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Upgrade Mandriva 2010 to 2011

Part of the fun of Linux, for me at least, is the ability to fix things when they go wrong. And things generally go wrong when you don't follow the advice of conventional wisdom. Plus, my personal mantra is "fix it until it breaks".

One of those great pieces of common wisdom when discussing Mandriva is that you only upgrade within major versions, like from Mandriva 2010.1 to 2010.2, but when moving between major versions, like from Mandriva 2010 to 2011, you do a clean install.

If you have followed other convention wisdom, you have a separate physical partition for /home. With that configuration in place, you can do a clean install of the root filesystem and keep all you personal files and settings. But that can also pose problems since there is not always a clean upgrade path for the personal configuration files that live in the dotfile and hidden directories of your home directory. More on that at another time.

I wanted to upgrade (not update) from Mandriva 2010.2 to 2…

More fun with Linux

There are two things that can help you to have some fun with Linux.

The first is VirtualBox. Since you are not using it for commercial purposes, you may download and install the full-featured version for your host operating system. If you are a MS Windows user curious about Linux, this is ideal for you. If you are a Linux user curious about different distros, this works as well.

After you install VirtualBox on your host operating system, you need to learn how to use it. the VirtualBox site has excellent documentation. My suggestion for configuration are give the virtual machine the maximum amount of RAM and video memory that is practical and set the network choice to "bridged" rather than "NAT".

Next stop is to download the NetbootCD. This CD contains enough of an OS to enable wired Ethernet connectivity and download and install several Linux distros via FTP.

What can you install?


UbuntuDebian GNU/LinuxFedoraopenSUSEMandriva LinuxScientific LinuxCentOSSlackware

As w…

Mageia

The first release of Mageia 1 is out. You can download it from here and read the release notes here.

If you've used Mandriva Linux, you'll feel right at home with Mageia. Mandriva has always had a reputation of working well for both the novice user and the power user. Installation is typically easy and hardware support is among the best of any distro. The user and administrative tools are comprehensive and easy to use. Of course, under the hood, it's all Linux and all configuration files are plain text files and all a competent administrator needs do is to choose a shell and a text editor.

Mandriva has also been known for excellent default fully-featured configurations of the KDE, GNOME, XFCE and LXDE desktop environments as well as a broad range of available applications. Mageia is no exception in this regard.

For the average user, the changes are mostly cosmetic. The Mageia art, colors and graphics are very well done (and contributed by the Mageia user community). But …

Reverse SSH Tunneling

I have a small auto shop and having Internet access there comes in handy when I need to find auto-related information, order parts or just surf the web and do some email. Until recently, I've used a EVDO modem and got 10x dial-up speeds, but at $65 a month, it just got to be too great an expense for such low speeds. My next-door neighbor came to the rescue and allowed me to share his fiber-optic Internet access via a wireless connection.

But that arrangement came with a downside. Previously, I left the EVDO connection open and could ssh into my work computer (all my systems run Linux). But now I had no access to his router/firewall and when I asked my friendly neighbor about port-forwarding an ssh connection, all I got was a blank stare.

Luckily, Jason from my TWUUG group suggested tunneling over ssh, diagrammed in the image above. This is how it's done.

On my shop computer, I run:

$ ssh -R 2222:localhost:22 hoyt@home.ip.net

and then on my home computer, I run:

$ ssh -p 2222 ho…