Wednesday, June 25, 2008

NTFS read/write in SLE 10 SP2

While NTFS read for local disks is available since SLED 10 , the latest Service Pack 2 (SP2) has added NTFS write support. senyum

Here are a few observations (Thanks to Kum Fei):
  1. You will need to install the ntfs-3g package as its not installed by default.
  2. The ntfs-3g is only available in the SLED 10 SP2 DVD. It is not available in SLES 10 SP2.
  3. You will not see a NTFS field in YaST Partitioner. You will need to manually mount with -t flag set to ntfs-3g. If using /etc/fstab, remember to use ntfs-3g for read/write and not ntfs (read only).
The last I check, Kum Fei is happily transferring demo files between the Windows NTFS partition and his SLES 10 SP2 partition. peace

Monday, June 23, 2008

3G surfing with SLED 10 SP2

Got my hands on a 3G HSPDA modem (USB) a few weeks ago from Starhub (link). While the device is capable of download speeds of up to 7.2Mbps, my subscription only has 1.0Mbps... not that I'm complaining since I don't have to pay a cent more as its part of my home broadband package deal. sengihnampakgigi

On Windows, once you plug in the device, it will mount a read-only cdrom device and the drivers are installed and configured. Wonderful user experience. I know because I tried it out on my wife's Toshiba notebook.

On Linux... well, it works but only after a little Google research.kenyit The device is a Huawei E270 HSPDA modem. Vodafone (UK) is also offering this device and there is a vodafone mobile connect card driver for various Linux distros. Unfortunately, their latest driver requires a higher kernel version than that of SLED 10. I could have used their earlier version (1.0) but the SLED 10 SP2 installed on my Thinkpad T61p is 64 bit and that didn't go too well. sedih

My solution? Turns out that SLED 10 SP2 ships with a nice little program called umtsmon. The latest version is 0.8 and its working really well for me. You can also find it on the openSUSE Build Service. Some links as reference here and here.

I'm able to surf the Web on SLED 10 SP2 with my Huawei E270. menari The caveats (work-in-progress to resolve) are:
  • I have to boot up my Thinkpad with the device attached so that /dev/ttyUSB* appears. If I hotplug the device while SLED 10 SP2 is running, it will auto-mount the read-only CD-ROM device with Windows drivers (not a big issue) BUT there will be no /dev/ttyUSB* available for umtsmon to work with.
  • I have to run umtsmon as root because of some permissions issue with normal user unable to initiate a pppd session.
So, if anyone out there knows how to resolve the 2 items above, would love to hear from you. Although I can work/live with the current setup, it will make it a little more elegant. Thanks in advance. senyum

PS: With reference to my previous post on the NAT setup with Xen, hoping to bridge to the Xen clients on a private subnet so as to access the Web with the USB 3G modem attached.... another work-in-progress.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Simple NAT setup with Xen

When using Xen in SUSE Linux Enterprise Server 10, the default network configuration is BRIDGE networking. Every virtual OS (domU) will have a unique IP in the same range as that of the physical network card. For example, if the physical network card (eth0) have an IP of, each domU will have an IP address in the range of 192.168.0.X. This means that the host OS (dom0) AND, more importantly, other machines on the the network will be able to ping each domU as it appears to be another machine on the network with an IP.

What if you want to setup a private network for a set of virtual machines running on dom0? What if you want this private network to still be able to access the WWW (when available) ?

I found myself in this predicament as I have a set of virtual machines (Windows, SLES, SLED etc) running on my Thinkpad T61p. The nature of my [mobile] work is such that there isn't always a LAN cable or a wifi connection available readily. Irregardless of my network environment, I need to perform testing and demonstration of software running on these virtual machines. Thus, I need a flexible setup with private networking for my domUs with Network Address Translation (NAT) for accessing the WWW when a physical LAN or Wifi becomes available.

Thanks to Till and Kai, my new German connections peace, the following is how I did it on SLED 10 SP2* ...

* - Note that official production support for Xen is for SLES only. I'm using SLED as a development & testing desktop and the following steps will work on SLES as well.

Attention: Linux commands in braces [ ] are executed as root

1) Stop Xen daemon with [ rcxend stop ]

2) Remove the default bridge networking by editing the config file /etc/xen/xend-config.sxp. Look for the following 2 lines and comment them out with hashes ##:
(network-script network-bridge)
(vif-script vif-bridge)
##(network-script network-bridge)
##(vif-script vif-bridge)

3) Setting up the bridge to physical network (eg eth0)

Create a network bridge br0 to the physical network device (ie eth0) by creating the file /etc/sysconfig/network/ifcfg-br0 with the following contents:

For br0 to work, it has to have the IP address. Therefore, change the physical network device (ie eth0) to not start the DHCP client routine by editing the /etc/sysconfig/network/ifcfg-eth-id-xxx file with the following setting:

4) Setting up a private network (eg. 192.168.1.x)

Create a private network bridge br1 by creating the file /etc/sysconfig/network/ifcfg-br1 with the following contents:

5) Changing the firewall settings for br0 and br1.

Change the firewall to allow network traffic for br0 and br1 as an external and internal network device respectively. Edit the file /etc/sysconfig/SuSEfirewall2 and change the following settings as shown below:

6) Restart networking and start Xen daemon

Execute the following in order:
[ SuSEconfig ]
[ rcnetwork restart ]
[ rcxend start ]

7) Edit each domUs config in /etc/xen/vm directory to include ,bridge=br1 as follows:
vif=[ 'mac=00:16:3e:75:06:c3,model=rtl8139,type=ioemu', ]
vif=[ 'mac=00:16:3e:75:06:c3,model=rtl8139,type=ioemu,bridge=br1', ]

Refresh this change for each domU via:
[ xm delete domUName ]
[ xm new domUName ]

8) Boot up your virtual machines (domUs) and setup IP address in the range of Remember to set the default gateway to

For Windows VMs: Control Panel, Network Connections, from network device, right-click properties, double-click Internet Protocol (TCP/IP), set a unique fixed IP within the range of 192.168.1.[2-254], subnet mask to and your Default gateway to Click OK and OK again to affect the change.

For SLES VMs (Linux): setting IP to in example below:
[ ip addr add dev eth0 ]
[ ip link set eth0 up ]
[ ip route add default via ]

You should now be able to ping all your virtual machines (domUs) from dom0 and vice versa.

Have fun! sengihnampakgigi

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Our new support engineer...

We'd like to welcome our new colleague who just started with us today.

We're all very impressed with its dedication and deep technical skills in SUSE Linux Enterprise... senyum

The last picture is our senior technical manager providing on the job training to the newbie sengihnampakgigi

Monday, June 16, 2008

My Geeko Thinkpad T61p

So I went and "skinned" (I believe that's the correct term) my Lenovo Thinkpad T61p. Now I feel so special... hahaha... all for the sake of promoting SUSE Linux Enterprise!

Enjoy the pics below senyum

Virtually there?! @Best of Brainshare

I presented 2 topics at the Best of Brainshare in Kuala Lumpur (10 June) and Singapore (12 June) recently.

In particular, the topic "Green IT: Virtualization & Automation 2.0" seem to have struck a chord with the audience. Its becoming apparent to me that many are considering or have already begun embarking on virtualization projects.

My topic is a combination of slideware and live demonstrations of:
  1. Virtualizing Windows 2003 R3 with SUSE Linux Enterprise 10 SP2 (with Xen 3.2)
  2. Showing how to improve virtualized Windows performance by approx 10x with SUSE Linux Enterprise Virtual Machine Driver Pack
  3. Virtualizing the latest Windows 2008, streaming video live from it to a client on SUSE Linux Enterprise Desktop
  4. Using ZENworks Orchestration Server 1.3 to LIVE migrate Windows 2008 while video is streaming from one physical notebook to another.
  5. Demonstrating Platespin PowerRecon and its capacity/virtualization planning capability
  6. Showing the Platespin PowerConvert interface with focus on ProtectWorkload
Had a fun time doing it and got some interesting responses...

Hope to update this entry with some photos later... kenyit

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

And so it begins...

Well, after spending years in procrastination, I've finally created this little blog on one of my passions... free and open source software. Indeed, the title of this blog sums up my profession... yes, I have been selling free (as in freedom) software for a living for quite a few years now...

And for those who found the title of my 1st blog entry familiar... yes, its a very famous phrase used by Ambassador Kosh (the Vorlon):"And so it begins..."