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#1 Re: Help & Support (Crunchbang 11 "Waldorf") » Install from USB » 2012-05-14 23:34:41

oh, silly me, I was looking in the initrd.gz in /live not in /install.
It looks like the script is in ./var/lib/dpkg/info/cdrom-detect.postinst
I'm not sure now why it fails to mount my USB partition on /cdrom, even though it's at sdb3, since it looks like the script should try to mount all sd* devices, but I see a couple of reports, eg that the list_devices function that the script uses doesn't always find everything.
But I did try escaping the install to a shell, manually mounting the partition on /cdrom, and continuing, and I got an error that "the CD isn't a debian image" or something.
I now see that the script checks for a file at .disk/info which is supposed to contain the name of the cdrom, I think that file exists on my image, so it should have worked, but I'll check again.

#2 Re: Help & Support (Crunchbang 11 "Waldorf") » Install from USB » 2012-05-14 23:17:51

Thanks xaos52, I'd sort of traced it to that package, which is an installer package.
But where does the cdrom-detect.postinst shell script in that package actually get put in the live image?
I don't know how to use a a debian installer package to create/customize a live/install usb/cdrom image, so I'd like to just find this script on the bootable USB image I have, and hack it, if required.

#3 Help & Support (Crunchbang 11 "Waldorf") » Install from USB » 2012-05-14 10:13:50

Replies: 3

I wanted to add a comment here, but don't have permission for some reason: … ll/page/6/

I'm having problems installing from a USB stick, which I created following instructions here: … ll-via-cd/

The live image works fine, though I had problems trying to make the persistent file encrypted, the "live" script in initrd /scripts is broken in the way it tries to detect filesystems, but that's a seperate issue.

The key to my problem seems to be that the VFAT partition I'm using for syslinux is sdb3 rather than sdb1, the problem is documented here: … 33781.html

Except I'm not sure what file it's referring to.  It suggest a patch against a "cdrom-detect" shell script, but there is no such file in initrd.
Any ideas?

#4 Help & Support (Crunchbang 11 "Waldorf") » pNFS? » 2011-11-27 09:48:21

Replies: 0

I don't know if this should be under help, or general, but I'm looking for info on pNFS.
I understand it's in the 3.1 kernels, but I can't find too much about it.

The web seems very sketchy on the subject, there was a burst of white papers and whatnot a couple of years ago, but all the nitty-gritty, howtos, detailed planning guides, under-the-hood how-it-works descriptions, or anything like that seems to be hidden away as "for developers only".

Where should I look for information?

Has anyone here played with pNFS, is it even in crunchbang?

#5 Tips, Tricks & Scripts » #! Live / MAC OS X Lion install USB stick, readable in windows » 2011-11-24 01:11:25

Replies: 0

I'm a genius.
Or an idiot monkey with a typewriter and lots of spare time.
I've finally figured out, or rather, chanced upon, the right combination.

The Objective:

I wanted a USB stick that I could boot on a macbook to install/repair OS X Lion.
I also wanted the stick to be able to boot on a PC (or a mac), and install crunchbang, or run as a live image.
I also wanted to use the unused space (either in the Live FAT partition, or in a dedicated partition) as a general data-shuffling drive, which means it must be accessible on windows.

The Problem:

Macs won't boot from an MBR partitioned disk, they require GPT partitions.  If you partition a USB disk in mac os X, It uses the GPT partitioning scheme, and it also creates a "dummy" MBR containing single a "protective" entry, type 'EE', covering the entire disk.
This entry seems to confuse windows, which then can't read or write partitions on the disk, or rather, more dangerously, it gets confused about which partitions are which and writes the wrong one.
If you remove the MBR entry, or even the entire MBR, the mac will no longer boot the disk.
It's also possible to create a "hybrid MBR",whereby every partition defined in GPT has a corresponding entry in the MBR.  I used gptdisk to do this.
Doing this allows the mac to boot, and in theory the disk looks like an ordinary MBR disk too.  For example, my USB stick, contains the following partitions in GPT:

Number  Start (sector)    End (sector)  Size       Code  Name
   1              40          409639   200.0 MiB   EF00  EFI System Partition
   2          409640         8612767   3.9 GiB     AF00  OS X Lion Install
   3         8876032        15771647   3.3 GiB     0700  Live

And the hybrid MBR gets created as:

Number  Boot  Start Sector   End Sector   Status      Code
   1                    40       409639   primary     0xEF
   2                409640      8612767   primary     0xAF
   3      *        8876032     15771647   primary     0x0B
   4                     1           39   primary     0xEE

However, this STILL confuses windows, whether you include the 'EE' protective entry or not, or whether it's defined as the first or last partition in the MBR table.  Perhaps windows borks on the EFI partition type 'EF, or the mac os 'AF''.  Perhaps it borks on any partition type it doesn't support.

The solution
I created a hybrid MBR with the partitions in reverse order.  This way, windows sees the FAT partition as the first entry in the partition table.  If it gets confused by the other entries, that happens after it has read the correct details for the FAT partition.  So the hybrid MBR is:

Number  Boot  Start Sector   End Sector   Status      Code
   1      *        8876032     15771647   primary     0x0B
   2                409640      8612767   primary     0xAF
   3                    40       409639   primary     0xEF
   4                     1           39   primary     0xEE

Now, this USB stick:
Boots on macbook, to install/repair OS X
Boots on PC into crunchbang live (or install)
The vFAT Live parition can be read/written from windows (there is 2G free space there)

Yes, the easy solution is to have 2 USB sticks, one for the mac, one for PCs, or one for boot and one for storage.
But easy rarely leads anywhere interesting.  Actually, this exercise has led into EFI / legacy BIOS boot territory, which is a twisty maze of dank passages all alike, with lots of dead ends, wrong turns and pitfalls.  not a pleasant trip, but you win some, you lose some.

Astute (or bored) readers will note that the stick doesn't yet boot linux on the macbook, and there is 150M free on the disk.  Next, I plan to add another EFI partition, FAT formated, and install EFI grub on there, to boot linux in EFI mode on the macbook.  I'm not sure yet why the BIOS-mode Live partition isn't showing up as a boot choice on the mac.  I may also experiment putting the GPT entries in reverse order, so the MBR and GPT numbers match.

#6 Re: Off Topic / General Chat » MakeUseOf and Linux... » 2011-11-19 22:56:15

Can you use an iphone properly with linux yet?

I think all the major OSs are in a sad state, full of accumulated cruft and stuck in an old "single systen image" paradigm.
Linux is perhaps worst for cruft, being based on a architecture from the 60s/70s, and most of what makes the "OS" is actually just applications layered on.  Is gnome linux?  bash?  /etc/passwd?  The "Unix way", of small, specific, composable tools, is what makes it far superior to the others, although very large parts of modern linux seem to have strayed from that way.

All the OS's are stuck with WIMP UI's to say nothing about filesystems which are an anachronism in 2011, and they "inhabit" just a single machine.

#7 Re: Tips, Tricks & Scripts » #! Statler from USB - with persistence » 2011-09-05 04:59:04

Yes you could run those "make a USB stick" programs, or just run through the regular crunchbang install, selecting an external partition as the install location.
And end up trashing your existing installation, because these programs jerk around with MBRs and so on.

Also, for anything more complex, like installing on GPT partitions, and especially getting anything to play with macbooks, EFI, and so on, you need to do it by hand.

The documentation for all this stuff is either non-existent, or encyclopedic (who has time to read the grub manuals, let alone try and make sense of them), and the internet is worthless - full of forum posts that are almost your config, but never quite, and when there is a match the posts conclude with something incredibly frustrating like "got it working now, thanks for all the fish".  Or worse, a howto is actually wrong - For example, I've just spend a couple of hours getting persistence to work, I based my setup on an article at "pendrivelinux" that said the persitent fs should be in "casper-rw".  And that's just the latest little wrangle.

Anyway, useful info in this post (actually I arrived at live-rw by looking at the scripts/live in initrd), I'll add my own stuff when I've got it working.
Specifically I avoid grub like the plague, and have built a USB drive using only GPT partitions, using the syslinux gpt MBR and setting a legacy BIOS bootable flag on the linux live partition which is then running syslinux of course.
On the same drive I have a Mac OS Lion install/maintenance partition, and another EFI partition that I hope to be able to use to boot crunchbang live on a macbook, without using BIOS compatibility mode (which doesn't support USB) - though that's looking like a stretch at the moment.

#8 Help & Support (Crunchbang 11 "Waldorf") » Boot live #! from USB GPT? On a macbook (EFI) too? » 2011-09-04 22:16:54

Replies: 0

This whole area seems to be a maze of twisty little passages, all the same - none seem to lead anywhere!

I'm trying to create a USB install drive, that can install Mac OS Lion on a macbook, and also boot a live crunchbang (with persistence), both on a macbook, and a BIOS PC.  The Lion stuff of course works, but a consequence is that the drive has to use GPT partitions.

I'll post further details of the detailed setup, but basically, on the macbook, I'm able to boot the live crunchbang, but then get a kernel panic:

List of all partitions:
No filesystem could mount root, tried:
Kernel panic - not syncing: VFS: Unable to mount fs on unknown-block(0,0)

Is this failing to load the initrd, or is it trying to load root=/dev/sda3 here?
If it's trying to load the real root partition, could the problem be that this USB disk only has a GPT partition table, and crunchbang only knows how to look in an mbr-style table?
I would prefer not to have a hybrid MBR/GPT setup if possible.

I have of course been through numerous howtos and forums describing issues in this area, but the whole area is murky and confusing to say the least.  Eg, Can grub boot to syslinux?  In theory it should be able to, but reports say not possible.  What about syslinux EFI?  Install Refit on the EFI partition instead of dedicated HFS?  Etc, Etc, Etc.

#9 Re: Help & Support (Crunchbang 11 "Waldorf") » Virtualization Server » 2011-08-25 08:47:50

Is this objective to cram as much as possible onto a single machine?  Just the existing servers, or desktops too?
I would say VB is maybe not the most robust way to do this, and I would also not use the base system as a webserver too. 

Xen, VMware ESX etc would be more industrial strength I think.

I had an idea to virtualise my laptop, ie have it running some minimal OS (crunchbang, in fact) purely as a host to virtualbox, with all the real stuff done in virtual machines, perhaps one per virtual screen or something like that.

My idea of the benefits was that I could more easily boot these clients on different hosts, make copies, etc, etc.  The experiment sort of worked, but wasn't really robust enough to use in anger - I certainly wouldn't take the same approach with business critical server infrastructure, without very extensive testing.

Just my 2p, but good luck anyway - it's certainly the way of the future.

#11 Re: Off Topic / General Chat » New (old) laptop opinions » 2011-06-26 15:05:53

Another vote here for thinkpads.
The T41 was voted "best laptop ever made" by one of the respectable magazines, and the T42,43, continued the tradition.  All really excellent machines, and the keyboards just can't be beat.
The HP competitors, such as nc6000 are nearly as good too, some are bold enough to claim the HP keyboards are actually slightly better.

#12 Re: Off Topic / General Chat » New Computers for $25? » 2011-05-19 07:31:24

Actually the specs seem quite similar to gumstix, … cts_id=227
These currently go for about $200, so clearly they are expecting to make some big savings somehow.

#13 Re: Off Topic / General Chat » New Computers for $25? » 2011-05-19 03:33:11

This is really an excellent project, and I want one.
HDMI is the obvious choice for display, as almost everything new has it, and composite works for the rest.
I do wonder if they'll really get to $25 though, I suspect it'll be more like $50-100 to buy.

The main problem I see is that this might not be any more suitable for education than any other computer.  The generation who learned to program low-level on 8-bit home micros did so often because they had to, and quite often with an eye to creating a hit application.  Programming "for real" on a modern computer is a lot more complex in many ways, with a myriad of APIs, libraries and so on.  Environments like Scratch, or Squeak are perhaps better for learning.

A better hardware tool for teaching would be arduino, especially now that google have adopted it as the android hardware peripheral standard, which gives it the added spice of being "for real" rather than just a toy teaching tool.

#14 Re: CrunchBang Talk » right-click habit » 2011-05-17 10:58:28

Depending on the taskbar or whatever, you can right-click on that to bring up the menu too - very handy with stuff full-screened.

#15 Re: Off Topic / General Chat » Beginner's Tiling WM? » 2011-05-10 01:15:37

+1 for pytyle
I changed the key bindings to switch between windows to be vi-like, and also added another window layout, "none", which just puts the windows back in their untiled position, but without disabling pytyle (so the key-bindings still work).

#16 Re: Off Topic / General Chat » Recommend me a USB wifi dongle » 2011-05-10 01:13:28

I don't mean to hijack the thread, but do any of the USB dongles work in AP mode using hostapd etc?

#18 Re: Help & Support (Crunchbang 11 "Waldorf") » more than 2 workspaces » 2011-04-21 07:31:16

Openbox supports 2¹⁰ workspaces, just like Compiz does. Wow :-D

Wow indeed.  Is there a way to select desktop by number.  Perhaps this could be a new security method - enter desktop number to get at your apps.

#19 Re: Tips, Tricks & Scripts » compcache / ramzswap » 2011-04-21 07:28:56

The new zram module appears as just another block device.  In fact you could put a filesystem on it and mount it as /tmp or whatever.  So yes, conky should see it.

#21 Re: News & Announcements » [Why drive when you can FLY?] Liquorix/Zen Kernel » 2011-04-14 05:41:11

Running 2.6.36-4 liquorix under virtualbox 4.0.4 on a mac book 3,1, OS X 10.6.7, the system hangs frequently, it seems some javascript or flash or perhaps just busy networking under chromium is tweeking something.
No such problem with 2.6.32-31
Shame, as I'd like to play with zram swap.

I think there's now a 2.6.37 version of liquorix, and also the latest debian testing is 2.6.38.  How do I get those, and what are the implications for the rest of the system - I don't want to upgrade all packages to testing versions!

Also, flitting between kernels is a real pain under virtualbox, as you have to re-install guest additions each time (the install removes the modules that got built for the previous kernel, + I don't know what else).
I tar'ed the modules for liquorix before running the install again on 2.6.32, and replaced them after running the script, so if that's the only kernel-dependent thing, guest additions should wokr whichever kernel I boot into.  Will test it next reboot - hopefully not too soon.

#22 Re: Tips, Tricks & Scripts » compcache / ramzswap » 2011-04-12 05:01:31

All these name changes are mighty confusing.  I see zram is in the 2.6.36 kernels, and there's a ramzswap module in stadler under modules/kernel/drivers/staging, but I'm not quite sure what that is.  The latest download seems to be 0.6.2 from january last year.
Not sure how to get the latest and greatest here, I see the liquorix kernel is 2.6.36, so perhaps that has zram support and may be easiest, otherwise get the older 0.6.2 and build a module.

#23 Re: Off Topic / General Chat » Gnome 3 is released » 2011-04-08 00:44:10

To me it just seems that it is different than what you want or expect. This does not mean its broken.

Guilty as charged, though I did say I thought it was "conceptually broken", in that there is no clear separation of functions, the dock icon serves several purposes depending on context.

Obviously this is what the majority of people want, or at least this is what vendors want to provide, since all the major OS's have adopted this approach.
The paranoid in me says this is a marketing ploy to keep apps in the forefront of users conscious, and Shuttleworth's comments about doing Unity because it's what the manufacturers want is worrying.

The real problem though is that it looks like gnome3 is far more locked down than previous environments, and you won't be able to easily change the way it works.  Very Apple.

#24 Re: Off Topic / General Chat » Gnome 3 is released » 2011-04-07 15:01:34

Perhaps its like Windows 7's new taskbar. It launches the app if its not already open, it switches to the windows if theres only one, and for multiple windows then maybe it switches to the most recent one or you get a small menu listing each one.

Yes, I'm sure that's how it works.  My point is that this is broken.  A single icon does three different things depending on the state of the system, and can spring a nasty surprise in some situations.
I want a list of my already open sessions (ie, a navigation list), whatever application they happen to be (I generally group things by task or context on their own desktop, and several applications might be involved), and I want a seperate launcher (ie a launch list) for when I want to create a new item - it makes sense to choose the type of item to create at the point of creation.

#25 Re: Off Topic / General Chat » Gnome 3 is released » 2011-04-07 09:19:53

Awebb, I agree about transparency, but what about navigation.
Do you navigate/select what you want by choosing the application, or by choosing a window?  What if there are several windows open for a given application, which should it switch too?  What if there are no windows?
A good example is terminal.  Should I navigate by selectingthe "terminal" icon, and then either having to choose one of the open sessions (or perhaps, as with mac OS, just switching to the "most recent" one or whatever the algorithm is).  Or should I navigate by having a list of my open sessions (even though they are all under a single application), and selecting which session I want.
To me, it's not even about windows, but about my content.  I want to select my content, not worry about what application is running it, although of course I want full transparency about which application is actually behind my content.

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