Tag: ubuntu

I bumped into this blogpost by accident. It suggests that the release quality has been going down for every new release of Ubuntu ( as shown in the graphs ). They come to that conclusion by using the polls on the forums that ask how smooth your install of Ubuntu was. Personally I have seen a lot of users around me that really start getting into Linux just because each release has become more usable and stable. More hardware is supported, more features are in the provided apps.

Sure, it can be that I’m mistaken and release quality is going down the drain. Or it can be that more and more users start using Ubuntu. And it’s mostly the users that are already having problems that come to the forums to look for answers and vote on those polls. Most users don’t start searching through forums when everything works out of the box..

Statistics always show what the creator wants you to see πŸ˜‰

Dell Mini 9

While assembling a new laptop for my girlfriend, i stumbled upon this tiny beauty . Ofcourse this is too small for dedicated work, so i decided on the Dell Inspiron 1525 ( for just 650EUR ) for her, but my personal itch would be scratched more by the mini 9. It’s running Ubuntu 8.04.1, has wireless caps and a solid state disk, and ( duh ) a 9″ screen. All this for only $250! Sweet!

Too bad it costs 454 EUR in Belgium though πŸ™ ( What a rip-off! ) and it runs Windows XP! ( ‘WTF’ as my dear pal Raf put it )

I have updated the Zabbix 1.6 packages in my PPA to 1.6.1. I’ve enabled Intrepid builds next to the Hardy builds for maximum coverage πŸ˜‰ As soon as Jaunty because a valid target for Launchpad, I’ll start including builds for that platform as well.

I have thrown together a package for the latest Zabbix beta release, 1.5.4, which can be downloaded from my PPA here. It’s based on the official Zabbix 1.4.6 package for Intrepid, but i added zabbix-proxy-mysql and zabbix-proxy-pgsql as well, along with some minor refactoring in the inner guts of the package. If you find issues, just give me a whistle!

One of the sore spots in Ubuntu 8.04 ( Hardy Heron ) is the incredibly unstable Flash plugin. Crashes on one side, inability to play sound from Flash and a media player at the same time on the other side. I have seen a lot of suggested “fixes” on other forums and blogs, but most don’t really help. So let me tell you what did the trick for me.

First of all, open source alternatives such as Gnash and swfdec are not yet ready for the big masses. It’s nice to see them growing bit by bit, but for now, we are bound to the official plugins for ‘decent’ Flash support.

First of all, let’s get rid of libflashsupport if it’s still installed. This little piece of **** is a big cause of instability in our quest to a stable Flash experience. So let’s remove it right away!

# apt-get remove libflashsupport

Ok, now that’s gone, lets make Alsa output to Pulseaudio by default. We do this by installing libasound2-plugins, and creating the file /etc/asound.conf.

# apt-get install libasound2-plugins

Contents of /etc/asound.conf are as follows:

pcm.pulse {
type pulse
ctl.pulse {

type pulse
pcm.!default {
type pulse
ctl.!default {
type pulse

Just copy-paste it in the configuration file.

Next up, nspluginwrapper. This package will “jail” Flash inside its own little environment, so that if Flash crashes, it will only take down the wrapper, and not your whole Firefox. A Flash crash will result in a gray area where your Flash should be, instead of a suddenly disappearing Firefox. Quite an improvement already πŸ™‚

Let’s install it:

# wget http://launchpadlibrarian.net/16234689/nspluginwrapper_0.9.91.5-2ubuntu2.8.04.1~mt1_i386.deb

# dpkg -i “nspluginwrapper_0.9.91.5-2ubuntu2.8.04.1~mt1_i386.deb”

Now you can (re-)install flashplugin-nonfree 9 to make it nspluginwrapper aware. Although it will not take down your Firefox anymore, it will still be incredibly unstable, and lots of sites will have gray areas on their pages.

So we will take one additional step, and install flashplugin-nonfree 10. The latest release candidate to be exact, which appears A LOT more stable than 9 ever was on my several systems.

We will have to download and install the deb manually from https://launchpad.net/~psyke83/+archive .

Click on the Hardy entry for flashplugin-nonfree, and download the correct deb for your system. Currently, for i386 ( 32bit ) desktops, this is the file you need .

Install it either by double clicking it on your desktop, or doing this on the commandline:

# dpkg -i flashplugin-nonfree-*.deb

Restart Firefox just to be sure, and then browse to “about:plugins”.

You should see something similar to the image below:

Which means it worked! Try watching a movie in youtube while listening to some music on your audio player. Both should play without problems, and most of the crashes should be gone!

Enjoy your smooth desktop experience πŸ˜‰

This evening at 18:39, the first new package was committed into the Intrepid Ibex’ repository! What will become Ubuntu 8.10 in 6 months time is now under full construction! This first package is “binutils (2.18.1~cvs20080103-4ubuntu1)”! Many will follow πŸ˜‰ People wanting to follow the changes as soon as they hit the repository can use http://feeds.ubuntu-nl.org/IntrepidChanges in their feed readers!

This weekend i helped someone ( Linux newbie on his brand new Ubuntu 8.04-powered PC ) install ETQW ( Enemy Territory: Quake Wars ). Downloading the bin file and installing it ( during which it copies the needed files from the official ETQW DVD/CD ) was a breeze. When he started the game, everything looked fine, without one flaw: there was no sound.

Ubuntu Hardy ( along with several other new(er) distro’s ) started using PulseAudio to control all audio-related processes on the system. ETQW uses SDL for its sound-needs, but fails to play through pulseaudio. The solution is simple, install the “libsdl1.2debian-pulseaudio” package either through Synaptic or with an “apt-get install libsdl1.2debian-pulseaudio”, and your ETQW will be able to play sounds/music again πŸ™‚

I got to work, did my daily apt-get upgrade in the background, while i suddenly noticed something strange. My apps were no longer starting. I already had a browser and some terminals open, so i looked at the problem a bit closer. It seemed that apt-get tried to update my libc6 package, which was b0rked and caused some mayhem everywhere in my system. A quick launchpad search confirmed my guess, libc6 upgrade was the culprit. Since i wasn’t root on any of my terminals, and sudo and su crashed right away, i downloaded the previous version of the libc6 package ( luckily wget still working fine πŸ˜‰ ), and rebooted with a livecd. As a sidenote, Gentoo still has the best damn rescue-cd’s known to man. πŸ˜‰ I installed the older version of libc6 from a chroot, and voila, all fine and dandy!

A bit later, sdog pointed me to another post about the incident.

People around the world that are pissed off about this problem, or are moaning/flaming to the devs, please, get a life. As you might have noticed, the word “ALPHA” is used pretty abundantly all over your beloved Hardy system, and the UWN and release pages clearly mention “Pre-releases of Hardy are “NOT” encouraged for anyone needing a stable system or anyone who is not comfortable running into occasional, even frequent breakage.”. You’ve been warned. Deal with it.

Anyways, kudos to the Ubuntu devs for their swift and prompt fix to this problem! Hardy is shaping up to be a very nice distribution!

SCIM in Ubuntu Hardy

For the past couple of days, SCIM seems to be enabled by default in the latest development builds of Ubuntu Hardy. SCIM is a platform that takes care of handling different input methods. But I really don’t need to type vietnamese, russian, or any other exotic language. Another annoyance is that the keybindings can conflict with other applications, which makes it even more cumbersome to use. Trying to close SCIM from the system tray by selecting “Exit” doesn’t work, it just restarts the application in less than a second.. So, how do we go about disabling this once and for all?

Type this in your console: “sudo update-alternatives –set xinput-all_ALL /etc/X11/xinit/xinput.d/default” .

Restarting X should show you a scim-less systray!

Now let’s hope the Ubuntu guys remove this crap by default again before Hardy hits GA πŸ˜‰

Upstart, the sysvinit replacement written by Ubuntu people, is finally extending its reach. This morning, Raskas pointed me to his Fedora 9 Alpha, running his daily system-update ;), which was replacing sysvinit with Upstart! Hooray!

Pretty funny story here πŸ™‚

Finally the last commit is done in the Zimbra repository to enable 64bit Ubuntu builds, something that was sorely missing for quite a while, as seen in bugs like this one. Up until now, I had to use a CentOS 5.1 x86_64 server to host my zimbra, which always felt pretty icky to me… The new build isnt out yet, but at least i know it will arrive Real Soon Now ™! And there was much rejoicing!