Tag Archives: Config

Keeping My Hat On

In my previous post I outlined my thinking about moving from Fedora to OpenSuse. I installed OpenSuse 12.3 onto mylaptop and had a play about. The installer was clean and easy to use and everything was setup with the minimum of effort.

Two issues with Fedora prompting a move were the control over the firewall and the Arduino software not being up to date. I was disappointed to that the installation of the Arduino software didn't come with a desktop icon setup but the latest version was there to use. Now onto the firewall; things were not good.

OpenSuse has completely removed the iptables scripts for managing the firewall. It seems you will use their firewall daemon and associated setup program. So basically the future looks like I will be being forced into using a wrapper of some sort around the iptables rules for my firewall. What's more, after doing some reading it would appear that more applications will rely on this dynamic functionality in the future. So what do I do? I can, on Fedora at least, use my existing script in the short term but need to migrate it. Alternatively I can change distro, waiting a little longer for the inevitable push towards dynamic firewalls.

Where does this leave me now then? I'm thinking of staying with Fedora at the moment. Fedora 19 will be due out in around 3-4 months time. At this point I think a clean installation of my main machine will probably be in order. In the mean time I can work on migrating my current firewall script over to the Firewalld system. It will mean I have to manually install the latest Arduino software but that is at least a manageable task.

OpenSuse was removed from the laptop and Fedora 18 reinstalled. A clean installation does appear to have changed a few things. A series of upgrades over the years had left a few legacy options it seems. The Fedora installer was not as user friendly as the OpenSuse installer, especially when it came to creating the dual boot with Windows on a separate hard disk. That said it did install and I'm sure it will improve in the future.

Fixed: Fedora 16 Printing

During my upgrade from Fedora 15 to 16 several things broke, this is nothing new there were alot of major graphical components updated. Those issues were resolved in the week following the F16 release. What I had not expected to break was my network printing setup. In all the years I used Gentoo and upgraded over and over I never had many issues and when I did it was usually my fault.

This time nothing much was apparent aside from printing not working on either the host or client machines. First point of failure was the lack of a running CUPS service on each machine. Ok, so it was stopped during the upgrade and not restarted, annoying but not the end of the world. Still no joy. In the end I found I my previously set sharing settings had changed. With all the other changes in config files being highlighted allowing for manual updates this had slipped through the net. Sharing my printer again in the settings and bingo, everything works as before and auto detects. It has only taken a few minutes of fiddling around to fix but it has been finding those few minutes and being in the right mood to fix it. Hopefully the next upgrade will go a little more smoothly.

Windows 7 + CUPS – Problem Solved

I have been trying to get my Windows 7 (Pro) machine to connect to the CUPS printer on my Linux server. Whilst it used to work with Windows XP (Home) via IPP (Internet Printing Protocol) I was having no luck with Windows 7. One reason for the problem is my network security and firewalls. I lock down everything unless it is actually needed. This means that all the auto discovery services on the network can't talk to each other. Still knowing the IP address and ports of the relevant machine/service to connect to is normally enough to get things working. Not in this case however. For some reason either at the Windows or CUPS end the IP address was causing a problem. The problem being that the it wasn't being resolved to a machine name when trying to setup the IPP connection.

Example:
Machine "Server" with IP "192.168.7.7"

http://192.168.7.7:631/printers/ # Connection will setup but fails to communicate
http://Server:631/printers/
# Connection established and working.

Solution:
The solution to the problem in the end turned out to be quite simple. On Linux machines there is a file /etc/hosts in which you can specify a mapping between IP addresses and hostnames. It turns out that Windows has the same file, its just hidden away in C:\Windows\System32\drivers\etc\hosts. Copying in the hostname information gives Windows the information it needs which it cannot find out itself due to the network discovery restrictions.

Background Notes:
This has solved my problem but it was useful to be able to connect another Linux machine to the printer first confirming my CUPS setup was initially working. I had also tried disabling the firewall on the server to ensure that it wasn't a bad configuration, when that didn't work it was obvious that the problem was not in my case CUPS related. It is also a good idea to backup any working config files for future reference/use.

The Rodent Confusion

For the past few weeks I have been having some performance glitches with the way my mouse interacts with my Linux machine. The mouse would move and the buttons operate normally except for when trying to press and hold the left button for example. The action would appear to terminate after a few seconds and reinitialise. This behaviour was making it impossible to move windowed applications around the desktop. Today however I have solved the problem, which is good from the point of view that it solves the issue and also it means I don't have to spend the next 48hrs recompiling Gentoo and all my applications.

The fix is a simple one. x11-drivers/xf86-input-evdev-2.3.2 was causing the problem, x11-drivers/xf86-input-evdev-2.4.0 solves the problem but is marked as unstable at time of writing. The upgrade from xorg-server-1.6.5-r1 to xorg-server-1.7.6 seems to have been the reason the evdev driver wasn't working as expected, possibly handing the input devices slightly differently from the previous version.

I can happily say the rodent has ceased to be confused.

Portable Apps & Portable Python

So I wanted to do some programming in python whilst at work I could have used my netbook but its size can make it difficult to work on for serious code generation. So my decision was to use Portable Apps from a USB memory stick, Portable Apps does not include Python in its package listing. A quick scout about with a popular search engine showed Portable Python as a solution a current Python version bundled with some handy modules.

The easy bit is to use the Windows installer for each package to install them on the memory stick, Portable Apps installed first and then Portable Python into the root of the drive. Setting up the working environment is the next task. Portable Python includes a couple of Python Shells but what would be better is integrating them into the command line. Installing Command Prompt Portable is the answer, this is a command line on the USB stick to which the batch file it runs at startup can be altered to allow the Python Path to be set.

The batch file is located for me at M:/PortableApps/CommandPromptPortable/Data/Batch/commandprompt.bat.
This is my bat file.

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@echo off
set PYTHONHOME=%~d0\PortablePython_1.1_py2.6.1\App\
set PATH=%PATH%;%~d0\PortablePython_1.1_py2.6.1\App\;%~d0\PortablePython_1.1_py2.6.1\App\Scripts;%~d0\Documents
color 07
prompt $p$g
title My Command Prompt
cls
ver
cd\

Lines 2 & 3 are the ones I added, they add the path to Python on the USB stick. Note the "%~d0" this picks up the drive letter from the location of the bat file. As its on the memory stick it takes that drive letter. Coding it in this way means that no matter what drive letter the USB stick is given it will always set the correct paths. The paths have basically been set to allow Python access to the Python executable itself, its scripts directory and the Documents location for user scripts.

Thunderbird 3 Bug: A Workaround

I recently upgraded from Mozilla Thunderbird 2 to the new Thunderbird 3 release. For a few days everything was working fine with the new default settings. I have a few email accounts which Thunderbird fetches mail for and I didn't want to use the new Smart Folder mode. So I changed back to not using it. Everything appeared ok, until the next day. I returned home from work to find no new email. This is highly unusual as there is usually some for of advert for an online store showing me the latest offers, especially around christmas time. This lack of email continued for a few days, to begin with I attributed this to my ISP who were reporting problems with the email system. Today after 4 days with no new mail it was time to explore more options within Thunderbird and try to find a solution to the problem.

The solution came about by chance whilst browsing the Account Settings screen. The route to the solution from the main screen is shown below.

Tools > Account Settings > Click 'Server Settings' option under your problem account(s) > Click 'Advanced' button towards the bottom right > Select 'Global Inbox' option and check the 'Include this server when getting new mail' box.

This process should re-enable your account and allow you to get your missing emails.

Thunderbird 3 Account Settings Menu
Thunderbird 3 Account Settings Menu

Thunderbird 3 Settings Dialog
Thunderbird 3 Settings Dialog

Gentoo Linux – Toshiba Satellite X200/X205 (part 4)

Time for an update on my progress of installing Gentoo Linux on my Toshiba X200-20S. I have been managing to get audio playing out of the integrated speakers, so I assumed it was all working and setup correctly, wrong. When I tried to plug in my headphones the audio continues to be played out of the speakers. The problem appears to be an unsupported codec chip (ALC286). Now the good news is that support for this chip has been integrated into the 2.6.23 series of kernels. The downside is that they have not yet been marked for testing as gentoo-sources. I could try a vanilla kernel but I'd rather have the gentoo tweaks. Once it's available for testing I shall give it a shot and see if it solves my problems.

Knowing the chip isn't correctly supported could also explain an issue I was having enabling sounds in Gnome and it locking up. This is another thing to test with the new kernel.

I have also been putting some work into the Xorg.conf. Furthur refinements are needed but this version (see below) supports the touchpad a little better, using it as the core pointer, and allows the use of an external USB mouse.
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