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frugal technology, simple living and guerrilla large-appliance repair
Fri, 30 Oct 2015

Fix for Firefox dark theme issues in GNOME 3

Hey Linux users, are you using GNOME Tweak Tool to choose the "Dark" theme, making your GTK3 applications dark and causing problems with white-on-white text in the Firefox browser?

I have. Even though I almost never use GNOME 3, I do have it installed, and the GNOME Tweak Tool's "dark theme" switch enables me to turn GTK3 applications like Firefox "dark" in their styling. Except that often you can't read text boxes on web sites because the "dark" theme turns the text white while also leaving the background white.

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Thu, 22 Oct 2015

Geany DOES have themes, and now I do, too

I try to switch to dark themes on as many parts of my computing workflow as possible.

The desktop environment, my applications -- I try to make it all dark.

Why? It's easy on the eyes.

I'll go into my full dark-theme setup later, but for now I'd like to share my discovery of the dark themes in the Geany text editor.

I didn't think Geany had themes, let alone dark themes. Turns out it has both.

And I've been using Geany a whole lot because a) copy/paste of text with Windows-style line endings is broken in Gedit (it comes out Unix style) and b) I'm using Geany to work on my Java code because it will compile and run it right in the editor.

I found a link to the Geany Themes site on GitHub. I downloaded the whole thing as a .zip file (I probably should just use git to fork it onto my local drive), then dropped the colorschemes directory into my own ~/.config/geany directory (making it ~/.config/geany/colorschemes) and then in Geany I could choose a Color Scheme under View - Change Color Scheme in the application's menu.

Right now I using the Monokai color scheme.

All I need to do now is figure out how to execute either a Perl or Go program and get the output into the editor (like I do with Gedit Snippets), and I can use Geany instead of Gedit to write this blog's entries, which include a script-generated timestamp for Ode's Indexette add-in.

Update: It is possible to insert a custom-formatted date into your file in Geany under Edit - Insert Date - Use Custom Date Format, using Edit - Insert Date - Set Custom Date Format to set it. For my Ode datestamp I used tag : Indexette : index-date : %Y %m %d %T. Unfortunately it outputs the date in my local timezone instead of UTC, which is what I use in my Ode site. I don't see any way of making the "Custom Date Format" output UTC, so this makes Geany that much less useful for the purpose of writing for Ode.

I tried the Mini-Script plugin, but that is cumbersome, and I even overwrote one of my scripts on accident because of its less-than-ideal user interface.

In short, there's nothing in Geany like Gedit's Snippets plugin, which is ideal (and makes Gedit itself ideal) for writing Ode entries.

Sun, 11 Oct 2015

Installing Citrix on Linux: Guides for the perplexed

Even though I have a working Citrix installation in Fedora 22, my recent failure to replicate it in Debian Jessie has me worried.

To that end (and so I will have a place to go when I need to do this again and again), here is a list of Citrix-on-Linux how-tos:

Overall Linux

Citrix: Receiver 13.1 for Linux


Install Citrix Receiver 13.1 on Fedora 21 x64 by Chris Savage

Installing Citrix on Fedora 21 by Ken Fallon

Citrix Receiver on Fedora 19 64 bits from Ask Fedora

CITRIX ICA (RECEIVER) 13.1 UNTER FEDORA 20 (64BIT) from iSticktoit.net (in German, but understandable from a Linux perspective)

CITRIX RECEIVER 13.2 (ICA) ON FEDORA 22 (KDE) from iSticktoit.net (in English)


Ubuntu Community Help Wiki: CitrixICAClientHowTo

Installing Citrix Reciver on Ubuntu 14.04 LTS (Trusty Tahr) by Ken Fallon

How to install Citrix Receiver icaclient in Ubuntu 14.04 LTS 64-bit – tested and working using Mozilla Firefox by Mark911

Quora: How do I run the Citrix ICA Client on Ubuntu? by Cesar Augusto Nogueira


Superuser.com: How do I install Citrix ICA Client (Receiver) 13 on Debian 64-bit Linux?

Arch Linux

(Often the Arch Linux Wiki can help users of any Linux system, regardless of distribution)

Arch Linux Wiki: Citrix

RHEL (and CentOS)

UC Berkeley Knowledge Base: How to install the Citrix Receiver using Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) 6.5

Thu, 08 Oct 2015

Debian Jessie fails passes Citrix ICA test, which just like Fedora passes easily

Update on Nov. 18, 2015: I finally did succeed in getting Citrix ICA installed and running on Debian Jessie.

I can't find the exact web page I used for help, but the "core" of my successful method was adding the i386 architecture, updating my sources and then installing Citrix from the .deb package:

# dpkg --add-architecture i386
# apt-get update
# apt-get upgrade
# dpkg -i icaclient(bunch of other stuff).deb

So I now have Citrix ICA working in Debian. I use it through Chromium, so I don't have to go through any machinations to get CACerts into Firefox/Iceweasel.

Now that I have Citrix working on Debian, the stable Jessie release is a viable alternative for me. But since I've grown very accustomed to having the much-newer packages of Fedora (and I'm not as willing to run Debian Sid), I am looking at Xubuntu, staying with Fedora, or the Korora spin of Fedora.

The original post:

I've been having networking issues on the Fedora 22 installation I've been using and upgrading since it started out with Fedora 18 in early 2012.

None of my attempts at fixes seem to bring the network (principally the wired network, whether I'm using it or not) back after suspend/resume, though I have a quick-and-dirty script that I can run from my application panel when I need it.

So that means it's time to audition new distros. I love Debian, and I tend to end up with it when my hardware starts to age. And yes, a 3 1/2-year-old laptop is aging as these things go.

So I'm auditioning distros. I continue to like Xubuntu, and reinstalling Fedora is always an option, especially since the networking problem is not present in the live environment.

But I wanted to try Debian Jessie. I'd love to be running Debian Stable.

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Tue, 22 Sep 2015

How to fix LibreOffice spell check in Fedora 22

I needed to use LibreOffice today. It's not something that happens very often. I almost always write or edit in a text editor, web form or Google Docs. But today I opened up LibreOffice.

I wanted to use "automatic" spell-checking in LibreOffice, which you invoke with shift-F7. But it didn't work.

I looked at my default "language," which was U.S. English. There was no little blue check next to it that indicated it had a dictionary. I checked my packages. I wasn't missing English.

It turns out there's a hack that gets spell-checking working and gives me the red squiggly lines under my misspelled words (that's the way I like to do it.

I found the answer in LibreOffice's "Ask LibreOffice" forum (which uses the same software as Ask Fedora).

Here is the fix from that helpful post:

Under Tools -> Options -> Language Settings: Writing Aids, the list of available language modules showed almost everything set. I unchecked and then re-checked "Hunspell SpellChecker" and "Libhyphen Hyphenator" and hit OK. (I strongly suspect that the hunspell was the significant checkbox). Then, when I go back to Language and look at the default language settings, the "English (USA)" entry has the ABC✔ by it, and now spell checking is working.

Best guess is that some results of invoking something from hunspell is saved by libreoffice and that with updating versions, the cached output is no longer valid. Re-invoking (when re-checking the checkbox) refreshes the cached data and now everything is all better.

It sure worked for me.

Wed, 26 Aug 2015

Use Firefox to find the right certificate for Citrix to beat SSL Error 61

I had to set up my laptop to access a new Citrix site, and I got the dreaded SSL Error 61, where the proper certificate could not be found.

It was a Go Daddy certificate, and I knew that I had it. I went to Go Daddy, got another copy and dropped it into /opt/Citrix/ICAClient/keystore/cacerts/.

The error persisted.

After a few other unsuccessful attempts, I found the answer at Ask Fedora.

Basically you find the right certificate by going through Firefox itself, exporting the certificate and then using rootly privileges to put it in /opt/Citrix/ICAClient/keystore/cacerts/.

  • In Firefox, go to the web site for your Citrix app. It should be a secure site.

  • Click on the little lock icon to the left of the URL.

  • Click "More Information"

  • Click "View Certificate"

  • Click "Details"

  • You should now see the certificate(s) you need. Click on them to select and then click "Export," and save it/them somewhere in your /home directory

  • Use the terminal and either su or sudo to copy the certificates to /opt/Citrix/ICAClient/keystore/cacerts/.

Everything should work. At least it did for me.

Wed, 15 Jul 2015

Filezilla working again in Fedora 22

After many months during which the FileZilla FTP client would eat a ton of CPU and basically stop working in Fedora, whatever was wrong has been fixed, and the program is working once again.

After a FileZilla update caused the problem (and yes, I did contribute to the bug report), I set up gFTP because I need a working FTP client. And gFTP gets the job done. It's super fast. It's also not actively developed.

Maybe I'll go back to FileZilla. Maybe not. But it's nice to have the option.

Tue, 26 May 2015

Dodgy Windows 8 leads to me running Citrix on Fedora Linux

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.

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Mon, 23 Mar 2015

Test your (or any) web site’s availability with Apache’s ab utility

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 httpd-tools.

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 <: 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?

Note: So how did Ode do in this test? Very well. The site carries Javascript for Disqus and the Twitter and Google Plus counters, so it's not as light as it could be, and the speeds are no slower than for my entirely static sites on this same shared-hosting server.

And it also shows that Ode can easily handle 1,000 simultaneous requests. Not bad at all.

Sat, 07 Mar 2015

PulseCaster records both sides of your conversation - and I can confirm that it works

PulseCaster has a very simple GUI

So I'm looking for PulseAudio-related software today, and I come across PulseCaster, a Python application created by former Fedora Project Leader (and current Red Hat employee) Paul Frields.

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's warning screen

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?

All the PulseCaster links you'll need: Wiki, GitHub, Home