Doesn't Not Compute

My log of experiences with GNU/Linux and computers in general.

Tag Archives: Debian

A Series of Unfortunate Opportunities

As if being unable to make GNUStep, and programs based on it, to compile on my Arch Linux wasn’t bad enough, now I cannot start most GTK+-based programs on my netbook — I get segmentation faults. Two separate attempts to post on this blog were thwarted by Firefox crashing. 😑  Anything QT or KDE-based works just fine though, so I’ve been stuck with those.

Additionally, FTP transfers from the netbook to a softmodded Xbox resulted in file corruption on the Xbox, requiring me to repeatedly reload everything on the Xbox from another machine. At least, until I tried doing all of the FTPing from my Debian machine. Then it worked perfectly. πŸ˜•

This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, as it’s actually forcing me to ignore my excessively-minimalistic tendencies and actually examine the functionality of the program. And I must say, I’m more impressed than I had been before. The look between QT/KDE apps may be more “cartoonish”, as I’ve seen some people write, but it’s more consistent and attractive than default GTK+, or many of GTK+’s themes, and with far less work involved.

I’m actually running KDE 3.5 on my Debian desktop now, with mostly all-KDE and QT apps, and enjoying it immensely. πŸ˜€

But now I must fix my netbook… Arch Linux is great, and generally very stable, but I need two machines on which I don’t need to manually configure everything. That’s usually a lot of fun, but sometimes “just working” is a necessity. 😦

So now, even though it’s (by default) a GNOME-based distribution, I’m installing Linux Mint 8 on the netbook. After all, I need SOMETHING to use up those 2GB of memory. πŸ˜‰


Acer Aspire One A0751h: Part Five

Acer Aspire One 751hFor various reasons which may or may not be related to wanting to try something new and shiny before the servers get overloaded in 8 days :mrgreen:, I have installed Ubuntu 9.10 beta on this computer via a netboot iso image, and gone through the painful process of getting the Poulsbo chipset drivers from Jaunty to work with it. (More on that in a later post.) Everything Linux-related I’ve mentioned previously still applies however, and I *will* be going back to Arch. I simply find that Ubuntu makes figuring out what I want to do much easier. πŸ™‚

Although we can configure the font sizes manually, this gets to be a pain. It is much easier to just specify a DPI setting for Xorg to use, and let the font sizes be configured from that. For 1366×768, a DPI setting of 100 is satisfactory for me, so in Ubuntu I create a file:


and add a line:

DPI="-dpi 100"

The biggest place I’ve seen this be helpful in is the Netsurf browser, where font size configuration is otherwise a royal, useless pain. It helps the overall appearance as well, however.

I wasn’t paying attention to screen real estate when I made this change, but I’m very certain that I gained some space from it. A happy accident. πŸ˜€

I pulled this from Mozilla’s article on configuring the font sizes in their browser software, and it stated that this tweak is for Debian-based distros. If anyone says that this works in Arch, I’ll add that here — otherwise, I’ll find out myself when I try it on my Arch desktop.

Which reminds me, it’s about time for me to update my Hardware page… 😐


Lock your screen, even if your panel/DE/WM doesn’t have a plugin or program to do it! It’s nothing new or fancy — in fact, according to the man page it’s copyrighted 1994 but it’s very lightweight. It’s xtrlock, which I have not been able to track down the homepage of. 😦  It’s in the Debian and Ubuntu repositories

It doesn’t hide what you have on the screen, though, and the default mouse icon is ugly imo. But it’s desgined to do one thing: lock the screen until you type your password correctly and hit Enter. Well, three things: it also sounds a bell if the password is entered incorrectly, and locks out all input for a peroid of time if too many failed attempts occur.


Change the CFLAGS When Building a Debian Package from Source

I’m still having trouble figuring out the individual Debian packaging utilites (dh_buildpackage, dh_gencontrol, etc), but I’ve figured out a slightly inconvinent way to do what I want: get the program source, and build as a .deb package that I can uninstall with apt.

1. Download the stuff the program I want to compile requires — for example, links2, the graphics-capable version of links.

$ sudo apt-get install build-essential debhelper \
  && sudo apt-get build-dep links2  --no-install-recommends

2. Make a subdirectory in my home directory:

$ mkdir build

3. Download the program source code & available patches, extract from archive, and apply patches in one easy step (note that you don’t have to be, and should not be, root):

$ apt-get source links2

4. Change to the created directory:

    $ cd links2*

5. Edit the rules file, which will determine what commands are sent to the compiler. I think. Seems to work, anyway.

    $ nano Debian/rules

Scroll down to CFLAGS, and add the following (for a Pentium 3)

	-march=pentium3 -mtune=pentium3 -O2 -pipe -fomit-frame-pointer -funroll-loops

You can also add -ffast-math, but don’t come crying to me if something doesn’t work right as a result. It’s considered unsafe. That said, I haven’t seen a problem on this paticular program. has a list of safe CFLAGS, and has a list of flags that are less safe. These links will open in a new window, btw, if your browserΒ  doesn’t support tabbed browsing.

6. Now package it. The resulting .deb files will be created in the directory above where you are now.

      $ fakeroot dpkg-buildpackage

7. Change directory to where the new packages are, and install the links2 package.

      $ cd .. && sudo dpkg -i links2*.deb

Works for me. Unfortunately, this only changes what compiler flags the package is made with; this is great for optimizing the software to your paticular processor, without giving up Debian’s wonderful package system, but does nothing for tell what options of the software itself to compile with those optimizations. For example, when I compile links2, I don’t want the atheos or pmshell graphic drivers. I don’t even know what those are :shock:. If I install it using the ./configure -> make -> sudo make install process, I can tell it to disable those capabilites, but I don’t get a nice, neat little .deb package.

I need to read more in the Debian wiki, I guess. Hopefully, w3m posts this correctly, because I don’t have Iceweasel installed, am sick of Kazehakase crashing whenever I watch more than 2 or 3 Flash videos in a row (irregardless of what player I use), don’t have Midori available, and can’t get links2 or elinks-lite to work with WordPress yet.

EDIT: It posted, but there were formatting errors. w3m sent me into Nano to create the post, so hitting Enter at the end of a line did not translate into a line-wrap in the post. Using the HTML tag for bold text did, however, so I just have to look up the tag for line-wrap and everything should be fine.

Speaking of w3m, if you use it with a framebuffer or on an X server on Debian, I recommend the w3m-img package. Strangely, the images don’t show up if you page-up to them, but work just fine if you page-down to them. Hmm…I should see if there’s a bug-report on that.