Tuesday, November 28, 2006

PCLinux V0.93a and XSANE

It looks like I may have spoke too soon about XSANE. I did a reboot of the system and when I launched XSANE it wanted to run in root mode. I remember that in V0.92 that when I had the same problem I deleted all of the sane modules and re-installed and it worked so I figured I would try the same for V0.93a.

I launched the PCLINUXOS Control Center and clicked on the System Icon. I then picked the add/update/delete packages option (Synaptic). I then did a search on SANE in 'Names and descriptions'. When it came back I deleted the following packages:
  • libsane1
  • sane-backends
  • sane-frontends
  • saned
  • xsane
After that was finished I then re-installed all of the packages. When I ran XSANE it then did not bring up the warning about running in root.

Upgrade to PCLinux V0.93a

After the 'fun' I had on the V0.93 upgrade I was a lot more cautious on this upgrade. I let a bit of time pass for the V0.93a pass before trying to install. The first thing I did was boot the CD and log in as guest and work through the XSANE and K3B before installing on my box. The distro worked without a problem so I figured it is now safe to upgrade my main box. The boot from the CD is almost as fast as from the hard drive. All of the screens here are 320x256 and was captured on my digital camera to give you an idea of a few screens during the installation and upgrading. The quality is low and you can see the horizontal refresh lines.

Once the system was up I was presented with the logon screen. This time around I selected root as I was going to do the installation. I also remembered to set one of my partitions to '/mnt/pclinuxos' and let the installation start. The partition option is almost idiot proof. I selected custom as I wanted to see if I can install and keep my old 'home' directory intact so I don't have to do a restore from backup. The installation went very smooth and within 30 minutes I had a working installation.

When the installation was done I rebooted the machine and logged in. The nice part is that all of my settings and files are still there. I didn't have to do a restore which is nice.

I then verified that XSANE and K3B worked I started to do the patching. So far the system seems to be stable and it has a good number of games that my wife is interested in playing. I will let her look and play and she likes this I will then migrate her from Mandriva to PCLINUX. The only one I won't probably upgrade is my daughter as the default distro does not have all of the games, I have to download them and her machine is not linked to the internet.

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Another Kernel panic problem.

Today my daughter was using my machine for her online games when she came down to me in a panic. She kept saying that she didn't do anything, but, the screen turned black. I came and saw some messages about the kernel. Not a problem, just reboot and let the system fix any file errors. When I did that the system would start fixing the error and then lock up or randomly reboot. I remember that this happened earlier this summer so I figured bad memory or a hard drive problem.

My next task was to pull out my bootable CDs and work with them. Each one would give either a kernel panic or VFS error and lock up. I tried again with the SLAX USB key that is bootable and I got the same problem. I then downloaded a current copy of PCLINUX OS V0.93A and fired that up. Again it locked so I tried the 'MEMTEST' option. When that started it generated hundreds of errors when it was checking the RAM. I shut down the system and opened it up. There was a bit of dust so I cleaned out the system and tried again. The next run of MEMTEST still picked up memory errors. It looks like the 512M memory stick is fried. I will be going out on Sunday to pick up a new 512M and try that. The first thing I will be doing when the system is back up is to do a full backup as it has been a month since my last backup.

If you don't have a copy of PCLINUX OS I highly recommend that you do. The MEMTEST option by itself is worth the time to download and burn a CD. INSERT also has MEMTEST if you want to use that distro.

Update 2006/11/21:
I installed a new 512M memory module in the system. When I booted up I let the system fix the file areas and Linux is now up and running without a problem. In the future if you get kernel panic or VFS errors you may want to check the memory first before any other problem.

Sunday, November 05, 2006

It has been quiet

The nice part about Linux is that it just runs. No worrying about viruses, trojans or other nasties getting in the system like I do with my Windows laptop for work. Not that I don't patch and secure my Linux boxes, I do keep them up-to-date. I do get people trying to hack in to my Linux FTP server, but, they have not got passed the security to-date. I keep the Linux virus scanner up-to-date so I can scan the USB memory sticks that I use on the Windows machine. It does not hurt to have multiple ways of verifying that your files are clean.

My wife is now starting to use Scribus more and more and she is starting to like the package. There is a learning curve there and we needed to 'unlearn' what we do in MS Publisher. She is now starting to push the machine and is doing things that I wasn't sure how to do in Linux. She is comfortable enough to explore and play knowing that she won't totally hose her system like she can do in Windows.

Now that Mandriva 2007 is out I will let it 'mature' a bit more before seeing about upgrading my wife's machine. I figure a couple of months will allow Mandriva to find and fix any of the quirks before I upgrade.