Printing Linux Man Pages

In my efforts to add spam and virus filtering to my mailserver project I needed to have a hardcopy of a man page. Whilst it is possible to forward the output to a file "man [command] > outputfile" or directly to the printer "man [command] | lpr" neither option is perfect. Directing the output to a file leaves extra characters in the output making the text a little unreadable in places. Directing the output directly to the printer uses a font which is over large and a waste of paper.

The trick is to use the '-t' option for the man command. This reformats the the man page with groff and sends the output to stdout as normal. The reformatted page is in Postscript format (looks a little odd when viewed on screen) which can be directly sent to the printer. The result is a nicely formatted printout with page numbers.

The entire command is:

man -t  | lpr

Replace [command]with the name of the application/feature you wish to view information for.

Mailserver Project: It Appears To Work

After spending much time and effort on the mailserver project I think I have finally created a secure and working basic setup. It's currently a little to late to do extensive testing but the brief tests carried out so far look good. A laptop with a self signed ssl certificate can securely connect to the mailserver over the local lan and retrieve the email in the imap store and securely send email out again. Trying to use the mail client on the mailserver itself correctly fails to retrieve the imap store or send email due to not having a self signed certificate to send.

If the rest of my tests work out in a similar manner and the services run stable for a week or so I might finally be able to declare the first stage of the project complete and finish off the documenting the process upto this point.

Mailserver Project: Another Update

I was hoping to begin this month with news that my mailserver project was reaching the milestone objective of being secure and working, alas it is not to be. The good news is that over the past month I have made significant progress and am in the final stages of securing and testing.

I have dovecot and postfix talking to each other and maildrop filtering the incomming mail. Work at the moment is partly on documenting my decisions and testing processes and partly on implementing the remote authentication over a secure link. I am taking the security aspect quite seriously and as a result it requires extra time to get it right. Currently my documentation/notes are upto 30+ pages in openoffice and I may even split the guide into sections. The SSL certificate generation and usage notes I have been making are quite extensive and can be used to generate self-signed certificates for other applications too.

Fingers crossed another month might be all I need; only time will tell.

Windows Vista – Still Crap

In the past few weeks I purchased some new Anti-virus and Firewall software from ESET to replace my expiring & bloated AVG install. The first machine to get the upgrade was my XP desktop machine; everything went well. I was impressed with the lighter feel to the software and the added fact that it didn't seem to be hogging the system resources quite as much. A weeks trial later I decided it was stable and usable enough to be used on my laptop; running Windows Vista. The install was painless and the software scanned my system and there were no obvious issues.

The problems arose when I came to reboot the machine following some windows updates and some minor web application updates. Continue reading "Windows Vista – Still Crap"

Time to give back to the community

It appears that all of a sudden there has been a failure of the site. Maybe not a failure as such but events being such that it nolonger exists. It means that a huge ammount of Gentoo and Linux information has been lost from the web (some may be recoverable from Google cache).

Now I have been saying for a while that I need to give back to the community, now seems like the time to help, or it will be very soon. My plan is to contribute articles including the mailserver guide still missing from this site to the gentoo-wiki project. It has been a very useful resource to me in the past and with effort from others in the community it can be again.

I'm planning to do my bit, I hope you can contribute something too.

Azureus Magnet Links for Linux

On a Windows machine with Firefox and Azureus installed magnet links in web pages are already associated with Azureus. In Linux (at least in my experience with Gentoo) this association is missing by default.

The following steps will enable the desired functionality.

In Firefox
Type about:config into the address bar and press Enter.

Right-click -> New -> Boolean -> Name: network.protocol-handler.external.magnet -> Value -> true

Right-click -> New -> String -> Name: -> Value -> /usr/bin/azureus

Ensure network.protocol-handler.expose-all is set to true

This information was taken from

Gentoo Linux – Toshiba Satellite X200/X205 (part 6)

I have been happily using my notebook without problems since I posted my last update. I was enjoying using it so much I decided to take advantage of the low RAM prices and upgrade from 2GB to 4GB. Running a 64bit version of Gentoo I was just expecting to plug the stuff in, it be detected and that be the end of it. To my horror the bios reported 4GB but Gentoo was only seeing 3GB. The majority of posts of people struggling with 4GB of RAM were those running a 32bit system. I applied 2 bios updates to my system (currently running bios version 2.10) in the hope that would fixed the problem, alas no.
Continue reading "Gentoo Linux – Toshiba Satellite X200/X205 (part 6)"

Gentoo Linux – Toshiba Satellite X200/X205 (part 5)

SOUND!!! Yes it is now possible to get the ALC268 hda-intel audio chipset working along with the headphone jack. It has taken a few hours trying to hack a solution together from notes relating to other distros but I finally have something acceptable. I guess you want to know how to do it, instructions now follow.

I am using the gentoo-sources kernel 2.6.23-gentoo-r4 without alsa compiled in. Alsa will be compiled as a module. I am using the latest Alsa drivers 1.0.15. You may need to unmask and emerge the packages listed below.

=media-sound/alsa-utils-1.0.15 ~amd64
=media-libs/alsa-lib-1.0.15 ~amd64
=media-sound/alsa-headers-1.0.15 ~amd64
=media-sound/alsa-driver-1.0.15 ~amd64

This guide should provide the information to get Alsa setup Once Alsa is setup and the above packages installed run alsaconf (if not done so already) to setup alsa.

At this point I got some sound from the speakers and the 1.0.15 drivers gave me slightly different mixer options over the 1.0.14 drivers.The key to getting everything working is adding the following line to /etc/modprobe.conf

options snd-hda-intel model=toshiba

Reboot or restart alsasound to get the sound working. The headphone jack should mute the speakers when headphones are plugged in and unmute when they are removed. The sound from the speakers is also noticeably louder and richer and the integrated sub is generating the lower frequencies. I have not tried the other i/o jacks on the front of the notebook so I cannot say for sure if they are operational.

Xorg Mouse Configuration

Yesterday I purchased a mouse to use with my notebook; I lead such an eventful life. Ordinarily this wouldn't be worthy of mention, most mice are plug in and use. My mouse however needs to work with Linux and here in lies the problem. Getting a mouse to talk to Linux is getting easier the left, right and middle buttons usually work as well as the up down scroll. It's the additional buttons that cause the problems.

The mouse I have is a Microsoft Wireless Notebook Optical Mouse 4000. I know I dislike Microsoft but they do put branding on some reasonable peripherals (and it was cheap). I have chosen to use the evdev driver for the mouse, support for this is required in the kernel. The information on how to set this up can be found on this wiki:

Add the following information to your xorg.conf and remember to add "Mouse1" to the server section. Currently the thumb button does not work correctly. I believe this is to do with the evdev driver, button support may be developed in the future. Forward and back functionality in Firefox is achieved by the horizontal movement of the scroll wheel.

Section "InputDevice"
# Microsoft Notebook 4000 Mouse
# Thumb button responds as button 9
    Identifier  "Mouse1"
    Driver      "evdev"
    Option      "evBits"    "+1-2"
    Option      "keyBits"   "~272-287"
    Option      "relBits"   "~0-2 ~6 ~8"
    Option      "Pass"      "3"
    Option      "Buttons"   "9"
    Option      "ZAxisMapping"  "4 5"
        # Axis swapped to make back be left and forward be right
    Option      "DialRelativeAxisButtons" "7 6"

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.
Continue reading "Gentoo Linux – Toshiba Satellite X200/X205 (part 4)"