Thursday, June 18, 2015

Installing CentOS 7 with MATE Desktop

I recently upgraded one of my labs from CentOS 6.x to CentOS 7.  These are my notes installing CentOS 7 with the MATE desktop.  Although I installed CentOS on physical hardware, this example installs the OS in a VirtualBox virtual machine.

There are a few configuration choices I made that I prefer and fit my environment.  I installed the MATE Desktop over the default Gnome, created standard partitions instead of LVM, and created a single ext4 file system with a separate swap partition instead of the new xfs default file system.

The first steps, of course, are to download the ISO and create the virtual machine.  Then begin the installation.

Figure 1: Initial install screen.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

VMWare Workstation Notes

I was able to get VMWare software for testing purposes and decided to give VMWare Workstation a try.  I normally use and am a big fan of Virtualbox.  My initial reaction is that I like VMWare Workstation a lot.  I downloaded and installed VMWare Workstation 9 for Linux on my Ubuntu 12.04 system running on a Macbook Pro.  The installation went without a hitch, though after the first update, post installation, I was required to enter my license code again.  This was a minor annoyance.

I wanted to simulate a configuration consisting of a firewall with two network interfaces and a single client operating system.  I chose pfSense for the firewall and Windows 7 Professional for the client.

Virtual Network

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

ClamAV - Linux Antivirus Software

Antivirus for Linux sounds unnecessary due to the low probability of Linux being infected by a virus. However because Linux can communicate and share files with Windows, antivirus is another piece of software that will prevent the spread of malware between Windows clients where Linux could be the conduit.

ClamAV is included in most Linux distribution repositories. ClamAV is, “...designed especially for e-mail scanning on mail gateways. It provides a number of utilities including a flexible and scalable multi-threaded daemon, a command line scanner and advanced tool for automatic database updates.” Even though ClamAV is designed for mail gateways, to scan incoming e-mail, there are tools to manually scan media for viruses. Normally a systems home folder, which contains the users home directories, or shared folders like SAMBA shares with Windows clients are scanned on a schedule. ClamAV is not normally used to scan the complete filesystem of a Linux machine. This in conjunction with Windows antivirus software will helpfully prevent any malware outbreaks in your home or organization.

Monday, August 27, 2012

When to Replace Servers with Network Attached Storage

SOHO’s (Small Office/Home Offices) traditionally either had client-server or peer-to-peer networking in place to serve office needs.  Client server, the more expensive option, have the benefit of centrally managed network resources.  While peer-to-peer, though less costly and easy to setup, become difficult to manage as the network grows.

With low cost NAS (Network Attached Storage) devices, many SOHO’s can bypass using a centrally managed server and use a simpler configuration for storing data.  Deciding when to use a NAS or when to use a server depends on the office needs.

When to use NAS

NAS devices are a cost effective and simple way to manage user storage.  There are several different NAS manufacturers and models to choose from.  Each model will also have different features, like the number of USB ports, upgradability and printer support.  Network services provided by the NAS, like FTP (File Transfer Protocol), Windows Shares, Workgroups and NFS (Network File Sharing) protocol also vary.

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Running Fedora 17 in Ubuntu with VirtualBox

VirtualBox is a great tool for testing operating systems, whether for testing a different distributions or simulating a network configuration. What follows is my experience installing and configuring Fedora 17 on my notebook running Ubuntu 12.04 LTS.
First off, this pseudo tutorial assumes a few things are in place. The Ubuntu Desktop is installed and running with VirtualBox installed, and the Fedora 17 ISO has been downloaded. Though my notebook has a 64-bit processor, it does not have the virtualization extensions; something I didn't verify before purchasing back in 2008. So, even though I'm running the 64-bit version of Ubuntu 12.04 LTS, I'm running the 32-bit version of Fedora 17 in a virtual machine.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Junkless Software Installs From Source

On a recent podcast episode a listener wanted to know if there is "junk" in .rar and .tar files. I don't deal with .rar files very often, and usually .tar files are the normal way to distribute programs in source format for compiling and installing.

What are .rar and .tar files? RAR [1] is a proprietary archive and compression format. I don't believe much software for Linux is distributed in RAR format. If RAR is used to distribute files, there probably are not many non-essential files. TAR [2] is a program that archives files and Linux software is often distributed in this format. TAR is also used for backing up systems and other backup programs often use tar [3]. One note, TAR does not compress archives by default, but can compress and uncompress archives with options to the TAR command.

Saturday, January 31, 2009

Setting Up a SME Server Test Environment with VirtualBox on Vista

SME Server ( is a Linux distribution designed for the office environment, similar to Microsoft Small Business Server or the now defunct Linux based NetMax Server. SME Server is managed through a web interface and provides file and print sharing, E-mail server and web client, Firewall, Directory Services, Web hosting and other services. It is also extensible via Contribs. Contribs are software packages that are designed to add extra functionality to SME Server.

This document will explain how to setup a test network environment on Vista using Virtual Box with SME Server and Windows XP Professional guests. I chose Windows XP Professional, because that is the environment I have found that most business or educational intitutions are using. This document already assumes that VirtualBox is installed and working and that the Windows XP Professioanl guest is installed in VirtualBox.