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Monthly Archives: January 2010

Success booting PC-BSD through USB flash drive

Hahaha. When I wrote my previous post, I found that I possibly made a mistake when copying the IMG image to USB pendrive. Yes, I used “dd” incorrectly because I didn’t know how to use it exactly.

This was how I used “dd” in Linux:

dd if=PC-BSD-7.1.1-x86.img of=/dev/sdb1 bs=1024

Now, the problem was the “/dev/sdb1″. We should use “/dev/sdb” instead of “/dev/sdb1″. This is because “sdb1″ indicates the partition, yet “sdb” indicates the drive. And I should copy (dd) the whole file system and data of IMG to the drive, not to the partition. That was why, after I used the statement above, I still found that my pendrive was in FAT32 format.

So, just now I tried the following statement:

dd if=PC-BSD-7.1.1-x86.img of=/dev/sdb bs=1024

Then, I successfully booting PC-BSD. Besides that, the file system from “fdisk -l” shows that the drive is in FreeBSD format. So, I realised that, the booting of an OS also depends on the file system. If I set the boot sector correctly, and the boot loader also set correctly, but the file system is different, then the booting will fail.

That is why, syslinux targets on FAT32 and isolinux targets on ISO filesystem. Though Linux kernel for the booting is already in the drive, but file system is different will cause the booting failed. So, syslinux project is targeted to solve the file system problem for booting the OS.

After I successfully booting in PC-BSD. But I decided not to install it. Because the screen resolution is too big for my netbook. @_@

Note: Remember backup USB pendrive data before “dd”, cause data will be removed.

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Difficulties for installing PC-BSD

I like Unix philosophy. I like open source. I want to install PC-BSD to my netbook, but finally I realised that I failed to do so. I have tried several ways, then I give up now.

Actually, I preferred to install FreeBSD. But FreeBSD is targeted for server, so I choose PC-BSD. And PC-BSD has GUI installation, which makes everything easier (I tried it on VMware). So, I downloaded DVD ISO image. Then, I tried to use UNetbootin, since the site mentioned that it supports to create LiveUSB for FreeBSD 6.3 and 7.0. I assumed that it can also support for PC-BSD which is based on FreeBSD. However, I failed.

I found that UNetbootin uses syslinux. It is used for creating LiveUSB for Linux. Syslinux project also includes isolinux for creating LiveCD for Linux. So, I finally realised the reason why there is two different applications, syslinux and isolinux. This is because isolinux is for ISO image and it has its own file system, yet syslinux is for FAT file system. That is why I failed to use UNetbootin to boot PC-BSD in pendrive.

Then, I assumed that syslinux is for Linux installation. So, I tried to use “dd” command as following the instruction from PC-BSD Users Handbook:

To write the USB ISO file to a Flash Card or USB pen drive you can do this with the Unix command ‘dd':
dd if= of=/dev/da0 bs=1m
Just substitute da0 with the device name of your USB stick.

Since the instruction mention the ISO file, I tried to use the ISO image I downloaded. But I still failed to boot into the PC-BSD in pendrive. Then, I assumed that ISO file system for the pendrive which is formatted as FAT32 (if I am wrong, please tell me, because I am a newbie in FreeBSD and Linux).

Next, I think the possible solution is to use the IMG image provided from the site. Downloaded, “dd”, and I still failed. So, I give up now. And continue using Linux.

(I think may be I used “dd” for the “of” argument incorrectly, I will try out again tomorrow.)

I personally still have an idea to boot the PC-BSD through USB pendrive using syslinux. But I didn’t tried out. Since it is possible to boot the USB pendrive with syslinux, and it is possible to boot FreeBSD through GRUB (or GAG, or LILO). So, if it is possible to use syslinux to boot to GRUB as a boot manager, then from GRUB to boot into PC-BSD, then installation is possible.

So, the conclusion based on my experience is:
PC-BSD is still not yet matured enough for LiveUSB installation and netbook. Unlike Linux distributions, there are several Linux distributions targeted on netbook, which allow users to install easily.

Note: Remember backup USB pendrive data before “dd”, cause data will be removed.

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Regular expression search and replace of jEdit and Notepad++

I just found that there are some differences for the regular expression in search and replace for both jEdit and Notepad++. Both of them are great text editors. jEdit requires Java Runtime Environment. Notepad++ is based on Scintilla, so Notepad++ regular expression is based on Scintilla.

So, what are the differences I found? Notepad++ regular expression for search and replace, we can use \1, \2, \3 to \9 syntax. For jEdit regular expression, it uses $1, $2, $3 to $9 syntax.

Next, Notepad++ regular expression does not support alternation operator, “|”, but jEdit support. So, I prefer jEdit to do the regular expression.

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The online accounts we should sign up

The world is evolving. Internet already becomes a need for everyone just like electricity and mobile phone service. There are a lot of freeware, open source applications, online services, even free OSes. Internet connects everyone of us with our friends despise the geographical differences.

So, what online accounts we should sign up? Popularity is the most essential factor. And also based on your area. Because some services are popular in one country but not the others. The list below is only based on my opinion:

Email account – GMail, Yahoo! Mail, Windows Live Hotmail. Sign up these webmail services not only allows us to use email service, but also other services depend on the corporation provides. For example, Windows Live also provides Skydrive service for us to upload and share our files. Google provides Picasa Web Albums for us to share the photos.
The most prominent email service is GMail, which provides IMAP and POP3. And IMAP is integrated with Mozilla Thunderbird. Great!

Social networking service – Facebook, Twitter. Connect you with your friends. They are very very popular.

Blogging – Blogger, WordPress.

Photo sharing – Flickr.

Other services:
Xmarks – Synchronise our bookmarks.

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gparted from Parted Magic

The story continues from my previous post.

I used Parted Magic to perform the partition tasks. However, I found that Kingston DataTraveler 2.0 USB Device cannot boot as LiveUSB. It cannot find pmagic-4.5.sqfs. And even Parted Magic 4.8, there is something like dev_list cannot be found. But, there is no problem for Kingston DT 101 II USB Device. Weird!

Okay, after I delete E: F: and resize D: to occupy the space. But in Windows, I found that the D: properties show that the space is still the same. But in Disk Management utility, the space is already used for D:. I tried CHKDSK, the problem still there. Then I remember a phrase from a movie:

(Success with “wind cloud”, fail with “wind cloud”)

So, again, I use gparted to check the partition (D:). And yes, it is fixed now, with the actual size.

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GRUB problem

Playing around my HP Mini Netbook with different OSes really troublesome.

Today, I am trying to install PC-BSD on my netbook. But before I install PC-BSD, I need to make some space for it. And according what I read,

Be aware that BSD operating systems, and hence PC-BSD, only recognise primary partitions and consider any logical partitions as a whole primary partition. Trying to install on a logical partition will convert your extended partition into a primary partition and erase all logical partitions of your system. PC-BSD can be installed on any primary partition; it doesn’t necessarily have to be on the first one. [PC-BSD guide]

However, the following is my partitions:

Firstly, since I accept the concept that “data” is the most important thing. So, I just want to merge D:, E:, F: drives. So using Parted Magic, I delete E: and F:. Then, resize D: and left about 15G for unallocated space. The unallocated space I want to use for PC-BSD. However, since my harddisk is initially formatted with primary partition and Ubuntu in the logical partition, the unallocated space between D: and Ubuntu cannot be create as a primary partition. So, I move Ubuntu partition next to D: so that the unallocated space will be at the end of the harddisk.

Now, the problem comes. When I restart the netbook, GRUB cannot run properly, it goes to “grub rescue”. And I don’t know how to use GRUB. I tried to study about GRUB, grub-install is “definitely less safe, because there are several ways in which your computer can become unbootable” (GRUB manual). I don’t want to take risk. So, the only solution is to reinstall Ubuntu. Haiz….

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Wedding at Cana

Today’s Gospel reading is very nice. And it is so meaningful. I like it very much.

When they were ran out of wine, Mother Mary said to Jesus, “They have no wine”.

This is how we should pray. We always pray to God that, we want this, we want that, we want a car, we want a house, we want money, we want a happy life, etc. We always ask for God what we want, because we think that we know what we need. But God knows better than us. God knows what we need. “They have no wine”, and Jesus knew what he should do.

Jesus did not promise to do anything after Mother Mary told him “they have no wine”. But Mother Mary said to the servants, “Do whatever he tells you”.

We always ask something from God, but do we do whatever He tells us?

Sure, at the end of the story, miracle happened. And the story tells us what is the role of Mother Mary in our Christian life.

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