Thursday Sep 18, 2008

Easy Peasy, ezweb and ubuntu

I have EZweb, see also ezweb, fast new dynamic mashups, running inside an Ubuntu 8 VM on my windows Laptop.

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The installation instructions were almost perfect, now I need to see how permit the VM to serve external systems. Also I am using Django not Apache, so I need to understand

  • how to invoke a start/stop script for it
  • or how to allow it to run in an apache server
  • or how to permit apache to act as a proxy for Django.

The later will hopefully be very similar to making snipsnap work behind apache, which I have done on the Qube.

Now to build an Application?


Wednesday Sep 17, 2008

Laptop Diaries,

Before I start to install Open Bravo, I notice/knew that there's no personal productivity tools on OpenSolaris, I need openoffice. Its easy enough, a quick google points me at Chris Gerard's article on installing Open Office, on Open Solaris. As he recommends,

    pfexec pkg install openoffice

does the trick, off it goes to and downloads the package and installs it.

screen shot

and it looks like this.


Monday Sep 15, 2008

Laptop Diaries, Open Solaris

So while at the Lintlithgow EBC launch last week, I saw a demo'd copy of an opensolaris VM which looked really cool, and then Jingesh Shah, published this blog article on an Open Source ERP package, called "openbravo" running on Open Solaris. This has to be done.

Open Solaris running on my Laptop

I have downloaded the Open Solaris .iso from, and this is how I did it.

Start a VM using the .iso as the boot device.

Follow these installation instructions to define the locale and users.

Shut down the VM

Using the Virtual Box control panel, point the CD/DVD drive at the VX additions .iso, which is in the installation folder and restart the VM, then as root,

    cd /media
    pkgadd -d ./VBoxSolarisAdditions.pkg

I was using V1.6.4 of Virtual Box and for some reason, the "Add Guest Additions" on the Virtual Box command bar didn't work. The above trick seems to work quite happily, I have full screen mode working. Now to upgrade to Virtual Box 2.0.2.


Thursday Sep 11, 2008


I was introduced to IM by my US colleagues (& my children). Many of the former use AOL to forward IM's to their phones. This has become even easier to use with the advent of the iphone. Sun has also implememented an XMPP service and I came to the IM scene with a couple of YIM contacts as well. So I adopted GAIM and went with the pidgin people when that came along so I only have to worry about the protocol I use for those colleague like me with multiple service accounts.

I have recently had a real problem with pidgin in XMPP chat rooms, and when my boss decided to open a permanent chat room, these problems had to be fixed. Basically, I have reverted to Pidgin 2.0.1 for Windows. I did experiment with using pidgin inside an Ubuntu Virtual box instance and it worked fine, an interesting use case for Virual Box. I propose to raise a bug/note at pidgin's site, but you can use the [READ MORE] button below to read my more detailed notes, which cover the failure symptoms, Google Talk and more about facebook.


[Read More]

Monday Sep 01, 2008

Vbox 1.6.4, guest additions for Hardy Heron

Another download of Virtual Box and the creation of an Ubuntu Hardy Heron VM, using a Windows host. I shan't publish a picture this time. I think I had a problem as the VM wouldn't boot from the Live CD. This could have been me of course, I may have misconfigured it. So I copied the ISO image onto the hard disk and booted off that. The good news is that the guest additions are better than previous versions, or they are for the screen interface. After installing the guest additions, the screen resolution opens @ 1280x768 and full screen mode works just fine. I hadn't got round to fixing the xorg config file on my previous installs but it wasn't as easy and I did need to fiddle with xorg.conf.

Use the [Read More] link below for a step by step guide.


[Read More]

Thursday Aug 21, 2008

Laptop Diaries, don't do this.

I feel a complete and absolute fool about this one. Longtime readers will know that I have from time to time mucked around with the operating system I use on my laptop, from single to dual boot, experimenting with various Windows, Solaris and Linux iterations. At home I have a couple of desktops running windows, (XP at the moment), primarily because they come with it, but it also runs games, and supports the UK education system's curriculum. I have been experimenting with Virtual Box; at home, mainly to give me x-windows access to my Qube. On my work's laptop, I have vm's running Indiana, Nevada and Ubuntu 7 & 8. I plan to do some pretty exciting things with it when I can find the time. At home, I installed an Ubuntu 8 VM, but i have a very important piece of advice for people using Windows as a host operating system, which I discovered on one of my desktops.

Don't use FAT or FAT32 file systems.

I made a mistake, I can't remember how, but my new HDD has a FAT32 file systems. This has a 4Gb file size limit, so while the virtual box manager will let you define the max file size as whatever you want, when the VM tries to extend beyond the 4Gb limit, the VM reports a disk full error. Fortunately I don't have very much on this disk yet, so the repair is fairly painless.

I documented this here at the virtual box forum, unfortunately the title's not so useful. As I said, I have been working with UNIX too long, I'd forgotten what 32 bits means.


Thursday Aug 07, 2008

Virtualising Sun Cluster, by Mike Ramchand

Mike Ramchand has published a blog article about deploying a clustered pair of virtual box containers on a Solaris host,

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Thursday May 01, 2008

Laptop Diaries, Goodbye to dual boot

A month and a half ago, Sun & Innotek, the authors of Virtual Box, an open source desktop virtualisation solution announced that Sun was buying them Virtual Box is a free type II virtualisation solution permitting the configuration of a number of popular x86 operating systems to act as guests and hosts. I have just today configured a Linux VM running on my Windows XP Laptop, here's how it looks, when its not full screen.


Dave's Ubuntu Desktop screen shot


I used Ubuntu 7.04 and this is how I did it. Firstly a friend cut me an ISO image on CD and I loaded it into the cd reader.

  1. I then created a VM. This has hardware virtualisation enabled, I created a new .vdi file. This must be big enough, and defaults at 8Gb. This is a limit on the file size. It does not reserve this space at install time, however if you make it too small, the install fails. The boot device order is floppy, cdrom and then hard disk. The cdrom has to be enabled in the 'settings -> CD/DVD' panel. I also defined the VM as a host of a Linux 2.6 image.
  2. I then started the VM using the virtual box control panel. This then boots a live cd of the cdrom, and I selected the 'Install' option. This then installs Ubuntu and offers you the opportunity to restart the system, i.e. the VM.
  3. I then used the update manager to update the software. It downloads, works out dependencies and then installs the new software versions. At the end of this stage, I then rebooted the VM. This took some time, over an hour and half, but I was using a wireless connection to a not very quick BT broadband line.
  4. At this point in time, it only offers 800x600 screen resolution, which is a bit pants, so, I used the VM window menu option, 'Devices -> Install Guest Additions'. This opened a nautilus window on the CD which exposes a script called "". I ran this from a terminal session command line in bash using root privilidge (see below). At this point, I then rebooted the VM again.
  5. I then needed to check that the xorg.config was configured correctly. In order to amend it, one needs a root user shell. Its been a couple of years since I used a Linux, so I tried to 'su' to root, but it was having none of it. A quick google found me this article this article about default passwords for the ubuntu super user. So a quick 'sudo gnome-terminal' and we're away. This artilce at, about guest additions, and this article details the checks and changes required of xorg.conf to permit full screen mode on a larger screen. The Toshiba M5 I am using has 1400x1050. I only had to add the additional resolutions. The device name agreements worked and the virtual devices had been inserted.

I should also thank the Adrian Kingsley-Hughes, who posted an Ubuntu 7, install walkthrough, which while not difficult, helped me debug the initial install failure.

I have downloaded some backgrounds and installed them, but it seems as I shall not be trying to build dual or triple boot solutions again; I have also got opensolaris nevada and indiana VMs. I just wish it had all been installed on  a single partition. I can run whatever OS I want on the laptop now.





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