29 April 2007

Debian/Lenny on MacBook Pro USB

I had been trying to install Linux on a 1GB USB flash drive connected to my MacBook Pro (MBP) since the past few months. Although there are several places describing how to do it using either Boot Camp or by resizing the hard disk partitions, my sole requirement was no changes to the Mac OS X installed on the hard disk.

Boot Camp was out of question as its main aim is to help install Windows by providing drivers for the Mac hardware. The other option was using rEFIt and resizing the hard disk. I had tried this earlier with mactel-linux patches for the kernel and was able to get a login prompt but no video. That process involved several steps using debootstrap and compiling the kernel with the patches.

However, with the release of Debian 4.0 (Etch), the debian-installer also got a lot of attention and installs a relatively new 2.6.18 kernel. So armed with a netinstall d-i CD (23 April build, 26th doesn't recognize network card) I was able to install Debian Testing (Lenny) on the USB disk with XFCE4 as the desktop environment with 130MB of swap space partition and 157MB to spare after installing dillo web browser.

The installation of Lenny on the USB flash disk has not required any change on the internal MBP hard disk and the Mac OS X installation is completely oblivious of the Debian install. If I don't press the "Option" button at boot time, Mac OS X boots up, otherwise with the USB connected it asks which OS to boot.

Next post gives the link for installation steps. The process was based on information gathered mainly from the Debian wiki's Macbook and Macbook Pro pages, and also here.

16 April 2007

Merry Springmas

Current forecast shows light snow and so does the view in my window. And it is 16th of April today! Merry Springmas everyone.

Historical data says that maximum and minimum temperatures in April are 11°C and 1°C with a mean of 6°C. The current deviation in temperature isn't huge then. However, on the snow and rain front the weatherman says that there will be around 10-15cm of snow and 10-15cm of rain from Sunday overnight to Monday overnight! Historically, 10cm of more rain happens in April for only 2 days whereas no day sees more than 5cm of snow in April. In 2007, there will be at least 1 day recorded with around 10cm of snow.

10 April 2007

Checking Firefox Version

I am trying to write a script in Javascript* which would inform a visitor's using Firefox if they are running an older version. Although Firefox does automatically check if there is an update and informs the user, I have seen visitors with versions like 0.8, 1.0.x, 1.5.y (y<11),>

Automatic updates are helpful for home users at least as corporate users might not have the rights to upgrade their software without administrator access. However, informing them with a visual warning on a web page could help in avoiding potential problems of using vulnerable versions.

Presently, the script checks the CVS branch tag i.e. rv: value with a hard coded value and prints a warning for users with older versions. Is there any way that the hard coded value(s) can be acquired automatically from say mozilla.org server and checked with visitor's user agent information? I don't know much about AJAX but would it be helpful in this case? No AJAX compatibility issues as the only browser we are checking is Firefox.

* - using Javascript because it runs client side, is available to all Firefox users and those who have disabled Javascript would most likely not need the warning to know it.

8 April 2007

Its Out!

After a delay of about 5months, Debian GNU/Linux 4.0 codenamed Etch has finally been released. This release comes 22 months after Sarge was released. Other major happenings in the Debian world were the Sarge update 3.1r6 and electing of Sam as the new Debian Project Leader. Now the craziness begins as updates with new packages will fall in to unstable and testing branches.

I will be continuing my Debian party when this finishes.


Colours 1

Colours at one of the many customs preceding a traditional wedding.