Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Dual-booting -- Setting the default OS in Grub (Unbutu)

Ok if you have decided to just try Ubuntu out without fully committing you may have found yourself in a dual-boot situation. Well when you install Ubuntu it sets it self as the default OS. Well you may not want that or you may have other versions of Linux that you want as the default. Well that is where the grub "menu.lst" file comes into play. To open the file you type:

sudo gedit /boot/grub/menu.lst

Find the following section in the file:

## default num
# Set the default entry to the entry number NUM. Numbering starts from 0, and
# the entry number 0 is the default if the command is not used.
# You can specify 'saved' instead of a number. In this case, the default entry
# is the entry saved with the command 'savedefault'.
# WARNING: If you are using dmraid do not change this entry to 'saved' or your
# array will desync and will not let you boot your system.
default 0

The important line is the last one. You will need to change that number 0 to match the Windows boot section. Typically it's always going to be 6 on a default dual-boot configuration. Change this value to 6, and then save and reboot your machine. You should go into Windows instead of Ubuntu automatically. (To figure out what number the OS you want to install is simply count from 0 down the menu to find the number of the wanted OS. In my case it was 6)

Special thanks to: http://www.howtogeek.com/howto/ubuntu/set-windows-as-default-os-when-dual-booting-ubuntu/

Friday, August 17, 2007

[Mega Linux Nerd] Shell App -- Cygwin

A PhD fresh off the boat told me about this Windows Linux Shell emulator Cygwin. Now i have to tell you that personally this isn't exactly the kill app I have been waiting for but for you ultra nerds out there that love emacs or vi or just good ole` bash commands, this is the thing for you. Now the install isn't as intuitive as would have liked because it is a live distribution. So in otherswords if you are trying to get this off a modem connection -- you might as well hang it up. Once the distribution all you get is a prompt. Nothing more just a prompt although per Dr. A you can start the xserver and possibly pull up Gnome if you really want a GUI interface but why lol? I guess if you don't have a compiler or you just want to mess with someone, this would be the app for you but, if you are looking for something to help make a person want to switch, just leave it alone.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Package Files (.rpm and .deb)

I just learned this here recently. Specifically I learned it from a podcast I listen to called Going Linux (Episode #12) so I have to give the credit to the narrator Larry Bushey. I highly recommend his podcast especially for new users. Having said that, lets get into this thing.

In Windows we used exe and msi files to install software. There was a certain comfort there when we simply double-clicked a downloaded file to begin an install. Well--Linux has the same thing believe it or not. The two most common are .rpm and .deb. There is a catch though. Certain versions of Linux can only use certain package files natively. Rpm is generally linked to RedHat and its spin-offs (Fedora, CentOS ....). The deb packages are generally linked to Debian (go figure it makes sense lol), and its spin-offs (Ubuntu, Knoppix ...). With these packages in the correct Linux version, the installation of software is a breeze.

What if you want to install a kick but app that is in the wrong package for the Linux OS you are in?? In my case I was in Ubuntu, and there was a game that was a rpm. What to do...what to do?? Well thanks to Larry I found out about a program called Alien. Now the cool thing is Alien is probably in your Synaptic Package manager already. But if not you can get it from the this link. Now I am going to warn you that Alien is command line driven. I know I'm sorry but you have use this tool from the console. Once you have installed it and opened the console (terminal for you Fedora users) you can type:

/usr/bin/alien -d package.rpm

or if you want to go to rpm

/usr/bin/alien --to-rpm package.deb

Once it is complete you can double click on the new package and boom-bam your program will install.

Now I also want to throw in there that Alien can convert to a bunch of other packages like Stampede .slp, and Slackware .tgz file formats. Alien can also handle Solaris' .pkg.

So there you go ... happy hunt-and-pecking!!