CentOS bootup hangs at iptables

I experienced an odd thing the other day when I went to reboot a server it was hanging at bootup at the iptables/firewall portion of the startup sequence.

I had to do “Interactive” bootup (by hitting “I”) and then I could say “n” on the firewall section. After that it booted up fine.

I examined my iptables and some postings on the ‘net will mention that failing to have the loopback interface in the rules, i.e. “-A RH-Firewall-1-INPUT -i lo -j ACCEPT”. I verified I had that, and then I realized that I also had a rule in place that was generated by an auto-rule script that uses IPs from failed attempts in log files. Somehow it had gotten in there! I had to remove a blocking rule for and then it worked.

So, rule of thumb, take care of what goes in your iptables file!

Hardware Movies Unix

Ubuntu and XBMC

Xbox Media Center be praised!

I just installed this on a linux Ubuntu box, and I used the “Live” version which I put onto a USB drive. So, the steps:

  1. Download the ISO file from
  2. Burn the ISO onto a thumb drive (or CD)
  3. Boot your host off the USB/CD, you may need to hit F11 during bootup to get to your BIOS and choose boot media.
  4. When booting you can either install or boot off the media to see how it works on your setup. Once you verify your setup, you should install.
  5. Hook up to your TV and stereo and go!

Now, I actually have a file server in my home that stores all my movies in AVI format. So, my XBMC is a very shrunk down system, you could even put it on a small solid state flash drive which would be nice and fast. Then the question is, how to access the files from another server?

I use NFS on my server and mount them on the XBMC host. However, I had to do a few steps to get this going:

  1. You need to install nfs-common to be able to mount. But, the Live install does not have that by default. So, you need to SSH into your XBMC. This is a little tricky, since XBMC will use DHCP to get an IP address and you may not know what IP it has!
  2. Find the IP. One way is to use a “pinger” program that will try and ping every IP in your home network range, and once you do that you can try SSH’ing into each IP that turns up. I use PUTTY if on a windows box to do SSH.
  3. Once logged in, then do “sudo apt-get update”
  4. Then do “sudo apt-get install nfs-common”
  5. Edit your fstab file, i.e. “sudo vi /etc/fstab”
  6. You’ll want to add your file server, usually something like “                /movies         nfs     defaults        0       0”
  7. Make sure you mkdir your mount point (/movies in this example) on the xbmc host, then do “sudo mount -a” and your xbmc host should mount the movies
  8. In XBMC, go to Video and add “root file system” to point to your new mount point!
  9. Enjoy!


Hardware Unix

Installing Fedora 11 with dual Video Cards

I’m configuring a new desktop setup for myself, using dual Nvidia 9600 GSO cards so I can hook up 3-4 monitors. I’ve been using Fedora more than other distros, so I wanted to stick with it for now (although I was tempted, after running into this issue, to jump to Ubuntu).

I had problems getting the DVD bootup to go into graphical mode, it kept showing an error that it couldn’t start X, and would continue with text mode. Of course, this is less than ideal since the text mode doesn’t have all the nice install options (not sure why) so I needed to figure it out.

The easy solution was to remove one of the cards and try again! This did the trick, and now I have Fed11 nicely running on the one card powering two monitors. Another thing to note is that I had to install Nvidia’s linux drivers. Also note, that if you run “yum update” after installing those drivers, you will need to re-install them one more time since yum will overwrite their functions.

My next step is to plug in the 2nd card and see if it is recognized properly and I can get 3 monitors going in independent configurations…

[Update] I added the second card after the fact, and now have 3 monitors hooked up nicely with no problems!