Open Source

Troubleshooting Mandrake

Having trouble with Mandrake? Any installation or post-installation issues you need help resolving? During this Guild Meeting Vincent Danen helped to troubleshoot those pesky problems.

Having trouble with Mandrake? Any installation or post-installation issues you need help resolving? On June 27, Vincent Danen helped to troubleshoot those pesky problems. If you couldn’t join us then, enjoy the transcript and we hope to see you on our next live Guild Meeting. You can find a schedule of Guild Meetings in your weekly TechProGuild Notes TechMail, or on the Guild Meeting calendar.

Having trouble with Mandrake? Any installation or post-installation issues you need help resolving? On June 27, Vincent Danen helped to troubleshoot those pesky problems. If you couldn’t join us then, enjoy the transcript and we hope to see you on our next live Guild Meeting. You can find a schedule of Guild Meetings in your weekly TechProGuild Notes TechMail, or on the Guild Meeting calendar.

Note: TechProGuild edits Guild Meeting transcripts for clarity.

Bigger and better monthly prizes
MODERATOR: Hello, everyone. Welcome to the meeting. Let me share a little about what's happening at TechProGuild. We're getting ready to change the Guild Meetings—I hope in a good way. As most of you know, we normally give away a small prize each meeting to the member who asks the most questions. While we love giving stuff away, we thought we really would like to start giving away bigger and better prizes. But we can't do that every night so we decided to have a monthly winner. Each meeting we'll still continue to choose the member with the best questions. At the end of the month the member who has “won” the most meetings gets the prize! We'll post standings in the Guild Note.

VINCENT DANEN: Wow... Can you give us an idea of what the prizes might be?

MODERATOR: Right now since July is Novell month, we' giving away one of those humungous NetWare study guides! And since August is Portable Computing month, we'll be giving away a hand held.

VINCENT DANEN: Are there still meeting winners, or do they just go into the monthly draw and that's it? And nice prizes!!

MODERATOR: Well, Vince, that’s a good question. It's not really a draw. The lawyers said we can't hold a lottery.

VINCENT DANEN: Well, ok, let me rephrase that. Do they just get chosen at the end of the month for the big prize, or are you still handing out prizes each meeting?

MODERATOR: We still will choose a winner each night, and at the end of the month, the member who has won the most meetings wins.

VINCENT DANEN: Gotchya. Well, I say we get started with tonight’s meeting.

MODERATOR: Let's do.

RedHat versus Linux Mandrake
VINCENT DANEN: Tonight's topic is troubleshooting Linux Mandrake. I see we've got a pretty small crowd here so let me just find out first if anyone is using Mandrake here other than myself?

MIKKILUSA: I’m a RedHat 6.2 newbie, sorry.

VINCENT DANEN: Mikkilusa, that's ok. If you've got any questions about troubleshooting RedHat, I can probably give you a Mandrake answer that is at least 85% relevant.

76327711: Mandrake is supposed to be "fully" RedHat 6.2 compatible, correct?

VINCENT DANEN: Yes. Mandrake is 99.9% RedHat-compatible. But there are many tools for Mandrake that are not available in RedHat, things like DrakConf, RPMdrake, and other Mandrake innovations. So it's compatible from the standpoint that any RPM built for RedHat should install flawlessly under Mandrake, and vice versa. There are a few issues that make it incompatible, but that's where the compatibility is... in the file layout and RPM packages.

76327711: And the dumb question of the night: and "RPM" is?

VINCENT DANEN: RPM is the RedHat Package Manager. All RedHat packages (and Mandrake, and Caldera, and SuSE) are packed in an RPM package that is basically an advanced ZIP file with shell scripts executed during install, uninstall, etc.

Getting x-chat to chat
MIKKILUSA: Ahh, RPM packages go with that. I downloaded the one Jack said for chat and never could get it to work. It said I needed other files? Reminded me of the windows and the missing .dll message.

VINCENT DANEN: Mikk, which program was it?

MIKKILUSA: It was the one Jack advertises on TechRepublic for these sessions. I forgot the name, sorry.

VINCENT DANEN: Mikk, do you mean x-chat?

MIKKILUSA: Yep, I think that’s it.

VINCENT DANEN: Why don’t you try to install it while we're chatting, perhaps I can help you get it to run. I run x-chat flawlessly over here. In fact, I'm running x-chat right now.

MIKKILUSA: It gave me a dependency problem: libpanel_applet.so.0 is needed by xchat-1.3.7-1.

VINCENT DANEN: Mikk, do you run GNOME or KDE?

MIKKILUSA: KDE

VINCENT DANEN: Ok, do this for me. Run "RPM -q ncurses" and let me know what RPM tells you (in a console).

MIKKILUSA: Ncurses-5.0-11 is what I got.

VINCENT DANEN: At the console, type "switchdesk," and you can change your default WM to GNOME, KDE, or AfterStep.

MIKKILUSA: KDE or FVWM are my choices.

VINCENT DANEN: KDE or FVWM are your only choices in switchdesk? Really?

MIKKILUSA: Are those the only ones that I see?

VINCENT DANEN: Yeah, are those the only options switchdesk gives you? Can you do a "RPM --verify ncurses" and make sure it comes out as everything installed ok? Or better yet, do an "ls /usr/lib/libpanel*" and see if you get a few files that match.

MIKKILUSA: I got /usr/lib/libpanel.so.4 twice.

VINCENT DANEN: Libpanel.so.4 is listed twice, with ncurses 5.0? You should have a libanel.so.5 in there. Which version of x-chat are you trying to install?

MIKKILUSA: The filename is xchat1371

VINCENT DANEN: Is it xchat1371.tar.gz or xchat-1.3.7-1.i386.RPM? I would suggest that you get the latest version. I believe it's 1.4.2.

MIKKILUSA: The file reads xchat1371.RPM..RPM.

VINCENT DANEN: Whoa... Don't use that then. That's a weird filename. Do you have the RedHat 6.2 CDs? Look in the /RedHat/RPMS directory for xchat* and install the RPM you find there. X-chat should come with RedHat.

MIKKILUSA: I see something that says unsatisfied libpanel_applet.so.O?

VINCENT DANEN: Mikk... with what? Are you installing the RPM from the RedHat CD?

MIKKILUSA: I got one pogo RedHat CD compliments of our sponsor, TechRepublic.

In the install package panel, that panel says 1.3.7-1 for the version.

VINCENT DANEN: Mikk, you've lost me. Are you trying to install the package "panel"? Can you do a "RPM -q gnome-libs" and let me know which version it is?

MIKKILUSA: Installing from the CD like you said seems to be working.

VINCENT DANEN: Always see if what you want to run is on the CD first. Another good place to look is in the RedHat contributions site (contrib.redhat.com, I believe) to see if a program you want to install is already packaged for RedHat. Saves a lot of grief. Likewise for Mandrake.

MIKKILUSA: A panel says RPM is a file management type panel.

VINCENT DANEN: RPM is a console program; you need to run it in a console or x-term.

MIKKILUSA: Cool. You taught me tons. Thanks, Vincent.

VINCENT DANEN: No problem. And not to slight RedHat at all, but I would seriously consider giving Mandrake 7.0 or 7.1 a try. It’s much better in my opinion. I've been using Mandrake for a long time, and it's my favorite distro.

MIKKILUSA: My x-chat is up and running now.

VINCENT DANEN: Awesome! I'm glad I was able to help you out with it. You'll find x-chat to be an excellent irc client. It’s the best out there in my opinion.

Using Linux as an application server
76327711: I'm ready to install a test station to see how it performs as a WAN server in a pure IP setup.

VINCENT DANEN: What kind of WAN are you setting up? And what do you mean by pure IP? TCP/IP networking only?

76327711: Yes, TCP/IP networking only. I want to use Linux as an application server for an order-entry program running at the hub with multiple remote sites inputting.

VINCENT DANEN: So this order-entry program is a client/server application then?

76327711: Can you install and run Windows or DOS programs on a Linux system: perhaps in a "window" or as a "session"?

VINCENT DANEN: Yes, you can run DOS programs in dosemu (the dos emulator). You can also run some Windows programs using WINE (the windows emulator), or you can install VMWare and have Win98 (or whatever) running in a virtual machine on your Linux desktop (but make sure you have a fast system with lots of RAM first).

76327711: If I want the Linux computer to be a host for remote access, can the remote users run the DOS and Windows program that are in dosmenu and WINE? Would these programs actually load on the remote computers or simply pass screens to them?

VINCENT DANEN: You'd have to install an X server for Windows on your Windows machine (usually commercial; if you're a member of TechProGuild you can read an article I wrote on a few different ones). You would then have to run an x-term on the remote machine (the Linux machine) and start up dosemu or the Win program to run in WINE and it might work.

Resetting kppp’s timeout
ANDY_DAVIS: Would the kppp setup be a topic we could discuss tonight?

VINCENT DANEN: I'll help you with what I can, but I must be honest...I've not used PPP in over a year and a half. I've been using cable modems and ADSL for the longest time, but I'll try to help out.

ANDY_DAVIS: I’ll be using cable modem and ADSL, real soon; however, I need to know how to extend the kppp timeout.

VINCENT DANEN: Does it timeout on inactivity? Is there no setting for disabling timeouts when you fire kppp out or edit the configuration?

ANDY_DAVIS: Would that be the same as modem timeout?

VINCENT DANEN: Yup. What's the modem timeout set to?

ANDY_DAVIS: I think I just found it in the PPP tab. I'll try that.

VINCENT DANEN: Are you in Linuxconf?

ANDY_DAVIS: No, I'm in the kppp setup. There's a series of tabs. One is PPP. There's a pppd timeout set to 30. Do you think 40 might help?

VINCENT DANEN: Andy, that depends. Try setting it to 0 and see if it disconnects you immediately after connecting. If not, it will most likely not disconnect you unless your ISP disconnects you. I guess it depends on how long you want/need the ppp connection to be alive while you're idle.

ANDY_DAVIS: I keep seeing "connect: ppp0 <--> /dev/ttyS0" then, "Hangup (SIGHUP)" "Modem hangup." I wonder why it immediately hangs up all the time...?

VINCENT DANEN: Do you have it set to 0 right now, or 40? What's the setting when you see it hang up immediately?

ANDY_DAVIS: It’s set to 30, so let me try changing the timeouts.

VINCENT DANEN: Andy, that's really odd. Has it always done this?

ANDY_DAVIS: Never. I just installed Mandrake 7.0 the other day and only started to configure kppp tonight. I had to pull out the laptop to get into the meeting.

VINCENT DANEN: Does kppp work fine on the laptop? Is it just the Mandrake machine that's giving you problems? Do you have all the settings identical between kppp on the RedHat machine and the kppp on the Mandrake machine? You’re sure there aren’t any discrepancies anywhere?

ANDY_DAVIS: I see I have the timeout set to 60. I did the laptop so long ago; I guess I forgot what tweaking I did.

Viewing X-windows from an overhead projector connected to a Linux laptop
ANDY_DAVIS: I have an X-windows question. Has anyone ever tried to connect a laptop running Linux to an overhead projector?

VINCENT DANEN: No, I’ve never tried that, but I have seen it done. At a Corel presentation, they had it hooked up to a projector, but I've never done it myself (I don't have access to a projector).

ANDY_DAVIS: While connected to my laptop, I could view the command line but not X-windows.

VINCENT DANEN: Do you have the projector set up as an external monitor or something? How did you set it up, or connect it to the laptop? I'm gonna guess here, if I can, since I've never done it.

ANDY_DAVIS: I connected it to the laptop's external video port. Again I could view the command line "ctrl-alt-f2" but X-Windows wasn’t there when I switched back.

VINCENT DANEN: And you had X-windows show up on the laptop display while connected to the projector?

ANDY_DAVIS: Yes, the IBMs let you toggle "ext-only; lcd/ext; or lcd & ext."

VINCENT DANEN: Have you tried it set to ext-only? Did X-windows show up that way?

ANDY_DAVIS: It seems I need to find the correct X-windows output for the projector. How can one select different X-window sessions?

VINCENT DANEN: It's not a matter of selecting different X-window sessions, because that can be done pretty easily (i.e. run one session on F7, another on F8, and so on. You're just starting different X servers). It's a matter of defining the output in the XF86Config file that is tricky. Most likely X doesn't know about the other output port and doesn't know to talk to it. That would be my guess. It’s something like having a dual-monitor display. With that you need two video cards.

Administering multiple Linux servers
JCARLISLE: Say you have ten or so Linux servers on your network and you want to provide connectivity for them, is there a central place or anything you can do to administer all the machines at the same time?

VINCENT DANEN: That depends on what you want to administer. If it's users and user home directories, I'd suggest installing NIS to manage that. But if you want to have, say, Apache running on all ten servers and be able to administer them all centrally, I'm afraid you won't be able to.

JCARLISLE: Is there any way to provide load balancing between the servers when they’re running Apache?

VINCENT DANEN: Phew. That’s a difficult question. You can do it if you're running Linux in a clustered environment (I believe). I have no experience with clustering, however, so I have no idea how you would go about setting it up.

JCARLISLE: Oh. Ok. I thought I had read somewhere that IBM had built a Linux cluster, and I was wondering how they pulled it off.

Troubleshooting Linux Mandrake
VINCENT DANEN: Since this is about Linux Mandrake troubleshooting, let me hand out a few tidbits of info for people looking for help, since this is a one-time guild meeting. The first place I'd suggest is the Linux Mandrake mailing lists, particularly the newbie and expert mailing lists, depending on your level. You can find and subscribe to them on Mandrake's site (www.linux-mandrake.com). Another good site is Mandrake User (www.mandrakeuser.org), and finally Freezer Burn discussion forums (www.freezer-burn.org).

Well, I think we're about done for the evening. Thank you for the great meeting folks!

76327711: Thanks for the good info.

MODERATOR: Well, I have to say this has been a great meeting. Special thanks to our speaker!

VINCENT DANEN: You're welcome. It's been fun as always!
Our Guild Meetings feature top-flight professionals leading discussions on interesting and valuable IT issues. You can find a schedule of Guild Meetings in your weekly TechProGuild Notes TechMail, or on the Guild Meeting calendar.

About

Vincent Danen works on the Red Hat Security Response Team and lives in Canada. He has been writing about and developing on Linux for over 10 years and is a veteran Mac user.

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