Arch Linux test drive: Thoughts from a Kubuntu user

My old work laptop computer is about to be replaced by my employer by a new ASUS N73SV.

First of all this computer has what is called the Optimus Graphics Technology, that isn’t so Optimus regarding Linux… This technology is made of two video cards, one Intel embebed on the chipset and one discrete Nvidia chipset. As far as I know there is no Linux driver for this, and Nvidia won’t be releasing in a foreseeable future Linux support. So the Intel card will be used (I’m not using this for games) and the Nvidia card will be disabled. There are solutions for disabling completely the card and or use some applications on the Intel card and others on the Nvidia card, I’ll have to check. But disabling the Nvidia card improves the battery life, so…

So, off course, the first thing to do this computer is to nuke the Windows 7 install and install a Linux OS…

And there’s the catch: Kubuntu 11.04 or the Arch Linux Rolling distro?

Both have great documentation and great communities, but both could have some “clean up” on it. For example, on the Arch Beginner Install, some things aren’t completely obvious (Well at least for me). This is due to the fact that the documentation is in fact complete, it shows all the possibilities, but it should only show first the most obvious/common/standard way, and then link out the complete documentation regarding the subject. This way documentation could be more slim and straight forward.

Anyway, I was able to install and get an Arch system running without any issues with KDE Desktop but there where issues, and those are not Arch Linux fault. These issues are related to it’s mirrors and the software and sync status of them.

So being on PT, I’ve enabled all PT mirrors, and ended up with KDE 4.4.5 installing and running… Well the latest release of KDE is 4.6.3, so what happened here??? Browsing the mirrors I’ve found out that some where not up to date, so I’ve disabled them, and sure, pacman now shows that KDE 4.6.3 is available. So I’ve disabled the out of date mirrors, and while downloading I had failures regarding mplayer, and x264 packages that wouldn’t allow the upgrade to proceed.

Humm, ok, so I’ve enabled the core repository, and now everything is downloaded fine, but pacman refuses to upgrade due to some packages are corrupted.

So, not of the best starts…

But still I’ll give Arch Linux a try, because mainly on Kubuntu to have the latest software version, namely Libreoffice and even Calligra for test driving means to add backports and probably broking your next mandatory upgrade.

So, after reading the Arch Linux Wiki, I’ve found out that there is a mirror status page that shows what mirrors are available and up to date. I’ve deleted my obsolete mirrors, and enabled only the “live” ones (one in my case and did a full upgrade, and after an hour, more or less I had KDE 4.6 SC installed and running.

So far what I’ve done:

- Installed the base Arch system, making sure that the mirror list was up to date.

- Configured a new no priviledge user, and set up sudo

- Installed Xorg and KDE

- Configured the dbus and kdm daemons to start automatically

Then, I want to install the KDE Kpackagekit, but this was only available on AUR, not on the mainstream repositories. I’ve followed the instructions on http://archlinux.fr/yaourt-en#get_it and installed yaourt package manager. From here I’ve installed Kpackagekit, and with it I was able to install through KDE the rest of packages that I wanted, namely  the kdeplasma network widgets.

 

Kubuntu 10.10 upgrade to Kubuntu 11.04

After a two months of waiting that the dust settled on the release of the new 11.04 Kubuntu version, I’ve finally upgraded my home computer.

And now, for the first time, I’m amazed that it went flawless… Even with some backports enabled, namely Kubuntu backports, the upgrade went without any issue what so ever.

After reboot, and because I’m using the proprietary fglrx driver, I ended up on the console, no graphic environment, but enabling the X-Team PPA, doing an update and enabling the fglrx driver, I had again all things working fine.

So this time there are no tricks on this upgrade, and my I’ve able to upgrade since 8.10 till now successfully. All I have left to upgrade is the legacy GRUB 1 bootloader.

Now, my work laptop HP Compaq nx9420 is about be retired and replaced by a new ASUS N73SV laptop. On the HP I also was able to successfully upgrade to Kubuntu 10.10, but on the new laptop I’m thinking on a rolling release distro, Arch Linux to be exact. Here are my thoughts why: http://primalcortex.wordpress.com/2011/06/24/arch-linux-tes…r-from-kubuntu/

Dokuwiki error

Quick post:

If by any chance, on Linux, you have the following error: The datadir (‘pages‘) does not exist, isn’t accessible or writable. You should check your config and permission settings.

The easiest way to check it is to do:

1) Goto root: sudo -s

2) Goto the web server user, normally www-data is the user used by Apache and lighttpd: su – www-data

4) Transverse the directory until reaching the pages directory: cd /; cd dir1; cd dir2 and so on

5) Somewhere when transversing the directories the permission error will pop-up when doing the cd command without enough privileges (the reason for the issue). To solve the issue, exit to the root user and correct the permissions to the user www-data on the affected directory.

Panasonic Viera G30 and AVCHD files

Just bought a few weeks ago a Panasonic Viera G30, european model. The image quality is superb for SD (standard definition) and on HD it is just breathtaking, far superior, in my opinion to the LED and LCD competition at half the price.
Anyway, I own a lot of AVCHD files produced by my Canon Vixia HF200, and the Panasonic can happily read the camera SD card on it’s own SD card slot and even on it’s USB port trough an external card reader. I really never saw these files on an HD TV set, albeit I’ve saw some of them on a friends Sony LCD TV (model KDL4000, I think, not sure) through a WDTV player. I wasn’t amazed of the image quality on this TV..
Well on the G30, the AVCHD files just look fantastic, showing perfect near cinema quality and playing smooth without any hiccups or any flaw.
But there’s a catch. Panasonic Viera can only play AVCHD files with it’s own media player if they are inside a Blue-Ray file structure. Standalone MTS files are not played.

This means that I have a problem, being it that my all AVCHD video library of standalone files cannot be played directly on Viera without first packing them into a BD file structure, much like the folders and files that are on the SDHC camera card…

Creating the file structure on an external hardisk and copying all files to the STREAM sub-folder is not enough, because the G30 will try to read the playlist file .MPL.
So it isn’t just enough to copy the files to a “pre-prepared” hard disk, a correct MPL file must be generated.
So far the only tool that I know that can do that is the multiAVCHD program, only available for windows, but runs fine on Linux, through WINE.
The problem with this tool, in my case, is that will build a complete BD file structure by copying the MTS files and then generating the MPL file… A waste of time.
So if anyone knows a tool that given a list of MTS files, generates a MPL file, and runs on Linux, give me a bip to check it out.

P8 5.0 on CentOS/Redhat install

If by any chance, during the setup launching this happens:

Preparing to install…
Extracting the JRE from the installer archive…
Unpacking the JRE…
Extracting the installation resources from the installer archive…
Configuring the installer for this system’s environment…

Launching installer…

Graphical installers are not supported by the VM. The console mode will be used instead…

Preparing CONSOLE Mode Installation…

=======================================================

Installer User Interface Mode Not Supported

The installer cannot run in this UI mode. To specify the interface mode, use the -i command-line option, followed by the UI mode identifier. The valid UI modes identifiers are GUI, Console, and Silent.

=======================================================

Just install de compatibility libstd to your system:

yum install compat-libstdc++-33.i386

Openssl on [K]Ubuntu and the SSLv2 protocol

While troubleshooting a problem related to TLS/SSLv2/SSLv3, I’e found out, that for security reasons, all support for SSLv2 on Ubuntu’s openssl package was removed.

Check out this: http://security.sunera.com/2011_02_01_archive.html for more information. This is very important if using Ubuntu as the OS for running vulnerability scanning, because the lack of SSLv2 support from Ubuntu’s openssl package will always give false negative results for a site with enabled SSLv2 support…

So if there is the need to check for SSLv2 support and or SSLv2 vulnerability scanning using Ubuntu as the host OS, then download, compile and use the OpenSSL sources.

Just for reference: How to check for:

TLS -> openssl s_client -tls1 -connect 10.0.0.0:443

SSLv2 -> openssl s_client -ssl2 -connect 10.0.0.0:443

SSLv3 -> openssl s_client -ssl3 -connect 10.0.0.0 -port 443  -showcerts

Kubuntu 10.10 with KDE 4.6 and full screen flash video

After upgrading to KDE 4.6 on Kubuntu 10.10 I started to have some problems on startup, namely some Dbus errors, unable to logout, systray applets not starting, and so on. For clearing it up, I erased my profile (mv .kde .kde_old EDIT:  DO THIS ONLY IF you don NOT care about your  KDE data. DO NOT DELETE if you want to revert the operation) and rebooted.

So at logon time a new profile was created, and the errors that I had where gone. The only issue was that I had to configure my workspace again.

Trouble hits when I tried to see a full screen flash video, namely 1080p or 720p and it stutters badly. Previously I had no such problem. Logging out and logging in with my wife’s profile, the issue was gone… Strange indeed… Did a lot of install/remove/install of flash plug-in, but nothing that I did solved the issue. But installing a version of Flash Plugin that I did KNOW for sure that it worked full screen didn’t also solved the issue, I know that my problem was something else..

To keep the story short, as I’m not a great writer or blogger, there is one setting that needs to be changed on KDE to allow full screen flash to work fine (at least for me):

1) Goto System Settings

2) Select Desktop Effects

3) Select Advanced

4) Unselect (! yes unselect) Suspend Desktop effects for full screen windows. Apply and done.

Now it works fine for me. By the way, I’m using an i920 with ATI 4870 proprietary drivers and 64 bit Kubuntu.