Archive for the ‘Linux’ Category

Text editing in Firefox

Friday, May 25th, 2007

I’ve often been annoyed with the editing possibilities in Firefox, but now I have found a couple of useful add-ons which helps quite a bit.

The first, Resizeable Textarea, does as it says. It makes all text areas, that is, multiline text input boxes, resizeable. Place the mouse over the edge of the text area, and the area can be resized interactively, just like in most window managers. No more editing long texts in four lines windows πŸ™‚

It’s All Text screenshotThe other add-on is It’s All Text, which adds a small “edit” button to each text area. Click that button and the text in the area is opened in an external editor where you often have much better editing functions than you have in Firefox. The text in the text area is synchronised with the text in the editor automatically when you save the file, and, of course, when you exit the editor.


Monday, March 26th, 2007

I’ve been using dpkg, apt-get and apt-cache for a long time, but since I got a new laptop with a fresh install of Debian testing I have been playing with new toys.

One is aptitude.

I found the curses-based interface obnoxious, but after some time I came to like the command line interface. It has some very nice abilities.

It integrates debfoster functionality as it automatically uninstalls unused dependencies of packages being removed. That’ll be a great help in maintaining a clean uncluttered system.

The search function is really useful, adding a lot of possibilities that used to require several programs. Here are few examples:

Search for all packages whose description matches “syncml”:

aptitude search ~dsyncml

Search for installed packages depending on “rsync”:

aptitude search ~Drsync~i

The search patterns are regular expressions, so the above will actually search for an installed package depending on some other package whose name contains the substring “rsync”.

Simpel terms search on the package names, such as:

aptitude search '^rdiff'

Aptitude has a silly little easter egg. Try “aptitude moo” and then add “-v” options one at a time.

Blog moved to WordPress

Sunday, March 18th, 2007

I finally got my act together at moved this blog to WordPress. There’s still a few lose ends, some uploaded pictures are missing and will have to be added by hand, and the top graphic needs replacing.

It’ll probably make a mess of those places using the feeds from here. Sorry about that.

Printing photos on a HP Color LaserJet 2550

Saturday, November 18th, 2006

This command prints nicely coloured photos on the laser printer:

lp -o scaling=100 -o landscape
 -o PageRegion=A4 -o PageSize=A4
 -o HPOption_PaperPolicy=Scale -o HPEdgeControl=Off
 -o HPColorSmart=Automatic -o HPRGBEmulation=Vivid
 -o MediaType=Glossy photo.jpg

The media type will probably have to be adjusted to match the paper used.

This command will show all the available options:

lpoptions -l

Gnome desktop links open in epiphany

Tuesday, August 15th, 2006

At some point recently desktop links have started to open in Epiphany, no matter what I do.

I have set Firefox as my preferred browser and I have checked all entries in /etc/alternatives, and everything says ‘firefox’. Still, a link on my desktop will always open in Epiphany, whether I have Firefox running or not.

I have no idea about how to fix it πŸ™

UPDATE: It appears desktop links open with the default handler for the mime type “text/html”. Change that to something else and the desktop links will open with that handler. Thanks, Bin Guo.

Streaming MP3s to Itunes

Sunday, April 2nd, 2006

I have much of my legally purchased music on the computer, like most people these days. I have it as MP3s and share it between linux computers with NFS and with my Nokia 770 Internet Tablet using an Apache2 module.

I recently bought a Mac mini computer, in part with the intent of using it as a media centre in my living room, and I naturally want to play all my music on it, preferably without having to maintain a copy of everything on the mini.

Itunes can share music libraries through DAAP – Digital Audio Access Protocol – and various instances of Itunes find each other using BonJour – or ZeroConf – which is called Avahi on Linux.

Rhythmbox can share its music library using Avahi and DAAP but it really didn’t work that well, and I don’t want to be logged in and having Rhythmbox running all time, so I can listen to music in the living room.

Fortunately, there is mt-daapd, a multi-threaded DAAP daemon.

It works as a DAAP server, and advertises itself via BonJour, so Itunes clients on the local network can see it.

Until now it has worked very well.

It’s not i Debian, but a .deb can be downloaded directly the sourceforge project page. All that is needed is to download it, install it with

dpkg -i mt-daapd_0.2.4-1_i386.deb

edit the configuration file in /etc/mt-daapd.conf, mostly to tell it where the music is and under what name it should be published to Itunes. Then it can be started with

/etc/init.d/mt-daapd start

and you’re ready to listen to all you music on the mac.

UPDATE 2006-04-15 12:19

It still works well. The only nuisance after some time of use is that you cannot make playlists via iTunes, because iTunes seens the music as belonging to someone else.

With the above setup the daemon isn’t started automatically at boot. I had to run this command to achieve this:

update-rc.d mt-daapd defaults

Then it startes at boot and is shut down correctly with the system.

Xprint font nuisance

Friday, March 31st, 2006

Xprint has some font issues which causes letters to run together in a rather unreadable way, a bit like in ancient greek where they didn’t write the spaces between the words πŸ™‚


The solution is to remove the copy of the PostScript fonts Xprint installs for itself

rm -fr /usr/share/Xprint/xserver/C/print/models/PSdefault/fonts*

and restart xprint

/etc/init.d/xprint restart

It still isn’t beautiful but its a lot more readable

Checking Debian hardware compatibility

Sunday, February 26th, 2006

This site is absolutely great for finding the right drivers and checking hardware compatibility:

Just paste the output of lspci -n into the form and it’ll tell what is supported and by which drivers. It couldn’t be easier.

Citrix client for Debian

Thursday, February 23rd, 2006

I’ve been running the Citrix client for linux for a while and it works quite well, even though I have a hard time getting used to having Windows windows on my display. It feels unclean πŸ™‚ but its better than running Windows to get the job done.

Anyway, it doesn’t take all that much. Download the client from, its a file name linuxx86.tar.gz, and unpack the archive in an empty directory. Run the script setupwfc as root and follow the instructions.

The programs and libraries are installed in /usr/lib/ICAClient/.

It didn’t work out of the box for me. The programs are linked with Motif libraries and an older version of the X11 Athena Widgets. I therefore had to install the two packages before the programs would start:

apt-get install  libxaw6 libmotif3

When starting applications from my employers nFuse setup I got a message saying more or less “You have chosen not to trust the Thawte Premium Server CA”. Apparently the Citrix client needs copies of the server certificates, so I had to do a

cp -a /etc/ssl/certs/Thawte_Premium_Server_CA.pem

and all was well (except for having to run Windows πŸ™‚

Softphones – twinkle and linphone

Monday, January 30th, 2006

I managed to damage the IP-telephony adapter I used to use, by plugging it to another units power supply, so I’ve been looking for something else, at least for the short term.

I have tried the two SIP based softphones Twinkle and Linphone.

Twinkle is a KDE application so it sits a bit awkward on my Gnome desktop, and gave a lot of warnings at startup, probably due the missing KDE environment. It also dragged in some 65+Mb of dependencies, as I don’t normally have alle the KDE libraries installed.

The softphone worked well, though. All I had to do was to enter my VoIP providers info as a SIP proxy, and I could place call to normal phones without any problems.

Linphone is a console and/or Gnome application with a much simpler interface than Twinkle. The Linphone docs talk mostly about making direct calls to other SIP phones, but again I just had to enter my VoIP providers info and I could place and receive calls immediately.

Linphone’s Gnome GUI looks like it could need some love, but the application does its job, and in the end thats what counts.

Its really a great experience when something that seems rather complicated turns out to be so easy.

Being used to Gnome I dumped Twinkle and kept Linphone.