Archive for the ‘Scientific Linux’ Category

Update 20100807: dwm on SL55 and Aspire One

August 7, 2010

I’ve narrowed my three favorite window managers down to ratpoison, ion{2,3}, and dwm. Maybe not always in that order but pretty close. And jwm is a steady fourth; it would rate higher if it didn’t have a crappy static menu (which requires restarting the whole window manager to take advantage of menu changes).

I got pissed at jwm while trying to watch videos in fullscreen. It started to open fullscreen and then it went back to normal (in-browser) size. I made sure it wasn’t related to settings I had for firefox (so that it runs maximized without any window decorations) but that wasn’t it. So I decided to compile dwm.

Just a few tweaks to compile it with a sane color scheme and to run in monocle mode by default (netbook split screen? no thanks), along wih a few other things.

I don’t remember if I added that I removed gdm the other day. It’s just as fast and easy to change .xinitrc (or set up alternates) to launch a different window manager as needed, or if needed. Speaking of which, I added a line in my .Xdefaults to adjust dpi because gdm was apparently setting it.

Xft.dpi:        96

Now all is well with certain applications that were giving me disturbingly large fonts. Everything is just like before I got rid of gnome and gdm and everything else.

I hope to finish my next update by Monday. It will explain what I’m using in place of

Update 20100802: More Old Habits

August 2, 2010

Today’s biggest victim is OpenOffice 3.x, which was the biggest disappointment I had when updating Scientific Linux from 5.4 to 5.5 on my Aspire One. I even  remembered to use imagemagick import for the full screen (import -screen root) today.

I’ve run into backwards compatibility issues with 3.x when working with files and macros from earlier iterations. As SL54 used 2.x and my main laptop running Debian Lenny was also 2.x, I had no problems working on the same documents between computers. In Windows, I’d been using IBM Lotus Symphony which is based on mature OOo 1.x code but even that’s now in beta using OOo 3 and with the same issues I’ve encountered. Boo.

I couldn’t resist. I mean, I’ve run OOo once since I upgraded to SL55. It’s wasting space.

And with that, I suddenly didn’t need to re-configure and add partitions to this. While I was at it, I removed some gnome-audio and evolution-server packages. It’ll never be used so it won’t be missed.

I don’t know if I’ll remove much more for a while. Sure feels good, though. Hope to finish (soon) a draft I started last week with more about my current set up.

Update 20100801: Back to Some Old Habits

August 1, 2010

I got fed up with NetworkManager in Scientific Linux. Around the house and around town it’s been okay — it’s been a pain in the ass with a gnome-keyring password after login via gdm if I log out and back in — but there have been a couple other encrypted networks it balked at associating with altogether (visiting family, etc.). Anyway, it’s no longer installed. I’m just using wpa_supplicant, which is a bit convoluted to set up in RHEL clones.

The first thing to do is generate a wpa_supplicant.conf, which is easy enough. After that, chkconfig needs to be run to add wpa_supplicant to whichever runlevels it’s desired. Then files in /etc/sysconfig need to be edited. First, wpa_supplicant needs to be set with the appropriate driver and interface in the appropriate form for wpa_supplicant. That means no space between “-Dwext” and “-iwlan0” or whatever driver and interface you need. Next is the ifcfg-device file so it knows to use WPA (WPA=yes). I set mine to start on boot (ONBOOT=yes).

I got everything working by the second try. Scientific Linux has a lengthy boot time compared to Debian and especially compared to Tiny Core, and waiting for the network to come up only adds to the anticipation.

Next was a more difficult decision because I’ve grown a bit more fond of Gnome than I used to be. It’s still a lot more overhead than I need, especially considering how I use my netbook. I decided to compile jwm since I couldn’t find it in the SL repositories or in the dag repo. I copied over .jwmrc and other files. Once I had it set up to my satisfaction, I had some fun.

It took a few minutes to get rid of all that stuff.

Notice the difference in the screenshots? The first was taken with gnome-screenshot, which wasn’t around to take the second (imagemagick import does the trick).

Next to go will probably be, which was updated to 3.x with the release of SL 5.5. I’m doing mostly LaTeX lately and doing that — and seemingly everything else — in emacs. I have a draft I started the other day about all that which I hope to finish soon.

New Content Coming, Brief Update

July 26, 2010

I know it’s been a while since I posted anything, let alone more than stuff about Debian updates. I’ve been extremely busy this summer.

My systems remain basically the same: I’ve updated to SL 5.5 on my netbook, I’m still running Debian Lenny elsewhere.

After trying to compile org-mode for emacs 21.x in SL on my Aspire One, I decided it would be so much easier to compile emacs 23.2 since it already has org-mode. Seems I was having to track down a bunch of little elisp files to get org-mode to compile and as soon as I thought I was past one hurdle (f’ing sha1?) I’d hit another. I quickly tired of that game and fetched the source for emacs 23.2, compiled it (without X), and all is well with my world again. I’m now going to remove from SL (I’m mostly using LaTeX via org-mode to generate PDFs these days, and reading MS-Word files via antiword). SL55 updates to OOo 3.x and I was hoping to avoid all that.

Hopefully I’ll have some time here in coming days to add more new content.

More Debian Updates

June 18, 2010

I just manually upgraded (via aptitude) my laptop and server. The Debian security list hasn’t posted announcements yet but there are several patched packages in the queue including bind, dns, samba, sudo, and pmount. I noticed some of these — bind, samba, and sudo as far as I remember — were also updated in SL5 recently.

The lack of new content reflects that I’ve been extremely busy lately.

Scientific Linux 5.5 Released

May 19, 2010

SL55 is now officially released. Release notes are here.

This Week in Enterprise Linux

May 16, 2010

CentOS hit 5.5-release. The full release notes are here.

Scientific Linux is now on a second release candidate for 5.5.

Updated AA1 Page – SL Content

May 7, 2010

I’ve been updating my Aspire One page as I’ve had time the past couple days to reflect that it’s running Scientific Linux. I now have separate sections on installation, configuration, hardware, software, etc. I’ll probably make a few more additions/edits shortly to clean it up and also to elaborate on a few things like reconfiguring services.

The page is now much more SL-specific than it is for the AA1 (aside from the hardware list).

Addressing More Search Engine Hit Topics

May 7, 2010

I continue to get frequent traffic relating to Damn Small Linux. Some of the more common search engine hits are like this one this morning:

damn small linux dead?

The answer to that is, “Yes.” If John Andrews is doing any work on it, he’s not been very open about it in the DSL forums. In fact, his last message about DSL’s future was in December of 2008. I also haven’t seen any posts about new extensions, updates, anything.

I also get lots of hits about ext4 support in DSL. As I wrote back on April 18th, DSL had limited filesystem support in its base and even via extensions. I don’t know if ext4 can even be supported with a 2.4 kernel.

Which brings up another area of DSL-related hits here. There seems to be some interest in a 2.6 version of DSL. That’s funny because there was a 2.6 side project called DSL-N. As it hasn’t been updated in years, either, consider it dead.

Anyone desiring “updated” DSL would do well to consider TinyCore, which is developed by Robert Shingledecker, who was responsible for most of the innovations and development that made DSL popular, and a very talented team he’s assembled. Its philosophy is a bit more radical due to its modularity than  DSL but anyone who ever got into DSL should find the transition easy.

Finally, I have good news for people ending up here looking for information about Scientific Linux 5.5. I saw yesterday that it’s out of beta and the mirrors now have release candidate 1. I can’t speculate when it’ll hit release and it should be a few days later if you want a SL55 live CD image. CentOS 5.5 should be out soon, too; Karanbir Singh’s latest update was, “We are working up to a release in the next few days.”

Installing Skype – Scientific Linux

May 7, 2010

I see I have another hit this morning for search terms related to installing Skype on Scientific Linux. I followed the instructions at the CentOS wiki. From there, you can either edit the menu, add a launcher to your Gnome panel, or whatever to launch it. I chose a launcher from the panel and found a Skype icon in its installed directory (which, if you follow the instructions above, will be in /opt/skype_static-version-number/icons).