Linux General Questions

Full W7 with an intel Xeon quad core, 8GB of Ram, took 20-30 minutes to load an 8GB flash drive.... Linux Mint XFCE on a NETBOOK copied it to the 5200RPM Sata in 10 minutes...

Well, remember that flash in general is usually much slower for writing, so that might be the physical speed of the drive, rather than something wrong with Windows. Try re-loading the stick from the netbook... that would be a better test.

Seriously though... I spent 3 hours trying to get Samba to explore the network and it kept asking me for a password to access "workgroup". I tried 3 different samba conf templates from Mint's forums. I did read the default file explorer in Mint didn't work right with network shares.

Samba is the file sharing mechanism; it's how you make files on a Linux machine available to Windows clients. To talk to a Windows machine, there's at least a couple different ways to do it... I think GNOME, for instance, has some kind of network browser/connector that works in user space. I don't use it, so I'm not familiar with it.

What I do, personally, is go back to the command line, and mount Windows shares directly with the Linux kernel, because that works with absolutely everything. The share just shows up as a mount point in your file system. Downside: if you want it to auto-mount, you have to create a text file with the password in plaintext (albeit protected so that only the root account can see it). If you want more security, you can manually type in the password each time you connect to the server.

You need a little command line utility, "mount.cifs", to talk to the Linux kernel and set things up. On Debian, it's included in the package "cifs-utils"; it will probably be named the same thing in Mint, since it's a grandchild distro. (Debian -> Ubuntu -> Mint).

Once that's installed, open a command prompt, su to root, and edit your /etc/fstab. Nano is a nice easy editor:

> sudo su - root > nano /etc/fstab

Add a line, down at the bottom, that looks like this:

//machinename/sharename /path/to/local/mount/point cifs rw,credentials=/etc/credentials 0 0

Create a file called /etc/credentials and protect it to root only:

touch /etc/credentials chmod 600 /etc/credentials

(that sets it to read and write by root, nobody else can touch it.)

Then edit the credentials file:

nano /etc/credentials

and make it look like this:

username=usernameonserver password=passwordonserver

And, voila, it's done. You should be able to mount the filesystem now with:

mount /path/to/local/mount/point

When you reboot, it will be un-mounted, and then re-mounted when you restart. If you don't want it auto-mounted, remove the 'auto' keyword.

If you don't want a credentials file, you'll want a little different fstab line:

//machinename/sharename /path/to/local/mount/point cifs rw,username=usernameonserver,user 0 0

That hardcodes the user name, so you don't have to type it each time, but doesn't give a password, so you have to type that. It also flags it as a 'user' share, meaning that you can mount it from your normal user account, with "mount /path/to/local/mount/point".

Oh, if you have problems finding the machine by name, using the //machinename/sharename syntax, you can do it as an IP address: //A.B.C.D/sharename.

Another thought: you'll need to create the directory to hold the share. A good spot to mount it is under your home directory, say /home/localusername/fileshare.

Open a command prompt, DON'T su, just run as yourself, and type 'mkdir fileshare' before you do anything else. You can call it anything you can remember, of course. Running that as the user account will set the permissions correctly, so you can access the share later.

Thanks Malor, that makes a bit more sense. I was trying to mount the drive from Mint using the terminal (as well as the file explorer Thunar), but that username/password step was skipped in the guide I was following. It had me putting the user/pass in the Samba conf... That must have been for backwards access.

I figured since the folder shared from W7 was open to to everyone with full permissions (just wanted to copy over some backup'd files), I wouldn't need to add the Mint user to the accounts.

I did try sharing a folder in the home directory for the W7 boxes to push instead of pull data from, but while they could ping Mint, they didn't see the folder (Static IP, with WINS server using Netboui (Enabled on the W7 machines under IP4 Advanced)). I think that guide was written wrong as well because the op had the username to be edited into the workgroup field for setting up WINS... I just went with it because noone else had corrected him in the comments.

After I gave up and went to the flash drive, I figured the failure was due to the XFCE version and full Mint would have had what I needed pre-installed. I probably had one of those two push/pulls close at some point, but I kept rebooting after changing the network settings and didn't realize it doesn't automount.

I need to watch that intro to linux video. XD

Again, just to be sure I'm being clear: you absolutely do not need Samba to be able to connect FROM a Linux client TO a Windows server. Samba turns Linux machines into servers, it's not really used to talk to them.

If you want to mount a remote Windows share, all you need is the (very small) mount.cifs utility; almost all the brains are built into the Linux kernel itself. mount.cifs is just 35k big. It's not a daemon, and it doesn't keep running. It sets up the connection, and goes away. The kernel handles almost everything.

Samba is a big, always-running program that provides services to other machines.

You can also connect to Windows shares in other ways. I think both KDE and GNOME each have separate connection methods, running a filesystem driver in user space, and mounting remote shares on kind of obscure dot paths under your home directory. I've had indifferent luck using these; many programs don't know how to talk correctly to the KDE and GNOME facilities. They can talk to the mount point in the filesystem, but finding out the actual mount point can be pretty painful.

What I've found is that using the Linux kernel to mount shares is harder, nowhere near as friendly -- you have to edit text files on your drive. But once it works, it works with any Unix program that can read a file. (ie, nearly all of them.)

It's kind of a pain, but I personally find universal compatibility to be a compelling feature.

My harddrive failed on my laptop, so I go to reinstall Windows 7...and the OEM discs are nowhere to be found. So, while I'm waiting for a new set to arrive, I tossed Tempestuous Tahir on it.

Now, I've used linux before, so I'm used to many things about the OS....but not the fact that there are so many games to play! Between Steam, Humble, GOG, and the Ubuntu store....there's tons to play!

And that's just weird.

mateo wrote:

My harddrive failed on my laptop, so I go to reinstall Windows 7...and the OEM discs are nowhere to be found. So, while I'm waiting for a new set to arrive, I tossed Tempestuous Tahir on it.

Now, I've used linux before, so I'm used to many things about the OS....but not the fact that there are so many games to play! Between Steam, Humble, GOG, and the Ubuntu store....there's tons to play!

And that's just weird.

Ain't it great? There still isn't a lot of AAA games on there (though having said that, there are a few -- Valve's games, several Double Fine games, XCOM, Civ V, Metro: Last Light, etc.), but there are so many great indie games that it's hard to find too much to complain about.

I built a new Linux PC for the loungeroom recently, and because I don't have a desktop right now, I figured I'd put enough hardware in there to turn it in to a modest gaming machine. It's a shame there aren't more AAA games (or just more graphically-advanced indie games) to show off what the machine can do, but I have a tonne of stuff to play. Having said that, I've been spending most of time time playing Super Mario Galaxy under Dolphin -- that's a pretty great thing to do if you have a fast enough machine!

Just thought I'd pass along that Xubuntu 14.04 is really quite nice. I've had both it and Mint 17 Cinnamon running in VMs for awhile now, and after firing up both after a little time away, I was impressed once again with how nice Xubuntu looks and feels. It's clean, attractive, fairly minimalist, and seems to do fonts better than Cinnamon does. (possibly I need to turn on subpixel smoothing on Cinnamon, I probably ought to look at that.)

It's very comfortable. Worth checking out, if you're fond of regular menus instead of chasing all over the damn screen just to launch a program. (aka, GNOME3.)

Malor wrote:

It's very comfortable. Worth checking out, if you're fond of regular menus instead of chasing all over the damn screen just to launch a program. (aka, GNOME3.)

I know what you mean there about GNOME 3, but as someone who uses it often, it's very rare for me to actually launch an app that way -- it's so much quicker to just use the keyboard (hit Windows/Apple key, start typing name of app, hit enter) for those things that I don't have in the Dash.

Well, up until pretty recently, I didn't even have a keyboard with a Windows key, and I may very well end up going back to it. (Model M.) So Windows-key shortcuts aren't especially appealing. If I get dependent on them, I'll lock myself out of the best cure I know for wrist strain.

And using the keyboard to make up for inefficiency in the GUI strikes me as rather backward. When I want to type, I have the console for that, you know? If I'm launching from the menu, I want to just make a couple of quick motions with the mouse, instead of chasing all over my 30" screen... having to click over on the left, and then way over on the right, and then back in the middle somewhere to launch a program is stupid.

It's fundamentally designed for people using fingers on tablets, not me.

Synapse still rules over all other app launchers IMO.

Malor wrote:

Well, up until pretty recently, I didn't even have a keyboard with a Windows key, and I may very well end up going back to it. (Model M.) So Windows-key shortcuts aren't especially appealing. If I get dependent on them, I'll lock myself out of the best cure I know for wrist strain.

That sucks, but there are other mechanical keyboards out there, and I'm pretty sure that you could remap the Windows key shortcut to something else if you really can't have one.

Malor wrote:

And using the keyboard to make up for inefficiency in the GUI strikes me as rather backward. When I want to type, I have the console for that, you know? If I'm launching from the menu, I want to just make a couple of quick motions with the mouse, instead of chasing all over my 30" screen... having to click over on the left, and then way over on the right, and then back in the middle somewhere to launch a program is stupid.

It's fundamentally designed for people using fingers on tablets, not me.

That's a fair point, but using they keyboard isn't making up for inefficiencies in the UI -- it's part of the UI, and it's a very fast and easy way of launching apps. If you really like pointing and clicking in hierarchical menus then GNOME 3 definitely isn't for you, but given the choice between that, and a super-quickly-accessible search tool for launching apps, then I'll take the latter. Maybe having both would be ideal, but I'll take search over menu-hunting any day.

I've mentioned it before but I love GNOME 3 to death. It stays out of your way and gives you only what you need.

Huge Bash vulnerability in the wild. Partially patched as of right now.

Copy / Pasted from the programming thread:

Ed Ropple wrote:

My Windows install needed patching, too.

Malor wrote:

Wow, that's a really bad one. And Debian Testing doesn't have the fix yet.

billt721 wrote:

CentOS had the update in by the time I saw that article, so it was pretty easy to update all of our servers at work.

Malor wrote:

Well, Stable and Unstable both have it, but Testing doesn't.

Supposedly, Testing was to start getting rapid security fixes starting a release or two ago, but I guess that's not happening anymore.

Ed Ropple wrote:
billt721 wrote:

CentOS had the update in by the time I saw that article, so it was pretty easy to update all of our servers at work.

Don't be so sure yet. CVE-2014-7169 is the real (hopefully) fix to the same bug. AFAIK there is no fix yet for packagers.

billt721 wrote:
Ed Ropple wrote:
billt721 wrote:

CentOS had the update in by the time I saw that article, so it was pretty easy to update all of our servers at work.

Don't be so sure yet. CVE-2014-7169 is the real (hopefully) fix to the same bug. AFAIK there is no fix yet for packagers.

Looks like you're right. The update they released today doesn't actually fix the issue.

Malor wrote:

Ed said this, but I thought it was Fedora-only; it appears to apply everywhere.

It looks like the first patch by upstream is incomplete/incorrect, and that it's going to take at least one more to get it right. Stay on your toes today.

Malor wrote:

I don't understand the impact of the bug yet, so I can't tell you. It appears that the bug can be exploited if the attacker has any way to cause a process to launch a shell with arguments under their control. The ability to do that would be terrible security design, but there's plenty of packages out there that don't take security very seriously. (*cough*PHP*cough*) .

For my own domain, what I've done is just shut down the web and mail server. I can live without them for a few hours. I doubt very much that most people will have that kind of luxury.

trueheart78 wrote:

Re: the follow-up vulnerability, CVE-2014-7169 that is still being patched.

Try the following on your system, and you'll end up with a file called "echo" with the current date in it.

$ export X="() { (a)=>\\" $ bash -c 'echo date' bash: X: line 1: syntax error near unexpected token `=' bash: X: line 1: `' bash: error importing function definition for `X' $ cat echo Wed Sep 24 22:38:19 EDT 2014

Still more vulnerabilities in bash? Shellshock becomes whack-a-mole

There have been two patches so far, and it's still a mess. If you're in a position to do so, removing bash altogether from security-critical systems might be a good idea.

edit: after doing some digging, I believe this to be almost impossible on Debian, as many base utilities are hardcoded to use bash; many of the system 'binaries', like gzexe, are actually shell scripts that explicitly call bash in their hashbang.

However, Debian is less bash-dependent than many systems, as they've been shipping 'dash' as the default system shell for a long time. So actually removing bash is pretty hard, but it looks like the exposure on that system is less dire.

Of course, it only takes one thing....

Would it be easier to disable the use of user env variables in bash - or altogether?

I'm upgrading to a more-recent version of Slackware. I'm at the point on this machine that I can't run Chrome, my preferred browser, because it requires PAM and other junk, and that junk needs to be updated for newer versions of Chrome, and those newer versions are apparently a pain to maintain for the older kernel I'm using. I'm on kernel 2.6.37, for what it's worth.

I've already tarred /etc/ and stored it in my personal home directory. I have /home/ on a separate partition to avoid messiness when upgrading. I've scoured through the other directories and don't think I'm missing anything, e.g., I've save the list of installed packages, made a list of applications I know I'll want, saved the settings for wicd which are saved in /var/, etc.

Before I blow out everything except /home/, though, I thought I'd check the hive mind about things I should be careful not to forget.

So, I thought I'd check out Red Hat Linux for once, since I haven't run it for so very long. I have an RHCE from ~2001 or so, and just thought I'd see what they've been doing.

First, you can't even get Red Hat Linux for free anymore; at best you can get a 30-day 'evaluation license'. I can totally see charging for support and even updates, but charging to even download and use the software? Yuck.

So then I downloaded CentOS, the rebranded, more ethical version of RedHat.... and it doesn't even come with the drivers necessary to install under VMWare.

In 2014, Red Hat Linux 7.0 will not install, by default, under VMWare.

Well, I know one company that sure as hell ain't getting $700 from me. (I think that's what a support license costs, though I'm not certain.)

edit: I tried Fedora within the last year or two, wasn't very impressed, but thought I'd see what the main OS looked like. Guess not!

We run CentOS (servers -- not as a desktop OS) at work and have never had an issue installing to VMWare vSphere. I'm not sure what the difference would be with any other VMWare platform.

Well, desktop-style VMWare uses LSI Logic by default, and CentOS doesn't detect the hard drive with that controller. The VMWare docs say that it doesn't work, and to use, um, I think it's BusLogic instead, but that didn't work either. I just shrugged and said 'screw it' at that point, it was just a lark anyway.

There are plenty of things I don't like about Ubuntu, but man, it's good at hardware detection. Even virtual hardware.

edit: I typically use KVM for virtualization anyway. I'm sure it would work with that, but I wanted to see what the desktop looked like.

If I wanted to switch OS to Ubuntu 14.04, and use windows in a VMWare, is the VMware software can be found free, or somewhat cheap ?

I'm still undecided for my next build if I go 100% Ubuntu, but love it on my Laptop. I'll have some restriction to gaming tho, but a few games I like and love are now working in Linux.

Malor - you may want to grab Scientific Linux. It's based off from RHEL, and I believe shares a lot of the same core. Where CentoOS looks to be the non-RedHat branded server, Scientific Linux is the desktop version. If you're really curious, though, I believe RHEL 7.0 has the Gnome 2 desktop. I threw Scientific Linux on an old tower at work just to try it out, and that's what it was

From wikipedia

Scientific Linux (SL) is a Linux distribution produced by Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory. It is a free and open source operating system based on Red Hat Enterprise Linux and aims to be "as close to the commercial enterprise distribution as we can get it."

This product is derived from the free and open source software made available by Red Hat, Inc., but is not produced, maintained or supported by Red Hat. Specifically, this product is built from the source code for Red Hat Enterprise Linux versions, under the terms and conditions of Red Hat Enterprise Linux's EULA and the GNU General Public License.

Manach wrote:

If I wanted to switch OS to Ubuntu 14.04, and use windows in a VMWare, is the VMware software can be found free, or somewhat cheap ?

I'm still undecided for my next build if I go 100% Ubuntu, but love it on my Laptop. I'll have some restriction to gaming tho, but a few games I like and love are now working in Linux.

VirtualBox is free.

virtualbox.org wrote:

it is also the only professional solution that is freely available as Open Source Software under the terms of the GNU General Public License (GPL) version 2

trueheart78 wrote:
Manach wrote:

If I wanted to switch OS to Ubuntu 14.04, and use windows in a VMWare, is the VMware software can be found free, or somewhat cheap ?

I'm still undecided for my next build if I go 100% Ubuntu, but love it on my Laptop. I'll have some restriction to gaming tho, but a few games I like and love are now working in Linux.

VirtualBox is free.

virtualbox.org wrote:

it is also the only professional solution that is freely available as Open Source Software under the terms of the GNU General Public License (GPL) version 2

Oh thanks !

If I wanted to switch OS to Ubuntu 14.04, and use windows in a VMWare, is the VMware software can be found free, or somewhat cheap ?

VMWare is pretty expensive, but it's nicely polished, and very comfortable. It's able to accelerate a lot of the graphics calls of Windows, to the point that using a Windows virtual desktop is pretty fast, and almost feels native.

Going the other way, running Ubuntu in VMWare under a Linux host, is quick enough that I can actually play YouTube videos in the VM. That's kind of amazing, actually.

I'd try VirtualBox first, but I think VMWare Workstation also has a trial mode; you could see if it's worth the (very high!) price tag.

Also, one trick you can use with Windows VMs.... if the video driver isn't fast enough, you can do Remote Desktop into the virtual machine. RDP clients are very fast and very efficient; they are way, WAY better than the VNC protocol. I'm not sure how VirtualBox stacks up for video, but RDP would be a way to work around any problems.

You shouldn't need that with VMWare; the native drivers are quite fast.

trueheart78 wrote:

Malor - you may want to grab Scientific Linux. It's based off from RHEL, and I believe shares a lot of the same core. Where CentoOS looks to be the non-RedHat branded server, Scientific Linux is the desktop version. If you're really curious, though, I believe RHEL 7.0 has the Gnome 2 desktop. I threw Scientific Linux on an old tower at work just to try it out, and that's what it was

Both of these are clones of RHEL. There's nothing inherently server or desktop specific about either.

The major difference is who maintains them: CentOS is maintained by Red Hat employees and Scientific is Fermilab. Aside from that SL has some additional packages for... scientific use.

For a while SL was looking somewhat more attractive due to the CentOS project's issues, and SL seemed to be healthier. But now that CentOS has been folded into Red Hat proper, they move much more quickly than SL and are the better choice unless you specifically need SL extras (which most people will not).

Malor wrote:

In 2014, Red Hat Linux 7.0 will not install, by default, under VMWare.

Red Hat Linux was discontinued ages ago. I'm assuming (hoping) you're talking about Red Hat Enterprise Linux. I've used both CentOS 7 and RHEL 7 with VMWare with no notable trouble.

Manach wrote:
trueheart78 wrote:
Manach wrote:

If I wanted to switch OS to Ubuntu 14.04, and use windows in a VMWare, is the VMware software can be found free, or somewhat cheap ?

I'm still undecided for my next build if I go 100% Ubuntu, but love it on my Laptop. I'll have some restriction to gaming tho, but a few games I like and love are now working in Linux.

VirtualBox is free.

virtualbox.org wrote:

it is also the only professional solution that is freely available as Open Source Software under the terms of the GNU General Public License (GPL) version 2

Oh thanks !

I have a machine at work set up in nearly this precise configuration, but with Linux Mint as the host OS rather than Ubuntu. I'm using VirtualBox with Windows 7 as the guest OS. I've installed and used Office, basically just Excel 2010, and it works well.

I ended up not going that route ultimately because I moved to a laptop so I could work from home more easily. I may get back into Linux-hosting-Windows if I successfully migrate us away from our heavy reliance on Excel, but when I have workbooks that take on the order of 40 minutes to update, that virtualization overhead is probably a death knell.

Reading you guys telling that a VMware is resources extensive, I better plan to dual boot than. I thought it might be a breeze to have the host as Linux, and play game with the windows VMware... But I forgot about the video cards might not be able to do so...

I have a coworker who has to run some Windows software for work but prefers to spend the majority of his time in Linux. For a while he tried running Linux as the host and then he'd pop up a Windows 8.1 VM whenever he needed to do something there, but he apparently found the Windows 8.1 VM to be a bit resource intensive and thus slightly slow. So he just reversed things. He runs a Windows 8.1 host but spends 99% of his day in a maximized Linux VM.

Depending on what you want to do in Linux, that might be a route to consider rather than dual booting.

Yeah, you definitely can't play games very well in virtualized Windows. I normally lean towards the more stable OS as the host OS, but bilt has a good point that you have to be realistic about what you're using the computer for. A guest Linux instance will run just fine on Windows in that case.