Linux Filesystem Info

I was listening to the podcast ‘Linux Reality’ via iTunes while I was working late this week. There’s some great stuff for Linux noobs. I definitely still fall into that category. The episode on the Linux file system had a lot of info I don’t want to forget.

OSX seems to be similar to Linux as far as the file system goes, but it is certainly much easier to understand by the average person. If you have ever made it so that the Finder shows you all of the hidden files in OSX, you know that Apple hides a lot of folders and files from their users. I found it disappointing. OSX has an illusory feeling to me now. More like a satin sheet covering the gears and pistons of a very complex machine. I have always disliked how Windows hides things from its users, but now I realize that Apple simply does a better job of keeping the wizard’s curtain closed. Here’s a quick break down of a generic Linux file system:

  • bin : Binary
    • Some programs that are used by all users
  • dev : Device
    • A virtual directory that contains folders that represent your computer’s hardware
  • etc : Etcetera
    • Configuration settings for programs
  • home : Home
    • Directories that contain each user’s documents and preferences
  • lib : Library
    • Shared libraries used by some programs
  • mnt : Mount
    • media drives are represented here (sometimes a directory named ‘media’ is used instead)
  • opt : Optional
    • optional programs, testing programs, additional programs
  • proc : Processor
    • A virtual directory containing system hardware information
  • root : Root User Home
    • root user’s home directory
  • sbin : Secure Binary
    • programs used by administrative users
  • temp : Temporary
    • Temporary information is stored here. Temporary means for the duration of time between boots in most cases.
  • usr : Unix System Resources
    • Shared data, images, libraries and applications are found here. You will find program icons here for instance.
  • var : Variable Files or Data
    • log files, databases for websites, etc

The person responsible for the Linux Reality podcast is Chess Griffin. There are many episodes already available. Here’s his site:

Too Much Spam

I have recently been getting hit with waves of spam. I’m tired of dealing with it, so I have made registering mandatory for anyone that wants to comment. Most of my content is more informative, so I would say that comments are all that common. However, if anyone has corrections or something to add, please take the time to register. Thanks for reading the blog. I have a good-as-new-used or ‘Refurbished’ Thinkpad T42 being shipped to me via UPS this week, so some new posts on that machine should be popping up.

Ubuntu 6.06 on 1.6 GHz PowerMac G5 (part 3)

The first thing to do with Ubuntu on a G5 is reconfigure the X server. By doing this you will be able to expand your allowed screen resolution from 1024 x 8XX to 12XX x 1024 or possibly 16XX x whatever. This was a big issue for me. 1024 is just not big enough.

When doing this make sure you know your G5’s video card and model (my 1.6 GHz G5 has nVidia GeForce FX5200). There are plenty of questions within the set up process where you will simply give the default answer because you don’t know what the hell they’re talking about. If the question sounds over your head, just relax and most likely there’ll be some helpful notes there for you. Open a terminal and enter the following to begin the set up:

sudo dpkg-reconfigure xserver-xorg

After that’s done it’s pretty much business as usual. There are a few sacrifices. The G5 is fast, but I think the video card isn’t being used to it’s potential by Linux. When the screen saver that looks a lot like the standard OSX colored-flare screen saver comes on, it seems to work the machine pretty hard. In fact, any of those more dynamic screen savers run a bit choppy. The G5 should have no problem with those things, but that’s truly the least of my concern.

The other issue is that of sitting at a Mac with a Mac keyboard but not being able to use the ‘Apple’ key like you used to. There is a lot of room for custom key commands, but Linux looks at the Apple-keys as two separate buttons rather than two buttons with the same function. So, the left key can be set up differently than the right key. It makes one wonder about the use of the control key. Well, the location of the control key anyway. The Apple key location makes so much more sense. It’s definitely more ergonomic.

For the record, I plan on reinstalling OSX and selling my G5. I want a Linux-only system and the G5 (with my limited Linux and programming capabilities) is just not the easiest machine to use. There is also the fact that I want a laptop, so my perspective might be distorted. My assessment is similar to others: If you have a Mac, run OSX. There are some things about OSX that I don’t like and there are some things about Linux that I like, want to learn more about and promote. The day the GIMP supports CMYK will be the nail in the coffin for me, but until then I’m going to try hard to make designing for print and the web in Linux work.