just another web log

27 Jul 2008 23:35
After three more kernel builds this time failing because my /boot drive was full, initrd was 19mb per kernel. and because after giving the out of space error it then list a couple pages of rather obscure kernel .config relate errors.
Followed the gentoo guide http://www.gentoo.org/doc/en/alsa-guide.xml#doc_chap2_pre3 rebooted, crossed fingers, held breath and ...
played Big Buck Bunny in mplayer in high resolution with SOUND !
Woohoo (Again).
26 Jul 2008 23:05
Yesterdays episode was actually cut to avoid going on too long, other things went very wrong and took ages to fix.
Today we are going to focus on the kernel, the magic part of Linux which real is Linux and not just open source software that runs on Linux.
The kernel sources for Gentoo AMD64 get updated about six times a year but I update about twice a year and is the only time I reboot.
This has caught me out in the past, running a machine that is running an old kernel but all the sources are bang up to date.
I hate rebuilding the kernel, I had many problems when I used my old machine with Debian and even with the handy genkernel its a pain, mainly because I forget everything I learned from doing it last time.
But I had notes from the last build so I knew not to include certain network drivers and Alsa sound support and the make sure I added the right network and SATA drivers.
Set all this going and 30 minutes later I rebooted. Hmmmm, all I see is the GRUB command interface no menu. six or seven tries later and I am GRUB expert and the menu appears, except it does not, all I get is random characters of interesting colours.
But I can press return and although the screen is messed up things are scrolling up in a manor indicating a kernel booting !!
But it stops and the patterns look decidedly bad, kernel panic or worse! Reboot into an old kernel by pressing down on the unreadable menu and enter and five rebuilds later I have removed all Frame buffer support and I can see the error.
Before we go any further I want to point out that I retrieve the old kernels .config file and was comparing it with the one I had for the new failing kernel, it had frame buffer so I must have lived with the bad menu thing !
On with the show, the errors were regarding the SATA hard drive, bit of googling later and I had to add some flags to the kernel boot line GRUB /kernel-genkernel-x86_64-2.6.25-gentoo-r6 root=/dev/ram0 init=/linuxrc ramdisk=8192 real_root=/dev/sda4 udev noapic acpi=off irqpoll
Woohoo boots fine, only thing missing is sound, and my notes about removing it from the kernel are invalid as Alsa is no longer supported outside the kernel.
There will be an epilog tomorrow...
25 Jul 2008 21:08
So a minor issue I can not reinstall Python without installing .. Python, luckily I had my ten year old laptop to connect to the Gentoo forums. Where I quickly come across the suggestion to install python from http://python.org
Downloaded unpacked and did the usual ./configure
make install
emerge still does not work but clearly notes the executable python file is not found in /usr/bin sooo I create a link from its current location ln -s /usr/local/bin/python /usr/bin/python
Great now emerge runs, so I can install stuff right ? WRONG all the python libraries are messed up and can not be found to do anything else :(
Now I find out that portage has already got a copy of the python package and everything else installed and I shouldtar jxvf /usr/portage/distfiles/Python.2.4.4.tar.bz2 and then install with./configure --with-fpectl --infodir=/usr/share/info/ --mandir=/usr/share/man --prefix=/usr --enable-unicode
make install prefix=/usr

Unfortunately for a number of attempts I tried Python version 5 and then could not get python-updater to run and I also tried symlinking libraries all of the place. I ended up with a script file that would delete everything to do with python from my system before I tried again with a slightly different parameter.
The secret source in the end was (After running my clear all script) to unpack install Python.2.4.4 then immediately run emerge pythonwhich got me python 5 then run python-updater.
And that s the end of that story, I wish ! python-updater goes through all your critical packages and rebuilds them to use the new version of python and takes a good 40 minutes.
At package 20 (something about gnome menus) it complained about not have a version file in the kernel sources directory.
now what ?
the concluding part will be posted tomorrow.
24 Jul 2008 21:02
Now this is funny http://feeds.preshweb.co.uk/~r/preshblog/~3/319012922/
24 Jul 2008 20:52
once upon a time I got a brand new 64bit machine in a world of operating systems that did not support 64bit, no, not even Debian and Windows would not support it for years to come, I not even sure its supported now.
My only option was a hard core Linux distro call Gentoo where each piece of software is compiled from source code directly onto the machine, very geeky.
Because the code was complied directly on the machine it would be build against my 64bit processor, W00T!
No package management system is perfect and I had many a horror story with my earlier Debian system.
Gentoo's 'portage' package management system can be updated daily and I found that I got one heart stopping problem with it every couple of months much as I had with Debian.
As time went on Gentoo matured and I became more proficient with 'portage', the frequency of issues became about one a quarter.
This leads me onto last Fridays situation; I had run emerge --sync && emerge --update --deep world to find one of these 'issues'.
A update could not be installed because another package was blocking it, a common enough problem, usually I just uninstall the blocker and then reinstall the update.
First I looked at what was blocking, 'Python' a scripting language that I had used in Blender, no problem, uninstall Python ...
Finished, install updates ... *BORK!* Turns out emerge uses python.
So how can I install python without being able to install python ?
tune in for tomorrows installment...
17 Jul 2008 22:28
I Really really really liked the first futurama DVD "Bender's big score" so I rushed out to purchase number two...
The beast with a billion backs takes a bit of a u-turn after the nonstop funny of the first one in fact the laughs are so few I can remember all three of them of the top of my head.
Thats not to say its a bad film, far from it, the writing is top notch and leads directly on from the last scenes of "Bender's big score"
But it is not funny and there are small plot holes and the whole thing feels drawn out.
The DVD has an Easter Egg in the form of "old farmers wikipedia" but I can not find out what to do with it now I have found it... Google has nothing.
However the highlight in the extras is the trailer for the third film which looks like it maybe able to recover the funny factor and then pump it up a notch !
You have to buy it even if just for the next trailer ...
17 Jul 2008 22:20
Prepare for the coming of "Anagram - Shark attack"
17 Jul 2008 22:13
Latest book I completed (I read a lot during my daily commutes).
The last testament by Sam Bourne is fictional look at Israel and the Palestinians when an ancient artifact threatens to destroy everyone beliefs.
I have never been able to get a handle on the whole middle east crisis with who believed what and why that mattered so I found this book very instructional and very well written.
Great characters and lots of mini plot twists makes this a highly entertaining page turner, recommended.
17 Jul 2008 22:08
I do have one more out of date book review to do but first ...
Futurama is one of my favorite TV shows, I have watched ever episode many times on DVD and TV and still watch the odd rerun now and then and always find it brilliant !
So when I learned that the production team would be making four straight to DVD films I was delighted.
First up is Bender's Big Score from the moment this starts to the second it ends I was laughing enjoying every 'in' joke and general madness.
I am not going to give the plot away but it makes me laugh to just think about it ! The DVD is also packed with extras including a full length episode of "everyone loves hypno-toad", the Math behind futurama and the usual commentary and bits and pieces.
Beyond highly recommended !
Beware: has trailer for the next DVD ...
17 Jul 2008 22:01
Finished this one a while ago but it was good fun.
"The hunt for Atlantis" by Andy McDermott is an action adventure chasing clues and avoiding bad guys tracing the route of Atlantis and the Atlantean race.
Unfortunately this often feels like a Hollywood screenplay with all the outrageousness and plot holes the industry is famous for, but the fun factor does flood through and it is a page turner.
Get it for a bit of mindless entertainment.
17 Jul 2008 21:55
Finished this one a while ago but it was very good.
"Collapse how societies choose to fail or survive" by Jarded Diamond is all about the effects of various influences on the survival and success of past and current societies.
First off it was not only very interesting but also easy to read, leading from past settlements such as Easter Island and leading up to modern mining and drilling practices.
The author repeatedly goes to great pains to say that he is not a hippy environmentalist but that the facts feed the results that many of the case studies were at least in-part highly affected by the loss of environmental resources. E.g. over fishing and cutting down all the trees (Easter island).
Much of the material reads as short stories and really allows you the reader to become a member of the society in question and understand why they acted in what seem to us with the gift of hindsight such monumentally stupid ways.
Strongly recommended !!
Beware: some terms are used in a manner that implies it has already been explained or that 'everyone' should already know, when in fact they terms are completely explained a few (sometimes more) page further on.
A good example of this is 'midden', did you know what it was already ??
11 Jul 2008 20:58
I was surfing to a web site that was missing the content I was looking for, frustrated I checked the source. Along with the google analytics tracking bug that 90% of all pages seem to have was an IFRAME with the src encoded.

e.g. the http:// bit was &#104&#116&#116&#112&#58&#47&#47

Intrigued I followed the link to a Spanish design company whose entire web site was in flash, with the page on clients showing a flash login box.

Using FireBug I established that when text was entered in the login form no data was sent to the server, that meant the flash verified the password ;)

I tried http://www.swftools.org but that was geared to extracting objects not code (it also had many tools for creating SWF flash files from other formats) but, this had a link to http://flasm.sf.net/ a SWF disassembler which in turn had a link to http://nowrap.de/flare.html a flash decompiler

Once I had this installed I ran it on the .SWF file and it gave me a .FLR text file in the file was ...

if (login eq '1970')umungst other things, unsurprisingly that was the password to the site :)
10 Jul 2008 22:40
Last month Linux Format were complaining that LUGs never had a future schedule and so they could not easily do a feature about specific meetings/groups.
They asked that any LUGs that could specify a schedule to do so...
I sent the a few words about things we had done in the past thinking we might get a passing mention.
This is what is published http://www.jumpstation.co.uk/linux/linuxformat108.jpg not on an obscure page in the middle but right at the beginning after the monthly news !!
Linux Format LXF108 August 2008

Of course they printed something slightly different from what I sent. Original follows.



The Herdfordshire Lug meets every second Wednesday of each month WITH OUT FAIL.

We always have Wifi and wired internet, beer, fun and random demos from members.

If we ever decide before the day something specific then its noted on the web site http://www.herts.lug.org.uk/

Past events include live jamming with instruments recorded by a 'Jack' system.
A talk from the open street map guys.
VMware and 'screen' live demos.
Linux themed pub quizzes.
An introduction to talking the LPI linux exams.
Blender walk-through creating and 'apple storm' and a follow up showing Blender
Random ad-hoc discussions about programming, system administration, current
events and more.
Hardware hacking.

everyone is welcome, we often get people who have never actually installed Linux but want to find out more right up to hard-core system administrators who use Linux ever day.

Maybe you could feature mini reports from Lug meets, 200 words or less ?

p.s. Linux format ROCKS !


it appears I had eaten too much sugar and did not think to proof read it first :(
10 Jul 2008 22:36
Silverlight code is now 2 beta2 compatible, mainly some animation APIs need an additional parameter.
loading results, please wait loading animateloading animateloading animate
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