An Introduction (sort of)

These pages were originally a few articles thrown up here and there. Later, I tried to put them in some sort of order.

Keep in mind that just because you see something written on these pages, it doesn't mean that it's true. A lot of it is obsolete, as I haven't had the time to keep the pages up to date.

Since I know a lot of people only through email, some of course, are curious about what I look like--so, here's a shot from the Fall of 2004, I think. (I'm the one in the sweater.)

So, without further ado....

Linux and BSD Articles

Faq for Newbies
This covers the questions that I used to see most frequently asked on the Linux_Newbies mailing list--at least the ones that I knew how to answer. It is also the unofficial faq for the linux@yahoogroups, and redhat@yahoogroups mailing lists It is extremely dated.

The Newbie Survival Guide
An effort to explain to the newcomer why he might have been flamed, told to RTFM, etc. Read it, and you may be able to post to any list with confidence. (Hrrm, that's a bit of false advertising--but anyway, you should read it.)

Useful shellscripting links
Some shellscripting links that I've found useful.

A few bash tips.
Extremely elementary, mostly notes to myself that a few other folks found useful

A chmod tutorial
This tutorial, written by John O'Donnell, is used with his permission.

RPMS, tar.gz and tar.bz2 files
Don't you hate it when you ask how to use bz2 and someone tells you go see the man page and all you need is a one line answer?

The ip command
The ip command has been around for awhile. It can replace many (possibly all) of the functions of ifconfig and route. Here are some examples of its syntax.

An introduction to using OpenLDAP for authorization and as an address book.

the Pine email client
This describes setting up Pine to be used on a box for a single user. A lot simpler than the man pages make it sound. However, it's somewhat dated, because like many, I moved to mutt.

Setting up Mutt
Some people feel Mutt is a better email client than Pine (including me but..) The big pain in the neck is that it doesn't include anything that allows you to send mail--so, this includes configuring other programs to work with it. (Getmail, msmtp and maildrop.)

Using getmail
Setting up the getmail program for version 4.x

Using getmail 3.x
Debian and some others were still using version 3.x of getmail for awhile. This article is obsolete

Using procmail
Although I use maildrop, many people like procmail--this is more or less an abbreviated rehash of the procmail quickstart guide

Using nbsmtp
Some people use nbsmtp with mutt. I haven't used it in awhile, so this page is no longer maintained

Using XBuffy and GBuffy
These are two nice little utilities that do a good job of handling multiple mailboxes

Ipchains and Iptables
This is a VERY simplified guide to using ipchains or tables. The firewall that we make here, although probably as good as RH's default firewall, isn't really meant to be used. However, if you can get through this article, you'll find the ipchains and iptables howtos much easier to understand. This was written back when I usually used RH, and they had ipchains as their default. With the advent of the 2.4 kernel, most people now use iptables, so you can imagine how old this article really is.

Compiling the kernel
This is also meant as an introduction to the kernel howto--just sort of a quick review.

Compiling the RedHat kernel
Well, not really. It's more of an explanation of how to use to source code from to compile a kernel on RedHat--RH has a few gotchas of its own

Using SSH
This is pretty RedHat specific--however, as security becomes more important, it's becoming more and more of a bad idea to use telnet. RedHat disables telnet by default in its newer versions. It's actually easier to set up SSH than telnet, and you really should. This explains how to do it

Using ftp from command line
This one is sort of dated--I wrote it a couple of years ago. It's only about using ftp from the console--it's not about setting up an ftp server. Keep in mind that the .netrc file mentioned in the article has some serious security implications--I may wind up taking that part of the article off the page.

Using Blackbox
Blackbox is a nice little window manager--This was, again written more as a reminder to myself, especially the part about using bbkeys, an add on which enables you to use the keyboard to move between windows, close them, etc. The developer of bbkeys was kind enough to take a look at the article and compliment it

Using Fluxbox
Fluxbox is very similar to Blackbox, but has a few nice features of its own

Openbox for Fluxbox users
Mostly for my own reference, some simple Openbox keybindings and toolbars. The keybindings are also applicable to the increasingly popular LXDE desktop.

The dwm window manager
The dwm window manager is a small tiling manager. I find it especially useful on netbooks.

The spectrwm window manager
Aanother very nice tiling window manager.

This is about dual and triple booting, using Lilo. It tells you how to, among other things, use NT's boot loader to boot Linux, and the much easier way of using Lilo to boot NT (or 2K and XP)

This is about grub 1.x, so is pretty outdated.

These are some notes of things I'm running into using grub2 on Fedora 16. Please consider this a work in progress. At present, it's very sparse.

Starting with Samba
Using Samba on the home network--a simplified guide.

Connecting Samba to Active Directory
Using Samba in an Active Directory domain

Arch Linux is a very nice i686 optimized distro, and should be more popular

Debian isn't the easiest distro in the world, but once installed, its package management system makes everything easy.

Japanese in Linux, FreeBSD and NetBSD
This covers several distros of Linux as well as FreeBSD. The Tokyo Linux User Group includes a link to this on their web site.

Linux's fdisk is a far more sophisticated tool than the fdisk that comes with DOS. However, it's not that hard to use--there are times when the various gui or simpler partitioning tools don't work and fdisk will. Like many things in Linux, once you get used to it, you might grow to prefer it to the graphic disk partitioning tools

Some Xterm settings
This is one that I put up so I wouldn't have to look it up each time. It deals with setting the TERM variable, and concentrates on the rxvt terminal

Some quick fixes for CUPS
When CUPS works right it makes printing easy. These are a few simple gotchas and fixes that I've collected--some from me, some from various forums and mailing lists

HPLIP and CentOS 5.3
CentOS uses a rather old version of hplip and the hplip instructions are missing some steps.

Using the site
Recent "improvements" in Citibank's site have made it difficult to use in Linux and BSD. I tried to keep my rant to a minimum and just detail the problem and solution.

Using vpnc
A short guide to the vpnc program.

Copying and Burning DVDs
Various command line tools for dealing with DVD and multimedia.

Accessing Usenet
Accessing Usenet, as well as pptp VPN, with the command line.

The Screen and Tmux Programs
A very basic guide to using either the venerable screen or newer tmux to run multiple sessions in one terminal

The QND guides

The QND guides
As mentioned above, some friends and I started a QND guides site, as in Quick-N-Dirty. This section has several Unix and Unix-like system very quick guides.
The guides:

Installing Software on various Linux and BSD systems
Installing from source tarballs
Using diff and patch
Backing up DVDs from the command line
Using mutt with a gmail account
Using Fdisk
Running programs at boot on various systems
Using ssh keypairs
Installing Gentoo Linux
Checklist for installing Gentoo
Chrooted Gentoo
Inputting Japanese
Shell prompts
FreeBSD jails
Convert AC3 audio to OGG Vorbis

RedHat based Distribution Section

When job change put me back in the RedHat/CentOS/Fedora world, I found various things frequently seen on the forums, and some of these (usually) very short articles were an effort to save me some typing. However, with the relatively brief (18 month) lifecycle of Fedora, and the frequent, often undocumented changes in it, much of this can quickly change. As I'm currently (2014) back in a mainly BSD shop, although we also use Linux solutions, some of this is now unmaintained.

Fedora Sound Problems
Lately, many people have been having sound problems. This page was thrown up to try to collect some links about it, and then other folks started mailing me their solutions. If you're one of the many having Fedora sound problems in Fedora 8, perhaps one of the solutions will help.

Fedora and wpa_supplicant
There are a few wireless issues in Fedora 8. This covers some issues with the fact that network starts before wpa_supplicant and using MadWifi with the Atheros 5007EG card.

Finding the model of your wireless card
A lot of people post on Fedora forums asking for help with wireless, but neglecting to give the model of the card. This page is primarily to save me typing, over and over again, the steps for someone to find out which card they have.

Simple wireless troubleshooting
Many times, wireless troubles are due to NetworkManager or another GUI configuration tool. This article gives some tips on troubleshooting wireless with the command line.

Installing a a minimal desktop on a RedHat based system
This is my method for getting a small working X installation, for those who don't want all the packages included with the default package group.

Recovering another distribution's grub
Many people have, for example, Ubuntu installed, then install Fedora. Although they make sure that Fedora didn't overwrite the Ubuntu partition, they don't see Ubuntu as an option in Fedora's grub. This short article explains how to fix that. This article is now somewhat depreacated as both Fedora and Ubuntu now use grub2

Editing Fedora's grub
One of Fedora's many moronic defaults is to make grub have a default setting of 0 timeout. As Fedora is so often broken, it frequently becomes necessary to edit grub before booting. This covers methods to get to the grub menu, and a proactive method of keeping the problem from arising in the first place. This artice is also deprecated as grub2 now has a timeout.

Using the yum provides option.
Explains the useful "provides" option of yum, which enables the user to find what rpm package provides a command, shared object, or other needed file.

Using the kernel-devel package.
On Fedora Forums, one often sees the less experienced user having issues with understanding which kernel-devel package is necessary.

The "command not found" problem in Fedora
This question frquently arises on Fedora forums, so this is a quick explanation of the PATH variable. (For those not used to Fedora, normal users didn't have /sbin or /usr/sbin in their PATH until F10.)

Using sudo with Fedora
People coming from Ubuntu, or newcomers following tutorials that recommend sudo are often confused by the fact that unless they edit the /etc/sudoers file, sudo won't work. This short article explains the basics of using sudo with RH based distributions.

A brief comparison of VMware Server, VirtualBox and KVM
A casual comparison of three popular virtualization methods.

A quick guide to bridged networking on VirtualBox with a Linux host
VirtualBox's bridged networking (prior to version 2.1.0) confused some people--this is an effort to give a very quick introduction to it. This is in the Fedora section because their old manual's instructions on bridging in Fedora weren't always clear to the newcomer. Although this article is no longer necessary for VirtualBox it might still be useful for anyone who wants to set up bridged networking.

Installing VMWare-server-1.04 on Fedora 8

KVM Virtualization on CentOS-5.1.
Using KVM on CentOS.

Using Linux-VServer with CentOS
Linux-VServer is a method of chrooting guest operating systems. It is similar to a FreeBSD jail, and quite useful.

NX and FreeNX
I used to use FreeNX and NX for remote GUI connections. This page hasn't been updated since NX updated their client.

X2go and xpra
Some people, including myself, dislike the later NX client. This gives an overview of x2go and xpra, two possible replacements.

VNC server on Fedora 17
Using tigervnc-server in Fedora has drastically changed. This brief article explains how to use it in Fedora 17 and later.

Setting up Apache with Jailkit in CentOS
Using the jailkit program to chroot an Apache server.

Common samba problems and fixes
Quick fixes to some common samba problems.

Installing RT3 (Request Tracker) on CentOS
This is how I managed to install RT3 on CentOS. At time of writing, (August 2010), it's still non-trivial

Fix for VMware issue on Fedora
Fix for the Fedora issue of VMware being unable to find kernel-headers

A quick look at LVM
LVMs are useful but many people find them confusing.

The Acer Aspire 4720z
A brief page about what did and didn't work for me with the Acer Aspire 4720z. (With Fedora and Ubuntu.)

The Acer Aspire One (8 GB SSD Linux version)
My experiences with the popular Aspire One netbook.

The Acer Aspire One (160 GB HD version)
Although the 160 HD version comes with Windows XP, I removed XP and installed various Linux distributions on it. So far, all of them work quite well.

Flashing the Bios on the Aspire One
Many users have experienced the Aspire's "Black Screen of Death." This can often be fixed by flashing the BIOS. This is an elaboration of the excellent macles blogspot article about it, with a bit more detail for the newcomer.

The New Upstart Init System
Rather than using /etc/inittab, Fedora now uses Upstart. This very brief page explains how to change from the default runlevel 5 to runlevel 3 under the new system. However, it seems to have already been changed so that one can once again use /etc/inittab. (Actually systemd made this obsolete, for better or worse, but I'm lazy.)

FreeBSD for Fedora users
Many folks ask about FreeBSD on Fedora forums. This isn't an exhaustive treatment of FreeBSD, simply an overview of what Fedora users might expect if they try it.

Installing 64 bit Flash
At present, 64 bit Flash is still considered alpha by Adobe. However, it's working well and this simple article tells you how to use it.

BSD section

Updating FreeBSD
A now deprecated page, left in as placeholder. Replaced by the one below.

An attempt to update some of the information in the cvsup page, as well as cover some other things. It also has a small section on differences between FreeBSD and Linux commands.

A quick explanation of FreeBSD's naming system
This was actually written by Freddie Cash and used with his kind permission. It explains the difference between CURRENT, STABLE and RELEASE, a subject which seems to cause much confusion on mailing lists and forums.

Setting up a vacation response
Sometimes, the simple vacation program doesn't work. Also, one can do a few more things using maildrop to create various rules. This article covers setting up a vacation response with postfix, getmail and maildrop.

Using the pf packet filter
This is a real beginner's guide to using pf, which is becoming the most popular packet filtering software in the BSDs. It is only an introduction.

Copying audio CDs in FreeBSD
My lame script for making (legitimate backups of course) copies of audio CDs in FreeBSD, using the builtin dd and burncd commands

Stupid Korn Shell Tricks
Another fairly lame page, but it has a few basic things that might help the convert to ksh from bash get their ksh working the way they want it to work.

FreeBSD Jails
A guide to jails in FreeBSD, current as of 9.2-RELEASE.

Multiple FreeBSD Jails with nullfs
Using a nullfs mounted template to simplify multiple jail creation.

Zabbix on FreeBSD-9.2
This just covers basic Zabbix installation on FreeBSD with MySQL and Apache. It doesn't cover configuration of the server once installed.

A quick start to FreeBSD wireless
A quickstart to setting up wireless in FreeBSD

NetBSD for the FreeBSD User
A page covering a few differences between the two operating systems, put up in the hope that it makes it easier for the FreeBSD user to configure NetBSD

Postfix, procmail and spamassassin.
Most howtos that I see go for more complex setups, but this should help the newcomer configure postfix to use procmail to use spamassassin.

Replacing a FreeBSD Root ZFS mirrored drive
FreeBSD-10 allows one to easily install the entire system onto ZFS mirror. This is about replacing one of the drives.

Multibooting OpenBSD-5.6
Installing OpenBSD onto a disk that already has other operating systems

Copying a FreeBSD system to a USB stick
Copying a running FreeBSD system to a USB drive

Microsoft Topics

Unofficial MCSE mailing list FAQ
Back when we were all trying to get our NT4.0 MCSE's, this was a busy busy list. These days, it's fairly quiet, and more of a tech support list, though still valuable. This Faq was written when it was a busier list, in an effort to stop some complaints--it has no official recognition by any of the MCSE list administrators--I emphasize that because the list owner and I share the same first name.

Humor, et al
Written while in the midst of my studies, this was an attempt to lighten my own mood. Demian's drawing is pretty good, so take a second to look at it.

It really isn't that hard--this one has gotten me several emails, thanking me for its clarity, so I'm kind of proud of it.

Japanese on MS Operating Systems
This one is a bit dated, as 2K and XP do very well at handling Asian language, but it is still included in the welcome message to the Nihongo-computing mailing list

General Computer Silliness

This section has a few things that I found pretty funny. You may too.

Computer Haiku
If, rather than those rude and unhelpful error messages, MS put in haiku--such as
Yesterday it worked
Today it is not working
Windows is like that

For newbies to the Internet
To quote the first line, "Most of us who have dealt with computers and the internet for awhile have all had this experience--our friend calls, and says, 'Guess what? I'm finally hooked up to the internet and got 500 free hours with AOL. What's your email address?'" Send this one to your newbie friends before you give them your address

Some rules
For example, "When you don't know what to do, walk fast and looked worried." Hey, it works for me

In the Beginning
An unknown author's idea of what might have happened if God was using a computer during the Creation. If you're offended by religious humor, then just skip this--personally, I think God has a good sense of humor, so...

The Buffy The Vampire Slayer Quote Generator
Exactly what it says--yeah, I know, I need to get a life.

Martial Arts Related Japanese

Japanese 101
Written by Ben Cole, who used to write about his training in Japan and has translated a recent book for Hatsumi sensei. Used with permission

Japanese Phonetics
Originally made to go with an online dictionary (that was never made) I wrote this as an explanation of Japanese pronunciation, alphabetical order, etc.

Translating Bujinkan Writings.

I've forgotten if this was first put up as a web page and then Liz asked to use it in Ura and Omote or if it was written for Ura and Omote and then put up as a web page. Either way, several people have said nice things about it.

Martial Arts kanji

This is an older page--nowadays with the more advanced East Asian Language capabilities of many O/S's, most people can make their own kanji--a few years ago, however, I used to get many requests from people to make kanji for their web pages. The majority of these are Bujinkan specific, but there's a few others there.