linux n00b

Arch Linux and Samsung Unified Linux Driver

Posted in Arch Linux, Howto by downforce on October 22, 2009

I’ve finally taken the plunge back into linux on my main desktop, after a loong looong break.

Everything has been going swimmingly well (and I’ll comment more on this another time) but one of my last ‘issues’ was getting my Samsung SCX-4521F printer working.

The AUR doesn’t explicitly have it, the closest being this.

So I tried using the Samsung driver out of the box and surprise surprise, no support for Arch Linux.

So I got out trusty old vim and added support for Arch Linux. The main issue is that:
1. It doesn’t detect Arch as a distro; and
2. It hardcodes the use of /etc/init.d.

So I just added an extra check for Arch Linux and set that variable then added a IF statement at the end to set a new variable INIT which sets it to rc.d or init.d and then updated all instances of init.d with $INIT. There is still a couple of WARNINGS produced but the driver works 😀

THe last thing I needed to change comes care of this article and thats:

10. Open /etc/cups/printers.conf Under “DefaultPrinter scx4x21” change the “DeviceURI” so it looks like this:
DeviceURI file:/dev/usb/lp0

Want to use it?

Download the Samsung Unified Linux Driver from the Samsung site and use this instead (you’ll need to rename it). The current version of the Samsung ULD is 3.00.37.


Upgrading Bugzilla 2.20 to 3.2.4 with Errno 150 on namedqueries

Posted in Howto by downforce on July 15, 2009

I’ve spent most of this morning trying to figure out how to upgrade our antiquated Bugzilla 2.20 installation to the latest and greatest 3.2.4.

The ./ kept failing with the error message :

Converting table namedqueries… DBD::mysql::db do failed: Error on rename of ‘./bugzilla/#sql-3967_1c’ to ‘./bugzilla/namedqueries’ (errno: 150) [for Statement “ALTER TABLE namedqueries TYPE = InnoDB”] at Bugzilla/DB/ line 337
Bugzilla::DB::Mysql::bz_setup_database(‘Bugzilla::DB::Mysql=HASH(0x9c766d0)’) called at ./ line 144

Running the SQL command SHOW ENGINE INNODB STATUS; within mysql gave me the following bit of useful info:

090715 8:58:13 Error in foreign key constraint of table bugzilla/namedqueries_link_in_footer:
there is no index in referenced table which would contain
the columns as the first columns, or the data types in the
referenced table do not match to the ones in table. Constraint:
CONSTRAINT fk_namedqueries_link_in_footer_namedquery_id_namedqueries_id FOREIGN KEY (namedquery_id) REFERENCES namedqueries (id) ON DELETE CASCADE ON UPDATE CASCADE
The index in the foreign key in table is namedqueries_link_in_footer_id_idx
for correct foreign key definition.

So after a couple hours of research I’ve discovered the problem is that the table namedqueries doesn’t have the column id.

So in mysql:

use bugzilla;
alter table namedqueries add id mediumint(9) NOT NULL AUTO_INCREMENT UNIQUE FIRST;

Re-ran ./ and all was good 😀

Now for the next upgrade error!

Re-creating a mdadm RAID1 array

Posted in Administration, Howto by downforce on November 1, 2008

I just converted my last Ubuntu machine to ArchLinux.

Everything went fairly smoothly (with the exception of ever-changing order of HDD’s, which is now fixed without the Live CD thanks to UUID’s) but I couldn’t figure out how to re-create my RAID1 mdadm array.
Googling away actually didn’t return what I wanted! I was starting to panic, as I didn’t quite think out my backup routine quite as well as I should have (i.e. don’t backup to a software-raid-array!) I sorta needed to get it restored!

Thankfully I figured it out:
mdadm --assemble /dev/md5 /dev/sdc1 /dev/sdd1

Back in business!

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Motherboard Transplants, Debian, Fluxbox and Auto Starting Applications

Posted in Distributions, Window Managers by downforce on July 2, 2007

I’ve recently decided that it’s time to stop letting Mark Shuttleworth hold my hand in my Linux experience and start getting my hands more dirty!

As a result, I’ve decided to start installing Debian on my machines as and when required.

Yesterday, after 5 hours of PC transplant surgery, transposing 4 motherboards in 3 PC’s, what is my HTPC decided it didn’t like the transplant. Very strangely, I changed from this C 2.4GHz 478/533FSB MB to a P4 287.GHz 478/800FSB and it handled it fine. Changing the board back again and X-Windows didn’t want to start, kept crashing out after logging in with GDM.

My HTPC was running Ubuntu 6.10 Edgy w/ E17. Now I realise I could have spent some time fixing it, but I couldn’t be bothered as I didn’t want to run E17 as my HTPC environment anymore anyway, mainly due to conflicting keybindings when using MythBrowser.

So I took the plunge and stuck Debian 4.0 Etch on it via a Net Install. Thanks to using a Debian Etch VM not so long ago, my proxy server had cached a fair bit so the install was pretty quick. I selected Standard System only, not Desktop System. After installing the base system, I installed FluxBox, GDM, MythTV Frontend, nVidia Legacy driver from for my MX4000 PCI and Alsa.

All installed fine (subject to installing some dependencies), however as of today, still haven’t got the sound working correctly. TBH this is driving me nuts and sound in Linux has always been my Achilles heel.

Anyway, one of the crucial elements is having MythTV automatically load at startup. Using my Googlefu I discovered 3 methods, involving editing .xinitrc or .fluxbox/startup. Neither was working!

Turned out that to get these to run, need to start FluxBox with /usr/bin/startfluxbox, not /usr/bin/fluxbox, which Debain does by default!

The solution is to change the alternatives!
update-alternatives --install fluxbox x-window-manager /usr/bin/startfluxbox 100
update-alternatives --config x-window-manager

Next time you login, you’re apps will run! I’ve dumped FluxBox 3 times because of this problem. I might install it on my main PC when it get’s rebuilt!

Now just to figure out how to get my Creative SB Live! Value working!

The Google Docs KB

Posted in Knowledge Base by downforce on June 28, 2007

I posted a while ago about a web-based personal knowledge base. The few applications I did find I was never really happy with as I wanted a “tagging” based classification system. I’ve been using Google Docs to meet this aim and so far I have to say it’s been fairly successful.

Google Docs does have some idiosyncrasies but I’m managing to work around them. At first each document opening as a new tab was irritating, but when I started working on 2 or 3 it became apparent why.

A couple of features that appeal to me that I hadn’t seen in other KBApps are the ability to sorts by last edited and the ability to publish a document, but doesn’t by default.

I haven’t used it for a few days as I’ve been pre-occupied with other things and today logged in and saw that’s it had a interface overhaul.

This new interface is NICE! One of my beefs with Google Docs was the inability to rename/delete tags. You had to remove the tag from each document then the tag was deleted. They have renamed the tags to folders, however as far as I can tell, they work the same way.

All in all Google Docs is proving to be an adequate for of KB for me. The biggest requirement missing now is the ability to host it on my server instead of gmail. Hey Google, don’t suppose you want to release the code to me? No? Didn’t think so 🙂

PCLinuxOS 2007

Posted in Distributions by downforce on May 31, 2007

I recently stuck PCLinuxOS 2007 on a 3rd partition on my system, mainly as a test for my fubar’ed video card.

First impression: I really like it.

I never felt comfortable with Kubuntu’s KDE, it installed SOO much crap and you can’t uninstall it because of the kubuntu-desktop meta -package and it tries to uninstall the whole of kubuntu-desktop if you remove some component. PCLinuxOS you can uninstall components that you want with no ill-effect (that I’ve found so far!). Like why do I want Synaptic Touchpad on a desktop PC?

PCLOS07 has inspired me to give KDE a real go, where Kubuntu made me favour GNOME.

Other features I do like is the apt-get/synaptic based on their rpm repo’s. That’s a nice touch as I didn’t like adept and synaptic is good.

I also decided to PCLinuxOS on my laptop and configuration for the wireless was sooo painless. It autodetected the ip2200 wireless card and configuration of WPA2-PSK was so smooth. Huge kudos for that! It was a nightmare under both Elive and Debian. Didn’t try under *buntu.

I haven’t been able to give it a good run, due to the video card, but love to test out pushing it in terms of gaming and memory/cpu usage.

I really like that Yamatku (sp?) console… the dropdown is nice, use it all the time now. I find it better than alt-tabbing between a konsole window. For some reason I don’t really like konsole as a terminal app. Gnomes gnome-terminal is better featured. I really want to terminal client to work like puTTy where selecting auto-copies into system clipboard, not the screens clipboard. Unfortuately konsole doesn’t even auto-copy into konsole's clipboard and there is no keyboard shortcut 😦

Not everything is perfect though. Some of the things I don’t like are:
* The menu structure – God damn what’s with the 19 million sub-menus that have 1 item? Took me a cpl minutes to find Synaptic (I deleted it off the taskbar .. waste of space!)
* The default bash config (.bashrc etc) is pretty basic. I ended up taking some items from the Ubuntu install.

The installer needs a bit of work. For the most part it’s fairly painless and asks some basic questions to get you up and running, however:
* Cancel isn’t obvious – there is an OK button but to cancel you have to use the X, not so intuiative.
* The partitioning/format feature – I accidentally wiped my /home drive. It was my fault really, I forgot I moved data around, getting rid of some NTFS partitions in favour of one big ext3. I would prefer it to be more like GParted where you make all the changes then apply at the end rather than make each change live as you choose it. Luckily the only thing I lost was my settings. It wasn’t a huge deal except loosing .firefox and .opera which had my bookmarks, oh and a couple of custom scripts. Everything else is on my fileserver, mounted with samba on start to subdirectories with a root directory I call /data.

That does remind me to include in my backup scripts a remote backup of my /home/.* directory & file to the file server too!

So far not overly impressed with the repo’s like Ubuntu/Debian … but for general desktop use I’d imagine it’s more than adequate, but finding some less popular or specific applications weren’t there, mainly for development/server features. I tried looking for k3d, an app I tried out for an hour the other day for 3D modelling and that wasn’t there either.

Which leads me to say, it’s most definitely not for a server environment or really a development environment. It does have apache2/mysql/postgres/php5 but no sign of lighttpd which I like to use for localhost testing as it’s nice and light and quick. I couldn’t find eclipse which I’ve just discovered as a pretty decent IDE. I haven’t really taken this part past installing the LAMP components. Nothing is configured and TBH I didn’t even see if http://localhost worked.

I didn’t test any multimedia functionality as I haven’t got the sound working yet. Also I use my MythTV frontend for all videos/DVD’s.

I have 2 sound card, on-board and PCI and it defaulted to the on-board. I havent’ looked into changing it around, but when I did I somehow killed the sound server and get an error on boot up.

Well that’s my recap of PCLinuxOS after 2.5 days.

I seem to have listed more complaints than good features, but it’s more that what it does it does very well and there isn’t much to say. It’s quick and easy to figure out. The control center is a nice feature for system administration and anyone who can use Control Panel in Windows can use the Control Center in PCLinuxOS.

I’d dare to say that PCLinuxOS is more user friendly than Ubuntu and would make a better transition distro for a Microsoft user, well once they sort the partitioner out anyway!

As I said earlier, it’s good enough for me to want to continue using it … I’ll keep you posted if I change my mind!

Video Card …. RIP

Posted in General by downforce on May 31, 2007

Sad to say but my XfX 6600GT AGP has given up the ghost. After about a week of testing I’ve come to the conclusion it’s something to do with 3D acceleration.

Testing under Linux has been difficult. Most games I’ve found that are ‘free’ aren’t very intensive so it was hit and miss if/when it failed.

Eventually the other day though, it finally failed as soon as it started loading into GNOME. This was under Ubuntu.

To give it a good test run, I decided to install PCLinuxOS2007 on a 3rd partition as I’ve been reading some good stuff on it as a desktop distro and thought it’d give me a good chance to identify where/when/how my video card problems were occurring. More on this in my next post!

Anyway, I eventually established that the problem occurs as soon as the nVidia driver loads. I established this as PCLinuxOS was working fine (most of the time) with the nv driver, installed nvidia through apt-get and then the problems reoccured the same as under Ubuntu.

I thought it might be driver related, but alas, I tried 9755 (repo), 9754 (from nVidia site) and 100.14.06BETA (repo) and all the same.

Finally I caved and booted into Windows and same problem, the desktop loads with the lovely white boxes.

I’m not an expert on drivers, but I’m assuming here that the nVidia drivers must access some part of the card that nv open source or basic vesa drivers don’t but has failed and hence it’s been such a bitch to figure out?

I’m now waiting for XfX to return my emails about RA as the retailer wasn’t interested. The card is 14mths old and they only offer 12mth warranty. 😦

Finding files from the CLI with regex

Posted in Howto by downforce on May 24, 2007

Found a great article by Carla Schroder called Hone Your Scripting With a Regexp Toolbox.

There are some great hints and tips and I know I’ll refer back to this article many times and use it within a script I’m sort-of working on!

Change your default editor

Posted in Howto by downforce on May 22, 2007

DebainAdmin have come through with another great article on How to change the default editor in Debian Etch.

Once again this works perfectly under Ubuntu too.

Tiny Tiny RSS – Web-based RSS feed aggregator

Posted in Administration, Applications by downforce on May 21, 2007 did a great article on Tiny Tiny RSS (“TT-RSS”).

As with all my software, I like my server to run the function if possible. I have my torrents, calender/PIM, knowledge base and now my RSS feeds all accessible via the web from my webserver.

TT-RSS is a great piece of software, it’s AJAXified PHP so the interface is smooth as but nice and responsive.

Couple of great features, it can be single or multi-user, there is a grouping + tagging/label function. This involves setting SQL strings, but I haven’t used it yet. TT-RSS can be set to download in the background or when you load it.

I imported my OPML from Akregator and now I’m up and running, just needed to sort the categories as it only supports 1 level of grouping as opposed to nested in Akregator.

I recommend giving it a go!

EDIT: Added links, some reason I didn’t before .. weird!