New Procedures for 2005 Readers’ Choice Awards

Linux Journal has changed the procedures for its Readers’ Choice Awards contest. From now on, if you want to participate, you’ll have to send them a specially formatted email message, instead of using a web form. They have published the instructions here.

I’ve already sent the email to awards@linuxjournal.com with the following nominations:

e-mail client: Mutt
distribution: Fedora
database: MySQL
backup utility: Tar
network backup utility: AMANDA
audio tool: XMMS
desktop environment: KDE
Linux web site: http://slashdot.org
distributed file sharing system: BitTorrent
programming beverage: coke
development tool: Vim
text editor: Vim
system administration tool: perl
server: HP ProLiant DL
office program: KDE Kontact
programming language: Perl
instant messaging client: Licq
graphics program: GIMP
web browser: Firefox
blogging software: WordPress

Multiple sound carding with Linux

Yesterday and today I have been trying to solve a little problem o’mine. Since I started using the single computer for everything, there was a small dillema with sound. The thing is that I wanted to use the speakers to listen to mp3s and ogg, while use TV sound when watching movies. Having two sound cards in the same computer looked like a logical solution.

Luckily, both sound cards (Creative and Intel) were detected and configured by system-config-sound. Test sounds played nicely on both of them and I could even select the default sound card.

The question was how to use one card with some applications while using another with others. The answer was pretty simple – Advanced Linux Sound Architecture also known as ALSA.

aplay -l will show a list of detected sound cards. From than on it’s a breeze. Here is an example for mplayer to use a non-default card:

mplayer -ao alsa:mmap:noblock:device=hw=1.0 -fs dvd://1

The key here is the “device” argument and substituion of “:” with “=” and “,” with “.”.

Now, let Google cache this post for me to never have this problem again.

“format C:” versus “rm -rf /”

Jokes about “format C:” and “rm -rf /” are pretty frequent in the computer universe. These two commands will supposedely remove all data from the hard disk – one on DOS/Windows and another on UNIX operating systems. While widely used, this might not be exactly true. This guy has tried both and documented the results.

Fedora Linux Core 3 is out

Fedora Project has announced the release of Fedora Linux Core 3. As usual, all software packages has been updated with lots of bugfixes and new features. It should be faster, better, user friendlier, and blah blah blah…

I am downloading it currently using BitTorrent at excellent speeds of 500+ KBytes/s. I will upload it then to Thunderworx ftp server. If you are in Cyprus, you better wait until it will appear there, so you will be downloading it at faster speeds. If you are outside of Cyprus – I am sorry, FTP server is firewalled for you.

Update (9 Nov 2004 18:25): Ok, it is up at Thunderworx FTP server. Also, read the Release Notes.

Disagreement with Sean Russell’s RPM Hell

Today I read an essey by Sean Russell called “RPM Hell. A Perfect Example of Good Software Crippled by Bad Design“. In this essey Sean is explaining why he does not like RPM to the level when he is prepared to change the Linux distribution he is using.

I, on the other hand, do like RPM. It has it’s problems but what doesn’t. Some of Sean’s arguments I disagree with and hence this post. Before reading it, please read the original essey by Sean, since I am quoting only the relevant parts.

P.S.: I have notified Sean Russell via email about this post.

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Linux kernel links

If for any reason you wanted to learn anything and everything about Linux kernel, but were afraid to start, then I have found a perfect place for you. “Kernel links” is an “index of documentation for people interested in writing and/or understanding the Linux kernel”. It is the biggest collection of resources links about kernel that I have seen so far. It covers online manuals and HOWTOs as well as books and other printed materials.

Kernel Newbies might be way too advanced for some people after all. :)

Fedora Tracker

I’ve just read in LWN about recently announced Fedora Tracker. The goal of the project is to have a central database of apt and yum repositories with search facilities. This sounds like a very nice idea, since finding some Fedora RPM packages is not an easy task.

I’ve check it out and there is plenty of repositories already in. There is also a Submit form for missing information. I wish for this project to live and grow, since it has the potential to be more useful than RPMfind.Net.

MRTG

MRTG (Multi Router Traffic Grapher) is monitoring utility, which runs on many platforms and is capable of collecting and graphing statistical information such as network traffic, CPU/Memory/Disk space usage, etc. MRTG can gather information using both SNMP protocol and external scripts. Below are few pieces of my MRTG config file together with scripts, which I felt like sharing.

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