Mounting ISO’s files in Linux

Linux systems have a built in ability to mount ISO files which then can be used as normal cd or dvds . The command to do this is
mount – o loop /path/to/isofile.iso /mount/foldername

Things like this make me love Linux more as performing a similar trick in Windows would have required a third party software to be installed which would mean more work for a lazy guy like me 😉 .

Free and Open Source Software

Many in the non Windows world are confused between Free/Open source software. Free software is considered to free of cost while open source software is considered software with source given to you . These 2 camps have different philosophies. This really confuses many people and even I was confused when i had come across these terms. It took some time for me to actually understand what these actually mean. Below is a short attempt from me.

Free Software: In terms of cost these can be free of cost or NOT. The free part is the freedom you will be given to modify,redistribute this software to others. Just FYI non free software not necessarily give you the legal rights to modify,redistribute the modified software. Thus cost is not the philosophy behind it. Free software can be charged . A software to be called as Free software needs to fulfill the requirements which they have defined.

This is the quote from the website of Free Software Foundation

“Free software” is a matter of liberty, not price. To understand the concept, you should think of “free” as in “free speech,” not as in “free beer.”

If you need the full text check the Free Software Definition available at FSF.

Linux is an example of Free Software for it allows anybody to see,modify,redistribute the software.Only the name “Linux” is copyrighted, the code is not.

Open Source: Open source is a branched out version of free software with some philosophical differences. The software which falls in this category are software for which the source of these will be given to you but not necessarily you can change or redistribute it. For eg Company ABC might make a software open source but it might not give the rights to anybody to modify the software and would own full rights to it. This would be the software with a company selling software to a defense organization who might to know what the code actually does so that it does not compromise on security. They may not want to change the software though.

Installing Fedora 8 from hard disk

As many might be aware it is possible to install Fedora and many other Linux distributions from media other than CD/DVD’s.

I installed Fedora 8 from my hard disk . My machine is quite old with just a CD writer in it ( am a poor guy after all) . I did have a Broadband connection using which i had downloaded the DVD iso of fedora 8. I had the option of creating and burning 5 CD’s but installation from hard disk had the advantage of speed over regular CD’s. Also my installation would be faster coz i don’t have to keep putting in cd’s during the installation. The only CD i had created was the boot CD which was used to start the Installtion process (although it was not necessary as i later came to know).

Here are the steps which need to be followed for installing Fedora DVD version from the hard disk.

Step1 : Download the DVD iso from the Fedora project website at
You can also copy it to your disk from your friends hard disk who already has the iso.

Step2: Check if a FAT32 partition is available on your hard disk which can accommodate the DVD iso. ( i did try installing with other Linux file systems such as ext2, ext3 but was not successful. Still am not sure whether i did try all combinations) . Save the iso file in the root of the partition and not inside any folder (still not sure why it never worked for me when i placed the iso in folders). I created a partition and formated it with the FAT32 filesystem.
In my case the partition name was /dev/sda9 . I mounted it and copied the DVD iso in the root of the partition.

Step3: Thats it! we are now ready for installation.

Step4: Once the installation starts it would ask for the media you want the installation to start. Select the media as had disk and then in the next screen put in the path eg. /dev/sda9. It would let you choose the iso file and from that point the magic begins.

The installation speed is also much higher compared to a regular CD/DVD installation .These steps are distribution dependent and can be applied for other distributions also.

Fedora 8

Finally I made the jump and installed Fedora 8 on my machine. After using it for some days I can say that it is a quite stable version as i have not come across any thing that is broken till now. Overall a nice polished and more refined version than previous versions. All those looking to upgrade can surely go for it without having second thoughts.

I did have issues installing it but probably thats more due to my lack of knowledge. I did learn some new things while installing it. I will be posting a separate post for the method i used for installation and which i think may be useful to those with old machines.

OpenOffice 2.3

I recently upgraded to OpenOffice 2.3 and was in for a little surprise. Nopes there was not any bright lights coming in. The program simply could not start and would give out an error “no suitable windowing system found, exiting.

As always the next step was to Google about it. After some googling I did find an solution for this. Open Office 2.3 had a problem if SELinux was enabled and SELinux was enabled by default in my Fedora Core5 and may be later versions of Fedora

The solution was to run the following command in the ‘program’ directory where OpenOffice is installed. In my case i had installed it under /opt/openoffice.org2.3

cd /opt/openoffice.org2.3/program
chcon -t texrel_shlib_t *.so

This did solve the problem and i was able to start the OpenOffice application correctly.

Moral of the story:
Be ready for surprises whenever you upgrade as things may not work out smoothly always.

Google Desktop

Those Linux users who use Google for every internet search will be happy to hear that there exists a Linux version of Google Desktop – the Desktop search tool. Now u can get blazing fast search results in seconds. The tool is amazing. It literally feels like the real Google on your machine.Like most modern search tools it runs in background and utilizes the idle time available on your machine. It maintains an index of all the available files and searches this index when you type in an filename to search. First time usage will be slow and will not show all the results since the indexing process may not be completed. The status of the indexing process can be seen from the index -> Status option available which looks like the one in this screen shot.

The tool also has options to exclude items from indexing so that they do not appear in search results. Also it integrates nicely with the on line version merging the on line search results with the desktop one.

Overall a nice tool but be warned that once you get into the habit of using it you might get addicted and may behave weirdly in situations where you cannot get to use the tool.

XMMS song names in Pidgin Status.

I was wondering on how to display my song title as the status for Pidgin much like provided by 3rd party tools for yahoo messenger or for Gtalk when i came across this piece of info.

xmms has a built in plugin called ‘Song Change’ which allows one to execute any command when a song changes or when the play list ends.

Pidgin also has a command line tool called ‘purple-remote’ where in one can send commands to Pidgin.

This is all the information you will need.Put the following command to the xmms plugin configuration box

purple-remote “setstatus?message=%s”

xmms would replace the %s with the song title.

Now start a song and Voila! the song title appears in Pidgin status.


Pidgin previously known as ‘gaim’ is a kool multi protocol messneger available for Linux.

You can have your yahoo, gtalk contacts in a single place . The interface is cool without the usual bloat added by other messengers.

PS. On my Fedora core 5 system the application installed correctly but would not start. I found the problem already logged in at the pidgin bug database and the solution also . The problem it seems was that pidgin required a new version of library called lib-purple whereas in fedora core 5 a older version was present. Updated my lib-purple library and then pidgin popped up on the screen with its full glory.


Many newbies in the Linux world hear regularly about LAMP. LAMP is a acronym used for the combination of LINUX, APACHE, Mysql and PHP . This combination is used to develop and power web based solutions. All of the components are free and open source. LAMP is quite popular the reason being that all the components are really good in doing their job.

Also the ‘AMP’ in LAMP ensures portability since your solution would not depend upon the operating system. So the development of such a solution might happen in Linux but the deployment of the solution may be on a Windows server. The migration to any other OS would be trouble free as your solution would only depend upon Apache,Mysql and PHP.

Though ‘AMP’ ensures portablity its recommended to use the ‘full’ LAMP for your solutions as the software stack has undergone rigorous testing by thousands of people who have successfully deployed it in production web sites.