HOWTO: change the boot theme in Mandriva 2008.0 and PCLinuxOS  

Customizing your installed Linux distribution is getting more and more easier. And adding a personal touch to it is a very nice thing everyone feels happy to do. Here we are going to change the boot theme in a few easy steps. Note that this HowTo is made only for Mandriva and therefore it is made also for PCLinuxOS (which is a fork of Mandriva). So, let's start.

Step 1: start the Mandriva Linux Control center, and click on the boot tab. You should get the following screeen:

Step 2: click on the 'Set up boot graphical theme of system' icon. If you click this icon for the first time, a new window will appear asking you to download some packages which are needed. You will approve that. After it downloads and installs the packages, automatically, a new window will appear.

Step 3: to create a new theme, click on the 'Create new theme' button. If you one to selest one from the ones premade, select one from the 'Theme' box in the up left corner of the window. So, we click 'Create new theme'. The following screen appears and we proceed to step 4:

Step 4: and this is where it is all about. This new window is the package we downloaded, called DrakSplash. (I mentioned that this is a HowTo only for Mandriva and it's forks cause DrakSplash is a Mandriva produced package. Every application which has 'drak' od 'drake' in it's name is made by Mandriva, or formerly Mandrake.)

You will see two tabs in DrakSplash called 'Silent bootsplash' and 'Verbose bootsplash'. Set first a theme name, and leave the resolution in 800X600 (recommended). Now go to Silent bootsplash. Select a picture, and position the progress bar (either with your mouse pointer, or with the sliders on the DrakSplash) on your desired location. Then pick the colors for the progress bar, and the coordinates for the text. Move now to the tab Verbose bootsplash. I recommend you to choose the same picture. Now customize this part by moving the X and Y coordinate of the text box, and by making the width and height of the same text box. In the end, click on the button Save theme and there you go! Reboot the PC to see your success.

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NEWS: OpenSolaris Developer Preview 2 Available  

Project Indiana is a great project, which aims to put the OpenSolaris platform line by line with the Linux one which dominates the open source desktop. The aim is to create a binary distribution based on OpenSolaris source code, and the end product should be an attractive installable Live CD. First things first, here is the release announcement:

I'm pleased to announce that OpenSolaris Developer Preview 2 is now available for your download pleasure. This is an x86-based live CD install image, containing some new and emerging OpenSolaris technologies and should be considered a developer preview only. Among the spiffy features contained in this release are: based on Nevada build 79b; pkg(1) improvements, including progress reporting, verification support and incremental catalog update; ksh93 is the default system shell (bash remains the default user shell); introduction of /usr/has/bin (experimental); addition of several new packages, including 2.3.1; JRE included by default.

The following drivers are included:
NVIDIA Graphics System Software (nvidia)
ADMtek Ethernet Driver (afe)
AMD8111 Fast Ethernet Driver (amd8111s)
Davicom 9102 Fast Ethernet Driver (dmfe)
Macronix Fast Ethernet Driver (mxfe)
Nvidia ck804 pro / mcp55 pro combo SATA driver (nvsata)
Sun NIU leaf driver (nxge)
Ralink RT2500 802.11b/g Wireless Driver (ralink)
realtek 8180L 802.11b driver (rtw)
USB Keyspan serial driver (usbsksp)

This release is a big thing, and these days I'm hoping to install it and test it. For anyone else interested in doing the same thing, here is the download link. For more details see the official release annoucement in which the OpenSolaris team says that users to provide feedback and bugs on the hardware recognition and issues. So if you want to contribute, here is how to report bugs.

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NEWS: openSUSE 11.0 Alpha 2 Released  

The Alpha 2 of the upcoming openSUSE 11 was announced. Note that it's still alpha version, and is not to be used for day-to-day work, but for testing purposes. So, here is the release announcement:

Only three weeks after Alpha 1, we are glad to announce the release of openSUSE 11.0 Alpha 2. There are various exciting changes in there that we would like to have feedback on. Changes since openSUSE 11.0 Alpha 1: KDE 4.0.1 replaced KDE 3.5.8 as the default KDE; GNOME 2.21.90 was integrated; continued work on the installation workflow; live CDs for both GNOME and KDE; CDs support German as an additional language; DVDs have only open source software; Linux 2.6.24; 2.4 Beta; ALSA 1.0.16rc2; D-Bus 1.2rc2.

If you wish to download an iso, go to for direct links to all the available media. Since Alpha 1, the installer was rewritten in Qt4, and is really nice and stable, and since Alpha 2, KDE 3.5.8 is replaced with 4.0.1. I must say that this is the first distribution with somewhat stable KDE 4 packages.

So, here are some screens of the installer:

According to the roadmap, on April 17th the first Beta will be released, on May 29th RC1, and the Public Release will be on June the 19th. We all hope that the final (public) release will be alive and kickin'. Detailed info about the roadmap can be found here. I think it's our (the community) obligation to test and submit bugs, so if someone wants to contribute and submit bugs, here's how to do that.

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NEWS: Finnix 91.0 Released  

First I will post the official release announcement, then I will introduce and explain Finnix "the LiveCD for system administrators" to those who don't know what it is, and in the end, some screenshots.

Finnix is a small, self-contained, bootable Linux CD distribution for system administrators, based on Debian testing. Today marks the release of version 91.0 for the x86/AMD64, PowerPC, and UML/Xen platforms.
Finnix 91.0 includes a new Linux kernel (2.6.24), automatic 32-bit/64-bit detection on the x86 platform, stackable RAID/LUKS/LVM detection and setup, and several bug fixes.

Automatic 32-bit/64-bit detection (x86)

If you press “enter” at the boot screen of Finnix 91.0 x86, the boot loader will now detect if you have a 64-bit capable CPU, and will load the appropriate kernel. You can still force 32-bit or 64-bit by entering the “finnix” or “finnix64″ boot profiles. Note that this is for the x86 Finnix CD only; PowerPC G5 users will still have to enter the “finnix64″ boot profile manually, as the yaboot boot loader does not have this capability.


While RAID, LUKS (encryption) and LVM detection have been in Finnix for awhile now, they were loaded in a certain order, and some configurations were not detected as a result. With Finnix 91.0, most configurations should be detected. For example, an encrypted LVM set on top of two RAID disks should be set up automatically.

Bug fixes

While not a “major new feature”, several bug fixes were made for Finnix 91.0, including LVM/LUKS fixes, and multiple-level /dev block device detection corrections.

Finnix is based on Debian, but the name Finnix is no coincidently similar to Knoppix. Finnix has borrowed scripts from Knoppix which are after modified and are used for autodetection. It (Finnix) includes the following handy utilities LVM2, cryptsetup, cdpr, iftop, irssi, OTP calculator, VLAN tools, and robotfindskitten.

The good thing about Finnix is that can be run in only 192MB. Not all Live CD's run in 192MB. This is very good, considered that Finnix is aimed to be system rescue and administration CD.

The text editors found in Finnix are nvi as default editor, which is a small implementation of vi/vim. Also available are zile, nano, joe.

pic 1, pic 2: Finnix in VirtualBox

Finnix can be run on a Mac based on Intel processor also. This is fully supported and explained how here: Intel Macs. Also a lot of cheatcodes are available here. Cheatcodes are the startup options specified at the boot: prompt. One boot profile is selected, and after, multiple boot options can be appended by the user.

To conclude, Finnix is a nice non-general-purpose distro, aimed towards admins, which lacks bigger community and some HowTos and tricks, but for the purpouse for which is made, it does the job.

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