Archive for February, 2011

Whiteboard art

Sunday, February 27th, 2011 | Misc | 1 Comment

Maybe this is an “old” joke, but I think it’s quite funny. Lisa drew this while I was busy on the computer and not giving her proper attention 🙂

Tags: , , ,

Linux Mint 10: Common post installation tasks

Saturday, February 12th, 2011 | Linux, Tech-savvy | 3 Comments

I installed a few Mint boxes lately, mostly due to the release of Mint 10. You already get a lovely OS out of the box, but there are things I like to “fix” after an installation that others may like to do as well. Inspired by urfix‘s “25 command” posts (25 best Linux commands, plus even more 25’s listed in “popular posts”) I collected the x things to do after an initial installation. Have phun!

  1. Fix vi movement problem
  2. Having trouble moving in vi’s input mode? Strange characters appearing when you try to move in your text? Try to disable the vi compatibility mode (yes, you are not using vi but vim):

    echo set nocompatible >> ~/.vimrc
  3. Install the nonfree version of VirtualBox (3.x) for USB support
  4. If you need USB support do not install VirtualBox OSE but the nonfree version.

    apt-get install virtualbox-nonfree

    After that, make sure your user is member of the virtualbox group, otherwise you won’t be able to access your USB devices.

    As of version 4 of VirtualBox, Oracle decided to make the main VirtualBox software open-source, and now licenses a proprietary ‘extension pack’ containing the RDP server and USB support. I have not fiddled with this package yet.

  5. Change terminal colour scheme
  6. The default white scheme is not easy on my eyes. Ouch! IMHO a terminal has to have black background (slightly transparent if you like) and grey (for the hardcore: green) text colour. It’s still a computer screen, right? 😉

  7. Enable .local name resolution for your M$ network
  8. Trying to resolve some .local Windoze DNS lookalike? Try editing your /etc/nsswitch.conf file, change

    hosts: files mdns4_minimal [NOTFOUND=return] dns mdns4 wins


    hosts: dns files mdns4_minimal mdns4
  9. Enable CP1252 in eclipse for your M$ originated source code
  10. I work at a company that mainly uses Windoze boxes. This is not an excuse not to use UTF-8 as your default encoding, but we have a lot of source code encoded with Windoze default encoding, namly CP1252. Still, its pretty easy to participate in the hacking using a *nix box:

    • make sure CP1252 is available
    • locale -m | grep CP1252
    • open a new workspace
    • close eclipse and edit .metadata/.plugins/org.eclipse.core.runtime/.settings/org.eclipse.core.resources.prefs
    • encoding=CP1252
    • restart eclipse
    • start checking out CP1252 source code

    This may seem a bad way to solve the problem, because you can easily change your default encoding using Window -> Preferences -> General -> Workspace -> Text File Encoding, but guess what, CP1252 is initially not listed here. So you have to tell eclipse the hard way 🙂

  11. Enable (full) localhost name resolution
  12. Sometimes I need more names for my loopback interface than localhost or the real name of my box. In fact, as I am also an OpenCms developer, I have to have multiple localhost DNS names to access my multisite installation. OpenCms maps sites using DNS name. So, if you need to add some names to your localhost for local development, don’t add names using the IP4 loopback but use IP6’s loopback, otherwise you won’t be able access your site with e.g. Firefox (even though a terminal’s ping works flawless using just the IP4 loopback).

    Edit /etc/hosts

    ::1        silentbox localhost6.localdomain6 localhost6 *add-name-here*  silentbox *not-here*

    Only problem: restarting the system the network manager rewrites the file with default settings, thus deleting your precious changes. I still have to figure out how to solve this.

  13. Disable / cripple fortune
  14. Just recently I was told “You will be divorced within a year.” I really don’t need that distraction. Mint doesn’t even bother to separate the offensive ones from the non-offensive ones.

    vi /etc/bash.bashrc

    and then delete the following line or make it a comment


    You could also delete just the fortune files you don’t want to be bothered with, they are located here: /usr/share/games/fortunes/

  15. Use SSH keys
  16. This is so common I almost forgot to mention it. Read about using SSH keys for authentication here (sorry, Andreas, I know you don’t like “here” links).

I know this list is highly personal, talking about colour schemes and pimping eclipse to work with CP1252 code. Still, some may find something of interest in this. Do you think a common set up task is missing? Just let me know, I am always keen to learn a new trick or two that enhances your every day computer work.

Tags: , , , , , , , ,