SSH Link to Remember…

This is good – it summarizes all kinds of tips and resources.  I do not want to forget this one, so here it is forever….

LXDE on Kubuntu 9.04…

Well, I know this is Kubuntu.  And I know there has been some dissatisfaction with KDE 4.x.  I have felt it too, but can honestly attest to improvements to KDE as updates have come out for Kubuntu.  It is noticeably more stable now than it had been when I first switched to KDE 4.  That being said, I have still had enough dissatisfaction with it (speed, instability, general oddness) that I was able to become intrigued by several posts from one of my favorite bloggers, FullMetalGerbil, on a desktop I had not heard of before – LXDE (Lightweight X-11 Desktop Environment).

I tried it out (installed the packages), and I have to say, it was shockingly fast.  I logged out of KDE, logged into LXDE, and WHAM! it was up like that.  No waiting.  Apps seem a little quicker to open on it too, but this is subjective.  Firefox, Thunderbird, OpenOffice, etc. just seem to open a little quicker.  I have had a few weird things happen, mostly when playing VegaStrike 0.5.0, but nothing like the crashes it would give me under KDE.  No desktop crashing and reloading (I had that with Plasma several times), no freezing, no total lockdown so hard only Magic Keys would work (and sometimes, not even then) to reboot.  It has been very stable.  It looks nice too, not as fancy as KDE, but not hideous either.  I am still working on how to customize it (ok, I haven’t really tried to at all – lazy, remember?), but I COULD if I was motivated enough.  I really don’t care about tricking out my desktop anymore – I just want it to work for me.  LXDE is hitting the mark pretty well so far.

I have not given up on KDE 4, however, but this is a definitely a nice desktop to work with.  I can see why fullmetalgerbil raves about it.

And did I mention it’s fast?

Japanese TV on Linux – KeyHoleTV…

My wife loves watching her TV, but it is too expensive via satellite, we do not have (or want) cable, and the Internet services she WAS using have either gotten too popular (PandaTV) or have been shutdown (J-NetTV).

So she found KeyHoleTV.  On the Xorsyst web site, it is explained that this is part of a test program run by the Japanese Ministry of Internal Affairs to test and demonstrate P2P technology.  They have builds for Windows, Mac, and Linux (32-bit and 64-bit).  It is simple to use and works pretty well.  The streams cannot be downloaded (easily, anyway) for archiving, and video and audio quality is not perfect, but it ain’t bad either.  And it is free.

It does seem to be down right now (first time since we started using it 2 months ago), but that is a side effect of a test program, right?  Try it out if you miss Japanese TV.

Update:  Seems to be back up now.

Lost Password – Windows XP Virtual Machine…

Ok, had to reset it.  Here is what I did:

  1. Searches led me to this site:
  2. Trial and error led me to this tool:  Offline NT Password & Registry Editor, Bootdisk / CD
  3. I downloaded the cd080802.iso file.
  4. As I was unable to boot from the iso file itself in the VMware Server 2 web console (don’t ask me why), I was forced to burn this to a CD and boot the VM off of it (it boot s so fast, I had to set it to boot to the BIOS first and make the CD drive the first boot device).
  5. I followed the defaults offered up by the boot CD and reset (blanked) my password.
  6. Removed the CD and booted the VM, got right into my account just fine.
  7. Created a new password.

I won’t soon forget this password now.  What a pain.  Hope this helps – I looked at John the Ripper and a couple others, but this tool really did the trick.

VMware Server 2.0.1 and Kernel…

I finally decided to get VMware Server running on my new kernel.  Whenever the kernel is updated, there are some things you can count on having to reinstall, such as NVidia video drivers and VMware installations.   I expected problems, so my methodology was to attempt a normal install, expect failure, and search on the resulting errors.  This did not pan out, so I tried the VMware Community Forums, and I found this little gem on how to patch the VMware modules:

This apparently works with 32-bit as well, but may not be confirmed.

I downloaded the patch and shell script, ran the script, and followed the directions of the output:

  • Move original files that could cause issues with VMware – “mv /usr/lib/vmware/modules/binary /usr/lib/vmware/modules/binary-orig
  • Run the config again, without the -d option (otherwise, root would be the only user allowed to log into the web interface) – “

Essentially, there were no problems getting everything running.  Now I have to figure out what my password was to log into my Windows XP VM.  I have to complete some online training that can only be done in Windows (thanks a ton).  I would hate to have to crack my way in to my own VM….

Huge thanks out to both michelmase and Krellan for the patches and scripts!

Kubuntu 9.04 64-Bit, Kernel, and NVIDIA…

I went ahead and decided to upgrade my kernel, and to go to the latest NVIDIA driver (180.51).  I downloaded the kernel and the nvidia driver file, built the kernel, and removed the nvidia restricted driver.  This is on a 64-bit build of Kubuntu 9.04.

However, I was not done.

When I tried to install the kernel image file, I kept getting dkms errors relating to nvidia-common.  I eventually removed the nvidia packages using “apt-get remove --purge nvidia*” (as root), but this still would not allow me to install the kernel. Also my xorg.conf file was empty.

I fixed xorg by typing “dpkg-reconfigure xserver-xorg” and adding in the line “Driver "vesa" ” to the “Device” section, so I would have something when I rebooted.

Only when I removed dkms (“apt-get remove dkms“), was I able to install kernel  I use lilo since I run RAID-10, but did not have to update the /etc/lilo.conf file.  Upon reboot, I stopped X with “/etc/init.d/kdm stop“.

I next installed the NVidia driver first (and chose to install the 32-bit compatibility files as well). After that, I ran “nvidia-xconfig” and my xorg file was ready.  When testing with the “X” command, it just pulled up a blank screen, but I took a chance and started KDM (“/etc/init.d/kdm start“).

Everything came up fine.  Typing “glxgears” in a terminal showed decent enough acceleration (about 3000 fps).

So far, no other ill effects. And no firmware issues.

Kernel Firmware Issues…

Upfront disclaimer:  I am not saying this is a particular issue with the kernel, instead I am saying I ran into this problem for the first time while trying to install this version.  It appears that many others have had this same problem over a wide range of kernel versions, all vanilla/custom-rolled, and not all confined to Debian/Ubuntu systems.  I did not have this problem when installing 2.6.30 on a laptop earlier.

The story:

The system I installed this kernel version on is a 32-bit Athlon XP.  Plenty of RAM and disk space.  What I ran into was that upon running dpkg -i linux-image-, it would fail with an error about being unable to overwrite /lib/firmware/xxx.

I tried renaming the offending file, but that made no difference.  I tried removing that firmware from the kernel config (via make menuconfig), and it only caused the failure on another firmware blob in a different firmware directory.

Searching online yielded lots of posts, old and new, about this exact issue, but the only solution has seemed to be to use the --force-overwrite option with dpkg.  I did this, and was able to install the kernel image.  I had no problem with the kernel header package.

In short, if you have this problem and have no other solution, accept the risk, etc., etc., then try dpkg -i --force-overwrite linux-image-