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Linux Exploration (the learning never ends)

Posted 04-20-2006 at 07:47 PM by sixerjman

I started working with Linux about 3 years ago when I installed Debian Potato on an eMachine 433Mh box with a 4 gig hard drive. It has been a fantastic learning experience for everything from Bash scripting to compiling the kernel and best of all, installing and configuring software packages.

Sometimes things don't work the way they are documented so I have to figure out what's happening, and I often download the source to try and better understand the
what the software is doing. Sometimes I identify configuration items that could be considered bugs and come up with a workaround to get the desired effect. That is very satisfying.

For instance, I have a small home network and use SAMBA to communicate with the Windows machines, but the Win machines may not be on when I bring up the Linux box.
So I tried to use the AUTOFS auto.smb script to mount the Win file systems on demand
(rather than put them in /etc/fstab and have the log files fill up with errors) but noticed the SMB file systems would unmount after a certain time, no matter what the '--timeout' value specified in the auto.smb script or in /etc/init.d/autofs. After
some more inspection and placement of echo "$TIMEOUT" statements in /etc/init.d/autofs it turns out that if the file '/etc/default/autofs/autofs.conf' exists, that file is read in (AFTER parsing and evaluating the TIMEOUT variable in at least 2 or 3 places in the script) and the values from it are set.

So I changed the timeout value there to 86400 (1 day) and things work like I want them too.

I can't file a bug report using REPORTBUG because it uses SENDMAIL to send the report and I've removed SENDMAIL from the system because the e-mails were getting
rejected by my ISP, but I might give SENDMAIL another shot now that I have a domain name. I have the COURIER suite installed but not doing much, that's the next project after
the current thing I'm working on which is SSH with keys and remote desktop using VNC.

Anyway, thanks to for the space, even if nobody reads this it helps me organize my thoughts and plans. :-D
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  1. Old Comment
    Courier has a sendmail emulator but I ran into the same problem with smarthost authentication with my ISP (Yahoo). Since the Courier documentation sucks, I decided to give EXIM4 another try. EXIM was recommended by the excellent "Debian Reference", and there was even a reference about how to configure it for Yahoo, but the version they used
    in the example was V3. The V4 config is more complex, I'll try and hunt up some working examples. Seemingly endless Googling involved - 90% of the hits don't yield anything useful, and the 5% that look promising have only a comment such as "yes it works" but no specific listing of the V4 file. Another 5% will say "don't use X, Y is much better". *sigh*

    Kernel 2.6.8 was built to bring the kernel up to date, get some Hal functionality and basically something to do. Post-install issues included some error messages that looked scary but were harmless (FATAL: Error installing sound_slot_1 (2, 3) - fixed by removing /dev/dsp1..3). BIOS APM error messages should be eliminated by another configure/build specifying APCI _only_.

    SMBFS errors have increased with the upgrade (last kernel was 2.4.27),
    and since I depend alot on LAN file sharing (my music files reside on a Windoze machine with a much bigger hard drive), reliable LAN file
    access is essential. Research showed that CIFS supercedes SMBFS but I had no CIFS support in 2.6.8. Rebuilding 2.6.8 to include CIFS (and SMBFS as module only). I'll have to check out the automount parms and
    see if they can be adjusted to use fstype CIFS instead of SMBFS. If not it's back to hardcoding the 'doze machines in /etc/fstab.
    Posted 12-31-1969 at 07:00 PM by sixerjman sixerjman is offline


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