Clueless at the Prompt Issue 25

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Welcome to installment 9 of Clueless at the Prompt:

Here’s this month’s account of the triumphs, trials and tribulations that I caused myself or encountered since the last time, and a couple tips that may come in handy and increase your understanding of linux.

*Changing Disks:

If you make partitions the same size as your previous disk’s, you can simply hook up your new disk as slave(See the documentation that comes with your new drive, or sometimes there’s a diagram on the top of the disk that shows jumper settings to configure the disk as master, slave, or only disk.), and use the « dd » command. You’ll have to mount the old disk first, use fdisk to set the partitions to the desired size, then mount each partition separately, if you mount your partitions one at a time, you’ll avoid having the whole old disk contents try to settle on your new disk.


If you have any serious need of any of the information on your old disk, I can’t stress the value of periodic backups enough. Even if you just backup the configuration files you worked so hard to tweak to your liking, and maybe your checking account balance, anything that you don’t have to remember or reinvent is a Good Thing(tm).

If you adopt the strategy of selective backups, you can easily fit them on a floppy or three, rather than using a whole tape or zipdisk to backup what you have already on your installation media. I think that especially if you installed from a CD, the plain vanilla install like you did the first time, can put you back on your feet when combined with a backup of only those files you wrote or modified, and and any special software that wasn’t included in the distribution. To find out what files and libraries are required to run an app, you can use

    ldd filename

Another command that you can use to find out more about files is, strangely enough, file. File can be used as

    file filename

which will give information about other files, as well as executables. Yet one more helpful command is which, used like

   which executable

where executable is the command used to start the application as in

   which makewhatis

to find out where the executable is located, pretty handy if you are modifying your path statement.

Lire aussi...  Conferences Article Issue 12

*Oh did I mention backups?

I stress this because I know from experience that failing to backup your data is an extremely stupid and easy thing to do, but since I apart from the cardiac care unit and the nuclear reactor I don’t have anything mission critical on my box right now, I’m still too lazy to back it up. Please excercise a little cautious computing if anyone’s data needs to be secure

*A little bit about FVWM configuration files(fvwm-1.x):

with a little text editting, you can configure your Xdesktop to your liking. FVWM-2.x uses m4 macros, which I haven’t even tried to acquaint myself with yet. FVWM is configurable in either system.fvwmrc or a .fvwmrc in your home directory, so you can set a consistent set of applications system-wide or change the defaults to your idea of a convenient desktop. Most of the possible modifications are explained in comments preceding the line to be editted or uncommented, and if you have X applications that aren’t included in the default popups, all you have to do is follow the examples of those already there, usually something like

   Exec "PROGNAME"   exec progname -options &

the « & » causes the program to execute in the background, which keeps it from monopolizing X. Note that some apps, such as ImageMagick don’t seem to want to share, and those will have to be exec’ed without the « & ». Also non-X apps can usually be run by invoking an xterm or rxvt, in which case the titlebar can be changed to reflect the program name, as in

 Exec  "Top" exec color_xterm -font 7x14 -T Top -n Top -e top &

which starts a color_xterm running top. Top, in case you aren’t familiar, basically lists the amount of resources each process is using. For more info type

    man top

or better yet just type


*Some stuff you may not hear anywhere else (so basic they forgot to tell you):

Redirecting output: you obviously can print a file to your monitor screen, and with a little luck even to a piece of paper via your printer, but did you know you can print a file to another VT or serial terminal or even to another file? By using the « > » or «