January 24th, 2010

KDE 4.3 upgrade and Cashew

I reinstalled KDE for an upgrade from 4.2 to 4.3 (doesn’t seem to work without uninstalling on Gentoo; no idea why) and ran into some problems afterwards.

reinstalling KDE

I was still using the unstable KDE 4.2 until this weekend. For some strange reason, the slotted 4.2 ebuilds were completely removed from portage, thus preventing any re-merges which I had to do since I wanted to also upgrade from GCC 4.1.2 to 4.3.4, so I had to uninstall KDE before, upgrade GCC, recompile everything, then finally merge KDE again. To remove KDE more or less completely I was told to do emerge -pCv $(qlist -ICv kde | grep 4.2) (minus the pv of course). I had some other ebuilds left for manual checking but this command caught the vast majority. Unmerging and remerging kde-meta (after the GCC upgrade) went really smooth. To have a WM in the meantime I emerged xfce4-meta and gnome-terminal before I unmerged KDE.

Akonadi migration with bogus entry

Recently I had issues with some corrupted config in Akonadi that could not be solved from within KDE 4.2. On every start I would now get the migration dialog retrying to migrate a bridge called Y2252jgYO7 – whatever that was, I couldn’t find it. Running locate on that ID revealed old lock files back from KDE 3.5. Having searched for a moment I figured out that I could simply find and remove the files:

find ~/.kde* -iname \*Y2252jgYO7\* -exec rm \{\} \;

Next, everything referencing that ID has to be removed from ~/.kde4/share/config/kres-migratorrc – redo whatever runs the migration assistant for you and the problem should be solved.

frenzy Nepomuk – again…

I don’t seem to be the only one where the desktop search never works. With KDE 4.2 I disabled Strigi and Nepomuk because it took 100% CPU even when idling. If it wasn’t idling it was accessing the harddisk way too fast and so it always slowed down my system. That wasn’t without sideeffects however: I was unable to use the runner (Alt+F2) without crashes. I figured out that enabling Nepomuk, disabling Strigi and removing all repository data worked in KDE 4.2. Guess what? The problem reappeared after the upgrade to KDE 4.3. I don’t know if I solved it “properly” (I don’t need desktop search ATM so I can afford disabling it). From Stéphane Laurière at Mandriva’s bug tracker:

  1. make a backup of your Nepomuk database by backuping the folder ~/.kde4/share/apps/nepomuk/repository/
  2. reconfigure Strigi from the Nepomuk System Settings so that it indexes less
    Note: I unchecked everything plus added * to the exclude patterns, just to be sure.
  3. stop Nepomuk by running the following command:
    qdbus org.kde.NepomukServer /nepomukserver org.kde.NepomukServer.quit
  4. remove the repository folder ~/.kde4/share/apps/nepomuk/repository/
  5. restart Nepomuk: nepomukserver

After restart I got several crashes (what else) but Nepomuk stops retrying after a short time… (you should watch out for large numbers of crash logs though)

the Cashew

If you ever wondered what the name for that moon-and-star-like icon is which you get when unlocking your panels in KDE4, it seems to be called “the Cashew”. I know there was one icon on the desktop when I started using KDE 4.2 but it somehow disappeared very soon on its own and I didn’t miss it. It seems like that has been some bug since I now had it again:

cashew on the right side KDE Cashew

That nasty icon was sitting right on my otherwise clean desktop wallpaper. I could move it around my screen borders but it could not be removed. I thought something was broken until I finally searched for it and figured out that it’s some kind of branding not be meant to be removed. Great… Now, how do you get rid of it?!

As pointed out on the Gentoo forums (thread “KDE 4.3.0 Annoyances“) and also on a blog post, there exists a plasmoid that you can simply drop onto your desktop to remove/hide that useless cashew: I HATE the Cashew

I HATE the Cashew

If you should ever want that apparently useless cashew icon back, simply remove “I HATE the Cashew” by clicking the minus icon on the “Add Widgets” dialog.

There used to be an ebuild for it but since I couldn’t find it I simply wrote one on my own (well, half-way copy&pasting from other ones and the ebuild documentation, but it works). In case you need it too, here it is: (kde-misc/ihatethecashew-0.4)

# Copyright 1999-2009 Gentoo Foundation
# Distributed under the terms of the GNU General Public License v2


DESCRIPTION="I HATE the Cashew - KDE4 corner icon removal plasmoid"

KEYWORDS="~amd64 ~x86"


src_unpack() {
        unpack ${A}

src_compile() {
        cd iHateTheCashew
        mkdir build
        cd build
        cmake -DCMAKE_INSTALL_PREFIX=/usr .. || die "CMake failed!"
        emake || die "Make failed!"

src_install() {
        cd iHateTheCashew/build
        emake DESTDIR="${D}" install || die "Install failed"
January 15th, 2010

Installieren könnte so einfach sein…

Eigentlich wollte ich nur Windows 7 installieren. Und es könnte so einfach sein. Aber nein, Windows 7 macht es umständlich:

Erster und zweiter Versuch:
Installation bootet, ich seh das blaue Wallpaper, dann passiert nichts mehr. Rechner lässt sich auch nicht ausschalten, nur hart resetten; für mich ein Anzeichen dafür, daß richtig was im Argen liegt. Ich ziehe alle USB-Geräte ab, schalte das Netzteil ab, versuche es erneut: Selbes Problem.

Dritter Versuch:
Beim blauen Wallpaper hab ich dann parallel zur Installation angefangen nach möglichen Fehlern zu googlen. Ich finde einen Thread, der auf Probleme mit GRUB hinweist; man müsse nur ca. 3 Minuten warten. Just in diesem Moment springt endlich ein Fenster auf. Ich klicke mich sehr langsam überall durch; weitere minutenlange Hänger gibt es nach dem ersten Auswahlbildschirm und dem Partitionieren. Endlich erscheint das “Windows wird installiert…”-Fenster. Windows kopier… nein, es ist sofort fertig und dieser Punkt abgehakt. Jetzt werden wohl die Dateien “expandiert”? … oder vielleicht auch nicht… Minuten später erscheint dort endlich: 0%. Das bleibt wieder ein paar Minuten stehen, dann kopiert der Rechner tatsache mal was. Reboot. Ich gehe ins BIOS und stell erstmal die Reihenfolge zurück. Ich lande in GRUB, boote Windows. Die Installation wird angeblich fortgesetzt. Nach einer Weile erscheint dann: “Windows kann nicht für die Ausführung auf der Hardware dieses Computers konfiguriert werden.”

Neustart. Meldung, daß die Installation abgebrochen wurde und ich es nochmal versuchen soll. Keine Chance, sie einfach wiederzubeleben.

Vierter Versuch:
Ich lasse den Computer komplett unangetastet ab dem Kopier-Fenster. Diesmal klappts. Vergangene Zeit beim endlich mal stattfindenden Login: 1:20. Furchtbar.


  • auch Windows 7 ist zumindest in der Installation immernoch furchbar und gibt keinerlei Informationen von sich, wenn Probleme auftreten
  • nicht in die Installation eingreifen, auch wenn man der festen Meinung ist, daß es gar keine Möglichkeit geben kann, daß man mit der Installation in Konflikt kommen könnte
  • auch wenn etwas in der VM in 15 Minuten installiert, zieht es sich auf einem echten System über Stunden hin
  • Linux installiert sich leichter

Ein Glück brauch ich Windows nur für EVE Online und Blurays.

December 12th, 2009

portage: (permanently) ignoring file collisions

I’m currently setting up a server to migrate an older one to. In order to emerge all necessary ebuilds I basically took the worldfile of the older one, sorted, diffed and edited it to finally emerge `cat mergelist` it on the new system. Except for a few dependency problems (emerge --resume --skip-first and later reruns fixed those) everything went fine. Unfortunately, having emerged maildrop, it blocked the installation of courier-imap due to file collisions:

 * This package will overwrite one or more files that may belong to other
 * packages (see list below). You can use a command such as `portageq    
 * owners / <filename>` to identify the installed package that owns a    
 * file. If portageq reports that only one package owns a file then do   
 * NOT file a bug report. A bug report is only useful if it identifies at
 * least two or more packages that are known to install the same file(s).
 * If a collision occurs and you can not explain where the file came from
 * then you should simply ignore the collision since there is not enough 
 * information to determine if a real problem exists. Please do NOT file 
 * a bug report at http://bugs.gentoo.org unless you report exactly which
 * two packages install the same file(s). Once again, please do NOT file 
 * a bug report unless you have completely understood the above message. 
 * Detected file collision(s):                                           
 *      /usr/bin/maildirmake                                             
 *      /usr/share/man/man1/maildirmake.1.bz2                            
 *      /usr/share/man/man8/deliverquota.8.bz2                           
 * Searching all installed packages for file collisions...               
 * Press Ctrl-C to Stop                                                  
 * mail-filter/maildrop-2.2.0                                            
 *      /usr/bin/maildirmake                                             
 *      /usr/share/man/man1/maildirmake.1.bz2                            
 *      /usr/share/man/man8/deliverquota.8.bz2                           
 * Package 'net-mail/courier-imap-4.5.0' NOT merged due to file          
 * collisions. If necessary, refer to your elog messages for the whole   
 * content of the above message.                                         

maildrop belongs to courier and although that collision isn’t great but won’t hurt being ignored, I added the following line to /etc/make.conf (wrapped to be readable on my blog):

COLLISION_IGNORE="/usr/bin/maildirmake \
 /usr/share/man/man1/maildirmake.1.bz2 \

This will permanently ignore the collision for all 3 files.

November 6th, 2009

Berlin 1945 und 1953 in Luftbildern auf Google Earth

Wie das GoogleWatchBlog berichtet, hat Google einige historische Luftaufnahmen von Berlin organisieren können und freigegeben. Benötigt wird Google Earth 5.0 oder höher, der Zugang erfolgt über den Zeitregler (”historical imagery”).

Die 1945er Bilder stammen aus der Endphase des 2. Weltkriegs, zeigen aber leider nur kleine Ausschnitte (interessant neben zerstörten Gebäuden und Verschandelungen städtebaulicher Art wären vorallem das Stadtschloss und das Nikolaiviertel). Dahingegen liegt nahezu die gesamte Fläche Berlins auf einem Stand von 1953 vor, deren Umfang vorallem für Ortskundige interessant sein dürfte – so kann man sich z.B. Wittenau vor dem Bau des Märkischen Viertels, verschwundene ebenso wie noch gar nicht vorhandene Straßen (inkl. ganzer Autobahnen wie der A100) und massenhaft freiliegende Grundstücke in der Innenstadt ansehen. Etwas Ortskenntnis ist auch nötig, da die Bilder nicht exakt an ihren echten Positionen liegen und somit Layer wie z.B. die Straßenkarte zumindest außerhalb der Innenstadt teilweise stärker abweichen.

Die Qualität der Bilder an sich ist soweit ziemlich gut, leider stolpert man an den Kanten häufig über größere Überlappungen beim Zusammenfügen, sodaß man manchmal zweimal hingucken muss, bis man etwas eindeutig identifiziert hat. Leider wird dabei auch ein Teil des Bildmaterials an vielleicht interessanten Stellen verdeckt.

October 23rd, 2009

Disabling HPA on Samsung HDDs

A friend of mine bought a new 1TB hard drive from Samsung (HD103SJ with firmware 1AJ100E4). He used Windows Vista to partition it and format 2 partitions for NTFS, one to install Windows 7 and one to move data from an external drive. Everything worked well, Vista used the drive as intended. When he rebooted to install Win7 everything – Windows 7 setup, BIOS and unfortunately also Vista – saw the drive with only 33 MB capacity, reporting one unformatted partition on it.

Searching the internet we found out it must be a problem with the drive’s host protected area (HPA) in conjunction with his mainboard/SATA controller (ironically from Gigabyte). He updated BIOS and chipset drivers but the problem persisted. According to some forums there are some tools for Windows to fix that issue. Since many people reported data loss afterwards and he didn’t have another copy of the data he moved from his external drive we decided to boot into the new Gentoo Live DVD that also allowed me to log in remotely via SSH to investigate the problem (we are more than 500km away from each other).

Following a short guide on how to detect and disable HPA we could see the settings of his drive:

# hdparm -N /dev/sdb
 max sectors   = 65134/1953525168, HPA is enabled

This seems to have been the opposite configuration of what should have been set according to the guide: While the examples from the guide had a much greater value before the slash his drive seemed to show the intended remainder to be allocated to the HPA set for “public” use, so his HPA seemed to cover almost the entire 1TB of his HDD.

Before we tried to correct that value we wanted to check if we can access any data right away. Unfortunately everything prevented us from accessing the HPA – the kernel did only register /dev/sdb1 but not /dev/sdb2, smartmontools showed 33MB capacity as well, parted refused to work and fdisk finally showed the correct partition table but reported a mismatch in geometry, so at least we still seemed to access the same start sector of his HDD:

Disk /dev/sdb: 33 MB, 33348608 bytes
255 heads, 63 sectors/track, 4 cylinders
Units = cylinders of 16065 * 512 = 8225280 bytes
Disk identifier: 0x24c2a85c

   Device Boot      Start         End      Blocks   Id  System
/dev/sdb1               1       38245   307200000    7  HPFS/NTFS
Partition 1 has different physical/logical endings:
     phys=(1023, 254, 63) logical=(38244, 193, 29)
/dev/sdb2           38245      121601   669558784    7  HPFS/NTFS
Partition 2 has different physical/logical beginnings (non-Linux?):
     phys=(1023, 254, 63) logical=(38244, 193, 30)
Partition 2 has different physical/logical endings:
     phys=(1023, 254, 63) logical=(121600, 247, 55)

We also tried to access /dev/sdb with dd but only got the 33MB until the drive “ended”. Considering the HPA modifications to be the last resort we tried to change it only temporarily at first, but had to set it permanently to get any effects on the system after a reboot. Please note that the manpage for hdparm explicitely states that changing that setting is “VERY DANGEROUS, DATA LOSS IS EXTREMELY LIKELY”. I copied the old value to a text editor before making the modifications, so I hoped we could at least set it back to what it was before our changes in case it didn’t work well. To make a permanent change, simply run the same command with p (for permanent) followed by the new maximum value to be set (to disable HPA this would be the exact same value as written after the slash):

# hdparm -N p1953525168 /dev/sdb

Having rebooted, fdisk did not complain any more and the kernel recognized both partitions:

Disk /dev/sdb: 1000.2 GB, 1000204886016 bytes
255 heads, 63 sectors/track, 121601 cylinders
Units = cylinders of 16065 * 512 = 8225280 bytes
Disk identifier: 0x24c2a85c

   Device Boot      Start         End      Blocks   Id  System
/dev/sdb1               1       38245   307200000    7  HPFS/NTFS
/dev/sdb2           38245      121601   669558784    7  HPFS/NTFS

hdparm confirmed that we just disabled HPA:

# hdparm -N /dev/sdb

 max sectors   = 1953525168/1953525168, HPA is disabled

We mounted his data partition read-only using ntfs-3g and since everything seemed fine we started to copy everything back to his external drive, just to be sure we had a backup of his data in case that Windows would decide to crash his partition after another reboot. However, Windows Vista did recognize the drive correctly again and so did Windows 7; he can access all data and nothing seems to be corrupted or missing.

It appears strange that Windows initially ignored the HPA and worked well until he rebooted. But having had extreme, sporadic problems myself using a Silicon Image SATA controller with Windows XP SP2 as well as Windows Vista (without SP, back in 2007) it did not really surprise me any more.

October 5th, 2009

segfaults and libjpeg.so.62 missing after update

I updated my Gentoo system last week (amd64) and ran into multiple problems.

Due to compile errors on many ebuilds I decided to run a revdep-rebuild. After about an hour it recognized that about 380 ebuilds were broken and had to be remerged. I began but could not finish that day so I left revdep-rebuild (which happened to stop due to an error anyway) and shut my system down.

The next day I realized that about half my system was broken. CUPS crashed repeatedly, reporting a segfault with libc whenever I tried to print anything (visible in the kernel log). Remerging cups or glibc did not help, so I went to the Gentoo forums and found the advise to run

emerge -e system 
perl-cleaner all 
emerge -1 libtool 

It took a long time involving the usual stop-and-go caused by build errors but finally it finished. CUPS worked again and so did most of the system. Unfortunately 64 bit binaries like nxclient still did not run because libjpeg.so.62 did not exist any longer. Well, it did for 32 bit apps (so the 32 bit Firefox binary could still run) but not for 64 bit. (the 32 bit version is belongs to app-emulation/emul-linux-x86-baselibs) As usual, linking to the 32 bit library was without success (wrong ELF architecture) and linking to libjpeg.so.7 didn’t work well (I was able to run NX but all JPEGs were missing).

I was lucky enough to find a rather unrelated bug report on the bugtracker that indicates there is a second ebuild for libjpeg called media-libs/jpeg-compat which actually contains the missing 64 bit version of libjpeg.so.62. Having emerged that everything works fine again now.

October 3rd, 2009

Wechsel des Blog-Systems

Nachdem mir jahrelang Serendipity treue Dienste geleistet hat (genauer: 4 1/2 Jahre), ich jedoch an den vielen Features und Plugins, sowie der besseren Oberfläche von WordPress Blut geleckt hab, habe ich nun komplett umgestellt. Die alten Beiträge sind vollständig importiert und Umleitungen auf allen wichtigen Adressen gesetzt. Die meisten alten Links sollten auf die entsprechenden Artikel bei WordPress auflösen; Probleme gibt es nur bei Sonderzeichen und Umlauten, wobei keine allzu wichtigen Artikel davon betroffen sind, weshalb ich das einfach mal ignoriere.

Hier und da gibt es noch ein paar Problemchen und abgesehen davon fehlt dem CSS auch noch der Feinschliff und die Sprache des Templates steht vorerst auf Englisch fest. Da ich jedoch unter dem alten System nicht weiterbloggen wollte, da WordPress schon seit 2 Wochen fertig eingerichtet hier rum lag, habe ich mich dazu entschlossen, die Umstellung gleich vorzunehmen und alles Weitere nach und nach im laufenden Betrieb zu erledigen.

September 10th, 2009


Die Lampe flackert sekundenlang, dann würgt der Rechner ab und auf einmal ist alles duster. Zum Sicherungskasten: Nein, sind nicht wir. Zum Balkon: Nein, ist die ganze Straße ab unserem Haus abwärts.

Nummer zur Störungsmeldung bei Vattenfall unbekannt, Handy-Akku so gut wie leer. Was tu ich?

Notebook raus, USB-Kabel ans Handy, Einwählen per UMTS. Vattenfall aufrufen, Störungsmeldung per E-Mail raus. Klappt super. Nur meine Daten hätte ich grad gern aber die liegen auf dem Rechner der grad nicht mehr an geht. :P

August 22nd, 2009

Opera 10: finally I got Flash and Java back

I don’t know what they did, but Opera 10 Beta 3 (build 4537) finally got Flash working again on my Linux system. Back in 2007 Flash 9 started to use GTK solely and Opera 10 could no longer run the plugin: Opera would simply freeze and/or crash. Due to security updates I finally had to upgrade the Flash player and had to start Firefox for every flash website (or Flash video) I wanted to view. With every update I checked if support returned but it still would not run. In 2008 I changed to 64 bit and while many people reported it started working again on their 32 bit systems I still only got crashes. In February I started using KDE 4 (and Qt 4) and while people started reporting Flash to work on 64 bit I – again – could not use it.

Maybe I was always upgrading/updating at the wrong time – there is one thing I can read from the filenames portage downloaded:


It seems like older versions have only been built (or downloaded) with Qt3 libraries but with beta 3 there finally is a Qt4 version available. Maybe that’s the fix – finally, after 2 years, I can use Flash again in my primary browser! :D

I checked some websites and while all Flash movies run and most run fine, videos still run jerky, highly depending on the players being used and the mode (fullscreen is worst). While these performance problems happen to be worse than in Firefox, it’s still mainly a problem of the Linux version of the Flash player (xkcd made a cartoon about it recently).

The next thing I could not use since I switched to 64 bit was the Java plugin. It was the same as with Flash, I got freezes and/or crashes and no useful error messages. I was quite surprised when I saw a useful backtrace on my terminal: For some reason, Opera 10 tried to use Blackdown JDK 1.4 which some ebuild must have had as a dependency. I unmerged it and now I got errors complaining about libjvm.so not being found. To point Opera to the correct path simply go into Tools/Preferences/Advanced/Content, enable Java and open the Java Options dialog. The path to be entered can be found by running locate libjava.so and should be something like /opt/sun-jdk- (excluding the filename; you will need to update this on version changes).

On Gentoo you may still get an error message telling you that libjvm.so cannot be found. You may need to symlink it from …/jre/lib/amd64/server/ to …/jre/lib/amd64/ and it should be working after a browser restart.

I don’t know since when there was a Java Options dialog, so maybe I could have been able to use Java for quite some time now. Anyway, it’s great to finally have both plugins working again.

August 12th, 2009

Gewinne bei Einer gegen Hundert (Xbox) Live

Nachdem letzten Monat die Xbox-Version von 1vs100 gestartet hat und ich vor zweieinhalb Wochen tatsache bei den Gegnern saß (Gewinn waren 80 Punkte + ein Arcade-Spiel), habe ich heute nun den letzten Preis vergeben bekommen. Microsoft schreibt zwar, daß man ca. 4-6 Wochen auf die Gewinnausgabe warten soll, allerdings fand sich nichts konkreteres zum Ablauf. In meinem Fall traf letzte Woche eine E-Mail mit Gutscheincode ein. Nach dem Einlösen per Webseite (alternativ ginge es auch direkt an der Xbox) erschienen dann auch die 80 Punkte, jedoch nicht das Spiel. Da in der Beschreibung des Codes (wird nach der Eingabe angezeigt) auch nur von 80 Punkten die Rede war, habe ich bereits vermutet, daß für das Spiel noch eine zweite Mail kommen wird. Das war dann heute auch tatsächlich der Fall – die Mail sieht genauso aus, der Code ist diesmal für das Spiel.

Gewinnen kann man übrigens pro Staffel bis zu 3 mal; bei höheren Gewinnen, wie z.B. den Sachpreisen für die Kandidaten oder durch Verlosung am Ende der Staffel, könnte es auch vorkommen, daß entsprechend den Angaben auf der Webseite nochmal eine Unterschrift geleistet werden muss. Für die kleineren Gewinne ist das jedenfalls nicht der Fall; man muss lediglich ein paar Wochen warten.