5 01 2007

So, this morning I was working with a script I wrote yesterday that I was having some problems with.  I decided to troubleshoot it, so I copied it from /bin to my home directory and decided to remove the execute permissions from the copy in /bin rather than removing it entirely.

I would swear that I type: sudo chown -x /bin/sigmaker, sigmaker being the name of the script.

Apparently, I typed something else.

Because immediately after that, I couldn’t execute any commands.

ls? command not found.

cp? command not found.


command not found.

So, I reinstalled.

And I am once again very happy that /home is it’s own partition.  If you don’t have /home on it’s own partition, I highly recommend it.





::post upgrade, mostly clean.

26 10 2006

So yesterday I followed my own instructions and upgraded to Edgy RC1 from the repositories.  I did it just as my blog describes, and for the most part, it went fairly smooth.  There were a few oddities that I’ll get into here, but most people (I think) will not run into the problems quirks that I had.

First off, there were a lotof packages to download–over a 1 gig.  I figured out that this is because I’m fickle and I’ve got multiple desktop environments installed on my system–Kubuntu (my default), Ubuntu (Gnome), and Xubuntu (Xfce).  This made for a lot more than the standard fair to download.  Now, I’m not alone in trying many environments, and there might be a lot of people who shared my experience.  Downloading wasn’t completed by the time I left for work, so I just let it go.

Upon my return home, downloads had completed but I had a few questions to answer about package configuration.  These had to do with configuration files being replaced, and the system was asking me if I wanted to keep my already modified config files or replace them with what was in the new package.  For the most part, I kept my config files in place, although there were a couple that I decided to overwrite.  It took a good 90 minutes for the system to configure and install all of the packages.  When it was done, I rebooted and crossed my fingers.

The first thing I noticed was that following the Grub menu, the screen went dark until I was presented with the login screen.  The Kubuntu splash screen, and all of the boot status messages didn’t appear.  This made me nervous, but once the login screen came up I felt like I was okay.

Upon login, I was presented with a KDE config menu.  This is a first time wizard that tells K how you want to handle window focus, opening programs, stuff like that.  It was the first time I’d seen it.  Once I got passed that, K loaded incredibly quickly–faster than any X window session I’ve ever had.  I poked around a little, looked at the new menus and such, and was for the most part pleased but underwhelmed.  Then I noticed that the Adept Update manager was flashing.  I got busy and opted to ignore it for the moment. 

I had time to check it out this morning, and there were 17 packages that it said needed an update.  This struck me as odd.  I figured that after upgrading to the RC yesterday, I would have a small number of updates to do that would bring up to 6.10 final, but 17 seemed excessive.

I closed the update manager and opened up Konsole (lightning fast, I tell you) and did a sudo aptitude upgradeto get a closer look at the packages.  Again, I just like to do it this way…I’ve found that the easiest way for me to get comfortable with the command line is to use it instead of the GUI whenever I have the option.  One package that stood out for me that was listed as needing an upgrade was Xorg, but when I opted to proceed with the upgrade, it wasn’t included in the upgrade, along with three other packages that I can’t remember right off hand.

I also noticed that my power management was still being handled by kLaptop, the default utility in 6.06.  One of the things I’d been looking forward to the most with 6.10 was a better power management utility called Guidance.  I looked for it on my system but didn’t see it.  Had everything not installed?

Then I remembered something from Arsgeek that I read yesterday in his upgrade instructions.  He recommended that prior to upgrading, it was a good idea to to make sure your desktop environment was up to date with all packages by doing sudo apt-get install kubuntu-desktop or whichever desktop environment you’re using.  Better late than never, I say, so I opted to do that and see what happened.

Sure enough, there was a slew of packages listed as part of kubuntu-desktop that weren’t installed yet.  I installed those, all went well.  Rebooted and poked around.  All of my packages were up to date and kLaptop had been replaced by Guidance (though the pop-up doesn’t call it that–calls it something else.  Since I’m not at my machine right now, I can’t tell you what it is. ) 

I strongly suspect that sudo apt-get install kubuntu-desktop will save most people from having most of the issues I’ve described here today.

I still don’t have a slash screen, which I don’t like.  I like to be able to watch the boot process and make sure things aren’t going wrong, so I need to work that out.  I also want to learn more about the power management utility, because the impression I’ve gotten from the release notes is that it is very robust. 

My laptop hot keys work now, which I think is very cool, albeit not really consequential.  Overall, the machine is much more responsive.   I’m trying to decide as I write this if I should try to figure out the splash screen problem, or just download a kubuntu iso and see what the machine is like with a truly fresh Kubuntu installation.   Which, I still need to give some instructions on how to do, don’t I?

To sum up…installing from the repositories was a pretty painless (but time consuming) experience.  Most of the quirks I ran into won’t be experienced by most people.  While there are few things left to work out, my system is working and functioning very well–performing better than before, for the most part. 



::can’t start X

23 08 2006

There’s a problem I see posted to the Ubuntu forums on a fairly regular basis that has to do with not being able to start an X session.  A user will report an error message that reads something like “no write access to /home/user/.ICEauthority…”

How does this happen?

You’ll get this error when you improperly run some graphical applications as Root.  Say you want to move some files to or from a directory in which you don’t have write access.  You fire up for favorite file manager as Root, do your stuff, and all is right with the world. 

If you’re like a lot of users, it might be days or weeks before you log out of your current X session, in which case you don’t remember performing the unhappy action above. The issue could be lurking for quite a long time, waiting for the next time you log in.

Well fear not, we can fix this in a jiffy.

From your login screen, either drop to a console session or log into failsafe.  You’ll be able to login here, but all you’ll have is a command prompt. From here, you’ll want to check the ownership of your files and try to see what Root has gone and taken ownership of.

$ ls -al |less

ls will list the contents of your directory (home, in this case), with two switches thrown in for flavor.  -a lists all files, and l (or -l if you want to do it all by itself) will give you the ownership and permissions.  Piping the command through less will pause the output a screen at time so you can actually see what you’re looking at. 

Depending on the application you ran as Root, there may be one or more files that is now owned by root.  You can take ownership of them individually, or you can reclaim ownership of all files in the directory at once.  Kind of like a dog pissing on his favorite tree.  Either way, the command is almost the same.

To reclaim ownership of an individual file:

sudo chown yourusername:yourusername filename (or in my case, something like sudo chown jim:jim .ICEauthority)

chown allows you change ownership of a file, with the first yourusername setting the user and the second yourusername setting the group. 

If you want to piss on the tree and make sure everyone knows that the whole yard is yours, simply modify the command like this:

sudo chown yourusername:yourusername *.*

Either entry will prompt you for your password–and remember–Ubuntu doesn’t enable the Root account by default, so you enter your username.

You should return to your command prompt without error.  Now you should be able to log out and log back in to your favorite X session.

And all is right with the world.

or something.

But sometimes I really want to run a graphical app as Root, what do I do?

You don’t have to fix files every time you want or need to run a graphical app as root.  If you’re using KDE, you will replace use of sudo with kdesu.  If you’re running Gnome, you’ll use gksudo instead of sudo.

so there it is…my first technical post.  Couple questions for those of you unlucky enough to come across my blog and bored enough to have read all the way down to this point:

1) Was it helpful?  If you came across this entry because you’re actually having this error, did it help you fix the problem?  Do you think it might help you in the future?

2) Was it easy to understand?

3) Was it easy to tell what was a command and what wasn’t?  Did you know what you had to enter at the command line, or did you have to muddle through the bold, italics, and bold italics until you figured out what was what?

4) What’s your favorite color?

Sometime in the next few days I’ll update the blog with some helpful links and resources I’ve found.  I know you’re giddy with anticipation now.