BoxerBoy's "FYI"

Your Unofficial Guide

A little about Linux.

Linux is an operating system that does the same things that you can do in Windows only more. Linux is a "free" operating system. In Linux "free" doesnt mean $0 cost. Think of the word "free" as free to do as you wish with it. I will explain more in the paragraphs ahead. I will tell you that Linux is not as hard as people think. I mean when you say the word "Linux" to people they get real scared. Linux is nothing to be scared of, in some aspects "that i will get more involved with later" the desktop has icons and launcher buttons just as Windows does. The files system is different than Windows. Linux uses a file system called ext3.

When people hear the word "Linux" they think of a black screen with a white curser this screen is called a "shell". The shell is not the only thing that differs from Windows but its used in a simiar way to the DOS shell in Windows.(see windows page for more on how to bring up the DOS screen. The shell is where you would type commands on what you wanted  Linux to do. (i will get into some basic  commands for Linux later on. To see some Dos commands for Windows see the Windows page. You will notice when I am finished with these pages how Windows and Linux differ and where they are somewhat simiar.

The biggest difference between Windows and Linux is something called the "source code". The source code is basicly what the programmer wrote while programming the operating system. With Linux you get the source code with whatever disto of Linux you choose.What this allows you to do is change the source code as you wish so that the operating system does what you want.(keep in mind that changing the source code the wrong way will cause problems). DO NOT  attempt to change the source code without knowing how to write a program. Microsoft will NOT give you the source code to any of its programs, they fear that  giving you the source code you can change and sell your revised program, doing this ensures microsoft not to profit from it. Only programs that are called "open source" will come with the source code. You can copy a Linux distro and hand it out as much as you like but read the "agreement" first. The agreement states that you are encouraged to copy and give out a copy of Linux but you can not profit from it. That is because anyone can download Linux for free ($0 cost).

Here is my Sources list for Ubuntu 5.10 code name Breezy Badger

The old Hoary backports the mirrormax ones .mirrormax backports no longer are in service. Breezy (5.10) now has backports open they are listed as part of the sources list.

To open you sources list type (sudo cp /etc/apt/sources.list /etc/apt/sources.list_backup) in a terminal and that command will back up your list, next type (gksudo gedit /etc/apt/sources.list) that will open up your sources list in a new window. Here is a list of what my sources list looks like:

# Automatically generated sources.list



# If you get errors about missing keys, lookup the key in this file

# and run these commands (replace KEY with the key number)


# gpg --keyserver --recv KEY

# gpg --export --armor KEY | sudo apt-key add -

# Ubuntu supported packages (packages, GPG key: 437D05B5)

deb breezy main restricted

deb breezy-updates main restricted

deb breezy-security main restricted

# Ubuntu supported packages (sources, GPG key: 437D05B5)

deb-src breezy main restricted

deb-src breezy-updates main restricted

deb-src breezy-security main restricted

# Ubuntu community supported packages (packages, GPG key: 437D05B5)

deb breezy universe multiverse

deb breezy-updates universe multiverse

deb breezy-security universe multiverse

# Ubuntu community supported packages (sources, GPG key: 437D05B5)

deb-src breezy universe multiverse

deb-src breezy-updates universe multiverse

deb-src breezy-security universe multive

USE THE REST OF THIS LIST WITH CAUTION. THEY ARE NOT OFFICIAL REPOSITORIES AND CAN DAMAGE YOUR SYSTEM. I will take no resposiblity for anything that happens while using the repos under this warning.

# Seveas' packages (packages, GPG key: 1135D466)

#deb breezy-seveas all

# Seveas' packages (sources, GPG key: 1135D466)

#deb-src breezy-seveas all

# Ubuntu backports project (packages, GPG key: 437D05B5)

#deb breezy-backports main restricted universe multiverse

# Ubuntu backports project (sources, GPG key: 437D05B5)

#deb-src breezy-backports main restricted universe multiverse

# Cipherfunk multimedia packages (packages, GPG key: 33BAC1B3)

#deb breezy main

# Cipherfunk multimedia packages (sources, GPG key: 33BAC1B3)

#deb-src breezy main

# packages for KDE 3.5 (packages, GPG key: DD4D5088)

#deb breezy main

# packages for KDE 3.5 (sources, GPG key: DD4D5088)

#deb-src breezy main

# Penguin Liberation Front (packages)

#deb breezy free non-free

# Penguin Liberation Front (sources)

#deb-src breezy free non-free

# Bleeding edge wine packages (packages)

#deb binary/

# Bleeding edge wine packages (sources)

#deb-src source/

# 2 final packages (packages)

#deb ./

# Osmo Salomas CVS amule packages (packages, GPG key: 70188C3B)

#deb breezy/

# Osmo Salomas CVS amule packages (sources, GPG key: 70188C3B)

#deb-src breezy/

# The Opera browser (packages)

#deb etch non-free


#deb breezy java


Click save after adding whatever sources you needed or if you copied my list inplace of yours.
After you have done that in the terminal type (sudo apt-get update) to update you new sources list.
"If you not in the us than take us out of the list and put you country in its place". If you need help with this you can find me on irc chat #ubuntu my screen name is gnomefreak. please feel free to ask what ever question you have about ubuntu. I got rid of the us infront of the sources i have because the repos are down. With out the country code it should find the closest server for you.

Debian Sarge Post-Install Instructions

This is a compilation of tips and advices from articles by Clinton de Young and Robert Storey from and respectively, googlings, and answers from other contributors to the Debian forum at, names that come to mind are: Dead Parrot, HappyTux, and a bunch of others that unfortunately, i can't retain in my feeble mind.

This is the first question a newbie-geek-to-be wants to know. He installed Woody with CD1 and dist-upgraded to Sarge, or installed Sarge with the Sarge installer RC1, and now doesn't know where to go from here.

Before i jump into it, all i have to say to all newbies is this:
READ your butt off, there is no substitute. Follow instructions eventhough it seems like a PITA. Go to > documentation > manuals, and read.


Give pertinent information when posting your problems, state what Debian version and what kernel you are using, it makes a difference, read what you are told to read, and come back
later on, asking sensible and specific queestions after reading the man, article, or howto, people will respect you, now you know exactly what you don't know, and you will be helped.

But if you post something like:

"I just installed Debian and apt-get ate my , and later on, my keyboard and mouse stopped working after told to reboot by my paperboy, and KDE won't let me login for no reason at all, just to spite me i guess, and the thing is: i have never done anything mean to anybody at, please HELP, this never hapenned to me with , i curse the day i listened to my now-ex-friend who told me to install Debian."

Hmm, see my point? is he on Woody, Sarge or Sid, what kernel is he using? because different solutions exist for different kernels; what errors is he getting on the console from var/log? How can we help this infidel? :)

"No Screens Found" means you did a bad configuration for the X server during the installation, either your video card, mouse, monitor, etc is badly configured either for lack of knowledge or lazyness. Yes, some people do not want to read, they want easy, fast answers that only solve their problems momentarily, and the next day they are back asking similar questions.

On kernel 2.4, read sections 9 and 10 of the following article, or better yet, read the whole article, even reinstall if you have to, in order to do it right:

The Very Verbose Debian Installation Walkthrough

Debian - Not Just Another Pretty Face Part 1

Part 2

On kernel 2.6, read this wiki:

Unofficial #debian channel FAQ on freenode (

You will save yourself a lot of headaches by reading all this.

Usually a well done:

#dpkg-reconfigure xserver-xfree86

will solve the problem.

Ok, you got Debian installed, let's get going...WOOHOO!

The first thing i do is install a firewall and mozilla (with which i'm gonna check the firewall at My favorite firewalls are Guarddog and Firestarter, they are easy to configure. After installing Sarge the first thing i do is:

#apt-get update
#apt-get dist-upgrade

Why dist-upgrade and not upgrade? read the APT-HOWTO. :)

#apt-get install guarddog mozilla

after i finish downloading guarddog, i invoke it (execute it):


it comes up, say OK to the first screen, in the main screen, click on the protocols flap on top of the page. You will find different categories, choose according to your needs.

Here are mine:

Chat = IRC
File Transfer = FTP, HTTP, HTTPS
Interactive Session = SSH
Network = DNS

OK/save/get out , your firewall will start working immediately, at the terminal wait about 10 seconds, a couple of lines will come up, do a Ctrl+c and exit. Now all we have to do is, to test it at with Mozilla.

Firestarter is as easy, take your pick.

Mozilla is downloaded, configure it, and go to

Once there, click on ShieldsUP, this will take you to another screen, go down till you pass 'Hot Spots' and click on 'ShieldsUP' again, this will send you to a third screen, click on 'Proceed', a dialog box will come up, click on 'Continue', in the next screen in the middle of the page, under 'ShieldsUP Services', click on 'All Service Ports', and on this last page, you don't have to do anything, just wait for your ports to be scanned, all 1055 of them! it takes about 2 minutes. They should be all neon-green or blue, no red ports, if you get red ports, go back and reconfigure Guarddog.

One thing i like about Mozilla is that it allows me to kill 3 birds with one shot, i get a browser, mail program, and a composer, which i use as my wordprocessor for my every day chores. Of course, you can also:

#apt-get update
#apt-get install mozilla-firefox mozilla-thunderbird

If you like Opera, go to download opera to your /home directory (/home/your_name/).

Then to install it, as root, from the terminal:

#dpkg -i opera + TAB + ENTER (do not write this)

what this means is that by writing: 'dpkg -i opera' and pressing the TAB KEY it will auto-complete the opera long file name and then, by pressing the key ENTER, it will install the .deb file.

In order to do this, you always have to be in the directory where the file is. Thus, i alwalys download to my /home directory, you could download to /tmp, but then you would have to move to that directory first (#cd /tmp) in order to install app in question.
For you, KDE users, this is what kpackage does.

Clear as mud? hehe, it'll come to you, once you spend 45 minutes at it cussing and bitching, you will never forget it.


will update the menus in most window-managers (wm) except of course, KDE and GNOME who are desktop environments (DE)

Okeedokee, we got the firewall and mozilla installed, we are kinda safe, what's next?


apt-get install sndconfig

run the command sndconfig


EDIT 21 Dec 2004: sndconfig seems to be obsoleted, it gives an error when attempting to be installed. Try this:

Sound and video

find your sound card, and add yourself to the 'audio' group

#adduser group

#adduser macondo audio

logout/login for this to take effect, as long as you are there, add yourself to the following groups, one by one:


you need a sound mixer:

#apt-get install aumix

calibrate volume and pcm settings

If using apm, install it with modconf


look for apm and install it, then add this line to /etc/modules

apm power_off=1

add "apm=power-off" in the lilo.conf in the 'append' line.

#apt-get install discover

is very helpful identifying hardware, always install it.

#apt-get install cupsys cupsys-bsd

In mozilla, go to this address and configure printer:


If you want to know if Debian carries apps related to something and what these apps are:

#apt-cache search editors

a list will come up, you can choose from there.

if you want a description, say of vim:

#apt-cache show vim


This is a very subjective matter, holy wars are started because of this. My opinion is that whatever makes you happy and helps you work fast, is the correct thing to use. My wife says that with my opinion and a dollar, i can buy a cup of coffee.

For those like me who use old, decrepit boxes, i advice to stay away from KDE and GNOME.
My PII/266/128MB RAM is sluggish and useless with any of these two. I like my system lean and mean, as fast as possible, i installed light apps and fast wm.

#apt-get install icewm icewm-themes iceme openbox

Here's what i think of KDE and GNOME:

OTOH, it flies with XFCE4, IceWM, Fluxbox, Openbox, WindowMaker, and AfterStep, if you have an old box, try all these, and choose your favorite, mine are icewm/openbox, fluxbox became a tad complicated with the new version for my taste. But who me?

Here's what i think of IceWM

#apt-get install locales localepurge deborphan debfoster

I need to install locales, then:

#dpkg-reconfigure locales

if you are English speaking, choose all the instances of English you use, be it, en_US, en_GB, or any other language you use. For "furriners" like me, i choose all the en_US and all the es_ES (spanish) press ok, in the next screen i choose the language for my environment, making sure it says 'utf-8' at the end of it.

Localepurge, deborphan, and debfoster will save you MBs of space in your hard drive.

Localepurge gives the same configuration, choose again, answer the questions, a good explanation is in the APT-HOWTO at

Debfoster is great, as root, invoke it, and answer the questions about keeping certain new apps. Keep everything you don't know what it is, deborphan will list the libraries that are alone and are safe to nuke.

Deborphan when invoked, will give a list of 'orphaned' libraries.


in order to get rid of them:

#deborphan | xargs apt-get -y remove --purge

I use all three once a week, to keep my box clean of garbage.

#apt-get install ksnapshot xchat xzgv numlockx artwiz-cursor memstat xfe vim

ksnapshot- gives you a picture of your desktop/screen
xchat- to chat on the IRC, in the #debian, #fluxbox, #debian-kde, on the freenode server
xzgv- fast and small image viewer
numlockx- enables the numbers pad to the right of the keyboard automatically on login.
artwiz-cursor- a beautiful cursor by the artwiz boys.
memstat- small (8kb) app that shows what amount of ram your apps are using.
xfe- small and quick file manager, very good.
vim- my favorite editor, fast and simple.

#apt-cache search

will give a long list of apps and plugins which you can choose.
I choose what i need and install them.

#apt-get install myspell-es

notice that you can install in many languages, in my case: spanish, substitute 'es' for 'en', and you are in business, for myspell, you have to choose btwn en-us and en-gb.

In the Debian menu, under Editors, click on oowriter.

OOo comes up, go to:

Tools > Options > Memory > Graphic Cache > Use for

and change the amount of ram from 9 to 32, this will make it a tad faster.

Next from Memory, go to View, my choice:
Look & Feel = OS/2
Scale = 120
Icon Size = Large

I have bad eyesight :)

The terminal is another of my pet peeves, too small. With your favorite editor go to your

vim /home/your_user_name/.Xresources

and copy/paste this:

xterm*background: black
xterm*foreground: white
xterm*font: 10x20
xterm*scrollBar: true
xterm*rightScrollBar: true
xterm*saveLines: 20000
xterm*cursorColor: yellow


as user:

$xrdb -merge /home/your_user_name/.Xresources

next time you start your terminal, you will have a nice, big terminal with white fonts, black background, yellow cursor, with a scrollbar, and 20k lines to scroll back to.

If you are using xdm, kdm, gdm, or wdm, you can make your favorite wm/DE start automatically by editing you ~/.xsession in this way:

vim /home/macondo/.xsession

and adding this:


xhost +localhost
exec icewm
#exec openbox

then save and exit, logout/login and voilá!

in my case, the next time i login to xdm, icewm will start, if you comment icewm and uncomment openbox, then this last one will start.

If you use startx:

vim /home/macondo/.xinitrc

do the same.

When you install x-window-system, it installs xfonts-100dpi, xterm, xdm

If you are using startx and want to increase your fonts, add the following line to your
/home/user/.bash_profile and /.bashrc:

alias startx='startx -- -dpi 100'

you can increas the dpi to 110, 120, etc.

If you use xdm, edit the file:


and add these 2 lines:

#:0 local /usr/X11R6/bin/X -bpp 16
:0 local /usr/X11R6/bin/X -bpp 16 -dpi 100

increase the dpi accordingly.

This should keep you busy for a while, hope this helps.

Edit: if by any chance when you invoke a program from the terminal, it doesn't come up because the server doesn't allow you to:

#export XAUTHORITY=/home/your_user_name/.Xauthority



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