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Linux with no monitor

I have an old Linux machine with no monitor attached (i.e. headless) which I use as a server.

It was running an old version of Linux so I updated it to Ubuntu using the process to upgrade an existing Linux installation over a network connection. Worked like a dream.
At the end of the process I rebooted the machine but then realised that Ubuntu doesn’t run a ssh server by default.
I couldn’t log in on the console because I had no monitor and the default Ubuntu install boots to the Gnome GUI which is impossible to drive ‘blind’. Here’s how I sorted it.

  1. Open one of the alternate text terminals by hitting ctrl-alt-F2 on the machine’s keyboard.
  2. Enter your username, press return.
  3. Enter your password, press return.
  4. Enter sudo apt-get install openssh-server, press return.
  5. Enter your password, press return.

With careful typing, that should get you logged in and install and start the ssh daemon. You can then log in remotely.

Windows 2000 not able to access more than 128GB on hard drive

I found that to get more than 128GB of disk available on Windows 2000 SP3 (not sure about XP) you have to make a registry change to enable access to the full disk. This is due to a limit in Windows 2000 and its default ATA disk support.

Save the text between the lines below into a file called BigDisk.reg, double-click the file and reboot. You should now be able to access the whole disk. You should also check that your BIOS supports large disks, and look at updating your BIOS if not.


To save you the effort, I’ve also created the file for you – BigDisk.reg

OS X Client on trunked VLAN

The place I’m currently working has an IP telephony system. Each phone has an extra LAN port which you can plug a laptop into.

All very handy, but the port is trunked so plugging my Apple Powerbook 12″ into it doesn’t result in any sort of useful connection.

Googling around indicates that only OS X Server (10.3.3 onwards) has a GUI tool for configuring VLANs on an Ethernet port. The OS X client that you get on your iBook, iMac, Powerbook and PowerMac as standard doesn’t have anything obvious for VLAN support.

Digging further reveals that the standard Terminal ifconfig does support VLAN commands.

sudo ifconfig vlan0 create
sudo ifconfig vlan0 vlan VLAN-TAG vlandev en0
sudo ipconfig set vlan0 DHCP

The first line creates the VLAN pseudo device vlan0, the second line that connects that device to the physical ethernet port (in this case en0) and tells the machine which VLAN tag to use.

You will need to replace VLAN-TAG with the relevant VLAN tag which your network administrator should be able to supply you with.

The third line sets the vlan0 pseudo device to use DHCP. If you need to set up a static IP address use something along the following two lines instead:-

sudo ifconfig vlan0 inet netmask

and then

sudo route add default

to set your default gateway.

When you've finished with the VLAN connection you can destroy the pseudo-device with:-

sudo ifconfig vlan0 destroy

The Ethernet port in my Powerbook 12" (2005 model) supports VLANs, and I suspect the ports on most recent Macs will be the same.