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Monthly Archives: October 2006

Firefox 2.0 RC2 has been released. It is well polished and has good number of features which includes, better tab handling, anti-phishing, inline spell check,etc. We use to face the problem of version incompatibilites of existing firefox extensions while we test beta/release-candidate versions. Some time even after official release of Firefox new version, the extension developer don’t update their extension immediately. If there is no major API change in firefox, most of the old extensions works well with new firefox. The upcoming Firefox 2.0, does not have any major API change which makes us to tweak the existing extensions to work well with new firefox. Here is a simple HOWTO on the same:

1. Download and save the extension which you want to install in your desktop.

2. The firefox extensions are packed as zip file and renamed as .xpi. So you can use any unzip tool to extract the content of the .xpi file (you can easily rename as .zip instead of .xpi, then your default zip program will extract the file when you double-click it)

3. You can find install.rdf file in the extracted file. You can find a tag called “<em:targetApplication>”. Under that tag, you can find firefox minimum and maximum version. Replace the maximum version with new firefox release and save the file.

<!– Firefox –>

4. Now zip the entire directory and rename it as .xpi.

5. Open the .xpi file from firefox. Now your favourite installed and works well with new firefox release.


All latest computers can boot from CD when there is a bootable CDROM in the drive. It is the ability of the BIOS. But legacy PCs does not have that feature. Many operating systems provide bootable floppy for this purpose. But it is pain to prepare boot floppy for different operating systems. So we need a solution to address this issue.

Recently I tried install Slackware 11.0 with first CD, which is bootable. But my PC does not boot through CDROM, it skips CDROM goes to grub installed in first harddisk (Primary Master). But other bootable CDs works fine in my PC. This happens to only Slackware 11.0 CD-1 only (I have to check whether the culprit is Slackware CD or GnomeBaker, that is different story..). So my PC is not CD bootable atleast for this Slackware CD. Then I found the following method to solve this issue and it works like charm. This method is applicable for all legacy PCs which can’t boot from CDROM drive.

Step 1: Download the memdisk.bin from here or if you have syslinux installation, you can use the installed memdisk.bin.

Step 2: Download the sbootmgr.dsk from here or here or if you have any version of Slackware CD-1, /isolinux/sbootmgr/sbootmgr.dsk file you can use.

Step 3: Copy both memdisk.bin and sbootmgr.dsk in your grub existing grub installation path, /boot/grub.

Step 4: Add the following entry in your existing grub menu. Note: root(hd0,0) should be according to your configuration.

title CDROM


kernel /boot/grub/memdisk.bin

initrd /boot/grub/sbootmgr.dsk

Step 5: I hope you need not to run grub-install again. If necessary you can do.

Step 6: Reboot the machine.

Step 7: You can see an entry called CDROM in grub menu list. Select the entry. You will be shown boot device selection screen showing all your harddisk and CDROM drives. Insert your bootable CDROM in the CD Drive and select that drive from menu. Waavv..!! your machine is booted from that CD.

Yesterday I had a wonderful time in getting this done. Hope you too!

My current Home PC (PIII/192MB) is installed with Debian sid. I have this setup for last one month and found stable. Actually I installed Debian Sarge through DVD. It was just base install. After first phase of installation, the installation wizard prompted for which tree of debian I wish to install. It offered Stable (Sarge), Testing (Etch) and Unstable (Sid). I selected Testing. I have heard that it is good enough stable for a Home PC. I did base installation only. After that X windows, XFCE 4.4 (beta) and all other applications were installed through apt-get and synaptic. Here is the list of applications I use:

1. Thunar file manager

2. Firefox browser

3. Thunderbird for GMail

4. Scribus for brochures and artwork

5. GIMP for image editing

6. Anjuta/Glade for learning development

7. xfce4-terminal for console

8. xmms and mplayer for audio/video

9. Bluefish for web development (Home site)

10. Gnumeric for home finance maintenance

11. (mostly for documents received through email)

12. gThumb for photos

13. Audacity for small voice recording (fun to record my child Udhaya’s voice)

14. gnome-volume-manager to auto run gThumb once camera plugged in, vcd/dvd auto play, cd-recording application auto play

15. Mousepad for simple text edit

16. xfce4 plugins – screenshot, volume manager, notes, screen lock. Though I don’t like tray running plugins much, I found these useful and light weight.

17. Orage – Calendar application which is simple and light weight with Event reminder and clock applet.

18. gTodo – Simple to-do manager

Here are the screenshots…

screenshot-1.png screenshot1.png screenshot2.png
I found this setup more than enough for any one’s day to day work. A week back I upgraded this setup to Unstable tree of Debian. It is rock stable. AFAIK Debian-Unstable is more stable than many other distributions. Apart from stability, the choice of application is important. I had that freedom to choose the above application list.


If you have atleast 2 years of experience in Linux and legacy PC, Debian is the best distro to manage your PC with less resource utilization and flexible configuration of system and application. When you have brand a new PC, go for the great Ubuntu, which is nicely integrated and stable.

Enabling Tamil input method on Ubuntu Linux 6.06 LTD (Dapper Drake) is so sweet and simple. Here is an HowTo on that. It involves three steps:

1. Enabling Extra Repositories:

  • System -> Administration -> Synaptic Package Manager
    1. Settings -> Repositories
    2. In the Installation Media tab, click Add. There are three separate repositories; Dapper Drake, Security Updates and Updates. Select each repository and check Officially supported, Restricted copyright, Community maintained (Universe) and Non-free (Multiverse). Ensure you click OK between each repository to save your changes
    3. You should now see those three repositories under Channels. Make sure Officially supported, Restricted copyright, Community maintained (Universe) and Non-free (Multiverse) appears under each repository
    4. To refresh the list of known packages (equivalent to apt-get update)
      • Edit Menu ->Reload Package Information

2. Installing Tamil Fonts

Search for following packages in Synaptic Package Manager and install the same with all dependencies:

1. ttf-tamil-fonts
3. Installing SCIM Input Method

Search for following packages in Synaptic Package Manager and install the same with all dependencies:

1. scim 2. scim-gtk2-immodule 3. scim-tables-additional

How to type in Tamil:

1. Open Gedit Editor through Applications -> Accessories -> Text Editor.

2. Right-click at Text area, select Input Method -> SCIM Input

3. You can notice a small toolbar at the bottom right of the screen. Select Tamil Keyboard layout from the menu on that toolbar.

4. Start typing in the text editor. You will get Tamil characters.

Happy editing hours with Tamil. Let us take Tamil to next generation!

Note: I don’t have access to Ubuntu right now. So any correction and omissions on this posting is welcome.