Monthly Archives: October 2008

McCain calls for attacks on USA if Obama wins?

Just now (2008-10-24) McCain on a rally said that if Obama will get elected the USA will be tested by other countries. This means McCains calls on terrorists and foreign countries to attack the USA if he does not win. This is very dirty. How stupid can someone be?

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And X11/Xorg with OpenBSD

On my last post about installing OpenBSD on my R52 notebook I forgot to say that the X11 really ran out of the box without any configuration at all.

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Ubuntu Wireless Problem solved. Brain refreshed

The only reason my Intel card would not work was that I forgot to add it to the wireless MAC list – and the other reason was that I even forgot that I had activated that list. So now I can savely remove the Ralink chip card and passs it on.

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Using WPA on OpenBSD (2008)

The missing WPA support was something many users where missing on OpenBSD. I now tell some practical steps on how to connect to a WPA encrypted wireless network with OpenBSD. Again – and as often OpenBSD makes it simpler than other OSes. Firstly – during install OpenBSD gives the opportunity to configure networks. I had my Thinkpad R52 not connected to any network while installing. As the internal Intel chip did never work with WPA on my Ubuntu I had a Ralink card inserted. OpenBSD also had some problems, claiming it can not find the firmware. I have not even looked what this means – because I first wanted internet and the Ralink looked much more promising. So Ralink … this is the ral driver. The manual can be found on OpenBSD with ‘man ral’ – on the web: RAL(4). The essential example is here:

Configure ral0 to join network “my_net” using WPA-PSK with passphrase
“my_passphrase”:
# ifconfig ral0 nwid my_net wpa wpapsk \
$(wpa-psk my_net my_passphrase)

Anyway. I am not here to copy the manual. What they write there is not wrong – but does not give you any network on a new boot. So the first ral card is called “ral0”. The setup did create a file: “/etc/hostname.ral0”. Here is how its contents looked: “dhcp NONE NONE NONE” – Where do you find more? In hostname.if(5). There you will get the information that you can add “options” behind the dhcp. Those options are the same as the command ifconfig gives.

Back to the example above, what does this do? “$(wpa-psk my_net my_passphrase)” executes the command “wpa-psk” – with the options: 1. SSID and 2. the passphrase. It is able to generate a wpa pre-shared key. You can generate one and COPY that. You can then paste that into the ral0 config file. So a like could look like this:

dhcp nwid <your-network> wpa wpapsk <your-key>

Thats about all you need. And now how you connect to your Router? Nothing simpler. Read about netstart(8). This is actually a non-executable script. You can start your ral0 with “sh /etc/netstart ral0”. And this should be sufficient to get it on every time you boot. A successful connected wpa wireless then will look like this:

$ ifconfig ral0

ral0: flags=8843<UP,BROADCAST,RUNNING,SIMPLEX,MULTICAST> mtu 1500
lladdr 00:80:5a:39:f5:e1
groups: wlan egress
media: IEEE802.11 autoselect (OFDM54 mode 11g)
status: active
ieee80211: nwid <your network> chan 9 bssid 00:1c:10:c1:ab:40 120dB wpapsk <not displayed> wpaprotos wpa1,wpa2 wpaakms psk,802.1x wpaciphers tkip,ccmp wpagroupcipher tkip 100dBm
inet6 fe80::280:5aff:fe39:f5e1%ral0 prefixlen 64 scopeid 0x5
inet 192.168.200.102 netmask 0xffffff00 broadcast 192.168.200.255

Was that complicated? I would say no. The only think I have not tried is how to best set up multiple networks. Something that works more or less on Linux with the NetworkManager. But it does not work good on my Ubuntu box. I really think that OpenBSD has shown how elegant one can do things. This is now without multiple commands – essentially it is just ifconfig. And why shouldn’t ifconfig be able to do more. Why should we need to have iwconfig, iwpriv,… ?

Linux has tried hard to make some things usable – but on the way to accomplish that Linux developers often throw away old tools and constantly reinvent the wheel. Still maybe it is simple to quickly install an Ubuntu box – but for those who know about Unix and can handle the tools you need to remember less and can do some things MUCH easier. OpenBSD has taken its time to get WPA support – much later than Linux. But now its working. Hope this posting helps some posters to get it done.

As this is an important task I state explicitly that the whole text that I wrote is public domain, so you can reuse it wherever you like.

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OpenBSD also on Notebook as Dual Boot

I had left some part of the hard disk free to try installing OpenBSD on my IBM Thinkpad R52 later. The later is now. I had some respect for trying the dual boot as last time I tried it was a mess. I now have working OpenBSD on sixth partition. That means if you read this I can confirm you can boot OpenBSD starts also from an extended partition. So my layout seen from Linux was a sda1(Ubuntu /boot)-sda5(Ubuntu SWAP). sda4 was the extended partition. I now did this:

  1. Add a sixth and seventh partition from Ubuntu (/dev/sda6) – sda7 is OpenBSD SWAP.
  2. Mark the sda6 as partition type “a6” for OpenBSD.
  3. Download a fresh OpenBSD install CD from snapshots.
  4. Start (I)nstalling but do not use the whole disk.
  5. OpenBSD thinks the partition name should be wd0a.
  6. Ok, go through the setup steps – I very much use all file sets as I think installing them later would be more troublesome. OpenBSD already is small (228 MB install CD)
  7. When all is finished you can reboot. I do not tell you how to install OpenBSD – read the FAQ – its good – also INSTALL.linux – but dont take that as a bible. Actually you should understand at least some of the stuff – sure you cant understand the whole FAQ. My suggesttion with starting with OpenBSD is to play with it – read the FAQ and repeat steps – if you come from Linux do not hurry. Take your time. Give yourself a break!
  8. Next step is the ‘evil’ GRUB. In the INSTALL.linux you will find an example which contains a line “makeactive”. Actuall you do neither need that – it will also break the boot process. As the GRUB docs state: “This command is limited to primary PC partitions on a hard disk.” – This means that does not work for extended partitions where I have my OpenBSD on. If you use Ubuntu there is a passage where Ubuntu autoupdates Linux kernels. I suggest adding the OpenBSD at the very much bottom below
    I had left some part of the hard disk free to try installing OpenBSD on my IBM Thinkpad R52 later. The later is now. I had some respect for trying the dual boot as last time I tried it was a mess. I now have working OpenBSD on sixth partition. That means if you read this I can confirm you can boot OpenBSD starts also from an extended partition. So my layout seen from Linux was a sda1(Ubuntu /boot)-sda5(Ubuntu SWAP). sda4 was the extended partition. I now did this:
  9. Add a sixth and seventh partition from Ubuntu (/dev/sda6) – sda7 is OpenBSD SWAP.
  10. Mark the sda6 as partition type “a6” for OpenBSD.
  11. Download a fresh OpenBSD install CD from snapshots.
  12. Start (I)nstalling but do not use the whole disk.
  13. OpenBSD thinks the partition name should be wd0a.
  14. Ok, go through the setup steps – I very much use all file sets as I think installing them later would be more troublesome. OpenBSD already is small (228 MB install CD)
  15. When all is finished you can reboot. I do not tell you how to install OpenBSD – read the FAQ – its good – also INSTALL.linux – but dont take that as a bible. Actually you should understand at least some of the stuff – sure you cant understand the whole FAQ. My suggesttion with starting with OpenBSD is to play with it – read the FAQ and repeat steps – if you come from Linux do not hurry. Take your time. Give yourself a break!
  16. Next step is the ‘evil’ GRUB. In the INSTALL.linux you will find an example which contains a line “makeactive”. Actuall you do neither need that – it will also break the boot process. As the GRUB docs state: “This command is limited to primary PC partitions on a hard disk.” – This means that does not work for extended partitions where I have my OpenBSD on. If you use Ubuntu there is a passage in ‘menu.lst’ where Ubuntu autoupdates Linux kernels. I suggest adding the OpenBSD at the very much bottom below:
    ### END DEBIAN AUTOMAGIC KERNELS LIST.
    And put something like this there. AGAIN: Think before you just copy and paste. If your setup is different it will not work:
    title OpenBSD
    root (hd0,5,a)
    chainloader +1

That should be it. I guess Debian should work exactly the same. Personally I think those autoupdating of menu.lst is stupid. You can imagine how delighted i was as I realised that the “makeactive” was actually the problem. I tried nearly everything before finding that all. And now I share. Not that OpenBSD is good for dual boot – but maybe many of you like me like to have a Linux as a backup system while we are progressing in how we can use OpenBSD.

As this post is already a little long I will talk about the new OpenBSD WPA wireless on my next post.

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Remove files with “-” (options)

I realized that I never read the man page till the end. Thanks to the guys of bytemine at Kieler Linuxtage for answering the question on how to remove files like “-a” which could be interpreted as an option. You just add “–” between the command and the filename.

man rm(1) on Ubuntu also gives another possibility: “rm ./-a”. Wow, am I stupid or what? But finnally I got a solution that I guess i can remember well.

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Report on Wireless status on Ubuntu 8.10 beta

Not much sense to read the rest as I could solve the problem by adding my internal card to the wireless MAC filter of my router. stupid me!

See

Ubuntu Wireless Problem solved. Brain refreshed

This is what bothers me on the new Ubuntu 8.10 beta on my Thinkpad R52:

  1. Now with a Ralink card (RT61) also this connection is resetted all the time. On reconnection every time the card that never worked with WPA (Intel 2200 BG) is used. The bug has expired (I set it to ‘new’ again) and it was always just commented to update the driver. So nobody at Canonical seems to care if Intel 2200 BG works or not?
  2. Related is the fact that I mentioned above that Network Manager never remebers which card and connection works. So if there is a internal card which cant connect he will ALWAYS use this, even if that has never worked. I reported this months ago and nobody cared., too. What the people working on wireless network do not seem to realize is that not every hardware works with every access point. So remembering what works and what not is so essential! Actually I alwys thoght that was what NM was all about. But it seems they only remember the password/key which has worked  and not how it worked. I guess this is trivial feature to add so again I dont understand why this has not been changed. Or why a card that never worked is even displayed and takes 80% of all entries, while the working card always switches its position (upper or lower end of the other card) – I would guess it would be important to display the most used and working connections at the top – also depending on the location. Come on guys, NM is not that new any more. So please fix those minor issues – I dont see any sense in listing 30 wireless networks in my range that I never use and will never use. What exactly am i supposed to do with them? This is only a distraction.

So my situation now is that not only the internal card is still not working but now the external PCMCIA card is resetted every five minutes or so. Which makes Ubuntu quite unusable for me – and its already Beta time. I had thought ipw2200 drivers would become really much better with newer kernel > 2.6.26, but 2.6.27 I still have the same bugs. So everybody having same type of hardware should stay back from Ubuntu till I can report that things are working.

Here is an example log. As you see wlan0 (rt61) comes up and then eth2 (ipw2200) interferes:

Oct 7 14:44:02 cine avahi-daemon[4897]: Registering new address record for 192.168.200.102 on wlan0.IPv4.
Oct 7 14:44:02 cine dhclient: bound to 192.168.200.102 — renewal in 32910 seconds.
Oct 7 14:44:03 cine NetworkManager: (wlan0): device state change: 7 -> 8
Oct 7 14:44:03 cine NetworkManager: (wlan0): writing resolv.conf to /sbin/resolvconf
Oct 7 14:44:03 cine NetworkManager: Policy set (wlan0) as default device for routing and DNS.
Oct 7 14:44:03 cine NetworkManager: Activation (wlan0) successful, device activated.
Oct 7 14:44:03 cine NetworkManager: Activation (wlan0) Stage 5 of 5 (IP Configure Commit) complete.
Oct 7 14:44:03 cine ntpdate[8639]: adjust time server 91.189.94.4 offset 0.000279 sec
Oct 7 14:44:07 cine NetworkManager: (eth2): supplicant connection state change: 0 -> 3
Oct 7 14:44:07 cine NetworkManager: (eth2): supplicant connection state change: 3 -> 0
Oct 7 14:44:09 cine NetworkManager: eth2: link timed out.
Oct 7 14:44:12 cine NetworkManager: (eth2): supplicant connection state change: 0 -> 3
Oct 7 14:44:12 cine NetworkManager: (eth2): supplicant connection state change: 3 -> 0

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Republicans lost debate

Why did they? Well, actually it was not that much about Biden vs. Palin, but important thing was to find out which ticket people could trust if they voted for it. So Palins task was to convince people that McCain/Palin will do things  better. That, I did not hear today. Palin was too busy surviving this evening that she could not even start doing this, if she would be able to do it at all.

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How free desktops like GNOME and KDE could improve marketing

As I have decided to become a bit more engaged in GNOME marketing by contributing ideas, working on the wiki and providing patches for the web pages I have rethought how marketing can be done by a free desktop like GNOME or KDE:

I found that there is often an important miscalculation made. Like in the GNOME live wiki there is a page TargetMarkets – but then the question “Who are we talking to?” The assumption seems to be that the target markets and the audience are the same. What is the problem with that? Well its like in some families decisions of buying a product like cars are made by women, while the buy is done by their husbands. I mean: If ISVs are one primary target group that does not mean at all that our marketing should target them! So I think often if not always one needs to talk to the end users if you want to convince other target groups.

Look at TV spots: Bridgestone runs tv ads to convince car owners to buy their tyres. But you can not buy a tyre at Bridgestone, really. The same is true for nearly all products. Sure there are the intermediaries who sell softare or install operating systems. But I think talking to all possible groups is too hard. We can even not think of all possibilities of how GNOME comes to desktops. So I now would say thinking about target markets is really a distraction. The only thing GNOME should do is to talk to everybody who is interested and try to provide them with what they need to know and want.

Actually I would also put the arguments upside down and would say that distributions are rather the ones who should go after different groups. They make the software collection that makes up their distros and they should better know their end users.

So where does this all end up?

I would recommend to drastically reduce the complexity of how marketing is thought about by focusing on the end users. In the end ever decisions to use GNOME is done by people who look at GNOME and decide that its worth using. So if GNOME is convincing to them it might be for their group as well.

OTOH I also think that thinking about target groups is something that should be more important for the development of GNOME than for marketing.Why? Because the development of GNOME should meet the needs of the actual target group. The marketing could say what they want – but it can not change GNOME to meet the needs.

So I suggest to GNOME and other free desktops like KDE that they simplify the marketing by getting in contact with the user. Both desktops absolutely fail to do so. They fail to really show how they can help the user to get productive, they fail in providing noticeable information on how to get the free desktop on their computer or to give answers to other user questions.

What are they doing? Essentially they focus 98% on developers and companies. on web sites and other marketing. But I would argue that this is development and not marketing. Also the whole approach into designing and updating websites is focusing on mere technical aspects.

I dont think what I discovered and write here is anything special or new. Its more that it dawned on me how all problems are interrelated. If you create a web site for a project it is often not the best idea to ask yourself what you have and how you can put all that on the front page. It is often better to rethink what you need to communicate on the root page – and do not forget that users are highly impatient and will simply leave the site if they do not find the information they are seeking in a short period of time.

So you can do the test and maybe pretend to be an interested GNOME user who likes to see or test GNOME. you got to www.gnome.org and then give yourself only maybe 10 seconds to find the information. You will fail here and you will fail at www.kde.org. But try it yourself. Then go to some bug commercial site and try the same and you will see that they often provide answers to the questions visitors may have in mind on their front pages. You do not need to provide actual releases – you can also point to where people can find out more or get what they want. This does not even need to be a link.

It could really be that simple. But from my perspective the problem is often rather that only few people do care about presenting this information and then the team of those who can work on the content is small – and then also the mechanism to provide changes is not straightforward. And technical discussions often are not there to help volunteers but rather to steer them away or distract from the essential idea.

I am not saying anything against development. Its one core of free software – its the product – but development should never get in the way of the message! Think from a users perspective – and if you do not want to rather stay away from marketing and web site development. This could benefit everybody.

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Democrats dont need to worry about upcoming debate

I will be watching the debate between Palin and Biden later (3am in the morning here). As CNN reports that some democrats are worried that Palin would be unexpectedly strong in the debate I like to through in my 5 cents: If you look on what McCain and Palin did wrong in a short period of time Biden could totally suck in that debate and it wont matter at all. As long as he does not beat her up in public it will be good.

We will see, though. But I guess I will be right.

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