more about linux desktop

In search for a proper dvd player for linux I stumbled upon vlc.
It’s a great player with great features combining the functionalities of progs like mplayer, xine, etc. I don’t want to use mplayer to play dvds because it does not support dvd menu browsing. Xine from the other hand worked fine…until I pressed the fullscreen button. CRASH!… Oggle is another dvd player I tried using. There’s no gui and one has to learn the keyboard shortcuts. The basic drawback of oggle though is the lack of deinterlace option.
VLC has it all. Great gui, plays dvd menus, great sound and video drivers support, streaming support if you want…just everything. The prob with it is that it has a lot of library dependancies..but it’s worth it :)

vlc 0.6.2 and 0.8.1 had trouble compiling on my gentoo so I decided to go for 0.8.0.

To install vlc-0.8.0 it in gentoo I had to unmask some packages though:

echo “media-libs/libdvbpsi ~x86″ >> /etc/portage/package.keywords
echo “media-video/ffmpeg ~x86″ >> /etc/portage/package.keywords

and then:

emerge /usr/portage/media-video/vlc/vlc-0.8.0.ebuild

don’t forget to have the wxwindows use flag enabled in your /etc/make.conf…else you’ll get no gui :)

I’ve also found a very nice beta of acrobat7 for linux around the net. It’s great! Very fast…and with very nice rendering. It opens up pdfs faster than gpdf and it has a feature that’s trully lacking from gpdf: Text searching. I’ll wait for acrobat’s final release of acroread for linux :)

I’ve also changed my firefox theme from the default to Qute 3 (sample1, sample2)

Cool down your athlon with athcool

athcool is a VERY nice utility that enables AMD’s athlons to enter powersaving mode. It’s just great. Less heat, less noise from fans that don’t need to run on 4000rpms any more :)

Just a part from the Athlon Powersaving HOWTO.

The HLT signal which is used by the normal idle-loop of the Linux kernel doesn’t normaly bring any significant power-saving on processors of the Athlon/Duron family (hereafter referred to as Athlon processors). To get real power-saving on an Athlon processor, you have to put the processor in the STPGNT-Mode (Stop Grant Mode). In this mode, the processor is disconnected from the front-side bus (FSB), and can turn off parts of the CPU as well as reduce the clock to save power.

just emerge athcool and start using it.

KDE k3b KSycoca error solving

I’ve emerged k3b in my gentoo to be able to write cds from X windows. When trying to fire up k3bsetup I got these strange messages:

root # k3bsetup
_IceTransOpen: Unable to Parse address
Session management error: Could not open network socket
kio (KSycoca): WARNING: Found version 75, expecting version 78 or higher.
kio (KSycoca): WARNING: Outdated database found
kio (KSycoca): ERROR: No database available!
kio (KSycoca): ERROR: No database available!
kio (KSycoca): ERROR: No database available!
kio (KSycoca): ERROR: No database available!
kcmshell (kdelibs): WARNING: Could not find module ‘k3bsetup2′.

I don’t understand what this is. BUT I’ve found a solution to it.
Inside /var/tmp/kdecache-root/ there were 2 files named:

ksycoca ksycocastamp

as soon as you rm them and run k3bsetup again…everything is fine.

It just works…I don’t know what ksycoca is but I’m glad this “solution” works.

Greek art on the net

Here’s a link to a Greek artist’s “webpage”. In fact it’s a webpage created by my friend patroklos for the artist who seems to be afraid of using the internet. His work is really worth a look as his technique is very “clever” and with great results. More info on his “webpage” -> Georgios Mpogiatzidis.

Enjoy it :)

emerge world

As I’ve said some time ago I wanted to switch to linux for desktop use. I started 3-4 days ago and I now have a fully working system. Until now there’s no application that I need and I couldn’t find a linux alternative. In fact I am using many applications I was using when I my desktop had windows, like openoffice, gaim, firefox, thunderbird, etc etc.
I had some slight problems though that I had to overcome.
A) How to import my firefox settings from windows.
I wanted all my passwords, bookmarks, history, etc etc. I googled for quite some time and I could only find how to import history and bookmarks, not a word about passwords. Anyway I’ve found out a solution, and here it is. Go to your “windows” firefox profile directory and copy:
1) key3.db
2) signons.txt
3) a file with numbers ending in .s (like 3143432.s)

to your linux firefox profile directory. In your linux directory open up prefs.js (while firefox is closed) and add a line to the file like this:

user_pref(“signon.SignonFileName”, “3143432.s”);

Start up firefox and you have probably all your passwords transfered from windows to linux. :)

B) Make audigy 2 work!
I supposed that having the latest kernel 2.6.10 and just enabling alsa and emu10k1 as a module would be enough. WRONG! I needed to disable alsa emu10k1 module from kernel and emerge alsa-drivers and alsa-utils. 2.6.10 Kernel provides 1.0.6 alsa driver while in order to make audigy2 to work you need 1.0.7. Hail Gentoo forums.

C) Find out what is going on with the ati-drivers.
I have a Radeon 9500Pro and finding out what drivers I should use in xorg.conf and in console framebuffer was a real pain. What are the proper modules to load in xorg.conf ? What’s needed for opengl ? And so many other questions…Gentoo’s forums were helpfull for once more. I emerged ati-drivers and ati-drivers-extra then fired up fglrxconfig. It created a very nice xorg.conf for me…that I only had to tweak a bit. Now I am enjoying opengl acceleration in X windows (I am even playing tuxracer!). About console framebuffer now…Well, don’t enable ati drivers in your kernel. Go to:
Device Drivers —> Graphics support —> <*> VESA VGA graphics support -> VESA driver type (vesafb-tng)
and DISABLE all ati-crap (at least that’s how it works for me). Then go to HOWTO fbsplash follow it and you’ll have nice framebuffer console support with *splash support. When I had ati-drivers enabled I could not get any *splash to work. Maybe it was my fault…but hey..it works now!

D) How to change from English to Greek keyboard in X ?
First read this excellent guide from www.linux.gr:
http://members.hellug.gr/djart/articles/grlinux/grlinux-1.html#ss1.5
Then read this:
http://members.hellug.gr/djart/articles/grlinux/grlinux-2.html#ss2.8
and finally this:
http://members.hellug.gr/djart/articles/grlinux/grlinux-3.html#ss3.1

Then you’ll have excellent greek keyboard support in your gentoo. If you want to have an indication about which language you currently use I’d suggest you take a look at kkbswitch.

That’s it for now…I’ll go play some tuxracer!

Over and out

Exams are over. How did I do ? not as good as I expected. In fact they went pretty bad. Good thing is that I have sorted some stuff about my studying in my head. I convinced myself to study for hours…which I had not done for a long time. Maybe the results could be better…but I won’t give up now.

Enough with personal stuff though.

A friend of mine, Thocharis (or theo as he signs his weblog, knows the author of the “kost-it” program that I’ve blogged some time ago and contacted him to ask him why he does not offer the program any more, as I mentioned in my post. His reply was that 3M threatened to sue him because “kost-it” violates the copyright of “post-it” and that he should stop providing it to other people. He also asked if I can remove the link from my blog. I find that pretty stupid from 3M but I have to agree with the author so I will remove it from my previous post.

I am going to rebuild my desktop linux system. For the time being I will write down what I definitely need so then I’ll be able to make a plan of what to install and what to do/change. Anyone has any special suggestions for a “new” must use proggie in a linux desktop system ? I am kinda oldfashioned and console-only guy…but this time I feel it that I am going to make a change…use X-windows :)

Firefox bugs(?) + AV software + Blog trackbacks

Firefox problem number 1:
When I first installed firefox I did not notice masterpassword setting at once. So I had some passwords saved on a few sites without it. I’ve noticed though that even if I use a masterpassword now…If I don’t enter a password and visit those few sites, firefox auto-completes my username and password. If it’s not something I am doing wrong I consider this a bug. Since I’ve set a masterpassword why not protect ALL previous passwords ? Anyway…my temp solution was to delete those passwords from firefox’s internal database and enter them again after I have typed a masterpassword. Firefox now never auto-completes them without the masterpassword. I hope I have time later on to figure out how firefox descriminates passwords prior and after masterpassword being set.

Firefox problem number 2:
I used to have great problems watching wmv videos inside webpages. I could see .mov movies fine with firefox…but wmv was a real pain. They sometime played…they sometimes did not…Most times firefox crashed after loading a page with a wmv inside. When it did not, it filled my memmory and reached more than 200Mb of VM Size in Windows. I had this idea today to check on the dll that is responsible for wmv files.
So, I typed about:plugins, scrolled down…and there it was
C:/Program Files/Windows Media Player/npdsplay.dll
Then was the time to find an update.

Windows Media Player Plug-in for Netscape Navigator

That did the trick…Firefox now doesn’t crash and stays at normal VM size.

Another thing I changed was the Antivirus software I use. I changed from Norton to Kaspersky. I think Kaspersky is much much lighter than norton and my system gained some “fresh air”.

I’ve also had new “comment” attacks on my blog using trackbacks. So, I had to disable trackbacks. WordPress enables each blog entry to have its own rules about trackbacks and comments…so I had to change all previous rules of my previous posts to disable trackback. That’s easy to do with a small sql command:

UPDATE `wp_posts` SET `ping_status` = ‘closed’ WHERE `ID` >0

That’s it for now…