Mike’s Linux Desktop Experiences

March 19, 2010


Filed under: Uncategorized — Mr. Mike @ 1:54 pm

Before the world started Blogging, most of what we read online was from news desks or regular columns. There are assumptions which come along with this:

  • Like news entries, Blog entries have a place in time
  • Like the news, Blogs have audiences
  • With very few exceptions, like the news, entries are immutable
  • Entries need to be fun to write and (broadly) entertaining to read

The purpose of blogging is fun. Authoring a blog, you follow your audience, the same way your audience follows you. You get into an authorship/reader cycle and a reader/commenter/author cycle.

The assumptions are really very good for “publishing”… but what if you don’t actually want to publish? What if you want to share incomplete ideas, allow people to contribute, or allow people to ignore what you’re working on?

Then suddenly, blogging doesn’t work. You can’t publish incomplete blog articles… it breaks the model.

I’ve been thinking about this the past six months or so. I guess it all started when I said to somebody “…. but that’s an incomplete thought”. We all have a lot of incomplete thoughts rattling around in our heads. Wouldn’t it be cool if there were a social networking medium which let us get that stuff written down in a way that we’d feel comfortable sharing it and contributing to it? Kind of an effortless blogging? What if we felt more comfortable borrowing from the idea, contributing to it, or sharing a fork of the idea for our own blog?

Blogging might lose the expectation of quality and it would lose the temporal nature. Track the diff of a subject which is interesting to you. Open a discussion about it if it takes a direction you didn’t expect or you think is folly.

Blogging wouldn’t just be fun anymore, but it could be genuinely useful. Your audience could provide peer review of your notes… it doesn’t need to be completely anonymous and public either, but it can be. Peer review encourages you to keep better notes, to document more. To not re-invent the wheel all the time, but to be able to contribute to your own projects in drips and drabs, and pick up where you left off.

I’m still thinking about it. I’ve been doing some personal experiments in organizing my own projects and data to fit such a model. In a few months, I might have some ideas as to how to do this properly… but for now, I’m just going to have to leave this incomplete entry and you’re all just going to have to deal with how boring it is.

November 27, 2009

Updated: Truecrypt Performance on a Celeron 420 (1.6GHz)

Filed under: Uncategorized — Mr. Mike @ 10:11 pm

There’s an important update here. After much battling, I learned that the root cause of the bad performance was the SATA controller on my motherboard. The damned thing works fine for PATA, but the throughput is 1/20th the normal througput for SATA.

I’ve been using Truecrypt successfully now on my work system, another Windows machine for several months and it’s just fine. Ditto for PGP Desktop (which I don’t think is available freely)

So performance concerns below are wrong…


Observations about using Truecrypt on Windows.

Copying 6GB of data to an unencrypted drive.

1. perfomance will suffer.
2. copying 100GB of data will TAKE ALL DAY
3. performance will suffer.

That said, once applications are loaded into RAM and provided you’re not using swap, the system kinda operates just fine.

If you’re planning on storing movies or your MP3 collection on the disk, don’t think about copying it to your MP3 player. Burning disks of photos will also not go so well.

I’m running a single-core Celeron 420 @ 1.6GHz. It’s not fast, but it burns 35W peak, so I don’t need as much cooling… which means less heat, less noise, which in turn means more stability. I’m not upgrading it to get around this.

It’s taken about 4 days to encrypt my 300GB drive.

I’ll see how it goes. I’m curious how it performs for daily operations. I’m going to copy out my movies and mp3s on to an unencrypted partition. I’ll use Cygwin to do the copy because… well, it’s going to take all night and I don’t want it to wait for me to click “yes” for some stupid Windows Explorer question.

November 24, 2009


Filed under: Uncategorized — Mr. Mike @ 11:19 am

I have been keeping better records as of late and far too many photographed documents. This means that 1. I need a more regular backup solution and 2. I need a bit more storage.
For now, my backup solution has been to keep an old HDD laying around which I’d occasionally plug in and copy everything over to.

Of course, this gets done infrequently, and you’re in a precarious situation where both your drives are online at the same time. This is not really a “backup” solution, more of a snapshot archive.

The other problem with keeping good records is that you need to consider what happens if some boob breaks into the apartment and walks off with your computer. You don’t want that stuff just laying about. The key stuff, like passwords and all that are strongly encrypted. Ditto for pgp keys, but financial information, cached data, personal notes and email are all wide open.

Windows has many weaknesses, and one of those weaknesses is that it is very difficult to separate your personal work environment from the OS environment. The “home” directory concept was weak in day 1 and, while there have been many improvements, Windows still spews crap all over the drive.

So I’m throwing Truecrypt on there to encrypt the OS volume and I’m considering also encrypting the remainder of the disk.

So here’s the plan:
1. 4GB RAM
2. 1TB HDD replaces the 300GB HDD.
3. Put Truecrypt on the OS volume of the white tower.
4. Move the old RAM to the Black tower
5. Put the 300GB HDD in the Black tower, using the Linux cryptothing FS.

Dropping 4GB on the board was a small issue, the board only supports 2GB, and Windows only supports 3.something, but taking out the existing 768MB and replacing it with some modern 2GB sticks increases performance of the system.

The machine is in a nice Antec case and runs a cool Celeron 420. The beauty of this is certainly not the speed. It’s pokey. But it runs cold, quiet and reliable.

The only caveat with the RAM is that, because it is an unsupported configuration, it could, in theory, hurt the reliablity, which is massive, but if that happens, I’ll replace the Motherboard and CPU.

The RAM:

Click, boot, done.

The HDD:

At first I thought I would be lazy and use the RAID features in Windows to just do a mirror, then take the original drive offline and try to run Truecrypt.

Alas, Microsoft decided that RAID is not included with XP Pro, that’s only for the “server” OS… and I’ve been using Windows on MS’s terms, so I can’t hack it to do software RAID. It’d be a waste of time anyway.

So I booted the Linux Rescue CD and used dd.

The Windows disk manager doesn’t let me specify the bytes, clusters and that level of detail when creating partitions. There might be a command line alternative, but it didn’t occur to me that it might be quite so bad. I simply set the target partition to be slightly larger than the source. Then when the RAID failed, I figured, I’d just dd everything from the source to the destination.

# dd if=/dev/sda1 of=/dev/sdb1

The target volume being smaller than the source, it failed.

I didn’t want to wait around to repeat the whole thing, and I realized also that I didn’t want to use the MS disks to figure out how to create a bootable Windows partition, so I did this:

# dd if=/dev/sda of=/dev/sdb bs=512 count=1

That copied the partition table and boot records. Now my target disk had the right size partition.


# export SEEK=$((32363523423/2))
# dd if=/dev/sda1 of=/dev/sdb1 seek=$SEEK skip=$SEEK

So I think I discovered a bug in the documentation for dd. The output reveals the count in records, but the input to seek and skip, while in the doucmentation it says it wants blocks, it really wants records. So when I did the /2, it resulted in me spending a long time anyway 😦

dd may not work as advertised

I went to my German classes, and when I returned, everything had copied.

I then used fdisk to create a second partition (why trust Windows with this?). I powered off the machine gracefully, and disconnected and removed the 300GB drive.

Then I booted… everything worked fine. I even did a quickformat of the new 600GB volume.


So then, I upgraded Truecrypt to the latest version 6.3a and did a system drive encryption. having a perfect, bootable mirror (my original drive), I feel confident that my likelyhood of hosing myself is low. Besides, I have a third slightly out of date copy of all my important records and photos on an old 40GB drive.

It’s been running now for 20 hours or so. It’s got another 40 hours or so before it finishes encrypting the drive. This is a great burn-in test too of the new HDD.

January 8, 2009

Experimentation with Zenphoto

Filed under: Uncategorized — Mr. Mike @ 5:42 am

I’ve been doing some experimentation with Zenphoto. Trying to create a good php feed for Facebook so that I can be a bit more lazy about posting travel updates. Right now I can transcode a bunch of videos and images on my machine, upload them to Zenphoto, visit the gallery and it will generate the rss feeds and thumbs and everything on the fly.

The problem, or a problem, because there have been many, is that Facebook seems to mess up the RSS feeds. I sent them a message to find out if they could do anything about it. A URL like:


Gets converted to


So I did some searching about mod_rewrite and stuff, but instead found a nice idea to just replace some of the variables right off the bat. This is much more precise and should not introduce gaping security holes… unless they’re already there. At the top of i.php in zencore I added:

// Hack around a facebook bug where & gets changed to &amp%3B

It seems to work. I’m posting it here, because well, I need to have this somehwere so that when I eventually upgrade, I remember what I did.

What I’m not sure about is why the %3B is converted to a semicolon in the variable names.  I know %3B is a semicolon, but why is it *converted*?  I’m surprised that a semicolon is a valid array index in PHP.

December 24, 2008

Cinelerra is Working

Filed under: Uncategorized — Mr. Mike @ 5:26 am

Cinelerra is a bit annoying under the VMWare desktop and on top of that Gnome and junk wastes a lot of resources. The ideal would be to strip Ubuntu down to text-only as a special purpose VMWare VM and run Cinelerra on the Windows desktop through X11 on the make-believe VMWare-Windows network.

Another thing which is very important is to ensure that mounting of filesystems is not a pain in the butt. Having everything in the same place at the same time so that video (huge files) can be edited in-place without moving around all the time. Mounting an SMB share is probably the best way to do this in this kind of config. A bit wasteful on CPU resources, but I can’t think of any other method.

So here’s the attempt, some notes and a resultant screenshot.

(Sorry if this seems terse, it’s a dump of my own notes with some junk in here.)

root@Ubuntu-VMWare:~# apt-get install sysv-rc-conf
Reading package lists... Done
Building dependency tree
Reading state information... Done
The following extra packages will be installed:
libcurses-perl libcurses-ui-perl
The following NEW packages will be installed:
libcurses-perl libcurses-ui-perl sysv-rc-conf
0 upgraded, 3 newly installed, 0 to remove and 246 not upgraded.
Need to get 383kB of archives.
After unpacking 1421kB of additional disk space will be used.
Do you want to continue [Y/n]? y
Get:1 http://de.archive.ubuntu.com gutsy/universe libcurses-perl 1.13-1 [116kB]
Get:2 http://de.archive.ubuntu.com gutsy/universe libcurses-ui-perl 0.95-6 [242kB]
Get:3 http://de.archive.ubuntu.com gutsy/universe sysv-rc-conf 0.99-6 [24.2kB]
Fetched 383kB in 8s (46.4kB/s)
Selecting previously deselected package libcurses-perl.
(Reading database ... 89401 files and directories currently installed.)
Unpacking libcurses-perl (from .../libcurses-perl_1.13-1_i386.deb) ...
Selecting previously deselected package libcurses-ui-perl.
Unpacking libcurses-ui-perl (from .../libcurses-ui-perl_0.95-6_all.deb) ...
Selecting previously deselected package sysv-rc-conf.
Unpacking sysv-rc-conf (from .../sysv-rc-conf_0.99-6_all.deb) ...
Setting up libcurses-perl (1.13-1) ...
Setting up libcurses-ui-perl (0.95-6) ...
Setting up sysv-rc-conf (0.99-6) ...

Don’t need Bluetooth, don’t need X11, don’t need gdm, nvidea, usplash, acpi, acpid, apmd,
rsync?  sshd isn’t default but rsync is?
cron/anacron?  Why both?

I don’t have time to read all those docs.  I’ll just disable everything I don’t recognise.  It’s probably all junk anyway.

I don’t need cron on the system either.

So why is sshd not on there?

Oh.  I need to install it.

root@Ubuntu-VMWare:~# apt-get install sshd
Reading package lists... Done
Building dependency tree
Reading state information... Done
E: Couldn't find package sshd

OH yeah, forgot.

root@Ubuntu-VMWare:~# apt-get install openssh-server
Reading package lists... Done
Building dependency tree
Reading state information... Done

How are people supposed to know this?

oh right, the gui.  But I don’t need the GUI.

root@Ubuntu-VMWare:~# man vbesave
No manual entry for vbesave
root@Ubuntu-VMWare:~# less /etc/init.d/vbesave

what is vbesave?

Technically don’t need vmware-tools, but I’ll leave them in there.

sysv-rc-conf is nice.  It’d be nicer if I had a doc describing the Distro-blessed method of doing the stuff manually.  No innittab, just a note in init.d to check the Debian policy manual.  The Debian policy manual says nothing about changing runlevels in the absence of /etc/inittab.  So blegh.  Short of manually editing /etc/event.d/rc-default, I can’t see a way to do it.

I can’t fathom why this script exists:

# rc - runlevel compatibility
# This task guesses what the "default runlevel" should be and starts the
# appropriate script.

start on stopped rcS

runlevel --reboot || true

if grep -q -w -- "-s\|single\|S" /proc/cmdline; then
telinit S
elif [ -r /etc/inittab ]; then
RL="$(sed -n -e "/^id:[0-9]*:initdefault:/{s/^id://;s/:.*//;p}" /etc/inittab || true)"
if [ -n "$RL" ]; then
telinit $RL
telinit 2
telinit 2
end script

Okay. Let’s set up a line in the fstab to automagically mount the SMB share from Windows on boot.

//     /home/mike/video        smb     uid=mike,gid=mike,credentials=/home/mike/.video-smbmountcred

mike@Ubuntu-VMWare:~$ ls -l .video-smbmountcred
-r-------- 1 root root 33 2008-12-22 19:40 .video-smbmountcred

Errors dont’ seem to mean antyhing important, probably just warnings.

mike@Ubuntu-VMWare:~$ sudo mount /home/mike/video
17571: session request to failed (Called name not present)
17571: session request to 192 failed (Called name not present)

Added an account to the Windows side of things.  The password is actually some random-generated string.  Note that on my wireless adapters file sharing is not attached to the network stack.  I only have to be careful when I plug in to a LAN, and even then, with cryptic passwords and junk like that, it’s okay.  I can’t get too fancy on the account though because this is XP home and they disabled a lot of the fancier account management 😦

The MS Windows XP firewall blocks non-local subnet connections for file and printer sharing.  Seems to be the default.  Ditto for not allowing file and printer sharing.

Now we reboot to test it all out.  Hopefully, I won’t need to use VMWare console for anything.


Surprising.  The mounts come up before the network.  Hmm.


Looks pretty, even includes examples, pretty similar to what I already did.  Not helpful though.  _network is “nfs-only”.

Okay, setting the /etc/fstab to noauto for the smb filesystem.  I’m putting a command in /etc/rc.local :

/bin/mount /home/mike/video

dhcdthing is required.  That’s back in there.

/boot/grub/menu.list, remove the splash option.  Reboot.

Hmph.  Still no net.  This is stupid.

Ripped out the DHCP daemon.  threw the following in /etc/rc.local before the smb mount.

/sbin/ifconfig eth0 up

Reboot.  Works perfectly.

Not that I’d ever deploy a system like that in the field.  Not that I’d deploy a system in the field with Ubuntu.

Now I can launch Cygwin/X, ssh from Windows into my Linux VM, export the display, and run Cinelerra:

Cinelerra running next to WMM on Windows.  Kinda.

Cinelerra running next to WMM on Windows. Kinda.

December 21, 2008

It’s Working!

Filed under: video — Mr. Mike @ 4:45 pm

Scratch install.  Update the repositories (no actual system update or upgrade).  Add the repositories for Cinelerra.  Apt-get blah blah, execute the install instructions for VMWare tools (so as to get some reasonable performance)

Seems that Cinelerra is still not in the default repositories.  Same was true for VMWare tools.

Seems that Cinelerra is still not in the default repositories. Same was true for VMWare tools.

Damned if I know why a year old distro wouldn’t have Cinelerra and requires you to compile VMware tools.  Strange too that VMWare-player is available in the repositories, but VMWare tools is not.

Cinelerra and VMWare Tools Successfully Installed

Cinelerra and VMWare Tools Successfully Installed

Nearly picture perfect.   Of course apt-get install vmware-tools and the like didn’t work.  See the following for more info about installing VMWare Tools on Ubuntu 7.10


Not too painful.  Quirky.  But not too painful.

VMWare tools is working!

VMWare tools is working!

My only complaint is that my MP3 player skipped in Windows while rebooting Linux.  I guess that happens when you’re on a 6 year old machine with under a GB of RAM.

Success! Cinelerra on my VMWare environment

Success! Cinelerra on my VMWare environment

I wonder if it actually works?

The next problem is that VMWare Server does not allow for shared folders.  It’s a marketing thing, they want you to buy VMWare Workstation.  The more secure way to do this would be to export an SMB Share on Linux and let it have raw access to the partition.  The Linux machine, with no bridged networking would be protected by NAT.  That and I’d trust Linux to do an SMB export a thousand times before I’d trust Windows.  Sometimes you just don’t have a lot of choices though and I’d rather maintain my screwed up, buggy BSOD-prone EXT2 megapartition native than to require 128 or so MB of RAM to access it through a Linux system under VMWare.  This system just doesn’t have the resources and short of soldering, it is at the hardware limit on RAM.

A good day, but I really need to get away from the computer.

Okay. I’m Cheating

Filed under: Uncategorized — Mr. Mike @ 12:40 pm

I’m kind of lacking in video editing software on Windows.  I thought about buying a license for a cheapo commercial package, but I want to give Cinelerra one more shot.

The trouble is that I’m travelling.  My Ubuntu distro can no longer reach anything using the external wireless adapter (pppbfft.  Who knows, who cares).  The distro was handy for Cinelerra, but dual-booting is not an option.

I’ve reformatted one of my ext2 partitions to NTFS because, FOSS being so superior, the FOSS IFS driver for EXT2 causes BSODs under what seems to be certain system calls.  It’s pretty reproduceable under WoW, or under… you’ll never guess.  Oh no…


So the reason I wasn’t able to encrypt my Windows volume was because I had EXT2 drivers loaded.  Now, it just seems to BSOD when it indexes stuff, so until I totally blow the EXT2 stuff, I’m not going to be able to use Truecrypt at all (!).

I also think this was preventing me from using VMWare.

Now that VMWare is working, I can let Windows handle all the fancy stuff like my suspend/hibernate, network, video, audio, power management bla bla.  I can dedicate a VM specifically to Cinelerra, and because it is behind a NAT system (ironically Windows), it will not be so high a priority to keep the thing up on security updates.

Video performance under Linux was crud anyway, so throwing the CPU intensive work over to VMware, letting it chug out some video, then playing it under Windows is just fine.  Preferable even.  Just kinda wasteful on memory, but this is for something which is an overnight process anyway.

It may also solve the problem that Cinelerra would overheat my machine when running overnight on Ubuntu.  (aggghhh!)

For those who’ll tell me that running Ubuntu 7.10 is hopelessly out of date, I have to only say that I’m already stealing wireless.  Downloading gigabytes of new distros is not an option.  I have a 7.10 iso.  I shouldn’t need another.  My Windows distro is from 2002, and I’m quite sure the service packs don’t exceed a gig.  This should work just fine.

Hopefully the Linux mencode will let me ditch my HORRIFYING Windows mplayer script. Yes, I look forward to having a nice shell environment.  Yes, I still love Linux, but I have a hate-hate relationship with it on the desktop.

Loading Ubuntu in VMware

Loading Ubuntu in VMware

You should see the video I created in Windows Movie Maker.  The thing is quite simple to use.  Not very capable, I mean, it gets the job done, and deters you from fiddling too much.  It’s got a serious weakness with input file types though.  It can only do AVI.  I don’t like converting everything just to use such a silly thing, but then again, my output medium (Youtube) is so low resolution that it doesn’t really matter I guess.

I do *want* to use Cinelerra though.  Despite being forced to use Linux on the Desktop to get it.

August 22, 2008

Galleries, Dreamhost, mencoder and ImageMagick

Filed under: Uncategorized — Mr. Mike @ 1:11 am

Over the past couple months, I’ve been trying to create regular blog entries about travel. The trouble is that I rarely have time to sit down and write, and writing does take time.

So one thought I had was that if I could post all my photos and videos in nearly-real time, they can supplement the writing very well and very easily. They’d also be a better way to blog… in a way.

A huge impediment to regularly posting photos and video is that the video files, or even just the photographs, are huge. It’s rare that I come upon a high speed uplink, and it’s rude if I visit a cafe and upload a few hundred MB while sipping a coffee.

The trick here, is to compress the files on my machine, and not only that, because there are so many, it needs to be automated. Manual processes are error-prone, tedious and difficult to tweak after the fact.

For automatic conversion, the graphic files are easy. In the Windows world, Irfanview or even Cygwin with ImageMagick can do this without any trouble. The video files are more complex.

During the LBW, a friend of mine, Andi, he tipped me off that mencoder from the Mplayer suite works fine to transcode video into smaller sizes from the command line and to convert video files into flv format.

Fortunately, mencoder, along with mplayer and ImageMagick are indeed all available on Windows. Unfortunately, mencoder was compiled for the windows CMD shell, which means that the cygwin paths don’t work as parameters. This makes life a little more complex, but not as complex as dual booting my Ubuntu distro just to convert photos and videos.

So here’s the 0.1 version of the conversion script. Note the hardcoded paths and other awful things. It works, but it’s not beautiful. I need to create a posting script too, that might be hard because Zenphoto on Dreamhost does not seem to be all that inviting for automated posts.


mencoderoptions="-of lavf -oac mp3lame -lameopts abr:br=56 -srate 22050 -ovc lavc -lavcopts vcodec=flv:vbitrate=500:mbd=2:mv0:trell:v4mv:cbp:last_pred=3"


for i in `find $sourcedir -iname *.JPG`
if [ ! -e "$targetdir/$i" ]
printf "$i"...
mkdir -p "$targetdir/`dirname $i`"
convert -resize 1024 -quality 80 "$i" "$targetdir/$i"
if [ "$?" -eq "0" ]; then echo ... done; fi

for i in `find $sourcedir -iname *.MOV`
if [ ! -e "$targetdir/$i" ]
# create a batch file for each command
cat <$mplayerconvertbat
dirname=`dirname $filepath`
basename=`basename $filepath`

set -- $dirname
# get rid of cygdrive and assign drive letter
shift; shift

# replace slashes with backslashes
while [ "$1" != "" ]

echo "$i"...

echo c:\\utils\\mplayer\\mencoder \"$dosdir\\$basename\" -o \"$dostempdir\\out.flv\" $mencoderoptions >> /cygdrive/g/webgallerytemp/mplayerconvert.bat
u2d /cygdrive/g/webgallerytemp/mplayerconvert.bat
cmd /c g:\\webgallerytemp\\mplayerconvert.bat

mv /cygdrive/g/webgallerytemp/out.flv "$targetdir/$i"



Does anyone have any hints about mass-posts to Zenphoto on Dreamhost? Particularly of files >7MB?

June 11, 2008

Traveling, Wifi and USB

Filed under: Uncategorized — Mr. Mike @ 10:56 am

I set up my Thinkpad X24 as a dual-boot configuration. Aside from some video experiments in Cinelerra, I haven’t done much with it.

While traveling, I noticed that nobody is using 802.11a/b. They’re only using 802.11g. So I picked up a little USB wireless adapter, to try to get wireless working. I didn’t have a CDROM drive, so I figured that ensuring that it worked on Linux was important.

So I went into BestBuy and did a search on the chipset…. Bingo. The Hawking HWUG1 adapter seems to be supported. It even does promiscuous sniffing and stuff.

Anxiously, I take it back to my car, ready to try to get on to some free access points. I plug the thing in to the back of my machine…

[ 391.688000] usb 1-1: configuration #1 chosen from 1 choice
[ 392.172000] ieee80211_init: failed to initialize WME (err=-17)
[ 392.184000] iwlwifi_rc80211_simple: Unknown symbol iwlwifi_ieee80211_rate_control_unregister
[ 392.184000] iwlwifi_rc80211_simple: Unknown symbol iwlwifi_sta_info_put
[ 392.184000] iwlwifi_rc80211_simple: Unknown symbol iwlwifi_sta_info_get
[ 392.184000] iwlwifi_rc80211_simple: Unknown symbol iwlwifi_ieee80211_rate_control_register
[ 392.192000] wmaster0: Selected rate control algorithm 'simple'
[ 392.300000] usbcore: registered new interface driver rt2500usb
[ 392.304000] usbcore: registered new interface driver rt73usb
[ 392.600000] phy0 -> rt2500usb_enable_radio: Error - Register initialization failed.

Ugh. Just try to figure that one out without an Internet connection.

So I boot Windows. It seems to want that driver CD for which I have no CDROM drive.


A few days later I found a student who was able to transfer the contents of my CD to a USB keyfob where I was able to pull the drivers.

Ubuntu: 0
Windows: 0

Windows is working fine with wireless now. I have no time to figure it out in Linux.

April 6, 2008

Linux is a Tool and a Philosophy

Filed under: Uncategorized — Mr. Mike @ 11:08 am
Tags: ,

I completely give up on the notion that Linux is superior on the desktop.

It’s not.

No advocate will be able to convince me otherwise. Especially if they “haven’t used Windows in years”. I’m not going to spend time trying to convey the vastly superior performance of my machine under Windows XP than under Ubuntu. I’ve encountered this problem for years under multiple versions of Windows and I’m not willing to compare it any further. It’s not helpful to anyone.

Advocates do a huge disservice to Linux when they make broad claims of ease of use and performance.

That said. Linux is useful to me because I administer Linux servers professionally. It’s a tool. It has particular characteristics and features which can help me. It has many characteristics and features which hinder me.

Now on to getting Ubuntu to use LUKS on my X24.


I Add/Removed gparted, created a /boot, did a cp -a to get stuff into the new /boot, did a little dance to get rid of the old /boot fired up grub-install.

I made some mistakes along the way, but I was able to fix them by:

  • booting with the LiveCD,
  • mounting on /mnt/root and /mnt/root/boot, then
  • editing my /mnt/root/boot/grub/menu.lst
  • running grub –root-directory=/mnt/root /dev/sda

My old menu options looked like this:

title Ubuntu 7.10, kernel 2.6.22-14-generic
root (hd0,1)
kernel /boot/vmlinuz-2.6.22-14-generic root=UUID=5f0be2ea-329e-476b-91b5-2320b9f20f23 ro quiet splash
initrd /boot/initrd.img-2.6.22-14-generic

My new ones look like this:

title Ubuntu 7.10, kernel 2.6.22-14-generic
root (hd0,3)
kernel /vmlinuz-2.6.22-14-generic root=UUID=5f0be2ea-329e-476b-91b5-2320b9f20f23 ro quiet splash
initrd /initrd.img-2.6.22-14-generic

My partition table now looks like this:

root@pigeon:~# fdisk -l /dev/sda

Disk /dev/sda: 250.0 GB, 250059350016 bytes
255 heads, 63 sectors/track, 30401 cylinders
Units = cylinders of 16065 * 512 = 8225280 bytes
Disk identifier: 0x00043c78

Device Boot Start End Blocks Id System
/dev/sda1 * 1 2433 19543041 7 HPFS/NTFS
/dev/sda2 2434 4866 19543072+ 83 Linux
/dev/sda3 4880 30401 205005465 5 Extended
/dev/sda4 4867 4879 104422+ 83 Linux

Partition table entries are not in disk order

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