Synology Cloudstation on Kubuntu/KDE Desktop

One of the softwares available for the Synology is Cloudstation that mimics Dropbox functionality but with your own server (in this case your Synology device). For the Cloustation server there are several clients available, and one of them is CloudStation for Linux.

But I run Kubuntu version of Ubuntu with the KDE desktop, and during installation of the CloudStation for Linux/Ubuntu, one of the installation steps by the Cloudstation install program  is to run apt-get where Nautilus, Brasero and a lot of other supporting libraries are required to be installed.

But, as I’ve found out, those packages are only needed for file manager integration, not for the functionality of the CloudStation software.

So just answer NO to the request of packages (you may want to keep a copy of the package list for future installation), and let CloudStation install.

On my KDE 4.11.3 it CloudStation works fine, and it has the Status icon on the Systray, without the required Nautilus libraries. Of course there is no Dolphin integration.

KDE device notifier and Konqueror/Dolphin file manager

This may seem a simple issue, but it took me a while to find why “Open with File Manager” on the device manager opened up the Konqueror file manager instead of Dolphin…

To change it’s easy. Just go to System Settings and Default Aplications. Choose File Manager, and there choose your File Manager of preference.

That’s it.

Kubuntu upgrade from 12.04 to 13.04

Despite Kubuntu 12.04 being a LTS release, and after some weeks upgrading to 13.04 on my personal desktop computer, I decided to do the same on my Work Laptop.

Things didn’t ran as expected…

First the upgrade from 12.04 to 12.10 deleted a bunch of packages, by my command :( and I ended up with no graphical display… A quick look at Xorg.0.log file showed me that my Xorger’s driver for my Intel graphic card was gone.

Anyway, I’ve installed the xservers-xorg-video-intel package and proceeded to upgrade to 13.04.

At the end despite having a graphical desktop, after login on KDE, a qdbus error appeared… qdbus package was missing… (apt-get install qdbus).

Also on 12.04 the transition from the login greeter to the desktop is silky smooth (it is on my desktop), on my laptop it blanks showing a black screen with a mouse cursor, but the desktop shows up abruptly. I don’t have now the KDE logon progress icons…

And finally, DNS settings from my DHCP servers didn’t worked, I had to manually add the dns servers IP to resolv.conf…  This issue was also a missing package, namely dnsmaq. After adding up the nameserver 127.0.0.1 to my /etc/resolv.conf file, everything is up….

Let’s see what is waiting again in the dark…

Firefox Open Download Directory Action on KDE/KUbuntu

I had a bit of a strange issue with FireFox and Kde 4.7 on Kubuntu 11.X.

After downloading a file with Firefox, on the Dowloads Firefox windows, right clicking the downloaded file for the Open Download Directory action, instead of opening the Dolphin File Manager, it opened the KdeSVN application… Very, very annoying.

To solve this you need to reconfigure KDE, probably due to the fact that KDESvn was installed:

1) Goto System Settings
2) Select Default Applications
3) Select FileManagers
4) Deselect and select Dolphin
5) Apply
6) Restart Firefox

It should work now.

[K]Ubuntu on Asus N73SV

So my employer replaced my old work laptop HP nx9420 by a new ASUS N73SV, more precisely N73SV-V1G-TZ393V, which by the way is  a great name (not…). The Asus N73 is the bigger screen brother of the Asus N53.

My old HP was able to do any work I could ask for, but it’s limitations on handling virtual machines where showing up, delaying work significantly. This Asus is a completly different beast. It’s fast, and has 3 SODIMM slots, so right now I have it with 12GB of RAM (8GB are two 4GB of Kingston memory plus the original 4GB of RAM). To open up it, you must remove the keyboard (small tabs near the ESC key, F5, F9, PRTSC and End at the top)  and one SODIMM slot is available right away (on th Q2630 CPU’s). Then after removing some screws (check the manual), the disk bay and remaining memory slot is also available at the bottom by removing the bottom cover.

The first thing to do with it was of course to nuke Windows 7, and after much indecision between KUbuntu and Arch, I installed Kubuntu 11.04 64 bit edition. After some fiddling with partitioning (I just left the original recovery partition), everything installed smoothly. Going to KUbuntu was more for getting a full working computer as fast as I can, without too much fiddling, but I left a partition to try out Arch on my spare time.

So what works out of the box? Well almost everything. Let’s talk about what doesn’t work.

First I’ve followed these instructions on the Ubuntu Help Pages for the N53SV and installed the acpi4asus_dkms, blueetooth driver and Bumblebee for the dual card support.

Still USB3 with USB2 devices doesn’t work, and hibernation/suspension doesn’t work. Regarding USB3 it’s a confirmed bug, so in the near future a solution will be available. Regarding hibernation/suspension I think it’s related to the NVidia card driver, but not sure because the computer does shutdown, but comes up to a black screen.

Also this specific version of the N73SV ha a DVB-T card with the Philips chipset SAA7231. It doesn’t work and there is no driver available because the manufacturer doesn’t won’t to support Linux. There is a two year old drive, but I think I doesn’t work with the recent kernels.

At the end I have a full accelerated desktop, dual monitor support, Wifi, bluetooth, networking, webcam, USB2, TurboBoost and the left media keys working fine.

Moving from the old computer, was just a matter of copying my home directory and following these instructions to re-install all software.

The good:

  • Screen size and quality: Superb
  • Fast, fast, fast
  • Big Hard disk (640GB). Available slot for a second hardisk/SSD
  • Allows a lot of memory: 12GB
  • ExpressGate

The bad:

  • Fiddly keyboard, getting time to get used to.
  • Keyboard sunken a bit when pressing keys.
  • No ExpressCard Slot
  • No eSata port
  • Location of some USB ports at the back is not very practical.

Firefox opens PDF’s files with GIMP

One annoying issue that I had for some time, was that after downloading a PDF file, double clicking on the filename in the FireFox Downloads window, open up GIMP, instead of Acrobat or Okular…

To solve the issue:

1) Get root: sudo -s
2) Goto /usr/share/applications
3) Edit the mimeinfo.cache file
4) Search for pdf
5) You find a line named something like: application/pdf
6) Remove the gimp.desktop from the line, keeping the other applications, or not
7) Save
8) Restart firefox
10) Problem solved

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.

BASE64 support for KDE Kate editor

When working with BASE64 encoded content, namely XADES-B/T digital signatures, Notepad++ allows easily to encode and decode from XML to BASE64 and vice-versa.

But being a KDE user, the only way that I could do the same was using command line tool base64 to encode and decode, because KDE Kate editor didn’t had the support for BASE64.

Not a problem any more: I’ve posted a Kate Script that allows to do BASE64 encoding and decoding right inside KDE Kate editor: http://kde-apps.org/content/show.php/Kate+Base64+support?content=138046

This script is possible do to the fact that KDE Kate editor is extensible by plugins or scripts: http://docs.kde.org/stable/en/kdesdk/kate/advanced-editing-tools-scripting.html

In my case, I used JS scripting and it works fine.

So how do I use it? Well follow the installation instructions that are valid for Kubuntu 10.10, and probably valid for other installations. Then the new functions can be called directly from Kate’s command line(Just press F7) and write b64 and the suggested functions should be offered, namely b64encode, b64decode and two other helper functions.

Also on the latest Kate/KDE version, 4.6, these new functions appear on the Tools->Script menu.

Kmail/Korganizer and Nokia phone synchronization

When Nokia bought Trolltech, the makers of QT, one could assume that Nokia PC-Suite for Linux was on the horizon… But so far nothing has happened. So how do I synchronize my phone contacts and agenda with KDE software? Easy…

In my case I’m using KDE and Kmail/Korganizer, so the following post is how to accomplish this syncronization with Kmail address book and Korganizer Calendar using the Opensync syncronization framework. I’m using Opensync version that comes with Kubuntu 9.10, that’s 0.22.

Requirements: Latest KDE SC 4.4 release, a bluetooth dongle (in my case I’ll synchronize using BT), Akonadi and Kmail/Korganizer

1st) Make sure that your phone is detected. In my case it’s an Nokia 6280, and using one of these: http://www.dealextreme.com/details.dx/sku.11866 on my desktop PC, that works on Linux/Kubuntu 9.10 without any issue (and cheaper than this is probably impossible…):

Let’s see if the bluetooth dongle is detected: lsusb

Bus 008 Device 002: ID 0a12:0001 Cambridge Silicon Radio, Ltd Bluetooth Dongle (HCI mode)

Detected and Kbluetooth works, now execute the command: hcitool scan and the detected phones should appear:

Scanning ...
 00:3B:34:91:9A:56       Nokia 6280
 00:75:1F:88:08:AF       VF541

Take note of the hexadecimal address for the phones.

We also need to make sure that the phones do have the SyncML client, using the sdptool command browse: For example: sdptool browse 00:3B:34:91:9A:56

And on the output a section like this:

Service Name: SyncML Client
Service RecHandle: 0x1000e
Service Class ID List:
 UUID 128: 00000002-0000-1000-8000-0002ee000002
Protocol Descriptor List:
 "L2CAP" (0x0100)
 "RFCOMM" (0x0003)
 Channel: 11
 "OBEX" (0x0008)
Language Base Attr List:
 code_ISO639: 0x656e
 encoding:    0x6a
 base_offset: 0x100

should appear. In my case, only the Nokia 6280 has the SyncML client. The Vodafone 541 does not have this client so synchronization will be impossible. I also have a Nokia 2630, and it has BT and the SyncML client.

So you need now to take note of the following information: The phone address and the channel address of the SyncML client, in my example 11 (see above).


2nd) Make sure that you have the following msynctool plugins installed: file-sync and syncml-obex-client.

For that just execute the following command: msynctool –listplugins

If they are not available, install them using: sudo apt-get install opensync-plugin-file opensync-plugin-syncml

3rd) Create a directory on your home directory for storing information related to the synchronization. Please note that you never, EVER, should delete any information on this directory. If you do its the same as deleting data on the phone.

mkdir ~/nokiasync

4rd) Create the opensync syncronization configuration:

     msynctool --addgroup nokiasync
     msynctool --addmember nokiasync file-sync
     msynctool --addmember nokiasync syncml-obex-client

5th) Edit the configuration for each member of the synchronization group:

  • On the file-sync member we need to put the full path to the syn directory
  • On the syncml-obex client we need to put the MAC address of the phone (the hexadecimal numbers that we’ve found above) and the channel number.

So execute the following commands:

Edit the first member file-sync: msynctool –configure nokiasync 1

The text editor will show something like:

<config>
<path>/home/USERNAME/nokiasync</path>
<recursive>FALSE</recursive>
</config>

Make sure that USERNAME is your Linux username, namely bob, alice, whatever. A command like ls -l /home/USERNAME/nokiasync should return NO error.

Just press CTRL-X to exit and Y + ENTER to save.

Let’s configure now the Syncml client: msynctool –configure nokiasync 2

The file shown should look like:

<config>
<bluetooth_address>XX:XX:XX:XX:XX:XX</bluetooth_address>
<bluetooth_channel>YY</bluetooth_channel>
<identifier>PC Suite</identifier>

Just make sure that XX:XX… is EXACTLY your mobile phone address, and YY is the channel shown by the sdptool. In the above case it’s  00:3B:34:91:9A:56  and 11 respectively. So the file should look like:

<config>
<bluetooth_address>00:3B:34:91:9A:56</bluetooth_address>
<bluetooth_channel>11</bluetooth_channel>
<identifier>PC Suite</identifier>

Then CTRL-X, Y and Enter to save, and we are ready.

6th) Now is a good idea to backup your phone address list and agenda. Do it now! If things go wrong you need a backup. Also the first rule of good a good backup is that restores are more important than backups, so backup AND restore first so see IF you have a VALID backup. You’ve been warned… :)

7th) Now we are ready:

msynctool –sync nokiasync

Because I’m using bluetooth I’ll be asked for a PIN by my phone, and I’ll need to provide it to the PIN question dialog on the computer. After the pin, synchronization takes place, the first one is from the phone to the computer.

After this, on the directory nokiasync you should have some files. These files are your contacts and calendar from the mobile phone. DO NOT DELETE THEM.

8th) Akonadi configuration.

We need to configure Akonadi now. It’s quite easy. Just run akonaditray, and right click on the globe icon that appears on the KDE system tray, and select configure.

For the calendar:

  • On the Akonadi resources tab, press ADD and select the KDE Calendar (Traditional) plugin. A wizard will appear. Press next.
  • Then select more or less at the middle: Calendar in Local Directory and press Next
  • Give as the location the nokiasync directory that we’ve created, and where the opensync works for syncing with our mobile phone. Press Next
  • Give it a name, in my case Nokia Calendar, and press Finish.

OPTIONAL: For the Contacts (For reference only, Korganizer will not use this. See below) :

  • On the Akonadi resources tab, press ADD and select the KDE Adress book (Traditional) plugin. A wizard will appear. Press next.
  • Then select the first option: Folder and press Next
  • Give as the location the nokiasync directory that we’ve created, and where the opensync works for syncing with our mobile phone. Keep the format as vcard, and press Next
  • Give it a name, in my case Nokia Contacts, and press Finish.

That’s it. The akonadi resources are configured.

8th) Korganizer configuration.

For adding the calendar follow these instructions on this post: http://primalcortex.wordpress.com/2010/04/24/korganizer-and-google-calendar-on-kubuntu-9-10/ but instead of adding the Google resources add the Nokia Calendar resource

For the address book, just go to the Contacts section, and on the Address book, select Add Address Book with a right click on the mouse.

  • Select the KDE Adress book (Traditional) plugin. A wizard will appear. Press next.
  • Then select the first option: Folder and press Next
  • Give as the location the nokiasync directory that we’ve created, and where the opensync works for syncing with our mobile phone. Keep the format as vcard, and press Next
  • Give it a name, in my case Nokia Contacts, and press Finish.

And that’s it Nokia<->Korganizer syncronization…

9th) Testing:

Create a contact and a calendar event on Korganizer, but for the Nokia resources. Execute the synchronization command: msynctool –sync nokiasync

Your mobile phone should report that it synchronized 1 or two items. Check your contact list for the new contact. Check your agenda for the new event.

Now repeat the opposite: Create a phone contact and event, and synchronize. It should appear on Korganizer.

Last thoughts:

What happens if the syncronization directory is a sub-directory of your Dropbox folder…???? :-)

Automatic synchronization of all your agenda and contacts on all your computers! This in fact completely implements the purpose of plugins like akunambol and the Funambol server at this level of functionality…

You can now: Create a contact on your mobile phone, sync it, your local computer sees the change, but Dropbox also sees it sync’s it into the cloud, and into your other computers…

The phone synchronization ideas and howto’s where based on this post: http://www.harald-hoyer.de/linux/linux-and-syncml-multisync-with-nokia-6280

Finally, this also just brought to my ancient phone a new lease of life. No new Android phone for me… and by the way, after synchronization, the Nokia 6280 screensaver just fails to start…. and the Vodafone VF541 needed a restart… Nothing is perfect.