Smokes your problems, coughs fresh air.

Tag: Linux (Page 1 of 4)

Writing bootable disk images (.iso, .img, etc.) to a USB stick from Windows

Because Windows doesn’t have dd, and I want to write the latest Mint LTS release to a USB task, I had to face the unpleasant task of finding a Windows tool to perform what’s a basic Unix operation. The good news is that I found one, and it’s open source: Win32 Disk Imager. It even has a version ≥ 1, titled: “Holy cow, we made a 1.0 Release”.

A screenshot of Win32 Disk Imager at work, writing Linux Mint 18.3 MATE 64bit to my SanDisk USB stick.

Win32 Disk Imager at work, writing Linux Mint 18.3 MATE 64bit to my SanDisk USB stick.

I found another open source tool, UNetbootin, but that tool didn’t recognize my non-MS-format formatted USB stick (which already tauted the installer for a previous Mint release).

In the end, Win32 Disk Imager also choked on the funky partition table left by the previous boot image, so I had to find out how reset the USB disk’s partition table in Windows:


Microsoft DiskPart version 10.0.16299.15

Copyright (C) Microsoft Corporation.
On computer: YTHINK

DISKPART> list disk

  Disk ###  Status         Size     Free     Dyn  Gpt
  --------  -------------  -------  -------  ---  ---
  Disk 0    Online          238 GB      0 B        *
  Disk 1    Online           29 GB    28 GB

DISKPART> select disk 1

Disk 1 is now the selected disk.

DISKPART> list partition

  Partition ###  Type              Size     Offset
  -------------  ----------------  -------  -------
  Partition 1    Primary           1706 MB  1024 KB
  Partition 2    Primary           2368 KB  1707 MB

DISKPART> select partition 2

Partition 2 is now the selected partition.

DISKPART> delete partition

DiskPart successfully deleted the selected partition.

DISKPART> select partition 0

The specified partition is not valid.
Please select a valid partition.

There is no partition selected.

DISKPART> select partition 1

Partition 1 is now the selected partition.

DISKPART> delete partition

DiskPart successfully deleted the selected partition.

DISKPART> create partition primary

DiskPart succeeded in creating the specified partition.


Leaving DiskPart...


Keeping an unsupported Mint/Ubuntu installation ‘up-to-date’

When a Linux Mint release goes out of support, together with the Ubuntu release on which it is based, the Ubuntu packages become unavailable. This can be annoying for old fossils like me who stubbornly contue to use a release that has gone out of support, as I’m doing with Mint 14 (Nadia), based on Ubuntu 12.10, (Quantal Quetzal). (“Yeah, yeah; I’ll upgrade soon; I promise.”) Luckily, the out-of-support packages remain available in a different location.

So, in /etc/apt/source.list, I could simply replace all instances of with, so that my /etc/apt/source.list now look like this:

deb nadia main upstream import
deb quantal main restricted universe multiverse
deb quantal-updates main restricted universe multiverse
deb quantal-security main restricted universe multiverse

Ubuntu Desktop Linux and Acer TravelMate 7513WSMi

My youngest sister has retired her big-ass (17″) Acer TravelMate (model 7513WSMi 7510) with a more modern offering from Sony. That was last year. Now, she thought it’d be a good idea to donate it to our oldest sister. But since the thing has always “run” like a pig with Windows Vista, her girl-geek instincts thought it better if I’d equip the old monster with Ubuntu Linux instead.

AMD 64bit

I’m also considering upgrading my own laptop to 64 bit. (They’ve told me that, really, the 32 bit age is over.) So, the first thing I’m trying to find out (now that I’m getting on the 64 bit train) is if this thing supports 64 bit. I can’t really think of a quick way to find out, so I’m just going to create a 64bit installation CD and see how that works.

Or, I could have just popped open the hood to see the “AMD Turion64x2 Mobile Technology” sticker. 😯


After changing the boot order, the installation CD (burned from my T61 using “wodim -data ubuntu-10.10-desktop-amd64.iso”) seems to be booting despite the worrying sounds that seem to indicate that the laptop is trying to rip apart and eat the disc.

I’m surprised how good the current installation program looks and that it asks me if I want to “download updates while installing” and “install third-party software”. Nice.

Great idea to ask all the annoying questions (timezone, etc.) during installation instead of after! I’m amused with how much I’m behind the time if I see all the promotional screens for new and improved software which is meant to keep me inspired during the installation process. “ is fully compatible with Microsoft Office[…]” Am I really that much behind with the times? Nah, I can’t imagine. I must still have some very, very nasty Excel sheet lying around somewhere, gathering dust. If I feed that monster of a thing to OpenOffice, then I’m pretty sure… Yeah, that’s going to be fun. 😈

Post-installation configuration

I had expected to spend at least an hour or two hunting around forums to find solutions for obscure driver-related issues and other nuisances. But no issues popped up. It just worked. Ubuntu is very compatible with the Acer TravelMate 7513WSMi! 😀

So, I spent some of the time saved on setting a user pic and a few other niceties, but I refrained from doing anything fancy, because I’ve figured out a new sister support strategy that I might blog about later. (It involves a four-hour work-week…)

[For my own reference, I started on the first draft of this post on Januari 14.]

Ubuntu and SiS 671 VGA chipset driver

The video on my mom’s laptop, A Fujitsu Siemens Esprimo Mobile V5535, had recently gone awry. At the time, the laptop was running Ubuntu 9.04 (I think). Reconfiguring the driver didn’t do much good, so I upgraded the machine to 10.04, hoping that that would fix it. It didn’t.

lspci|grep -i vga
01:00.0 VGA compatible controller: Silicon Integrated Systems [SiS] 771/671 PCIE VGA Display Adapter (rev 10)

I solved the problem by manually installing a replacement driver that I found through a blog post that I found through another blog post that I found through a forum post.

Or something like that. Who cares? The point is that I’m uploading the files I found here so that I don’t have to jump through MegaUpload hoops again (and sit through MedaAnnoying ads):

Installing the binary driver wasn’t too difficult. (I just always cringe when something happens outside of package management.) 🙁

mkdir sis; sis
unzip *zip
sudo cp sis671_drv.* /usr/lib/xorg/modules/drivers
#Edit /etc/X11/xorg.conf and set `Driver   "sis671"` on the "Device" Section
[ -z $EDITOR ] && EDITOR=/usr/bin/vim
$EDITOR /etc/x11/xorg.conf

Restarting the X server after that was a bit difficult, since the upgrade to 10.04 also fucked up the console (that damn framebuffer) and because Ctrl-Alt-Backspace is disabled by default. I had to reboot. (Ok, I hate to admit: it’s not that it’s difficult, it’s just wrong.)

Anyway, after the system restart, it worked just fine again. The X log agrees:

(II) SIS: driver for SiS chipsets: SIS5597/5598, SIS530/620,
        SIS6326/AGP/DVD, SIS300/305, SIS630/730, SIS540, SIS315, SIS315H,
        SIS315PRO/E, SIS550, SIS650/M650/651/740, SIS330(Xabre),
        SIS[M]661[F|M]X/[M]741[GX]/[M]760[GX]/[M]761[GX]/662, SIS340,
        [M]670/[M]770[GX], [M]671/[M]771[GX]
(II) SIS: driver for XGI chipsets: Volari Z7 (XG20),
        Volari V3XT/V5/V8/Duo (XG40/XG42)
(II) Primary Device is: PCI 01@00:00:0
(WW) Falling back to old probe method for sis671
(--) Assigning device section with no busID to primary device
(--) Chipset [M]671/[M]771[GX] found
(II) SIS(0): SiS driver (2006/10/17-1, compiled for
(II) SIS(0): Copyright (C) 2001-2005 Thomas Winischhofer  and others
(II) SIS(0): *** See
(II) SIS(0): *** for documentation, updates and a Premium Version.
(II) SIS(0): RandR rotation support not available in this version.
(II) SIS(0): Dynamic modelist support not available in this version.
(II) SIS(0): Screen growing support not available in this version.
(II) SIS(0): Advanced Xv video blitter not available in this version.
(II) SIS(0): Advanced MergedFB support not available in this version.
(--) SIS(0): sisfb not found
(--) SIS(0): Relocated I/O registers at 0x9000

Then, to also fix the console:

grep vga16fb /etc/modprobe.d/* || sudo sh -c "echo blacklist vga16fb >> /etc/modprobe.d/blacklist-framebuffer.conf"
sudo update-initramfs -u
sudo reboot
# pray 

I had two other issues that popped up after the upgrade the 10.04. I was inclined to blame the first on the new video driver, but I solved it by disabling “Hardware Acceleration” in the Flash plugin preferences. [source]

Another problem that confused my mother was that the volume control icon had gone. [solution]

Effective CLI habits

Just an example of some effective CLI magic that I copy/pasted into a draft aboutexactly a year ago. Can you see what’s happening? I’m moving some selected files into a subdirectory.

$ ls *png
boucoule-17jaar-met-steen.png         evening_cloud.png  small-map-molenweg.png  tile11.png
boucoule-2001-2002-face5-400x300.png  hardwood-logo.png  step-01.png             tile9a.png
$ ls *png|while read f; do echo $f; done
$ ls *png|while read f; do svn mv $f index; done
A         index/boucoule-17jaar-met-steen.png
D         boucoule-17jaar-met-steen.png
A         index/boucoule-2001-2002-face5-400x300.png
D         boucoule-2001-2002-face5-400x300.png
A         index/evening_cloud.png
D         evening_cloud.png
A         index/hardwood-logo.png
D         hardwood-logo.png
A         index/small-map-molenweg.png
D         small-map-molenweg.png
A         index/step-01.png
D         step-01.png
A         index/tile11.png
D         tile11.png
A         index/tile9a.png
D         tile9a.png

Bonus points if you notice that I could have moved the JPEGs and PNGs in one command instead of doing the same thing for the second time for the JPEGs as below. (I probably forgot that I also had some JPEGs lying around, or there must have been some other lame excuse.)

$ ls *jpg
bruggetje-225x300.jpg  favicon.jpg  purple-rowan.jpg        rowan-2007.jpg                rowan-wilderness.jpg
bruggetje.jpg          hekje.jpg    rowan-2007-448x300.jpg  rowan-wilderness-400x300.jpg
$ ls *jpg|grep -v favi
$ ls *jpg|grep -v favi|while read f; do svn mv $f index; done
A         index/bruggetje-225x300.jpg
D         bruggetje-225x300.jpg
A         index/bruggetje.jpg
D         bruggetje.jpg
A         index/hekje.jpg
D         hekje.jpg
A         index/purple-rowan.jpg
D         purple-rowan.jpg
A         index/rowan-2007-448x300.jpg
D         rowan-2007-448x300.jpg
A         index/rowan-2007.jpg
D         rowan-2007.jpg
A         index/rowan-wilderness-400x300.jpg
D         rowan-wilderness-400x300.jpg
A         index/rowan-wilderness.jpg
D         rowan-wilderness.jpg

Posting to WordPress via the command-line

In February I was interested in posting to WordPress from the command-line, a possibility that I enjoyed when I wanted to apply some CLI-magic to some of my MediaWiki installations in the past.

I came across a great Perl module (WordPress::CLI) by Leo Charre. It depends on WordPress::XMLRPC

Another approach is to use the appfs FUSE filesystem, which uses WordPress’ support for the Atom Publishing Protocol. There’s another FUSE filesystem, BlogFS. This one depends on WordPress’ XML-RPC instead of its Atom interface.


grml seems like an interesting Debian-based Linux Live CD. It seems interesting because “[it] includes a collection of GNU/Linux software especially for system administrators and users of texttools.”

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