Within the last month on my mint laptop chromium has been complaining about needing to be updated, and it disabled the plugin.
The manual update process is kind of a pain and to be honest and I had just not gotten around to doing the update. On a whim I decided to try and see if there was a way to do the update via apt-get instead of the manual install procedure and I found it
apt-get install flashplugin-nonfree
It updated the plugin in chromium as well … yay flash works again
I figured I would just post a quick link to this
Fantastic port diagram for vmware connectivity on virtualinsanity that I for one reason or another always have trouble finding when I need it most.
Awhile ago I did a story about Mint running as a virtual, about 6 months ago I was looking for a Linux solution for my laptop and while I had experience with many different variations over the years I have had mixed results with trying to completely replace windows as the base operating system on my laptops due to all the challenges presented every time I had used any of the main distro’s in the past.
1) Hardware/Driver functionality.
This is an old story laptops on average use more custom drivers (or at least manufacturer developed drivers) than desktops and on average I have had to fight much more with them for things like sound/video card and wireless drivers for one reason or another over the years as well as supporting plug and play hardware (like cellphone tethering or cell usb adapters or external hard drives). Often you could get things working at least in a minimal fashion but it was always a challenge to get everything running smoothly. Some of that was hardware choice a more thorough evaluation of linux compatibility before purchase would help make it easier but not all the systems I had to use could be chosen by me before hand (things like handmedown hardware or work provided hardware)
2) Full functionality as a”Desktop”
Don’t get me wrong I am a huge Linux fan for MANY uses but I had alway struggled using it as my primary operating system, every-time I had to go on the road and use tethering or deal with an NTFS formatted hard drive or weird serial dongle I would get frustrated. I am a virtualization guy and plenty of solutions out there to make sure you can run a windows virtual so you have it available but in the end sometimes it just needs to be on the native hardware to interact with external hardware.
3) Software options
While not a major problem due to my history there always were the last few stragglers in windows replacement softwares that did not work quite as I liked it to usually revolving around media and productivity.
My Experiences with MINT
Like any more modern distro mint provides a slick and intuitive installer so this was of no consequence installing, I wanted to get the feel of its base configuration so I literally left EVERYTHING default I made no significant changes during installation like I normally do.
Installation time ran about as long as normal and away i went all the default stuff you need is in by default from your system tools to software (more on that later)
My first surprise is that EVERYTHING worked by default all needed drivers were installed all hardware detected all features worked OUT OF THE BOX! No problems with video or wireless or sound it just worked and was detected on this particular laptop (Dell E6500) My surprise grew when I realized that I had no problems with any of the plug and play hardware that I normally use.
I do mean ANY, want to tether your windows mobile phone? Yep no problem just plug in and tell the phone to share and it gets picked up as a new network card automatically this surprisingly is even easier than it works on a windows laptop even with a windows mobile phone! Want to use that cell USB card? Yep absolutely just plug the device in go to the wireless manager and tell it what carrier it is to be used for!
These experiences were leaps and bounds better on MINT then they were on my windows platform things just worked quietly and un-obtrousivly as they should no fuss at all.
Like any linux head I have been collecting a whole series of “favorite” softwares for years that I had been dragging around and installing on systems everything from my favorite system performance monitoring tools to my favorite text editors and what not. Now I am not going to say that I still did not install some of those but all in all I have been amazed at the software selection that mint installs.
Things just work, they pick great default apps that are easy to use, reasonably light and powerful without going crazy and installing everything in the world. All the major bases are covered from media players to browsers as well as all the plugins for the browsers which is a nice touch if you have ever had to install Java or flash back in the day you remember what it was like. Again nothing any moderate to advanced user could not have accomplished but thats the point YOU DONT HAVE TO. They make a great starting platform that has all the basics and allow you the freedom to expand above and beyond if you choose to.
Being debian based and with the power of the apt repositories any software you need is right on your fingertips, it is one of the reasons I like debian based distros so much.
In the end it comes down to does it do what you want in the way you want it, that is the power of Linux and having all the choices out there for you. For me the answer is MINT does this for me I am absolutely happy with the distro and could not ask for a single thing more out of it.
I don’t normally do product introductions but i have been doing the research and have been absolutely blown away by the feature set for the device.
Some of the more stunning features for me are
Network File Protocols Supported
- Microsoft (CIFS/SMB/Rally)
- Linux/UNIX (NFS)
- Apple File Protocal (AFP) and Bonjour support
Dual Gigabit Ethernet—Connectivity with Jumbo frame support and high performance embedded architecture.
iSCSI Target—Provides block-level access for the most efficient storage utilization, especially for database and e
- Add storage capacity by connecting external USB Hard Disk Drives. The ix4 supports read and write on Fat32, NTFS or ext2/ext3, or HFS+ formatted drives
VMWare® Certified—HCL certified NAS (NFS) and iSCSI storage for VMware.
These are only some of the major features I find extremely intriguing for a device that for the base models are under $800, many people are using these or starting to use these for home vmware labs, baring some magic influx of money th is seems like a very affordable way to get network storage available to your home LAN
If anyone out there has gotten to actually play with one of these let me know how it works in real life!
This is a really easy one but it took me a bit to figure out actually and the answer turned out to be really easy.
I wanted to be able to sign onto xfire from my laptop which is MINT at this time (by the way my favorite distro ever)
Anyways it is simple as adding the gfire package which is the pidgin plugin for xfire
sudo apt-get install gfire
This adds the option in the dropdown list for the xfire protocol
Its as easy as that
This is a republish off my old blog … the old files are going away due to a change in hosts so please update links if you have any
I struggled with this quite a bit the first time around finding a source of information to configure Vyatta’s router solution just because examples are hard to find (not that there are any problems with it) so here is the configuration and examples that I had, I left IP addresses in there for examples but they may have to be changed depending on your home network setup
Before entering the below commands you have to be in configure mode and after commit them to memory (the commits are in there but will not put the configure in as you could do it all in one or multipule configure sessions)
Configure Outside interface for DHCP (eth0 is my outside interface)
Configure inside interface with static IP address (eth1 is my inside interface)
set interfaces ethernet eth1 address 192.168.11.1/24
Configure DHCP server for the internal network (note because of line wrap this looks funny but “set service” is the start of a new line that continues all the way to the next set service. One per line)
set service dhcp-server shared-network-name LAN subnet 192.168.11.0/24 start 192.168.11.10
set service dhcp-server shared-network-name LAN subnet 192.168.11.0/24 start 192.168.11.10 stop 192.168.11.50
set service dhcp-server shared-network-name LAN subnet 192.168.11.0/24 dns-server 22.214.171.124
set service dhcp-server shared-network-name LAN subnet 192.168.11.0/24 default-router 192.168.11.1
This toruns on the dhcp server for the 192.168.11.0/24 network and starts handing out IP addresses at 10 and stops at 50 I also set my outside DNS server as handed out by DHCP and the default router handed out
Set NAT (genaric rule to enable nat)
set service nat rule 1 outbound-interface eth0
set service nat rule 1 source address 192.168.11.0/24
set service nat rule 1 type masquerade
Forwarding SSH (creates a rule to forward ssh from any source to any destination that comes to the outside interface eth0 , this is because I have a dynamic IP address externaly so setting the destination is not useful and do not know the IP that I will be coming from) This acts like “port forwarding” in home routers
set service nat rule 2
set service nat rule 2 type destination
set service nat rule 2 inbound-interface eth0
set service nat rule 2 protocol tcp
set service nat rule 2 destination address 0.0.0.0/0
set service nat rule 2 destination port ssh
set service nat rule 2 source address 0.0.0.0/0
set service nat rule 2 inside-address address 192.168.11.48
After watching a recent episode of HAK5 I got renewed initiative to resume using a non pre purchased appliance based device as an external router/firewall. As many of you know if you followed my old blog I have done this before with a variaty of softwares both as a hardware and as a virtual device.
In this case I wanted to use smoothwall
For those not familiar smoothwall is a very nice pre-packaged linux based operating system designed to be your edge firewall. The twist I am adding is that I want to run this as a virtual device but keep it simple enough that you would not need specialized hardware to accomplish it (things like VLAN capable switch or such which would be very doable to reduce the NIC count)
A word of warning this post really requires a working knowledge of the basics of vmware (Setting up, configuring ESX itself and a basic level of knowing how to modify virtual hardware and deal with ISO’s) if you are not up this level of knowledge there are plenty of blogs out there that will help you get started, I will also try to write some “basics” but if I miss anything please comment and let me know what I need to add to make it easy for you.
That being said I am using my standard home used tower (Dell SC440) as my virtual device … I have 3 different NIC’s in the device but I am only going to use 2 for this particular project.
As you can see from my networking diagram I have 2 virtual switches with virtual machine port groups on them the inside or green interface will be in the “VM Network” Port group the outside or red interface will be the one in the “Outside” port group
The next step is to create the virtual machine, I created a standard virtual machine marked as “Other Linux 32 bit” as the configuration with the name smoothwall, When creating it leave the default HDD size. I will show you why in a little bit.
As you can see here I created the virtual machine as “Other Linux” With 512 MB of RAM this can be scaled up later if you wish.
Now comes the tricky part, smooth wall does not detect SCSI hard drives which are the standard for ESX.
Step1 is to edit the settings of the smooth wall virtual machine
Step2 is to remove the existing hard disk
Step 3 is to add a new IDE virtual hard disk
This is the only major modification that you have to make to the virtual hardware. You will also need to add a network interface to the “inside” and “outside” port group.
After that is complete you are ready to start installing the hardware
At this point boot to the ISO/CD and follow the menu’s
We are going to want to do a RED+Green configuration for this.
The last trick that makes a virtual environment different than the physical is that we have virtual network cards that are using the same driver set. There are several ways around this but the easiest I found is that wen you do the card assignment it states what MAC address is being used after you assign it.
This MAC address is visiable in the settings of the NIC in vmware
This should point you in the right direction to find which is which. IF you assigned it to the wrong one the nice thing is you can just flip the port assignment at any time.
At this point it is like any other smoothwall deployments out there I would recommend watching HAC5′s Building a High speed Router episode
Received the following error and thought it was intresting
“A general system error occurred. The system returned on error. Communication with the virtual machine may have been interrupted .”
This KB article covers some of the standard reasons
I would add to this article that you get this same error message if you try to add a VM to inventory (by browsing and adding the .vmx file) if the volume it is on is in read only mode (or in my case the ACL’s were set to allow read only)
Make sure you have read-write access to the volume you want to import a VM from
Well I am not normally one for reviews (Usually configuration / problem solving) But after reading the Linux Critic‘s post on Mint Fluxbox edition I felt that I should go through and evaluate the XFCE version (as it is my personal favourite WM)
Now this review is unique in two ways
- I am doing this on top of workstation (this is my first graphical VM on top of it myself)
- This is absolutely my first install of Mint anywhere ever so I am evaluating both the install as well as first impression of the ease of installation and options
I have a fairly extensive background in linux, most of the majors and some of the not so. Everyone has their own views on what an operating system should be for what they want to do with it (weather that be personal or server) as well as their experience level. My normal choice for both server as well as my desktops is Debian, I feel it is a light weight basic distro with just the right configuration and tools installed by default that make it easy to expand your options easily. As such for a graphical interface on odd hardware (or places where Debian is hard to install) I have relied on ubuntu being still familiar territory with larger install footprint but also more out of the box functionality.
The installation procedure is phenomenal, like any standard bootable distro you simply boot to the disk and select “install” from the desktop shortcut to run through the installation. In this case I left the defaults in place favouring quick setup over any custom procedure, this is also likly the most common way to deploy it
Installed and setup in under 15 minutes as a virtual no problem.
I would also say that the installation of vmware tools was a breese too something that sometimes requires a bunch of extra steps. Unlike some of the Debian distro’s the kernal headers are installed as well as make and a C++ compiler so it was simply mount the tools disk, copy them to my desktop and run the installer perl script.
The tools installed are all the standards needed and seems to be very full featured with a lot of my favorite applications installed out of the gate even the ones that have been traditionally hard to install (and even harder on a 64 bit platform).
It also appears to draw on the large ubuntu repository for additional apt sources making use of a very large repository of applications.
Look and Feel
My overall impression of XFCE Mint can be summed up as “Clean, fast, responsive” While it seems to have all the base apps I am looking for it does not suffer like some of the other “Full” desktop distributions by bogging down due to the extra overhead even running as a VM.
Unlike most distros I also did not have the immediate urge to change the theme, and that is saying a LOT.
That is not to say wont do it anyways!
That being said it also uses compiz and emerald with the effects toned down, this happens to be my first time using them outside of a GNOME environment but they seem to like everything else to be toned just right and not try to be flashy by trading off performance but are there for if you want to do more of the advanced desktop features
Software updates are slick here, of course there is always the command line and with apt and aptitude this is an easy procedure
The update manager needs to be pointed out, it may seem like a simple thing but ranking your updates by the reliability of the package and sources to let a user know which ones should be safe and which ones you are pushing the bleeding edges and need to watch out for is a great feature in my book. You are also able to easily add package exceptions for the update manager to ignore if you know you have something custom or need a particular version to not be updated.
Other software seem to be a fully featured suit of your standard adons and productivity software (such as firefox and openoffice)
I did encounter a problem in my envyronment that is so far un-resolved that should be mentioned. On first setup I logged in set the root account password and installed vmware tools and rebooted. After that point I am unable to log in as my limited account that I created. When trying to log in it just cycles back to the login screen when authenticating and brings be back to the login prompt. No errors and nothing to indicate that there is a problem
I created another limited user and can log in without issue so not to entirely sure what is wrong with the first account
I have also encountered odd behavior out of the browser in the limited account, again without error so hard to track down a why but the browser has problems connecting to websites when I am logged in as the limited users. Sites like google reader and such that work just fine in as the root account or from other machines will just fail to load. Firefox just sits and trys to connect and fails out after a significant period of time. It seems to be hit and miss and if you close and re-open the browser sometimes the sites that would not work do again
I am guessing a permission issue in the browser as the behavior when logged in as root is flawless
A re-installation resolved this problem.
Great distro this one has taken over my first place ranking for favorite desktop operating system.
More efficient and clean full featured systems like this are needed Now all we need to do is have rdesktop catch up with windows remote desktop feature sets and I will have a 100 percent fully functional workstation operating system just how I like it.
I figured I would post my views on Duncan Epping’s question on what we would like to see pertaining to Tiering in the “Cloud”
Like with most things my view is it should be my option.
I know many cloud providers would like to just do it in the background, and for a large majority of data sets I would choose to let them tier (Assuming it is a cheaper option) .That being said if we ever get to the point of hosting mission critical application on cloud storage/VM environment there are some things that i would either A) Want to ensure a level of performance by not allowing tiering or B) know the access patterns of my dataset would not play well with being tiering
Though this brings up the concern that all the current tiering technologies are different, the way tiering works on one vendor is so completely different than the other it may not be possible without experience on all those vendors and or a LOT of research to know if my data will work on tiered storage.
Part of this may be the storage engineer in me wanting to maintain control but any vendor I choose to provide cloud storage would have to be exceptionally willing to troubleshoot performance problems if they wanted to tier my data because troubleshooting storage problems can sometimes be very very difficult i would have to know that they would be able to do it before introducing another variable like autonomic tiering.
All in all I am a fan of tiering but require the granular level control over it that I get in house if I were to think about doing it out of house in respect to storage.
I am sure some day they will get to that level with open storage platforms