Linux Blog

The Linux Command Line – Review

Filed under: General Linux,Linux for Newb's — at 4:32 pm on Friday, February 24, 2012

Linux Command Line, A Complete Introductionwas given an opportunity to review The Linux Command Line, a Complete Introduction, by William E. Shotts, JR from No Starch Press and decided to give it a go. Being somewhat of a command line geek, I’m always on the lookout for good material to learn new and interesting things, and perhaps recommend to others. This is one of the better books I’ve read on the Linux Command line. It is easy to read and users with a little experience will find it has straight forward descriptions and examples. The book contains a lot of information and the only thing I’ve found lacking is diagrams, but if you’re not a particularly visual learner, this may work for you.

The book is intended to be read from cover to cover, which is exactly what I did (very rare for me, I tend to jump around.) It is not supposed to be a reference work, but more of a story. The story starts off basically enough, moving on to more advanced topics, finishing with shell scripting, though there may be some squabbling over the order in which it is presented. The gentle introduction to vi gives enough information on how to use it without being too overwhelming, and to be honest it covers just about everything I can remember how to do with vi without picking up a reference. Pretty much everything I’ve ever written in the Shell Script Sundays could be explained in this book, but as it wasn’t written as a reference, it doesn’t really work well as one.

If you’re new to the Linux command line you’ll walk away knowing what it is capable of; how to do all kinds of stuff that the “experts” do on a daily basis and probably more. For example, I can’t remember the last time I printed something from the shell. There is so much information contained within this book, you’re almost guaranteed to learn something, I did.

Ways to install Linux on a netbook

Filed under: General Linux,Linux for Newb's,Linux Hardware — at 9:30 am on Friday, December 16, 2011

With my new Acer Aspire Netbook, it occured to me that it had been a long time since I’d installed Linux on a system without a CDRom. This post outlines some methods you can use to get it installed

(Read on …)

How to talk openly about open source software

Filed under: General Linux,Linux for Newb's — at 9:42 am on Thursday, May 26, 2011

Today we have a guest post written by Whitney from Technected. Whitney majored in journalism and has been using Linux ever since. She now works for a large automotive corporation in the Midwest. In her spare time she enjoys playing video games, gardening and watching Dr. Who.

You already know Linux is superior. There’s a reason you downloaded it, even if you had to overwrite your pre-programmed OS. You painstakingly created partitioned files for your /boot, /swap, root and /home files. You even bought a stuffed penguin — the Jesus fish of Linux users — to proudly display on your desk.

With great power comes great responsibility, though. Suddenly, everyone is asking you why Linux is so great, and if they should download it. Once you’ve worked with an OS for so long, it’s sometimes hard to simplify your answers for them, so here’s a handy list of answers for the masses

(Read on …)

Bash Tips for more efficient terminal usage

Filed under: Linux for Newb's,Linux Software — at 5:36 pm on Monday, November 23, 2009

Here are some tips for working in the shell that I use on a daily basis. These may be known to most veterans, please contribute your favorite shortcuts to the comments. But for the most part this is not for the uber leet Linux geek, this is for those new to the terminal.

- Gives you suggestions / completes stuff for you. Type a, Press it twice, it will make your life a lot easier.

- Remove word behind cursor.

- Undo / Erase everything from cursor to beginning of the line

- Type out whatever you typed out last, can be combined with tools like sudo

- Go forward to the end of the previous word

- Move cursor back to the beginning of the previous word

- You’re done? Press ctrl+d to logout. If you’re in a virtual terminal, it may also close the window.

- Stop the current process. Say you run gvim, and then you want to spawn another process. Press ctrl+z, then type bg. Once you’re done with the “other” process, you may type fg to bring it back into the foreground.


Filed under: Linux for Newb's — aaron at 6:18 am on Friday, January 2, 2009

Ok, where’d I leave off.  Oh yeah, at the asscrack of dawn on the 31st…failing, as one would expect from a “newb.”  Believe many of my problems may actually be hardware related on some level, but cannot decipher the main cause. Optical Drive is the most likely candidate.  Moving on.

9:51pm  Compy DBAN’d, attempting install of UBUNTU release 8.10 again.  Background looks like a blood smear in DEADSPACE. “Partitions Formatting” – ext3 again – 5% again.  Let’s see if it goes any further…15%…Scanning Files.  Copying files at 22%, I get excited, but, you know, not in that way.

10:02pm  INSTALLATION FAILED. Error copying files to HDD [Errno5].  Multitude of causes include a faulty optical drive, bad HDD, too hot, I call BS and go with the last possible cause “burn speed.”

11:18pm  Attempting to install UBUNTU 8.10 at 8x burn speed. Optical Drive churning away. Background up, beginning installation, FROZEN at Partitioner.  Failure.  Time to celebrate the New Year with lotsa drinkin’.


1:59am  Frustrated with UBUNTU, I’m experimenting with a liveCD of a release called BERRY.  The Desktop Background is a kitten melded into a desert wasteland.  Written in the lower left margin of the screen is “THE MOST BEAUTIFUL O/S IN THE WORLD.” If by beautiful, I hope they mean the code because this….this is just apalling. Oh FRACK, I click some random gear button and up pops another kitten.  This Distro was developed by Satan and his demon buddies…and possibly Kevin Rose.  Ok, big NO and big waste of time.

3:34am  Still a no go on the UBUNTU front.  What is the fracking problem?!?!?!11?  Will continue to hack away at it.

5:32am  Browsed around on the intarwebz and came across the FEDORA distribution 10.  Burning it at 16x and installing.  FAILURE.


4:32pm   Attempting installation of FEDORA 10 again. SUCCESS, FINALLY SUCCESS, I NOW HAVE A SYSTEM RUNNING LINUX (though I wish it were a laptop so I could tinker with it in my recliner as opposed to on this monstrosity of a former laptop with a possible bad optical drive and as opposed to working in my office where it is less than comfortable given certain medical conditions).  UH OH, a pop up tells me there’s a kernel error.  BAH! I sent a report off to the FEDORA folk, this may seem interesting in the future  if I run into a problem; at that point I may be able to fix it.

5:00pm  Ok…so, Fedora 10 seems like…any other operating system really. I’m writing this post on the intarwebz (@ 5:12am) on it.  I’ll just have to tinker with it more I suppose.  As Fedora is supposed to be based off Red Hat, certain knowledge I acquire may assist me in future endeavours (MONEY).  Don’t get me wrong, I like the nice, clean GUI with the blue burning sun ‘n all, but…I want to get down to the nitty-gritty as they say around here.  I want to learn command line functions.  I also want to start learning more about programming languages such as C++ (antiquated or not), PERL, JAVA, etc.  I want to be able to do what SNIDE does on a day to day basis and type in a few commands and have complete control over my machine (or someone elses, heh).  It’s all going to take time though.  Time.  Crap, The time setting is wrong on this thing, I have to fix that, oh, and they make it really easy.  Where’s the fun in that?

Until next time fellow NEWBS.


Filed under: Linux for Newb's — aaron at 7:19 pm on Thursday, January 1, 2009

Ok, I have a Toshiba Satellite A55 model with a Celeron M processor (I forget what speed it’s running at), 1GB of DDR2 RAM (2 512 sticks).  So, I’ve been, for three days now, trying to install a distribution (ANY DISTRIBUTION) of linux on this piece of crap.  Obviously, I started with UBUNTU as I’ve spoken about it in the past and it seems like it’d be the easiest to use (what do I know, I’m a newb).  So, for part one, I’m just going to go through the notes I took while trying, unsuccessfully to install UBUNTU on this machine.

Burned a copy of UBUNTU 8.10 at 24x.  Was having issues installing it so I read online that if I turned ACPI=OFF on that it could clear up some issues I was having.  It didn’t.  I can’t recall the exact problems I was having I/O Errors and something about SQUASH.  “Buffer I/O Error On Device sr0 Logical Block 3XXXX.  This error appeared multiple times.  Forums suggested that it may be the optical drive or the HDD or even a bad disc.

So I had 3 discs burned at 24x, 16x, and 8x, and none of them were working.  I ran extreme diagnostic checks on all of my hardware and even DBAN’d the HDD…just to be sure there wasn’t something lingering about within some small avenue of some lost, little known sector.  Moving on.

4:45a.m.  Things seemed to be running ok when CD stopped at [853.711918] NET: REGISTERED PROTOCOL FAMILY 17. I’m left with a blinking cursor.  What the f@%k does that mean?  Tired and frustrated as I know nothing about this sort of thing.
5:03a.m.  Starting over, could’ve just been a hangup.  Checked CD for defects…none.  Installation attempt.  Computer Freezes.  WTF?
5:26a.m.  Reseated optical drive, though I doubt there was any need to do so.  Starting to hate this.  Broke a CD out of frustration.  Want to sleep but I HATE leaving a problem to come back to later.  Toshiba BIOS is fairly crappy in terms of usability.  Switching between 8.10 and 8.04 of Ubuntu with no luck. Continuous hangups and failures.
6:28a.m.  Eventually get through most of the steps to the partitioning/installation bit, continues to stick at 5% “creating ext3 file system for/ in partition #1 of SCSI1(0,0,0)
7:13am  Continues to freeze at that 5% mark.  WTF.  Will attempt again tomorrow.

END OF PART 1  (There will be a happy ending, I promise)


Filed under: Linux for Newb's — aaron at 7:42 am on Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Well, it seems as though I’ve managed to find a way to fill up the HDD’s on both my mac lappys.  Tried installing Ubuntu on the G4, but I’ve currently been using it as something of a Media PC and though my files are backed up, it’s the only computer in the apartment that I can hook up to my TV (that works anyway). 

Tried partitioning the HDD on the G4, but I don’t have enough space for UBUNTU (quite a bit of space for a Linux distro.)  However, I DO have an old TOSHIBA lappy sitting around without a screen that works (though the video card works, so video out, yay). I’m just going to wipe it and hook it up to a monitor, learn that way I guess.  This I’ll do later today (it’s 6:04am).  

Went by the library today and picked up a few Linux newb books (no LINUX FOR DUMMIES, I WAS SADDENED). So I’ll be reading that.  In the meantime, here’s a review for a documentary about Linux I just got my hands on, relatively speaking.  The documentary: REVOLUTION OS.

So, what can I say about this flick other than I’ve watched it twice now and it seems like it’d be a pretty good documentary for someone (like yours truly) dipping his toe into the wide wide world of Linux.  It’s somewhat of a history lesson more than a “this is how you get started” lesson.  The reason I’ve watched it twice, other than it being intriguing, is so I could take notes the second time ’round to get a better idea of what I could tell you guys about it.

We start off with something of a cocaphony of talking heads, Eric Raymond (author of THE CATHEDRAL AND THE BAZAAR) and BRUCE PERENS (author of the OPEN SOURCE DEFINITION, along with some guys at DEBIAN), going on about this and that, not really making much sense at first.  Then we dive into the history lesson. 

We skip all of the AT&T Unix development and head straight into Stallman and his work on AI at MIT.  At some point he became frustrated with passwords and Operating systems he couldn’t work with.  He quit his job at MIT and began working on GNU (something I’ve discussed earlier).  The problem with GNU is that the FREE SOFTWARE camp had created all that was needed for a working Operating System, but lacked a working, debugged Kernel.  

This is where our good pal Linus came in, saw the GNU software and decided to write a workable, monolithic KERNEL when, combined with the GNU software, gave birth to what we have all come to know as an early stage of Linux. 

Flawed, of course, at first, but working and, believing in the GPL, he distributed this software.  That’s when things really became interesting.  As people all over the world got their hands on this Open Source code, they were able to mess around with it, play with it, improve upon it, and before long, we began to see multiple variations, each an improvement or failure upon the other.

Stallman, of course, played the part of a d-bag, for certain, and there followed all sort of revelations upon the history of linux, the evolution, etc.  I’m not going to continue rambling on about it.  All I can say is, if you have an interest in Linux, whether new or old, this is definitely a flick you’ve got to check out.  So, rent it, download it, do what you’ve gotta do, but I’m tellin’ ya, check it out.  It’s one step closer(for me anyway) to understanding.

Anyway, I’ve got some sleep to catch on, followed up by installation on that Toshiba and a great amount of reading, so, check out REVOLUTION OS.  I give it 4 out of 5 penguins.

Until next time, fellow newbs…


Filed under: Linux for Newb's — aaron at 4:14 am on Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Well fellow Linux newbies, looks like I’m going to have to RTFM hardcore.  Doesn’t look like I quite knew what I was getting myself into.

Take Ubuntu, for example, the distro. I’m starting out with because it has a nice clean GUI and all the kids are doing it these days.  Seems like I’m going to have to actually INSTALL it on a machine, perhaps partition off part of the HDD on one of my lappys and just run with it, because, for now, there’s not much I can do with it.  I can check out all sorts of things going on internally with my machine, etc. etc., but the real meat ‘n potatos I think won’t come ’til I’ve taken the plunge and fully installed it.

I WILL tell you what it CAN be handy for though.  Say you’ve got a bad Windows O/S corruption (because, you know, THAT never happens), and you can’t get into the operating system.  OH NOES!!!!1!1!!!!1!  You can always take out your HDD, get one of those do-it-yourself external HDD rigs and attempt to get your entire Britney Spears Discography and Myspace Pose pics, OR you could simply pop in a bootable Ubuntu distro (fits on a CD or Flash Drive) and boot to that (this is assuming of course that you can’t boot into SAFE MODE in windows as well which means, well, that your OS is really hosed.  But back to what I was saying…pop one of those suckers in, boot from it (obviously) and you’re free to move about the cabin and back up all of those files to an external source before completely wiping the OS and starting fresh…perhaps with UBUNTU or some other flavor of Linux.

Sorry if the post is too short ‘n sweet, but I have some research to do and some playing around before I post again, I just thought I’d pop in a little something in the meantime.

Until next time!

A Readers Digest History of Linux

Filed under: Linux for Newb's — aaron at 9:19 am on Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Well, I suppose a bit of an introduction is in order before I begin. I’m Aaron, a friend of Owen, and I’ve always been mystified by his ability to use Linux (command line wizard) to do just about anything he wants. Whenever he touches a machine, he’s able to take complete control over it by getting down to the very base of Linux and I’d find myself suddenly in awe at the wonderful things I’m seeing on either his machine or mine, because, somehow, he’s suddenly on my machine (he’s in my b4s3, k1ll1n my d00dz). So we came to the conclusion that, instead of my mystification, I start learning about this mysterious world of Linux and the Linux community.

For the first article, I reckon we should go into a brief, “Readers Digest” version of the history of Linux. Linux as we know it was developed in 1991 by Linux Torvalds based upon the GNU code written by, or at least announced by, Richard Stallman in 1983. Just knowing that dispels the myth that Linux is based upon Unix as GNU stands for “Gnu is Not Unix.” This often leads to the use of the term GNU/LINUX. Ok, moving on.
(Read on …)