How-To: Tutorials and Walkthroughs

Restoring Permissions on a Debian System

We have often heard from a broad variety of pundits about how Linux is not a mature, enterprise-class Unix. All discussion over how "Linux is a kernel" aside, today I have encountered the first piece of evidence that suggests to me that this is true. It seems that no Linux distribution has a simple "repair permissions" tool. This was a standard feature of package managers of UNIX systems before Linux was even dreamt of, for example in Solaris.

Building the SMC SMCWAPS-G firmware on Ubuntu

This article details the process of building the stock firmware for the SMCWAPS-G from the sources on Ubuntu Hardy (8.04.1.) The SMC SMCWAPS-G is on one hand an 802.11g access point with two USB2 ports and a 2.5" form factor ATA/IDE connector, and on the other a small and extremely low power consumption x86-compatible linux-based server with the same. While the included GPL compliance CD is relatively worthless to the casual user, the company does make the same content available in a more useful form for free download via their web site. This article explains how I built the sources; Read my review of the SMCWAPS-G for more information on the device in general.

How To Install Micropolis (GPL Simcity Port) on Linux

SimCity is one of the most popular and well-known video games of all time. This game was ported to Unix in the 1990s and the source code has since been released under the GPL version 3. Micropolis is the resulting program (as well as the original working title of the game.) Making this game work correctly is easy enough once you know the recipe.

A custom Ubuntu repository using apt-move

Ubuntu is a wonderful Linux distribution based (as are so many others) on Debian Linux, perhaps the most stable and certainly one of the (if not the...) "freest" of all Linux distributions. While Debian's focus is stability and freedom, Ubuntu's is completeness and convenience. Both, however, use the same package management system, apt. Without getting into the issue of why apt is better than the alternatives (for the most part, anyway) let me just launch right into the subject of where packages from from: repositories.

firewalling Ubuntu Linux/iptables with fwbuilder

Not too long ago, I switched entirely to Ubuntu. Long-disenchanted with RedHat, I eventually skipped out on gentoo because I am lazy, and meanwhile I never found a compelling reason to run SuSe. I had begun using Debian Linux for servers and was very happy (in general) with the dpkg system, and along came Debian-based Ubuntu with unparalleled hardware support. I like to run Linux from a single vendor if possible since it simplifies things considerably, so now everything is based on some flavor of Ubuntu. In looking for a firewall GUI configurator which would run on and configure my laptop-based firewall system, I settled on fwbuilder.

The Big Box of Art on Linux

I recently visited a garage sale and purchased an old clip art/stock image collection from "Hemera" called The Big Box of Art. While the (windows) software itself provides an index and a browser, I was only interested in using the images and none of the software. Unfortunately, the image files were in a passel of zip files and included two formats I was not sure how to handle; Windows Metafile (*.wmf) and "HPI" files.

How to make a Roadsign Font

If you want a road sign font, you can pay $800 (for the full set) or you can make your own. You also have several other options like Blue Highway or the roadgeek fonts, although the latter is often criticized for being poorly put together (badly authored.) The creator of that set simply traced the existing fonts. I have no idea why, because you can download the "Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices" which contains all the outlines.

Simple recipe for custom Ubuntu/Debian repositories with apt-ftparchive

Debian-based Linux distributions, which use the .deb package format and the apt package management system, are relatively free from dependency hell and thus are generally a joy to use and maintain. However, in order to properly manage a local archive of packages you need to build a repository in which to keep them. This is the simplest recipe I know for putting together a HTTP repository.

Untangling audio on Ubuntu

While Linux marches ever closer to being user-friendly, there are still a few loose ends to be tied up. Networking continues to be a bit of a sticky spot, and Bluetooth support is definitely in need of some refinement. But another area, and one which you would expect to have been tied up nearly by now, is sound. The PulseAudio server can help you take care of this problem, but simply installing it doesn't clear up the problems with programs taking the sound card and never letting you have it back.

How to copy files between Unix systems

Sun co-founder John Gage, who coined the phrase "The Network is the Computer" which later became a Sun slogan, is today entirely correct. Oh sure, he's not semantically correct, but he's basically correct in that the true power of the computer is not realized until it is connected to something. MP3 players are little computers that are networked to your computer long enough to load music on to them, for example. One useful and basic thing we can do to cause computers to participate with one another is to copy files between them. Sometimes it's most effective to just do this with a disk, but if they are connected to a network, it's usually easiest to copy the files that way, if not fastest.


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