Monthly Archives: February 2011


How to get Linux to recognize your mp3 player


This is a question I see repeatedly on #ubuntu (

The answer is simple, yet complex.

Most mp3 players are setup to use Windows Media Transport Protocol (MTP). That works great if you use Windows.

But how do you get it to work with Linux? The easy way is to change the usb mode on your mp3 player from MTP, to MSC mode. (USB mass-storage class device). That will make the mp3 player look like a usb flash drive. Then it’s a simple matter of drag and drop.

The tricky part, is figuring out HOW to change this setting on your device. I don’t know if the Apple Ipod will do this.

I have a Sandisk Sansa Fuse mp3 player, and it works well with Linux.

To change to msc mode on that I did:

1. Settings

2. System Settings

3. USB Mode

4. Change to MSC!

Power off. Turn it on, plug it in, and it will now look like a USB Flash Drive.

When you are done writing to your mp3 player, flash drive, flash media (sdhc), it’s a good idea to ensure all the data is written. Go to a terminal and enter:


The sync command, flushes all the buffers and writes them to the devices. This ensures that all data is written to a device. It’s a good practice go get into, especially when dealing with flash drives, mp3 players, or flash media (sdhc camera cards).

I haven’t quite figured out how to convert videos. Yet! When I do, I’ll let you know!

As, always YMMV applies.



getting df (display free) info that is easy to read


this is pretty simple. (from actionparsnip on #ubuntu (freenode))

if you enter:

df -h

you will get something that looks like:

$ df -h
Filesystem Size Used Avail Use% Mounted on
/dev/sda3 50G 20G 27G 43% /
none 934M 240K 933M 1% /dev
none 940M 716K 940M 1% /dev/shm
none 940M 260K 940M 1% /var/run
none 940M 4.0K 940M 1% /var/lock
/dev/sda4 834G 223G 570G 29% /home
/dev/sdc1 147G 90G 58G 61% /media/BFDNTFS
/dev/sdc2 773G 253G 481G 35% /media/bfdlinux

and that’s a lot easier to understand!



Easy way to install java runtime enviorment (jre) in Debian


Again playing with Debian Squeeze (v 6.0). There’s no java goodness by default. I looked around a lot of places, that had me doing some crazy things. Here’s all you need to get the jre (java runtime environment) for Debian. Note: This assumes you have a Mozilla Class Browser (like Firefox) previously installed.

sudo apt-get install default-jre

Pretty simple, eh? Took a few days to figure that one out!



how to easily do sudo in debian


I am playing with Debian Squeeze (V6) and ran into issues with sudo. Okay on Ubuntu, you use sudo a lot, and don’t drop into root.

Here’s an easy fix! (don’t have to mess with /etc/sudoers)

1. Become root.

nwayno@Homer:~$ su root

2. Go to the /etc/ directory

cd /etc

3. Backup the current group file. You MUST be root for these next steps:

to backup the file:

cp group group.backup

4. Now edit the file with your favourite editor, like nano

nano group

5. Add your userid to the sudo line:

so: sudo:x:27:


in nano, control-o to write the file, and control-x to exit.

6. Logout and back in again (to re-read the group file) and sudo should work properly.


nwayno@Homer:~$ sudo tail /var/log/messages
[sudo] password for nwayno:
Feb 17 10:55:10 Homer kernel: [127876.739743] tun0: Disabled Privacy Extensions

This is a difference from Ubuntu to Debian.

Thanks Loni!



First look at Debian Squeeze


First look at Debian Squeeze

Like many of you in the Ubuntu community, I am concerned over the direction Ubuntu is going, especially with the Unity Interface.

With the release of Debian 6.0 (Squeeze), I thought I’d take it out for a test drive. Debian is NOT recommended if you are a Linux Noob. Sure Ubuntu is based on Debian, but the install is a bit more complicated then doing a typical Ubuntu install. If you are new to Linux, I’d still recommend Ubuntu, hands down.


So what was the install like. Well, it ain’t Ubuntu! Here is what I installed it (Physical Hardware)

AMD 64 Bit, 2GHZ, 2 G ram, 1 t/b hard drive.

An Nvidia GeForce 6150SE nForce 430 graphics card.

1 m/b sec download speed. (hey that’s all I can budget!)

Let me decode that: 64 bit machine, 2 gigahertz CPUS (2), 2 gigabytes of memory, and a 1 terrabyte hard drive.

I installed the 32 bit CD version of Debian, into Virtual Box, since my machine doesn’t support hardware virtualization (thanks Loni!) The virtual machine uses 512 meg of RAM, and 64 meg for graphics.

The default install gives you an ext3 filesystem, which is different from Ubuntu’s ext4 default. Ext4 gives better performance, but there certainly is nothing wrong with ext3.

If you are used to Ubuntu’s ask 7 questions and go away for 30 minutes install, Debian default installation is quite different.

It asks a LOT more questions, installs a bit, asks more questions…it is more interactive then I’d like it to be. Once you get through all the questions, it settles down to the nitty gritty. Downloading 1071 files to update Debian, took about 90 minutes (remember I don’t really have a super high speed connection, and hey this is a virtual box!). After spending 90 minutes to download the updates, it spent another hour configuring all that it had just downloaded. All told the install took about 3 hours, which is far longer then a Ubuntu install. And it requires a broader knowledge base to install.

Debian is basically a bare bones Ubuntu system. It has all the same features, but it doesn’t install anything that truly isn’t wanted or needed. So you need more experience (why I do NOT recommend Debian for Linux Noobs), in deciding what packages/programmes you may want to install.

That said, choice is not a bad thing! I’ll be playing with this over the next few days, and will eventually turn my box called Phoenix, into SquisheeMachine for further testing.

As always, a big thanks to Loni for her guidance.