Tuesday, December 29, 2009

when pkill isn't sufficient to kill firefox

Firefox hanged and I closed it. Restarting it the message came restart or stop firefox. Pkill command normally sufficient didn't suffice to kill firefox.
pgrep firefox listed two processes.
killing these processes by kill , didn't work either.
killall -9 firefox-bin

did the trick.
source: http://www.cyberciti.biz/faq/kill-process-in-linux-or-terminate-a-process-in-unix-or-linux-systems/

for the record:

This is an oldie but a goodie:

1. When a program gets hung, hit Alt + F2 to bring up the Run dialog.
2. Type in xkill and hit enter.
3. Your mouse cursor will change into a cross or skull and bones.
4. If the unresponsive application is not in focus, use Alt-Tab to switch to it. Left click anywhere on the application window to kill it.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Ctrl+Alt+Del to open System Monitor

In Ubuntu

If you want to enable Ctrl+Alt+Del to open System Monitor you have to do this:

Run in terminal:
gconftool-2 -t str --set /apps/metacity/global_keybindings/run_command_1 "Delete"
gconftool-2 -t str --set /apps/metacity/keybinding_commands/command_1 "gnome-system-monitor"

Monday, December 21, 2009

Manual updating grub when a new kernel is installed

If you have a manually adapted grub menu.lst ( found in /boot/grub) you will have to be very careful updating the kernel.
There will be asked if you want to keep your our grub file or the proposed one by the package distributor. Take the last choice but only after you have saved your old copy of the menu.lst as for instance menu_old.lst so that you can adapt the automatically renewed menu.lst to its former state with its renewals of the new krnel incorporated of course, but with the adaptions you made mostly to suit your own special setup on more partitions.
Do it right away before you reboot or else you will probalbly have great trouble rebooting! In terminal (or open your file manger as root)
sudo gedit /boot/grub/menu.lst

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Ifconfig and iftop and etherape network monitors

ifconfig (type in terminal) gives you good info on your network connections.
A nice terminal program is iftop. Etherape is a very informative gui program.


The Unix command ifconfig can function as a tool to configure a network interface for TCP/IP from the command line interface (CLI).This is another easy tool to see if your interface is actually loading correctly.



eth0 Link encap:Ethernet HWaddr 00:0A:E6:C6:07:85
inet addr: Bcast: Mask:
inet6 addr: fe80::20a:e6ff:fec6:785/64 Scope:Link
RX packets:18458 errors:0 dropped:0 overruns:0 frame:0
TX packets:8982 errors:0 dropped:0 overruns:0 carrier:0
collisions:0 txqueuelen:1000
RX bytes:4015093 (3.8 MiB) TX bytes:1449812 (1.3 MiB)
Interrupt:10 Base address:0xd400


This is very useful to check routing config


route -n


If you want to see Routing Tables,all open ports,all listen ports

netstat -nr

-n means return numeric output (ie, IP address instead of hostname)

-r means print the routing table

find all open ports

netstat -a

find listening ports

netstat -l



If you use a router or gateway, chances are that your network is even further locked down. To check, you can run the following commands:

sudo apt-get install nmap curl
and then:
nmap -P0 $(curl www.whatismyip.org
The second command may take several minutes to run, but will give you an accurate picture of which (if any) ports are open to the world outside your home network.

How can you check if iptables is blocking the packets ?

sudo iptables -L

Set Open Port for iptables

sudo iptables -I INPUT -p tcp --dport <> -j ACCEPT
sudo iptables -I INPUT -p udp --dport <> -j ACCEPT

If you want to have help enabling port forwarding in your router: http://www.portforward.com/english/routers/port_forwarding/routerindex.htm

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

mounting external HDD 2

Sometimes the external hard disk drive won't mount. Maybe this is the problem:

The stupid thing you won't get a response or fault message using Storage Device Manager.
Using : sudo mount -a you will get:

Mount is denied because NTFS is marked to be in use. Choose one action:

Choice 1: If you have Windows then disconnect the external devices by
clicking on the 'Safely Remove Hardware' icon in the Windows
taskbar then shutdown Windows cleanly.

Choice 2: If you don't have Windows then you can use the 'force' option for
your own responsibility. For example type on the command line:

mount -t ntfs-3g /dev/sdb1 /media/sdb1 -o force
Trying this the HDDF is indeed mounted

Monday, December 14, 2009

logitech webcam driver

I seem to have the Logitech Quickcam Communicator.
Found a driver here
More info here

Sunday, December 13, 2009

adblock verification didn't work_Solved

Problem: adblock extension couldn't be installed because of Startcon verification failure:
Error: message: Signing could not be verified. -260.

This is essentially the solution:


  1. Start Firefox (if it isn’t already). This assumes FireFox version 3+ so menu item names below may differ for other FireFox versions but you should be able to browse to something that has a list of certificates (See image below).
  2. Go to Edit -> Preferences. New panel appears.
  3. On the new panel, click Advanced category followed by the Encryption tab then View Certificates button.
  4. Browse down to VeriSign certificates. You may see something similar to the below:
    FireFox Security Devices Config - Master Password
  5. Notice in the above image the highlighted certificate "Verisign Class 3 Public Primary Certification Authority" I’ve chosen. It matches exactly what we got highlighted in orange earlier in step 6 from first part above.
  6. Click Edit on the highlighted. You should be presented with three choices:
    This certificate can identify web sites.
    This certificate can identify mail users.
    This certificate can identify software makers.
  7. Check off "This certificate can identify software makers."
  8. Click Ok to save then Ok on other open panels or Save as the case may be and restart FireFox.
  9. Try to download your extension again. The error should be gone.
  10. You’re done!
Where I found this this was described as a solution for a problem installing a google extension
There Verisign was the verificator.
But which is the verifier for Adblock?
Here I found the answer : StartCom. everywhere you read Verisisgn replace it by Start.com and youŕe done.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

tweaking Crunchbang

The nice thing about openbox window manager is the way you can configure almost everything in easy by editing text files or some simple gui's.
I use a high resolution monitor, so I need larger fontsize. Start with Obconfig,
in #! you will find that under preferences, openbox, openbox config, GUI config tool. choose tab Appearance and change font sizes. ( Note the beautiful and clever the window buttons are configured: DSLIMC
D Omnipresent S Shade L Label I Iconify or Minimize M maximize and C Close).

This is not the only way to set lettersize; you might have lxappearence running, sometimes hidden in the menu as GUI settings; here you can set the lettersize below left on the first Window tab. Don\ t forget to use gksudo lxappearance to resize letters using gui apps as root
Lettersize in Conky by editing .conkyrc
I also ad a new image viewer toe: Ristretto and for writing Abiword.
You will have to edit the .rc.xml file for adding keybindings,

The default English keyboard is also changed to US and other localization files. See a post before this one. Don't forget to choose a local server in Synaptic for faster downloads.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Localize Crunchbang (in LiveUSB install)

It's kind of tricky to change the default setup which is British to Dutch for example.
Edit via sudo gedit /etc/default/locale the default language.
Local code you will find in: /usr/share/localechooser/languagelist; for instance: nl_NL.UTF-8

and then:
dpkg-reconfigure locales

For AbiWord you will need Ispell and the idutch voor spellingcontrole.
For interfaces: language-pack-gnome-nl
and language-pack-gnome-base.
Change English keyboard to us by saving us as gb in

There's a much easier way to set up support for other languages than
English, in particular multi-byte languages like Chinese, Korean or
Japanese: install the package "language-selector", either with
Synaptic, or with the command
sudo apt-get install language-selector

Once it's installed, you can call it with the (confusing) command

Use the "Install/remove languages" button at the bottom to add whatever languages you want, and check the box that says "Use input method engines (IME) to enter complex characters". You can install fonts, dictionaries etc automatically this way, and set your system's interface to your choice from the languages you have installed

Solving problems with printing jobs

Most of the time everything goes well regarding printing in Linux. But when problems start they may be hard to solve.
I got some cups server error: "client-error-not-possible"
Here are some suggestions:
To be able to manage the cups printing jobs through web, you need to login first. Click on the "Administration" icon at the top of page http://localhost:631, it will prompt for user name and password.

This is also the place where you can cancel printing jobs that are hanging for some reason.

Then I noticed the printer was not active.
I already found out about this by giving this command: lpstat -t
printer HP_LaserJet_2100 uitgeschakeld sinds

On the cups webpage you can enable the printer again.
But also via terminal: lpadmin -p -E will reenable it.

Now the pinter is recongized in the HPLip Toolbox and accepts printing jobs, and gives no errors but nothing happens!!
Another solution was brought up: to install printconf.
When I had done that (sudo apt-get install printconf) I got the next error message: Unable to read printer database. Please ensure the "foomatic-db" package is installed properly.

I found the suggestion to see what drivers are available for the printer, using this command as a regular user:
foomatic-datafile -A | grep HP_LaserJet_2100

No output. Found out that installing gnome-cups-manager was sometimes an effective workaround; seems to be part of a normal install but was missing on my pc.
Recognized the printer right away. After that while printing with a gnome (Eye of Gnome) image viewer the image was printed alright. Pfff, that was easy.... no it wasn't. These are the kind of tribulations that put people off of Linux. Happily I found some many good things in linux that even printing in Windows is not a viable option anymore ;-)).

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Install Adblocker extension for Chromium

Another reason I didn't want to use Chromium or Google Chrome was because of the ads all over the place. If you have lived years in the save hands of Adblock Plus it's unbearable to see the millions of ads coming by.

Now there is finally an adblocker extension that works with the new versions; I have version 4.0.249 (it has to be 4.+). You can install the adblocker extension here: http://www.chromeextensions.org/appearance-functioning/adblock/

After install you have to subscribe yourself manually to adblocker lists that are also used by adblock plus. You do so by clicking on the extenson icon on the upper right side , left next to control page and config button. and choose Subscribe.

More extensions here but don't use the adsweep extension, listed there; it didn't work for me.

Set minimum font in Chromium

I found Chromium unusable because of the way too small fonts om my high resolution screen until I found this tweak:

To set the minimum font size in Chromium (Linux), you must edit the ~/.config/chromium/Default/Preferences file:

gedit ~/.config/chromium/Default/Preferences

Look for this inside the file you just opened:
"webkit": {
"webprefs": {
"default_fixed_font_size": 15,
"default_font_size": 16,
"fixed_font_family": "Monospace",
"sansserif_font_family": "Droid Sans",
"serif_font_family": "Liberation Serif"

And add this two lines under "webprefs": {
 "minimum_font_size": 16,
"minimum_logical_font_siz": 16,

If you don't see this for change the default fonts in Options Under the Hood

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Removing older kernels


Don’t follow this process unless you’re sure you don’t need to boot into the older kernels. If you’re not sure, just leave things alone. Also, it is possible to remove all of the kernels from your system and make it unbootable. I suggest leaving the latest kernel and one version previous to that. You can find out the kernel version that you’re currently running with

uname -r

Find and remove old kernels

The first step is to figure out what kernels are installed. The following command will do the job.

ls /boot | grep vmlinuz | cut -d'-' -f2,3

Your result could look something like this (running Hardy).

his is the list of kernels installed on your system. Now you want to find out which packages are installed relative to the kernel you want to remove. For my example I’m going to remove the oldest one 2.6.24-19

On my system, (JHardy) the resulting list is:


Now that we know what packages to remove we can remove them with dpkg, apt-get or aptitude.
sudo aptitude remove linux-headers-2.6.24-19 linux-headers-2.6.24-19-generic linux-image-2.6.24-19-386 linux-image-2.6.24-19-generic linux-ubuntu-modules-2.6.24-19-generic


Thursday, December 3, 2009

USB_Creator also in Hardy for USB Flash Ubuntu Install

=== How to install Crunchbang to a USB flash drive using USB-Creator ===

There has been some discussion here about ways to install Crunchbang on a USB flash drive. I haven't found any mention though of using the Ubuntu program "USB Creator" for that purpose. It's very easy to do, works well and makes a persistent install to the flash drive. USB-Creator works for many Ubuntu-derived distros.

Here's how to do it:

1. Prepare a USB flash drive with a capacity of 1 GB or more, i.e. format it with a FAT32 or FAT16 filesystem and put a boot sector with MBR on it. To do that, I generally use the "Quick Format to FAT32" option of the Hewlett-Packard USB Disk Storage Format Tool, running in Windows XP (regrettably, it doesn't work in Wine). Among the many ways of setting up a flash drive, this utility seems to be one of the most reliable tools for doing this job. You can download it from http://www.pcworld.com/downloads/file/f … ption.html

Perhaps you can skip step #1 and use your flash drive as is; it may already be set up properly. I believe USB Creator merely writes the syslinux bootloader code to an already existing MS-DOS-type MBR in the boot sector; it does not reformat your flash drive, anything that's already on it will be kept.

2. Download the Crunchbang ISO and put it somewhere on an easily accessible HDD or USB flashdrive, or pull out your Crunchbang live/install CD, if you have one.

3. Boot into a v.9.04 Crunchbang, Ubuntu, Mint or other Ubuntu-derived system (either into a HDD or USB install or a live CD/DVD), install the Ubuntu usb-creator package (with its two dependencies mtools and syslinux) from the Ubuntu Universe (?) repository.

If you're using Hardy LTS like me:

It is not in the Hardy repositories;

Here are the sources:

USB Creator for AMD64

USB Creator for i386

The packages were built for Intrepid but should install nicely in Hardy. Thanks to Scot's Newsletter for the tip. The forum also reports that the latest two versions, 0.1.9 and 0.1.10, have problems; I chose to install 0.1.8 instead.

Note: USB Creator relies on syslinux and mtools so make sure to install them before installing usb-creator. usb-creator is also a plain .deb file, so you have to install it via

sudo dpkg -i usb-creator_0.1.8_all.deb

and then open the program in that distro. It's a python program, so you have to have Python installed, too.

4. In the source disc image (CD/ISO) box put the location of the crunchbang ISO or CD, in the USB disk to use box put in the location of the flash drive and then set the reserved extra space slider (for the size of the persistent overlay) to some sensible value. Click on "Make Startup Disk". The install will take less than 10 min.

5. Boot into the flash drive (you may have to change the boot sequence in your BIOS to have your computer look for and boot into any attached bootable USB device ahead of booting into the internal HDD). Any changes you make in Crunchbang (customizing applications, creating files, installing additional software, etc) will be persistent, i.e. carried forward to the next boot.

Some computers with AMD hardware may stumble over a bug in the boot code of Ubuntu 9.04 and not allow you to boot to the Desktop (e.g. see https://bugs.launchpad.net/ubuntu/+bug/366678). The workaround for this is to pull out and reinsert the flash drive after the Crunchbang splash screen has appeared.

6. The unused space within the FAT32 filesystem of the USB flash drive is freely accessible from within any OS, including Linux, Windows and MacOSX, i.e. you can put ordinary files in that space. The reserved extra space (the so-called overlay) is in the file casper-rw in the root directory of the flash drive. It can be accessed from within any other Linux distro through the command

# mount -o loop casper-rw /mnt/xyz

where /mnt/xyz is any available directory that can be used as a mount point in the currently running Linux distro. For as long as the casper-rw loopback image is mounted in that distro, you can read and write to its filesystem by going to /mnt/xyz.




Friday, November 27, 2009

What If boot USB stick doesn't boot because of bios. Make a special boot cdrom

Make a USB Boot CD for CrunchBang Linux

The following tutorial will enable you to create a USB Boot CD that can be used to Boot CrunchBang Linux from a USB Flash Drive on systems that do not natively support booting from USB. The USB Boot CD uses a grub bootloader to launch the vmlinuz kernel and initrd from the CD, loading the necessary USB drivers, and then proceeds to locate and extract the compressed filesystem from the flash drive. CrunchBang Linux is a unique remix based on Ubuntu.

USB Boot CD for CrunchBang Linux creation essentials:

* PC with a BIOS that does not support booting from USB
* CrunchBang Live CD
* Working CD Drive and USB Port
* Flash drive with CrunchBang preinstalled (see earlier article below)

How to Create a CD to Boot CrunchBang from USB

1. Insert the CrunchBang Live CD and restart, booting from the CD
2. Open a terminal and type mkdir -p usbcdcb/boot/grub
3. Type cp /usr/lib/grub/i386-pc/stage2_eltorito usbcdcb/boot/grub
4. Type gedit usbcdcb/boot/grub/menu.lst
5. Add the following information to your menu.lst file and save it

title Run CrunchBang from USB DISK
root (cd)
kernel /boot/vmlinuz file=/cdrom/preseed/custom.seed boot=casper noprompt cdrom-detect/try-usb=true persistent quiet splash
initrd /boot/initrd.gz

6. Type cp /cdrom/casper/initrd.gz ~/usbcdcb/boot
7. Type cp /cdrom/casper/vmlinuz ~/usbcdcb/boot
8. Type mkisofs -R -b boot/grub/stage2_eltorito -no-emul-boot -boot-load-size 4 -boot-info-table -o usbcdcb.iso usbcdcb
9. Burn the usbcdcb.iso to a CD

Booting from the USB Boot CD for CrunchBang

  1. Shutdown your computer
  2. Insert the USB Boot CD and your CrunchBang USB drive
  3. Set your BIOS or Startup Menu to boot from CD
  4. Start your computer (booting from the CD)

The USB Boot CD should load the necessary USB drivers, locate filesystem.squashfs on your flash drive, and then proceed to boot CrunchBang from the USB device.

This works like a charm.

source: http://www.pendrivelinux.com/make-a-usb-boot-cd-for-crunchbang-linux/#more-1128

Persistent USB drive CrunchBang install

This means you can save your settings an have a system going.

The following tutorial covers the process of installing CrunchBang Linux to a USB Flash Drive via the CrunchBang Live CD. In addition, the casper persistence feature will be utilized to allow a user to save and restore changes automatically. CrunchBang Linux is based on Ubuntu, featuring a lightweight Openbox window manager.



Creating a CrunchBang Persistent Flash Drive from the Live CD

  1. Download the CrunchBang 8.10.01 ISO and burn it to a CD ( I used 9.04 Jaunty Jackalope)
  2. Reboot your PC from the CrunchBang Live CD
  3. Insert your USB flash drive
  4. Open "terminal emulator" and type sudo su
  5. Now type fdisk -l to list available drives/partitions (note which device is your flash drive Example: /dev/sdb). Throughout this tutorial, replace all instances of x with your flash drive letter. For example, if your flash drive is sdb, replace x with b. The following step 6 I did with Gparted
  6. Type fdisk /dev/sdx
    • type p to show the existing partition and d to delete it
    • type p again to show any remaining partitions (if partitions exist, repeat the previous step)
    • type n to make a new partition
    • type p for primary partition
      • type 1 to make this the first partition
      • hit enter to use the default 1st cylinder
      • hit enter again to use the default last cylinder
      • type a to make this partition active
      • type 1 to select partition 1
      • type t to change the partition filesystem
      • type 6 to select the fat16 file system
      • type w to write the new partition table
  7. Remove and reinsert your flash drive
  8. Type umount /dev/sdx1
  9. Type mkfs.vfat -F 32 -n CrunchBang /dev/sdx1 ( I kept the usb drive on fat16 because I read somewhere Fat32 could lead to problems )
If you have problems giving the usb drive a label see here:

I use this:
sudo mlabel -i bracket_device_bracket ::bracket_label_bracket

got this error

If you get a message like this: Total number of sectors (7831520) not a multiple of sectors per track (63)!

You can easily ignore the check by running this command:

echo mtools_skip_check=1 >> ~/.mtoolsrc

This instruction supposes your pc can boot from an USB stick. My bios made that impossible. In the next story howto boot a boot USB with a boot cdrom and how to make a boot cdrom like that

Thursday, November 26, 2009

How do I format a USB stick

1) If not already installed,use synaptic to install gparted

2) umount usb drive

3) use gparted to format the drive

4) remount usb stick

Friday, November 13, 2009

Problems with multiple sound sources

I had problems with playing mp3 after a watching a youtube movie.
Found this solution:

Sound problems in Hardy? Multiple sources not working?

Hardy now uses Pulseaudio as the default sound backend in Gnome. Though this is a good development (esd wasn't maintained anymore, various apps use different sound backends), this also creates a lot of problems.

For me, the situation was as follows: I have an Intel HDA sound chip on my mainboard. Very low tech by today's standards, but otherwise works fine. My sound setup was the default as I had done a fresh install Hardy. This gave me a sound setup that either work for Pulseaudio (which is a drop-in for esd), so I had Rhythmbox working, or worked for Firefox (Flash), depending on which I started first. That sucks. Sometimes you want both at the same time, or just pause on to run the other, not closing it completely.

I think I have that working now pretty well. This is how it goes:

First, install some extras: libflashsupport [this I skipped having the latest flash], libasound2-plugins and libsdl1.2debian-pulseaudio. These are libs to support Pulseaudio for Adobe's Flash, for Alsa and for SDL. The SDL lib will replace the default Alsa backend for SDL.
This is what goes into your /etc/asound.conf or .asoundrc in your home folder:
pcm.pulse {
type pulse
ctl.pulse {
type pulse
pcm.!default {
type pulse
ctl.!default {
type pulse

Then run "asoundconf set-pulseaudio" to fix up your personal Alsa configuration to redirect to Pulseaudio.
source: http://www.wzzrd.com/2008/05/sound-problems-in-hardy-multiple.html

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Dmenu in Gnome

Using Openbox I liked the Dmenu program very much.
You can also use in Gnome though.
First install dwm-tools via synaptic or with sudo apt-get install dwm-tools in terminal.
If you don't like the grey color change dmenu.sh in
/usr/bin (for instance via Nautilus as root gksudo nautilus) and put in the following script:
$(dmenu_path | dmenu -fn '-*-terminus-*-r-normal-*-*-120-*-*-*-*-iso8859-*' -nb '#000000' -nf '#FFFFFF' -sb '#0066ff')

In newer versions dmenu_run is what was dmenu.sh before.

So in terninal do dmenu_run to activatie the program.
Of course that makes no sense; we have to make a keybinding.
Standard keybinding is alt+f4; if you want to change that:
we change a keybinding with metacity:

If it is a new command or you want to check the command number: Open GConf editor (Applications -> System Tools -> Configuration Editor), go to apps -> metacity -> keybinding_command; choose a command for instance command_2

Now go to Navigate to:
and change the keybinding of the dmenu command number by selecting it and typing the new value.
and give it this value: /usr/bin/dmenu.sh or /usr/bin/dmenu_run

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

unp for fast unpacking of multiple zip or rar files

If you want to extract multiple packed files at once unp is a nice option:
unp is a small perl script which makes extraction of any archive files a bit easier. It support several compressors and archiver programs, chooses the right one(s) automatically and extracts one or more files in one go.

You may also want to install some non-free packages like “unace-nonfree”, “unrar-nonfree” and “lha” to extract archives of these types.

Install unp in ubuntu

sudo apt-get install unp

When you unrar multiple different rar files, put them in the same directory and , open the terminal there and do
unp *.part1.rar
unp is a small script with only one goal: Extract as many archives as possible, of any kind and from any path to the current directory, preserving the subdirectory structure where needed. Is a Do-What-I-Want utility and helps managing several extraction programs without looking for needed options for the particular tool or worrying about the installation of the needed program.

In contrary to gunzip which decompresses the file in the target directory of the source file,unp will use current directory for output.

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Thursday, October 22, 2009


This is the most accessible way to experiment with Openbox.
See a nice review here

But a much nicer way is to follow this guide by Urukrama

Working with Openbox is addictive because of its simpleness, very productive because of keybindings and dmenu. Other good points are its ease of configuration, its wonderful looks, its fastness, low system requirements.
It's the complete opposite fo Winows Vista where everything is bloated and overdone with unnecessary complicated menu's.
On a well configured Openbox system the learning curve for pc newbies will be much and much lower than on any other configuration I know.

This is the way to go for people in education working with older hardware and possibilities to deploy a specific software setup.

Another competitor in this field is SliTaz
The wonderful thing about SliTaz is that it is the ideal on-the-road distro with a Usbstick on which you can very easily put your home partition. A problem I found that it doesn't support a very high screen resolution.
A critical review here

Just try it and you'll never regret it.

Monday, October 19, 2009

wbar, very lightweight osx like dock for openbox

Wbar is a very nice lightweight dock for openbox.
To config via GUI install wbarconf

Here a screenshot; please also note the tint bar at the top; the conky listing of the openbox keybindings and the nice tranquility theme in the thunar window.

Skippy, task swithcher for openbox

What you do with alt+tab in Windows and most Linux distro's you can visualize with very large window thumbnails in a nice way with Skippy .
See here for a nice screenshot

Saturday, October 17, 2009

when you 've lost admin rights

I couldn't access my cdrom drives and it had something to do with the user rights. A short while later I could access my drives but had lost admin rights!!

The quickest solution I found and tried was:
Reboot, when entering the grub menu press c to prevent further booting. Choose: Ubuntu recovery mode. Then you get a menu: choose work in terminal
and enter: usermod -a -G admin username

After that's done (without feedback) type reboot.
Other useful commands
To get info on your cdrom drives: dmesg | grep CD-ROM
b.t.w. the command that got me into trouble was:
first: usermod -G cdrom username
and then:
chmod 660 /dev/(name drive)
found with
ls -la / media
ls -la /dev/cdrom*

Change username into your own username.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Howto spot which ports are active

"I like to use netstat -ntulp that will show everything that is listening tcp and udp and the ip that it is listening on."

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Making Keybindings in OpenBox more accessible with Conky

Open box is a wonderful clean window manager that is very low on resources when you start an openbox session. And if you use the wonderful Tranquility Open box theme computung starts to get really nice. (Don't miss the wonderful pine background).

The best place to start is Urukrama weblog that has a very clear and easy install guide for Open box and all kind of extra possiblities to enrich the OpenBox environment.
When I was asked to prepare a pc for a 12 year old child on a old 500 mhz Pentium my thoughts immediately were about how to make the OpenBox environment easy and super user-friendly.
In the Crunchbang distro. that I didn't want to use I saw how conky was used as a reminder for keybindings for starting programs. In openBox keybindings are very easily set in the rc.xml file in ./config/openbox. There is a gui program that is to be used when setting a theme for instance, Obconfig, a fine program but without the possibility to set keybindings. The basics are explained here.
Urukrama gives some suggestions for using keybindings to start programs. Here is what I have defined as keybindings.

And here is the .conkyrc file that comes with it and is palced in the ./home folder:

# conky configuration
# The list of variables has been removed from this file in favour
# of keeping the documentation more maintainable.
# Check http://conky.sf.net for an up-to-date-list.
# For ideas about how to modify conky, please see:
# http://crunchbanglinux.org/forums/topic/59/my-conky-config/
# For help with conky, please see:
# http://crunchbanglinux.org/forums/topic/2047/conky-help/
# Enjoy! :)
# Settings
background yes
use_xft yes
xftfont Sans:size=8
xftalpha 1
update_interval 1.0
total_run_times 0
own_window yes
own_window_transparent no
own_window_type desktop
own_window_hints undecorated,below,sticky,skip_taskbar,skip_pager
double_buffer yes
minimum_size 200 200
maximum_width 240
draw_shades yes
draw_outline no
draw_borders no
draw_graph_borders no
default_color white
default_shade_color black
default_outline_color white
alignment top_right
gap_x 12
gap_y 12
no_buffers yes
uppercase no
cpu_avg_samples 2
override_utf8_locale no
# Output
Swap usage:$alignr$swap/$swapmax
Disk usage:$alignr${fs_used /}/${fs_size /}
CPU usage:$alignr${cpu cpu0}%

Alt+F2$alignr Run Dialog
Alt+F3$alignr Alt Menu
Super+space$alignr Programma Menu
Super+tab$alignr Client Menu
Super+t$alignr Terminal
Super+f$alignr Bestanden
Super+e$alignr Tekstje
Super+m$alignr Mediaspeler
Super+w$alignr Web Browser
Super+g$alignr Graphics Editor
Super+a$alignr Afbeeldingen
Super+l$alignr Word
Super+p$alignr Programma Paneel
Super+b$alignr Branden
Super+o$alignr Logout
PrtSc$alignr Screenshot

B.t.w you can find a wonderful closedown menu and script here (Python).

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

There was an error starting the GNOME Settings Daemon

This error was bugging me intensely, mainly because I couldn't find a solution anywhere. From a debug message it was clear it had to do something with a gstreamer update; after removing some gstreamer plugins the problem wasn't solved. This was the solution:

I got a similar error. According to the man page there are some debug options --debug and -no-daemon

I tried

gnome-settings-daemon --debug --no-daemon

from a console

and I got an error message about segfaults with ffmpeg.

ERROR: Caught a segmentation fault while loading plugin file:

Please either:
- remove it and restart.
- run with --gst-disable-segtrap and debug.

I renamed the file to .old and this let the settings daemon start.

source: http://www.debianhelp.org/node/6711

Monday, August 24, 2009

Solved icons problems

Got some very nasty icon problems and part of the upper panel was gone; for instance volume control and logout button; installed lxappearence:
This made new custum settings very easy to set and to experiment with

Friday, July 17, 2009

Information independance: how to import GMail onto your local pc

For different reasons it is wise to import the email you have on GMail to your local pc.
First install Thunderbird:
sudo aptitude install mozilla-thunderbird

Act upon the info given here.
So install the webmail plugin by going here and downloading the xpi file to a local folder (right click and save as). You first have to install the Webmail add on and after that the GMail add on (or Yahoo etc.):
  1. In Mozilla Thunderbird, open the extension manager (Tools Menu/Extensions).
  2. Click the Install button, and locate/select the file you downloaded and click "OK".
After you have installed both (restart Thunderbird each time) you can add your gmail account. In Thunderbird: edit, account settings, add account and provide the needed information.

Restored sound after update Pulse Audio

After an update from pulse audio no sound (Hardy).
Alt+ F2 and run gstreamer-properties, selected Alsa as default output plugin ( was default) and sound returned again.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Kernels updating

You can find out what kernel you are currently using with the uname command:

uname -r

Show installed but unused linux headers, image, or modules:
dpkg -l 'linux-*' | sed '/^ii/!d;/'"$(uname -r | sed "s/\(.*\)-\([^0-9]\+\)/\1/")"'/d;s/^[^ ]* [^ ]* \([^ ]*\).*/\1/;/[0-9]/!d'

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Stream to Freecom MusicPal with gmediaserver

Freecom MusicPal needs a UPnP media server. First I tried mediatomb; got a elaborate error message : "main: upnp error -203"
Then Fuppes in content quite the same sort of error: fuppes failed to bind socked.

Then installed GMediaserver;error message gmediaserver: missing directory argument
when typing:
gmediaserver content_directory './mp3'

then typed in terminal:
gmediaserver -v '/home/paul/mp3'

gmediaserver process id 1989 starting
UPnP MediaServer listening on
Sending UPnP advertisement for device (expire time 100 seconds)...
Listening for control point connections...

Shutting down...

and it stopped
with this command it didn't stop:
gmediaserver content_directory './mp3'

you can read:
# gmediaserver control (yes means start daemon).

#GMEDIASERVERARGS="--profile=mp101 -ieth0"


Probably the last line has to be changed to your streaming folder:


After changing this terminal typing:
gmediaserver './mp3'

no fault messages anymore. But the serving stopped after each song or sometimes after a few minutes. Then found this terminal command

gmediaserver --friendly-name=gmediaserver -i eth0 -v4 ~/mp3

Feedback, songlist and:
Using IP address
Initializing UPnP subsystem...
UPnP MediaServer listening on
Enabling UPnP web server...
Generating device UDN (UUID)...
UDN: uuid:6ad8275a-18be-4a74-9402-4a3673f46533
Registering UPnP root device...
Sending UPnP advertisement for device (expire time 100 seconds)...
Listening for control point connections...

btw great site with lots of other important info!! French though..

Friday, June 12, 2009

ECIS Provides A History of Microsoft's AntiCompetitive Behavior

Tuesday, April 21 2009 @ 06:13 PM EDT

You have to read this paper! Microsoft - A History of Anticompetitive Behavior and Consumer Harm [PDF], and it's from the European Committee for Interoperable Systems, or ECIS. ECIS has written it in support of the EU Commission's recent preliminary findings, on January 15, 2009, that Microsoft violated antitrust law by tying IE to Windows.

It is, to the best of my knowledge, the first time that the issue of Microsoft's patent threats against Linux have been framed in a context of anticompetitive conduct.

It presents a history, albeit not totally comprehensive, of some of the notable anticompetitive conduct from the past, like against DR-DOS and Netscape and WordPerfect, but it also presents current issues, including the saga of how ISO/IEC DIS 29500, formerly known as OOXML, got approved as a standard:

The EC is also investigating Microsoft's actions to manipulate the vote of the International Organization for Standardization / International Electrotechnical Commission on the recent standardization of Office "Open" XML ("OOXML"). As reported widely in the press and on the Internet, Microsoft's manipulation of the standards setting process in favor of OOXML included financial inducements, threats, misleading information, and committee-stuffing. These investigations are compelling examples of Microsoft's continued misconduct related to its monopolies in operating systems and other products.

source: http://www.groklaw.net/article.php?story=20090421111327711

Now you could have known and should have known what you support by buyng M$ software....

Thursday, June 11, 2009

when a damaged rar file doesn't open

Sometimes a damaged rar file won't open using nautilus native extractor.
First you can test the file by
unrar t filepart1.rar

When the files prove right you can
unrar e file.part1.rar

The recovery mode seems only to work using unrar.

Btw under Debian Linux, you need to type apt-get as follows to install unrar program:
# sudo apt-get install unrar

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Using (G)rsync to backup folders to an external HD with NFTS filesystem

I was getting errors doing that because NFTS doesn't support permissions.

But first what is rsync:
Rsync basically can check the destination data and see if any changes have been made in the source data so that ONLY the source data that has been changed is updated. VERY useful. So ideal for making incremental backups...
Grsync is a gui for rsync, more info here

Options to choose in Standard options tab:
Permissions: uncheck save owner, save rights, save group.
Only if data are zipped the permissions can be backup to a NFTS file system. Check Windows compability and uncheck don't leave file system.

Windows compatible:
--modify-window=1: this is ESSENTIAL. Basically in windows filesystems time is kept in even numbers (or some such problem). This command tells rsync to ignore filechanges that are only 1 second in difference from the original. It is almost impossible that you will create a file, sync it, and in ONE second make a change and want to sync it again. So it is safe to use this option and it means that rsync will not back up everything every time simply because of a one second change.

For system-wide backups to a NFTS drive see:

Monday, June 8, 2009

Fast Stone Image Viewer (portable) in Hardy

One of the most wonderful image viewers is Fast Stone Image Viewer,
one of the few programs I really missed in Ubuntu. But I just discovered the portable version works great under Wine!!
And as I 'm not a purist (sorry)...

FastStone Image Viewer is another great app from FastStone which is one of the best image viewers in my opinion. This little free application which also comes in portable version is a user-friendly image browser, converter and editor, all in just 3,9 mb.

FastStone Image viewer has all the features you will need, like image modification tools: Resize/resample, rotate/flip, crop, sharpen/blur, brightness/contrast, red-eye removal, emailing, resizing, cropping, drop shadow, framing, bump map, lens, morph, waves, color adjustments and digital camera support but what i like the most is the built-in batch processing (you can rename or convert multiple images in the same time).

Unfortunately, FastStone Image Viewer comes only in a Windows version, but if you really want to use it on Linux, the portable version (downloadlink) works great through Wine.
source: http://webupd8.blogspot.com/2009/03/best-lightweight-portable-image-viewer.html

Batch convert svg to png

I just opened gnome-terminal and searched:

$ apt-cache search svg.*png
inkscape - vector-based drawing program
librsvg2-bin - command-line and graphical viewers for SVG files
scribus - Open Source Desktop Page Layout

my eye caught librsvg2-bin

$ apt-cache show librsvg2-bin
Description: command-line and graphical viewers for SVG files
The rsvg library is an efficient renderer for Scalable Vector Graphics
(SVG) pictures.
This package includes a command-line utility to convert the SVG files
to the PNG format and a graphical SVG viewer.

afterwards, i checked out the package to see the command for it:

$ sudo apt-get install librsvg2-bin

$ dpkg -L librsvg2-bin

Cool, now we know the commands included

$ rsvg-convert --help
rsvg-convert [OPTION...] [FILE...] - SVG Converter
Help Options:
-?, --help Show help options
Application Options:
-d, --dpi-x= pixels per inch [optional; defaults to 90dpi]
-p, --dpi-y= pixels per inch [optional; defaults to 90dpi]
-x, --x-zoom= x zoom factor [optional; defaults to 1.0]
-y, --y-zoom= y zoom factor [optional; defaults to 1.0]
-z, --zoom= zoom factor [optional; defaults to 1.0]
-w, --width= width [optional; defaults to the SVG's width]
-h, --height= height [optional; defaults to the SVG's height]
-f, --format=[png, pdf, ps, svg] save format [optional; defaults to 'png']
-o, --output output filename [optional; defaults to stdout]
-a, --keep-aspect-ratio whether to preserve the aspect ratio [optional; defaults to FALSE]
-v, --version show version information
-b, --base-uri base uri

With some bash scripting you have a script:

$ cd your-directory-with-the-svgs/
$ for i in *; do rsvg-convert $i -o `echo $i | sed -e 's/svg$/png/'`; done


P.S. you can do a similar conversion using inkscape's command line:

$ cd your-directory-with-the-svgs/
$ for i in *; do inkscape $i --export-png=`echo $i | sed -e 's/svg$/png/'`; done

source: http://ubuntuforums.org/showthread.php?t=820965

Slimrat Rapidshare downloader

Jdownloader in itself is a fantastic app, but updated in such a frenzy it's regularly not usable. An altermative is slimrat for RS Free
See http://code.google.com/p/slimrat/


* install perl modules:
o Debian/Ubuntu:

aptitude install libwww-mechanize-perl
aptitude install libgtk2-gladexml-perl xclip libspiffy-perl # for GUI

# Download the archive and unpack it somewhere (svn code may not work)
# Make symlinks in $PATH

ln -s /path/to/slimrat/slimrat /usr/local/bin/slimrat
ln -s /path/to/slimrat/slimrat-gui /usr/local/bin/slimrat-gui

# edit config file and select your terminal emulator
# Run slimrat --help (CLI)
# Run slimrat-gui (GUI)

The nice thing about this app it uses very little resources and provides a simple but effective gui for easy use.
Supported servers:

* rapidshare.com Free
* youtube.com
Not: * depositfiles.com
* mediafire.com

Patch for if you have problems with version place a new rapidshar.pm in the plugin folder: http://slimrat.googlecode.com/issues/attachment?aid=-7662856610013720233&name=Rapidshare.pm
(right click and save as).

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Java version HJSplit


for Java

A Java implementation of HJSplit with a graphical user-interface (gui) similar to the Windows version. Runs on any platform which has a Java virtual machine installed, which can be: Windows, Linux, Mac, Solaris, etc.
Download: hjsplit_g.jar (137 Kb)
Created by: H�kan Gustavsson

Solving problems with JDownloader

J Downloader wouldn't start up. After trying all kind of solutions I found this one: enter the following in a terminal:
sudo update-alternatives --config java

This happened then:

sudo update-alternatives --config java
[sudo] password for paul:

There are 3 alternatives which provide `java'.

Selection Alternative
1 /usr/lib/jvm/java-6-sun/jre/bin/java
2 /usr/bin/gij-4.2
*+ 3 /usr/lib/jvm/java-gcj/jre/bin/java

Press enter to keep the default[*], or type selection number: 1
Using '/usr/lib/jvm/java-6-sun/jre/bin/java' to provide 'java'.

I selcted th right java engine and it workend fine again.


Using an older version of JDownloader:

"Here is my installation guide:

(1) disable internet access (for example, click the Stop button on your firewall, or open your Network Connections window and disable your internet connection there)--this prevents jDownloader from downloading anything at all from the updateserver when it starts for the first time;

(2) unzip the version 0.4.xxx zip file into an empty directory;

(3) start jDownloader, go to the Configuration tab and select Advanced Configuration, then on the Main tab make sure that "Update only at user request" is checked;

(4) configure any other options that you might wish to change;

(5) exit and restart;

(6) re-enable internet access;

I used this version:
I've rolled back to version 0.4.594. This appears to have fixed the freezes. There are some download links to this version on the following webpage:


Sunday, May 17, 2009

Convert the OTF fonts to Postscript Type one (.pfb)

The conversion is lossless as the hinting remain, however you can't do this reliably for large fonts (with more than 256 characters or glyphs). Here is a sample script allowing to convert OpenType fonts to postscript Type One fonts, you will end up with a .afm and a .pfb file :

# Quick and dirty hack: converts a font to Postscript Type one (.pfb)

while ( i<$argc )
Print("Opening : " +$argv[i]);
if($argv[i]:e != "otf")
Print( "Skipping ... Expecting an OpenType font [.otf]" )
Print("Saving : " +$argv[i]:r+".pfb");
# If the font is a cid keyed font, you may want to flatten the cid map
# To do this, uncomment the command below :
# CIDFlatten()
Generate($argv[i]:r + ".pfb")
i = i+1

Save this script as otf2pfb.sh and set the executable bit ( chmod +x otf2pfb.sh ). To launch this script, just do : ./otf2pfb.sh *.otf
or make otf2pfb
for i in $@; do
fontforge -script /usr/bin/otf2pfb.sh $i

and make this executable
and go in terminal to font folder and type:
otf2pfb fontname.otf

For all fiels in a folder do:

otf2pfb *.otf otf

Now the only thing remaining to do is installing the Type1 fonts in the system. For this Mandriva users can use drakfont, others can use type1inst after having copyed the files in /usr/share/fonts/Type1/.


Install OpenOffice 3.0 in Ubuntu 8.04 and 8.10

OpenOffice 3.0 adds updated ODF format support, Microsoft Office XML format support (reading only), usability improvements, a new start center, improved annotations in Writer, and improved PDF support.

OpenOffice 3.0 on Ubuntu 8.04

You can replace Ubuntu 8.04’s now outdated version of OpenOffice, or keep both versions installed at the same time. It’s not clear whether OpenOffice 3.0 will be available in Ubuntu 8.10, so I’ve tested these instructions with it as well.

1. Visit the download page, and select the Linux DEB download. The download should be about 150 MB. Extract the tar.gz archive.
2. OpenOffice is very complex software, and consists 47 packages. The easiest way to install them all is using the terminal. Use dpkg to install all of the packages in the DEBS subdirectory (command is one line, you will be prompted for your password):
sudo dpkg -i ~/Desktop/OOO300_m9_native_packed-1_en-US.9358/DEBS/*.deb
3. If you’re happy with OpenOffice 3.0, you can optionally remove the older Ubuntu-provided version. Note that removing the old OpenOffice will also remove the ubuntu-desktop metapackage, so don’t do this if you want to be able to upgrade Ubuntu to a new major version.
sudo apt-get remove openoffice.org openoffice.org-base openoffice.org-base-core openoffice.org-calc openoffice.org-common openoffice.org-core openoffice.org-draw openoffice.org-evolution openoffice.org-filter-mobiledev openoffice.org-gnome openoffice.org-gtk openoffice.org-help-en-us openoffice.org-impress openoffice.org-java-common openoffice.org-l10n-common openoffice.org-l10n-en-gb openoffice.org-l10n-en-za openoffice.org-math openoffice.org-style-human openoffice.org-writer

4. Once the old version of OpenOffice has been removed, you will be able to install the package that provides menu items for OpenOffice 3.0:
sudo dpkg -i ~/Desktop/OOO300_m9_native_packed-1_en-US.9358/DEBS/desktop-integration/openoffice.org3.0-debian-menus_3.0-9354_all.deb

[update] If you chose to keep the old version of OpenOffice installed, you’ll have to create your own menu items. Use this command to run OpenOffice 3:
5. One last step is to associate the document formats to open with OpenOffice 3.0. To do this, right-click on a document file and select Open With->Open With Other Application. Then select the appropriate OpenOffice component for that file.

If you want to remove OpenOffice 3.0, here the huge command to do so:
sudo apt-get remove ooobasis3.0-base ooobasis3.0-binfilter ooobasis3.0-calc ooobasis3.0-core01 ooobasis3.0-core02 ooobasis3.0-core03 ooobasis3.0-core04 ooobasis3.0-core05 ooobasis3.0-core06 ooobasis3.0-core07 ooobasis3.0-draw ooobasis3.0-en-us ooobasis3.0-en-us-base ooobasis3.0-en-us-binfilter ooobasis3.0-en-us-calc ooobasis3.0-en-us-draw ooobasis3.0-en-us-help ooobasis3.0-en-us-impress ooobasis3.0-en-us-math ooobasis3.0-en-us-res ooobasis3.0-en-us-writer ooobasis3.0-gnome-integration ooobasis3.0-graphicfilter ooobasis3.0-images ooobasis3.0-impress ooobasis3.0-javafilter ooobasis3.0-kde-integration ooobasis3.0-math ooobasis3.0-onlineupdate ooobasis3.0-ooofonts ooobasis3.0-ooolinguistic ooobasis3.0-pyuno ooobasis3.0-testtool ooobasis3.0-writer ooobasis3.0-xsltfilter openoffice.org3 openoffice.org3-base openoffice.org3-calc openoffice.org3-dict-en openoffice.org3-dict-es openoffice.org3-dict-fr openoffice.org3-draw openoffice.org3-en-us openoffice.org3-impress openoffice.org3-math openoffice.org3-writer openoffice.org-ure

Saturday, May 16, 2009

How to Install True Type Fonts on Ubuntu

You've just installed Ubuntu, and you need some good fonts for Open Office, Gimp, or another reason. You've found some nice .ttf fonts for Windows, but you're not sure on how you can use them, or even if it's possible. Following this guide properly, it'll be as easy as copying fonts to the /fonts directory in Windows!

1. Move all your fonts to the ~/ Directory. The ~/ Directory is your home folder. So if you were logged in as cruddpuppet, the directory would be /home/cruddpuppet/ .
2. Open up the terminal. I'm assuming you've already extracted the font to the ~/ directory. Type: "cd /usr/local/share/fonts/truetype" without the quotes (the path is "/usr/share/fonts/truetype" on some distros). What this does is changes the directory to the truetype fonts directory.
3. Type in "sudo mkdir myfonts" also without quotes. Assuming you're not logged in as root, this will ask you for your password. Anything you type will not be seen, but it is there. Just type in your password, press enter, and the directory 'myfonts' will be created.
4. Type in "cd myfonts" . Then type in "sudo cp ~/fontname.ttf ." . These will get your font in the /myfonts directory.
5. In order to install the font, ownership has to belong to root, so type in "sudo chown root.root fontname.ttf" and after that "sudo mkfontdir" which makes a directory for your font.
6. Now your font is installed, but it will disappear the next time ubuntu starts up, so you just need to type "cd .." and after that "fc-cache" .

More info in installing open type fonts that are supported since Open Office 3.
OpenOffice.org will handle binary encoded Type1 fonts (".pfb" suffix) as well as text encoded Type1 fonts (".pfa" suffix). However, you still need to have the corresponding Adobe Font Metric file (AFM) installed. This file needs to have the same base name as the font file (i.e. Times.pfa plus Times.afm or Helvetica.pfb plus Helvetica.afm). It must be installed in the same directory as the font file or in a subdirectory named "afm".

If you are not sure that you have installed the font correctly you can examine the "user/psprint/pspfontcache" file, or if you made a network installation, the "share/psprint/pspfontcache" file. This file is kind of hard to read but it states all font files that have been found during the last run of OpenOffice.org. "| grep" is your friend. Even though it is safe to remove this file please be careful not to modify it.

Installing OpenType Fonts
just to make sure... when you placed your fonts into /usr/share/fonts, did you update the font db? try the following commands exactly (these are just slightly modified instructions from that wiki page:


cd /usr/share/fonts/type1
sudo mkdir opentype
cd opentype
sudo cp /where/your/fonts/are/located/* .
sudo mkfontdir
cd ..
sudo fc-cache

that and then try restarting gnome/rebooting..


Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Choose a fav app for a certain filetype

Een voorkeursprogramma kiezen voor een bestandstype

Bij elk bestandstype kunt u een voorkeursprogramma instellen. Zodat bijvoorbeeld een MP3-bestandje, direct geopend wordt door uw favoriete speler, wanneer u erop dubbelklikt. Dat doet u zo.

Stel, u wil Audacious als voorkeursspeler hebben voor uw MP3's. Als in uw persoonlijke map een mp3-muziekbestand staat, dan doet u dit:


Locaties => Persoonlijke map
2. Rechtsklik muis op het MP3-bestand (Rightclick on a mp3 file)
3. Choose Properties

Kies Eigenschappen => Tabblad "Openen met"
4. Select radio button at fav app; Zet het puntje bij de speler van uw keuze, in dit voorbeeld Audacious.

Nu is Audacious voortaan uw standaardspeler voor MP3's. Let op: u kiest dus niet direct voor "openen met" als u rechtsklik met de muis hebt gedaan! Want dan is het een tijdelijke keuze. Pas als u kiest via Eigenschappen - Openen met, is het een blijvende keuze.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

How M$ hinders development of a Open Document Standard

The bad guys act like this: http://www.groklaw.net/article.php?story=2009050712493241

As for calls by Microsoft to change the leadership of the ODF Technical Committee, may I remind you of Microsoft's Windows Evangelism memo that surfaced in the Comes v. Microsoft antitrust litigation? Here's the exhibit as PDF( http://www.groklaw.net/pdf/Comes-3096.pdf). It outlines how to find and put into place a "pliable" moderator. And here's what it said:

Our mission is to establish Microsoft's platforms as the de facto standards throughout the computer industry.... Working behind the scenes to orchestrate "independent" praise of our technology, and damnation of the enemy's, is a key evangelism function during the Slog. "Independent" analyst's report should be issued, praising your technology and damning the competitors (or ignoring them). "Independent" consultants should write columns and articles, give conference presentations and moderate stacked panels, all on our behalf (and setting them up as experts in the new technology, available for just $200/hour). "Independent" academic sources should be cultivated and quoted (and research money granted). "Independent" courseware providers should start profiting from their early involvement in our technology. Every possible source of leverage should be sought and turned to our advantage.

I have mentioned before the "stacked panel". Panel discussions naturally favor alliances of relatively weak partners - our usual opposition. For example, an "unbiased" panel on OLE vs. OpenDoc would contain representatives of the backers of OLE (Microsoft) and the backers of OpenDoc (Apple, IBM, Novell, WordPerfect, OMG, etc.). Thus we find ourselves outnumbered in almost every "naturally occurring" panel debate.

The key to stacking a panel is being able to choose the moderator. Most conference organizers allow the moderator to select [the] panel, so if you can pick the moderator, you win. Since you can’t expect representatives of our competitors to speak on your behalf, you have to get the moderator to agree to having only “independent ISVs” on the panel. No one from Microsoft or any other formal backer of the competing technologies would be allowed -just ISVs who have to use this stuff in the “real world.” Sounds marvellously independent doesn’t it? In fact, it allows us to stack the panel with ISVs that back our cause. Thus, the “independent” panel ends up telling the audience that our technology beats the others hands down. Get the press to cover this panel, and you’ve got a major win on your hands.

Finding a moderator is key to setting up a stacked panel. The best sources of pliable moderators are:

-- Analysts: Analysts sell out - that's their business model. But they are very concerned that they never look like they are selling out, so that makes them very prickly to work with.

-- Consultants: These guys are your best bets as moderators. Get a well-known consultant on your side early, but don't let him publish anything blatantly pro-Microsoft. Then, get him to propose himself to the conference organizers as a moderator, whenever a panel opportunity comes up. Since he's well- known, but apparently independent, he'll be accepted – one less thing for the constantly-overworked conference organizer to worry about, right?

See also:

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Create a separate Home partition

The best advice you can get: Create a separate Home partition
When you next perform a fresh installation of Ubuntu, choose the manual partition option and create three separate partitions. One needs to be for '/', and should be around 10-20GB, . Another should be for the swap space, and be around the same size as your installed memory. And the final partition is '/home', and will contain all your personal files. When you next install Ubuntu, choose manual again and your Home partition won't be reformatted, keeping all your personal files and configuration options in tact.

Why dump Vista and how to do it?

1 nagging licensing (among tens of other reasons)
how to
2 get accostumed to cross platform free, open source programs like
Firefox, Open Office and webmail or thunderbird
3 look into the history and backgrounds of the two main choices and commit yourself to openness and sharing of the good things of computing:


Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Howto: Save Streaming Real Audio Files for 'Offline' Listening

This walkthrough aims to give a demonstration of how to download a Real Audio stream and convert it to either Ogg Vorbis or mp3 format for offline listening at a later time. I will use a BBC news broadcast to demonstrate this technique.

First download the required tools from the repository:


sudo apt-get install mplayer vorbis-tools lame

Next use the following commands to download the stream to your Desktop:


$ cd $HOME/Desktop
$ mplayer -playlist http://www.bbc.co.uk/worldservice/meta/tx/nb/summary5min_au_nb.ram \
-vc null -vo null -ao pcm:fast:waveheader:file=news_stream.wav

I have a certain loathing for blindly copying CLI options into a Terminal without actually understanding what I am doing. So I will pause while the file is encoding in realtime to explain a few terms and options, drawing this material directly from the man pages:

* mplayer
mplayer is a movie player for Linux. It plays most MPEG/VOB, AVI, ASF/WMA/WMV, RM, QT/MOV/MP4, Ogg/OGM, MKV, VIVO, FLI, NuppelVideo, yuv4mpeg, FILM and RoQ files, supported by many native and binary codecs. You can watch Video CD, SVCD, DVD, 3ivx, DivX 3/4/5 and even WMV movies, too.
* - playlist
Plays files according to a playlist file: ASX, Winamp, SMIL, or one-file-per-line format. The ram file is not a media file in itself, it contains directions to the actual media file. mplayer's -playlist option can read these directions and subsequently open the media file. How cool is that!
* -ao pcm:file=news_stream.wav
Audio output is PCM (Pulse Code Modulation: the most common method of encoding an analogue audio signal into a digital bit stream) and the resulting default wav file will be named news_stream.wav.
* -vc null -vo null
Do not play/encode video. This setting may result in faster encoding and obviously in a Real Audio sound broadcast there will be no video anyway.

Now there should be a large wav file sitting on your desktop, so before anything else run it through any music player on your system and make sure it works! The following commands show the syntax to convert this file to either Ogg Vorbis or mp3 format:

Ogg Vorbis:


$ cd $HOME/Desktop
$ oggenc news_stream.wav -q 6 -o BBC_news.ogg



$ cd $HOME/Desktop
$ lame news_stream.wav --preset standard -o BBC_news.mp3

How easy is that? There are of course many more exciting streams out there than the BBC World News and I encourage you to explore. But perhaps you will also visit For the God Who Sings and see the radio series that started my exploration of this technique?


Much used programs

Non standard:K3B en KDiskfree, Krusader en nog meer KDE programma’s gebruik ik zonder problemen in de Gnome omgeving. Mirage om foto ’s te bekijken. Fontmatrix fontbeheer; CHM viewer, Graphical Disk Map. TV- browser (java) voor sat tvprogramma-overzicht.
EnvyNG_ de oplossing voor een lastige grafische kaart);JDownloader(Rapidshare downloads etc);ePDF viewer, Amarok, VLC en SMPlayer , Storage Device Manager (voor(u) mounten); Cairo Dock; GMount-Iso. Kompozer EAC, Utorrent, foobar2000 onder Wine.
Cdkatalog (beheer van externe disks). Xgamma( beeldscherm)
Terminal: shutdown; mimms (mms stream download); shntool (audioconversie); ffmpeg (videoconversie) , xdiskusage(harddiskbeheer); cuetools (werken met cuesheets) enz enz

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

About Alias

alias allows you to define shortcuts and synonyms for commonly used shell commands.

The basic usage is:

alias newcommand='yourcommand -arguments'

If you want to start aterm according to your preferences with the command term, do something like:

alias term='aterm -ls -fg gray -bg black'

If you want a quick alias like ll for a more informative file listing:

ls -al --color=yes

Starting alias without any options lists the current aliases:


alias ls='ll'
alias ls -al --color=yes
alias term='aterm -ls -fg gray -bg black'

Use unalias to remove an alias.

About alias

Commonly used for a long strings that are frequently used. Alias allows you to have a small more familiar command or name to execute a long string.


alias [name=['command']]
name Specifies the alias name.
command Specifies the command the name should be an alias for.
-a Removes all alias definitions from the current shell execution environment.
-t Sets and lists tracked aliases.
-x Sets or prints exported aliases. An exported alias is defined for scripts invoked by name.


alias home 'cd public_html' - Sets home to type cd public_html

to remove this alias use the unalias command

We recommend that ISP's or Unix systems with users who may be unfamiliar with Unix setup the following aliases:

clr clear
cls clear
copy cp -i
del rm -i
delete rm -i
dir ls -alg
home cd ~
ls ls -F
md mkdir
move mv -i
pwd echo $cwd
type more


Friday, February 13, 2009

How to en/disable Compositing in Metacity

I'm having a strange problem with renaming a file or creating a folder or document in Nautilus. When I create a new file, the Nautilus seems to crash, the window disappears, and Nautilus comes back again with the new folder/document created, but I will have to navigate to the folder. This also happens on the desktop. Renaming there is impossible; in nautilus also in in the icon view, but it is possible in the list view.

As a solution I disabled compositing in Metacity. Go to Applications System tools Gnome config editor and there to apps, metacity, general and en- or disable compositing_true by ticking the box.
Another way of doing this:

At the time of writing (Feb 2009) the following actions are required to enable compositing functionality in Metacity, part of the Gnome desktop. This compositing functionality should not be confused with Compiz, Compiz Fusion or various derivitives.

I have to say it works rather nicely on recent hardware although I have found it to significantly slow down on some older integrated laptop chipsets.

1. Execute this (Tells Gnome to use the metacity compositor):
gconftool-2 -s –type bool /apps/metacity/general/compositing_manager true

2. Appended this to the end of xorg.conf (tells Xorg to use compositing):

Section “Extensions”
Option “Composite” “enable”

3. Log out of your session, the changes should have taken place next time you log in.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Remove residual configuration files: Go to System –> Administration –> Synaptic Package Manager In the left column of the package manager, select Status, and then check for Not Installed (residual config packages). If this option appears, then you will have to right-click each package individually, and select Mark for Complete Removal. After selecting all the packages, click Apply.

1. Remove isolated libraries: Open Terminal and type…

sudo apt-get install deborphan

sudo deborphan

If it appears you have some isolated libraries, then use the following commands in Terminal to remove them:

sudo deborphan | xargs sudo apt-get -y remove --purge

and then
sudo apt-get autoremove

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

screen magnifiers

Full screen magnification:Orca

In order to get the Gui admin tools to work you need to either log in as root (disabled in Ubuntu by default) this can be enabled in the login manager screen but you need admin rights to enable it so it won't work with speech (catch 22). The other way is to stop orca, restart it in the --no-setup mode open the gui using sudo and making the changes.

e.g in a terminal type

sudo pkill orca
(enter password)
sudo orca --no-setup
sudo (name of admin gui app)

afterwards I recommend you restart the computer to regain normal service.
You will have to disable Compiz for the screen magnification to work!!

Orca uses gnome-mag.

Kmag for partial magnification
Xzoom for partial magnification
Use commands xzoom or kmag after installation.

When you use Compiz, you can use Ezoom:

I got some problem with windoows rendering in Nautilus which I blame on these screen magnifiers and deinstalled gnome-orca, kmag and xscreen and prevented at sessionsm start up the visual disability choice.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Backup selected files only

* Difficulty: Intermediate
* Application: tar

Want to use tar to backup only certain files in a directory? Then you'll want to use the -T flag as follows. First, create a file with the file you want to backup:

cat >> /etc/backup.conf
# /etc/passwd
# /etc/shadow
# /etc/yp.conf
# /etc/sysctl.conf

Then run tar with the -T flag pointing to the file just created:

tar -cjf bck-etc-`date +%Y-%m-%d`.tar.bz2 -T /etc/backup.conf

Now you have your backup.

source: http://www.linuxformat.co.uk/wiki/index.php/58_Cool_Hacks

Unmount busy drives

* Difficulty: Easy
* Application: bash

You are probably all too familiar with the situation - you are trying to unmount a drive, but keep getting told by your system that it's busy. But what application is tying it up? A quick one-liner will tell you:

lsof +D /mnt/windows

This will return the command and process ID of any tasks currently accessing the /mnt/windows directory. You can then locate them, or use the kill command to finish them off.

Running multiple X sessions

* Difficulty: Easy
* Application: X

If you share your Linux box with someone and you are sick of continually logging in and out, you may be relieved to know that this is not really needed. Assuming that your computer starts in graphical mode (runlevel 5), by simultaneously pressing the keys Control+Alt+F1 - you will get a login prompt. Insert your login and password and then execute:

startx -- :1

to get into your graphical environment. To go back to the previous user session, press Ctrl+Alt+F7, while to get yours back press Ctrl+Alt+F8.

You can repeat this trick: the keys F1 to F6 identify six console sessions, while F7 to F12 identify six X sessions. Caveat: although this is true in most cases, different distributions can implement this feature in a different way.

Save ways to exit with system freeze

In Linux, when your entire system freezes, there are plenty of safe ways to exit and get back on track immediately. Alt + SysRq + (a selection of other keys) will do the magic trick. Note: 'SysRq' key is equivalent to the 'Print Screen' key.

Alt + SysR + K
Kill all processes (including X), which are running on the currently active virtual console.

Alt + SysRq + E
Send the TERM signal to all running processes except init, asking them to exit.

Alt + SysRq + I
Send the KILL signal to all running processes except init.

Alt + SysRq + L
Send the KILL signal to all processes, including init.

Alt + SysRq + S
Run an emergency sync (cache write) on all mounted filesystems. This can prevent data loss.

Alt + SysRq + U
Remount all mounted filesystems as read-only. This has the same effect as the sync combination above, but with one important benefit: if the operation is successful, fsck won't have to check all filesystems after a computer hardware reset.

Alt + SysRq + R
Turn off keyboard raw mode. This can be useful when your X session hangs. After issueing this command you may be able to use .

Alt + SysRq + B
Reboot immediately without syncing or unmounting your disks. Using this, you will likely end up with filesystem errors, so this is not highly recommended.

Alt + SysRq + O
Shut the system off right away.

If all these ‘Alt + SysRq’ keyboard combo are hard to remember, you can press Alt + SysRq + H to display a helpful list of the shortcuts above.


Useful comments:
The first thing you should try in something hangs, is just Alt-SysRq-K (or Ctrl-Shift-Backspace while in a graphic X environment, which is a little less brutal). But mostly plain patience will do the trick.

A great way to use these keys is holding down Alt-SysRq while slowly typing REISUB (BUSIER backwards). This will reboot your system in a safe way (just look at the explanations above).

Also note: Alt-SysRq-H only helps you out in the command line.
If you're having the screenshot (screen capture) try this; it worked for me in Ubuntu:
add this line to the end of /etc/sysctl.conf

kernel.sysrq = 1

then reboot.

For it to work properly, you need to press alt+sysrq simultaneously, then press your exit code (eg k) while holding the other keys down.
Ctrl+Alt+Esc usually do the thrick for me ;)

Saturday, January 31, 2009

Extract audodio from flash file with ffmpeg

After downloading the video, I ended up with a file named My_Chemical_Romance_-_Famous_Last_Words.flv.

Once you have downloaded the video, just for the sake of interest, lets find out the audio quality of this You Tube audio video.
The ffmpeg documentation does not tell us about a switch which would just output the audio parameters of the input file. After experimenting a little with the ffmpeg tool, it can be found that by just specifying ‘-i’ switch and the input video file, the ffmpeg will output input streams information and quit.

Here is an example of how it looks:

c:\> ffmpeg.exe -i My_Chemical_Romance_-_Famous_Last_Words.flv

Seems that stream 1 comes from film source: 1000.00 (1000/1) -> 24.00 (24/1)
Input #0, flv, from ‘My_Chemical_Romance_-_Famous_Last_Words.flv’:
Duration: 00:04:27.4, start: 0.000000, bitrate: 64 kb/s
Stream #0.0: Audio: mp3, 22050 Hz, mono, 64 kb/s
Stream #0.1: Video: flv, yuv420p, 320×240, 24.00 fps(r)
Must supply at least one output file

From this information (2nd line in bold) we can read that the audio bitrate of a YouTube video is 64kbit/s, sampling rate is 22050Hz, the encoding is mp3, and it’s a mono audio.

You will be surprised how easy it is to extract the audio part as it is in the video. By just typing:

c:\> ffmpeg.exe -i My_Chemical_Romance_-_Famous_Last_Words.flv famous_last_word.mp3

the ffmpeg tool will extract it to an mp3 audio file!

That’s it! After running this command you should have ‘famous_last_words.mp3‘ file in the same folder/directory where the downloaded video file was!

We can go a little further and look up various audio switches on the documentation of ffmpeg. For example, if we had some fancy alarm clock which can be stuffed an mp3, you might not need the whole 64kbit/s of bitrate. You might want to convert the audio to a lower bitrate, say 32kbit/s.

The Section 3.5 - Audio Options of the ffmpeg documentation says:

`-ab bitrate‘ - Set the audio bitrate in bit/s (default = 64k).

So, by specifying a command line switch ‘-ab 32k‘ the audio will be converted to a lower bitrate of 32kbit/s.

Here is the example of running this command:

c:\> ffmpeg.exe -i My_Chemical_Romance_-_Famous_Last_Words.flv -ab 32k famous_last_word.32kbit.mp3
Seems that stream 1 comes from film source: 1000.00 (1000/1) -> 24.00 (24/1)
Input #0, flv, from 'My_Chemical_Romance_-_Famous_Last_Words.flv':
Duration: 00:04:27.4, start: 0.000000, bitrate: 64 kb/s
Stream #0.0: Audio: mp3, 22050 Hz, mono, 64 kb/s
Stream #0.1: Video: flv, yuv420p, 320x240, 24.00 fps(r)
Output #0, mp3, to ‘famous_last_word.32kbit.mp3′:
Stream #0.0: Audio: mp3, 22050 Hz, mono, 32 kb/s
Stream mapping:
Stream #0.0 -> #0.0
size= 1045kB time=267.6 bitrate= 32.0kbits/s
video:0kB audio:1045kB global headers:0kB muxing overhead 0.000000%

The line in bold indicates that the output audio indeed was at a bitrate of 32kbit/s.

Some other things you can do are - changing the codec of the audio (-acodec option (find all codecs with -formats option)) or cut out a part of the audio (-t and -ss options) you are interested in.

This technique actually involved re-encoding the audio which was already in the movie file. If you read closely the audio option documentation, you will find that the -acodec option says:

`-acodec codec’ - Force audio codec to codec. Use the copy special value to specify that the raw codec data must be copied as is.

If the input video file was from YouTube or it already had mp3 audio stream, then using the following command line, the audio will be extracted much, much faster:

c:\> ffmpeg.exe -i My_Chemical_Romance_-_Famous_Last_Words.flv -acodec copy famous_last_words.mp3


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Exclusion of liability Regarding StillStupid: The use you make of the guides, tips and downloads that you listed on this web site or on another website to which I refer is entirely at your own risk. In no way can I be held liable for damage or consequential damages of any kind, which occurs as a result of that use.