“Kernel this”

Building your own kernel isn’t easy, and for the most part what you want is just to tweak driver settings. So it seems strange that, after all this time, nobody has made a “kernel this” tool which builds a hardware-specific kernel, initrd etc.

bashrc and openssh

Just thought I’d document this for web-posterity…

Some of our systems rely on a large number of environment variables that get loaded via .profile or .bashrc, but most importantly the PATH variable.

Under Ubuntu and Fedora 9+ this stopped working when using “ssh <host> <command>”.

After much googling and head scratching, I finally found the cause.

Our bashrc files all had something like this near the start:

if [ -z "$PS1" ] ; then
  return   # or exit or something

Using OpenSSH’s ssh in command mode, e.g. ssh dev-strat stophost, results in a non-interactive login, for which “PS1” is not set.

So if you’re having a hard time getting your ssh commands to load their environment… Check for that.

But I don’t HAVE a printer…

Why do so many Linux operating systems have cups and other printing services as a high level dependency? It may be trivial, but it’s one more attack vector and one more set of running tasks…

Lucid Lynx (Ubuntu 10.4) is here

Ubuntu 10.4 (Lucid Lynx) the “Long Term Stable” release (LTS) went gold today. And I’m really taken with it.

Ever been curious about Linux but figured it as too much hassle? Or got as far as looking at screenshots and fell about laughing?

Don’t be scared of giving Ubuntu a try, the Lucid Lynx proactively likes to strut its stuff…

Live CD

If you download and burn the CD installer, it will default to booting up in “Live CD” mode. About a minute after booting the CD, you’ll have an all-features Linux Desktop running on your system without touching your hard disk. Remove the CD and reboot, and all traces of it are gone.

Any files you download/internet history/changes you make are held in RAM only, so once you reboot, they’re gone. You can mount your Windows disks if you want; or you can access a USB drive if you want to save stuff permanently.


Ubuntu has an (optional) Windows-based installer called Wubi. The really great thing about trying Ubuntu this way is that — should you decide it’s not for you … Just boot back into Windows and use Add/Remove Programs to uninstall it!


Several Virtualization platforms, including VMware (free VMware Player), Parallels and Sun’s (free) Virtual Box are Ubuntu-smart: when they see they you’re booting a new Virtual Machine from a Ubuntu image/CD, they’ll pretty much answer all the installer’s questions for you, install their performance-enhancing tools, and finally present you with a sweet operating system in a box.

A decent virtual Linux

In my quest to get a decent dual-OS box (without dual booting), I gave the free VMware server a spin instead of Workstation. The experiment was short lived and lead me back to Workstation with a slightly different approach, and I’m pretty pleased with the resulting Ubuntu virtual machine.

Ubuntu vs Fedora

My Linux workstation runs like a slug. I get stutters when editing source code in VI. So, it’s that “find a Linux to work with time” again… (Watch for certain fanboi comments, those of you who read on will find them quite amusing ;)

Login Queues

Just got done adding a Login Queue system to the auth host (I have to add it to Playgate too, but it’s the weekend and it’s late and I’m gonna do that later).

The nice thing about working on this particular piece of “sigh” was that I got to work mostly in Visual Studio. I used CMake to rustle up a quick .sln for the host files and the code I was writing was isolated enough that it didn’t run into any cross-platform issues.

Giving Ubuntu a whorl

Thanks for the votes :) I’ve just burned an Ubuntu 8.10 DVD. I’ve got NeoSmart’s EasyBCD installed, I’m going to try installing Ubuntu and seeing if it gives me the option of installing other than to the MBR so the default boot manager is still Vista’s. I really hope I’m not having to reinstall tomorrow :)

Desktop Linux

So I’m curious… If you had to work with a Linux desktop OS – regardless of what your general OS preference is – which of the Linuxes would you choose?

Oh really?

So, apparently, Code::Blocks has no version control support at all. That explains a lot about how disappointing the development has been since the first shock and awe of its arrival on the scene. And Eclipse is just freakin’ evil. Support for importing Makefile projects seems to have been phased out. I managed to get it to nearly import the host code project at one point, but I had to wipe the folder and change the directory structure to suite it. But now I can’t do anything to convince it that the experiment isn’t still there. If this was a Windows box, I’d say it was something in the registry…

And Eclipse always feels just a little too sluggish under Linux. I really can’t work up any enthusiasm for spending any of my own time learning Eclipse enough to recreate the project under Eclipse.

So I guess it will be Code::Blocks and command line svn. Bah.