Showing posts with label gnome. Show all posts
Showing posts with label gnome. Show all posts

29 June 2017

640. nordvpn with network-manager-openvpn-gnome (on debian 8), and speeds

So you've signed up for nordvpn, e.g. because you can't live without ABC for Kids and you're exiled to Europe. Unfortunately, while you can connect to a server using

sudo openvpn
you're having little luck using network-manager-openvpn-gnome, and the nordvpn official step-by-step guide isn't bleeding working.

Well, here's how to do it:
1. Go to network settings and add a new connection. Click on VPN:
The select import from file.
Select the file:

This will import some, but not all, of the settings.

You'll need to select the .crt file:
And then click on advanced. Got to the TLS Authentication tab:

You need to select 'Use additional TLS authentication' and select the tls.key. The key direction should be 1 (it's in the ovpn file)

Either way, the connection using the gnome network manager seems a lot less stable than what you get using openvpn in the terminal.

So, will it work for streaming? Not really, from what I can see. I do admittedly have a really crappy connection even w/o vpn, and I'm doing this over wifi. Here are results using google speed test:

No VPN: 6.36/9.75 Mbps Up/Down
uk32 (udp): 1.79/7.89
au10 (udp): 3.94/2.85 -- first try
au32 (tcp): 0.86(!)/0.96
us621 (udp): 0.47(!)/3.22
au10 (udp): 1.13/1.45 -- second try
No VPN: 7.53/2.96 -- second try

These are just random servers. There may be higher speed ones out there. Also, note how living in an area with a high concentration of students can cause large variations in your speeds in general.
Update: I ran a couple of tests from work where I have a /fast/ ethernet connection. I did it using Okla:
No VPN: 94.09/94.08 -- first try
No VPN: 94.10/94.02 -- second try
ch7 (udp): 87.95/87.87
au10(udp): 0.53/0.75 -- even just running the test took ages

Another fun little trick when using openvpn in the terminal is -- if you're not concerned about protecting your username/password -- to follow this post:

After creating your auth.txt file, in the folder with your .ovpn files, do
sed -i 's/auth-user-pass/auth-user-pass auth.txt/' *.ovpn

Now you can switch vpns quickly and happily.

02 November 2014

600. gdm/gnome breakage in debian jessie October/November 2014

I did a dist-upgrade last night and encountered this on my next boot:
During the dist-upgrade I got a message about the nvidia driver version not being compatible with my system -- small surprise as I have an onboard intel chip and no external graphics card (it's a lenovo thinkpad SL410).

Installing kdm let me at least boot into a DM. I still couldn't launch gnome from kdm, it giving the same error message as in the photo.
Digging a bit deeper and looking at what happened before/during a crash:
Nov 02 10:46:30 niobium kdm[1317]: Stopping K Display Manager: kdm...done. Nov 02 10:46:30 niobium systemd[1]: gdm.service: control process exited, code=exited status=1 Nov 02 10:46:30 niobium systemd[1]: Failed to start GNOME Display Manager. Nov 02 10:46:30 niobium systemd[1]: Dependency failed for X11 Display Manager. Nov 02 10:46:30 niobium systemd[1]: Unit gdm.service entered failed state. Nov 02 10:46:30 niobium kdm[1350]: Starting K Display Manager: kdm. Nov 02 10:46:30 niobium sudo[1311]: pam_unix(sudo:session): session closed for user root Nov 02 10:46:30 niobium console-kit-daemon[1707]: (process:1372): GLib-CRITICAL **: g_slice_set_config: assertion 'sys_page_size == 0' failed Nov 02 10:46:30 niobium console-kit-daemon[1707]: (process:1373): GLib-CRITICAL **: g_slice_set_config: assertion 'sys_page_size == 0' failed Nov 02 10:46:30 niobium console-kit-daemon[1707]: (process:1374): GLib-CRITICAL **: g_slice_set_config: assertion 'sys_page_size == 0' failed Nov 02 10:46:30 niobium kdm_greet[1378]: Cannot load /usr/share/kde4/apps/kdm/faces/.default.face: No such file or directory Nov 02 10:46:31 niobium systemd[1]: gdm.service: control process exited, code=exited status=1 Nov 02 10:46:31 niobium systemd[1]: Failed to start GNOME Display Manager. Nov 02 10:46:31 niobium systemd[1]: Dependency failed for X11 Display Manager. Nov 02 10:46:31 niobium systemd[1]: Unit gdm.service entered failed state. Nov 02 10:46:32 niobium console-kit-daemon[1707]: (process:1398): GLib-CRITICAL **: g_slice_set_config: assertion 'sys_page_size == 0' failed Nov 02 10:46:32 niobium console-kit-daemon[1707]: (process:1399): GLib-CRITICAL **: g_slice_set_config: assertion 'sys_page_size == 0' failed Nov 02 10:46:32 niobium console-kit-daemon[1707]: (process:1400): GLib-CRITICAL **: g_slice_set_config: assertion 'sys_page_size == 0' failed Nov 02 10:46:32 niobium systemd[1]: gdm.service: control process exited, code=exited status=1 Nov 02 10:46:32 niobium systemd[1]: Failed to start GNOME Display Manager. Nov 02 10:46:32 niobium systemd[1]: Dependency failed for X11 Display Manager. Nov 02 10:46:32 niobium systemd[1]: Unit gdm.service entered failed state. Nov 02 10:46:33 niobium systemd[1]: gdm.service: control process exited, code=exited status=1 Nov 02 10:46:33 niobium systemd[1]: Failed to start GNOME Display Manager. Nov 02 10:46:33 niobium systemd[1]: Dependency failed for X11 Display Manager. Nov 02 10:46:33 niobium systemd[1]: Unit gdm.service entered failed state. Nov 02 10:46:35 niobium systemd[1]: gdm.service start request repeated too quickly, refusing to start. Nov 02 10:46:35 niobium systemd[1]: Failed to start GNOME Display Manager. Nov 02 10:46:35 niobium systemd[1]: Dependency failed for X11 Display Manager. Nov 02 10:46:35 niobium systemd[1]: Unit gdm.service entered failed sta
GDM shouldn't be involved at all as I was using kdm.
systemctl -l status gdm.service
● gdm.service - GNOME Display Manager Loaded: loaded (/lib/systemd/system/gdm.service; enabled) Drop-In: /run/systemd/generator/gdm3.service.d └─50-gdm3-$x-display-manager.conf Active: failed (Result: start-limit) since Sun 2014-11-02 10:46:35 AEDT; 14min ago Process: 1405 ExecStartPre=/bin/sh -c [ "$(cat /etc/X11/default-display-manager 2>/dev/null)" = "/usr/sbin/gdm3" ] (code=exited, status=1/FAILURE) Nov 02 10:46:35 niobium systemd[1]: gdm.service start request repeated too quickly, refusing to start. Nov 02 10:46:35 niobium systemd[1]: Failed to start GNOME Display Manager. Nov 02 10:46:35 niobium systemd[1]: Unit gdm.service entered failed state.

The solution:
Either way, I now had enough keywords to start googling, and came across

sudo apt-get purge nvidia-*
sudo apt-get purge libnvidia-ml1:i386 nvidia-smi:i386
sudo apt-get install glx-alternative-mesa
sudo apt-get --reinstall install gdm3

Launching gnome (standard) from kdm gave me prompts to set up the configuration for an installed extension (I miss the frippery extensions...). Not sure whether the breakage was related to the extension.
 Either way, everything is working properly now.

29 August 2013

505. Testing KDE on Debian (if you're a gnome user) -- getting set up

Every now and again I get ticked off with something to do with planned 'features' in gnome 3. I'm still not happy about gnome-screenshot, but I patched and compiled my own version, so I'm doing alright. I don't really like the transition of menus from the, well, menu bar of applications to the top bar of the gnome desktop, but it's not a great issue.

Oh, and I don't really use vanilla gnome 3 anyway -- I've got a desktop set up with a top panel, and bottom panel, static desktops etc. The latest 'feature' which is making me want to move to a different desktop is the planned change in the use of the middle-button so that it no longer can be used to paste text.

(of course there's a bit of inconsistency here: KDE turns out to have a remapped middle-click, the screenshot application needs a few more clicks than the old gnome-screenshot etc.)

I've toyed with the idea of changing desktops in the past, and for a while was running nothing but KDE on my laptop (I'd rather switch on my 'casual' computer first, before making the transition on my work computer), but for some reason I switched back. I actually can't remember why, but something really annoyed me about KDE.

Before I forget: a good reason to try another desktop is simply to reassure yourself that you do have alternatives if your chose DE suddenly turns into something you can't work with.

Anyway, time to give it another go. But what desktop? I like the idea of going for KDE since it's 'the other desktop' -- it's been around longer than gnome, whereas lxde and xcfe are mere babies in comparison. Alternatively, one could always piece together a custom desktop using e.g. fluxbox. Or switch to something completely different, like xmonad. Or something a little bit different, like Enlightenment. I think I should probably be going for LXDE (I instinctively don't like XFCE), but let's go for KDE first.

Finally, the main danger is switching desktops and expecting the new one to act exactly like the old one (minus the bad parts, obviously). Which is pretty much how windows users (myself included once upon a time) behave when trying out linux for the first time.

Anyway, time for a week in KDE (4.10.5).

Here's my gnome desktop at the time of switching:

In addition, I'm using Guake, and my network manager is wicd.

So let's see what KDE will look like at the end -- whether I'll be able to use KDE as KDE, instead of as an ersatz gnome.

Step 1. Install KDE
sudo apt-get install kde-full wicd-kde kdesudo yakuake

I selected kdm.

Step 2. First boot
Reboot and make sure to click the little sun icon to select the desktop you want to use, in my case KDE/plasma.

2.1 Switching workspaces
I next set up proper workspace switching so that it behaves like in...gnome (falling into the old trap of making the new desktop just like the old one)...i.e. ctrl+alt right/left arrow.

Go to System Settings/WorksSpace behaviour, Virtual Desktops -- I incrased the number of desktops to 6 (1 row), then clicked on the Switching tab -- I set shortcuts for Switch One Desktop to the Left and Switch One Desktop to the Right to ctrl+alt+left and ctrl+at+right.

2.2 Disable nepomuk
At this point I noticed that I was using 100% of the CPU. virtuoso-t was chewing up a lot, as was nepomukservices. I had a look at this post:

I first went to Search and Indexing (in the menu), unchecked Monitor file and directory changes, Enable when running on battery, Only when computer is not being used.  You can also go to System Settings/Desktop Search and uncheck Enable Nepomuk Semantic Desktop.

2.3 konqueror crashing
I also had repeated issues with konqueror crashing when clicking on links, but it seems to have resolved itself after disabling nepomuk.

2.4 guake/yakuake
Guake worked from the beginning -- I didn't have to set it up at all. However, I still ended up changing to yakuake since I figure it's a bit more KDE like.To get yakuake to remember changed settings (e.g. height, width) you'll need to close it manually. Restarting it will use the new settings. Not sure how I got yakuake to autostart -- I think it just happened.

2.5 The bottom panel
I had a difficult time figuring out how to add shortcuts to the panel, and once I had accidentally figured it out, I promptly screwed up the entire bottom panel, then managed to fix it again.

2.6 Keyboard shortcuts
I then had to figure out how to bind shortcuts to opening applications -- right-click on the menu ('kicker'), click Edit Applications, select your application, advanced, Advanced, Current Shortcut Key.
A more general approach to creating shortcuts was shown to me by an anonymous commentator (see below this post) -- I've posted the screenshot provided to me below:
shortcuts, gestures and whatnots

2.7 Update notification
I promptly removed the Update Notification widget -- it was driving me crazy and reminds me too much of windows. I first tried simply disabling the update notifier:

I then did apt-get autoremove update-notifier-kde. The problem -- even after a reboot I still get notifications about updates! I then did System Settings/Software Management, and click on the tiny, tiny button on the far right (level with the search field), and then click on settings and set Check for updates to never.  This finally seems to have done it.

2.8 Theme
I also changed from the default 'air' theme to 'oxygen'.

2.9 Gnome/GTK programs in KDE
To make gnome (well, gtk) programs look acceptable under KDE, install gtk2-engines-oxygen and gtk3-engines-oxygen and reboot.

2.10 Tap-to-click with synaptics
I can't get synaptics tap to click to work. Based on the odd post I tried gpointing-device-settings, but while there's a checkbox to disable tap to click, it won't enable it. I then installed kde-config-touchpad and was happy again. Funnily enough this made me discover that middle-click is mapped in KDE -- the one reason I wanted to explore something other than gnome...oh well.

2.11 Conky
To get conky to work properly I only had to make some minimal changes. /etc/conky/conky.conf:
background no own_window yes own_window_type normal own_window_argb_visual true own_window_transparent yes own_window_hints undecorated,below,sticky,skip_taskbar,skip_pager double_buffer yes alignment top_right background yes border_width 1 cpu_avg_samples 2 default_color white default_outline_color white default_shade_color white default_graph_size 20 200 draw_borders no draw_graph_borders yes draw_outline no draw_shades no use_xft yes xftfont DejaVu Sans Mono:size=12 gap_x 20 gap_y 60 minimum_size 5 5 net_avg_samples 2 no_buffers yes out_to_console no out_to_stderr no extra_newline no own_window_class Conky own_window_transparent yes stippled_borders 0 update_interval 1.0 uppercase no use_spacer none show_graph_scale no show_graph_range no TEXT ${exec lsb_release -ds} ${execi 5 acpi|gawk '{print $3,$4}'} ${addr eth0}/${addr wlan0} $hr ${color grey}Uptime:$color $uptime CPU:$alignc $cpu% $alignc$color ${cpugraph 10,200 ffff00 ff0000 -t} RAM:$alignc $mem/$memmax $alignc$color ${memgraph 10,200 ffff00 ff0000 -t} I/O:$alignc $diskio_read/$diskio_write $alignc$color ${diskiograph 10,200 ffff00 ff0000 -t} ${color grey}Frequency (in GHz):$color ${freq_g 1}, ${freq_g freq_g2} ${color grey}Temperature: $color CPU: ${acpitemp}°C $hr ${color grey}File systems:$alignr $color/ ${fs_used /}/${fs_size /} $alignr /home $color${fs_used /home}/${fs_size /home} ${color grey}Networking: ${color grey}eth0 ${color red} ${upspeed eth0}/${color green} ${downspeed eth0} ${color grey} ${color grey} ${upspeedgraph eth0 10,100 ffff00 ff0000 -t} ${color grey} ${downspeedgraph eth0 10,100 0000ff 00ff00 -t} ${color grey} ${color grey}wlan0 ${color red} ${upspeed wlan0}/${color green} ${downspeed wlan0} ${color grey} ${color grey} ${upspeedgraph wlan0 10,100 ffff00 ff0000 } ${color grey} ${downspeedgraph wlan0 10,100 0000ff 00ff00 } ${color grey} $hr ${color grey}Name CPU% MEM% ${color} ${top name 1} ${top cpu 1} ${top mem 1} ${color} ${top name 2} ${top cpu 2} ${top mem 2} ${color} ${top name 3} ${top cpu 3} ${top mem 3} $hr ${color}City Ping $alignr Time $font${color}San Francisco ${execi 60 ping -c 1 -n|grep icmp_seq|sed 's/=/\t/g'|gawk '{print $10,$11}'} $alignr${tztime America/Los_Angeles %a %H:%M} $font${color}Copenhagen $alignr${tztime Europe/Copenhagen %a %H:%M} $font${color}Shanghai $alignr${tztime Asia/Shanghai %a %H:%M} $font${color}Melbourne $alignr${tztime Australia/Melbourne %a %H:%M

And I've discovered that I really like the hot corner (top left) in gnome. There is a hot corner in kde too, but it does slightly different things.

KDE is pretty but it still gives me the occasional feeling that I'm using windows due to the bottom panel, the menu on the left and the task tray on the right, but these are things I'll hopefully grow out of. But yes, KDE is pretty -- very pretty. And it's pretty fast too.
My old gnome desktop (same as at the beginning of this post)

and my new KDE desktop
And one just to show how versatile KDE is -- you can even make it look (almost) like gnome 3 it just remains to see how I feel after a week or so. The baby duck syndrome is pretty powerful...and I'm already well on my way to turning KDE into GNOME. But then, isn't the versatility of KDE the real selling point?

I ended up re-enabling nepomuk and spent some time struggling with akonadi to get kmail working -- the key to getting akonadi to work was to install the same server as the backend. In my case I did:
sudo apt-get install akonadi-backend-mysql mysql-server

06 February 2013

333. Arch linux with Gnome in virtualbox

Not too different from what I've posted before (330, 331), but I'm just so excited that I can't help myself, so here we go:

I'll presume that you've got virtualbox installed.

0. Get the Arch iso:
If you're allowed to use bittorrent:

sudo apt-get install bittorrent squashfs-tools
cd ~/Downloads/

If you're not allowed to use bittorrent:

cd ~/Downloads

Note that the links will change with time.

1. Setting up the machine
Start virtualbox and click on New. Select Type=Linux and Version=Arch Linux.

Give the machine at least 512 Mb, although even that is probably a bit on the low end for Gnome.

Create a virtual harddisk. 8 Gb is enough for testing purposes, but if you're actually planning on using the virtual machine you're better off giving it something like 15-20 Gb. VDI is fine when it comes to format, and 'Dynamically allocated' is a safe choice for a normal desktop.

There's a little bit of tinkering left to do. Click on Settings, go to Storage, and mount your iso:

2. First Boot
Click on Star which will boot off of the CD.

You can pick whatever makes you happy here. For the sake of simplicity will pick the first option -- x86_64.

You're now met with the first indication that this ain't Kansas (or Ubuntu):

Remember -- terminals/consoles should give you warm and fuzzy feeling because there is nothing which you can't accomplish in a terminal. A one-click installation option would be nice for checking things out though, but it's actually pretty easy to get started.

Preparing the harddrive
Our first step is to format the harddrive. Remember, it's an imaginary virtual harddrive -- nothing will be touched on your physical harddrive.


fdisk /dev/sda

Hit n to create a new partition. p for primary, 1 to make it partition number 1, make it start at sector 2048, and make it e.g. 2 Gb by having it stop at +2G -- this will be our swap. Hit n again, p again, and make it partition number 2, and accept the default sectors that it suggests. This will be our  /(root) partition.

Hit a, then 2, to make the partition bootable.

Hit t, then 1, then 82 to make a swap disk.

Hit w to finalise the changes.

mkswap /dev/sda1
mkfs.ext4 /dev/sda2

to set up the file systems.

mount /dev/sda2 /mnt

to mount your new ext4 partition.

Install a basic system:
pacman-key --init
pacman-key --populate archlinux

to get set up with pacman. Edit pacman.conf if you want a specific architecture (i686 or x86_64), or the current architecture will be used.

Time to install packages:
pacstrap /mnt base gnome xorg-xinit xorg-server xorg-utils xorg-server-utils virtualbox-guest-modules virtualbox-guest-utils vim mlocate wicd wicd-gtk openssh grub-bios upower

Generate a proto-fstab:
genfstab -p /mnt > /mnt/etc/fstab

Then enter a chroot:
arch-chroot /mnt

Edit /etc/fstab and add a line for swap:
/dev/sda1    none    swap    sw    0 0

Set up your locale and timezone:
ln -s /usr/share/zoneinfo/Australia/Melbourne /etc/localtime
echo 'LANG="en_US.UTF-8"'>/etc/locale
echo 'KEYMAP=us'> /etc/vconsole.conf
echo 'en_US.UTF-8 UTF-8' >> /etc/locale.gen
echo "spinebill" >/etc/hostname

Set up a user:
pacman -S sudo
useradd -p `openssl passwd -1 mypassword` -m verahill
echo "verahill ALL=(ALL) ALL">> /etc/sudoers

Edit /home/verahill/.xinitrc and uncomment
exec gnome-session

Set up grub and booting:
mkinitcpio -p linux
grub-mkconfig -o /boot/grub/grub.cfg
grub-install /dev/sda

You're now ready to start your Arch system. First you need to shut down your current system though:
umount /mnt
shutdown -h now

Once the machine is off, go to Settings, Storage, and remove disk from virtual drive.

Boot by clicking on Start.
You might get the odd error message while booting, but everything will be fine.

Log in as the user you created, then enabled the ssh daemon and the wicd daemon:
sudo systemctl enable sshd
sudo systemctl enable wicd

Start wicd-curses

and wait 10-20 seconds for wicd to detect the network card and starting it

Quit by hitting 'Q'.

To launch gnome, type
evening gnome?
It'll take a little while to start up. This is a pretty ugly Gnome though, but that's the stock background which changes during the day.
daytime gnome?

15 December 2012

292. seahorse -- what happened?

There's been a lot of talk about how nautilus will be simplified/dumbed-down/crippled/improved -- but I didn't know seahorse was going to undergo such a radical makeover. Don't know if it's for better, worse or if it changes nothing, but at the moment I'm having trouble finding my way around.

seahorse 3.4.1-2

11 August 2012

218. The end of Gnome in Debian?

Update 12/11/2012: And we're back to gnome:

This is a bit of a bombshell:

Also reported here:
and here:
and here:

UPDATE: No, I don't have any more information. However, I've been thinking a little bit about this. Debian is not a targeted distro like Ubuntu, Red Hat, SUSE or Mint. I'm not sure how the discussions among the debian package maintainers go, but I'm suspecting that it's more of a matter of ironing out reported bugs, than to focus on providing a 'user experience'. SID and Testing are rolling releases, after all. So 'dumping' gnome really won't affect anything at all very much in the short to medium term. Those who like KDE will use KDE. Those who like Gnome will use Gnome. And so on. In the long term, enough people may encounter XFCE as their first DE via Debian that it starts to change the balance in the user bases of the different DEs, but given that a great majority of both current and future debian users come to debian via other distros  -- from red hat/fedora/knoppix back in the days, then ubuntu in the late 2000s, and now perhaps mint -- many users probably both have both experience in how to set up different DEs and preferences as to which one they want to use.

So yeah. Sorry about the hyperbole in the title.

Original post:
Basically, Debian is thinking about dropping Gnome as the default desktop and replacing it with XFCE when Wheezy goes stable. The official reason is (CD ROM) space, not that there's any issues with GNOME 3.

I wouldn't be surprised if the rumoured difficulties in communicating with the Gnome crowd may have played a role, in addition to the (a bit hysterical at times) general dissatisfaction with GNOME 3.

Having 'grown up' with gnome (Baby Duck Syndrome) I think it's sad news -- gnome is pretty, functional and makes linux just different enough to give it a distinct look.

[Btw, this article about the Baby Duck Syndrome is a nice read: ]

XFCE, LXDE and KDE are all capable desktops, and I've played with LXDE and KDE recently. Not being that familiar with XFCE -- or even LXDE really -- it does appear to me that what really sets KDE and GNOME apart is that they come with a complete package -- KDE and GNOME all have their awkwardly named software applications: epiphany vs konqueror, evolution vs kmail etc.

Apart from lxterminal and lxmusic for lxde, and thunar for xfce, similar DE specific apps appear to be thin on the ground for LXDE and XFCE. That's not necessarily a big issue, but we've all had issues with GTK vs QT and how pieces of software using either framework look in different environments. It's hardly a disaster, but just enough to be noticeable.

It would also be interesting if the netinstall and business-card isos would ask about which specific DE to install, rather than just ask about whether a desktop is to be installed , in particular if debian is interested in experimenting.

Offering more choice would really not be that bad of an idea. Personally, and for my own biased reasons, I'm  much more interested in LXDE than XFCE, and more interested in GNOME than KDE. XFCE, the way it's implemented in Debian Squeeze, looks a bit dated -- basically like GNOME 2. While I'm not really into that, given the uproar during the past year a lot of people seem to prefer the old gnome 2 look. Besides, the strength of the old desktops is that you can theme and modify them to the point of no recognition.

And if we're talking about slim installs of debian, we really should take a look at Crunchbang (#!) as well, which uses openbox.

Finally, what about Jessie? Will GNOME be back or is this the defining moment for XFCE?

07 February 2012

58. Higher resolution on a Dell E177FPb monitor using modelines in xorg.conf on Debian Testing

Update 24 May 2013: this still works fine on the optiplex (with intel onboard graphics) but when trying it on a different machine with an external nvidia card I couldn't get it to work. There only "xrandr --output VGA-0 --scale 1.1x1.1" worked.

Original post:
I've hooked up my fancy new-ish optiplex 990 to an old Dell E177FPb monitor which I bought back in 2007. For various reasons I've also removed the nvidia quattro graphics card that the optiplex 990 came with -- the main reasons being 1) I hate displayport and _need_ vga and 2) the bios forces you to press 'any key' on each boot if you leave the card in, even though you've configured the OS to use the integrated onboard graphics.

At any rate, hooking my old screen to my dell lead to a less than overwhelming experience -- and querying the 'Displays' setting in gnome showed only two resolution options: 1024x768 and 800x600. Well, I knew for a fact that the maximum resolution should be 1280x1024.

This was a bit of a surprise given that the same xorg.conf had been used together with a fancy widescreen 1920x1080 display -- yet it would not handle a 1280x1024 display? I guess this might say more about my lack of understanding how display drivers work, but whatever.

Well, in the end it turned out to be easy to enable the missing resolution mode.

First, a minimal amount of googling told me that the max resolution was 1280x1024 at 75 Hz.
"Preset Resolution: 1280 x 1024 @ 75 Hz"

Next, using gtf I generated a Modeline line.

gtf 1280 1024 75
Modeline     "1280x1024_75.00" 138.54 1280 1368 1504 1728 1024 1025 1028 1069 -HSync +Vsync

Finally, I then edited the xorg.conf (again, see this post for the entire xorg.conf), changing

Section "Monitor"
Identifier   "Monitor0"
VendorName   "Monitor Vendor"
ModelName    "Monitor Model"


Section "Monitor"
Identifier   "Monitor0"
VendorName   "Monitor Vendor"
ModelName    "Monitor Model"
Modeline     "1280x1024_75.00" 138.54 1280 1368 1504 1728 1024 1025 1028 1069 -HSync +Vsync

Doing startx to start up gnome, followed by selecting Displays, then selecting Resolution: 1280x1024 (5:4) yielded a beautifully satisfying  user experience.

I'm not one to fiddle with xorg.conf, but this time it turned out that the fix was easy once I had figured out what to do.

08 January 2012

41. Chinese character and input support on debian testing

Update: You should also install support for gtk and gtk3:
sudo apt-get install ibus-gtk3 ibus-gtk
in order to be able to use it with e.g. thunderbird.

Original post:
Here's how to set up Chinese (simplified) support in Gnome 3 /gnome-shell and the terminal (bash).

First install the fonts:
sudo apt-get install fonts-arphic-*

Next. add Chinese via locales:
sudo dpkg-reconfigure locales


(For traditional characters choose zh_HK, zh_SG or zh_TW)

As default language English is probably a good idea
In my case it's en_AU.UTF-8

Edit ~/.bashrc and add the following lines:

source .bashrc

Install ibus:
sudo apt-get install ibus-pinyin 
This pulls another 18 packages with it

Start ibus-daemon in terminal
An icon in the notification tray still appear
Right-click, choose Preferences (P)
Click on the second tab (input methods)
Select an input method -> Chinese -> Pinyin

You should now be able to choose between regular (latin) input and Chinese characters using Ctrl+Space.

To make ibus-daemon start with gnome, run
and add

And you're more or less done.

Sogou is a popular pinyin database on the Windows platform -- but afaik it's not available for Linux. On Linux, it seems that the ibus-pinyin-db-open-phrase database is the default ibus database used to guess what characters you intend to type, but you can also install and select either ibus-googlepinyin or ibus-pinyin-db-android. After installation you need to select the database by going to preferences in the ibus daemon and selecting it as input method. Not being Chinese I can't tell whether sogou, google pinyin and android pinyin are comparable.

Sogou does however work with Google Chrome/Chromium on linux -- go to Preferences/Extensions -- Get More Extensions, and install the Sogou Cloud Pinyin Extension for Chrome.

24 August 2011

17. Linphone with iinet iitalk voip service on Debian Testing 64 (Wheezy)

We've got the Naked DSL from iinet, and included with it is a 'free' voip service, iitalk. Since we haven't got either a modem supporting voip, or an ATA adapter + regular terrestrial phone, we're aiming for the next best - using a software voip solution on our desktop. Linphone is FOSS and available in the debian repos.

You will have received an email from iinet with the following details:
Your Netphone number:         0xxxxxxx
Your Netphone password:     yyyyyyy
Your Netphone PIN:                 zzzz
VoIP SIP domain:  
VoIP SIP server:    

where state is act, nsw, vic, wa etc. giving something along the lines of

sudo apt-get install linphone

You'll find the GUI version on your gnome menu under 'internet'. Start it.
Go to Linphone/Settings
Click on the manage SIP accounts tab.
There are three main sections on this tab: default identity, Proxy accounts and Privacy
Don't bother with the Default identity or Privacy; instead click on Add under Proxy accounts

Your SIP identity: sip:
SIP proxy addres: sip:
Route (optional): sip:
Registration duration (sec): 3600
Register at startup: yes

You can also set up the account directly in your ~/.linphonerc :



The number after proxy_ and auth_info_ depends on whether you have other accounts defined as well. Note that the .linphonerc file will contain a fair number of other things. Here's my full .linphonerc (with some information replaced by x's)

playback_dev_id=ALSA: default device
ringer_dev_id=ALSA: default device
capture_dev_id=ALSA: default device

device=V4L2: /dev/video0