Wednesday, December 23, 2009

PCLinux OS on Intel 82845 chipset

PCLinux OS is a very user friendly Linux Distribution which I have not tried since long. I am bored with Ubuntu Karmic and most mainstream distributions since the desktop I am using at present has Intel 82845 chipset which has problems with all these distributions because the problem lies with the latest intel driver. When I looked at PCLinux OS it has X.Org X Server built in 2007 and I thought it should work on this machine.

I decided to have a look at their LXDE Live CD and downloaded the iso. I mounted the iso and copied vmlinuz and initrd.gz in pclos folder on the root of sda4 partition (mounted at /media/disk) and livecd.sqfs at root of sda4:
mkdir /tmp/pclos
sudo mkdir /media/pclos
sudo mount pclinuxos-lxde-2009.4.iso -o loop /tmp/pclos
sudo cp /tmp/pclos/isolinux/vmlinuz /media/pclos
sudo cp /tmp/pclos/isolinux/initrd.gz /media/pclos
sudo co /tmp/pclos/livecd.sqfs /media/

Then I wrote the following lines in/etc/grub.d/40_custom:

menuentry "PCLinux OS" {
set root=(hd0,4)
linux /pclos/vmlinuz livecd=livecd root=/dev/rd/3 vga=788 keyb=us splash=silent fstab=rw,auto changes_dev=/dev/hda4
initrd /pclos/initrd.gz

and updated grub:
sudo update-grub

If you are having Legacy grub you have to write following lines in /boot/grub/menu.lst:

Title PCLinux OS
root (hd0,4)
kernel /pclos/vmlinuz livecd=livecd root=/dev/rd/3 vga=788 keyb=us splash=silent fstab=rw,auto changes_dev=/dev/hda4
initrd /pclos/initrd.gz

After reboot I could choose "PCLinux OS" on grub menu and get the Login screen. I logged in as guest and I could see the LXDE Desktop but could not do much before it froze. Then I added vesa at the end of linux boot line in grub and I could use the Live CD.

I went to PCLinuxOS Forum and searched for 82845 and read a couple of posts and got a solution in this post. PCLinux OS loads intel driver which does not work for 82845 chipset, however, it also has the old i810 driver which works.

I clicked on Configure your computer icon in the Application Launch Bar entered the root password (root), clicked on Hardware/Set_up_the_graphical_server/Graphic_card_selection (Intel 810 and later) and changed it to Intel 810, accepted the changes and clicked on Ok to logout. Unfortunately, I got blank screen on logout.

On next attempt I booted without vesa driver and followed the above procedure once again. This time I could get Login screen on logout and after re-login the driver was changed to i810.

If you intend to install PCLnuxOS the blank screen on logout should not matter since the change of driver is already saved by the system.

I can say that PCLnux OS 2009 works for Intel 82845 chipset with i810 driver.

I have added changes_dev=/dev/hda4 to boot options to have persistent Live system. Now when I change the driver to i810 the new configuration is saved for reboot. The default web browser is Midori. I have installed Firefox 3.5.6 using Synaptic package manager and it is available on reboot.

If you are looking for how to use Ubuntu Karmic on Intel 82845 chipset read this post.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Sidux with XFCE.

I had tried KDE version of Sidux earlier in May 09 and wrote about it in this post. I decided to try XFCE version this time and downloaded the latest iso. As before I wanted to boot from iso without burning a CD. Now I have grub2, therefore, I opened /etc/grub.d/40_custom to edit and wrote the following lines in it:
menuentry "sidux 32bit from ISO" {
set root=(hd0,4)
linux /sidux/vmlinuz boot=fll quiet vga=791 fromiso=/sidux/sidux.iso persist tz=Asia/Calcutta
initrd /sidux/initrd.img

First I copied the iso to 'sidux' directory at the root of sda4 partition (mounted at /media/disk)
sudo cp sidux-2009-03-momos-xfce-i386-200911110039.iso /media/disk/sidux/sidux.iso

Then I mounted the downloaded iso and copied vmlinuz and initrd.img to 'sidux' directory at the root of sda4 partition (mounted at /media/disk):
mkdir /tmp/sidux
sudo mount sidux-2009-03-momos-xfce-i386-200911110039.iso -o loop /tmp/sidux
cd /tmp/sidux/boot
sudo cp vmlinuz* /media/disk/sidux/vmlinuz
sudo cp initrd.img* /media/disk/sidux/initrd.img

Then I updated grub to get the sidux entry in grub menu:
sudo update-grub

Then I restarted and selected 'sidux 32bit from ISO' entry in Grub menu and I could boot into the XFCE Desktop on latest Sidux.

There was a freeze after some time because of the bug in Xorg for Intel 80845 chip-set.
I had faced same problem on Ubuntu Karmic on this chip-set and forced Xorg to use vesa driver by writing xorg.conf. I copied the file to /fll/cow/etc/X11 on sda4:

Section "Monitor"
    Identifier    "Configured Monitor"

Section "Screen"
    Identifier    "Default Screen"
    Monitor        "Configured Monitor"
    Device        "Configured Video Device"

Section "Device"
    Identifier    "Configured Video Device"
    Driver        "vesa"

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Google Chrome Browser for Linux

Some Linux users were already running Google Chrome Browser from dev channel. Now Google has announced immediate availability of Google Chrome Browser for Linux. You can download it from here. You can download themes and extensions. See my screenshot. I have installed Similar Pages, Feedly, Aviary screenshot utility, Gmail checker and Xmarks extensions and you can see their icons on right side.

Update on Dec 12
When Google announced Chrome Beta it was version and unstable version was also same, however, the development continues and if you upgrade unstable today it is at version If you installed unstable before beta was announced the version changes if you upgrade, however, those who installed beta the version remains at, therefore, if you want to stick to beta remove unstable and install beta or don't upgrade unstable and let it stay at version
Update on Dec 17
Today Chrome Beta also got updated to version

Monday, December 07, 2009

Using Google Chromium OS on Desktop.

After Google announced the availability of source of Chromium OS VMWare and USB images appeared on internet. I downloaded USB image but it exceeded the 2 GB size of my pendrive. Then a smaller USB image (less than 1 GB) was made by a developer and I downloaded it today from this site. I extracted the image and copied it to the pendrive through:
sudo dd if=ChromeOS-Cherry.img of=/dev/sdb bs=4M

I could boot from USB to the login screen but it froze after login then I realized that I was using a desktop which has Intel 82845G chipset. Then I modified xorg.conf on the USB stick to use vesa driver.

I could then get to the Chrome browser. I could browse but noticed following two problems:
  1. I was already logged in to my Google account but could not use the Blogger even after I logged out of gmail and tried to login to Blogger. The Blogger complains about cookie functionality.
  2. When I type I have to wait a few seconds before the text appears on the browser.
Note: On next boot I was already logged into Blogger. You can ignore point 1.

Thursday, December 03, 2009

Xmarks on Google Chrome Browser.

I have been running Google Chrome Browser (unstable) on Ubuntu Linux. Today I discovered that I can run Xmarks for Chrome Alpha, version 0.5.11 on it. I clicked on the download link of Xmarks through Chrome Browser and it installed as an extension.

You need to have an Xmarks account to access the download link and the Google Chrome Browser should be from Development Channel.

Xmarks is working perfectly on Google Chrome from dev channel.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

How to change default Operating System on Ubuntu 9.10 Karmic Koala

Some people use Ubuntu in dual boot with Windows and they prefer to make Windows as default Operating System. Prior to Ubuntu 9.10 this was achieved by changing the default line in /boot/grub/menu.lst file.

Ubuntu 9.10 Karmic Koala has Grub2 which does not have menu.lst file. The configuration file is /boot/grub/grub.cfg which is not supposed to be edited even by root. The primary configuration file for changing menu display settings is /etc/default/grub. The procedure to change the default OS is as follows:

Count the line number in the Grub menu taking first line as 0.
$ gksudo gedit /etc/default/grub

Change 0 in this line to the desired number:

Save and close the file

$ sudo update-grub

After running update-grub the default will change in grub.cfg

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

Running Ubuntu Karmic on Intel 82845G/GL[Brookdale-G]/GE Chipset

My daughter's Desktop which I use while at Bhubaneswar has this chipset:

$ lspci -nn | grep VGA
00:02.0 VGA compatible controller [0300]: Intel Corporation 82845G/GL[Brookdale-G]/GE Chipset Integrated Graphics Device [8086:2562] (rev 03)

I have installed Ubuntu 9.10 Karmic Koala on this machine and it is having random freezes. I have submitted a bug report but I don't think the bug is going to be resolved very soon. There is another bug resembling mine (my bug may be a duplicate) which has been submitted upstream on but I don't think that it may be resolved soon.

I decided to change to vesa driver but there was no xorg.conf. I used the following xorg.conf:

Section "Monitor"
Identifier "Configured Monitor"

Section "Screen"
Identifier "Default Screen"
Monitor "Configured Monitor"
Device "Configured Video Device"

Section "Device"
Identifier "Configured Video Device"
Driver "vesa"

There is no freeze using vesa driver.

Update on Jan 1 2010
There is some activity on the bug report. The commit in the Kernel responsible for this bug has been identified and informed upstream. Meanwhile I have found that if I use IceWM instead of gnome there is no freeze with intel driver. If you are comfortable with IceWM you can also use it.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

How to boot Ubuntu from Desktop iso.

I have been trying various Linux distributions by copying the contents of Live CD ISO to a spare partition, editing menu.lst file of Grub for suitable entries and booting the operating system. This method saves a CD.

Grub2 is the default boot-loader on Ubuntu 9.10 Karnic for previous distributions you have to install it.

To install Grub2:
$ sudo apt-get install grub-pc
This will install Grub2 but does not replace Grub Legacy and puts an entry in /boot/grub/menu.lst to Chainload and try it. After you find that it is working you need to replace Grub Legacy by Grub2:
$ sudo upgrade-from-grub-legacy

I installed Grub2 recently and discovered that it can directly boot from ISO. I had Ubuntu 9.10 Desktop CD ISO to try. Instead of copying the contents of the ISO I copied the ISO in my-ISO folder on one partition (sda4). Then added following entry in the file /etc/grub.d/40_custom
menuentry "Karmic Live CD (sda4)" {
loopback loop (hd0,4)/my-ISO/ubuntu-9.10-desktop-i386.iso
linux (loop)/casper/vmlinuz boot=casper iso-scan/filename=/my-ISO/ubuntu-9.10-desktop-i386.iso
initrd (loop)/casper/initrd.lz

Then I updated Grub2:
$ sudo update-grub

The update copied the above menu entry from /etc/grub.d/40_custom to /boot/grub/grub.cfg (Please note that you are not supposed to edit grub.cfg directly).

On reboot I selected the new menu entry "Karmic Live CD (sda4)" and could boot from the ISO.

Please note that on Grub2 sda4 is represented by  (hd0,4) and not  (hd0,3) like in Grub Legacy.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

How to make manual entry in Grub2 on Ubuntu.

I installed Ubuntu 9.10 Karmic Koala RC today on one partition using Desktop CD. This version of Ubuntu has Grub2 which is under development. The Grub did not detect Ubuntu 9.04 Jaunty Jackalope and I could not boot into it till I studied the problem and resolved it.

As suggested on Ubuntu Wiki I tried the following workaround:

$ sudo apt-get install --reinstall libdebian-installer4
$ sudo os-prober
$ sudo update-grub

The above commands detected the Jaunty installation and updated /boot/grub/grub.cfg file (equivalent of /boot/grub/menu.lst file) but put wrote wrong partition #.

After reading Grub2 documentation on Ubuntu Wiki I made following manual entry in the file /etc/grub.d/40_custom

menuentry "Ubuntu 9.04" {
set root=(hd0,8)
linux /vmlinuz-2.6.28-16-generic root=UUID=5fdb796b-96c0-49f1-80ec-9455e337625c ro xforcevesa quiet splash
initrd /initrd.img-2.6.28-16-generic

The partition numbering system has changed on Grub2 and (hd0,8) now means sda8 partition. After writing the above file I had to run:
$ sudo update-grub

to add the entry in grub.cfg file.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

How to create Google Chrome theme with your picture.

Since the day I installed Mariah Carry theme on Google Chrome I wanted to create one with my picture. This did not work immediately since the Linux version of Chrome browser could not pack the theme into .crx file. The new version does.

Here is the screenshot of my theme:

This is how I created it:
Create a folder MyTheme and another folder Image inside it. Copy the following text on editor and save it as manifest.json in MyTheme folder.

   "name": "name_of_theme",
   "theme": {
      "colors": {
         "bookmark_text": [ 255, 255, 255 ],
         "frame": [ 255, 255, 255 ],
         "ntp_background": [ 45, 42, 41 ],
         "ntp_header": [ 0, 0, 0, 1 ],
         "ntp_link": [ 255, 255, 255 ],
         "ntp_section": [ 68, 68, 68, 0.3 ],
         "ntp_section_link": [ 255, 255, 255 ],
         "ntp_section_text": [ 255, 255, 255 ],
         "ntp_text": [ 255, 255, 255 ],
         "tab_background_text": [ 0, 0, 0 ],
         "tab_text": [ 255, 255, 255 ],
         "toolbar": [ 0, 0, 0 ]
      "images": {
         "theme_frame": "Image/theme_frame.png",
         "theme_ntp_attribution": "Image/theme_ntp_attribution.png",
         "theme_ntp_background": "Image/theme_ntp_background.png",
         "theme_tab_background": "Image/theme_tab_background.png",
         "theme_toolbar": "Image/theme_toolbar.png"
      "properties": {
         "ntp_background_alignment": "bottom",
         "ntp_background_repeat": "no-repeat",
         "ntp_logo_alternate": 1
      "tints": {
         "buttons": [ 1, 1, 1 ]
   "version": "3"

Replace "name_of_theme" with the name you want to give to the theme.

Now you require following images in the Image folder:



theme_ntp_background.png (Put your photograph as this image)



You can download the images from this page.

Next step is to pack the theme. Type the following in the address bar of the chrome browser:
Click on Pack_extension under Tools.
Click on Browse for Extension_root_directory
Chose MyTheme Folder
Click on Ok.
This will create two files MyTheme.crx and MyTheme.pem.

Now you have to open the .crx file using Chrome browser. You can do this by typing the following in the address bar:

Save the file and the theme is installed.

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

Google Chrome Browser on Ubuntu with nice themes.

As per Google the Chrome Browser for Linux is under development. For Ubuntu user it is a fairly developed Browser with Flash working and even themes could be installed from Google Chrome Themes Gallery. Look at the Mariah Carry Theme on my Browser running on Ubuntu 9.04 Jaunty Jackalope:

I have installed Daily Build of Chromium Browser available on following PPA:
the GPG key can be added from the following command:
sudo apt-key adv --recv-keys --keyserver 4E5E17B5

For some people what I have installed from PPA is Chromium and not Google Chrome, although, both are same browser. If you want to install with the name Chrome here is the link to Chrome .deb package

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Tux Paint Open Source Drawing Software for Children.

I installed Tux Paint on Ubuntu for my grand daughter but while teaching her how to use it I have fallen in love with it since I can't paint. It has an option called Stamps which can be used to insert images on the canvas like the following images of the Sun, Seagull and 3 types of houses on the following painting:

Talking about my lousy painting I painted this one using GIMP.

Thursday, September 03, 2009

Install new Opera 10 on Ubuntu

Opera 10 was released on 1st September and I tried to upgrade since the Opera deb repository was already available on my software sources file. Then I noticed that I had not added the Opera GPG Key. I added the key:
$ wget -O - | sudo apt-key add -

and I could upgrade to the new version.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

How to talk using Pidgin 2.6.1 on Ubuntu Jaunty.

Pidgin 2.6.0 was released on Aug 19 2009 and brought good news to Linux users that it comes with Voice and Video support.

This is how I installed on Ubuntu 9.04 Jaunty Jackalope.

Removed existing Pidgin:
sudo aptitude purge pidgin pidgin-data libpurple0 libpurple-bin
Add the following repositories to Software sources:
deb jaunty main
deb-src jaunty main
Add signing keys:
sudo apt-key adv --keyserver --recv-keys A1F196A8
Update and install:
sudo aptitude update
sudo aptitude install pidgin
For audio/video calls:
Double click the buddy and
Click on Conversation/Media in the new window.
If the buddy does not have audio/video facility the options will be greyed out.

Friday, July 31, 2009

Google Applications for small business owners.

My son-in-law launched a company this month and was looking for low cost email, Document Sharing and website solution and I discovered standard edition of Google Applications which is giving more than he asked for and only at the cost of a domain registration.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Printing Mailing Labels using gLabels

When there are weddings you need to send large number of invitations. You need to build postal address database and then print mailing labels. I had prepared address database for my daughter's marriage in 2001 but lost the file due to loss of hard disk on my old desktop from which data could not be recovered.

Another marriage is planned in Nov 2009 and since advance period of rail reservations is 3 months formal letters of invitations are required to be sent by first week of Aug 09.

This time I have prepared the Database in Spreadsheet on Google Docs so that it does not get lost. I have shared the document with others so that addresses could be fed into it quickly.

I bought Mailing Labels from a Stationery shop and the page format is 210x306 mm which looks non-standard. The product is from Oddy and perhaps obsolete (meant for Dot-matrix Printers).

I tried to create the Labels in Open Office but it has selection for Brand of paper and Oddy was missing from the list and no Brand was close enough.

Then I searched for "Printing Labels on Ubuntu" and discovered gLabels and installed it.

gLabel also had many templates but I decided to create one for Oddy for the paper size I had. There is a Template Designer accessible through File Menu. I selected custom size of paper and entered the measured dimensions. Then I entered the dimensions of the Label, no of Labels on the paper (16), horizontal and vertical pitch etc. carefully and saved the template but it was not satisfactory. Then I opened the XML file of the template from ~/.glabels as text file and edited and saved it.

gLabel does not accept spreadsheet data, therefore, I saved it in CSV format and used it through "Merge Properties". For entering text on the label, I created the text objects and inserted the merge fields into them.

I could print the Mailing Labels perfectly on the non-standard stationery. Before printing I went into the printer set up and selected Custom paper size.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Opera Unite provides webserver, chat room, file sharing right from your PC.

Opera Unite was launched on 16th June 09 and I decided to give it a try on first day. When I clicked on the download link on Opera Unite page it was nothing but version 10.00 Beta of Opera browser. I downloaded the .deb package and installed on Ubuntu Jaunty Jaackalope.

When I opened the browser there was Unite icon on side panel. I could use myopera userid and password to setup the system on my PC. Immediately I could start the chatroom on my PC and send the link to my friends and chat with them.

I had developed some content regarding my experience on steam Turbines using Tiddlywiki in 2007. I could immediately setup website on my PC using that content.

For sharing photos and files I don't need to upload them anywhere. My friends could download directly from my PC.

All these things have become so easy for common user.

Wednesday, June 03, 2009

Uzbl the new usable browser on Ubuntu 9.04 Jaunty Jackalope

Uzbl is a new Webkit based browser with minimal graphical interphase. For opening a URL you have to type 'o URL' and it opens. See the screenshot below:

For adding a bookmark you have to type 'B'. For loading a bookmark you have to type 'u' and for loading a URL from history you have to type 'U'.

Actually o, B, u, U etc are keybindings defined in the config file and B, u and U also call the required scripts.

Tabbed browsing is not available but you can open any number of windows for different URLs.

This browser is being developed on Archlinux and easily installable from AUR. The bookmarks and history use the utility dmenu which has been patched for displaying the URLs vertically and available as dmenu-vertical in AUR.

After installation you can start the browser with 'uzbl' command but you get a blank browser window which does nothing since there is no default configuration. You need to create 'uzbl' folder in ~/.config and copy the following two files in it:
cp /usr/share/uzbl/examples/configs/sampleconfig ~/.config/uzbl/config
cp /usr/share/uzbl/examples/configs/cookies ~/.config/uzbl/

For bookmarks you need to create 'uzbl' folder in ~/.local/share and copy the file:
cp /usr/share/uzbl/examples/data/bookmarks ~/.local/share/uzbl/

and create an empty session file:
cd ~/.local/share/uzbl
touch session
You can also create a launcher uzbl.desktop:
[Desktop Entry]
Exec=/usr/bin/uzbl %u
All the above settings are required even on Archlinux on which it is being developed since the developer is trying to just give a browser with all other things managed from scripts outside the browser, although, thy are giving 'example scripts' and the settings given above configure these example scripts to work in conjunction with the browser.

Now let us come to installation of uzbl on Ubuntu 9.04 Jaunty Jackalope.

For installing the recent version of Webkit Library add the following sources to /etc/apt/sources.list
deb intrepid main
deb-src intrepid main
to import keys
sudo apt-key adv --recv-keys --keyserver 0x991e6cf92d9a3c5b
and to install
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install git git-core libwebkit-dev
to compile and install uzbl
git clone git://
cd uzbl
sudo make install
After installation on Ubuntu you need to create uzbl directory in ~/.config and ~/.local/share and copy/create the files as stated above.

In addition, Ubuntu does not have $XDG_DATA_HOME set to ~/.local/share by default and dmenu-vertical is not available in Debian/Ubuntu repositories. These things are required by the example scripts.

There are various ways to set the environment variable $XDG_DATA_HOME but I simply decided to put the following line in the load_url_from_bookmarks and insert_bookmark scripts for the time being.
I have downloaded dmenu-4.0 sources from:

and the required patch from:
and compiled dmenu-vertical:
tar -xvzf dmenu-4.0.tar.gz
cd dmenu-4.0
patch -p1 < ~/path-to/dmenu-vertical-history.patch
sudo checkinstall
I used checkinstall to make .deb package of dmenu-vetical.

Monday, June 01, 2009

VOIP to Gtalk, YM, MSN using Gizmo.

I have setup Gizmo on Ubuntu and called couple of friends (Windows users) on their Gtalk and Yahoo Messenger and had voice chat today and surprised them.

Gizmo has not updated its Linux version since Nov 2007 and there is lot of criticism by Linux users on its forum. I had to use OSS to make the audio work.

Once setup and audio checked through free sip call to Echo Test I could easily import the Gtalk and YM buddies and could have text chat with online buddies but voice chat did not work. This was happening because they were setup as (Gtalk)

Then I added one contact as and called him and had successful voice chat.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Booting sidux from iso with persistent

I wanted to try sidux since long time. I downloaded the KDE lite version and searched on Google for 'sidux boot from iso' and got the page Booting with "fromiso" of sidux manual.

I created sidux folder at the root of an ext3 partition and copied the iso, vmlinuz and initd.img as per instructions and created following entry in /boot/grub/menu.lst

title sidux 32bit from ISO
kernel (hd0,X)/sidux/vmlinuz boot=fll quiet vga=791 fromiso=/sidux/sidux.iso persist
initrd (hd0,X)/sidux/initrd.img

After booting into sidux KDE 3.5.10 desktop I configured static IP through Ceni. Then I added noxorgconf and nonetwork boot parameters so that sidux does not create xorg.conf and reconfigures the network on reboot.

Since I don't like browsing with Konqueror I installed Iceweasel.

After reboot I found my static IP configuration intact and Iceweasel available.

The persist boot parameter creates folder fll at the root of same partition and uses the remaining space on the partition.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Installation of Archlinux from archiso-live-2009-05-24.iso

I had earlier installed Archlinux after downloading Core installer and following Beginners Guide on ArchWiki.

After reading about Archlinux Live CD archiso-live developed by godane on latest issue of Distrowatch Weekly I decided to give it a try and also use the installer.

I was very much impressed with the Live CD with Xfce as default and choice of LXDE, e17, gnome, openbox-session, Fluxbox by pressing F1 key at Slim Login Manager. The normal user login is arch/arch and root login is root/ArchLinux

The choice of applications is also good:
Blender, Comix, GIMP, GPICViewer, Rawstudio, mtPaint in Graphics category
Arista, Asunder, Audacious, Audacity, Avidemux, Elisa, Hydrogen, VLC in Multimedia category
Abiword, Gnumeric, HomeBank in Office category.

I decided to give the installer a try. Initially, the installer produced some errors after partitioning stage while copying files. I googled for the errors and decided to logout and login as root.

The installer worked this time and copied all the files successfully and failed at Bootloader stage (which I did not want to use anyway).

I found the installation in order except /etc/fstab (which was meant for Live CD) and some tweaks needed in /etc/rc.conf file DAEMONS line. I used the Beginners Guide to build /etc/fstab and also corrected the DAEMONS line.

I made an entry in present /boot/grub/menu.lst as suggested in Beginners Guide and I could boot into the installed Archlinux.

I found that the installer did not delete the Live CD user "arch", therefore, I logged in as arch password arch and everything is working fine.

I updated the system through pacman and found upgrades to clamav, docbook, pidgin, xchm and openvpn which I applied.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Ulx 9.04 Ubuntu based LXDE Live CD with all applications.

Today I am putting new iso of Ulx 9.04 on which has Ubuntu 9.04 minus Gnome (replaced by LXDE), gnome-panel (replaced by lxpanel), Nautilus (replaced by PCManFM), gnome-terminal (replaced by LXTermina), gedit (replaced by Leafpad) but all other applications on LXDE Desktop. I have removed things which refer to Ubuntu like usplash (replaced by LXDE splashy), Ubuntu Docs, Ubuntu themes and wallpapers, Ubufox etc, GDM Ubuntu Themes. COMPIZ is also removed (replaced by Openbox).

It has gnome-games, Brasero, Movie Player (xine based), Rhythmbox, Pulse-audio, F-spot, GIMP, GPICViewer, XSane, Network Manager, Add/Remove, Computer Janitor, Language Support, Network Tools, Synaptic, System Monitor, Update Manager, Ekiga, Evolution, Firefox, Pidgin, Transmission, Open Office (minus Dictionery, language support). In short everything Ubuntu 9.04 has.

Some people may say it is as heavy as Ubuntu itself, may be. I have not tried to make it lighter by removing applications but I am sure the distrolet is lighter than Xubuntu.

In addition, I have written a small utility "mykeyboard" which helps in adding a Keyboard Layout to the default US Layout and added fbxkb to toggle.

Please download from torrent, seed it for some time, try it and post your comments here.

Sunday, May 03, 2009

Ulx -- Ubuntu 9.04 distrolet with LXDE.

Today I made Ubuntu 9.04 LXDE Live CD and uploaded the iso on LinuxTracker. This is an experimental effort to get user feedback. At present it has Firefox 3.0.10 OpenOffice 3.0.1 gnome-games Leafpad only.

I am going to add multimedia applications and upload another iso image shortly.

Users are requested to write their feedback about Ulx 9.04 under comments on this blog post.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

xserver crash on restart taught me optimised use of memory.

I have a machine which originally arrived with 128 MB RAM and Linux Distributions with 2.4 series kernels (Mandrakelinux 9.1) worked well with this memory. Even Ubuntu 5.04 with 2.6 series kernel worked vey well.

Subsequently I added 256 MB RAM to the machine making it 384 MB to use Ubuntu 6.06 Dapper Drake properly.

I soon learnt to use lightweight Window Managers to have good speed with later versions of Ubuntu and also tried Debian and Arch Linux to further optimise thye memory usage.

The video setting in the BIOS was on "Auto" and 72 MB RAM was getting allocated towards the video leaving 312 MB for the OS.

Although Ubuntu says that its Live CD works with 256 MB RAM it is very slow and even 312 MB is less for effective use.

Recently I downloaded Ubuntu 9.04 Beta Live CD and in order to use it effectively changed the video setting in the BIOS to minimum (8 MB). The memory available for the Live CD was 360 MB (instead of 312 MB) and it worked very well.

Subsequently I forgot to restore the BIOS setting and continued using Linuxes installed on the hard disk (Ubuntu Hardy, Archlinux and antiX). They were working very well till I decided to change the Window Manager on Ubuntu Hardy and logged out of GDM to change session. To my surprise, the xserver crashed. I checked restart of xserver on Archlinux and antiX and it crashed on those distributions as well.

I googled for "xserver crash on restart" and read many bug reports and tried some remedies. Ultimetly I discovered the BIOS video setting and changed it to "Auto" once again.

Then I remembered that I had tested "logout" on Ubuntu 9.04 Beta Live CD and xserver did not crash.

I changed the BIOS video seiing to 16 MB and found that Archlinux (with xserver 1.5) did not crash on restart but Ubuntu Hardy Heron (which has xserver 1.4) required 32 MB setting in the BIOS.

Today I upgraded to xserver 1.6.0 on Archlinux and it is not crashing on restart with minimum (8 MB) video setting in the BIOS (like Ubuntu 9.04 Beta). With this setting the available memory for the OS has jumped from 312 MB to 367 MB.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Debian Live LXDE persistent mode

I was very happy that Debian Lenny had Live LXDE Desktop CD. I had tried it briefly earlier. Today I decided to use the persistent mode i.e. changes saved in live-rw file and used on reboot.

As always I copied the contents of Debian Live LXDE iso to a 1 GB partition and edited /boot/grub/menu.lst to make following entries:
title Debian Live LXDE
root (hd0,7)
kernel /live/vmlinuz1 boot=live union=aufs ip=frommedia swapon timezone=Asia/Kolkata persistent noprompt
initrd /live/initrd1.img
Explanation of boot parameters:
boot=live union=aufs This is copied from live.cfg file in isolinux directory
ip=frommedia This tells the system to read configuration from /etc/network/interfaces saved from earlier boots.
persistent This tells the system to look for live-rw home-rw partitions or files on the hard disk
noprompt This tells the system not to wait for removing Live CD on shutdown/restart

For persistent media I created live-rw on one partition (mounted at /media/disk) as follows:
$ dd if=/dev/null of=live-rw bs=512M seek=1
$ /sbin/mkfs.ext2 -F live-rw
$ sudo mv live-rw /media/disk
Just to check that persistent includes the installed .debs I installed ttf-indic-fonts:
$ sudo apt-get install ttf-devanagari-fonts
and the fonts are available on reboot.

All my personal settings are available, although, I did not create separate home-rw because live-rw includes changes to /home/user

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Couple of steps on Zenwalk 6.0

Finally I have made Zenwalk 6.0 usable to my liking.

Setting static IP through Ethernet
Remove Wicd from Startup services:
Start Control_Panel (zenpanel}
Click on Startup_Services
Uncheck Wicd
Click OK.
Click on Session_and_Startup in XFCE Settings Manager.
Click on Application_Autostart
Uncheck on Wicd.

Set up through netconfig (Just enter the required information):
$ su
# netconfig
Restart network (if you know how) or reboot.

Gmail Display problem
This is how Slackware site looked on Iceweasel on Zenwalk 6.0.

Similar problem was happening in Gmail. After reading on Zenwalk Forum I added the following lines in Device section of xorg.conf and it worked.
Option "AccelMethod" "XAA"
Option "XaaNoOffscreenPixmaps" "on"

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Zenwalk 6.0

I decided to try the new Zenwalk 6.0. As usual I copied the contents of the iso to a partition and found nice article on Zenwalk Wiki. Accordingly I edited the existing /boot/grub/menu.lst:
title Zenwalk 6.0 install
root (hd0,X)
kernel /kernels/ata/bzImage
initrd /isolinux/initrd.img
As per instructions I selected "Exit setup" and got root shell where I mounted the extracted iso:
cd /
mkdir zeniso
mount /dev/sda(X+1) /zeniso
and started the installation. When it asked for source selection I selected "Install from a pre-mounted directory" and when asked for the directory where the installation files are:
and continued the install. I did not install the bootloader and edited the /boot/grub/menu.lst once again to make an entry for Zenwalk:
title Zenwalk 6.0 (on /dev/hda6)
root (hd0,5)
kernel /boot/vmlinuz- root=/dev/sda6 ro
initrd /boot/initrd.splash
Next step was to connect to internet on newly installed Zenwalk 6.0 but I had to struggle because Wicd 1.5.9 does not detect the wired ethernet connections properly. I had to setup as follows:
$ su
# ifconfig eth0 down
# ifconfig eth1 netmask up
# route add default gw
# exit
I am yet to find out a way to save the above configuration.

After choosing the timezone the clock did not indicate my time. I discovered that Zenwalk was assuming that the hardware clock was set to localtime (which is actually UTC). After struggling a little I found the file /etc/hardwareclock and changed the word 'localtime' to 'UTC' and it worked.

I also installed ttf-indic fonts and flash-plugin using Netpkg.

Zenwalk 6.0 has XFCE 4.6 which I had briefly used on Arch Linux the day it was released and now trying it on Zenwalk.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

I am going to love antiX

I tested two Live CDs today. The first one was Debian LXDE Live downloaded from It booted into nice LXDE Desktop with GIMP and OO apart from usual LXDE software. But there was no Network Manager and since my present router is not connected to NIC I had to manually configure the USB router by editing /etc/network/interfaces and /etc/resolv.conf But it is a good Live CD for machines having as low as 64 MB RAM. The Live CD does not have an installer and you can only have frugal type of install on hard disk.

The next Live CD was antiX-M8 'Intifada!' with IceWM as default Window Manager but believe me no distribution has such lovely IceWM fully configured:

I had Debian Lenny installed on one partition since Sep 08 which was not updated and the updates were huge. I decided to replace Debian Lenny with antiX since it is based on Debian Lenny with 2.6.27 Kernel.

Flash MPEG everything just works out of the box.

I am going to love antiX.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Enjoying the latest software on Arch Linux

I had installed Arch Linux on one of the partition in Sep 2008 but did not use it much since I was forced to use vesa driver because ati driver had a bug and it did not work on secondary monitor. Although Ubuntu 8.04 Hardy Heron had the same bug I could update the driver through Debian Sid in June 2008 after the bug was removed.

Arch Linux is a rolling distribution and latest packages are periodically transferred from testing to main repositories and you need to just upgrade the packages through pacman.

Xorg 7.4 was moved to extra repository on 30th Nov 2008 and I was eager to use it to test the driver. I upgraded Xorg and on reboot found that although the ati driver worked for the secondary monitor the touchpad did not work. After exploring I found that this version of Xorg had input hotplugging enabled by defaut. After reading on this page I added the following packages:
xf86-input-evdev xf86-input-vmmouse xf86-input-synaptics

and it worked.

Then I did the system wide upgrade and now I have:
Linux Kernel 2.6.28
Xorg 7.4 (xserver 1.5.3) working without xorg.conf
Gnome 2.24
Open Office 3.0.1
GIMP 2.6.4
All latest packages on LXDE

Monday, February 09, 2009

Upgrading to Open Office 3.0 on Ubuntu

Open Office 3.0 has been released but it is not available on Ubuntu 8.04 or 8.10. Fortunately it is available on Launchpad repository. Add the following repository to your software sources:
deb hardy main

Replace hardy with intrepid if you are running Ubuntu 8.10.

Get the PGP Key from the following URL:

Save the PGP Key to a text file and add it through Authentication tab and click Import Key File… on Software sources.

If you already have Open Office 2.4 you can do:
$ sudo apt-get update
$ sudo apt-get upgrade

otherwise you can install the entire office suite through:
$ sudo apt-get install

Sunday, February 08, 2009

Making custom Ubuntu Live CD using Remastersys

I use LXDE desktop on Ubuntu and wanted to make a Live CD from the hard disk installation. It was so easy using Remastersys.

I added Remastersys repositories to the sources:
deb remastersys/

Then installed Remastersys:
$ sudo apt-get update
$ sudo apt-get install remastersys

There was a menu entry "Remastersys backup" which I clicked, selected "Dist" and clicked on ok.

After some time "customdist.iso" was created in /home/remastersys/remastersys

I burned the iso to a CD and it works.

My custom distribution is Ubuntu 8.04 Hardy Heron on LXDE with all updates, gnome-games, Brasero, Mplayer, GPIC Viewer, xpdf, Synaptic, Firefox 3.0.5 (with Adobe Flash Player), Pidgin, Transmission, 3.0.1, PCManFM, Leafpad, Xarchiver. The size of the iso is 686.5 MB

Monday, February 02, 2009

My review of KDE 4.2

I am not a fan of KDE or Gnome since both have become too heavy for the kind of machines I use but I try when something new comes up. I had tried KDE 4.0 last year and wrote about the Desktop Widgets.

Since KDE 4.2 is having many new features i decided to install it. I have Ubuntu 8.04 on this machine but KDE 4.2 is not available for this version. I decided to install Kubuntu 8.10 for a change. After installation I applied all the updates. Then added the following repository:
deb intrepid main

and the package signing key through the command:
gpg --keyserver --recv-keys 493B3065 && gpg --export -a 493B3065 | sudo apt-key add -

Then updated through Adept Updater tool in the system tray.

After reboot it was KDE 4.2.

Some people don't like the application launcher of KDE 4 for them the old launcher has been added as a widget called traditional menu based launcher. There are many widgets and I have added Analog clock, CPU Temperature, weather, Twitter and Calculator and you can see them on the screenshot below:

In addition the KDE Window Manager has Desktop effects like COMPIZ and you can see the cube below:

Friday, January 30, 2009

My review of KNOPPIX 6.0

I am long time user of various Linux distributions and also love Live CD distributions. I had never tried KNOPPIX before. I downloaded KNOPPIX 6.0 yesterday and burnt a CD. I never burn a CD to try new distributions but I had to for KNOPPIX (that story for some other day).

KNOPPIX 6.0 comes with LXDE (which I love) as default but it also uses COMPIZ as default (this I did not know till the desktop appeared).

My review: I have fallen in love with default COMPIZ settings on KNOPPIX 6.0. See the screen shots below:

Cube with glxgears rotating inside

and this is what happens when you close an application;

Live CD has following applications:
GnomeMplayer with multimedia codecs (I tried wma and mp3)
GIMP ImageViewer xpdf
gconf-editor NM_Applet(0.70) PCManFM Synaptic Wavelan Xsceernsaver
elinks Icedove Iceweasel Pidgin Java6_Web_start
Leafpad LXTerminal Orca File_search_utility XArchiver

with Linux 2.6.28 and Xorg 7.3 (xserver 1.4.2)

Monday, January 26, 2009

Putting small Linux Distros on one CD.

Every Linux lover often carries many linux distributions each on one CD or DVD. In addition you need some utilities like Super Grub disk etc. There is a cool script through which you can combine small distributions The latest version can be used to combine:
Debian Live binary.iso
Ultimate Boot CD ubcd.iso
-very small-
DSL dsl.iso
Puppy puppy.iso
Feather feather.iso
SliTaz slitaz.iso
-rather small-
Slax slax.iso
Slax modules *.lzm
DeLi Linux deli.iso
TinyMe timyme.iso
anitX antix.iso
Wolvix wolvix.iso
-partitoning and specialized-
RIPLinuX riplinux.iso
SystemRescueCd sysrcd.iso
Trinity Rescue Kit trk.iso
Parted Magic pmagic.iso
GParted Live gparted.iso (can't be on same CD as Debian Live)
Offline NT Password & Registry Editor ntpasswd.iso
EASEUS Disk Copy diskcopy.iso
Clonezilla clonezilla.iso
PING ping.iso
NetbootCD netbootcd.iso
Ubuntu (hardy or intrepid) mini.iso ubuntu-mini.iso
Debian (etch, lenny or sid) mini.iso debian-mini.iso
Fedora 9 netinst fedora-boot.iso
openSUSE NET iso opensuse.iso
Mandriva boot.iso mandriva-boot.iso
Arch Linux FTP or CORE arch.iso
FreeDOS base or full CD fdbasecd.iso/fdfullcd.iso
Any floppy disk image *.img or *.imz (could be Super Grub Disk, MS-DOS, etc.)
Any floppy disk image games/*.img or games/*.imz (for bootable DOS disk images with games, like this one)
GRUB4DOS grub.exe grub.exe
DBAN iso image dban.iso
Balder (FreeDOS) automatic
Memtest86+ automatic

The site is at Tuxfamily.