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Debian Installer

February 20, 2010 5 comments

A Slight Flaw with the Debian Installer

A few weeks ago, I noticed some really good e-Bay deals on used, Opteron-based servers. I mean, they were going for less money than I had to pay for old Pentium III-based servers just three years ago. So, I decided that maybe it was time to upgrade.

Three of the four machines that I bought were Sun Sunfires, each with a pair of single-core 2.4 Gigahertz Opterons and a pair of hot-swappable SCSI hard drives. Since the drives are rather smallish, I figured I’d just combine each pair into one large logical volume.

On the first machine, I installed Fedora 11. When I got to the hard drive setup page, I chose to go with the default Logical Volume Manager setup. The installer then asked me how many drives that I would like to use for the Fedora installation. I chose both drives, and both were automatically added to the logical volume. No muss, no fuss, and everything worked fine. This is typical of the Red Hat-type installers.

On the next machine, I decided to install Debian 5.0. Again, I decided that I wanted to combine both drives into one large logical volume. When I got to the hard drive setup page, I chose the “Guided” option for setting up the LVM. The next page asked me which drive I’d like to use for the installation. I wanted to choose both drives, but Debian doesn’t provide that option. So, I backed out, and decided to use the “Manual” option for setting up the hard drives myself. That didn’t work either, because the “Guided” option had already created the LVM volume group. (That happened, even though I hadn’t been asked to confirm whether to write changes to the hard drive.) So, I backed out again, and choose to open a command-line session. I then used the LVM tools to delete the volume group and physical volumes. I then decided to go “old-school”, and try setting things up with fdisk and the command-line LVM tools. That way, I could get both drives added to the logical volume and continue the installation.

Only one problem. . .

When I finished, I went back to the hard drive setup page, thinking that my new, manually-configured setup would be recognized, and I’d be good-to-go.

Wrong. . .

Instead, my configuration got wiped out, and I ended up with the original single-drive setup.

Okay, no problem. I figured that I’d just continue the installation, and add the second drive to the logical volume later.

Wrong, again. . .

When the installation completed and I tried to boot from the hard drive, I got an error message about how the logical volume couldn’t be found. Apparently, the LVM metadata got messed up when the installer replaced my manual configuration. So, not wanting to waste any more time on this machine, I grabbed my Fedora 11 CD and installed it, instead. Again, no muss, no fuss. It automatically deleted my mess-ups and created the two-drive logical volume.

On the final machine, I gave Debian another try. This time, I just accepted the default single-drive logical volume, and continued the installation. After the installation completed and I had it booted from the hard drive for the first time, I added the second drive to the logical volume. I didn’t want to mess around trying to learn any graphical LVM utilities, so I just did everything “old-school”. (That is, I used fdisk, the command-line LVM tools, and the command-line filesystem resize tool.) Finally, I did a quick “df -h” to verify that the logical volume was resized correctly.

Conclusion

To be fair, I’m sure that Debian isn’t the only distro that has this kind of installer deficiency. And granted, for an experienced Linux user, it’s no huge deal to add a hard drive to the logical volume after the Debian installation has completed. Still though, you have to wonder. . .

If Red Hat can create an installer with an easy-to-use LVM setup, why can’t everyone else?

Categories: Desktop User

Guest Post: Selecting a Linux Distribution

January 13, 2010 4 comments

If you are planning to learn the ways of using and operating Linux then you should try to gain proper knowledge about it. You must try to decide the type of version that you are planning to utilize, when it comes to Linux as your operating system.
You should know the ways to choose the right kind of Linux distribution for you. It is better to spend some time, when it comes to selection of Linux distribution channel for you. The below mentioned information is a type of check list that will help you to choose the best type of Linux distribution.
It is better to think before you have your Linux distribution. You will have to ensure that your Linux distribution should have the smoothest installation process. The process should guide you to the ways to complete the installation. Make sure that you have a guidance provided by the version at each level for installation. The distribution will be able to guide you the best ways to utilize the commands that has an affect on the hard drive as well.
In case of Windows operating system, you will be automatically diverted towards the desktop that is user friendly as well. However, Linux is tricky to understand. It is true that Linux has various types of desktop. Therefore, you will have to select the require desktop during the boot mode of your system. You will not be automatically diverted towards the desktop.
It is advisable for you to have knowledge about the different types of desktop that are offered by Linux. You can try each of the desktop style that is offered by this useful operating system. This will allow you to get an idea about the options are available for you. At the same time, you will be able to decide the best type of desktop that is required for your needs.
Do not forget to check the capability of your hardware. It is true that some hardware parts might not be able to support Linux. Therefore, it is better to make sure that the components are compatible with Linux.
If you are planning to get some information about the desktops that are offered by Linux then you should explore the World Wide Web. You must know that websites that are offering downloads for Linux desktops will be able to offer you the require information. At the same time, exploring the internet will allow you to look at some tutorials as well. Some tutorials will be a great help, when it comes to gaining knowledge for Linux desktops. On the other hand, if you have a question to ask then discussing with experts will be a great idea. You must know the internet forums are always based to help you. You can be a member of a form that is specifically created to discuss about Linux. Over these forums, you will be able to get the best knowledge about the different options that are available with Linux desktops.

Black Friday Linux Netbook Specials

November 24, 2009 Leave a comment

Update: I discovered some nice Linux netbooks last year while writing this article, Black Friday 2010 is all about Linux-based tablets and that’s what I’m shopping for. Check out my latest post Black Friday 2010 Tablet Deals. I’ve listed my favorite tablets launching on or close to Black Friday along with their specs and price tag.

Black Friday Linux NetbookEvery year in the US, the Friday after Thanksgiving shoppers get up early and squeeze into stores everywhere to save a few bucks on holiday purchases. While saving money on new Linux Netbooks appeals to most Linux geeks, crowds of people and checkout lines often do not. Here’s two options for the geek who wants to get in and get out while still getting a great deal on a new Linux Netbook or laptop.

First of all, if you don’t need to buy a laptop or Netbook with Linux pre-installed you can find a large selection of Black Friday Netbook specials over at ZDNet. Many of these make excellent candidates for installing lightweight distros like Xubuntu, Puppy, and Vector after you purchase them. My personal favorite is the Acer Aspire One Netbook with a 10’1″ screen, 1GB RAM, and a 160GB hard drive for $149 in Office Max stores the morning of November 27th.

If you’re looking to find a discounted Netbook with Linux installed your best bet may be the Dell Vostro A90 Netbook which has been released as the “The Ideal Mobile Business Internet Companion” providing an excellent solution for lightweight computing on the go. Best of all this Dell Netbook comes pre-installed with Ubuntu 8.04.

If it’s Linux training you’re after, we will have site wide discounts on various types of Linux desktop and server training materials will be available at BeginLinux.com throughout the week of November 22nd, 2010. (Black Friday) Linux training specials and discount codes will be launched from the @beginlinux Twitter account.

Anyone else find any hot Linux Netbook deals being rolled out? Please comment.

Win A 4GB Sandisk USB with Ubuntu 9.10 Pre-installed

October 29, 2009 4 comments

Ubuntu GiveawayWith the release of Ubuntu 9.10 Karmic Koala we’ve decided to kick off our newsletter by giving away a free Ubuntu 9.10 USB drive. Anyone who subscribes to the BeginLinux.com newsletter will be entered into the drawing which will be held November 5th, 1 week after the Ubuntu 9.10 Karmic Koala release.

The USB drive is a 4 GB Sandisk Cruzer with a red gator skin print. It comes with Ubuntu 9.10 stable installed and ready for use. You can buy a 4GB Ubuntu 9.10 USB drives on our site for $15.95, the cheapest price you’ll find online!

Subscribe to our newsletter and win it!

4GB Ubuntu USB $15.95

UPDATE: These odds are looking good. With only 3 days left in the giveaway we’ve had less than less than 100 new subscribers. Subscribe now and win a portable, practical Ubuntu 9.10 USB Flash drive. Hurry up!
Giveaway ends 11/05/09.

Ubuntu ShipIt Program Thinking Smarter

October 21, 2009 2 comments

The Ubuntu ShipIt Program. If you’re not familiar with it, you’ve probably never typed in “free Ubuntu CD” on Google or any other search engine. ShipIt is the Ubuntu service that gives away free Ubuntu installation CDs in an effort to make sure people have few restrictions obtaining Ubuntu. ShipIt has been a huge success shipping millions of free Ubuntu CDs over the past few years. The CDs are not free for Canonical, the company backing Ubuntu and the ShipIt program. This has caused Ubuntu to deploy some interesting techniques designed to cut the cost or need or the Free Ubuntu installation CDs.

Limiting Free Ubuntu CDs for people who:
-Can upgrade to the new release without a CD
-Can download their own CD for free

Ubuntu users can also:

-Download the CD wallet artwork
-Become an Ubuntu member by contributing to Ubuntu, making them eligible for more CDs
-Purchase CDs

More on this at Jono Bacon’s blog

Requesting a free CD from the Ubuntu ShipIt program will take at least 4-6 weeks. For a more dependable solution order Ubuntu on CD or USB US Priority Mail now. Ubuntu training is available in video and course form.

Community Question: Teaching Linux Newbies

October 20, 2009 7 comments

The Linux training question of the day today was: “What’s the best way to teach a Linux newbie?” We received a great response from our Facebook and Twitter friends and followers and wanted to post these ideas on our blog so that others may be inspired to share Linux more effectively.

@5h3r4t4n said “You got deleted everything you know about windows, thats the difficult part, after that everything gonna be Easy, read, read..”
@allan1850 said “I would say sit them in front of the system and let them play”
@parinsharma said “Telling him about it the FOSS and after he/she gets interested just start them telling about shell scripting and GUI Compiz etc.”
@airurando said “Patience, small steps, introduce them to what they would find useful first.”
@juanfer1 said “I think with some series of screencasts tutorials”
@vargas7 said “Begin with Ubuntu and a comparison of the common windows functionalities and where they can be found in Linux”
@jamesswinyard said “Sit down with them, let them play, then let them ask questions as they find things.”

Keep them coming and we’ll continue to post them here. You may use the comments for below to answer “What’s the best way to teach a Linux newbie?”.

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