Linux+ Training in Charleston

I will be teaching a 4.5 day Linux+ training class in Charleston, SC, the week of September 21.

CompTIA Linux+ is a vendor-neutral certification, generic across distributions, targeted to individuals with a minimum of six to 12 months of practical Linux experience. The CompTIA Linux+ exam covers fundamental management of Linux systems from the command line, user administration, file permissions, software configuration and management of Linux-based clients.

This class is preparation for that exam using Fedora Linux. Even if you do not take the exam this is an excellent training class for relatively new Linux administrators.

The class will be held at DTC Charleston, a local training center.

1064 Gardner Road
Suite 212
Charleston, SC 29407

Sales: 843-402-0983
Main: 843-225-3494
Toll-free: 866-705-4522
Fax: 775-370-0477


If you are interested in attending this class, please contact DTC.

DataBook® Navigation Improved

I have installed a new WordPress plugin which provides easier navigation for the DataBooks. At the top and bottom of the text portion of each page you will now find three new options:

  • Up one Level
  • Previous
  • Next

These options allow you to navigate through the Databooks more like you would a hard-copy book. You can now navigate to the next page of the previous page just by clicking on the respective link. You can also navigate to the next higher level by clicking on the Up One Level link.

Each link also has the name of the page to which you will turn when you click on it.

I hope this improves your experience of the DataBooks.

CDs and DVDs that Won’t Mount

Have you ever had a CD/DVD, whether data, video or audio that would not mount or play? Me too.

Fedora Linux (and others) is supposed to recognize that a CD or DVD has been inserted into the drive, and the Device Notifier will pop up a small window that displays “Devices recently plugged in.” This allows you to open the device with Dolphin or some other application.

The Device Notifier window pops up when a new storage device is plugged in or inserted into a drive.

The Device Notifier window pops up when a new storage device is plugged in or inserted into a drive.

Sometimes you can insert a CD or DVD and nothing happens; it is as if the disk does not exist. This can happen if there is a problem with the disk itself or the drive. The most common reason for this problem is dirt or dust, although scratches can cause problems like this, too.

If the DVD drive is one that exposes the read/write head when it is open, such as the very thin ones used in laptops, you can clean the DVD drive read optics with a very soft camel hair brush, or use a can of compressed air to blow the dirt off the lens. Drive cleaning CDs can be used on other types of DVD drives. The other thing you can do is clean the bottom surface (the surface without the printing on it) of the CD or DVD with a soft, dry cotton cloth. Rubbing it on a clean cotton tee-shirt works well.

Warning about Lexmark Printers and Linux

If you are considering using Linux at any time in the near future, you should definitely not purchase a Lexmark printer of any kind. The company does not support Linux in any way and there are no working drivers of any kind available for most Lexmark printers.

I use Brother and HP for my printing needs and they work quite well. Even the HP All-in-one printers work very well. Xerox printers are also well supported and I have a large network attached Xerox copier/fax/printer working at one of my customers.

That is not to say you won’t have to do some fussing to get even some supported printers to print, but most Lexmark printers will never print under Linux.

Fedora Frog 1.0-11.0.0 released

This Bash program provides the Linux administrator an easy way to install applications not installed by default during a Fedora Core installation procedure, and applications that are not part of the standard distribution. It also tweaks some configuration items. Additional repositories are required beyond the normal Core, Updates, and Extras, and they can be added using Fedora Frog as well. Frog installs media players such as RealPlayer, Mplayer, VLC, Kaffiene and Xine. It also installs Thunderbird, Firefox, GNUCash, Adobe Reader and Yumex, and some things specifically for System Admins such as chkrootkit. Fedora Frog is currently supported on Fedora 10 and 11. Support for all previous versions of Fedora has been removed.

The latest version of Fedora Frog can be downloaded at

Fedora Frog Update

For those of you who are users of my Fedora Frog program, I am currently working on an update that will add support for Fedora 10 and 11 and remove support for all previous versions of Fedora. I am revising the list of packages that it installs because some of the older packages are no longer needed or in some cases have not been updated in a long time so are no longer relevant. In other cases I am adding packages that are now available through the new RPMFusion repositories. I hope to finish this major update within two weeks.

If you are not familiar with Fedora Frog, it provides the Linux administrator an easy way to install applications not installed by default during a Fedora installation procedure, and applications that are not part of the standard distribution. Additional repositories are required beyond the normal Fedora, and Updates. These additional repositories are automatically added using Fedora Frog as well.

When these updates are complete, Fedora Frog will be available for download from Sourceforge at Previous versions of Fedora Frog are and will continue to be available there. Unfortunately some functions may not work because many of the repositories are no longer valid or the packages have been removed from the repositories. Use those old versions at your own risk.

DataBook® Troubleshooting Documents

I have recently finished adding some new documents to the Troubleshooting section of the DataBook for Linux Administrators. This includes some general troublesooting tips as well as some information on troublesooting ElectroMagnetic Interference (EMI) problems. Be sure to refer to this latter section on EMI problems if you are experiencing otherwise unexplainable and unresolvable symptoms.

Announcing the Formation of Millennium Technology Consulting LLC

I would like to announce that I have now started my own company, Millennium Technology Consulting LLC. We use Free Open Source Software (FOSS) to  save money, improve security and extend the life of existing computers for small to medium sized businesses. Open Source Software is high quality, and it is more secure and much better supported than most proprietary restricted software.

We provide Linux Consulting and Open Source Consulting services in the Raleigh Durham and RTP area of North Carolina.

Check us out and see how Millennium Technology Consulting LLC can help your business.

Fedora 10 Installation Problems

I have now installed or upgraded to Fedora 10 on all but one of my computers. Some go very easily and others not so much. Today I upgraded the server that runs my email and all of my web sites including this one. It was not so easy. I was able to resolve the problems but it was not straightforward.

The symptoms were that I could ping the box but SSH would not work in either direction, I could not login to the GUI but I could login to the virtual consoles. For details on how I fixed this see the article “SSH and YUM Don’t Work After Fedora 10 Installation”. The root cause of this problem was that one critical RPM package was not installed during the upgrade.

The point is that I have had several problems during upgrades to Fedora 10 from Fedora 8, and a couple when just doing a basic install. Almost all installations failed to work correctly until all updates were installed. So be sure to install all updates to a Fedora 10 installation or upgrade before attempting to do productive work.

Fedora 10 — Almost Done

Having skipped Fedora 9, particularly KDE 4.0 and its related applications, as being not ready to use in any type of production environment, and noting that was stated by the developers of KDE 4.0, I find that Fedora 10 is very close.

When Fedora 10 became available in December 2008, I installed it in a Sun xVM VirtualBox session and played with it there for a few days. It suffered from none of the problems I noted in my review when I first tried Fedora 9. I was able to login, use the applications I needed under KDE 4.1 and found only a few minor annoyances.

I then installed it on an older Dell notebook on which it worked fine. So yesterday I took the plunge and upgraded my primary workstation and that is working very nicely as well.

I will post a more complete review on this site as I have a bit of time to log my experiences.

Kickstart Article Published in Linux Magazine

An article I co-authored with Bruce Garland, a co-worker at Cisco Systems, has been published in the June 2008 hardcopy issue of Linux Magazine. The article has just (August 2008) been put up on the Linux Magazine web site at:

Here also is a link to the article on this DataBook® web site Complete Kickstart.