My varied experiences with running Linux on this netbook is well documented in the “My Hardware” category of this site, and a brief perusal will reveal that it has been, if nothing else, varied.
My distro hopping has stopped, or at least slowed down, with Crunchbang 11 (Waldorf). The only remaining fairly serious issue I’ve had is that the computer tends to overheat, and I can’t hear/feel the fans running. I managed to ignore it for a while until I realized how foolish it was to ignore it, and did some research.
I wound up installing lm-sensors and thinkfan (both available in the Debian repositories). With no further configuration, this seems to have taken care of the problem. The netbook runs a good 10° C cooler than previously, and I can feel the fan running (it’s ridiculously quiet). I check the temperatures by running
This post represents a foray into a new field for me- virtualization. Although I have run virtual machines off and on for various purposes over the past couple years, I never put the time into learning how to get one configured exactly to my liking- any inconveniences I experienced I simply put up with.
A bit ago I downloaded the latest version of Lubuntu, which at the time of this writing is 12.10. I was immediately impressed with how well the distro looked and performed. I decided this would make an ideal candidate for a virtual machine dedicated to a bit of web surfing, coding, and IRC. My host is Windows 7.
Although my other machines run Crunchbang, I prefer a traditional menu for virtual machines. LXDE seemed an obvious choice; simple and easy to use and light enough to run speedily in a limited virtual environment.
My previous VMs ran a mixture of standard Ubuntu and LXDE, as I needed some features vanilla Ubuntu offered. However I believe the VM suffered a fairly substantial speed loss when dealing with all the features of vanilla Ubuntu, especially as I rarely give my machines more than 2 GB RAM.
This post will recount my steps in creating a Lubuntu 12.10 virtual machine with capabilities including:
- Bidirectional copy/paste between VM and host
- Shared folder for file transfer between VM and host
- Ability to resize VM screen
I will be using Oracle’s VirtualBox, which is by far the most commonly available virtualization software available for all platforms.
All the features outlined above come with the Guest Additions package that you can install via VirtualBox. However Lubuntu is missing several key elements to its installation. This article will deal primarily with getting the guest additions installed.
After setting up your new Lubuntu VM you’ll need to update the sources.list and install several components. Lubuntu doesn’t come with various compiling tools, such as gcc and make, and so those must be manually installed:
sudo apt-get update sudo apt-get install build-essential dkms gcc make
Next you’ll need to make sure the kernel headers are installed:
sudo apt-get install linux-headers-$(uname -r)
Now you’re ready to install the guest additions.
Installing Guest Additions
Click the “Devices” menu on the VM’s menu bar, and select “Install Guest Addtions”.
This will mount a new drive in the VM called “VBOXADDITIONS_(version number)”. Open the file browser and navigate to it. The folder contains a number of scripts, double click the “autorun.sh” script, and select “Execute” when the file manager asks what to do with it. When prompted, give your sudo password.
The script will now install the correct kernel modules and will return “Press enter to close” when completed. Scrutinize the output carefully to make sure no steps failed, then close and restart the machine (I usually just kill it from the VM menu bar). Upon reboot the most obvious sign of success is that you will be able to resize the VM and it will expand or contract accordingly.
Enabling copy/paste and shared folders
To enable text copying and pasting between the host and the VM, click the “Settings” button in the VirtualBox Manager.
You’ll find options to enable copy and paste in the General>Advanced tab. Set “Shared Clipboard” to Bidirectional to enable it between either host or guest.
Creating a shared folder
Shared folders between the host and the VM are absolutely essential for my usage. This gives you the capability of quick and easy transfer of files between the host and the virtual machine.
To enable this, create a folder somewhere in the host filesystem (On my Windows hosts I typically put it in C:, just to make the file paths simpler). In the VirtualBox Settings menu, go to “Shared Folders” at the bottom. Click the add button.
Give the folder name and path, and check “Make Permanent”. Now (in the VM) create a folder in your home directory to represent the shared folder. You can then run
sudo mount -t vboxsf -o uid=1000,gid=1000 host_folder_name /home/username/shared_folder
To mount it. Test it out by copying a file into it from either the host or guest and checking the corresponding folder to see if it shows up. If it does, success!
Next step is to set this folder to automount in the VM at startup. Open a terminal on your Lubuntu VM and type
gksu leafpad /etc/rc.local
This will open the file rc.local in the text editor. Add the following directly before the line with “exit 0”:
mount -t vboxsf -o uid=1000,gid=1000 host_folder_name /home/username/shared_folder
The folder should now automount at startup.
You now have a useful, lightweight virtual environment capable of full interaction with the host machine. If you come across any other tips for better virtualization with VirtualBox, send me an email or comment.
Many who use IRC use the client Xchat, myself included. For some mobile tethering is their only means of internet; others may be facing problems with firewalls and ISP blocking. Setting your Xchat client to use the Tor network can help you around this.
In this post I will detail how to set up Xchat with Tor on Debian or Debian based OS. Part of this involves using SASL, an authentication protocol, since unauthenticated Tor connections are automatically blocked by most IRC servers (FreeNode in particular).
I’ll assume you already have Xchat installed. In that case, the first step is to install Tor.
sudo apt-get install tor
Tor is a small package and should not take long to download. It will automatically daemonize and begin running.
Next you need to edit /etc/tor/torrc:
gksu your_favorite_editor /etc/tor/torrc
at the end of that file, append
# For FreeNode IRC mapaddress 10.40.40.40 p4fsi4ockecnea7l.onion
Save the file and close.
Now you need to download and save a SASL plugin script to ~/.xchat2. You can download this file here: http://dl.dropbox.com/u/54881717/files/cap_sasl_xchat.pl
This file is available a few other places on the web as well.
With that completed, open up Xchat. Press the “Add” button to add a new network. Give the new network the name “free” (although any name will work). Next press “Edit”. In the top text box, replace “newserver/6667” with
Check “Connect to Selected Server Only” and “Use SSL for all the servers on this network” and close. Click the “Connect” button.
While Xchat futilely attempts to connect, type
You should be rewarded with this output:
SASL [action] [action paramters] actions: load reload SASL information from disk save save the current SASL information to disk set set the SASL information for a particular network set <net> <user> <passord or keyfile> <mechanism> delete delete the SASL information for a particular network delete <net> show display which networks have SASL information set mechanisms display supported mechanisms help show help message
If so, next type
/sasl set free your_nick your_password PLAIN
So if my username was (surprise) cortman, and my password was (it’s not) “squid”, I would write
/sasl set free cortman squid PLAIN
Press enter, and you should get this:
SASL: added free: [PLAIN] your_nick *
Almost there. Next go to the Settings tab and select Preferences. Go to the “Network Setup” tab. Here you will set the proxy server settings.
In the “Hostname” text box, type
127.0.0.1 (not localhost)
Set the port to 9050.
Set the type to Socks5.
And finally, set “Use proxy for:” to “IRC Server Only”.
Click ok and restart Xchat and connect to your “free” network. You should be connected!
While I have found tor to be the only way to use IRC in some cases (such as the ones outlined at the beginning), it often isn’t very reliable. Don’t be surprised if you cannot connect occasionally. Keep reconnecting, and the odds are you will eventually get through.