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Author Topic: newbie questions?  (Read 3576 times)

Offline crankypuss

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newbie questions?
« on: February 28, 2012, 12:56:13 PM »
Not sure if this is the place to ask newbie questions or not <shrug>.

I'm a long-time developer who's fairly new to Linux.  Since mid-December I've tried probably a dozen distros.  Currently Ubuntu 11.10 is my workhorse; even if it is fat and slow, it works.

Anyway, TinyCore is clearly the fastest of the bunch, with Puppy a nearly-distant second.  I read some stuff about TinyCore using a layered philosophy and I like that, though the info I found wasn't very comlete-seeming.

However, although it boots up quickly and responds quickly, it isn't good for much ootb.

(There are 3 or 4 alternatives in the boot menu but they all seem to do the same thing, I'm not sure what's up with that.)

I think the first thing I need is to find out how to configure my Verizon broadband modem since it's my only network access.  I went into the network configuration applet and there was no obvious way to get it to detect a modem so I could configure it.  (Presumably once I get connected I'll be able to add some packages like a browser and so forth.)

Is there some easter-egg that I haven't found, or just what is the trick to getting it to detect the modem so I can configure it and get connected?  Do I need to know some magic incantations?

Once I get connected I'm going to want to get set up for doing-work (PHP, local apache, gcc, gdb, ddd, that kind of stuff).  If that's too outrageous to expect of TC, please just shoot me now. 

The backup stuff was completely non-intuitive, I'm not willing to guess what to enter and just let 'er rip.  You guys might need to add some documentation to that purty user-interface, y'think?

If I get TC configured the way I want it, will I have to do that over again when I install it on my hard-drive?

Thanks, apologies if this is the wrong place, etc etc.

p.s., Is there some way to get the forum software not to generate fixed-width pages that are a lot wider than my screen, some parameter I can set?

Offline gutmensch

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Re: newbie questions?
« Reply #1 on: February 28, 2012, 01:50:02 PM »
Heyho and welcome to Tiny Core! :)

I may not be able to answer all of your questions, but some suggestions:

1. If you're using and developing much data, you could add the boot code home=sda1 to your boot loader kernel line, which will use a home folder on the first partition of the first hard disk recognized. No need to backup any things in your home folder then (which is basically /home/tc/).

2. To save extensions on your hard drive you should set the tce=sda1 boot code as well. This way downloaded extensions will be loaded from the disk.

3. If you want to make other settings persistent, e.g. setting an own password for user tc it's quite simple: sudo passwd tc, enter the new password, add etc/shadow and etc/passwd to /opt/.filetool.lst and run "Backup". The Backup procedure is necessary because the whole operating system runs in RAM, which is one of the advantages of Tiny Core. It will always be the same after a reboot unless you configure the backup to change anything ;)

(btw. most of those topics are explained better in the wiki)

4. A "basic" Tiny Core installation doesn't consist of many files. You got the kernel (vmlinuz), the Init RAM disk (core.gz), some boot loader stuff (like grub/menu.lst e.g.) and additionally a tce/ folder with extensions, a home/ folder with your private data if you wish and a backup file called mydata.tgz. If you copy all that to your "installation" hard disk, it's quite the same like having it on an USB key and it will work too. So no need to start over and over again. You could start with an USB key, copy everything to the hard disk at some point and install the boot loader (this is indeed necessary to make the hard disk bootable).

5. For PHP you could use the php5.tcz or the apache2-mod-php5.tcz extensions, for C/C++ use the compiletc.tcz extension. Both should allow you to start developing immediately.

6. I don't have a clue about Verizon broadband, but it's probably circling around the topics PPP and USB serial. Try to search the forum, there were multiple entries and some solutions (basically it's like in every other Linux Distro in Tiny Core, you just need the proper extensions, e.g. the one that contains the pppd program or something like pppsetup).

7. @Out-of-the-box: That's right. Out-of-the-box means at least several hundred MBs installed on some real hard disk, because you have to support everything like Verizon broadband ;-). Tiny Core is a toolkit, it's not a turn key distro. Once you have all the "tools" (=extensions), you probably have the minimum necessary and also the fastest OS for your machine.

8. Forum-fixed-width: Could you tell me the browser and the OS you're using? It's not a special setting, on every browser I use (chrome, firefox, opera) it's reducing its width automatically to fit the screen. If anyone else is having this problem, please report.

If I seem unduly clear to you, you must have misunderstood what I said. (Alan Greenspan)

Offline maro

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Re: newbie questions?
« Reply #2 on: February 28, 2012, 01:53:25 PM »
As network access is your first hurdle lets focus on this initially. I obviously have no clue about how Verizon provisions their broadband service in your area. But generally speaking if you have a ("dumb") modem you often are provided with the necessary details.

I for one use a cable modem and have been given by my ISP a fixed IP address, the gateway and DNS server details. A long time ago before I had a (wireless) router connected to that cable modem I had to enter those details in the respective network adaptor configuration of the OS running on the single computer which was directly connected to that modem. Nowadays these details are configured in the router and all clients are using DHCP to connect to the router which then lets them use the broadband connection.

So unless we know more precisely how your ISP provides you with the service we'll be a bit out of luck to give you more direct answers. Assuming that you've so far used a Windows system you might be able to look up the properties of the 'Internet protocol (TCP/IP)' item in the properties of the network adaptor connected to your modem. Knowing those details would probably go a long way in trying to help you configure TC for using your broadband modem.

Online Rich

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Re: newbie questions?
« Reply #3 on: February 28, 2012, 07:35:35 PM »
Hi crankypuss
I have Verizon. Both their DSL and broadband modems act as gateways and default to 192.1681.1.
Plug in network cable, open up  Control Panel  and click on the  Network  button. Enter the following:
Code: [Select]
eth0
Use DHCP=no
IP Address=192.168.1.27
Network Mask=255.255.255.0
Broadcast=192.168.1.255
Gateway=192.168.1.1
NameServers=192.168.1.1
Adjust the  IP Address  if necessary. Click Apply and Exit, then try the  ifconfig  command in a terminal to confirm
the address was assigned to your network card. Next start  AppBrowser  and click on  Connect. The left pane
should become populated with applications.

Control Panel is the icon with the screwdriver. AppBrowser is the icon with the blue arrow pointing down.

Offline crankypuss

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Re: newbie questions?
« Reply #4 on: February 28, 2012, 11:44:32 PM »
1. If you're using and developing much data, you could add the boot code home=sda1 to your boot loader kernel line, which will use a home folder on the first partition of the first hard disk recognized. No need to backup any things in your home folder then (which is basically /home/tc/).

I have my system set up so that my data is separate from the operating system.  I have 3 partitions for different kinds of data that is not operating system dependent.  Each is mounted on top of dummy directories in /home/me.  So basically all that is in my /home directory is whatever it takes to set up a usable interface on that operating system... whatever partition is booted from my real data is always the same and backed up separately.  Once I get tc installed on a hard disk partition and get enough tools installed to work with it, all I have to do is update /etc/fstab to point to my data partitions and I'm in business.

I have no idea what you mean by "you could add the boot code home=sda1 to your boot loader kernel line".  I don't know where "boot loader kernel line" lives, I'm not even sure whether tc uses lilo or grub or grub2, or if you are talking about something in their configuration data, or something entirely different.  Sorry, new to Linux as of mid-December 2011.

2. To save extensions on your hard drive you should set the tce=sda1 boot code as well. This way downloaded extensions will be loaded from the disk.

Uh... okay, I guess I will maybe figure out what that means later.  First I need to get my modem working, second I need to get tc installed on a hard disk partition.  What kind of partition is best, ext4?  I currently have 2 partitions reserved for operating systems, but only 4GB each, does that sound like enough for tc + development tools + browser/mail tools?

3. If you want to make other settings persistent, e.g. setting an own password for user tc it's quite simple: sudo passwd tc, enter the new password, add etc/shadow and etc/passwd to /opt/.filetool.lst and run "Backup". The Backup procedure is necessary because the whole operating system runs in RAM, which is one of the advantages of Tiny Core. It will always be the same after a reboot unless you configure the backup to change anything ;)

I hope I can find this in the wiki.  Best place to go to get oriented to the tc way of doing things?

4. A "basic" Tiny Core installation doesn't consist of many files. You got the kernel (vmlinuz), the Init RAM disk (core.gz), some boot loader stuff (like grub/menu.lst e.g.) and additionally a tce/ folder with extensions, a home/ folder with your private data if you wish and a backup file called mydata.tgz. If you copy all that to your "installation" hard disk, it's quite the same like having it on an USB key and it will work too. So no need to start over and over again. You could start with an USB key, copy everything to the hard disk at some point and install the boot loader (this is indeed necessary to make the hard disk bootable).

Already have 2 partitions that are Linux and bootable, if I run one of them and customize grub2 it will probably (maybe...) add tc to the boot menu.  But I have to take this slow and one step at a time, no Linux expert.

5. For PHP you could use the php5.tcz or the apache2-mod-php5.tcz extensions, for C/C++ use the compiletc.tcz extension. Both should allow you to start developing immediately.

Excellent, will need to look at those to see what extensions they include like mod_ncurses and so forth.

6. I don't have a clue about Verizon broadband, but it's probably circling around the topics PPP and USB serial. Try to search the forum, there were multiple entries and some solutions (basically it's like in every other Linux Distro in Tiny Core, you just need the proper extensions, e.g. the one that contains the pppd program or something like pppsetup).

Looks like another poster has provided some clues for that.

7. @Out-of-the-box: That's right. Out-of-the-box means at least several hundred MBs installed on some real hard disk, because you have to support everything like Verizon broadband ;-). Tiny Core is a toolkit, it's not a turn key distro. Once you have all the "tools" (=extensions), you probably have the minimum necessary and also the fastest OS for your machine.

Understand, my feeling is that base system should consist of enough to install itself and provide tools to back itself up and obtain/install selected apps, sounds like just the way tc is doing it.

8. Forum-fixed-width: Could you tell me the browser and the OS you're using? It's not a special setting, on every browser I use (chrome, firefox, opera) it's reducing its width automatically to fit the screen. If anyone else is having this problem, please report.

Operating system is Ubuntu 11.10, browser is Firefox 10.0.2

Offline crankypuss

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Re: newbie questions?
« Reply #5 on: February 29, 2012, 12:01:19 AM »
I have Verizon. Both their DSL and broadband modems act as gateways and default to 192.1681.1.
Plug in network cable, open up  Control Panel  and click on the  Network  button. Enter the following:

Looks like just the ticket.  I will get my nameserver ipaddrs from /etc/resolv.conf on current Ubuntu system.  Don't see anyplace to put the dialing of #777 though, some kind of ATDT#777 if I recall correctly?

Offline curaga

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Re: newbie questions?
« Reply #6 on: February 29, 2012, 12:34:24 AM »
Quote
What kind of partition is best, ext4?  I currently have 2 partitions reserved for operating systems, but only 4GB each, does that sound like enough for tc + development tools + browser/mail tools?

Ext4, and tc+compiletc takes under 100mb. So if you give it a gig or two, should be enough for half the repo ;)


On your network, please be more specific. Saying "Verizon broadband" could mean anything from DSL to 3g to satellite to connecting via your phone. Rich's advice only stands for DSL, and perhaps PPPoE.
The only barriers that can stop you are the ones you create yourself.

Offline maro

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Re: newbie questions?
« Reply #7 on: February 29, 2012, 01:47:28 AM »
The '#777'' dial-in number points in my experience towards a 3G USB modem. So I'd suggest to use the search function of this forum as there have been already several threads related to this subject.

If my hunch is correct, I'd do a lsusb -v whilst running Ubuntu to check for all the details related to USB devices. Furthermore the demsg output could come in handy, and finally take a copy of all the configuration files under '/etc/pppd' from Ubuntu as probably a lot can be learned from those when setting up things in TC.

Offline crankypuss

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Re: newbie questions?
« Reply #8 on: February 29, 2012, 09:06:29 AM »
The '#777'' dial-in number points in my experience towards a 3G USB modem. So I'd suggest to use the search function of this forum as there have been already several threads related to this subject.

Did that.  Found many references not helping much.  One reference said to install ModemManager.  I am guessing that ModemManager is the answer.  How come that isn't part of the base install?  How is anybody whose only access to the internet is through a modem going to get there from here?

If my hunch is correct, I'd do a lsusb -v whilst running Ubuntu to check for all the details related to USB devices. Furthermore the demsg output could come in handy, and finally take a copy of all the configuration files under '/etc/pppd' from Ubuntu as probably a lot can be learned from those when setting up things in TC.

When Ubuntu installed it came up and said "hey, found a broadband modem, who's your provider" and after telling it Verizon it "just worked".

So what do you suggest, is there a way to download this ModemManager thing while in Ubuntu then boot TC and install it from disk?

The base install really should contain everything necessary to get a guy from an ISO file burned to a USB stick to bigtime, shouldn't it?  Or are newbies expected to mesmerize up some arcane line commands?

Heh, that sounds pretty cranky, sorry 'bout that. <g>

Online Rich

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Re: newbie questions?
« Reply #9 on: February 29, 2012, 09:39:57 AM »
Hi crankypuss
The two Verizon modems I've dealt with are:
1. About the size of a pack of cigarettes with 3 lights, 4 connectors, On/Off switch, and reset button. (DSL)
2. About 6" X 10" x 1", rounded edges, 6 to 8 lights, about 6 connectors, antenna on back. (FIOS)
If one of those describes your modem, and:
1. your computer connects to it with a CAT5 network cable, my instructions should work for you.
2. your computer connects to it with a USB cable, switch to a CAT5 network cable.

You mentioned #777 but did not say where this came from or where it is used.

Offline crankypuss

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Re: newbie questions?
« Reply #10 on: February 29, 2012, 02:20:44 PM »
The two Verizon modems I've dealt with are:
<snip>
You mentioned #777 but did not say where this came from or where it is used.

This one is about 2-1/2" tall, 3/4" wide, maybe 3/8" thick.  One light.  USB connector folds out.  It's a PANTECH something-or-other.

The #777 is what I used to set it up under Puppy.  If I remember correctly the sequence is ATDT#777.  The #777 is what it dials to hook up to the nearest cell tower.  It's 3g.

Online Rich

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Re: newbie questions?
« Reply #11 on: February 29, 2012, 02:35:50 PM »
Hi crankypuss
Alright, what I said doesn't apply. Looks like you have what maro was referring to.
This link looks like it should provide enough information to get it working:
http://kkinder.com/using-verizon-wireless-evdo-pc5740-and-linux/

Offline maro

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Re: newbie questions?
« Reply #12 on: February 29, 2012, 04:43:43 PM »
We might be getting closer with this, but a computer does not care about the size of a USB gadget or what name might be painted on the box. What matters are cold, hard facts (like what vendor and product ID it can find about a device so that it might be able to identify the correct device driver).

Whilst the page referenced in reply #11 might be helpful I'd consider it absolutely vital to know for sure which device is actually connected. Therefore I have to repeat what I've already had suggested in reply #7: Can we PLEASE be shown the output of at least lsusb -v when your system is running on Ubuntu (or Puppy). Please attach this output here (it might be several screens full of information, so use 'lsusb -v > lsusb.log' and rather attach that file here).

My hunch is that you'll need at the very least the 'pppd.tcz' extension. On top of it another extension might be needed as driver for your device. It then depends how much "comfort" you'll require to create the PPP configuration. That can range from no further extension if all can be done by learning from your Ubuntu or Puppy setup, to about three additional extensions if you choose to use 'wxdial', to ca. 30 extensions to use 'NetworkManager'.


Online Rich

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Re: newbie questions?
« Reply #13 on: February 29, 2012, 06:02:39 PM »
Hi maro
You are absolutely correct, getting the vendor and product IDs is vital. I'll defer to you since you obviously
have some experience with these types of devices.

Offline crankypuss

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Re: newbie questions?
« Reply #14 on: March 01, 2012, 12:25:48 AM »
Whilst the page referenced in reply #11 might be helpful

It might be helpful to you, but it wasn't at all helpful to me.  With Ubuntu there was nothing to be done, with Puppy it was a matter of typing in a control string and a phone number.  Here we are talking about somehow magically installing extensions that imo ought to have been in the base install from the go.  I guess TC must be set up for people on a wired connection or something.

I'd consider it absolutely vital to know for sure which device is actually connected. Therefore I have to repeat what I've already had suggested in reply #7: Can we PLEASE be shown the output of at least lsusb -v when your system is running on Ubuntu (or Puppy). Please attach this output here (it might be several screens full of information, so use 'lsusb -v > lsusb.log' and rather attach that file here).

Theoretically I've attached it.

My hunch is that you'll need at the very least the 'pppd.tcz' extension. On top of it another extension might be needed as driver for your device. It then depends how much "comfort" you'll require to create the PPP configuration. That can range from no further extension if all can be done by learning from your Ubuntu or Puppy setup, to about three additional extensions if you choose to use 'wxdial', to ca. 30 extensions to use 'NetworkManager'.

Around 30 extensions?  Somehow that makes me wonder how serious TC is about things.