Linux: Desktop Linux Survey Results Published

Posted on in Categories News last updated November 30, 2005

In Q3/2005 OSDL Desktop Linux (DTL) Working Group launched a month-long online Linux Client survey with a goal of reaching consensus on barriers to desktop adoption and priorities. It has published Desktop Linux Survey Results. It is base upon 3,300 user responses. Top two reasons given for deploying Linux on the desktop:

  • Employees requesting Linux (user demand) and
  • Competitors have successfully deployed Linux

So Microsoft claim of TCO (total cost of ownership), or security are just useless :D. You can read complete survey here (in PDF file) or just go to Slashdot discussion. Firefox 1.5 final now available, just friendly remainder to all of you ;)

Temporary memory files and shell scripts

Posted on in Categories News last updated November 28, 2005

Recently we got lots of discussion about shell scripts that create a temporary memory files and only available to the invoked shell but not visible to any other user or process except root user. If we use /tmp directory to create file then it will be available to everyone. Next comes the idea of here document feature. For example following simple shell program uses here document feature

cat << STOP
echo $DATA1

However soon we discovered that here documents is implemented as temporary file by bash shell. For example if we run strace on script we can easily see it is opening file in /tmp
$ strace -f script.bash

Bottom line if data is such critical scripts are useless, it is better go with private directory or write program in C.

How do I Read ext2 or ext3 filesystems under Windows 2000 or XP Desktop?

Posted on in Categories File system, Linux, Windows, Windows server last updated December 19, 2007

Asked by Payal K.

Q. I would like to know – can I access Linux ext3 partitions from windows 2000 server (dual boot) or windows XP desktop, as I have tons of MP3 and video files downloaded under Linux.

A. It is true that you can easily access your Windows partitions from Linux. However with small free utility called Explore2fs you can easily access Linux ext3 or ext2 partitions too without any problem.

Does ext3 work with windows?

Short answer – Yes.

You can always get your favorite MP3/video or PDF file stored inside Linux ext3 file system. This utility works on

  • Windows 95
  • Windows 98
  • Windows ME
  • Windows NT 4.0
  • Windows 2000
  • Windows XP
  • Windows Server 2003

However please note that I don’t recommend to install this utility on a production Linux serer (if you have one) as it does not enforce security permission from windows operating system.One more thing before using this utility make sure you have a backup of all important data.

Download Explore2fs

=> You can download Explore2fs, the WIN32 explorer for Linux ext2fs partitions here.

Read and Write access to Linux file system from Windows

As pointed out by Anonymous user you can use Ext2 Installable File System For Windows, which provide Complete reading and writing access to files and directories of volumes with the Ext2 or Ext3 file system. You can download the software here.

The Sun Java Desktop System is available free for OpenSolaris

Posted on in Categories News last updated November 22, 2005

The Java Desktop System is not a secure but very good total enterprise desktop software system. It is the best alternative to Microsoft Windows XP and now sun made it Free and available on OpenSolaris.However this the source-only release contains the major new features such as GNOME 2.10, Firefox 1.5b,and Thunderbird 1.5b. It means you need to compile or build desktop for yourself. Open Solaris has howto document that explains how to build JDS on OpenSolaris. More information can be found at OpenSolaris Desktop community site.

Between if you use and love Solaris 10 OS, then tell your story to Sun to win an Apple iPod. In addition to this, there is free Solaris Technology Training Event (Atlanta, Georgia, U.S.) On December 7, 2005, attend “How-to” training on an array of hot technology topics, including developer tools, OpenSolaris, security, performance, and more. You can win cool prices here too.

Dual network interface card to optimize Linux server backup process

Posted on in Categories News last updated November 22, 2005

The majority of the time small and medium size business use the single dedicated Linux/*BSD box for hosing web site, database server, mail server. These servers are so busy round the clock (yes we do have lots of such client, they have dual XEON/AMD or P4 with 4-8 GIG RAM). Since backup is such critical procedure, we have an automated snapshot (hourly, nightly, and full monthly backup facility) procedure for all dedicated UNIX/ Linux/Windows boxes.

Snapshot Backups provide a convenient, automatic way to save copies of data/website/ftp/mysql data/site/files without using valuable disk space. Backup software (or Linux scripts) stores a copy, or takes a “snapshot,” of customers dedicated box every 2 hours, nightly, weekly etc. These snapshots are saved and dated for customer by our software and can be restore directly from clients control panel, in the event that any of files are accidentally deleted or changed.

Although this facility is ultra cool, it has its own disadvantage too on clients’ dedicated Linux box. On any busy server things started to get worst because of hourly hot snapshot backup. Our customer started to report us that while backup is in progress ftp/www site becomes slow. We quickly realize that single NIC is the problem, so we have upgraded all old servers to dual NICs. Therefore, backup data is piped through a second NIC, isolating the process from frontend traffic.

Linux  eth0  --> Public interface for ftp/http/mysql traffic
Box    eth1  --> Private interface for backup

eth1 IP(s) only accessible in our data center, all outside access to eth1 IP is blocked at enterprise IDC firewall. This is done for security reason.

We have products from NetApp for central storage and snapshot facility (in case if you are wondering what we are using for central storage). You can find information about NetApp here.

Result was neat and now no more complaints from customer. We use same solution for shared hosting customer too. However if your IDC is small then you can use any (netapp products are expensive) other Linux/UNIX box and couple of ftp script could do the same backup trick and make sure you use second NIC to pump backup data. Here is sample diagram that will help you to grasp the concept

  1. All eth0 connects to Internet
  2. All eth1 connects to Private switch inside IDC
  3. Linux based backup server should not be accessible outside your network
  4. You need to create perl/shell script to automate backup procedure