Identifying PCI devices – lspci

May 25, 2008

Most PC Cards such as Network Interface Cards ( NIC ), Sound Cards are PCI devices. To get a list of PCI devices on your computer use lspci. lspci has a list of options, the most frequently used option being -v(verbose), you can also use -vv or -vvv to increase the extent of verbosity. For a complete list of options view the man pages(man lspci).

For instance if you are trying to identify your sound card use:

lspci | grep audio

on the terminal(Applications>Accessories>Terminal)

this will print the list of Sound Card/s. something like:

01:01.0 Multimedia audio controller: Ensoniq 5880 AudioPCI (rev 04)

Similarly lspci can also be used to identify other devices such as NICs

lspci | grep Ethernet

on the terminal lists out the NICs, you will see something like this:

01:02.0 Ethernet controller: Realtek Semiconductor Co., Ltd. RTL-8139/8139C/8139C+ (rev 10)

To view all PCI devices use type lspci on the terminal. lspci is useful if you are trying to install drivers for your PCI devices or just plain exploring your hardware.

Speeding up BOSS Linux Boot / Startup time

May 15, 2008

Heres a neat tweak i found to get you from GRUB to Gnome login page faster, do note however that this may cause some issues, so try it at your own risk. Its worked for me without any issues so far.

As you boot up you BOSS Linux (or any Linux or Unix OS for that matter) installation, a series of scripts run as a part of the start up process. Scripts are run within a shell. By default on BOSS Linux (and on many other Linux Distributions) bash is the shell that runs these scripts. There are various tweaks to speed up the startup process, this is one of them. We’ll try to get these scripts to run faster. Dash is an alternate shell, its small and runs scripts faster than bash. Theres a catch however I’ll come to it at the end of this post.

To install dash type sudo apt-get install dash on the terminal (remember not to use sudo if you are logged in as root). You can also use Synaptic, you’ll find dash on the list of packages. Once you have installed dash you’ll need to make it the default system shell, how? read on…

/bin/sh is a symbolic link to the default system shell. The default system shell on BOSS Linux is bash. So we’ll have to change it to dash. To do so type:

sudo mv /bin/sh /bin/sh_old

sudo ln -s /bin/dash /bin/sh

on the terminal, remember not to use sudo if you are logged in as the root user. Reboot to see the difference. This shaved off close to 10 seconds from my boot time, I am not saying that it’ll do the same for all of us, but most people who have used dash have noticed boot time go down.

The catch here is that some shell scripts use (incorrectly) specify /bin/sh as the interpreter assuming it points to /bin/bash, these scripts won’t work if you have /bin/sh pointing to /bin/dash. I have not faced any such issues so far but if some scripts act up I know where to look 😉

Ubuntu has been using dash as the default system shell since 6.10. Click here to read about it.

Web browsers for BOSS Linux

May 3, 2008

My installation of BOSS Linux ( ‘Anant’ – v2.0 ) came with firefox pre-installed, I currently use Iceweasel . There are quite a few web-browsers on the BOSS Linux package repository.

Debian had licensing issues with the Mozilla corporation on the conditions for the use of the name Firefox, so they decided to re-brand Firefox as Iceweasel. Heres the full story from @ wikipedia.Most add-ons, skins and other goodies from Firefox work with Iceweasel too, most Firefox users would feel right at home with Iceweasel.

To install Iceweasel from the BOSS Linux package repository you can either type “apt-get install iceweasel” if you are logged in as the root user or type “sudo apt-get install iceweasel”  on the terminal (Applications>Accessories>Terminal). If in case you are not much of a command line person 🙂 use synaptic (Click System>Administration>Synaptic Package Manager), you’ll find Iceweasel on the list of packages. Click here for my post on setting up synaptic for BOSS Linux, you’ll find this post helpful even if you are planning to use apt-get as its got information on configuring the /etc/apt/sources.list file.

Then theres Dillo, a small(around 355kb to download) but furiously fast GTK+ based browser. It doesn’t support CSS, Javascript or Java. This means most web page layouts will not look like they should and you can’t login to check mail among other things. However the good thing is most online advertising wont work without Javascript support either, so no more pop-ups or irritating insite ads ;). Dillos good for plain browsing, but the lack of CSS support is a problem. As of now the project is frozen due to lack of sponsorship. Click here to visit the official website and do help the developers out if you can 🙂

Apart the above two, there are other browsers like epiphany(GNOME’s web browser), chimera2, elinks (an advanced text mode WWW browser) and a few more. These are only what you’ll find in the BOSS Linux package repositories (use synaptic or apt to download). There are lots of other open source web browsers that are not a part of the repository but can always be compiled and used.