Jun 19 2012

when you have an itch…

Category: English posts,TechnicalIuliana @ 10:34

… you gotta scratch it. And I had a serious itch cause by my Windows. Even if Windows has evolved so much, even if Windows 7 is the peak of greatness among all the Windowses before it, it still does not know how to manage 4 core processors. So I was seriously pissed about the fact that Windows 7 froze from time to time, making my super-laptop look like my first computer, an AMD K6, 500 MHz and 256 MB SRAM. Which was definitely not cool, considering the fact that my laptop’s configuration looks like this: Intel Quad Core i5-450M and 6 GB DDR3. The only reason I kept windows so far on my laptop was that my processor has a capability known as turbo boost, meaning that can over-clock itself when needed. But this won’t be needed that much if the tasks were efficiently distributed between the 4 cores, which were not.

So two days ago, I just snapped, decided to give up the possibility of playing games for a while and went on a search for the perfect Linux for my laptop. I am fond of Gentoo as you know, but compiling a full OS was not an option because it is a time-consuming operation and also because all that compiling would set my laptop on fire and it’s already hot in Romania right now (32 Celsius degrees). So I was left to choose between Archlinux and Mint. I did not even consider Ubuntu, it’s a Linux that looks and acts like Windows, the thing I was trying to get rid of. I had Archlinux before and I know in order to get the final result some time must be wasted on its configuration, so I went for Mint.

In less than 30 minutes I had a fully functional and compact Linux, oh well … fully for a normal user, not for me, a curios developer. So after this I went on and started installing the development software. The first one I wanted to install was the jdk. Mint uses open-jdk which Idea and STS refuse to go along with, so I went on a quest for installing the Oracle version. If on other Linux systems this was a piece of cake on Mint, it was not so, because Mint has all these symlinks pointing to open-jdk binaries, and even if you do everything right, set the JAVA_Home variable and add it to the path, when you will execute “java -version” in the console, the binary that will be executed will still be the one of the in the open-jdk. The only way to change this is to go to /usr/bin, see where the specific symlinks point to and change that. After that I installed Idea and STS and everything was flawless.

Then I wanted to add a second monitor and this is where all blew up in my face. But not because there was something wrong with Mint, but because one of the cables was not plugged in correctly in my monitor and the system did not see it. I did not even consider that the problem might come from a cable and went on and tried to install nVidia drivers in order to convince the system to see my external monitor. After the first restart I was left without an interface, because the nVidia drivers were not stable, ofcourse. So I went old-school and installed lynx, a text based browser, and searched for a solution for my problem. I did so and tried different options for an hour, when finally it worked and I had my graphic interface back, but the external monitor still was invisible to Mint, so I considered the possibility of the monitor not actually being plugged in the laptop. I check the cables and … surprise. It detected it right away.

Conclusion: if you want to install a Linux on your laptop, I truly recommend Mint, it is small, smart, fast and it knows how to work the special buttons on your laptop, without any additional settings. And is also easy to install, if you are not an old-school developer who considers problems being caused by the software first :D , that is. :)

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Apr 08 2011

Când dai cu capul de perete

Category: Miscellaneous,TechnicalRpx @ 16:23

Săptămâna asta am încercat să fac o măgărie.

Windows-ul 7 Professional, cu care m-am înțeles excelent timp de un an și jumătate, m-a scos din sărite zilele trecute și am decis să renunț la el și să mă întorc la o iubire mai veche… Gentoo Linux.

Acest lucru a ridicat anumite probleme, pentru că:

  • Mai joc din când în când câte ceva (Civilization V, Dragon Age, Eve Online). Wine e un workaround foarte mizerabil, mai ales când mai iei în calcul că am placă video ATi iar driverele pentru linux sunt sub orice critică;
  • Urăsc cu patimă ideea de “dual-boot”.

Prin urmare, am decis să fac o treabă șmecheră. Mai exact, planul inițial era în felul următor:

  • Instalez Xen pe laptop;
  • Instalez un guest Windows 7 în mod HVM cu PCI Passthrough încât să pot pasa acces direct către placa video mașinii virtuale după pornire;
  • Accesul la mașina reală cu Linux se menține printr-o sesiune VNC din Windows 7 (un dispozitiv nu poate fi accesat direct de ambele sisteme în același timp);
  • După ce termin de jucat, repasez controlul către placa video sistemului de bază.

Planul era genial, dar am uitat să mă uit dacă am în dulap toate ingredientele pentru a obține un produs finit de succes după această rețetă. Și bineînțeles că nu am toate ingredientele. Lipsește un ingredient cheie, și anume, suportul procesorului și a plăcii de bază pentru IOMMU.

Prin urmare, I gave up. Back to Windows 7. Am zis eu bine că s-ar putea să-mi folosească imaginile de restore făcute săptămâna trecută :-)

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Apr 06 2011

Quick tips: Decrypting all files on a NTFS partition

Category: English posts,TechnicalRpx @ 15:47

Sometimes, you might want to migrate from one OS to another, or simply reinstall it. If you’re smart with your sensitive data and you own a laptop, you probably keep that kind of files encrypted. However, migrating to another OS or reinstalling Windows might render those files inaccessible.

When migrating to another Windows installation, you could export and reimport your encryption certificate on the new installation, but when migrating to Linux or another OS, things get a bit more complicated if you wish to access those encrypted files (it is possible, but difficult).

In the latter case, the best practice is to decrypt the files before migrating, so that you can copy them without problems. In order to do that easily, you can use the cipher command.

In order to decrypt all the files on drive C, for example, open a command prompt and issue:

> C:
> cd \
> cipher /D /S:\

The last command will decrypt all the files recursively starting in the root folder of the drive.

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