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Setting up a TOR Relay on Mageia6

The Onion Router (TOR) is not a server frequently run by most Linux users, especially North American users. Many countries actively persecute their citizens for their beliefs and anonymity is important for their safety, so I wanted to participate in the effort to assist this project by running a TOR relay server.

I have a dedicated computer that runs a webserver for a hobby site, so I felt that it would be the logical hardware to run the TOR server. It is important for TOR to have access to the correct and accurate time, so the NTP client needs to be installed and configured for your timezone.

Configure the NTP Server
$ xsudo drakwizard ntp
and follow the instructions here to install and configure it. You can launch X-applications over ssh using xsudo.

Install the TOR Application
$ sudo urpmi tor
This will also install the SOCKS proxy software. You may also install a GUI configuration tool, vidalia. We won't be using vidalia, so it won't be covered here.

How to Manage TOR
Vidalia …
Recent posts

Creating a Custom Mageia Repository

As extensive as the Mageia RPM package repositories are, they don't include every application possible and it makes sense to create a local repository of these additional RPMs since I have several Mageia workstations.

Using a remote workstation running lighttpd that acts as a webserver for a car club, it is also configured to allow each user to use ~/public_html as their personal webserver, and so added mageia as a user and will host the custom RPM files there. Configuration for lighttpd can be found here.

There must also be a way for urpmi to know what files are available, so install repoctl which includes the application genhdlists. There is also a stand-alone application, genhdlists2 that accomplishes the same thing and that's what was used here.

$ cd /home/mageia/public_html
$ genhdlists .

If you also use yum of dnf, install mrepo to accomplish the same thing.

Add a Local Repository

To add the new http repository, use urpmi.addmedia.  For example,

$ urpmi.addmedia [options]

$ …

Creating TASK-* RPMs for Mageia: task-codeweavers-essentials

A task-*.rpm package is a metapackage, a special type of package that installs other RPM packages that are delineated as dependencies of the task-*.rpm. They contain no actual data, they just cause the system to install  other RPM packages as directed.

There is a need to create such a package to compliment the installation of Codeweaver's crossover application. As explained in another post, Mageia is a distro unsupported by Codeweavers and has different names for the needed dependencies that are provided by Mageia. Rather than struggle through a long list of packages to install, it would be easier to invoke

$ sudo urpmi crossover-essentials-task

and be done with it.

The first step to create such a package is to build the .spec file. I chose to modify an existing .spec file, so I started with the .spec file from task-lxde. It is shown below.

 Name: task-lxde
Version: 7
Release: %mkrel 1
Epoch: 1
Summary: Metapackage for lxde
Group: Graphical desktop/Other
License: GPL
URL: http://lxde.org
#…

Install Codeweaver's Crossover on Mageia Linux

I have used Codeweaver's Crossover product since it was originally offered. Sadly, I install it on one of Codeweaver's unsupported distros, Mageia. This is, of course the successor distro to Mandrake and Mandriva. While Mageia uses the RPM packaging manager (providing two wrappers, their own urpmi and dnf ("Dandified YUM").

The RPM package provided by Codeweaver's installs almost perfectly because, distros being what they are, certain necessary packages are not named consistently from distro to distro. For Mageia, and many others, the two important packages are mentioned in an xmessage window as:

Could not install some Unix packages
Some errors may prevent CrossOver Linux from working correctly:
* Could not load the GTK+ Python modules.
* Missing 32bit libnss_mdns.so.2 library

You may be able to fix some issues by running one of the following commands as root:
Arch Linux (32 bits)    pacman -Syu nss-mdns pygtk
Arch Linux (64 bits)    pacman -Syu pygtk
Debian 7 (32 bits) …

Installing Dropbox on Mageia7

Dropbox is a commercial cloud-based online file storage service. A Basic account provides 2GB of space at no charge. To begin installing Dropbox, go to their website and create an account.

Step 1. On your computer, install the Dropbox package.

$ sudo urpmi dropbox
This installs the Dopbox files and installs wget (if not already installed).

Step 2. Begin the Dropbox installation by downloading and installing the proprietary daemon.

$ dropbox start -i
After the daemon downloads, Dropbox will open a web browser to the Dropbox login page.

Step 3. Using your account information, you may log in. Dropbox will now take you to your personal Dropbox page and create the directory ~/Dropbox on your computer and open your file manager to that directory. Now, close all the open Dropbox windows.

Step 4. Make Dropbox run automatically when you log in.

$ dropbox autostart y

If you don't want it to run automatically, you can use the start and stop commands from the command line.

Setting Options
Use the Dr…

Upgrade Mageia 6 to Mageia7

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 even though 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 Mageia6 systems and the results were consistent and satisfactory, not to mention simple.

Step 0. Always backup critical information. Have a Mageia7 recovery disc on hand. You can download the ISO image from here.

Read the Release Notes, the Documentation and the Errata for Mageia 7. Other than updated applications, the biggest changes are support fo…

Recover Corrupt GZIP Files

It is possible for gzip'ed files to become corrupt and the normal means of extracting the archive will fail. This is especially disconcerting when you are trying to restore from a gzip'ed backup.

Fortunately, the Gzip Recovery Toolkit (gzrt) can offer some hope. It may not recover all your files, but if you are facing this dilemma, anything can be a help.

Mageia6 does not provide gzrt, but it was available for Mandriva 2011 and can be downloaded here for the 32-bit version and here for the 64-bit version. No dependencies are needed to install it, but it will complain about having an invalid signature; I chose to ignore that and proceed with the installation. The installed binary is /usr/bin/gzrecover. A man page and documentation is provided. The dependencies of cpio and libzlib should already be installed on your system by default.

To use, simply launch gzrecover with the corrupt file name as the argument. The output will be a file with the same name with .recovered appended …