I’ve recently installed Ubuntu 12.10 on a Dell Precision M4600 and had some APIC issues when trying to reboot, the same as everyone else seems to have pretty much. After upgrading the BIOS from A08 to A13 the issues seems to have gone away (not extensively tested, but so far so good).
Before the update, the computer got stuck on the last step of shutting down for restart, but after upgrading to A13 the computer is no longer stuck at that point anymore.
As some who have read this site before might remember, I didn’t have much luck with LinuxMCE as a media center for my home (basically I couldn’t get any functionality working properly. I got a lot of flack for being pissed and not having talked to the devs/asked for support, which I can understand to some degre).
Anyways, I later on installed XBMCBuntu on my media center that was previously running Mythbuntu (MythTV). I semiliked Mythbuntu, but it had some really nagging issues where it lost my remote control settings and some other settings every time i updated those libraries etc. XBMCBuntu however has really grown on me, some of the functionality is just plain awesome in it, and the ease with which I set it up was amazing. Basically, I had the foundations set up, installed and working within 2-3 hours, downloading subtitles is a breeze, the remote control apps works for my phone and both tablets I have and they got some really nifty functionality (pausing videos when i get a call, scroll through lists of my videos directly in the phone, etc).
XBMC also has excellent support for a ton of different plugins, for example I love the video plugins for SVT Play, TED Talk, and so on. So far, I have nothing but the best to say about XBMC, and I’ve used it for 2-3 months now. The only issues I have are connected to my hardware which is behaving rather strangely (unpredictable boot order and turning on the ethernet wakeup interrupt triggers the machine to boot on its own for some reason. Both issues are unrelated to XBMC however, and the hardware is quite old so…).
Filed under: Development, Linux, Projects, Ubuntu
Lately, I’ve come to realize more and more that bug handling in open source, and specifically in Ubuntu has dramatically declined in efficiency. For years I’ve been extremely satisfied with using Linux because it’s bug free, there has simply not been any serious bugs that I’ve run into. In the last weeks, I’ve run into several more or less serious bugs in Ubuntu, which got me looking at how the bug handling is done.
First off, a few weeks ago, I ran into a bug with Ubuntu 10.10 Ubiquity (the Live CD installer) where I accidentally marked my old /home drive as ext4 when it was ext3 (but not to reformat it). The installer complied happily, and set it up as ext4, but once it got back online, the harddrive was completely wiped. No warning, no nothing. I started looking around, after a while I’ve found several reports on the same matter on launchpad. For example this and this.
This lead me to take a look at Ubiquity’s other bugs in launchpad, and it’s not very promising. The main installer of Ubuntu 10.10 has 1528 Open bugs as of writing this, of which 846 bugs are new, 35 bugs are marked High importance — and the bugs I found (dare I say, they seem Critical to me, are still not marked with any importance at all). Only 12 bugs are marked as having a patch.
Fine, maybe this is not the poster child of open source. However, the last few days I’ve been severely annoyed by the password popup which is misbehaving. I enter the password, and hit enter (or hit the Authenticate button) and the password field disappears, but the rest of the dialog stays up, and nothing works in it. The only thing you can do is to kill it with the x button. When you do this, you get authenticated…
Since I’m not sure exactly how the authentication is performed in Ubuntu for the update manager etc, I decided to check the update-manager package for Ubuntu on Launchpad. What do I see, if not another package with gigantic mass of bugs filed, but noone dealing with them. 1017 Open bugs, 520 of those are New and 15 marked as High importance. This bug I’ve been having has been reported all over the net, but noone seems to be dealing with it and it isn’t really reported in launchpad. Some computers has it, some doesn’t. It’s nowhere near a critical bug, or even a high importance one, but it’s annoying none the less and it looks extremely crude and comes off giving a fairly unstable feeling.
All this being said, I am wondering how bug handling is done, and how it should be managed on “aggregate” projects such as Debian and Ubuntu. I think the idea is really nice, having upstream bug trackers for each package in the project, but maybe we are spreading too thin having several bug trackers for each minor project? Also, how do we as “normal” users know which package is the reason for the error? I am not so sure it is really the update-manager that is the error in this case, it might as well be some completely other thing behind all that dbus stuff etc. Ie, what is the point of me filing bug reports if I’m not sure they wind up in the right place, or are at all looked after?
Filed under: Development, Linux, Phone, Ubuntu, Windows
I’ve been home for a few days with a really bad back, and the only thing I’ve been able to do is watch tv, and some minor work with the laptop. I’ve been running Windows 7 which it was delivered with for a few months to get a feel of it, and I must say I was pleasantly surprised for the most part. It hasn’t crashed more than once or twice in three months, and it is fairly snappy (except boottimes seems to get worse and worse, at this point it takes 2-3 minutes to boot). Anyways, for some reason I get a bit sad inside (and bored) every time I boot Windows, there is just “something” about the feel, the look or… I can’t really put my finger on it, that I can’t stand. How the windows open and close perhaps, I just don’t know.
So, yesterday I wanted to test android SDK, re-realized just how much of a bitch it is to install stuff on Windows, so I finally got around to installing Ubuntu 10.10 on it (Already running 10.10 on desktop and mediapc), removing the extra backup partition they deliver laptops with these days. Sidenote, isn’t it a bit like selling a candle with a flammable fire extinguisher to sell a laptop with 500gig harddrive, split it in half, and use on half for “backups”? I digress.
So, installation went almost flawless. The wireless card was identified, saw networks, but was unable to connect to any of them. I managed to pass the installation using trusty old cables, and after installation was done I started fiddling about, reading on the net etc, and found noone who had solved the combination or at least written about it.
Main problem seems to have been hardware wep encoding/decoding, which can be turned off using the hwwep flag to the r8192se_pci module. On Ubuntu 10.10, remove the module, and then reload it by doing this:
modprobe r8192se_pci hwwep=0
If your network works now, you can automate the setting by editing/adding the configuration to modprobe.d, by editing /etc/modprobe.d/realtek.conf and adding the following line:
options r8192se_pci hwwep=0
I hope this has been some help!
Filed under: Development, Frozentux.net, Linux, Ubuntu, Video
A quick note that Screenmovie 1.1 has been released. It’s still very crude, but adds some sound recording and the ability to turn it on/off. Postprocessing is not supported yet but should be there in the next version.
- Record video
- Record sound
- Configure file format
- Configure video codec + settings (5-6 codecs chosen for now)
- Configure audio codec + settings (2 codecs for now)
I still have some problems, but I just found some info on how to possibly make some problems better at least.
- Fix some high cpu usage problems
- Add global keybindings
- Postprocessing encoding
- Clean up and add some values specific for codecs (as required).
I got a Xbox360 since about a year and I just noticed it had some way of connecting to a PC, using the PC as a Media Server. Unfortunately it required a Windows Media Center installation to work, or so it claimed at least. This is probably not news to anyone, but it was very easy to get Ubuntu (or any other Linux distro as a matter of fact) to serve media for the Xbox 360. Xbox 360 uses UPnP to get media from the Windows Media Center PC. To make any recent Ubuntu able to serve UPnP suitable for the Xbox, do the following:
- sudo apt-get install ushare
- sudo dpkg-reconfigure ushare
- sudo vim /etc/ushare.conf
- Make sure all the settings are correct.
- sudo vim /etc/default/ushare
- Make sure it contains USHARE_OPTIONS=”–xbox”.
- sudo /etc/init.d/ushare restart
You should now be able to find the PC by searching for it from the Xbox interface (the name you set in ushare.conf should show up in the list of found PC’s). Now that that’s said, I should hint that the Xbox360 has a really shitty availability of audio and video codecs, and I don’t know if it’s possible to resolve this problem. There are hints that there is something called a UPnP Media Adaptor on the ushare website which should be able to convert to proper file formats as necessary, but ushare does not have that ability. Of course, that would give a shitload of cpu load on the fileserver as well, something which sounds less good in my opinion.
My personal opinion so far, Xbox 360 media center is really simple to use, but the available codecs, flexibility and scalability is catastrophically bad in comparison to my MythBuntu installation (still running 9.04 though). The Mythbuntu installation is a bit heavy on the configuration, but much more flexible, handles almost all codecs I’ve run into without even a hitch, and very scalable.
I’ve had problems many times with the “reading database” step in deb package based systems getting really slow. Today it took over 1,5 minute on a quad core machine with 4 gig ram, which is simply over the top for me.
Within 5 minutes of searching I found this:
So a total of 7 minutes later, it takes me less than 2 seconds to install small packages again. I should’ve found this earlier .
I finally got rid of the last windows computer in our home. My laptop had a backup installation of Windows XP just in case I realized I had either forgotten something on that partition, or I realized I had some need I had forgotten. This partition has now been moved to virtualbox on my workstation via the http://www.virtualbox.org/wiki/Migrate_Windows how-to.
Also, my wifes laptop running Windows Vista stopped working (again), and she had finally had enough of the problems that Windows installation has caused so she asked me to remove Windows Vista and install Ubuntu 9.04. The harddrive was also copied over to the workstation and I tried the same how-to as above, but it didn’t work properly unfortunately, so I winded up just moving the harddrive inside my old Windows XP installation.
Once this is done, I’m planning to reduce the size of the harddrives. This is 220gig data at the moment, so it could be a good thing. I will try http://forums.virtualbox.org/viewtopic.php?p=572#p572 and see how it goes. Once that is done, I’m almost 100% free of all the problems we’ve had with Windows. The only windows I have left is the backups for emergencies.
As I’ve already stated partially, I got an HTPC at home running MythTV on ubuntu. One of the things I’ve wanted to do for a long time was to get some games running on it. Supertuxkart was simple and was installed in less than 3-4 minutes once I understood the basics of the MythGames plugin (typing with a on-screen keyboard and a remote control is slow).
Anyways, I did have some problems getting a NES emulator, or any emulator at all as a matter of fact, running on it, and I also had some problems getting input from the right devices to them properly. I finally decided on mednafen as it seemed the easiest to understand.
Let’s understand the structure. NES and other games are usually downloaded in some image file. Mednafen is installed as a binary. MythGames needs to know about the binary used to launch a NES image, and where the NES images are located. I downloaded mednafen using apt-get install mednafen. Secondly, MythGames needs to know where you will put the images, personally I put them in /var/games/nes/. This is entered into the mythtv configuration using the Setup -> Game Settings -> Game Players. Choose New Game Player and enter
Player name: mednafen (for example)
command: mednafen -nes.stretch 1 -fs 1 -vdriver 0 %s
Rom Path: /var/games/nes
Having a keyboard around when doing this is prefered, using the on-screen keyboard takes ages.
Once this is done, go to Setup -> Game Settings -> Scan for games. This will scan the /var/games/nes directory for all images and add them to the list. To start a game, go to Games. Then get into the “All Games” -> “mednafen” and you should find all the games from /var/games/nes there.
Click one, and the game should hopefully start. The first time mednafen is run, it creates a directory ~/.mednafen/ containing a basic configuration. The following is an example to get my Logitech Precision gamepad running with it:
nes.input.port1.gamepad.a joystick 42190af389429475 00000002
nes.input.port1.gamepad.rapid_a joystick 42190af389429475 00000003
nes.input.port1.gamepad.b joystick 42190af389429475 00000000
nes.input.port1.gamepad.rapid_b joystick 42190af389429475 00000001
nes.input.port1.gamepad.select joystick 42190af389429475 00000008
nes.input.port1.gamepad.start joystick 42190af389429475 00000009
nes.input.port1.gamepad.up joystick 42190af389429475 0000c001
nes.input.port1.gamepad.down joystick 42190af389429475 00008001
nes.input.port1.gamepad.left joystick 42190af389429475 0000c000
nes.input.port1.gamepad.right joystick 42190af389429475 00008000
nes.input.port2.gamepad.a joystick 42190af389429476 00000002
nes.input.port2.gamepad.rapid_a joystick 42190af389429476 00000003
nes.input.port2.gamepad.b joystick 42190af389429476 00000000
nes.input.port2.gamepad.rapid_b joystick 42190af389429476 00000001
nes.input.port2.gamepad.select joystick 42190af389429476 00000008
nes.input.port2.gamepad.start joystick 42190af389429476 00000009
nes.input.port2.gamepad.up joystick 42190af389429476 0000c001
nes.input.port2.gamepad.down joystick 42190af389429476 00008001
nes.input.port2.gamepad.left joystick 42190af389429476 0000c000
nes.input.port2.gamepad.right joystick 42190af389429476 00008000
command.exit joystick 42190af389429475 00000006&joystick 42190af389429475 00000007
command.exit joystick 42190af389429476 00000006&joystick 42190af389429476 00000007
Unfortunately, the above changes around a bit from device to device and atm i’m not even sure the i’d will survive from disconnect/connect of the gamepads.
The proper way of doing this is to:
1. Start a game.
2. Press Alt+Shift+1
3. Push the correct buttons asked for on screen to do specified command. (First time you push a button adds it to the command, second time you push the same button marks it “final” for the command sequence. Peculiar, I know. So, to make the game use button 2 and 3 in conjunction to be button A, you’d first press button 2 once, then button 3 twice.
4. hit esc on the keyboard to leave mednafen. The config should now be saved.
I haven’t found a way to create the “command.exit” commands yet. I’ll have to work some more on that.
I got a silverstone LC20 chassi with a built in iMON vacuum fluorescent display (VFD) and IR remote control. I recently upgraded to Ubuntu 8.04 from 7.10 — yes I know, I am a bit late, but generally you don’t have to deal with kinks like this one when that happens.
Ubuntu 7.10 -> 8.04 changed the behaviour of the lirc_imon module pretty little, yet radically. The old default was to treat all iMON driven screens as VFD’s, but it now defaults to treat all iMON modules as LCD modules instead.
This results in tons of errors being pumped out (10′s-100′s per second), like this one:
Sep 9 21:35:00 fs1 kernel: [ 71.481262] /var/lib/dkms/lirc/0.8.3~pre1/build/drivers/lirc_imon/lirc_imon.c: lcd_write: invalid payload size: 32 (expecting 8)
Also, the VFD will not work. To make a long story short, to fix it, you need to tell the kernel module that the VFD is in fact a VFD and not a LCD, by giving the kernel module the option islcd=0. For example, in /etc/modprobe.d/options:
options lirc_imon islcd=0
I hope this helps anyone out there. I will soon try to have something together on getting the iMON PAD working properly. The basics was simple to get working, but the “mousepad” has been a general pain to get up and running properly.