Linux on a Used Micron Millennia Xku PII/266

March 15, 2003

Tiring of documentation in German and juggling RPMs to get them to install in the right directories, I have returned to RedHat for my latest installation on this machine, which is my router and Web server for my home LAN. Version 8.0 of RedHat went in pretty smoothly using their Anaconda graphical installer. I had the disk space, so I chose a full install, as usual. The installer found all the hardware (modem, NIC, Yamaha Oa3 sound system, the CD and CD-R drives, etc) just fine. Then I installed my own rc.firewall script to enable routing, masquerading and to screen out Web 'bots. Printing by lpd defaults to a disabled condition in RH8; you have to create an /etc/hosts.lpd file containing IPs of your LAN machines and then edit the file /etc/lpd.perms, adding a line "ACCEPT SERVICE=X REMOTEHOST=</etc/hosts.lpd" above the existing line: "REJECT SERVICE=X NOT SERVER".

I installed some truetype fonts I still had from when Mirco$oft gave them away in /usr/share/fonts and added that dir to /etc/X11/xfs/config and restarted the font server with "/etc/rc.d/init.d/xfs restart".

Some edits were required to get PHP working the way I like, although it did install by default and so did the Apache PHP module. I enabled PHP globals in /etc/pnp.ini by setting "set register_globals=on", and added "index.php" to files for directory reference in /etc/httpd/conf/httpd.conf. In php.ini I also set "short_open_tag = Off" and "safe_mode_include-dir = Off" to force using "<?php" to begin PHP code blocks, and permit using PHP 'include'.

DHCP got going with the installation of my /etc/dhcpd.conf:

ddns-update-style interim;
ignore client-updates;

subnet netmask {
        option subnet-mask;
        option broadcast-address;
        option routers;
        option domain-name-servers;
        option domain-name-servers;
        max-lease-time 1800;
        default-lease-time 1800;

...then turning on the DHCP service by using RedHat > Server Settings > Services menu.

Gnome CD player fails to route audio to the speakers, so I use Grip or Xmcd instead. GCD still launched on insertion of a CD, though, so I removed "kudzu" from the entry for /mnt/cdrom in /etc/fstab.

Acrobat 5.08 for Linux installed OK, however when launched it gave the error:

Warning: charset "UTF-8" not supported, using "ISO8859-1".
So I used Google again and found the solution: I edited the /usr/local/Acrobat5/bin/acroread script and added: "LANG=C; export LANG" near the top, and that was that.

I got tired of Gnome/Kde bloat and the fact that they are approaching blase'-faire; I've gone back to WindowMaker. I customized my ~/GNUstep/Defaults/WMRootMenu after saving the original and now have all my most-used apps and utils available at any time with a right-click on the root window ("desktop"). This is my server, so I run gkrellm to see what's going on inside, listen to CDs with Xmcd, "top" my processes. Our small network underutilizes this machine so a light graphical interface is OK, and let's me use it also as a Mozilla base for testing Web designs before publishing them.

September 1, 2000

SuSE Logo Fastest, Easiest Linux Install Yet! As author Neal Stephenson would say, an installation "...should be carried out like removing a bandage from a hairy man's chest; quickly and suddenly." That pretty much describes the SuSE 6.4 install I did recently on my project machine from a free distribution given to our local LUG. My Millennia's trayless drive slot swallowed the SuSE CD I pushed into it with the bored efficiency of an old government service employee.

The $165 previously-owned P2/266 sculpted mini-tower quickly booted into the CD installer following a
"# shutdown -r now". I confirmed its identification of my Linux partitions already occupied by an earlier RedHat 6.2 install, allowed it to re-format them, then hit "Return" to all the defaults. Fifteen or twenty minutes later, I selected 1024x768 resolution from a dialog-box list, supplied a root password, and logged into X. In the blink of an eye, SuSE's KDE desktop and stylized green dandelion seed flashed through the Millennia's Diamond Viper V330 AGP card and hit the monitor phosphors with a sound like a popular hygroscopic Kellogg's breakfast cereal explosively absorbing cold milk.

What I DID NOT have to do:

I DID NOT have to select packages.
I DID NOT have to suffer in 640x480 8bpp, agonizing over dot-clock calculations and modeline construction.
I DID NOT have to choose a monitor.
I DID NOT have to pick a NIC driver.

    Was I lucky? I don't think so. It just appears that SuSE has accumulated the fullest marble bag of hardware compatibility files. The desktop initiates icons for the floppy, a printer, CDROM and some relevent directories (folders). If I insert a formatted floppy and double-click the desktop floppy icon, the diskette file system auto-mounts and a KDE file manager (directory browser) opens and displays icons of all the files present on the diskette. Action is similar for the desktop CDROM and folder icons.

    I created an ethernet interface using netcfg, and hooked into my home network with a 30-metre CAT5 cable strung temporarily down the stairs. I editted /etc/fstab and mounted a shared nfs directory on my LinuxPPCG3 upstairs to port over a screenshot and this HTML page, which I created as I do all my pages, with BlueFish 0.4 HTML editor for Linux. I created a desktop icon for the zip drive by first adding an entry to /etc/fstab:

/dev/hdb4  /mnt/zip  vfat  noauto,user  0 0

then right-clicking the desktop and selecting "New>File system device", which launched the KDE utility "kdelnk". I entered the devicename ("/dev/hdb4"), set the icon name to "Zip.kdelnk", and selected appropriate mount and unmount icons and presto - an auto-mount icon for the zip drive appeared on the desktop. That allowed me to install the latest incarnation of StarOffice 5.2 I had Zipped from Sun's site via a fast connection at work. With that, I had gone as far as I wanted for the time being, content to familiarize myself with StarOffice in preparation to implementing it for a client eager to migrate from Windoze to Linux.

Well done, SuSE! If ever there was a Linux install for die Volk, this is it.


   { Screen shot (118KB, in a new window)}




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Other Installs:

Linux: Micron GoBook
Linux: NEC Versa 2650
OS X: beige G3

some desktop pictures

On-Line Reference:
RedHat Linux Unleashed