Sun xVM VirtualBox Goes 3D

Here is the great news for all VirtualBox Users. Virtual box team has released new version of VirtualBox 2.1.0. The main attraction for this release it Hardware 3D acceleration support.

This is experimental feature and support is limited to OpenGL after insalling guest additions, Refer to VirtualBox user manual section 4.8 Hardware 3D acceleration (OpenGL) for complete information.

Another attraction is support for 64Bit Guest on 32Bit Host, now that’s a pretty good feature I say, as I don’t have 64 bit machine.

Grab the latest version here.

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Creating Virtual Machines For Xen, KVM, VMware Workstation 6, and VMware Server With vmbuilder On Ubuntu 8.10 (From HowtoForge

vmbuilder is a tool (introduced on Ubuntu 8.10) that allows you to build virtual machines (with Ubuntu as the OS) for multiple virtualization techniques. Currently it supports Xen, KVM, VMware Workstation 6, and VMware Server. You can afterwards copy the virtual machines to another system (a Xen, KVM, VMware Workstation 6, or VMware Server host) and run them there.

via Creating Virtual Machines For Xen, KVM, VMware Workstation 6, and VMware Server With vmbuilder On Ubuntu 8.10 | HowtoForge – Linux Howtos and Tutorials.

Credit for this post goes to Falko Timme.

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Installing And Using OpenVZ On Ubuntu 8.10 (From HowtoForge)

In this HowTo I will describe how to prepare an Ubuntu 8.10 server for OpenVZ. With OpenVZ you can create multiple Virtual Private Servers (VPS) on the same hardware, similar to Xen and the Linux Vserver project. OpenVZ is the open-source branch of Virtuozzo, a commercial virtualization solution used by many providers that offer virtual servers. The OpenVZ kernel patch is licensed under the GPL license, and the user-level tools are under the QPL license.

Please find the complete article here.

Credit for this post goes to Falko Timme.

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Installing Xen On CentOS 5.2 (i386) (From HowtoForge)

This tutorial provides step-by-step instructions on how to install Xen (version 3.0.3) on a CentOS 5.2 system (i386).

Xen lets you create guest operating systems (*nix operating systems like Linux and FreeBSD), so called “virtual machines” or domUs, under a host operating system (dom0). Using Xen you can separate your applications into different virtual machines that are totally independent from each other (e.g. a virtual machine for a mail server, a virtual machine for a high-traffic web site, another virtual machine that serves your customers’ web sites, a virtual machine for DNS, etc.), but still use the same hardware. This saves money, and what is even more important, it’s more secure. If the virtual machine of your DNS server gets hacked, it has no effect on your other virtual machines. Plus, you can move virtual machines from one Xen server to the next one.

I will use CentOS 5.2 (i386) for both the host OS (dom0) and the guest OS (domU).

Please find the complete article here.

Credit for this post goes to Falko Timme.

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Kubuntu 8.10 : Get Ready for Eye Candy

Yes its out now, Kubuntu 8.10 is released

After trying KDE4 on Kubuntu 8.04, I just can’t wait to get hold of formal Kubuntu release with KDE 4.  Its not only about looks though it has lot of improvements from nevigation point of view as well.

I am already downloading it. So go and grab your copy now 🙂

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WinDirStat – Visual Disk Usage Statistics

This is continuation of my previous post on the similar tool KDirStat for Linux user. It is highly recommended that you go through the post here before going further as I will not discuss the common stuff again.

WinDirStat is windows replacement for KDirStat, as the original concept was taken from KDirStat they are almost same and do the same job. Following picture show the main window for WinDirStat.

WinDirStat Main Window

WinDirStat Main Window

WinDirStat Features:

  • The directory list, which resembles the tree view of the Windows Explorer but is sorted by file/subtree size,
  • The treemap, which shows the whole contents of the directory tree straight away,
  • The extension list, which serves as a legend and shows statistics about the file types.
  • Coupling. Select an item in the directory list: The treemap highlights it; and vice versa.
  • Zooming.
  • Built-in cleanup actions including Open, Show Properties, Delete.
  • User-defined cleanups (command line based).
  • Works with network drives and UNC paths.
  • ‘Create disk usage report’ option.
  • ‘Submit bug report/Feedback’ option.
  • Online help.
  • setup.exe.
  • Language can be set to Czech, Dutch, Estonian, Finnish, German, English, Spanish, French, Hungarian, Italian, Polish and Russian.
  • Free software released under GPL

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KDirStat – Visual Disk Usage Statistics

Someone has said that “A Picture is worth thousand words”. I completely agree with this statement when it come to determine hard disk usage. This requirement is even more prominent when you want to clean up your hard disk, if we know which directory occupies more space on hard disk we can concentrate on it for clean up. Similarly if we know which directory contains more number of files we might want to keep it defragmented to speed up the system.

There are many command line utilities that can provide this information du, dir, df etc. The problem with these commands is the results are not usable as it is either we need to sort them or combine them (to the level you want) and they don’t get the information is not relative to each other or total disk size.

What is KDirStat:

KDirStat is a visual disk usages statistic application for KDE users (Windows users please check out my post on WinDirStat here). This application scans the whole file system or given directory and displays the statistics both in numerical form as well as graphical form. See the picture below to understand what I am talking about:

KDirStat Main Window

KDirStat Main Window

Numerical view: As shown in above picture, top half of the image shows directory tree along with file size, percentage usage with respect to the total size in numerical as well as bar graph form, and last accessed date. The important part is if you go to the directory entry in this tree it will show the total usage of the directory including all sub-directories and files in them.

Graphical view: The bottom part is graphical view where each file is shown as a block, size of the block is relative to size of the file and space it occupies with respect to total size. Just like tree view all files in the given directory are grouped together.

Both the views are linked to each other, if you want to know space consumed by given directory, select it in tree view and corresponding block will be highlighted in Graphical view, If you see a huge block in graphical view click on it and tree view will point to the corresponding entry, this is very handy when you want to do system cleanup.

KDirStat Features:

  • Graphical and numeric display of used disk space
  • Different directory levels are shown in different colors
  • Individual file in a directory are grouped together in <files> item to improve the readability
  • Graphical view makes it very easy to find huge files
  • Basic file opeartions can be done from KDirStat itself
  • Synchronized graphical and numerical view
  • Each block in graphical view is colored as per its file type
  • Different types of graphical view
  • Both the views can be zoomed to required directory level
  • Predefined cleanup actions such as delete, archive
  • User defined cleanup actions
  • Lot of fun
  • Free Software released under GPL

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Video Conversion with ffmpeg and Avanti

With so many video formats and video players around its not easy to find a tool which can convert any format to any other format. On top of that availability of so many converter softwares makes it even more difficult to find the correct match for your requirements.

ffmpeg is a free video processing library released under LGPL. ffmpeg is available for both Windows and Linux platforms. This is a very powerful library and is capable of encoding, decoding, muxing and demuxing almost all video formats in use today. In short with this single tool you can convert any video format to any other video format Such as:

  • Convert to DivX, Xvid
  • Convert to 3gp
  • Convert to IPOD/IPHONE video
  • Convert DVD to MPEG1, 2, 4
  • Convert DVD to AVI (Divx)

However, with so many features it is equally difficult to use, also as it is a command line tool, you need to understand the properties of source format and destination format and based on that you need to supply different parameters to ffmpeg.

This is where Avanti comes to your rescue. Avanti is a free GUI frontend for ffmpeg for windows users. Avanti make it very easy for users to configure the properties of the output format and determines the required ffmpeg switches automatically. It also provides the templates for conversion between most common formats in different video schemes so that you don’t have to dig for all the details required to covert from one format to another format. You can also create your own templates so that you don’t have to remember those settings.

These two tools provides you unlimited capabilities in video conversion.

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The New Look

I am pretty obsessed with Black and Orange color combination no wonder I own Sony Ericsson Walkman phone. Anyways that was the main reason behind choosing Sunburn as my first theme. I liked Sunburn for this color combination and excellent readability. However, as most my posts have long titles, the huge title font was not really suitable and it was quite difficult to find out different entries under Top Posts and Recent Posts widgets.

I was in no mood to give up the Black and Orange combination so my search ended on “Black Letterhead” by Ulysses Ronquillo. This theme solves both of my problems with previous theme and on top of that the individual posts don’t have side bars (See this in action) so you can concentrate more on what you are looking for rather than what I want to show you.

I am sure you will like it as it will makes your experience better on Tech Tool Tips.

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Jigdo (Jigsaw Download)

With every passing day more and more stuff is available to download. Average download rate per day has also increased drastically since broad band is made available to more and more users.  I remember I was using download accelerators to download anything more then couple of Mega Bytes on my dial up connection.

Have you ever tried or thought about downloading a CD image of approximately 600 – 700 MB 5 years back? Most probably not, right? But now forget about CD Images we can easily download DVD images of 4.7 GB within couple of days even with slowest broad band connection. Now a days almost everyone uses torrents and P2P clients to download huge files. This helps you to get your files faster and reduce the load on the servers as more then one computer host full/partial files.

Till now we were only looking at it from end user point of view, as an end user we want to download the files as soon as possible. But what about the servers on which these files are hosted? No wonder we have hard disks available in tunes of Tera Bytes now. Just look at the number of videos uploaded to You Tube everyday, or constantly increasing size of the inbox, or average size of the software’s distributed. Everything requires lot of storage space and that results in constant upgrades to server storage.

For commercial sites it should not be a problem to upgrade the infrastructures because they get some money for there product, services or advertisements they offer. Unfortunately our open source/free software friends does not have that flexibility as they are dependent on volunteers and donations to host their contents.

By this time you might have forgotten the purpose of this topic as it doesn’t contain a word about Jigdo. You are right but that was essential to understand and appreciate this tool. In this post I will stick to very basic information about Jigdo as all the details are explained in very clear and easy manner on Jigdo Website.

What is Jigdo:

In short Jigdo is a tool to create ISO images from set of files, this will help you to remove the actual ISO images from the server as the ISO image will be reconstructed on the user’s computer by downloading individual files present in the ISO image. This tool is developed by Richard Atterer.

Lets us try to understand this with an example:

Say you want to distribute you Linux destro, your complete destro consist of files of 1GB. Lets say you have four variants Complete, Desktop, Server and Minimum. Obviously these variants will be created using the subset of your overall 1GB data.

If you want to host the individual files and one ISO image each for each variant, total space requirement on the the server would be:

Variant Space Requirement
Individual Files 1 GB
ISO For Complete 1 GB
ISO For Server 700MB
ISO For Desktop 600MB
ISO For Minimum 200MB
Total 3.5 GB

This is nothing but duplication of data on the server, all files are stored multiple times, once as a individual file and one or more times as part of ISO images. Jigdo helps you to prevent this by creating the ISO images from individual files so you no longer need to store the ISO images on the server.

How Jigdo Works:

Lets continue from our example, you will create an ISO images from the individual files stored on the server and give this ISO file to Jigdo. Jigdo will create two files for you, first is .jigdo file and second is .template file.

.template file contains metadata about the ISO image i.e. .template file contains everything else in ISO image except actual files. this includes information about where the file offsets are in an ISO image, there checksum, directories etc. As this file contains binary data you will not be able to understand its content using text editor.

.jigdo file contains links to the actual files on the server along with there md5 checksum, this will be a gzipped text file that can be viewed using zcat.

Now instead of ISO image you will provide .jigdo and .template files to the end user. End user provides this file to jigdo. Jigdo will download each file separately using wget and place it in the local ISO file by using the information in the .template file. Thus jigdo will be able to reconstruct the bit by bit copy of the original ISO image.

How Jigdo Helps End User:

There are many advantages for end users

  1. Jigdo allows you to download individual files through different mirrors, so if you find that your current mirror is slow you can switch to different one, If you do this with ISO image hosted on server you need to download the whole thing again.
  2. If you already have a CD/DVD image of particular destro, Jigdo can use unchanged files from this CD/DVD rather than downloading them again, this will be very useful if you have beta version and want to download next beta or final version as not many file will change between these versions.
  3. You can stop and re-start the download process anytime
  4. Your download will be comparatively faster
  5. If you want to create your own distribution, you need to host only changed and new files again, rest of the files will be taken from the original server.
  6. Jigdo is file format independent you can host any big file using Jigdo on multiple servers
  7. Last but not least is you will help the open source/free software community to save some money on hosting services

Please go through the links below for details about Jigdo and using Jigdo.

Who is using Jigdo:

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