Archive for June, 2005

Debian, lighttpd and phpmyadmin

Short recipe for getting lighttpd and phpmyadmin to work on Debian.

Lighttpd is quite easy to build for debian. Once you’ve built that apt-get install php4-cgi phpmyadmin. During the install process for php4-cgi, some apache packages might get added. I suggest you remove them, they aren’t needed: sudo apt-get remove apache2-utils apache-common libapache-mod-php4 –purge.

Next step is to edit /etc/lighttpd/lighttpd.conf. Add “mod_alias”, to server.modules and alias.url = ( “/phpmyadmin/” => “/usr/share/phpmyadmin/”)

Finally, add or uncomment the following, making sure to note the bin-path.
fastcgi.server = ( “.php” => ( “localhost” => ( “socket” => “/tmp/php-fastcgi.socket”, “bin-path” => “/usr/bin/php4-cgi”) ) ).

You’ll need to access phpmyadmin via For some reason it doesn’t work without the index.php. Haven’t figured that bit out yet. (server.indexfiles is set appropriately.)

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This cool little device (VGA2USB) even has Linux drivers. Perfect unit for closet-based headless computers.

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A comment about pg_autovacuum:

People should use pg_autovacuum and *not* daily vacuums.

pg_autovacuums whenever it’s necessary, which may be *much* more
frequently than once a day (ie, once every 30min depending on mail
volume). -sc

From [Dbmail-dev] PostgreSQL and transactions.

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Laptop landscape now. Where too?

Going though and cleaning up some old entries. “Mac Forums – 1.5 vs 1.67 PBs – maccentral suggests little difference” is probably still worth posting:

Mac Forums – 1.5 vs 1.67 PBs – maccentral suggests little difference

I’ve said it before, but it bears repeating: the final version of a product is often its best, most reliable rendition. It seems to me that these are the last of the single-core G4 AlBooks. The next bid release will issue a new era, complete with new design issues, bugs, real-world failings, etc. I predict that these current AlBooks will be considered very durable and desirable, even when the new systems come out.

Given that the new iBook is still not out and Mac is moving in Intel, I think this comment is still on target. I’ve been working around things and I’m planning to put off my laptop decision until August/September now. Although I think a Mini-Mac with NX to a Linux/KDE server is going to be my primary desk workstation. I’m not swinging either way with regards to a laptop. WinXP again with NX is definitely workable. Fundamentally power saving in the biggest issue with Linux laptops at the moment. Using WinXP or OSX means you don’t have to worry about this.

When I look at the prices of the new IBM R52s at roughly 2500 for a 15″ P-M 1.8Ghz with 512Mb and DVDRW or an iBook 12″ with similar specs (need to add bluetooth, and more memory) for about the same price. The Thinkpad is very tempting. For the same price you get either better hardware or better software. That said the NX client works much better on Windows. I think regardless I’m not interested in a Powerbook. At 15″ PB seems pretty much the same spec as the R52s, but for twice the price. I’ll just wait until next year and buy a Mactel PB.

Bottom-line. I’ll try out the MiniMac/NX combo and see how my workflow functions. At this stage I’ll probably restrict myself to larger fast response 20″ screen, vs the 17″ the MiniMac current has.

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HostRAID (AIC-7901A ) and Debian, plus Xen and booting of a md root

I meant to post this a while back, but its been sitting in my queue. Back in February I purchase a x335. After some trials I got mpt-status and native hardware RAID functional under XEN. Although, testing the performance is still on my TODO list. Then April I got a x206 to replace a x205. The x206 said it had RAID 1 built-in with linux drivers, and thus didn’t require an additional RAID card. I should have recalled that linux drivers, most often for RAID means Redhat only binary drivers.

Read the rest of this entry »

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OpenOffice.org2 and Ubuntu

Unfortunately using Debian experimental, which currently has debs for 1.9.108, in Ubuntu is probably a bad idea. So here is a recipe for converting the official RPMs for use on Ubuntu. First thing, make sure java. is installed, otherwise follow this and install jre from backports. Next download OOo\_1.9.109\_LinuxIntel_install.tar.gz. Both these will take a while. (150Mb+). Finally make sure you (apt-get) install alien.

Now you have a couple choices. Either this guide or the modifed script from this comment based on this guide. Personally I used the later method.

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NX, OSX and the ALT key

In OSX the ALT is mapped to Option. When running a X11 application like the !M NX client, things like ALT-TAB, or ALT-MENU wont work unless you add the following to dot-Xmodmap.

Basic method:

keycode 66 = Alt_L
clear Mod1
add Mod1 = Alt_L Alt_R

More complicated method:

! Make the Alt/Option key be Alt_L instead of Mode_switch
keycode 66 = Alt_L

! Make Meta_L be a Mod4 and get rid of Mod2
clear mod2
clear mod4
add mod4 = Meta_L

! Make Alt_L be a Mod1
clear mod1
add mod1 = Alt_L

In order to get this to load automatically, you need to to add something to dot-xinitrc or similar. I still haven’t comfirmed the exact details for this. The more complicate method link about also has a discussion about Customizing Fullscreen X11 on Mac OS X. There also some useful tips about keyboards and mice at these two sites. This guy is also running a similar setup with OSX and FreeNX. I think I probably need a larger screen, as well, to improve the combined Ubuntu-NX/OSX experience. 😉

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Building FreeNX (0.4) on Ubuntu Hoary

From a clean install of Ubuntu/Hoary, I used the following to build FreeNX from source. This also works with Debian/Sarge.

Add the following to your apt source.list and run an update:

deb ./
deb-src ./

Install the following build-depends packages:
sudo apt-get install cdbs autotools-dev patchutils autoconf bzip2 zlib1g-dev libpng12-dev libjpeg-dev xlibs-dev libfreetype6-dev libmikmod2-dev libssl-dev libxaw7-dev automake1.9

On Debian sarge you might need this as well:
sudo apt-get install build-essential

Pull the sources (~40Mb):
apt-get source nx freenx.

Build the debs:
cd nx-; fakeroot dpkg-buildpackage -b; cd ..; sudo dpkg -i *.deb; cd freenx-0.4.0/; fakeroot dpkg-buildpackage -b; cd .. ; sudo dpkg -i freenx_0.4.0-0pre1_all.deb .

Bob’s your uncle.

I’ve got FreeNX working well in a Xen based instance of Hoary using the FreeNX defaults with the !M keys. I’m able to connect from the three !M NX clients I tried: Linux, Windows and OSX. Sound was working with the Windows client, it required the esound daemon. I found this a little chompy, and turned it off for now. I haven’t tried this with the Linux client yet. There are a couple notes here about LTSP and sound that I might investigate at a later stage. Session suspend works, although with OSX it seems you have to kill the X11 server, as the NX client itself refuse listen to the close button.

Its possible to use a similar process for nxclient at:
deb-src ./

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Bash, looping over stdin

I usually forget when install samba for the first time in Debian it pulls the whole /etc/passwd db into the samba passwd TDB. ie:

[nic@base-field:~] sudo pdbedit -L

Here’s a quick clean out bash scriptlet.

for VAR in `sudo pdbedit -L | cut -d: -f1`; do
sudo pdbedit -x $VAR;

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NX, Skype and Asterisk

I was using Skype a lot when I was travelling during April and May. I found it very useful when I was in a random airport, being able to find a hotspot and call whoever. I’ve been thinking hard how I can integrate voip solution in my companies infrastructure for a long time. Unfortunately I haven’t had a chance, yet, to play around with Asterisk to understand it better.

One of the problems I’ve been thinking about is how to get thin client technology (NX/LTSP) to work with a headset arrangement if I put Skype on certain desktops. I haven’t yet move to NX, but its my next big project. Finaling moving from Win2K to Kubuntu.

I was googling at options today, and came to the realisation that my best option is not to put phones on the screen but on the desktop. Look at integrating my standard phone network into Asterisk. Then find some other ways to get some of the nice features of Skype, ie. SkypeIn.

Things like FWD and IAX will probably do the job.

I’d still like keep the option of Skype when I’m travelling. Its very useful tool. But say with kphone and openvpn or just something like FWD direct I can do the same thing.

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