I've been playing with my new Feisty quite a lot lately. After finally coaxing Samba into working, I wanted another challenge. Here I must say, I had to admit defeat. And guess what? I can now get to make some complaints about Linux.

The 2 things I wanted to do is:
1) Installed a new screensaver obtained from kde-look.org
2) Make my NetGear WG111T USB WIFI adaptor work on Linux.

For both of these, I was unable to succeed. Now, one by one.

1) Screensaver crisis:
I know the screensavers that come with KDE are extremely cool when compared to those shipped with Windows. But while browsing KDE-look, I found a screensaver which I really wanted. I immediately downloaded the Tar source and thought I could compile it and get it to work. Guess what? I was wrong. Now, ranting time starts.

Who the hell wants to compile a screensaver? We just want to paste a file in a folder and get that thing to work! No sir, we don't want to compile things just to get a new screensaver. The thing is: You have to compile! WTF!

Ok, I can tolerate this bit. The instructions were quite simple. Extract the Tar.gz contents somewere, go to that directory in Konsole. Then:

make install

Those were the 3 things to do. Quite simple it seems! NOPE! It's not! In comes Dependency Hell!

While configuring, I was missing a number of libraries and had to download loads of packages. I also had to use prefixes to point to the correct directory. From here, it seems simple, but trust me it isn't. You are going to hate it! It's waaaayyyy too complicated! The length of the commands and the number of error messages produced creates genuine fear and cold sweat... 100's lines of errors! :S WTFFFF!

After lots and lots of efforts, Googling and package downloading, I could get past the ./configure step. Now, when I tried make. Again loads of errors concerning unreferenced things in openGL. I didn't quite get what the errors were about, but I want to proceed. I was tired enough with getting configure to work. Forget me now! There is no way I'm going through another dependency hell to allow make to work. And that just for a darned screensaver!

Sorry people, but here, Windows rulz. Just download a Setup, install and your screensaver is in your Control Panel. But Linux? Download source, compile screensaver, get packages, solve dependency issues and whatnot?? Sorryyy! Never again! Very very non user-friendly!

2) WiFi USB Adaptor

I abandoned the screensaver, deleting the source and extracted files to remove the temptation to try again. Now I wanted to get my adaptor to work. I Googled around and heard there was no workable driver. You had to use the Windows driver with NDisWrapper and get it to work on Linux.

Considering the amount of work needed to get that to work, I haven't even tried. But I heard that it works pretty well, if you can accept that every time you want your connection, you need to use Konsole...

Anyways, here it's not really the fault of Linux but that of NetGear that refuses to provide a driver for Linux users. I prefer to wait for a better solution to make the adaptor work. Till that, I prefer to use Windows to connect wirelessly. Hope somebody develops a good driver. I really like using Linux, but I'm still a noob. Don't count on me to go write drivers or to use NDisWrapper or whatever. I just want to leech of some packages and get things to work. The NDisWrapper and driver writing will be when I become a novice. Perhaps in a few years! :P

At last! I finally got the last of Samba, finally getting it to work with itself (!) and WinXP. It was not an easy task, and after much Googling, I was able to find the solution. After all, Google is god! :D

Here's the scenario:

i had installed Feisty Fawn Kubuntu on my laptop, replacing Dapper. Samba was working well with Dapper, and I can't really say what I did to make it work... so after upgrade, Samba again refused to work like it should. Or perhaps, I didn't know what to do exactly.

Anyways, I wanted a simple way to share files, without users having to enter usernames and passwords. Everybody could access my Shares, since I had a small network and required minimal security.

After the Feisty install (or reinstall, since I managed to kill KDE pretty badly by switching on translucency and stuff, things which my antique graphics card did not support), I downloaded Samba, Samba-common, Smbfs and Smbclient from Adept. It went smoothly.

After that, I had to configure Samba. My workgroup is MSHOME. Therefore, I went to KControl (K-menu -> Run -> kdesu kcontrol) and accessed Samba under Internet and Network. I configured Share Level security since that is what I wanted (no usernames/passwords). Furthurmore, I configured the workgroup and the name of my pc. I defined which folder to share and who had access to it. I also granted Read/Write permission on that folder. Yosh! All done. Now to try.

I opened run and typed the \\ and the IP address of my Desktop PC. Konqueror opened and showed me the shares on Desktop PC after a few seconds. Yes. I could access the shares on my Desktop. R/W worked ok. All done here.

Now, I repeated the run, \\ and localhost (\\localhost). Again, Konqueror opened and showed my local shared folder under Kubuntu. However, things got weird when I accessed that Linux share.

As I told you, I could use Kubuntu to access shares on other machines with RW permission. But when I tried to access the Linux share locally via localhost, I got this error: "The file or folder smb://localhost/Shares does not exist". WTF! I saw the folder. I can open it via Konqueror. How come it doesn't exist?

After intense hours of Googling, I found this very very interesting site. It described about the problem I was having and proposed a solution.

Just go to KControl -> Internet and Network -> Samba -> Advanced Tab -> VFS and disable Host Msdfs. Also, check your smb.conf, usually in /etc/smb.conf for any lines saying "host msdfs = yes" and set those to no, or delete them. And ensure that the folders you are sharing are Public, Browsable and Writable. These are settable in KControl -> Internet and Network -> File Sharing. And check that Share Level Security is enabled in KControl - - -> Samba.

Site: http://niftiestsoftware.com/?p=24

I immediately followed its instructions and guess what? Samba worked to perfection for me! I could access the share locally, and other PCs could access my shares. Everything worked like it should! Wowwwww! That's what I'd called the Taming of Samba! :P Hope this article helps you tame your Samba.

P.s. I'm no Linux expert, but I just wanted to share my experience with you folks.

Following a conversation with Darklide, he informed me that Paypal now supports Mauritius! Wow! I was skeptical. So I went on the Paypal site and check! OMG!


For now at least, only sending money is supported. It means that you can only PAY with paypal and not accept payments, or receive money. For me, this is good enough. I wanted a secure way to pay online, not to sell. I'm not a great seller anyways.

Yaaaayyyyy! Now at least we can get good prices on Ebay, Flicker and Deviant Art! Simply marvellous! :P

Be on the lookout for new features folks! This is indeed great news for geeks that want cheap products!

I haven't tried the service yet. If anybody could post their comments and reviews about the service? If I do, I'll let you have my feedbacks. For now, that is all.

Edit: Having tested the service for a while now, I can say Paypal reliably supports Mauritius now. Shopping on Ebay has become a breeze, and buying things like Rapidshare premium accounts is child's play. Thank you Paypal! Note that you can only send money, and not receive. Meaning that you cannot sell stuff and get paid via Paypal if you are in Mauritius. I don't think it'll be long until we get to receive money too. But for now, it is not possible. Not that it affects me personally though.. I mainly buy, not sell.

One issue though. We do not currently have special Online-Banking Bank cards. Nope, we don't have one-use credit cards and the variety of similar service. You will have to apply for a credit card or an MCB Primo card, which I think is accepted and has a Rs.2000 limit. Not much, but workable.

Following a conversation with Sun, I was tempted to replace my Dapper Drake with Feisty Fawn on my laptop. I was quite at ease with the features by now, and was kinda liking it. The features were good, but alas required quite some tweaking. With some fighting, I succeeded in getting Samba working and my Internet connection up via my Sagem F@st 800 modem. Still, it was quite a pain sometimes, like it wouldn't let me take ownership of my hard disk and my files. Like I said, it required quite some tweaking. But still, being a geek, I liked it! :D

Now, when installing Feisty Fawn (FF), I had to remove my Dapper. I thought I would not lose much except some packages and some updates, together with some programs. Nothing great. So I got the Feisty CD from a friend and installed it. Here are my first experiences:

The installation went smoothly, as it was with the Dapper install. After selecting my language settings, timezone and keyboard layouts, I was asked to configure my partitions. Nothing much to change since my Dapper was already installed. I just chose to format my Dapper root (/) partition and chose the same drive as Swap. I also had to create my user credentials. The only thing to be deplored is that the session was kinda lagging. Nothing grave considering it was running from Live CD. Or perhaps it's my slow laptop drive. Nevermind.

Mind you, Dapper to Feisty directly is not supported. You need to go from Dapper -> Edgy -> Feisty. Since I didn't have Edgy and had no great internet connection to download 700MB (on 512Kbps going 10KBps download speeds is no fun). I decided to format the current Dapper installaton and replace it with the Feisty. Anyways, a clean install is so much better. My current Partition configuration allowed me to safeguard my files and overwrite only the operating system. Even my fall-back position Windows XP was maintained. Cool!

My current config:
hda1 = WinXP
hda2 = Files
hda3 = /
hda4 = Swap

Note, hda 1-4 are partitions.

The installation was quite fast, and in less than 30 mins, I was inside my Kubuntu Feisty. I saw the first thing which will make me a happier geek: The new splash/login screen is really beautiful as compared to the Dapper! After login, I saw that the updated KDE was familiar but lots better. Three features that I really like: The new Quick Launch area, the Networks notification area icon and the upgraded Battery icon which gives more information. I also like the Dynamic adjustment of the processor to maximize battery! My laptop used to run for like 1hr. Now? 2h15! OMG!

The K-menu is similar to the Dapper. Basically the UI is the same but nicer to the eyes. The first thing I did was to go the System Settings and customize my new installation. The window is simpler. Some of the icons have been grouped. Eg. In Dapper, you had one icon for Mouse and one for Keyboard. Now you got one Keyboard and Mouse icon. This is good as there is less clutter. Note that Wine support is already present in the System Settings. When you access it, you are guided to install Wine if you don't already have it.

Now, some improvements that really pleased me is that compared to Dapper, Feisty is really simplified. One simple example. My Files partition was automatically given to me through ownership! This is nice! Even Samba was easier to work with. Not that the settings were different. I get the impression that it worked better! The programs usually the same, with more or less the same options and settings. Few applications were removed, others were added eg. the screen magnifier.

Till now, that's all I've seen. I think my Feisty experience will be a pleasant one! I even felt my laptop performance go up! Conclusion? My Dapper -> Feisty Fawn was nice! Go Feisty! You are great, take it from a long-time Windows user. Now, I simply love Linux and its ultra-customizability. That's a certain fact. :P

P.s. The KDE interface is so much better and so much more customizable than any Windows interface. That's one of the best things about Linux: Customizability.

At last I finished my N+ course, and as I said earlier, I'm posting my feedbacks after completing it fully. I must say, my personal opinion is not a rosy one. Of course, you might not agree with me, but still, try going on and let me have your comments...

I thought N+ was going to be fun, learning the theory at first and applying what I've learnt afterwards. Considering the huge amount of theory N+ contains, regarding all sorts of protocols, systems and their implementation, devices and software settings, I thought we'd be getting quite a lot of practical. Alas, there was almost no practicals. In the end, I learnt tons and tons of things about networks, but never got the opportunity to put what I learnt into practice.

I can tell you that I haven't even done something as simple as crimping a network cable, or even set up a small LAN. The router configuration is out of question. I know nothing (in practical) about the implementation of a domain and a directory like Active Directory, although I know much about their functions, advantages and disadvantages now. The thing is, the amount of theory I learnt is pretty useless if I don't know how to put it into practice.

The only practicals I had was trying out some tools like Netstat and Ping on the Windows Command Prompt a.k.a Software TOOLS, not even the real things like a NOS... Nothing about hardware implementation too. As I told you, I don't even know how to make a cable at the end of my course.

Now I come to what my friend Sun said and he was totally right. He told me prior to N+ that I'd be having lots of theory and no practical. I thought that the course might have changed now since the syllabus has changed. Nope. Still no practicals. Now, I believe the course was kind of...boring?

Another point to consider here is the speed at which the course was completed. The total time of the course was 30hrs. 3hrs per day, 3 times a week, making a total of 10 sessions. Frankly, this was WAY WAY too short to cover the amount of work there is to do in N+, even with no practicals. While reading the book I got with the course, the Sybex's N+ Guide, I now know how much we missed in class. Ok, I know I'm supposed to self-study but this amount of miss-out is very impressive...

Considering the cost of the course, and the exams, I expected to get a better treatment and more out of this course. Personally, the lack of practicals really grossed me out. What's the point of doing a Network Technician or Administrator (that's how the book calls the reader) course and not knowing how to crimp a simple UTP cable and a RJ-45 connector? I'm deceived... CompTIA needs to seriously review their course, and HMTI the way they run the course...

Now, I started S+. I think this course, according to my Instructor's speech, has quite a lot of practical stuff and is quite long (6th June - 3rd August). So let's hope I find something more interesting here. After the first day, I can say that I did nothing practical but learnt tons of theory. My Instructor reassured me while telling me that the practicals come after the theory. Let's hope it's not the same kind of "practical" as in N+... More on the S+ later as I go through the course. So much for now...

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