Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Tunnel.UTPchat.Net is now back operational for Jan2008 semester

Its official now, the external server of UTPChat LAN IRC network is now back operational. Those who are not within UTP can now access UTPChat through it. It will be serving until the next UTP semester break. You can connect to the server by using this command on ur IRC client

/server tunnel.utpchat.net

This server is located at my home, so, please do not expect high stability from it. Especially on the UTP-network<->tunnel.utpchat.net link. As y'all might have known , UTP network and internet connection sucks. :P

Anyway, enjoy~

Edit: btw, if you are experiencing connection problems on port 6667, try 6668 or 6669. Somehow whenever 10 people connected , the others will get tcp connection refused. I'm guessing this is either something wrong with my router, or its our "beloved" TMNET have done something fishy on upstream routers/squids.

I should slow down myself sometimes

Me, being myself, had just noticed from Max Spevack's post about FUDCon video, that torrents.fp.o have a collection of FUDCon videos from previous conferences.

It's a habit of mine, where I would usually simply skip through stuff when I'm looking for something specific on a page (I love ctrl+f). I've dropped by at torrents.fp.o several times last year, grabbed the ISO torrent, and left without looking at anything. I didn't notice the Boston FUDCon vids torrent are at the bottom of the page.

Deluge fired up, leeching away~!!

(I don't have chance (and money) to goto the conferences, hope I'll get something useful out of these)

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Spinning a minimal Fedora LiveCD

I've been spending today trying to spin a minimal Fedora liveCD as a base for spinning various of other custom spins for easing future stuff, and for fun. The package list was based on Ubuntu-Minimal metapackage dependencies (of course, with some modification) and I'm using Revisor 2.0.5-15.fc8 for building the CD from a kickstart file.

The build went smoothly, however, it seems like I missed some dependency or something. When the liveCD boots, it complained during startup:

---------------------------------------------------------
WARNING: Requested /sbin/init binary does not exist on rootfs
---------------------------------------------------------

Dropping to a shell. Good luck!

bash: no job control in this shell
bash-3.2#


I have sysvinit in the kickstart and checking in the image file (after mounted them) /sysroot/squashfs.img/os.img/sbin/init is there.

Anybody know what dependency I might be missing here?? I'm going to checkout the rescue CD afterward to figure it out, but would appreciate some help if someone have solved this problem before.

After this one is working, I'm going to spin one based on freebsd 6.2 package selection ;)

Edit: I forgot to point to the kickstart file : http://pastebin.ca/879232

Sunday, January 27, 2008

IOSN Accessibility Workshop for the Visually Impaired

Yesterday, I joined Khairil Yusof (Kaeru) for IOSN Accessibility Workshop for the Visually Impaired at Malaysian Association for the Blind, KL. It was organized under Free/Open Source Software Society of Malaysia (FOSS-SM) and United Nation's International Open Source Network (IOSN)

I'm still waiting for Kaeru to post a blog about it as he has the most details. But here's my part of the story.

It was very interesting to be there where we actually get first hand information about the blind's concerns about accessible websites and softwares, income opportunities, technical skills, etc. There are blinds who have a high technical capability but their talent are ignored due to their condition.

Orca works great too, though we haven't field test it yet. The GNOME HIG helps for making applications accessible and that is great. However, as usual, the voices are monotonous. It would be great if we can have clearer and nicer voices.

I tested their braille monitor too on my Fedora laptop. At first it couldn't work, but after a little googling I was pointed to brltty, a tty viewer to braille monitors. Brltty, on text-only linux, works very great!. It's very interesting seeing that Fazlin (one of the blind person who attend the workshop) can explore the shell , as perfect as a sighted person, using the braille monitor!. Kaeru and I was quite excited seeing a great opportunity for them to try to get some income as linux/unix sysadmins or open source developers. Its hard nowadays to find people who appreciate the shell even from the sighted - I blame Windows for that - and seeing how the blinds can benefit from the shell, it made us quite excited and happy. If they can try taking LPI and pass it, I don't see any reason why they couldn't find income from it.

However, I couldn't get the braille monitor to work with Orca, I've launched brltty, yum'ed for brlapi, python-brlapi, Pyrex, configured Orca to use braille output, but still, it could not print the braille characters. The braile monitor printed something on but Fazlin said that it printed (I don't remember the exact sentence) "Terminal is not in text mode". Do anybody know what I missed? Anybody know how to fix this and make stuff works?.

FOSS-SM will continue to work with MAB for this research and try to help the visually impaired to have similar, if not same, opportunities for them in accessing information and knowledge easily , finding employment and income opportunities in the ICT world, help them lead a better life and on the same time, spreading the love of Free/Open Source Software throughout Malaysia and the world. I am looking forward for the next meetup for this project and see how I myself can try utilizing and improving stuff for them and maybe push some stuff back to Fedora upstream (Docs, guide, packages, custom tools etc).

p/s: Kaeru want ubuntu for them, I want fedora for them :P - at least theres already one Fedora spin for the visually impaired - SpeakupModified

Zope/Plone on Fedora

My industrial internship with Inigo Technologies requires me to run a distro which have python2.4. Being someone who prefer to stick on RPMS rather than source-based installation, I ran CentOS on Xen of my home fileserver for Zope/Plone support.

While wasting my time browsing through pirut a few days ago, I noticed compat-python/compat-zope/compat-plone on Livna repository. I know those packages exist by Jonathan Stefan, but didn't know that its on Livna. Anyway, cool, now I can play with zope on my laptop directly :D.

Fedora 9 Codename Announced???

Okay, Josh Boyer announced it @ fedora-announce-list, and the winner is Sulphur (at least from the vote results)

https://www.redhat.com/archives/fedora-announce-list/2008-January/msg00012.html

Somehow, I don't feel quite happy about the announce. Naming of Fedora releases have been running in quite a fun manner since its started going public not so long ago. The name game starts only when the next release of Fedora almost done, suggestions come, voting was made (in approval voting - NOT the Pick-Only-One voting like the recent F9 name vote). The vote results remain secret and contributors wait anxiously for what name the winner going to be until a few days before release. And once it got official, the name got out not through announcements, but from people who saw fedora-release was changed in cvs commits!!.

The name game and waiting for the name confirmation was somehow like a fun reward for the hard work of all people who spent their time and effort on the release. The names are not treated as a development Codenames, but as the Release names which contributors are proud of.

Did the long lived fun tradition changed simply because somebody wanted to get names early for doing release-name related artworks?. Or was it due some other considerations?. I wonder how many other contributors feels the same.

Friday, January 25, 2008

HOWTO: Controlling cpu temperature and scaling using cpuspeed

My beloved R51 which I bought almost 3 years ago is suffering of old-age. It processor heats up quite fast to 80/85 Celsius and sometimes triggered shutdown alarm on 90C. The temperature during idle is around 50C, which is pretty hot. Adding external fan and overriding the speed of the internal fan doesn't help much.

Whenever it goes to 80C, I manually scale down the processor to cool it down. Hassle, but at least it works. However, there is an easier way to control this without any manual interaction, and that is through using the cpuspeed daemon. It should have been installed by default in your computer. If it isn't , you can install it through:

yum install cpuspeed

cpuspeed in Fedora by default only turns on the default scaling governor and didn't do anything else. You will need to configure it through /etc/sysconfig/cpuspeed.

Remember to set the Governor to "userspace" or your cpuspeed will not be started through the init script.

In my setup to ensure that I don't burn my processor too much, I set my UP_THRESHOLD=99 DOWN_THRESHOLD=90, and uncommented the lowest line for the temperature check and set the max temperature as 75. Yes, theres no scientific explanation to explain whether the values I selected is good or not. I simply set in so that my processor will only scale up if its being used 100%, scales down as soon as the processor usage reduce to 90%, and forbid scaling up if the temperature is above 75C.

Once you have configured it, restart cpuspeed

/sbin/service cpuspeed restart

After I applied those above, my processor doesn't gets hot easily anymore :D. Yay~.

Micropolis-Activity RPM

Following the post I've made about the MicropolisCore package, I've packaged micropolis-activity.

The package was applied a patchset by Miriam Ruiz which was acquired from debian's svn:
http://svn.debian.org/wsvn/pkg-games/packages/trunk/micropolis-activity/debian/patches/. (Thanks to Rahul Sundaram for notifying me about this).

The (S)RPMS are here http://izhar.fedorapeople.org/micropolis-activity/ (again, WARNING: Hackish Package!)

The game is running but i didn't test it much. There are some segfaults when loading certain maps. The dependency list might also not be complete. Here a screenie of it running a saved city from the the source tarball.



Happy hacking. ^-^

Friday, January 18, 2008

Automated tar and dump incremental backup script for FBSD

The recent gmirror failure on Gambit caused us to switch to automated dump and tar instead.

Our requirement was like this: Full backup on Mondays (around 3-5am) with daily incremental backups relative to the Monday backup. Whenever a full backup is being performed, the previous backups must not be overwritten until the full backup is done.

And the results::
inigo-tarball-backups.sh - an incremental tar backup script using FreeBSD's Tar

inigo-disk-dumps.sh - an incremental live dump script using FreeBSD's Dump - now, I wish Linux's Dump have live dump support.

gnu-tar-incremental-backup.sh - an incremental tar backup script using GNU's Tar - I wrote this before the FreeBSD's Tar script on my Fedora laptop, but was surprised that FreeBSD's Tar doesn't have --listed-incremental option (-_-)".


For the scheduling, I just use cron.

Do inform me if you have suggestions to improve the scripts or if you found any risky bug it in.

update: Anybody knows how to properly tar a live directory? (eg: /var/log/).

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Original SimCity GPL'ed as Micropolis - here some RPMs for Fedora Hackers

Around 19:00MYT (11:00GMT) today @ #fedora irc.freenode.net


<evil_steve> oh come on. THey GPL'd Sim city 48 hours ago and it's *not* packaged and in repos yet?
<evil_steve> :)
<evil_steve> and we call ourselves geeks
<KageSenshi> aah?!!
<KageSenshi> yay to gaming!
* KageSenshi now waits for simcity4k to GPL ..
<evil_steve> http://weblogs.asp.net/bsimser/archive/2008/01/10/simcity-source-code-released-to-the-wild-let-the-ports-begin.aspx
<KageSenshi> >.<
* KageSenshi tries to build
<evil_steve> KageSenshi: let me know how you go.
<KageSenshi> :D


Yay to Free/OpenSource Softwares!!. The original SimCity is now GPLv3+!. From the way it looks, I believe it was released to make it as an Activity for the OLPC XO. Nevertheless, it can be compiled and run at our normal desktop linux.

From the guide on the link above ( which for building on VisualStudio (O.o)" ) .. Here are the RPM packages http://izhar.fedorapeople.org/MicropoliceCore/.

UGLY PACKAGE ALERT!: The original tarball have some hardcoded paths and no proper automated script for installation, so I patched it with my own HACKISH patch and a HACKISH %install to make it packageable. And the launcher is a very HACKISH launcher.


Dont expect its playable though. I couldn't find how to run it as a game - and the Visual Studio based guide is also not yet complete, so, I totally have no clue. If anybody succeeded, can you tell me how?

You can launch the demo run using
/usr/bin/MicropoliceCore-launcer

The original project site is at http://www.donhopkins.com/home/micropolis/. There, you grab the sources for the OLPC XO version of Micropolis if you want.

Happy hacking.

Monday, January 14, 2008

Hello Planet Fedora!!

My blog just included in Planet Fedora. Yay! (/me jumping with joy). Thanks Seth Vidal!!.

A little introduction about myself and Linux.

I started with computers on early age. My first encounter with computers was @ my mom's office (she's working @ NEC that time) about I'm 3 years old. When my mom stopped working to be a full-time housewife, my dad started working @ IBM and I've been living with IBM PC-DOS on the company-provided PC. I lived with it and having fun with DOS for quite a long time. Then, on 1997, my dad bought an IBM Aptiva with Win95 on it, during that time, Windows doesnt feel that sux too me, as its still something on top of DOS (guess what, it took me some time to get use to the mouse and I still reboot to DOS when I want to play Command and Conquer). But after winME, I got frustrated due to no longer able to troubleshoot my computer through DOS, and thats when I started considering for another OS. I have no access to the Internet until 1999, so I have no idea about open source, internet community and stuff back then. Software to me that time was only those that can be found from shops.

Around 2002, I heard about Linux and started by trying out Red Hat 9 (Shrike), it was a tough ride at first, especially due to Winmodem sucks big time. On 2003, I stopped trying for a while due to I was accepted to a boarding school. But I didnt stop fully, there, I familiarize myself with OpenOffice (secretly installed on the school's computer). And on end of 2004, after I finished the final exam of high school, I forces myself to fully migrate to Linux.

I was looking for RH that time but couldn't found any later release after Shrike (I didn't know about FedoraProject yet). Then I found Mandriva and sticks with it & KDE for almost year before I decided to jump distros again. Then I used SuSE for few months , then I found out that RH is now Fedora Core. I started using Fedora Core 3 and have fell in love with it ever since.

Around 2005, I got to know a group of OSS oriented people in Malaysia @ #myoss of Freenode and around that time too I started trying to contribute back something upstream. I joined Fedora Project early 2007 as an Ambassador, mostly advocating Linux to students and lecturers my university - PETRONAS University of Technology. But lately theres not many ideas for me to do there as Ambassador so I started contributing to Packaging and packaged some unofficial compiz fusion packages. Now I'm officially maintaining ccsm and libcompizconfig packages in Fedora.

Right now I'm a SysAdmin intern at a startup company that focuses on Zope and Plone called Inigo-Tech and having some fun with FreeBSD there.

Looking forward for great development on Fedora and I hope I can found something more to contribute back to Fedora Project.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Fedora detected @ Japan Club Kuala Lumpur

Yesterday I was at JCKL for my weekly ninjutsu class. When I was passing by their computer lab, suddenly something caught my eyes - "Flying High" and "Fedora Bubbles" !!.

The users (some grownups, some children) who are using the computers seems happily browsing the Internet and using OpenOffice. And they didn't look like having trouble using it. One of the children was also doing something with The GIMP!.

Linux is spreading slowly but far, hidden from the eyes of general public (^o^). Lets keep it going!. All hail to the Penguin!

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Congratulations & Welcome to the new FedoraProject leader

Max Spevack just made an announcement today. Paul W. Frields will be the next FP.O leader, effective this February.

Congratulations Paul. Looking forward for interesting stuff you might have planned for the future of FedoraProject. And to Max, FedoraProject have grown so much under your leadership, thanks for all your hard work. (^.^)

Friday, January 11, 2008

Reducing Blogspot feed size

By default blogspot shows 20 posts for the blog feed, however, this might not be desirable to some people (eg: those who are aggregated on Planets and hated when a minor edit to an old post causes the post to be bumped to the top of the Planet). Gladly that Blogspot feed URL have an optional feature to reduce the returned post quantity on the feed, though its not displayed in the default blogger.com dashboard.

The trick is easy, just add ?max-results=<number> to the end of the blogspot feed URL. For example

http://blog.kagesenshi.org/feeds/posts/default?max-results=5

p/s: dont bother opening that url, as you'll be redirected to my feedburner feed, but hey, you got the idea right?

Ref: Feedburner Forums , Topic 18650

Made a Hackergotchi

I've made one hackergotchi for myself (^.^)




Thanks to Nicu's howto : http://howto.nicubunu.ro/gimp_hackergotchi/

Monday, January 07, 2008

HOWTO: Making QT apps on GNOME less ugly

On Fedora GNOME installation, QT applications by default, look darned fugly. This is because there are no settings that point the QT apps to the correct style and themes. Solving this is easy:

First,
yum install kdebase kdeartwork

Then,
kcontrol

Open ``Appearance and Themes > Style`` and change your KDE style to one with better looks, apply and save it.

Done.

Got bitten by rawhide

Yesterday i tried installing Fedora Rawhide KDE4 20071220 as I was thinking switching to rawhide early this time.. The liveCD appears to work so i proceeded to the installation

Guess what .. Rawhide eats me right after installation .. I cant login in X .. seems like everytime Xorg resets, modechange, or quits, the whole computer locks up..

Several changes I noticed from the rawhide liveCD:
  • Theres a Encrypt option in anaconda
  • I can't login as root on init 3 !! .. Why does Fedora follow Ubuntu on this sudo nonsense??? - wonder what will happen if i decided to install a minimal package set of command line stuff without firstboot .. that gonna be ugly.. but let wait and see how Fedora handles this.. perhaps sudo will only be enforced from liveCD install

Now I'm back to the safe side with Werewolf. I will give Rawhide another shot when theres another rawhide spin or after F9-alpha is released. Hope Xorg doesn't eat me again that time.

Friday, January 04, 2008

RPM Package Rollback

One of the least known feature in RPM is that it has a rollback feature. This allows you to rollback any updates you have done to your installed packages. Quite useful if a recent update broke your system.

From http://www.oreillynet.com/onlamp/blog/2006/01/rpm_rollback_in_fedora_core_45.html


  1. To configure yum to save rollback information, add the line tsflags=repackage to /etc/yum.conf.

  2. To configure command-line rpm to do the same thing, add the line %_repackage_all_erasures 1 to /etc/rpm/macros.

  3. Install, erase, and update packages to your heart’s content, using pup, pirut, yumex, yum, rpm, and the yum automatic update service.


If/when you want to rollback to a previous state, perform an rpm update with the –rollback option followed by a date/time specification. Some examples: rpm -Uhv –rollback ‘9:00 am’, rpm -Uhv –rollback ‘4 hours ago’, rpm -Uhv –rollback ‘december 25′.


But remember that rollback takes up quiet a lot of space on /var . I won't do this Fedora as Fedora have quite frequent updates. But if you are running an important server on CentOS or RHEL, you might want to turn this feature on. It would be nice if somebody implements deltarpms support for rpm rollback. I believe it gonna save a lot of space.

A month with FreeBSD, Zope and Plone

For the past month, I have been working as an intern at Inigo Tech. The company focuses on Zope and Plone deployment and customization and I'm the sysadmin of the company server.

FreeBSD

The company server uses FreeBSD as the OS with several BSD Jails on top of it. BSD Jails is one of the virtualization technology on the OS level. Unlike Xen, Qemu and VirtualBox, Jails is a very lightweight virtualization where the Guest environment does not run any kernel on it. While Xen, Qemu and VirtualBox allows different OSes running as Guest, Jails can only support another BSD installations.

I found that Jails is very useful for those who only needs better process and environment separation and doesn't need another full blown OS features. Interested to know what available on the Linux world for this, I went googling and found the Linux-Vserver Project and the OpenVZ Project. However, the RPM packages provided by both of them (especially the kernel) are quite not in sync with the current Fedora repositories. So, if anybody thinking of trying them out, I would recommend installing on CentOS or a Debian derivative instead as the packages does not being updated as fast as Fedora. Btw, if anybody successfully deployed a OpenVZ guest, can you post me an easy to follow guide??. As I'm quite confused with the OpenVZ documentations (the templates etc).

But so far, I think thats the only thing I liked from the BSD world. Everything else, are kindof PITA and not elegant in my point of view. Perhaps because I have been pampered by RPM way too much. Ports, while have quite a large collection of packages, is not as elegant as RPM or DEB in package management. If only for installation and removal of packages, Ports works quite well, but if I want to do extra stuff to the installed files, everything went messy. Dependency hell, I dont know how many times i've faced that in Ports. Updating and removing packages feels quite scary when it might causes another app, hidden somewhere, to have a library problem. For the filesystem hierarchy and file placements, is another messy thing as trying to separate stuff that maintained by package manager and stuff that are done by local user is not as clear as in RPM distros. But for this, I might be biased as I come from the Red Hat Linux / Fedora Linux origins and still not that experienced in BSD. Perhaps after exploring and learning more about the BSD way of doing stuff, I might change my opinion on this.

Zope and Plone

In Inigo Tech, I was introduced for the first time to Zope and Plone. I have heard about it before, and followed the debate on Fedora mailing list about why Fedora 7 could not support Zope and Plone due to Python2.5, but I had never tried using it firsthand. What I know about during that time Zope was that its something like Tomcat but in Python, with Plone as one of the most popular app running on Zope.

After this whole month of using Zope and Plone, I grown to like it and the ideas it brought together. I have been a fan of proper separation of services and environments since I learned about virtualization. So, I feel Zope is a great platform. A virtual filesystem on an ORDB? Cool!. Full separation of the web environment and the host server? Great!. Using Instances instead of a full copy of files? Yay!. Plugins architechture, of which different instances can have different set of Plugins? Superb!. All in all, I love Zope, except for maybe, the ZMI which looks kind of cluttered, but looks good or not is a matter of who looking at it :).

As for Plone, Inigo sees it as an alternative to Microsoft SharePoint. As I had never tried out SharePoint, I couldn't comment much about their differences/similarities. But one thing I know, Plone offers more features that SharePoint in term of document management and sharing, Plone is easier to use than SharePoint, Plone can work nicely with commodity softwares while SharePoint requires you to upgrade to IE7, Vista, Office 2007 etc, and best of all, Plone is Free! and SharePoint is dictated by Microsoft (>.<) . So, that makes it Plone is better than SharePoint right? So if your company want to buy SharePoint, how about you look at Plone first before deciding ;).

======

All in all, working with Inigo is fun with all these. I'm glad I took Kaeru's offer and not other internship offers with other companies. Plus, I got to telecommute. Saved some hassle of transportation, food, etc :D