Issue #6 April 2005

Ask Shadowman

(Hmm. Deadline approaching. Taxes to do. Taxes? Column? Taxes? Column? Think fast, Shadowman.)

Ah, $MONTH. Nothing like spending $HOLIDAY with friends and family. Shadowman himself generally spends his $MONTH in $SOME_CRAZY_PLACE, writing stern emails to $CEO_OF_UNIVERSALLY_DESPISED_COMPANY. This $MONTH, though, is different. Shadowman is deeply concerned with $PRESSING_OPEN_SOURCE_ISSUE. Even if he wouldn't put it quite the same way, Shadowman mostly agrees with $DEEPLY_DERANGED_SPOKESMAN, and hopes that $IGNORANT_GOVERNMENT_AGENCY comes to their senses soon.

But, $SLANG_INTERJECTION, that's Shadowman. On to your emails from $MONTH-1.

Got a question that you'd like Shadowman to answer? Ask him.


Ashwin asked:

How does software make its way into Fedora Core?

To which Shadowman replies:

By being so incredibly useful that no one can imagine running a Linux system without it.

That's a pretty high bar, of course. In truth, some of the software currently in Fedora Core doesn't measure up to that lofty standard. Ultimately, we'll see less software in Fedora Core, not more.

Not to worry, though: software doesn't have to be in Fedora Core to be in Fedora. The Fedora Extras project provides power to the people. You want your favorite software package to be in Fedora? Great! Learn how to build software packages that rock, and then join the Extras project to share them with the world. Once your package has been accepted into Fedora Extras, it's incredibly simple for Fedora users to install it.

That's the power of community, baby. If you build it, they will come.

Vera asked:

Not a Linux question I am afraid. I can't find any Shadowman archives after October 2004! Please help! Yours from the shadows.

To which Shadowman replies:

Why would Shadowman pass on any opportunity for shameless self-promotion? That would not be Shadowman's style. No, Shadowman encourages you to explore the catalogue of Shadowman. Dance to the latest hits from the Red Hat Magazine archive, or slow dance with your sweetheart to the classics of yesteryear.

Selva S. asks:

I forgot my grub password and can't boot my system now. How do I recover my grub password? Please help.

To which Shadowman replies:

First of all, boot with your rescue disk. You do have your rescue disk, don't you? If you don't, you can use install media. See, you need a disk image to boot from, because obviously you can't boot from the hard disk without the password, now can you? No, of course you can't. That's why you asked Shadowman. For more details on booting into rescue mode, read the fine manual.

Okay, so now you've booted into rescue mode. Assuming that you didn't hack grub.conf to use a plaintext grub password—and if you had, you wouldn't need Shadowman's help, now would you?—this means that your grub password is encrypted, and therefore shrouded forever in the mists of time. But fear not! Now that you've got access to the disk, you can simply replace it with a new boot loader password. Preferably one you'll remember this time. Ahem.

So you'll want to create a new md5 encrypted password. Run /sbin/md5crypt. It'll ask for a password, and it'll give you the md5-encrypted version of that password in return. Write it down.

Finally, edit /etc/grub.conf, and you'll see a line like this:

password --md5 $1$d0N+f0rG3+y0\/rP4s$w0rD+h1$+1|\/|3d0of\/$

Replace the old encrypted password with the new encrypted password (that would be the one you just wrote down.) Save. Reboot. When grub asks for a password, give the unencrypted version of the new password. Boot! Rejoice and praise Shadowman! Huzzah!

An astroturfing goober from Red Hat marketing asks:

So, Shadowman, what's so cool about this whole Red Hat Summit thingy?

Shadowman replies:

You pencil-necked, snivelling, bootlicking toady of a man. Shadowman is not your mouthpiece, sirrah, and if you weren't Shadowman's boss, you'd pay dearly for your insolence and your complete lack of integrity. Nevertheless, Shadowman will rise above this insult—if only because the Summit promises to be so incredibly cool.

As in: You're-the-boss-need-the-info cool. Seeing-the-freaking-future cool. Partying-in-the-streets cool. Late-nights-in-the-birthplace-of-jazz cool. Making-the-world-a-better-place cool.

But be warned, marketing goober: Shadowman will not be your shill again. Shadowman is known and respected the world over for his straight-shooting, devil-may-care, tell-it-like-it-is chutzpah, and he is no man's marketing vehicle. Do not expect Shadowman to sacrifice his integrity so outrageously the next time. (Until Enterprise Linux 5 comes out, that is. Man, is that gonna be sweet.)