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Posts by infernus_crusher

Slitaz Linux, quick and lightweight distro


Another Linux distro has been released, this time emphasising speed and low space. I reckon it’ll be perfect for netbooks. Lots of improvements needed, but the potential is there. See Slitaz Linux.

Google Chrome for Linux


After a long hiatus, Google has finally spoken up and released a (beta) version of Chrome for Linux. As ever with the techies, it’s accompanied by xkcd-style comic. Visit this link.

Quick facts from the Google Team about Chrome for Linux that they sent to me via email:
60,000 lines of Linux-specific code written
23 developer builds
2,713 Linux-specific bugs fixed
12 external committers and bug editors to the Google Chrome for Linux code base, 48 external code contributors

Backing up your Linux home directory in a flash


This is a quick and dirty method of backing up each and every directory that you have in your home folder. Most of you would probably know this anyway, but I thought I might just repost it here.

tar cvpf backup.tar `ls`

Perhaps a better way is to create an incremental backup each time.

tar cvpf backup.tar -g snapshot `ls`

This command compares the timestamps of files in the current directory with that of snapshot, and the resulting differences are written into backup.tar. This method ensures that you only write incremental changes and not the whole directory over and over again.

If there is any particular file/folder you do not want to backup, you can specify the –hide option in ls as follows:

tar cvpf backup.tar -g snapshot `ls --hide=Desktop`

That will ensure that the Desktop folder is not backed up.

Enabling webcam support for kernel (Karmic)


I refer to my previous post about Karmic’s kernel not detecting webcam by default. To enable this feature, you’ll have to make changes to the kernel configuration before actually installing. However, don’t worry if you have already compiled the kernel; it’s still possible to re-configure and re-compile the kernel with the new settings you’re about to see.

Follow the steps in my previous post. But when you get to the configuration step, i.e.

make menuconfig

make gconfig

make kconfig

you’ll need to go Device drivers > Multimedia support > Video capture adapters > V4L USB devices and enable support for the corresponding webcam. Since I owned a Logitech Quickcam, the support that I had to enable was the GSPCA options (all SPCAXXX USB Camera Drivers). However, I read somewhere that SPCA561 support is sufficient. The following is the output of `lsusb | grep -i quickcam` on my machine.

Bus 001 Device 005: ID 046d:09c1 Logitech, Inc. QuickCam Deluxe for Notebooks

Screenshot of the config option after enabling webcam support.


Then, just do the rest of the kernel setup and you’ll end up with a kernel image with webcam support. Good luck!

Slapping in Karmic’s kernel into Jaunty, flawlessly


Warning: Jaunty might no longer detect your webcam after the installation. That was what happened to me. If you’re a heavy webcam user and can’t give up video chatting in Skype or Empathy, you can safely skip this post.

Here’s the latest hybrid I’ve done. If for one reason or another you’re still refusing to upgrade to Karmic, you might be interested in splicing in Karmic’s kernel ( into Jaunty. I’ve tried it and worked flawlessly, but the performance boosts can rival that of Karmic.

Follow the steps below:

  1. Click this link and download the full version of Karmic’s kernel. It should be in .tar.bz2 extension. At the time of writing, the latest stable version is and that was what I tried out in Jaunty. You’re free to try later ones if you wish.
  2. Place it somewhere in your directory and untar it with the following command:

    tar xjvf linux- -C /usr/src

    This will unpack the file into your /usr/src folder as linux- folder.

  3. Depending on your machine, you might need to install additional libraries before you can proceed. In my case, I needed the GCC compiler and three additional development packages as follows:

    sudo apt-get install gcc libgtk2.0-dev libglib2.0-dev libglade2-dev

  4. cd into linux- folder and the first command if you’re running GNOME, or the second one if KDE.

    make gconfig
    make xconfig

    The above commands serve as configuration tools if you’re interested in adjusting kernel’ options (over 1,000!). Otherwise you can skip this step.

  5. Compile the kernel image. This is the fun part, as it may take hours, so make time!


  6. Compile the kernel modules. Hopefully this should only take seconds.

    make modules

  7. Install the kernel modules as sudo.

    sudo make modules_install

  8. Install the kernel itself.

    make install

  9. After the above step, you should be able to find three files in your /boot directory:, config-, vmlinuz-
  10. You now need to create an initrd kernel image to boot Jaunty with. This can easily be done by issuing the following command in your /boot directory.

    sudo mkinitramfs -o initrd.img-

    In case you’re wondering why the command is called mkinitramfs instead of mkinitrd, the latter has been deprecated, so don’t use the old one.

  11. That should take care of the kernel installation. As a last step, you’ll need to modify your GRUB menu to point to the new kernel image.

    sudo gedit /boot/grub/menu.lst

  12. Add the following lines into the file.

    title Ubuntu 9.04, kernel
    uuid zzzzzzzzz
    kernel /boot/vmlinuz- root=UUID=zzzzzzzzz ro quiet splash
    initrd /boot/initrd.img-

    Make you sure replace zzzzzzzzz with your uuid that you can find in the file.

  13. Once that’s done, reboot the system. Find the kernel image in the GRUB menu and boot into it. Enjoy!

Karmic Koala network fail


Truth be told I was baffled by how poor a job Canonical did on Karmic, and this is just one of the bazillion issues that you might encounter, so keep an eye out for others. After much head-scratching and Googling around for answers, I’ve finally managed to setup Karmic to work properly on a regular desktop after a fresh install. The problem, as reported many times on the Ubuntu Forums, is largely based on the fact that the network settings on Karmic were horrible to begin with. At least for Australia. The steps below are absolutely essential before you begin doing anything silly and risk destroying your Karmic installation.

Unless your DNS supports IPv6, chances are you will not be able to do anything that concerns the Internet, such as browsing, IMs, apt-get, or even Software Center. Without these Karmic is pretty much a crippled OS. You need to disable IPv6 in favour of the old IPv4 protocol. To do this, open up /etc/sysctl.conf in your favourite text editor and append this line to the end of the file:

net.ipv6.conf.all.disable_ipv6 = 1

This will disable IPv6 on all applications that you have, such as Pidgin (if you decide to hate Empathy and revert to old Pidgin), Skype, and weather forecasts.

This leaves only the settings on Firefox. Type “about:config” in the address bar, promise that you’ll be careful when prompted, and find a field that says:


and set it to true (you can double click on it).

The steps above will make your applications use IPv4. The last step in configuring the network is to set your machine to use OpenDNS nameservers. Follow the well-documented instructions on the Ubuntu Forums.

Despite these settings, however, I’ve run into trouble trying to download applications from the default Australian server. If this applies to you, you’ll need to configure Software Sources to download from the server that you can download from. Go to System > Administration > Software Sources and on the first tab where it says “Download from:”, select “Other…” and click “Select Best Server”. This will administer a bulkload of tests on all servers that you can reach and find the fastest one that you can download from. Select the server once the tests are done.

And that’s it! Hopefully with these, you will have a uber-fast, Internet-friendly Karmic OS to boot! There might be other things you’ll need to sort out, such as webcam capabilities and enabling Alt+Shift+Tab for windows navigation, but I’ll leave it to you to figure it out.

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