A GRUB problem

Hello folks, This time I am with a GRUB problem. Yes, it is true that I have installed Debian GNU/Linux in quite a lot of systems, but never got any GRUB error of the sort that I had yesterday. For the first time I saw the GRUB blurting out

GRUB Loading :Error 18 ….

I have seen other errors like GRUB error 17 or 16…. This never….

What exactly happened was this…. I was installing Debian Sarge in one of the systems. Evrything went well as ususal and the base system got installed. The system ejected the CD ROM as usual and rebooted….. Only for myself to see the abopve mentioned error… Googling gave told me that it was something related with the BIOS. And that we need to alter the partitioning as it was to big to handle… Luckly for me, Mr.Joe Steeve ( a GNU/Linux geek) was available online… I contacted him through IM and he gave the reply in an instant….That the LBA option in the BIOS must be set to enabled….. Then we rebooted the system, entered in to the BIOS setup and changed the state to AUTO from disabled….. and reboted the system and …. there it was… the GRUB displayed all the OSes available without throwing any errors…

And more on LBA…. LBA stands for Logical Boot Addressing. It is a simple type of addressing in which blocks are located by using an index where for the first block LBA=0, for the second LBA=1 and so on… This is advantageous as it provides a layer of abstraction to the software of the operating system unlike the earlier schemes which exposed it. LBA was initially used in SCSI disks…. but now it is used in all major storage devices and colpmex storage structures like SAN etc.


        Thiagarajar College of Engg will be organising a week long seminar on FOSS tools in January 2007 in its campus. The seminar is scheduled from 8-1-2007 to 13-1-2007. The specaility of the program is that it will be conducted by experts in the field from various industries and the GNU field. People among the resource persons are Mr.Amalan Joe Steeve, Mr. Ananth Shrinivas, Mr. Senthil Kumaran, Mr.Shakti Kannan, Mr.Bharathi Subramanian, and Mr.Nagappan.

The various sessions of the week long seminar/workshop include

  • Installation tools
  • System configuration tools
  • Server configuration tools
  • Networking tools
  • Application development tools
  • Desktop tools
  • Database tools
  • Web-programming tools
  • Content management tools

and the list goes on…And all the sessions will have a pratical hands on session for all these. The venue of the event will be the conference of the Dept of Computer Science in Thiagarajar College of Engg.Also accomodation is provide on request… For more details and for registering please loook into the site http://tce.edu/~foss2007/

Debian sarge (64-bit) installation

        Hey folks, we are really excited today, as we were for the first time allowed to something on the costly servers :-). We (Balachandran, Sai, Venkatapathy) installed the 64-bit debian sarge in the itanium server, or the SMP. This work must havebeen completed long back, but due to some problems with the hyperterminal present there, we were unable to do it.Now atlast we have done it.

But even today, with a guy from HP present, the installation was not as smooth as we had expected. We got stuck up for a long time with the partition… yes even thought all three of us have enough experience installing debian on lots of systems, we had that problem 🙁 Then we tried to use the LVM…. but that did not help…

We were stuck up because we saw a nwe type of partition there.. called the EFI boot. Now I understand that it is an Extensible Firmwire Interface Boot….Then after instructions from our staff we decided to erase the entire disk and install Debain. The server already had RHEL running on it.But we formated it and now the server has only a 64-bit Debian sarge running on it.

Though we spent nearly 2 hrs for that, we area really glad and happy that we learnt something new today about EFI and stuff. We are also glad to have done the first 64-bit debian installation in the college, that too in a costly itanium server, which will be our DataBase server.


        Hey folks… I got really excited today. I just learnt how to use the iptables command for various purposes :). I learnt how to use the command to set up new rules, append to existing rules, drop rules…etc. The site from which I learnt them was a good. the link is http://www.netfilter.org/documentation/HOWTO .

The commands that i tried were

#iptables -A INPUT -s <some I P> -p <some protocol> -j DROP

for blocking all packets of the corresponding protocol from that given IP. The -A command is used to add rule ro an existing ipchain.For droping an existing chain, the option is -D. For example, to drop packets of a ping command(icmp protocol) from the loclhost, the command will be

#iptables -A INPUT -s -p icmp -j DROP

To undo the same, that is to remove that iptbales rule, what we simply need to do is just repeat the same command with the -A replaced by -D. Another thing I tried was to block all internet traffic to the system in which I am logged in. This is easily done with some thinking… this is what I did. I blocked all tcp packets from the main proxy.The command for doing it is.

#iptables -A INPUT -s -p tcp -j DROP

Here, all tcp packets arriving from,the proxy to this system are dropped.Since web traffic is also a tcp based traffic, it also gets blocked…

My Tryst with Gtk/Glade

Hello folks, After nearly 2 months I decided to do something using glade, atleast to play aroud with it, and in doing so i did something useful– developed a small simple-very simple- wrapper for wget. To be frank, I am very new to Gtk/Glade. I started learning the basics a couple of months back and left it as such.

So, today, when after some struggles, I created my first proper Gtk/Glade application, I was really happy. I decided to work more on it now. To say more on my application, it is just a very, very small wrapper for wget. Actully it is not even complete.What it does is that, it has a text entry field where we need to give the complete url and press the button provided there.It downloads the corresponding file to the users home directory.

But, I hope that I will continue working on that and develop it into a full fledged wrapper for wget. Another important benefit of this tryst with Gtk/Glade is that I have for the first time understood invoking system calls from C. So

Software Freedom Day – FStival ‘06 @ TCE

Software Ffreedom Day was celebrated throught the world on 16/9/2006 this year.Thiagarajar college of engg also celebrated it as usual under the tag FStival 06. The chief guest was Mr. Kenneth Gonsalves, associate NRC, AU-KBC. He spoke on the topic “FOSS makes professional programmers”

After that there were many demo stalls conducted. In these stalls, various tools available under GNU/Linux were explained and people were taught how to use them. The demo stall include emacs, LaTeX, Gtk/Glade(Balachandran), CMS (Ravi and Venkatapathy), Databases, Lamp (alagammai) , Multimedia, graphics and animation etc. There was also a separate on-stage installation session(Krithika and Geetha priya) were Debian installation was eplained in great detail. That was followed by an on-stage explanation of XGL (Xtreme Graphics Library) by Karthikeyan and Sai Krishna. There were two propaganda stalls for GNU/Linux of which one explained GNU/Linux in industries (Vinodh) and the other the philosophy etc (Ashok).

The stalls were maintained by bth the second yrs and the third yrs.The height of the function was that it was the most successful FStival ever. We had a huge audience, K.S overflowing. We were very happy to have a few alumnis like Mr.Joe Steeve, Mr.S.Arun Ponniah, Mr.Senthil kumaran and Ms.Sri Ranjani.

On the whole the event was a great success. The support we had from the staff, seniors and above all the alumnis was really excellent and motivated us a lot. We had a good crowd this time and what’s more interesting is that most of them were eager to learn and use FOSS based stuff. GNU/Linux installation (Debian sarge) would have helped many. Hope we make still more and well planned arrangements next time and make it better.