Weird Linux Problems Solved

Ubuntu 9.04 Server 64-bit (Jaunty)

Add printer

If you go through the Menu dialog to add a printer, it asks for the root password.  Of course, in Ubuntu, the root account is locked.  What to do?


Type this in a terminal

gksudo system-config-printer

Give your password and all will be well

Fedora Core 1 - RPM Hell

If, when you install Fedora Core 1 you do not install all the packages, and later you try to use Add/Remove Applications, it fails because it is unable to find the RPMs.  It is possible to install RPMs from the CD via the command line, but this also can fail because of dependencies, which can be time consuming to resolve.

This annoying situation is caused by a simple configuration problem.  The Package Manager is looking for /mnt/cdrom/RedHat/RPMS and it should be looking for /mnt/cdrom/Fedora/RPMS.


As root, find the file /usr/share/redhat-config-packages/  Open with gedit, and search for "RPMS".  The line you need to find is:


which will be the third match to "RPMS" in the file.

Change RedHat to Fedora and save the file.


You will now be able to install RPMs from the CD with no problems.

If you can do the yum updates, you'll be spared this trouble as the updates include the fix!

That Pesky glob - White Box Linux

I tried to install ClamAv on White Box Linux. All went well until I added the final package, clamav-milter. It then wanted WBEL CD No. 3 but I did not have it with me. I cancelled out.


I returned with the CD, but all attempts to install clamav-milter failed, as the graphical package manager said it was already installed – well, some of it was… I attempted a rpm –ivh –force clamav-milter etc but this failed, because:

"Error: file clamav-milter-0[1].74-EL-i386.rpm not found by glob"

"If you can’t find it, glob, how come you can tell me its name???"

 Apparently glob doesn’t like square brackets in a name, as witness this quote from a newsgroup:

"You're exactly right. rpm does it's own _globals_ expansion and recognizes the square brackets just like asterisks and other special characters. It's an amusing experiment to try to install an rpm with square brackets in the name:

error: File not found by glob: ruby-1.[1].8.0-1.i386.rpm

rpm -Uvh ruby-1.[1].8.0-1.i386.rpm
error: File not found by glob: ruby-1.[1].8.0-1.i386.rpm

rpm -Uvh *.rpm
error: File not found by glob: ruby-1.[1].8.0-1.i386.rpm

rpm -Uvh ruby-1.\[1\].8.0-1.i386.rpm
error: File not found by glob: ruby-1.[1].8.0-1.i386.rpm

rpm -Uvh 'ruby-1.[1].8.0-1.i386.rpm'
error: File not found by glob: ruby-1.[1].8.0-1.i386.rpm

rpm -Uvh '*.rpm'
Preparing... ########################################### [100%]


Cheers, indeed Sean.  Thanks for that!

So I put the offending rpm in a directory of its own, and typed:

rpm -ivh –force ‘*.rpm’
(the -force being necessary as the system thought the package was already installed).

An error message came up that MADE SENSE – cannot install package because sendmail is not installed. I used the graphical package manager and tried to install sendmail, but this time the CD was already in the drive. RPM hung - forever. A reboot later (argh!) and removal of the CD, I installed sendmail via the package manager and waited until it asked for the CD, which was duly inserted. Sendmail installed itself.

Then I did:
rpm -ivh –force ‘*.rpm’

And this time the clamav-milter package installed. Unfortunately I could not use sendmail as I was running an evaluation Lotus Domino server for testing purposes ...
Oh well…..

Dances with CDs

decided to add VNC and the gcc compilers to a basic White Box installation.  Add/Remove Packages, chose what I wanted, clicked Update, OK, OK and installed the CD it asked for (CD No. 3).  Then followed a crazy ten minutes or so where it asked for CD 2, then CD 1, then CD3, then CD2, then CD3, then CD1, etc.

It is best when installing a RedHat based distro, that you install everything at the beginning, says Clive, my tutor.

But if you have nothing else to do and like loading CDs, then don't add everything at install time....

Wheel Mice

Another point - add a wheel mouse at install time - I have had problems adding it later on, but it probably depends on the type of mouse.  A wheel mouse can be added via System Settings/Mouse (as root) or add the following lines:
Option      "ZAxisMapping" "4 5"
 to the Mouse section of /etc/X11/XF86Config (be careful!):
The Mouse section should read:
        Section "InputDevice"
            Identifier  "Mouse0"
            Driver      "mouse"
            Option      "Protocol" "PS/2"
            Option      "Device" "/dev/psaux"
            Option      "ZAxisMapping" "4 5"
            Option      "Emulate3Buttons" "yes"

For Christmas I was given a Donkey Mouse (from the Donkey Sanctuary) so the handed-down Microsoft mouse from my laptop moved over the the Fedora box, replacing the previous wheel mouse which never worked.  This MS mouse worked at once! (I make no comment here....)

Here is the Donkey Mouse for your delight:

Donkey Mouse

Experience proves that if you have a MS Word table which has some shading in it, this does not convert correctly if you then edit it in Open Office.  Although it looks fine when viewed in OOo, when subsequently opened in MS Word, some type may appear in black on black!  So, until this "bug" is fixed, remove all shading (in Word) before using OOo.

White Box Linux up2date

In order to get up2date to work on WBEL respin 1, you have to edit the file  /etc/sysconfig/rhn/sources and choose a mirror.  Sadly the mirror at ncsu is no longer functioning, so as it has a good "press" I chose the one.  However, this did not work.  Investigation proved there is an error in the file as it stands: the line for should read:

yum WBEL-3.0
yum updates-released

up2date should now work.

Some Linux Command Line Keyboard Shortcuts

Control-d - Logout/close terminal window.
Control-l - (lower case "L") - clear terminal screen
Control-u - Erase command line - if you have been using your command history and have a long of string of text on the command line, this removes it instantly and gets you back to a clean prompt.

Simple instructions for rsync:

Use the following rsyncd.conf file.  Save it (as root) in /etc

max connections = 10
log file = /var/log/rsync.log
timeout = 300
       comment = Welcome to rsync on ernie ...
       path = /home/fran/backup
       read only = no
       list = yes
       uid = root
       gid = root
       hosts allow =,,

Make sure you create the directory /home/fran/backup (or whatever).

Example: use the following command line:

rsync -av Easter

to back up a directory called "Easter" to a machine on IP address

If you are SURE you can use rsync -av --delete etc... to remove unwanted files from the backup, but BE CAREFUL!!

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