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Category Archives: Linux

A friend recently gave me an old macbook, [from about 2009-ish?]

Linux Mint with it’s Cinnamon desktop resulted in the fewest headaches out of the box for me and my needs.

I’ve been looking for a lightweight PC to serve as a dock for my portable hard drives, kind of functioning as an ugly sort of NAS. I have been using my 2011 Macbook Pro with a USB hub. However, it is a pain to disconnect all the USB drives from it if I need to move. But with another small computer I can permanently untether the Macbook and use it around the house again!

So when I was gifted another old Macbook, I set about finding what Linux distro would work best with it.

TIP: To get to the boot select screen on this version of a Macbook, press and hold the Option key when the machine is first booted until the boot device selection menu appears.

As I dabbled, I came up with a list of features I was looking for.

  • Does it boot without error?
  • Does it resume from sleep?
  • Does it resume from a lid close?
  • Does the bluetooth work?
  • Does the wifi work out of the box?
  • Other notes

These are the distros I ended up trying

  • Manjaro
  • ElementaryOS
  • Pop! OS
  • Ubuntu
  • Deepin
  • Ubuntu with MATE
  • Mint
Boots?Resume from sleep?Resume from lid close?Bluetooth?Wifi OOTB?Notes
Manjaro KDEYes, but with errorsYesNonot testedYes
Manjaro XFCEYesYesYesNo, headphones not recognized as outputNo/Yes, when installed on EthernetNo option to add nVidia drivers from install disc
Wifi works OOB
elementaryOSYesNoNonot testedNo
Pop! OSYesYesNonot testedNo
UbuntuYesYesNoYesNo/Yes, when installed on Ethernet
Linux MintYesYesYesYesNo, but an easy add from discwifi & nVidia drivers easily added from disc
DeepinYes, but slowNoNoYesYestrackpad X-axis input is Y-axis cursor movement & no x-axis cursor movement possible
App Store and default browser don’t work
The test results

The most difficult hurdle for any of these distros to overcome was resuming from sleep due to the lid being closed. All but Mint and Manjaro XFCE failed this test. I imagine this is more of a desktop environment issue than related to any particular underlying Linux distro.

The results of these simple tests put Linux Mint with it’s default Cinnamon desktop as the clear winner for my needs.

Worth noting is the utter failure of the Deepin distro. It was unusable on this Macbook and disappointing to such a degree that I doubt I’ll bother with it ever again.

I’ve been working with a colleague on getting a logo designed for the game company he has recently started. The designer that was hired used a font called “Exo” in the logo. The source file was given to us in a .svg file. And in order to view the logo with the correct font, I first had to install the Exo fontface on my Ubuntu installation.
Here’s how I did it.
First, find the fontface for download somewhere. We ended up finding it on and downloading it in .zip format. Next you will need to create a .fonts folder under your /home/<user-name>/ folder. Inside this .fonts folder, create an ‘exo’ folder to store the actual OTF files. Extract the files from the file into /home/<user-name>/.fonts/exo. Finally, run the following command:
sudo fc-cache -f -v

You should see all the font caches on your machine getting refreshed, including the new .fonts folder.
After this, I opened our logo.svg file in Inkscape and the correct font was applied.

Easy as that!

So I’m investigating an Eclipse error I’m getting on my dev laptop and need to search for a bit of text in a file that may be in a hidden file somewhere in my workspace. I don’t trust Eclipse’s global File search (Ctrl + H) to be thorough enough for my needs. I need to do this via the OS.
The “Grep” command is the solution.

It is used like so:

sudo grep ""

For example:

sudo grep "IOException" *.log

Now, my particular issue meant that I didn’t know which folder the file would be located in. To get around that, I used the recursive argument or ‘-r’:

sudo grep -r "IOException" *.log

This loops through all the files in the current directory, as well as sub-directories of the current directory.
At least that’s how I understand it to work. Feel free to correct me if that’s not the case.

I bought a Raspberry Pi for myself this Fall in order to play around with the minicomputer that is so popular these days as an opportunity to teach myself a little more about Linux, hardware, and networking. I read many many posts about lots of individuals running the Pi as a media server for their first experience with this computer. Seemed like a reasonable place for a Pi noob like myself to start as well…

If this previous paragraph sounds anything like you, consider this post a warning.

TL;DR version: DON’T! Just because you can do something, doesn’t mean you should.

  1. Install RaspBMC to SD card
  2. Boot Pi
  3. Wait for OS to initialize
  4. Realize process is frozen
  5. Reboot Pi
  6. See that installation is corrupted because previous attempt to start failed
  7. Go back to step 1
  8. Continue previous steps until the XBMC interface actually installs all updates without freezing or corrupting itself
  9. Try to do something once interface is loaded
  10. Oops, you moved the mouse too quickly or used the wifi connection and pulled too much power; system is hung
  11. Reboot
  12. Continue this process until you can get to the “Plugins store”
  13. Browse available plugins
  14. Peruse the vast wasteland of useless XBMC plugins
  15. Realize that nothing worth loading runs on an ARM processor (Want Netflix/Hulu/CW/ABC/etc? Too bad!)
  16. Say fuck it all and install something else your SD card. This thing wasn’t meant to run XBMC

If you want a media player, just buy a commercial product like a Roku 3 or Apple TV. By the time you’ve invested enough time, money, and energy in just getting what the Pi needs to run (case, 5V/1A+ PS, USB cable, HDMI cable, powered USB hub, SD card, mouse, keyboard, wifi dongle, etc), you will have spent MORE on an inferior product!

But wait a minute, this was supposed to be a learning exercise for you, right? Didn’t you at least learn something about the hardware or Linux? Well maybe, I did learn how to get my TV tuner working on my laptop, in an attempt to get it working on the Pi. So there’s that. But the time I wasted and frustration I endured was absolutely not worth learning that bit.

I’ve got Raspbian wheezy, a Debian derivative for ARM processors, installed on it now. That is running great so far. Probably just going to keep it there too. I’m still running Mint, also a Debian-derivative. Its easier to keep everything the same for the sake of learning

Somehow, I broke my Fedora installation this weekend.

After having a great time getting started on my Gravatar project this past Saturday, I settled in for some Labor Day programming yesterday. However, as soon as I tried to open Eclipse, I was given an error message telling me that the command ‘java’ was not in the PATH variable (or something like that)

I have no idea what the hell happened between Saturday and Monday, my laptop was shutdown between those times.

At first, I thought it might be some leftover quirks from the time that Fedora shut itself down when my battery died (the fact that it didn’t warn me is pretty crappy). I ran some fsck’ing on a few mounts. But I don’t know what I’m doing there, so I wasn’t surprised when that didn’t work.

I decided to go for the obvious and just fix the PATH variable. This required me to figure out where this damn variable is in Linux. I also wanted to uninstall Oracle’s JDK 7 as I thought that might have been a part of the problem. First, helped me uninstall all java packages with the ‘yum upgrade -y’. I don’t know what it does, but it set me back to using openjdk7. Then a stackoverflow post helped immensely by showing me where my PATH variable was and how to alter it.

After I added the openJDK filepath to my PATH variable, I logged out and logged back in. ‘java’ at the command line works again and Eclipse opens without a problem.

Issue resolved.

I recently decided to try another Linux distribution.

This time I went with the Fedora Xfce spin in 64-bit flavor.

My favorite distribution yet! Miles ahead of the KDE environment and better looking and more intuitive than Mint LXDE. Plus its available in 64-bit. Which does absolutely nothing for me, but still.

Too bad I wasn’t able to use this version of Linux for more than a week and a half. I started hearing crackling whenever I would plug-in my piece of shit Dell laptop. I finally noticed that the crackling was being caused by little blue arcs of electricity coming out of a crack in the wiring of my AC adapter. Definitely will not be operating this laptop until I am able to get a replacement AC adapter.

I have begun working with Codeigniter 2.1.0 and am trying to wrap head around what exactly is required for an app to be deployed onto a server.

This required me to move some files and folders around. Unfortunately I set up my XAMPP installation as ‘root’, so I can’t use the lovely file manager-type windows in Mint that I’m used to, to copy files from one directory to another. I keep getting “Permission denied” errors.

I vaguely remember something about chmod from my college days. It has something to do about octal code of a number corresponds to write, read or read/write permissions for different “things”<–what the owner/group/other user permissions were in my head before this experience.

I broke out my linux pocket guide, and found that there are actually three relevant commands, chown, chgroup, and chmod. Since I am working with files that are in my “jooky” directory and are owned by ‘root’, I figured that changing the owner would fix my problem. I looked up the chown command. The pocket guide gave me a start, but not enough detail on the command to tell me how to recursively change the owner of a folder and all subitems in that folder. Quick search with my fav search engine turned up this gem.

Slapped ‘sudo chown jooky:jooky -vR /home/jooky/workspace-web/website’ on the command line and got to watch sweet line-on-line action of all of the files in my Eclipse workspace being reassigned ownership to ‘jooky’.

Now that that’s complete, I am able to move files around my Eclipse environment without a problem.

Everything looks cool so far on my comic site so far. No issues with ComicPress plugin I’m using there. It just looks terrible, as I’m using the out-of-the-box theme. I hope at some point I’ll be able to start looking at learning to theme WordPress sites.

But enough about that!

This past weekend I finally got fed up with the shitty drivers available for the shitty broadcom BC4311 series wireless network adapter that my shitty Dell Inspiron 1521 has.

I have tried a few more Linux distros via LiveCD:

Ubuntu 11.04 64-bit – Something about the color scheme of this distro really turns me off, the reddish-purple just makes me angry. That and the fact that my Broadcom doesn’t work, despite trying the troubleshooting items I find online.

Mint 12 64-bit – I so want version of Linux to work because of its emphasis on aesthetics. Alas, its build on Debian, just like Ubuntu, so my wireless doesn’t work here. I doubt my craptop would support a decent looking UI anyway.

Mandriva 2011 – I know next to nothing about this distro, but I am impressed with the UI and how easily I got my wireless to work.

I almost went with Mandriva, until I remembered each distro can come with different frontend/UI/desktop environment (I don’t know what the graphical part of the OS is technically called). Going back to my fav distro, I found that Mint is available in a LXDE version! Knowing what a POS my ancient laptop is, I opted to take up the ‘L’ part of the LXDE environment. Its supposed to be pretty light, so that would definitely help out my aging Athlon 2800 system. I fired up the live cd and everything looked nice. Much better than the unintuitive, unattractive KDE desktop I had spent the past month or two with.

Still no wireless support until I found this ->

After trying the items on this blog, I got wireless working on LiveCD! Bingo!

I promptly clicked the “Install Linux Mint” icon. Everything has been working great since then. A huge improvement over my experience with Fedora 16 and Fedora 16 KDE.

Now, if they’ll only come out with a 64-bit version…

I started a new job this week.

It is with a startup company here in Greenville, SC called Green Cloud Technologies. I am super-excited to be here and away from that crap company Windstream! I’ve had a few changes in my career growth as a result of this job change. First, they didn’t have any equipment for me when I started so I am currently using my own PC to work on. This is the same PC that I was teaching myself Linux on. However, I couldn’t very well learn and do everything needed for my job AND learn to do it on Linux at the same time. I’d never get anything done. So I purchased a copy of Windows 7, 8 Gb of DDR2 RAM and brought my PC to work.

That said, my focus on learning has shifted. I am no longer concerned with learning Linux, as all the tech at Green Cloud is new to me. Liferay, Glassfish, Vaadin, Git,…as I said before, I don’t have the mental bandwidth (or equipment now) to learn to use those and Linux. So I guess I’m probably going to start posting stuff on here about my findings with my new technology stack.

I’m currently working on an entry on how I got my Eclipse environment set up with Liferay. If you are using the Liferay IDE plugin with anything other than the Tomcat bundle, you are in for some headaches.

So after I stopped the FTP upload from my inappropriate account , I needed to delete the 726 megs of “illegal” uploads.
I remembered the ‘rmdir’ command, but that only works on empty directories. I remember this fact as soon as I was given the ‘rmdir: failed to remove `Pictures/’: Directory not empty” response on the command line.
I once again turned to my buddy Duckduckgo and found the answer.
I needed use the remove command with the recursive parameter ‘-r’.
About two seconds after I entered the ‘rm -r Pictures/’ command, the folder and all of its contents were gone. All four hours of uploading gone in the blink of an eye.
It is two weeks later and I am at about 10.7 GB uploated of my 25Gb total. The 512kbps upload of my AT&T DSL is really not doing it for me right now. Still not enough motivation to switch to Charter though. Maybe in 5 more months when they try to jack up my rates again.

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