Sunday, March 19, 2006

Linspire 5.0 Grub to LILO Conversion

Well, I was able to install Mandriva 2006 on my hda9 partition (10GB) and it installed LILO as it's boot loader. I'm pretty disappointed with Mandriva since it didn't auto-detect other Linux OS installed on my drive, which is Ubuntu 5.10 and Linspire 5.0. It was capable enough of detecting and auto-mounting my Windows partitions but the boot-loader presented them as "windows", "windows1", "windows2", etc. and I didn't have any idea what version of Windows that is. The fault might probably be with LILO or simply the design of Mandriva which prevented LILO from detecting and configuring my OS. Good thing that I was able to boot my Ubuntu but I had a hard time of booting my Linspire. Anyway here's my Ubuntu entry on LILO which took me around 30mins researching and testing it out:

append="nolapic resume=/dev/hda8 splash=verbose"

I'm pretty glad I was able to boot it up.

As of this writing, I've been researching, Googling out ways on how to boot my Linspire with LILO. So far, I've been through: and with no luck. I was expecting an answer from the developer's forums but went back to Google with tears.... manly tears. I've wasted 3 hours searching for a solution.

Good thing my patience didn't run out and I was able to find this article on the web.

Yes, it's PCLinuxOS.....

It basically deals with Grub to LILO conversions. Here's the entry for Grub:

title Linspire 5.0.59 on /dev/hda5
root (hd0,4)
kernel /boot/vmlinuz-2.6.10 root=/dev/hda5 rootdev=0x0305 ramdisk=32000 vga=0x311 splash=silent video=vesafb:nomtrr video=vesafb:nomtrr ro jiffymount=noatime rw mem=nopentium resume2=swap:/dev/hda5:0x8800@4096
initrd /boot/initrd-2.6.10.gz
# (Boot priority: 102, mounted at /)

Here's their LILO conversion:

append="ramdisk=32000 splash=silent video=vesafb:nomtrr video=vesafb:nomtrr ro jiffymount=noatime rw mem=nopentium resume2=swap:/dev/hda5:0x8800@4096"

Did it work??? According to the last entry, it did!

So here's my Grub entry:

title Linspire 5.0.59 on /dev/hda7 (on /dev/hda7)
root (hd0,6)
kernel /boot/vmlinuz-2.6.10 root=/dev/hda7 rootdev=0x0307 ramdisk=32000 vga=0x311 splash=silent video=vesafb:nomtrr video=vesafb:nomtrr jiffymount=noatime resume2=swap:/dev/hda7:0x8800@4096
initrd /boot/initrd-2.6.10.gz

Let's see if I can convert it, I'll just append the results here later.... Wish me luck!

***Edited 19 March 2006 6:32AM***

A-ha! Success! It took me around 45mins configuring /etc/lilo.conf and rebooting my PC to get Linspire 5.0 working, but I got it! It was a fulfilling experience to finally see the Linspire logo staring back at me. My wife asked me though, "Was worth it wasting 6 hours installing Mandriva and configuring your boot-loader?" My answer; " HELL, YEAH!!!!" I learned something new, and it didn't matter if took 3 or 10 hours of my time, as long as I learn something. Well, here's my Linspire entry in LILO:

image=/mnt/hda7/boot/vmlinuz-2.6.10 label="Linspire5.0" root=/dev/hda7 initrd=/mnt/hda7/boot/initrd-2.6.10.gz append="ramdisk=32000 splash=silent video=vesafb:nomtrr video=vesafb:nomtrr jiffymount=noatime resume2=swap:/dev/hda7:0x8800@4096" vga=0x311 read-only

And here's my full /etc/lilo.conf just in case you need it:

# File generated by DrakX/drakboot
# WARNING: do not forget to run lilo after modifying this file

append=" acpi=ht resume=/dev/hda6 splash=silent"
append="acpi=ht resume=/dev/hda6"
append=" failsafe acpi=ht resume=/dev/hda6"
append="nolapic resume=/dev/hda8 splash=verbose"
append="ramdisk=32000 splash=silent video=vesafb:nomtrr video=vesafb:nomtrr jiffymount=noatime resume2=swap:/dev/hda7:0x8800@4096"

Please remember that this is LILO from Mandriva 2006 Free Edition. I just modified it so it'll boot all OS installed on my PC. Currently, I have Mandriva 2006, Ubuntu 5.10, Linspire 5.0.59, Windows all booting and working fine.

And in case you needed to know, LILO is installed on my MBR. There's no sense installing it on your partition since both Grub and LILO are pretty much stable and usable.

One more thing, I edited this entry on Mandriva since, for some weird reason, Linspire just won't allow me to go on beyond the Blogger's Dashboard. Mozilla just hangs, probably because of scripts on this page.

A few comments about Linspire 5.0

For now, I have 6 things against Linspire.

(1) It's too hard to setup the boot-loader, doesn't matter if you're using Grub or LILO, there's just too many parameters to worry about. Although most distributions do, Linspire won't allow you move further unless you have every entry correct. This isn't good for people migrating to Linux, unless they decide to let Linspire take over the whole disk.

(2) Boot-up is waaaaay tooooo sloooow! Windows XP takes around 2mins to boot-up while Linspire takes 3mins 52secs. Oh sure, I have a slow computer (P3 733Mhz 384MB), I haven't optimized (recompiled kernel) Linspire yet, and it loads a lot of modules for it to be perfectly compatible with every hardware thrown it's way, but that's still no excuse!

(3) I have the Free Edition, so I expected a couple of advertisements, but this is ridiculous! Everytime I click on something, it brings me to Linspire homepage encouraging me to buy or upgrade the OS. I know! I know! This is a commercial software, but if it'll hinder me from doing some real work, then I guess this won't be an OS for me.

(4) Did I mention that I can't go beyond Blogger's Dashboard?

(5) Right after installation, KDE is positioned half-way to the right of the screen. I have to reboot twice to get it right.

(6) The forums is in anarchy. Although it's properly categorized, it's not really moderated. The thread's a mess!

But that's just some stuff I don't like. Here's the stuff I do like.

(1) The "Click N Run" idea is fantastic! Allows you to just click on the software you want and Linspire would automatically download and run it for you. Now that's Debian!

(2) They got Anti-Virus software (like I need one!) and Surf Safe, protecting you and your family from malicious websites!

(3) Well documented! It has a video where it can walk you through basic stuff and the support site is pretty much complete with tutorials, tips, and troubleshooting steps.

(4) Although I haven't really tried it, from what I've observed from Linspire members, Phone and Email Tech Support is great! Since I'm also in the line of business, it really intrigues me what their agents are capable of.

Well, that's just my observation. Please take note that I've only been using Linspire for about 4 days. I might find something much more interesting and fun to do with this OS. Give me a couple more days and I'll post the results here!

Saturday, March 18, 2006

Ubuntu's Grub

I tried installing Mandriva Linux 2006 Free Edition a couple of days ago. I installed it on another Harddisk so I could check it out before installing it on another partition for multi-booting purposes. Anyway, Mandriva uses LILO and that's a bootloader I've had problems in the past. So I decided to first post my Ubuntu's Grub before installing Mandriva for personal reference. Anyway, I have here Ubuntu 5.10, Linspire 5.0, and Windows. Don't get me wrong, as a tech support agent, I need all of these OS installed on my PC.

Here's Grub:

# menu.lst - See: grub(8), info grub, update-grub(8)
# grub-install(8), grub-floppy(8),
# grub-md5-crypt, /usr/share/doc/grub
# and /usr/share/doc/grub-doc/.

## default num
# Set the default entry to the entry number NUM. Numbering starts from 0, and
# the entry number 0 is the default if the command is not used.
# You can specify 'saved' instead of a number. In this case, the default entry
# is the entry saved with the command 'savedefault'.
default 0

## timeout sec
# Set a timeout, in SEC seconds, before automatically booting the default entry
# (normally the first entry defined).
timeout 10

## hiddenmenu
# Hides the menu by default (press ESC to see the menu)

# Pretty colours
#color cyan/blue white/blue

## password ['--md5'] passwd
# If used in the first section of a menu file, disable all interactive editing
# control (menu entry editor and command-line) and entries protected by the
# command 'lock'
# e.g. password topsecret
# password --md5 $1$gLhU0/$aW78kHK1QfV3P2b2znUoe/
# password topsecret

# examples
# title Windows 95/98/NT/2000
# root (hd0,0)
# makeactive
# chainloader +1
# title Linux
# root (hd0,1)
# kernel /vmlinuz root=/dev/hda2 ro

# Put static boot stanzas before and/or after AUTOMAGIC KERNEL LIST

## lines between the AUTOMAGIC KERNELS LIST markers will be modified
## by the debian update-grub script except for the default options below

## DO NOT UNCOMMENT THEM, Just edit them to your needs

## ## Start Default Options ##
## default kernel options
## default kernel options for automagic boot options
## If you want special options for specifiv kernels use kopt_x_y_z
## where x.y.z is kernel version. Minor versions can be omitted.
## e.g. kopt=root=/dev/hda1 ro
# kopt=root=/dev/hda8 ro

## default grub root device
## e.g. groot=(hd0,0)
# groot=(hd0,7)

## should update-grub create alternative automagic boot options
## e.g. alternative=true
## alternative=false
# alternative=true

## should update-grub lock alternative automagic boot options
## e.g. lockalternative=true
## lockalternative=false
# lockalternative=false

## altoption boot targets option
## multiple altoptions lines are allowed
## e.g. altoptions=(extra menu suffix) extra boot options
## altoptions=(recovery mode) single
# altoptions=(recovery mode) single

## nonaltoption boot targets option
## This option controls options to pass to only the
## primary kernel menu item.
## You can have ONLY one nonaltoptions line
# nonaltoptions=quiet splash

## controls how many kernels should be put into the menu.lst
## only counts the first occurence of a kernel, not the
## alternative kernel options
## e.g. howmany=all
## howmany=7
# howmany=all

## should update-grub create memtest86 boot option
## e.g. memtest86=true
## memtest86=false
# memtest86=true

## ## End Default Options ##

title Ubuntu, kernel 2.6.12-9-386
root (hd0,7)
kernel /boot/vmlinuz-2.6.12-9-386 root=/dev/hda8 ro quiet splash
initrd /boot/initrd.img-2.6.12-9-386

title Ubuntu, kernel 2.6.12-9-386 (recovery mode)
root (hd0,7)
kernel /boot/vmlinuz-2.6.12-9-386 root=/dev/hda8 ro single
initrd /boot/initrd.img-2.6.12-9-386

title Ubuntu, memtest86+
root (hd0,7)
kernel /boot/memtest86+.bin


# This is a divider, added to separate the menu items below from the Debian
# ones.
title Other operating systems:

# This entry automatically added by the Debian installer for an existing
# linux installation on /dev/hda7.
title Linspire 5.0.59 on /dev/hda7 (on /dev/hda7)
root (hd0,6)
kernel /boot/vmlinuz-2.6.10 root=/dev/hda7 rootdev=0x0307 ramdisk=32000 vga=0x311 splash=silent video=vesafb:nomtrr video=vesafb:nomtrr jiffymount=noatime resume2=swap:/dev/hda7:0x8800@4096
initrd /boot/initrd-2.6.10.gz

# This entry automatically added by the Debian installer for an existing
# linux installation on /dev/hda7.
title Redetect (on /dev/hda7)
root (hd0,6)
kernel /boot/vmlinuz-2.6.10 root=/dev/hda7 rootdev=0x0307 ramdisk=32000 noresume2 redetect video=vesafb:nomtrr video=vesafb:nomtrr jiffymount=noatime resume2=swap:/dev/hda7:0x8800@4096
initrd /boot/initrd-2.6.10.gz

# This entry automatically added by the Debian installer for an existing
# linux installation on /dev/hda7.
title Diagnostics (on /dev/hda7)
root (hd0,6)
kernel /boot/vmlinuz-2.6.10 root=/dev/hda7 rootdev=0x0307 ramdisk=32000 noresume2 single splash=0 Diagnostics video=vesafb:nomtrr video=vesafb:nomtrr jiffymount=noatime resume2=swap:/dev/hda7:0x8800@4096
initrd /boot/initrd-2.6.10.gz

# This entry automatically added by the Debian installer for a non-linux OS
# on /dev/hdb1
title Windows 98SE
root (hd1,0)
map (hd0) (hd1)
map (hd1) (hd0)
chainloader +1

# This entry automatically added by the Debian installer for a non-linux OS
# on /dev/hda3
title Windows ME
root (hd0,2)
chainloader +1

# This entry automatically added by the Debian installer for a non-linux OS
# on /dev/hda2
title Microsoft Windows 2000 Advanced Server
root (hd0,1)
chainloader +1

# This entry automatically added by the Debian installer for a non-linux OS
# on /dev/hda1
title Microsoft Windows XP Professional
root (hd0,0)
chainloader +1

Saturday, March 04, 2006

Xandros 3.0.2 Open Circulation Edition Quick Review

The first time I've heard of Xandros was when someone informed me about Linspire (Lindows at that time). He told me that Linspire and Xandros strives to be as compatible with Windows as possible, or at least, work on opening and saving file in close format.

After digging around Xandros website, I finally found the download link to the torrent file.

After downloading it, I burned the iso file to disc and prepared for installation. Anyway, I have a spare 3GB of partition and installed in on hda8.

Installation went smoothly and I was even surprised on how easy it is. From hardware detection, to installation of files, to setting up user accounts, everything is idiot-proof. My biggest concern is that it's a graphical installation and might not work on old PC's or on all video cards.

However, when it came for me to install a boot loader, I opted not to since I've already had Fedora Core 4's Grub and don't want to mess up my current setup. So all I have to do now is to edit menu.lst and I would then be able to boot my Xandros..... or so I thought.

My previous post regarding how scary this distro is explains why I had a hard time booting it up. Well, a simple Google search allowed me to figure out what I didn't do. Let me show you again what I added to my Grub.

Boot It Up!

After restarting my Fedora, I chose Xandros 3.1 Open Circulation Edition (well that should be 3.0.2 but I seem to have no time editing it).

"Please bear with the images I'll be posting, I only have a camera phone and you know how sucky images turn out to be."

Boot Loader with Xandros Selected

Xandros Boot Loader

Xandros Boot Process

Xandros Login Window

The Desktop

After logging in you'll be presented with the Desktop. I was surprised that Xandros only provided 2 Desktops since I'm used to getting 4 whenever I install Linux. Since this distribution is aimed for Windows-centric persons, I guess the developers figured that they don't need 4 Desktops.

As you can see, Desktop 1 is colored Blue while Desktop 2 is colored Green.

Anyway, If ever there's a need for additional Desktops, I could easily add it from the Control Center.

Switching Desktops is easily done from the Taskbar
As you can see, there's also buttons for Locking the Desktop, Logging Out, and Switching Users located just beside the time.

Desktop Environment

I would really like to personally thank the developers of Xandros for choosing KDE 3.3.0 as it's environment. I prefer KDE over Gnome for obvious reasons. Of course, KDE is much more customizeable than Gnome via the Control Center. I would like to try out KDE 3.5 and I believe it is already in the Debian repository. If you like to update the current environment, make sure you point your sources.list to both Stable and Unstable repositories of Debian. Google out Apt-Pinning so you'll understand what I mean.

Here's the Control Center

Preliminary Tests

Linux is designed to be networked. I have Smart Wi-Fi and NIC is already authenticated so the next thing I check is the ability of my new toy to surf the internet. I have a Sis 900 Fast Ethernet built-in my hardware. My ISP uses MAC Authentication and I'm already surfing from my other OS'es so I have to make sure that Xandros can right after installation. I ran Firefox 1.0.6 (just need to apt-get it for updates) and Konqueror.

I also have to make sure that I can receive emails from an email client as well as subscribe in newsgroups. In this case, Xandros has Thunderbird 1.0.6. I've been using Mozilla products for quite some time now so I'm happy that this distribution installed it by default.

I also have to make sure it has Open Office installed so I can open spreadsheet and word files from work. I have a habit of bringing home work-related files and finishing them at home so I can focus on what's important at work. Good thing that Xandros has OO installed. My complaints? It's v1.1 and it only has Impress, Calc, and Writer installed.

Next up would be a way for me to communicate with my friends and family. Xandros has Kompete and you can use them with your Yahoo! account, Google Talk via Jabber, MSN, AIM, Gadu-Gadu, ICQ, IRC, and possibly send messages via SMS.

As with all dual-boot systems, I have to make sure that I can mount a FAT-formatted shared drive. There's just no sense of saving important files on a partition or drive that you'll wipe out in the future. Imagine my surprise when I found out that Xandros auto-mounts every partition it can find... including NTFS partitions/drives. That's both a plus and a minus for me. Come to think of it, it'll be much more convenient for those that really wanted to migrate from Windows. Shown below is my C: drive where Windows XP SP2 is installed.


And of course, for entertainment purposes, I wanted to see if I can play WMV and MP3 files. I'm used to playing Mp3's using Amarok but XMMS would be fine. And since I've been using Xine for videos, I applaud the developers for including them here.

And of course, there should always be games to pass the time away.

Et Tu Brut!

So here's my conclusion regarding Xandros 3.0.2 Open Circulation Edition. I've used Xandros since the last week of November 2005. I really haven't used it extensively, but I did spent a fair amount of time with this superior distro. So here's my comments:

Xandros is targeted to Windows users who wanted to at least try a different Operating System. Xandros is designed for ease of use to prevent users from being discouraged from using or choosing a Linux distro. Overall, I find it a good first-distro for those who waste their time with Windows.

One thing that really disappointed me would be almost all applications are outdated. Well considering that this version is more than a year old, it should be expected. You can always update your applications using Apt.

Xandros repository doesn't have all the programs that I needed. Imagine, I have to modify my sources.list to point to an Ubuntu repository before I could download Gaim. If you just take a close look at Xandros Networks, you'll see that it doesn't have all the applications other distro has.

The CD Writing program installed by default won't burn CD's or DVD's at more than 2X. You'll have to upgrade to unlock this feature or download another CD Burning Software like K3B. But I advise against it, since it's much better to upgrade than to bypass protections like this.

Like I said, I didn't extensively use Xandros so these are just a few things that I noticed.

However, I also noticed another thing. Once you upgrade to Home or Business Editions, Xandros would direct it's sources.list to a much better repositories allowing you to download and install all the applications that you need.

After upgrading, Crossover Office would be available to you. Meaning you can install and run MS Office, Quicken, etc. This is really great for businessmen. If you're in a corporate environment, don't even hesitate in purchasing this excellent distro.

Let me again remind everyone that what I've installed is a preview software (Open Circulation, remember?) and it doesn't have everything deluxe editions has. Fixes, Patches, Updates, Additional Applications, and even Phone Tech Support is available.

I urge new users planning on switching from Windows to consider purchasing a copy of Xandros. It's a very powerful OS capable of everything you can do with your old crap they call Windows.

Last two words from yours truly: HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!

Contact them once you've made up your mind.

Xandros Applications

Someone asked me before if Linux is as good as Windows when it comes to applications. I just looked at him and my right eyebrow started to rise.... aka The Rock!

He asked if there's a Linux counterpart for every application that Windows installs by default. I never did answer him but my left eyebrow started going up. I'm sick and tired of answering those same questions every single day that I just turned my back and started walking away. I shook my head and mumbled a single word.... pathetic!

Right now, I'm at a point where I don't want to share my Linux experience to anyone but myself. I'm so tired of lame and clueless questions. If they're really tired of Windows, go to and search for a suitable distro. Coz right now, I wanted to keep the pleasure I've experienced with a fast and stable OS to myself. No more firewalls, anti-virus, and anti-spywares. No more scanning for malwares installed on my precious drive eating up resources. No more application crashes. No more Blue Screen of Death. And they say XP is stable, well, I did experience countless BSOD's, program crashing, and lost data. I've had my share of Gator, Cool Web Search, IST, 180's, etc. Not to mention those critters you call viruses. I'm sick of AVG and ZoneAlarm eating up my CPU Time and Memory. I'm sick of ActiveX, Lost & Corrupted Datas. I pity those people who say "I have no choice", "What's Linux? A new kind of Pepsi?", and "What d'ya mean Windows XP is unreliable?". For me, Windows is like a Linux distro released as Beta software.

Nasayang ang oras at pera ko!

Well, anyway, let me present you with applications that comes with Xandros and is installed by default so you can make a comparison with what Windows installs by default. Let me reiterate that this is just one distro. There are other full-blown distros available, like Fedora and SUSE, which installs more than 2 programs as counterpart for Windows programs.


DVI Viewer
Fax Viewer
Font Viewer
PostScript Viewer


Address Book
Character Selector
Personal Information Manager
Personal Time Tracker
Pop-up Notes
Print a Fax
Print Jobs
Text Editor


Miniature Golf
X Galaga
Video Poker


Digital Camera
Image Viewer
Screen Capture


Firefox Web Browser
Instant Messenging
KDE Mail
News Ticker
Skype Internet Calling
Thunderbird Mail


Audio Builder
CD Player
CD Writer
Media Player
MIDI Player
MP3 Player
Real Player 10
Sound Mixer
Sound Recorder
Sound Server Control
Video Player


Word Processor


Event Viewer
First Run Wizard
Menu Editor
Performance Monitor
Process Manager
Remote Desktop Sharing


Cut & Paste Utility
Desktop Pager
Floppy Disk Formatter
Online Dictionary
Palm Document Converter
Palm Pilot Tool
Reminder Message Scheduler
Task Scheduler

The applications listed here are superficial, meaning that they are found under the Launch button (equivalent to Start button on Windows). Hidden programs like Apt aren't listed here since they're pretty much used by someone who wants to intensively explore Linux.

"Oh yeah, this is the Launch button...!"

Next time someone asks what are the counterparts of "this" and "this".... then I'll just direct them to this page.

This might be my last post regarding Xandros.

I've worked with you for months, but you just don't suit my needs!
This is my goodbye to Xandros 3.0.2 Open Circulation Edition

Hmmm... I guess I can call it My Xandros Affair. He! He! He! He!