Small my own development on good Linux system administration.

Disclaimer: I’m rather green in this area, so this page is for my own reference. It may contain quite a bit of mistakes, so perhaps using it as a good source may not be a wise idea.

Version or Flavor

After some amount of researching I decided to go with OpenSUSE. There is a site that lists 14 (for some reason) most popular Linux distributions. Based on popularity I suppose. The that I really should concentrate on is DSL – Damn Small Linux. It should be very useful, especially for running on the old HW. But, perhaps it is a bit early at this point.

Why OpenSUSE? Just a guess. For all I know they all look the same to me at this point.

Dealing with legacy Windows

It would be nice to still have the Windows working on that machine. Not that I’m particularly attached to XP Home, but at least the wireless is working there.

So, nice SUSE installer allowed me to leave (in some compressed state. This state is that they removed system page file and defragment the drive) the Windows partition and then install Linux on a separate partition.

At the beginning I could see the windows C drive. However, after booting to Windows, Windows decided to run disk checker and the drive was unavailable after that. Will have to deal with it.

  • This small piece of SW can help with seeing the Linux partition from Windows – For some reason it tell me that my Linux ext2 volumes have I-node with size 256 and they should be 128. Don’t know why.
  • One interesting package to try in order to see Windows from Linux –

SUSE actually can mount C: drive. However, if the Windows system is hibernating (somehow SUSE knows about it) only read-only access is allowed. Inside the drive manager it is possible to specify the mounting of the windows partition.

tune2fs – adjust tunable filesystem parameters on second extended filesystems.


Finally the communication is working between Windows and Linux. I had to reformat the /Home Linux disk and reinstall the System as a result. Now there is one large partition with no separate /Home.


Interesting resource – The Linux System Administrator’s Guide. I just don’t know how old it is.


Not much new here. Still slowly reading the aforementioned guide.

It seems that the default package lacks a lot of useful utilities. Perhaps they are not really needed for an average user.


Not much happening. I seem to be happy with the system. Sort of.

It runs. It does what I need, which is mostly web browsing. Strangle but I don’t really know how to tune it properly. It seem to run slower than Windows. More learning is in order.

Ah, and wireless still doesn’t work.


How to create a USB pen drive with Linux is described here.
The procedure turned out to be quite easy, at least on Ubuntu. In fact, Ubuntu seems quite user friendly. With some minor inconveniences it works fine.


Good source for all sorts of Ubuntu help can be found here.


Battling to compile the tool chain on Ubuntu 8.10.


Well, the home computer porting to Linux is in a rather stalled state. However, I found a great substitute in the form of SUN’s VirtualBox.

VirtualBox is a free very easy to use virtual machine environment. It is a lot easier to configure than CoLinux, but seems not as heavy as VMWare’s stuff.  I started playing with different systems using it:

  • Minix – very small OS with kernel about 3k lines. It also has all the features of the μKernel. There are several resources on the web that are very useful to learn how to use this system:
  • Open Solaris.
  • Fedora.


This topic is coming back.
I wasn’t very happy with the installed system. It still felt bloated like Windows. I needed something feathery light. One really good candidate is the Puppy Linux. So far it flew on this old VAIO. Really. I just have to finally fix that WiFi driver.

Making a special kernel for Fedora is pretty straightforward:

  1. Get the source from
  2. Modify your original config file from the host system by using make oldconfig.
  3. make all
  4. make modules_install
  5. make install
  6. That’s it. This will add another entry into the grub config file for your new kernel.

Ubuntu is a bid different and more complicated.


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