(This page is getting bulky enough that perhaps we should spin off a new set of pages, one per q and a? -- MikePatterson)
or maybe by category (Updates, Display, Printing, etc.) -- LawrenceFolland
There is also the option of using the %TWISTY% variable which hides content until the user clicks a 'show more' link -- DrewPilcher

CSCF Debian Image How To page

Find the CSCF Image version:

  1. cat /etc/cscf_deb_version

Get latest Debian updates

  1. open a root shell
  2. optional: check /etc/apt/sources.list. For the CSCF GradPC, it should appear as the following:
     deb ftp://mirror.cscf.uwaterloo.ca/debian sarge main non-free deb-src ftp://mirror.cscf.uwaterloo.ca/debian sarge main non-free 
  3. enter: apt-get update
  4. enter: apt-get dist-upgrade
  5. when prompted for configuration options, pressing for the default is usually a reasonable choice

Desktop Display settings

Adjust my X configuration:

  • Using the config utility
    1. dpkg-reconfigure xserver-xfree86
    • video card driver: i810 ("Generic video driver"), no bus identifier, 8192kb memory - but you can set this in the BIOS)
    • Keyboard definition: xkb ruleset: xfree86, model: pc104, layout: us, variant: , options:
    • Mouse: device: /dev/gpmdata, emulate 3-button: yes, scroll events from wheel: yes,
    • Monitor: Identifier: Sync Master 191T, LCD: Yes,

  • Manually (not recommended)
    1. vi /etc/X11/XF86Config-4

Change Themes

  1. Applications -> Desktop -> Theme

Other GNOME questions

Ironically enough, the FreeBSD GNOME2 FAQ http://www.freebsd.org/gnome/docs/faq2.html is an excellent resource.

Use extra (user-defined) fonts

This may only apply to truetype fonts. Place the .ttf files in ~userid/.fonts. You may have to run "dpkg-reconfigure fontconfig" as root and/or log out and back in again, although GNOME may pick up on the new fonts immediately. (Thanks to BenKorvemaker)

Thunderbird Configuration

Assign a Signature

  1. create a text file with your signature text
  2. Tools -> Account Settings... -> (on main Account Settings tab) "[x] Attach this signature" -> browse to signature text file

Put a timestamp in your message replies:

  1. http://www.mozilla.org/support/thunderbird/tips#beh_replyheader
    • Note that it mentions putting the indicated code in your user.js file. By default, this doesn't exist. Create it in the same directory as prefs.js then add the code. You should be able to find your prefs.js file in ~/.mozilla-thunderbird/default/???.slt

Use "roaming"

  1. http://www.livejournal.com/users/debaday/23386.html may be useful for network configuration.

Use the Oracle Calendar client

  1. This is documented in OracleCalendar.

Use the USB card reader (or some other external USB disk)

  1. See http://www.cs.sfu.ca/~ggbaker/personal/cf-linux
  2. Short instructions are to plug in the device, and use "sg_map -sd" (part of the sd3 utils package, already present in dist version > 0.7) to see how to address the device.

Use a USB card reader for Package updating and booting

  1. See http://d-i.pascal.at/ for installing Debian off of a USB Memory Stick
  2. For package updating:
    1. Find out what .deb file(s) you need. Browse packages.debian.org, following dependencies for the package you are interested in
    2. copy the package(s) to the memory stick
    3. on your destination system, run:
            cd <location of files on USB device>
            dpkg -i <debfile1> <debfile2> ...

Use a CD for Package updating

  • you need a debian packages CD
  • as root:
    apt-cdrom add
    apt-get update
    apt-get [upgrade|install|dist-upgrade]

Do Printer Things

  1. CUPS is usually the answer. Sometimes a fuller answer includes samba.
  2. "cupsenable" can be your friend.
  3. So can "lpc".

Create an SSH key to save having to enter passwords to connect to other machines

Create a key:

  • On local machine:
    ssh-keygen -t dsa
    Enter file: id_dsa (default)
    No passphrase <enter>
    the files:   id_dsa  and id_dsa.pub are created in  .ssh directory

Copy key to desired server:

If you don't already have any keys on the remote server

    cd ~/.ssh
    scp id_dsa.pub  <servername>:.ssh/authorized_keys

If you do already have keys on the remote server

    cd ~/.ssh
    scp id_dsa.pub  <servername>:.ssh/authorized_keys.$HOSTNAME
    ssh <servername>  (enter password)
    cd .ssh
    cat authorized_keys.<clienthost> >> authorized_keys

Change permissions on the desired server

  1. Log on to the remote server and the execute these commands:
    chmod 700 .ssh
    chmod 644 .ssh/authorized_keys
  1. Log out
  2. Log back in with ssh userid@server -X. It should not ask for the password anymore!

To assign a new passphrase:

    cd .ssh
    ssh-keygen -p -f id_dsa
    -> enter new passphrase

Use ssh host-based authentication

This can be used to allow ssh to not require a password, similarly to rsh, with authentication of the hostname. I put this on a page of its own: SSHHostBasedAuthentication

Add a splash image to your boot loader

Downloading a splash image

GRUB (the default and recommended boot loader) uses the .xpm.gz image format. To download a splash image, try http://ruslug.rutgers.edu/~mcgrof/grub-images/images/?page=1 (there are a couple of Debian linux splash images you might want to try) Save the image to /boot/grub/ (you must be root to do this!).

Editing the configuration files

Open up in a text editor (as root) the file /boot/grub/menu.lst. Comment out the "Pretty Colours" part (which isn't that pretty :P). Now it becomes:

    # Pretty colours
    #color cyan/blue white/blue
    #color black/light-gray red/light-gray

Now add this line after the commented lines:

    splashimage=/boot/grub/file.xpm.gz    # file.xpm.gz is the file you saved previously


If you don't know which splash image you like best, copy a few over to /boot/grub then add the following lines for each splash image, replacing file.xpm.gz with each of the files you downloaded.

    title = Change splash image to file.xpm.gz   # Adds a new entry to the menu
    splashimage = /boot/grub/file.xpm.gz         # Changes the splash image

Save, exit and re-boot. You should get a splash image at boot-up which looks really nice indeed smile Enjoy! wink

Change the default Desktop Environment to GNOME

  1. Log out
  2. In the GDM log in manager select the Sessions menu
  3. Select the GNOME Session
  4. Log in as normal
  5. When asked if you wanted the GNOME session to be the default, select Make Default

Change the default GTK theme in GDM

  1. Open a root terminal
  2. Open the /etc/gdm/gdm.conf file for editing
  3. Around line 238, there should be this entry:
  4. Change the Default entry to something you like (I personally like the Industrial theme) and also uncomment it. The line becomes
  5. Log out and enjoy wink

Install the Apache2 web server, PHP4 scripting language and MySQL database

  1. Open a root terminal
  2. Enter apt-get install apache2
  3. Enter apt-get install php4
  4. Enter apt-get install mysql-client mysql-server Select the default values during the MySQL configuration
  5. Enter apt-get install php4-mysql
  6. Enter apt-get install libapache2-mod-php4
  7. Test the installation...
    • Create a ~/public_html directory
    • Edit ~/public_html/index.php
    • Add the following to it:
             <?php phpinfo(); ?>
    • Save the file, exit the editor, then open a web browser and go to http://localhost/~yourusername/index.php where yourusername is smile your user name
  8. Secure MySQL - we need to create a MySQL password for the root user (it's blank by default!)
    • In the root terminal, enter
             mysqladmin -u root password YoUrPaSsWoRd
      where YoUrPaSsWoRd is the password you want to set.
  9. That should have done it! Contact me if anything goes wrong and I will try to do my best to help you out!

Install the Nvidia drivers for your video card

  1. Follow the guide at http://home.comcast.net/~andrex/Debian-nVidia/installation.html It's a really good guide! NOTE I used NVDIST=testing!

Check your network speed and duplex and make them match the switch settings

Some hints here are ethtool. Generally speaking network connections are 100/FDX. Ideally the switch port has been forced to that speed.

Check current settings

ethtool eth0 will always tell you the current network settings of your ethernet card

Configure your card to 100/FDX

You then disable autonegotiation and tell Debian to force the NIC to match: (as root)

ethtool -s eth0 autoneg off speed 100 duplex full

But this will fail badly if the switch port is not at those settings. It depends on the switch and it depends on the network interface manufacturer.

  • Note that this is a one-time configuration change - it will need to be re-done after a reboot.

Note about Netgear hubs

Some experience has shown that if you are going through a Netgear hub, it will prefer that your PC configuration is set to Autonegotiate and that the port settings on the switch are also set to Auto

Use an APC UPS in Debian Linux with automated shut-down

Ever wanted to get your UPS working with Debian? Now's your chance smile

Plug in your UPS, connect the computer power cables to it, then power on the computer. Don't connect the USB cable just yet...

Making sure Debian detects the UPS

  1. Open a root terminal and enter:
  2. tail -F /var/log/kern.log and then plug in the USB Cable from the UPS
  3. You should see something like:
Oct 12 07:35:52 heinlein kernel: usb 3-2: new low speed USB device using address 2
Oct 12 07:35:52 heinlein kernel: usbcore: registered new driver hiddev
Oct 12 07:35:54 heinlein kernel: hiddev96: USB HID v1.10 Device [American Power Conversion Back-UPS LS 500 FW:16.b3 .D USB FW:b3] on usb-0000:00:1d.2-2
Oct 12 07:35:54 heinlein kernel: usbcore: registered new driver usbhid
Oct 12 07:35:54 heinlein kernel: drivers/usb/input/hid-core.c: v2.0:USB HID core driver

If not, then you may have a problem with USB on your computer, a cable problem, or an UPS problem...

  • try updating the BIOS (that worked for us!!)
If you do see messages similar to that, you can proceed to the next step.

Creating the /dev/usb/hid/hiddev devices

For some reason, Debian doesn't do that as default, which is weird...

  1. Copy/Paste the following lines and save them as make-hiddev.sh

mkdir -p /dev/usb/hid
mknod /dev/usb/hid/hiddev0 c 180 96
mknod /dev/usb/hid/hiddev1 c 180 97
mknod /dev/usb/hid/hiddev2 c 180 98
mknod /dev/usb/hid/hiddev3 c 180 99
mknod /dev/usb/hid/hiddev4 c 180 100
mknod /dev/usb/hid/hiddev5 c 180 101
mknod /dev/usb/hid/hiddev6 c 180 102
mknod /dev/usb/hid/hiddev7 c 180 103
mknod /dev/usb/hid/hiddev8 c 180 104
mknod /dev/usb/hid/hiddev9 c 180 105
mknod /dev/usb/hid/hiddev10 c 180 106
mknod /dev/usb/hid/hiddev11 c 180 107
mknod /dev/usb/hid/hiddev12 c 180 108
mknod /dev/usb/hid/hiddev13 c 180 109
mknod /dev/usb/hid/hiddev14 c 180 110
mknod /dev/usb/hid/hiddev15 c 180 111

  1. Open a root terminal, change to the directory where you saved the make-hiddev.sh file and: chmod +x make-hiddev.sh
  2. ./make-hiddev.sh
That should have created the devices for you. You can check with ls /dev/usb/hid/ .

Installing the APCUPS Daemon

Note: This is specific to the APC UPS-es and will not work on other configurations.

  1. Open a root terminal
  2. apt-get install apcupsd apcupsd-doc
    • if this fails, try apt-get update

Configuring the APCUPS Daemon

  1. Open root terminal
  2. vi /etc/apcupsd/apcupsd.conf and edit the settings according to the comments and http://www.apcupsd.com/manual/config-examples.html I used the Simple USB Example.
    • Note: the DEVICE line should read: DEVICE /dev/usb/hid/hiddev[0-15]
    • the default settings configure the UPS to run until it is at 5% power or 3 minutes remaining (whichever is greater). You may wish to choose different parameters. Read the notes in the configuration file for further details.
  3. vi /etc/default/apcupsd

Starting the APCUPS Daemon

  1. Open a root terminal
  2. /etc/init.d/apcupsd start

Checking UPS logs

  1. UPS events are recorded in:
    • /var/log/apcupsd.events
    • /var/log/daemon.log
    • /var/log/syslog

Done smile

Well, that should have done it... Your cool APC UPS should be running properly under Linux. Whenever there's a power failure your computer should automatically shut off.

Add a printer

williams:~# lpadmin -p ljp-cs-1 -v smb://smb-unix.cs/ljp-cs-1
williams:~# enable ljp-cs-1
williams:~# accept ljp-cs-1
williams:~# lpadmin -d ljp-cs-1

and then I used a web browser to connect to http://localhost:631 and set up the PPD to use. (You can do that in the first command line with -P, but in Debian all the PPDs appear to be gzipped and I didn't know how to make it point at those instead.) This is an imperfect solution however; it doesn't appear to allow for username/password authentication. That can probably go into the device URI, but may result in plaintext passwords being stored?

Following is a list of CUPS packages installed (csc-debversions > 0.7 have these already installed):

[mpatters@williams] ~> dpkg -l | grep cups
ii  cupsomatic-ppd 20040506-1     linuxprinting.org printer support - transiti
ii  cupsys         1.1.20final+rc Common UNIX Printing System(tm) - server
ii  cupsys-bsd     1.1.20final+rc Common UNIX Printing System(tm) - BSD comman
ii  cupsys-client  1.1.20final+rc Common UNIX Printing System(tm) - client pro
ii  cupsys-driver- 4.2.6-7        Gimp-Print printer drivers for CUPS
ii  cupsys-driver- 4.2.6-7        Gimp-Print printer drivers for CUPS
ii  cupsys-pt      1.2.4-2.1      Tool for viewing/managing print jobs under C
ii  libcupsimage2  1.1.20final+rc Common UNIX Printing System(tm) - image libs
rc  libcupsys2     1.1.20final+cv Common UNIX Printing System(tm) - libs
ii  libcupsys2-gnu 1.1.20final+rc Common UNIX Printing System(tm) - libs
[mpatters@williams] ~> dpkg -l | grep foo
ii  foo2zjs        20040210-2     Support for printing to ZjStream-based print
ii  foomatic-bin   3.0.1-20040506 linuxprinting.org printer support - transiti
ii  foomatic-db    20040705-1     linuxprinting.org printer support - database
ii  foomatic-db-en 3.0.1-20040506 linuxprinting.org printer support - programs
ii  foomatic-db-gi 4.2.6-7        linuxprinting.org printer support - database
ii  foomatic-db-hp 1.5-20040621-1 linuxprinting.org printer support - database
ii  foomatic-filte 3.0.1-20040621 linuxprinting.org printer support - filters
ii  foomatic-filte 20040506-1     linuxprinting.org printer support - prebuilt
ii  foomatic-gui   0.6.7          GNOME interface for configuring the Foomatic
[mpatters@williams] ~> 

One should also make sure one is in the lpadmin group. Again, in CSCF Debian versions > 0.7 this will already be done.

Make a serial port Palm Pilot work

  • pilot-link is the package. And set up /dev/pilot to point to something like /dev/ttyS0. jpilot is useful too, though there's also gnome and kde ones. Giving people access to /dev/pilot would also be good. Setting the environment variable PILOTRATE to 115200 might be nice.(BenKorvemaker)

How do I burn a CD, including an ISO image?

Installing XCDRoast

The 8.1 Debian installation that came with my machine did not have xcdroast installed. No biggie, we'll install it. Open a root terminal and enter:

apt-get install xcdroast sux

Confirm, if asked, with Yes(Y). This will install xcdroast on your machine. Note: I also installed sux, you'll see why in a moment.

Setting up XCDRoast

Open a non-root terminal and enter the following:

$ sudo tcsh # or sudo bash or su -
Enter Password:
# xcdroast

Now XCDRoast will start scanning for devices... This takes a while, unfortunately. Just let it do its job... Then click OK. After that, click on Launch X-CD-Roast. Next, click OK again. Click on Setup. Now, go in the HD Settings tab and add the folder where you will keep of your CD Images (ISOs) - Browse, then Add. Save Configuration, then OK, OK and another OK.

Now exit that and do the same thing for your userid.

Burning an ISO Image with XCDRoast

  1. Start XCDRoast
  2. Click on Create CD
  3. Click on Write Tracks and in the right pane it should show all the ISOs in the image folder you set during the Setup section
  4. Click on an ISO and then select Add, then Accept Track Layout. It will take you to the write tracks tab
  5. Change any of the other settings, or just leave the defaults and select Write Tracks.
  6. Your CD Image will be burned smile

Tips for improving KDE Performance

See this page: KdePerformance

Customizing KDE for Many Users

Such as for student Front-End Servers. See this page: KdeMultiUser

reinstall vendor configuration for a package

  1. Try dpkg-reconfigure packagename
  2. That won't be set up for some packages. Next, try dpkg install --reinstall packagename
  3. Finally, if that doesn't work, download the package from mirror, and dpkg -i packagefile.deb

'Pin' a package to a particular version despite other upgrades

See PinningDebianAndUbuntuPackages

Make ethernet work again after Ubuntu image restores

See UbuntuUdevHacks

Topic revision: r44 - 2016-05-26 - AdrianPepper
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