Monday, March 21, 2005


Well it may be one of those times where a weekend is the best remedy for a problem that seems unsolvable.
After getting windows on the fileserver and partitioning the drive with fdisk I had no luck installing Fedora 3.0. I got the same old bug message.

Assertion ((C*heads+H)*sectors+s==A) at disk_dos.c:495 in function probe_partition_for geom () failed

I looked around on the web for a bit of information and it seems that it is a common bug. I tried tab-entering the "ignore cancel" notifications and installing anyway to see if installation was possible but unlike others who have met with success was met with a reboot request after configuring my install and selecting packages. Seems as though my partitioning was created anyway. My next strategy was to install Fedora 2.6 and the update from that to 3.0 this worked, but you've got to remember to reboot into the older version and accept the license and enter a username. Then you can go ahead and install 3.

Friday, March 18, 2005


Well got the prices and the go ahead for a 150gb hard drive. Kewl. Installed OK and everythings fine. Right to install Linux next Monday.

Thursday, March 17, 2005


Back to the fileserver. Gee that hard drive is making urky noises. Heavens it's not booting up and the Hard Disc light is going full bore. Might check the IDE cable. Yup, not working, swapped it with another and everything is going fine. Hang on, is it really worth installing Linux on this machine, with the hard-drive on its last legs. We're better of getting a new hard drive before progressing any further. Yup ok to change over.


Back to work today to swap over the cd burner to a dvd burner on one of hour dual-op Linux Windows systems. Well managed to get the dvd burner into the case ok! Woops, the software for this burner isn't writing to the hard drive. Must not be picking up the dvd burner. Driver probs are my worst nightmare. Might have to swap back to the cd burner. So I take out the dvd burner out and then put the cd burner in. Still no action with this software. Whats going on? Well, lets try it in another machine. Nope doesn't work on my laptop. Wait a minute, theres nothing on this cd at all! Its completely blank. Have to get some software that works. Right got that, now I'm putting back the DVD burner. Installing software. Check that it burns... Yes! Ok lets boot to linux and try to burn. How do you do it? Can't find anything on the redhat menu. Looking, looking looking. Aha I remember its in the file browser. Yep burn:/// and it works.

Wednesday, March 16, 2005


So I got windows installing on the 10gb partition and it went along peachy. Oh well its time to see if linux will install. Bother I've got those bug warnings again. I entered all the network parameters and packages and so forth and there wasn't any action. I tried installing 3 times and was still getting bugs in the system. Decided to call it quits for the day.


You've got to remember with fdisk that no changes are made until you reboot. Well... You don't have to remember, it's just that I keep forgetting. Incidentally does fdisk stand for "f..k the disk"!?


Then I worked out you have to delete a partition before you create one. They don't tell you that this is the way it is. As far as I can understand it's a bit like chopping up pie. You can chop it up in sections, but if you want to change the sections you have to glue them all back and then make the new section. That seems to have finally worked. I think I've finally worked something useless out.
It has to be a primary piece of pie too otherwise the c drive will have a hissy fit won't go there. You can specify that the partition will be 10gb somewhere along the line.


Geese I have had a lot of problems getting windows back. It's so difficult working out what is going on. The instructions are all in Geekese. Geekese is a very difficult language to understand. It's either like caveman, in that an instruction is so brief that it doesn't impart anything, or, its so verbose, with every second word being a technical term that you need an encyclopedia to work out that doing something will melt the plastic the hard drive is made out of.


Change of plans again, seeing as I've managed to get windows on to its own 10gb slot I'm gonna have another go at installing linux and windows using fdisk. Then I thought lets create the 10gb partition using fdisk. So I had to work out that I needed to use FAT 32 - the large file format thingy - in fdisk that's a Yes to the first screen you come to. That, at least worked.


Well Parted seemed to work ok but then I started to install Linux and I kept getting bug messages, then, after going through all setup parameters, it crashed. I really wanted to keep windows on there but it looks like, with these bugs, I'm just going to install Linux without Windows. Its the Sad. The hard disk has been making strange noises. Must have been happening for a while, you can't here much above the fans in our server room.


Rats, things are never as straight forward as you think. Planning for these things is a bit like placing a bet at the local casino! After using fdisk for about an hour and a half I'm just going through formatting a c drive for windows 98 on a partition of 10 GB. First I tried installing windows straight off the CD, that didn't work. It said it couldn't format the partition after it tried doing it for five minutes. So I'm guessing I've got to use fdisk.

Tuesday, March 15, 2005


Installing Linux for the temporary server seemed to work except windows isn't there, after kazillions of bug messages, Linux managed to install! Now I'm installing windows back over Linux and then I'll install Linux again. Its long-winded, but that's my plan of attack to get a dual boot.


This time I think I'll use "parted" to get my Windows partition sorted before I bowl headlong into partitioning. I used it with another system and it worked fine. I've got forty gig to play with so I thought I'd give 10 to Windows and split the rest up on Fedora into a partitioning of:
/boot at around 100mb, / at around 4gb, /usr at around 2gb, /swap 300mb, and home the rest. Although I thought it would be good to use lvm for partitions so that I could vary them as needed. I feel like I'm running blind as usual, going on what I work out from what I search out on the web.


Well parted seemed to work ok but then I started to install Linux and I kept getting bug messages and after going through all setup parameters it crashed. I really wanted to keep windows on there but it looks like, with these bugs I'm just going to install Linux without windows. Sad. Well that worked, after kazillions of bug messages! Linux managed to install. Now I'm installing windows back over Linux and then I'll install Linux again. That's my plan of attack.

Friday, March 11, 2005


I want to possibly set up NFS on the dummy server I'm going to be runnning. So I'm going to check out what it can do. I haven't really looked into this so I want to check-out its' capabilities. I thought I might check out
The Linux Documentation Project How To for this. I'm beginning to think that if we've got Samba we really don't need NFS.

Wednesday, March 09, 2005


Oh well, windows was lost during the install - I think it was there, but it had gone to a higher plain of operating system heaven where it couldn't be reached. All that was left of it was a bit of machine code, something like {[<^\?{}t. I think the "t" means "Go and have a cup of tea instead."
Time for a contingency plan. Don't think I can be bothered installing Windows and then Linux again, there is only 10 GB on this machine and I think it doesn't like the concept. Snails have carried out whole lives while it boots. So I have re-installed as a solely linux box, and swapped it for my testing set-up after confirmation from above. Set up all the Samba stuff and couldn't get the network to go. Then I remembered you have to let eth0 go through the firewall. Arrgh memories! Cooking with gas after that. My original machine has a happy user on it now who's using windows of course - better give him a username and password - see what he does.

Tuesday, March 08, 2005


Got the latest version of Redhat on Friday and updated both my laptop and workstation. 'Twas easy. Back to putting Linux on another workstation as a dual boot system. I couldn't get Redhat to automatically configure with windows on the primary partition so I had to start with a new partition table. I've made the VFAT partition around 4500 mb, the Swap partition at 300 MB and / the rest, so I hope that is cool. I'm running blind as far as keeping the original Windows 98 OS on this machine, but hell, why not live dangerously. The Windows partition is the front sector and has been scandisked and defragged so many times its not true.
So it's 40 minutes until I find out if it's still on there. Whoops it just told me of a missing file or corrupt package for open office. Seems to be hanging, asking me to try again without any success, tried giving the disc a clean, tried changing the discs over to older ones. Worked perfectly ok on the update. It's reading the disc - The lights are on but no ones at home. We're just going around in circles. I have another strategy, maybe install Fedora 2 and then update to 3 or work out how to do a network install. Nope no luck for the fifth time. I'm dumpin' this install and starting again.


While I've been installing a dual boot operating system with Linux and without windows on one of our workstations I've been checking out a method for migrating metadata and data from FileMaker to MySQL. There usually is a much easier way to do this, and after finishing the documentation on this I found an opensource version on the net... Not Really, but you can have go if you don't believe me, go on, have a snoop.

There is no way there is a simple metamorphosing solution for an application you've developed in one that you want to migrate to the other. It all works differently. They have different bloodtypes FileMaker and MySQL, one wriggles and the other squirms.

I guess the following text is one way to migrate a FileMaker file/table to a MySQL database. Before I get into that a few observations on the differences between the two applications. I'm saying that because there are a lot of the calculation fields that you create in FileMaker to manipulate data which are permanently on tap, you develop them prior to formatting them for the output you want and then they stay as part of the database.

MySQL, on the other hand does a lot of it's data calculations outside the database, using queries to manipulate data. I guess the theory is that you don't store masses of fields which add to the time it takes to render data through recalculating it, either through augmenting the calculation itself or through sorting, searching and scripting. Both FileMaker and MySQL have their pros and cons, so I'm not going into a debate about which is best, leave that to the time-wasters (Who are they anyway?).

The things is that all the FileMaker databases we have have been developing have been developed on MS operating systems. One of the reasons for conversion is our migration to Linux - not supported by FileMaker of course. There are lots of other reasons for doing this as well - but that's another story.

First big mistake I made (which I would be very helpful for any pointers with) is that you don't seem to be able to copy MySQL databases from Windows to Linux - they end up being read-only on the Linux box. I've had a go at changing the file permissions after pasting databases to Linux via a samba share but have had no success. So if you're going to migrate between the operating systems, you don't want to develop your MySQL database in Windows, thinking that you'll be able to gaily frolic over with a pasting of it to Linux because you won't be able to. You'll be in schtuck if you do. Of course you can go vice-versa easey peasey - windows to Linux no probs with MySQL, just copypaste across no probs (Why? - I would be very helpful for any pointers with this one too).

So the only solution I've come up with is, after formatting data via calculations in the FileMaker database, export the data to a tab file in windows and rename it as a .SQL file adding and adding an insert statement to it. Then you can import to the Linux version of MySQL via PHPMySQLAdmin the after copypasting the SQL file to your MySQL system on Linux.

I spent a fair whack of time developing calculations for creation and modification dates and times in the FileMaker database so that if you want to you can copy them into another. They were a bit spaghetti-like to get to work and its a pain in the butt configuring a file with the calculations but you can just copypaste them across once they're developed.

I've had a look at using the ODBC and in the long run it would be pretty much the same. You still have to copy the database structure, You still have to create all the fields to the datatypes that MySQL has and will let you use, you still have to copy the identified fields that you can migrate across between the two applications and you still have to flood the MySQL database with data. Checkout this for an ODBC methodology, it looks pretty full-on.

Oh by the way, I'm using PHPMySQLAdmin through a Xampp setup, to avoid using the MySQL command line.

Migrating the Table Structure:
1) Assess what fields you can migrate and what you can't.
2) Open Define Fields and copy and paste the fields your going to migrate into a text file to create a schema for what you are going to create.
3) Open up PHPMySQLAdmin and create your table or you could just go for the create table statement - haven't tested that one out.
4) Insert some dummy data into the table using the PHPMySQLAdmin insert interface and navigate to the SQL page to copy and paste the INSERT statement header up to and including the word "Values" into a text file.
5) Bring this to the FileMaker database and keep it somewhere as you develop the calculation for exporting the data. You'll need to make sure that the fields are sequenced in the same order that is in the INSERT header.
5) Create a SQL development layout in the FMP file
6) Open up Define Fields once again and create the fields that are contained in this files Define Fields from the heading SQL line elements down. You'll have to open up and copy and paste the calculations in as well - of course. If you want a timestamped modification and creation date that is formatted for MySQL you will have to include those calculations as well

Migrating the Data:
1) Re-gig the calculation field SQL_line or SQL_line... To include the fields that you want to import remembering that the fields have to be in the sequential order that they are in in the INSERT Header
2) Export the SQL_line field to a tab separated text file and rename the extension .SQL.
3) Open the file up in a text editor and copy and paste your INSERT statement into the top of it. Don't forget to replace the last comma with a semicolon. Save your file again.
4) Truck on over to PHPMySQLAdmin and import the file. The means to do this is on the structure page of PHPMySQLAdmin. Hopefully your import is free of bugs. In my case this is most times very unlikely.

Over and out.


Well I'm installing Fedora 2 and upgrading to 3. Using the old 2.6 discs and everthing seems to be going well. I'm installing as a personal desktop as I have done this with these disks before without any problems. So lets hope there are no problems this time!

Wednesday, March 02, 2005


This is a test to see how easy it is to export data from File Maker Pro to MySql. This solution comprises
conversion of FileMaker fields and data to a format that can be exported to a text document in the required syntax of the SQL INSERT statement. The extension on the file will then need to be changed from .txt to .sql . The file will then be imported via phpmyadmin to a MySQL database with the same schema. This was pretty much sussed out on the 8th of March, so scoot along to the later posting entitled FILEMAKER TO MYSQL STUFF.


Vine has potential to provide a means by which to obtain files located on a windows operating system from a workstation configured with both windows and linux. I have played around with this a bit but I need to quench my thirst of this knowledge further to actually get it to work. There is another application that can open a portal through the looking glass which I have yet to checkout. Can't remember the name currently though.

Mounting the windows operating system (an unfortunate phrase), worked a treat on those dual-op workstations with VFat partitions. But of course on a Window's XP system you could only see the NTFS partition. You couldn't see into the VFat. Ho-hum, so I am yet to get around that one.


Linux has been installed on the Toshiba Tecra A2 that I use at work. For what I do it seems to work fine, except that it does have these issues which others may find trying if we are going to install Linux on other laptops:
  • At boot up the laptop will freeze when it trys to start network and sendmail sendmail services. That's if you do not have a network cable plugged in and the network available. So if you are away from the office you need to make sure that these services aren't initiated at start-up. This means you have to log on as root each time you start-up and logon, and then turn those services on (I'd forget to turn them off each time I was away from the network if I left them on, getting frustrated when I arrived home to find I can't boot up. Have to find a way round this.
  • There is no facility to see the current battery power status, so if you run you out of power during a session the machine just dies!
  • Don't think peripherals via USB ports are supported, I tried the USB floppy disk the other day and nothing happened

I've checked out a few sites for Linux device drivers for the Toshiba Tecra A2 and so far have not met with much success with regard to these areas. I wonder what will be revealed when we install Linux on the other laptops we have.