Majorca Tour 2002

By Pete | @kingpetey | 09 Dec 2002

After a relaxing working holiday I am back! Majorca rocked and had to be one of the best trips ever. Apart from drinking 6 out of 7 nights and eating lots of unhealthy food we did do some work - yes really. I will be getting all my photos up as soon as I have them developed (2 films worth).

For anyone who went to Majorca and wants there pictures on ImAFish send them to [email protected] and I will stick them online for you. I hope to get hold of Pete Clayton's funny PowerPoint presentation at some point and put that online.

Thanks to the people who wrote articles while I was away, I should get back to adding more content to the site soon. The site has just made 100 articles, so well done everyone who has submitted content over the past 6 months. We should be seeing some changes to the site over the next 2 months, Shenton hopes to have some free time from his hectic schedule to write the comedy section and there are ideas for a music section that I can see taking up a lot of my coding time!!! I also have a new web mail section for the site at some point that I hope to have working very soon.

More soon I hope when I'm less tired - maybe a picture.

Linux #14 ? Mounting

By Pete | @kingpetey | 22 Nov 2002

In Linux in order for you to access a device such as a CD Drive or Hard Drive you first need to mount it to the file system, though this may sound silly compared to Windows it is actually a very useful way of doing things.

For instance say a device was not working properly you may was to unmount it if it is conflicting with something else, also you may only want certain devices mounted for certain people that use the computer. When you install Linux it will try to mount all your devices for you and store them in a file called fstab that is located in /etc/fstab.

Before you can mount something you need to know what type of file system you are mounting. For instance if you are mounting another Linux partition it is most likely to be ext2 or ext3 but if you are mounting a Windows Partition it is more likely to be vfat(fat32) or ntfs.

The second thing that you need to know is where you want to mount your device to, normally if it is another partition or cdrom drive you can mount it into the /mnt directory. You cannot mount the same device to the same directory so make more directories in /mnt such as /mnt/windows or /mnt/cdrom that way you know what the device was has been mounted.

All of the information about the file system that you want to mount is stored in the directory /dev/ so when mounting a device you usually specify that directory. The /dev/ directory includes information about the drive you wish to mount but when typing the mount command you also need to specify the file system type. Below shows the directory for each device that is usually in the /dev directory.

/dev/hda ? First IDE Hard Drive
/dev/hda1 ? First IDE Hard Drive ? First primary or extended partition
/dev/hda2 ? First IDE Hard Drive ? Second primary or extended partition
/dev/hdb ? Second IDE Hard Drive
/dev/hdb1 ? Second IDE Dard Drive ? First primary or extended partition
/dev/hdb2 ? Second IDE hard drive - Second primary or extended partition
/dev/cdrom ? CDRom Drive
/dev/cdrom1 ? Second CDrom drive
/dev/fd0 ? Floppy Drive

For example to mount devices in the console type:

mount ?t iso9660 /dev/cdrom /mnt/cdrom

This will mount your cdrom to /mnt/cdrom, be careful if you have more then 1 cdrom as it might be /dev/cdrom1 etc. iso9660 is the file system used by cdroms.

Mount ?t vfat /dev/hda2 /mnt/windows

This will mount the windows partition to /mnt/windows. The /dev/hda2 refers to the second partition on the first IDE hard drive.

Mount ?t /dev/fd0 /mnt/floppy

This will mount the floppy drive to /mnt/floppy , if the floppy is a default linux floppy you do not need to specify a file system.

Linux #13 ? Keyboard Shortcuts

By Pete | @kingpetey | 20 Nov 2002

Many of these shortcuts are similar to Windows however some are slightly different or add extra features to help speed up your day-to-day tasks.

1. [Ctrl] + [Alt] + [Backspace] = kill X. Kills your current X session and returns you to the login screen. Use this if the normal exit procedure does not work.

2. [Ctrl] + [Alt] + [Delete] = shutdown and reboot. Shuts down your current session and reboots the OS. Use only when the normal shutdown procedure does not work.

3. [Ctrl] + [Alt] + [Fn] = switches screens. [Ctrl]+[Alt] + one of the function keys displays a new screen. [F1] through [F6] are text (console) screens and [F7] is a graphical screen.

4. [Alt] + [Tab] = switch tasks. If you have more than one application open at a time, you can use [Alt] + [Tab] to switch among open tasks and applications.

5. [Ctrl] + [a] = move cursor to the beginning of a line. This works in most text editors and in the URL field in Mozilla.

6. [Ctrl] + [d] = logout of a terminal or console instead of having to type exit or logout.

7. [Ctrl] + [e] = move cursor to end of a line. This works in most text editors and in the URL field in Mozilla.

8. [Ctrl] + [l] = clear the terminal. This shortcut does the same thing as typing clear at a command line.

9. [Ctrl] + [u] = clear the current line. If you are working in a terminal, use this shortcut to clear the current line from the cursor all the way to the end of the line.

10. [Middle Mouse Button] = pastes highlighted text. Use the left mouse button to highlight the text. Point the cursor to the spot where you want it pasted. Click the middle mouse button to paste it.

11. [Tab] = command autocomplete. Use this command when working in a terminal. Type the first few characters of a command and then press the [Tab] key. It will automatically complete the command or show all the commands that match the characters you typed.

12. [Up] and [Down] Arrow = show command history. When working in a terminal, press the [up] or [down] arrow to scroll through a history of commands you have typed from the current directory. When you see the command you want to use, press [Enter].

In this article I will be looking at the basics behind the Linux Directory Structure and what you should expect to find behind each directory. You will notice that the Linux directory structure is very different to that of a Windows PC. This is because the Linux directory structure comes from Unix and is built logically rather then simplistic. However once you know what is behind each directory then it is easy to know where to look for things. I will start with a couple of terms that you maybe unaware about. Source code -The code behind a program before it has been compiled.

In order to edit or modify a program you need its source code. While Windows you cannot get the source code for most programs in Linux most programs come with the source code so that you can modify the program to suit your needs if you want to. Executable program - Sometimes called executable, program, or binary. Once the source code has been compiled it becomes an executable, in windows they often have the extension .exe after them.

In Linux you will find a number of executable program types try to look for .rpm files as they are normally the simplest to Install. Linux executables often have the extension .bin. Process - Sometimes called task. A program that is executing may need additional information about how to run it. Kernel -A program that forms a bridge between applications and the hardware they run on. /bin - stores essential binaries (programs) needed when booting the system or working in single user mode to maintain the system. /boot - stores kernel images and boot configuration files. /dev - stores device special files used to access hardware devices. /etc - stores system configuration files. /home - stores the home directories for the individual users. /lib - stores library modules used by the commands. /lost+found ?

If your computer isn't shut down properly when it reboots the Kernel may find something that is corrupt, if so it will be put in this directory. /mnt - a mount point for other storage devices. /opt - This directory contains all the software and add-on packages that are not part of the default installation. Generally you will find KDE and StarOffice here. /proc - This is a special directory on your system.

It has special processes used by executables. /sbin - stores commands required to administer the system such as shutdown. /tmp - used for temporary files /usr - used for programs, libraries, documentation, etc used by normal users /var - stored system data that varies or changes frequently such as system logs, mail and print spool files, etc Not all distributions will have all these directories and don't worry if when you install a certain distribution one of these directories isn?t here. Most of the time you wont have to worry what is in any of these directories but it is good to know what the directory contains.

Linux #11 - Gaming in Linux

By Pete | @kingpetey | 13 Nov 2002

Gaming in Linux is still somewhat behind Gaming in the rest of the world and if your hoping to be able to play all your games for Windows in Linux then you may have a small struggle ahead of you. However one company is helping to make things easier for Linux Gaming. Transgaming produce a program called WineX that is a more advanced version of the Windows emulator Wine that has been specially written for gaming. Though the site does require you to pay $5 a month in order to use the program, this is because certain files are copyrighted.

However you can download a free version and compile it yourself, this gives you OpenGL drivers which are an alternative to DirectX that can be used to play games just the same as Direct3D would. Transgaming currently doesn't support all games but a lot of the big titles are supported including Civ3, Diablo 2, Max Payne, GTA3 and The Sims.

I full list can be found here Some newer games you may find come with Linux installers with them, for instance I brought a copy of UT2003 a few weeks ago and found that on the third CD there was a Linux installer, I did have a few problems with mounting and dismounting drives but this wasn't too hard to get around.

Once installed the game played as well as it did in Windows, which is a massive step forward for me in Linux gaming. You can also buy a seperate Gaming pack for Mandrake Linux, this comes with games like The Sims and uses Transgamings technology in order to work. Hopefully more games will come with Linux installations in the near future.