26c3: Here Be Dragons!

We have been talking with Patroklos (argp of census-labs.com) about going to a CCC event for years. This year though we were determined. So on late September 2009 we booked our flight tickets to Berlin. A couple of weeks later some other friends expressed their wish to come with us. So in the end me, Patroklos, huku and SolidSNK (of grhack.net) and Christine formed up a group to visit 26c3 Here Be Dragons. Another group of Greeks also came to 26c3, among them Ithilgore, xorl, sin , gorlist and one more that I have no idea who he was, sorry :)

After a canceled flight on the 26th of December due to fog on SKG airport we finally flew on the 27th and went to Berlin. After arriving there we immediately went to the hotel we had booked and then straight to the Berliner Congress Center where the 26c3 was taking place.

BCC is an excellent conference center, nothing close to anything I have ever seen in Greece. It looks great both from the outside and from the inside. When we entered BCC we saw a huge number of diverse people. You could see and feel the difference with all the other IT conferences. People were very relaxed, very talkative and extremely friendly. What makes CCC so special is it’s community. There were soooo many CCC volunteers inside the BCC willing to help you with any information you might need. More on that later on…

After paying just 80€ for the whole conference, 4 days, we started walking around the ground floor. There were many information desks of various projects, free PCs to use (loaded with Ubuntu), the huge lounge which included a bar for food and drinks with lots of seats for people and 2 rooms for presentations. On the upper floor there were many more projects and another large room for presentations.

What made BCC so lively were all these projects around the presentation rooms. There were always hundreds of people sitting outside of the presentation rooms hacking on their projects, discussing with other people, selling merchandise, etc. Because it was our first time in the conference we were not experienced enough to use our time wisely between the lectures so I only managed to visit very few projects, Cacert, Gentoo and Debian. I am sure that there were people who did not attend any lectures at all and just sat all day at their projects’ infodesk.

Before I continue with the presentations we went to I want to make a note about volunteers again. Volunteers at 26c3 were called angels and they did an EXCELLENT job. They would not allow you to sit wherever you liked at a lecture, they would try to find you a seat or they would put you on a place where you could stand without blocking others. Nobody was allowed to sit at the corridors, nobody. Everything was in order and I never ever heard a single person complain about angels’ policy. They were strict and firm on one hand but helpful, fair and polite on the other. They were probably the best volunteers I have ever faced anywhere. All of them were carrying an ID and a DECT phone on them to cooperate with other angels (oh yes, the conference had it’s own DECT network…AND it’s own GSM network!!!) Funny quote: Angels at the entrance and exit doors wore t-shirts that wrote “Physical ACL”, heh.

The very first presentation we attended was “Here Be Electric Dragons“, and then we moved to see “Exposing Crypto bugs through reverse engineering“. After a break we tried to go to the “GSM: SRSLY?” lecture but it was SOO full that we were not allowed to go inside the presentation room. So we went to the “Tor and censorship: lessons learned” presentation which was more interesting than I expected. The final talks we saw on the first day were: “UNBILD – Pictures and Non-Pictures” which was in German and of course “cat /proc/sys/net/ipv4/fuckups“. Since none of us spoke German there was no urge to see the UNBILD lecture, but as we painfully understood by not being able to even enter the presentation room for the “GSM: SRSLY?” lecture, you have to go a LOT earlier to see a good lecture. We definetely wanted to see fabs lecture so we went there an hour earlier to find some seats. By the way, outside of the presentation rooms were TVs with live streaming from inside for people who couldn’t go inside or for people who didn’t want to. As I said earlier a lot of people preferred sitting at their projects’ infodesk and watched the streams of the presentations.

On the next day we saw: “Milkymist“, “Advanced microcontroller programming“, “Fuzzing the Phone in your Phone“, “Defending the Poor, Preventing Flash exploits“, “Haste ma’n netblock?” and “SCCP hacking, attacking the SS7 & SIGTRAN applications one step further and mapping the phone system“.

On the third day just “Playing with the GSM RF Interface“, “Using OpenBSC for fuzzing of GSM handsets” and “Black Ops Of PKI” since we decided to do some sightseeing as well :)

Finally on the last day we went to “secuBT” and from that to another German lecture about a distributed portscanner called Wolpertinger that replaced a canceled lecture on IBM AS/400. Afterwards we went to the realtime English translation stream of “Security Nightmares” and to the “Closing Event“.

I had a really great time and I certainly want to be there again next year. If I manage to go there again though I will try take a lot more days off work so I can visit many more places around the city. The whole event was excellent, the organization was almost perfect and the people who contributed to it deserve a huge applaud, especially the angels.

Congratulations to all.

Necessary pics:
lounge Room 1
FX presentation BCC at night
Pirate Flags BCC with snow
Closing EventThe Greeks

P.S. I don’t want to go into specific details about the lectures I attended. Some were REALLY good, some were average and some were totally boring. If you follow the news you already know which streams of lectures you should certainly download and see. You can find every lecture on CCC’s FTP server.

P.S.2 What a great wiki for an event…I was amazed by the amount of information one can find in there…

P.S.3 To Greeks only…please download the closing event presentation to see how we should start organizing events. Just check on the efforts of the people who contributed to the 26c3 event. I don’t want to write anything more about this issue because the difference with any Greek event I’ve ever attended to, or even the mentality of the people attending “our” events is SO SO SO HUUUUGE that it makes me really sad. I hope that this might fire up something. If more Greeks attended events organized abroad then maybe one day we might get more serious about our events as well.

resolv.conf options rotate and discovery of ISP DNS issue

Lately I somehow bumped on the manpage of resolv.conf. While reading it I saw the following really nice option:

rotate               sets  RES_ROTATE  in _res.options, which causes round robin selection of name‐
                     servers from among those listed.  This has the effect of spreading  the  query
                     load  among  all  listed servers, rather than having all clients try the first
                     listed server first every time.

Since then my /etc/resolv.conf on both Gentoo and Debian looks like that:
options rotate

(I prefer using GrNET‘s DNS servers than any others in Greece, especially for my laptop configuration. Since they allow recursion I can use them to avoid lousy DNS services provided by lousy DSL routers regardless of the ISP I am currently using, when I am “mobile” with my laptop.)

While using the following config I issued a ping command on a teminal and a tcpdump command on another to see what was actually happening. The result looked like this:
root@lola:~# tcpdump -ni eth1 port 53
tcpdump: verbose output suppressed, use -v or -vv for full protocol decode
listening on eth1, link-type EN10MB (Ethernet), capture size 96 bytes
11:20:46.405694 IP > 39212+ A? ntua.gr. (25)
11:20:46.444266 IP > 39212* 1/5/8 A (319)
11:20:46.484490 IP > 50452+ PTR? (46)
11:20:46.584171 IP > 50452 ServFail 0/0/0 (46)
11:20:46.584449 IP > 50452+ PTR? (46)
11:20:46.624179 IP > 50452 1/7/6 (357)
11:20:47.484420 IP > 33179+ PTR? (46)
11:20:47.524176 IP > 33179 1/7/6 (357)
11:20:48.484483 IP > 21949+ PTR? (46)
11:20:48.524184 IP > 21949 1/3/6 (271)
11:20:49.487610 IP > 8619+ PTR? (46)
11:20:49.534204 IP > 8619 ServFail 0/0/0 (46)
11:20:49.534429 IP > 8619+ PTR? (46)
11:20:49.574138 IP > 8619 1/7/6 (357)
11:20:50.494537 IP > 3415+ PTR? (46)
11:20:50.534145 IP > 3415 1/7/6 (357)
11:20:51.494552 IP > 4504+ PTR? (46)
11:20:51.534205 IP > 4504 1/3/6 (271)
11:20:52.494554 IP > 48450+ PTR? (46)
11:20:52.544197 IP > 48450 ServFail 0/0/0 (46)
11:20:52.544409 IP > 48450+ PTR? (46)
11:20:52.584232 IP > 48450 1/7/6 (357)

People who are used to reading tcpdump output will immediately point out the ServFail entries of the log. Server refused to provide proper results for the PTR query of

Further investigation of the problem:

root@lola:~# dig ptr @
;  IN  PTR
;; ANSWER SECTION: 66841 IN  PTR achilles.noc.ntua.gr.

root@lola:~# dig ptr @
;  IN  PTR

root@lola:~# dig ptr @
;  IN  PTR
;; ANSWER SECTION: 86115 IN  PTR achilles.noc.ntua.gr.

It was obvious that 2 out of 3 DNS servers responded as they should and the other did not.

What I did was to notify a friend working as an administrator there (GrNET) and let him know of the problem. After some investigation, he later on told me that the problem was related to dnssec issues. Possibly a configuration error on RIPE‘s side. As far as I know they had to temporarily disable dnssec on the 147.102 zone…I am not aware whether they fixed the problem (using dnssec) yet though.

I am really glad they acted as fast as possible regarding the solution of the problem :)

Playing with Synergy on Gentoo and Debian

I currently have Gentoo/x86 on my desktop system and Debian/testing on my laptop. I wanted a way to be able to use the laptop’s trackpad to control the cursor on the desktop or to use the desktop’s mouse to control the cursos on the laptop. Thankfully I was able to do that with Synergy.

On Gentoo:
# emerge x11-misc/synergy
On Debian:
# aptitude install synergy

My config is pretty simple. That’s Debian’s (hostname lola) /etc/synergy.conf:

section: screens

section: links
        right = athlios
        left  = lola

section: aliases

When I want to control athlios (desktop) from lola (laptop), I start synergys on lola, ssh to athlios and start synergyc lola. That’s it, I can then control desktop’s mouse and keyboard from laptop’s touchpad and keyboard. When I move the lola’s cursor far to the right, the cursor starts moving on the desktop. Then if I start typing on the laptop’s keyboard I am actually typing on the desktop. Moving the cursor far to the left of the desktop’s monitor, the cursor starts moving again on the laptop.

A problem that I faced was that some keys (Left and Down arrow) stop repeating if you press them continuously when you start synergyc. The solution is posted on the synergy article on gentoo wiki. You just have to type: xset r 113 (left arrow) and xset r 116 (down arrow) to activate them, then move your mouse to the synergy server and back to the synergy client. If you try typing on the machine where the synergy client has started using its keyboard you will see that repeating doesn’t work at all. Just type xset r to get it back working if you need it.

For people having more than one machine on their desk, synergy is a real salvation in order to stop switching keyboards and mice all the time.

minor uniformity patch for smplayer

One of the things that good Linux applications should have is uniformity. Just like Mac OS X does. All applications should use the same keybindings to perform the same tasks. For example, on _every_ OS X application, in order to quit it you have to press “CMD+Q”, it’s that simple and everybody follows it. Everybody. On Linux though there are some applications that simply don’t care about uniformity. One of these applications is smplayer.

While it is almost standard for Linux applications to quit using Ctrl+Q, smplayer simply doesn’t have this option. It has the option of closing the current video with Ctrl+X but it doesn’t have the simple option of quitting using a keyboard shortcut.

So, the next (oneliner actually) patch does simply what I described above. It makes smplayer quit using “Ctrl+Q”.

The screenshot that shows what the patch does:

--- smplayer-0.6.8/src/baseguiplus.cpp 2009-08-13 16:07:04.000000000 +0300
+++ smplayer-0.6.8/src/baseguiplus.cpp 2009-08-13 16:08:22.000000000 +0300
@@ -67,8 +67,7 @@
tray->setToolTip( "SMPlayer" );
connect( tray, SIGNAL(activated(QSystemTrayIcon::ActivationReason)),
this, SLOT(trayIconActivated(QSystemTrayIcon::ActivationReason)));
- quitAct = new MyAction(this, "quit");
+ quitAct = new MyAction(QKeySequence("Ctrl+Q"), this, "quit");
connect( quitAct, SIGNAL(triggered()), this, SLOT(quit()) );

And a patched ebuild for smplayer-0.6.8 to use this minor patch (only one line is added to the ebuild):

P.S. Keybindings in smplayer can be set through Preferences, and someone could actually put Ctrl+Q as the quit shortcut but I think that this should be the default setting like most other applications have it. Uniformity matters.

Trying to achieve a more stable hybrid (broadcom-wl) kernel module for broadcom 4328

On my Macbook (4,1) I am currently using Debian with kernel 2.6.30-1-686-bigmem. This Macbook has Broadcom 4328 wireless chipset installed (02:00.0 Network controller: Broadcom Corporation BCM4328 802.11a/b/g/n (rev 03)) and unfortunately the necessary kernel module provided by Broadcom is pretty unstable. Or very unstable. Oh well…it’s totally unstable.

I had random freezes, usually when I first booted and tried to modprobe the module. After some searching around the net and a lot of experiments I’ve managed to create a kernel module that looks quite stable. At least I stopped getting any more lockups and freezes…To reproduce the module with the patches I’ve used follow the directions bellow step by step.

Find your kernel version:
mybox:~# uname -r

Install kernel header files related to the kernel version you found (on the above example it is: 2.6.30-1-686-bigmem):
mybox:~# aptitude install linux-headers-2.6.30-1-686-bigmem

Remember to replace the version (2.6.30-1-6-bigmem) with the output of your mybox:~# uname -r

Create necessary dirs:
mybox:~# mkdir hybrid_wl
mybox:~# cd hybrid_wl

Download Linux drivers package from Broadcom:
802.11 Linux STA 32-bit Driver
(Driver info site: 802.11 Linux STA driver)
mybox:~/hybrid_wl# wget http://www.broadcom.com/docs/linux_sta/hybrid-portsrc-x86_32-v5_10_91_9.tar.gz

Download a few more patches from Archlinux and Gentoo:
hidden-essid patch
2.6.30 patch 1
2.6.30 patch 2
mybox:~/hybrid_wl# wget http://aur.archlinux.org/packages/broadcom-wl/broadcom-wl/hidden-essid.patch
mybox:~/hybrid_wl# wget http://aur.archlinux.org/packages/broadcom-wl/broadcom-wl/broadcom-sta-
mybox:~/hybrid_wl# wget http://aur.archlinux.org/packages/broadcom-wl/broadcom-wl/broadcom-sta-
mybox:~/hybrid_wl# wget -O hybrid-portsrc-x86_32-v5_10_91_9-convert_to_net_device_ops.diff http://bugs.gentoo.org/attachment.cgi?id=195182

Extract package:
mybox:~/hybrid_wl# tar -xzf /path/to/hybrid-portsrc-x86_32-v5_10_91_9.tar.gz

Start Patching:
mybox:~/hybrid_wl# sed -i hidden-essid.patch -e 's||src/wl/sys|g'
mybox:~/hybrid_wl# patch -p0 < hidden-essid.patch
patching file src/wl/sys/wl_iw.c
mybox:~/hybrid_wl# sed -i broadcom-sta- -e 's|hybrid-portsrc-x86_32-v5_10_91_9.orig/||g'
mybox:~/hybrid_wl# sed -i broadcom-sta- -e 's|hybrid-portsrc-x86_32-v5_10_91_9/||g'
mybox:~/hybrid_wl# patch -p0 <broadcom-sta-
patching file src/wl/sys/wl_iw.c
Hunk #1 succeeded at 611 (offset 1 line).
Hunk #2 succeeded at 640 (offset 1 line).
Hunk #3 succeeded at 1119 (offset 1 line).
Hunk #4 succeeded at 1147 (offset 1 line).
Hunk #5 succeeded at 1807 (offset 1 line).
Hunk #6 succeeded at 1942 (offset 1 line).
patching file src/wl/sys/wl_linux.c
patching file src/wl/sys/wl_linux.h
mybox:~/hybrid_wl# patch -p0 < broadcom-sta-
patching file src/wl/sys/wl_linux.c
mybox:~/hybrid_wl# sed -i hybrid-portsrc-x86_32-v5_10_91_9-convert_to_net_device_ops.diff -e 's|a/src/|src/|g'
mybox:~/hybrid_wl# sed -i hybrid-portsrc-x86_32-v5_10_91_9-convert_to_net_device_ops.diff -e 's|b/src/|src/|g'
mybox:~/hybrid_wl# patch -p0 < hybrid-portsrc-x86_32-v5_10_91_9-convert_to_net_device_ops.diff
patching file src/wl/sys/wl_linux.c
Hunk #1 succeeded at 225 (offset 6 lines).
patching file src/wl/sys/wl_iw.c

Compile the kernel module:
mybox:~/hybrid_wl# make -C /lib/modules/2.6.30-1-686-bigmem/build M=`pwd` clean
make: Entering directory `/usr/src/linux-headers-2.6.30-1-686-bigmem'
make: Leaving directory `/usr/src/linux-headers-2.6.30-1-686-bigmem'
mybox:~/hybrid_wl# make -C /lib/modules/2.6.30-1-686-bigmem/build M=`pwd`
make: Entering directory `/usr/src/linux-headers-2.6.30-1-686-bigmem'
LD /root/hybrid_wl/built-in.o
CC [M] /root/hybrid_wl/src/wl/sys/wl_linux.o
CC [M] /root/hybrid_wl/src/wl/sys/wl_iw.o
CC [M] /root/hybrid_wl/src/shared/linux_osl.o
LD [M] /root/hybrid_wl/wl.o
Building modules, stage 2.
MODPOST 1 modules
WARNING: modpost: missing MODULE_LICENSE() in /root/hybrid_wl/wl.o
see include/linux/module.h for more information
CC /root/hybrid_wl/wl.mod.o
LD [M] /root/hybrid_wl/wl.ko
make: Leaving directory `/usr/src/linux-headers-2.6.30-1-686-bigmem'

Install the new module:
mybox:~/hybrid_wl# cp wl.ko /lib/modules/2.6.30-1-686-bigmem/kernel/drivers/net/wireless/
mybox:~/hybrid_wl# depmod
mybox:~/hybrid_wl# modprobe wl

Check if everything loads correctly:
mybox:~/hybrid_wl# dmesg |tail
[ 66.229797] lib80211: common routines for IEEE802.11 drivers
[ 66.229805] lib80211_crypt: registered algorithm 'NULL'
[ 66.301793] wl: module license 'unspecified' taints kernel.
[ 66.301802] Disabling lock debugging due to kernel taint
[ 66.305919] wl 0000:02:00.0: PCI INT A -> GSI 16 (level, low) -> IRQ 16
[ 66.305933] wl 0000:02:00.0: setting latency timer to 64
[ 66.406146] lib80211_crypt: registered algorithm 'TKIP'
[ 66.408646] eth1: Broadcom BCM4328 802.11 Wireless Controller
[ 76.524135] eth1: no IPv6 routers present

You can also chek the iwconfig output. Hopefully everything will be fine…
I hope this saves a few hours of searching and experimenting for some people…

1) 802.11 Linux STA driver
2) AUR broadcom-wl
3) Gentoo Bug: 284450 (New ebuild: net/wireless/broadcom-sta)

Vodafone, Cosmote 3G on Linux (wvdial and umtsmon)

The following configs can be used when you have either Vodafone Mobile Internet or Cosmote Internet on the Go or both 3G USB sticks and you want to connect to the 3G Internet (in Greece) while using Linux. I’ll provide two ways to connect to 3G, the command line way using wvdial and the GUI way using umtsmon.

1) Using wvdial
Create /etc/wvdial.conf:

[Dialer Defaults]
New PPPD = yes
Dial Command = ATDT
Dial Attempts = 1
Modem = /dev/ttyUSB0
Modem Type = Analog Modem
ISDN = 0
#commented out see the comments on the post.
#Baud = 460800
Username = user
Password = pass
Init1 = ATZ
Init2 = AT&F E1 V1 X1 &D2 &C1 S
[Dialer cosmote]
Phone = *99#
Stupid Mode = 1
Init3 = AT+CGDCONT=1,"IP","internet"
[Dialer vodafone]
Phone = *99#
Stupid Mode = 1
Init3 = AT+CGDCONT=1,"IP","internet"
[Dialer vfPIN]
Init4 = AT+CPIN=1234
[Dialer cmPIN]
Init4 = AT+CPIN=5678

WARNING: You HAVE to change the PINs on the last part of the config

To connect to Cosmote, plug in the usb stick:

# wvdial cmPIN
# wvdial cosmote

To connect to Vodafone, plug in the usb stick:

# wvdial vfPIN
# wvdial vodafone

2) Using umtsmon
Connection->Manage Profiles and create the necessary profiles with settings that look like these:
Username and Password does not really matter. Enter something like User/Pass or Username/Password.

Both versions tested on Debian and Gentoo and they are working just fine.

If someone has the Wind ADSM settings please provide them as a comment so I can complete the post with all three Greek 3G providers.

References: List of AT commands

nicotine+ 1.2.12 ebuild

I’ve uploaded an ebuild for the latest version of nicotine+ on gentoo’s bugzilla. Nicotine+ is a great p2p app written in PyGtK2 to connect to the Soulseek network.

I’ve also added psyco as a USE flag since it makes nicotine+ faster…but sadly, a bit more unstable as well. Test it and see if it makes any difference to you.

Ebuild: nicotine+-1.2.12.ebuild

Using halevt to automount media and make them appear on ROX desktop

With the recent addition of halevt in Gentoo’s portage it is now relatively easy to automatically mount media like USB sticks and CD/DVD discs on /media.

What I wanted to do was to emulate my previous set of configs and scripts that ivman used to create icons of automatically mounted media on ROX desktop (called pinboard). I am using ROX pinboard on top of my favorite window manager, fluxbox.

The idea is that halevt is started by the fluxbox startup config file and when a new device is attached to the computer, halevt config calls a script that creates an icon on the ROX pinboard using ROX rpc. When a device needs to be removed ROX pinboard is configured to call a special eject command that checks for a couple of things before unmounting the device and calling the script to remove the icon from ROX pinboard.
Apart from automatically mounting/unmounting of devices I have also added a nice option in the halevt config to unmount and eject the CD/DVD drive when the eject button on the device is used and of course when the CD/DVD is not in use. That emulates a bit the windows behavior that so many users have gotten used to.

Since the script used by halevt involves a lot of file reading/writing and parsing I thought it would be wise to convert my old rox.panelput bash script to perl. And I was correct, the speed difference, even for such simple tasks is more than noticeable.

The installation process. Please take notice of the user executing the commands, $ is for normal user, # is for root:
0) create /usr/local/bin/ path and put it in your shell’s PATH
# mkdir /usr/local/bin
$ echo "export PATH=$PATH:/usr/local/bin/" >> ~/.bashrc

1) install halevt
# echo "sys-apps/halevt ~x86" >> /etc/portage/package.keywords
# emerge halevt


Handling right clicks on a macbook running Linux

I’ve finally settled down to a solution that I am happy with. I used to have the following options inside my Xorg.conf:
Section "InputDevice"
Identifier "Synaptics Touchpad"
Driver "synaptics"
Option "TapButton1" "1"
Option "TapButton2" "3"
Option "TapButton3" "2"
Option "VertTwoFingerScroll" "1"
Option "HorizTwoFingerScroll" "1"

This works like this:
i) a single tap is a left click
ii) a two-finger tap is a right click
iii) a three-finger tap is a middle click
and you could scroll horizontally and vertically using two fingers on the touchpad, like Mac OS X.
The problem with this setup is that I used to have a lot of accidental double tappings while scrolling with two fingers horizontally or vertically. This of course produced unwanted right clicks.

I wanted a solution that I could get right click in somehow like Mac OS X does it, using ctrl+tap/ctrl+click. I found a solution that emulated ctrl+click as a right click but then many applications started misbehaving. Firefox for example uses ctrl+click on Linux to open a link on a new tab, when I used ctrl+click as a right click, Firefox stopped opening the links. So I went to plan B.

CMD key(apple key)-click as a right click.

To achieve that:
a) install xvkbd.
Debian: apt-get install xvkbd
Gentoo: emerge xvkbd
b) install xbindkeys.
Debian: apt-get install xbindkeys
Gentoo: emerge xbindkeys
c) create the default .xbindkeysrc file: xbindkeys –defaults > ~/.xbindkeysrc
d) edit it and put the following inside: "xvkbd -text '\m3'"
mod4 + b:1 (mouse)

e) edit xorg.conf and set this: Option "TapButton2" "0"
This effectively disables double tapping as a right click.
f) restart X
g) open a terminal and start xbindkeys from it: $ xbindkeys -n -v
Now press CMD key and tap the touchpad or click the touchpad button. You should be greeted with a fresh right click!

If all went well put xbindkeys in your DE’s autostart.

The following works flawlessly on XFCE/LXDE. CMD-click or CMD-tap opens XFCE’s menu or LXDE’s desktop menu.

On fluxbox though there is still a problem. It’s very common for fluxbox key config to look something like the following:
OnDesktop Mouse1 :hideMenus
OnDesktop Mouse2 :workspaceMenu
OnDesktop Mouse3 :rootMenu
OnDesktop Mouse4 :nextWorkspace
OnDesktop Mouse5 :prevWorkspace

So to open the RootMenu, which is the basic menu with the applications shortcuts for fluxbox, one needs to actually right click on the Desktop. That worked with TabButton2=3 but it does not work right now. To get around that problem I binded the key left to (1/!) which is normally the (±/§) key on Macs to the Menu key using xmodmap.
$ cat .xmodmap
keycode 94 = Menu

I never used that key anyway…

I’ve now got my precious right click back without accidental miss-clicks. yihaa!

References: FreeBSD on an Apple MacBook

qt libraries upgrade problem for gentoo

To complement alex’s post upgrading Qt libraries in Gentoo with Portage, here’s what started it all. I wanted to upgrade my kpdf to the most recent version without upgrading world. So the output of emerge -1uDNavt kpdf looked like this:

[ebuild U ] kde-base/kpdf-3.5.10-r1 [3.5.9] USE="-debug (-arts%) (-kdeenablefinal%) (-xinerama%)" 6 kB [0]
[nomerge ] app-mobilephone/pysmssend-1.32 USE="qt4" [?]
[nomerge ] dev-python/PyQt4-4.4.4-r2 USE="X dbus opengl qt3support svg -debug -doc -examples -webkit" [0]
[ebuild U ] x11-libs/qt-qt3support-4.5.1 [4.4.2] USE="accessibility -custom-cxxflags% -debug -kde% -pch -phonon%" 111,980 kB [0]
[ebuild U ] x11-libs/qt-sql-4.5.1 [4.4.2-r1] USE="iconv qt3support sqlite -custom-cxxflags -debug -firebird -mysql -odbc -pch -postgres" 0 kB [0]
[nomerge ] kde-base/kpdf-3.5.10-r1 [3.5.9] USE="-debug (-arts%) (-kdeenablefinal%) (-xinerama%)" [0]
[ebuild N ] virtual/poppler-qt3-0.10.5 0 kB [0]
[nomerge ] dev-python/PyQt4-4.4.4-r2 USE="X dbus opengl qt3support svg -debug -doc -examples -webkit" [0]
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[blocks b ] >x11-libs/qt-script-4.4.2-r9999 (">x11-libs/qt-script-4.4.2-r9999" is blocking x11-libs/qt-xmlpatterns-4.4.2, x11-libs/qt-dbus-4.4.2, x11-libs/qt-gui-4.4.2-r3, x11-libs/qt-sql-4.4.2-r1, x11-libs/qt-qt3support-4.4.2, x11-libs/qt-svg-4.4.2, x11-libs/qt-test-4.4.2, x11-libs/qt-opengl-4.4.2, x11-libs/qt-core-4.4.2-r2)
[blocks b ] >x11-libs/qt-dbus-4.4.2-r9999 (">x11-libs/qt-dbus-4.4.2-r9999" is blocking x11-libs/qt-xmlpatterns-4.4.2, x11-libs/qt-script-4.4.2, x11-libs/qt-gui-4.4.2-r3, x11-libs/qt-sql-4.4.2-r1, x11-libs/qt-qt3support-4.4.2, x11-libs/qt-svg-4.4.2, x11-libs/qt-test-4.4.2, x11-libs/qt-opengl-4.4.2, x11-libs/qt-core-4.4.2-r2)
[nomerge ] sys-boot/unetbootin-319 [0]
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[blocks b ] >x11-libs/qt-sql-4.4.2-r9999 (">x11-libs/qt-sql-4.4.2-r9999" is blocking x11-libs/qt-xmlpatterns-4.4.2, x11-libs/qt-script-4.4.2, x11-libs/qt-dbus-4.4.2, x11-libs/qt-gui-4.4.2-r3, x11-libs/qt-qt3support-4.4.2, x11-libs/qt-svg-4.4.2, x11-libs/qt-test-4.4.2, x11-libs/qt-opengl-4.4.2, x11-libs/qt-core-4.4.2-r2)
[blocks b ] >x11-libs/qt-gui-4.4.2-r9999 (">x11-libs/qt-gui-4.4.2-r9999" is blocking x11-libs/qt-xmlpatterns-4.4.2, x11-libs/qt-script-4.4.2, x11-libs/qt-dbus-4.4.2, x11-libs/qt-sql-4.4.2-r1, x11-libs/qt-qt3support-4.4.2, x11-libs/qt-svg-4.4.2, x11-libs/qt-test-4.4.2, x11-libs/qt-opengl-4.4.2, x11-libs/qt-core-4.4.2-r2)
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[nomerge ] app-text/epdfview-0.1.6-r1 USE="-cups -nls -test" [0]
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[nomerge ] app-text/poppler-bindings-0.10.5-r1 USE="cairo gtk qt3 qt4 -test" [0]
[nomerge ] app-text/poppler-0.10.5-r1 USE="-doc" [0]
[ebuild U ] media-libs/openjpeg-1.3-r2 [1.3] USE="-tools" 0 kB [0]
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[ebuild U ] app-text/enscript-1.6.4-r4 [1.6.4-r3] USE="-nls -ruby" 1,013 kB [?=>0]
[nomerge ] app-pda/msynctool-0.21 [0]
[nomerge ] app-pda/libopensync-0.21 USE="-debug -doc -python" [0]
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[blocks B ] >x11-libs/qt-script-4.4.2-r9999 (">x11-libs/qt-script-4.4.2-r9999" is blocking x11-libs/qt-xmlpatterns-4.4.2, x11-libs/qt-dbus-4.4.2, x11-libs/qt-gui-4.4.2-r3, x11-libs/qt-sql-4.4.2-r1, x11-libs/qt-qt3support-4.4.2, x11-libs/qt-svg-4.4.2, x11-libs/qt-test-4.4.2, x11-libs/qt-opengl-4.4.2, x11-libs/qt-core-4.4.2-r2)
[blocks B ] >x11-libs/qt-dbus-4.4.2-r9999 (">x11-libs/qt-dbus-4.4.2-r9999" is blocking x11-libs/qt-xmlpatterns-4.4.2, x11-libs/qt-script-4.4.2, x11-libs/qt-gui-4.4.2-r3, x11-libs/qt-sql-4.4.2-r1, x11-libs/qt-qt3support-4.4.2, x11-libs/qt-svg-4.4.2, x11-libs/qt-test-4.4.2, x11-libs/qt-opengl-4.4.2, x11-libs/qt-core-4.4.2-r2)
[blocks B ]
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[blocks B ]
x11-libs/qt-core-4.4.2-r9999 (">x11-libs/qt-core-4.4.2-r9999" is blocking x11-libs/qt-xmlpatterns-4.4.2, x11-libs/qt-script-4.4.2, x11-libs/qt-dbus-4.4.2, x11-libs/qt-gui-4.4.2-r3, x11-libs/qt-sql-4.4.2-r1, x11-libs/qt-qt3support-4.4.2, x11-libs/qt-svg-4.4.2, x11-libs/qt-test-4.4.2, x11-libs/qt-opengl-4.4.2)
[blocks B ]
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[blocks B ] >x11-libs/qt-gui-4.4.2-r9999 (">x11-libs/qt-gui-4.4.2-r9999" is blocking x11-libs/qt-xmlpatterns-4.4.2, x11-libs/qt-script-4.4.2, x11-libs/qt-dbus-4.4.2, x11-libs/qt-sql-4.4.2-r1, x11-libs/qt-qt3support-4.4.2, x11-libs/qt-svg-4.4.2, x11-libs/qt-test-4.4.2, x11-libs/qt-opengl-4.4.2, x11-libs/qt-core-4.4.2-r2)
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(and 7 more)

The output is also at: http://dpaste.com/52703/
Unless you are a Gentoo Developer there is no easy way to understand the output.
So I joined #gentoo-el on Freenode to ask the greek gentoo developers (hwoarang, deathwing00, tampakrap, wired, yngwin), which happen to be on QT/KDE herds, to explain to me what’s wrong.
I was suggested to run an emerge -uDavt world to upgrade my whole system, but that’s not what I wanted and I asked for a solution that would not involve upgrading the whole system. The following is the output of emerge -uDNavt world:


Then they explained to me that there has been a change on QT eclass to provide protection to the system from having mixed QT versions. The problem is that the protection works by blocking the mix, but the output is at least “unfriendly”.

The solution, as alex said is to do: emerge -av1 `eix -I --only-names x11-libs/qt-`

Even though eix is a standard tool every gentoo user has probably installed, I don’t really like the solution because it depends on using another extra program, eix, and not pure portage techniques. Portage should be able, somehow, to handle these dependency problems and provide a custom error when such a problem occurs. The errors on “-9999″ versions need vast improvement.

I hope Gentoo devs do something about improving portage even more :)

After a small conversation with alex, I completely unmerged my x11-libs/qt-4.X package. As it seems it’s not needed at all any longer since all programs correctly reference the x11-libs/qt-NAME-4.X.

lifesaving ROX tip, open file:// urls

Firefox has the feature of keeping links to downloaded files as urls using the file:// pattern. For example: file:///home/user/downloads/test.zip. If you choose ROX-Filer (/usr/bin/rox) to open these files you will get an error:

File doesn’t exist, or I can’t access it: file:///home/user/downloads/test.zip

One way to correct the error is to follow the instructions of http://lovingthepenguin.blogspot.com/2008/08/use-rox-filer-to-open-containing.html

Another way for Gentoo users, and much proper I guess, is to use /usr/bin/roxuri. roxuri is actually a shell script that uses the “-U” option for ROX:

-U, –url=URL open file or directory in URI form

For the non-Gentoo users, /usr/bin/roxuri is:
exec "/usr/lib/rox/ROX-Filer/AppRun" -U "$@"

Create it and make it executable.

Go to Firefox Preferences/Applications/Content Type -> file and select /usr/bin/roxuri as the default application.

Now files from firefox downloads are handled correctly by rox which uses the proper applications to open them and containing folders open up with ROX-Filer. That means that while “file” is handled by roxuri, a .pdf will be opened by epdfview or whatever else you have chosen ROX to open pdf files with.

Both solutions work on ROX version 2.8.

halevt in portage!

Since yesterday halevt (HAL Events Manager) and its dependency, boolstuff library are in the official Gentoo portage!
halevt on Portage
boolstuff on Portage

They only thing it took was convincing hwoarang how much they were needed since ivman is pretty much borked. At first I asked him to add them to sunrise overlay but he insisted they go straight to portage.

The original ebuilds were taken from Gentoo bugzilla: new ebuilds for halevt and boolstuff -> supersedes ivman, they were refined a bit and then added to Portage. Thanks to Mike Gualtieri for the original ebuilds.

Hwoarang has added me as the proxy maintainer of these two packages. I hope that when updates go out, I’ll test them as soon as possible and then create new ebuilds for them.

The packages are currently only in ~x86 and ~amd64 (testing) branches. If you test the packages and think that they are stable enough please let me know and I’ll try to convince hwoarang to put them to x86 and amd64 (stable) branches.

Thanks again to hwoarang! Cheers!

migrating from fluxbox 1.0.0 to 1.1.X

I recently upgraded from a stable fluxbox release (1.0.0) to a development one (1.1.1), on gentoo x11-wm/fluxbox-1.1.1-r1, ~x86 branch . There have been some interesting changes. If you also upgrade you might find though that your “tabs” are not working.
Recent fluxbox versions (1.1.0+) have dumped the old “groups” file which used to contain applications that could be grouped in tabs. Now the grouped applications must be declared inside the “apps” file. The syntax is rather simple, if you want an application to have tab support just add a “[group]” line before it. For example if you had a groups file that combined urxvt, xterm and aterm tabs:
% cat ~/.fluxbox/groups
urxvt xterm aterm

The new proper syntax in apps file would be:
%cat ~/.fluxbox/apps
[app] (name=urxvt)
[app] (name=xterm)
[app] (name=aterm)

I wrote a perl script that can convert your old groups file to the new group format for apps file. fbox_groups_to_apps.pl

Bugs reports,fixes are more than welcome…

ivman is dead, long live halevt

It’s been a while since ivman stopped working on my Gentoo box but I never had the time nor the willingness to take a look into it. It appears that ivman is incompatible with some newer versions of hal and dbus. The good thing is that there’s an alternative, it’s called halevt and as far as I’ve taken a look into it the configuration options look quite straightforward.
For Gentoo, there are ebuilds for halevt on Gentoo bugzilla, which install just fine.

In my point of view there’s an issue here for Gentoo. Latest ivman (sys-apps/ivman-0.6.14) compiles just fine against all of its dependencies, but then it does nothing at all when a deviced is plugged in. If the devices are present when ivman starts then it can detect and mount them, if you plug the devices after ivman is started, then ivman does nothing at all. I think ivman is broken since hal 0.5.9.X versions. Gentoo developers stll keep ivman in the stable tree though. I find no real logic to this decision. Ivman is buggy with current stable hal and dbus. I would prefer a de-stabilization of ivman or even a package mask for it. What’s the point in keeping a package (ivman) in the stable tree since it requires not the latest stable but an older version of another package (hal) ? IMHO, since they correctly decided to stabilize hal 0.5.11-r8, which subsequently rendered ivman useless, ivman should be wiped from the stable tree.
Some bugs on ivman reported on Gentoo Bugzilla: http://bugs.gentoo.org/buglist.cgi?quicksearch=ivman

I once used ivman with a couple of custom scripts to create/remove icons of automounted devices on my ROX desktop. I think I can make these scripts work again with halevt…I am in the process of rewriting them. More on that in the following days…

Fosscomm 2009

Μετά από ένα τρομερό Σαββατοκύριακο στη Λάρισα γυρίσα πάλι πίσω στη Θεσσαλονίκη. Το Fosscomm 2009 ήταν πάρα πολύ καλά οργανωμένο και τα παιδιά του Linux Team ΤΕΙ Λάρισας αξίζουν πολλά συγχαρητήρια για την προσπάθειά τους.

Τα παιδιά μας είχαν κλείσει ξενοδοχείο και ήταν πάρα πολύ ωραίο να μένουν 60+ άτομα που όλοι κουτσά στραβά γνωρίζονται στο ίδιο ξενοδοχείο. Θυμίζε πενταήμερη! Επίσης είχαν τυπώσει μπλουζάκια (πρόλαβα και πηρα ένα), κονκάρδες και διάφορα άλλα. Μιας και η συμμετοχή στο συνέδριο ήταν μεγάλη, θεωρώ πως μόνο το Σάββατο πρέπει να ήταν πάνω από 200 άτομα, θα είχε μεγάλο ενδιαφέρον να δούμε τις απαντήσεις στο ερωτηματολόγιο αξιολόγησης της εκδήλωσης που είχαν στο stand τους και όποιος ήθελε συμπλήρωνε.

Έξω από το επαρκέστατα εξοπλισμένο αμφιθέατρο, υπήρχαν stand με έντυπο υλικό καθώς και CD/DVD από διάφορες κοινότητες. Εκεί ήταν το Foss.Ntua, η ΕΕΛΛΑΚ, ο HELLUG, η ελληνική κοινότητα Fedora και η ελληνική κοινότητα Freebsd. Φυσικά παρόν ήταν και η ομάδα του Linux Team ΤΕΙ Λάρισας με το δικό της stand. Το κλίμα ήταν γενικώς πάρα πολύ καλό και συνάντησα πολλούς φίλους και γνωστούς που είχα μήνες να τους δω.

Θεωρώ πως οι παρουσιάσεις ήταν γενικά καλές, θα τολμήσω να πω πως ήταν ανώτερες από το επίπεδο του περσυνού Fosscomm που είχε γίνει στο Μετσόβειο, αλλά κυριώς ευχαριστήθηκα τα workshops που πέρυσι έλειπαν εντελώς. Συγχαρητήρια σε όσους κόπιασαν για να τα διοργανώσουν γιατί ένα καλό workshop είναι πολύ πιο δύσκολο από μια απλή παρουσίαση…Δυστυχώς και φέτος υπήρξαν κάποιες ακυρώσεις ομιλιών, ελπίζω του χρόνου τα πράγματα να κυλήσουν πιο ομαλά :)

Αν και δεν είδα όλες τις παρουσιάσεις γιατί προτίμησα να περάσω κάποιο παραπάνω χρόνο με φίλους και γνωστούς στους διαδρόμους, από όσα είδα έμεινα εντυπωσιασμένος από την δουλειά που έχει γίνει στη Σχολή Ικάρων από τον κύριο Αντώνιο Ανδρεάτο. Είμαι σίγουρος πως πολλοί καθηγητές των δικών μας πανεπιστημίων, ακόμα και από σχολές πληροφορικής, θα ντρεπόταν αν έβλεπαν τα βήματα προόδου σχετικά με τη χρήση και διάδωση ελεύθερου λογισμικού που έχουν κάνει στην Σχολή Ικάρων. Επίσης ευχαριστήθηκα πάρα πολύ την παρουσίαση του Android που έκανε ο Κώστας Πολυχρόνης. Με έψησε ακόμα περισσότερο να αποκτήσω το HTC Magic…με τσουρούφλησε θα έλεγα. Δεν θα μπορούσα να παραλείψω φυσικά το workshop και την παρουσίαση του Gentoo, που είναι και το αγαπημένο μου distribution, και έγινε από φίλους. Επίσης το Xen workshop, από την κοινότητα ανοιχτού λογισμικού του Πανεπιστημίου Πειραιά, με έβαλε και πάλι σε σκέψεις για να αρχίζω να πειραματίζομαι ξανά με το xen. Η κοινότητα αυτή μας είχε κανει πέρυσι (2007-2008) την τιμή να ανοίξουμε (εγώ και ο Fuzz) μια σειρά από εκδηλώσεις/παρουσιάσεις που ακολούθησαν και μάλιστα βράβευσαν το iloog ως το καλύτερο ελληνικό open source project για το 2008 στην περσινή DTE!

Είμαι επίσης πολύ χαρούμενος που αρκετός κόσμος με ρωτούσε τι γίνεται με το iloog και αν θα βγει ξανά καινούργια έκδοση. Μου έδωσαν ώθηση να συνεχίσω να ασχολούμαι μαζί του και υπόσχομαι να βγάλω μια έκδοση μέσα στους επόμενους μήνες. Ελπίζω φυσικά σε αυτό να βοηθήσουν και κάποιοι άλλοι …αν έχουν ακόμα όρεξη (στραβοκοιτάζω προς τον Fuzz και τον comzeradd αν δεν το έχουν ήδη καταλάβει)….

Το highlight του σαββατοκύριακου όμως ήταν η έξοδος μας το σάββατο το βράδυ. Τα παιδιά του ΤΕΙ Λάρισας ήρθαν και μας πήραν από το ξενοδοχείο και ένα τεράστιο τσούρμο 50+ ανθρώπων περπατούσαμε μέσα στην Λάρισα για να φτάσουμε τελικά σε ένα τσιπουράδικο. Εκεί οι φωτογραφίες, που θα αρχίσουν φαντάζομαι να δημοσιεύονται σε λίγες μέρες, θα μαρτυρύσουν το τι έγινε 😀

Τι μου άρεσε:
α) Η οργάνωση
β) Κάποιες παρουσιάσεις και κυρίως τα workshops
γ) Που είδα φίλους και γνωστούς

Τι δεν μου άρεσε:
α) Που φέτος ήρθαν λιγότεροι Αθηναίοι…
β) Που κάποιες παρουσιάσεις ακυρώθηκαν για λόγους που δεν ανακοινώθηκαν (δεν αναφέρομαι προφανώς σε εκείνους που τους έτυχε κάτι έκτακτο…)

Τι θα ήθελα για του χρόνου:
α) Αντί για 10 παρουσιάσεις κοινοτήτων θα προτιμούσα ένα session με εκπροσώπους από όλες τις κοινότητες σε ένα panel, όπου για 1h να μας παρουσιάσουν τα των μελών τους. Δεν χρειάζεται η κάθε κοινότητα να μας λέει πόσα μέλη έχει στο forum/mailing lists/etc σε ξεχωριστή παρουσίαση. Αυτό μπορεί να γίνει από όλους μαζί…
β) Περισσότερα projects από τις κοινότητες. Προσωπικά με ενδιαφέρει περισσότερο να δω ότι ένα άτομο από την τάδε κοινότητα ξεκίνησε κάτι και τον βοήθησαν οι υπόλοιποι παρά να βλέπω ότι 1500 καινούρια μέλη γράφτηκαν στο forum τους.
γ) Καλύτερη παρουσίαση όχι τόσο των events της κάθε κοινότητας αλλά περισσότερο του τρόπου με τον οποίο τα οργάνωσαν. Αυτό λείπει κυρίως, έλλειψη οργάνωσης και εκεί θέλουν βοήθεια οι περισσότερες κοινότητες (αλλά και οι σύλλογοι).
δ) Ακόμα περισσότερα workshops.

Το Linux Team ΤΕΙ Λάρισας ανέβασε πολύ ψηλά τον πήχη αλλά ελπίζω το επόμενο Fosscomm, το Fosscomm 2010, όπου και να γίνει, να είναι ακόμα καλύτερο!

Συγχαρητήρια και πάλι :)