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Showing posts from 2015

BIOS Update for a Linux Computer

Most hardware will need a BIOS update at some time and it's relatively easy to do. When you use Linux, however, you face an additional hurdle since occasionally upgrading the BIOS requires an installer that only works using Windows. Of course, no one wants to install a full Microsoft Windows OS just to spend less than 30 seconds to update the BIOS, then turn around and re-install Linux.

What if we could boot into Windows using a CD-ROM and run the win32 BIOS update program using that? Check out FalconFour's Ultimate Boot CD. The best source for it is his Facebook page or his Wordpress page. Those pages provide a link to download it via torrent or a direct link. The current version is v4.61.

Simply boot into the WindowsXP environment and run the BIOS installation program. It's that easy.

In my case, I was updating the BIOS of an HP 1120NR notebook.

Compiling and Running Quake2 in a modern browser window in Mageia5

Slashdot ran a story about getting Quake2 running in a browser windows. That is very cool.

There were installation instruction at quake2-gwt-port except the instructions were not for "Linux" but only for Linux distros that provide apt-get (probably Ubuntu). That is not cool at all.

While it would have been possible for them to write their HOWTO instructions in a generic way (provide a list of all dependencies, provide links to source code for needed apps not included in every Linux distro, etc.), they just assumed that everybody uses Ubuntu. Bad. Bad. Bad.

Here's what I needed to do to get it compiled and installed on my Mageia5 system. Read those Ubuntu-ed instructions first for the details. You should be using sudo to run commands that need root privileges. (All the following commands are written on one line even if they appear to be on multiple lines.)

$ sudo urpmi mercurial ant gcj-tools javacc lame vorbis-tools

$ hg clone …

Easy Upgrade from Mageia4 to Mageia5

Back in the early days of Linux, the changes to the Operating System were so dramatic that even when updating withing the same distro, in-place point release updates were problematic enough and it was always recommended that a major version release be done from scratch. There were just too many major changes to the underlying subsystems and package naming conventions. Doing an in-place update was just asking for trouble.

Modern distros have matured quite a bit, although there are occasionally some major subsystem changes being made. Yet it's never been easier to do an in-place major version upgrade.

I just did the upgrade on several Mageia4 systems and the results were consistent and satisfactory, not to mention simple.

Step 0.

Always backup critical information. Have a Mageia4 recovery disc on hand.

Read the Release Notes and the Errata for Mageia 5.Other than updated applications, teh biggest change is support for UEFI. Review the Mageia 5 Documentation about the install…

Dynamic DNS Without a special ddns client

There are several Dynamic DNS clients available for Linux. I have never had them work satisfactorily with my DNS provider ZoneEdit.

Fortunately, it is possible to use wget to send the current IP address to ZoneEdit (put this command all on one line, of course).

$/usr/bin/wget -O - --http-user=USER_NAME --http-passwd=PASSWORD ''

This can be run as any user.

I have found it useful to use cron to run it. Instead of a specific time, I just use the macro @daily in my crontab. It might be better for ZoneEdit to only run it every few days.

NOTE: ZoneEdit is migrating to a user key rather than a password and, while they are maintaining backwards compatibility for now, you should migrate as soon as practical.

DOS Apps and Games

This page is just a placeholder for links to DOS applications and games.

Old Apps at provides old versions of popular software.

The 6.0 DOS version of Norton Commander can be downloaded at

DOS shareware versions of Doom and Hexen are here:

Other classic PC games may be available from here:

A great source for DRM-free games is GOG.

Software for MS-DOS machines that represent entertainment and games at

 Free classic games on DOS Games Archive at
And if you need DOS, there's FreeDOS.

To make DOS games run better, update the DOS extender they use.

Have fun!