The Joys (ahem) of Linux

I finally got around to putting SuSE on the blank partition on the family computer, the fastest machine in the house. Now Junior Junior has Ubuntu in his room, Junior Senior has SuSE (both on old PII/400s) in his room, the router turns off their Internet access at hours when we don’t want them online, and the family machine is dual-booting SuSE and XP. My desktop is next, but that will require repartitioning, which means some backing up first.

The basic SuSE install was painless, and while it’s a close call so far I think I like KDE better than Gnome.

Setting up printers was not anything close to painless. I have a Laserjet printer running off a network print server, and I took the default printer type SuSE offers, which was CUPS when (thank you Google and what I should have done was specify it as an LPR printer. In my defense, I was fooled: As part of its default CUPS printer install SuSE tests to see if it can see a printer, and by giving it the IP number and the (non-standard) port I passed that test. It just flunked the actual printing thing. But it’s finally all sorted, and now Junior Senior’s machine can print to the LaserJet too. (In contrast, printing to the LaserJet from Ubuntu had been seamless and painless: it took about three minutes to set up.)

Getting 3D to run on the ATI Radeon x800 has been a different sort of adventure. Having carefully followed the directions I found online, I find that my own user has 3D, but the kids’ users do not. I can more or less overcome this by manually changing a 660 to a 666 in an obscure file, but often it changes itself back. I suppose I’ll have to figure out how to program SuSE to modify the file every time a user logs in. That will require the program to have superuser rights, which requires a password I am not giving my kids, so I have to find a way to do that which doesn’t expose the password either. It not that I don’t trust them, I just want my kids to hack into the guts of this machine rather than waltz into it. Why deny them the pleasures I had as a teenager?

We do have a second network printer, a very nice color printer, a handsome housewarming gift from my parents, one which has proved invaluable for homework projects. It seems, however, that SuSE isn’t going to be printing to the Canon iP5000 any time soon:

Dear Mr. Froomkin:

Thank you for contacting Canon product support regarding Linux drivers
for the iP5000. We value you as a Canon customer and appreciate the
opportunity to assist you.

While considering the desire to provide the best possible support for
Canon’s products, Canon must make decisions on which products to support
when new operating systems are introduced. Currently, Canon has decided
to support only the Microsoft Windows and the Macintosh operating
systems. We understand, and sincerely apologize for any frustration you
have experienced if your operating system falls outside of these
categories, but we hope that you understand our rationale.

Please let us know if we can be of any further assistance with your



Somehow, I bet it prints just fine from Ubuntu…

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7 Responses to The Joys (ahem) of Linux

  1. Jeff says:

    ‘sudo’ should allow you to give rights to users for very specific commands (like chmod). Though I imagine you might just be able to put juniors into a 3d group or something (I’m not familiar with SUSE).

  2. Jeff says:

    I should have been more specific – sudo can allow you to only give permissions to a command including options – ‘sudo chmod 666 ‘

  3. molly bloom says:

    Seems like a lot of work. Why don’t you just get a Mac? They can do anything the Wintel machines can do. On the latest intel Mac’s you can even downgrade them and install Windows, if you feel you must.

  4. Jeff says:

    Teach me to not look at the preview – the post above should have a ‘filename’ after the 666. I had put it in angle brackets…

  5. molly bloom says:

    Seems like a lot of work. Why don’t you just get a Mac? They can do anything the Wintel machines can do. On the latest intel Mac’s you can even downgrade them and install Windows, if you feel you must.

  6. wcw says:

    Video permissions? Just become familiar with adduser. I don’t know my SuSE, but I bet leaving the perms at 660 and typing “adduser jrjr video” and “adduser jrsr video” neatly will do the trick.

    Also, if your permissions were not automagically set and you are instead logging in and using your own system daily as a superuser, please stop. Make a non-superuser and play the same adduser trick.

    The same tends to work for groups like ‘audio’ etc etc as well, down to who’s allowed hotplug access to the USB ports (a big security risk in this rootkit-on-USB-drive age if you’re careless).


  7. cafl says:

    Make a group called 3d and put all your family’s users in it (try the addgroup command) as well as a new 3d user. chown the mystery file to 3d:3d, and chmod it to 664. You are all now in the group that has read+write permission to this file whatever it is that you have to write to. (Is it the device file?)

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