Ndiswrapper and WPA in a (nut)shell

Say hello to Hactar: cheap office PC (presumably AMD Sempron and some or other chipset) gracing my parents' WPA1-encrypted network via a Siemens Gigaset 108 USB WLAN adapter. The Gigaset is supposed to have an atheros chip, but apparently madwifi cannot handle USB devices yet, so it had to be ndiswrapper. Network cards set up with ndiswrapper don't seem to show up in Yast without effort, so I did it quick n' dirty in a shell.
Note: the ndiswrapper wraps Windows drivers compliant to the Network Driver Interface Specification for use under Linux. The following HowTo is in part taken from openSuSE.

You need the packages ndiswrapper, wpa_supplicant, dhcpcd (all in SuSE distro), and the Windows driver from the installation CD (net5523.inf worked for me).
Do the following in a root shell (in whatever directory you copied the Windows drivers to):
# ndiswrapper -i net5523.inf (install)
# ndiswrapper -l (list drivers, you should get the net5523 here)
Now plug in you WLAN adapter.
# modprobe ndiswrapper
See if you find a wlan0 entry in the ouput of the following lines, note the missing configuration data in iwconfig.
# dmesg
# iwconfig
Scan for available networks:
# iwlist scan
Create a configuration file
# vi /etc/wpa_supplicant.conf
containing this (with the appropriate ESSID and PSK key):

The next lines do the actual network setup by starting the adapter, setting up the network configuration with wpa_supplicant and getting an IP with dhpcd (if you want a fixed IP, set it with ifconfig). As this is the part to do after every boot, I copied all this to a shell script.
# ifconfig wlan0 up
# wpa_supplicant -Dwext -iwlan0 -c/etc/wpa_supplicant.conf -B
# dhcpcd wlan0

I suppose you can put all this in a startup script in /etc/init.d, but by this time my vacation was up.
BTW, the ndiswrapper module has to be reloaded after a kernel update with modprobe ndiswrapper. I put it also into the shell script (first line), just in case.
A nice overview over network-related shell commands can be found at Wirelessdefence.org.


HowTo automount external ntfs-formatted USB hard drives with write permissions for normal users AND the correct locale...

To automount your hard drive with write permissions, first backup your fstab.

cp /etc/fstab /etc/fstab.bak

Then plug in your drive and give it write permissions in ntfs-config. This puts and entry in fstab, which effectively prevents HAL from automounting the drive. So you need to replace the new fstab with your backup. Then unmount your drive.

cp /etc/fstab.bak /etc/fstab
umount /dev/sdXY

If you now try to mount your drive in Konqueror with right-click --> Mount, it should give you an error message. Now edit your /etc/PolicyKit/PolicyKit.conf and put in any users or UIDs who need to be able to mount the drive.
<config version="0.1">
<match action="hal-storage-mount-removable-*">
<match user="taaris|1001">
<return result="yes">

Then reload the settings.


If you now plug in your drive or mount it in Konqueror, it should be mounted with read/write permission for everyone.

To mount it (and everything else you mount with ntfs-3g as well) with the correct locale, you need to replace /sbin/mount.ntfs-3g with a small bash script.

mv /sbin/mount.ntfs-3g /sbin/mount.ntfs-3g.bak
touch /sbin/mount.ntfs-3g
echo '#!/bin/bash
/bin/ntfs-3g -o locale=de_DE.UTF-8 $1 $2' > /sbin/mount.ntfs-3g
chmod +x /sbin/mount.ntfs-3g

Sources (info, not code!) can be found here and here.


HowTo (almost) synchronize your Motorola RAZR V3 with KAddressBook

Enable bluetooth. YaST --> Hardware --> Bluetooth

Then plug in your dongle, kbluetooth should start automatically and settle into your systray. Right-click on it and select "KBlueMon". Enable "FindMe" mode ("Sichtbar" in German) and start scanning.

To put new ringtones (32 kbps/22kHz for mp3s is definitely enough) on your phone, right click on KBluetooth again, then select "Send File". Find the file you want to send, select your phone and click "Send". Wow, that was easy ;-)

To bind your phone to a device node (eg. to use in kitchensync or kmobiletools), first figure out its MAC address by

hcitool scan

then configure rfcomm by editing your /etc/bluetooth/rfcomm.conf file and putting in an entry like

rfcomm0 {
bind yes;
device 00:12:8A:A3:70:34;
channel 1;
comment "taaris RAZR V3";

now you can either reboot, or bind manually

rfcomm bind all

then create the device node, if you don't have it already

mknod /dev/rfcomm0 c 216 0

Now get the permissions sorted out. Create a group called phone and put yourself (and anyone else who's going to access your gadget) in it. Restart your session.

chgrp phone /dev/rfcomm0 (you might have to repeat this if you cannot access the device anymore after a reboot)
chmod 660 /dev/rfcomm0

To give credit where it's due, most of this info was found here.

Now you can configure kmobiletools to use with your RAZR V3. Not that this is really helpful at the moment, since you cannot actually synchronize your phone just yet - but let's hope for KDE4 and KDEPIM.

launch kmobiletools
Settings --> Main Settings. The Configure dialog will pop up.
nnder Devices set:
'Mobile phone device': /dev/rfcomm0
Leave other settings at defaults.
Under Mobile phone set:
'Phone type': Generic GSM device
'Dialing options': CKPD dial System
Select the 'Use Motorola battery indicator' check box.

Then go to Settings --> Reinitialize GSM Device.


Who is using IDL anyway?

I am porting some video data analysis scripts (written in IDL) to Linux just now. Installing was the usual struggle: Archimedes' mainboard is not supported by older OS's, so 10.3 it had to be. On the other hand, the slightly dated IDL version (new licences are pretty expensive) doesn't work with xorg-x11-libs > 6.8. Makeshift workaround: install/deinstall the old lib before and after using IDL and use no other graphical apps inbetween. I'm not amused.
Should have learned Python right away.


ATI Catalyst 7.11 (AKA fglrx 8.433), AIGLX and compiz

This time I adhered to The Gospel According To CyberOrg:

I prepared my kernel sources as I did with fglrx 8.40, forced an aticonfig and edited my xorg.conf by hand instead of having it written by sax2. Benefits: much smaller file.

# cd /usr/src/linux
# make mrproper
# make cloneconfig
# make modules_prepare
# make clean
# rpm -e $(rpm -qa |grep fglrx)
# cd <directory where you put the driver>
# sh ./ati-driver-installer-x.xx.x-yy.run --buildpkg SuSE/SUSE102-AMD64
# rpm -Uhv <some or other fglrx>.rpm
# aticonfig --initial --input=/etc/X11/xorg.conf --force

Don't run sax2 now!
Modify /etc/X11/xorg.conf
Section “Module”
     Load “dbe”
     Load “type1″
     Load “freetype”
     Load “extmod”
     Load “glx”
     Load “dri”


Section “ServerFlags”
     Option “AllowMouseOpenFail” “on”
     Option “IgnoreABI” “on”
     Option “AIGLX” “true”

Section “Device”
     Identifier “aticonfig-Device[0]”
     Driver “fglrx”
     Option “FSAAEnable” “off”
     Option “Capabilities” “0×00000000″
     Option “VideoOverlay” “on”
     Option “OpenGLOverlay” “off”
     Option “FSAAScale” “0″
     Option “XAANoOffscreenPixmaps” “true”


Section “Extensions”
     Option “DAMAGE” “true”
     Option “Composite” “true”


COMPIZ_OPTIONS="--no-libgl-fallback --ignore-desktop-hints --replace"
WHITELIST="nvidia intel ati radeon i810 fglrx“

and change "Xgl" for "Xorg" in /etc/sysconfig/displaymanager.

Works, at least if I don't run Compiz and video apps at the same time.


Bloody bleeding edge - KDE4 in openSuSE 10.3

openSuSE is known to be somewhat experimental in its package selections - like shipping a new release including an Xorg RC...
In 10.3 they have some fun with mixing up KDE 3 and 4 by default - such as including krdc/KDE4 in default KDE, which program completely failed to connect me to any VNC server.
Equally confusing is the fact that in KDE4 they isolated some programs out of rpms containing entire suites in KDE3. For example, if you search for "karamba" by name and summary in Yast, you will get KDE4-Superkaramba only (didn't work on KDE3 for me). A search by description gives you the kdeutils3-extra suite containing KDE3-Superkaramba.

I hope they will clear this up before releasing KDE4 for openSuSE...


Beautifying Katapult

During my quest to polish Pandora's looks, I also figured out how to remove that ugly second shadow from the Katapult window when running compiz. It's as easy as running ccsm, going to the "Window Decoration" plugin and entering !name=katapult in "Shadow windows".

Truetype fonts on KDE

Installing additional TrueType fonts on KDE:

KDE Control Centre -> System Administration -> Font Installer

Life can be so easy...

HowTo run KDE applications as root

If you get "foo: cannot connect to X server" when you try running KDE applications as su from the shell - don't worry, apparently this is a security feature, and not a bug. I remember being able to do so under openSUSE 10.2, but anyway... it can be fixed the following ways:

You can either use

> kdesu foo &

Or, before you become root, enter the following

> xhost +
> su
# foo &

If you now get the error "bash: foo: command not found", then you need to add /opt/kde3/bin to root's $PATH. First, check whether the file /root/.bashrc already exists. If not, create it. Then add the following line

export PATH=$PATH:/opt/kde3/bin

Then log out and back in - you need to log in after you modify the file for bash to find your new $PATH.

# exit
# su

and check whether the new directory is now in your $PATH

# echo $PATH

Upgrade your nVidia drivers to the very latest version

This is sort of an addendum to my last post, since fixing the eyecandy suddenly made Pandora have resume and session switching issues. As it turns out, this is a bug in the nVidia drivers, which has fortunately been fixed in the latest version. Thanks to the folks at opencompositing.org for pointing this out! At the time of writing, this version (100.14.23) is not in the openSUSE repository yet, neither can it be found on nvidia.com - however, it's been hiding out on the German nVidia website since October, so go ahead and download it from there.

The following HowTo only applies if you used YaST to install your nVidia drivers. If you used the installer script before, I suppose you know how to do this already...

Now backup your xorg.conf if you haven't done so already - in fact, you should always have a backup of your working xorg.conf, it saves you soooooo much trouble!

> cd /etc/X11
> su
# cp xorg.conf xorg.conf.working

Revert your xorg.conf to a state prior to the installation of the proprietary drivers:

# cp xorg.conf.nvidia-postun xorg.conf

Uninstall the following packages via YaST or your favorite package management tool:


Make sure you disable any startup scripts that start compiz by default. Restart your computer to check whether the uninstallation worked ok.

End your current session (not before you write down the following!). At the login prompt, go to "System" --> "Console login". Log in as root and change into the directory where you saved the installer.

# sh NVIDIA-Linux-x86-100.14.23-pkg1.run -q

and follow the instructions. If you are an X-Phile like me, smile at the "Searching for conflicting X-files" bit :-) Once the installer has finished, run

# sax2 -r -m 0=nvidia (that's a zero, in case you are wondering)

Once that's all finished, restart your computer (shutdown -r now). If you had compiz running previously, simply replace your current xorg.conf with your backup file:

# cp xorg.conf.working xorg.conf

Restart your X server and enjoy!


Blurring my window decoration

As of today, I can finally use my favorite Emerald window decoration again (unblurred it looked really awful) so I guess now that I have my eyecandy working again, I have no excuse not to post anymore....

So without further ado, I present you my very first post, HowTo get compiz working with xorg and native nVidia drivers (and make sure your window decorations are blurred).

First of all, make sure you have the proprietary nVidia drivers installed - in openSUSE 10.3, this can easily be achieved via 1-click install.

Then, install the following packages:


Modify your xorg.conf:

Section "Module"

Make sure the following two lines are commented out if they exist:

# Load "dri"
# Load "GLcore"

Ad the following line:

Load "glx"

Section "Device"

Add the following lines below "Driver":

Option "RenderAccel" "true"
Option "AllowGLXWithComposite" "true"

Section "Screen"

Make sure "DefaultDepth" is set to 24, if it isn't already, then add the following lines below "EndSubSection" or above the first "SubSection":

Option "AddARGBGLXVisuals" "true"
Option "DisableGLXRootClipping" "true"

Restart your X server.

Open the Compiz Settings Manager (ccsm), go to the "Window Decoration" plugin and in "Command" enter the following:

"emerald --replace" if you want Emerald as your window decorator or

"kde-window-decorator --replace" if you want the classical KDE window decorator.

Use the following command to start compiz:

compiz --replace ccp &

If your window decorations are not blurred (which seems to be a problem with some nVidia cards), try the following:

Start the Emerald Theme Manager (emerald-theme-manager -i) and go to the "Emerald Settings" tab, and make sure "Compiz Decoration Blur Type" is set to "All decoration".

If your decorations still aren't blurred, start compiz with the following options:

compiz --replace --no-libgl-fallback ccp & .

To return to use the default KDE window manager, run: kwin --replace &

To make compiz automatically load upon login, create a file called compiz.sh in ~/.kde/Autostart, and into it paste the following:

::cut here::

sleep 12

compiz --replace --no-libgl-fallback ccp &

::cut here::

Make the file executable:

# chmod +x compiz.sh


Getting the full orchestra in timidity

I'm typesetting quite a bit of sheet music with lilypond these days, and it helps a lot with proofreading to check the midi output with timidity. Plain vanilla timidity will play piano only, which can be quite cumbersome for more polyphonic pieces.
Luckily, there are sound patches for all those who always wanted to hear the Ninth performed by the Silicon Valley Midi Philharmonics.

Download freepats, move and unpack it.
> sudo tar -xjf freepats-20060219.tar.bz2 -C /usr/share/timidity
This should give you a 'freepats' directory from the archive. Make the directory readable for everybody.
> sudo chmod -R a+r /usr/share/timidity/freepats
Edit the config files:
> sudo vi /etc/timidity.cfg
Add these two lines somewhere in the file:
dir /usr/share/timidity/freepats
source /usr/share/timidity/freepats/freepats.cfg

Try it on some midi file.
Some timidity usage tips: the -ia, -ik, -ig, -im options give you a GUI where you can scroll through the file etc. timidity -Ow foo.mid generates a .wav file.
(adapted from linuxwiki)


Compiz Manager deinstallation fails

If you used the package compiz-manager-0.0.1_git071019-11.1.noarch and you wanted to update or deinstall it, you probably have experienced error messages like:

/var/tmp/rpm-tmp.56909: line 8: syntax error near unexpected token `fi'
/var/tmp/rpm-tmp.56909: line 8: `fi'
error: %postun(compiz-manager-0.0.1_git071019-11.1.noarch) scriptlet failed, exit status 2

The trick is, to deinstall this stuff via a root console by executing rpm -e --noscripts compiz-manager - this will remove it from the database and you can install the updated version.


Holy palmer's kiss...

Sorry, pun right from the bottom of my niveau limbo.
My biological dis-organiser somewhere above my shoulders is getting increasingly buggy these days, so I invested into a Palm Tungsten E2.
I am quite impressed by the palm implementation in Linux/KDE, Kpilot worked without a glitch up to now (however, occasional problems even resulting in data loss have been reported elsewhere). Kontact is synchronised automatically.
What Kpilot can't do is install programs on the Palm's SD card. This is possible with the pilot-link library, to be precise, pilot-xfer. Although Kpilot seems to build on pilot-link, the library has to be installed separately to be used from command-line. However, pilot-link is available from the main SuSE-repository.

Do the following to install to SD (taken from the pilot-xfer man page):
Shut down Kpilot.
Press the HotSync button.
avocadohead@tisiphone:~/misc._soft/palm> pilot-xfer -p /dev/pilot -i teapot_en.prc -D /Palm/Launcher
Listening for incoming connection on /dev/pilot... connected!
Installing 'teapot_en.prc' ... (77738 bytes) 75 KiB total.
Thank you for using pilot-link.

I will certainly never let my tea brew too long again ;-).
According to its extremely useful man page (check out the other usage examples!), pilot-xfer is the "swiss-army-knife of the entire pilot-link suite". The -p option specifies the port (note: /dev/pilot exists only on HotSync), -i is of course the install option, and -D lets you choose the directory. I don't know much about Palm OS directory structure handling, but apparently the /Palm/Launcher folder on the card is recognised as a root dir.

N.B.: If this isn't working, try installing FileZ on your palm, install to main memory and shift your apps inside Palm OS. Or take an external card reader and transfer the file directly to the Palm/Launcher dir on your SD card.


CUPS in openSUSE 10.3 doesn't like Brothers - the solution: CUPS 1.3.4

Trying to use CUPS for my beloved Brother Laserprinter HL-1440 (yes I know, old model, but still very useable and at least some drivers for Linux available) on Thukydides (Samsung P35 XVM 1600 II) is obviously tricky.

First, the installed CUPS wasn't running properly, since the url http://localhost:631 typed into Konqueror and Firefox only showed an "Error 404". So I decided to reinstall it (i.e. choose right-click and then "force reinstall" for all CUPS packages) which after a reboot worked pretty well and instantly found my Brother HL-1440 and made it available.

But there are still problems: one (and the most severe one) the first job is printed fine, but after the first job, CUPS doesn't print any following job and says "Printer not connected; will retry in 30 seconds...". Interestingly, giving an lsusb on a console still shows the printer connected. If I switch off the printer and switch it on again, CUPS is willing to send the following job from the queue to the printer and then again claims the printer not to be connected.

No solution found for the behaviour mentioned above yet - but in the log files of cups which you can find in /var/log/cups/ you'll find quite some errors, and the configuration file of cups /etc/cups/cupsd.conf is a mere mess in documentation - especially capital and non-capital letters seem to be messed up. Maybe this could be fixed sometimes, SUSE?

I found the solution in the bug database of www.cups.org: this problem is fixed since some version 1.3 so I decided to install the actual stable version 1.3.4. I mainly followed these steps I'll just document here

1. Download the tarball 1.3.4 from www.cups.org

2. build the rpm according to the hints given in the documentation - I used the command: sudo rpmbuild -ta cups-1.3.4-source.tar.gz --without php on a console. The rpms are created in /usr/src/packages/RPMS/i586/

3. Go into YaST and add the directory /usr/src/packages/RPMS/i586/ as "pure RPM directory" as installation source

4. Update the CUPS and ignore the dependencies for "CUPS client".

5. Restart the machine.

One thing I changed in the configuration file /etc/cups/cupsd.conf was to allow to stop and restart the printer without Authentication, otherwise the hotplug-system bitches in the cups-error log (which you can btw easily read out with the nice gui frontend called ksystemlogs):
sudo vi /etc/cups/cupsd.conf and add a section after the section
# All administration operations require an administrator to authenticate...
<Limit ... >

as follows

# The following stuff is switched, because the hotplug-system otherwise complains all the time about...
<Limit Pause-Printer Resume-Printer Enable-Printer Disable-Printer>
AuthType None
Order deny,allow

and remove the Pause-Printer Resume-Printer Enable-Printer Disable-Printer from the section administration operations.

A comment: obviously this "Brother printer not seen"-problem seems to be known, see the bug report here and here


ATI driver 8.42.3, Radeon X1300 and compiz

Tonight I squandered a few hours of valuable sleeping time on the ATI 8.42 driver, which is rumoured to support AIGLX, and Xanthippe's Radeon X1300. Installing the thing worked OK, there was reasonable output from glxgears and fglrxinfo. Enabling AIGLX following this thread got me simply no 3d acceleration and the KWin window manager, while running the driver on XGL I experienced compiz with a nice desktop freeze.
I suppose I'll just wait for the next release...

N.B.: At least I'm not alone - and ATI seem to ship monthly driver releases right now.


No volume control in KMix

I had issues with KMix, as moving the slider didn't change the volume a bit; the same behaviour occurred in Amarok, Kaffeine, Audacity etc.
Solution found here: Right click on the KMix icon and choose PCM under "Select Master Channel...". Apart from that the linked forum discussion has quite some information on alsa, audio in Yast and KMix settings.

Kile on NTFS partitions: bug report

Whenever I try to compile a LaTeX file on a NTFS or external FAT partition, Kile claims:
[PDFLaTeX] Sorry, the file /sda5/.../(filename).tex does not exist.

Kile bug report is submitted. The problem seems to have something to do with the KIO slaves (thanks to the bugs.kde.org people for pointing that out immediately). Navigating by point-and-click in the "Open file" dialog invariably gets you the media:// slave, while using the mount point specified in fstab (e.g. /windows/D/.../) makes Kile find the file. If you don't like typing paths - set a bookmark in the Kile file open dialog.


openSuSE 10.3 64bit and Vodafone Easybox

installing the Vodafone Easybox on a IBM Lenovo T61 is actually very easy following the tutorial given here. But I found adding the online repositories is not possible because adding them yields an error saying "Empty Server Response". I personally guess, that this has something to do with the compression the APN "web.vodafone.de" uses (probably a somewhat transparent proxy). With a normal WLAN connection there was no problem using online repositories at all so there couldn't have been a problem with all the servers. At least, one can use Email-Services and access html pages without any trouble.


Winter for GUI - when your X-Server freezes (your machine)

Right after using Xgl & Compiz with openSuSE 10.3 on Thukydides, a Samsung P35 XVM 1600 II with an ATi Mobility Radeon 9700, I experienced a wonderful winter: every time I ended a session and wanted to log in again, my computer froze - without the ability to switch even to a console. I tried different things in the settings, reinstalled the fglrx driver and so on, but it didn't help. Finally, after some research on google I found the following tip working for me (got it from here if you're interested in the source):
Look for the file kdmrc on your machine - on mine it is localized in /opt/kde3/share/config/kdm/. As Superuser look for the entry TerminateServer=false, change it to TerminateServer=true and reboot your machine. Trying it after an update failed, because the entry was positioned wrongly - obviously it must be at the end of the section [xcore-*. ...].

At least I don't have any problems with logging out and logging in any more - happy summertime.


ATI driver meta howto

Kind of a howto review, installed 10.3 on Xanthippe yesterday (Asrock board, 64bit dual core Athlon, Radeon X1300 graphics card). Compared to the 10.2 install (ATI driver vs. X.org RC battle) it went relatively smooth. Although self-assembled, the hardware is by no means bleeding edge by now, and any good OS should be able to cope with it. Some peculiarities: no LAN connection during install, but no problems later on, kdm started only after a reboot.
Next challenge: ATI drivers and compiz/xgl. I found the following howtos: E@zyVG™, unofficial ATI wiki and openSuSE and decided to follow E@zyVG™.
Don't ever use the openSuSE/ATI repo! As of this moment, the newest driver version, 8.41, is the only one they supply, and it only works with the HD 2xxx cards. On the ATI page, you can select both OS architecture and graphics card in order to choose the right driver.
You need the kernel sources and development tools; most howtos also recommend a cleanup:
# cd /usr/src/linux
# make mrproper
# make cloneconfig
# make modules_prepare
# make clean

The above cleans up in your kernel sources and configures everything as it is with the installed kernel, which is not necessary in an all new system, but does no harm. To be sure, also remove any previously installed ATI drivers:
# rpm -e $(rpm -qa | grep fglrx)
The 8.40 driver has no 10.3 option yet, but 10.2 works perfectly:
# sh ./ati-driver-installer-x.xx.x-yy.run –-buildpkg SuSE/SUSE102-AMD64 - replace the AMD64 by IA32 for 32bit systems.
This generates the driver rpm, usually in the same directory as the shell script. Install with
# rpm -Uvh fglrx*.rpm - options Update, hash mark progress bars, verbose
# ldconfig
# cp /etc/X11/xorg.conf /etc/X11/xorg.conf.backup
# aticonfig --initial --input=/etc/X11/xorg.conf

This updates your library cache and your xorg.conf. Both seem to be optional, but not exactly harmful, but you'd better backup your xorg.conf before any modification.
Stop your graphical system with # init 3 (runlevel 3) or # rcxdm stop, log in as root and configure your X server:
# sax2 -r -m 0=fglrx
After a necessary reboot, I tested the install with fglrxinfo, glxinfo and glxgears. I tried out compiz/Xgl and all kinds of video playback, no problems there.

Postscript from a SuSE 11 point of view: Although the main overlay issues are still unsolved, the ATI driver performs OK installed from the openSuSE ATI repo and with the default config. THe bleeding edge drivers you still get only from ati.amd.com, of course.

Things to replace with Packman stuff

Some packages in the official repos are not fully functional (mainly for legal reasons, I believe), so some things you had better replace with packman packages.
  • video/mp3 playback - replace xine-lib with libxine, get w32codec-all and libdvdcss from the videolan repo
  • apparently Ktorrent is crippled also, DHT works only with the packman version.
  • recent GIMP (2.5 etc)
A recent observation by daWuzz: xine-lib in openSuSE 11.1 has been re-named libxine, but is still neutered and has to be replaced by the corresponding Packman package. It's not that stupid: this way you probably don't have to change the frontends.


Yes, Google Earth, I am running an X server...

I got Google Earth 4.2 beta to run on Tisiphone today (Compiz-fusion on X.org via nvidia drivers). The Panoramio and Wikipedia popups are fixed in size and location, which is a bit annoying, but everything else seems to run smoothly.

Install: download from earth.google.com (OS is auto-detected), run shell script in user session (not root). Here the script surprised me with the following:
You don't seem to be running an X server (no DISPLAY set).
Google Earth and its installer both require X11.

Solution found here: Check the DISPLAY variable with
If DISPLAY is empty, export your local screen:
export DISPLAY=":0.0"
This did the trick for me, the installer GUI popped up.

I was not so lucky with Xanthippe, though. Apparently, direct rendering is off with XGL, you can't run other 3d applications in parallel with compiz. Hopefully, ATI will release a driver version that runs AIGLX on slightly older cards like my Radeon x1300.

Note to self (April 2009): If newer Google Earth versions don't start up ("symbol lookup error: /usr/lib/libssl.so.0.9.8: undefined symbol: EVP_camellia_128_cbc"), disable (rename) libcrypto.so.0.9.8 in the directory containing the Google Earth executable. Found here.


Compiz-KDE problem: no window title bar

Just to let y'all know: if the kde-window-decorator ever crashes in your running compiz (which you probably will get to know by a "SIGHUP" warning of the kde management) don't panic. Also, if you ever get all windows without a title bar, which of course means that you cannot move or close windows that might be due to the crashed kde-window-decorator mentioned before. The stupid thing is, that this state is remembered, so even if you restart your X-Server you won't be able to recreate those damn useful window title bars. The trick is to run

kde-window-decorator &

from a console. This will instantly lead to windows having their title bars again, and also after a restart of the X-Server you can happily live ever after, or at least until the next crash of it (which actually happens on my system quite often... does anybody out there have a solution for that?) with move- and closeable windows.

Just a remark after some days: install fusion-icon and you'll get emerald as windows decorator, which is much more stable. It also lets you restart the windows manager just by a mouse-click if something weird happens with your windows.
You can run the emerald theme manager from it or you can run it using a console and executing


from your account (no superuser rights necessary)


Samsung P35, Xgl and Mobility Radeon 9700

Since I had a lot of trouble with these things, I'll post it here for others which may be as innocent as I was to those things.

Installing the drivers from the ATI repositories for 10.3 failed as posted before, so I installed version 8.40.4 with the Ati installer. Then I did an
aticonfig --initial
After that you need to reboot your machine.
in a console you can check that the ATI driver is running (if there's no error message)
Then I tried to switch to Xgl via YaST which yielded serious problems. If you need to switch back to Xorg you can do that by executing
vi /etc/sysconfig/displaymanager
in a root shell and changing the entry Xgl back to Xorg (case sensitive).
Only after adding the "openSuSE 10.3 build service X11:Xorg" channel and installing compiz, compiz-emerald, opensuse-xgl-settings and executing the latter one in the graphical interface to enable xgl, everything worked well. Just to let you know, Xgl with compiz is awesome!


openSuSE 10.3 on an IBM Lenovo T61 - first impressions

So, yesterday evening I tried to install openSuSE 10.3 64Bit on a Lenovo T61-6460-6WG.
T7300(2GHz), 2GB RAM, 160GB 5400rpm HD, 15.4in 1680x1050 LCD, 128MB nVIDIA Quadro NVS 140M, Intel 802.11agn (4965 AGN)
First remarks:
there is a website dealing with the T61 in principle, but not all hardware configurations are listed yet: the link is

WLAN Intel 4965 AGN

works in principle out of the box if you change the start mode to "start at startup" in YaST and configure it after a reboot of the system. Actually, it seems to be the same problem as posted before for the Intel 2200 BG.

nVIDIA Quadro NVS 140M

I tried to use the "one-click installer" offered at the openSuSE website, but this did not work for the 64-bit version. Since I know the 32-bit version works well, I think that's due to the somewhat experimental state of the 64-bit system. Then I tried the drivers from the nVIDIA repository, but they also failed to work. Finally I got the information on the nVIDIA homepage, that the driver NVIDIA-Linux-x86_64-100.14.19-pkg2.run should work. After installing it from a text console as root, everything went smooth, so I changed the XServer to Xgl (which you can do e.g. via YaST over the entry System --> Edit /etc/sysconfig, there Display --> Display Manager). After restarting the Xserver everything seemed to be fine, but after a restart of the system there was only a white desktop with white windows - the upper right hotcorner oddly worked for some reason. This might be the "White Screen Problem" mentioned
here. Switching back to Xorg.conf after deinstalling compiz brought back the normal screen so that one could work at least.

works in principle out of the box, you just have to use ALSA in Amarok and you need to switch on the speaker and PCM in the Mixer Dialog. If you still don't hear anything, just press the "Volume Up"-Button (which btw also is the method to unmute the volume when you muted it via the buttons) and everything runs great.

How to blast holes in the SuSE firewall

I keep forgetting where I can configure open ports in the SuSE firewall. Actually, it's here:

Yast->Security & Users -> Firewall -> Allowed Services (list on left side of the window) -> Advanced -> set port numbers


Wiring a wireless card - case named Intel 2200 BG

Yesterday night I wanted to configure the Intel 2200 BG wireless card of my Samsung P35. Using YaST, this seemed to be a very easy task to do. The only problem was: it didn't work and it took me several configuration trials and restarts to find out why. Actually, being able to read helps a lot.

The thing is, openSUSE 10.3 associates the card with an eth kind of network and configures it to start when a cable connection is detected. Riiiiight... starting a wireless card when a cable is connected... Anyway, change that to "start at system startup" in YaST and restart your system (not only the X-Server) and it should work.

Another remark: KNetworkmanager can still not deal with WEP encryption keys when you need to set the key index different from 0. If you have such a network configuration, use the "conventional method with ifup" instead and configure the key in the expert options of YaST for your Wireless card.


Bash fun - sudo insults and locomotives

Don't you ever get the feeling that your computer is too nice? No? Never mind. Basically, this is just the howto for letting sudo use your user password instead of the root one.

If you haven't done that already, configure your user account for sudo in YaST:
1. Security and Users -> Group management: add your account to the "trusted" group
2. Security and Users -> Sudo: in the Add... dialogue, choose your account under "User" and the value ALL for all other input lines.

Regrettably, in the standard SuSE installation sudo still doesn't accept your password.
Edit the sudoers file:
sudo vi /etc/sudoers
Comment out the lines under "When configuring sudo, delete the two following lines:", should look like this:

# Defaults targetpw
avocadohead ALL = (ALL) ALL

Oh, and if you add the line Defaults insults somewhere in the file, the shell gets really bitchy when you type the wrong password.
Reset your sudo session with sudo -K to try them out.

HowTo customise the insults list in theory (do this at your own risk and make sure you know the root password): Unlike many other linux packages, the insults list is hard-coded into the sudo executable (to prevent wanton discrimination and trollities, I suppose). Get the sources; various types of insults are listed in the ins_*.h files. Write your own ins_custom.h file and adapt all # include, # define and # ifdef statements in the respective source files. Configure (--with-all-insults), make and install. If you broke a previously untainted sudo with this, at least you ought to have some really fine insults ready by now. Apply them fittingly and try re-installing in YaST from a proper root shell.

A propos typos: On our old Linux cluster we had a gimmick for people typing sl instead of ls - the Ascii steam locomotive.
Download the source tarball and extract.
tar -xf sl.tar
cd sl

Switch compiler lines in the Makefile (move the comment sign to the line referencing libtermcap) and change the lcurses flag to lncurses:
# $(CC) $(CFLAGS) -o sl sl.c -lcurses -ltermcap
$(CC) $(CFLAGS) -o sl sl.c -lncurses

Compile with make, and copy sl where Linux can find it:
sudo cp sl /usr/bin/

Try the options sl -l and sl -a ...

NTFS and the great thing of writing to it...

openSuSE 10.3 uses ntfs-3g and Fuse by default for mounting NTFS volumes, but doesn't allow writing access in the standard installation.

To enable writing access to NTFS partitions, execute

vi /etc/fstab

as superuser and replace in the entries for the appropriate partitions users,gid=users,fmask=133,dmask=022, by defaults but leave the comma and the entry locale=de_DE.UTF-8 right after the comma (without blank) unless you want all the files with umlauts in their names to be hidden from you :-p.

Actually, the only thing you would need to change is the umask, dmask and fmask option as stated in
here (thanks to my beloved Avocadohead).

openSUSE 10.3 and ATI Mobility Radeon 9700

(Samsung P35 XVM 1600 II) Don't use the ATI "One-Click"-Installer offered by SuSE, but use the driver provided by http://www.ati.com and execute the shell script. Don't try to build the distribution rpm, since 10.3 is not yet included, but just install it. With the build provided by SuSE my Konqueror didn't show the sysinfo any more and also didn't accept the driver.

openSUSE 10.3 does not like Windoze-XP hibernation

Ok. So I tried to install 10.3 on a Samsung P35 XVM 1600 II (1 GB RAM). Unfortunately, I simply forgot that I had shut down Windows only to hibernation. Starting the installation routine of SUSE everything went fine until... until the damn thing wanted to mount the system partition of windows. There an error occured and the setup failed. Well, no problem. But after a restart the "ntldr" is missing. After 3 hours of fiddling around (because to let you know: if windows is in hibernation mode, there is no chance of doing fixmbr or fixboot in the recovery console because nothing is written to the disk and Partition Magic does not show you anything as well but just bitches about the hibernated Windows) I could finally start Windows and shut it down regularly (btw: there is a very helpful cd downloadable at http://www.ntldrismissing.org - just use the safe mode option.
PLEASE SuSE, build in a check for such a case BEFORE altering anything - I guess more laptop users might get into trouble.

Now it works, I'll keep you posted what happens next.


Back in green - openSuSE 10.3 final

Since openSuSE released the final version of 10.3 last Thursday (no beta-OS for me...), I resolved to try it on at least one computer, a fairly new Samsung R55 Cavan laptop nicknamed Tisiphone with a dual-core Centrino processor, Intel WLAN and a Nvidia graphics chip.
Although the openSuSE people kept us waiting for most of Thursday, their server capacities were quite impressive: the 4 GB ISO image downloaded in less than half an hour on both Thursday evening and Friday morning.
My first attempt was just to update the installed 10.2 release. Do not try this at home! Seriously. The DVD YaST diagnosed package conflicts for about all of KDE3 and apparently resolved them by deleting KDE - and I didn't even fiddle with the KDE4 beta packages. I ended up with the good old console - but at least they have included fancy syntax highlighting in the standard vi. This seems to be a general problem - taaris had the same issues with Pandora.

Next try: clean install from scratch. The DVD partitioning setup seems to have a small bug: trying to mount my previous home partition without formatting, the partitioning summary first insisted on formatting it anyway, at the second attempt the system refused to mount an "unknown" file system. Re-reading the partitioning table (Expert settings) helped a lot there.

The choice of online repositories offered next would be extremely helpful if you had access to the non-standard reps like Packman or Nvidia. This might get handy when the packages on the ISO image get old, though.
The actual install was no different from the 10.2 procedure. The network setup worked fine, including WLAN and DHCP. No problems with importing previous user settings either.
Look & feel, first impressions: They changed the system colour from blue back to green. They seem to have reduced the booting time - I'd like to time it against a Vista boot one of these days ;-) Impressive YaST makeover, I'm going to tackle that in a separate post. No big software changes, and hopefully no beta releases of essential packages - I still remember the trouble with getting an ATI graphics card to run on SuSE 10.2 with an Xorg RC. Next challenge: 10.3 on Xanthippe, the bitch - self-assembled machine, 64-bit processor and ATI graphics drivers...