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Understanding file permissions – Part 2

Beginner's Linux

Hello again! This is Part 2 of my tutorial on understanding file permissions on Linux. If you haven’t already and don’t have much of an understanding of Linux file permissions, try reading Part 1. If you’ve got an understanding, but don’t know how to change them, you could start here!

» Read the rest of this post…

More tutorials in the pipeline…

Trying out SLED10

I managed to get a copy of SUSE Linux Enterprise Desktop 10, and I’m installing it now so I’m going to take a look over this evening and tomorrow and probably (no guarantees) do a little review of it.

Not much for me to comment on yet, the installer is almost exactly the same as OpenSUSE 10.1 (and 10.0 before it). I’ll get back when I’m in!

Installer reckons 30 minutes to go…

Multiple operating system Thunderbird syncing


Recently, I made the move from Microsoft Office Outlook to Mozilla Thunderbird as my email client. Yes, I know, webmail is cool and everything (I’m on Gmail and the webmail is awesome), but I’ve always preferred a desktop email client.

My problem is/was that I use both Windows and Linux and want my client to be updated with my latest mail on both operating systems (previously I had to be in Windows to use Outlook to get my mail, which is partly why I switched). Now an IMAP server would be a great way to do this, but Gmail only offers POP access or standard webmail.

So I wanted a solution that would synchronise my profile across Windows and Linux so both clients had the same set of messages.

Mozilla list a series of solutions for doing this, but I chose the easiest and less hack-involved solution.

Basically, I have a dual boot machine with Windows and Fedora Core Linux. I have loads of partitions here and there, one of which is a FAT32 partition for easy file transfer between the two OSs. That looked like the obvious choice to do the syncing.

In theory this process should also work for Mac OS X, but since I don’t yet have a Mac or access to one, I don’t know where the Thunderbird files are stored and/or whether this works in practice (Mac users fill me in with the details and I’ll update this post – would be useful for Boot Camp’ers I’m sure!). This also assumes Thunderbird is installed in the default locations on Windows and Linux and you’re not already running some groovy multi-profile setup.

So this post is really to recap my steps so that anyone else with a similar setup can set up sync.

» Read the rest of this post…

WPGet is now listed in

Big news for anyone who’s been following the development on WPGet (the WordPress integration script for integrating a WordPress blog into your site without building your site from WordPress) as it’s been accepted on

Its project page is here and it’s free and no registration is required to download. Of course, should you wish to register for, you can choose to receive email updates when I publish a new version (I may also blog about new versions, but that’s not guaranteed).

It’s also listed as ‘notable’, which apparently means it’s particularly interesting/important/useful. Not really sure what the significance of being ‘notable’ is yet, but, thanks!

I’ve updated the version on to reflect the changes to the version stored here.


Understanding file permissions (newbie-friendly) – Part 1

Beginner's Linux

It’s that time again. Beginner’s Linux is back and this time I’m going to be taking a look at file permissions in Linux. In fact, the details should apply to any Unix-based system, but for simplicity I’ll use the term ‘Linux’. This is Part 1 and lays down some of the basic concepts before we put them into practice in Part 2 (coming soon).

Background reading

If you don’t know anything about how the file system works (i.e. you don’t understand where / is and what the symbol ~ represents), then I’d strongly recommend checking out my guide to files and folders before coming back here for the rest. Don’t worry, it’s written in nice and friendly language as well.

There’s a short intro into Permissions there, but here we’re really going for it and by the end you should have an understanding of file permissions, how they work, how to change them and why they’re necessary.

OK, let’s jump in.

» Read the rest of this post…


Posting frequency has dropped recently and I can only apologise.

With starting at college afresh, I’ve found myself with less time than I’m used to. Things will get better as I get settled in to the environment and have less new stuff to think about and things to remember and have more time for blogging.
So hopefully (cross your fingers), you can expect a Linux Beginner’s Tutorial probably tomorrow or in the next few days. No promises, but I don’t have to go out until 11:00am tomorrow so I should have time for a good tutorial post.

By the way, I was going to do some stuff on the blog this weekend, but the new hard drive and the new XP install took up most of the time that would have worked. Still can’t activate Office 2003. Grrr.

Please stay with me and I’ll try and increase the frequency as and when I can.

New XP install

I’ve got the new hard drive now (a Western Digital) and I’ve decided to rebuild Windows XP on this machine (but not Linux – I’ll copy that partition over later).

So I spent quite a lot of last night installing XP, updating XP, getting security software up-to-date and wrestling with passwords until they worked.

I’m actually practising what I preach, and I’m no longer going to be running as administrator all the time on Windows (running as admin is one of the reasons why malware can be so damaging on Windows). Instead, I’ve got an admin account and my normal account and I’ll have to get used to ‘running as’ applications that are too stupid that they need admin privileges.

It is a real inconvienience in XP, but it’s generally a good practice to employ when using a Windows machine. Running as admin is like running as root on Linux all the time – I would never even think of being root all the time on Linux!
So, still quite a lot of software to go, I’m afraid, and things to configure, set up, wrestle with…

Vista RC1 screenshots

I spent this morning downloading Windows Vista RC1 (now that it’s publicly available to everyone with a Beta 2 key) and tried to install it in VMware.

Unfortunately, the network adapter driver VMware uses isn’t in Vista RC1 (why??) so for now, there’s just a few screenshots to look at.

Enjoy the screenshots here!

I hate unreliable hard drives

My first 160 GB hard drive (made by Maxtor, for the record) just messed up again and it’s essentially decided that there’s no boot sector on it.

Now this has happened many times before, so I’m not too worried for the data. Usually, you just switch the PC off for an hour or so and it works again. Needless to say, I’ll be backing everything up asap (if I can boot back in, that is). I also have last month’s backups from about the 13-18th – can’t remember exactly. Why is it that they never fail right after a backup??

So I’m bringing you this post from my server/development machine, which is, ironically, running second-hand hard drives thrown around from machine to machine until they made it here.

Oh, and we have a 75 MHz Pentium 1 lying around here that has hard drives that are probably close to or even over 10 years old. Those hard drives (1.2 GB and 800 MB HDs) are still running without a hitch. I suppose it’s the high capacities that bring the low reliabilities…

This Maxtor is a couple of years old, by the way – and a replacement for the first one I got, which was so faulty Windows wouldn’t install.

OK, rant over.

EDIT: About 30 minutes later, it boots fine, and I start backing up. Sigh.