Configuring Isis


This week, despite my happy purchase and initial tweakings, I haven’t had too much time to play with my new toy. On Wednesday I googled and found several tips. There is even a guide that shows how to upgrade RAM, add bluetooth and some other tweaks. Amazing, but I don’t want to void my warranty yet. I installed SSH, and browsed the Internet, but nothing more. Yesterday, for example, I was too tired to even boot it.

However, today I woke up ready to configure my new computer, Isis (I always give a name related to Egyptian gods to my computers). My idea is to use the two computers I have at home in a collaborative way. My current infrastructure is very “simple”:

– Neftis: Compaq Deskpro EN, PIII/Celeron@850MHz, 512MB RAM (10GB HD died some months ago).
– Geb: Lacie USB2.0 100GB with Encrypted LVM fs, where I have a Debian Lenny installed.
– Nut: Freecom USB2.0 160GB HD for backup purposes.
– Isis: Acer Aspire One mini-notebook, Atom@1.6GHz, 512MB DDR2 RAM, 8GB SSD.

Geb and Nut are attached to Neftis. I installed Debian on Geb, and I boot the system with a miniCD where I have my kernel (my old Compaq cannot boot from USB). All my files are (encrypted) on Geb, even the OS, and the system can boot from any computer that supports USB2.0. When I travel to Majorca, I only have to transport my 2.5″ HD and then plug it to a computer there. I have a script that backups all data to an (unencrypted) drive. Just in case something fails or I forget the encryption passphrase. 😉

That system worked fine, but I missed the mobility of Osiris (my old iBook, that died two years ago). I was looking for something really small and light, but still usable, to work as a terminal and write on my blog. I think I finally found what I was looking for. Let’s look how everything goes together:


To get a terminal is easier than I thought: Alt+F2
Then install SSH: yum install openssh-clients (similar to my old friend “apt-get”). Once connected to Geb, I’ve copied the RSA public key of Isis to my authorized_keys file on Geb. That way I can connect without password. In case of theft, however, I’ll have to remove the key. Otherwise, they could do nasty things to my data. I hope I’ll remember that.


To access my files on Geb, I don’t want to set up Samba, but use SFTP. Thunar (XFCE filemanager) do not support sftp, but I found a way to access my files using autofs and sshfs, the perfect couple. I followed the guide, and it works! Next step will be using Gmailfs on both Geb and Isis, so I can have a shared drive between them.

Input methods

One annoying thing is that, out of the box, I cannot write ç or ñ characters. That is solved adding:

Option “XkbVariant” “intl”
Option “XkbOptions” “lv3:ralt_switch”

to /etc/X11/xorg.conf on the Keyboard section. I’ve also installed Japanese input method to practise all those “strange” symbols. I’ve read Inputting Japanese on Linux and some BSDs article. It works, but you have to restart SCIM after any changes:

yum install scim-anthy


I still want to share my Firefox bookmarks between the 2 systems. Any ideas?

Sharing X applications

I found very useful to run the applications installed on Geb on Isis. For example, I can run Sonata (my favorite music player), or Digikam, my pictures manager on my tiny screen:

user@localhost$ xhost geb
user@localhost$ ssh xesc@geb
xesc@geb:~/$ export DISPLAY=isis:0.0
xesc@geb:~/$ digikam > /tmp/digikam.log 2>&1 &


* Acer Aspire One Notes - Making Linpus Linux usable
* Inputting Japanese on Linux and some BSDs
* autofs and sshfs, the perfect couple


6 Responses to Configuring Isis

  1. Tomeu says:

    Ho reconeixo: aquesta entrada és massa freak per mi, no l’he poguda llegir @:-S

  2. Xesc says:

    Bueno, la idea és tenir una referència per a mi mateix, per si he de tornar a configurar-ho tot. 😉

  3. TORRENTE says:

    compra windows!

  4. Xesc says:

    Upsss, crec que els sistema “anti-spam” no funciona molt bé… Perquè ets tu, Rafel, que si no… xDDDD

    PS: per cert, avui m’ha arribat una funda de “neopreno” super xula i lleugera. Ara ja puc sortir al carrer amb el “bitxo”! 😀

  5. guillem says:

    Juas… a la feina tenim una Isis també, però és un HP-UX sobre HP-PA RISC. És enorme 😀

  6. bob says:

    Bookmarks!? Not a problem! Just use the following Firefox addon:


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