This is a brief collection of some Linux resources and some of my
experiences. I've put them on the web hoping that it will be useful to
somebody. Any suggestions are welcome!
Note that I have not been able to maintain this page since March 2004,
so its content might be outdated.
I recently upgraded my laptop to a Dell Inspiron 8500 and I
have also made a page detailing the installation of Linux on
this laptop, which you can find here.
I use Linux mostly on my laptop, an HP OmniBook 4150. I have made a
recollection of my setup with this computer, which you can find here.
My Linux software
Some of my modest creations for Linux. Any feedback welcome.
- iflinkmon v0.3
- NOTE: I have abandoned this package since now there if the
much superior ifplugd utility (see below for RPMs).
A simple daemon and helper scripts that periodically checks the link
status of a LAN interface and automatically unconfigures/reconfigures
the interface routes (it can easily be adjusted to take other
actions). Useful for laptops to avoid blocked connections when the
network cable is unplugged. I start iflinkmon in the /sbin/ifup-local
script and stop it if the /sbin/ifdown-pre-local script. Get the source,
RedHat 7.2 RPM or
- epsbboxfit v0.1
- A perl script that sets the bounding box of an Encapsulated
PostsScript file to tightly fit the drawing, with an optional
margin. Can do in-place modification or output new files. Requires
- Nautilus 2.2.x scripts
- The nautilus file manager can use scripts to perform actions on the
selected files, which can be very handy. Below are some of my scripts,
use them as you like. Unpack any of the following set of scripts in your
.gnome2/nautilus-scripts directory and they will appear in the
context menu. You can find more scripts at http://g-scripts.sourceforge.net/.
- PDF conversion:
convert PS to PDF and optimize PDF.
- Printing: send file
to printer, prompts for printer in dialog, processes text files
manipulation: allows to convert JPEG files (make
progressive, rotate, etc.) and autorotate JPEG-EXIF files
(autorotate requires patched libjpeg tools below).
- Image manipulation:
scale images (prompts for scale factor).
- Miscellaneous: open
terminal here, touch files, toggle "view hidden files".
Packaged / patched Linux software
I have made RPMs of some software which I find useful but is not
included in RedHat's distribution and I have not found elsewhere, or to
which I have added some patches. Note also that much software can be
obtained in RPM form from sites such as http://freshrpms.net/ and http://dag.wieers.com/home-made/apt/.
libjpeg with EXIF support in tools
The jpegtran tool included with libjpeg is a very handy tool for doing
simple manipulations of JPEG images, such as rotation by 90
degrees. However, the regular jpegtran does not correctly support the
EXIF variety of JPEG files and somewhat corrupts the EXIF data that is
included by many digital cameras. I have patched jpegtran to correctly
support EXIF files (see man page) and added basic EXIF reporting to
rdjpgcom (another tool of libjpeg). In particular, this support allows
to use scripts to automatically rotate pictures according to EXIF
data, as done in my JPEG nautilus scripts above. The patched RPMS are:
Note that the library code is not modified, so there are no
compatibility problems for programs using the library. The patches
have been submitted to RedHat as bug 106060.
- The ifplugd
daemon will monitor the status of a network card and start or stop the
interface (i.e., call ifup or ifdown) whenever the
network cable is plugged or unplugged. This is extremely useful for
laptops that have integrated network cards but are not always plugged to
the network. It also works with wireless LAN cards, instead of relying
on cable status it checks for an available access point. You will also
require the libdaemon package.
Note that the network interfaces that are to be managed by ifplugd
(eth0 by default) need to be configured so that they do not
automatically start when the computer is started (on RedHat Linux 9
uncheck the "Activate device when computer starts" option in the
configuration dialog of the interface).
- These are the extra gnome-pilot conduits: memo, mal (AvantGo), time,
sendmail and expense. This package is not included in RedHat 8.0, so I
made an RPM for it. Get the RedHat 8.0
- autofs v4
- This is the Linux automount daemon. Version 4 allows to do Sun style
/net mounts and, more generally, multimounts. Unfortunately
RedHat is still shipping version 3, so I have packaged the latest
version of autofs v4 with the applicable RedHat
autofs-3.1.7-28 patches, plus some patches of my own. Get the
RedHat 7.2 RPM or
If you would like to have autofs v4 included in RedHat add a
comment to bugzilla entry
#57022. Note however that I did experience some problems with
autofs v4 (occasionally the actual mount occured too late and I
was getting "no such file" error messages on the first attempt),
so I'm now using the less performant am-utils (aka amd) package
for /net style mounts, since I only use it for
- XFree86 with XVideo on neomagic
XVideo support for neomagic chipsets has been added to XFree86 in
version 4.3.0. I have backported this driver to XFree86 4.2.0 and it
works very nicely. To use it, download the binary driver below to the
XFree86 driver directory (usually
/usr/X11R6/lib/modules/drivers/), uncompress it and rename it
as neomagic_drv.o. It should work on any XFree86 4.x release,
but backup the original driver just in case. Restart the X server and
you have XVideo support.
This is an updated version of the driver I made available before
Oct-24-2002 that works correctly on external screens as well as the
Update 14-Jan-2003: I have received reports that this driver
does not work with XFree86 4.1.x due to unresolved
symbols. Apparently the ABI has changed between 4.1.x and 4.3.x.
One useful option (undocumented) to add in the "Device" section is
"OverlayMem". It reserves memory for the video overlay. For example
(where 829440 = 720x576x2):
"829440" See these messages for more info: Reserve
memory for Overlay and XVideo
for NM2360. Note that memory reserved for the video overlay is
unavailable for other 2D stuff.
Note:The XFree86 package in RedHat 8.0 has a Neomagic XVideo
patch already included, so no special driver is required. However,
that support is incomplete and XVideo does not show on the external
monitor due to incorrect video timings. Use the above driver to solve
Other useful Linux/Unix software
- Unison File
Synchronizer: a very nice multiplatform bi-directional file
synchronizer. I use it to keep my office HOME account and laptop file
- Valgrind: an
excellent C/C++ memory debugger for x86 Linux.
- mkfontalias.py: A script, by Roman
Sulzhyk, that makes font aliases for scalable (Type1 or
TrueType) fonts to solve the "small font" problem of Netscape (and
maybe other software). Note that in recent Linux distributions there
is no need for this utility since the font support has improved