Yesterday I had some time to waste on Linux, so I went on with my twiddling on Fedora Core 2. Despite this story was starting to be likely never-ending, I got the USB system to work. I’m not sure if I have to thank a new version of the kernel I yum’ed yesterday, or the ‘module_upgrade’ cast I invoked after some googling around. Anyway the USB flash disk is now properly working.I’m still perplexed about the new version of Nautilus that has not the directory tree view. You can ‘explore’ by choosing the proper item in the ‘hat’ menu, but when you double click on a folder on the desktop you get just the folder view. It was like that once upon a time on the Amiga… but nowadays we are used to tree views… And I feel they are really handy.
At last my site is W3C compliant. I changed some code in the bwt scripts and some bits in the pages.
Last Friday I got a gadget – a mini digital camera. I have never seen this kind of gadgets in local stores… I suppose either because the shop owners shame to have such a item or because they are too greedy and there isn’t enough margin. Anyway the camera is a ViviCam 5 (pdf reader required for the link). And since this is a gift, I’m very happy to have received it for free.
Friday I took some shots and then I wanted to download them to my PC. So I switched on my desktop system and discovered that… Fedora Core 2 messed up something with GRUB and my Windows didn’t boot.
I use Windows mainly for playing games and for compatibility, moreover I didn’t want to spent huge amounts of time to resurrect Fedora Core 2 support for USB.
Saturday morning I tried to solve the thing. Apparently it seems that FC2 installer is somewhat broken and doesn’t always handle correctly the multiboot issue.
Luckily on www.fedorafaq.org there is a brief description on how to fix and some links for more detailed explanations.
Fixing involves two invocations of ‘sfdisk’ which is a stream line version of fdisk (sfdisk is to fdisk, what sed is to vi). Unfortunately the solution proposed in fedorafaq doesn’t work because the first sfdisk is issuing some warnings about disk geometry. I remember I got the same warning during installation. It is easy to get rid of such warnings by using an intermediate text file as described in one of the links.
So far so good, the pictures weren’t great, but funny for sure.
While I was playing with Fedora I tried to put USB back to work. After a bit of investigation I discovered that apparently the kernel doesn’t find the usbcore module which is the base for handling USB. A quick search through Internet showed up that I’m not alone, there is at least another Internet user who had the same problem. Unfortunately he (or she) didn’t get any sensible suggestion apart than recompiling the kernel.
I’m not afraid of recompiling the kernel, but it’s more a question of principle, not counting all the goods I get with a standard kernel (such as pre-compiled drivers).
Still convinced that reinstalling is the way to go.
Upgrading my home PC to Fedora Core 2 proved to be the most troubled Linux upgrading I ever did. It’s likely I started with the wrong foot, but things got worse and worse during the way. It all began quite innocently with my decision of not reformatting Linux partitions. Well it’s just laziness since I didn’t want to backup my personal data. Laziness sometimes can be a virtue… not this time.
The second mistake was to instruct Fedora installer to ‘Install’ instead of ‘Upgrade’. My intention was good, I meant – get rid of all the old configuration, install a brand new system. Unfortunately the installer speaks another language and it understood something like: install the new system, but keep the old one altogether.
The resulting mess was a system in which most of the packages were duplicated, one FC2 version and one RH9 version. Oddly enough files weren’t duplicated… I mean the files on the disk replaced the old ones.
Configuration files were a mess, sometimes the new version was installed, in other cases just the opposite. To FC2 credit I have to state that no configuration was lost and all the conflicts were reported in the install.log.
I started to wipe out all the old packages by ‘rpm -e’ them by hand one at time. Luckily the system wasn’t too picky on the dependencies for these obsoleted packages and let me remove them quite freely.
Then I turned to configuration files and tried to merge them in a sensible result. The system seemed to react fine, but it was only appearance. At the first reboot the X system didn’t come up.
Logging in the text console I discovered that X-related programs weren’t able to find their shared libraries. A quick check confirmed me that the libraries were still in their place, so the problem had to be in the search for shared libraries.
This pointed me to /etc/ld.so.conf and ldconfig. The configuration file turned out to be empty… likely either I deleted inadvertently the content during my merge, or the system regenerated it (empty) for some reason. Anyway I filled in the X lib directories and gnome came to life again.
So far so good. The mail and spamassassin configuration seemed fine, and I was able to receive and send mails. I get through fedorafaq and applied all the enhancements listed (java, mozilla/java plugin, macromedia flash plugin, mp3, pdf).
Anyway the system proved to be still somewhat broken, since when I plugged in my USB disk, FC2 ignored it. I ran usbview to check the usb bus, but usbview wasn’t unable to find anything since the usbdevfs was missing. Apparently something in the kernel or kernel configuration was broken. The situation didn’t solve even after I downloaded and installed the NVidia NForce drivers.
That’s all… Likely I would have spent less time by reinstalling everything at the first sign of troubles. And I think this will be the way I go. Nonetheless all this problem solving is a good exercise. (Not clear for what, but a good exercise for sure 🙂 ).
It’s now a week since the new version of Fedora has been released. I have attempted to install it on three system, therefore I collected a bit of experience in the operation.Rewritable CDs sounded like a good idea to store my favorite distro, given that it pops up in a new release every 6-8 months. Unfortunately Fedora doesn’t seem to like this kind of media too much, especially for its disc #2. Quite puzzling you can burn all the ISO images without errors. The trouble hits you during the installation.
If you choose the GUI installer be prepared that in case of media error the installation is aborted. You have to fix the defect and restart from scratch. While the good ol’ text installer is more forgiving – when it stumbles against a media error it let you choose between retry or restart.
The first “guinea-pig” was my old office PC – a dual P3 at 733Mhz, 512M RAM, one SCSI 9G HD and one EIDE 30G HD.
By letting Fedora installer doing the disk partition, only the EIDE device was used. So I get back and manually reconfigured the disks. I put /boot, swap and /usr on the SCSI, and /home and /var on the EIDE.
I am not sure if Fedora doesn’t like booting from a SCSI when it has an EIDE disk available, or the rewriteable media provided damaged packages, but the result is that this machine isn’t able to boot.
The second candidate was my notebook (Celeron 433Mhz, with 192M RAM, 6G HD). Apart from installing in text mode and frying a new CD, I got the system up and running. Anyway I installed over the old system (Fedora Core 1) and used a backup for my data.
The third system was my home PC (AMD 2600, 1G RAM, 120G HD). This time I opted for an installation, without reformatting the disc. My intention was to preserve my home directory content. Unfortunately the installer didn’t get my intention right and installed the new system together with the old one. After the end-of-install-reboot I got a system with all RPMs duplicated. This messed the system up significantly. Apparently I got some of the old and some of the new configuration. I started to remove old RPMs by hand, but I fear it is not the Right Thing to do.
I recommend a new install with a formatted HD. An upgrade should do well, but I haven’t tried since in the past the upgrades I made worked fine, but left the system in an hybrid configuration – the new system content with the old system behavior/look.
I installed every RedHat version since 4 (maybe I installed 3 too) several times. I find that RH8/RH9 were easier to install than FC2. Maybe I have been just out of luck, but having an easier installation for RH rather than FC may be not so unintentional, since it would be quite a strong selling point.
I read on slashdot that FC seems to sport a number of defects and annoyances. Anyway I found a good faq site that should help a lot for my next installation and configuration twiddling.
The photo album brought a little trouble. In fact the photoalbum index page is buried in the image subtree and this causes some problems with the relative reference schema I used for the site. Anyway I mastered the trouble. I don’t like too much the solution since I feel it’s not so clean, but it works.Also it is time to rewrite the indexing pane in order to improve the navigation and the consistency with the content.
Yesterday I finished the book “Bread Alone”. I found it nice and intriguing. It is the story of an American young woman with a passion for cooking bread. The book starts with her first serious boyfriend, going on with the marriage, how it broke and the way she walked to find herself.
The new page about shell programming is on-line. A page for the ‘bwt’ project (well ‘project’ may be a bit pretentious 🙂 has been written. It is more a placeholder than a real project home page, but it is a start.
Thank you to all of you who gave me advices on this site. I’ll try to: add some colors, add some pictures, reduce the text size, change the first sentence (the one of “being an engineer”).
Those who are engineers will understand me… you’ll be able to master engineering studies only when your way of thinking change. Once I dreamed about being an inertia ellipsoid, if you managed that without getting mad… well you ARE an engineer 🙂
Therefore yes, I’m joking, but not too much (Haha only serious).
BTW this site is not valid HTML 4.01 Transitional, at least this is what the W3C Validator says. I’m working to make everything compliant, but it is not a priority and it’ll take time.
The hidden mail mechanism is working on Mozilla, but not on Internet Explorer. Anyway I feel confident that it could be made work.Yesterday I scanned some pics of the last time my wife and me went trekking in Trentino. Should be onlined by tomorrow.
Also I plan to upload the new version of bwt scripts.
Again a bit of maintenance. The links section has grown. I’ve added a link to Valentino Miazzo’s web site and some reference to step/aerobic sites and miniatures.I have written a bash script for updating in a painless way this blog. Also this script gave me some idea for another article like the one I wrote yesterday on regular expressions.
Also I got some ideas about adding the email address in a way that visitors can read as it is and click on the url to send the mail with their mail application, without worrying about the e-mail-harvester-robots.