Saturday, May 18, 2013

slacko 5.5 (puppy) and easy peasy on a hp110 mini

Links: GPTfdisk  Puppy User and Security

booting from USB

I downloaded the latest slacko ISO (5.5), and used UNetbootin to put the ISO onto a stick. I put in the stick and powered-up. F10 got me into the BIOS, but the BIOS did not detect the USB --- the HDD was the single boot option. The F1 key and cycling the BIOS eventually detected the USB. Each time thereafter, an F9 option to "change boot device order" appeared in the BIOS splash. Once the USB was detected, Slacko booted and installed quickly from it.

Next were attempts at a couple of Ubuntu based distros; Joli OS, and EasyPeasy. Both hung during auto-partitioning. Reckoning I had encountered the storied MBR/GPT conflict, I considered downloading GPTfdisk, but then I discovered an article which appeared to show how to remove the GPT manually. I processed these on both ends of the HDD, but the installs still hung at the same step.

Why was an Ubuntu installer hanging and a Slackware based installer not hanging? During installs, Ubuntu's installer script apparently relies on the POS gparted for the partitioning phase. Since Ubuntu installation screens are GUI, not CLI, gparted has no straightforward way to provide its failure information; gparted simply dies (exits) and hangs the installation. I was eventually able to guess it might be gparted only after Googling similar hangs. To verify, I exited the setup script and entered the live CD desktop. I then opened a terminal, su'ed up ("sudo passwd ubuntu", then "su") and ran gparted. Sure enough, gparted failed and exited. The failure:
Assertion (head_size <= 63) at ../../../libparted/labels/dos.c:659 in function probe_partition_for_geom() failed.
OK, the above explained why I couldn't see the failure, and why it didn't occur in Slackware, but what is this failure? Poor design, apparently. Certainly, the difference between a USB and a CDROM should be irrelevant for gparted to do its install job, but it obviously isn't. It is a nasty bug. I was only able to find one fix on my first chop at it, and that was designed for Verbatim brand USB's. I don't have a Verbatim USB. Nevertheless, cfdisk -z /dev/sdb got me partway there, and then I also formatted the USB with ext2 (mke2fs /dev/sdb1) just to be sure. I then ran UNetbootin on an EasyPeasy ISO. With this, I was able to install EasyPeasy (Ubuntu installer script) without issues. 3 lost hours.

UEFI (Unified Extensible Firmware Interface) Note:

I also booted Slacko from the USB on a 2013 laptop. For this, I found I had to enter the BIOS and disable UEFI booting prior to the USB, or even a CDROM, booting successfully.

Slacko: adding a user, logins, X-settings for user

Slacko's default GUI access is root, which makes sense for a live distro. So how to create users and which files are required for X (and Bash, etc) initilization for these users?

Create users (in this case "foo"), add them to groups, and set-up the home directory...
# mkdir /home/foo
# adduser foo
# nano /etc/group #(add foo to whatever)
# su foo
$ cp /boot/root/.bashrc /home/foo/
$ cp /boot/root/.Xdefaults /home/foo/
$ cp /boot/root/.Xresources /home/foo/
$ cp /boot/root/.fonts-cache1 /home/foo/
$ cp /boot/root/.gtkrc-2.0 /home/foo/
...then arrange for runlevels and booting logins.

First, to eliminate autologins to root, change the second line in \etc\inittab.
tty1::respawn:/sbin/getty -n -l /bin/autologinroot 38400 tty1
tty1::respawn:/sbin/getty 38400 tty1