Monday, May 30, 2011

Linux Kernel 3.0 is Not Far Away


Linux kernel 2.6.39 just released, much earlier than expected. Reasons?

It's coming of age after releasing 39 updates to kernel 2.6 line. The Linux 2.6 kernel series is now on its way to its 40th release in the past seven years of development. Linux 2.4 series had about 24 releases prior to Linux 2.6.0 being released and the 2.4 series as of today is up to Linux 2.4.39. And Linus (alongwith the community) is getting ready for the next gen kernel - 3.0. However, 2.6 series will still get patches and updates as still does 2.4 line.

Is it just a change in the versioning scheme or are there much under the hood? Well, Jump from 2.4 to 2.6 line had some striking features, the same will happen now. Most importantly, kernel 3.0 will remove some old cruft it gathered in its life of, say, roughly 20 years.

This jump in versioning won't reflect in the package list of enterprise linux distributions such as Red Hat (and its clones) who are adamant when it comes to security and stability. That means Red Hat, CentOS, Oracle and Scientific will stick to 2.6 series for roughly a decade, and will backport only some select features.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

How to Get Rid of "Unlock Keyring" Message in Linux after You Changed Login Password

I've been running Linux Mint Julia for a quite a long time now. Only yesterday I updated the entire system (including kernel, firefox, chromium, openoffice, pidgin and all that). Also changed my Login password due to some security reasons. No ugly surprises. No lag in performance. But everytime I started chromium browser it popped up a "Login keyring" message that read "Enter password to unlock your login keyring".


It seems Seahorse uses the login password as master password to unlock its passphrases. Sadly, when the user changes the password, it is not updated to Seahorse and that "Login keyring" popup comes up.

Visited both Mint and Ubuntu fora for a fix. All the solutions there from were pointing to Seahorse (two items in System >> Preferences: Passwords and Encryption Keys, and Encryption and Keyrings).

However, the easiest and unfailing fix to avoid this message it is to remove the ~/.gnome2/keyrings/login.keyring.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Preparing a Bootable USB to Install Windows 7 on Asus 1215B


Asus 1215B perhaps put the components together around Fusion APU the best way. Great design, brushed aluminum finish and quality components. However, with 12" form factor it could not house an optical drive. It's the typical problem of notebooks with sizes below 13". So, if the product ships without any OS preinstalled you are left with just two options - 1. try installing an OS using a borrowed/bought USB optical drive, and 2. prepare a bootable USB with the OS of your choice.

I don't have a USB optical drive, and none around me has the same. Bootable USB was the way to go. Had it been installing Linux I could have done that either using plain dd command or unetbootin tool. But from what I see this gadget still doesn't have out-of-the-box support in Linux land. I am sure things will improve with kernel 2.6.38. Meanwhile Windows 7 is the best OS for this notebook. But, creating a bootable Windows 7 usb on a linux machine demands you to get dirty with the commandline.

I did try packing Windows 7 iso image into a USB drive using dd (the most common disk copy method, what I did was "dd if=/home/msahu/Window7Ult.iso of=/dev/sdb1"). The installation started but got stuck mid-way. Then I followed the old tried/tested formula, and it worked like a charm. Here is the rundown of the same:

1. blanked the usb drive
dd if=/dev/zero of=/dev/sdb1 bs=446 count=1

2. ran fdisk
fdisk /dev/sdb1

3. removed all the partition of that usb drive, created just one primary partition and turned on the boot flag

4. converted the usb filesystem to ntfs
mkfs.ntfs /dev/sdb1

5. finally extracted the contents of Windows 7 iso image to the usb drive and booted Asus 1215B using that drive

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