Linux system how tos

Set the system date & time

Your Acme board has two clocks:

  • One called System Clock that is a software clock maintained by the Linux Operating System
  • Another one called Real Time Clock (RTC) and implemented in hardware inside the Atmel CPU. This clock is powered by a Lithium battery to mantain the clock alive when the main power supply is off.

The System Clock

date is the Linux command to manage the systems clock.

To read the currently System Clock type:

~# date
Fri Oct  8 17:44:42 CEST 2010

To set it type:

~# date -s "8 OCT 2010 18:45:00"
Fri Oct  8 18:45:00 CEST 2010

This time is active until the main power supply board is on. When off the system clock is lost.

The Real Time Clock (RTC)

To read the Hardware Clock type:

~# hwclock -r
Fri Oct  8 17:46:43 2010  -0.004115 seconds

To set the Hardware Clock using the System Clock current time type:

~# hwclock -w

Now check it typing:

~# date
Fri Oct  8 18:49:02 CEST 2010
~# hwclock -r
Fri Oct  8 18:49:10 2010  -0.004076 seconds

Set the keyboard configuration

~# dpkg-reconfigure keyboard-configuration
~# invoke-rc.d keyboard-setup start

Set the speed and duplex settings of eth

Change the Ethernet setting on the fly

To change the Ethernet parms on the fly type this command:

~# mii-tool [-F mode] eth0 

Where mode can be:

  • 100baseTx-HD
  • 100baseTx-FD
  • 10baseT-HD
  • 10baseT-FD

The setting will be valid until the next system reboot.

Mii-tool Man page

Change the Ethernet setting at the end

Edit the /etc/network/interfaces file and the bold line if you are using the dchp:

auto eth0                                                                       
iface eth0 inet dhcp                                                            
  up mii-tool -F 10baseT-HD eth0

or this line if you are using a static IP configuration:

auto eth0                                                                      
iface eth0 inet static                                                         
  up mii-tool -F 10baseT-HD eth0

the reboot or type:

~# ifdown eth0
~# ifup eth0

USB memories automount

This article explains how to automount an USB stick when inserted and unmount it automatically when unplugged

Install the required packages

The automounter facility is managed by autofs. Autofs controls the operation of the automount daemons. The automount daemons automatically mount filesystems when they are used and unmount them after a period of inactivity. This is done based on a set of pre-configured maps.

To install autofs type:

~# apt-get update
~# apt-get install autofs

Configure autofs

Insert an USB stick and check on which device it appears by typing:

~# dmesg
usb 1-2: new full speed USB device using at91_ohci and address 2
scsi0 : usb-storage 1-2:1.0
scsi 0:0:0:0: Direct-Access     UDISK    PDU01-8G 8AH2.0  0.00 PQ: 0 ANSI: 2
sd 0:0:0:0: [sda] 15794176 512-byte logical blocks: (8.08 GB/7.53 GiB)
sd 8:0:0:0: [sda] Assuming drive cache: write through

In this case the device is /dev/sda. If your USB stick has more than one partition you will see sda1, sda2, etc. for each partition.

Edit the file /etc/auto.master adding this line:

/var/autofs/removable   /etc/auto.removable --timeout=2


  • /var/autofs/removable is the directory where your USB stick will be mounted
  • /etc/auto.removable is another file that we have to create
  • --timeout=2 tells that the device will be umounted after 2 seconds of idling

Now create the file /etc/auto.removable with this contents:

usbstick    -fstype=vfat,rw,umask=002   :/dev/sda

then restart autofs typing:

~# /etc/init.d/autofs restart

Now move to the /var/autofs/removable directory:

~# cd /var/autofs/removable
/var/autofs/removable# ls
/var/autofs/removable# ls usbstick
[ .. list on my files on the usbstick ]

As you can see the usbstick directory will appear when requested and disappear after 2 seconds.

Related links

Disable the system logs

Disable rsyslog

The most part of application program log created on /var/log are created by rsyslog daemon. To disable it type:

~# cd /etc/rc2.d
/etc/rc2.d# mv S01rsyslog K01rsyslog

Disable /var/log/dmesg

The system message log on /var/log/dmesg is created by bootlogs daemon. To disable it type:

~# cd /etc/rc2.d
/etc/rc2.d# mv S01bootlogs K01bootlogs

Disable /var/log/lastlog

Comment the line:

session    optional

in /etc/pam.d/login.

Deleting the cache of package files to save space

The Debian package installation utility apt-get keeps all the packages it has downloaded in case they are needed in the future in /var/cache/apt/archives directory.

It is possible to save space removing them by typing:

~#apt-get clean