Linux Blog

Changing Window Manager on Fedora

Filed under: General Linux,Linux Software,Quick Linux Tutorials — TheLinuxBlog.com at 8:34 am on Monday, August 18, 2008

TheLinuxBlog.com was intended to be a blog where I could log my thoughts, findings and generally keep track of how to do stuff. Since it was started this is still the goal. Ultimately I’d like to refer to TheLinuxBlog on how to do something just as much as I refer to google for everything else. That being said, one thing that recently came up for me was “How do I change my desktop on Fedora”.

I had done this before but I couldn’t remember the command to do so. Well, since this blog is as much for me as it is for the reader I figure I can post the how to here and kill two birds out with one blog post, I mean stone.

The program I use to change my window manager on Fedora is: switchdesk.

Switchdesk can be installed by Yum or if you installed Fedora from DVD or CD and didn’t fine tune your packages then you probably have it already. All you have to do to run it is type:

switchdesk

Now, if you are in an X session you will get a nice graphical dialog that will help you change your desktop manager. If your at the terminal it will exit and ask you nicely to type either gnome, kde, xfce or any other window manager you may have installed.

Don’t ask me why every distribution has a different named command and interface to achieve the same thing thats just the way it is. Maybe one day I’ll get a list of all of the commands and post them. Alternatively if anyone wants to start a list feel free to post them in comments or by e-mail.

Yakuake – The Nifty Terminal

Filed under: General Linux,Linux Software — TheLinuxBlog.com at 12:47 pm on Friday, July 25, 2008

Yakuake – “Pronunciation Key: yuh-kweyk”

Yakuake is a terminal emulator for KDE
“Why do we need another terminal emulator?”
I hear you ask.

Well, the Yakuake terminal emulator resembles the terminal from Quake (hence the name), except the only thing that gets owned when you run Yakuake is your to-do list.

Have you ever been fragged in Quake because you hit the Tilda key by accident?
Ever used this to your advantage while playing two player by pressing your opponents tilda key?

Have no idea what I’m talking about?
envision a terminal that magically pops up when you press a shortcut, hides when your not using it but retains the output / processes and does not show up in the task bar.

Sure there are old school ways of achieving the same thing, but Yakuake is convenient. It is based on Kommander so its highly configurable and customizable but it works right out of the package.

I use it on most of my machines and for quick tasks I find myself using a regular xterm less. If you want a quick easy access to a terminal I’d recommend trying Yakuake out, take a look at all of the keyboard shortcuts and see if there is any way you can make it work better for you.

I have my keyboard shortcuts set up so I can add new sessions, close sessions, rename sessions, move sessions and resize the terminal. It works great with the switch to session shortcuts that I also set up.

Its in the Fedora repositories, I’m sure its included in Debians 18,000 or so packages and probably Gentoo’s too, so give it a shot!

I’ll see what I can do about a video tutorial in the future to demonstrate the power of Yakuake.

Adding a service in Fedora

Filed under: Shell Script Sundays — TheLinuxBlog.com at 2:08 pm on Sunday, July 6, 2008

This week on Shell Script Sundays I’ll show you how to add a service to Fedora. This is very useful if you don’t happen to use yum for every service you want to run, and xinetd doesn’t really work for you.

Firstly there are three main parts to a Fedora service script. Start, Stop and Restart. They are pretty much self explanatory, but you don’t have to worry about the restart action since all it does is stop’s and then starts the service.

Without further ado here is the script:

#!/bin/bash
#
# Fedora-Service Update notification daemon
#
# Author:       TheLinuxBlog.com
#
# chkconfig:    1000 50 50
#
# description:  This is a test Fedora Service \
#               Second line of the fedora service template.
# processname:  FedoraTemplate
#
RETVAL=0;
 
start() {
echo "Starting Fedora-Service"
}
 
stop() {
echo "Stopping Fedora-Service"
}
 
restart() {
stop
start
}
 
case "$1" in
start)
start
;;
stop)
stop
;;
restart)
restart
;;
*)
echo $"Usage: $0 {start|stop|restart}"
exit 1
esac
 
exit $RETVAL

Now that you have a template for the script, you will want to modify it for your service. You need to keep the header at the top. This is how the Fedora Knows about your service. The three numbers indicate what order the scripts should start up and shut down in. The first seems to be a identification number and the other two are the startup and shutdown order. These can be adjusted depending on when you want the service to start up.Once you are done modifying the script put the script in /etc/init.d/

To make sure it works you can call it with service using the following actions:

service start
service stop
service restart

If all of the actions work, you are ready to add the service to the system. If you use the setup command as root it seems to do this step for you, but if you just want to add the service quickly without bothering to scramble through configuration menu’s you can do the following:

chkconfig --add [script name]

If you want the service to start automatically at boot up you can use ntsysv. For more information read my post on Managing Services on Fedora

Managing Services on Fedora

Filed under: Linux Software — TheLinuxBlog.com at 12:01 am on Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Fedora is a great desktop system, it has a pretty good services manager called service. It can be used to turn on, off and restart most services that run on the system. Should you want to manage running services all you have to do is type:

service[service name] [stop | start | restart]

If you don’t know the service name it can normally be found by issuing the –status-all switch. Doing so will output a long list of services so you may want to grep it or use a pager such as less:

 [root@linux-blog ~]# service --status-all | less
 
[root@linux-blog ~]# service --status-all | grep snmp
capi not installed - No such file or directory (2)
JAVA_EXECUTABLE or HSQLDB_JAR_PATH in '/etc/sysconfig/hsqldb' is set to a non-file.
snmpd is stopped
snmptrapd is stopped

While service is a great utility to manage services it does not stop them from running at startup. To manage services that start up when you boot you can use a handy little dialog script called “ntsysv”:

[root@linux-blog ~]# ntsysv

This will give you a nice dialog which is intuitive and similar to those of text based installers. Select the services you want to start up and then tab over to OK. I turn a lot of services off that I don’t use, if you’re unsure of what you need, try stopping it with the services command first and see if anything breaks. If after test it works well just turn it off.

Since I don’t use SELinux on my development machine, I always turn off setroubleshootd. I used ntsysv to stop it from starting at bootup and if I need it I can use the service command to start it.

Here is a screenshot of ntsysv in action:

managing services with ntsysv on Fedora

Apache “Directory index forbidden by Options directive:”

Filed under: Quick Linux Tutorials — TheLinuxBlog.com at 9:29 pm on Friday, June 27, 2008

This is a common problem with the Apache web server. It is considered a security risk to show the directory contents by default. Especially those in the root directory. The way to fix this is pretty simple, you first need to make sure that there are no -Index directives in any of the configuration files. In your httpd configuration directory grep with a line number for Options like so:

grep -n Options *

If you don’t see any -Indexes then its possible there are included files. Check these directories if you know them, if you don’t grep your configuration file for the Includes:

grep -n Include *

If you’re still getting the test page or a permission denied error after removing the directive that disables Indexes then it may be a permissions issue. Apache needs +x access for all users to enable directory listings. Change the permissions and it should work.

On Fedora there is a file called welcome.conf in the conf.d directory. This can be removed and if you have Options All set, then you should be good to go. On other distributions like Slackware it is easier to accomplish. I wouldn’t recommend allowing any sort of directory listing in a production environment but in my development case, where I only allow access to my test server on a per host basis this is not a big problem.

Also, remember to restart the server after making changes.

Hope this helps, if it doesn’t be sure to drop a comment!

My Problems with Fedora 9

Filed under: General Linux,Linux Software — TheLinuxBlog.com at 10:29 pm on Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Now, I know that Fedora is a community based operating system that Redhat just so happens to sponsor but I think there are some major problems with the release. Although I have been called “Bleeding Edge” I don’t think that I am quite there and actually I think I’m far from “Cutting Edge.”
I downloaded Fedora 9 on the day of its release to check it out. I started off by installing it onto a virtual machine. First time around the install failed for no reason, some Python error that I did not feel like debugging. I rebooted the VM , gave it another shot and it worked. The install process was pretty much the same as Fedora 8. I saw some minor differences but nothing that I can remember now. Once installed I fired it up and to say the least performance was not very good. I wanted to check out the KDE4, so I switched over. Nothing, the graphics support for the VMWare Toolbox driver is not good enough to really play with KDE4.

After toying with the Virtual Machine I decided to upgrade a test virtual machine from Fedora 8 to Fedora 9. The process to my surprise went smoothly. This was a vanilla Fedora 8 install with not too many bells and whistles. I administer a number of Fedora boxes and thought that I’d upgrade one that actually had software installed. The upgrade did not work, it failed and gave me an obnoxious error which had nothing to do with the task at hand. When I figure out exactly what the cause of the problem was, or if it is just a hardware issue I’ll report my findings here.

Despite feeling like I had not achieved too much I burned a copy of the DVD and installed it on my Desktop at the office. Its not the fastest machine on the planet but its no creeper. 1GB Ram, NVIDIA graphics and I think the upwards of 2GHz. The install went fine and gnome works great. I did not opt to install my window manager of choice (XFCE) since I was really wanting to play with KDE4. KDE4 installed fine and after switching desktops KDE worked. What’s the first thing I tried? You probably guessed it the Desktop effects. So, I try to enable them. No dice. So “I’ll just install the graphics card driver”
I thought since I know that it didn’t come bundled. This is where my troubles really began. The NVIDIA graphics will not compile on Fedora 9. Fedora 9 uses a version of XORG that has been stable for a while but NVIDIA has decided not to support yet. Thats exactly what you get when a vendor has control over source. Oh well.

I put up with the laggy graphics for a little while and tried to customize KDE. KDE4 to me seemed awfully buggy to be included as the only option for running KDE as a desktop. I happen to use KDE when not using XFCE and am quite happy with the 3.5 tree. My next problem apart was with Firefox. They include Firefox Beta 3, which I am undecided on. It crashed a number of times on me whist browsing since I hadn’t set anything up to do any real work on. I know that we would have to wait for Fedora 10 come out to see KDE4 and Firefox 3 if they were not included now but I didn’t see the legacy versions on the installer. For me Fedora 9 is not quite ready to use in a production environment.

For now I’m going to stick to Fedora 8 whilst providing feedback for 9. The moment that KDE, Firefox and XORG get patched I’m 100% there.

Fedora is not for every one but has any one else had any problems with Fedora 9 or interesting stories to share?

New versions of popular Linux distributions

Filed under: General Linux,Linux Software,The Linux Blog News — TheLinuxBlog.com at 10:34 pm on Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Its not often that I cover big news in the Linux community but I think these two Linux distributions are noteworthy.

Firstly Fedora 9 has been released. I was lucky enough to get the DVD ISO but have not yet had a chance to install it. I am however going to get to update a number of Fedora 8 boxes to Fedora 9 when I have deemed Fedora 9 stable for production. The feature list looks nice and hopefully the upgrades will go smoothly. It has been a while since I have looked at Fedora and I have to say I am very impressed with 8. It found most of my hardware (sound excused) and even has modern features that have come to lack in my next topic.

Slackware 12.1 was also released this month. This update to Slackware came quicker than previous versions and has a nice list of features that make me want to upgrade my slack box. As pat mentions better RAID, LVM support are among the list. Hal has been added so the properly configuring Slackware 12.1 should make Slackware a little more user friendly and stream the mounting of devices. I will confirm if the Slackware HAL fix is still applicable but from reading the Slackware release announcement it seems like it still needs to be done. I’ll document this pretty soon so stay tuned!

Linux Conference This Weekend

Filed under: The Linux Blog News — TheLinuxBlog.com at 12:44 am on Saturday, January 12, 2008

This weekend is FUDCon which happens to be in Raleigh. I’ll be making my way down there tomorrow and will be participating. For those of you who don’t know FUDCon is not Fear Uncertainty and Doubt like I first thought but its a Fedora Users and Developers Conference. It actually started today but is going to be on for the whole weekend. Although I don’t run Fedora as my operating system of choice I do use it from time to time and am interested in some of the events they have going on.

For more information visit: http://barcamp.org/FUDConRaleigh2008

If you happen to be in the area and attend the conference, be sure to say “hi”. I’m not sure what time I will be there but you should see my name tag.

Linux Related Ads

Filed under: The Linux Blog News — TheLinuxBlog.com at 8:31 pm on Monday, December 17, 2007

I’ve added some advertising to this blog to help offset the cost of running the server, I hope you guys don’t mind too much.

Every so often I see a banner ad for a product I once stumbled across on the net once. The product is Bomgar and they basically specialize in remote support appliances. I was interested in this product because they actually support major Linux distributions – now that is neat!

Basically in a nutshell your client goes to your website and clicks a button it installs temporary software on their computer and you get to support it, there are a ton more features that are in nifty flash animations on their site. Did I mention that it runs on major Linux distributions? That is a great feature in my opinion, they have support for SUSE, Ubuntu, Fedora and Red Hat. Impressive. If you currently support a Linux network this could be a great little box. Its a little pricey but in my opinion the cost may be worth it for the ability to easily support Linux boxes. I’d like to support a company that sees the need for enterprise Linux solutions.

I would like to see an open source solution that is similar to this but doesn’t have the price tag. If you know of one, let me know!

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