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Posted in Uncategorized by linuxsolutions on April 21st, 2014

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Linux Is Gaining Momentum

Posted in Linux by linuxsolutions on January 30th, 2014

Linux is gaining momentum as it gains more users using its OS away from the likes of Windows particularly its controversial Windows 10 system. Linux as we all know is far more expansive and open than Windows is. It is important for there to be another system that can offer options that Windows cannot. Arguably, the best OS that Windows has ever had still receives support today-Windows XP.

95% of the world’s fastest supercomputers run on a variant of Linux as the platform encourages open-source development and performance capability. Linux is nowadays used in every computing system from coding to server management etc. It is in home and enterprise environments where Linux has been gaining much more momentum from multiple types of users.

In comparison, the likes of Windows operated systems is on the wane. Perhaps the most popular use for windows is its office and outlook features which are helpful to businesses as well as the everyday person. But, for advanced purposes, windows is falling and Linux is gaining momentum. As we know, Linux is as advanced as the user makes it unlike the fixed and rigid Windows systems. Here is hoping that Linux continues to grow and eventually it will dominate Windows.

Linux Gaming Support.

Posted in Linux by linuxsolutions on January 21st, 2014

Linux is a valuable os alternative to the likes of Microsoft and Apple. The software is brilliant for its custom options and its overall performance. One thing that has been severely lacking for linux is gaming support particularly from the likes of steam for example. Nonetheless, this is going to change as more users start to use linux, the more that want gaming support in place.

Perhaps the first big game to support Linux was Left 4 Dead made internally by the steam software owners Valve. The game already a big success for general computers and Xbox was perennial in getting gaming for Linux moving in the right direction. Since then, sleeper hit Metro: Last Light and Football management sim Football Manager has also included support for the platform. Also, the first two games in the legendary Half Life series were also included for Linux support.

The problem of course lies with the general public not having enough understanding of linux nor do they want to change from something as commonly used as Microsoft. But this increased support in recent times has led to game developers starting to embrace the os more openly than ever before. The owner of Valve-Gabe Newell has said in a past interview that ‘the only thing holding back linux is lack of games’.

The future for Linux looks better in that the more support it receives for games, the more the users will stick with the software without any reason or need to switch back to Microsoft.

Breaking Down the Linux Booting Process

Posted in Linux,linux hosting,linux security,Software,Uncategorized by linuxsolutions on November 24th, 2013

In this article, we’ll take a closer look at the booting process of the Linux operating system.

 

linux solutions

 

 

We can see from the picture that the booting process starts from the MBR (Master Boot Record), but actually, the booting process begins with the BIOS and continues from there. It’s the BIOS’s job to tell the computer which hard drives are available and to try to search for an active MBR record in the primary hard drive. The MBR record then tells the booting process where the /boot partition is located. Afterwards, the /boot partition is read and examined for any boot loader, which in our case is GRUB.

At that point, the booting of a computer is handed to the GRUB boot loader, which loads the grub.conf file and the kernel of the Linux system and then mounts the root partition, which in this case is /dev/sda3. The execution continues with the kernel image located on the /boot partition. The kernel is loaded and the execution is handed over to the Gentoo init process (with a PID number 1), which is already located on the system partition and is responsible for starting the entire system.

The init process takes care of everything the system needs to boot up successfully. One of the things it does is to start the required scripts, usually located in the /etc/rc.d/ directory. It must also mount the partitions that are listed in the /etc/fstab configuration file. Once everything is done, the login window appears, allowing us to log in to our operating system.[1]

We’ve described the process of booting the Linux operating system only, but it’s quite the same for other operating systems too. In the next part of the article, we’ll take a look at more details regarding the booting process but only at what happens until the operating system itself gains control and does its thing. This way, we’ll eliminate the need to explain the booting process of every single operating system, because each and every OS does things differently and we’re not interested in those at the moment.

BIOS and the MBR

First, we must be aware that the majority of computers have something called the BIOS that begins the initial booting process right after we turn on the computer. But why do we even need BIOS? The reason is that the boot loader is located on a hard drive we have in our machine, and right upon turning on the computer, the processor doesn’t know anything about the boot loader being available on the hard drive. It’s the BIOS’s job to find and load the boot loader installed on the hard drive.

We all know that when we turn on the computer, the BIOS first scans for devices, determines the amount of memory available, etc. After that, the BIOS must scan for bootable devices as configured in the BIOS settings, in that order. Typically, the BIOS finds the hard drive that contains the MBR (Master Boot Record), which must also contain the primary boot loader code.

When the BIOS finds the MBR record, it passes control to the primary boot loader. The primary boot loader must then scan the partition table that is also written in the MBR record and find the active partition, which contains the secondary boot loader. Let’s first dump the MBR in Linux and check its contents. To do that, we must copy the first sector of the disk to the mbr.bin file with the dd command like this:

[bash]
# dd if=/dev/sda of=/tmp/mbr.bin bs=512 count=1
1+0 records in
1+0 records out
512 bytes (512 B) copied, 0.0006952 s, 736 kB/s
[/bash]

Now we can use the all-powerful file command to display the contents of the MBR in a more readable format. We could read the hex bytes directly, but why should we? Note that we’ve used the tr command only to replace all the ‘;’ characters with the new line characters to make the output easier to read:

[plain]
# file /tmp/mbr.bin | tr ‘;’ ‘n’
/tmp/mbr.bin: x86 boot sector
GRand Unified Bootloader, stage1 version 0×3, stage2 address 0×2000, stage2 segment 0×200
partition 1: ID=0×83, starthead 32, startsector 2048, 3906250 sectors
partition 2: ID=0×83, starthead 71, startsector 3908298, 78125000 sectors
partition 3: ID=0×83, starthead 85, startsector 82033298, 418084894 sectors, code offset 0×48
[/plain]

We can see that the MBR image has knowledge of three partitions, which have the ID of 0×83 that identifies them as ext3 file system. We can see that none of the partitions is marked as active partitions, but that isn’t absolutely necessary for the system to boot successfully (my system boots fine without this). But let’s mark the first partition as bootable with the fdisk command:

[plain]
# fdisk /dev/sda
Welcome to fdisk (util-linux 2.22.2).
Command (m for help): p
Device Boot Start End Blocks Id System
/dev/sda1 2048 3908297 1953125 83 Linux
/dev/sda2 3908298 82033297 39062500 83 Linux
/dev/sda3 82033298 500118191 209042447 83 Linux

Command (m for help): a
Partition number (1-4): 1

Command (m for help): p
Device Boot Start End Blocks Id System
/dev/sda1 * 2048 3908297 1953125 83 Linux
/dev/sda2 3908298 82033297 39062500 83 Linux
/dev/sda3 82033298 500118191 209042447 83 Linux

Command (m for help): w
The partition table has been altered!
[/plain]

We’ve entered the p command in the fdisk to display all the partitions. We can see from the output that none of the partitions is currently active. After that, we used the a command to mark the first partition as active and printed the partitions again. This time, the first partition contains the ‘*’ character in the output in the second column, which means that that partition is currently active. At the end, we also have to enter the w command to save the changes we’ve just made to the MBR sector.

Now we need to reboot the system for the changes to take effect. After rebooting, we should dump the contents of the MBR sector again and print them with the file command. The contents of the MBR are shown below:

[plain]
# file /tmp/mbr.bin | tr ‘;’ ‘n’
/tmp/mbr.bin: x86 boot sector
GRand Unified Bootloader, stage1 version 0×3, stage2 address 0×2000, stage2 segment 0×200
partition 1: ID=0×83, active, starthead 32, startsector 2048, 3906250 sectors
partition 2: ID=0×83, starthead 71, startsector 3908298, 78125000 sectors
partition 3: ID=0×83, starthead 85, startsector 82033298, 418084894 sectors, code offset 0×48
[/plain]

We can see that the first partition is the active partition. We’ve identified that the MBR contains the first boot loader as well as the partition table, which is very important information since, without it, the operating system cannot boot. The job of the BIOS is to identify the first bootable device that contains the MBR record and pass control to the primary boot loader, who must then determine which partition is active and load the secondary boot loader from that partition.

The structure of the normal MBR record is as follows (the picture was taken from [3]):

 

wirelapse

 

 

You can see that the first boot loader takes the first 446 bytes of the 512-byte MBR, which is 88% of the size. There are also four partition entries, which clearly gives us the idea why we can only set up four primary partitions in any partition editor. If we want to set up more partitions, we have to use logical partitions. The MBR entry also ends with the boot signature 0x55aa, as we can see on the picture above.

Let’s dump the contents of the mbr.bin file we’ve dumped previously:

[plain]
# xxd /tmp/mbr.bin | sed ‘s/ .*//g’
0000000: eb48 9010 8ed0 bc00 b0b8 0000 8ed8 8ec0
0000010: fbbe 007c bf00 06b9 0002 f3a4 ea21 0600
0000020: 00be be07 3804 750b 83c6 1081 fefe 0775
0000030: f3eb 16b4 02b0 01bb 007c b280 8a74 0302
0000040: ff00 0020 0100 0000 0002 fa90 90f6 c280
0000050: 7502 b280 ea59 7c00 0031 c08e d88e d0bc
0000060: 0020 fba0 407c 3cff 7402 88c2 52be 7f7d
0000070: e834 01f6 c280 7454 b441 bbaa 55cd 135a
0000080: 5272 4981 fb55 aa75 43a0 417c 84c0 7505
0000090: 83e1 0174 3766 8b4c 10be 057c c644 ff01
00000a0: 668b 1e44 7cc7 0410 00c7 4402 0100 6689
00000b0: 5c08 c744 0600 7066 31c0 8944 0466 8944
00000c0: 0cb4 42cd 1372 05bb 0070 eb7d b408 cd13
00000d0: 730a f6c2 800f 84ea 00e9 8d00 be05 7cc6
00000e0: 44ff 0066 31c0 88f0 4066 8944 0431 d288
00000f0: cac1 e202 88e8 88f4 4089 4408 31c0 88d0
0000100: c0e8 0266 8904 66a1 447c 6631 d266 f734
0000110: 8854 0a66 31d2 66f7 7404 8854 0b89 440c
0000120: 3b44 087d 3c8a 540d c0e2 068a 4c0a fec1
0000130: 08d1 8a6c 0c5a 8a74 0bbb 0070 8ec3 31db
0000140: b801 02cd 1372 2a8c c38e 0648 7c60 1eb9
0000150: 0001 8edb 31f6 31ff fcf3 a51f 61ff 2642
0000160: 7cbe 857d e840 00eb 0ebe 8a7d e838 00eb
0000170: 06be 947d e830 00be 997d e82a 00eb fe47
0000180: 5255 4220 0047 656f 6d00 4861 7264 2044
0000190: 6973 6b00 5265 6164 0020 4572 726f 7200
00001a0: bb01 00b4 0ecd 10ac 3c00 75f4 c300 0000
00001b0: 0000 0000 0000 0000 3455 0000 0000 0020
00001c0: 2100 8347 1ef3 0008 0000 ca9a 3b00 0047
00001d0: 1ff3 8355 f5f2 caa2 3b00 c817 a804 0055
00001e0: f6f2 83e9 7f9a 92ba e304 1e78 eb18 0000
00001f0: 0000 0000 0000 0000 0000 0000 0000 55aa
[/plain]

Notice that the signature of the MBR is indeed 0x55aa at the end of the dump.

The secondary boot loader is often GRUB or LILO for Linux and Bootmgr for Windows. Their job is to load the kernel and boot the operating system. The primary boot loader searches for the active partition and loads its VBR (Volume Boot Record) into memory. The VBR is a boot sector that contains the machine code for bootstrapping programs, usually operating systems stored in other parts of the device.[2]

It’s also often the case that we install the GRUB or LILO boot loader directly into the MBR, because if we don’t, the BIOS still needs a primary boot loader that loads the secondary one. But why shouldn’t we install GRUB directly in the MBR as the primary boot loader instead? This is actually the default way that GRUB/LILO is installed today.

Let’s take a look at how we would install GRUB to be the primary and secondary boot loader. To install Grub as the primary boot loader, therefore on the MBR, we should run the following:

[bash]
# grub-install –no-floppy /dev/sda
[/bash]

But if we would like to install Grub on the VBR of a partition /dev/sda1, we should run the following:

[bash]
# grub-install –no-floppy /dev/sda1
[/bash]

Let’s also take a look at the contents of the /boot/grub/ folder, which are listed below:

[plain]
# ls /boot/grub/
default e2fs_stage1_5 ffs_stage1_5 iso9660_stage1_5 menu.lst reiserfs_stage1_5 stage1 stage2.old ufs2_stage1_5 xfs_stage1_5
device.map fat_stage1_5 grub.conf jfs_stage1_5 minix_stage1_5 splash.xpm.gz stage2 stage2_eltorito vstafs_stage1_5
[/plain]

This gives us a clear indication that the boot loader must also support the file system that the system is using. In our case, since we’re using ext3 file system, GRUB should be able to support it, because it must mount it and pass control to the operating system. GRUB supports the following file systems: ext2, DOS FAT16, FAT32, FFS, JFS, ReiserFS, MinixFS, UFS, XFS, VstaFS and Iso9660. For a deeper look into the Linux booting process, check out the Linux certification courses offered by the InfoSec Institute.

Conclusion

We’ve taken a look at how GRUB boots the Linux operating system, but we’ve also reviewed the role the BIOS has in the whole picture. We’ve seen that the BIOS is pretty important when it comes to booting the primary boot loader, as without it, it wouldn’t be possible to boot the operating system from the hard drive in normal computers.

References:

[1] Dejan Lukan, LUKS: Swap, Root and Boot Partitions, accessible at http://resources.infosecinstitute.com/luks-swap-root-boot-partitions/.

[2] Volume boot record, accessible at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Volume_boot_record.

[3] Master boot record, accessible at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Master_boot_record

Scientific Linux 6.x – upgrade

Posted in Linux by Shafkat Shahzad, M.Sc - Senior Technical Content Manager on November 16th, 2013

The tutorial guide will advise a user on updating Scientific Linux 6.x.

Shafkat Shahzad - M.Sc. Senior Technical Content Manager

Shafkat Shahzad – M.Sc. Senior Technical Content Manager

Scientific Linux was designed so that an administrator can easily upgrade their computer between minor releases.
It is not required that administrators upgrade their release, because the security errata will be updated for all releases. But there are often features and/or packages included in later releases that were not available with the earlier releases.

Below is the steps, using yum, to change to the latest 6.x release.
These instructions are for updating between minor releases, such as from 6.0 to 6.1. Changes between major releases 5 and 6 (such as from 5.2 to 6.1), cannot be done with yum or anaconda. A user must perform a fresh install.

YUM
For The Impatient
1. yum clean all
2. yum –releasever=6x update
Note: 6x can be replaced with whatever version you wish to go to, such as 6.2, for example yum –releasever=6.2 update
3. Updating from 6.0 only yum install yum-conf-sl-other
For those a little more cautious
1. Make sure you have done your backup’s.
I haven’t heard of anyone needing them, but don’t you be the first.
2. Make sure you have enough disk space. In particular, make sure you have enough space in /var/cache, which is where yum downloads the rpms.
3. optional yum update
This will get your system up to date with the latest packages. It will also make the last step smaller.
4. yum clean all
This cleans up all the headers and packages from your old yum configuration. If you do not do this step, it is very likely that yum will say that there is nothing to do.
5. yum –releasever=6x update sl-release
Note: 6x can be replaced with whatever version you wish to go to, such as 6.2, for example yum –releasever=6.2 update
This will install the latest sl-release your system. sl-release tells your system what version of SL it is.
6. Updating from 6.0 only yum install yum-conf-sl-other
In SL 6.0, ‘security’ and ‘fastbugs’ were both in the sl-updates.repo, provided by the sl-release rpm. In SL 6.1, ‘security’ is now in the sl.repo, provided by the sl-release rpm, and ‘fastbugs’ in the sl-other.repo, provided by the yum-conf-sl-other rpm.
7. yum update
This is the big part, where everything gets changed.
8. Check your grub settings. Although yum usually get’s things right when it updates kernels, it is always a good idea to give the grub config file a check.
9. optional yum clean all
This cleans up all the rpms that you just downloaded, clearing up your disk space.
10. /sbin/reboot
Reboot into your updated Scientific Linux release

After reading the tutorial guide, a user would have learnt how to upgrade the Scientific Linux 6.x

Scientific Linux 3.0.x – installation

Posted in Linux by Shafkat Shahzad, M.Sc - Senior Technical Content Manager on October 19th, 2013

The tutorial guide will let a user understand how to install the Scientific Linux 3.0.x.

Shafkat Shahzad - M.Sc. Senior Technical Content Manager

Shafkat Shahzad – M.Sc. Senior Technical Content Manager

Ways to install
The tutorial will cover two main ways. CD-Rom based installs, and Network installs. Depending on which type of install you are planning on doing, will determine what you need to download.
CD-Rom based installs are when the entire install is done with cd-roms. No network is needed. Usually 3 or 4 full sized CD’s are required. This is the prefered method of installation when you have a no access to a network, or your access might be slow.
Network based installs are when you boot your machine off a network install media (either floppies or cd-rom), connect to a installation server on the network, and the installation is done by downloading everything, including the installation program, over the network.
CD-ROM based installation

There are 3, and optionally 4, cdrom images that a user will need to download. These images can be gotten from the various mirrors, but this documentation will just point to the main repository.
ftp://ftp.scientificlinux.org/linux/scientific/302/iso/i386/SL.302.062904.i386.disc1.iso
ftp://ftp.scientificlinux.org/linux/scientific/302/iso/i386/SL.302.062904.i386.disc2.iso
ftp://ftp.scientificlinux.org/linux/scientific/302/iso/i386/SL.302.062904.i386.disc3.iso
Disk 4 is an optional disk. Please note that a user will not be asked for it during the install. It has the Source RPM’s, the not-supported rpm’s, and the contrib area.
ftp://ftp.scientificlinux.org/linux/scientific/302/iso/i386/SL.302.062904.i386.disc4.iso.

The md5sum’s of the different iso images are a good thing to check the download against. This will verify that the cd-rom images that you downloaded did not become corrupt in some way.
On a linux machine: download the above cd images into a directory, cd into that directory. Then type “md5sum SL302*”, After some processing you will recieve the md5sum of each of the cd images. A user can then check to make sure each of those numbers are the same as what is in the following file.

On a windows machine: download the above cd images into a directory, a user can get some type of md5sum program for windows. A user can run the md5sum program selecting the iso images that you just downloaded, then check to make sure the md5sum is the same as in the following file.
md5sums
After a user has verified the cd images, a user can then simple has to burn them onto a cd. Please make sure you are using good cd media. These images have been tested and they do work, but if a user has flaky media, all promises are off. And just because it’s a name brand, such as imation, does not mean it’s good media.

Then place cd1 into the computer. Reboot the computer, and make sure that it will boot off a cd-rom. (Many computers do not do this by default. A user may have to change this setting in teh bios. A user can usually go into the bios, right after he reboot by hitting F1, F2, or the Del key when the machine is very first powering up.)

As a User’s computer boots off the CD, a user will see a Scientific Linux install boot screen. Now a user can either wait 60 seconds, or hit enter to start a normal install. After a few seconds User will be asked if he wants to check his cd’s to make sure they are good. It is generally a good idea to check them the first time a user has ever use the media. After a user has done checking them, as user will move onto the graphical install. Once a user is in an installation program, everything will be self explanatory. . Hopefully, the tutorial guide has helped a User in understanding installation process of Scientific Linux 3.0.x.

Scientific Linux 6.1

Posted in Linux by Shafkat Shahzad, M.Sc - Senior Technical Content Manager on September 21st, 2013

The article will provide a reader with information on Scientific Linux 6.1. Scientific Linux 6.1 has a new graphical theme called Edge Of Space. Scientific Linux release 6.1 is based on the rebuilding of RPMS out of SRPMS’s from Enterprise 6 Update 1, both Server and Client.

Shafkat Shahzad - M.Sc. Senior Technical Content Manager

Shafkat Shahzad – M.Sc. Senior Technical Content Manager

Tweak RPMs ADDED
One of the goals of Scientific Linux is to be as close to the original vendor release of Enterprise Linux. But there are several things that people want to change, for one reason or another. In order to have both worlds we have created these tweak rpm’s, more commonly known as SL rpm’s. These rpm’s can be added or removed to add or remove a feature. It is up the individual user to determine if they want a particular feature or not.
None of these packages are installed by default unless it is noted that they are.

SL_desktop_tweaks
This adds a terminal icon to the kicker panel for GNOME. It also adds the “add/remove programs” menu item to KDE. Installed by default for the GNOME and KDE desktop groups.

SL_enable_serialconsole
This script makes all the changes necessary to send console output to both the serial port and the screen. This also creates a login prompt on the serial port and allows users to login at this prompt.
There are 4 packages, which correspond to a serial port speed
SL_enable_serialconsole
SL_enable_serialconsole-96 (9600 baud)
SL_enable_serialconsole-192 (19200 baud)
SL_enable_serialconsole-384 (38400 baud)
SL_enable_serialconsole-1152 (115200 baud)
Please note that it is usually best to install this package after an install. A user can either do this by hand, or in the %post section of a kickstart file. This is because the grub file and bootloader aren’t created during an install, until after all the packages are installed.

SL_no_colorls
Turns off “color” of ls.
SL_password_for_singleuser
Changes /etc/inittab to require the root password for single user mode.
This package used to be called SL_inittab_change
CHANGED compared to Enterprise 6
Packages Changed
httpd
Changed index.html. Changed release name
plymouth
Removed the red colors for text mode.
redhat-logos
Changed all trademarked icons and pictures.
Changed styles of items such as background, gdm, and kdm to change the tradedress style.
report
Removed the options to send reports to TUV.
sl-bookmarks
sl-bookmarks replaces redhat-bookmarks
sl-indexhtml
sl-indexhtml replaces redhat-indexhtml
sl-release
sl-release replaces redhat-release
sl-release-notes
sl-release-notes replaces Red_Hat_Enterprise_Linux-Release_Notes*
Packages Changed for building reasons
Please view the packages that have changed for building reasons.
epydoc
epydoc needed a bug fix patch in order for python-nss to build. We put in the following patches from Fedora 13. Fix crash with newer docutils (#578920) – Patch provided by Lubomir Rintel
Add texlive-dvips and texlive-latex requirements (#522249)

kdepim-runtime
Added patch required to build with the webkit (bz#660581)
mod_auth_kerb
Changed “–with-krb5=/usr/kerberos” to “–with-krb5=/usr” because the krb location changed in SL6.
opal
opal needed a bug fix patch in order for ekiga to build. The opal-3.6.6-buildopts.patch was missing one line for it to work properly.
pilot-link
when “autoreconf -is” is called this causes libtool to run from /usr/bin/libtool which is version 2.2.6b but the source ships its own libtool in pilot-link-0.12.4/libtool which is version 2.2.6 and called from the make files. This version mix does not work.
rome
TUV 6 provides jdom-1.1.1 and not jdom-1.0 so it has been changed it to 1.1.1
comps.xml
The comps.xml file determines what packages are in groups. This determines what packages get installed automatically when you select a group during install, or when a user uses yum groupinstall.
Following changes have been made to comps.
 merge all of the comps.xml files from The Upstream Vendor into one file for each arch. If a group was in any of TUV comps.xml files, for that arch, then it was included in our comps.xml file. If a group was default for either of TUV comps.xml, then is was made default in our comps.xml file. If a package was in a group for either of TUV comps.xml files, then it was put in that group in our comps.xml file.
 Following groups are added:
 icewm
 misc-sl
 openafs-client
 repos
 spins
 Changed the following packages from “default” to “optional”
abrt-*, rhn-setup-gnome, rhnsd, system-config-kdump, yum-rhn-plugin

Slacko Puppy 5.5 and 5.6

Posted in Linux by Shafkat Shahzad, M.Sc - Senior Technical Content Manager on August 31st, 2013

The article will provide a reader with information on the diferent versions of Slacko Puppy such as Slacko Puppy 5.5 and Slacko Puppy 5.6.

Shafkat Shahzad - M.Sc. Senior Technical Content Manager

Shafkat Shahzad – M.Sc. Senior Technical Content Manager

Slacko Puppy 5.6
Let’s have a look at Slacko Puppy 5.6 and it’s features:
- supports the new f2fs filesystem;
- - has Linux kernel 3.4.52 for non-PAE and 3.10.5 for PAE-ready build; is compatible with the binary TXZ packages of Slackware 14,
- -accessible through the Package Manager (note that native Puppy Linux packages are called PETs);
- is made using the latest Woof build system of Puppy Linux;
- has improved Updates Manager for access to the latest Slackware security fixes;
- has the latest applications, including Abiword, Sylpheed Mail, and Firefox browser (other browsers are available through the Package Manager);
- runs first-boot wizard that takes care of your desktop settings and connections;
- includes support for many wired and wireless connections including wireless modems;
- has improved graphics and internationalization support;
- has alternative PAE ISO for enabling full access to installed RAM in PAE-enabled, high-memory machines.

Slacko Puppy 5.5
Now, let’s look at the Slacko Puppy 5.5’s features:
- is made using the latest Woof build system of Puppy Linux;
- has Linux kernel 3.2.33 (and 3.4.17 for PAE support);
- is compatible with the binary packages of Slackware 14, accessible through the Package Manager (note that native Puppy Linux packages are called PETs);
- has the latest Firefox browser (other browsers are available through the Package Manager);
- runs first-boot wizard that takes care of your desktop settings and connections;
- includes support for many wired and wireless connections including wireless modems;
- has new SFS and Updates managers;
- has improved graphics and internationalization support;
- has alternative PAE ISO for enabling full access to installed RAM in PAE-enabled, high-memory machines.

After reading the article, a user would have gained knowledge and understanding about the Slacko Puppy 5.5 and Slacko Puppy 5.6.

Linux Maintenance – File system check and repair

Posted in Linux by Shafkat Shahzad, M.Sc - Senior Technical Content Manager on July 26th, 2013

Shafkat Shahzad - M.Sc. Senior Technical Content Manager

Shafkat Shahzad – M.Sc. Senior Technical Content Manager

The article will provide a reader with information on Linux maintenance.
Filesystem Check and Repair
The general issue of filesystem check and repair is the same regardless of which distribution you’re using. There are a number of situations where you may need to do one or the other:
• Your computer won’t boot.
• While your computer is booting, it fails while doing a routine filesystem mount or check. You might be immediately dumped to a rescue mode, or the computer might just lock up.
• There’s suspect behavior and you’re afraid that something’s wrong with your drives.

No matter which of these situations you’re experiencing, the best approach is to begin by either using your distribution’s rescue CD (it’s the first CD or DVD you used to install the distribution) or any LiveCD to reboot the computer. If you’re asked if it should mount any of your existing partitions, say no. It’s important that any filesystem repairs be made on a partition you are NOT currently using. After making sure that the partition you want to check and repair isn’t mounted (the du, mount, and fdisk commands will be helpful here), use the proper command for your filesystem.

Tip
First, become the root user. Then, proceed to the section that matches your distribution.

Repairing ext3 Filesystems
If you’re using Fedora, Kubuntu, Mandriva, or Ubuntu, the command is e2fsck. Type:
e2fsck -fy partition
For example:
e2fsck -fy /dev/sda3
Repairing ReiserFS Filesystems

If you’re using openSUSE, the command is reiserfsck. Type:
reiserfsck –check partition
For example:
reiserfsck –check /dev/sda3
From there, follow instructions, as reiserfsck may tell you to run particular additional commands to repair issues. In general, allow the fsck commands to make all repairs. Again, it is important that you do not attempt to repair a partition you have mounted and are using.

Keep Your System Up to Date
The key to computer stability and security is keeping your operating system and programs up to date. This is the case for Linux as well. Checking once a day is recommended, and at minimum you should accept any updates involving security or bug fixes. To update your distribution:
• Fedora –
• Kubuntu –
• Mandriva –
• openSUSE –
• Ubuntu –
• Linux and Drive De-Fragging

In the Windows world you’re used to needing to occasionally de-fragment your drive, so that the data isn’t scattered all over the place. Doing so both speeds up interactions with your hard drive and can have the handy side-effect of freeing up space.
There really isn’t a need for this regular activity in Linux. Linux approaches file storage on a hard drive differently from Windows, keeping the drive’s internal layout in mind in a more efficient manner, and that of the heads that read and write the data. The point isn’t to avoid fragmentation, that’s nearly impossible, and some might even say undesirable. Instead, the point is to lay out the data in such a way that it’s most efficient to access.
Since fragmentation is a given, Linux makes sure that it isn’t slowed down by seeing what data requests are coming up and grabbing that information earlier than necessary (called reading ahead), along with other optimization measures that make it unnecessary to go through the defragmentation ritual for the sake of speeding up performance.

Linux Migration Guide

Posted in Linux by Shafkat Shahzad, M.Sc - Senior Technical Content Manager on June 29th, 2013

The guide will provide a user with a brief information on Linux Maintenance.

Shafkat Shahzad - M.Sc. Senior Technical Content Manager

Shafkat Shahzad – M.Sc. Senior Technical Content Manager


Accessing Storage Media
Hard drives, USB stick drives, flash drives, floppy disks, CD-ROMs, DVD-ROMs, and all sorts of other items fall under the term “storage media.” Some are permanent media, like hard drives, and some are temporary or removable, like USB sticks. It is simple as a user can just put the USB stick into the USB slot, and when the icon appears on the desktop, double-click it, then a user can right-click the stick on the desktop and unmount it before removing it. A user will also see that the filesystem explorer on the desktop lets a user point and click through a number of possibilities.

If a user is using a computer that can boot into either Linux or Windows, and a user wants to get to the Windows data from Linux. That Windows data is probably on one of the hard drives.
Each of the hard drives is divided into partitions. The fdisk command can help a user determine which partition has Windows data (look for terms such as NTFS or FAT).

Adding New Software
A user will note that Linux distributions offer a user with a massive repository of everything from word processing programs to games and programming tools. A user can take a look at the distribution’s documentation for the specific tools that a user can use to browse and install the offerings. In addition, there are probably extra repositories that a user can tell the computer to search, broadening the access to software even further.

Avoid Root
People new to Linux like to do a lot of things as the root user (the administrator). It is convenient, since root has permission to do everything. However, since root has permission to do everything, it’s very easy to seriously mess things up. It is a good practice to make a regular user account and only log in as root if a user has to.
Entering Single User Mode
Single user mode is actually quite a literal name. It means taking Linux into a maintenance state where there’s no individual accounts or need to log in (and there’s no networking and a lot of other things as well). There are two ways to enter single user mode: at boot time, and while already logged in.

Entering single user mode
Entering single user mode is also called runlevel 1 at boot time involves using the boot menu. If there isn’t a single user or rescue mode option there, there are advanced tricks that a user can use, or a user can accomplish the same thing by logging in and going to single user mode that way.

After reading the article a user would have gained knowledge and understanding of few aspects of Linux Maintenance.


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