodity o/s, web service methods becomming standardized, platform agnostic languages like Java and PERL, xml for interchange of data and remote process calls (i.e. SOAP), and cheap storate (NAS/SAN), all the pieces are in place and all that remains is to develop an infrastructure and set of standards and accepted busienss practices. ASP's would fit the needs of a lot of small businesses.

Monday, October 04, 2004

windows install

I wanted to try out some windows open source software so I decided to install windows on one of my spare pcs yesterday. The install went along ok, but there sure are a lot of re-boots. I wonder why one needs to reboot so often when installing windows software or the windows o/s. My guess is that components like network, internet explorer, communications, gui services, etc. are so intertwined that you have to reboot the whole operating system so that configuration settings and so forth can take effect. In contrast with linux/unix, if you change a component like network interface or xwindow you just need to reload the changed component but not the kernel.

Once I got the operating system and security patches installed, I set up the network. That was really easy: I right clicked on network neighborhood, took properties and set up my computer's name, work group, ip address and file sharing options. Then I selected each shared resource in the my computer icon. It all went really fast and easy (but with a re-boot or two).

In contrast setting up my network in linux is a lot more work. For fedora core 2, I used system-configure-network to set up the basic network (I could have used ifconfig and edited /etc/hosts instead but this is more work). Then I had to edit /etc/samba/smb.config (or use SWATT) to get the windows connectivity and finally set up the connection to the remote printer with CUPS (a real work-out).

There are a lot of things to complain about in the windows world, but setting up a network is not one of them. Microsoft makes this a lot easier than it is under Linux or Unix.

Saturday, October 02, 2004

thunderbird problem

Enigmail stopped working on thunderbird. I tried a few things, but nothing worked so I am using kgpg.