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  • hardikmehta 4:02 pm on May 13, 2009 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , chroot, , pacman, ramfs, recovery, system recovery, upgrade, virtual machine, virtualbox   

    Arch Linux recovery 

    Since some time, I have been experimenting with archlinux[1] as guest in VirtualBox.  Due to some unknown reasons the VirtualBox[2] hanged during package upgrade on the arch setup (pacman -Syyu). I had no other choice than to kill the VirutulBox process in the middle. I think it happened when the packages were being configured. After that when I rebooted the guest OS, it gave me the “ramfs$” prompt and refused to mount any disks. There were some errors stating the uuids of the disks, but for me the errors were beyond comprehension. Being a beginner in archlinux usage, I didn’t know how to recover from this situation.

    Purely instinctively, I downloaded the latest iso of archlinux and mounted it as cd drive on the virtual machine and booted the virtual machine from that iso. I logged in as root and mounted the corrupted archlinux drives / and /home and chrooted to my installation root. After chrooting, I started upgrading the system with pacman as usual. Here the summary of the commands I used almost in the same order.

    # mount /dev/sda1 /media/oldroot (of course I had to create the directory under /media)
    # mount /dev/sda2 /media/oldhome
    # chroot /media/oldroot
    # pacman -Syyu

    The upgrade went fine and after rebooting I got the arch setup exactly how I left it. I don’t know if this recovery was method was a fluke or recommended way to recover arch, but it worked for me. I would definitely like to know what could have happened and the correct procedure to recover from such cases. Although, it was a virual machine and there was no data at risk, It would have taken a lot of time and effort to get the same archlinux setup which I had. I must say chroot is an amazing tool.


    1. Arch Linux
    2. VirtualBox
    • Gaute 1:06 am on June 4, 2011 Permalink | Reply

      Thank you, this was useful. I always re-install Arch from scratch when something get messed up. Next time I will chroot 😀

  • hardikmehta 6:25 pm on April 19, 2009 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , sid, , x11, xserver-xorg   

    Successfully upgraded sidux with KDE4 and Xserver-Xorg 

    Last week, I could successfully upgrade(dist-upgrade in debian terms) sidux.

    This is very significant,  because I have been using sidux since its 2007-01 version and I have never reinstalled the system. The last week’s upgrade brought in new KDE 4 and also Xserver-Xorg.

    The upgrade  went smooth with the help of the how-to   posted by the sidux team. Kudos to them.

    Because of the new X-server upgrade, I had problems with tapping of my synaptics touchpad on my dell inspiron. Here is a general how-to posted on sidux site, which may apply to other systems with some changes.

    There was only a small issue with kmix which showed the wrong channel as default one, this is not at all a big deal considering the critical nature  of the upgrade. I may discover some other minor issues in the course of time, but they will surely be fixed.

    I use openbox as my main WM (Window Manager), but I also keep Kde installed as fallback DE (Desktop Environment) and to be honest, I was also curious about how the new Kde will be. As an eternal WM hopper I am constantly looking for something new :).

    Such upgrades are only possible with rolling distributions like debian and  hard work by the sidux team to integrate the changes as smoothly as possible. This cannot even be imagined with release based operating systems or linux distributions.

  • hardikmehta 9:04 pm on April 14, 2009 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , lxde, mc, midnightcommander, , , tint2, trayer, urxvt, visibility   

    Quest for Window Manager: Openbox 

    Although, I loved using Fluxbox, I started feeling it a bit monotonous and limiting in configuration options. Then I came to know about Openbox. Openbox is also a *box style window manager which is very lightweight and highly configurable. The website also claims it to be more compliant with the standards. LXDE is actually openbox as window manager with a fixed set of accompanying programs. Openbox can integrate very well with KDE or GNOME, actually in Debian if you install openbox, you will automatically have a choice of booting into “openbox-kde” , “openbox-gnome” or openbox session. I generally prefer the pure openbox.

    The most apparent  difference a fluxbox user will notice while starting  the default configuration of Openbox will be that the good old taskbar generally also containing  a clock and a systemtray is gone. This doesn’t mean that you cannot use any taskbar with openbox, but by default there is none. This gives the user freedom of using any separate taskbar program ( e.g. fbpanel, pypanel, tint2 just to name a few) that suits her.  And in case you are happy with the ALT+TAB menu, you don’t have to use any taskbar or panel. As can be seen in the screenshot, I use tint2 as taskbar. Since we don’t have any systemtray by default, there are some programs like stalonetray, trayer etc which can be used. That of  course if you want to use any.

    Instead of being able to do everything under the sun, openbox does the only one  task i.e. managing the windows and It does it well. In my opinion this is consistent  with the philosophy of Unix commands which perform a very small task and they do it well. Another thing which I like  as a programmer is that the configuration file is xml based. This is of course a negative point for others who don’t find xml “human readable”. In fact I have seen many excellent looking and extremely geeky desktops which are configured by people having very little or no programming experience. So I think it is not at all required to be a programmer  to be able to tailor your desktop to your needs. It is enough just to have basic command-line skills, patience to read the documentation and spare hours in the night for tinkering.

    As a drawback the first thing comes into my mind is that unlike fluxbox, the themes don’t include the panel or the taskbar. In fluxbox if you decide to change the theme the fbpanel is included in the theme configuration and automatically adapts to the new colors and fonts. As the panel is not part of openbox, the theme configuration obviously doesn’t include it so in case you are using a standalone panel, you may have to change its configuration to match the openbox theme.  This I think is not a problem for people who don’t use any panel or intentionally want the granularity of configuration.

    I would not discuss the details of installation, configuration and customization here because  I don’t want to document again what is already well documented.  Openbox wiki on its home page has a very nice documentation.  On ubuntu forums, I found an extensive installation and configuration guide for openbox here, which is more or less the second official guide.

    Here are my two sidux desktops running openbox with conky, adesklets, tint2, visibility, trayer, urxvt etc..


    Click image to view fullsize


    Click image to view fullsize

    Here are the links to my openbox, tint2 and visibility configuration files.

    Main config file: ~/.config/openbox/rc.xml
    Startup file: ~/.config/openbox/
    Menu file: ~/.config/openbox/menu.xml
    Tint2 config: ~/.config/tint2/tint2rc
    visibility config: ~/.config/visibility/config

  • hardikmehta 2:50 pm on April 4, 2009 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , Programming   

    Eclipse: Timeout configuration of server (jboss) 

    I configured JBOSS 5 Application Server with  Eclipse 3.4. The configuration was successful. When I tried to start it though, the start up failed with the error  message that it had timed out, the timeout was set to 50 seconds. It is amazing that JBOSS takes more than a minute to start up.

    After some searching, I came to know that in Eclipse 3.4 the server timeouts can be configured per individual servers. Opening the server with double clicking in the server view, will list the timeout option and can be set in seconds. Here the screen-shot.


    • Farkas Gabor 11:21 am on July 15, 2009 Permalink | Reply

      omg, thanx a lot for the screenshot, i spent months searching for this setting. The thing I never thought of was that I have to *doubleclick* the server in the servers view. I was searching for this window everywhere else …
      btw, jboss starting up for more than a minute is not that odd, as compared to WAS or Weblogic. Many times hibernate schema creation or update also adds up to this time.
      In some weird cases I even needed to debug my application startup, which I could not do during jboss startup due to this timeout …

      • hardikmehta 12:28 pm on July 15, 2009 Permalink | Reply

        Yes, the page is so obscure, it is hard to think about double click. I wrote this post for future reference. Corrected the post with the double click info.

        Thanks for the explanation about jboss startup.

    • Dragon 12:56 pm on September 3, 2009 Permalink | Reply

      That is increadible !!! Double Click !!! I spent 4 hours only to find this…

      • Arif 1:08 pm on March 4, 2010 Permalink | Reply

        I had to spend a day to find out that u just have to double click the server. This is actually very unintuitive cause these kind of property settings should be available via popup when u right click the server.

        I must say that I have found Netbeans much user friendly and intuitive as compared to Eclipse. Every other organization (like Redhat, IBM etc) are trying to change Eclipse in its own way RedHat has its own version of eclipse called “Jboss Developer Studio” and obviously RedHat wants to sell it (for 99$) thats why Jboss Tools dont work properly in eclipse.

        Eclipse sucks!!! Netbeans Rules!!!

    • Zohaib 11:27 am on November 23, 2012 Permalink | Reply

      Thanx ……..

  • hardikmehta 6:04 pm on February 15, 2009 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , ,   

    Quest for Window Manager: Fluxbox 

    I am sure much has been written  about different window managers under GNU/Linux operating system. Here I present my journey and experience with them. This is how it started.

    I was a Windows user. I started to hear about Linux and got inspired to try knoppix live cd. It was really a nice experience and I started admiring how Linux stays out of your way when you want to work with your system. Then I decided  to install a suitable distribution on my hard disk, but the problem was that I had only 4.5 GB hard disk at that time, so I started searching for  a light distribution which could fit. The choice then fell on feather linux. It is really a very  light (under 128mb) but nice knoppix based distribution, so after installation it is essentially debian with some knoppix quirks. The only problem I faced with feather linux at that time was that it came with  fluxbox as the default window manager.

    To be honest, at first, fluxbox looked  frightening due to my  KDE background, no launch button, only right-click menu and even for a simple task like getting the same wallpaper every time you boot, you have to edit a configuration file. But after leaning to work with it, I started admiring fluxbox. I also found it easy to configure by editing simple text based config files. With time, I got so fond of fluxbox that even when I had ample disk space to install KDE, I opted for fluxbox when I installed my first real debian based (as feather linux was based on knoppix) distribution, sidux. As the name suggests sidux is based on debian sid and one of the most cutting edge and fastest distros, more on sidux some other time. Here is how my desktop looks running sidux and fluxbox tweaked to my taste and with some other gadgets I like.


    Fluxbox is highly configurable and very well documented. The wiki here a good place to start to learn how to configure fluxbox.

    My fluxbox configuration files can be found here:

    I can also provide the supporting scripts which I have written and may be referenced by the above files.

    Now, the only short coming of fluxbox in my opinion is that there is a limit how much you can configure it. After some time I had a feeling that my desktop was becoming monotonous. Also considering the resource consumption, fluxbox is not the slimmest among the  light window managers.

    Moreover, I had started following the monthly screenshot threads on the highly geeky  archlinux and ubuntu forums. There the posts are like “pimp my desktop” shows, the screenshots are so tempting that you are compelled to ask them how they achieved that look or what program was that little clock in the corner. So, I also had a wish to “pimp my desktop” and try something new.

    • ruchir 4:53 am on March 30, 2009 Permalink | Reply

      Good information about linux operating system and various options.

  • hardikmehta 6:15 pm on June 11, 2008 Permalink | Reply  

    Hello world! 

    This is my first post.

    As you might have guessed, here  I will be talking mainly about programming,  C++, Java, Python, Ruby, Agile development, TDD, Software Engineering in general, algorithms.

    I use GNU/Linux as my main operating system, so there will be some posts related to Linux, bash, desktop environments, editors, open source, etc.

    Along with that there will be some posts about astronomy, music (mainly Indian and Indian classical music), literature (mostly Gujarati literature) , technology in general and any such thing that will keep me thinking about it.

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