Linux and Open Source

About Linux and Open Source

Had to scratch my head to find the right tool for the job today - something that I used regularly at SMX but havn't had much need to use since.

The tool was 'vimdiff'. I needed to compare to configuration files (retrieved from two different servers) to understand what difference existed. Whilst 'diff' alone would've done it, I find the output hard to follow. vimdiff worked wonders!

Google hit I used also has some other useful tools:

For posterity.

Honourable mention for icdiff also.

I came across a Reddit Thread recently which included this gem:

From the comments that have been posted on this thread and what I found on the Mozilla forums so far:

1- In a new tab, type or paste about:config in the address bar and press Enter/Return. Click the button promising to be careful.

2- Set browser.newtab.url to about:blank>

3- To disable the callbacks to without enabling the "do not track" feature you need to remove the address from and


So i've now done both of the above and feel much better.

The Reddit page linked to a article talking about Mozilla's new Advertising strategy. I for one don't need a third party tracking what I do when I click on 'new tab' ... ! Interestingly there's also a move to remove browser.newtab.url due to "Abuse" which seems to be in itself, contentious, but it's possible you'll have to use an addon to achieve the above, at least in part, in the near future.

Sorry, couple more glitches with the server today. Really need to get on to migrating onto the new hardware I have running in parellel...

However I did find this useful stuff today :-)

Force Reboot :
#echo 1 > /proc/sys/kernel/sysrq
#echo b > /proc/sysrq-trigger
If you want to force shutdown machine try this.
#echo 1 > /proc/sys/kernel/sysrq
#echo o > /proc/sysrq-trigger

Remove comments as required. :)

As retrieved from the Waybackmachine...


This Acceptable Use Policy (AUP) has been drafted in order to 'put in writing' what has been well known amongst participants for many years - what sort of behavior is acceptable on the Mailing List.

The NZLUG itself is an informal entity with no official ruling body and no constitution or rules of association. Its successful operation depends on the contribution of its volunteer list/website administrators (Nic Bellamy, Mark Foster, Scott Newton) and Systems Administrators (Nic Bellamy and Dylan Reeve). This document therefore is mainly a commonsense attitude to mailing list netiquette as it particularly applies to us. It is open to feedback, so let us know if you have any suggestions.

General Acceptable Use policies for Mailing Lists worldwide are based on RFC1855. However NZLUG conceeds that much of the information in RFC1855 is out of date and doesn't represent the realities of todays Internet. (But it was a lovely thought.)

As such whilst we encourage participants to read the above RFC it should be treated as largely educational and serve as a guide to the intention behind these policies.

The overriding consideration behind this policy document is 'consideration for others'. If in doubt, use this as your primary concern.

Subject Guidelines

  • Discussion on Linux and Linux Related topics is appropriate.
  • Discussion of things completely unrelated to Linux is inappropriate.
  • Subjects with a vague or passing relationship to Linux are appropriate in moderation and subject to the general mood of the list at the time.
  • Requests to move off-topic conversations off-list should generally be honoured depending on circumstance.

As retrieved from the 'Wayback Machine' copy of I will update this as I can.

Do you run or know of a user group that isn't listed here that you think should be? Hit my 'Contact' Link and let me know.


NZLUG is run by, and it has people from all over the
country on it (~370 subscribers as of January 2007).

Subscribe by visiting the mailing list information page and following the instructions.

The list only accepts posts from subscribers - if you want to
subscribe under one address, but post from others, it can be done -
subscribe the other addresses too, but edit their options and disable
mail delivery (you'll get a link to them during the signup process).

If you want to keep an eye on the list, but without it invading your
inbox too often, you can also change your settings so that you receive
a "digest" version - ie. a single mail containing a number of list

Archives of the list can be found at and its Acceptable Use Policy is now also published online for viewing.

Auckland region

AuckLUG's website and mailing list information and signup page.

Other Linux User Groups in the Auckland region include Howick and Hibiscus Coast, and UALUG, The University of Auckland Linux User Group.

I've been an administrator for the New Zealand Linux Users Group for a blimmin' long time now. 2002 I think.
We used to have a nice website under but due to a bit of a disaster with the VM it was on, this was lost, and the last backup of it was a loooong time before that.
With all credit to Nic Bellamy (whos VM it, and who hosted/established NZLUG along with Dylan Reeves, and who remained involved until the VM issue), it looks like that machine isn't coming back anytime soon.

So using the Waybackmachine, here's some key stuff about NZLUG for those interested. I will at some point update this to 'current' and consider whether it should live on my site, or be re-instated under its own domain or server somewhere.


So my 10GB Windows XP VM (that'll be big enough!) ... wasn't big enough.

After some googling and some help from a friend, here's how I enlarged my image.

1. Shut down the VM.

2. From a terminal, run the following:

VBoxManage modifyhd /path/to/diskimagefile.vdi --resize SIZE-IN-MB

3. Then install 'qemu-kvm' package:

$ sudo apt-get install qemu-kvm

4. Load the network-block-device kernel module:

$ sudo modprobe nbd

5. Load the VDI file as a network block device using qemu-nbd:

$ sudo qemu-nbd -c /dev/nbd0 /path/to/diskimagefile.vdi

6. Use your favourite partitioning tool (i like gparted) to open the disk:

$ sudo gparted /dev/nbd0

Adjust your active partition size (you will see the original disk size, and available space up to the new size you set (as SIZE-IN-MB above). Commit your change. Bobs your Uncle.

So today, in amongst other bits and pieces, I set about trying to figure out why my old Ubuntu 10.04 Desktop - now connected to the TV in my livingroom - was constantly failing to play DVDs. In one case the title would load up, but none of the chapters would play.

Googling the errors that came up (oh thanks VLC for the constant references to 'fake' error messages), I finally found a useful hit on the Ubuntu Forums.

The bottom line was indeed that I needed libdvdcss2 - this is after I installed 'ubuntu-restricted-extras' to ensure I had all the codecs I needed. Of course, throwing that into apt-get install gives you this:

Reading package lists... Done
Building dependency tree       
Reading state information... Done
Package libdvdcss2 is not available, but is referred to by another package.
This may mean that the package is missing, has been obsoleted, or
is only available from another source
E: Package libdvdcss2 has no installation candidate

The above link describes how to install it (on my Ubuntu 10.04 LTS installation.. which is definately not Medibuntu):

$ sudo /usr/share/doc/libdvdread4/

And just like that, it worked.

Not sure why Xubuntu didn't take a leaf from Ubuntu and make Vino a better integrated tool.. however you can install it, and you can configure it, and use it.
I used instructions from Ehow but the gist is:

# apt-get install vino

followed by

# vino-preferences

followed by creating a new auto-startup entry for

# /usr/lib/vino/vino-server

So knowing that my Ubuntu 10.10 was about to go out of support, I took the plunge and made two calls:

1) Ubuntu's move to Unity was not to my liking, and

2) I'd like to move to the new LTS; 12.04.

So I went to Xubuntu; the Xfce based Ubuntu variant.

Unfortunately, as it's only March 2012, 12.04 is only just into Beta stage. So my installation is Xubuntu 12.04b1 64bit.

First impressions? I like it. However there's been a few odds and sods i've had to deal to manually, and eventually i'll tie them into this blog article.

I operate with Firefox as my main browser, and Chrome/Chromium as my second browser, used for mainly work-related things or where i'm testing for browser incompatibilities. Unfortunately Chromium doesn't seem to play well with other browsers, and where Firefox is otherwise configured as the default, this isn't necessarily true...

Anycase this was my fix to make Firefox take all the stuff that Chromium was stealing, in this case links presented via Pidgin IM:

root@hawkeye:/etc/alternatives# rm gnome-www-browser 
root@hawkeye:/etc/alternatives# rm x-www-browser 
root@hawkeye:/etc/alternatives# ln -s /usr/bin/firefox gnome-www-browser
root@hawkeye:/etc/alternatives# ln -s /usr/bin/firefox x-www-browser

More coming soon as I work through the kinks. On the whole i'm pretty damn happy with it so far, including the fact that it's able to run Gnome apps.

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