Archives for posts with tag: GNU/Linux

“SLiM is a Desktop-independent graphical login manager for X11″ (slim)

You may add a preferred user to be auto-filled each time you start your computer – the username will be filled out, but you still have to accept, and enter your password.

default_user      firmit

But you may also auto-login by adding a new line below the default user:

auto_login       yes

Voila! I am unable to see this in the documentation – I got the tip from SliTaz forum – where I managed to enter the wrong email when I registered…. I had to register as firmitz…

Acer Aspire 3000 – AMD 2800+ (1.6GHz) , 512 MB ram, 60 GB HD. Yes – my girlfriends laptop – the Windows fanatic. Some weeks ago I booted a liveCD of Slitaz on her laptop, and she totally freaked! But now – the tables have turned!

About two weaks ago, she was preparing a presentation in OO. I suggested she should save it in Gmail – as she did. But she wanted a copy on a usb-stick. Okei – so plug in a usb stick and copy it! But things did not go as planned. In fact – the laptop crashed completely, and never recovered… The system simply froze, and after a reboot and some odd minutes working normal again, it “stopped time” again!

So – after 3,5 years with the same install of Windows (with SP3), a reinstall was in order. But this did not help. The laptop worked for about 5 minutes before the system would freeze again. The mouse was the only thing that worked – the keyboard did not respond, the powerbutton was dead – so the only way of killing the system was by taking out the PS and battery.

Slitaz enters the field

So – I found my trusty companion Dell Latitude 2GHz going on 8 years, running GNU/Debian with LXDE. I installed WinXP to keep the peace and give here a known environment. I still need a workable Windows installation to be able to print satisfactory…

But the Acer was now under my command – and unbelievably – Slitaz runs without any trouble! I dual-booted the laptop just to conclude that the computer had gone Anti-Windows and still behaved irrational. To my satisfaction I found a fully workable, surprisingly-fast computer running a full distro under 25 MB (liveCD iso)!

Slitaz

Slitaz uses Busybox, Xvesa, Openbox, lxpanel and many taz-tools like their own package manager, tazpkg, which works excellent. It runs super fast! It also contains a lot of other lightweight appz like Dropbear, SQLite, lighttp, parcelite etc. A growing community create packages of their favorite FOSS and make it available at http://www.slitaz.org/en. You may install Xorg, if Xvesa does not support your computer resolution, Abiword, Gnumeric, OpenOffice3 (in time) and many other favorites like mpd/mpc. The only big chunk of software on the distro is actually Firefox (Minefield).

I am still quite happy with my GNU/Debian LXDE installation, but I think I will try this on my desktop computer permantly – not just as a secondary distro – but as a primary distro. I am already using the greater part of it, but the backbone is completely different :)

Kudos to the guys at Slitaz.org!

I have Windows XP running in a virtual machine under GNU/Debian, with LXDE/Openbox as DE/WM. I use Qemu to run my virtual machine.

Now, I wanted to have Qemu running in desktop 4, fullscreen, above everything (including my lxpanel). A little adjustment in the rc.xml (lxde-rc.xml under LXDE) fixed this. You may set default action on every application you want to run. My entry looked like this:

<application class=”qemu-system-i386″>
<decor>no</decor>
<shade>no</shade>
<focus>yes</focus>
<desktop>4</desktop>
<layer>above</layer>
<iconic>no</iconic>
<skip_pager>no</skip_pager>
<skip_taskbar>no</skip_taskbar>
<fullscreen>yes</fullscreen>
<maximized>true</maximized>
</application>

I now reloaded my config file, and WinXP now runs fullscreen at default above everything in desktop 4! As easy as that!

In my journey in the GNU/Linux world, I am always look to adapt good ideas, and to embrace excellent GNU/FOSS software. If it for some reason is not open source, it needs to be really good, and fit my needs and expectations to the fullest – i.e. Opera, Dropbox, Picasa and Google Earth.

The last couple of days, I have found two excellent softwares, one being “free speech” and the other being “free beer” – TrueCrypt and DropBox.

TrueCrypt
Is a one of them things you just gotta love! It is a piece of software that let’s you create a virtual encrypted file system within a file. For a normal user, this is transparent. You create a file, specify which algorithm to use, set a looong password, and then you mount the file as a volume. In this way, you may store sensitive information encrypted on your computer. Given the use of a file container to hold this virtual filesystem, you may transport, copy the file and mount it on another computer just as easy as mounting an external harddrive.

Applications of TrueCrypt
I discovered TrueCrypt when browsing the Dropbox forum. There I came across a discussion about the security of the Dropbox account. Dropbox uses SSL to send and recieve files from your computer to the Dropbox account. Dropbox then uses the Amazon S3 storing service to host your files. The files itself, and your entire account, is encrypted with AES on the server.

However, the discussion was mainly about where the AES key was located – at Dropbox or at Amazon. Either way – somebody may have access to your uploaded files, so the need for encrypted files gave spring to the solution of using TrueCrypt localy and uploading this file.

Dropbox+TrueCrypt

First of all – Dropbox is in beta, and their license is “AS IS”. If they run out of funds, or for some reason terminates their service, your online files MAY be lost. So you should always keep a backup of sensitive information elsewhere. Because you keep your files locally on your computer, you always have backup. The folder gets synchronized with your Dropbox account when you connect. If their service for some reason is down, you will not loose your files, because you have them stored locally on your computer.

So – to get started – my initial thought, was to store a key-file – a password file on my Dropbox account – for easy access from the computers I use daily. I have a lot of accounts in the cloud, and I rarely – if ever – use the same password twice. And everyone of them are generated.

Therefore – I wanted to store my encrypted password file in a virtual encrypted filesystem in my Dropbox account (which is also encrypted) for shared access from my computers.

I use Gnome Revelation password manager to store my online/offline password for various services. I store this file within my virtual encrypted filesystem-folder, which is then synched to my Dropbox account.

About security
The password file itself is encrypted – I need a password to open it. The filesystem to which the file is stored, is encrypted – I need an even longer password. My Dropbox account is encrypted – so a third password is needed.

I am not that worried about security!

Outside the box
Okei – so now I have my password file available from my computers. Next step must be to have a common set of config-files on each of them. I am not going to say much about this – it is simple enough. Just think of what sym-links can do!

I have struggled for a long time with the correct papersize. CUPS printer settings is set to default value A4, and /etc/papersize also is ‘a4′. However, when printing in Evince, the papersize is set to letter. Of course, I could change this manually, but why on earth was this option set as my default setting already?

Then I came over a question regarding the same issue in launchpad.net. Is says that applications tend to get their settings from your local settings – the language settings – more specific the LC_paper. Below is the star-comment from launchpad, posted by Pascal De Vuyst:

This is because evince uses the value of the LC_PAPER locale setting, for en_US.UTF-8 this defaults to letter. You can override this setting by using an LC_PAPER environment variable, if you want to do the change system wide you can add LC_PAPER=”en_GB.UTF-8″ (defaults to A4) to /etc/environment and log out and back into GNOME.

Now – of course you’ll need the the selected language in your locale settings – you may need to run

sudo dpkg-reconfigure locales

and add “en_GB.UTF-8″ and any other language you would like support for.

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