Come in and have a seat; let me pour you a mug of joe.
WordPress told me that I have just passed the eight year mark here with them. I must be full of it, because most of those days I’ve posted at least once. Lord, how far I’ve traveled in that time. Then again, I’d hate to be the same man I was two weeks ago. Without progress in our moral existence, we are already dead.
I used to study the underground patriots, but lately I’ve spent more time researching their close cousins in the Internet conspiracy circles. Much of it is traded by emails, but some of the stars can get their articles posted on dozens of sites, and linked on dozens more. As I’ve noted often enough, this stuff typically has an element of truth because virtually every government on the planet is the result of a conspiracy to rule, whether to take power or simply to keep it. I’ve also made it clear that not a single government does things according to God’s expectations, nor even according to some literal reading of the Bible, so we shouldn’t trust any of them to be honest. Our world is shaped by various real conspiracies to herd us places we don’t want to go and probably shouldn’t go.
Someone close to me gets a portion of these emails, and it seems their correspondent rather likes Benjamin Fulford. Yes, he was once a real journalist for Forbes Magazine and claims to have renounced his “Illuminati” family background. What? Oh, he’s a Canadian-born Jew whose father was a diplomat. Fulford spent most of his adult life in Asia, particularly Japan. I think it’s because the Japanese tend to allow almost any crackpot air-time, and he’s very much a cracked pot of nonsense. He’s simply a Westerner fluent in Japanese, and that opens lots of doors for him. It’s like some kind of TV suspense series, with his standard list of characters and their typical behavior patterns, always drawing in his audience with amazing secretive machinations and conflicts.
It taps into the vast keyboard commando faux-activist hopes that somehow things will get better when someone delivers us from these awful oppressions. You would think they all still believe in Santa Claus. Somewhere there has to be a magic key that will open our jail cells and set us free to march victorious to our own imaginary Eden.
You’ll notice not a single genuine mystic is involved in this crap. That is, none of conspiracy flakes promotes a genuine otherworldly viewpoint. None of them talks about activating the heart-mind or walking in the divine character of God. They don’t even know what symbolic logic is and can’t be bothered to understand anything that isn’t fully contained within Western traditions.
Anyway, I’ve discovered these folks do run in packs. Each group has their allies and their own groupies. Once you figure out who the stars are, you can determine which site or supporting cast member belongs to which faction by whom they praise or castigate. Each throws rocks at the others, exposing their hidden flaws. “Well So-n-so is actually related to This-n-that, or serves the Other-bigshot bad guys.” When you put it all together in one big picture, you realize all of them are different flavors of the same cheap Kool-aid. Plain water won’t hurt you, but they can’t make a living selling that, so they keep mixing in various kinds of cartoonish nonsense to keep the kids coming back for more.
Of course, our teaching here is that if you get too focused on individuals, you lose sight of the moral gravity of things — “for our striving is not against flesh and blood, but against powerful moral forces shaped by demonic creatures” (Ephesians 6:12f). That’s why I said flatly that The Cult as I identified it was not a specific group of individuals, but a consistent influence behaving in predictable ways. The question is not people, but how the Enemy of our Souls keeps us distracted from getting to know God better. Some tricks work better than others, and The Cult represents a collection of established methods of asserting control over humanity. It’s much more subtle than any simple human political agenda because that never has lasting power to drive anyone. It does include a semi-religious devotion to some dream, which makes it a cult instead of a mere political agenda.
Speaking of weird religious ideas, in this research into conspiracy nuts I keep bumping into the British-Israelite or Christian Identity folk. On the one hand, they have assembled a truly excellent body of research on the bogus nature of Judaism, but it’s driven by some truly wacko premises. They believe Caucasians are the real Israelites, while Jews are the literal bastard race of Satan’s sexual seduction of Eve. In fact, the children of Adam and Eve are the first White humans, while all the other “mud races” were already in existence as part of the animals God created before He made “humans” (AKA Whites). Thus, Anglo-Saxons were simply displaced Israelis, pushed out of their homeland by the evil Devil-people (Jews). The Peter Ruckman KJV-Only folks are part of this. It’s all a very big part of the push to make Jesus into a Germanic figure and their heritage the truth of God. So British-Israelitism is the logical conclusion to the slavish devotion of Western Christianity to Germanic tribal mythology.
Hm? Well, the best defense is to remember what Jesus told the Pharisees in Matthew 3:9 — When it comes to genuine moral holiness, the value of family lineage and DNA is roughly equal to rocks on the ground. God’s revelation was never a question of bloodlines, but of His moral character expressed and manifested through the various covenants. Anyone born anywhere on the earth could partake of the Covenant of Moses simply by embracing all its requirements. You could gain full Israeli citizenship from any other race of people. So far as we know, only the Amalekites had extra hoops to jump through, and that was only in the context of Moses specifically. You can still claim all the same blessings of shalom without the ceremonial observances so long as you don’t claim the Covenant of Moses itself. The Covenant of the Cross trumps all of it, anyway, since His mission was to bring that covenant to a close.
He warned about wars and rumors of wars following His departure back into Heaven. English translations of His comments (Matthew 24-25) are bad enough, since it is translated from His native Aramaic into Greek in the first place. However, Western evangelicals have really twisted this stuff completely out of shape. He told His disciples not to ignore human events, but not to set their hearts on them, either. Flee Jerusalem when things get rough, but do so because that’s just God’s signal to take the message into the world.
Just so, I’m convinced our modern military conflicts are merely symptoms of other things. Even on a purely human level, the real conflict is in cyberspace. If you want to understand the future, keep your eyes on cyberwarfare and what sort of things make it possible to survive virtual battles. Look at how the sheeple are being herded this way and that. In the same sense Jesus was talking about the Roman siege of Jerusalem, I speak of things like CentOS. If you really have to be involved in the Internet, and you don’t have time to really dig into computer technology, just learn enough to install and use CentOS and you’ll have about as much computer security as anyone really needs. If you have the time and inclination to really learn about it in detail, I recommend Debian. By all means, get away from Windows and Mac if you can. It’s not a question of superiority; nobody can answer that for you. It’s a question of what the crooks and spooks don’t want to mess with, and the threats avoid CentOS as a desktop operating system. People who understand Debian are already a hard nut to crack. It’s just a matter of keeping out of the line of fire so that you can pursue your calling.
But in the final analysis, it’s just like that cup of coffee in front of you there. You are the one drinking it, so you have to take responsibility for flavoring it just right. I can take the blame if I make bad coffee, but you are the one who decides whether to drink it in the first place. You aren’t going to hurt my feelings if you accept a cup and don’t actually drink any. All I have is what God has given me. I’ll gladly share, but it’s between you and Him whether it’s useful in your life.
Addenda: If you would like to read more commentary on the secular scene — war and international political analysis — I recommend The Saker (who also seems to know about Debian), not so much for content as that you could learn a great deal from his approach to the subjects about which he writes. And yes, I suggest you consider a donation to him if it seems right in your heart.
Something is missing.
So we held our first genuine worship this morning in our new home. It went well enough; nobody complained about us singing. We went out later to use a gift card my wife received from her coworkers as a sort of house-warming gift. Before we got home, something strange came over me.
All day today, whenever I’ve sought to enter a time of prayer and seek the Lord for a message, I keep getting this powerful image of computer stuff. With that, of course, is the quiet assurance of His power for the mission hiding behind the computer stuff. I’d prefer to find something else to write about. Frankly, my mind says this isn’t the right stuff for a Sunday blog post, but whenever I pray this is what comes before my consciousness: the CentOS logo.
Even crazier is that I don’t have any hardware suitable for running CentOS myself and don’t especially like it for my personal use. It’s too restrictive, as you might expect for something aimed at government and corporate use, with all the heavy-weight security stuff built into it. It would be my first pick for server use, and I suppose I’d recommend it for client desktops or workstations for people who didn’t do half the crazy stuff I do on a computer.
So why does it keep bouncing around inside my prayers? What kind of message is that for my parishioners? All I can do is give you what I have and let you make of it what you will, folks. God bless you.
Yes, CentOS 7, the current release, is now available in 32-bit. You can go here and find the latest ISO image release, and it’s official.
Keep in mind something: The support from EPEL and the likes of Nux Desktop repositories is not there, and may never be there. That means you would have to prepare yourself to build all that stuff from SRPMs or straight source bundles. However, the basic development packages are all there in the CentOS repositories.
It’s quite an education to learn how to use RPMbuild and how it informs you of various prerequisites. Sometimes it was tedious, but I learned a lot about cascading dependencies, building a couple dozen packages of things I would never imagine were needed just to get something simple. Perhaps some enterprising person or group will decided to share their properly built stuff, but I’ve not heard of any so far.
But if all you need is the basic workstation or server stuff and don’t have 64-bit hardware, CentOS is ready to carry the load for several years before you have to worry about upgrading the OS itself.
Background: I’ve helped a few folks migrate from Windows to Linux. The reasons vary, but most of them were simply tired of having to fight the malware or instability issues. One client was concerned purely with high security and personal privacy. Most of them asked me a lot of questions, but almost none of them were willing to research it that much for themselves. Can’t blame them; there’s way too much out there, particularly when it comes to playing with Linux. Worst of all, virtually everyone you talk to about it has a strong partisan slant to their favorite. They act like it holds all possible solutions. When it doesn’t, the problem is you, not the favored Linux distro.
If someone wants my help, I can offer only what I know. You can learn just so much about it before you lose contact with the practical considerations of real people in the real world. Linux is like that, so there aren’t many folks who keep a foot in both worlds. I’m trying to fill that void. What makes it harder is that computer technology is a moving target. What’s best today may be awful tomorrow. Still, you have to settle on something and get the work done. Computer technology shouldn’t be a religion, something you do for its own sake. It’s worth stands on how well it serves a higher purpose.
For the time being I have come to favor CentOS 7 as the primary target of migration for folks who aren’t much into gaming or entertainment. In other words, it’s one of the best for SOHO clients, or those close to it. Chances are, if you choose this path, you won’t be stuck with something that becomes overly burdensome later. The whole point is that CentOS is an officially accepted clone of Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL), and RHEL is designed for corporate use. It’s the premier business grade Linux in the US, at least, and generally more adaptable than the other commercial Linux stuff (SUSE, Ubuntu Server, etc.). CentOS is free of charge.
Below is a list of things that I go through when helping someone migrate. It’s just a checklist; if you have questions, you can ask, but this isn’t meant to be a full-blown guide.
1. If the hardware is XP grade, stick with CentOS 6; later machines can generally run 7 just fine.
2. Install with defaults for the most part. Setup networking and lock in at least one option. For Netinstall, use both the OS package repo and the update repo from the same mirror so there’s no updating after installing.
3. Software selection: Prefer KDE with the package groups you intend to use, and perhaps development tools.
4. You need 3 good passwords; root, one user and one for the wallet/GPG key. Two more good passwords for each additional user, because each has their own wallet.
5. Add EPEL and Nux repos; there are simply too many important packages not provided by the standard repos.
6. Install adaptive stuff right away, like ntfs-3g if you use external drives for anything.
7. Run through the desktop configs and make things tolerable. Become acquainted with the interface — somewhat like Windows but far more variable and configurable. Fix Freetype (involves replacing default with altered package; it’s a good way to introduce building packages with the RPM system). Set up GPG early if needed for later.
8. Learn about special packages you might use; get to know what you need against what’s available. You may have to build some, others are provided if you know where to find them. Some of those you can build should be maintained through the RPM system; others can be simply built and installed locally. (I always offer to do this for them, sometimes taking the time to walk them through a build on their own machine. I also supply RPM packages when needed, if I can build them on my own machine.)
9. Add Google Chrome browser; Adobe Flashplayer if not using Chrome (these have their own RPM repos). Chrome uses wallet, so be ready for that the first time you try to save a password.
10. Use Thunderbird/Seamonkey for email. Evolution is only for use with a special collaboration (groupware) service. Hard-core alternative is Alpine/Mutt (commandline email applications).
11. Consider Opera-beta, Pale Moon, Slimboat, and other specialty browsers. Get used to the idea of using different browsers for different kinds of tasks and additional profiles within a browser to avoid tracking and other forms of privacy contamination.
12. If you must run Win-stuff directly, use a VM (VirtualBox), especially if only one machine is available.
13. Consider migrating to cloud services for some things: Google Docs or MS Office Online.
14. Print to PDF when possible; if you really must have a print server for paper output, you’ll have better luck with a separate Windows machine firewalled away from the Net. In general, printer manufacturers make far better drivers for Windows than for Linux. Transfer documents (via Samba client; open CentOS firewall for this) and let the Winbox print them.
15. Other networking services can be set up as needed using RHEL dox (the upstream source for CentOS) or online tutorials. There is an amazing array of industrial grade services possible on CentOS.
Well, that was a real disappointment.
Just when I thought I had everything as I wanted it, Debian began puking on me. Wifi wouldn’t work consistently and the machine crashed three times in one day. In other words, it wasn’t working well enough on this peculiar machine. I really was hoping to settle down on that issue, but it was not to be. So I reinstalled CentOS 7. At least it is consistent with wifi and other hardware drivers.
Part of the whole thing was the sheer convenience of having WINE on which to run my old MS Office 2000. It matters because when I publish my books, they have to be in Word format and LibreOffice does things differently, even when exporting to the Word format. The result is simply not good. Further, while my grammar is just fine, I do commit typos and simple human errors of leaving out words, or leaving in words from edits, and I rely on Word to catch that stuff. LibreOffice does not have anything comparable.
WINE is not available for CentOS to run 32-bit Windows apps. A virtual machine is possible, but it runs dog slow on this laptop. This thing is specced for long battery life, which means a slower processor speed, which means it takes forever to get the VM open and then to do much in it.
Turns out that Microsoft has been offering a cheaper version of MS Office online for free. I already had an account with their Outlook online service, so the same login works without a hitch. From what I can see, it’s adequate for the demands of my book publisher.
It won’t matter too much whether you trust the cloud services. More and more, it becomes the necessity of life. Got an Android device? You have to have a Google account. That account comes with access to all of Google’s services: Docs, their version of Facebook, the free cloud storage, etc. I’m using the cloud because I don’t have a lot of choice.
I’m not a purist; this is just a tool. A major tool worthy of an awful lot of time and effort, but still just a tool. Running Windows 8 (which came with the laptop) is simply not an option because I can’t control the things I find it necessary to control for my mission. And because the hardware is so new, there’s not many Linux distros that will work and I’m sick of the distro sampling lifestyle of most Linux users. It’s not a religion for me, so I’m not chasing the holy grail of Linux perfection, which is no more real than the grail. Choosing CentOS and running it properly means accepting the limitations of software choices.
I can live with this.
It works fine on Scientific Linux 7. Instead of holding your hand, I’ll tell you how I worked it out.
Get the package from here. It’s for 64-bit only right now. Since all the current 7.x series for RHEL/CentOS/SL is 64-bit only (CentOS team claims to be working on a 32-bit), if you are running one of them, you should have no trouble.
I opted to run it from my home directory. It’s easier to update that way. It comes in a DEB package format, but any of the archive tools should easily open it. I used Engrampa and extracted it in a separate “opera” folder. All you really need is the zipped
data.tar.xz part. From the CLI, I ran
unxz and then untarred it. What you get is a set of folders to match typical installation on most Debian Linux systems. However, I moved them all as they were in that “opera” folder into my home directory.
Given this is not written for any of the RHEL clones, I knew I needed to test it on the CLI to get back useful errors. Drop down into the localized “/usr/bin” folder and find opera-beta and launch thus:
The first error was regarding libcrypto. It’s coded to look for a specific version and we only need to use a symlink for this. As root, create a symlink:
/usr/lib64/libcrypto.so.1.0.1e > /usr/lib64/libcrypto.so.1.0.0. Try again and you’ll get a complaint about libudev. Just use the cues provided to see what to name your symlink. This is going to work just fine.
The next attempt to launch gets a complaint about the sandbox in Opera-beta: It needs to be owned by root and have 4755 permissions. Make it so; on my machine that worked out like this (as root):
chown root:root /home/ed/opera/usr/lib/x86_64-linux-gnu/opera-beta/opera_sandbox
chmod 4755 /home/ed/opera/usr/lib/x86_64-linux-gnu/opera-beta/opera_sandbox
After that, it ran very nicely. It creates it’s own new config in your
~./.config and caches in
~/.cache. Now you can create a desktop launcher and make sure it’s marked as a binary.
Folks, this is how it’s done.
Oracle may not be our favorite company, but this is one thing you will not want to miss: Oracle’s Virtual Box VM. It’s free.
You will need to install the
kernel-devel package and all the dependencies. You’ll also need the
dkms from EPEL, so be sure to enable that respository. What
dkms does is allow kernel modules to follow updates to newer kernels.
Download the correct version of Virtual Box; it will list CentOS 7 with a link to the RPM. You’ll need your root credentials to install using Yum on the CLI. What happens is that the package builds itself on your machine and creates several kernel modules. It will take a good long while as the system is quite busy in the background.
I got errors from SELinux about attempts by ldconfig to write to some directory. You’ll have them show up in little GUI popups and on the console after it’s installed you’ll see this:
Trying to register the VirtualBox kernel modules using DKMSldconfig: Can't create temporary cache file /etc/ld.so.cache~: Permission denied ldconfig exited ungracefully ldconfig: Can't create temporary cache file /etc/ld.so.cache~: Permission denied ldconfig exited ungracefully ldconfig: Can't create temporary cache file /etc/ld.so.cache~: Permission denied ldconfig exited ungracefully
So far as I can tell, it has no effect on the outcomes, so just be aware that this represents how strongly SELinux protects you from unwanted changes to your system.
Also notice the message about adding your user account to the
vboxusers group. While still logged in as root, simply edit the file
/etc/group. Scroll down to the last item on the list, which should be
vboxusers and simply add your user account name at the end of the line.
Launch from the main menu: System > Oracle VM Virtual Box. Upon first running the thing you’ll discover this is a very intelligent tool and much easier to use than Qemu.
You create the machine first and get it running before you install. I didn’t think 192MB was enough RAM for Windows XP. Depending on your system, you may not be able to give your VM multiple cores on the CPU. If you can’t, you’ll get errors about not having AMD-V enabled in the BIOS. My Win8 laptop was like that. However, I was able to link the machine to my own home folders right from the start; I selected the automount option and browsed to a Projects folder where I need to use MS Office. You really need to take your time and explore the various options in this manager window.
The display is considerably less laggy than Qemu. Once you install the Guest Additions, it becomes even less so. You can fix a lot of niggling issues like display, making your VM respond automatically to window resizing and such. Under the VM menu, see “Devices” and select the last item at the bottom to automatically mount the virtual ISO image and get those extra drivers so that everything can be smooth and unified in use.
A very handy feature is the row of icons across the lower right side of the window when the VM is running. You can connect and disconnect from the host USB, CD/DVD drives, etc. with ease. From the menu, you can elect to connect or disconnect things like the network connection. So you can, for example, keep your vulnerable XP VM from the Internet.
It’s pretty easy to export your VMs and reimport them on other machines running Virtual Box.