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.


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.

Sabayon 5.1 Gamers Linux Screenshots

December 28, 2009 3 comments

I noticed that Sayaon 5.1 Gamers edition live DVD is available for download. Or you can buy Sabayon DVDs. I’ve used and reviewed the Gentoo-based Sabayon many times before and have been very impressed with the Live CD’s out-of-the-box functionality. I was quite excited to crack open Sabayon Linux 5.1 “Gaming” for obvious reasons.

The Sabayon 5.1 installation process is smooth sailing and one if the simplest around. Several things I enjoyed about the installation were the option to install XBMC (Xbox Media Center), GNOME (which I chose), or the Fluxbox empty desktop for minamlists that want to start from scratch. I also enjoyed the user setup built into the installation which grabbed all the information on one or two screens and even had the option for adding additional users. A nice feature I can see saving me considerable time.

After installation I restarted my computer as prompted and prepared myself for the games. Sabayon has an interesting startup that hops along to some uninterupted rock music as your system starts up. Although I think this feature could be great, I wasn’t thrilled by the default song selection, but really how can you please everyone? The desktop is dark but accented by some thin colorful lines. The Sabayon menu includes Applications, Places and System tabs making use of the top panel. Gamers are located under Applications — Games.

The games you see in the screenshot above are all included by default on Sabayon 5,1 Gamers live DVD. Some popular titles include Battle of Wesnoth, Foobillard, Freeciv, Frozen Bubble, GNOME Games, NeverBall, Nexuiz, OpenArena, Pingus, Pychess, Scorched 3D, Spring, Stepmania, Torcs, Tremulous, Warsow, Warzone 2100, and Wormux.

Here’s some screenshots from Sabayon 5.1 Gamers

PCLinuxOS 2009.2 MiniMe Video and Screenshots

December 5, 2009 1 comment

The PCLinuxOS 2009.2 MiniMe KDE Linux distribution is out and available for download or purchase on CD. This release includes a minimal classic KDE 3.5.10 desktop and few extra applications. The idea behind PCLinuxOS MiniMe KDE is to create a tricked out desktop and use Synaptic package manager to customize the application lineup. PCLinuxOS 2009.2 MiniMe KDE users can also update packages to KDE 4 after installation.

Here’s some screenshots I captured from this incredible starting point distro.

Buy PCLinuxOS $1.95

Pentoo 2009.0 Screenshots

December 5, 2009 4 comments

Pentoo Linux is a Gentoo-based Linux distribution that runs as a Live CD or Live USB. Pentoo has been designed to provide a penetration testing and security assessment solution through the use of Nessus and Metasploit. Pentoo uses the Enlightenment window manager, is optimized for Pentium III architecture, and supports package modularity like Slax.

The most recent version of Pentoo, Pentoo 2009.0 just came out today. Pentoo 2009.0 includes several notable changes. Here’s the most important.

  • Kernel with aufs and squashfs-lzma
  • Wifi stack 2.6.32_rc7 with injection and fragmentation patches
  • Qemu plus virt-manager for playing with VMs
  • Updated tools and applications like msf, exploit-db, kismet, sqlmap, and Firefox
  • Added packages like airpwn, wapiti, and pppd
  • Fixed some Nvidia and Intel graphics problems

Download Pentoo or Buy a Pentoo CD and give it a try.

Calculate Linux 10.0 Screenshots

December 4, 2009 1 comment

Calculate Linux is a Gentoo-based Linux distribution that comes in several editions to suit your desktop and server needs. The server edition (CDS) supports Windows and Linux clients via LDAP + SAMBA. This provides proxy, mail and Jabbers servers with streamlined user management. The desktop edition (CLD) is a workstation and client distro available in KDE and XFCE flavors that include a wizard for connecting the desktop with the (CDS). To create your own Calculate Linux use the Calculate Linux Scratch live DVD which includes all the framework needed to build a custom distro.

The Calculate 10.0 release brings several enhancements such as a complete client-server solution with full compatibility to Gentoo Linux. This version also brings support for German, English, French, Italian, Polish, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish and Ukrainian languages. AdBlock Plus add-on enabled in Firefox by default and EisKaltDC P2P client, Kbluetooth packages have been added to Calculate Linux. Calculate Linux 10.0 comes in these editions:

  • (CDS) – Calculate Directory Server
  • (CLD) – Calculate Linux Desktop KDE 4.3.3
  • (CLDX) – Calculate Linux Desktop Xfce 4.6.1
  • (CLS) – Calculate Linux Scratch without a desktop
  • (CLSG) – Calculate Linux Scratch with GNOME 2.26.3

Download Calculate Linux or buy Calculate Linux DVDs

Ubuntu CE 6.0 Beta Brings Dansguardian Fix

December 3, 2009 3 comments

Download Ubuntu CE
Buy Ubuntu.
Ubuntu CE 6.0 beta Changes
With kids as curious as ever and an internet that’s getting more dangerous by the day I get more and more requests to install parental controls on family computers. I took a look around at the options available and became inspired to use Ubuntu and the internet filtering application Dansguardian together to solve this problem. Since Ubuntu 9.10, Dansguardian has had some problems blocking various innocent sites due to a known bug. Ubuntu CE 6.0 beta, which was released today, includes a working version of Dansguardian among other major features.

Here’s a few major new features of Ubuntu Christian Edition:

  • Ubuntu CE is now available in a server edition
  • Ubuntu CE desktop version available in 32 and 64 bit
  • Changes to the e-Sword installer
  • Dansguardian gui improvements make internet and filter sharing easier

The look and behavior of this distro differs from Ubuntu very little which in this case was an advantage. Users with basic family computers already running Ubuntu won’t miss a beat while switching to Ubuntu CE for the parental controls or other family friendly features. I noted only slight changes here and there on the Ubuntu CE desktop and during startup. Of course the background, panels, and a few other desktop items were customized but the feel remained similar to Ubuntu.

Because I was decided to install Ubuntu CE mostly for its Dansguardian fix and parental control ability, this was the first thing I looked for in the menu and on the desktop. While looking for Dansguardian GUI controls, which are under System — Administration — Dansguardian GUI, I started to notice that Ubuntu CE has quite a few extra applications and extra features. In addition to Dansguardian I found Xiphos bible study software, OpenSong for managing lyrics, chords, lead sheets and more, the E-sword bible software installer and a few other additions. On to Dansguardian.

After selecting the Dansguardian option form the main menu, I was brought to the Ubuntu terminal window where I entered my root password and pressed enter. This brought up a simple actions menu for the Dansguardian application. The options include Autoconfig/Reset Dansguardian, Filter setting, Start Dansguardian, Stop Dansguardian, Lock Firewall Proxy, UnlockFirewall Proxy, Internet connection sharing, View denied log, Advanced settings and Exit.

Select the Filter Setting option and press Okay and you’ll see Dansguardian has three filter levels based on age of the children and what’s appropriate for them.

Just to test my boundaries I navigated to a suggestive site in Firefox. I immediately was denied access and saw this Dansguardian message.

Back at the Dansguardian menu if you select Access Denied log you can see what page have been blocked and why. Here’s my Access Denied Log which shows an attempt at, Date, URL, and Reason For Denial.

I also tested 10-20 sites I frequent and had no problems accessing any of them. Before I was prevented from visiting Amazon and several other obvious non-violating sites. No traces of this with Ubuntu CE 6.0 beta.

Overall Ubuntu CE beta surprised me a bit with many of the things they have going on here. This distro is yet another example of how Linux continues to mold itself to fit the needs of all kinds of people.