Linux/Tux Keyboard For Sale – Oxfam Fundraiser

As most people may (or may not) know. I’m doing the Oxfam 100km walk. We need to raise $2,500 to donate to Oxfam to take part, plus our entry fees.

Thanks to a lot of people we have $870 at this time, which is fantastic, but only 35% of the way there! Since I have a few cool toys I no longer need, I’ve decided to sell a few things here on my blog. I’m using my blog because other sites like trademe will a) take a cut of the proceeds and b) you can deposit the money right onto our Oxfam account and i post it to you, and I have a fairly high technical/Linux following who will be more inclined to want it.

So to start it off, Im selling this AS NEW Linux Keyboard. Its a standard decent keyboard with low profile keys. The standard Windows key is non-existant and has been replaced with a Tux Key. Other than that its fairly average.

I was given this by a visiting person from Zareason who make and sell these along with other Linux specific hardware. I opened it, tried it, then never actually used it. If i can find the mouse I will throw that in as well (though its just a normal mouse). You can view the keyboard specs and more pics here

So please place your best bid in the comments. You can make as many as you want and fight it out. Bidding stops when the nobody has bid for more than 2 days or when the trailwalker starts early April (in which case i hope like heck you pay!).

Chrome OS install, hints and tips & my first experience

Horay! Chrome OS is out at
You can preview it a bit here

First you need to go to install all the pre-requisites to compile it on your Linux system listed here – OR
If you run ubuntu just do this
sh (hit Y near the end when it wants to install binutils-gold ok?)

Download the tar.gz from here
Or grab the git repo

sudo apt-get install git-core
mkdir [chromiumos]
cd [chromiumos]
gclient config
gclient sync

Note: This process may appear to hang while downloading the kernel source. It may take anywhere up to 10-20 minutes before you get more feedback

Follow the build instructions here

Once its booted up and running, you will realize very quickly its just a bootable web browser. There’s nothing else installed or to install. No logout button, no shutdown, no nothing.
If you are cunning like me and want to play then nothing like a ctl+alt+t to bring up a terminal then use your sudo to get root access. (no tutorials on this, if you dont know the power of sudo you shouldn’t be messing with things!)

First thing i noticed was that the main root file system was mounted what seems to be read-only. This i can only presume is for speed (and it is blimmin fast!) amoung other things.

The home directory was mounted read-write however to allow for downloading etc.
Package management or editing system files is impossible without remounting the root filesystem as read-write
mount -o remount,rw /

It appears to be based on Ubuntu, and its so cut down nothing much is installed. However in saying this, its still 589MB on disk when installed, which considering the fact that its not actually running anything other than a web browser, that’s pretty shocking. I can get a full debian install with xwindows and basic apps in that size fairly easily. Perhaps they havn’t had time to strip more garbage from it yet?
I noticed when its running that its using 653MB of my 1GB RAM, and has no swap at all. I presume its entirely running in RAM which contributes to its speed.

Catch 22, ChromeOS uses your google user/pass to login, if you use this then it will automatically log you in to your google acct at the same time, however, Wireless networking doesn’t come up until you are logged in (WPA key) .

I decided I wanted to add another offline user, so i did. My default username/password was chronos/chronos and i didn’t want that (yes downloaded a precompiled image). I added myself a user, then added my user to the admin,video,etc groups identical to the main user. I was still not able to login using this user which sucked, so i copied the homedir over from the first user to the second.

Still no go, so i checked in /etc for hard coded user names and found a few
/etc/security/pam_mount.conf.xml had the homedir to be mounted hard coded into it
/etc/init.d/ has export USER=firstusername
/etc/init.d/ has su firstusername -c “/etc/init.d/ ${MCOOKIE}”
/etc/acpi/ has export HOME=/home/firstusername

I edited all these to point to the new username, also copied the firstusername to secondusername homedir, chown’d all the files and grep -r’d and changed all instances of username hard coding.

Whilst editing these files i noticed that the pam_mount.conf contained information for mounting the home directory as an encrypted area.
I rebooted and hoped like heck after editing it would all go well. I should mention here that I’m using my 701 EEE PC laptop here, its a great test bed for lots of things.

After reboot i was still unable to login as the new user, so i checked directories other than /etc and found /usr/lib/chomeos-cryptohome/common

At this point, im tired, its late on a sunday evening and i never quiet got it the other user going. Since i need that offline user account to login before my WPA key/WIFI works, i will pursue this one further, for now im heading to bed (may update post later)

Software Freedom Day in New Zealand – Whats going on


Friday 18th of September, 4pm onwards.

Albany Senior High School,
Cnr Albany Highway and Oakway Drive,
Auckland 0752,+Auckland+0632&sll=-36.847385,174.765735&sspn=0.040524,0.082312&ie=UTF8&cd=1&geocode=FU-Lz_0daqdpCg&split=0&ll=-36.727672,174.695406&spn=0.020294,0.041156&z=15&iwloc=A

LAN party, Pizza, Presentations (Vik: RepRap, the future of
technology, Nevyn: POINTS Promoters of Open INformation Technology in
Schools, Graham Lauder: Open Office etc.), cd give aways, Installfest

Sunday the 20th of September, 10:00-16:00
Scispace, University of Auckland, City Campus (Building 303),174.768748&spn=0.00294,0.006716&t=h&z=18
A market day of commercial vendors, demos, presentations (the same
ones as the Albany event), cd give aways.


September 19th 2009, 10am to 4pm Events room 1 & 2 @ the HUB, Wintec

Free Giveaways, demos, prices, talks and food/coffee!


Date: Sunday 20th September 2009
Time: 9am – 5pm (plus networking session post event!)
Cost: Free! (but you need to register for the event)
Location: Wellington Convention Center
WiFi: Free all day tokens courtesy of CafeNET


10am to 4pm Saturday
19 September 2009
South Learning Centre

South Christchurch Library66 Colombo Street, Beckenham

Linux Installfest, free software CD, internet security, PC tuition, DVD screenings, and more