VM-Where’s My Network?

I’m a big fan of virtual machines and especially VMware running Ubuntu Linux. Open source and virtualisation just go so well together – as many machines as you need with no restrictions. I use them more and more – build servers for different architectures, test beds, web servers, etc.

Anyway, here’s a quick tip that I discovered while setting up a VM server on amd64. I installed VMware from Ubuntu’s feisty-commercial repository (as easy as ever) but none of the virtual machines I ran on the box would connect to the network. It turned out that by default VMware only “bridges” the main interface of the host machine, in this case eth0. However, the only active interface on this machine is a wireless card on ath0. To fix this issue, I just needed to configure ath0 as a bridged interface by running:

sudo /usr/bin/vmware-config-network.pl

…and followed the prompts to select “Add a bridged interface on /dev/vmnet2 from ath0″.

After that was done, I just needed to change the settings in the server console for each VM to use the /dev/vmnet2 device and the networking on the VMs sprang into life; they could get IP addresses using DHCP from my router.

Hope this tip helps someone out there because the problem had me foxed for a while!

Updated MythTV Guide

MythTV Banner

I’ve finally got round to updating my MythTV guide:

This is the most major change yet, with a complete new look for the site. I’m going to release site’s graphics as an Ubuntu desktop and usplash theme, so if you like it then watch this space!

As far as the guide goes, it’s had a thorough overhaul to make it more relevant to the new Feisty packages and it now focuses on the EIT TV listings rather than the Internet based XMLTV stuff, mainly because this is so much easier to get working and now has some advantages such as listings for digital radio.

Be Evil

April saw the second major release of my satirical side project, Ubuntu Satanic Edition. Although the response was never going to match the impact of the first release, I’ve had nothing but great feedback regarding the artwork. In fact, one user was impressed enough to cite it in a thread called “List the best software for Linux” …and it wasn’t me, honest! The whole thing has been done using open source tools and I’ll be posting details of what I used on this blog very soon.

I’m going to focus on my MythTV site for a while, but there are still some irons in the inferno regrading the Satanic Edition… plus I’ve got loads of great artwork ideas for the next release. If only I had the time for it all.

Don’t Be Evil

Google

A good few years ago when I was at college and forced to program in Turbo Pascal (urgh!), we used the word “google” for those strange characters which used to appear on your computer screen when you’d made a really bad mistake in your code – you know, smiley faces, stippled blocks and the like. “Bugger, I’ve got a screen of googley characters!”.

Nowadays, of course, Google is spelt with an uppercase ‘G’ and means something entirely different.

Actually, Google the company now play a big part in how I use computers. As a big company, they’ve learnt a lot from Microsoft – and done the opposite. I love the way they follow open standards and use open APIs and give it all away for free, such as 3GB of email space all paid for with a bunch of very subtle targeted ads.

The thing I like most about Google are that their applications are mostly online. This has allowed me to change the way I do stuff quite dramatically. Instead of having one big PC running Windows, the price of hardware has allowed me to have a few PCs all running Linux… desktops in the study and at work, a MythTV box in the lounge, a laptop for lugging around and a PDA for everywhere else (not running Linux… yet). All these boxes can be used to access the same information – bookmarks and news feeds through my Google homepage, photos through Picasaweb, email through Gmail, news through Google Alerts, adds through AdSense, webstats through Analytics… the list goes on.

Sure, some of their stuff isn’t particularly original – YouTube, Flickr and Hotmail were the innovators for some of the stuff, but a bit of healthy competition keeps them on their toes. I like the way all the Google products can be accessed neatly with one account from any PC and just how nice it all is to use. Plus, it all gets updated automatically without having to upgrade every PC I use.

Maybe they’ll turn evil one day, but, until then, I’ll continue to use them for much more than just searching.

Hannah Louise Parker

My second daughter, Hannah Louise Parker, was born yesterday – 15th May 2007 at 00:36. She weighed 7lb 6oz and is absolutely perfect! Fay is also doing fine and they are already home from the hospital. I’ve already taken loads of photos.

Wacom Volito2 Tablet & Pen Review

Wacom Volito2

I recently decided to have a go at some freehand art on my PC. I’ve been “manipulating” images using The GIMP software for years, and I’ve always been into drawing on paper, but I’ve never combined the two. So, I read some reviews and bought myself a Wacom Volito2 from amazon for the paultry dum of £27 (free delivery). This is an absolute bargain for a tablet from such as highly regarded manufacturer which uses the same technology as their much more expensive models.

The reason it’s to cheap is because it’s only A6. While this sounds very small, in practice you hardly notice. I’ve been very impressed with the performance of the tablet – it works very well, especially when used with The GIMP. I’m still learning to use it properly, but I’m already impressed with some of the results.

The only downside is that support for the tablet in Ubuntu Edgy is “broken”. It’s not recognised by the stock kernel. However, this was fairly easily rectified by compiling the kernel drivers available from the Wacom site. I haven’t got the exact procedure required to do this as I already had the kernel headers and such installed on my machine. However, here are a few useful links on the subject:

Volito2 at Amazon.co.uk

Get the module from: http://linuxwacom.sourceforge.net/index.php/dl

The version I downloaded was: linuxwacom-0.7.2.tar.bz2

Compile against the headers for your kernel.

The new wacom module lives in:

/lib/modules/2.6.17-10-386/kernel/drivers/usb/input/wacon.ko

I have a ready-done module for the 2.6.17-10-386 Edgy kernel here: wacom.ko

KDE vs Gnome

I had lots of requests for KDE versions of Ubuntu Satanic Edition, so I installed KDE for the first time in ages and developed some themes for it. I have to say that it’s come a long way and I can see why lots of people love it.  However, I won’t be sticking with it for the same reason I don’t bother with Beryl and its fancy effects – speed and simplicity. Gnome is so, well, fast and simple.

It’s funny how KDE and Gnome focus on different things. KDE seem to neglect their KDM login manager, but their splash screen themes and management are very advanced – the opposite of Gnome. It makes you wonder how good it would be if they got together and pooled their efforts. Still, I guess  that’s what makes Linux great – choice.

Blog Spam is Sick

This blog has been hit by a lot of spam recently, prompting me to activate the Akismet plugin. This works really well, so hopefully the problem is solved.

However,  the spam I was getting wasn’t the usual irritating stuff, it was links to hard core porn sites. This is sickening, as this blog could have belonged to a child. Are these people so sad and isolated that they don’t think or care about things like that?

The Proliferation of Ubuntu SE

I’ve been watching the spread of Ubuntu Satanic Edition with interest. A Google search for “ubuntu satanic edition” on Thursday 14th December returned around 470 hits. A week later that has spiraled to 470,000!

That’s very interesting because the site only had around 230,000 hits in that time. The majority of those came from digg.com. Quite a few of the links were on people’s blogs, but most of them were on pointless news sites which are automatically updated with the same stories.

Interestingly for a Linux site, 60% of the hits were from Windows boxes and only 32% Linux. However, 74% of people used Firefox.

Oh, and it got 1144 diggs on digg.com

Evil Edgy Released

It all started as a tongue in cheek post on this blog. Then I messed around with The Gimp for a while (the graphics package, not the guy in the box). Before I know it, the whole thing got out of hand and Ubuntu Satanic Edition was born…

Actually, it took bloody ages. On top of the artwork, properly packaging the while thing and putting it in a secure APT repository was a lot of work. Not to mention the website.

Still, all in all, the feedback has been pretty good. Most people have seen the funny side and recognised it as satire. Nobody is too upset, apart from one bloke who was offended because it wasn’t “Evil” enough! Still, can’t please everyone!

Hopefully, it will take off and we’ll be able to expand the artwork with and come up with something which looks sensational. It may even turn into a proper distro one day… As some people have suggested, a 666 MB .ISO would be very cool…