Silly Ibex wont start X

Meh my Eeee had just decided that it did not want to start X due to an internal error. A most odd occurrence and after a bit of digging I found the culprit, a read only file system.

It seems my disk had a couple of errors on it and thus had been mounted read only. A quick sudo up to root privs and brisk fsck later, reboot and done 🙂

One of those things I suppose…

Intrepid Ibex on the Eee701

Despite being quite happy with the default install of Xandros on my Eee701 that I have been using for nearly a year now I have taken the plunge and installed Ubuntu on it, partly to standardise (all my other desktop role machines are running Ubuntu) and also because there were a few features I missed from Ubuntu/Gnome when using Xandros, mainly network manager and decent battery status reporting 🙂

Ubuntu on the Eee has been around for ages but there seemed to be a whole raft of little spin off projects dedicated to it. After much consideration I decided to go with the stock image and the patches from 🙂

Followed the install notes and it all worked flawlessly which was a relief as earlier versions of Ubuntu needed a bit of tweaking to get running, but I am pleased to report it is all running fine 🙂

Boot up time is not quite as fast as the stunning boot up time of xandros but it seems ok and I might have a go at tweaking it a bit to shave a few seconds off the boot time 🙂

Discovering Drivel :)

I am just experimenting with Drivel, an gnome online/offline blog editor for Linux 🙂

If all goes well this should appear online! 🙂

edit: this should test the updates…. – google talk / pidgin problems fixed

Just a quicky,  to get working with pidgin:

1.  Enter your gmail address in

2.  In pidgin add as a buddy

3.  You will get an authorise request (or 4 🙂 ) just authorise the first one and give it a sane name like

4. Try sending it an IM,  this will probably fail with a message : [] Unknown user; go to to add your address to your account

5. Look at what username your message went from in my case it was

6. Pop back into the web page for IM settings and change your IM name to what ever it sent it as

7. You will get a message from saying basically click on this link to confirm your jabber id.

8. Click on it.

Done 🙂

Openmoko Freerunner WPA Wifi howto

‘ello again, after some head scratching and beer drinking and lots of trial and mainly error I have now worked out how to get my Freerunner to connect to my WPA network at home 🙂

This is a very rough guide and there is probably a much better way to do it 🙂 The better way is waiting until August for the ASU to be released with a decent tool for doing this automatically 🙂

All I know is that it is working here 🙂  Oh you will want to do this all over ssh btw 🙂

Step 1: vi /etc/network/interfaces and make the wireless section look like with the obvious bits modified:

# Wireless interfaces
iface eth0 inet dhcp
wireless_mode managed
wireless_essid **********PUT YOUR ROUTER'S ESSID HERE**************
wpa-driver wext
wpa-conf /etc/wpa_supplicant/wpa_supplicant.conf

Step 2: run wpa_passphrase followed by your essid so in my case:
wpa_passphrase 100acre
It will then ask you for your WPA key
It will return a block of code all we want from this is the line beginning psk= so copy that and paste it somewhere safe.

Step 3: edit your wpa_supplicant config file :
vi /etc/wpa_supplicant/wpa_supplicant.conf
and make it look like:

# File: /etc/wpa_supplicant/wpa_supplicant.conf
psk=******put the output of wpa_passphrase here but no quotation marks*******

Step 4. Edit sysconfig for wpa_supplicant :
vi /etc/sysconfig/wpa_supplicant
and make it look like:

# File: /etc/sysconfig/wpa_supplicant

Step 5: There is no step 5

Step 6: ifup eth0

The first DNS request I made took aaaaages but eventually came back then after that it has been snappy 🙂
Have fun 🙂

Any corrections / ideas let me know 🙂 I know this is not perfect but it did get me online 🙂

Ubuntu SSL Woes

If you are following an Ubuntu SSL tutorial and are wondering why apache2-ssl-certificate seems to be missing you can find the work around here :

I hope they fix that for Gutsy 🙂

Of DRM and Libraries

In a fit of quite shocking lazyness, I give you are reply to a post on the LUGRadio forums where I am replying to Chris (CBHWorld) who I met at LRL (Hi) with a hat that I am most envious of 🙂 who could see a justifiable use of DRM for a library style distribution of content. I know where he was going but I believe that the digital model does not fix this and the bit that is important is the stuff about how we have had book DRM before and it did not work :

You can’t compare digital distribution to a library concept, with a library you actually borrow a physical object with a physical production cost and the crucial part is that there is only one copy involved, with digital distribution you are using an exact digital copy with many versions involved. You are not moving a single file between computers so it exists in the one place, you are copying it to many places, perfect identical copies.

A physical book does not have DRM, you can read it anywhere without restrictions, a book is an open format, a book can be easily duplicated with the correct equipment (sheet feed scanner and a printer) the difference is equipment availability and cost of duplication. It is the duplication costs of digital media that blows the business models to shreds and the response is to try and make it so that you cannot copy their copies…

We had the equivalent of book DRM before, anyone else remember the activation codes for computer games? You used to get (back in the old C54 / speccy days) tables at the back of the game handbook, usually with symbols and a number code after it and every time you loaded the game it displayed a set of symbols and then you had to look it up and enter the number before you could play the game. The DRM equivalent is that they printed these chart on dark brown paper in black ink and were very difficult to read and they did this so you didn’t just photocopy the code pages.

All that happened was that it took ONE person to break it by manually copying it out and then photocopy the non-DRM version. Also the non DRM version was better as you could actually read the damn thing. In the end they just gave up that tactic as it didn’t work, they also found that a game that was easy to copy sold more (hell MS built their company on it, not games but home copying).

The only difference between that “book DRM style” and the modern DRM software is the ability to soak it in something to make it blow up in your face after so many days. The only thing is with every tactic like this, the pirated copy is better than purchased copy and that is why DRM doesn’t work socially and for end users.

Most home users would not be breaking DRM, they don’t have to, they can just download it without the DRM from the internet where it was put by one person who did. All they are doing is pissing off their users.

edit : linky to discussion on the spangly new LUGRadio forums. Good job that Trig 🙂

The Linux Codecs Issue

Just read this article and this sort of thing really annoys me. It has been solved already by Fluendo you can legally purchase your codecs from them for 28 euros.

Job done, now can we move on from the codecs issue please.

Apple, more “evil” than Microsoft?

A tad emotive title so I will quickly admit the following :-
– I have been a Windows user.
– I have used OS X intermittently, mostly when trying to get the Macbook for a friend.
– I have experienced “Apple support” when helping a friend who has a Macbook
– I now primarily use Linux and BSD software.
– I am not a Microsoft apologist, most people who meet me think I hate Microsoft, I don’t, I do not agree with their business practices and I think that most of their products are useless.
– I have used MacOS beyond a home user level.
– I have used OS X from a techy level.
– I just want to get stuff done with as little fuss as possible.

There we go, you know a little about me 🙂

This is something I have been wrestling with for a while now, if you go over to typical geek sites like Slashdot or OS News frequently you get idiotic statements like “I hate Microsoft so I use OS X” or “If you hate Microsoft buy a Mac”.

Why do I think these statements are idiotic? well basically because when you actually look at it the only difference between Apple and Microsoft is market share.

Apple insist that you only run OS X on Apple hardware, Microsoft insist that you only run Windows applications on Windows, see it is a tie. Microsoft bundle IE7 and set it as a standard with Windows, Apple does the same with Safari, admittedly most Linux distros do this with Firefox. The reason most people attack Microsoft here is purely historical, if I did a default install of a modern operating system arrived now without a web browser then I would be annoyed. There is the argument that IE is forced upon you for certain tasks in Windows (Windows update for example) and it cannot be removed but I would appreciate it if someone could confirm if the same applies to OS X.

Then the DRM issues, now if I wanted to be emotive then I would say that the latest version of Vista in this aspect amounts to theft. The amount of processing power wasted and features disabled because of DRM on Vista in my eyes amounts to theft, you have taken my computer and made it work for industry groups in America and not me. My toaster does not tell me I can only use Hovis bread in it, I bought the bread, I bought the toaster, both are mine, make me toast damnit! 🙂 Apple are no better, they constantly push their own formats complete with DRM payloads for iTunes and iPods and for the OS itself. Apple are one of the biggest DRM pushers out there.

Abuses of monopoly, again both guilty, Microsoft for virtually every anti-trust issue known to legal systems worldwide, now Apple don’t have the market share to do this to the same extent so they frequently turn on the people who actually buy their products. DCMA takedown notices issued to Mac news sites, new products like the iPhone (possibly the most overhyped thing since the segway) is a closed shop, you can’t develop for it unless Apple say you can. You want something, you buy it from Apple. Apple is also not squeaky clean on the financial front either, they have done their own dodgy dealings like the whole issue of backdated share options, it is just they have a better PR spinner for the legal team 😉

Marketing, marketing, marketing, that is what it boils down to, I do believe that Apple would be far more “evil” than Microsoft if they had the market share to do it with, they seem to prove it with what they do to their customers. I am equally sure that Microsoft would be far more “evil” if everyone wasn’t watching them like a hawk.

Realistically the key difference between the two is that you have to buy your hardware from Apple if you want to run OS X and you buy your hardware from any number of companies if you are running Windows.

Oh the linux thing, I almost forgot to put the boot in… Stop trying to put Linux on Apple kit. It is not helping, you are not motivating Apple to release hardware specifications you are just giving them more money, this also applies to efforts to “free” the Microsoft Zune, if people want to support open standards then buy products that actually support them! Don’t by a Zune, don’t buy an iPod, buy something that will work with everything. Don’t buy an iPhone, get a Neo from FIC, work with the people that believe in the same beliefs as you. Support hardware from people that want to support you, besides reverse engineering is a pain in the arse and can always have hidden bugs. This does not stop at phones, you want a PVR? Get a Neuros device it is everything the Apple TV box is and more and they want you to work with them, they will give you everything you need if you are a developer and if you are a consumer they listen to what you want, this is (also it is in a nice box so don’t tell me it is the aesthetics either…)

These companies are businesses, they have to make a profit, this profit comes from you. Spend wisely 🙂

I am sure I will get flamed for this…

Radius, LDAP and Ubuntu

So off on my adventure of building an LDAP based corp network I come to my next challenge 🙂 I want to have all my network authentication done with Radius, and I want it to backend onto the LDAP directory. The idea is to store EVERYTHING in LDAP to make life as easy as possible.

I have found a wonderful article here :
The only problem is that it is done for Red Hat based systems. Not an issue as it is still linux but some things are done differently. Eg. radiusd.conf is in /etc/freeradius on Ubuntu but /etc/raddb on Red Hat.