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The Mission
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ecomoney


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

PostPosted: Fri 21 Aug 2009, 20:55    Post_subject:  

Hi All, back from my hols early through lack of cash Rolling Eyes

Ive posted requests for ethernet autoconnect and USB pendrive automount, and already got some good feedback and information. Patriot has written an ethernet autodetect script that Im keen to test/be tested, and Ive got a lot more information (much from mikeb) as to where to apply the late nights and coffee to fix the USB problem.

The Puppy Version Im using at the moment is 4.2.1, with Firefox (my ecofox 2.0.0.20 from Ecopup 2.15ce that Ive transposed over), as well as gyachi, amsn 0.98 and skype 2.0. These are "all the applications needed for daily use". Ive also modified the startup script not to run the xorgwizard (by renaming /usr/sbin/xorgwizard to /usr/sbin/xorgwizard2 Cool ). Im not sure if this has contributed to the problems autodetecting sound that you are having chris. The Alsa sound wizard is still in there unster Start>Setup, which should fix your sound problems. Essentially, I believe disabling hardware profiling may have caused the sound detections routines not to run at bootup.

This really doesnt amount to that much development and testing of the puppy setup itself, most of my time has been spent getting my head around the netbooting concept, as well as finalising the hardware required, and dealing with wiring problems at the cybercafe itself (which has caused most of the problems so far). I wouldnt recommend the setup for commercial use as yet. Chris I think you might be better off showing your friend Ecopup for the time being.

Anyhow, I recieved via text while I was on holiday that the cybercafe is all systems go and has been functioning fine without my intervention for the last five days. The 100% puppy setup seems to be stable, so next time I am over there I will release and upload what I have done so far.

@ Ttuuxxx

Ive been keeping up with the 2.14X project, and been impressed so far. I understand the strategy of using an older kernel, updated with the latest drivers and libraries is a good strategy for supporting the widest range of hardware possible (I learned this from this thread). I also understand that with Puppy Linux aiming to be a "just works" distro for "Linux 'Newbies", it should steer clear of bleeding edge kernels/software in favour of the tried and tested.

From my tests with 2.14X I am convinced of its technical stability, speed, and its ability to run on a wider range of hardware. For this reason I have already been looking at it as a candidate for the system in use by the cybercafe. Although the computers at the Immingham cybercafe are high spec, I want the system as a whole to be able to operate on much lower spec equipment than that currently being used.

Judging by the current dominance of much less efficient, expensive and unstable operating systems, speed, stability and cost are only small parts of the bigger picture of what it takes to create a successful operating system. Ive spent four years now distributing, demonstrating and supplying Puppy Linux based systems, and listening closely to the feedback I've received from the people using it. Overwhelmingly they say that, although they appreciate the speed, stability and cost, it is far too difficult, complicated, and cumbersome for them to use on a day to day basis as their main OS. Overall I estimate the "retention rate" is only around 30%...for every three people that try it, two people return to using Windows. What is needed is "just works" simplicity, with a shallow learning curve to attain basic computer functionality, and no assumptions of any prior linux knowledge.

The infuriating thing is, the changes necessary to achieve this are, technically, very easy to accomplish....wizards and autosetups...changes in terminology, error messages, context sensitive help etc. This is the main area in which Puppy needs to improve to become more widely used, recycle more older equipment and give more people access to the hugely beneficial resources of the internet. Ubuntu (notwithstanding its unreliability, time to install, and hardware requirements) addresses many of these things, so I know it is possible with Puppy too.

In short, I believe Puppy 2.14X, 4.2.1, dup or whatever FAR from being "finished" in terms of meeting its objectives.

The aim of the Mission project is to research just exactly what is required so that people with no prior linux experience can try it, use it and like it. It is a testbed for new usability features and changes to Puppies user interface and wizards.

OK, Ttuuxxx, like I said, 2.14X is currently the frontrunner in terms of the stable foundations of the system that will be eventually booted. I have a few barriers that need to be surmounted before this can happen however.

1. For the "experiments" at the cybercafe to work, the "subjects" need to have no preconceptions, the system in use there therefore needs to be on first look to the untrained eye at least extremely "reminiscent" of another more widely used OS.

2. Currently were using a JAVA based billing system. I hope not to have this requirement soon which will mean that a system such as 2.14X with no java package can be used. This will also help lower the hardware requirements.

3. ATM, 2.14X does not currently have a netboot ability (although I believe I could add it).

4. Currently 2.14X (and in my opinion all puppies) does not contain enough programs for Communication/Instant Messaging, a very popular use of computers. I need to incorporate "on the fly" loading of additional SFS files over the network with NFS (using the routines in ChoicePup as a base perhaps).

5. At the moment, I know that the management of the cybercafe are happy(ish) with the setup they are using, so Im reluctant to change it just yet while I get these other issues resolved/researched. My personal circumstances means that I must get myself some kind of income, or I will again be marched off to the government work programme where I will be of no use to myself, society or Puppy Linux.

So, to answer your question I cant install 2.14X at the cybercafe in the short term, but in the future I would like to.If you would work on the usability issues weve already identified (graphical xorgwizard, pendrive mounting, and ethernet connectivity) then this would certainly much "improve" 2.14X considerably over previous puppies of any version number. I would be happy to work with you (or anyone) in achieving this.

Thanks for tuning in.

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ecomoney


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

PostPosted: Tue 25 Aug 2009, 08:04    Post_subject:  

Just to let you know, Ive edited the first post to include a summary of the issues discovered so far, the Puppy Linux Mission Objective to which it applies, and a link to where work is being done to remedy the problem.
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ecomoney


Joined: 25 Nov 2005
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Location: Lincolnshire, England

PostPosted: Fri 28 Aug 2009, 09:56    Post_subject:  

Ive managed to squeeze a few hours in at the cybercafe today, and Ive uploaded the software we are using, as Ive had it confirmed its been working without any problems for the past week.

Ive uploaded it here

http://www.ecomoney.eu/cyberpup/release0.1/server.zip

This is a zipped up pup_save-server.2fs, which when booted will automatically set up netbooting. It does include the billing software, but the netbooted clients are currently hardcoded to look at the ip address 192.168.1.1, where it expects to find a computer running the cafpilot server. We currently have the mac address of the admin machine assigned via the router to always give 192.168.1.1 to this machine (I would really like the netboot clients to "seek out" the admin machine by scanning all ip addresses in the local subnet/range for a netboot server...or open port 69, I believwe nmap can be used for this).

Also, the cybercafe client zipped above has a common fault I have found with puppy as long as I have used it. On of the cafe operators downloaded a large file, and not understanding its folder heirachy, saved it to /root (the default), this filled the pup_save-server.2fs file, and at next reboot the icons disappeared, as /root/My-ROXapps/puppypin could not be created. I managed to recreate the puppypin file which has put the standard puppy desktop shortcuts back on, but without their graphics...so it looks really scrappy. I must put this fault in the summary of findings in the first post as its been outstanding for so long now (years!).

Some good news, Sunburnt has created a "just works" script to access a pendrive when it is plugged in. Currently however it does not created the needed shortcut in the GTK save/upload dialogue boxes generated in firefox, so I cannot deploy it as it is. This project is documented here

Now I need to test the ethernet auto-reconnect script that Patriot has written here...

http://www.murga-linux.com/puppy/viewtopic.php?t=45629

Back soon! Very Happy

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ecomoney


Joined: 25 Nov 2005
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Location: Lincolnshire, England

PostPosted: Fri 28 Aug 2009, 10:23    Post_subject:  

No go on the ethernet-autodetection wizard either Crying or Very sad

I think Ive found the fault cthisbear reported earlier. The headsets on computers wernt working. It was only when I opened start>multimedia>gsmixer that the audio instantly started! Ive shown the staff the "workaround" for the time being, but I would really like this solved so when the resident "expert" (who actually knows how to start programs!) isnt in the cybercafe can still have sound. I assume this bug effects all current Puppy 4.xx series too.

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cthisbear

Joined: 29 Jan 2006
Posts: 3468
Location: Sydney Australia

PostPosted: Sun 30 Aug 2009, 03:02    Post_subject:  

" It was only when I opened start>multimedia>gsmixer
that the audio instantly started! "

Good one Robert.
I knew that it was something simple.
Just couldn't see why, the next time I tried.

Your Cybercafe is very handy for playing most media files.

But how do I drag the VLC icon to play ISO movie files?

Thanks mate.........Chris.
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ecomoney


Joined: 25 Nov 2005
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Location: Lincolnshire, England

PostPosted: Thu 03 Sep 2009, 19:02    Post_subject:  

Well today I we tested the first new usability feature that has been developed to solve a usability problem. This was some code to allow easy "just works" access to pendrives, and the ability to upload and download images/attachments to and from them.

I saw again exactly what makes this environment such a great test bed for Puppy Linux. As testers we had computer users from Russia, Poland, Indonesia and Latvia, who all had online social networking profiles and pendrives. Although we discovered with the experiment that the program needed additional features, we also discovered the testing facilities were just the job.

cThisBear, Im sorry I dont know how to solve the problem with sound, or even go about testing it (the staff have been notified of it and the workaround). For the ISO problem, you should post on the VLC thread. The Hull cybercafe's internet connection got shut off because one of its customers had managed to install P2P software on it, and left it seeding copyright films, so its not something we wish to implement on this setup.

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ecomoney


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Location: Lincolnshire, England

PostPosted: Thu 10 Sep 2009, 08:56    Post_subject:  

Update...

The cybercafe is operating successfully, albeit with a few problems we are living with.

Over the past two weeks weve only had one problem with Stale NFS file Handles. This seems to be a problem with 4 series puppy as Ive seen it on many of the new puppy 4 installations. No fix has been found for this as yet, so it needed a reinstall from a zipped-up pup_save-server.2fs backup we keep. Im going to try and remaster the pup_save-server.2fs files into the pup_421.sfs, along with modifying the rc.shutdown script. This is with the intention of making the setup on the Admin computer purely a RAM based, embedded setup. This will mean that there is no perminant storage on the admin PC, and if they encounter ANY problems, they simply have to reboot to return the p.c. to its virgin state.

The usb-auto feature is coming along nicely. Were looking forward to rolling that out.

Another problem we have is that, on the netbooted P.C.'s, a Java Crash is stopping the CafePilot client running. This leaves the p.c.'s "open" for use for free! Ive been researching CRON to see if I can figure out how to automatically restart the p.c.'s one hour after firefox is first run (/usr/lib/firefox is already a shell script, so I would need to enter the cron command in there I think). This would ensure that after the clients session has expired, ALL data is removed. As the cafePilot client is set to automatically run at startup, even if it did crash at some point through the one hour session, it would restart again with the computer.

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mikeb


Joined: 23 Nov 2006
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PostPosted: Thu 10 Sep 2009, 10:59    Post_subject:  

Quote:
Over the past two weeks weve only had one problem with Stale NFS file Handles. This seems to be a problem with 4 series puppy as Ive seen it on many of the new puppy 4 installations. No fix has been found for this as yet,

I would have thought the change from 3fs to 2fs for the pup_save was the cause.
Quote:
The Hull cybercafe's internet connection got shut off because one of its customers had managed to install P2P software on it, and left it seeding copyright films,

Curious ...what did they use..I assume a bitorrent client....on linux?
Quote:
Ive been researching CRON to see if I can figure out how to automatically restart the p.c.'s one hour after firefox is first run (/usr/lib/firefox is already a shell script, so I would need to enter the cron command in there I think). This would ensure that after the clients session has expired, ALL data is removed.

Hmm lateral thinking ...I was wondering if something simple could be arranged on a per client basis for that one

mike
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ecomoney


Joined: 25 Nov 2005
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Location: Lincolnshire, England

PostPosted: Thu 10 Sep 2009, 17:30    Post_subject:  

Hi Mike...I thought only a few puppies (2.10-2.12 roughly) had .3fs filesystems for their pup_saves...ie pup_save.2fs, not pup_save.3fs?

The Hull cybercafe's internet got cut off because people had used torrent programs on the *windows* computers there. Hull have their own ISP as a city, whio have implemented very Draconian measures against filesharing. They have since reviewed this policy after an article on the BBC.

How do you mean..on a per-client basis?

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mikeb


Joined: 23 Nov 2006
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PostPosted: Fri 11 Sep 2009, 05:36    Post_subject:  

Quote:
Hi Mike...I thought only a few puppies (2.10-2.12 roughly) had .3fs filesystems for their pup_saves...ie pup_save.[b]2fs][/b[, not pup_save.[b]3fs][/b[?

not sure exactly...I was guessing that the 2.xx version that you used did hence the difference. The other factor would be how cleanly puppy 4 shuts down. They tryed lazy unmount but I still have to add code to make it better .

Quote:
The Hull cybercafe's internet got cut off because people had used torrent programs on the *windows* computers there. Hull have their own ISP as a city, whio have implemented very Draconian measures against filesharing. They have since reviewed this policy after an article on the BBC.

I know..they also started blocking ports....lol...glad we moved....oh the joy of private monopoloies....actually that's a point...for cafe use blocking ports would be a possible deterrent to such misuse.
With torrents its easy peasy to trace the user via the tracker as their details are logged there along with a list of files they share. With something like edonkey they only make a guess from port activity but there is no direct evidence like torrents have...i warned people but they usually don't listen.

Quote:
How do you mean..on a per-client basis?

ie internet sessions controlled on each machine...some sort of code/login that gives a time limited access all done on/by the one machine rather than being controlled from a central server. Having to run java to do this does see like overkill...I will let the grey matter churn over.

mike
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ecomoney


Joined: 25 Nov 2005
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Location: Lincolnshire, England

PostPosted: Fri 11 Sep 2009, 06:50    Post_subject:  

Yes, I still need to do some work on the client machines, removing some of the standard puppy 4.21 programs such as transmission. Really I should also remove petget, .pet recognition etc. A list of blocked ports has been mentioned before. I think bittorrent is a great invention, but not suitable for cybercafe environments.

Java is an overkill, and cafepilot is far too bloated, buggy and undocumented. Its caused a lot of problems. A simple system where the user enters a single code for access (rather than a username and password) would be better, which also implements a shutdown 1 hour from when the code is first entered. It would need to be authenticated from the Admin machine otherwise the passwords would have to be hard coded in the netboot setup. I still need some code to automatically discover the i.p. address of the tftp server on the network from the netbooted machines before I can implement this kind of functionality.

I think I need to post a request for a "howto" on these things on separate posts. Thanks for the loan of the grey-matter Mike, appreciated.

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ecomoney


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PostPosted: Fri 23 Oct 2009, 12:02    Post_subject:  

Lots of changes at the moment, Ive just moved up north to Scarborough! Having the internet connected on Monday. Theres also been a bit of "Politics" at work...basically they are fed up with all the faults testing has caused (even though the vast number of the faults are caused with faulty ethernet wiring!). Development is going to the North Banks of the UK;s great River..to the mission in Hull! The great thing about this is that were going to have some staff that know how to check all the cables are plugged in before putting the "Out Of Order" sign up!

They have also issued a freeze that no more code is to be added there...this means that the code you talented developers have created must now be tested in Hull...apologies with the delays in this....your work will still be very much needed.

Ive also taken on a commercial cybercafe in my now-native Scarborough...and are using the netbooting technology and software on a new teaching suite for the Elderly....more on this soon!

For the moment my access is only briefly via cybercafe. Back Soon!!

Rob

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cthisbear

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PostPosted: Fri 23 Oct 2009, 18:58    Post_subject:  

" For the moment my access is only briefly via cybercafe. Back Soon!! "

He's alive.....Good day mate.

Chris.
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raffy

Joined: 25 May 2005
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PostPosted: Fri 23 Oct 2009, 23:22    Post_subject: action  

If they got "fed up with all the faults testing has caused", as you said, what course of action did they take? Did they start thinking that Linux was making life difficult for them? Just curious...
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puppyite


Joined: 23 Jul 2009
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PostPosted: Thu 12 Nov 2009, 09:41    Post_subject: Many thanks Ecomoney
Sub_title: Call my name if you need me
 

Greetings Ecomoney,

Sometime back I saw your post in this thread Wine 1.0 and Wine 1.1.23. I had tried all the other download sites and only yours enabled me to successfully complete.

I mentioned to my wife recently how I would never have been able to run Windows apps in Puppy were it not for the fact that you went to the effort and expense of making a pet file for a newb like me. She reminded me how in past I complained about people I help on the forum who never say thanks (or anything at all).

I felt ashamed and resolved to thank you for your efforts and offer to repay my debt to you if possible. So here I am, I offer you my appreciation and whatever help I can give. Please call on me if ever there is anything I can do for you.

Yours truly,
Puppyite

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