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


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/ 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/

One way to correct the error is to follow the instructions of

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.

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:

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…