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Fedora, Linux and Stuff

Command Line DVD Burning

August 19th, 2009 ~ 10:10pm by Mauriat Miranda

When I built my server, I only used a CD-RW/DVD-ROM combination drive. Whenever I remotely downloaded a ISO using wget or bittorrent, I would have to copy the 2-4GB file(s) from my server to either my desktop or laptop. I finally caved, and bought a DVD-RW drive for my server (even though it will get minimal usage).

(This was all on my CentOS 5 server, I executed these commands entirely remotely. )

After I installed the new drive, I ran dmesg to check how it was detected:

[mirandam@atlas ~]$ dmesg | grep DVD
hda: HP DVD Writer 1140d, ATAPI CD/DVD-ROM drive
hda: ATAPI 12X DVD-ROM DVD-R-RAM CD-R/RW drive, 2048kB Cache, UDMA(66)

The device is /dev/hda, which will be linked to the DVD device in /dev:

[mirandam@atlas ~]$ ls -l /dev | grep dvd
lrwxrwxrwx 1 root root         3 Aug 19 19:44 dvd -> hda
lrwxrwxrwx 1 root root         3 Aug 19 19:44 dvd-hda -> hda
lrwxrwxrwx 1 root root         3 Aug 19 19:44 dvdrw -> hda
lrwxrwxrwx 1 root root         3 Aug 19 19:44 dvdrw-hda -> hda
lrwxrwxrwx 1 root root         3 Aug 19 19:44 dvdwriter -> hda
lrwxrwxrwx 1 root root         3 Aug 19 19:44 dvdwriter-hda -> hda

Necessary Software

In order to work with DVD writing, you should have the dvd+rw-tools package installed. This will most likely be installed if you have Gnome or a CD/DVD app such as K3b. If not install via yum:

# yum install dvd+rw-tools

I wanted to erase a DVD+RW.

I had a junk DVD+RW (Memorex) laying around that I wanted quickly deleted. I used the dvd+rw-format command (it took less than 30 seconds):

[mirandam@atlas ~]$ sudo dvd+rw-format -force /dev/dvd
* BD/DVD+RW/-RAM format utility by <appro @fy.chalmers.se>, version 7.0.
* 4.7GB DVD+RW media detected.
* formatting 92.3\

I wanted to burn a downloaded ISO file onto the DVD+RW.

I used the growisofs command. I tried using sudo but it refused, so logged in directly as root.

[mirandam@atlas ISO]$ su -
Password:
[root@atlas ~]# cd ~mirandam/ISO/
	
[root@atlas ISO]# growisofs -dvd-compat -Z /dev/dvd=DVD_Image.iso -speed 2
Executing ‘builtin_dd if=DVD_Image.iso of=/dev/dvd obs=32k seek=0′
/dev/dvd: restarting DVD+RW format…
/dev/dvd: “Current Write Speed” is 4.1×1352KBps.
   31490048/2530975744 ( 1.2%) @4.0x, remaining 7:56 RBU 100.0% UBU   2.4%
…
…
 2512584704/2530975744 (99.3%) @4.0x, remaining 0:03 RBU 100.0% UBU  99.8%
builtin_dd: 1235840*2KB out @ average 4.0×1352KBps
/dev/dvd: flushing cache
/dev/dvd: writing lead-out

As you can see, it took about 8 minutes (fast!) for this to finish. After it finished, I mounted the new DVD to test it (my image was udf, most linux CD/DVD images are iso9660):

[mirandam@atlas ~]$ sudo mount /dev/dvd /mnt/dvd -t udf

When I got back to the server, my DVD+RW was ready for me.

I plan to always leave a DVD+RW media in the drive so it can serve as an means for backup. Automating the process may also be a good idea.

More Info

http://fy.chalmers.se/~appro/linux/DVD+RW/
http://www.andrews-corner.org/burning.html

Supported Features

August 5th, 2009 ~ 7:58am by Mauriat Miranda

Sounds like something Fedora users might relate to…

I hear many of you finally have smooth Flash support, but me and my Intel card are still waiting on a kernel patch somewhere in the pipeline before we can watch Jon Stewart smoothly.

Google Apps for Domains

July 21st, 2009 ~ 9:19am by Mauriat Miranda

I spend way too much time and effort tweaking my SpamAssassin settings on my server just so I can get my email and spam situation manageable.

Anyways, I’m getting sick of the trouble so I am trying out Google Apps for Domains. This allows me to use my own domain name, but using Gmail for email and other Google web based applications (such as “Docs” and “Calendar”) all for free. It is basically the whole set of Google applications made to work from your own domain. The best part is that it can be configured to work without interfering with your actual website. So you can still run your blog, web page or forum.

There are some significant benefits since Google is managing a lot of the software on their side.

Email
In Gmail I can create easily email address aliases or use “subadressing” without messing with things like CPanel or Exim. This is very useful for mailing lists among other things.

Calendar
Even though Google Apps was designed for multiple users, it is just affective for a single user. The Calendar feature can be used online or it can be made to work with desktop applications like Evolution.

Setup
If you want to use this free service, all you need is a domain name (you don’t necessarily need hosting). I was a bit hesitant to mess my main server, so I decided use my unused mjmwired.com which I have through 1and1. Google does a very good job providing information for configurations through some of the most popular domain name providers. Using 1and1 config options, I can redirect subdomains such as mail.mjmwired.com directly to the Gmail login for my domain.

Google Apps for Domains can be used for individuals or even communities or groups (of up to 50 people) for free. The enterprise options provide even more features (at a cost). If you ever considered trying it out, it is not too expensive to get a $7 domain name and the setup takes merely a few hours.

So far I’ve found it quite convenient, and I might migrate further to Google Apps in the future. Even though I too have my reservations about Google’s Privacy issues, this feature is too nice to ignore.

SELinux - the good

June 29th, 2009 ~ 9:15pm by Mauriat Miranda

There is brief intro presentation on SELinux for “everyday” users. The 12th slides is titled “SELinux - the good”. It has quoted someone by the name Larry Loeb:

“Let me assure you that this action by the NSA was the crypto-equivalent of the Pope coming down off the balcony in Rome, working the crowd with a few loaves of bread and some fish, and then inviting everyone to come over to his place to watch the soccer game and have a few beers. There are some things that one just never expects to see, and the NSA handing out source code along with details of the security mechanism behind it was right up there on that list.”

I just found that hilarious so I had to pass it on.

I had been disabling SELinux, since it was released in FC2, but as of Fedora 9 I leave it on. For the most part now, it operates pretty transparently.

(Presentation link via James Morris)

Google Chrome on Fedora

June 19th, 2009 ~ 9:28am by Mauriat Miranda

Try out Chromium. Courtesy of T ’spot’ Callaway:

Using your favorite text editor (as root), create chromium.repo in /etc/yum.repos.d/, with the following contents:

[chromium]
name=Chromium Test Packages
baseurl=http://spot.fedorapeople.org/chromium/F$releasever/
enabled=1
gpgcheck=0

Then run (as root):

# yum install chromium

From spot’s blog:

The packages are i386/i586 only (and the i586 chromium is a bit of a lie, it isn’t compiled with the correct optflags yet) because chromium depends on v8, which doesn’t work on 64bit anything (yet). Also, plugins don’t work at the moment and some of the tab functionality doesn’t work right, but as a general web browser, it seems functional enough. (And, it seems to pass the Acid3 test, which isn’t surprising at all, since WebKit does and Chrome uses WebKit.)

Looks interesting!

64-bit Linux

June 16th, 2009 ~ 7:58pm by Mauriat Miranda

There was some discussion on the fedora-devel list about changing the default architecture for 32-bit Fedora. Which would mean that users running 32-bit Fedora with modern CPU’s will see some improvement, while older hardware will need to be supported by some secondary means or not at all.

There are some good points in the thread, but the question I found myself asking was: “Why do I still run 32-bit Linux at all?”. For 3 years, all of my computers have been 64-bit hardware.

I thought it was the web, however …

  • Flash: Runs great using 32-bit software in 64-bit Fedora (the native 64-bit plugin is currently in beta).
  • Java: OpenJDK has had a native 64-bit browser plugin for Java for over a year (the official native 64-bit plugin for Sun Java was released almost 6 months ago) .
  • I don’t even use things like RealPlayer anymore, and most websites no longer bother to embed video directly.

I often would recommend to people that multimedia had limitations or would require work in 64-bit Linux, but all my DVD’s, music and collected media work perfectly fine! And if you’ve looked at tutorials for media playback, there is little or no difference in the work required. (FYI: I have not missed anything for NOT having the win32 binary dll’s).

The only insignificant difference is the (sometimes) 10-15% size increase in downloads and applications for using 64-bit software. However for the performance gain, the cost in hard disk or download time is well worth it.

I feel silly for installing CentOS 32-bit on my personal server last year. That is not even used for multimedia or web. I think may upgrade it.

I admit I’ve been a luddite for far too long. If your hardware supports it (almost no new hardware is pure 32bit), then you should be using 64-bit Linux. In your next update or install cycle, skip the i386 and go download the X86_64!

Fedora 11 Released

June 9th, 2009 ~ 10:20am by Mauriat Miranda

“This is Fedora!”. Leonidas is in command!

After a minor 2 week delay, the diligent Fedora project just announced the release of Fedora 11.

The Fedora 11 Feature List seems rather spectacular with many big (and small) inclusions. There really are too many updates to list, some of the the highlights:

Desktop

  • GNOME 2.26 - Disk burning, Simpler file sharing, Better volume control, Media player enhancements
  • KDE 4.2.2 - more updates to KDE4
  • XFCE 4.6
  • Better font installer
  • Faster startup (20 seconds to get to Gnome)

Administration/Hardware/System

  • DeltaRPM support - faster, smaller downloads for updates
  • Bluetooth Improvements
  • Default EXT4 Filesystem
  • Nouveau Driver as Default for Nvidia Video Cards

SoftwareUpdates

  • Firefox 3.5(beta) - HTML5 and native video support
  • Thunderbird 3.0
  • Kernel 2.6.29
  • Netbeans 6.5 - popular IDE (alternative to Eclipse)
  • X-Server 1.6

You can download Fedora 11 using the standard mirrors or using the Torrent (recommended).

Please user the Fedora-List mailing list or any of the forums for help. I have published my Personal Fedora 11 Installation Guide which is quite similar to Fedora 10 (but with less issues)!

If you try Fedora 11, on the surface you may not notice how many major and minor improvements have been worked into this release. Download, install and explore and I’m sure you will realize the positive changes in this rapidly moving distribution.

Mailing List Permalinks

June 3rd, 2009 ~ 9:28pm by Mauriat Miranda

Currently I am subscribed to 19 mailing lists and there are a handful more that I plan on joining (when I get around to it). The benefits of a mailing list (especially in the Linux world) is the massive amount of useful information that is often shared by developers and experienced users that may not be found elsewhere (assuming you ignore the useless discussions).

I often link to web page posts to mailing lists on this site. For example, anything posted to the fedora-list can be seen at the fedora-list Archives. Or if you have ever read Fedora News this is done a lot!

What I would really like is for a quick method to get from the email in my mail client to the email’s URL at the given mailing list archive. I think of this as some sort of “mailing list permalink”. Since not everyone signs up for mailing lists, I want a quicker way of sharing useful information sometimes buried in the archives.

With the number of mailing lists I use, the only practical mail client is Google’s Gmail, and of course I pretty much only use Mozilla Firefox. So I imagine a Firefox Extension and/or a Grease Monkey script could insert a link into each Gmail message, or perhaps a “Right-Click > Search for this email at the archives” option on the context menu? … Alternatively, I would even consider switching to a desktop email client (Mozilla Thunderbird is really the only choice) if I could install some sort of plugin/extension to do the same thing.

Has anyone ever considered this? Does some combination of software achieve this? I welcome any ideas or suggestions on how to do this. I plan to investigate this further and maybe even start up my own project if I get some time.