UNIX

 

cdw – Text-based console equivalent to popular Linux disk-burning software like Xfburn or Brasero.

800px-Screenshot_2019-12-25_14-25-59

Dia – A free program for drawing graphs and charts.  I’m using it here to build a network of the nearby stars with each connected to its three nearest neighbors.

 

gparted – Partition your storage media. Does everything Partition Magic does for you, but it’s free, as in free beer. One caveat: if you try to set up a disk for Windows 98, the installation disk doesn’t like it so you need to use the ancient fdisk program under MS-DOS for that.

EN9SyngUUAEBOTK

Send a man page to the terminal minus the embedded backspace characters.

man genisoimage | col -b | less

Screenshot_2020-01-11_17-24-37

Convert decimal to 16 bit binary and trim leading zeros

#! /bin/bash
D2B=({0..1}{0..1}{0..1}{0..1}{0..1}{0..1}{0..1}{0..1}{0..1}{0..1}{0..1}{0..1}{0..1}{0..1}{0..1}{0..1})
echo $((10#${D2B[$1]}))

Screenshot_2020-01-11_12-39-06

 

List the misspelled words in a file:

enchant -l matthew

ENdEgNcUwAUzECS

PEPPERMINT LINUX

VirtualBox_Peppermint_14_10_2018_19_22_19

Peppermint Linux – An extremely lightweight ‘stro that leaves most of the heavy lifting for the Cloud. I set it up with 1 GB of RAM and it reports 667 MB available while running, and it uses less than 4 GB of disk space installed. This is a groovy candidate for old machines.

VirtualBox_Peppermint_14_10_2018_19_29_29

lindows

LINDOWS

My introduction to Linux was in February 2004 with Lindows 4.5. which came with a cheap $179 Chinese-made computer I got at Frys. Lindows was a Debian based distro running KDE, except that apt was missing, so you couldn’t install new software yourself, and gcc was missing so you couldn’t even compile apt from a source tarball and bypass it.

Instead. what you were expected to do was pay an annual $50 fee for a service called “Click ‘N’ Run” which let you access exactly the same software which comes totally free in the Debian repository, as everyone knows, NOW.

As an added incentive to get you to sign up, Lindows came with fewer installed packages than a mini-Distro like Slax or Damn Small Linux even. You could surf the web, you could create a web page (but not upload it), you could edit a file in Kate, you could view PDF’s (but not create them in Open Office)…there was just enough to get you hooked in the showroom and buy the computer, but not enough to do any real work.

Microsoft, of course, hated the name Lindows and sued them, and lost. Microsoft then did what they always do when they lose a lawsuit, they threw millions of dollars at Lindows and got what they wanted anyway. Lindows became “LinSpire”. The company then spent some of the money on the Wine project, hoping to get it out of beta status, but that didn’t pan out. Eventually the whole thing was bought up by Xandros and killed. Good riddance to a distro that was crippled at birth.

But it was my first one, and the very fact that it was crippled, and my efforts to get around that fact, was a sort of baptism in blood. Perhaps my approach to Linux would be far less passionate if I had jumped ship in these Ubuntu days and everything was just handed to me on a silver platter. Or perhaps I would have never adopted Linux at all, since we now have that wonderful source of cracked Windows versions known as Pirate Bay. Arrrrrg.

 

bc power function (a ^ b)

define pow(a, b) {
if (scale(b) == 0) {
return a ^ b;
}
return e(b*l(a));
}

Screenshot_2020-01-08_19-47-04

Copy the contents of a website to a text file:

lynx -dump https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pontius_Pilate > pilate.txt

pilate

Remove whitespace in the du output to produce a comma-delimited list of files and directories

du -ab | sed ‘s/[[:space:]]\{1,\}/,/g’

ENhIiQbVUAAefeJ

Spacechart and Starplot

spacechart

Spacechart is an indispensible tool for geeks and geekgrrls who like to write science fiction. It’s a map of all the nearby stars in a format that allows you to rotate it in every direction with your mouse like one of those molecular models. You can zoom way out there, 190 light years to the Hyades Cluster in Taurus, but if you do all the labels start to jam together and make a big mess. But you can center the map on any coordinate you want which lets you look at our neighborhood in pieces. Or you can set it to Goldilocks Mode and only show stars which are not too bright and not too dim. And you can set the program to connect the dots when they are a minimum distance apart from each other. If you play around with the settings, pretty soon you get little groups of stars hooked together by their own “trade routes” and those become the empires and kingdoms of your Great American Space Opera.

This site is a great way to browse around in our galaxy and see what’s out there, but try not to get lost: http://www.stellar-database.com/

800px-starplot

 

 

Crontab

screenshot-from-2017-02-06-163331

Computers are tools, and the idea is to get your tools to do the hard work for you. So I want to grab my entire timeline on Twitter, every day. I do this with a crontab. I get to crontab with a GUI front end called gnome-schedule. Every minute, crontab issues “twidge lsrecent -su” and appends the results to a file on my desktop called timeline.txt. Once a day I rename timeline.txt to a new text file called, for example, timeline2-5-17.txt. Then crontab starts a brand new timeline.txt while I process what I have.

First I replace every instance of a comma in the text file with a semicolon. Then I replace every < and > with a comma, and I get rid of all the spurious line feeds and blank space. Then I import the text file into my spreadsheet program called gnumeric. Then I sort on user name, grab everything written by “LinuxGal” and save it to another file. Then I inspect for spam, and go block the users who are spamming me. There are thousands of lines. I delete every line that begins with a RT (retweet) and look for original content that interests me, and retweet that. Next day: lather, rinse, repeat.

 

gFTP

800px-gftp

A myth persists in the mind of non-Linux people that the WWW and the Internet are the same thing, to the point that if they accidentally delete their Internet Explorer icon, they will call the Help Desk and say, “I don’t have Internet anymore.” And for most users, the WWW only works one way, they can download pictures and articles, but they can’t upload them. This has resulted in the development of services such as Picasa and Blogger, which allow people to manage files in a public web space without leaving the comfort and safety of the Web. But how do the hackers and do-it-yourself hobbyists of the Linux set upload files? With the venerable FTP, or File Transfer Protocol. And if they want to use a GUI instead of Midnight Commander, they can use Filezilla, Kbear, Konqueror, or gFtp.

Assuming one has arranged access to web space, one simply enters a host name (in my case web.newsguy.com) and a user name (rubyred) and enter the password (n00bs). After that you can navigate in your web space as if it were your hard drive, and drag and drop files from one panel to the other. If you upload an HTML file named home.htm people’s browsers will automatically assume that is your front page. HTML itself is quite easy for anyone to learn, if you don’t get fancy with cascading style sheets and whatnot. It only takes a few minutes to create a simple HTML file from scratch in a text editor that will render properly, even with tables. It might take a little more work that using someone else’s blogger site or photo-sharing site, but you have total control over every aspect of your site, and the sense of accomplishment you get is priceless.

Puppy Linux

Puppy

This is Puppy Linux.  I’ve used it since version 1.0.4 in 2005, but now it’s up to 6.0.  It’s a complete operating system, but it is only about 100 megabytes in size, so it can fit on one of those little 8 cm mini CDs.    Why do I like it?  Puppy runs entirely in RAM.   So after you boot it from a live CD, you can pull the disk out of the tray, put a DVD in there, and start watching movies.  Can’t do that with Knoppix or any other live Linux distro.

The fact that it runs in RAM makes the OS as spry as, well, a puppy.

This particular version sits on an old-school 2 gig USB stick.   The computer I’m using doesn’t even have a hard drive at all.  I jump-start Puppy with a floppy disk.   Sometimes I take the stick out and back it up on another computer.   It doesn’t matter which computer I use to run Puppy on, it looks just like this, all I have to do is slide in the USB stick and the boot floppy and go.

I’ve installed WINE on Puppy (a Windows emulator), and then I installed Office 97 which I use for most of my content creation.  I listen to internet radio and rip the songs to MP3s, then burn the tracks to CD.  I use gFTP to maintain my website and run an instance of Windows 3.11 inside Puppy under DOSbox just for fun.   So basically, life for me is really good.  People whining about Windows 8 and I’m like, whatever.  The joy of being a Linuxgal.

 

PUPPY LINUX

My love affair with Puppy Linux goes all the way back to version 1.04 released in 2005. Now it’s up to version 5.7.1 Puppy is a lightweight distro developed independently by Barry Kauler from Australia, with help from a lively community of fans. It’s just packed with goodies yet small enough to run on an old Windows 98 computer with only 128 Puppy525megabytes of RAM. You don’t actually install Puppy, you simply put the CD in your tray and boot. The only thing it will do to your existing setup is leave a persistent save file on your hard drive (or a stick, if you choose), with a size you pick, to store all your settings and bookmarks and the files you download or create. So no matter what you have, Ubuntu, Windows, whatever, you also have Puppy.

There are other Linux distros that run from a Live CD, like Knoppix, but you can’t pull the CD out of the tray because the ‘stro needs to access the disk every time you launch something. But Puppy runs entirely in RAM, which means as soon as it boots you can pop the CD out of your tray and put a music CD in, or a DVD, and you can start watching movies immediately because the libdvdcss codec is already included. And it also means you can use Puppy to resize the partitions on your hard drive, maybe shrink your Windows partition to make room for a Linux one. Often I will squeeze an XP partition by 4 gigabytes to make room for MS-DOS and Windows 3.1. And because Puppy does run entirely from RAM it’s snappy as all get out. You’ll grow spoiled by how fast applications start.

Puppy Linux allows you to take your existing setup, which is all the applications on the original boot CD plus the ones you’ve installed to your save file, and remaster a new boot CD that includes all the stuff in your save file. So you end up with your very own flavor of Puppy. I call mine Hacky Linux, and after repeated remasters with hundreds of applications ported over from Debian it’s too big to fit on a CD now. I need to boot it from a mini-DVD and it only works on computers with 2 GB of RAM. But it includes Wine and Open Office, and it’s more capable than the full-on distros that come on DVDs in the Linux magazines.

 

GPARTED

Shown here is gparted, the Gnome Partition Editor, which is one of the most useful programs I have. It’s so useful, in fact, that I also have it on a stand-alone disk in my Gpartedtoolkit that boots a minimal Linux plus gparted. It’s a GUI based disk partition manager, just like the $63 Partition Magic for Windows, but of course it’s absolutely free. What I’m doing here is formatting a 250 GB external HD to a Linux ext3 filesystem rather than the Windows-compatible one it came with out of the box. The ext3 filesystem uses journaling which logs intended changes before committing them to disk. That way if the system crashes (from a power interruption for example), it can recover by simply reading the journal.

Linux can read any file system, even Windows ones. But Windows refuses to even look. It covers its ears and goes, “La la la, I don’t know what that is!” and even third party Windows software will, at best, let you see what’s there but not write out any files or delete them.

On my Windows desktops and laptops I used gparted to shrink the NTFS filesystem and make room for a Linux main partition and a swap partition so I could run a dual or triple-boot setup. On some of my computers I also use it to carve out a couple spare Linux partitions for installing this or that new distro to see if I like them, or to make a few gigabytes of spare room to install a DOS partition for Windows 3.1 or Windows 98, with one caveat: MS-DOS doesn’t recognize any partition created by gparted, even if you create an alleged FAT16 or FAT32 partition. All I can do from gparted is make the room, and then use FDISK.EXE from DOS natively to do the rest.

 

SUSE 9.3

After playing with Lindows 4.5 for about a year with much frustration, the Spring of 2005 rolled around. The local stores sold copies of Windows XP, but they were upgrades, and required a preexisting installation of Win98 or WinME before they would work. I still hadn’t learned to burn my own Linux install disks from ISO’s at that point. So I got on Amazon and ordered a copy of SuSE Linux direct from Novell for $30 just to get something worth using.

The installation went without a hitch, and I quickly learned to use YAST (Yet Another Setup Tool) to add more software from the SuSE CD. The only problem was I had to hand massage the OS to get it to recognize my Ethernet connection, but when that was straightened out I was able to go online and grab software above and beyond what existed on my installation disk. By and large I was happy with it, and it taught me that not only could I install my own operating system to any computer, I could install hundreds of different programs downloaded for free from the Internet.

The cool thing about SuSE was that I could install the OS on as many computers as I liked from now until doomsday (not realizing at the time that the product would start to date like cheese). There was no product activation scheme or some other way to separate me from my money. After Novell got my initial $30 they were happy. But that was the last time I would ever shell out any money for Linux.

2 Responses to UNIX

  1. Arkenaten says:

    Yeah, I quite like XP, even though I know diddly squat about computers. It seems easy enough to work with.

  2. Linuxgal says:

    Microsoft is trying to kill it dead so they can sell people new operating systems, but XP is a zombie or Freddy Kruger or something, and 25% of computers still run it.

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