In the past I’ve never actually changed my time settings on my computer, usually when booting into Linux the NTP (Network Time Protocol) server does the trick. However the local operating system (whether Linux or Windows) usually retains timezone settings in some way. I do not know if the RedHat/Fedora method is consistent with other Linux distributions. My personal desktop is running Fedora, Ubuntu, Windows 2000 and XP - all rather modern software with updates, so I wasn’t the least bit worried. However I seem to have forgotten my PVR (Personal Video Recorder) computer.
In 2004 I built a home theater type PC to play and record digital media (DivX, MP4, MPEG2, MP3, etc.) and set it up with my television and my amplifier. I had made the original draft of the idea in 2003, and even though RedHat 9.0 was available I had built my design on RedHat 8.0. So essentially I forgot about the DST change, until today, when I found out some TV shows were all 1 hour off.
I really did not do any form of investigation on how to fix this. My first thought was that I needed to update the NTP
rpm and that would fix it. So I foolishly uninstalled the previous RPM and pulled a RHEL (Red Hat Enterprise Linux) source rpm and installed it. That’s when it occurred to me it had nothing to do with NTP. I knew that NTP uses UTC (Universal Time Coordinates), but I wasn’t thinking. So a quick look on the web tells me that timezone data in RedHat is directly handled by
glibc. How nice, one of the core parts of the operating system. I wasn’t in the mood to do that much updating. So I followed the instructions provided here. Basically all I needed to do was replace the timezone data files -
tzdata and restart the NTP daemon.
Worked for me.
Good thing I’m not a server administrator.
Mar 17, 2007: Looks like Jason had the same issue on his Myth box. :-)
If you pay attention to Linux news, I’m sure you’ve heard that Eric S. Raymond (commonly called “ESR”) has dumped Fedora in favor of Ubuntu. In case you’re wondering who he is, he is the author of The Cathedral and the Bazaar which is one of the best essays about open source development (highly recommended reading by the way).
The first thing that might come to mind is “so what?” So what if this open source advocate switched? What difference does it make? Essentially not much. However the workings of major open source projects are just as political as any other aspect of human behaviour. While there maybe a common philosophical goal of “free software”, how to achieve that goal is anyone’s guess. All groups have different approaches and biases that heavily influence their development. Simply put, ESR’s public exclaimation was just a very public last-ditch attempt to influence Fedora. Will this be effective? I don’t really know.
Other’s have tried different attempts of influence. In 2005 Linus Torvalds, the creator of Linux, very publicly switched from the Gnome desktop to the KDE desktop. In a recent response, Gnome developers told him to use the Gnome desktop for a month and discuss the problems. Instead, Linus provided patches (source code updates) to improve Gnome. I don’t think that’s the response they were expecting. In truth I think both sides know that not much will change.
So what does that mean to the average end user of Linux? Basically that the agenda of the developers overrides the desires of end users. That’s it. It may sound cynical, but it makes sense. While many will argue about the freedoms and choices given to users, it really makes little difference for people who don’t know anything about their computers to begin with. While some choices are very nice (there are many more options than Fedora and Ubuntu for linux), some are much more restrictive (KDE or Gnome, not much else exists). Knowing all your options is not always very straightforward.
What about Fedora? There have been lots of changes in the Fedora linux distribution that will take effect in the Fedora 7 release (not Fedora Core 7). In some ways I’m considering switching myself. I cannot in good faith recommend Fedora for a desktop and the same goes for Gnome (which Fedora uses by default). Even though many open source advocates belong to a “community” I often wonder who that community includes? Could I influence Fedora or Gnome? Well if the inventor of Linux can’t then I don’t feel very encouraged myself.
Both ESR and Linus may be quite pompous at times, but their underlying concerns are very sincere and legitimate. I’ve been with Redhat using Gnome since RH6.0 in 1999 and I’ve been helping everyday users with Redhat/Fedora problems since 2001. Do I plan to switch? Well every day that seems more and more likely.
The release version is 9,0,31,0 (the last beta was 22.214.171.124 on Nov 20, 2006).
Fedora Users: The official Fedora Flash repository has not been updated. However if you pick:
Option 2: .rpm Download the Flash Player .rpm for Linux
Install it simply with:
rpm -ivh flash-plugin-126.96.36.199-release.i386.rpm
And restart your browsers!
Well I normally don’t get too many gifts or exchange too many gifts during Christmas. But this year I got an MP3 player. I got the Zen Vision M from Creative. And I was very much impressed. Outside of MP3 playback. It has video playback for MPEG, Divx, Xvid and Windows Media. It also has a FM radio, which can be recorded as well as a voice recorder. Reviews on the internet rate it better than the video iPod.
There was one big disappointment: the device was engineered to only work with Windows Media Player 10, which is only supported in Windows XP. Windows XP/MP10 use something called MTP: Media Transfer Protocol to communicate with MP3 players. Unfortunately I run Windows 2000. Luckily the device worked perfected in Fedora Core 6 using
libmtp (supported in Fedora Extras).
I installed Gnomad 2 and Amarok (both in FC: Extras):
# sudo yum install gnomad2 amarok
I can use Gnomad to add files to and from the Zen. This looks similar to something like FTP.
However Amarok provides access almost identically to Windows Media Player once setup.
To configure go to:
Settings > Configure Amarok… > Media Devices
Select Add Device…
Use the plugin: MTP Media Device
Enter a name for the device “My Zen”
In the main window, on the left, select Media Device and hit the Connect button. Make sure you are NOT connected to Gnomad or something else.
Once connected it shows music properly sorted with album and artist, etc. However the Zen does have one annoying issue. It relies entire on ID3v2 tags instead of ID3v1, so all my music from 1998 to the past few years appear unsorted.
I’m pretty sure there is a way to use some perl library to script a command to copy all data from v1 to v2 for all my music. I’d appreciate any hints. For now, I’m manually editting every file and copying. What a pain.
In any event I highly recommend this device. Much better than the iPod in both features and price.
I have a decent computer with a large hard drive. My initial intent was to boot multiple different operating systems (as can be seen by the 6+
EXT3 partitions). However the latest technology hype is the need for virtualization or emulation. In effect, this would allow loading one operating system inside another without any reboot.
I use the term “hype” because the consumer demand (i.e. non admins, non developers, people with real lives) is very low. My personal issue, as is shared by Linux users in general, is often the need to boot into windows for a single website or for developers testing a webpage. Additionally some users prefer to test a new Linux without having to lose their primary system. Not everyone has a convoluted partition scheme like I do.
VMware is a professional NON-open source software. It provides virtualization so that the client operating system running inside the server can see the resources of the host directly. This is good.
- Full virtualization
- Free download
- Provides prepackaged RPM’s
- Can run Windows inside Linux
- Registration key requires full address, email, phone and other information
- Not open source, EULA, etc.
- Known to have problems with system updates
Xen is an fully open source package for unix-based operating systems. It provides virtualization with support from the kernel.
- Supported directly through Fedora
- Kernel support drastically improves performance
- Requires separate kernel
- ACPI does not properly work in xen-enabled kernels. Hence no cpu frequency scaling or suspend. (very bad)
- Some drivers have problems running inside a Xen client operating system.
- Cannot run Windows on all hardware
QEMU is an open source CPU emulator. Emulators have to re-interpret every instruction from the client operating system, hence significant speed loss. It supports various cpu’s including x86, x86-64, ARM, PPC, etc. It has a kernel accelerator module which helps performance.
- Supported directly through Fedora Extras
- Can run Windows inside Linux
- Can run 2 completely separate architectures together
- Very very slow
- Kernel accelerator is proprietary with a restrictive license
Thoughts and Concerns
I have not yet tested VMware server because I personally think that the information collected is not worth it. I would rather pay a nominal fee ($10-20) for a key. I have tested WMWare Player (no registration required) which can load virtual machines created in the Server. I found it incredibly slow and some non-trivial setup steps.
I do not plan on bothering with Xen due to the loss in ACPI functionality. I don’t think I want my computer hardware limited just so I can load another operating system with less memory running slower which is already limited due to the virtualization. Some newer CPU’s from Intel and AMD have been reported to support features that will allow Windows to run in Linux in Xen. Of course, obviously will require new hardware. Additionally Xen still has quite a few bugs. Perhaps once it is running smoothly and the hardware becomes standard I will switch to that solution.
So far, I am using QEMU which seems to work well enough. I have tested Windows 98, NT4, 2000 and Fedora Core 3 all with adequate performance. I even once tested FC5-64bit inside of FC5-32bit (3 hour installation and 30 min boot is NOT worth the time) – (there is a Youtube video loading XP on the PlayStation 3 using QEMU). Even though QEMU can be horribly slow it does serve its purpose. I have seen IE6 in Windows 2000 emulated loading pages faster than Firefox 1.5 native in FC6!!!
I have a working solution currently. I am keep a watch on the emulation and virtualization technologies hitting the market. Not having to reboot to test something would be wonderful. My ultimate configuration would be a 64-bit host Linux with a virtualized Windows XP 32-bit and virtualized Linux 32-bit. … The time will come eventually.