Posts Tagged ‘drive’

How to read ext2 / ext3 / ext4 Linux filesystem and Mac OS X HFS+ partitions from Windows

Thursday, November 27th, 2014

access-linux-drives-filesystem-disks-from-microsoft-windows-howto-picture
If you are using a Dual-boot PC with installed M$ Windows and GNU .Linux OS storing many of your Documents / Music / Movie data on Linux's ext3 / ext4 filesystem partition  but using often also Windows PC for Professional Graphic Design or Photoshop CS5 / Coreldraw Graphics Suite X7 / 3D Studio / Adobe Drewmweaver you will certainly want to be able to mount (Map drive) as a drive Linux partitions ext3 / ext4 or Mac OS's HFS+ read / use it straight from Windows.

Below are few softs that does allow mounting Mac and Linux (Debian, Ubuntu, Fedora, SuSE etc.) partitions on Windows

1. Mapping Linux ext3 and ext4 as a Windows drive

There are number of programs that can map Linux partition as a drive / directly explore Linux FS content. Most famous (free) ones are:

  • Ext2Explore (also known as Ext2Read) – Probably best historically known Windows driver that does Linux ext FS reading 

     

     

     

    ext2explore-access-ubuntu-debian-fedora-suse-linux-from-your-windows-screenshot
     

  • Ext2FSD – Open source file system driver for Windows (2K / XP / WIN7 / WIN8 – both x86 and 64 bit arch) supports ext2 / ext3 FSs and even CIFS protocol shares over network mounts. Ext4 filesystems are supported in read only mode only. It supports many language codepage utf8, cp936, cp950 etc..- Cyrillic file names shown correctly 🙂

     

     

     

    ext2fsd-mount-linux-partitions-in-microsoft-windows-screenshot
     

  • Explore2FS – GUI explorer tool for accessing ext2 and ext3 filesystems. It runs under all versions of Windows and can read almost any ext2 and ext3 filesystem.

     

     

    explore2fs-linux-partitions-from-widnows-screenshot
     

  • Disk Internals Linux reader – A freeware tool for reading and extracting files from EXT2/EXT3/EXT4, HFS, UFS2, Reiser4, and ReiserFS partitions in Windows.

     

     

     

    disk-internals-linux-reader-2.0-screenshot-proprietary-linux-filesystem-reader-mounter-for-windows


Other useful multiplatorm Linux FS reader unfortunately proprietary one is ParagonExtFS – proprietary software having version for both Win OS and Mac (Supports also mounting Linux partitionons Mac).

Note that if you copy some files using some of above tools to Windows permissions held in Linux could screw up, so it is not a good idea to try backup Linux configuration files to Windows's partitions 🙂

2. Read Copy files from Mac OS HFS+ filesystem to Windows

Apple has Boot Camp driver package which allows Mac OS's HFS+ to be viewable from Windows.

reading-Mac-OSX-HFS-plus-partitions-from-ms-windows-with-bootcamp-driver

For people who don't intend to continuosly read data HFS+ it might be better to not load Boot Camp but use:

hfsexplorer-explorero-allowing-read-access-to-mac-osx-from-ms-windows-os

 Only problem with Boot Camp and HFSExplorer is it allows you to read data from Mac OS filesystem only read only.If you want to write to HFS+ filesystem from Windows you will need:

  • Proprietary Paragon HFS+ (or)

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Archive Outlook mail in Outlook 2010 to free space in your mailbox

Thursday, May 15th, 2014

outlook-archive-old-mail-to-prevent-out-of-space-problems-outlook-logo
If you're working in a middle or big sized IT company or corporation like IBM or HP, you're already sucked into the Outlook "mail whirlwind of corporate world" and daily flooded with tons of corporate spam emails with fuzzy business random terms like taken from Corporate Bullshit Generator

Many corporations, because probably of historic reasons still provide employees with small sized mailboxes half a gigabyte, a gigabyte or even in those with bigger user Mailboxes like in Hewlett Packard, this is usually no more than 2 Gigabytes.

This creates a lot of issues in the long term because usually mail communication in Inbox, Sent Items, Drafts Conversation History, Junk Email and Outbox grows up quickly and for a year or a year and a half, available Mail space fills up and you stop receiving email communication from customers. This is usually not too big problem if your Mailbox gets filled when you're in the Office (in office hours). However it is quite unpleasent and makes very bad impression to customers when you're in a few weeks Summar Holiday with no access to your mailbox and your Mailbox free space  depletes, then you don't get any mail from the customer and all the time the customer starts receiving emails disrupting your personal or company image with bouncing messages saying the "INBOX" is full.

To prevent this worst case scenario it is always a good idea to archive old mail communication (Items) to free up space in Outlook 2010 mailbox.
Old Outlook Archived mail is (Saved) exported in .PST outlook data file format. Later exported Mail Content and Contacts could be easily (attached) from those .pst file to Outlook Express, leaving you possibility to still have access to your old archived mail keeping the content on your hard drive instead on the Outlook Exchange Mailserver (freeing up space from your Inbox).

Here is how to archive your Outlook mail Calendar and contacts:

Archive-outlook-mail-in-microsoft-outlook-2010-free-space-in-your-mailbox

1. Click on the "File" tab on the top horizontal bar.Select "Cleanup Tools" from the options.

2. Click "Cleanup Tools" from the options.

3. Click on the "Archive this folder and all subfolders" option.

4. Select what to archive (e.g. Inbox, Drafts, Sent Items, Calendar whatever …)

5. Choose archive items older than (this is quite self-explanatory)

6. Select the location of your archive file (make sure you palce the .PST file into directory you will not forget later)

That's all now you have old mails freed up from Outlook Exchange server. Now make sure you create regular backups ot old-archived-mail.pst file you just created, it is a very good idea to upload this folder to encrypted file system on USB stick or use something like TrueCrypt to encrypt the file and store it to external hard drive, if you already don't have a complete backup corporate solution backuping up all your Laptop content.

Later Attaching or detaching exported .PST file in Outlook is done from:

File -> Open -> Open Outlook Data File

outlook-open-backupped-pst-datafile-archive-importing-to-outlook-2010


Once .PST file is opened and attached in Left Inbox pane you will have the Archived old mail folder appear.

 

outlook-archived-mail-pannel-screenshot-windows-7
You can change Archived name (like I did to some meaningful name) like I've change it to Archives-2013 by right clicking on it (Data File properties -> Advanced)

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Play Dune2 on Debian Linux with dosbox – Dune 2 Mother of all Real Time Strategy games

Saturday, March 1st, 2014

medium_1809-dune-ii-the-building-of-a-dynasty_one_of_best_games_ever_linux_windows.gif

Dune II: The Building of a Dynasty (known also as Dune II: Battle for Arrakis in Europe is a game that my generation will never forget. Dune 2 is the "first" computer Real Time Strategy (RTE) game of the genre of the Warcraft I and Warcraft II / III and later Command and Conquer – Red Aleart, Age of Empires I / II and Starcraft …

dune2-unit-destroyed

I've grown up with Dune2 and the little computer geek community in my school was absolutely crazy about playing it. Though not historically being the first Real Time Strategy game, this Lucas Inc. 
game give standards that for the whole RTE genre for years and will stay in history of Computer Games as one of best games of all times.

I've spend big part of my teenager years with my best friends playing Dune2 and the possibility nowadays to resurrect the memories of these young careless years is a blessing.  Younger computer enthusiasts and gamers probably never heard of Dune 2 and this is why I decided to place a little post here about this legendary game.

dune-2-tank-vehicle - one of best games computer games ever

Its worthy out of curiosity or for fun to play Dune 2 on modern OS be it Windows or Linux. Since Dune is DOS game, it is necessary to play it via DOS emulator i.e. – (DosBox). 
Here is how I run dune2 on my Debian Linux:

1. Install dosbox DOS emulator

apt-get install --yes dosbox

2. Download Dune2 game executable

You can download my mirror of dune2 here

Note that you will need unzip to uanrchive it, if you don't have it installed do so:

apt-get install --yes unzip

cd ~/Downloads/
wget http://www.pc-freak.net/files/dune-2.zip

3.  Unzip archive and create directory to mount it emulating 'C:\' drive

mkdir -p ~/.dos/Dune2
cd ~/.dos/Dune2

unzip ~/Downloads/dune-2.zip
 

4. Start dosbox and create permanent config for C: drive auto mount


dosbox

To make C:\ virtual drive automatically mounted you have to write a dosbox config from inside dbox console

config -writeconf /home/hipo/.dosbox.conf

My home dir is in /home/hipo, change this with your username /home/username

Then exit dosbox console with 'exit' command

To make dune2 game automatically mapped on Virtual C: drive:

echo "mount c /home/hipo/.dos" >> ~/.dosbox.conf

Further to make dosbox start each time with ~/.dosbox.conf add alias to your ~/.bashrc 

vim ~/.bashrc
echo "alias dosbox='dosbox -conf /home/hipo/.dosbox.conf'" >> ~/.bashrc
source ~/.bashrc

Then to run DUNE2 launch dosbox:

dosbox

and inside console type:

c:
cd Dune2
Dune2.exe

dune2-first-real-time-strategy-game-harkonen-screenshot

For the lazy ones who would like to test dune you can play dune 2 online on this website

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Raspberry Pi – Cheap portable credit-card sized single board Linux computer box

Thursday, November 7th, 2013

RaspberryPi tiny-computer running Linux and free software Logo

Not of a the latest thing out there but I believe a must know for every geek is existence of Raspberry Pi mini computer Linux board. It is a geek credit-card sized mini PC on extremely cheap price between 25$ and 35$ bucks (e.g. Raspberry Pi model A and Raspberry Pi Model B).

Raspberry Pi hardware you get for this ultra low price is as follows:

  • Broadcom BCM2835 system on chip
  • ARM Mobile processor model ARM1176JZF running at 700 Mhz (overlocking up to 1Ghz is possible – overclocked RP is called Turbo 🙂 )!
  • VideoCore IV GPU with 512 MBytes of ram
  • No Build hard disk or solid-state drive but instead designed to use SD-Card as a Storage
  • two video outputs
  • composite RCA and an HDMI port
  • 3.5mm audio output
  • 2 or 1SD/MMC/SDIO card slot (depending on device model A or model B)
  • Micro USB adapter power charger 500mA  (2.5 watts) – Model and 700mA (3.5 watts)

Raspberry PI mini computer hardware running Linux explained picture

The idea of whole device is to make cheap affordable device for pupils and people from third countries who can't afford to pay big money for a full-featured computer. Achievement is unique all you need to Raspberry Pi credit card sized device is external keyboard a mouse, SD-card and a monitor, this makes a 700Mhz featured almost fully functional computer for less than lets say 80$ whether used with a second hand monitor / mouse and kbd :). A fully functional computer or full functional thin client for as less as 80$ yes that's what RaspberryPi is!

It is recommendable that SD-Card storage on which it is installed is at least 4GB as this is part of its minimum requirement, however it is best if you can get an SD-Card of 32GBytes whether you plan to use its whole graphic functionalities.

Raspberry Pi Hardware is not too powerful to run a version of Windows as well as there is no free version of MS-Windows for ARM Processor, so basicly device is planned to run free software OSes GNU / Linux. 5 operating systems are working fine with the mini-board device as time of writting;
 

  • Raspbian – Debian "Wheezy" Linux port
  • Pidora – Fedora mixed version ported to run on Raspberry Pi
  • Risk OS port
  • Arch Linux port for ARM devices
  • Slackware Arm
    FreeBSD / NetBSD
  • QtonPi

Recommended and probably best distro port is for Debian Squeeze

To boot an OS into raspberry PI dowbnload respective image from raspberrypi.org

– Use application for copying and extracting image to SD-Card like Win32 Disk Imager – whether on Windows platform

Win32DiskImager burning raspberry PI mini Linux card board computer box image

– Or from Linux format SD-Card with gparted (N!B! format disk to be in FAT32 filesystem), extrat files and copy them to SD-CARD.

Once Raspberry Pi loads up it will drop you into Linux console, so further configuration will have to be done manually with invoking plenty of apt-get commands (which I will not talk about here as there are plenty of manuals already) – you will have to manually install your Desktop … Default shipped Web browser in Debian is Midori and due to lack of ported version of flash player for ARM streaming video websites like youtube.com / vimeo.com does not work in browser. There is a Google Chrome for Raspberry Pi port but just like with Midori heavy object loaded websites works very slow and thus not very suitable for multimedia.

raspberry pi cheaest portable linux powered computer sized of a credit card

Raspberry Pi device is very suitable for ThinClient use there is a special separate project – Raspberry ThinClient Project – using which a hobbyist can save 400$ for buying proprietary ThinClient.

RaspberryPI linux as a free software hardware thinclient picture

 

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Tricks of the supermarket trade or how supermarket lie to you to buy more than you need (My few memories on government food stores in communism times)

Friday, June 22nd, 2012

I've personally always hated super markets from the very early days I entered one. Here in Bulgaria we've been somehow partly lucky not to have supermarket due to the different philosophy of the communistic regime in which we lived until 1991. The philosophy of then governing communist back then was to distribute food in local middle size or small stores owned by the government. The food has to be approved by governmental body and heavily checked if it matches the governmental set standards. The variety of food we were offered in the stores was very little. Most of the small stores (which were owned by the government) only contained basic products like;;;

bread, youghurt, milk, meat, butter, lemonade, beer and few more,

This was done probably intentionally and was a result probably of our long years Orthodox Christian faith which (has saved us and preserved over the centuries). Orthodox Christianity has always teached for simplicity. Even though the communist party rejected the faith and even did severe persecution against the Bulgarian Orthodox Church. The people on the top elite who were planning the communism had been a descent of an orthodox christian raised up living and therefore the philosophy of simplicity was inherited (even genetically) so the way the COM party behaved based on its leaders and the governing decisions about the nations belonging to communism (Russia, (Yugoslavia) – Serbia Koso , Bulgaria, Greece, Egypt etc.) were in a material expression in conjunction with the Christian tradition of simplicity (i say material because Orthodox Christian Church even visiting back then in the countries was usually prohibited and the Com. party did their best to ruin up the believe in Christ in people).

In communism the local suburb grocery stores, were the only "points" of distribution of food. Since buying and owning a car took at least few years of waiting and big money for it. Not more than 10 to 20% of families owned car and owning a car was considered to be granted mostly to people belonging to the then governing communistic elite or the Communist Party.

The public transportation was encouraged because according to communism so called "geometry" which was a main drive for how the systems in communistic countries should work it was estimated public transportation is cheaper and more environmental friendly than if a car is given to anyone, also public transportation (trains, bus-es) etc. did a good thing in the aim of the party to exersice higher control and surveilance over the population.

Because of that existence of big super-market was scarce and the culture to go and buy from a shop with your own family car was not existing.

The equivalent of nowdays mall shops (big retail stores) was usually located on the city center and the size of this shop was much smaller and the variety of products one can find there was only few. Hence the customer didn't have so much options to choose between, neither had to spend too much of time on choosing, the com party wanted the people to work more and buy less, so spending time in stores was not encouraged.

With the entrance of democracy and the moving up of large super-market food and good retails shops like Metro was among the first ones which entered the "freed" market. It was really a bizarre experience for us the ex U.S.S.R belonging people to enter such a large sized stores and to face such a big variety of choice.

Before that in communism we never saw such stores even on the TV, since the TV was governed by communistic party and only information which was useful for the establishment and protection of the regime was projected on the only available National TV channel.

Sorry to distract a bit from the major topic of this post, but I thought this is necessery to explain before continuing because it is important to understand that unintentinonally the communist gave us an advantage to have a different view on things than Western free world, a view which is in many things contrary and more correct (in terms of hard logic) than to Western Europe.

My first encounter with a super-market was only about 8 or 10 years ago and I believe many people who lived in the province of Bulgaria and other ex-communist countries did for a first time experience super-markets approximate 10y. ago.
Though all looked so nice inside the shop and the shop emploees were so nice I always felt something very cold dead inside this big stores. Ptonsnlu my intuition (spirit) if you want has always pointed me out that there is something very wrong with this super markets.

With the increase of products on the market for us people who lived up to our 8 to 12 years (young age) in communism it was a great shock, since we were raised in a society based on some communist false ideology and suddenly the markets were opened and the products variety to choose between become extremely high.
All previously said to be good and true in communism time was said to be anti-freedom and many people did their best to destroy as much as possible mostly everything somehow connected with previous communistic time.
My homeland Bulgaria as a result of this become a very hard to live place and we were forced to adapt in fast paces and learn things on how we have to live like democrats for a very little short of time.
One severe "damage" most of the growing people in Bulgaria in communism had was the hardness and inability to make choices.
For many people between the age of 25 to 35 it is very hard to make choices even for small things.
This was a direct consequence of a long years (45 years) of communist propaganda, and few generations who lived in a non-freedom respecting regime which conditioned and prepared a specific plan and place for every individual living in the country.

Seeing communism as the ultimate evil and manipulation to make us dependent we didn't know that in the free democratic world the manipulation and conditioning in society was heavy too.

"The Programming" of western society through institutions, stores and order in society was a fact and in a sense the only difference between the Democratic world and communistic world was one of the worlds seemed to have a larger frame in which the individual can work and live, whether the communistic regime seem to be more restrictive.
One main thing used to condition people choices and buying behavior and make them over-consume to make the democratic economy constantly growth was big super-markets. Though they were privately owned and not like in communist country, the only drive behind each shop was PROFIT, PROFIT and agian PROFIT.

Higher profits would mean higher consumptions, higher consumptions means higher production and more work places opened as well as more expenses for working individuals would mean bigger necessity to work more and earn more, because though the sallaries incomes were high in the free world. The individual necessities there were even increasing too.

Since the about 1950s 1960s the super-markets started entering the "free" democrat countries world. As a result the small shops which were prior a main food and beverage distribution source started closing, because they couldn't be a concurrence to the big "brothers" super-markets which were able to buy higher quantities of goods in lesser price and therefore sell many of the goods in much lower prices than the little grocery stores.

The result with the years was a huge shift in people buying behavior from local groce and open markets to buy everything from the big super-markets. The big store chains had to be in a fight for customers all the time, so businesses involved started customer wars and tried their best to "steal" customers from each other. In this financial wars a main thing that most super-market chains and malls did was constant optimization of efficiency of both buying and reselling to the end customer. This is a 3 step business process actually.

1;;; They buy from the commodity producer
2;;; They prepare the food for the store (packaging, cleaning up whatever)
3;;; They put it in a certain way in the store and organize the store in a way to always sell more and more

As a result a huge number of tricks were employed by each and every super-market aiming to deceive the customer to ever buy more
The deception of the client in store is very tricky and smart organized so it cannot really be called a lie but its rather a tricky smartness.

Since the super-markets entered in my country too and the tiny grocery stores are mostly closing unable to compete with the large super-market 'money making machines'. Even I am sometimes forced to buy stuff from super markets. Since here in Bulgaria the culture of purchasing from super-markets is not so strong yet. In order to be able to consume the little grocery stores. Many large super-markets started investing in making the little groceries their retail shops with their brand or (sometimes a new make up brand).
By doing so the little grocery stores loose their authoritarity and independance and become dependant on the big super-market on the type of products they will sell, this obviously means this strategy of the big super-market in the long run will lead the little grocery stores we still have to ruin up. This is obvious because if the small grocery stores start selling the exact same products (brands) of the big super-markets, there will be nothing left to make the little grocery unique. Neither the variety of products choice inside or pricing will be any different from super-market. This will mean the tiny grocer will be no different from the big super-markets in terms of product and prices and therefore. The clients which now are loyal to small grocery stores like me will then have not such big motivation to buy from small super-markets, since everything inside is somehow similar (not to say) the same as with big supermarket the only difference would be the lesser variety which is obviously a good reason why the customer would definitely prefer to buy from the large supermarket …

On the videos you're about to see below, they explain some of the probably thousands of tricks nowdays existing the super-market chains employs to trick us to exponentiolly consume their goods.

Old Tricks of the SuperMarket Trade

As you can see the video is presenting a reality of the tricks which was used in the 1960 and now technology and knowledge in the field has largely increased and since they there are surely many new trick 'developments' which are working for the masses of customers daily.
There is even a whole science centered on buying behaviour already existent called buyology!

Here is a short introduction to buyology to give you an idea what its purpose is:

Short introduction video on buyology – The Science of buying part 1 of 2

Short introduction video on buyology – The Science of buying part 2 of 2


Seeing all this is very precious information, since being informed one can escape the bad "tricks and traps" pawn in the markets.

All the information about the communistic regime and the 'shopping system' there was mentioned priorly because I wanted to explain a bit of the difference of then and now to point you to my opinion that the Western buying model and expectation to sell more based on the tricks are probably not working very well here in the ex-communistic countries, especially with the older generations and the one like me which somehow grow a small part of their youth in communism.

The reason is we have a different 'social programming' than westerners. Also the different spirituality (The orthodox Christian faith) plays another role. Also there is a difference in the type of buying behaviour. In Bulgaria there is no culture to buy once or twice per week. People have culture to buy daily, though this is starting to change slowly these days.

For a bit more of videos and a bit of my thougths on my research on Super Market Psychology check my previous post containing educational videos on how the supermarkets cheat you to buy more

The topic is actually very huge and I'm sure what I'm saying is just the 'tip of the iceberg'. As I'm a firm opponent of big industries and large business I'm firmly against the buying from big stores any goods. The reason is that simply by doing so one makes the already RICH people even more RICHER. By increasing the richness of a certain small group of people daily, we as society are un-consciously somehow involuntarily letting them increase the financial control that is already there in some degree to the society.
As democracy's main drive is money this means that by helping the large business-es marge and become even BIGGER, we're doing something against ourselves and our interests as society.
I don't think that any ordinary citizen in the free world want to live in a fully controlled one World State (one world country), similar to the ex-communism I lived through, so I think people concerned about our freedoms should oppose the big businesses according to the society level they're in. Even if we're not in position to change things with money, we as society are in a position to change ourselves and our understanding of world, our desires and our behaviour. If we change our value system in a way, where money are not a top priority and the highest value the outcome will be positive in both spiritual terms and overall world state.

The modern day however wants us to falsely believe that we're divided, helpless and money dependent. This is a big delusion which we're constanty repeated. Just like with the super-market this big super-market company owners were able to convince us through time that super-market is better than the grocery stores, because of the less money spending advantage. Even if in the past there were possibility to spend less via supermarket nowdays spending less by using the supermarket instead of the small groce-store is a BIG LIE. Even if one spends less in super-market on certain products, the amount of related products he is cheated* to buy in store highly exceed the simply money one would spend on even higher priced products in the small groce.
The outcome results from the super-market is also a big waste, as I lived in the west I've seen most of the households are buying more than they need, spending more than they need, cooking more food and more frequently than necessery and throughing large portions of food in the garbage (e.g. a huge amount of food waster).

If it was possible that people were aware they are buying all this non-sense food because of deception, they would have bought less, the super-markets would bought less and distribute less and the food (waster) remaining could be distributed to poor-er countries to help the starving kids and suffering people in Africa.
Helping the suffering and starving, we would have helped each other as it is a nowdays well known that even on molecular level the whole world is connected, therefore helping our poorer brothers and sisters is actually helping ourselves ***

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How to disable PC Spaker on Debian and Ubuntu Linux

Sunday, May 13th, 2012

 

How to disable pc-speaker on Linux / PC-Speaker Old Desktop Computer picture

A PC Speaker is helpful as it could be used as a tool for diagnosing system hardware failures (different systems produce different beep sequences depending on the machine BIOS type).
Using the instructions for the respective BIOS vendor and version one could determine the type of problem experienced by a machine based on the sequence and frequency of sounds produced by the SPEAKER.
Lets say a hardware component on a server is down with no need for a monitor or screen to be attached you can say precisely if it is the hard drive, memory or fan malfunctioning…

Generally speaking historically embedded PC Speaker was inseparatable part of the Personal Computers, preceding the soundblasters, now this is changing but for compitability sake many comp equipment vendors still produce machines with pc-speaker in.
Some newer machines (mostly laptops) are factory produced with no PC-SPEAKER component anymore.
For those who don't know what is PC SPEAKER, it is a hardware device capable of emitting very simple short beep sounds at certain system occasions.

Talking about PC-Speaker, it reminds me of the old computer days, where we used pc-speakers to play music in DOS quite frequently.
It was wide practice across my friends and myself to use the pc-speaker to play Axel Folly and other mod files because we couldn't afford to pay 150$ for a sound cards. Playing a song over pc-speaker is quite a nice thing and it will be a nice thing if someone writes a program to be able to play songs on Linux via the pc-speaker for the sake of experiment.

As of time of writting, I don't know of any application capable of playing music files via the pc-speaker if one knows of something like this please, drop me a comment..

As long as it is used for hardware failure diagnosis the speaker is useful, however there are too many occasions where its just creating useless annoying sounds.
For instance whether one uses a GUI terminal or console typing commands and hits multiple times backspace to delete a mistyped command. The result is just irritating beeps, which could be quite disturbing for other people in the room (for example if you use Linux as Desktop in heterogeneous OS office).
When this "unplanned" glitchering beeps are experienced 100+ times a day you really want to break the computer, as well as your collegues are starting to get mad (if not using their headphones) 🙂

Hence you need sometimes to turn off the pc-speaker to save some nerves.

Here is how this is done on major Linux distros.

On Debian and most other distros, the PC SPEAKER is controlled by a kernel module, so to disable communication with the speaker you have to remove the kernel module.

On Debian and Fedora disabling pcspeaker is done with:

# modprobe -r pcspkr

Then to permanently disable load of the pcspkr module on system boot:

debian:~# echo 'blacklist pcspkr' >> /etc/modprobe.d/blacklist.conf

On Ubuntu to disable load on boot /etc/modprobe.d/blacklist, file should be used:

ubuntu:~# echo 'blacklist pcspkr' >> /etc/modprobe.d/blacklist
Well that's all folks …

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How to mount NTFS Windows XP filesystem on FreeBSD, NetBSD, OpenBSD

Friday, May 11th, 2012

Mounting NTFS hdd partitions on FreeBSD logo picture

A friend of mine bring home a Seagate External Hard Disk Drive using USB 3 as a communication media. I needed to attach the hard disk to my FreeBSD router to transfer him some data, the External HDD is formatted to use NTFS as a main file partition and hence to make the file transfers I had to somehow mount the NTFS partition on the HDD.

FreeBSD and other BSDs, just like Linux does not have embedded NTFS file system mount support.
In order to add an external write support for the plugged hdd NTFS I looked in the ports tree:

freebsd# cd /usr/ports
freebsd# make search name='ntfs'
Port: fusefs-ntfs-2010.10.2
Path: /usr/ports/sysutils/fusefs-ntfs
Info: Mount NTFS partitions (read/write) and disk images
Maint: ports@FreeBSD.org
B-deps: fusefs-libs-2.7.4 libiconv-1.13.1_1 libtool-2.4 libublio-20070103 pkg-config-0.25_1
R-deps: fusefs-kmod-0.3.9.p1.20080208_7 fusefs-libs-2.7.4 libiconv-1.13.1_1 libublio-20070103 pkg-config-0.25_1
WWW: http://www.tuxera.com/community/

Port: ntfsprogs-2.0.0_1
Path: /usr/ports/sysutils/ntfsprogs
Info: Utilities and library to manipulate NTFS partitions
Maint: ports@FreeBSD.org
B-deps: fusefs-libs-2.7.4 libiconv-1.13.1_1 libublio-20070103 pkg-config-0.25_1
R-deps: libublio-20070103 pkg-config-0.25_1
WWW: http://www.linux-ntfs.org/
freebs# cd sysutils/fusefs-ntfs/
freebsd# ls
Makefile distinfo files/ pkg-descr pkg-plist
freebsd# cat pkg-descr
The ntfs-3g driver is an open source, freely available read/write NTFS
driver, which provides safe and fast handling of the Windows XP, Windows
Server 2003 and Windows 2000 filesystems. Almost the full POSIX filesystem
functionality is supported, the major exceptions are changing the file
ownerships and the access rights.
WWW: http://www.tuxera.com/community/

Using ntfs-3g I managed to succeed mounting the NTFS on my old PC running FreeBSD ver. 7_2

1. Installing fuserfs-ntfs support on BSD

Before I can use ntfs-3g, to mount the paritition, I had to install fuserfs-ntfs bsd port, with:

freebsd# cd /usr/ports/sysutils/fusefs-ntfs
freebsd# make install clean
.....

I was curious if ntfsprogs provides other utilities to do the ntfs mount but whilst trying to install it I realized it is already installed as a dependency package to fusefs-ntfs.

fusefs-ntfs package provides a number of utilities for creating, mounting, fixing and doing various manipulations with Microsoft NTFS filesystems.

Here is a list of all the executable utilities helpful in NTFS fs management:

freebsd# pkg_info -L fusefs-ntfs\* | grep -E "/bin/|/sbin|README"
/usr/local/bin/lowntfs-3g
/usr/local/bin/ntfs-3g
/usr/local/bin/ntfs-3g.probe
/usr/local/bin/ntfs-3g.secaudit
/usr/local/bin/ntfs-3g.usermap
/usr/local/bin/ntfscat
/usr/local/bin/ntfscluster
/usr/local/bin/ntfscmp
/usr/local/bin/ntfsfix
/usr/local/bin/ntfsinfo
/usr/local/bin/ntfsls
/usr/local/sbin/mkntfs
/usr/local/sbin/ntfsclone
/usr/local/sbin/ntfscp
/usr/local/sbin/ntfslabel
/usr/local/sbin/ntfsresize
/usr/local/sbin/ntfsundelete
/usr/local/share/doc/ntfs-3g/README
/usr/local/share/doc/ntfs-3g/README.FreeBSD

The README and README.FreeBSD are wonderful, reading for those who want to get more in depth knowledge on using the up-listed utilities.

One utility, worthy to mention, I have used in the past is ntfsfix. ntfsfix resolve issues with NTFS partitions which were not unmounted on system shutdown (electricity outage), system hang up etc.

2. Start fusefs (ntfs) and configure it to auto load on system boot

Once fuserfs-ntfs is installed, if its necessery ntfs fs mounts to be permanently supported on the BSD system add fusefs_enable="YES" to /etc/rc.conf(the FreeBSD services auto load conf).

freebsd# echo 'fusefs_enable="YES"' >> /etc/rc.conf

One note to make here is that you need to have also dbus_enable="YES" and hald_enable="YES" in /etc/rc.conf, not having this two in rc.conf will prevent fusefs to start properly. Do a quick grep to make sure this two variables are enabled:

Afterwards fsusefs load up script should be run:

freebsd# /usr/local/etc/rc.d/fusefs start
Starting fusefs.

Another alternative way to load ntfs support on the BSD host is to directly load fuse.ko kernel module:

freebsd# /sbin/kldload fuse.ko

3. Mounting the NTFS partition

In my case, the Seagate hard drive was detected as da0, where the NTFS partition was detected as s1 (da0s1):

freebsd# dmesg|grep -i da0
da0 at umass-sim0 bus 0 target 0 lun 0
da0: Fixed Direct Access SCSI-4 device
da0: 40.000MB/s transfers
da0: 953869MB (1953525164 512 byte sectors: 255H 63S/T 121601C)br />GEOM_LABEL: Label for provider da0s1 is ntfs/Expansion Drive.
GEOM_LABEL: Label for provider da0s1 is ntfs/Expansion Drive.

Therefore further to mount it one can use mount_ntfs (to quickly mount in read only mode) or ntfs-3g for (read / write mode):

If you need to just quickly mount a disk drive to copy some data and umount it with no need for writting to the NTFS partition do;

freebsd# /sbin/mount_ntfs /dev/ad0s1 /mnt/disk

Note that mount_ntfs command is a native BSD command and have nothing to do with ntfs-3g. Therefore using it to mount NTFS is not the same as mounting it via ntfs-3g cmd

freebsd# /usr/local/bin/ntfs-3g -o rw /dev/da0s1 /mnt/disk/

Something, I've noticed while using ntfs-3g is, it fails to properly exit even when the ntfs-3g shell execution is over:

freebsd# ps ax |grep -i ntfs|grep -v grep
18892 ?? Is 0:00.00 /usr/local/bin/ntfs-3g -o rw /dev/da0s1 /mnt/disk/

I dunno if this is some kind of ntfs-3g bug or feature specific to all versions of FreeBSD or it is something local to FBSD 7.2

Thought ntfs-3g, keeps appearing in process list, praise God as of time of writting NTFS support on FreeBSD prooved to be stable.
Read / Write disk operations to the NTFS I tested it with works great. Just about 5 years ago I still remember write mode was still experimental. Now it seems NTFS mounts can be used with no hassle even on production machines.

4. Auto mounting NTFS partition on FreeBSD system boot

There are two approaches towards 'the problem' I can think of.
The better way to auto mount on boot (in my view) is through /etc/fstab use

If /etc/fstab + ntfs-3g is to be used, you will however change the default /sbin/mount_ntfs command to point to /usr/local/bin/ntfs-3g, i.e.:

freebsd# mv /sbin/mount_ntfs /sbin/mount_ntfs.orig
freebsd# ln -s /usr/local/bin/ntfs-3g /sbin/mount_ntfs

Then to mount /dev/da0s1 via /etc/fstab add line:

/dev/ad0s1 /mnt/disk ntfs rw,late 0 0

To not bother with text editor run:

freebsd# echo '/dev/ad0s1 /mnt/disk ntfs rw,late 0 0' >> /etc/fstab

I've red in posts in freebsd forums, there is also a way to use ntfs-3g for mounting partitions, without substituting the original bsd /sbin/mount_ntfs, the exact commands suggested to be used with no need to prior mv /sbin/mount_ntfs to /sbin/mount_ntfs.orig and link it to ntfs is:

/dev/ad0s1 /disk ntfs rw,mountprog=/usr/local/bin/ntfs-3g,late 0 0

For any other NTFS partitions, for instance /dev/ad0s2, /dev/ad2s1 etc. simply change the parititon name and mount points.

The second alternative to adding the NTFS to auto mount is through /etc/rc.local. /etc/rc.local content will be executed very late in system boot. :

echo '/usr/local/bin/ntfs-3g -o rw /dev/da0s1' >> /etc/rc.local

One disadvanage of using /etc/rc.local for mounting the partition is the hanging ntfs-3g in proc list:

freebsd# ps ax |grep -i ntfs|grep -v grep
18892 ?? Is 0:00.00 /usr/local/bin/ntfs-3g -o rw /dev/da0s1 /mnt/disk/

Though, I haven't tested it yet. Using the same methodology should be perfectly working on PC-BSD, DragonFlyBSD, NetBSD and OpenBSD.
I will be glad if someone who runs any of the other BSDs can confirm, following this instructions works fine on these BSDs too.

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How to solve “Incorrect key file for table ‘/tmp/#sql_9315.MYI’; try to repair it” mysql start up error

Saturday, April 28th, 2012

When a server hard disk scape gets filled its common that Apache returns empty (no content) pages…
This just happened in one server I administer. To restore the normal server operation I freed some space by deleting old obsolete backups.
Actually the whole reasons for this mess was an enormous backup files, which on the last monthly backup overfilled the disk empty space.

Though, I freed about 400GB of space on the the root filesystem and on a first glimpse the system had plenty of free hard drive space, still restarting the MySQL server refused to start up properly and spit error:

Incorrect key file for table '/tmp/#sql_9315.MYI'; try to repair it" mysql start up error

Besides that there have been corrupted (crashed) tables, which reported next to above error.
Checking in /tmp/#sql_9315.MYI, I couldn't see any MYI – (MyISAM) format file. A quick google look up revealed that this error is caused by not enough disk space. This was puzzling as I can see both /var and / partitions had plenty of space so this shouldn't be a problem. Also manally creating the file /tmp/#sql_9315.MYI with:

server:~# touch /tmp/#sql_9315.MYI

Didn't help it, though the file created fine. Anyways a bit of a closer examination I've noticed a /tmp filesystem mounted besides with the other file system mounts ????
You can guess my great amazement to find this 1 Megabyte only /tmp filesystem hanging on the server mounted on the server.

I didn't mounted this 1 Megabyte filesystem, so it was either an intruder or some kind of "weird" bug…
I digged in Googling to see, if I can find more on the error and found actually the whole mess with this 1 mb mounted /tmp partition is caused by, just recently introduced Debian init script /etc/init.d/mountoverflowtmp.
It seems this script was introduced in Debian newer releases. mountoverflowtmp is some kind of emergency script, which is triggered in case if the root filesystem/ space gets filled.
The script has only two options:

# /etc/init.d/mountoverflowtmp
Usage: mountoverflowtmp [start|stop]

Once started what it does it remounts the /tmp to be 1 megabyte in size and stops its execution like it never run. Well maybe, the developers had something in mind with introducing this script I will not argue. What I should complain though is the script design is completely broken. Once the script gets "activated" and does its job. This 1MB mount stays like this, even if hard disk space is freed on the root partition – / ….

Hence to cope with this unhandy situation, once I had freed disk space on the root partition for some reason mountoverflowtmp stop option was not working,
So I had to initiate "hard" unmount:

server:~# mount -l /tmp

Also as I had a bunch of crashed tables and to fix them, also issued on each of the broken tables reported on /etc/init.d/mysql start start-up.

server:~# mysql -u root -p
mysql> use Database_Name;
mysql> repair table Table_Name extended;
....

Then to finally solve the stupid Incorrect key file for table '/tmp/#sql_XXYYZZ33444.MYI'; try to repair it error, I had to restart once again the SQL server:

Stopping MySQL database server: mysqld.
Starting MySQL database server: mysqld.
Checking for corrupt, not cleanly closed and upgrade needing tables..
root@server:/etc/init.d#

Tadadadadam!, SQL now loads and works back as before!

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diskinfo Linux hdparm FreeBSD equivalent command for disk info and benchmarking

Thursday, March 8th, 2012

FreeBSD Linux hdparm equivalent is diskinfo artistic logo

On Linux there is the hdparm tool for various hard disk benchmarking and extraction of hard disk operations info.
As the Linux manual states hdparmget/set SATA/IDE device parameters

Most Linux users should already know it and might wonder if there is hdparm port or equivalent for FreeBSD, the aim of this short post is to shed some light on that.

The typical use of hdparm is like this:

linux:~# hdparm -t /dev/sda8

/dev/sda8:
Timing buffered disk reads: 76 MB in 3.03 seconds = 25.12 MB/sec
linux:~# hdparm -T /dev/sda8
/dev/sda8:
Timing cached reads: 1618 MB in 2.00 seconds = 809.49 MB/sec

The above output here is from my notebook Lenovo R61i.
If you're looking for alternative command to hdparm you should know in FreeBSD / OpenBSD / NetBSD, there is no exact hdparm equivalent command.
The somehow similar hdparm equivallent command for BSDs (FreeBSD etc.) is:
diskinfo

diskinfo is not so feature rich as linux's hdparm. It is just a simple command to show basic information for hard disk operations without no possibility to tune any hdd I/O and seek operations.
All diskinfo does is to show statistics for a hard drive seek times I/O overheads. The command takes only 3 arguments.

The most basic and classical use of the command is:

freebsd# diskinfo -t /dev/ad0s1a
/dev/ad0s1a
512 # sectorsize
20971520000 # mediasize in bytes (20G)
40960000 # mediasize in sectors
40634 # Cylinders according to firmware.
16 # Heads according to firmware.
63 # Sectors according to firmware.
ad:4JV48BXJs0s0 # Disk ident.

Seek times:
Full stroke: 250 iter in 3.272735 sec = 13.091 msec
Half stroke: 250 iter in 3.507849 sec = 14.031 msec
Quarter stroke: 500 iter in 9.705555 sec = 19.411 msec
Short forward: 400 iter in 2.605652 sec = 6.514 msec
Short backward: 400 iter in 4.333490 sec = 10.834 msec
Seq outer: 2048 iter in 1.150611 sec = 0.562 msec
Seq inner: 2048 iter in 0.215104 sec = 0.105 msec

Transfer rates:
outside: 102400 kbytes in 3.056943 sec = 33498 kbytes/sec
middle: 102400 kbytes in 2.696326 sec = 37978 kbytes/sec
inside: 102400 kbytes in 3.178711 sec = 32214 kbytes/sec

Another common use of diskinfo is to measure hdd I/O command overheads with -c argument:

freebsd# diskinfo -c /dev/ad0s1e
/dev/ad0s1e
512 # sectorsize
39112312320 # mediasize in bytes (36G)
76391235 # mediasize in sectors
75784 # Cylinders according to firmware.
16 # Heads according to firmware.
63 # Sectors according to firmware.
ad:4JV48BXJs0s4 # Disk ident.

I/O command overhead:
time to read 10MB block 1.828021 sec = 0.089 msec/sector
time to read 20480 sectors 4.435214 sec = 0.217 msec/sector
calculated command overhead = 0.127 msec/sector

Above diskinfo output is from my FreeBSD home router.

As you can see, the time to read 10MB block on my hard drive is 1.828021 (which is very high number),
this is a sign the hard disk experience too many read/writes and therefore needs to be shortly replaced with newer faster one.
diskinfo is part of the basis bsd install (bsd world). So it can be used without installing any bsd ports or binary packages.

For the purpose of stress testing hdd, or just some more detailed benchmarking on FreeBSD there are plenty of other tools as well.
Just to name a few:
 

  • rawio – obsolete in FreeBSD 7.x version branch (not available in BSD 7.2 and higher)
  • iozone, iozone21 – Tools to test the speed of sequential I/O to files
  • bonnie++ – benchmark tool capable of performing number of simple fs tests
  • bonnie – predecessor filesystem benchmark tool to bonnie++
  • raidtest – test performance of storage devices
  • mdtest – Software to test metadata performance on filsystems
  • filebench – tool for micro-benchmarking storage subsystems

Linux hdparm allows also changing / setting various hdd ATA and SATA settings. Similarly, to set and change ATA / SATA settings on FreeBSD there is the:

  • ataidle

tool.

As of time of writting ataidle is in port path /usr/ports/sysutils/ataidle/

To check it out install it as usual from the port location:

FreeBSD also has also the spindown port – a small program for handling automated spinning down ofSCSI harddrive
spindown is useful in setting values to SATA drives which has problems with properly controlling HDD power management.

To keep constant track on hard disk operations and preliminary warning in case of failing hard disks on FreeBSD there is also smartd service, just like in Linux.
smartd enables you to to control and monitor storage systems using the Self-Monitoring, Analysisand Reporting Technology System (S.M.A.R.T.) built into most modern ATA and SCSI hard disks.
smartd and smartctl are installable via the port /usr/ports/sysutils/smartmontools.

To install and use smartd, ataidle and spindown run:

freebsd# cd /usr/ports/sysutils/smartmontools
freebsd# make && make install clean
freebsd# cd /usr/ports/sysutils/ataidle/
freebsd# make && make install clean
freebsd# cd /usr/ports/sysutils/spindown/
freebsd# make && make install clean

Check each one's manual for more info.

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