Here's my short and not so sweet review of [IK Multimedia's iRig 2] guitar interface to the iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad and some Samsung Android devices.
The iRig 2 was floating around the office, and I figured that I'm a guitar player, I've always been interested in headphone-amp type solutions, and maybe this would enable me to play an electric guitar, with the aid of my iPod Touch 5th Generation, and leave amplifiers behind.
Here's the challenge: I play jazz mostly. I don't like distortion. Jazz guitar for the most part requires a lot of headroom but no distortion.
Can the iRig 2 handle it?
First of all, the iRig 2 is an inexpensive device. It's something like $39. That's cheap. So how much can you expect from it? How good is the onboard preamp?
I wasn't even going to write about how I used to run Citrix on Windows 8 instead of Linux on my HP laptop because my particular Citrix-delivered application reacted poorly to the horrible DSL Extreme broadband service at home and its frequent (every three minutes or so) total dropouts. Maddeningly, the crucial link to "reconnect" to my application was present the Firefox and Chrome web browsers under Windows but absent in those same browsers under Linux.
No, I was instead going to write about how to configure Citrix in Linux to allow you to access local drives via your Citrix apps. I'd like to thank the Ubuntu community for that very helpful portion of an overall Citrix-on-Linux page that has helped me many times.
But since I'm already going this road, here is how and why I decided to do my Citrix-based production work in Fedora Linux instead of Windows 8.
Initially I thought I "had" to use Windows for the ungainly Citrix-delivered apps that my employer requires, including Adobe InCopy (which I wouldn't wish on anybody) and a proprietary CMS from Hell. That was when I was having Internet issues at home and kept getting disconnected from my Citrix apps.
But since then I've "solved" my broadband issue, and the connection is slow yet consistent (as opposed to slightly faster but extremely inconsistent; thanks DSL Extreme, who I'm dropping as soon as my contract ends).
So once I had "consistent" broadband, I thought I was home free. I could run my Citrix apps under Windows 8 (the 8.1 upgrade fails for me every time, probably because I dual-boot Fedora, and an encrypted Fedora at that) and all would be well.
Except that Win 8 started crashing. Yeah, I'm stressing the #$%& out of it, but that's how I work.
I'm always looking at new blogging systems, and here are a few links about systems written in Ruby:
You might already know about Jekyll and its close cousin Octopress, (I do), but this is the first I've heard about Middleman, which is billed as a general static-site generator written in Ruby that can be configured to produce a blog.
I dumped the links above with little context because I waiting to explore where they lead, as I hope you will, too.
I installed the LXDE desktop environment a while back. Part of me just wanted to check it out because it has been awhile. But I also was "auditioning" it as a potential working environment in Fedora because I'm now doing a lot more of my $dayjob work via Citrix Receiver in Linux instead of Windows.
As a current Xfce user, moving to LXDE isn't quite the culture shock as it would be going from, say GNOME or KDE to the LXDE environment.
Things I liked in LXDE included that it picked up on the Adiwata Dark theme I'm using in GNOME and had a lot more "darkness" to it than Xfce picks up when I choose Adiwata on that side and Adiwata Dark in GNOME. Doing the latter makes GTK3 apps show up with a dark theme, though all GTK2 apps are as white as the Xfce Adiwata theme makes them.
Things I didn't like included a lack of screen animation when clicking an application button in a panel (I never knew if I really clicked it or not) and (more crucially) no way to manage touchpad tap-to-click in a GUI.
Yeah, it came down to touchpad management. Xfce is good at it. LXDE is not.
So I stopped using LXDE, barely used GNOME 3 (too many issues with Citrix and too hard to configure the way I want/need it to be) and focused on Xfce as my go-to desktop environment.
I recently removed the desktop pager from my upper panel to keep myself from accidentally clicking into a second desktop and causing my Citrix apps to lose their connection to the server. It's barbaric. But I can accept it.
And now LXDE has been hanging around unused on my Fedora system for more than a little time.
I figured, why not remove it?
So I went into my favorite Fedora package manager, searched for LXDE and removed everything that came up.
There were things in that mass package removal that Xfce needs.
After that ill-fated software removal, Xfce lost its wallpaper. And its ability to pretty much work at all. Applications would launch, but they would no longer refresh on the screen. And I couldn't do much of anything.
How did I set things right?
I went into Yumex again -- yes, it did work -- and added back all of the LXDE items.
Now Xfce works once again. And I still have LXDE.
In my first entry about ONLYOFFICE, which is both a software-as-a-service offering you can purchase for individuals or teams and software you can install on your Linux system via traditional package or Docker containers, a key piece of the puzzle was missing.
That piece was the "document server," which allows users to collaborate on documents, spreadsheets and presentations through the web browser in real time.
As of April 20, ONLYOFFICE is offering Document Server 3.0 to make that happen.
Also announced that day are Mail Server 1.0, and Community Server 8.5.0.
And according to the blog post, you can get it all in one bundle.
How could I have missed ONLYOFFICE? If not for this How to Forge article on installing it, I would have never known that it existed as a hosted alternative to Google Docs/Spreadsheets or that you can self-host the software, though I'm not sure how functional the roll-your-own version is at this point.
The air leaves the balloon when I see this line:
*Online Document Editors aren't included into the Community Server solution and will be available soon as a separate installation, however now you can download the previous version.
Without the "online document editors," what's left?
I certainly want to try ONLYOFFICE on their hosted service. The world is crying out for collaborative tools that aren't controlled by Google/Apple/Microsoft.
At my day job, we've been using Slack to collaborate and mostly cut down on email. Probably half the attraction is that Slack is not part of a massive corporate entity.
Any of the biggies -- Google, Microsoft, Apple -- could have done what Slack is doing. They still could. It's pretty simple. And that's one of the main reasons why Slack is so compelling. I expect Slack to do much more as time goes on. I also expect somebody big to make an offer to buy Slack outright.
Like Google Apps and Microsoft Office 365, Slack is a hosted service. It has to stay that way to monetize. Or so it seems.
Companies like mine are happy to use hosted services. We are deep in Google (Docs/Drive/Mail). A large part of the attraction is not having to host, troubleshoot or maintain the software or the servers. Many companies large and small don't think of IT as part of their core business and would rather farm it out to Google, Amazon or Microsoft (and often all three). Or it comes down to cost. The cloud can be cheaper. Or at least those costs are consistent.
But there are other people, entities and companies that desperately want to host and run their own services and keep everything under local control.
Just because it's a cloud world doesn't mean we don't want our own cloud (even if OwnCloud isn't quite the way to do it).
If ONLYOFFICE lives up to the hype, it could be a player for those who want to collaborate using web-based apps while retaining total control over their work.
Printing in Linux with the HP LaserJet 1020 has been a battle since forever. It used to be easier.
Back in Fedora 19, it really did
just work. Same with older versions of Debian. (Can you tell I've had this printer a long, long time? It was cheap. It is small. It still works.)
But since Fedora 20 (and into Fedora 21, and other Linux distributions, as a trip around the web will confirm), it's been hell to get this printer to work.
That's because HP cheaped out with the LaserJet 1020 and didn't put the necessary firmware on board. You have to load that firmware with every print.
Linux should be able to handle this. Hell, HP's own
HPLIP utility should be able to handle it.
No and no.
The printer shows up as a USB device, but neither CUPS nor HPLIP acknowledges its existence.
Every few months or so, I try again. I re-Google and look for clues. I go back and try things again.
Today I came upon Mark911's How to install printer drivers for HP Laserjet 1020 in Ubuntu 14.04 LTS 64-bit without needing access to openprinting.org website and without using buggy hplip drivers. (That title is even longer than my titles ...)
It basically says, "Get rid of
HPLIP, don't use the
foo2zjs driver with your distro, and instead go to the source, compile it yourself, add the firmware and go to town.
So I did just that. I went to http://foo2zjs.rkkda.com/. First I used my favorite Fedora package manager,
Yumex, to get rid of
foo2zjs (the latter from RPM Fusion, if I'm correct).
During the process, I also had to get rid of
system-config-printer-udev to get hot-plugging set up.
I downloaded the foo2zjs source from http://foo2zjs.rkkda.com/, followed the instructions for compiling it, getting the HP LaserJet 1020 firmware, configuring hotplugging and restarting the CUPS spooler.
Then I started Fedora's
system-config-printer GUI (which you can start from the menu as
Administration - Print Settings or at the console with
system-config-printer, sent out a test page, which worked (!!!), and the proceeded to print a document out of
gedit, which also worked.
The question now is, will this loveliness survive a reboot?
Later: This configuration does survive a reboot. And a suspend/resume.
SELinux trouble?: If SELinux throws an error when you plug in your USB printer, follow the utility's instructions for allowing an exception for your printer.
If you're wondering why real-life developers (and I suppose primarily web developers) who happen to hang out on Reddit often choose OS X over Linux for their laptop/desktop operating system, read this lengthy Reddit thread, which Jim Lynch brought to my attention.
Especially due to the large number of comments, it provides a very interesting snapshot of why a given developer chooses one platform or another.
Since you can now embed Reddit comments in your HTML, I'll provide a few samples:
There are 500+ more comments over at Reddit, and the thread is well worth reading.
That said, my laptop price point is ~ $500, and that's well below anything Apple offers.
Buried in this blog post is a great tip: Using the Apache web server utility
ab to determine web site availability and speed.
Definitely check out the post (which is about hosting static sites on Amazon S3), and if you are interested, install ab, which comes bundled for Debian/Ubuntu-style Linux systems in
apache2-utils and for Fedora/RHEL/CentOS-style systems in
The article linked above gives you the command to install
apache2-utils in Ubuntu/Debian, and I could provide a similar
yum command for Fedora/CentOS, but you probably already know how to install packages both from the command line and a GUI, right?
(I'm not sure how you'd get the
Apache utilities in Mac OS X or Windows -- maybe someone else knows.)
Once you have the appropriate package installed (I already had it and didn't even know it), you just run the
ab program from a terminal. This line hits my site with 1,000 requests:
$ ab -n 1000 -c 40 http://stevenrosenberg.net/blog
And the output is:
This is ApacheBench, Version 2.3 <$Revision: 1604373 $> Copyright 1996 Adam Twiss, Zeus Technology Ltd, http://www.zeustech.net/ Licensed to The Apache Software Foundation, http://www.apache.org/ Benchmarking stevenrosenberg.net (be patient) Completed 100 requests Completed 200 requests Completed 300 requests Completed 400 requests Completed 500 requests Completed 600 requests Completed 700 requests Completed 800 requests Completed 900 requests Completed 1000 requests Finished 1000 requests Server Software: nginx/1.6.2 Server Hostname: stevenrosenberg.net Server Port: 80 Document Path: /blog Document Length: 309 bytes Concurrency Level: 40 Time taken for tests: 4.828 seconds Complete requests: 1000 Failed requests: 0 Non-2xx responses: 1000 Total transferred: 530000 bytes HTML transferred: 309000 bytes Requests per second: 207.14 [#/sec] (mean) Time per request: 193.109 [ms] (mean) Time per request: 4.828 [ms] (mean, across all concurrent requests) Transfer rate: 107.21 [Kbytes/sec] received Connection Times (ms) min mean[+/-sd] median max Connect: 71 82 32.9 76 1077 Processing: 76 106 31.6 96 431 Waiting: 76 105 29.9 96 282 Total: 148 188 46.7 182 1157 Percentage of the requests served within a certain time (ms) 50% 182 66% 189 75% 199 80% 209 90% 232 95% 259 98% 283 99% 312 100% 1157 (longest request)
That's a pretty useful utility, am I right?
And it also shows that Ode can easily handle 1,000 simultaneous requests. Not bad at all.
It's a simple app. On Linux systems equipped with PulseAudio (which these days is most of them), it will record both sides of a conversation you are having on any application that pushes that audio over PulseAudio. The default is recording both sides of the conversation to a single OGG file. There is an "advanced" setting that records each side of the the conversation as a separate, uncompressed WAV file.
It's a simple app, and I can tell you that it works well. The wiki suggests that you use it with VOiP apps like Ekiga and Twinkle. Let me tell you now that it also works just fine with the non-free, freedom-hating Skype.
If you wanted to record a podcast, or just a VoIP call with someone else (and yes, PulseCaster warns you not to record without the other party's permission), it couldn't be easier than this.
PulseCaster is packaged for Fedora, but you can get the code from the links on the project home page (which is generated out of GitHub).
It's a simple app that works. What more could you want?
I'm running Xfce 4.10 in Fedora 21, and there's nothing in 4.12 I can't wait for, so I'll probably be sticking with what I've got until the next Fedora (or other) release I upgrade to or install.
But it's nice to see development continuing for Xfce, which had quite a dry spell between 4.10 and 4.12.
A nice note at the bottom of the Xfce.org tour:
A note on Xfce's portability
All but one of those screenshots were taken on machines running OpenBSD -current, a good proof that Xfce is still portable and friendly to all Unix systems.
Almost all the tutorials on tap-to-click for LXDE are on how to turn it off, mostly in Lubuntu.
I've just started experimenting with LXDE in Fedora 21 and was surprised to find out that I can toggle tap-to-click in the configuration of Xfce but not in LXDE, where there is no tap-to-click out of the box.
I repeat: There is seemingly no GUI way to toggle tap-to-click in LXDE. I'd love to be wrong, but I fear I am not.
There is more than one way to turn tap-to-click on with scripts, or modifying
xorg.conf or files in
I just wanted something simple. I turned to the
synclient utility (using it in the terminal).
First of all you can use
synclient to check your setup:
$ synclient -l
And to turn on tap-to-click:
$ synclient TapButton1=1
Like I say above, there are ways to do this via Xorg, and probably other ways, too.
I'm not sure whether or not there is a GUI in LXDE to autostart scripts, but I notice that one of the choices in LXDE's
Desktop Session Settings is
Xfsettingsd, the Xfce Settings Daemon. Could that bring some of my Xfce settings into LXDE? It's probably worth a try.
But for now, just running
synclient TapButton1=1 in the terminal gets me where I want to be.
"Bobbing for Influence" by former Ubuntu Community Manager Jono Bacon, now community manager for XPrize, is an insightful look at a problem affecting many communities.
And if you don't recognize your organization, be it a family, project or company, as a community, you're doing it wrong.
Jono's articla is all about how rigid observance of hierarchy can really kill a company's culture, mission and even bottom line. The worst is when your boss/CEO/etc. thinks that acting like Steve Jobs is going to work. Steve Jobs was a genius. And an asshole. (The chances that you're a genius are slim. And the idea that genius only thrives when mashed up with asshole is stupid. Steve Jobs was an edge case who made thousands of other guys mock-turtle it up and steamroll everybody in their path. Not good.)
Be that as it may, Jono says it better:
A big chunk of the problems many organizations face is around influence. More specifically, the problems set in when employees and contributors feel that they no longer have the ability to have a level of influence or impact in an organization, and thus, their work feels more mechanical, is not appreciated, and there is little validation.
Now, influence here is subtle. It is not always about being involved in the decision-making or being in the cool meetings. Some people won’t, and frankly shouldn’t, be involved in certain decisions: when we have too many cooks in the kitchen, you get a mess. Or Arby’s. Choose your preferred mess.
The influence I am referring to here is the ability to feed into the overall culture and to help shape and craft the organization. If we want to build truly successful organizations, we need to create a culture in which the very best ideas and perspectives bubble to the surface. These ideas may come from SVPs or it may come from the dude who empties out the bins.
The point being, if we can figure out a formula in which people can feel they can feed into the culture and help shape it, you will build a stronger sense of belonging and people will stick around longer. A sense of empowerment like this keeps people around for the long haul. When people feel unengaged or pushed to the side, they will take the next shiny opportunity that bubbles up on LinkedIn.
Jono goes through 10 individual points on the problems of lack of influence in communities. I can think of few people who wouldn't benefit from reading this article. (I sure did.)
If this isn't a chapter in one of Jono's current books, it should be in his next one, for sure.
I'm coming into this blind. I saw a link to the 8th site and found out that 8th is a while new programming language and development environment that allows you to code once and run on:
As the 8th site says:
Program code is only written once, in 8th™, regardless of how many platforms are targeted. The code is then packaged to run on the target operating system, which may be any combination of Windows, OS X, Linux, Android or iOS. Differences between operating systems are handled by 8th™, letting the developer leverage existing knowledge across all platforms.
And it looks like simplicity is important to 8th. Here is the "Hello, World" program in 8th:
"Hello, world!\n" . bye
That's easy, all right.
I don't know enought about 8th, or about what exactly you can code with it, but the idea that these applications are so vigorously cross-platform really gets me thinking. Even just in the mobile space, the ability to code once for both Android and iOS is huge. And add to that all the major desktop OSes (Windows, OS X, Linux), and this could potentially be something.
To produce "packaged applications" with 8th, you have to pay $199 per year.
I'm not sure this is good, let alone $199-per-year good.
What do you think?
As a longtime user of Fedora's Xfce spin, naturally I'm interested.
The reasons why Xfce 4.11 is not in Fedora Rawhide (because there is no 4.12 release imminent, and 4.11 in "stable" Fedora would be bad, but there is a COPR repo for those who want it)
Rumors that Xfce, the project, is dead (It's not -- fixes and small changes continue to be committed; there's just no timetable for a 4.12 release)
The Xfce spin leaving its 700MB CD size behind and now aiming at 1 GB USB flash drive size in Fedora 22
Xfce continuing to be available for RHEL/CentOS users in EPEL
Ways of making Xfce work better on HIDPI displays (but don't expect miracles until Xfce adopts gtk3)
Read the original post. It's well worth it.
I've been running the Fedora Xfce Spin since F18, and I think it's one of the best-kept secrets in the Xfce-running distro world. It comes well-configured out of the box, looks great, is as cutting-edge as you'd want and really does just work most of the time.
Yep, one of the new features of the GNOME 3.14-running Fedora 21 is a preview of the next-generation, post-X Window Wayland display manager, and you can choose "GNOME with Wayland" in the login/session manager.
I'm running Wayland right now. I've heard the caveat many times: Not all applications will work in Wayland. But so far, every application I've tried (Firefox, Gedit, Transmission, FileZilla, VLC, Files/Nautilus, Liferea, Yumex, Google Chrome, Geany, even apps in Wine) has run in Wayland with no trouble.
I've been running Fedora 21 for a few days now, spending most of my time in the non-Wayland world of Xfce and GNOME with X, and the system is as solid as ever. And by that I mean pretty damn solid.
The only glitch I've had with Wayland has been in suspend/resume, which is pretty touchy anyway with my hardware. (I've probably written 50 posts about it since I got this laptop.) When running Wayland, the laptop will suspend and then resume, but I'm seemingly "detached" from my session and have to log in again. At this point I'm logged in twice. This doesn't happen in X. If this is the only thing I can find wrong with Wayland, I'll still consider it pretty remarkable.
Just from a "look and feel" perspective, GNOME 3.14 is working better and faster than version 3.10 did in Fedora 20. I'm not saying I'm going to throw Xfce over for it, but the environment is more usable than ever. I moved to the Adiwata Dark theme while still in F20, and everything looks that much better in F21.
As I've said since I began running Fedora 18 on this laptop and upgrading via Fedup to each subsequent release, a system as forward-looking as Fedora shouldn't be anywhere near as stable as it is. It's a tribute to the developers for Fedora and the many upstream projects that go into the distribution.
Today marks only nine days since Fedora 21 went stable, and my system is running like a well-maintained watch.
So if you think of yourself as the adventurous type, someone who likes everything to be pretty new all the time but doesn't really want to deal with a lot of breakage and is curious about Wayland in the real world, give Fedora 21 a try.
Later: You know what got fixed in Fedora 21 that was broken in F20? Mounting of Apple iOS 8 devices.
This paragraph is set off with tabs and has a Markdown-generated link:
This is my Ode site, [which lives here](http://stevenrosenberg.net/blog).
This paragraph uses "blockquote" HTML tagging and an HTML link:
This is my Ode site, which lives here.
This paragraph is set off with tabs and has an HTML-tagged link:
This is my Ode site, <a href="http://stevenrosenberg.net/blog">which lives here</a>.
None of this text uses the "code" tag.
So my question is, how do you call "blockquote" without "code" in Markdown?
Later: I have the answer. Set off every line with the > character:
> This text will be set off in blockquote style.
With the proper Markdown, this becomes:
This text will be set off in blockquote style.
So I haven't upgraded my daily-drive Fedora 20 system to Fedora 21, which was released two short days ago.
From what I can see, the RPM Fusion repositories are ready for F21. Google Chrome might break, but a quick removal and reinstall should fix that.
In F21, there will be many changes in the GNOME desktop environment and applications.
But for my go-to desktop environment, Xfce, it's going to be pretty much the same. (Yes, Xfce is moving glacially slow, and I've heard talk of people turning to the GNOME 2-inspired Mate desktop because it's under heavy development.)
My web browsers (Firefox and Chrome) won't fall behind. I get the latest versions from Fedora and Google, respectively.
I'm dabbling in Ruby, and F20 has version 2.0. F21 has 2.1, but at the level I'm at, it doesn't matter.
And now that all the heat is on F21, it's been relatively quiet, update-wise for F20. It's a bit closer to running Debian Stable. After awhile you get a few security patches here and there, but updates are quiet and quick.
Even an old (but still supported) Fedora release gets more updates than a current Debian Stable, but for the moment, I'm enjoying the ritual of staring Yumex and seeing either only a few or, better yet, no updates waiting to be installed.
Sure I'll move to F21. It could be tomorrow (probably not) or next month (you're getting warm). But what's the hurry?
I already use keys for some services, so I'm not completely in the dark, but I sense that between the Keybase web service and local command-line interface, this is something useful.
And sitting atop the Node.js heap is Joyent, the company where Node creator Ryan Dahl was working when he came up with the idea and the code to make it run.
So even though Node.js is an open-source project, its direction is largely guided by the for-profit Joyent. And that doesn’t sit so well with some Node users/developers.
As the io.js project’s “Read Me” text states:
"We intend to release, with increasing regularity, releases which are compatible with the npm ecosystem that has been built to date for node.js."
As InfoWorld previously reported the Node forking threat has been floating around for awhile, and in response Joyent created an advisory board to get more community input into what has become one of the most-used open-source projects in the world of web-delivered application development.
Fighting, infighting, forking and just plain grumbling is nothing new to open-source projects. Friction over the transition from Python 2 to Python 3, the never-ending gestation of Perl 6, everything about Linux distribution Ubuntu and its SABDFL (self-appointed benevolent dictator for life) Mark Shuttleworth since he moved the buttons from right to left, Debian and the now-raging debate over the systemd init system that’s so much more than an init system … and the beat goes on.
Most forks come to nothing. Just like ex-Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer once said in all his sweat-drenched glory, it usually comes down to “developers, developers developers.”
I needed to do a bare-metal install of Fedora 21 today, and I used the beta image for the live Xfce Spin.
I didn’t do anything special. The whole disk was devoted to Fedora. I encrypted everything.
It was probably the quickest Linux install I’ve ever done — even quicker than OpenBSD’s excellent text-based installer, where if you go with the defaults you have a working system within minutes.
Sure Ananconda isn’t “linear” like other installers, but once you get used to its “hub and spoke” logic, you can bring up a Fedora system very, very quickly.
As much as I love Debian, whenever I try to do anything complicated with disk partitioning, I run into trouble. Ubuntu’s Ubiquity installer is pretty good, too. But considering the bad press that Fedora/RHEL’s Anaconda installer has gotten over the past few years, once you get to know it, you can do installs very quickly and efficiently.
After a year and half, I've finally cracked suspend/resume in Linux on the HP Pavilion g6-2210us laptop (AMD A4-4300M APU with AMD Radeon HD 7420G graphics) with the open-source Radeon driver.
I've been able to successfully suspend/resume for some time on this laptop with the closed-source AMD Catalyst driver, but two things have prompted me to give that driver up for the open Radeon driver:
1) AMD Catalyst hasn't been packaged for Fedora since Fedora 19, and we're about to see Fedora 21 released with no indication that things will change. There are at least a couple of workarounds that will get Catalyst/fglrx on your Fedora 20 system, both of which I've written about at length, but I'm tired of doing them. While the Catalyst/fglrx experience is somewhat smoother on distributions that are serious about packaging the driver (Debian and Ubuntu come to mind), breakage is inevitable on fast-moving distros like Fedora that get new Linux kernels all the time.
2) While AMD Catalyst allows the laptop to run cooler at idle (I'm pretty sure it runs at a similar temperature under load), the quality of video -- actual videos in applications like VLC, that is -- is better with the latest Radeon driver than with Catalyst. Briefly, when I'm watching something and the image is "moving," it breaks up horizontally in Catalyst, not at all in Radeon.
But suspend/resume trumps all. Having it with Catalyst kept me ... running Catalyst.
Now that I've cracked the code for successful suspend/resume without Catalyst, the infrequently updated, not-packaged-for-Fedora, closed-source driver is fading in my virtual rear-view mirror.
So how do you get suspend/resume working on this particular HP Pavilion g6 (or similarly equipped) laptop?
There are two changes you need to make in GRUB.
I've been doing test installs again, among them Debian Jessie, and things don't work as well as they should on my HP Pavilion g6-2210us laptop without a couple of firmware packages that can be installed after a little tweaking.
If you use the "regular" Debian images to install, as I did this time, instead of the harder-to-find, unofficial ones with non-free firmware included, after installation you have to first get into your
/etc/apt/sources.list file as root and add the
non-free repositories, update your software sources with
apt, and then install the firmware packages.
First, as root, modify your
contrib non-free to every repo line.
Let me just say that if you hope to use Debian for any length of time, you WILL be mucking with
/etc/apt/sources.list, so you might as well learn it now.
Once you have
non-free added to your lines in
/etc/apt/sources.list, use either
sudo to update your software sources with
sudo isn't in the Debian default (though I always install and configure it immediately with
visudo), I will give the "recipe" below as if you are using
su with the root pasword to get full privileges:
(enter the root password when prompted)
# apt-get update # apt-get install firmware-linux-nonfree firmware-realtek
Then reboot the box, and you are good to go.
The good news is that I can run X in OpenBSD 5.6 on my AMD A4 APU-equipped HP Pavilion g6 laptop. Before now, starting X would cause a kernel panic.
The bad news is that the laptop runs very, very hot.
This OpenBSD misc post explains it:
List: openbsd-misc Subject: Re: Slow performance on Radeon (HD7770) video card From: Jonathan Gray
Date: 2014-06-22 5:12:12 Message-ID: 20140622051212.GC9087 () mail ! netspace ! net ! au [Download message RAW] On Sat, Jun 21, 2014 at 10:32:55PM +0200, Julian Andrej wrote: > Hello, > > i'm getting really low performance on my ATI Radeon HD7770 video card. > glxgears runs at poor 27 fps and videos are stuttering (playback with > mplayer and different -vo options). We don't do acceleration on southern islands or newer Radeon parts because it depends on LLVM, glamor and drm backed EGL. This also requires the gbm part of Mesa which until very recently has only supported Linux and udev/systemd. Yes, even basic 2d acceleration requires this mess because xf86-video-ati only has OpenGL backed glamor acceleration for these parts, they didn't write any normal X style acceleration.
In the default configuration, my cpu is running at 70-80 degrees C as reported by:
$ sysctl hw.sensors
I was able to cool it down about 20 degrees C with this (as root):
# sysctl hw.setperf=0
I'm sure there's a way to get that parameter set automatically on boot, but I leave that to you (or for me another day).
So now I'm getting CPU temps of 50 to 65 degrees C, which is 122 to 149 degrees F. Not horrible, but not anywhere near the 95 to 120 degrees F that I get in Linux.
I did a few other OpenBSD 5.6 tests. I installed the Firefox browser and then the Xfce desktop environment.
Both worked well. Video playback from YouTube stuttered quite a bit. Audio was low, even when boosted via the Xfce volume control.
Then I installed GNOME, which consisted of adding the metapackage and making a couple of configuration changes.
That went well. I had a working GNOME 3 desktop in OpenBSD 5.6. I must say, it is probably more responsive than GNOME 3 in Fedora. It's pretty much like it is in Debian, except for the CPU heat and the fan blowing.
So the combination of excessive heat and fan noise along with poor video performance means I won't be doing much with OpenBSD on this particular laptop.
But it's always instructive to check in on OpenBSD with various hunks of hardware to see how they work together. OpenBSD has always been a project to watch, and I can only hope that hardware compatibility improves as development continues.
After reading about it on one of the Fedora mailing lists, I hunted down and installed the TopIcons extension to GNOME Shell so the Dropbox icon shows up and persists in the upper panel.
So far I'm very happy with it.
I'm experimenting, as it were, with GNOME Shell and the GNOME Classic version of same, now that I'm using the open Radeon video driver and not the closed AMD Catalyst version (the latter of which does not play well with GNOME 3 at this point in time).
I finally did figure out suspend/resume in Radeon on my hardware (which I will write up at some point soon), so I'm able to run GNOME 3/Shell in addition to my go-to desktop Xfce. Suspend/resume has been a little squirrely at times, so I'm experimenting with it more than just a little before I declare myself satisfied with the fix.
Part of this means getting my GNOME Shell Extensions situation together so the environment isn't so user-unfriendly. To me anyway.
Why is PostgreSQL on the upswing while Oracle and the Oracle-controlled MySQL are going the other way? Matt Asay aims to explain it all at ReadWrite.
As Ubuntu hits its 10th year as a Linux distribution, cause celebre and all-around topic of conversation among the free-software set, Ars Technica takes a look back at what started with release number 4.10, nicknamed Warty Warthog in 2004 and continues today with the version 14.10, named Utopic Unicorn.
I did a Debian Jessie install last week. This was a traditional install on "real" hardware, more specifically a different drive on my daily (HP Pavilion g6) laptop.
As much as I've praised the Debian installer in the past, and I'll praise it a little bit right now, I will also drop it in a hole and throw a shallow layer of dirt over it just because.
First of all, the Debian installer experience seem much the same in Jessie as it was in Wheezy and Squeeze before it. I don't remember it being much different in Etch. That was my first Debian installation, so my memory, hazy as it is, ends there.
My AMD Catalyst (aka fglrx) trouble in Fedora is well-documented. Biggest of the big at this point is that the proprietary AMD driver DOES NOT work with GNOME 3.
The reason for this incompatibility seems to be that GNOME is getting ready for the Wayland display server, and code associated with that move makes GNOME crash when you try to run it under Catalyst/fglrx, which appears to know nothing about the imminent arrival of Wayland. (Note: You can play with Wayland today in Fedora 21. I did so briefly before the whole thing fell apart on me.)
The lack of an easy-to-install (i.e RPM-packaged) proprietary AMD driver has been a problem since the release of Fedora 20 and no doubt is a major factor in why nobody has packaged Catalyst for a Fedora/RHEL-derived distro since.
Yep, there is no RPM-packaged Catalyst for Fedora 20, and it looks like the situation will continue through the Fedora 21 cycle. There is also no Catalyst RPM -- from RPM Fusion or anybody else -- for RHEL/CentOS 7.
I've been saying for the longest time that if you want to run RHEL/CentOS on the desktop and don't want to quickly hit a wall in terms of packages, you need to either run the Stella spin on CentOS, or use the developer of that project's repo to give your existing CentOS/RHEL system what it's otherwise lacking.
The way I look at it, without the Nux repo, you are going to miss a LOT of packages you're accustomed to seeing in Fedora, Ubuntu and Debian that you just don't see in Fedora, EPEL, El Repo and RPM Fusion.
Yep, three extra repos won't give you the desktop packages you need.
But the Nux repo will. And luckily at this point it's got hundreds of packages you might want or need for RHEL/CentOS 7.
The reviews are starting to roll in for the now-alpha Fedora 21 Workstation, and Dietrich T. Schmitz of Linux Advocates likes what he sees so far:
It's a good sign when I find myself smiling, which is what happened after installing Fedora 21 Alpha Workstation. As I write, and after a week of poking around Fedora Workstation Alpha, I am thinking: "This is Alpha? It's more production-ready than other general releases I have seen". Seriously Folks, it's that stable. The most obvious change? Visual. Fedora Workstation gets the proverbial face lift with GNOME 3.14. And that is what keeps me smiling.
Go to Dietrich's review for more on F21 Workstation, including screenshots.
I recently started looking at Reddit, and I'm enjoying it.
It's more like Slashdot than not. The biggest difference is that on Reddit, it's easier for anybody to post a "topic," and actually see their post on the live site.
I'm not in Windows 8 so often (except for the past two days) that on the rare occasions when I do load it up I am at all happy to wait a half-hour or more for the machine to shut down because it's downloading and installing dozens of updates.
I turned automatic updates off. When I have time, I'll boot into Windows 8 and do the updates manually.
I had a pretty good day yesterday running the dodgy over-Citrix apps I need for my $Dayjob. But when bandwidth is poor and I keep getting disconnected, the only way I can manage to keep working is to run the Citrix apps in Windows (in my case Windows 8, not even 8.1 because that update went pear-shaped when I tried it months ago).
What happens is the bits on my DSL connection stop flowing for a minute or so, and I get disconnected from my Citrix apps. In Windows, there's an option on the Citrix page in my browser to reconnect to my "paused" resources. That option doesn't exist on the web page in Linux. Could it be because I'm using a slightly older version of Citrix Receiver / Wfica / ICA / Whatever the hell it is in Linux?
All I know is that it's a pain in the ass. When I'm on a "strong" networking connection with a ton of bandwidth, this isn't a problem, and I can probably run the Citrix apps in Linux. But with my not-so-great home "broadband," I need the extra cushion of being able to easily reconnect to my Citrix apps in order to stay working.
So I'm working from home today and doing the full $dayjob breaking-news production routine (anything that nine websites throws at me plus other assorted sundries) in Fedora 20 with Xfce 4.10. When I'm at the office, I usually split the load between a monster ThinkCentre machine (8 GB RAM, AMD CPU with 4 cores) running Windows 7 and this less powerful laptop with Fedora/Xfce (3 GB RAM, AMD APU with 2 cores).
But today I only have the laptop.
First, my latest software change: It's been getting more and more difficult to run the AMD Catalyst driver in Fedora. For the past month and then some, running Google Chrome would crash X if I didn't start it with just the right command switch. Then Firefox started crashing X if I opened up certain web sites in a new tab. File that under "time to ditch Catalyst."
Sure his reasons for ditching e-mail make sense, but what makes the article value is that Knoll mentions more than a few services that Primeloop is using to replace e-mail and help his team collaborate and communicate.
Among them are:
I'm still trying to wrap my head around what these services do and how/why to use them, but so far Slack and Hackpad look extremely promising for "situations," I find myself in.
It's not lost on me that the context of this article is a startup company leveraging the work of other startup companies, with all of that work being proprietary and hosted by said companies and not available for self-hosting at all. Even if a service is web-based, it's nice to have the option of loading it up yourself, on your server (or rough equivalent), and controlling it without a company getting in the way.
But a compelling service that fulfills an acute business need (or three) is well worth looking into and possibly adopting if that need is real (and unfulfilled). If/when the startup responsible for the product is acquired and said product is Hoovered up into the mothership, that's another problem, I guess.
With inspiration from Paul Mellors, I decided to start my personal Fedora Wiki page. Yes, I am a Fedora member, though I haven't yet blossomed into an active one. At this point I try to answer questions on Ask Fedora, and I'd like to start contributing to the Fedora Magazine.
So I'm mostly just a user of Fedora. But that doesn't mean I shouldn't be a Fedora member, or have a wiki page. So I am. And I do.
It's not a secret that I'm starting to look into the Ruby programming language. I've got a mess of second-hand books, plus there are plenty of helpful web sites.
I'm sure there are plenty of better ways to do this, but the fact that I can do this and understand it ... that's something.
Here is what I'm talking about. I did it all in the interactive Ruby shell (aka
irb) and have revised it because it's even easier to type out than I thought:
irb(main):017:0> phrase = "The quick brown fox jumped over the lazy dog's back" => "The quick brown fox jumped over the lazy dog's back" irb(main):020:0> phrase.insert 0, "<bold>" => "<bold>The quick brown fox jumped over the lazy dog's back" irb(main):024:0> phrase.insert -1, "</bold>" => "<bold>The quick brown fox jumped over the lazy dog's back</bold>"
I still see people installing new Linux distributions, one after the other, on their "production" laptops and desktops. I don't.
Sure, I fire up live images via USB or old-timey CD/DVD fairly regularly.
But I almost never do full, bare-metal installs on hardware I'm actually using. And I got rid of most of my PC boneyard, though I still have a 1999-era Compaq laptop (running Debian Squeeze LTS) and now a recently returned (from my daughter) 2002-era Thinkpad R32 (choking on Lubuntu 14.04 and in need of something new).
As far as "modern," equipment goes, all I have is my "production" laptop, an early-2013 HP Pavilion g6-2210us. And ever since I had the time to set up a Windows-Linux dual-boot, I've been running the same Fedora installation, upgraded via Fedup from F18 through F20.
Given that this is new, cheap AMD hardware, it's been a bit bumpy along the way. But the speed of updates in Fedora means that new kernels and drivers (theoretically) provide the latest drivers that are the lifeblood of any new, not-yet-supported hardware.
Fedora's motto is "Freedom. Friends. Features. First." I'm here to tell you Fedora lives up to that billing. Why do I say this now? I've just had another positive experience with Fedora, this time in finding a bug in my system, adding my information to an existing bug report and now seeing updated packages pushed to the Fedora 20 stable repositories and onto my system, where the problem has been fixed.
This all started a few weeks ago. After an update of the
wine software that allows Linux users to run many Windows programs, many of the fonts in both the Firefox and Chrome web browsers started to look horrible. I narrowed it down to anything resembling Arial and Helvetica.
After searching for information, I found a command that would tell me what the system was using when asked to display a certain font:
$ fc-match -v arial | grep file
Now that the problem has been fixed, the output is different, but at the time it clearly showed that a wine-installed Arial font had been installed in my system's decidedly non-wine (aka "normal") font path.
And that font was hideous.
I began searching for other Fedora users who might have this same problem and came across this bug report on wine-courier-fonts overriding the system Courier font. In that bug report was this Aug. 9, 2014 comment by Arun Raghavan:
This also seems to apply to the arial font which makes things in Firefox look weird as well.
I saw this on Aug. 13, and immediately got into the thread because I'm a Fedora member and already have a Bugzilla account:
I am seeing this same issue with Arial. The fonts look terrible in both Firefox and Google Chrome. I think this happened during the last Wine update.
Hours later, Peter Oliver confirmed the problem:
Indeed, wine-fonts-arial was first included in 1.7.22-2, pulled in automatically by wine-fonts.
I know there's disagreement about whether Wine fonts should be made available as system fonts, but, irrespective of that, this affects the existing user experience, so ideally shouldn't have been included in a stable update.
The next day Michael Cronenworth wrote that he was pushing an update to
wine that would take the fonts out of the system path:
The Font SIG has allowed us to remove Wine fonts from the system path. I'll be pushing a 1.7.24 update shortly to address this.
A few days after that, the update was available in the testing repository. I waited for it to make its way into Fedora 20 Stable, which it did today. In the course of today's Yum (in my case the GUI Yumex) update, new
wine packages were installed on my system, and now everything looks great again in Firefox and Chrome.
As asked in the bug report, I did add karma after installing the update.
Things do break in Fedora every once in a while, but not as often as you might think.
Pretty much every time something like happens on my system, even with the kernel, I've been able to either start a new bug report or chime in on an existing one. Soon thereafter, the wonderful developers who build packages for Fedora have addressed my problems and provided fixes that made those problems go away.
Chalk it up as another great experience with Fedora, both the Linux operating system and the community behind it.
Changing fonts in Ode is as easy as changing the
.css file in the theme(s) you are using.
I've been having some trouble in Fedora with the Arial font, which looks like hell. The Wine non-emulator that runs Windows software in Linux brought an Arial font into my system, and it's just plain ugly.
I started looking at Arial and Helvetica not just in Linux but in Windows, too, and I decided that I don't like either one very much.
So I went into my CSS and killed out
Helvetica Neue and
sans-serif, in that order, are the default fonts.
Looks better, I think.
There is a new Ode-running site out in the wild. Announced on the existing Surface Markup blog is the Surface Markup development blog, which has one of the nicest themes I've ever seen on an Ode site. It's minimal, beautiful and responsive.
Jordi Mallach details in a post I found via Google Plus why GNOME should remain the default desktop environment in Debian Jessie despite the usual switch to Xfce prompted by a desire to keep the ISO image at CD size.
There's more. And it's not just image size: Most use Debian's netinstall image, which is always much smaller than a traditional data CD, and I think many if not most have access to a DVD drive or bypass optical media entirely for USB flash drives, so size doesn't matter as much as it might.
The dust-up over GNOME 3's controversial desktop is nothing new. Many will never like it. Cue irony: Windows 8, UI-wise, is as crazy as GNOME 3. They make the current Mac OS X desktop look positively old-school. That's probably drawing more to OS X than it is the other direction (to GNOME and Windows 8).
Hey everybody, it's not just Fedora users who have no RPM-packaged AMD Catalyst (aka fglrx) proprietary video driver.
RHEL/CentOS 7 is also out in the cold.
(Note to all developers who have anything to do with Fedora or Red Hat: Recent AMD-running laptops with all-in-one APU chips (CPU and GPU together) tend to RUN LIKE CRAP without Catalyst.)
So RHEL/CentOS 7 users are stuck with AMD's upstream installer. To that end, here's a guide from the CentOS Forum on how to install Catalyst with AMD's .sh installer.
If you're having the same problem I am with Google Chrome crashing while running the proprietary AMD Catalyst video driver in Fedora 20 (or any other version of Linux), I have a fix.
My thought was that I could play with command-line switches to "trick" Google Chrome into running.
(Note before we begin: I think different distributions have different commands to run Google Chrome or Chromium in the first place. In Fedora, calling
google-chrome runs the browser.)
I found a huge list of command-line switches for Chrome and Chromium from Peter Beverloo's web site and started looking it over and trying a few.
This one worked:
$ google-chrome --disable-gpu
Peter's page describes
--disable-gpu this way (and links to this portion of the content-switches code for Chromium):
Disables GPU hardware acceleration. If software renderer is not in place, then the GPU process won't launch.
This means that I'm back in the Google Chrome-running business. I'll have to add this modified command-with-switch to my Xfce panel so I can run Chrome without the terminal.
And now you can, too.
I've been running Lubuntu on my daughter's ancient IBM Thinkpad R32 for as long as I can remember. The upgrade from 12.04 to 14.04 was anything but smooth. I wasn't offered a straight 12.04-14.04 upgrade and instead went through the steps (12.10, 13.04, 13.10 and finally 14.04) when I probably should have just reinstalled with 14.04.
Now there's another problem. Wireless networking doesn't work. I even checked with the Lubuntu 14.04 live CD. And two different USB Wi-Fi adapters.
The system sees the networks, but it won't join them. And none of the "help" I found online was very helpful.
I could go back to the long-unsupported Lubuntu 14.04. Since this laptop has a CD drive only, that limits the live images I can try because many have climbed over CD size.
Lubuntu has not. And as I say above, I have tried it.
Fedora LXDE is also still CD-sized. I'm trying to download a torrent now. I'm doing the same with the Debian 7.6 netinstall image, from which I can whip up an LXDE system. Unfortunately Debian is a bit crapshootish because the Debian Live images are, again, too large for a CD.
I'd rather not go with Fedora, as this is OLD hardware. Debian's extra speed really shows in this situation (namely a Pentium 4 with 768 MB RAM).
I'm fairly confident I can return the Thinkpad to wireless-running usefulness. But I remain disappointed with Lubuntu (and maybe all of Ubuntu) for whatever it's doing to this old laptop's ability to complete a Wi-Fi connection.
So I'm working Saturday. At the office. I'm the only one here. And since it's Saturday, there is no air conditioning until 10 a.m.
I'm trapped in a large glass bottle of stale, hot air.
Update: It's 10:01. The air just kicked on. Half of any good employer-employee relationship involves free air-conditioning.
Just wanted to say that.
Am I really the only person having trouble with the Google Chrome web browser while running the propretary AMD Catalyst video driver in Linux?
I looked back in the archives and found out that I've been running Fedora on this particular laptop (HP Pavilion g6-2210us) for a year and two months.
Since this el-cheapo, about-$400 AMD laptop is NOT a top-of-the-line Intel-running Thinkpad, it hasn't gotten anywhere near the same level of love from the Linux kernel and driver developers.
But things have gotten better and better over time. And excepting the relentlessly rolling Arch Linux, things improve more quickly in Fedora than anywhere else. New kernels, drivers and applications, for the most part, fly onto Fedora systems via regular updates.
Debian Developer Jon Dowland writes about switching from Linux to the Macintosh with OS X:
It appears I have switched for good. I've been meaning to write about this for some time, but I couldn't quite get the words right. I doubted I could express my frustrations in a constructive, helpful way, even if I think that my experiences are useful and my discoveries valuable, perhaps I would put them across in a way that seemed inciteful rather than insightful. I wasn't sure anyone cared. Certainly the GNOME community doesn't seem interested in feedback.
It turns out that one person that doesn't care is me: I didn't realise just how broken the F/OSS desktop is. The straw that broke the camel's back was the file manager replacing type-ahead find with a search but (to seemlessly switch metaphor) it turns out I'd been cut a thousand times already. I'm not just on the other side of the fence, I'm several fields away.
What can I say? With the Macintosh seemingly left for dead by Apple while the iPhone and iPad shovel in the revenue, Mac laptops have quietly become the platform of choice for developers everywhere.
Meanwhile, fragmentation in the Linux desktop space and what appears to be not just a lack of attention to detail but a willful rejection of it haven't helped.
That said, I'm firmly in the "buy cheap, run Linux" camp, and I figure that the Microsoft-driven laptop price war to combat the Google Chromebook will provide a whole new class of sub-$250 machines on which to run the Linux distribution of your choice.
Since I don't have $1,500+ for a laptop that won't accept OS updates in a few years and generally don't need to run the Adobe Creative Suite, I don't have the opportunity/burden of trying to figure out how much free (as in freedom) software I could shoehorn into a Macintosh OS X environment.
But I can see how developers who aren't Linux distro developers want to go for what's "easy," if not at all cheap.
While Ubuntu has in the past tried to court developers, the current direction in which they're taking Unity is more about mobile compatibility than desktop productivity. And I don't see any advantages for the average developer with GNOME Shell. Maybe GNOME Classic in an environment with a whole lot more configurability out of the box would work. I know that a more polished Xfce with a lot of the rough edges smoothed out could be popular.
But it's the fragmentation ...
I'd love for Fedora Workstation with its (I think) target audience of developers to fill this gap. But without a long-term support release, that won't happen. Maybe a CentOS "developer desktop" spin could do better.
The elephant. In the room. It's the same thing it always was: Preloads.
It's going to require a major hardware vendor to commit to developer-centric laptops in a variety of price ranges with dedicated, in-house developers making sure the hardware is 100-percent supported in Linux and on the Linux distribution shipping with that hardware. I'm not saying it will never happen. I hope it does.
Until then, Apple is going to eat everybody's lunch, including Microsoft's. And desktop Linux's, too.
I'm not saying that choice on the Linux desktop is bad. What I am saying is that a stable, functional, not-scary desktop with some heavy development attention and (dare I say it) substantial corporate support could turn the tide and bring not just developers but others (back) to Linux.
Probably the best "solution" I've found for the lack of AMD Catalyst packages in RPM Fusion for Fedora 20 has been to use the packages that are still being maintained in that repository for Fedora 19.
But as always with proprietary driver packages, there is a question as to whether or not they will work with a new Linux kernel.
Kernel 3.15.3-200 moved recently into Fedora 20, and I decided to make the leap into installing it today.
I can report that
akmod-catalyst handled it perfectly. Catalyst works in 3.15.3, and everything is running as it should.
One of the touted features in kernel 3.15 is faster suspend/resume. Does using a proprietary video driver negate this speedup? I don't know.
I do periodically test suspend/resume with the open Radeon driver to see if I can ditch Catalys, but at this point I'll wait for live Fedora 21 (and Ubuntu 14.10) media for my next foray into the free driver.
I mentioned this in my CentOS 7 post but felt that it deserved to lead its own entry:
For those who want to run CentOS 7 on the desktop with minimal pain, take heart: Nux is prepping a CentOS 7 version of Stella
I was a big, big fan of Stella 6 -- I really think it's the only way to run CentOS on the desktop without pulling your remaining hair out. Nux has packages of just about everything you're missing in stock RHEL/CentOS. And for those who haven't really looked into it, RHEL/CentOS is missing a lot.
Stella isn't so much a derivative distro as it is a spin on CentOS that includes all the extra repositories you need to replicate the desktop experience of, say, Fedora, but in the supported-just-about-forever world of RHEL/CentOS.
In case you hadn't heard (and count me among that number until just about now), CentOS 7 is out.
One of the things that CentOS is planning to do in its cozy-with-Red Hat present and future is release a whole lot of specialized images.
One of those images is out right now. It's an "Everything" ISO image that fits on an 8 GB flash drive and offers every package in CentOS 7.
This is what that README file says about the "Everything" image:
This image contains the complete set of packages for CentOS 7. It can be used for installing or populating a local mirror. This image needs a dual layer DVD or an 8GB USB flash drive.
That README details the rest of the images available of CentOS 7, including the DVD-sized and minimal ISO images.
Want to download CentOS 7? Start here.
And for those who want to run CentOS 7 on the desktop with minimal pain, take heart: Nux is prepping a CentOS 7 version of Stella
The title of this post is long. It says it all.
I'd like easy file-encryption from the file manager in Fedora (and every other version of Linux, for that matter).
I'd prefer that encryption be strictly password-based and not dependent on encrypted keys that I might lose, but encryption with keys that I have safely backed up offsite is better than no encryption at all, so I'm going to try using the GNOME application Seahorse to try this out.
I'll even ignore that I'm not using GNOME and instead relying on the Thunar file manager in Xfce.
But I do have a full GNOME environment installed, and I'd use it more if GNOME would run under the AMD Catalyst driver in Fedora 20. That it does not should be a much bigger deal than it appears to be among the greater Linux user base.
Anyway, I do have Nautilus, and to make Seahorse work in that file manager, Fedora offers the
seahorse-nautilus package. I installed it just now and will be giving it a try in the very near future.
Update: After installing
seahorse-nautilus, it is possible to encrypt files via right-click in Nautilus, but there is no right-click option to decrypt a file.
There is a Fedora 17-era bug on this issue, which appears to have been resolved.
An answer on Ask Fedora provided a workaround, but I'm reluctant to try it at this time, though I should probably look into it for help in creating a "custom action" in Thunar so I can encrypt/decrypt directly from my chosen Linux file manager.
I pulled the AMD Catalyst driver from my Fedora 20 system to do some tests. Among the things that started working: The Google Chrome web browser, which in recent weeks kills X while running under the proprietary driver.
It turns out that Google Chrome runs fine with the open Radeon driver.
As always, AMD Catalyst giveth (cooler operation, working suspend/resume) and taketh away (Google Chrome fails, trouble updating when driver doesn't support new kernels, general wonkiness).
I've been getting periodic e-mails from Canonical about the coming demise of the Ubuntu One file syncing/backup service and the need to get my files out of there should I want to keep them.
"I don't remember ever having anything on Ubuntu One, though I'm sure I played with it a bit," I thought.
Well today I went over there, reset my password and looked in on my Ubuntu One account. I've got a ton of stuff in there.
Mind you, it's all stuff I have on my hard drive, and I haven't run Ubuntu proper since 2010, according to the file timestamps, so I'm just going to let it all fade away when Ubuntu One sunsets for good at the end of July 2014.
I'm looking to figure out all the elements I need to convert my election-results Bash script to Perl, and one of the tasks involved is dealing with XML.
In the Bash script, I'm just treating the XML as text that needs to be hacked at with
But in Perl, as in many languages I presume, there are modules to help with this.
Perl Begin recommends avoiding
XML::Simple and instead using
Now I'll have to figure out what to do with the data after Perl deals with the XML so I can turn it into the HTML I'll need later in the program.
I won't lie by saying that it is a lot easier to find recently written XML-parsing strategies for Python than it is for Perl.
I'm continuing my reading of "Learning Perl."
The book is a bit dog-eared. Some of that is from carrying it around. But some of the wear is from actually reading the book.
I'm up to Page 74. I have been taking notes in the book and underlining things that seem important.
That didn't work for me. The stopper was the "you need to do the exercises" part of the enterprise. While I had the time to do the reading, I had a lot of mental resistance to trying to hack at the exercises at the end of each chapter.
I know that doing the exercises in these books helps you "get" the concepts, but I just wasn't there yet.
Now that I'm a few chapters in, I want to start typing the book's programs into my local system, running them and playing around with them a bit. While that's less than going all in on the exercises, it's more than not touching the computer or using Perl at all.
A couple days ago, there was a Google Chrome update, and for some reason the browser began working once again on my Fedora 20 system.
Now it's broken again.
It could have been a Mesa update in Fedora. Or something completely different. It could be the dubious AMD Catalyst/fglrx installation I have going, using Fedora 19 packages in Fedora 20.
Whatever it is, Google Chrome is broken again.
I even tried Spot's Chromium repo for Fedora. Chromium crashes X just the same.
Is it just me, or is anybody else having a problem with Chromium/Google Chrome in Fedora?
Google Chrome (using the Google repository because Fedora doesn't package Chromium) is working once again on my Fedora 20 system.
It had been broken for a few weeks. Whenever I started the browser, it would segfault and kill X.
Google pushed a new stable version of the browser today to its Fedora repository. I did the update, started Chrome and am now running it with no crashes and no problems.
I want to borrow books via the Los Angeles Public Library's Axis 360 service, which won't give you their DRM-laden ebooks without use of the Adobe Digital Editions software to take the small file you download (normally called
URLLink.acsm) and use it as a kind of key to download the longer
.epub book file.
And Adobe Digital Editions is not available for Linux.
But it can be installed with Wine, the Windows compatibility layer for Linux systems.
I already have Wine installed on my Fedora Linux system so I can use the excellent IrfanView image editor that's written for Windows. While instructions on the installation of Wine might be useful, I don't want to go there for the purposes of this post. I'll just say that you should use your distro's package manager to install Wine, and in this particular instance, the version of Wine available in your distro's repositories should be sufficient. One thing I will tell you: Make sure you also install
wine-mono (or whatever the package is in your system that includes the Windows version of Mono in Wine).
Back to installing Adobe Digital Editions in Linux via Wine.
A few people reported problems (a very few did not) with version 2.x. A few offered easy-to-byzantine workarounds to make Adobe Digital Editions 2.x work in Linux.
None of that worked for me.
You are prompted at some point after installing Adobe Digital Editions (ADE) to either create an Adobe account or use the one you already have.
I already had an Adobe account, so I used that login and password and was quickly swimmming in the world of DRM-ed ebooks.
Huge problem. The DRM'd epub files that Axis360 puts out aren't compatible with the Amazon Kindle.
Sure, I could break the DRM and use Calibre to convert the files. But I don't want to do that. I'd rather get the books for the alloted loan period and have them somewhat gracefully disappear when the loan is up.
So for Kindle, I'll stick with the Los Angeles Public Library's Overdrive system.
And for those titles from LAPL's instance of Axis360, I guess I'll just read them in Adobe Digital Editions via Wine.
Editorial comment: It's not like the Amazon Kindle is some obscure device. It dominates the ebook market. Axis360 basically tells users of the dominant ebook readers to take a long walk off a short pier.
But non-Fire Kindles (the cheap, not-a-tablet kind) get nothing. I guess that's what Overdrive is for.
Now is the time. I'm going to really learn to program.
I've been dabbling in programming for awhile now. I've mostly stayed within the friendly confines of the Bash shell on my local Linux system and the Linux servers on which I run various scripts and services.
I've been meaning to get deeper into real programming, whatever that is, for at least a couple of years. I would say it hasn't happened, but to a small extent it has. Now I'm ready to take the next step.
So what did happen?
A couple of years ago, I began writing little Bash scripts to automate my
rsync-driven backups. With these little one- to two-liners, I didn't have to remember the exact syntax to do the
rsync backup correctly and remember where my "exclude" file was living.
I also had trouble with screen blanking in Debian Wheezy. I finally figured out how to fix the problem with
xset, and wrote a little Bash script to automate that process.
I have also written a bunch of scripts to automate posting and create an archive of this Ode site. Among these Ode-related scripts is a local Perl program that generates an Indexette date stamp. You can copy/paste it into your post file, or call the script from within a text editor, which is what I do with Gedit.
It's still a simple two-liner, albeit with more than a dozen lines explaining what's going on.
About a year ago, I started a more complicated programming project at my day job.
So what do I do at this job? I work for a bunch of local news web sites. I push content. I create web pages in an arcane CMS. I create blogs in a common CMS (WordPress). I fix broken things and solve problems. I take things that are separate and mash them together.
The project, the thing I've wanted to do, was to script together data from various sources, more specifically election results for the nine web sites I work on.
I wanted to do it in Perl. But when I finally decided to do it, I just didn't have the chops. But I did know Bash, and I learned (or learned more) about such Unix/Linux utilities as
sed to turn my data into HTML pages I could generate with
cron and iframe into my various web sites.
Thus far I've been re-reading "Learning Perl", this time noting things that will help me in my election-results project.
I'm somewhere in the 40s in terms of pages, and I'm making notes in the book -- it's a real book, not an ebook -- in pencil.
Search and replace is pretty much a core function in Perl, so I can safely say goodbye to
Concatenation can be done with a dot (a
.) between items, so that takes care of
I would really like to pump data into an array and use Perl's
foreach to process each line.
Grasping scalars and arrays is going to be key.
I'd like to code a date stamp into the data. I've already experimented with that in Perl for my Indexette date-stamper script.
Eventually I'll need to write the results out to files on the web server. That shouldn't be too hard.
I'm very confident about Fedora being in good hands as the Fedora.Next project begins remaking what the distribution is for those who both use and produce it.
That Fedora is stretching its own particular envelope and remaking itself for the desktop, server and cloud is huge. And having Matt -- a longtime Fedora contributor -- at the helm is very reassuring indeed.
In looking to replace Fedora and get out of Catalyst hell, the distribution I choose depends on whether I will continue to dual-boot with Windows 8 (which I almost never use) or swap in my 320 GB drive and single-boot Linux.
Now that my hardware is "maturing," I can start considering distributions that aren't as aggressive as Fedora in terms of their updates.
Bleeding edge isn't something I'm looking for.
I'm leaning toward continuing with Xfce, though I will consider the GNOME and LXDE desktops. I'm even considering Ubuntu's Unity.
Linux Mint is conspicuously absent from my list. Maybe I should consider it.
The recent move to continue supporting Debian Squeeze as an LTS, and the expectation that the same will happen for current and future releases, has me looking more closely at Debian than I otherwise might. I have a lot of fondness for Debian. For one reason or other it generally runs "faster" than just about anything else.
But as "bleeding edge" as Fedora is, I probably had to do more hacking/scripting to get things working the way I wanted in Debian Squeeze/Wheezy than in Fedora 18/19/20, Fedora's Catalyst driver fiasco excluded, so that's something to think about.
My daughter's aging IBM Thinkpad R32 laptop runs Lubuntu, and I'm fairly impressed by it.
But Xfce remains my workhorse DE. Especially when it comes to running my company's proprietary CMS over Citrix, Xfce seems to play "better" with this sorry arrangement than other DEs. In Xfce I have to be "disciplined" enough to stay on a single virtual desktop. Changing desktops cuts my Citrix connection and locks me out of my apps. (Thanks, Citrix ... or thanks, CMS vendor who will not be named).
In GNOME 3, changing windows at all cuts the connection, so I need to keep Xfce around for this reason alone. I haven't tested this behavior in Unity because I can bring GNOME onto my Fedora system, but Unity is Ubuntu-only, and I haven't set up a full Ubuntu system with Citrix and done a test with this particular CMS. (That's the trouble with a desktop environment tied to a single distro.)
Fedora 21 won't be released until October, and if my AMD Catalyst solution continues to hold up, there's a very, very good chance I'll stick with Fedora 20 until the whole thing falls apart.
AMD released a new beta of its proprietary Catalyst driver for Linux, version 14.6.
You can download it directly from AMD, or wait for it to enter your distribution's packaging system.
For the past week or so, I've been using RPM Fusion's Catalyst packages for Fedora 19 on my Fedora 20 system, and this update hasn't come through that channel just yet.
There's also a good chance that I will move to a distribution that regularly packages Catalyst and isn't as aggressive in offering kernel updates so I don't have to deal with this on a continuing basis.
Fedora is very stable, especially given how much new code gets pushed during the entire release period.
Nobody tells you that before you start running Fedora. The desktop environment tends to linger, but kernels, applications and lots of other components are new, new, new.
Just now I got a new Xscreensaver.
I'm not using Mirall to sync OwnCloud at this particular moment, but I am using Fedora's packages instead of those direct from OwnCloud due to dependency problems on the non-Fedora repositories. And there is a new Mirall today as well.
Every once in a while, a bit of catastrophe enters Fedora. There are SELinux issues. In my case there are AMD Catalyst issues (which can be solved by NOT running AMD Catalyst, which I do from time to time).
Right now Google Chrome kills X. That's my "issue" of the week, you might say.
And when things do go catastrophically wrong, there is usually plenty of help on the mailing lists and in the forum.
Mat's point, more specifically, was that he has less trouble with Fedora than he did with Debian Sid, the "Unstable" release that gets new packages all the time.
What's notable is that Fedora is almost always ahead of Debian Sid when it comes to newness. (It's not ahead of Arch, but what is?)
And that Fedora newness isn't in something called "Unstable," but is in the regular releases. There is no Fedora "Stable."
But for the most part, it works.
I don't run Google Chrome all that often in Linux, though I run it all the time in Windows.
But I do keep Chrome, via Google's repository, on my Fedora 20 system.
So I try to run it today and it segfaults (I know because it kills X and I see "segfault" in the console messages).
I searched (yes, using Google) and couldn't find anything on this.
I can't remember if I've used this particular version of Google Chrome successfully before my most recent reinstall of AMD Catalyst (via the Fedora 19 packages in RPM Fusion).
Right now I'm unwilling to uninstall Catalyst just to test Chrome, especially because I'm primarily a Firefox user on this machine.
Who better to tell you how to find and install an RPM package for the AMD Catalyst driver in Fedora 20 than the very person who ophaned the driver for that very release?
That's right, Leigh Scott, who had every right to drop the packaging of the AMD Catalyst driver in RPM Fusion for Fedora 20, is still maintaining it for Fedora 19.
He has an easy recipe for using the F19 driver on F20 systems. I can confirm that his method works. As is, this RPM of the Catalyst driver does not work with GNOME 3 (due to previously mentioned Wayland code that GNOME is now including). It does work with Xfce and KDE (and everything else that isn't GNOME 3, I presume).
Here are the instructions, originally from Leigh's post on the Fedora Forums, with my annotations:
First, make a directory and cd into it. Leigh suggests calling it 'catalyst':
$ mkdir catalyst $ cd catalyst
Grab the needed Fedora 19 packages with
$ yumdownloader --releasever 19 xorg-x11-drv-catalyst-libs.i686 akmod-catalyst.$(uname -m) xorg-x11-drv-catalyst.$(uname -m) xorg-x11-drv-catalyst-libs.$(uname -m)
yum to install the packages (shown here using
sudo, though you can also su to root if you wish):
$ sudo yum --nogpgcheck install *.rpm
After this installation, I rebooted and had a working Catalyst/fglrx driver on my system. As I said above, it doesn't work with GNOME 3, but neither did the upstream AMD package before it stopped working altogether with the 3.14 kernel.
Configuration note: I did NOT need to do this, but if you have problems, you might want to use the
aticonfig utility as suggested here:
$ sudo aticonfig --initial
Again, I did NOT need to do this.
Also, I'm not sure if these Fedora 19 packages will be updated with when I run
yum update. I do know that it's a good idea to keep an eye on the latest packages in RPM Fusion (in this case the non-free F19 updates repository) to make sure that you don't install any kernels before a new Catalyst is ready for them.
I will update this post when I have more information on how long this fix continues to work.
I'd like to thank Leigh both for his work on AMD Catalyst in RPM Fusion until now as well as for this temporary Fedora 20 fix.
At the same time, I once again call attention to how the lack of an RPM package of AMD Catalyst for Fedora takes away choice and functionality from the distribution and its users.
As much as I love Fedora and its community, if you have a newish AMD-running computer, I really can't recommend Fedora because of this continuing problem. Sure, the open Radeon driver for AMD graphics chips/cards is better than ever, but I can't get suspend/resume with it. Once that starts working for me, I'll shut up.
So what do you do if you need AMD Catalyst? Distributions that haven't fallen into this rabbit hole include Debian, Ubuntu, and every single other one I can think of.
I'll ride this fix as long as I can, but you can bet I'm thinking of where I can go in terms of a new Linux distribution in order to have my choice of video driver.
Since Phoronix is the best source of news on Linux graphics hardware (and probably Linux hardware and benchmarking, too), I decided to e-mail the site's Michael Larabel and see what he thought about the fact that there has never been an RPM-packaged AMD Catalyst driver for Fedora 20, and at the moment even the upstream AMD installer won't work with the 3.14.x Linux kernel.
I'd like to thank Michael for turning that e-mail into this article: AMD Catalyst On Fedora 20 Is Left In An Awkward State.
The next day, he followed it up with How-To Install AMD Catalyst 14.4 On Fedora 20 With Linux 3.14.
I'd like to thank Michael for this, and for all the day-to-day reporting he does on Linux (and often BSD) in regard to drivers and hardware.
Ironically (or perhaps coincidentally), this tip comes from the guy who orphaned the Catalyst packages in RPM Fusion for Fedora 20 but still maintains them for Fedora 19 (and it involves using the F19 packages in F20).
I have to do a few more tests of this method before I detail it in another post, but first I'd like thank Michael again for his posts, and Leigh Scott right now for this too-easy way of getting the Catalyst driver working again.
Final word: I don't blame Leigh, per se, for dropping the Catalyst package in RPM Fusion. It's every maintainer's right to quit whenever they want. I'm just continually stunned and saddened that in the many months since Leigh made this decision, nobody else has stepped in to fill this crucial gap in the Fedora/RPM Fusion/Catalyst world.
I'm only speculating as to what caused 3D acceleration to stop working on my Fedora 20 system using the upstream-installed AMD Catalyst driver.
But I'm pretty sure it is the new
Mesa packages that rolled into Fedora a day or so ago.
Mesa isn't the culprit, apps that require 3D hardware acceleration are either throwing warnings about the lack of this particular feature, or just crashing immediately.
glxinfo in a terminal gave me the following message:
direct rendering: No (If you want to find out why, try setting LIBGL_DEBUG=verbose)
I suspected that the AMD Catalyst video driver, which I'm installing with AMD own
.run installer because there is no Fedora 20 package for it in RPM Fusion, was somehow broken.
When I have problems with the proprietary video driver, I usually uninstall Catalyst, check whatever's broken while running the open Radeon driver and then reinstall Catalyst and check again.
Except this time Catalyst wouldn't uninstall. The error message I received said something about the configuration being changed.
Catalyst wouldn't reinstall, either.
The script output suggested that using
--force would overcome the errors in either case -- uninstalling or reinstalling.
So I decided to reinstall AMD Catalyst over the current installation.
Since I was already running the latest Catalyst driver from AMD, I had previously downloaded, unzipped it and installed it, and the
.run file was already on my system for the reinstall.
I did this as root:
# ./amd-driver-installer-14.10-x86.x86_64.run --force
Catalyst reinstalled with no trouble, I rebooted, and 3D hardware acceleration was back.
You need more than just kernel packages to successfully install the upstream AMD Catalyst driver in Fedora, and you might not need every last one of these packages. But it couldn't hurt to have:
kernel-devel kernel-headers kernel-modules-extras kernel-tools kernel-tools-libs
Other packages that you need or are helpful include:
dkms gcc binutils make
Then you can go to the AMD Catalyst site for Linux, download a .zip file, unpack it and use the resulting
.run file to install the driver.
I wrote up more detailed instructions on how to install the driver in January. Those instructions are probably due for an update. I'll do that soon -- maybe when AMD updates the driver for the 3.14 Linux kernel.
The new Firefox, version 29, brings a whole new look to Mozilla's web browser.
I hope it brings a lot of other new things, too. I pretty much run Firefox exclusively in Linux, and I'd love to do the same at my day job, in Windows 7, where I use Google Chrome for the most part. In my day job, I have a whole lot of tabs open, and Chrome seems to handle it better. I would welcome a more robust Firefox in this regard.
Better or not, Firefox 29 is now in Fedora. The image above comes from the Fedora Magazine post announcing the update, which already flowed onto my installation via the Yumex package manager.
In my Ode system running on an Apache web server, I'm "exposing" the existence of the /documents directory by stashing HTML there for my site archive.
Normally only text files and images live in that directory, and Ode uses them to produce the HTML pages it serves out of another directory.
I'm not crazy about exposing the contents of directories that don't, for the most part, serve HTML. So I decided to disallow directory listings on my Ode site with this line in
Now my readers can see http://stevenrosenberg.net/documents/archive.html but not http://stevenrosenberg.net/documents and the entire structure under that.
Even if I do decide to move my archive file to another directory (and I am seriously thinking about doing that), it still seems like a good idea to block access to the "raw" directories in Apache.
I stopped using stand-alone mail clients about a year ago.
This week I decided to give Thunderbird another try. I'm keeping it simple this time around.
I'm using Thunderbird for a single e-mail account via IMAP. No Gmail. No shared Google Calendar. No newsgroups (yeah, I said newsgroups, which I had running in Thunderbird my last go-round)
What pushed me back to a mail client was the lack of speed in my webmail client of choice, RoundCube, with my mail provider.
So I'm keeping it simple and enjoying the speed and ease of a traditional desktop mail client.
Thunderbird has seen quite an update in its UI since the last time I used it, and that's enough progress for an app that has seemingly been abandoned by its parent company/foundation Mozilla.
As long as they keep it patched from a security standpoint, I don't need any new features.
I would have liked Fedora to be ahead of Debian rather than behind it, but a day's delay isn't a deal-breaker. And I could have installed the OpenSSL update from Koji early if this were a server installation.
Overall, the free-software community's response to the 'Heartbleed' bug shows the power of open development and how these projects and products are stronger through transparency and sharing.
I don't look on the OpenBSD Misc mailing list very often, but today a message from that list introduced me to Neomailbox, which offers services that include secure, encrypted e-mail and anonymous web surfing for prices that are very reasonable.
So why would you want to pay for e-mail? Well, you do get what you pay for, and while services like Gmail have a lot to offer, one of those things is Google's servers crawling the text of your mail and serving you ads based on what's in there.
And while Google is continually boosting its use of encryption, there are plenty of reasons why you might want an offshore, encrypted mail service that you actually pay for.
Did I forget to mention that Neomailbox uses OpenBSD?
Neomailbox also offers an anonymous web surfing service that uses encrypted tunneling and anonymous IP to add a whole lot of privacy and security to your daily comings and goings on the Internet.
And they do offer discounts if you get both e-mail and anonymous web, plus additional "family" discounts.
If your paranoid (or have reason to be) and don't want to run these services yourself on either home or colocated servers, Neomailbox is definitely worth a look.
I’ve been waiting for this: Hashover is a free-software project that aims to replace hosted-comments services like Disqus and those offered by Facebook and others that keep your comments in their database.
But the problem is that Disqus is a third-party service that seeks to make money off of you. And you don’t control the comments.
So if you have a self-hosted blog, having comments that are not self-hosted seems like cheating.
I don’t know anything else about Hashover beyond what’s at their web site, but I am very excited at the prospect of an add-to-anything commenting solution like Disqus that you can host yourself.
It’s something we really, really need. And I’m glad it’s here.
I was ready to give up. But what's great about Fedora is if something's broken, sometimes waiting is all you need to do.
Your problem will be resolved somewhere upstream. And Fedora gets newness from upstream faster than almost anyone (Arch notwithstanding).
So I was able to print to the HP LaserJet 1020 from Fedora 18 and 19 but not Fedora 20.
It has much, much more to do with the HP LaserJet 1020 printer than it does with any part of the Linux operating system.
This is a screenshot of the xfdashboard, which is billed as a GNOME Shell-like interface for Xfce
I saw on the Fedora Xfce mailing list today that it looks like
xfce4-whiskermenu-plugin are coming to the Fedora Xfce spin's ISO, if not as default choices at least as things you can add to your desktop after the fact.
I'm a fan of the Whisker Menu, which I already have installed, but I've never heard of xfdashboard, which brings a GNOME Shell-like desktop experience to the world of Xfce. I don't particularly want that, but it's an interesting idea.
I support bringing both of these packages, which are already in the Fedora repositories, to the Fedora Xfce Spin ISO (and therefore the default install), and I encourage you to try them out.
I was looking through the Fedora packages for Xfce applications I hadn't yet installed, and the Xfce Theme Manager came up.
I installed it. Then I ran it.
It screwed up my desktop. Not all the themes in my system were in the Theme Manager, and I was switched over to one of the few themes that were in there. My icons all grew larger in size. (Thank you very much. I'll be here all week. Please be sure to tip your waitress.)
So I had to re-select the Adiwata theme and manually shrink my icons.
But something good came out of it. For some reason Xfce themes have been "losing" the borders on the left and right sides of windows, and I have no idea now to restore them.
The Xfce Theme Manager has managed to do this for me, and I wouldn't want to reverse this change even if I knew how.
But otherwise the Xfce Theme Manager is trouble. I already removed it.
However, it did get me borders on the left and right sides of windows. And for that it was worth it.
You've heard the "Rhythmbox is dead" rumors. At various times over the past few years, the GNOME-centric music player, which I favor even in non-GNOME environments, has been called out for a lack of development, and replacements have queued up to take its place.
Well today a new Rhythmbox flowed onto my Fedora 20 system, and I took the opportunity to look at all of the fixes that went into the March 23, 2014 release of version 3.0.2.
So I'm at the Starbucks at Devonshire Street and Balboa Avenue in Granada Hills, CA, which happens to have Google (i.e. no longer AT&T) Internet service.
I'm getting 8.5 Mbps down, 1.3 Mbps up.
And there are a lot of people with laptops and tablets in here.
That's pretty solid.
If only my local Starbucks would dump AT&T for Google.
I'm not ignoring the fact that Google is able to collect a whole lot of data when you use this public WiFi. A lot of people use Google DNS (184.108.40.206 and 220.127.116.11, which is a genius move because I always remember it), but with Google WiFi they control the whole connection.
I saw a very interesting article in Phoronix, in which Michael Larabel writes about issues he is having with Xubuntu and a new Asus laptop after giving up on running Linux in a virtualized environment from within OS X on a Macbook Pro.
Later: I forgot to mention that I have tried the Xubuntu 14.04 Beta. It doesn't look radically different from previous Xubuntu releases. At first. There is a big change in the way the distribution deals with its application menu:
The Xubuntu developers didn't just add the increasingly popular Whisker Menu (which I use and like), they removed the traditional Xfce menu. I have both menus on my system. It's a trivial thing to add the "original" menu back to your panel, and I do think that the Whisker Menu can replace it, but it could be a bit unsettling to someone who is expecting a more vanilla Xfce experience.
In a move that surprises no one at this point, OpenBSD is in the process of pulling the Apache 1.3.x web server it has been maintaining on its own for what seems like forever and replacing it with the hot web server of the 2010s -- nginx.
Having a web server in the base install is mighty quirky in the first place, and OpenBSD has proudly flown this particular freak flag with no sign of changing things up.
But as much as a built-in web server (it's quite a help for development, in my opinion) is an enticing feature for many users, having that web server be nginx, which couldn't be more popular at this particular moment in geeky circles, should give many more people a reason to take a look at OpenBSD.
I'm not sure exactly how nginx will be configured in OpenBSD, by which I mean: Will it be possible to run CGI scripts without jumping through hoops due to a chroot environment?
Editorial: I don't think running CGI in Apache in the OpenBSD chroot was (or is) impossible in and of itself. What I do think is that a lack of interest among OpenBSD users and developers in doing it and writing tutorials about it made it pretty much impossible. Without someone leading the way, it's hard to stretch the well-established use case on just about any platform (those use cases being networking and firewalling on OpenBSD).
That OpenBSD users and developers are not interested in a particular feature, making said feature difficult to implement for mortal users -- and leading to "why do I have to re-invent the wheel?" syndrome among them -- is something you just have to accept when using a platform for a use case that isn't in its popularly accepted wheelhouse.
At least he's running it with Xfce.
The post made its way to OMG Ubuntu! where it provoked much discussion.
Much of it was of the "How dare he!" variety, though there were plenty of people who pointed out that the opinions of non-Linux users sampling today's distros are extremely important.
My constant complaining about the lack of proper suspend/resume with the open-source drivers and the concurrent lack of a packaged closed-source AMD driver in Fedora is the longtime user's equivalent.
For me, the benefits of Linux on the desktop outweigh the trouble I've had over the last year with video and suspend/resume.
But a new user who's on the fence? It's just another deal-breaker.
I lasted four days this time. After I couldn't log in one morning after rebooting Fedora 20 under AMD Catalyst, I pulled the proprietary driver, leaving the open Radeon driver to run the graphics on my HP Pavilion g6-2210us laptop.
With every new kernel, Radeon gets better. I'd say the performance differences between Catalyst and Radeon on this hardware are small enough that I'd be happy to stick with Radeon and leave Catalyst upgrade trouble behind (mostly because THERE IS NO CATALYST PACKAGE FOR FEDORA 20, THOUGH NOBODY SEEMS TO CARE).
For a very deep dive into blogging systems, listen to 032 - Blogging Platforms with Bob VanderClay. The blog post itself is valuable because there are dozens of links to just about everything they talk about. You can also go directly to the audio.
Here is the description of the show:
This week Gabe and Erik geek out about blogging platforms with Bob VanderClay. They discuss Blogging-as-a-Service (BaaS) vs. self-hosted blogging, then explore the advantages and disadvantages of static, dynamic, and hybrid blogging engines. Along the way, they touch upon a number of related topics including templating languages, commenting, writing tools, hosting providers, and backups.
I just installed Gvim, which is
vim-X11 in Fedora.
Maybe a graphical version of Vim will encourage me to use it more often.
That's the theory anyway.
So I'm at this Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf in Tarzana. The parking lot to this three-store minimall requires a ticket for entry, though the first two hours are free, and I'M NOT GOING TO BE HERE MORE THAN 40 MINUTES.
Two of the three businesses -- a Cold Stone Creamery and Panda Express -- are closed for good. That means the Coffee Bean is the only thing here. And the lot has a ton of spaces.
I get to the Coffee Bean. There's a PREPRINTED STICKER on the door saying, "Our WiFi is temporarly unavailable."
Except that it's VERY available.
In a mostly unrelated matter, HomeGoods is opening in the Gelson's shopping center across Reseda Boulevard.
Once again, I did some updates on my Fedora 20 system. And after happily suspending and resuming the laptop for days, I crashed in the OpenShot video editor and had to do a hard reboot.
Except that I never got to the login screen. Just like the last time this happened, I suspected that the Catalyst driver I downloaded and installed from AMD's
.run package was not playing well with the latest kernel from Fedora.
I've been messing around with scripting, and I created a static Ode archive page that lists every entry on this site.
I hacked it quickly. It needs some work. I think this would work better as a full-on Ode extension. For that I'd have to write it in Perl and figure out how Ode add-ins work. It could also be an extension of the Indexette add-in.
I'll be thinking about how to do this.
I decided to script my blog updates via a Bash script for Unix/Linux that runs both my Unison sync and the Indexette reindexing necessary to to make those entries live.
You're probably not running Unison like I am (and I still need to write up my Unison tutorial), but the reindexing line is worth sharing because I find it very useful to reindex the blog without using the web browser.
First of all, you need to install
wget on your Unix/Linux system. It's available in just about every distribution. Use your favorite package manager to install it.
It's a pretty big bug that is being closed. Says Tomas Hoger in the bug report:
It was discovered that GnuTLS X.509 certificate verification code failed to properly handle certain errors that can occur during the certificate verification. When such errors are encountered, GnuTLS would report successful verification of the certificate, even though verification should end with failure. A specially-crafted certificate can be accepted by GnuTLS as valid even if it wasn't issued by any trusted Certificate Authority. This can be used to perform man-in-the-middle attacks against applications using GnuTLS.
Selena Larson of Readwrite.com writes:
A variety of Linux distributions are vulnerable to hacks because of a bug that allows people to bypass security protocols to intercept and disseminate encrypted information. A member of the Red Hat security team discovered a bug in the GnuTLS library that allows hackers to easily circumvent the Transport Layer Security (TLS) and secure sockets layer (SSL).
The vulnerability affects the certificate verification, meaning secure connections that are supposedly going through as secure, are not. Someone could compromise a secure connection by using a “man-in-the-middle” attack, acting as the server to intercept traffic, financial transactions or secure information.
My shared host offers AWStats, and every once in a while I take a look.
I was prompted to look by Jim Lynch's article, Why You Should Delete Your Facebook Account.
Like Jim, it turns out I'm also not getting any traffic from Facebook. Maybe two views a month. I get a little more from Twitter, but nothing earth-shattering.
At some level, ends and means in computer programming dictate that whatever language gets you there is the right one.
If you want to work on a certain project, and that project's code happens to be written in PHP, that is something to think about.
Do you want to attract collaborators? From among the languages you like, pick a popular one.
I have tweeted a bunch and written some, too, about Buffer, the web and mobile app that allows you to space out your social posts and reposts and have them released at specific times during the day.
Having Buffer "baked in" as a browser extension is a killer feature.
As a user, my company has gone all in for Buffer. We are a subscriber. A business can part with much more than the $102 that the Awesome Plan costs for a year. $102 a year is something most businesses scrape off the bottom of their boots on a slightly wet morning.
This post is here more so I don't lose track of this extremely detailed tutorial on how to deal with iOS 7 devices under Linux, especially Fedora.
(Because friends don't let friends use iTunes)
If you're not following blogging and RSS pioneer Dave Winer, you should be.
Here are some recent, important (yet short) Dave Winer posts on blogging and social media's evisceration of it:
A blog post has lasting value. A tweet stream is more ephemeral, it can evaporate almost instantly.
The blogging tools developers aren't giving the users anything new and/or interesting to do. ... Since when does a software category survive without introducing new stuff every so often?
Okay so people who used to blog now prefer to post their observations on Facebook for the immediate interaction of it. I know what they mean now that I've been using Facebook for a few months. Hearing the likes and the comments is a kind of Pavlovian reward. It's true, I know the feeling.
People like Facebook because when they post something there, they get responses from people they care about.
I use Red Hat's OpenShift, and I'd like to use it more. I'm aiming to get the hang of all the different moving parts: the web interface, the
rhc command-line interface, getting in with SFTP, git ...
I still maintain that PaaS (platform as a service) solutions like OpenShift need to be as easy to manage as shared hosting, which you can deal with via FTP and which doesn't need a special command-line utility.
I'm not saying that everything shouldn't be configurable for full-on developers. But there should be a simpler way to run cloud/networked applications. And yes, I recognize that we still do have shared web hosting, which can be pretty darn easy.
If you see a link to this post on Twitter an hour after my last Tweet, my IFTTT-Buffer timed blog RSS-to-social setup is working.
Sure it's better to script everything locally, and I bet that piping RSS to social media at regular intervals is more than scriptable, I started using Buffer a week or so ago to spread out my Twitter posts in the event that I do a bunch of them at once.
Mind you, this hasn't yet happened. But it could. And I'm testing the service for my day job.
For my personal sites, I've been using dlvr.it to automatically feed blog RSS to Twitter (and occasionally Facebook). But while dlvr.it theoretically CAN dribble out posts at timed intervals with it's new (to me) "Q" feature, use of RSS with Q requires a paid subscript to dlvr.it. Again, for the day job this is something we might consider (if anybody but me was a dlvr.it fan), but I'm not that crazy about the paid options.
I spent quite a bit of time running Google Chrome/Chromium on both Windows and Linux, but between feeling uncomfortable giving away so much data to Google (when logged in on Chrome) and how well Firefox performs on Linux (which is very well from what I can see), I now use Firefox about 99 percent of the time in Fedora 20.
But on my Windows 7 work machine, which is a more powerful (quad-core AMD to my laptop's dual-core, with 8 GB of RAM to the laptop's 4 GB), I flip it, using Chrome about 99 percent of the time.
So I've been switching it up to see how I might like using more Chrome in Linux and more Firefox in Windows.
I'll keep it short. There's nothing about Chrome on my laptop in Fedora 20 that makes me want to use it. It's no faster and no more stable. And SELinux doesn't much like it (and I get warnings).
I spent the whole day yesterday in Windows 7 on my big box running Firefox (version 27 on both machines for the record) for everything. It was measurably slower, and I had a few periods of non-responsiveness, especially with my customary 15-20 open tabs.
This means I'll be sticking with Firefox on my Linux-running laptop (and for my personal use, where I'm not so crazy about Google spying and Chrome on my workplace desktop, where I'm already using Google Apps and am not doing any personal business (and could care less if Google knows about my web use as it relates).
So I'm working on a blog that I moved from Movable Type to WordPress in early 2012 but haven't touched since.
There were about 8,000 spam comments that weren't marked by the system as spam from 2009-11.
That's a lot of spam, and I remember now how hard it was to keep up with at the time.
I haven't had time to listen back to the recording yet, but I just spent some time with Karsten Wade of Red Hat, the onetime Fedora Community Gardener who's now tending to the community around CentOS, the Red Hat Enterprise Linux-derived distribution that is now a whole lot closer to Red Hat that it has ever been before.
That last statement is a bit of a cheat because until the announcement this January of the new relationship between CentOS and RHEL, they were deliberately not very close at all.
I still have to "process" the interview (in my own mind, that is), but I get the feeling that Red Hat's involvement with CentOS -- which includes employing a number of developers who have been volunteering their time until now, adding some open governance to the project as well as providing infrastructure support -- will only be positives for the distribution that people have turned to when they want an enterprise-level operating system without the Red Hat subscription that goes along with it.
I'm at SCALE 12x at the Los Angeles Airport Hilton hotel on Saturday, Feb. 22, 2014, and so far I've roamed the show floor, which seems a whole lot bigger than the last time I attended SCALE, which was probably in 2009.
The floor is thick with people, and there's a lot going on at the booths.
The free-software world converges on Los Angeles this weekend, Feb. 21-23, 2014, for SCALE 12x, the Southern California Linux Expo at the Hilton Los Angeles Airport hotel.
The Friday-Sunday convention welcomes users of the free Linux computer operating system that powers everything from servers and supercomputers to desktops, laptops, smartphones and toasters (and just about everything with a computer controlling it).
If you’ve ever wanted to know just about anything about running a server but were afraid to ask, SCALE is the place to get all the answers and more.
The show is thick with enthusiasts who come hear talks about the latest in free and open technology and meet in the exhibit hall with representatives from open-source software projects and the companies that build their businesses on them.
As much as the open-source Radeon driver has improved in the 3.12 and 3.13 Linux kernels in Fedora 20 -- and that improvement has been significant, I returned to the proprietary AMD Catalyst driver for one reason.
While everything else is working better in the Radeon driver, solving pretty much all of the problems I had with it in the 3.11-and-earlier days, the one thing it won't do with the 3.13 Linux kernel in Fedora 20 is allow the laptop to properly wake after it has been put to sleep. (The hardware is an HP Pavilion g6-2210us with the AMD A4-4300M APU, which includes AMD Radeon HD 7420G graphics.)
It makes me sad in a way. Radeon has come so far. And so fast. With Radeon DPM (invoked with a kernel boot parameter in 3.12 and by default in 3.13), 3D hardware acceleration works and CPU temperatures are pretty much the same as under Catalyst.
But the convenience of being able to shut the laptop lid to put the machine to sleep, then open it and have it wake up -- it's just too much to give up. I can't help it. It's a feature that's important to me.