Backup Linux Using Clonezilla Live

There are many ways to backup Linux. There are different tools in the arsenal that you could use, such as tar, rcopy or  some backup software. One tool I recently started using is called Clonezilla, a cloning software similar to the popular Norton Ghost for Windows systems.

Clonezilla allows you to backup and restore file systems by cloning file systems or devices as image files. Clonezilla comes in two versions: Clonezilla Live and Clonezilla SE (Server Edition). Clonezilla Live is suitable for single machine backup and restore.

While Clonezilla SE is for massive deployment, it can clone many (40 plus!) computers simultaneously. Clonezilla saves and restores only used blocks in the hard disk. I’m using Clonezilla Live since I don’t need to backup and restore multiple computers.

To get started, you will need to download the Clonezilla Live iso file. Create a bootable CD from the iso file. Once the boot CD is created, you need to boot up from the Clonezilla Live CD on the desktop you want to perform a backup.

I recommend using a secondary USB drive for storing the backup image files. It will serve as a repository for your backup images as well as a restore point for later on. For further instructions, follow these instructions for using Clonezilla Live.

40 Linux CDs And Counting

I recently found a stack of CDs that contain nothing but Linux distros. The total number of CDs in my stash have reached 40. The oldest distros that I own is a copy of the Smoothwall firewall dating back to September 2003. The oldest Fedora distro I have is Fedora 10, and the oldest Ubuntu distro is Ubuntu 7.04.

But, I remember vaguely using Ubuntu 5.04 Hoary Hedgehog back in 2005. I switched back to Fedora shortly after because I didn’t like it that much. I tried Ubuntu a couple more times before finally settling with Ubuntu 7.04.

Also in my stash are copies of Fedora 10, 11, 12, 15 and the latest Fedora 16. I also have copies of: gos3, Open Solaris 2008.05, Linux Mint 7, 8, 9, 10 and 11, Puppy Linux 5.25, Debian 6.0.2.1, Centos 6, Xubuntu 9.04, and OpenSuse, to name just a few.

I also have some odd ones like Clonezilla, Gparted 0.9.11, and the GParted Live CD.

In addition to the list mentioned, I also have an assortment of Ubuntu distros in varying architectures and processors starting with 32 bit, 64 bit, Intel and AMD processors.

It was very nostalgic to go through my stash of Linux CDs. I’ll keep them for old times sake.

Ubuntu Is Losing Steam

If you’ve visited Distrowatch.com lately, you probably noticed Ubuntu has slipped down to number 2 in terms of number of page hits on Distrowatch’s website. Linux Mint now holds the distinction of being number 1.

It wasn’t long ago, that Ubuntu held that prestigious position for months, perhaps years. What happened exactly to Ubuntu? Was it Unity, the new desktop environment that was introduced a couple of releases ago?

I think, a large part of the slide is indeed Unity, but it’s not solely the reason for the loss of its popularity. There are other issues. Ubuntu was already losing steam before Unity was first introduced.

You got to hand it to Linux Mint developers. They have done a great job of making Mint a solid distro that simply works out of the box with no fuss.

In the meantime, I went back to the two year old release, Ubuntu 10.04 LTS, or Long Term Support. It’s still supported until 2015. It runs the stable Gnome 2.3.

Selling Antivirus Software To A Linux User

Selling Antivirus software to a Linux user will probably not get you anywhere. On a recent trip to Frys Electronics, I was asked by a sales associate if I wanted to take advantage of a 50% discount on Antivirus software if combined with a purchase of a hard drive. I politely declined.

I wasn’t going to explain to him why I didn’t need it, but he tried selling it to me one more time. So, I finally told him that I’m a Linux user, and I don’t get viruses. So, that was the end of the conversation. I really hated doing that, sounding so smug and everything, but sometimes, you got to do what got to do.

I was only half serious about getting a hard drive anyways, since prices have gone up at least 10% due to the short supply, mainly due to the flood in Thailand that’s causing shortfall of hard drives to retailers and PC manufacturers alike. It’s probably not the best time to get a hard drive anyways. At least, not until the waters subside, and the supply side gets sorted out.

Linux Mint 12

Linux Mint was officially released on November 12, for almost a week now. Be sure to check it out if you haven’t had a chance to look at it yet. For those not familiar with the Mint distro, Linux Mint is based on the latest release of Ubuntu, but with a few wrinkles. For starters, it works out of the box with full multimedia support.

So, no more hassles in trying to get your DVD movies and other multimedia formats to work, which is a common problem for people starting out with Ubuntu. You also get a Windows-like menu system. Hey, anything helps to smooth out the transition when switching from Windows to Linux.

Of course, not everyone in the Ubuntu community particularly likes Unity. Some, like myself, have reverted back to the old-style Gnome. I’m using Gnome Classic, albeit on Gnome 3. By the way, Mint 12 has Gnome 2-like features that’s definitely worth checking.

Install Canon Pixma MP495 on Ubuntu

I recently purchased a Canon Pixma MP495 wireless printer for just $30 at MicroCenter. It was a great deal that I couldn’t pass up. The MP495 wireless printer typically costs $80, but I bought it for only $30 because it was purchased along with a PC desktop system.

The fun part was setting up the wireless printer to the network. I downloaded the printer drivers directly from Canon’s website, and configured the printer from my MacBook Air. I was able to successfully connect and print on the network. I was also able to get another PC to work with the printer.

This article will cover how to setup and add the Canon Pixma MP495 on Ubuntu Linux.

Printer Driver

The printer setup on the Ubuntu Linux desktop system, as it turned out, wasn’t such a big deal after all. The first thing that I needed to do was download the correct Linux printer drivers from Canon’s website.

MP495 series IJ Printer Driver Ver. 3.40 for Debian Linux

Unpack the downloaded zipped file. From the Terminal, go to the “packages” folder and choose the appropriate drivers based on your processor type and architecture. In this example, I’m using 64 bit AMD processor on my desktop. The commands I typed were:

sudo dpkg -i –-force-architecture cnijfilter-common_3.40-1_amd64.deb
sudo dpkg -i –-force-architecture cnijfilter-mp495series_3.40-1_amd64.deb

To add the printer, you should use CUPS. Since the driver is already installed, your distro should be able to recognize the printer using the CUPS setup.

Scanner Driver

MP495 series ScanGear MP Ver. 1.60 for Debian Linux

Unpack the downloaded scanner zipped file. From the Terminal, go to the “packages” folder. Once again, choose the appropriate printer driver based on your processor type and architecture. The commands I typed were:

sudo dpkg -i –-force-architecture scangearmp-common_1.60-1_amd64.deb
sudo dpkg -i –-force-architecture scangearmp-mp495series_1.60-1_amd64.deb

You should be able to launch the scanning software from the Terminal.

scangearmp

In addition, you can add a startup icon from the Main Menu. Here’s another instruction from Ubuntu’s support forum.

Close Comments After X Amount Of Days

One thing I recently implemented on my WordPress blog is to close comments on posts older than 30 days. After 24 hours, I noticed my spam comments has dropped dramatically to zero. That’s a good thing.

To close comments on posts after x amount of days, all you have to do is access your WordPress Dashboard > Settings > Discussion page. Look for the option saying “automatically close comments older than  x days.” Here’s a snapshot of the page.

Snapshot

Just check it to turn on the feature. Supply the number of days that you want the comments to be turned on. Comments will be turned off on posts older than x number of days that you’ve provided. Simple enough. This is just another tool to help lower your blog’s spam comments. It certainly did on my blog.

Adding Javascript Confirmation To Forms

One feature worth implementing when designing websites is to add confirmation to forms. A simple popup message saying “Are you sure?” can greatly enhanced the user experience. It gives users a chance to confirm or escape out of a certain function. This is particularly feature is valuable after users click the Save, Delete or Submit button.

Unfortunately, both HTML and PHP languages lack the feature to add confirmation to forms. We turn our attention to Javascript the popup confirmation message we need in our forms. Below, you will see a simple, plain vanilla, submit button inside a HTML form.

HTML Form

<input type="Submit" name="submit" value="Submit" />

To add a confirmation to our submit button, we will use Javascript’s onclick event to detect if the input object has been clicked. Here’s how we add the onclick event in our simple form.

<input type="Submit" name="submit" value="Submit"
onclick="return confirmation();" />

Javascript Confirmation

Where’s our Javascript function? Well, here it is. Now that we have added the onclick event to our submit button, we will now add our Javascript function that you can place anywhere on your page. Here it is:

<script>
function confirmation()
{
var answer = confirm("Are you sure?")
 if (answer)
 {
  return true;
 } else {
  if (window.event) // True with IE, false with other browsers
  {
   window.event.returnValue=false; //IE specific
  } else {
   return false
  }
 }
}
</script>

The if statement with window.event is for the IE browser since it doesn’t play nice like the other browsers. You can call the Javascript function multiple times on the same page every time you need a popup confirmation. So there you have it, a simple popup confirmation you can add to your forms.