First translation completed

I am happy to announce that the very first translation of GetGNULinux.org was completed today! Many thanks to Yaron Shahrabani, a Hebrew translator from Israel, who started the translation for Hebrew exactly one month ago. That he was able to finish the translation by himself in just one month truly amazes me. And that for a language that is so very different from English. Like Arabic, Hebrew is written from right to left. Yaron had a helping hand in improving the display for right-to-left languages as well. Some images needed to be updated for right-to-left languages.

It turns out that Transifex, the new translation platform for GetGNULinux.org, is working pretty good (at least, I have not received any complaints). Some kind individuals have joined a translation team to help out with the translations. Since the switch to the new translation platform, translations for a few new languages have been started. These include Bulgarian, Esperanto, Hebrew and Interlingua. I’m looking forward to the completion of more translations so we can reach an even larger audience.

There used to be a trimmed edition of GetGNULinux.org which contains less pages. For the trimmed edition, some translations had been completed already. Translations for the trimmed edition are now simply being used for the full edition. I have not had the time to implement a trimmed edition yet. Mainly because I haven’t figured out the best way to implement this yet. Until then, the full edition will be used to publish any translations.

Server downtime

The server behind getgnulinux.org experienced some troubles today. For some reason the server had rebooted and the GRUB configuration file was gone, welcoming me with the message,

error: file not found
grub rescue>

So it was no longer able to boot into the operating system. Not knowing how to use the grub command-line, I used the rescue mode of the Ubuntu server CD to re-generate the GRUB configuration file. After rebooting the system it seems that everything is working again. All data still seems to be intact and the websites are back up. I have not found any indications of the server being cracked, so I have no idea what caused this.

Update 2012/03/13: I found the cause of the problem. This issue was caused by an external hard disk drive that is permanently connected to the server via USB. Backups are automatically written to this external hard drive. The server’s BIOS was setup to boot from USB devices first and so the server tries to boot from this external drive. However, the boot fails because GRUB was looking in this drive for a GRUB configuration file (which isn’t there). What was GRUB doing on that external drive? Well, that is a leftover from a previous Ubuntu installation (GRUB was installed on the MBR). So I deleted GRUB from the MBR with,

dd if=/dev/zero of=/dev/sdb bs=446 count=1

Of course “/dev/sdb” is the external drive. But after this the server still tried booting from the external drive, leaving me with a black screen and a blinking underscore at boot time. *sigh* Why is the BIOS still trying to boot from this external drive when GRUB is removed from the MBR?

Ultimately I had to solve work around this issue by just setting in the BIOS to not boot from USB devices.