Fedora 14: First Experience

Actually, this is my first experience with Fedora in general. I am delving deeper into Linux administration, and I’ve decided to put Ubuntu on the side for a bit and work with Fedora. Following is my entire experience with Fedora 14 up until now.

I knew I needed a development server to experiment (safely) with Linux administration. I have a physical server with two drives — one for Ubuntu Server and the other for Windows Server 2008 R2. Both of these operating systems have specific purposes, so I didn’t want to risk damaging either. I installed yet another hard drive and proceeded to install Fedora.

Initially, I downloaded the Fedora 14 x86_64 ISO and burned the image to a DVD. Using an external DVD drive, I started the installer. Curiously enough, immediately after choosing they system language and keyboard layout, the installer was asking where to find the install image. I cycled through the list, trying my target hard drive (where I would be installing Fedora). Obviously, I was guessing — the installer didn’t find any image on that blank drive. Next, I tried targeting the external DVD drive. Fedora seemed to find what it was looking for, but then the installer simply hung.

After researching this issue, I discovered that other users had a similar problem. Then, I found a neat note from the Red Hat team stating that, for some architectures, the 64 bit DVD installer can only start the installer (from here, a hard drive with an image copied to it must be targeted). So much for that method. I immediately switched to a USB installation.

I used the convenient Fedora LiveUSB Creator in place of UNetBootin. I didn’t have either tool installed, so I figured I’d just grab the Fedora-specific one. After creating a 3.7 GB USB installer, I restarted the installation process. Things went very smoothly until just after having the option to configure the boot loader. I suddenly received this fatal error stating, “Missing ISO 9660 Image”. The only options were to retry finding the image or to exit which would close the installer and undo all progress (partitions and LVMs created during the install still remain, though).

Again, back to the forums. Over two hours had passed since I started the first installation process. I was ready to put Fedora aside and revert to another Ubuntu Server installation (I’ve never had any issues, even with hardware, with Ubuntu), and then I noticed one post in a forum which suggested to install Fedora from within a Live environment. So, I used BitTorrent to obtain the latest stable 64 bit Live ISO and again used the LiveUSB Creator to prepare my flash drive. Long story short, the process finally worked. Had there only been a more obvious disclaimer!

I was surprised to be able to create my desired partitions and LVM while in Live mode, but even this was possible. Another thing that surprised me was the fluid operation of and incredible speed (and “lightness”) of the GUIs. Ubuntu has been the fastest I have worked with up to that point. Fedora, on the same hardware as previous Ubuntu desktop and server installations, beat Ubuntu in performance hands-down. This obviously only applies to my machine, though. It is very possible that Ubuntu performs better than Fedora for other users out there.

I restarted the server and then waited for a bit for Fedora to boot. Although that never happened… I told the installer to not add a boot loader to the MBR so that I could continue using GRUB from my Ubuntu drive to managing booting everything. Not even this was available, though. My Fedora drive is now the only drive visible to the BIOS as a boot option. I swapped the SATA cables out to ensure that GRUB still worked on my Ubuntu drive. Everything worked wonderfully; however, whenever I have the Fedora drive plugged in to the motherboard, this is the only drive the BIOS will consider for booting options. So, I ran through the install process again and this time added the boot loader into the mix. Next up, to configure GRUB on my Fedora drive!

Fedora Installation in Live

Fedora Installation in Live

All in all, Fedora looks very promising as a system on which to build my Linux administration skills. Even on my meager hardware (2GB RAM, 2.4 GHz dual core AMD, nothing tuned as of now) Fedora’s performance is wonderful. I am looking forward to learning the insides of Linux and, some day, to convert my Fedora development server into a full-fledged LAN server.

Advertisements

Word 2011: Applying Even/Odd-page headers to all pages

For the Office for Mac elite out there, this may be dull, but I found myself frustrated over the organization of the header styling for quite some time with Office 2011 for Mac. Particularly, Word 2011 offers nice, stylish document headers, but most headers default to only showing on an even or odd page. Here’s how to use that neat predesigned header on all pages.

First, insert a header. Start by clicking the “Document Elements” tab on the Ribbon and then selecting the “Header” icon. A drop-down tab will present a variety of neat headers. Select one (obviously one that defaults to showing only on an odd or even page, for the sake of this demonstration). If you select a header that appears on an even page and you are working with a one-page document, you likely won’t see any header.

Selecting a header

Selecting a header

A header will be inserted into the document. Keep the focus on the header to format the header (have the header selected so you can modify the text in the header). With the header selected, you should see a new addition to the tabs on the Ribbon called “Header and Footer”. Open that tab.

Header and Footer Tab

Header and Footer Tab (Click to enlarge)

There, under the options category, you’ll see a check-box called “Different Odd & Even Pages”. It is probably initially checked. This is forcing your header to appear only on every even or odd page, depending on what the default format was for the header you selected. Uncheck that box and the neat default headers will be applied to all pages in the document!

Odd-page header on page 2

Header on page 2 (Click to enlarge)

Finances With Mint

Mint, a free online finance-managing service, is old news. I found it today after searching for free finance software as an alternative to balancing a check book with a pen. Frankly, I backed out of the service shortly after creating an account with them. Following is my rationale for those of you weighing the odds of online financial management.

First off, since I have very limited experience with Mint, I cannot offer a review of the service’s ergonomics. I very much want to use Mint. I still really like Mint! It’s fast, simple, free, and incorporates a minimalist design that is laden with information that is only relevant and useful. What more could one want? I researched forums and, of course, read Mint’s explanations regarding the safety of the service and the security of my personal data. Mint basically couldn’t be any more secure. Read-only service, no personally-identifiable information (short of an email address), secure data center with human security and biometrics, multi-level software and hardware encryption, etc. Locked down.

The problem for me lies with my banks and not with Mint. Consider the following scenario, but first note a critical section of Mint’s Terms of Service (as of March 24, 2011).

9. Rights You Grant To Us

[…] YOU ACKNOWLEDGE AND AGREE THAT WHEN INTUIT IS ACCESSING AND RETRIEVING ACCOUNT INFORMATION FROM THIRD PARTY SITES, INTUIT IS ACTING AS YOUR AGENT, AND NOT AS THE AGENT OF OR ON BEHALF OF THE THIRD PARTY. […]

There is nothing wrong with this from a business standpoint (it makes sense — they’re protecting their bases, and that’s okay — nothing wrong on Mint’s side). As many people would agree, though, nothing is guaranteed to be absolutely safe. There is always that one chance… I trust Mint’s security, and so do many others. A glance at forums regarding Mint’s legitimacy will show that tons of users have used the service for years and have never had a single issue with their accounts or information. However, in the infinitesimally small chance that someone obtains your account information with criminal intent, you have forfeited your finances.

The service may be held responsible to pay back all of the missing funds, but can one guarantee that will happen? As for banks, go tell your banker that your finances were stolen and all he is obligated to do is be truthful with you: look you in the eye and say, “you distributed your credentials” (remember, Mint acts as your agent and not your bank’s).

My intent is not to leave you with a negative view of Mint’s service. As far as I am aware, there is nothing wrong with the service itself. Mint is great! I trust Mint. I want to use it. But in the end, if anything were to happen, no matter how remote the odds, the compensation for my loss is my responsibility.

Making Time

One of the many things not inherently bad but possibly distracting is this idea of “making time for God”, as I’ve heard it said so often. Whether it be a sabbath day or an hour for introspection and prayer, this concept has the potential to be detrimental. Although the idea and act itself is innocent and meant for benefit, I have noticed a subconscious process (not present in everyone I see, but in many) which begins to differentiate time and thus instill value in certain windows of time.

By so greatly revering this “time alone with God”, a new kind of worth is added to the time. Because the status of this timeframe is so greatly elevated, the nature of all other times is unintentionally belittled. Subconsciously, this creates a mindset where unique communion happens only (or at least mostly) in that special window of time. Experiences in the remaining time are differentiated, as if they belonged to another, lesser world. I have even seen a kind of contempt for the remaining time, where it seems people live idly as if waiting for the more revered hours to come.

This can cause a disconnect between the deity and the world in which we live, as if communion can only be achieved at appointed times, as if this God is not part of His own world. The devout are subconsciously limiting themselves and in doing so are instilling nonexistent characters into what is already defined.

For Man, purpose is not found in the sabbath; for the sabbath, it is found in man. For which is better: to set aside time for reverence or to live in reverence?

Setting aside time for these things is not harmful in itself (and this kind of rest is necessary), but it can create the illusion that participation is intermittent when in fact it is constant, independent of acknowledgement.

%d bloggers like this: