Back in the Saddle, again

October 7, 2010

After too long an absence (looking for work – a very down time), and working again (long hours, odd shifts, etc.), I’ve downloaded the latest Puppy Linux, 5.1.1, as well as Legacy OS (formerly TEENPup) and Tiny Core Linux).  I got around to burning and playing with the latest Puppy (lupu-511.iso), and it is SWEET!  – auto-detection (I didn’t have to choose keyboard layout or timezone), the ability to choose your browser (you download it, then set it as your default, if you wish).  Puppy also detected my SiS graphics card, and recommended an Xorg driver to download.

The default resolution is way too fine for my old eyes; 1920×1440, so I chose 1024×768.

I’ve had a problem trying to save my config, but I believe I double-clicked the Save button.

You have your choice of browsers, including Firefox 3.6 and Opera, as well as Open Office, and other programs I haven’t looked at yet.

I still have to play with Legacy and Tiny Core.

I’m also getting a new PC (second-hand actually), with 1 or 2 G, and Windows XP, so I can play with Ubuntu, and hopefully have it not crawling.

More should be posted after the weekend.

A Quick Note

April 28, 2010

I haven’t done much on Linux this week, however there is some news.

The first release candidate for Ubuntu 10.4, Lucid Lynx, is available for download.  You can get it from the Ubuntu website or  The safest tack for me to take will be to burn a new CD-RW, and test it.

There is also a spin-off of Puppy Linux called TeenPUP.  I’ve been reading more about Puppy, and will post as I come up with something.

Firefox and Puppy

April 23, 2010

I was able to install and run Firefox 2.0.07 on my Puppy.

On the desktop, there is an icon for PET install.  Click on that, and click on the bottom button, Puppy Package Manager.  I looked for Firefox, under Internet, and selected it.  It showed no missing shared libraries and no missing dependent packages.

After installing, I had to reboot to run it from the menu.  Remember that I have a saved Puppy configuration on a flash drive.

The first time I ran Firefox it  asked me if I wanted to import my bookmarks from Netscape/Mozilla.  I clicked Yes and all my bookmarks were imported OK. (Not the passwords or add-ons, though)

I am digging through the Puppy forum,,
to find out more on installing packages from Debian repositories.

That is a promising path to explore.

Housecleaning in Ubuntu

April 16, 2010

I’ve found over the months since 9.10 came out that the kernel has been updated several times.  This results in old kernels taking up disk space, as well as more entries in the GRUB menu.  I’ve finally found out how to clean up the older kernels, and make a shorter GRUB menu.

You have to find the current kernel number, and save it and the previous one, for safety’s sake.

First, open a terminal.  Enter uname -r to get the kernel release.

First, open a terminal.  Enter uname -r to get the kernel release.
List all kernel images with sudo ls /boot/vmlinuz* | cut -d’-‘ -f2,3
Start synaptic and find the previous kernel images, and mark them for uninstall
To finish the job:
dpkg -l | grep ^ii | grep [release number] | awk -F’ ‘ ‘{ print $2; }’
The final step is:
sudo aptitude remove linux-image-[release number], repeat for each release

You must take care to not remove the current release or you will leave linux unbootable.

I ran sudo update-grub afterward to rebuild the GRUB menu, although I’m not sure if it was really necessary.

Just remember, your mileage may vary, and I do not stand behind any of the above.  It worked for me, it may work for you.

Good Puppy!

April 15, 2010

I have played with Puppy Linux a bit in the past; it’s another live distro, with the option of saving your settings, to a flash drive, or hard drive, or the CD.  The other day I picked up a few 2G SanDisk Cruzer sticks, and today I tried saving my Puppy settings to one.

When you reboot your computer from Puppy, you have the option of saving to the CD, saving elsewhere, or not saving.  If you choose the second option, you are presented with a list of locations to save to.  Hint – do NOT save to a NTFS partition, as this could seriously mess it up.  You can give your saved config a unique name.  In my case, I supplied my name, Neil, and a file pupsave-neil.2fs was created.  You select a size for your file – I chose 512M.  You also have the option of saving pup-431.sfs.  You are then given one last chance to review your options before proceeding, or going back to square one.  As my USB port is 1.1, it took about 10 minutes to write.

You can store a number of configurations on your flash drive, hence the option of unique names.

On subsequent boots,  stick the flash drive in first, then boot Puppy, and it will automatically find the saved configuration.

This means that you can save bookmarks (which I imported from bookmarks.html, which I exported from Firefox on Windows), as well as resolution, desktop, etc.  You can also install more software up to the limit of your USB jump drive.

I will definitely be playing with this for the next while.

Tracking Your Linux Disk Usage

April 7, 2010

It’s always important to keep track of how much free space you have on your PC.  For Windows, there are three programs I am aware, off the top of my head – SpaceMonger, WinDirStat, and Overdisk.

For Linux, the command line is probably simpler, at least to show total disk usage.  The du command shows how much disk space is used.  Consider the following examples:

sudo du -h –max-depth=0 /

The above shows how much disk space is used by the whole filesystem.  The -h parameter shows a human-readable format, e.g. 500M, 2G.  The -max-depth parameter prints the total for a directory or file or n or fewer levels below the command-line parameter.

sudo du -ch –max-depth=1 /

-c prints a grand total, the max-depth of 1 means that each directory under root will be printed with a total disk usage following it.

Play around with other parameters to see what you get or tweak your results.

Here is a link to a man page for du

Tweaking the Kernel

March 31, 2010

I spent yesterday trying, unsuccessfully, to modify the kernel, removing modules that I don’t need.  In this case, the modules are the Cram, Reiser, and Squash filesystems.

The following command lists the modules in the kernel:


To get the filesystem modules,

lsmod | egrep “fs.ko$” | less

To remove a module, either the rmmod or modprobe commands can be used.  Modprobe is preferred.  This intelligently adds or removes modules.

The command I used was:

sudo modprobe -v -n -r cramfs reiserfs squashfs

-v –verbose
-n –dry-run
-r –remove

The verbose option should tell me what’s happening, error or not, but the above command executed with no error, or feedback of any kind.

modprobe expects an up-to-date modules.dep file, as generated by depmod.  I looked for and found modules.dep, so I am still stumped on this one.

Back to Ubuntu again

March 26, 2010

I have found that Ubuntu is very slow on my PC.  I can’t really afford a new PC right now, so I’ve been playing with Puppy and looking out for new distros of interest.

One called TEENpup is based on Puppy Linux, and is supposed to be a general purpose distribution, suitable for older machines, like mine.

I’ve also started learning MinGW, Minimalist GNU for Windows, an alternative to Cygwin.  I picked up on it as I was having trouble trying to get SDL working with Cygwin.  SDL (Simple DirectMedia Layer) is a multi-platform multimedia library.

Here is a link to an article on Lucid Lynx, the new Ubuntu LTS (Long Term Support) release, due in April.  The first beta release came out a few days ago.

Adding Programs to Start-up

December 9, 2009

I found that if I login with Gnome, instead of LXDE, I can add programs to start-up.

I still have a problem with the sound muted when booting.  I also find the performance really slow.  I have to expect this, as my machine has 224M ram, at 1.6 MHz.  I know it’s a dinosaur, but  I can’t afford another machine right now.

It’s also hard typing with a hungry cat on my lap meowing for its food.  I may try XFCE and see if that’s any faster.

Further Thoughts on Ubuntu

December 2, 2009

After some time, I have made some progress with Ubuntu.  I’ve now made it my default boot on grub, although I may change that.  I’ve installed Thunderbird (through Synaptic), and Rainlendar free version ( the .deb file).

To install Rainlendar, I typed the following in a terminal session:

sudo dpkg -i *.deb

This gave an error of two missing dependencies.  The following command

sudo -D40 -i *.deb

listed the following missing dependencies: patch and tofrodos

I used Synaptic to install missing or broken dependencies.  This required uninstalling Rainlendar, so I ran dpkg after.

I’ve found a couple of problems I will have to tackle, to be happy with Ubuntu.  First, I haven’t found a means of adding programs to be started automatically, i.e. Thunderbird and Rainlendar.  This might be due to my using LXDE instead of Gnome.

The second issue may be more annoying.  I’ve found that changes to the desktop may not be saved after rebooting.  I muted the sound and now when I boot up, I have to unmute each time.  I’m certain this is not supposed to happen.

I will also have to start backing up my Linux partition, especially Firefox, Thunderbird, and Rainlendar profiles.  The backup I must tackle this afternoon, for my weekly backups.