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  • John Cartwright 8:48 PM on March 19, 2013 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , , , settings,   

    Installing Ubuntu Server on a HP BL35p Blade Server and how to connect Ubuntu to a DNS Server. 

    Ubuntu network settings. Defining the DNS Server.

    Ubuntu network settings. Defining the DNS Server.

    I have been experimenting with the installation of Ubuntu Server onto a HP BL35P blade server and the process has been quite a learning experience indeed. The need to use the HP SmartStart CD to erase the RAID array on the server before the installation is different from your run of the mill desktop machine that can be easily erased with the Ubuntu partitioning tools or Windows disk management. A blade server is a different beast; requiring more attention to detail. Using the Integrated Lights-Out to manage the server remotely is just like using any remote desktop product; although you have a lot of control over the rack mounted server. You can turn the light on the front on and off, this is useful to make sure of which machine you are connected to. And you may also check fan speeds and temperatures for the hardware at a glance by clicking the appropriate tab in the ILO page. Here is a nice Youtube video that explains the ILO system in detail for administering a rack mounted server: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W_IVihv64jk.

    After watching this video you will have a good understanding of the functioning of the Integrated Lights-Out system for administering a Hewlett Packard rack server in a standard rack mount. Ubuntu Server would be a very good distribution to run on a rack mounted server; surely it will be able to install to a RAID array and be administered remotely with ILO. The SSH protocol for remotely connecting to a Linux machine and executing commands will be used once we get around to the installation. We had a lot of trouble getting the older firmware to work, it was version 1.85 and we updated it to version 9.30! But we ended up attaching a USB CD/DVD drive to the rack server using the expensive cable and then ran the HP SmartStart CD from a workstation over the network using ILO. Still; when I had some free time I loaded Ubuntu on a free machine on the network and added the IP address of the DNS server that manages the network and I got the machine to connect to the proxy server so I could access the Internet.

    As shown in the screenshot to the left, this is an easy process. After this I added the proxy settings to the /etc/apt/apt.conf file as shown in the code sample below. This allows you to install packages with apt through the network. This is better than other methods. Just put a hash character at the start of the line to comment it out when you are away from the proxied network.

    Acquire::http::proxy "http://Username:[email protected]:8080/";

    That way we are still using the installation remotely, it is just running on a drive attached to the server. That is how flexible the HP server software is. The Ubuntu installation should be a piece of cake. Linux installed on a rack server is a perfect solution for deploying content. We could install the LAMP server role and serve out a simple website. That is one of the many things that Linux can do for you when it is installed onto a proper piece of server hardware. And the remote management is very useful when you do not want to sit next to a server rack in a noisy and cold server room. Remote management is where it`s at. The Windows Server 2008 R2 desktop does not refresh very quickly when accessing it via ILO; but any remote desktop setup is a heap of fun. Especially the ILO system as you can re-boot a server remotely and then re-connect to do further administration. I am setting up my Linux machine so that I can access it remotely, I will be using SSH to do this with Putty, this will be very useful for entering notes with VI and saving them directly to my home computer.

    I have the /etc/hosts.allow file setup like this:

    |{~/Documents}-{Tue Mar 19 20:36:26}
    [email protected] } $ cat /etc/hosts.allow 
    # /etc/hosts.allow: list of hosts that are allowed to access the system.
    #                   See the manual pages hosts_access(5) and hosts_options(5).
    # Example:    ALL: LOCAL @some_netgroup
    #             ALL: .foobar.edu EXCEPT terminalserver.foobar.edu
    # If you're going to protect the portmapper use the name "portmap" for the
    # daemon name. Remember that you can only use the keyword "ALL" and IP
    # addresses (NOT host or domain names) for the portmapper, as well as for
    # rpc.mountd (the NFS mount daemon). See portmap(8) and rpc.mountd(8)
    # for further information.

    And the /etc/hosts.deny file contains this line:

    |{~/Documents}-{Tue Mar 19 20:43:01}
    [email protected] } $ cat /etc/hosts.deny 
    # /etc/hosts.deny: list of hosts that are _not_ allowed to access the system.
    #                  See the manual pages hosts_access(5) and hosts_options(5).
    # Example:    ALL: some.host.name, .some.domain
    #             ALL EXCEPT in.fingerd: other.host.name, .other.domain
    # If you're going to protect the portmapper use the name "portmap" for the
    # daemon name. Remember that you can only use the keyword "ALL" and IP
    # addresses (NOT host or domain names) for the portmapper, as well as for
    # rpc.mountd (the NFS mount daemon). See portmap(8) and rpc.mountd(8)
    # for further information.
    # The PARANOID wildcard matches any host whose name does not match its
    # address.
    # You may wish to enable this to ensure any programs that don't
    # validate looked up hostnames still leave understandable logs. In past
    # versions of Debian this has been the default.

    This way, the SSH connections can go through, but other connections will be verboten.

  • John Cartwright 9:33 PM on October 2, 2012 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , settings, , ,   

    Ubuntu 12.10 to keep the Grub2 bootloader. And it looks like the Amazon advertisements are here to stay. 

    Screenshot-Settings - Personal Stuff - Chromium.

    Screenshot-Settings – Personal Stuff – Chromium.

    The Ubuntu 12.10 Linux distribution looks set to keep the Grub2 bootloader; the controversial UEFI Secure Boot system looked set to jeopardise the presence of the easy to use Grub2 bootloader; but the Canonical developers have come to their senses and decided to keep the Grub2 bootloader after all. They were planning to use an INTEL EFILinux bootloader; but now the free Linux distribution will keep the open-source Grub2. The Unity desktop is getting a new dash configuration panel that can switch any lens on or off. The Amazon shopping lens may be switched off if you do not like the idea of the Amazon botnet snooping on everything you type. Google Chrome has a feature which is optional that allows you to send all of the keystrokes that you enter to Google. Who would switch that on? Chromium does not seem to have that feature; sending all of your keystrokes including passwords to Google does not seem like a good idea. Chromium can sync with Google as well as the Google Chrome browser; so you can use them interchangeably and you will not have any problems. If you are using Chrome on a shared computer make sure you log out of Chrome and then delete the user to make sure your login details and other information is deleted. The screenshot to the right illustrates what I am talking about.

    Ubuntu Unity settings panel. Configure the Unity lenses.

    Ubuntu Unity settings panel. Configure the Unity lenses.

    The screenshot to the left shows the Unity settings panel that allows configuration of the Unity lenses. This allows freedom of choice when setting up the dash and what results are returned when the user searches for files or folders with the dash. So at least the Amazon advertisements are not forced down your throat after all. The Unity desktop environment is finally getting more customization options to enhance the user experience. If only you could put the Unity launcher bar on the bottom of the screen, I have seen a couple of addons that promise that but they do not actually work at all. If you made the bar a small size and put it on the bottom then the Unity desktop would look more like the Apple Macintosh desktop. You have to admit this is a nice and sleek desktop. I like the dock on the bottom instead of the side of the screen.

    Now I am going to link to some awesome Apple Macintosh wallpapers that are great for a KDE or MATE desktop background.

    http://www.freegreatpicture.com/files/166/29783-apple-mac-os-x-lion-system-wallpaper.jpg Misty Autumn trees. 1920*1080.

    http://johanbrook.com/core/wp-content/uploads/2011/02/Fuji-2.jpg The Fujiyama wallpaper. 3200*2000. A lovely pink light in this photograph.

    http://www.macwallhd.com/wp-content/Wallpapers/20120419/Light%20On%20Saturn%203D%20Space%20Background305.jpg Saturn viewed from one of its Moons. An awesome rendering. 1920*1200.

    http://www.earth-wallpapers.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/08/Dual-Screen_Earth_from_Space.jpg A nice dual screen space wallpaper. 2560*1024.

    http://www.wallpaperpimper.com/wallpaper/Dual_Screen/Overemphasized-2560×1024.jpg A lovely dual screen wallpaper with storm clouds and a sunset. 2560*1024.

    http://forge22.com/wallpaper/dual%20monitor/space/Horsehead%20Nebula%203200×1200%2001.jpg The Horsehead Nebula. 3200*1200. Beautiful image.

    http://img13.nnm.ru/f/2/7/2/a/403b467063a9e585f06930f7243.jpg A Hubble photograph of a stellar nursery, a massive cloud of dust that is the birth place of stars. 1920*1200.

  • John Cartwright 5:05 PM on August 21, 2012 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: apt-get.proxy, apt.conf, , settings   

    Using apt-get over a proxied Internet connection. This is easy. 

    How to use the Debian apt command over the Internet through a proxy.

    South Park computer guy.

    South Park computer guy.

    If you wish to use the apt-get command on Linux and you are behind a proxy like at a college, then this simple tweak will take care of this issue. Use the sudo touch /etc/apt/apt.conf command to create the apt configuration file and then add this line to it and edit it with your proxy details. Then the apt-get command will work perfectly.

    The line to add to /etc/apt/apt.conf.

    Acquire::http::proxy "http://Myusername:[email protected]:8080/";

    Another way is to set the proxy temporarily at the command line like this in an environment variable. This will be lost when the terminal window is closed.

    export http_proxy='http://Myusername:[email protected]:8080/'

    This will set the http_proxy environment variable to the value defined above and the sudo apt-get command will then work. I tried this on Linux Mint 15 and I did not need to set the http_proxy value as root.

    How to set the proxy settings for YUM on Centos: https://www.centos.org/docs/5/html/yum/sn-yum-proxy-server.html.

    How to enable the proxy for OpenSUSE: http://www.securitronlinux.com/bejiitaswrath/how-to-enable-the-http-proxy-in-opensuse-12-3/.

    Proxy support for Mandriva Linux: http://wiki.mandriva.com/en/Development/Howto/Proxy_Support.

    How to add the proxy settings on FreeBSD 10.0.

    If you are using FreeBSD 10.0 and the tcsh shell; use this command to enable the proxy.

    setenv http_proxy 'http://John.Smith:[email protected]:8080/'

    I just used this in VMware and it worked a treat.

    Linux inside.

  • John Cartwright 9:33 PM on October 20, 2011 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , settings   

    Fedora 15 Gnome 3 desktop. 

    Fedora 15 Gnome 3 desktop.

    Fedora 15 Gnome 3 desktop.

    The Fedora 15 Gnome desktop is very different to the earlier Gnome 2 desktop environment. After I installed the distribution, I had to change the /etc/hosts file to allow the Midnight Commander to load, as the hostname was not correctly defined in /etc/hosts. The settings below are what I had to define to get the system set up correctly. My hostname is matrix.core so I put that on the end of the first line in the hosts file to have the network functioning correctly. After this, the Midnight Commander started up instantly. problems can occur with various applications if the networking settings are not correctly configured.   localhost localhost.localdomain localhost4 localhost4.localdomain4 matrix.core
    ::1         localhost localhost.localdomain localhost6 localhost6.localdomain6

    After fixing this, just type su -c “service network restart” and the network service will be restarted.

    To be able to change the look and feel of the Gnome 3 desktop, just type this into a terminal:

    [[email protected] thx]# yum install gnome-tweak-tool

    Then you can change the Gnome 3 desktop to look a little more like Gnome 2.

    Gnome Tweak Tool.

    Gnome Tweak Tool.

    This makes the desktop a little more usable putting icons on your desktop and changing the Metacity theme to something that is not as large and ugly as the default GNOME 3 theme. To get multimedia working on the Fedora 15 distribution follow this excellent guide that has all the information and commands to install all the codecs and applications to allow playback of restricted formats such as MP3 and Xvid formats.


    The Fedora 15 desktop does not have the sidebar like the Unity desktop does, but it has the Activities menu that allows you to get access to all applications and search the start menu. And it is very fast indeed, I have not tried the fallback option yet, but the Gnome 3 experience seems to be very good after all. Hopefully Ubuntu 11.10 has this tweak tool as well, the default lack of customisation is an annoying feature of the Gnome 3/Unity desktop is a step down from the Gnome 2 desktop, I copied all of my GTK 2 themes from my old home folder and now I can use many more themes than the standard Adwaita style that is included with Gnome 3. Maybe they need to create more GTK 3 themes to bundle with this desktop to allow more freedom of choice when choosing a theme for your desktop environment. There are a couple of new themes available for GTK 3: http://www.webupd8.org/2011/05/more-gnome-3-themes-hope-adwance-gtk3.html Here is hoping they can create some more of these. having basically one lone theme for Gnome 3 sucks.

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