Category Archives: Nixes

Unix, Linux, …

Packt celebrating International Day Against DRM


TODAY Packt Publishing is offering all its DRM-free content at $10… All 2000+ eBooks and Videos at

Get an inexpensive and DRM FREE fix for all your tech urges in virtualization, end-user computing, Dig Data, eCommerce, Cloud computing, programming, elearning systems (including Moodle!), automation, operating systems, systems and performance monitoring, game development, Rasberry Pi, networking, advanced security, etc etc. SO MANY!!!

Here’s a short link to share:





Clearing incorrect saved form field entries in Entourage or Firefox

Someone called me today with an all too common occurence that needed remedy: He entered his password mistakenly in the login name field of a webform. While the easy route would be to clear private data (doing a bulk erase), that’s like killing a cockroach with a bazooka. When you find yourselves in a similar situation, be it a mispelled streetname, login, address or whatever, there is a very simple (and keyboard driven) way to fix this problem.

To remove individual values from saved formed data within Firefox and Entourage (and probably other applications that I seem to not have had the need to test), perform the following, very simple procedure.

1. Put your cursor in the field on the form in which your mistaken entry lies.
2. Hit down arrow key (start typing the incorrect entry) and then hit the down arrow key until the incorrect entry is selected.
3. Press SHIFT + DEL to delete the offending entry.

(Note: This trick doesn’t seem to work in Apple’s Safari browser so if anyone can help document that for me I’d appreciate it.)

Crossover Office or Bordeaux?

Bordeaux or CrossOver?

I am an avid user of virtualization and emulation since as long as I can remember. However, what a heavy-weight solution it is to support an application only by means of a virtualization host.

For example, I use a great program to learn German called the Rosetta Stone. Unfortunately it ships only with a Windows installer and no means of running on my other two primary OSs, Linux and OSX (Leopard and Panther), other than by means of some emulation/encapsulation/virtualization layer. Here is where CrossOver and products such as VMware can readily and reliably step in (especially the latter).

As it has been for a while, I first try to run the application in CrossOver then should that fail, I’ll install it into as a guest into my VMM, usually VMware nowadays. Of course there are programs I will install straight into a VM for other reasons, such as interaction, dependencies or data exchange between existing or planned programs.

The downside to both of the above solutions is cost. Now aside from running free virtualization products (which I do), I don’t see cutting ties to VMware any time soon (not just because I’m certified and therefore must proselytize).

A CrossOver license is required for each machine that I install it on, regardless of whether or not there isn’t concurrent usage.

The pros for Bordeaux are:

  • Inexpensive! (I can afford to dish out for a copy for each of my key systems)
  • Supports Linux (I use BSD for servers only right now really so its BSD support is neither a pro or con)
  • Office 2007 support (CrossOver still lists their support of 2007 as primitive)

The cons for Bordeaux are:

  • Less official application support
  • Doesn’t support OSX installation officially

Right now, I’m betting on CrossOver over Bordeaux only in that it is the established player. Once I see Bordeaux support Office 2007, I’ll reconsider. I run a few Windows VMs on my MacBook Pro so I’m well covered regardless and can wait patiently.

Microsoft’s Next Generation “Mojave” OS

You may have already read about the “Mojave Experiment” but if you haven’t let me briefly explain. Microsoft decided to remove bias from a series of tests with users by changing Vista superficially. Market researchers then presented the “new” OS and interviewed the participants for their experience. I laud the method – because what geek hasn’t done it themselves! ;-)


It’s almost a regular game to make my machines, OSs and Window Managers to look or function like something other than what it is. Whether it be fvwm95, LiteStep, DeskView/X, WindowMaker, (yes, I like NeXT) and the myriad of combinations and offerings, geeks abound that love or need such customization and personalization.


Throw a little bit of virtualization in the mix and multibooting, combined with visual element modification and (a bit more deep) changing of response strings and stack attributes and anyone (including the owner/admin) can be astoundingly confused!
Vista certainly looks neat – but compiz and such (albeit with limited systems/drivers support) can be WICKED too. I have nothing against Vista in certain situations and have been testing/playing with it since early releases. In fact, I run it daily in the lab, on a few test systems, and in virtual machines on my Macs, Linux and ESX boxes. My worst experiences truly occurred prior to SP1 and on physical hardware. My most evil experiences were on 64-bit machines with 64-bit Vista…  There is a time and a place for all.


So, check out the link to Microsoft Mojave above if you wish. It’s marketing but it won’t kill you.




Mac VMware Fusion and Linux Machines Blip

Oddly, after updating to the newest VMware Fusion on my MacBook Pro, EVIL gremlins decided to attack my VMs. Little pests they can be.

For the record, I updated from Fusion 1.1.2 to 1.1.3 prior to completing 10.5.2 to 10.5.3 Leopard update which fixes a notorious , wicked bug (system lockups under intense disk usage). Of course running as many windows/tabs as for I am famous in my circles on my host and guests combined, frequently pegs my disk I/O. Afterall, isn’t that for what preemptive multitasking exists – to maximize your productivity and that of your system by combining workloads with safe, proportionate resource assumption.

For the uninitiated into VMware, it’s guests, the hosted Virtual Machines, best perform and function with a package called VMware Tools. The VMware Tools package handles some pretty core items such as connected state of the hardware (e.g., audio and network controller), time synchronization, and virtual disk management (e.g., shrinking). VMware makes excellent tools for their Windows hosts and satisfactory versions for non-Windows systems such as Linux and BSD. I’ll cease my foray into VMware here and get back to the point.

When one upgrades a VMware host, there is a period which the guests will be running the old VMware Tools on the new version of the host. Additionally, on non-Windows systems, you must compile the Tools packages yourself. I don’t like to rush to conclusions, but it would seem that this combination alone may not have played well together. As a result of a short run the following occured across my VM guests.

  • My CentOS virtual machine became non-responsive.
  • My Ubuntu virtual machine’s network PCI interrupt became permanently disabled.
  • My KNOPPIX virtual machine became non-responsive until reboot.

I rebooted the CentOS guest and needed to run massive filesystem repairs (ultimately, I chose to restore to a backup).

The Ubuntu machine is a long story but the way I resolved the issue was to add/hook into another set of network cards, leaving the original momentarily. The new controllers came up on alternate PCI addresses and work fine under the old and recompiled binaries.

KNOPPIX is just nice – it will always be one of my favs… I just rebooted it of course.

I hadn’t had my other VMs in use and need to rebuild their tools (BSD-based)… I build them on a different system like a good boy so I can install them straight off the bat.

All is well… this only reinforces the need to have regular (and tested) backups for more than just your data. Your time is worth it let alone the mitigation of risk.

Likely death of EVMS (linux)

RIP EVMS. I salute you. The Enterprise Volume Management System (EVMS) Project was a solid, feature-rich Linux volume manager with a plug-in architecture supporting the key filesystems and software RAID. All this in one set of tools (CLI, curses, and GUI).

Well it seems certain that the project will die off like a war hero in an extended-care facility. While my personal SuSE Server still officially supports EVMS (the March Service Pack specifically), there seems to be no interest in its maintenance or development.

Key points of support for my conclusion:

  • The last release is now over 28 months old
  • Code dependencies are on the old gtk 1 libraries

Since most of my Linux systems are now CentOS and Ubuntu, I did a quick query to confirm that there were no supporting packages.

So why doesn’t the EVMS project seek to close itself out? Did IBMs loss in this to lvm2 hurt that badly that they can’t even spare some professionalism here for the good of the community?

Oh well, she’s dead, Jim.