Author Archive

My Initial Thoughts/Experiences with ArchLinux

July 29th, 2013 2 comments

Hello again everyone! By this point, I have successfully installed ArchLinux, as well as KDE, and various other everyday applications necessary for my desktop.

Aside from the issues with the bootloader I experienced, the installation was relatively straight forward. Since I have never used ArchLinux before, I decided to follow the Beginner’s Guide in order to make sure I wasn’t screwing anything up. The really nice thing about this guide is that it only gives you the information that you need to get up and running. From here, you can add any packages you want, and do any necessary customization.

Overall, the install was fairly uneventful. I also managed to install KDE, Firefox, Flash, and Netflix (more below) without any issues.

Some time ago, there was a package created for Ubuntu that allows you to watch Netflix on Linux. Since then, someone has created a package for ArchLinux called netflix-desktop. What this does, is creates an instance of Firefox in WINE that runs Silverlight so that the Netflix video can be loaded. The only issue that I’m running into with this package is that when I full-screen the Netflix video, my taskbar in KDE still appears. For the time being, I’ve just set the taskbar to allow windows to go over top. If anyone has any suggestions on how to resolve this, please let me know.


This isn’t my screenshot. I found it on the interweb. I just wanted to give you a good idea of how netflix-desktop looked. I’d like to thank Richard in advance for the screenshot.

Back to a little more about ArchLinux specifically. I’ve really been enjoying their package management system. From my understanding so far, there are two main ways to obtain packages. The official repositories are backed by “pacman” which is the main package manager. Therefore, if you wanted to install kde, you would do “pacman -S kde”. This is similar to the package managers on other distributions such as apt-get. The Arch User Repository is a repository of build scripts created by ArchLinux users that allow you to compile and configure other packages not contained within the official repositories. The really neat thing about this is that it can also download and install and dependencies contained in the official repositories using pacman automatically.

As I go forward, I am also thinking of ways I can contribute to the ArchLinux community, but for now, I will continue to explore and experiment.

I am currently running ArchLinux (x86_64).
Check out my profile for more information.

Experience Booting Linux Using the Windows 7 Bootloader

July 26th, 2013 2 comments

Greetings everyone! It has been quite some time since my last post. As you’ll be able to read from my profile (and signature,) I have decided to run ArchLinux for the upcoming experiment. As of yet, I’m not sure what my contributions to the community will be, however, there will be more on that later.

One of the interesting things I wanted to try this time around was to get Linux to boot from the Windows 7 bootloader. The basic principle here is to take the first 512-bytes of your /boot partition (with GRUB installed), and place it on your C:\ as linux.bin. From there, you use BCDEdit in Windows to add it to your bootloader. When you boot Windows, you will be prompted to either start Windows 7 or Linux. If you choose Linux, GRUB will be launched.

Before I go into my experience, I just wanted to let you know that I was not able to get it working. It’s not that it isn’t possible, but for the sake of being able to boot into ArchLinux at some point during the experiment, I decided to install GRUB to the MBR and chainload the Windows bootloader.

I started off with this article from the ArchLinux wiki, that basically explains the process above in more detail. What I failed to realize was that this article was meant to be used when both OSes are on the same disk. In my case, I have Windows running on one disk, and Linux on another.

According to this article on Eric Hameleers’ blog, the Windows 7 Bootloader does not play well with loading operating systems that reside on a different disk. Eric goes into a workaround for this in the article. The proposed solution is to have your /boot partition reside on the same disk as Windows. This way, the second stage of GRUB will be properly loaded, and GRUB will handle the rest properly.

Although I could attempt the above, I don’t really want to be re-sizing my Windows partition at this point, and it will be much easier for me to install GRUB to the MBR on my Linux disk, and have that disk boot first. That way, if I decide to get rid of Linux later, I can change the boot order, and the Windows bootloader will have remained un-touched.

Besides, while I was investigating this approach, I received a lot of ridicule from #archlinux for trying to use the Windows bootloader.

09:49 < AngryArchLinuxUser555> uhm, first 512bytes of /boot is pretty useless
09:49 < AngryArchLinuxUser555> unless you are doing retarded things like not having grub in mbr
(username changed for privacy)

For the record, I was not attempting this because I think it’s a good idea. I do much prefer using GRUB, however, this was FOR SCIENCE!

If I ever do manage to boot into ArchLinux, I will be sure to write another post.

I am currently running ArchLinux (x86_64).
Check out my profile for more information.

Notifications with Irssi in Screen

November 13th, 2011 2 comments

One of the biggest problems about running irssi in a terminal in screen is that there aren’t any notifications by default if you are mentioned, or if there is activity in a channel. By running these commands, you will be able to get these notifications. They can be tailored based on the notifications that you want.

/set beep_when_window_active ON 
/set beep_when_away ON 
/set bell_beeps ON

I am currently running ArchLinux (x86_64).
Check out my profile for more information.
Categories: Dave L, Linux Tags: , , ,

LFS: Installing VLC

November 6th, 2011 1 comment

Since the install of Linux From Scratch, one of the main issues I’ve been having is the playback of audio and video files. VLC does both quite well, so I decided to install it.

Like most of my installs in Linux From Scratch, there are millions of dependencies, and you have to install each one manually. I found that the CBLFS VLC page was a great help in determining which packages were required.

One thing I noticed, is that even though it lists some packages as “Optional,” VLC will not compile without a few of them. The easiest way to deal with this is to just install the optional packages as required.

I only ran into one issue while compiling:

D-Bus library appears to be incorrectly set up; failed to read machine uuid: Failed to open "/var/lib/dbus/machine-id": No such file or directory
See the manual page for dbus-uuidgen to correct this issue.
D-Bus not built with -rdynamic so unable to print a backtrace

The quick fix for this is to just run:

dbus-uuidgen > /var/lib/dbus/machine-id

Now that VLC is compiled, you can run it anytime by using vlc from the command-line. Make sure you don’t pull a Jake and run it as root. It will yell at you.

I am currently running ArchLinux (x86_64).
Check out my profile for more information.

Linux From Scratch: We Have Lift-off…

November 4th, 2011 No comments

Hi Everyone,

Now that I have a relatively stable environment, I just wanted to write an update of how things went, and some issues that I ran into while installing my desktop environment.

No Sound

Not that I was expecting anything different from LFS, but I had no sound upon booting into KDE. I found this quite strange, as alsamixer was showing my sound card fine. One thing I can tell you, is that alsaconf is a filthy liar. My sound is now working, and it still says it can’t find my card. I’m not sure how I got it working, but here are a few tips.

  • Make sure your sound is un-muted in alsamixer.
  • Check your kernel to make sure that either support is compiled in for your card, or module support is selected.
  • If you selected module supprt, make sure the modules are loaded. For me, this was snd-hda-intel.

Firefox and Adobe Flash

I’m not going to go into too many details about Firefox, as Jake covered this in his post here, but I’d like to note that installing Flash into Firefox was quite easy. All I had to do was download the .tar.gz from Adobe, and do the following:

tar -xvf flash.tar.gz (or whatever the .tar.gz is called)
cd flash
cp ~/.mozilla/plugins (make sure plugins is created if it does not exist.)

KDE Crash On Logout

The first time I tried to logout of KDE, I noticed that it crashed. After doing some investigations, I found a solution here. You want to edit your $KDE4_PREFIX/share/config/kdm/kdmrc to reflect the following:



What’s Next?

I’m actually not sure what I’m going to do next. I suppose I should get VLC running on the system, but that shouldn’t be too difficult. I now have a working web browser, flash, and sound, which should be fine until I can get other things working.

I am currently running ArchLinux (x86_64).
Check out my profile for more information.

KDE4, LFS: Make GTK Applications Look Like QT4 Applications

November 3rd, 2011 2 comments

Do your GTK applications (i.e. Firefox) look like something designed in the 90’s in KDE? I think I can help you.

I installed the latest Firefox, (not the one in the screenshot, I stole this.) and was very disappointed to see something like the following:

Tyler pointed me to the Gentoo guide here, which helped me find out which packages I needed.

If you install Chakra-Gtk-Config, and either oxygen-gtk or qtcurve (make sure to download the gtk2 theme), you will have better looking GTK applications in no time. Note that there are probably tons of other GTK themes for KDE4, these are just some suggestions to get you started.

That is much better.

I am currently running ArchLinux (x86_64).
Check out my profile for more information.

LFS, pre-KDE: Errors Compiling qca-2.0.3

November 2nd, 2011 No comments

If you’re going through the Beyond Linux From Scratch guide, and run into this error while compiling qca-2.0.3 (and I assume many other versions of qca), I think I can help.

You don’t seem to have ‘make’ or ‘gmake’ in your PATH.
Cannot proceed.

The fix is relatively easy. Just make sure to have which installed on the machine. Jake found this out the hard way by looking through the configure script. Doing this experiment on Linux From Scratch has really given me an appreciation for distributions that come with basic utilities such as which.

Since which is very difficult to find on Google, here is a link:

I am currently running ArchLinux (x86_64).
Check out my profile for more information.

Linux From Scratch : The Beginning…

October 31st, 2011 1 comment

Hi Everyone,

If you don’t remember me, I’m Dave. Last time for the experiment I used SuSE, which I regretted. This time I decided to use Linux From Scratch like Jake, as I couldn’t think of another distribution that I haven’t used in some way or another before. Let me tell you… It’s been quite the experience so far.

The Initial Setup

Unlike Jake, I opted not to use the LFS Live CD, as I figured it would be much easier to start with a Debian Live CD. By the sounds of it, I made a good decision. I had network right out of the gate, which made it easy to copy and paste awful sed commands.

The initial part of the install was relatively painless for me. Well, except that one of the LFS mirrors had a version from 2007 listed as their latest stable build, setting me back about an hour. I followed the book, waited quite a while for some stuff to compile, and I was in my brand new … command-line. Ok, it it’s not very exciting at first, but I was jumping for joy when I ran the following command and got the result I did:

root [ ~ ]# ping
PING ( 56 data bytes
64 bytes from icmp_seq=0 ttl=56 time=32.967 ms
64 bytes from icmp_seq=1 ttl=56 time=33.127 ms
64 bytes from icmp_seq=2 ttl=56 time=40.045 ms


Series of Tubes

The internet was working! Keep reading if you want to hear what awful thing happened next…

Read more…

I am currently running ArchLinux (x86_64).
Check out my profile for more information.

eeePC: TrackPad Mouse Clicking in Linux Mint 9

July 5th, 2010 No comments

One of the most enraging things I’ve experienced with my Asus eeePC is that the TrackPad can be used to make a left mouse click by simply tapping. The problem with this is that it only clicks when you don’t want it to.

In Windows, changing this feature was a big pain, as I had to install a 3rd party utility. However, in Linux Mint 9, it is a simply checkbox in Control Centre under the “Mouse” panel.

Categories: Dave L, Guinea Pigs, Linux, Linux Mint Tags:

lua + nginx + FastCGI on Debian

June 22nd, 2010 2 comments

(This was originally posted here on my personal blog.)

I’ve recently been doing some testing in lua, and have been comparing the results to the EdgeLink Consulting CMS that we’ve designed in PHP. So far this solution is able to serve substantially more requests per second than our current CMS. However, we haven’t really spent much time optimizing the CMS. The goal is to have a working copy first before any optimizations are done. We’ve also been working on some eCommerce modules for the platform.

With all that being said, I’d like to post a quick tutorial on how I got this setup. It was quite the task. Although there was a tutorial I found to do the same task, it was a little bit confusing. My tutorial will have a lot of the same steps, with some minor adjustments. This tutorial is written at an intermediate level. Some trivial steps have been omitted.

NOTE: This has been tested with Debian 5.0.4 (Stable)

  1. Install nginx

    apt-get install nginx

    We’ll have to do some modifications later on to add the FastCGI handler. For simplicity we will keep the web path to “/var/www/nginx-default” and listen on port 8081 in case you have another webserver running on port 80.

  2. Install lua 5.1 (and WSAPI libraries)

    apt-get install lua5.1 liblua5.1-wsapi-fcgi-0 liblua5.1-coxpcall0 liblua5.1-filesystem0

    apt-get install liblua5.1-wsapi-doc

    Can’t do much testing without this. Note: The second line is not necessary if you are running Debian testing, and get the liblua5.1-wsapi-fcgi-1instead.

    EDIT: You’ll notice that I added in liblua5.1-filesystem0. Steve pointed out that there is a bug in liblua5.1-wsapi-fcgi-0. It doesn’t include it as a dependency. He reported this as a bug here, and it was fixed in liblua5.1-wsapi-fcgi-1.

  3. Install spawn-fcgiIf you’re running Debian testing you may be able to get spawn-fcgi through the distribution, however, I just downloaded it and compiled from source.

    tar -xzvf spawn-fcgi-1.6.3.tar.gz
    cd spawn-fcgi-1.6.3.tar.gz
    make install

  4. Create a FastCGI Socket

    spawn-fcgi -F 4 -u www-data -s /var/run/nginx-fcgi.sock -P /var/run/ — /usr/bin/wsapi.fcgi

    For the sake of simplicity, we will just spawn it manually for now. If you’re feeling crafty you can add the above line to the start condition in/etc/init.d/nginx, and the line below to the stop condition. You can add both of them to restart.

    cat /var/run/ | xargs -n 1 kill

  5. Create a lua file in /var/www/nginx-default/In this tutorial, use hello.lua. You can change this to whatever, you want but just make sure you make the modification in the nginx configuration below as well.
  6. Edit /etc/nginx/sites-available/defaultNow let’s add the code that will point nginx to the correct file. For simplicity, we will simply point it to hello.lua. You can change this to anything, or simply modify the code to accept any *.lua file, as seen in the tutorial listed above. Here is the top of my default file:

    listen   8081 default;
    server_name  localhost;
    access_log  /var/log/nginx/localhost.access.log;

    location / {
    fastcgi_pass    unix:/var/run/nginx-fcgi.sock;
    fastcgi_param   SCRIPT_FILENAME “/var/www/nginx-default/hello.lua”;
    fastcgi_param   PATH_INFO       $request_uri;
    fastcgi_param   QUERY_STRING    $query_string;
    fastcgi_param   REQUEST_METHOD  $request_method;
    fastcgi_param   CONTENT_TYPE    $content_type;
    fastcgi_param   CONTENT_LENGTH  $content_length;

  7. Restart nginx

    /etc/init.d/nginx restart

  8. Visit http://localhost:8081/Congratulations! You should now see hello.lua.

If you have any problems, post in the comments. Stay tuned for more related posts.


October 16th, 2009 2 comments

Well, again, it’s been a little while since my last post. I hope you all enjoyed the podcast that we put out the week before last. If you haven’t had a chance to check it out, make sure to do so by going here. We had a lot of interesting discussions regarding the experiment. If you have any comments about the podcast, or there is anything you want to see, you can either leave a comment, or shoot me an email.


After approximately 46.3 attempts at installing openSUSE on my Asus eeePC, it is finally installed. With the help of Jake B. and Windows, we finally managed to get it working. It took only several hours of both of us cursing, and nearly an entire 24 of Stella, but it is working.


I hate KDE more than I hate Differential Equations, and as Jon F. can probably confirm, I really hate Differential Equations. That being said, besides Sasha D, who doesn’t hate Differential Equations?

KDE just makes everything so difficult. With Gnome, most of the applications mesh well with the interface. However, with KDE, I have a hard time even getting some applications to mesh with it at all. Pidgin looks absolutely terrible. The message font doesn’t match up with what my system font is set to, and I did not have this issue with GNOME.

I don’t want any damn widgets… this isn’t a Mac!


Screen-shots to follow… that is if KDE will let me do that.


September 30th, 2009 1 comment

Hi Everyone,

Sorry about the lack of updates. I’ve been pretty busy lately. After a lot of fighting and arguing, Linux and I are finally getting along.

I was unsuccessful in installing Linux as I had mentioned early, by running it from my portable hard drive off of my Mac. As a result, I decided to wipe the Ubuntu partition on my Asus eeePC and install openSUSE on there. It was fairly simple to do, and it installed without much hassle. This guide came in handy with the smooth transition.

Although Gentoo is definitely the best flavour of Linux I’ve encountered, openSUSE hasn’t been too bad.

With that being said, I have a few tasks for the coming days, and I will be sure to post about all of them. First, I want to install a softphone to connect to my Asterisk server. Jake has said after some fighting he managed to get this to work. If I run into issues, I can always ask him. Additionally, I have to get Eclipse set up with some various environments I’m going to have to use in the coming weeks. I’ve successfully set it up to work in OpenGL thus far.

That’s it for now. I’ll be posting more in the next few days as I accomplish these tasks.

Hello, World!

August 28th, 2009 No comments

Hi Everyone,

This is my very first post for The Linux Experiment. The time is ticking before the experiment begins, so I guess it is probably a good time to announce which distribution I will be using.

I’ve grown up using many different distributions, so it was very difficult to choose a good one that I’ve never used before. After a lot of thought, I decided that OpenSuSE would be a good distribution to try. I’ve never used it in the past.

I’m very excited to try it, as it seems to have a good reputation, and an established community.

I should also note that since I do not have a Desktop PC, I will be using it from an external hard drive through my Macbook Pro. This should be interesting…


Categories: Dave L, openSUSE Tags: