Fedora Core (Linux) tip: manually installing RPMs using Yum

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Here's a little tip I came across today while attempting to manually install software using Yum.

One of the the really cool things in Yum is that it can not only install software for you from online repositories but it can also take care of all of the inter-file dependency hell associated with installing a 3rd party RPM file. To do this simply run the command

yum install yourarchive.rpm

and it will check all of the dependencies for you and automatically queue up the files it needs to install, just like it was getting the file from a repository in the first place. Very handy when you're beta testing software.

Another tip is related to this. When I did the above it queued up all of the extra files I needed, then complained that it couldn't recognize the electronic signature attached to the new program I was installing, specifically it said:

Public key for <filename> is not installed

A quick google later and I discovered there's a little trick you can do but are generally advised not to. You see when you're updating software using Yum it verifies that all of the software is coming from somewhere reputable, so it keeps track of the signatures for each repository it knows about. The obvious problem then is that if you're installing a once-off file there's no server to have a signature from, so it shrugs its shoulders and gives up. The temporary fix for this is to change a line in the file /etc/yum.conf that says

gpgcheck=1

Simply change that to =0 and you're away with it! Do make sure to change it back afterwards, though, you want to keep this security precaution in place for normal use.

I hope these can help others who get stuck.

IIS6 and Quicktime 7 files

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At work we're going to be making some videos available on our website in WMV and Quicktime 7 formats. Simple enough. Well, it turns out that if you save your Quicktime file as a "M4V" file (h.264 codec I believe) that IIS6 throws a 404 File Not Found error when its requested. You can search your log files until you're blue in the face but it doesn't make sense.

Until you Google the problem, that is, when you discover that its a mimetypes problem. Yep, IIS6 handles unknown (unwanted?) mimetypes with revulsion and simply blocks the file rather than falling back to something like simply downloading the file.

So to fix it you have to load up the IIS Manager, go to the properties on your website (or the master websites properties), go to the HTTP Headers tab, click MIME Types, click New, type "m4v" as the file extension and "video/x-m4v" as the MIME type, then click OK twice then Apply and you're done.

Bit of a pain if you ask me, but at least now I know to manually configure each media filetype I intend using.

Software for our old laptop

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After some testing a few nights ago with a few different Linux distribution so-called live CDs (CDs you can boot straight up into Linux, no install needed) I figured I'd try out Windows 2000 Professional on the laptop, and if we have problems with it I'll put on Fedora Core. This testing period also gives the Fedora folks more time to finish the new Fedora Core 5, which is due for launch in March.

I've made another decision regarding the software to be installed. With the major rewritten version 2 due very shortly, I've decided to go with Gaim for instant messaging. I tried out the current release (beta 2) at home and it works very well while still being a pretty small program. If it does end up being too much for the wee beastie I'll revert to GTalk but for the moment I'm aiming for Gaim.

As I write this I'm actually installing Windows 2000 Pro on the laptop and its going smoothly so far. Several years ago I attempted to install it for its then owner, only to have it constantly throw up on me. As it turned out the machine's hard drive was failing so it never completed the task. With a replaced drive it has been flying along so far, but it isn't finished yet so I'd best not jinx things.

More later.

Making an old laptop more usable

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We've received an old Pentium 233/MMX laptop that has 64mb of RAM, a 10gb hard drive and is currently running Windows 98. I'm intending turning it into a basic Internet kiosk for our living room, which is definitely doable. The trick, however, will be to get it running a more powerful / stable operating system that can run the two basic services I want: web browsing and instant messaging.

The key problem is not going to be the software itself, as its pretty much decided for me already - for a web browser I'll probably be using Opera (Firefox is simply too big for this wee beastie) and either Google Talk, IM2 or maybe Gaim for the instant messaging. Along with that I'll probably install a minimalistic MP3/CD player and a firewall, and have a virus checker in the background incase needed.

The real problem, however, is finding a more up-to-date operating system than is currently installed, something that will fit within the 64mb memory limit that we're stuck with, and still leave room for running the software. While it may be possible to upgrade to more memory, I'm not currently sure its an investment worth our money, but I will research it anyway. So the main two options are Windows 2000 and some form of Linux (probably Fedora Core running Xfce). I'll probably start off trying Windows XP and then jump to Linux if that doesn't work up to snuff.

Before doing anything the first task will be to backup what's already on the drive incase its needed later, and I'll be using Acronis True Image to do that.

I'll let you know how it goes.

Exchange Server login names

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As a follow-up to my earlier post about Exchange Server login problems, here's a full list of what Microsoft Exchange Server 2000 expects for the login usernames for different protocols. Bon appetit!

  • POP3: domainname\ntusername\exchangealias
  • IMAP4: domainname\\ntusername\\exchangealias
  • SMTP: ntusername

Some of those terms are not completely intuitive, so here's a quick explanation:

domainname
The "domainname" is the name of the domain your account logs into, e.g. "ourco". It is not the fully qualified domain name, just the shortened version.
ntusername
The is the name that you type in to log into the network. In the Active Directory Users and Computers control panel you can find it on the Account tab listed as "User logon name".
exchangealias
This is the alias that Exchange Server creates for your account. Who knows why it doesn't just use the default based on your login, but anyway. You can find this in the Active Directory Users and Computers control panel on the Exchange General tab as the Alias field.

One other quick note is that, even if the login string might have a space in it you shouldn't need to use quotation marks around it, just the basic string should be enough - any software you use should be smart enough about how it handles logins. Also note that I've only tested this on Exchange Server 2000, not Exchange 5.5 or the newer Exchange Server 2003, but they should work the same.

After pulling my hair out over that on many an occasion, I hope it can help others.

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