Tag Archives: Ubuntu

Screen blanks on Linux

I had the problem that suddenly my screen went black after a period of time. It must have been ten minutes. The problem was, that I could not disable the behaviour by the means of the GNOME tools (screensaver or energy preferences). Stupid Linux.

And if you find this, you probably have, because I left this hint for you. 😉

If you have the same problem try this. First see if you got the same:

xset q |grep blanking

See of it looks like this:

  timeout:  600    cycle:  600

If so the number in the left says something about the timeout of the screen in seconds. 600 seconds are ten minutes.

For the current session you can just type

xset s 0

If you just type in “xset” it will list some screensaver related commands t the bottom of the output.

The “xset s 0” disables the timeout counter and so effectively prevents the blanking of the screen.

I have no idea why there seems to be now no interaction between the GNOME tools and X11? I had this problem for months. I had played with “xset -dpms” bit this did not help at all.

Many of us do not have a xorg.conf any more, because we learned that autoconfig mostly works. But now this does not? Well I have added a xorg.conf withonly  this content to the coniguration directory /etc/X11/:

Section "ServerFlags"
 Option "IgnoreABI" "True"
 Option "BlankTime" "0"
 Option "StandbyTime" "0"
 Option "SuspendTime" "0"
 Option "OffTime" "0"
EndSection

This should be it!

Honestly this kind of shit fuels my doubts about some free software developments.  Personally I can wait for some months to solve a problem. Now I usually don’t do reinstallations of Linux to fix things, unless I have a very serious issue. And I recommend to act similar. I think for most desktop machines updating seldom and be patient in fixing is the best way to keep a stable system. Sure not updating can lead to some security issues. But in my  whole computer life I have not a single serious security issue. On the other hand I had thousands of problems with updates of software. So for most users the thing that really will cost you a lot of time is updating if you dont really need it.

I think the whole Microsoft/Windows shit has led people to believe that updating to the latest version is the best way to keep your operating system safe and stable. That might be very true for Windows. And it might also be a very good idea for internet servers. But on a generic notebook I would rather recommend to only install the software you need and stick with it as long as you can. What security risks do you fear? Somebody shutting down your system? Or somebody steeling your data? I guess your risk as a Facebook users is much higher that people steal your data that you just submitted.

Sure there might be people who need a lot more security. If you have important company data on your notebook and sit in an airport lounge connecting to  a wireless LAN you better have your disk encrypted as well as your connection. And there is a slight chance that somebody can break your system because you are using your Openoffice.org has a security leak. But still my guess that chances of this statistically are very low.

Personally I would tend to use  OpenBSD for a notebook, which is more safe by default, especially for people who don’t want to invest much time in keeping a system safe. And I guess it’s a very good idea not to connect to a WLAN at all if you are really worried about security. But nowadays people want to have it all and at the same time they want zero risk. My guess, but I am not a security expert, is that this is impossible. It’s like you buy expensive outfit to protect yourself from being robbed – but then entering the darkest parts of a city often. You will be robbed, even if you feel well prepared. The best way for not being robbed is to avoid some areas .

Ok don’t take that too seriously. There is never a 100% security. My point was, that it’s also a question of how probable a risk is and what could happen as the worst case. Many people don’t have important data, but more people need to have a computer which works when they need it. Strangely many friends I know tend to risk the functionality of their computers while they worry a lot that the might be at risk. So that’s why I get called for help each and every time and need to fix what some updates have corrupted.

 

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Switching from Ubuntu to Debian again

I  had been a long time Debian user years ago. But I have switched to different Linuxes. I have used Ubuntu for the last years, but had a problem with it for quite some time. Where I have already talked about earlier.

I have now decided, that it is much easier to just not use it any more, instead of living with their craziness of manipulating all kind of behavior in a non standard way. Its worse enough that GNOME does not goes in the wrong direction. But GNOME still is workable. At least in Debian.

I am now using Debian Testing/Squeeze. I like to see that Debians community is alive and developing.

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Ubuntu: Is it worth it?

I have been enjoying using Ubuntu. But there is one issue that make me start to think about switching distribution, again. The one issue is Mark Shuttleworth. But the individual, but his role in the distribution.

First of all I do not believe in the concept of benevolent dictatorship. I rather believe in the wisdom of crowds. So I do not trust the decisions of a single person, whoever it is. Does not matter who!

The second step is to look at some decisions Mark had made. In tle last 2 years I especially have a problem of two core decisions, which are:

  • Deciding to remove the shutdown option from system menu
  • Deciding to move the window buttons from right to left.

My main reasoning for disliking the decisions is that I had big, big problems adopting the changes. But I dont want to reduce decisions oin if I can get along. But if you think twice it is easy to realise that people with disablities, children or old people with have much more problems adopting the changes. I have enabled the FUSA on some other desktops and it sill feels totally unnatural to me.

Also my view is, that a distribution in fact should not fiddle around with the software as much as Ubuntu does. The right way would be to talk to GNOME and to reach a consensus . From a service perspective it is just hell if you assume you are providing services to different Linux distributions and you cant assume a specific layout, which is known to be a GNOME standard.

Maybe Mark decided this way so that Ubuntu is so different to other distributions and then people who learn Ubuntu will stick to it? I dont know – because obviously he and the gus from Ubuntu made a very bad decision from a usability perspective (TWICE!).

I am not  always conservative. I have played around different window managers – and I think GNOME has missed the opportunity to adopt tiled window managing before Windows did. And now Windows advertises with tiled window managing, while Linux had this for ages – but  GNOME can not claim to have supported it. It had the taste of being too geeky (while in fact its a very practical feature).

So I like to update my desktop. But what I do not like is that I incorporate drastic UI changes which are not really thought through. and forcing to manually fix. I install a great deal of Linuxes for other people – and what I hate is that I have to fix all kinds of stuff before I can let people work with the machine. I like to keep things as default – because this enables people to feel home on many machines. Right now its so that somebody who gets a default Ubuntu will never feel home on a default Fedora, although both use the same GNOME and would have the perfect chance to show that different distributions dont mean you have to adopt and learn before you start working with another distribution. And it is not Fedoras fault this time!

So my criticism to Ubuntu is exactly two very consious decisions they made – without any need. So its not just some kind of bugs. They want it that way – they want people to get upset and have second thoughts about using Ubuntu. Why? I do not know.

I am think between switching to Fedora or Debian right now. Debian has the advantage of being more democratic and me being mor efamiliar with apt-get. Fedora is more interesting technically. But as I am getting older I also do get more conservative. I have used both for some years. I did like the responsiveness of the Debian maintainers, whoch is much higher than on Ubuntu. On Ubuntu you are mostly being seen as just a stupid user.

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Presenting the Epson Perfection V300 PHOTO

I now am using the Epson Perfection V300 PHOTO since tuesday. And it looks and feels really good. Remember that I am using it with Ubuntu 9.10 and iScan application that I downloaded from AVASYS Japan (builds software for EPSON):

Epson Perfection V300 PHOTO Front

Here some more pics as a dia show. These are the first free pictures of this product in the internet!

I have used it mostly for scanning reversal films. You will have to first make a preview, then select one of the film images and then scan in high resolution. 4800 dpi is possible.

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VirtualBox USB. Sometimes things can be simple.

First of all if you find this post because you want USB to get going on Linux, than you need to know that if you use the open source varian VirtualBox USB – that does not support USB on purpose. Only the closed source version lists USB as a feature. So you have to fetch the version from www.virtualbox.org.

Secondly, there are still issues with USB on VBox in general. But there is a trivial solution for many devices if you use the latest Vbox version >3.1.2:

  • You need to enable the devices by adding a filter in the USB configuration menu. No device without a filter will work and all devices will be grayed out! (And the is a  nice HOWTO and also)

Previously I tried all the funny tricks that you can find on the net. Nothing helped – but nowhere I found this. So I decided to write it down. I did not kow what a USB filter was and assumed that rather than enablig it was meant for disabling USB devices. Lesson learned.

Yet I was not able to enable a Canon PIXMA in that way. Not sure what the cause is. I also still have issues with DVD/CDROM (which I solve by typing “eject” in terminal). But what is nice that a Windows XP on a 64bit Ubuntu 9.10 starts in about 6 seconds inside VirtualBox (unfortunately not my system).

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Compiling Aegisub on Ubuntu 9.10

So thats a mess, ok. I found out that the stable versions require more modern FFMPEG as Ubuntu 9.10 provides. The solution is to use an older package then.

you need to download a version not younger than aegisub-2.1.6-dev-r2740.tar.gz (Revision 2740) from February 18th 2009 from http://www.mahou.org/~verm/aegisub/archives/ and can confirm that this can include newest FFMPEG. For those who still dont know: There is no ffmpeg-dev, but you have to install different libraries -dev packages(most start with libav, I think essential should be: libavformat-dev and libavcode-dev) and also libhunspell-dev (HUNSPELL) for spell checking.

So my recommendation for Ubuntu to date is NOT to use the SVN version. I dont know why the require such new version of FFMPEG. It makes building unnecessary hard in my opinion.

I also installed these packages: ruby1.8-dev (otherwise you get “auto4_ruby.h:48:18: error: ruby.h: No such file or directory“), libperl-dev,…

Then you can enter directory and type

./configure
./make

And if that works ok:

sudo make install

That worked for me. If I missed soemthing ot you have questions pleas comment. And sorry I am not up to package building, yet. If a newer version works I will update this page, also.

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Ubuntu proxy trouble

I have used the proxy settings once. I used the Ubuntu/GNOME tools and then also made the mark for “set the proxy system wide”.

Now I realized I could not do any bittorent or downloading from FTP. http and https worked. I had already disabled the proxy again.

I then did a grep “proxy /etc/*” and found that Ubuntu had written the proxy into /etc/environment. This was not visible for the general user. I only saw that Transmission told be that the port that I wanted to open was closed. But I knew from testing from external that it was indeed open. So somehow Transmission read /etc/environment and ignores all user settings once you have set the proxy systemwide. Removing the entry in /etc/enviroment and logging in again did the job.

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