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The Mission
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ecomoney


Joined: 25 Nov 2005
Posts: 2183
Location: Lincolnshire, England

PostPosted: Thu 04 Jun 2009, 12:15    Post subject:  

They are both (actually 3 of them now as there was another XP failure this morning) diskless. The setup of the cybercafe as it is is described here

http://www.murga-linux.com/puppy/viewtopic.php?t=39321

if you would like some bedtime reading

Therefore there is no way of storing the xorg/network settings for the machine. This would go again both puppies mission (of "just working"), and the requirements of the Seamans mission (that non-technical staff will be able to just plug any old machine in via ethernet and it "just works").

gposil, you are a very talanted programmer, and (far more importantly to my mind) put your talents into areas where they will be of most benefit...would you take a look at the XORG and rc.init scripts to solve these problems for everyone?

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ecomoney


Joined: 25 Nov 2005
Posts: 2183
Location: Lincolnshire, England

PostPosted: Thu 04 Jun 2009, 13:15    Post subject:  

As an update...Ive just recieved this email from Phil, who is the charity manager at the Mission. Hes given me permission to quote him for now (I will be enrolling him at some point though).

Quote:
Hi Rob

Just a note to confirm where we are.
We now have three desktops working on linux via the smoothwall. They are being controlled via the laptop in the shop. We will leave the machines working over the weekend and see what happens. Issues still to be resolved.

On Saturday and Sunday there will be no one at the Centre who knows how to start up the machines if they are switched off. I will try to pop in if I can but I don't work weekends. The shortcut from switch on to the correct screen is important.

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gposil


Joined: 06 Apr 2009
Posts: 1305
Location: Stanthorpe (The Granite Belt), QLD, Australia

PostPosted: Fri 05 Jun 2009, 21:35    Post subject:  

ecomoney said:
Quote:
would you take a look at the XORG and rc.init scripts to solve these problems for everyone?


Yes, Rob, i'll look into it...

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raffy

Joined: 25 May 2005
Posts: 4759
Location: Manila

PostPosted: Sat 06 Jun 2009, 06:14    Post subject: first user  

Good work. Very Happy

Looks like your first Puppy Linux user in the Mission is a seaman from the Philippines, or if not, definitely an Asian.

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ecomoney


Joined: 25 Nov 2005
Posts: 2183
Location: Lincolnshire, England

PostPosted: Sun 07 Jun 2009, 16:05    Post subject:  

How have you been getting on? It would be great to re-install the entire cybercafe tomorrow...but I can only do this with the display and connection issues fixed.
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ecomoney


Joined: 25 Nov 2005
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Location: Lincolnshire, England

PostPosted: Mon 08 Jun 2009, 07:55    Post subject:  

Yes, quite a large proportion of the cafe clientelle are from Indonesia/Philippines (Obviously no "Scunny Puppy" would be suitable here Laughing ). Raffy, would you translate some signs/posters about the Mission project please?

I was about to set off today, but unfortunately no movement on the xorgwizard problem.....Im going to give them a call and put it off for now.

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ecomoney


Joined: 25 Nov 2005
Posts: 2183
Location: Lincolnshire, England

PostPosted: Thu 11 Jun 2009, 03:01    Post subject:  

I solved the problem of the xorgwizard running all the time

Code:
rm /usr/sbin/xorgwizard


Laughing Cool

What was happening was the xorgwizard was detecting that it was running on different machines (even though the hardware is identical) and trying to recreate a new /etc/X11/xorg.conf file. This is the file that stores the configuration of the video/mouse/keyboard for a specific computer. Deleting the script that recreates it simply causes the startup script that (somewhere) calls it to fail (silently) and puppy's Xwindows starts up using the one that is already there.

@gposil

Now Ive found a "workaround" for this particular case, perhaps you would add your welcome contribution to this thread when it is ready. As Ive explained on there, its something that puppy needs to do by default as a "just works" distro. I think it would also be very useful for the HanSamBenKids Educational Puppy which is aimed particularly at users with limited levels of computer skill/intolerance for code! I would be very happy to test it at the cybercafe/local schools/generally on the my stock I have for recycling.

Ive now managed to get an interim billing solution sorted for the cybercafe which runs using JAVA. As a result of this and "fixing" (in the loosest possible sense) the xorgwizard problem, Ive been allowed to transfer the rest of the cybercafe over to linux! Very Happy

the intrim solution Ive found (while we develop one the charges laptop users too!) is CafePilot. It works fairly well from a p400/192mb laptop computer behind the main desk, connected to the smoothwall by some mains ethernet adaptor plugs and running puppy 4.2.1. The laptop was given to me because the hard drive had literally been ripped out (socket and all), so at the moment it is running from a 1gb usb pendrive and boots from a 4.2.1 CD. Ive hacked a little script in /root/Startup to launch the CafePilot server at startup. This is really useful as the people on the desk can see how many computers are in use at any one time, and how long each user has left on it....something they couldnt do before. On drawback is that at the moment all the accounts (passwords to get on) have to be created by hand, which is proving troublesome for the Phil (the Charity Manager at the cybercafe) to type in hundreds of each week....never mind think of them.

Anyway, unfortunately, I left the icewm workspaces on the setup, and today when Phil was demoing the billing system to a committee member he went into the cafe and found that two Russians had found a way of using them to bypass the billing system and were using the cybercafe for free! Embarassed

Ive now got to do a remaster (its 7:45am here and Ive been up all night) and drive the 25 miles to Immingham to to deliver it for 9am when the cybercafe opens. Evil or Very Mad Im also (if my sleep deprived brain allows) going to try and make it so I can update the puppy image held on the netboot server from home, so as to save my carbon footprint.

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ecomoney


Joined: 25 Nov 2005
Posts: 2183
Location: Lincolnshire, England

PostPosted: Thu 23 Jul 2009, 11:13    Post subject:  

Ok the latest update....the cafe is now running 100% puppy linux!!!

Most of the time. Weve been suffering a lot of dropouts of network connections because of the old wiring in the place. The telephone wire that runs from the wall socket is over forty meters long (weve only just discovered where it comes into the building). This is frequently causing the main internet connection to the cybercafe to stop

Ive also tried using mains ethernet adaptors to provide the staff on the front desk with a pc which they can generate passcodes and check howm many machines are free. This didint work as we discovered that the fridges from the bar was causing electricity spikes, removing the sitecafe server from the network and making the cybercafe free to use!

Of course, many of the staff at the centre are non-too pleased with the failures, and I fear they are blaming the Linux system for the unreliability of the setup for which they are having to deal with the dissatisfied customers, even though its that which has by far caused the most "downtime" so far. Whatever, I have to get it fixed before the Puppy Linux system stands a chance.

Ive already ran a 40 meter ethernet cable from the front desk to the server room over the stairs (which involved drilling through two walls and took four hours!). This replaced the mains adaptors we were using and solves the problem with connectivity between the smoothwall and the computer on the front desk running the cafepilot server. However now we need to move the modem to the front desk (where the wall socket for its dedicated line actually is). This means I will need another ethernet cable from the server room to the desk.

I was going to put ethernet plugs on the telephone lead (which stretches from the front desk to a joiner in the server room, and then up the stairs into the office). but I am told that only four of the wires inside a standard 8 wire ethernet port are actually needed (pins 1,2,3 and 6). Im going to splice another ethernet cable into both ends of this, joining pins 4,5, 7 and 8 joined to the wires for 1,2,3 and six. This will mean I can use one ethernet wire for the two connections, and I can leave the telephone wire as a fallback should I do something wrong! Very Happy

I will be having a practice today Very Happy

I also have to get the webcams and the earphones working for the visit by the senior management on tuesday (5 days away) as currently the Seafarers families back home cant see and talk to them from the cybercafe while they are away. Webcams are a nightmare under linux!

Another problem they have (which Ive tried to explain about in the new MUT interface thread) is that nothing happens in Puppy linux when a Pendrive is plugged in. Its extremely irritating for new linux users though as it assumes prior linux knowledge (how to mount a pendrive, what utility to use etc). Its another classic example of hoe (some) developers think something is a "feature" but the new linux users (who Puppy is aimed at) believe it to be "broken". I also visited a cybercafe in Cornwall this weekend running some Puppy Linux computers, where they had exactly the same usability problems which prevented people using their pendrives.

Im going to need to find out some way of hacking puppy to automatically mount and pop up a rox window with the users files on it when a pendrive is inserted. It will also need to automatically add (and remove) a symlink from /root/ and preferably make a shortcut in the gtk file open dialog. This way the seafarers can send and recieve pictures of their families from abroad, and upload thier pictures to their facebook profiles and email attachments for their families to see.

Any help/advice/observations with these problems gratefully recieved.

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Aitch


Joined: 04 Apr 2007
Posts: 6825
Location: Chatham, Kent, UK

PostPosted: Thu 23 Jul 2009, 12:39    Post subject:  

Rob

Re USB mounting, see last post in this thread, then go back up, if suitable, as it's a very old thread

http://www.murga-linux.com/puppy/viewtopic.php?t=2996

good luck, & well persevered!!

Aitch Smile
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ecomoney


Joined: 25 Nov 2005
Posts: 2183
Location: Lincolnshire, England

PostPosted: Thu 06 Aug 2009, 21:14    Post subject: Meetings.....  

Today I met with the Chairmen of the Board of Directors of the Humber Merchant Seamans Welfare Association. I gave him an update as to how the Project was progressing. I explained such things as managers are interested in, such as how long the computers would last, how much he would need to pay and worry about legally in terms of liciences, along with how much longer the Cybercafe was going to be available (uptime) and how easy and cheap it would be to maintain.

I also explained to him that "deadlines" in open source projects are entirely a non-technical concept. Although we now have a billable cybercafe system, it still has issues regarding usability (pendrives/cd access), charging for laptops (we currently "hire" ethernet wires to connect to a hub and have turned wireless off!). Providing these issues are resolved, I am sure it will be adopted across the Seamans missions around the country....and word of Puppy Linux will travel the seven seas.

The meeting was held at the Hull Cybercafe (currently 100% XP, talked about with picshere). One of my tasks for today was to show them the system that was in use in Immingham. I heard that they were still experiencing a lot of downtime and securiy problems, so I decided to give them the option of booting Puppy linux on every Computer in the centre, sans billing system. Cool

I had prepared some CD's with much help from several people the previous night/that morning that I had hoped would have been able to boot in any one of the computers, that would automatically netboot any of the other computers on the network...this way effectively Linuxing the entire cybercafe in about 20 minutes.

Unfortunately these hadnt burnt correctly and would not work on any of the CD drives there! (I must stop getting my CD's from the £1 shop). Instead of that, I employed a bit of creative thinking, of how to get this done. In the accountants office there is a second computer used exclusively for internet browsing/email (the accountancy PC is Running XP, and is therefore not compatible with the Internet so it has no connection Wink ).

1 I installed Seekers Puppy Linux installer for Windows 98/ME/2000/XP.

2 I then replaced the pup_421.sfs file that it installed with the pup_421.sfs I use for the cybercafe.

3. Once I had this booting, and it had been booted to create a pup_save.2fs file, I installed the modified tftp netboot server package I created from MagicZaurus's package (here). Into this I put a copy of the netboot initrd.gz and vmlinuz files from the Immingham cybercafe.

4. As the other PC's had an "F12 Network Service Boot" option when the HP Bios Screen came up upon poweron, the instructions to the staff consisted of "Press F12 for Puppy Linux when there is a big "HP" on the screen. It will make the computer work again."

In total it took about two hours to provide Linux to all 15 computers at the Hull centre, instead of 20 minutes. It would probably have taken two days with Windoze XP Laughing

This has given me an idea for refining the system in use at the cybercafe to make it an All-Puppy affair, which will make it a lot more flexible, and will be quicker and easier to set up. It would also mean that the Billing system would be puppy linux based, and hopefully I can make good then on this offer of £150 for its creation.

"Squid" funnily enough, sounds like the way to go...

Im really happy that the system has reached this level of completeness, it certainly would never have been possible without the goodwill and voluntary assistance and expertise of a great many people. Many thanks to everyone who has contributed.

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cthisbear

Joined: 29 Jan 2006
Posts: 3389
Location: Sydney Australia

PostPosted: Fri 07 Aug 2009, 00:47    Post subject:  

Yes....congratulations to all.

A worthy project.

Chris.
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MagicZaurus

Joined: 05 Jan 2009
Posts: 88

PostPosted: Fri 07 Aug 2009, 11:10    Post subject:  

Great! Progress in the right direction.

From what I remember these are the things which still require some work:

- Internet sharing / Using Puppy Linux as the router with 2 network interfaces for inside and outside world

- On the fly mounting of sfs-files over NFS

- Billing system

Anything else missing? I expect billing and internet sharing are more important than the on the fly mounting.

Squid is a proxy server. I don't think it's good to use for the billing system, but it can help you to reduce internet traffic if many of the clients are accessing the same websites.
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ecomoney


Joined: 25 Nov 2005
Posts: 2183
Location: Lincolnshire, England

PostPosted: Sat 08 Aug 2009, 06:27    Post subject:  

Hi MZ, currently the cybercafe is set up like this

Code:
            Telephone Socket
                      |
                      |
               [ADSL Modem]
                 |       |
                 |       |
                 |      [Admin PC]
                 |
                 |
            [Smoothwall]
                 |
                 |
            [24 Port HUB]
         |  |  |   |  |  |  |
               [Cybercafe PC's]


To a simpler system like this

Im wanting to reconfigure the cybercafe system to this kind of arrangement

Code:
          Telephone Socket
                      |
                      |
             [ADSL Modem]
            /         |        \\
           /          |         \  \
         /       [Admin PC  \    \
       PC                          PC  PC


This will make it easier to set up 2/3 pc systems as are used in many shops abroad etc. For larger setups a hub can be added to the adsl modem create more ethernet sockets for cybercafe P.C.'s. The machines all netboot automatically from the Admin PC, and dhcp is handled by the ADSL modem. This is a more explandable/simpler system if no Smoothwall specific functions are required (and they havnt been so far). I also cant get any Smoothwall experts interested in developing a mac addressed based billing system (that will handle people who come in with laptops to use the ethernet).

What would be really handy is to know how to "discover" the i.p. address of the admin computer with the tftp server. That way NFS shares could be set up (which would lower the hardware requirements of the client machines considerably). Currently as a billing system were using cafepilot, which also needs an i.p. address of the admin machine on which its server runs to authentyicate logins.

Cafepilot is rather a large java based program, and is a little large and cumbersome. It also requires software on the client p.c.'s so does not handle people who bring laptops in to connect. I would like eventually to use the admin machine to host a "captive portal" system to which all URL/http requests are redirected for authentication. After authentication the admin machine would also handle session timing. I believe NMAP can be used to discover services/open ports on a network, which could run as part of the clients startup.

For internet connection sharing...it would be nice to have the option of running the cybercafes "through" the admin machine, which would perhapss even be necessary for it to enable mac address filtering.

At the meeting, the two issues that were identified that need to be resolved fully before the system can go "live" throughout the other Missions is mac address filtering, and automatically mounting and adding rox shortcuts when people plug in pendrives. Currently people need to be supervised by a trained member of staff to do upload/download from/to memory sticks.

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Aitch


Joined: 04 Apr 2007
Posts: 6825
Location: Chatham, Kent, UK

PostPosted: Sat 08 Aug 2009, 18:10    Post subject:  

Hi Rob

This any use?

http://blog.taragana.com/index.php/archive/how-to-find-all-ip-addresses-on-linux/

http://blog.taragana.com/index.php/archive/how-to-add-multiple-ip-addresses-on-linux-fedora-core-fedora/

Can't you just query the router?

sounds from your description very close to internet shared thin client

maybe raffy has some tips?

Aitch Smile
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MagicZaurus

Joined: 05 Jan 2009
Posts: 88

PostPosted: Sun 09 Aug 2009, 00:20    Post subject:  

Getting the IP of the Admin PC could be done by passing it as a boot parameter during the netbooting.

But there is a problem with running DHCP on the ADSL modem. The Admin PC with TFTP server is also running a DHCP server. During the initial IP request from the PXE-ROM of the network card this doesn't matter, as the ADSL modem doesn't give a correct reply. But when the system is up and the client request for an IP there will be a race condition between the ADSL modem and the Admin PC. Whichever is faster will pass the IP to the client. It's not good to have 2 DHCP server in one network.

The technical correct way would be to configure the ADSL modem to provide the link to the TFTP server on the Admin PC and not run the DHCP on the Admin PC. But most of the simple ADSL modems given from the ISPs don't have this function. So the second best way is to disable the DHCP of the ADSL modem and run the DHCP on the Admin PC.

For the billing system based on MAC filtering I only see it feasable if the traffic flows through the Admin PC to the ADSL modem. That's the only way to take control of who is allowed to access the outside world. It's possible to do that remotely with some high-end routers, but not with the simple routers inside the ADSL modems for home use.

I found that if you use 'Setup Firewall' in Puppy 4.1.2 and go for manual configuration and not automatic, there is actually a possibility to activate internet sharing. So far couldn't test it, as my laptop doesn't have 2 network interfaces. I will try to find some cheap 2nd hand PCMCIA network card to test it.
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