Friday, February 29, 2008

Changing the default Display Manager

I little discovery I found out a few days ago through /etc/X11/prefdm, but forgot to blog it. The default display manager in Fedora GNOME is GDM. But sometimes, you might want to switch to a different display manager such as KDM or XDM. One way of doing it is through removing the other DMs and only leave one DM intact. But thats ugly!.

Theres an easy way to do it, which is through /etc/sysconfig/desktop. Create it if its not yet exist and add this line.


Valid values are:


Thursday, February 28, 2008

Fedora in NASA?!

Jack Aboutboul wrote a great post about Fedora and RHEL in NASA.

Read it here: Fedora on Final Frountier

Great to know this!.


Sometimes, we might be facing certain problems which we could not find what might have caused it. One of the annoying cause is a broken file somewhere in the filesystem due to some reason.

My practise, is that I regularly run rpm -Va to verify and list out broken or changed files. Then I would reinstall any rpm which I think have broken files. Now that I'm working, and being on rawhide, its rather tedious and time consuming to do this regularly. So I just wrote a python script for helping out with the extracting changed files list and querying which rpm the file belongs to.

Those who interested to use it, you can grab it here:

Usage: ./ [OPTIONS]

This script will automatically find for packages which
one or more of its files does not match the information
stored in the RPMdb.

-h : show this menu
-v : be verbose

This script excludes packages which only have its config files
changed and packages which its files only does not match the
stored mtime.

NOTE: Its not bugproof!.

If anybody out there have some cool hacks related to Fedora. How about start sharing them now and help Greg build his Fedora weekend hacks catalog.

Tee'ing Python subprocess.Popen output

A little hack for python coders out there who wanted to have a functionality similar to the unix's tee command for redirecting output to multiple places.

import sys
from subprocess import Popen,PIPE
p = Popen(['put','command','and','arguments','here'],stdout=PIPE)

while True:
o = p.stdout.readline()
if o == '' and p.poll() != None: break
# the 'o' variable stores a line from the command's stdout
# do anything u wish with the 'o' variable here
# this loop will break once theres a blank output
# from stdout and the subprocess have ended

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Calling all Malaysian Fedora users and contributors

Fedora presence in Malaysia is quite hidden from the general public. Fedora users in Malaysia are everywhere, but hard to find due to most of them being in their own, secluded, microcommunity. A number of small companies, government offices, organizations, have Fedora deployments in them with their own group of users, but they are hard to notice.

Me and my comrades have just created and registered a channel in for our own Malaysian community. Come and join us at #fedora-my @

We are also planning for a site for Fedora Malaysia in but our capacity is limited as all of us are quite busy with out current job. Yes, we are looking for more hands to help making this a reality.

We are quite related to #MyOSS and Ubuntu-My usergroup. Together with FOSS-SM, we work together to spread FOSS love in Malaysia.

All Fedora and Fedora derivatives (RHEL, CentOS, Blag, etc) users are welcomed. I'll be waiting for you. ^-^

Monday, February 25, 2008

Eaten by Rawhide

Got eaten by Rawhide after today update. Lots of GTK/GNOME app crashes while starting with this error (yeah, that includes 'gnome-session'). GDM not affected.

This probably reflects a bug in the program.
The error was 'BadWindow (invalid Window parameter)'.
(Details: serial 22 error_code 3 request_code 2 minor_code 0)
(Note to programmers: normally, X errors are reported asynchronously;
that is, you will receive the error a while after causing it.
To debug your program, run it with the --sync command line
option to change this behavior. You can then get a meaningful
backtrace from your debugger if you break on the gdk_x_error() function.)

glad the basic KDE4 installed can run.

Running 'rpm -Va' right now before assuming something wrong with any packages.

After reinstalling all packages that fails 'rpm -V', and downgraded some packages to the packages below, I managed to back login into GNOME. Some services like Gstreamer and gnome-settings-daemon still crashes/could not start, but at least I can get back to work. Still not sure which was the culprit.



Sunday, February 24, 2008

Di Mana MyPapit?

MyPapit is MISSING!!!!!. He supposed to come for today's Ubuntu-My meetup at UITM Shah Alam. Somehow, we lost contact with him.

(Credits to yondie's post)

Fedora - Ubuntu's more responsible older brother

Greg DeKoenigsberg wrote:

Here are some truths that I hold dear. I believe that they are *fundamental* truths of the Fedora project.

1. It's not always easy to be true *free software* advocates. We take the good with the bad.

2. The people we care most about are people who care about advancing the best of *free software*.

3. Ubuntu is already catering to users who are willing to sacrifice freedom for the sake of *marginal* usability advantage. There's really no reason for us to follow them down that path. Will it cost us users? It certainly will. But we are *extremely* competitive with Ubuntu when it comes to *contributors* -- and it's *contributors* who change the world.

Let Spaceman worry about being popular. Let's concern ourselves with being right, and being productive -- even when it's difficult.

"Fedora -- Ubuntu's more responsible older brother."

Truly is!.

This is what I usually do -> Typical users, I usually point them to Ubuntu - saved me from trouble trying to explain something they might not be able to understand. But for brave users and potential contributors, I usually try to bring them to Fedora - Try helping them develop their skills, and hopefully they will give back something to Fedora, but more importantly, to the FOSS world.

Credits to Nicu for this lovely artwork


Friday, February 22, 2008

Why I wrote the open letter to rector

My Open Letter to UTP Rector generated a lot of response from UTP, especially from the students.

Some people asked me why I am doing this and why does it matters. So, here is my answer.

I am quite a believer of Free Culture (read the manifesto: I believe that technology must not be held back. I believe that through good utilization of technology, we can improve ourselves to a better community. I believe that information should be freely available for those who want it. I believe in an open medium for people to express their thoughts and without the fear of being attacked because of their opinion. While I am not a supporter of censorship, I neither protest it. I know certain things should be censored, but the rest, it should not be limited.

Current situation in UTP, showing that the lost of the culture that I saw we once had during my early years in UTP. The lost of people who do things because of they believe its right. The lost of people who express and debate what they believe on in public. The lost of people with Free Thinkers (No, I dont mean atheist). UTPchat and Grapevine was once the place where these people were born, and with the death of GV and the dying breath of UTPchat, these people slowly reducing in number. Whats left are people who are afraid to stand up, people who are being too comfort with UTP environment, people who does not bother to fight for that they believe on. Whatever the management says is good, they take it as good, whatever the management says is bad, they take it as bad. Are these the future leaders of Malaysia? If yes, I doubt we will get anywhere past other countries in the future. We will remain followers, following what others do, and start shouting the nonsense of "Malaysia Boleh".

I just watched a video by Larry Lessig (the person behind Creative Commons) about "Change" (watch it here : While the video is about "Change Congress", I believe a lot of the points he presented in the video are also valid for us. Change come from bottom, to up. For us to change what UTP management think about technology, the students must change what they think about themselves and the technologies we use. So, I am asking you, are you satisfied with what UTP have done through limiting our access to technology?. Think about it. While other people who have a similar intellect like all of you, outside, are exposed to more real opportunities and real involvement of community, do you want to remain in the limited world of UTP network where even legal protocols, legal sites, are being blocked from access?. Is that how you want to live?.

ICT and BIS students, take note, this issue affects you more than the others. The current ICT market is not like what you might expect. People who have skills which they can prove through showing that they able to do it, are more desirable than students who have 4.0 CGPA, but what they know are just what they learn from books and classes. ICT market is tougher because of that reason. The abundance of unemployed ICT graduates are not because there are no jobs for them. But it is because they are not fit enough for the jobs. I have heard from several of my contacts that companies are having a tough time to hire because graduates does not have the skills needed for the job. Being in an environment where technology access is limited to you, how sure are you that you will have the required skills for your future career?. Think about it.

This ends my rant for today. Comments are welcomed

Update: Another video worth watching : How creativity is being strangled by the law

Friday, February 15, 2008

HOWTO: Enabling Bridging for Libvirtd QEMU

I need to implement an SNMP setup for Inigo, and I need a number of virtual machines for understanding SNMP and for testing and exploring possible solutions. Before this, I used Xen through virt-manager for my virtualization needs, but recently it feels like its more pain in the ass when I need to install various distro and OSes on the VM to test. Plus, Xen caused some weird problems which I don't really understand (one of it are the Xen bridging, on random, refused to work after reboot). So, I switched to use the normal kernel with Qemu instead to avoid the headache.

Thanks to Jonathan (daMaestro), I got the Qemu bridge working. The howto I followed from does not work for me because of what I believe some missing details for me understand the setup and set it properly.

Creating a Bridge

Lets assume we want to create a bridge called br0, which will be bridged to eth0. The host will be using a static IP on a /24 network, with a gateway

Edit /etc/sysconfig/network-scripts/ifcfg-br0. Change it to be similar to this.


Then, edit /etc/sysconfig/network-scripts/ifcfg-eth0 to this.


(Replace $MACADDRESS with the MAC address of your network card.)

Afterward, restart the network `/sbin/service network restart`

From this point, you should be able to select the bridge when you are creating a new VM through virt-manager.


You will need to set br0 as a trusted interface through system-config-firewall before you'll be able to use the network.

Yay, now I feel much more comfortable on Qemu.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

An Open Letter for the Rector of PETRONAS University of Technology


Dear Datuk Dr Zainal Abidin Haji Kasim,

I am Mohd Izhar Firdaus Ismail (ID 7857), an ICT student in UTP from batch Jan2005, and also one of the active UTPchat IRCOperators. I am writing this because I feel like UTP action of forcing UTPchat to it knees several semesters ago is giving a bad impact on community life in UTP. A bad impact which caused UTP to waste the potential of the (so-called) 'cream de la cream' which UTP have grabbed early after their SPM examination.

UTPchat IRC Network, existed originally around more than 10 years ago, is an IRC (Internet Relay Chat) network for UTP students to socialize, do activities, as a community environment, place of discussions , and many more. We existed inofficially in the UTP network, yet was known by basically all UTP students and to some extends, staffs. The IRC network flourished as a place where UTP students meet each other, have fun, explore possibilities, voice opinions, share informations, bring up talents, and much more. UTPchat, indirectly contributes to the community spirit of which previous UTP graduates have. The spirit of caring each other, spirit of protecting what they believe is right, spirit of being a part and contributing to a community.

However, a change on 2005 in UTP network infrastructure, which separated the 5 villages in UTP to 5 separate networks, and an unexpected incident which relates to a stupidity of one of UTP's own student, caused UTPchat to face problem from UTP Management due to false accusation from those who don't understand the technical details behind the infrastructure. We faced trouble of keeping our infrastructure intact from the seemingly unstoppable mental and technical attack from UTP managements, thus lead to UTPchat's decline from the student's hearts.

The downfall of UTPchat , followed by the downfall of Grapevine, a LAN based discussion board indirectly affect the UTP students, their ability to voice their opinions truly from their hearts, in term of their ability to live as a community which care each other because they care. UTP students, indirectly became a group of people who only care for themselves, and do stuff for rewards/accreditation/certificate rather than doing stuff because they love doing it. This can be reflected by the decline of informal activities by students, the reduction of events/movements/groups in UTP which values creativity-building and community building, and the worst, UTP students no longer bother to protect their rights - which can be greatly reflected from the lack of interest for MPPUTP, lack of interest to try to make a change, lack of interest to voice their opinions. I believe that these downfall of other community movements in UTP was indirectly affected from the downfall of the medium where they communicate and voice their thoughts.

UTP students now, are more like a bunch of heartless robots, who come to UTP, simply for studying, to get their degree. They joined events because they wanted certificates, because they wanted to put those in their resume. We have lost the people who do stuff because they love it, do stuff because they care about it, do stuff because of pure interest without bothering for certificates, without bothering for accreditation, etc. UTP students now, they simply do whatever they have been told, without really questioning whether the decision are really good for them or not. They have lost their ability to voice out their opinions, they have lost their ability to fight, they have lost their ability to stand up and be true to themselves. The culture of previous UTP students, is just not there.

I remember that several years ago, during my junior days, UTP was such a fun place to be. Students from different batch, different courses, different races, different nation, mix with each other and befriend each other as equals. It was easy during that time to share thoughts and information with other friends. I miss the time when student are loud in declaring their opinions, their views about things, their suggestions. I miss the time when there exist a communication medium and a bond between students and other UTP residents through the network. I miss the time when UTP was filled with people who I can say that they are respectable people. I miss the time where there are a lot of creative thinker community in UTP, people who explores and create new ideas and stuff regardless what public says about them, people who are willing to try because of pure interest rather than being forced.

What happened to UTP motto of creating so called 'Well-Rounded Students'?. Is that motto is simply a way to get students to come in and study in UTP and make them slaves (read: robots) who simply follow what their master told them to do?. Or does the definition of 'Well-Rounded' for the UTP Management means, people who spend more time on studying to get 4.0 CGPA? people who are obedient to orders? people who can be easily controlled? people who doesnt fight for their rights? people who only know what their course and events they joined taught them and can't do anything else? people who do things for rewards not because they really want to do it? Does getting 4.0 really matters if a student is only good academically but can't really apply what they have learn for the betterment of the nation? Reminds me of a poem by Robert Frost - The Road Not Taken. How willing are us to go against the flow and make a change?.

Sir, I'm asking you, "Is that what you want it to be?". If yes, so be it. There are still 2 or 3 batch of students from the old legacy in UTP, the generations who still carry the spirit of community from our seniors, and we are slowly reducing in number every semester. The new students, from my observations, are more interested in studying, excel in university's co-curriculum, rather than living as a community. Newer students mostly match my description of a bunch of robots, or, more likely, a bunch of obedient high school students, NOT university students who are adventurous to explore more in what they learn and louder to voice their opinions. The culture of previous UTP graduates are just not there in their hearts. Once these 2 or 3 batch of students graduated, I'm afraid thats the end, both for UTPchat and wholeness of UTP graduates.

Yes, I know posting this kind of thing is bad for UTP reputation and might be bad for me too. But something need to be done. Something need to change. Sitting behind the scene , complaining, ranting and watching the communities die won't get us to anywhere. A university is a place where students learn to utilize their potential, a place for students to develop their creativity beyond what being taught in class, beyond the academic perspective. There exist people with lots of talent and potential in UTP, but their potential got limited due to the restrictions put on them.

There are still a lot of points I wanted to raise to you sir, but they are more in the technical term rather than the points above which relates to 'soft' values of UTP students. So, I would keep those for later. If this letter somehow offended the some of the readers due to my sharp words, I am sorry for that.


Monday, February 11, 2008

local root exploit in the wild!!!

Affected kernels: 2.6.17 till 2.6.24

I tried it on my boxes, and heres the result

Release: Werewolf
SELinux: Enforcing
Result : R00TED!

[kagesenshi@Hoshino tmp]$ ./a.out
Linux vmsplice Local Root Exploit
By qaaz
[+] mmap: 0x0 .. 0x1000
[+] page: 0x0
[+] page: 0x20
[+] mmap: 0x4000 .. 0x5000
[+] page: 0x4000
[+] page: 0x4020
[+] mmap: 0x1000 .. 0x2000
[+] page: 0x1000
[+] mmap: 0xb7f95000 .. 0xb7fc7000
[+] root
[root@Hoshino tmp]# uname -a
Linux Hoshino.KageSenshi.Org #1 SMP Fri Dec 7 15:49:59 EST 2007 i686 i686 i386 GNU/Linux

Release: Rawhide
SELinux: Permissive
Result : Safe (I think)

[izhar@hikari tmp]$ ./a.out
Linux vmsplice Local Root Exploit
By qaaz
[+] mmap: 0x0 .. 0x1000
[+] page: 0x0
[+] page: 0x20
[+] mmap: 0x4000 .. 0x5000
[+] page: 0x4000
[+] page: 0x4020
[+] mmap: 0x1000 .. 0x2000
[+] page: 0x1000
[+] mmap: 0xb7f61000 .. 0xb7f93000
Segmentation fault
[izhar@hikari tmp]$ uname -a
Linux 2.6.24-23.fc9 #1 SMP Wed Feb 6 11:36:31 EST 2008 i686 i686 i386 GNU/Linux

I just refreshed the bugzilla page, and it seems like fixes are on the way to all F7, F8, Rawhide users.

Comment #9 From Mark J. Cox (Security Response Team) on 2008-02-10 16:05 EST

So to fix this you need +;a=commitdiff;h=712a30e63c8066ed84385b12edbfb804f49cbc44

or if backporting, an earlier kernel plus both;a=commit;h=8811930dc74a503415b35c4a79d14fb0b408a361

Comment #10 From Chuck Ebbert on 2008-02-10 22:26 EST

Fixed in:


Great and Thanks!!!. Those who are hosting a multiuser system, update your kernels now!.

Saturday, February 09, 2008

Automatic kernel crash reporting?

I updated to today's rawhide and rebooted. It boots but crashed when loading Xorg. Rebooted again and it back working. After login, a libnotify popup appeared (and I thought it was Xorg which fscked):

There's another popup after sending to notify it successfully sent but I was too late to screenshot it as it disappears after a few second. Anyway, this thing is neat!. Finding data after a kernel crash is not something 'users' would do, but with these, upstream gonna have some good data to work with.

Statistics are gathered at

3 days on Rawhide

I've been on Rawhide for almost 3 days now. So far there are no showstopper bug that prevents me to do work. The new GDM looks cool, Firefox3 is great, new System-config-firewall is great, but Xorg is a little bit scary (I've expected this problem : OneSecondX feature brings a lot of changes into Xorg - unstability is unavoidable).

What I can't do for now:
* Switch VT - I can't switch back to X after that
* Use Compiz/3D apps - X crashes right after starting compiz/glxgears - #427643
* Exit X/Logout - X could not restart

All problem above resulted in a total lockup from physical access. Box still responding through network.

For others, everything works fine like usual (at least for my purposes, and of course, the versions are newer than F8 versions).

Thursday, February 07, 2008

ITL & Minbar in Fedora

With regards to a question in FWN issue 117

Prayer Time for Fedora

Riam budhi: I wanted to ask you, where is I can download prayer time ( I am muslim)?


Unfortunately, this software isn't available in the Fedora repository yet and I couldn't locate any good alternatives. This is now a opportunity for you to be a contributor to Fedora and maintain the software in the Fedora repository.

I've packaged the Islamic Tools & Library and Minbar. They are waiting for review currently.

libitl: #431181
itools: #431186
minbar: #431188

Happy Chinese New Year

Happy Chinese New Year!. May this year be a prosperous year too.

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Fedora 9 (Sulphur) Alpha

Fedora 9 (Sulphur) Alpha is out for developers, early adopters, and those who can't stand to wait.

* Support for resizing ext2,ext3 and NTFS partitions during installation
* Support for creating and installing to encrypted filesystems
* Faster and more efficient yum dependency resolver
* PackageKit
* FreeIPA, an integrated solution combining Linux, Fedora Directory Server, FreeRADIUS, MIT Kerberos, NTP, DNS and providing web and commandline provisioning and administration tools.
* GNOME 2.21 Development Release
* KDE 4.0
* Firefox 3 'Minefield' (nightly builds)
* Kernel 2.6.24
* ... And Many More~ ...

Rel notes:

Test status are being tracked here :

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Zenoss on Fedora 8

I've wasted 1.5 day trying to get zenoss from their RPM to run on my F8 laptop using compat-python24 from livna. I've tried lots of ways like recompiling, export PYTHON and PYTHONPATH env variables etc but without much luck. I solved it just now after looking into the python files and noticed that they are all hardcoded with /usr/bin/python instead of /usr/bin/env python. There are even some that uses /opt/zenoss/bin/python. Here's my little hackfix to make zenoss starts cleanly.

Before running this, I recommend existing zenoss install to be removed, rm -rf /opt/zenoss, and reinstall it clean.



find . -type f -exec sed -i "s|/usr/bin/python|${ZENOSS_DIR}/bin/python|g" '{}' ';'

cd $ZENOSS_DIR/bin
rm python
ln -s $PYTHON python

A little description about the above script. It simply change all /usr/bin/python to /opt/zenoss/bin/python and replace the symlink /opt/zenoss/bin/python to point to /usr/bin/python2.4

Now Zenoss can be started using /sbin/service zenoss start.

Happy that I have a test instance now, time to figure out how to install it on freebsd qemu. >.<

Sunday, February 03, 2008

Fedora will be having a win32 livecd-iso-to-usb tool

I just noticed Luke Macken's post at fedora-devel-list.


Flood at Puchong Indah

Around 4:30pm this afternoon (Sat, Feb 02, GMT+8), my area got flooded. It was only a less than 2 hours rain and yet the water level raised up to knee level at the roadside of my side of the neighborhood. It might be caused by the monsoon drain was stuck due to irresponsible people thrown trashes into it. My family has been living here for more than 10 years and this is the 3rd time this place got flooded, and the first time it reaches to knee level at the road and barely entered my house. The rain stopped around 6pm and it took around 30 minutes before it complete drained.

Glad that it only barely reach the inside of my house. But my neighbors who are at a lower grounds , had quite a lot of belongings damaged/destroyed. My condolence to them.


Considering Malaysian general election is coming near, guess its a good point to do some blackmailing to the local politician. Somebody need to clean up the monsoon drain or this will happen again, maybe worse than this.

Friday, February 01, 2008

Changed theme again

My previous themes went broken due to photobucket download limit. The template xml I got from the original site points directly to there.

So, I googled around for a new theme and found this The download also provides a zip file of the images, so, I uploaded them to my storage to avoid the stupid photobucket problems happens again.

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