Grub

It used to be easy to manage grub. Simple changes to /boot/grub/menu.lst you were a-for-away. If you run a dual-boot environment (e.g, Ubuntu and Windows) and you want to change your Grub config to boot to a specific OS these days however (with the advent of newer versions of Grub) there are different steps to follow.

In this example, I’m running Windows 7 and Ubuntu 14.04 on the same machine in a dual-boot configuration. I need Windows to be the default menu entry.

Step 1: Find the menuentry for the operating system you want to make the default boot option

hendri@mercury:~$ grep 'menuentry ' /boot/grub/grub.cfg
 
menuentry 'Ubuntu' --class ubuntu --class gnu-linux --class gnu --class os $menuentry_id_option 'gnulinux-simple-531984cc-cdb4-4d22-9e98-2914966fd84e' {
        menuentry 'Ubuntu, with Linux 3.16.0-30-generic' --class ubuntu --class gnu-linux --class gnu --class os $menuentry_id_option 'gnulinux-3.16.0-30-generic-advanced-531984cc-cdb4-4d22-9e98-2914966fd84e' {
        menuentry 'Ubuntu, with Linux 3.16.0-30-generic (recovery mode)' --class ubuntu --class gnu-linux --class gnu --class os $menuentry_id_option 'gnulinux-3.16.0-30-generic-recovery-531984cc-cdb4-4d22-9e98-2914966fd84e' {
menuentry 'Memory test (memtest86+)' {
menuentry 'Memory test (memtest86+, serial console 115200)' {
menuentry 'Windows 7 (loader) (on /dev/sda1)' --class windows --class os $menuentry_id_option 'osprober-chain-A4AE5922AE58EE74' {
    menuentry "Memory Tester (memtest86+)" --class memtest86 --class gnu --class tool {

In the above output, copy/record the Windows 7 (loader) (on /dev/sda1) text.

Step 2: Edit /etc/default/grub using your preferred editor and make GRUB_DEFAULT the text above

GRUB_DEFAULT="Windows 7 (loader) (on /dev/sda1)"
 
#save and exit

Step 3: Update grub

hendri@mercury:~$ sudo update-grub

That’s it. You should now have your Windows host boot by default

Enter your Ubuntu credentials

Please see Connect via RDP to Ubuntu 14.04 using XRDP for an updated version of this post.

If you need to connect to a Linux machine, and in the scope of this guide, Ubuntu 13.10 (I’m sure this guide should be fine for earlier versions as well), then your options include:

  • Pure and simple SSH – The admin’s super tool! (just install openssh-server – works every time!)
  • VNC – I don’t like this method because you need to install software on your client AND server
  • XRDP – This still involves VNC to some degree but you can use the normal Windows Remote Desktop Client

The latter is the one I’ll guide you through here. Continue reading

For the sake of sanity, please do not take the following too serious. Someone forwarded it to me via email. I found it witty and had to repost

Who is scratching in my memory banks??

Q. Is there anything “odd” that FreeBSD does when compiling the kernel which would cause the memory to make a scratchy sound? When compiling (and for a brief moment after recognizing the floppy drive upon startup, as well), a strange scratchy sound emanates from what appears to be the memory banks.

A. Yes! You will see frequent references to “daemons” in the BSD documentation, and what most people do not know is that this refers to genuine, non-corporeal entities that now possess your computer. The scratchy sound coming from your memory is actually high-pitched whispering exchanged among the daemons as they best decide how to deal with various system administration tasks.

If the noise gets to you, a good fdisk /mbr from DOS will get rid of them, but do not be surprised if they react adversely and try to stop you. In fact, if at any point during the exercise you hear the satanic voice of Bill Gates coming from the built-in speaker, take off running and do not ever look back! Freed from the counterbalancing influence of the BSD daemons, the twin demons of DOS and Windows® are often able to re-assert total control over your machine to the eternal damnation of your soul. Now that you know, given a choice you would probably prefer to get used to the scratchy noises, no?
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Adobe AIR gives us some awesome looking cross-platform desktop apps. Everything looks and works the same, be it on a MAC, Linux Desktop or Windows machine. There is a slight problem though, 64-Bit editions of Ubuntu/Debian is not ‘officially’ supported. As such, there is no 64-bit .deb package to download and your average home user will just give up on trying to install AIR.

There is a workaround though. Just follow these steps (courtesy of this blog, but with a personal touch here and there) and you’ll have it working in no time.
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Hi, my name is Hendri Schoeman. I’m an Engineer for a tech company in South Africa – Sintrex – and I love everything IT and tech related!

My day to day activities touches on almost any subject IT related so I thought I’d spread some of the knowledge I acquire from my daily struggles in keeping clients’ networks running optimally, servers performing at their peak and data-lines being utilized in the correct manner. We assist clients in anything from application performance monitoring right through to monthly  IT infrastructure reporting and CMDB maintenance … all using our in-house developed software. Feel free to have a look at http://www.sintrex.com for more information.

Feel free to comment and make any requests/suggestions for future articles.