My Linux Adventure: Category Archive (Page 2)

A 2004 (literal) web log about getting Linux to work on my PC hardware

Saturday, September 4, 2004
  Back to WBEL

Today, I reinstalled WBEL 3.0. I was able to compile ndiswrapper (as I kept that on my FAT32 drive), and get the network card working smoothly very quickly. (In fact, it seems to be more reliable under Linux than WXP!) With the network up, it was easy to download Firefox, Thunderbird, and OpenOffice, and installing them was a breeze. (I decided to put them under /opt this time, trying to stick with the FHS.) I decided to mount my FAT32 drive under my home directory, as /home/summersd/drive_d. E-mail works fine, but Apache gives me a 403 (Permission Denied) error. MySQL doesn't seem to be working either - I'll have to play with that later.

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Tuesday, August 31, 2004
  A Month in Summary

Well, the last month has been interesting. I was able to get my Windows and Linux installations synchronized by creating a mount point for my second drive under /mnt/drive_d. Under that, I created a directory called /thunderbird for my e-mail, and moved my e-mail and newsgroup folders over there. (The first time, I missed the “newsrc” file, which is important - it tells what newsgroups you've subscribed to and which messages you've read.) Under Windows, I pointed it to D:\thunderbird\, and under Linux, it was configured to /mnt/drive_d/thunderbird/ I then moved the wwwroot directory from C:\Inetpub to drive D:, and pointed IIS to the new location. Under Linux, I did something a little different. As “root”, I deleted the directory /var/www/html, and instead created /var/www/html as a symbolic link to /mnt/drive_d/wwwroot (the actual command is ln -s /mnt/drive_d/wwwroot /var/www/html). That worked great as well.

MySQL was more complicated, but I was eventually able to get it working as well. I created the directory D:\mysql\data for the data, then configured /etc/my.cnf under Linux to look at /mnt/drive_d/mysql/data. I kept getting “Could not connect to server using socket /var/lib/mysql/mysql.sock”. After some digging, it appeared to be a permissions problem. All the documentation said that the default socket was /tmp/mysql.sock, so I changed my.cnf to point there instead, restarted mysqld, and it worked! So, I have no idea what a Unix socket it, but I know that now I have one! :)

I was also able to get DVDs playing using xine, compiling it myself, and using libdvdcss, I can even watch commercial DVDs. I'm really impressed with xine - it handles all kinds of media out of the box, including DivX and up to version 8 of WMV files. You can add codecs to it as well, to support almost anything you want to do from an audio or video perspective. Compiling the player took around 20 minutes, and compiling the front end took another 5. And, it was simple - download the .tar.gz file, do tar xvfz [name].tar.gz, cd [name], ./configure, make install. The ./configure script is the key in the whole process - it looks at what you have installed, and creates make files that will work with your compiler.

Everything started going south, though, when I started having freezes. Eventually, I got to where I could not boot without a kernel panic, and then boot errors (which I detailed in this e-mail to the WBEL user's list. Encouraged by my success over the past month, I decided to return to WBEL - it's supposed to be more stable than FC2, and I bet that I can get ndiswrapper, the dual-booting web server, the common e-mail, and maybe even some other stuff working again.

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Sunday, August 1, 2004

Today I installed Fedora Core 2. This thing is slick! WBEL looked a lot like RH8, which I had seen before my renewed Linux learning began. FC2 has a graphical loader that hides a lot of the background stuff (unless an error occurs) - that's cool. During the install, I skipped and MySQL, although I installed PHP with MySQL support. The reason for that is that I wanted to get the latest and greatest versions of those two products. We'll see if this proves to be a good decision or not.

The wireless network card still wasn't recognized (phooey). I did some more searching, armed with the knowledge that I have an adm8211 chipset. One of the first hits under Google's Linux search for “adm8211” pointed me to a project called NDISwrapper. This is a “wrapper” that uses the vendor's Windows DLL file, and converts the hooks from Windows to Linux. Doing this, this driver can (in theory) support most any network card, especially those that aren't in the Linux Hardware Compatibility List (HCL). I downloaded it, compiled it, and followed the directions to install my driver under it. I still wasn't able to create a connection, but on a hunch, I restarted the computer. NDISwrapper is also a kernel module, and I know that often those are only read at startup. Once the computer was restarted, I was able to create a connection, and now my network card works! YEA!!! (And it was only one night's worth of work - much better.)

Now that I have networking working under both operating systems, I plan to try to get four things working the same, whether I'm booted to WXP or Linux - E-mail (using Mozilla Thunderbird), PHP (using Apache on Linux, IIS on WXP), MySQL (using the exact same version on both), and a web server that uses the same html root directory (again, Apache on Linux, IIS on WXP). If I didn't already have IIS up, running, and configured under WXP, I'd probably just do Apache on both, but this will be interesting - it should work, as I don't have many creative permission rules.

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Saturday, July 24, 2004
  Fedora Core 2 in the Can

In an effort to cleanse my wife's computer of the spyware that dogged it so, I removed all the Linux partitions from my computer to make space for files. I got her computer rebuilt, and I'll be starting from scratch when I get back into it. No worries, though - if I'm going to get any good at setting it up… Kind of reminds me of a joke - a guy in New York asks an old man on the street, “Hey, how do you get to Radio City Music Hall?” The old guy responds, “Practice, practice, practice!”

In looking toward renewed Linux experimentation, I downloaded the .ISO files for FC2. I'm going to start with that, and see if I have any better luck getting my network card to work.

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Monday, July 12, 2004
  Next-Generation Open Source Internet Apps

In setting up my “I'm gonna use this for a while” environment on WXP, I've stumbled across what I feel are two gems. These are the FireFox browser (which I've been using for a while now) and the Thunderbird mail program. Thunderbird is not as fully featured as Ximian Evolution, but I prefer it's interface to that of Mozilla Mail. I also think that once I get back on Linux on a regular basis, I'll install the same version there, and see if I can get my mail to use the same data files whether I'm using Linux or WXP.

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Saturday, July 10, 2004
  Linux Play on Pause

With my inability to get my network working, I have resigned myself to running WXP. Work is starting to get really busy, and my personal life is as well. Maybe at some point in the future I can fire things back up and play some more.

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