Friday, 19 December 2008

Fedora 8 and FireFox 3

Fedora 8 comes with FireFox 2.x.x out the box. It seems policy of whoever decides these things is that yum should be restricted to the same major version of software as first installed. So it's FireFox 2 only on FC8.

Unless... Some kind sole creates a repo for FC8 that includes FireFox 3.

So.... as root...
wget rpm -Uvh remi-release-8.rpm yum whatprovides firefox

At this point I get a list containing only FireFox 2.x.x versions. Quick check in /etc/yum.repos.d/remi.repo and set enabled=1 instead of 0.

Retry yum whatprovides firefox this time it picks up both ver2 and 3.

Now I can install Firefox 3.x.x from this remi.repo:

yum install firefox-3.0.5-1.fc8.remi.i386

A quick restart and add-on check and we're away, all FF3'd up :)

Monday, 8 December 2008

Upgrading FedoraCore8

My Linux distro is Fedora.
I am currently running 8 on my main machine which, now that 10 is out, is coming to end of supported life.

I've been running FC9 on my experimental machine (laptop) for a while and quite happy with the stability, so have decided that the main machine can be moved to FC9. FC10 is still a bit young yet to go on my main machine!

So I get hold of the handy preUpgrade GUI thingy that should allow me to select a Fedora version and auto magically install a new version. Unfortunately it seems that tool only gives the option to move to the newest and shiniest version (10) not any version you want.

So back to the drawing board and find another way to upgrade while specifying I want FC9 not 10.

Thursday, 4 December 2008

As per previous post, Banshee wasn't showing my USB thumb drives properly (well, at all really!).

Added a file called .is_audio_player to the root of the drive, unmount it. Re-insert it in the USB slot and presto, like magic I can now drag/drop tunes in Banshee between my library and the thumb drive :)

Monday, 20 October 2008

mp3 stuff sorted but file write oddness

I now have an mp3/music manager that I can use to encode mp3s while automagically downloading track/artist details AND it saves the info tags correctly!

Rather than fight with RythmBox I tried (at someones recommendation) another system called Banshee. Seems to do everything I want wight now, though it did take a bit of tweaking to get it behaving as I want. So that's my music sorted.

The plan originally was to use mp3s for compatability with car stereo, so got a fistful of USB thumbsticks for that. Oddly Banshee doesn't seem to pick up the drive when I plugin it in. I had expected it to appear as a device the same as my Nokia phone did when I plugged that in and Rhythmbox was running (not tried phone yet with Banshee). I could then use drag/drop to write to the drive.

Select the tracks in the trak listing ctrl-c, and ctrl-p into USB drive open in a file explorer window. That seems to work.

The first time I tried this approach it didn't quite work. With Windows, once the 'copying files' dialog had gone I could pull the USB drive and it would be fine. Seems with Linux if I don't explicitly unmount the drive (in one of the file explorer menus) it doesn't complete the file write properly so I cannot use the files that had apparently been written to the device.

A recent system update has now caused a warning dialog to open after writing files though reminding me I need to unmount properly before unplugging the device. That will be useful for peeps like me moving to Linuxas a full-time desktop solution from 'doze.

Friday, 12 September 2008

Ryhthmbox and ID3 tags

So I have Rythmbox creating mp3s at last :)

When I stick a CD in, off it goes to the magical interweb and fetches loads of meta data about the CD it has found in the drive... artist, album, track names year etc etc.

"Lovely" says I, assuming the work was done. If only it were that simple.

Turns out that while creating the mp3 files, from a CD that the software has found meta data for, the metadata is 'lost' and does not get written to the ID3 tags of the mp3 files. So I have to go back and edit them after ripping with EasyTag.

Now Easytag is a nice piece of software that makes writing the mp3 tags easy indeed, but that's not the point. I shouldn't have to use another program to fill in the tags when Ryhtmbox has already retrieved the appropriate data.

Apparently there is a flag that is available for use with Rhythembox (--enable-tag-writing) but it's a compile time tag. As Rythmbox was installed out-the-box at install time with Fedora I have no idea at all wether that flag is switched on and Rhythembox FAILs or whether the option is off and how to switch it on.

Blogged with the Flock Browser

Thursday, 11 September 2008

It lives!

Really exciting mp3 encoder that is!
I have been trying to get Rhythmbox to rip CDs to mp3 for use in the car for a good few hours sans-fortune.

After numerous attempts to manage audio profiles through the gnome interface, everytime I try to encode to mp3 all I would get was .flac files. Could encode to Ogg fine, but doubt that would work with the portable devices Iwant the music for.

With some help from these guys:
I got to understand what should be happening... rythmbox uses gnome audio profiles to encode audio, those audio profiles refer to software on the machine to do the encoding.

In order to encode mp3 I needed to get hold of a library or two for gstreamer and make sure Lame was installed. I still couldn't persuade the system to play nicely for me.

I now had two sets of profiles, one under the /etc tree and one under the ~/ tree. Which does what? I assume the user profiles would override those define in the system tree.

Ultimately that is correct, though only proven once I followed some instructions here:

That is now stored as a shell script in case it all goes south again!

Thanks due to this guy.

Stuff that worked for me:
mkdir ~/.gconf/system/gstreamer/0.10/audio/profiles/MP3@32@128Kb
gconftool-2 -t bool --set /system/gstreamer/0.10/audio/profiles/MP3@32@128Kb/active 1
gconftool-2 -t str --set /system/gstreamer/0.10/audio/profiles/MP3@32@128Kb/description "Encodes at 128Kb (variable bitrate) via LAME MP3 encoder"
gconftool-2 -t str --set /system/gstreamer/0.10/audio/profiles/MP3@32@128Kb/extension "mp3"
gconftool-2 -t str --set /system/gstreamer/0.10/audio/profiles/MP3@32@128Kb/name "LAME MP3 128Kb"
gconftool-2 -t str --set /system/gstreamer/0.10/audio/profiles/MP3@32@128Kb/pipeline "audio/x-raw-int,rate=44100,channels=2 ! lame name=enc vbr=0 bitrate=128"
mkdir ~/.gconf/system/gstreamer/0.10/audio/profiles/MP3@32@192Kb
gconftool-2 -t bool --set /system/gstreamer/0.10/audio/profiles/MP3@32@192Kb/active 1
gconftool-2 -t str --set /system/gstreamer/0.10/audio/profiles/MP3@32@192Kb/description "Encodes at 192Kb (variable bitrate) via LAME MP3 encoder"
gconftool-2 -t str --set /system/gstreamer/0.10/audio/profiles/MP3@32@192Kb/extension "mp3"
gconftool-2 -t str --set /system/gstreamer/0.10/audio/profiles/MP3@32@192Kb/name "LAME MP3 192Kb"
gconftool-2 -t str --set /system/gstreamer/0.10/audio/profiles/MP3@32@192Kb/pipeline "audio/x-raw-int,rate=44100,channels=2 ! lame name=enc vbr=0 bitrate=192"
gconftool-2 -t list --list-type string --set /system/gstreamer/0.10/audio/global/profile_list "[MP3@32@192Kb,MP3@32@128Kb,voicelossy,voicelossless,cdlossy,cdlossless]"

Tuesday, 26 August 2008

IE (Internet Explorer)

In my enthusiasm to move full-time to Linux I missed a crucial element of my system: IE!
Kinda useful to have for testing my sites (as I discovered recently when I used another machine to check the notoriously awkward in IE float properties of <img>!).

Yes, I know IE is a MS/Windows product

I've now got IEs4Linux running now on FC8 sans-problem.
Had a few issues to start with, first off IE7 crashed the installer. Untick the option for IE7 and it installed no problem.

Launch it from command line, and I get some version of IE seeming to appear.

Apparently IE4linux runs IE5 & 6.

Couple of issues though -
Seems to open a window with no address bar/menus/navigation buttons, is that normal?!
How do I specify which IE to launch?
No IE 7 (is 8 out yet?).

I need alternative way of using IE7+. Is the only option a windows box (kinda defeats the whole point of moving to Linux!) or is there some other option?

VM of some sort running windows?

Ideas on a postcard please!
Blogged with the Flock Browser

Saturday, 23 August 2008

IE running on Linux?

Tonight I was tinkering with a website ( and it occurred to me that I should probably test with IE.

Now since I have moved my full-time platform to Fedora Linux this would prove awkward as it doesn't have IE installed (duh!).

Thankfully, some folks that understand WINE a whole lot better than me have kindly created this page of instructions here:

Ran through that not a problem. Until I ran the GUI IE installer and selected IE7 to be installed, it died. Tried again without IE7 option ticked and I now have a working IE. :)

Strange thing is, it doesn't seem to have menus, buttons or address bar. So how to actually use it is anyones guess!

Monday, 30 June 2008

Picassa issues

Following on from the Picassa bother in previous posts, last night I added the missing line to the config file as directed in the linked forum posts.

Naturally being Linux I didn't need feel the need to reboot so wont find out if it's worked for a bit. Probably at the weekend in fact after my next photoshoot!
Blogged with the Flock Browser

Sunday, 29 June 2008

SVN botheration...

I'm trying to persuade SVN to run on my FC8 PC so that I can keep my laptop codebase upto date easily so I can do some coding on that in front of the Mrs getting upset I spend all my time coding in the other room!

I'd hate to try this on Windows, this sort f thing is where Linux excels, but....

I've tried to follow instructions from here:

With some changes, but using the commands he gives.

When I browse to where I expected to see my repository (http://localhost:3690/svn/trunk) I get some text that suggests SVN is there and alive:
( success ( 1 2 ( ANONYMOUS ) ( edit-pipeline svndiff1 absent-entries ) ) )

Now when I try to access SVN from Eclipse to do an import into SVN of existing project code I was expecting some authentication error message (I can't remember where SVN users are specified in Eclipse for connections), but instead get:
Error while creating module: org.tigris.subversion.javahl.ClientException: RA layer request failed
svn: PROPFIND request failed on '/trunk'
svn: PROPFIND of '/trunk': could not read status line: connection was closed by server (http://localhost:3690)

Is that error about user credentials failing authentication or have I not set something up correctly?

Can anyone point me at any other decent tutorials on getting SVN working (with notes on Eclipse would be good ).

Sunday, 22 June 2008

Picasa seems to be fixed...

...kind of :/

Following instructions here:

Reffered to from the discussion here:

It seems Wine had the problem which can be fixed with the instructions given above, unfortunately where the instructions say change the value of something in some config file, that variable doesn't seem to exist so for now I'll stick to issuing the command as I need to.
Blogged with the Flock Browser



A very promising first few months with Linux is starting to fall apart.

I've been tring to sort out realplayer plugin for my browser so I can listen to BBC 'listen again' stuff with no luck. So, thinking it was time to get away from things that are stressing me out I thought I'd have a go at sorting out my latest batch of photos.... some chance!

Seems now that when I try and start Picasa it fails abismaly to start without and error, or even any notification it failed to start.

I think Picasa runs under WINE rather than as a Linux program so it may be that WINE is having issues rather than Picasa itself. Where to start sorting this one out then?

Maybe I should try the Windows approach.. uninstall/reinstall, but I suspect that wont fix it :(
Blogged with the Flock Browser

Sunday, 1 June 2008


So I finally got round to looking into getting my printer setup and working.
It's a HP 3310 WiFi all-in-one jobby, nice machine. Only hope I can get it working under Fedora Core now!

I have switched off auto yum updates as on those occasions when my internet connection went down my computer would take ages to get going. Seems yum trying to connect (but failing) was the cause of the delay.

So run an update to make sure I'm up to date before looking to install printer gubbins.

Seems hplip is what I want:

But before installing that, I think I'll check with yum that it doesn't know where to get it first:
[root@yeti ~]# yum whatprovides *hplip*

Seems yum doe know about hplip, results from aboove:
fedora                    100% |=========================| 2.1 kB    00:00    
adobe-linux-i386          100% |=========================|  951 B    00:00    
updates                   100% |=========================| 2.3 kB    00:00    
filelists.sqlite.bz2      100% |=========================| 5.8 MB    00:23    
hpijs.i386 : HP Printer Drivers
hplip.i386 : HP Linux Imaging and Printing Project
hplip-gui.i386 : HPLIP graphical tools
hplip-gui.i386 : HPLIP graphical tools
hplip.i386 : HP Linux Imaging and Printing Project
hpijs.i386 : HP Printer Drivers
hpijs.i386 : HP Printer Drivers
hplip.i386 : HP Linux Imaging and Printing Project

Of those, only hplip-gui.i386 was not already on my system, so added it (# yum install hplip-gui.i386).

Now to get the computer talking to printer using those packages.
Tried launching the GUI setup from the HP item in the fedora menu, but that failed with an error about su/sudo so figure it must be a permission thing. So rather than try and sort it properly, I return to the command line....

[dafoot@yeti ~]$ su -
[root@yeti ~]# hp-setup

That started a GUI that took me through the process and successfully printed a test page. It failed to detect my printer automatically though, but once I told the GUI setup the IP for the printer, the rest was straight forward.

Blogged with the Flock Browser

Saturday, 10 May 2008

That was a mistake!

In my friggin about with the system to get DVDs playing (see previous post) it would appear somehow I've managed to break BBC liveplayer support :(

Flock also seems to refuse to accept that Youtube contains videos. Largely because it hasn't figured out how to play flash content...

Found a new headache...

Something that is taken for granted by so many in Windows land looks like it may cause headaches in Linux land.

Apparently Linux distros don't ship with DVD playing software by default, something to do with regionality/encryption/copyright stuff.

There are plenty of players out there it seems though...

Totem (installed by default)
gXine (Gnome GUI version of xine)

...are all now installed on my machine, but still unable to play the DVD I have to hand (Red Dwarf). While trying to open the DVD for playback with command line mplayer I noticed a comment about something not being supported by the graphics card and causing it to die. So I aquired new graphics card drivers from ATI website (radeon 9600 card), installed painlessly and ran the auto config tool.

Now once X restarts hopefully I will be using the new drivers....or it'll all die horribly. See you on the flip side!

I've also now added Flock. A browser, based on Firefox with a bunch of extra bits and bobs. To get it working I needed to install and extra file with yum ([root@yeti ~]# yum install and so now I can run Flock from /usr/local/flock/flock.

Not ideal, so a right click on the Gnome panel and a bit of input later and I have a working 'open Flock' button on my Panel. Just a shame Flock didn't come with an installer that added it to menus etc for me.

Saturday, 5 April 2008

Finally sorted BBC media player

My Fedora Core 8 was refusing to player the BBC radio feeds as I like to do.

Rather than fighting with the Windows Media format and getting mplayer working as a browser plugin I went for the Realplayer approach. Mostly because I've associated Realplayer with streaming media longer than I have WMA.

So after a little googling for answers I came across a tutorial here...

Only difference being where the tutorial talks about removing mplayer-plugin files I removed the lib-totem files instead (that was the player Firefox tried to open the media stream in without success).

Didn't work at first, but a quick Firefox restart and I can now play BBC radio live :) Not tried the listen again shows yet, but I can't see it'll be a problem. Unless the BBC use a different format!

Friday, 21 March 2008

Gimp, UFRAW and ARW

Lots of strange names, al about cameras and photography this time.

ARW is the file extension given to RAW files from my A100 Sony camera. On windows I was using a free image editor called Gimp and seeing as it came bundled with my Fedora 8 installation it seemed sensible to continue using it on Linux.

I was using a program called UFRaw to read the ARW(RAW) files and import them into gimp, but this wasn't included in the distro so need to retrieve it.

# yum whatprovides ufraw

Produced no results, turns out the freshmeat rpm repository wasn't working, so add enabled=0 to the appropriate file (/etc/yum.repos.d/freshrpms.repo) and try again. This time yum picked up ufraw so it was to be a painless install.

Checked with and it seems there would be a couple more packages I needed....

So, one yum install later (as root)...

# yum install ufraw ufraw-common ufraw-gimp

...and now when I double click an ARW file, Gimp attempts to open it succesfully (well, actually the UFraw Gimp plugin opens it, but who cares - it works :) ).

Thursday, 13 March 2008

mp3s + phone

After discussing the mp3 thing with another Linux bod, I tried Amarok as that is what he was using to sync properly.

A quick play with it and decided it probably wasn't the approach I wanted, however in the process of following instructions somewhere online for using Amarok with the N95 I discovered the idea of telling the media player where the portable device is.

I wasn't expecting to have to do this as Windows software would generally figure it out for you. Anyway, /media/N95_storage_card was added to the Rythmbox config and away we go.

Still don't get syncing, but rather I connect the phone and do the following:
1. create a playlist of tracks I want on phone
2. select the playlist in the left pane of Rythmbox - this displays the mp3s on the right
3. highlight all the listed mp3s and drag on the device/N95 icon on the left pane
4. wait....

First time I did this a progress indicator started. I unplugged the phone after 100% but only got half an hour of music on my phone. I guess that progress indicator was a progress made in queing the tunes rather than actually transferring.

So while I haven't actually got a load of music on my phone yet, I do think I know how now :)

Sunday, 2 March 2008

Today I discovered to wonderful world of customising the panels in Gnome. So after lots of fiddling and panels everywhere I've got something behaving in a way I like. Lovely.

I'm easily distracted! The original aim was to get the music player (Rythmbox) to write to an external media, namely my phone, so I can easily dump a load of music on it before heading out to gym or whatever. Not as easy as I had hoped. While I've got RhythmBox managing all my mp3s and fiddled about with playlists etc I dont seem able to get it to write them to the phone.

Fedora recognises the phone and pops up the explorer window quite happily so that's not the problem... it seems this audio manager/player can't write tracks to an external device. That can't be right?!

Sunday, 24 February 2008


Tried plugging in my Sony Alpha 100 to download some pics, but nothing happend. No detection of the dvice it seemed, so tried plugging into the memory card reader directly. Appears that isn't understood by Fedora Core 8 either.

Just on the off chance, I tried plugging into one of the mainboard USB ports on the rear on the PC, that worked and up popped the 'import images' tool which was useful in importing the images.

The memory card reader/front USB I was trying to use is connected to an internal USB header on the motherboard, it seems something isn't right with that rather than the Fedora installation not understanding the camera. So all is well :)

Monday, 18 February 2008

Yum loving

Decided to leave the WiFi card thing for a bit... I don't *need* it sorting so it can wait. Maybe I'll just keep eyes open for a one with 'proper' Linux support.

In the mean time, a bit of tinkering and I've got my Apache http working with PHP stuff.

Isn't yum great?!
Tell this program I want xyz, and off it jolly well goes and fetches and installs them automagically.

So a 'yum install php-xml' installed the php xml libraries. Brilliant.

Same for mplayer, as the Totem player that ships with the install doesn't have a lot of codecs installed. While easy to add them, it costs. So now I need to figure out where to change the default player for video files to mplayer instead of Totem.

Then I need to think wether I need Totem at all.

Saturday, 16 February 2008

A bit more digging and it seems that maybe MadWifi isn't what I need....trying to install some other drivers...

From lspci:
01:08.0 Network controller: Texas Instruments ACX 111 54Mbps Wireless Interface

A bit of googling leads me to believe I've actually been trying to use MadWifi when I should be using a different driver (acx111).
Having added the ATrpm repo to yum I downloaded the MadWifi stuff as instructed but still no sign of the device in the network control widget.

So I try following the guide (for dummies) here....

- svn checkout
- make
- make install

So far, so good :)

Then I need to use modprobe to install it apparently... I thought I just had with the 'make install'? :/
Apparently /sbin/ isn't on the PATH for root by default, so added that to the .bash_profile for root and try again, this time it seems to work.

Following the instructions in the page above I issue a command that is suppose to create a handle for the WiFi card...

[root@yeti madwifi]# wlanconfig ath0 create wlandev wifi0 wlanmode sta

For the system to return with 'wlanconfig: ioctl: No such device'. That can't be good :(

Tuesday, 12 February 2008

re. WiFi card

Shouldn't be too hard then...

Just need to find how to add repositories to the Yum conf and hopefully it'll deal with it quite easily.

It's finally happened

After a number of failiures over previous months that I have recovered from, my RAID-0 setup failed once too often for me to tolerate. Given that every time it happens I have to dig about for a floppy drive in order to get the windows installer to recognise the SATA drives. So I figured next time it got into that situation I'd get a new disc and rather than install WinXP, take the full plunge to Linux.

I have been experimenting with Linux for quite a few years, lately it seems much more
likely to suit my needs as a main system. I have been using Fedora Core 6 for a few years now on my laptop, but with WinXP on the main PC.

So, which distro to use?
As most of my trials have been with versions of Redhat or Fedora since RH6, I figured that was the way to go. So my PC is now running on FC8.

I've heard some people whining about Fedora recently, so thought I'd share my experiences, trials and tribulations with anyone that is interested. Not that I expect many!

Installation went well on my system, I guess for comparisons sake and to put comments of speed into perspective, I ought to outline my system:

ABit NF7-s board (athlon 3200+ barton)
2x512Mb 400MHz dual channel paired corsair RAM
SATA 160Gb drive that houses the OS and working data
IDE 120Gb drive - was the backup drive for my windows installation and will continue in this function
Radeon 9600 256 (or might be 512)Mb graphics card with standard d-sub and DVI outputs
PCI wireless card D-Link DWL G520

Only problem, the wireless card wasn't understood by the installer. It didn't error, just no driver present so will have to install that separately in due course.

With the exception of the WiFi card, all hardware was detected and worked out of the box.

Next step, ask yum to do it's magical updaty goodness.... half a Gb of download later and I'm bang up to date. Though I was forced to use the command line to use yum (su to root), for some reason the button on the panel didn't work. Possibly a permissions thing as logged in as user not root?

I'll try the update button when logged in as root another time.

OpenOffice 2.3 came with the OS so no need to find/install an Office suite later.
Picasa (Googles image management software) installed flawlessly.

Tried playing a couple of videos, the player (Totem) realised it didn't have the correct codecs and told me where to get them, I haven't yet done. Some vids played out of the box without requiring codecs.

Certainly better behaviour than the effort of Windows Media Player which just fails with a message about needing a codec but no info about what codec it is that's needed.