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Posts Tagged ‘linux’

Ubuntu lucid lynx is extremely slick

Sunday, April 25th, 2010

I tried ubuntu lucid lynx (10.04) on my  laptop and my first impressions it’s way better than 9.10. I have 9.10 now running on my desktop, and tried it on my laptop as well. When I tried to install 9.10 on my new laptop (hp dv4 series) the screen didn’t show anything. On my desktop, compiz does not work on 9.10. When I tried 10.04 it worked and all the hardware on my laptop worked as well. Still to try it on the desktop machine.

Other than the screen, the new gnome theme is very slick and together with compiz they are really way slicker than win7, which runs on the same laptop. I installed all my work on the ubuntu installation including gcc, emacs, vim …etc.

The installation was very smooth. I tried to look around on wubi’s website for a way to install 10.04 but I didn’t find. After some googling I found a link on Librarian Geek’s website.

Some draw backs: 1. happycoders emacs is no longer maintained. Ubuntu removed it from the release. 2. Flash 64 bit does not install correctly from adobe’s website. I got it to work by downloading the tar.gz file pointed to by Raman here. The one from adobe for some reason does not work, and the channel does not work as well.

Given it’s alpha status, I think it will be an excellent LTS release for ubuntu. For me, it’s a keeper on my laptop.

Discovering some of Linux Cow Powers: awk and bash

Tuesday, July 22nd, 2008

If you’ve never used linux you should give it a try. The simplest way is to install colinux with xming. If you feel its involved, just burn an ubuntu 8.04 bootable cd. It works out of the CD with almost all the every day used features without installtion, formating or any other extra work.

One of the cow powers that I use linux for, and didn’t find a way to do it using the windows shell is renaming a lot of files. I had around 3000 bmp files, their names were in the following format:


and I wanted to rename them to


I couldn’t find a way to do this on windows except with writing a small pogram. On linux the solution is a program called awk, which can tokenize input strings, and write parts of them out. awk is a sophistiacated tool, and I usually use a very small subset of its features.

The solution was finally something similar to this:

find .bmp | awk -F- '{print "mv "$0" "$1"-"$3;}' | bash -v

The first part is running the find program to find all files with extension .bmp. The results are then piped as input to awk, instead of being written to the screen. awk is told that the field separator is ‘-’ using the -F parameter. A one statement awk program says print the words mv to issue commands to rename a file, then $0 for the full string before tokenizing, then the $1 for the first tokenized part, and $3 for the third tokenized part, skipping the second. So awk is being used to write the commands that we need to execute.

Those commands are then piped to bash, the bourne shell with the verbose flag on so that we can see the commands being executed.

A good practice when trying something like that is to pipe the results first to less, instead of bash. less is a program like more, which gives the user the ability to inspect whatever was piped to it and filp forward and backwords. It also includes some nice features like -N to show numbers, and searching for a word using the forward slash /  , with commands very similary to vim.

So the less version of the line whould be this:

find .bmp | awk -F- '{print "mv "$0" "$1"-"$3;}' | less

This is a very handy technique in renaming lots of files, or carrying batch operations on multiple files that I usually use.

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Gatner “Windows is collapsing”

Friday, April 11th, 2008

So Gartner, one of the largest analysis companies said in a conference that windows is collapsing. Lots of reasons were given including a large code for windows that became un-maintainable and lead Microsoft to start from a more stable release of Windows 2003, and improve on for Vista. This in turn lead to Vista not really delivering meaningful enhancements from the point of view of the end consumer. Also, the fact that applications now are moving on the web and becoming OS agnostic where you can run many available software almost on all operating systems (openoffice for example, inkscape and others based on GNU’s compilers or java).

Other reasons included a hardware demanding OS, which can’t fit on small PDA’s and thus giving the chance for Linux and OS X. I add to this list, the complete prevalence of Linux in embedded OSs in appliances like Tivos, with zero competition from Microsoft.

A big major contribution from my point of view is the reason of making a new release. When a company decides to allocate resources for the development of a software, they need goals. The only goal that is obvious from the release of Vista was to duress people into DRM, using windows position as a must be OS on every PC or  laptop. A very important lesson that you can’t force the whole world into only your own vision, but you have to embrace what people want, make it your vision and may be add more on the side. After all people are the consumer. Unfortunately, that was the second time Microsoft did that, after they already suffered losses on the server side and hosting.

However, I do disagree with Gartner on the result that Microsoft or windows will crash. I believe that Microsoft is trying to embrace the standards and work with others, it’s just they’re not doing enough and lots of people doubt their intentions. My view is Microsoft becoming more like SUN or IBM where they will have to work with people and provide solutions for the problems that people see using ways that the people want.

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Running your server is easy, fun but involved

Saturday, March 1st, 2008

I love using Linux to do my work. My best usage of Linux is my web server, although I recall I read once that Linus never intended for the kernel to be used as a server. He was more focused on using the kernel in desktops. I’ve been running my own web server for almost a year now, which runs two websites mibrahim.net my real estate website, and clker.com a to be online clipart website – we’re halfway there.

The fun part is simply everything just works. You’ll have all the tools you need starting from database engines like postgres, mysql to scripting languages like php, ruby with different types of webservers apache, lighthttpd and others. All the tools you might think of are there and under your own hand. Building your own server is not expensive – around $100 will do it. You don’t need a super quad core machine to produce extremely fast websites, unless you are already getting more than 50 page requests per second and at that point you will need something faster.

The performance bottle neck is never the CPU, it’s the hard drives read or write speeds. You can improve on that using fake RAIDs. Almost all Linux distros offer fake RAIDs and that is the cheapest way to improve the read speed.

Setting up your server is not a hard process. The best distributions that I recommend are Debian and Ubuntu. The reason is the very large library of software that comes with each. I believe that now the full distribution has grown more than 11 CDs. I used to run Debian and switched to Ubuntu a year ago and the reason behind the switch is the faster updates I get from Ubuntu, which enables me to use more recent and updated versions of PHP and the database engines.

The easiest setup is using the Ubuntu server CD, which is not any different from the desktop CD in terms of binaries. The only difference is that it won’t install the X11-server (GUI) and the window managers (gnome or kde) and the install program itself runs over the console and not VGA graphics. I use the server installation, and connect to my server using ssh. I have another old machine that runs Ubutu as well, and is used to run freenx. By that way I keep the server’s memory for the services running, and I can add all the GUI programs I want on this old machine.

Since I greatly benefited from running my own web server, I will share my experiences every now and then when I’ve got time to write.

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Hardware problems – the mystery solved

Tuesday, December 11th, 2007

I previously wrote about hardware problems that were puzzling me, and I finally found the answer. I installed sensors on ubuntu and ran ksensors and just watched what’s going on. The old server that was shutting down suddenly had an opteron dual core processor, which ran at 50 degrees Celsius at no load. I had three websites running there, the most recent addition is clker.com . Due to the large number of people that were trying to access the website, the CPU was loaded and overheated, which inturn lead to it shutting down.

Of course the solution is to put the server in a very cold room, which I don’t have. I resorted to buying a new board and CPU, which does not heat as much as the old ones and transfered the database and pictures to it. Currently the no load temperature is 11 degrees, which I think is great. This new board is a special sale from microcenter, both the board and CPU were for $94 with $15 rebate Sempron 64! I added 1GB of RAM. It really worked much better than my expectations, as I had very very low performance expectations from that CPU

Currently this server is running clker.com only, and will run mibrahim.net today. The CPU load as shown in top does not pass 2% except in spikes. People are still digging as well as search engine robots. So that’s a good value if someone wants to run his/her own starter website.

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