2001 04 19

                    LINUX NEWS
            Thursday, April 19, 2001


1) Sean’s Notes

2) Linux News

RedHat Announces 7.1 Release
Tribes 2 and Alpha Centauri for Linux
The Next Step for Linux Advocacy
Integrate Linux Solutions into your Windows Network

3) Linux Resources

gcc or kgcc?
Ethernet Diagnostics
Use GnuPG with Pine
Make SSH do More
Care and Feeding of RPM

4) App o’ the week

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1) Sean's Notes
I've long been wanting to install the latest version of GNU
Cash just to see how it's working.  Unfortunately, RPMs of
the development series have only been released for RedHat 7,
and I'm running 6.1.  After ensuring I had a reliable backup,
I decided to try the upgrade function.

First, I should say something about this system.  It was
installed as RedHat 6.1.  I then upgraded many of the XFree86
packages from the RedHat 6.2 CD, and also installed Helix-
Gnome. It's also running kernel 2.4.

I opted the first time to try in graphical mode.  Accepting
the defaults, I figured that I'd add in other packages later.
After letting it cook for a while, it was time to boot up the
system.  And...it hung during the boot sequence.

After booting into single-user mode, I noticed a few things.
One was that /usr was full.  Next was that modutils had been
downgraded from 2.3.21-1 to 2.3.14-3.  Finally, most of the
packages weren't upgraded, they were re-installed.  So, instead
of seeing the latest version when I do an rpm -q, I see both!

I ended up having to uninstall most of the packages on the
system, including stuff like fileutils (rm, mv, ls, etc).
Once that was done, I was able to do the upgrade.

Due to the downgraded modutils and screwed up start-up scripts,
I had to go back into single-user mode.  After getting that
somewhat in order, I re-booted into multi-user mode.  Strangely
enough, all my logins timed out.  I eventually traced it to
/etc/nsswitch.conf trying to use NIS for logins.

Strangely enough, most of the startup scripts were way out of
whack.  For example, the unmounting of filesystems on a reboot
or halt was left out, so after all the processes were killed,
the system just hung.

It's been a few days and I'm still cleaning up little odds
and ends (I just got sound working again today).  The
kickers? RedHat 7.0 still uses XFree86 3.3.6 for my Mach64
card, I had hoped to get the benefit of 4.0.  And, GNUCash
crashes whenever I try to do a report.

So, some of the morals of this story:

- Always have a backup

- Keep data on a separate partition.  If you have to ever do
  a re-install, at least you can take that partition with you

- If your system deviates from the stock install, be prepared
  for some trouble

Until next week...

Long live the Penguin,


2) Linux News

RedHat Announces 7.1 Release
Sure enough, I upgrade to 7.0 and they release 7.1! This
version features the 2.4 kernel and security improvements,
among others. Given the number of patches that came out for
7.0, it probably isn't a bad idea to upgrade.


Tribes 2 and Alpha Centauri for Linux
Loki Games earns their living by porting Windows games to
Linux. They've just announced the release of two new games.
Tribes 2 looks simply amazing in the videos. While you're at
it, check out the list of games ported to date and download
a demo or two. Their work so far is impressive.


The Next Step for Linux Advocacy
Linux Advocacy has to be more than just yelling out "Linux
is better!" This article takes a realistic view of the
situation, and shows some things you can do in your own home.


Integrate Linux Solutions into your Windows Network
So, you know that Linux is a good fit in your company. You
know what you need, but you've never used Linux before! Not
a problem, because this book is made for you. Learn Linux
as you implement file and print sharing, put a Linux backend
on your Access databases, and more.


3) Linux Resources

gcc or kgcc?
With RedHat 7.0 you need a separate compiler to build the
kernel.  Stupid, I know, and I hope it's fixed soon. Here
is the official RedHat word on how to "fix" your downloaded
kernel so that it works with your installation.


Ethernet Diagnostics
Something as simple as setting the duplex and speed on an
Ethernet card should be obvious, but it isn't. The
ether-diag set of utilities is a more universal way of
changing the settings on the fly rather than having to
look up the module parameters.


Use GnuPG with Pine
GNU Privacy Guard is a Free email encryption tool.
Integrating it with your favorite email tool may be
difficult, though. This article shows how to set it up
with PINE. Unlike some other instructions out there, this
covers everything from key generation to sample usage.


Make SSH do More
The Secure Shell is one of the essential tools in your
toolbox. Sure, it secures your logins, but it can do a lot
more than that. This article points out some of the handier
features of this software, like portforwarding and
password-less authentication.


Care and Feeding of RPM
Kurt Seifried, in his latest "Kurt's Closet" column, speaks
out on some of the dangers behind binary packaging,
specifically RPMs. He then goes on to give some thoughtful
advice on how to mitigate the risk.


4) App o' the week
If you're like me, your system is probably littered with
software that's been installed out of a makefile or tarball,
rather than being managed by RPM. Putting this software into
RPM isn't always easy, mostly because it's hard to find out
what exactly is installed and how to tweak the makefile.
This set of utilities "watches" the process and builds the
list of files for you, or even the RPM!


(C) 2001 BrainBuzz.com. All Rights Reserved.


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