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United Arab Emirates Linux user group

I am really happy to share the news about the formation of Linux meet up group for United Arab Emirates. This is my story how I got into using Linux. Back in 1999 we used to get supplement Linux CD in PC-Quest magazine. They called it as PCQLinux and with my friends we used to experiment on our home computer. Every time we install Linux we get our windows boot sectors corrupted with our lilo boot loader. We always end up in formatting the whole system. Those days the Linux was at early stages in GUI and for most of the hardware we never get proper drivers. In a day or two I used to give up and move back to windows.

When I was studying in college we came to know about Chennai Linux User group. One of my friend told that they had meetings once in every 2 weeks and it happened in IIT Madras campus, the place where real genius people study. We thought it was a good chance to visit IIT campus in the name of LUG. When I first went for the meeting I meet some real cool people wearing Linux T-shirts with bunch of CDs chatting about Linux. Mostly they were talking about compiling kernel and device drivers and about the project in Linux etc etc. After going for couple of meetings I learned few tricks on how to use Linux. Till today I am using the same tricks for working on Linux.

Thanks to Chennai Lug for the help and support they me gave when I started with Linux. I was looking for a group in Dubai from the day I landed here. I hardly found anything where people liked to meet. We cannot blame anyone for this as nobody here has time for meet up in their busy schedule. This group is another attempt to make User group possible in UAE. With help of companies like Flip Media which supports Linux I think we can make it better.

I am still a beginner in Linux and just wanted to create a forum so we can meet the real gurus and learn from them.

For more information please visit UAE Lug Website.
For more information on next UAE Lug meet up.

Please join us and together everyone can achieve more 🙂

Ubuntu 9.04 remote desktop using vncserver without monitor

Only few more days for Ubuntu team to release 9.04 but I couldn’t wait so I downloaded RC version and installed on torrent download server 😉 . The task is to install the ubuntu 9.04 RC and to completely manage the server remotely. The installation was completely smooth and there was no issues. The installation completely detected all the hardware and everything worked perfectly like a dream come true.

Next step is to install secure shell ssh.

#sudo apt-get install ssh

Ubuntu comes with remote desktop manager. I tested the same and it would not work when there is no monitor connected to the system. I tried different methods and nothing worked out for me. So I decided to ditch the built in remote desktop and installed vncserver.

#sudo apt-get install vnc4server

After it is installed you should be logged as normal user and not root.

#vncserver :1 -geometry 1024x768 -depth 16

Once you issue the above command it will prompt for password. This password will be used for connecting to the server. Once it is complete we can change the setting for the server. Before we do that we have to kill the server.

#vncserver -kill :1

The configuration is kept in the file /home/userxx/.vnc/xstartup I edited this file so that I can start the server with gnome. My file looks exactly like below.


# Uncomment the following two lines for normal desktop:
# exec /etc/X11/xinit/xinitrc

gnome-session &

[ -x /etc/vnc/xstartup ] && exec /etc/vnc/xstartup
[ -r $HOME/.Xresources ] && xrdb $HOME/.Xresources
xsetroot -solid grey
vncconfig -iconic &
# xterm -geometry 80x24+10+10 -ls -title "$VNCDESKTOP Desktop" &
twm &

Now everything is done. All you have to do is to restart the system which is good for the setting to work properly. One you have restarted please start the vnc server.


I used chicken of the vnc to connect from mac.
After connecting you get gnome session which you can keep it alive even if the chicken vnc is closed.
Now all set and I don’t want my server to start gnome session during boot. To avoid that I have to disable gdm server.
That’s all folks have a nice day 😉

Update: Amy Rinehart from has done a great comparison chart for remote desktop softwares.

Fedora 9 Sulphur on VMware Fusion

I have been always a very big fan on Fedora Linux distribution. In recent times I have moved very much into Ubuntu. Three days back Fedora team had released the new version 9 named sulphur. I really wanted to test it how well it is working with VMware. So the hunt began.

Downloaded the i686 DVD version and started the installation. In VMware OS list there was no fedora so I had to select red hat Linux as option. The installation went very smooth and no issues or error. I felt the installater was little heavy when compared to Ubuntu installation.

Fedora booted up well and detected most of the hardware of VMware. But It was not as smooth as Ubuntu was on VMware.

I heard there is lot of improvement and enhancements. But Ubuntu is very far ahead when it comes to Desktop Linux. I prefer sticking with Ubuntu than Fedora sulphur 😀

Ubuntu 8.04 LTS Desktop Edition On VMware

Yesterday Ubuntu team released 8.04 LTS for both desktop and server. I had parallels desktop for mac in 30 days evalution. I installed the new Ubuntu in parallels. I crashed 2 times whiles installtion was happening. It was not starting properly. After 3 tries I managed to install the OS. While I am opening some application the parallels kept crashing. So I decided to ditch parallels and downloaded the latest release of VMware.

The installation of Ubuntu was sweet. It went through without any issues. I can feel that VMware was much better to parallels in terms of memory management too. When I parallels my mac becomes very slow. Now it was not case. It manages the memory really well.

In parallels my Ubuntu installation will never used to get power off properly. In VMware everything worked as it is supposed to work. I was not able to enable the desktop effects. I think I should install some drivers for Ubuntu to enable the same. I will dig into this issues and update it latter.

I am really happy and satisfied with VMware virtualization software over Parallels. If anyone is planning to buy Parallels just give it a thought and it a very bad choice and waste of money. I think I will purchase VMware after the evaluation period is over 😀

Linux based router solution

The task for the day was to make a router based on Linux. All I wanted to do is to replace the stupid home based router and do a fully Linux based one. Round one we need to buy hardware for the router. I know Linux can run on very low configuration hardware but those are very hard to find in the market. So I decided to go with shuttle computers. Basically shuttle computers are small and compact when compared to normal desktops. The model number used to make this one was SD32G2. You can read the complete specification of the hardware form this website. There is an on board gigabyte Ethernet controller.

shuttle computers.

Other than that I used the following

  • Pentium 4 3.2 HT processor
  • 80 GB Sata hard disk
  • 1 GB RAM
  • Realtek gigabyte Ethernet card
  • DVD drive (mainly used for installing purpose).

Now the system is ready to rock and roll. The next big step was to install some flavor of linux and test the firewall. I was thinking of fedora latter my friend Lijeesh showed me some new variant of linux which are there only for this purpose routing and firewall solution. Some distribution which are done for routing purpose are

I installed and tested in the same above mentioned order. And I found some issues with each installation. Let me explain the hurdles I faced in each.

IPCOP – The installation was smooth. I had some issues in setting up my on board Ethernet card. Basically it was marvell chipset. I tried installing sk98lin drivers for it and it wont work. Then the firewall not supporting NAT.

Smoothwall – The installation was smooth. It even detected the on board Ethernet and it worked. It had really a good web interface with funky ajax effects. Like live bandwidth monitor, live messenger chat viewer etc. But when it comes to routing features the was very much limited 🙁 . One such problem was it didn’t NAT routing.

Clarkconnet – It is a commercial solution. It is based on red hat distribution. I had some issues with my onboard ethernet card. It was detecting it but the drivers was not working. I had to issue command “modprobe sk98lin” and everything worked well. It had all the routing features please features. I tested it well and it was stable. Currently I am using this for my routing solution.

It took me 4 days to figure out the best options for routing solution based on Linux. I am not sure that the above conclusion are 100% correct. May be I have screwed it up somewhere. But it was fun experimenting 😉

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