jump to navigation

HOW-TO open an exe file in Linux Mint? January 17, 2009

Posted by NAyK in How-To, Linux, Linux Mint, WINE.
10 comments

wine-logoLinux MintThis is a short post telling users how to open an exe file in Linux Mint. (actually I’m the one who wanted to know and couldn’t really find a direct link that could help me until I stumbled upon this solution so this is for me and people like me).

The answer is simple:
1. Uninstall Wine-doors (it’s a programme that comes with Linux Mint).
2. Ensure that your Wine 1+ is installed (it usually is).
3. Run the exe file by double-clicking!

Basically I use exe files in Linux to test whether they have viruses or not… or simply to extract exe files. So it seems that the Wine-Doors programme in Linux Mint blocks exe execution (or there’s a workaround I don’t know about). But this above solution seems to suit me just fine… since wine is pretty capable as a windows emulator in itself.

Advertisements

HOW-TO enable read/write in FAT partition after error (or, an openSUSE Forum review) July 25, 2008

Posted by NAyK in How-To, Linux, OpenSUSE, Recommendation, Reviews, Working with Linux.
Tags: , , , ,
4 comments

This post has two purposes. One to tell how to fix an error that can occur while using dual boot between Windows and Linux (openSUSE). Also, to give a brief review of the openSUSE forum.

Basically, a few weeks ago, I was suddenly unable to write/delete any file from my Windows FAT share in openSUSE. I use Windows XP Home and openSUSE 11, and was having a generally good time with openSUSE, until this problem occurred. I still work extensively in Windows, and so file-sharing between Linux and Windows is crucial. (ps. on the whole, I don’t try to mess with the NTFS partition unless I have to, so I have set up a FAT partition in Windows to better facilitate file sharing from Linux to Windows)

Anyway, for a while I was able to write to my Windows FAT partition, then suddenly, out of the blue, I could only “read” the FAT partition, but not write to it. This affected even my usb flash drives (though this problem mysteriously went away). I desperately tried everything, looking in the internet, enabling NTFS-3G, tried changing permissions etc… but nothing worked. For a while I used my office server to transfer files, but it was getting irritating.

So I did something I never do, I went to the openSUSE forum to send out an s.o.s. help request post.

Just to show how noobish I really am, I just couldn’t figure out how to enter a NEW post… there was only a <replypost> button but to put a <newpost> I struggled in vain. Ultimately after a long time of frustration I suddenly found a button the sections column for <newpost>. In a sense, while I did feel foolish, I still felt that it should be easier to find where to submit a new post, perhaps also in the side-bar. But that’s just me.

Anyway, thinking mine was a hardware query, I posted my first request for help there entitled Cant write on FAT and NTFS (FAT write stopped working)

I realised that the openSUSE forum was quite active, meaning there were many posts requesting help. But when I started browsing for the new queries of other users, I realised that it was quite easy for my post to just disappear from the latest problem. And I think that’s what happened. for a few days there was no response to my query.

I decided to change my category and write a new post in the applications category of the forum. The new post was entitled: Please help: Can’t write/delete FAT (even with SuperUser)

Interestingly, I found almost immediately responses in my “please help” query (perhaps it does help to have a catchy headline?)… and I must state that the help came from none other some senior members and the global moderator (Swerdna). Wow, that’s big!

Anyway, I was quite impressed by such high-level interest in my small request… and we went about trying to fix the problem… as forums do best… through dialogue. And ultimately… a certain DoctorJohn was helpful in intuiting that there could be a problem in my Windows Partition that stopped me from writing to the partition.

I know it all seems obvious now… but when I was going through the turmoil… it was far from a pleasant obvious experience.

Anyway… for the final solution this is what I did… and here’s the HOW-TO part of the post:
1. I made a backup of my vfat partition.

2. Then in openSUSE I did:

umount /windows/E

2b. which was followed by

fsck.vfat /dev/sda5
(as root using “su”)

3. There seemed to be an error in bootsector of the partition and asked whether I wanted to copy from the original to the backup or back to the original. I tried both, but I wasn’t able to fix anything “no files changed” message came up, saying that there was some error in certain files (it thankfully named the files).

4. I therefore went to Windows and deleted those files. And scheduled a boot-time scandisk.

5. Upon completion of the Windows scandisk I reverted to openSUSE and tried to delete a file from my FAT drive…

6. and yes… IT WORKED!!!

Better still, I went to the NTFS partition through ROOT (ie FileManager Super User) and found that I could even write/delete to/from NTFS files.

Back to my review of the openSUSE forum, incidentally just yesterday I found two replies to my query in the hardware section, again, one of the helps was from a senior member. I found that while the openSUSE forum help may not be immediate, it did seem excellent when the help did arrive.

As for structure, it was a little irritating that the forum has a time-out… and does not remember sessions (ie. you have to keep logging in… but it seems to be a Novell related issue… so no need to bother about that).

Also, the forum is primarily “need help” oriented… at least where I went… and I wonder how the people helping have the time to help everyone… especially since the people helping me were pretty senior people (one of them confessed to help me while typing on his cell-phone!)

Anyway, I must admit that considering this was my first help request in a forum, I was more than satisfied by the result. I did need to be patient (a virtue I don’t always have), but for serious issues I know I’ll head faster to the openSUSE forum in the future.

(ps. it must be said on the record that the problem was actually IN windows and not in openSUSE linux. In fact, I wouldn’t have been aware of the problem unless I was using linux for the FAT partition)

Do we really need Crossover? (or using WINE for Dreamweaver 8) June 30, 2008

Posted by NAyK in How-To, Linux, OpenSUSE, Recommendation, Software, Windows, WINE, Working with Linux.
5 comments

I had earlier thought that WINE, the (not) emulator that allowed Windows programmes to be used in Linux, was not advanced enough to use on Dreamweaver 8 and so I opted to work with  Crossover 6 for Dreamweaver and Photoshop installations. I had been experimenting with Crossover 6 on my Ubuntu and PCLinux with basic success. But recently, on my newly installed openSUSE 11, I thought I’d try a direct WINE install of Dreamweaver 8, and guess what? It worked. Basically, I clicked the setup.exe file using WINE and the installer did the rest.

Then I decided to install Crossover anyway… why let a license go waste… but I was disappointed that it didn’t integrate the WINE install onto it’s own menu. So instead, I have my Dreamweaver installed in the WINE directory, while my Crossover remains installed but empty.

So, if WINE does the job, why keep Crossover? Of course, I do need to install Photoshop 7 as well… so I’ll wait to bury Crossover only after I install Photoshop 7 (though I have a feeling that I won’t have problems with Photoshop 7). And hold on… my reference to the necessity of Crossover is for programmes like Dreamweaver and Photoshop alone… not other programmes like MS Office or Windows games that I have not tried nor intend to test.

Of course both WINE and Crossover have a buggy implementation of Dreamweaver 8… but that doesn’t mean that I can’t use the programme. For instance, both using Crossover and WINE I find Dreamweaver acting strange… sometimes the menus disappear and setting up sites becomes a bit of a pain with no options to view.. but still there are plenty of workarounds. Then also, <F12> is the command in Dreamweaver for previewing in browser. But now <F12> launches Beagle Search and I have to make my main browser the secondary browser and preview pages with <CTRL> <F9>. Like I said, no big deal.

I was particularly happy that I could continue to use my openSUSE home directory for all my website development rather than the virtual “C” directory that is in some hidden galaxy on my system.

And before I get any comments about this, of course I’ve tried using NVU and Quantas for website editing. And both are good programmes. I haven’t used Bluefish recently (and I actually should install that too)… but I’m sure it’s good too. Blame it to old habits and an expensive license (for Dreamweaver)… I don’t think I want to change habits in a hurry.

ps. I must add however that NVU seems to have improved significantly since I last used it and is more powerful as a web-developer package than I had previously thought.

HOW-TO fix “Timeout on Server” in openSUSE 11 June 27, 2008

Posted by NAyK in How-To, Linux, OpenSUSE, samba, Software, Windows, Working on Linux, Working with Linux.
Tags: ,
3 comments

Continuing my involvement with openSUSE 11, I am happy to report than now even my office network is connected and browsable (yesterday I had printing success). So things are going well. For now.

1. The problem was that I had attempted to connect to my office network like the openSUSE 10.2 days, and instead found that SAMBA (smb://) was giving me problems and not allowing me to even see my network.

2. I thought it was a KDE4 problem so I installed KDE3.5, and stopped the firewall, and instantly I was able to browse my network through SMB.

3. All good, I thought, until I got the dreaded “Timeout on Server” message when I tried to reaccess the server. I do remember seeing this message in the past, openSUSE 10.2, but was able to fix it by removing the firewall or by restarting openSUSE or even by waiting for a long time. No such luck this time, I had the server timeout message going on for a few days.

4. Internet help, didn’t seem to directly deal with my problem. Neither did the Forums (yes I was desperate). But I did come across a very extensive HOW-TO fix SAMBA from a famous “Swerdna” in the site: http://www.swerdna.net.au/linhowtolanprimer.html#nicwin

5. The HOW-TO was very difficult to follow through verbatum, especially because I am not a systems administrator. But still I trudged along and installed everything I should, and made a few minimal changes.One of the significant changes I made was that in the samba configuration file I replaced workgroup = WORKGROUP to workgroup = NAMEOFMYWORKGROUP (ie. the actual name of my workgroup)

6. I still did not have any luck and kept getting the timeout message.

7. In the Swerdna HOW-TO,however, there were two commands, “rcnmb restart” and “rcsmb restart” (without quotes) as “su” users.This restarts SAMBA.

8. I suddenly had a brainwave and instead of typing my loggin-password details (for my office network as) NAMEOFMYWORKGROUP/myname and PASSWORD I now typed myname and PASSWORD.

9. It worked. the SAMBA configuration had already put my Workgroup name in the settings, so my password was simpler and I guess the restarting of the SAMBA helped as well.

10. So far, my network has worked even though I have restarted my computer, which is a good sign. Now I have to see whether it will work with the SAMBA configured Firewall back on.

11. (latest update: I got the Firewall started and like Swerdna advised did the settings as I should. I realised that I couldn’t browse my network from SMB, it said that my firewall prevented me to, but I could directly access it using my IP address (which I got from my network administrator. So things are still good!).

On to more openSUSE adventures…

Printing with openSUSE 11 (and HOW-TO install MS fonts) June 26, 2008

Posted by NAyK in Fonts, How-To, Linux, Microsoft, OpenSUSE, Working with Linux.
Tags: , , ,
6 comments

For the past four days I’ve been trying to “use” openSUSE 11, and have only just succeeding in taking out a print command.  I must admit that because I do not know my own office network (ie. I’m not a system administrator), there are many things about my network configuration that I end up missing and so I have not been able to adequately configure my openSUSE 11. Of course, I’ve never had to struggle with network issues with PCLinuxOS and even openSUSE 10.2 which was strangely easier to configure, but somehow I know this limitation at the moment is my own and not the distros. openSUSE 11 never claims to be a beginner-friendly distro… just a friendly distro… and so, well, I’m still making friends.

My first major task was to get a print-out. I know that sounds funny but I only just took out my first print job.

Earlier I was trying to use KDE4 for all my work (and I had installed through a single-CD), and not surprisingly most of the CUPS files and SAMBA files were not installed. I went about installing everything, but I still wasn’t able to get access to the office network.

Then I installed KDE 3.5, and I was immediately able to access the network through SAMBA. I wonder why? But still, I explained it as KDE4 teething problems and proceeded to configure printer, which was quite easy in openSUSE 10.2. However here I just couldn’t find an option to “find” printer.

I had to ultimately ask my network supervisor for help and he suggested I directly link to my printers IP address (rather than server address) which was 10.10.10.** but I didn’t know where exactly to type the address using YAST’s printer configuration.

Only after a bit of experimenting I found out that if I put the IP address in the “Global Settings” and that worked! Of course, I realised that the fonts were all way-off because the document I was printing was using Times New Roman.

I realised I needed MS fonts, but I couldn’t find the package in the respositories. So… off to google and the first hit was the one that helped. Ben Kevan’s blog gave a helpful hint about how to instal MS fonts. The following are instructures adapted from there:

i. First install cabextract using KONSOLE

sudo zypper in cabextract

(as it turns out I already had cabextract installed)

ii. Run the following commands in individual lines (pressing enter each time)

wget http://download.opensuse.org/update/10.3/scripts/fetchmsttfonts.sh

chmod a+x fetchmsttfonts.sh

sudo sh fetchmsttfonts.sh

iii. Now wait… my experience was that it tried to find the fastest server but failed to download all the fonts. I just had to do the process again, and it now worked/works.

NOW… my openSUSE 11 is printing, yeah! However, after each printout I’m getting an extra blank page with the message

ERROR: undefined
OFFENDING COMMAND:

STACK:

Well, whatever that means, I’m now at least happy something is happening and look to solve this other problem later.

I also need to figure own my server configuration because I connected to the office server with KDE3.5 without a problem but then now when I try it keeps telling my that the server has been timed out. I’ve stopped my firewall, so that’s not the problem, but that still a problem. I know I should type this all out in a forum… but somehow… sigh….

The first 24-hours with openSUSE 11 (KDE 4) June 20, 2008

Posted by NAyK in Discussions-Conclusions-Hopes, Firefox, First Impressions, Flash 9, How-To, Linux, Open Source, OpenSUSE, Recommendation, Reviews, Software, Wallpapers, Working with Linux.
Tags: ,
12 comments

This is the first of hopefully the first of a few posts on my experiences using openSUSE 11.0 (with KDE 4). This post features download experiences as well as the installation review.

Abstract: Using openSUSE 11, it’s clear that we are in the company of “men” as opposed to “boys” (Ubuntu and PCLOS etc). Sadly, I find myself more a “boy” than “man” while using this distro and feel that openSUSE 11 is certainly NOT a beginner friendly distro… but made for committed Linux users and experimenters.

Brief information about my system: I am using a Lenovo Thinkpad, with (ONLY) 512 RAM and about 10 GB partition for Linux. Oh yes, I mainly use Windows XP (thus I am dual-booting).

Part I: The Download Story

Last night, at 10:00pm, I began my attempt to download the openSUSE 11 DVD using metalink. I’ve been a strong supporter of metalinks and have personally seen them dramatically improve download rates and stability. Sadly, my attempt to download the openSUSE 11 metalink was faced with failure (much like my previous attempt to dowload openSUSE 10.3 using this format). It turns out that Orbit Downloader, the programme I use to download metalinks, seems to have a problem. Whenever I tried to download the DVD (4+ GB), it would allow me to download only 243 MB. It turned out an Orbit problem because the metalink worked with DownThemALL (Firefox extension) and GetRight (a paid download manager). Sadly, each time I tried to download the openSUSE metalink using DownThemAll or GetRight, my Windows kept crashing. This was all-too-mysterious for late in the night and I finally settled to reinstall Orbit Downloader and tried to download the DVD link directly (without Metalink). This time it worked (allowing me to download the full 4+ GB). Sadly, in the morning, about 8 hours later, I found out that Orbit had only downloaded 50% and was giving my speeds of 2 KB/s!!! No luck, I saw.. and resolved to finally download the openSUSE KDE4-Live CD instead.

Part II: The installation story

By 11:00am, I had my openSUSE 11 iso burned and ready for installation. I took detailed notes on each step and the following is a step-by-step guide to what happened.

11:15am – MEDIACHECK

The Mediacheck (checking CD for defects) took about 5 minutes. And thankfully the download and burning was ok (phew!)

Sadly, when it said “press any key to reboot” I pressed any key and the computer didn’t do anything, it was just frozen. I had to do a force restart. (bug or just me?… hmmm… not a good start).

11:21am – Starting LIVE CD

Since my laptop is a little slow (512 MB), it took about 4 minutes for the LIVE CD to launch.

11:25-11:42 – Experimenting with Live CD and beginning installation (partitioning etc).

I spent some time with the pre-installation configurations, especially paying attention to the partitioning table. Interestingly, openSUSE did an excellent job to present a default partition table, but I just had to make sure that everything was alright… so I did my own configuration manually.

Interestingly for me, my time-region was not Calcutta (India), but Kolkota (one of the only distro’s I have seen to have the politically correct name of the time-zone).

11:42am to 11:51 – Installation

I was quite sad that I was using the CD instead of the DVD because there were no software options in the installation configurations (the openSUSE DVD installer has always been exceedingly excellent and powerful, giving users full control over what they want). Still, the installer was fast and the installation process was fast as well. I couldn’t imagine that the openSUSE installation could take about 10 minutes!!! earlier versions have seen me sit for over three hours during openSUSE installations. Things have changed… and that’s great.

11:51am – Reboot

As usual, the openSUSE GRUB was excellent giving me no problems. I’m quite confident that it could have recognised other distros if I had them.

Upon rebooting, the autoconfiguration got going and in about 7 minutes I had completed my openSUSE installation.

11:58am – Problems begin… mainly no internet!

I am spoiled by the “boy” distros, where internet connection is so easy, especially Ubuntu and PCLinux (and of course Linux Mint). But openSUSE really gave me the run around.

Firstly, there was no short-cut, upon installation, for configuration tool. Therefore, becasue I remembered, I went to YAST. But no matter how much network configuration I did, I was just not able to get my internet going.

I decided to use the local wireless to configure and interestingly, there was no wireless problem for openSUSE. That worked seamlessly.Except I couldn’t update on “battery” I was told! whaaat?

Anyway, I figured out that I had to use Knetworkmanager to configure, but even then I realised that I had to allow auto-host through DHCP. Well… that was a lot of trial and error and ultimately by 12:48pm, my wired network was working.

Off to lunch!

AFTER LUNCH CONFIGURATIONS…

Back after lunch, I chose to do my personalised configurations… like wallpapers and flash-plugin for firefox. But the flashplugin would install, I’d restart my browser, and find it not installed. I decided to install using the multimedia codecs downloads. But the repositories were all too slow for me… I had selected about six… so I brought them down to four: OS, NON-OS, General update, Packman And that helped.

The configuration, like Desktop etc was quite different from KDE 3.5 and needed me to get used to… still I’d rather work on this than 3.5. (Plasma, the KDE4 desktop thingy, has crashed ONLY once for me! :) )

For non-free codecs (yes, yes, I’ve sold out), the openSUSE community website has a one-click link for multimedia proprietory codecs, which was a relief.

Then began the other installations, like SAMBA and HP drivers (to allow me to work on my network) and also the other small packages, including some KDE games. But all that took a lot of time, because the repositories kept crashing (I had to keep retrying and sometimes start the whole process again)  Even as I write, that special software process is still going on, and I’m hoping it will finish in a few minutes so that I can go home.

The biggest disappointment after installation was that the repositories didn’t seem to have Firefox 3, and I had to install the manually through the Mozilla site. I haven’t had the heart to install the manual version at the moment, for fear of doing some damage. I’ll wait for all my updates and then get my Firefox updated as well.

The time now is 6:00pm… and I’m tired… and guilty… because I haven’t done much of my ACTUAL work. But still, this was fun, and openSUSE looks good, looks really good. But like I said above, the distro is not for the faint-hearted or pure beginners. I have installed openSUSE earlier, and that experience helped (because openSUSE is not like other distros). I’m still a newbie or a noob, though, and so, I have struggled where others might fly through. Still, I think the distro looks/feels solid and I can’t wait to actually start working with it… tomorrow!

For now, here’s a quick look of my desktop.

openSUSE11

Linux Mint with Skype: “Problem with audio playback” June 19, 2008

Posted by NAyK in How-To, Linux, Linux Mint, Working with Linux.
Tags: ,
27 comments

(latest update: I am currently using the latest Mint 6 and have faced the same problem and sort of the same solution) I’m currently using Linux Mint 5.0 and I just installed Skype 2.0.0.68 that came from the Mint repository. After installing, I logged on (without problem) and then did a test call… only to see the message: “problem with audio playback”.

A Quick search in the internet led me to a forum site that told me that Skype uses “pulseaudio” which does not allow any interference with other audio processes at the same time. The detailed post is found here: skype help forum.

Obviously I didn’t read all of it… but when  I checked, I had my music folder open at that moment, and so I closed it and tried Skype. And It worked.

Then, I thought I’d just start some other work… and go back to Skype… and it gave me the same problem again… ie. said “problem with audio playback” even though I didn’t have any music folder open. I tried many options to get it working, but it didn’t work.

Then finally, I went to the forum and read it a little more… in detail (though not completely). And it asked me to diagnose the problem with pavucontrol (PulseAudio Volume Control). It was already installed in Mint, so I tried to see the audio processes… there were none.

Then as a long-shot, I decided to change the settings of Skype… in the OPTIONS panel… and configured the sound devices to the first option after “Default”. Some VIA something. After that, Skype worked. And is still working.

But interestingly… now when I go back to Skype, options… the sound devices have reverted back to Default.

So well… that’s my ‘story’ for Mint and Skype… that is working is enough for me…and maybe for other beginners like me to.

How Windows helped me fix my Linux May 15, 2008

Posted by NAyK in Confessions, Discussions-Conclusions-Hopes, How-To, Linux, Microsoft, OpenSUSE, PCLinuxOS, Ubuntu, Windows, Working on Linux, Working with Linux.
15 comments

Last night, my Linux (PCLinux) broke. And this evening I finally fixed it, with some help from Windows.

I’ll be telling the whole story along with what happened in the post below, but before that let me start with a few disclaimers (warnings/cautions etc).

First, it was clearly my mistake in the start the led to the demise of my Linux. I messed around with my partition table. Yes, yes, I know, shoot me!

Also, I’m a linux noob (which means, I’m more than a newbie, but not at all proficient with Linux when things go wrong). So, I’m sure there are easier solutions “IN” linux itself, but I had/have no idea about them… the few solutions I did know, didn’t work out for me… but again… that’s just me. In the same vein, I’m not a windows/Microsoft fanboy (nor a linux fanboy mind you). So my intention is not to start another uneccessary Windows-is-better-than-Linux flame-war!

The distribution in question (the one I was using) was PCLinuxOS (my current distribution of choice). Yet my comments here do not reflect on my views about how “good” or “bad” the distribution is, but this post is more a confessional on how I messed it up (so that someone may prevent themselves from making a similar mistake… or make things easier for us young-ones).

On to the story.

1. Last night I wanted to update my PCLinux (I hadn’t done it for a long time). For those who know PCLinux, they’ll know that one of it’s weaknesses is that it does not have an auto-update function like Ubuntu or openSUSE. You have to manually got to Synaptic and “reload” and then “mark upgrades” and then “apply”. So, I hadn’t done that for a while, and so I decided now is the time.

2. I realised, after seeing the size of the updates that my were too huge, and so I decided to completely wipe out my openSUSE 10.3 partition and use that space for my home directory. (ie. I’d have my programme in one partition, and my documents in another, like I do in Windows).

3. So I went to the PCLinux Control Center, went to Mount Points, and deleted the openSUSE partition. I also, choose to mount the free space with /home and the computer nicely asked me if I wanted to copy my current home folder to the new location. For which I said, “yes.”.

4. Sadly, when I saw the new configuration, I saw that the new /home partition was only the size of the home files (about 1.5 GB) and I had another 3.5 GB free… so I decided to increase the size of my new /home partition.

5. The partitioner didn’t allow it, giving some error that I obviously forgot to write down. Anyway, after a couple of tries, I decided I’d deal with that later (using gparted or something) and I decided to continue with my upgrade.

6. Just before I started my upgrades, I noticed that my new /home partition file size was about 4.5 GB (It should have been about 5) but then I thought, “oh, it did it, cool!” and I continued the upgrade.

7. I had about 700 MB of upgrades to do (yes, yes, I know, long long time). And my slow internet connection took hours and hours to do it.

8. In the process, when it said about 1 more hour to go, I went to sleep, before all the the updates were applied. But my computer battery died out (I thought it would be done within two hours, because I had about 2.5 left). But I think all the updates weren’t applied.

9. When I woke up next morning (today) and started PCLinux, it just wouldn’t let me get into the login or desktop screen. I realised I had done a foolish thing, and didn’t know what to do. (ps. I know at this point I should be able to go into Linux through some text mode thingy and fix things, but that is just too hard. I really prefer the gentle Windows “safe mode” that looks so easy compared to the text-mode Linux).

10. I realised I had failed, and since I had made backups of my PCLinux documents (yipee!) I decided to reinstall. (The great thing about Linux is that it’s so easy to reinstall, unlike Windows, that we can do it more often. Perhaps, that’s a bad thing, actually! :) )

11. Sadly, I had given away my last PCLinuxOS 2007 CD to a friend (I have already given away about 8 PCLinux OS CDs), so I had to download it again (using its metalink which took about 1.5 hrs).  (Thank God for metalinks!)

12. Then, my first reinstall attempt failed at the partition time, because it said it couldn’t read my partition, and if I tried to change it I could loose all my data, “Do you want to continue” it asked! What? Obviously NOT!!!

13. I tried again, same response. Realising that something was wrong in the partition, I decided to use Ubuntu LIVE CD to change my partitions, but no luck. It couldn’t go past my partitions.

14. I tried openSUSE oneCD installation (thinking it would be more powerful), still no luck. It told me that it couldn’t change the current settings and would use only existing settings (which I thought was not good).

15. Then I got my gParted out (the Linux partitioning specialist, a really cool/small programme). But even that failed. It just wouldn’t read my partitions, let alone let me edit them.

16. Thankfully, in all this, my Windows was still working, though by then my Windows boot was lost. I used super GRUB rescue (some boot rescue programme that I had lying around, it’s a spanish version that I can’t read, but I know a few buttons are press-worthy and times my windows boot has been restored.). And yes, this time I was able to get back to Windows.

17. And here’s how Windows helped me fix my Linux… I went straightway to MyComputer <right click>, “Manage” and then “storage” and so my partitions. Windows cannot normally read Linux partitions, but it does show that some partition exists (represented by a blank).

18. I deleted the Linux partitions, all of them, including the swap drive.

19. And then I used gParted to format the partitions to ext3 and swap….

20. And then I installed PCLinux, which worked…

21. And then I upgraded… and I’m currently typing on my updated/upgraded PCLinuxOS.

Moral of the story… keep your windows copy handy! No seriously, I was actually surprised that my partitions were so messed up that Linux distributions couldn’t read then.  Usually I use Linux to SOLVE my partitioning problems (Especially a programme like gParted) and this was the first time I had to do it the otherway. I wonder what went wrong. Perhaps, my messed up partitioning process (first) and then compounded by my error-red update/upgrade. Whatever, I’m thankful that my computer is now working… bootloader, windows, linux et al.

My Linux wish-list (which obviously is only a wish list because I have no money to give to Linux to get me these things… not even a measly dollar… because I live in the ‘3rd’ world!)… is:

1. I want a system restore in Linux!

2. I want more graphical help in fixing errors in Linux (something like a Windows safe mode).

3. I want better partitioning control, perhaps with more detail… something that actually shows where one partition ends and where one begins (like the good old fragmenting days of Windows 95)… it shows graphically exactly what bytes (sectors) are where and what to move. I’m thinking something that can be moved around like building blocks… so that we can visually see what we’re doing, rather than as lists and numbers.

4. I want automatic backups of the things that need backuping… but that’s the lazy option I guess. But what I mean is that the partitioning control centre said I should backup my partition table, but I didn’t know how to do it (I still don’t). It would have been nice if it asked instead, “do you want me to help you backup your partition table?” and then I could say, yes or no.

5. I want world peace…

ps. Please (linux fans) don’t shoot me for this post. I love Linux you guys, I really do. And I’m just shooting my mouth off, without actually contributing in support forums etc. I know, I know, I’m a bad person. I’m going to Linux hell for this, but can I appeal to linux-mercy and linux-grace.

How this “poor chap” fixed his GRUB May 27, 2007

Posted by NAyK in Article Watch, Confessions, How-To, Linux, PCLinuxOS, Working with Linux.
3 comments

Recently I ooh-ed and aah-ed about PCLinuxOS 2007. But one gripe I did have was that it messed up my GRUB (ie. it recognised my Windows but it did not recognise my openSUSE partition). While writing that point, I confessed that I have some GRUB problems with many distros and only Ubuntu in my experience recognises and boots everything correctly. I then confessed that I have actually installed an entire Ubuntu distribution (in the past, but on more than one occasion *blush blush*) to fix my GRUB!

Later, I saw a GRUB fixing how-to post that was intended to help ME fix my GRUB, and it referenced me as “the poor chap”. Which I admittedly am! :) The helpful techinical post is found here: http://www.tuxmachines.org/node/16701

Anyway, I was inspired to fix my GRUB, but the post was a little complicated for a noob like me. And so I did what I usually do, go for shortcuts and hope for the best. The following text is extrapolated from the comment I wrote in that post. Hope that helps some people, though I would urge as many people as possible better read the helpful techinical post to get a better idea of how to REALLY fix the thing.

*****

Hey thanks for your effort, but what you wrote, for a person like me, was tooo scary. Really, I’m one of these people who find it difficult to read too much technical stuff… and so I found it difficult (and scary) to read your help. But you did inspire me to fix my GRUB immediately, and so, I did. And this is how I did it.

Firstly, taking on from your pointer, I realised that GRUB is just code. Thanks for that pointer.

Secondly, I realised that I actually needed to “cut and paste” only. Thanks for this pointer too.

However what I did, was I went to my openSUSE GRUB menu.lst and opened the file (using su) and then I copied openSUSE’s boot code, which in my case was

title openSUSE 10.2
root (hd0,3)
kernel /boot/vmlinuz root=/dev/hdc4 vga=0x317 resume=/dev/hdc3 splash=silent
initrd /boot/initrd

I pasted this to the end (replacing my previous openSUSE detailed attempt). And then tested.

Viola, it worked!

Now I know that people like me are the bane of linux. Meaning, if I knew the code, I’d understand it… but instead, more and more, a generation of windows-based users (like me) are infiltrating linux and filling the space with a desire for ‘easy’ solutions. I try not to be one of them, but sometimes I am. However, I guess I have to go with my strengths. I don’t think I will ever be friendly about understanding code (cut and paste solutions are just about all that I can do), and so I guess I want to thank you again for taking the time to address this issue… and hopefully there will be more people who will read your entry and actually UNDERSTAND what they’re doing.

Cheers!

PCLinuxOS 2007 installation review and first impressions May 26, 2007

Posted by NAyK in Discussions-Conclusions-Hopes, First Impressions, How-To, Linux, OpenSUSE, Other Distros, PCLinuxOS, Recommendation, Reviews, Screenshots, Ubuntu, Working on Linux, Working with Linux.
77 comments

Never have I had such an incident free installation procedure before. Really! I’m not joking. There’s literally nothing much (in terms of problems) to report. My installation of PCLinuxOS 2007 was simple and error free. What I will say now (about installation) will be comments on certain preferences and perhaps some confusion on (my) part. However, I would say that while PCLinuxOS 2007 installation was one of the most simple and straight-forward linux installations I have ever done, it wasn’t perfect!

Installation Ease? 10/10

Speed of installation? I think I had a whole installation completed in under 30 minutes. That’s excellent, though not as fast as Freespire which I think has a record (on my machine) of about 10-12 minutes!

Configuration capability? Now there’s the problem. I guess every Linux distro has to choose between how “easy” to make an installation and how “configurable”. Well, PCLinuxOS’s installation configuration ability is not thaaaat great. It’s sufficient, but somehow, it is a little scary because when you’re messing with the partition editor, everything looks “fun” even “childlike” and the gravity of the situation just seems to be lacking. The advanced options are limited and often unhelpful. Perhaps to compare, one of the BEST installations in term of configuration was openSUSE 10.2. Now in that installation you can almost change everything (including which windows drives to mount or not)! But I guess, PCLinuxOS just saves the user the trouble and does the thinking for you. Nice, but a little frustrating to non-so-new Linux users.

Bootloader? Well the final bootloader looks pretty, and it even automatically recognises my Windows XP partition, but it failed to recognise my openSUSE 10.2. This was made all the more frustrating because while installing there was no way I could add (or figure out how to add) the full details for openSUSE which was really frustrating. Anyway, all this should not be a problem for those who work only with Windows and PCLinuxOS. I must say though, that the BEST bootloader installation is by Ubuntu, which doesn’t look pretty, but recognises EVERY single distribution that I’ve had on my machine. In fact in times of greatest frustration, I’ve actually loaded an entire Ubuntu just to fix my GRUB. OK… that suggests I’m still a noob, but it also shows how reliable I think Ubuntu’s grubloader is. (latest update: I have eventually fixed my GRUB, but by using a shortcut. Report here)

Internet connectivity? No hassles at all. My DSL modem worked fine as soon as I entered my IP address etc details.

Graphics display? I must add that PCLinuxOS has been one of the BEST (alongside Mandriva) out of the box experiences in terms of my monitor graphics display. Usually, in openSUSE, Ubuntu and any other distro I’ve tried, I’ve usually had to re-configure my Graphics display settings, and even download a VIA driver when available. And even with a VIA drivers, my Ubuntu display blinks! No such problem in PCLinuxOS. It’s working. No configuration needed. And that’s excellent. Really excellent!

Multimedia Codecs? Well, I’ve not tried everything, but so far, everything has worked; EVEN DIVX movies. Can you believe that? (Yes it plays DVDs and mp3s too) No need to install anything. I’m yet to try a Quicktime .mov file, so I’m not sure about that, but any distro that can read my .divx (which even Windows needs a software package for!) out of the box is excellent! (latest update: oops, PCLOS does not play my encrypted DVDs. It seems that is a company policy. So I found out (from a post) that if you want to play DVDs you have to install win32-codecs and libdvdcss2 from the Synaptic. When I did that, it still didn’t play DVD (only .vob file by .vob file). And then I found this post which says that the above solution is will not work for encrypted DVDs: http://www.pclinuxonline.com/wiki/PlayDVDs?show_comments=1 I even installed XINE and still it didn’t work. This is so sad.)

Look and feel? I must say that PCLinuxOS is visually a standout distro! The icons and the desktop look unified, as if they had one designer thinking it all through. We don’t get the modular design look (where many designers work on different programmes to give their own ‘personal’ and contradictory touch). In terms of other distro’s, openSUSE is pretty good, but you still have to work to make it look really good. Ubuntu is just terrible! But PCLinuxOS is just simply beautiful. It did remind me of Dreamlinux, but a better version of Dreamlinux! It even makes the blue look good (and I hate blue distros)! There is one minor drawback. I think because of the lack of ‘proprietary’ fonts, the font-display of my webpages is not as ‘good’ as on openSUSE or on Windows. Well, that can be changed, or gotten used to, but that’s just an additional comment.

Software Packages? I’ve given the packages in PCLinuxOS a quick look-in and I’m surprised that all the major programmes are there… OpenOffice 2.2, GIMP etc. But I’m surprised that the games are missing. That’s sad. Because for such a distro, the games would only help strengthen it. I know where to get the games, but I wish, especially if/when I were to give this distro to a newcomer, the games were already there because it would just be that much more attractive (because the Linux collection of games are actually quite fun… some of them at least).

Summary? Basically, PCLinuxOS 2007 lives up to the hype. And as a single-CD distribution, it looks and feels much better than Ubuntu, at least in its first impression. I find myself missing the power of openSUSE, but then, openSUSE being a multi-CD distro with big-buck-support, is a tough act to beat. I liked PCLinuxOS for all the reasons people are saying that it is a great distro: looks, ease of use, out of the box multimedia functionality etc. And I can’t wait to try and test it out more. Cheers to the PCLinuxOS team. This is really a Linux Plus!

(final screenshot after installation and slight modification below)

PCLinuxOS 2007