Best of Technical Support

Our experts answer your technical questions.
Removing Another OS

A frequently asked question is how to remove Linux from a computer. What about removing Windows 98 safely? I had Windows 98 on the first partition of my hard disk (/dev/hda1) and Red Hat 6.0 on logical partitions (/dev/hda5, 6, ...). I was able to dual-boot using LILO, which was installed on the master boot record. One day, I decided to part with Windows 98 forever. I ran mke2fs on /dev/hda1 and divided it into three partitions. Now when I boot my computer, LILO does not appear at all, and I need to boot using a floppy.

I tried to install LILO (by running /sbin/lilo), but in vain. I tried removing LILO and re-installing it, but when I ran /sbin/lilo -u, I got the following error message:

The boot sector of /dev/hda does not have a LILO signature.

I booted the machine using a Windows 98 boot disk, ran fdisk /mbr and reinstalled LILO. Nothing doing.

I got a CD of TurboLinux from the March issue of Linux Journal, installed it on the new partitions I created and had LILO installed in the master boot record. It didn't work. What should I do to boot using LILO again? —Tam Laying, tamlayin@oupchina.com.hk

Make sure your lilo.conf file looks like this:

boot=/dev/hda
compact  # faster, but won't work on all systems.
ramdisk = 0
map=/boot/map
install=/boot/boot.b
prompt
timeout=100
image=/boot/vmlinuz
        label=linux
        root=/dev/hda5
        read-only

Then run lilo, and it should install a fresh boot block. Your problem may have been linked to partitions being shifted or renamed when you created the new ones. —Marc Merlin, marc_bts@valinux.com

Film and Video

When playing movie files in Linux, the video is very jumpy and there is no sound. I have set up my Soundblaster Live! which works okay. I also have a Voodoo2 3dfx card—do I have to set this card up to allow trouble-free movie playing? My video card is an ATI all-in-wonder pro with 16MB. The PC is a PII/333 with 128MB RAM. —Graham Bell, grahambell@bigfoot.com

There are many issues when playing video (and audio), not only in Linux but in other operating systems as well. First, if you intend to play video from the Internet, such as streaming video, make sure you get a good connection, the faster the better. This way, the video quality will improve substantially. There may be adjustments on your software related to quality of video vs. video-playback speed: the best image quality may be slower, and some frames may get lost. Also, be sure to check that the formats you are trying to play are consistent according to the software you are using in terms of versions. If your software does not fully support the video formats you want to play, it may not work as expected. I would set up all the hardware and make “local” tests to ensure everything works fine, then I would go watch on-line broadcasts. —Felipe E. Barousse, fbarousse@piensa.com

You did not mention which video program (xanim?) or video format (avi, mpeg, real video) you are using. There are some known issues with each format I've mentioned, and the client part available is somewhat limited. Recently, Real Networks released a client (RealPlayer) with better Linux support, and it is running okay. —Mario de Mello Bittencourt Neto, mneto@argo.com.br

Permission to Change

I am connecting a Linux server to a Macintosh. I have installed Netatalk, and everything seems to be running. When I go to the Macintosh, I can see the Linux server and access any file I want from it. However, if I try to save to the Linux server, I get a message telling me I do not have “Make Changes” permission and cannot do that. My Windows 98 machines work fine, so I do not believe it is a chmod issue. I think it is something I am missing in the NetaTalk configuration. —Aime Emery, aemery@northtroyconsulting.com

It looks like there is a problem related to passwords. NetaTalk must be compiled with shadow password support if your Linux uses them. Also, there is a huge variety of options to configure NetaTalk and all its related protocols. A useful web page for you to check on these parameters is http://thehamptons.com/anders/netatalk/. —Felipe E. Barousse, fbarousse@piensa.com

Missing Host Key?

After installing Red Hat Linux, when it is booted, I get:

Failed Message Starting sshd.error Could not load host key: /etc/ssh/ssh_host_key: no such file or directory How do I fix this? —Qamar Ansari, qamar@hotmail.com

sshd tries to find ssh_host_key by looking for the HostKey entry in its configuration file (normally /etc/ssh/sshd_config), falling back to a default of /etc/ssh/ssh_host_key. Ensure the HostKey file name in the configuration file matches the location of the ssh_host_key file you want to use. Some ssh installations put all ssh files directly under /etc, so maybe your file is there for some reason (although this is unlikely). If the ssh_host_key file doesn't exist at all, you can create a new one by running

ssh-keygen -f /etc/ssh/ssh_host_key

as root. —Scott Maxwell, maxwell@ScottMaxwell.org

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