Cùran's life
A Debian Developer's observations

22nd December 2013 19:28 (GMT)
Still alive!

Even though I've been largely offline for the past year and a half, I'm still alive an plan on getting back to do more work for Debian in 2014 and onwards. As a first token of this I've updated the unofficial Debian Wine packages to follow the current Debian packaging and built upstream version 1.7.9.

See you soon!

Permalink | debian, wine.
1st April 2012 09:57 (GMT)
kvpm in Debian now

Just a short announcement: kvpm (short for "KDE volume and partition manager") is now a part of Debian's unstable distribution, Sid, and should enter testing (Wheezy) soon.

The big thank you for this goes to Benjamin, upstream author of kvpm who has become also the Debian Maintainer of his software!

The story behind packaging kvpm started with Benjamin writing an e-mail to pkg-kde-extras, in which he asked for inclusion of kvpm into Debian. After an initial answer by myself about filing a RFP bug, in case he wouldn't like to package kvpm himself, a discussion in private ensued. There I explained that Debian is a do-ocracy, where things get packaged if some maintainer uses something herself or if the requesting party does the work.

Benjamin took up the challenge and packaged kvpm, I helped only with feedback and finally sponsoring the upload. Why do I tell this story? Because I hope it encourages other people to do the same as Benjamin did: package the software they'd like to see become a part of Debian. We, the Debian Developers around the world, are more than happy to assist you. Just ask us (e.g. by e-mail or through IRC (#debian-mentors)).

Permalink | debian, kde, kvpm.
17th March 2012 19:51 (GMT)
The joy of building Wine in a non-multiarch environment

This is an updated and consolidated post for/of two previous blog entries. Before I continue, let me make it clear, that this post isn't intended to criticise anybody. It is meant as a instruction leaflet to go with my unofficial (source) package(s).

The best idea, until all build dependencies of Wine have been made multiarch ready (we're almost there), is to create a base.tgz for pbuilder in which you make the required changes. So you don't have to remember applying them everytime (note, this is only needed for amd64 builds). After you created yourself a base.tgz for Wine, do the follwoing:

  1. Log into the chroot stored in your base.tgz for Wine: pbuilder --login --save-after-login --basetgz /path/to/your/wine.base.tgz
  2. Update the package list and installed packages with aptitude update && aptitude safe-upgrade unless you know, everything is updated.
  3. Install ia32-libs-dev and libjpeg-dev: aptitude install ia32-libs-dev libjpeg-dev
  4. Work around #638543:
    1. cd /usr/lib32
    2. rm libjpeg.so libjpeg.so.62* (you can also remove the libjpeg.a and libjpeg.la files)
    3. ln -s libjpeg.so.8 libjpeg.so
    4. cd /usr/include
    5. ln -s x86_64-linux-gnu/jconfig.h
  5. As we build build with GCC 4.5 (due to a problem with GCC 4.6, see WineHQ bug #22053 for more details) on amd64 (i386 isn't using GCC 4.5 anymore (since the 1.5.0-0.2 packages), because that resulted in linking errors), we hit #638418. To work around that, you need to create the symlink yourself. Execute ln -s x86_64-linux-gnu/asm asm in /usr/include.
  6. Exit the chroot, pbuilder should now update your base.tgz.
  7. Build the source package with pbuilder.

For i386 users this shouldn't be required. Not even the symlinking of the asm directory, as we don't use GCC 4.5 anylonger on i386 (due to various linking errors). Though that comes at the cost of potential issues with e.g. Steam.

Permalink | debian, wine.
4th March 2012 10:25 (GMT)
ZTE MF190 under Debian with KDE SC 4.7

I've recently acquired an UMTS USB stick, a ZTE MF190 (USB ID 19d2:0117/19d2:2000, after and before mode switch, the second ID can be seen while the stick offers its data partition for Windows driver installation). Naturally I wanted to use the stick with Debian. Normally that is no problem at all (as long as you've usb-modeswitch, modemmanager, ppp and a kernel configured with CONFIG_USB_SERIAL, the driver for your device, most likely CONFIG_USB_SERIAL_OPTION in this case, and CONFIG_PPP installed; in short a Debian standard kernel plus network-manager with its recommended packages does the trick). So why write about this at all? Simple: if you have KDE SC 4.7 installed (from experimental), then you need to recompile networkmanagement, the source package building the Plasma widget for controlling the NetworkManager under KDE, as there have been incompatible changes (see e.g KDE bug #282453 for one related bug), which cause a crash after PIN entry.

To do that, just follow the few easy steps below:

  1. Download the networkmanagement source package: dget -d http://cdn.debian.net/debian/pool/main/n/networkmanagement/networkmanagement_0.9.0-1.dsc (please note, that the version available in Debian might have changed, check the latest version on the PTS page).
  2. Build the source package. (Make sure you build in an experimental chroot, otherwise you end up with the same binary.)
  3. Install the binary package(s) you just built (most likely plasma-widget-networkmanagement and maybe the debug package).
  4. Restart your KDE session.
Permalink | debian, kde.
18th January 2012 15:36 (GMT)
Announcement: new yaWP packages available (0.4.2)

Just a short announcement: yaWP 0.4.2 is available from Debian Sid and should enter Testing (Wheezy) in ten days. One of the main changes (compatibility with KDE SC 4.7+) isn't affecting Debian yet, but the fixes to e.g. the Wunderground ION are nice to have (no matter which wheather frontend you use).

Thanks to Ulf, the current main upstream developer, for keeping yaWP the (in my partial opinion) best weather Plasmoid out there!

Now a little request to the various users around the world: It'd be nice if some of you would upload a screenshot of your yaWP instance to screenshots.debian.net in order to get a little variety on the package page for plasma-widget-yawp. Other themes or usage in the bar would be most welcome.

Permalink | debian, kde, yawp.
15th January 2012 16:00 (GMT)
Note about building Wine 1.3.37 onwards from source

I just uploaded my unofficial wine-unstable packages to dev.carbon-project.org (I skipped 1.3.36 over the holiday period). These new packages come with an important and often-requested change: they use GCC 4.5 to build the binaries, this works around an upstream GCC bug, see WineHQ bug report #22053 for further details. Unfortunately that clashes with the recent multi-archification on Debian and can lead to FTBFS in an automated build environment (like pbuilder would set up). The reason is the missing symlink from /usr/include/asm to /usr/include/DEB_BUILD_MULTIARCH/asm which then leads to GCC not finding e.g. errno.h (see #638418 for further details). That gives you the following options to make your build work again:

  • Change the source package back to using the default GCC (ie. 4.6 at the moment).
  • Modify your base.tgz for pbuilder and add the symlink manually.
  • Modify the build environment "on the fly". You can either do this with a script in your hook directory for pbuilder (see pbuilder(8) on how to do that) or by setting up the symlink manually while pbuilder is installing the dependencies for wine-unstable (the last option is fragile and requires "good timing").

Otherwise you can also use the pre-built binary packages.

Permalink | debian, wine.
6th January 2012 17:12 (GMT)
Skanlite 0.8 in Debian's experimental suite

In case you haven't heard of Skanlite let me give you a quick overview: Skanlite is a really simple scanning application for KDE 4 (if you used Kooka with KDE 3 you'll probably be happy with Skanlite too). It doesn't offer too much options besides preview and real scans except some basic colour corrections, a selection whether you want colour scans or not and whatever options the SANE driver for your scanner offers. But then it doesn't offer too much options, finds your scanners automatically (if SANE can find them) and suffices most needs.

With the basic "what does it do" question out of the way, I'd like to point out, that version 0.8 just entered Debian's experimental suite. The reason for the upload to experimental instead of Sid is, that 0.8 needs a method in KSaneWidget, that was added in the 4.7 branch. Sid has only the 4.6 branch. As soon as KDE 4.7 becomes available in Sid, I'll upload a version of Skanlite to unstable.

If you want to give Skanlite 0.8 a try, you need to upgrade most parts of your KDE installation to the 4.7 versions in experimental. So be careful not to break anything (on the other hand 4.7 has been working quite nicely for me so far), maybe try it out in a virtual machine or something similar.

Permalink | debian, kde, skanlite.
18th December 2011 10:37 (GMT)
Miscellaneous stuff #1

This year is in its last throes and a few things, that don't really warrant their own blog post, have piled up here. To get them out of the door before 2012 starts, I'd like to go over them in the next few lines.

First: there seem to be a group of rather cheap people who want to have the Humble Indie Bundle #4, but don't like to give at least 0.01 USD. Really guys, you seem to have enough money for a fast-enough computer and a (broadband) internet connection (otherwise downloading the circa 2.8 GB of games won't be a lot of fun), but you don't have the 0.01 USD to spare? If you don't like closed-source games (a sentiment I can truly understand, in fact, that was something I really pondered before buying) then just don't play them. But searching for a torrent for the HIB#4 while it is still being sold to just avoid paying the minimal fee, I can't understand. Now, some might wonder how I know this. The easy answer is, I blogged about buying the HIB#4 and mentioned, that I downloaded the games through a torrent (you can choose between direct downloads and torrents on your "login page") and a lot of people started hitting the blog entry with a referrer from a search engine, showing they'd searched for "humble indie bundle 4 torrent". Please make a decision: don't play the games or if you wish to, then pay something. The people behind those games make it easy and, in comparison to many other game studios, a fair offer. That should be worth something.

For those of you who loved Josephine, there is a new awesome piece of art, Creative Commons licensed, by An-U (German homepage). The title (and the drawing) are derived from the equally awesome Katzenjammer song "On the Devil's Back" (in case you're still looking for a present, you might want to consider one of their CDs or a ticket to their next concert near you).

Then, I wanted to thank all those people, who donated something over the course of 2011! Thanks a lot, especially for showing me, that you liked my services/work enough to even consider a donation! It means a lot to me, to know this.

At year's end everybody is doing statistics and while I won't bore you with long in-depth analysis, I thought I throw out, what the top posts/things where (so far). Maybe you find yourself represented in there or maybe you find something new. In no particular order:

I hope your 2011 was a good year and I wish you all the best for 2012! I'm pretty sure Debian will continue to grow, but there is also a lot of work ahead, maybe you can join the effort and make Debian that much more awesome!

Permalink | creativecommons, debian, games, off-topic.
16th December 2011 13:21 (GMT)
Humble Indie Bundle #4 rocks!

Yesterday I bought my copy of the Humble Indie Bundle #4. And while the donation part is a good thing, I directed most of my payment to the developers of the games to allow them to make more games, which run natively on Linux.

I haven't played much yet (no time) and just tried out the game for which the Torrent finished first (Bit.Trip.Runner). The nice thing about that game is, it is available as a Debian package, the not-so-nice thing about said package is, that it installs stuff in places where it shouldn't and has tons of wrong file properties like ownership of the files... The Depends line is also more or less pointless, as it just lists the needed packages, but not the minimal versions. Hopefully these things will be fixed in a future package version.

Apart from that, the game in its retro look is sort of addictive. Yes, it's "just" simple Jump'n'Run, but it is a lot of fun to play. Partly because you "play" a simple melody, when you clear obstacles and collect the gold and other goodies.

Anyway, long story short, if you want a few nice DRM-free games running natively on Linux (in my case with the Mesa3D drivers for my Radeon), I can recommend this bundle. And maybe the games get open-sourced in the future as has been done previously. None of these games are so called AAA titles, but that doesn't mean they can't provide some fun hours. And to top it off you don't need Wine or something else to run them on your Linux system.

Permalink | debian, games.
16th December 2011 13:03 (GMT)
QApt was accepted into Debian's archives

Today QApt was accepted into Debian's archives. It took me some time, in fact a lot more than I hoped it'd take, to get the final pieces into place [UPDATE](the inital work was done by José, the co-maintainer of QApt)[/UPDATE], but now you're able to use QApt as a simple-to-use wrapper around the whole APT, DPKG and Xapian stack. The target users are C++ programs using the Qt framework. The use cases range from graphical package manager to allowing easy updates of certain packages from within another program.

My interest in QApt comes from me being co-maintainer of Kingston, the update notification Plasmoid for KDE. We have a wishlist bug open against Kingston, requesting the addition of a "do update" button. We could have used the update-manager infrastructure, but both Sune and myself weren't too thrilled with that. Luckily there is an alternative in the form of QApt. I'll hope I find some time during the next weeks to implement the update mechanism for Kingston.

The next things to come for QApt will be minor cleanups, already waiting in Git, a new upstream bug fix release (no date is set yet) and a multiarchification (already partly done in a local branch).

Permalink | debian, kde, qapt.
12th November 2011 14:44 (GMT)
New Greasemonkey script available for WotC's Magic section

No matter whether you're a professional or hobby player, if you play Magic: The Gathering, you certainly visit Wizards of the Coast's homepage from time to time. And while other parts of the WotC's page have been made unusable without ECMAScript enabled, the MTG part can be used without it – mostly. The one part, that didn't work (and I needed) was card links. They have some ECMAScript to fetch the image from the Gatherer and overlay that on the current page, if you hover over a card link. If you click, it's again some script, that opens a Gatherer window. I just want all card links to be plain links pointing to the respective entries in the rather lightweight magiccards.info card search, which displays all relevant data in a compact layout.

Today I finally got around to throw the ten or so lines of ECMAScript together, Greasemonkey needs to make that happen. If you like to give it a try, you can download it from my Greasemonkey script collection (direct link for the impatient: wotc_with_noscript_and_card_links.user.js).

As an additional note: I'd like to point out, that there are other scripts available from userscripts.org which can do the same. But all those scripts did a lot else (like using jQuery to fetch the image on mouse over from magiccards.info).

Permalink | debian, greasemonkey.
4th November 2011 18:03 (GMT)
Greasemonkey scripts on dev.carbon-project.org

If you value your privacy, you might want to use a search engine like Ixquick which tries to protect your privacy. But if you value your privacy you probably have NoScript installed and have it hide <noscript> elements, as many pages hide tracking methods for users with deactivated JS in such tags. That makes every result page (but the first) inaccessible, because Ixquick has its non-JS navigation in noscript tags too. Now you could either activate JavaScript for Ixquick or work around this problem.

Thanks to Greasemonkey and a little script I wrote, working around this issue is really easy.

At this point, there is only this one script on dev.carbon-project.org, but in case I write another one, it'll end up there too. ;-)

Permalink | debian, greasemonkey.

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