Saturday, May 8, 2010

Ubuntu Lucid bug with Pidgin Musictracker plugin and Xmms2

I use Xmms2 for playing music at home because of its nice server/client structure and excellent library management. There are several clients to this great music player, but you can even control it from the command line.
I also like to share what I'm currently listening to with others on Pidgin Instant Messenger. But it needs a little fixing in Ubuntu ...

If I install these programs, they doesn't work like they should.
The status information doesn't appear in Pidgin. Why is that? Let's take a look at the debug window.

The plugin can't find a library file in /usr/lib, named ''. The file is there though, but with name '' in Karmic and '' in Lucid. There is even a symbolic link to it by name '', but that's still not enough.
Let's make a new symlink with name '', pointing to the existing library file, and see what happens!

It worked like a charm! Now you can share what you're listening to :-)

Some technical info:
Versions (from 10.04 Lucid):
Pidgin - 2.6.6
Musictracker - 0.4.19
Xmms2 - 0.7 DrNo

This bug surely exists in both 32 and 64 bit versions, the screenshots were made in Virtualbox VM clean install, created just to show the situation.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Free e-book from MS about Virtualization

Today I found a free e-book titled: "Understanding Microsoft Virtualization Solutions (Second Edition)". This writing provides information about Server and Desktop Virtualization, Hyper-V and Cloud Computing in 466 pages.

Here is the link:

Have fun!

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

How to use Dropbox? 7 tips ...

Dropbox is one of the greatest software solutions today. We can find a bunch of big inventions of computer technology in it: cloud services, online backup, one-click-file sharing, etc.

At first there is a program which is available for nearly all platforms - Windows, Mac, Linux and you can reach it even on iPhone … but I am sure that somehow you can use it on Opensolaris as well. (More than that, I can even check my Dropboxed files on my Samsung U600 phone, with the built-in browser.)

Then there is the cloud service – it synchronizes everything in a given folder, between the cloud and all your computers. You can limit the bandwidth usage, preventing Dropbox from eating up all your network resources.

You initially get 2 GB of space, which is expandable up to 100 GB, for a small amount of money. But you also can get some free bonus space for inviting friends to Dropbox.

And what is it good for? Besides general purposes here are some specific examples of how to use your Dropbox in a very cool way!

1. Bittorrent download with syncing

If you have a bittorrent client on your home PC and you want to initiate a download from work, a very convenient way to do it is Dropbox. Most of the popular torrent clients can be configured to add torrents from a specific directory. All you have to do it enter your Dropbox folder here, and everytime you copy the torrent file to Dropbox at work, it synchronizes immediately, and the client starts the download. What a great feeling when things just work this simple! 

2. Syncing Internet Explorer Favorites

If you use Internet Explorer as a browser, you can easily set the Favorites folder to another place than default. I suggest to set it inside the Dropbox folder on each of your computers, and your Favorites will always be synchronized.

In Windows XP you can find this setting in the registry (under „HKCU\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer\User Shell Folders”), or you can change this with some useful softwares like TweakUI.

In Windows Vista or 7 it is much easier and faster, just right-click on Favorites icon and select Properties and then Location. Here you are.

3. Automatic Backup

You don’t have to worry about deleting an important file or folder – Dropbox backs up everything, and you can resume to previous versions of a file, or even restore deleted ones. There is a time limit though, after a month the files are really gone.

4. Instant Syncing

One of the least-documented and less-known features is what I call instant syncing. Dropbox is – for example – able to synchronize your 50-100 MB e-books at a glance. Without uploading. I mean it. How does it work? The client makes a CRC check on the file you want to upload and sends it with some other data to the server. If the Dropbox server finds the file at another user and the CRC check is also OK, it simply copies the file to your account and says it is synchronized. What a great feature! Not just saving you the time of uploading, but preserves their bandwidth as well!

Your other clients must download the file as normal, of course. 

5. LAN Sync

Another nice feature about syncing is the LAN Sync. If you have a local network with Dropbox installed on more computers, files can be synchronized relatively fast, because they don’t have to go through the internet. A small drawback is that Dropbox uploads the file to the cloud first, but this may change in the future.

6. Settings syncing

If you can tell a software to save its settings in a specific folder, you can sync it with Dropbox. This way you can have the same saved game files on your PC’s, for example.

Or calendar files.

Or e-mail boxes.

Dropbox doesn’t upload the entire file, only the changes, so large files are not such a problem.

7. Wallpaper syncing

I like to change my desktop wallpaper anytime I see a really great one. But I hate do to it on all my computers and operating systems everytime.

To solve this I created a Wallpapers section in the Dropbox Photos folder, and there is one file called wallpaper.jpg which is set as wallpaper in all my systems. When I find a new picture I like, I only have to change this one file, and all my systems see this after syncing.

This is the most spectacular in my Ubuntu systems because when the file changes, the wallpaper changes immediately. In Windows sadly you have to point to the file again and set it as wallpaper manually, which ruins the comfort, but I’m sure there are some workarounds.

That’s all for now, the possibilities are without limit. Dropbox is evolving, and you can be part of it with new ideas and your votes in Votebox. This is the place where you can vote for features you want to be developed first.

Explore it for yourself!

Thursday, October 22, 2009

IBM iSeries Access on Ubuntu Jaunty

At the company where I work we use a software based on IBM terminal emulation for warehouse management and the like. Usually everyone logs in from the windows client, except me :-). I made it to run under Ubuntu 9.04 Jaunty Jackalope. Let's see how!
IBM provides an rpm package for linux users,

but Ubuntu doesn't like rpm's, so we have to create a deb from it.
You can install a package converter application called Alien from the repo.

I made a mistake with the parameters of this converter: I forgot to add parameter '-c', so some scripts included in the rpm package were gone. These scripts intended to create symlinks to Client Access files, so I had to recreate the symlinks. (The error message I got, was: „error while loading shared libraries:”)
This way I didn't have to reinstall the whole package.

After the installation was done, I had to deal with some new error messages :-) The install package had some unhandled dependencies, like this one: „error while loading shared libraries:”. I found a solution in this forum thread:

I had to install the 'libmotif3' package, which includes the library. OK, that's done, let's see the next one.

„Xt Warning: locale not supported by C library”

I had to generate the ISO-8859 locale for ibm5250 (instead of UTF-8) with this command:

'locale-gen en_US'.

Some other forum users needed to install a font package also ('msttcorefonts'), but I didn't need this (though it is still not installed).

And finally here is the result:

I am now able to log in to AS400 from Ubuntu.

Great :-)

So this is what IBM calls a native linux client :-) Have fun with it!

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Mouse pointer disintegration

I took this screenshot of a new installation of Virtualbox yesterday, when I started a previously prepared VM.

I understand that sometimes it is difficult to decide which way to go. But when something is working properly, why do you have to ruin it with stupid questions? :-)

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Hibernate problems with my Windows 7 RC

I went through a few reinstalls recently and finally found a strange situation with Windows RC’s Hibernate function. It just didn’t want to work.

When I clicked on the Sleep button in Start menu (I use „hybrid sleep” if available), nothing happened. I looked in the Event viewer if something strange can be seen, but found nothing. I turned off hybrid sleep and tried to hibernate the PC, but no change. Screen went to black for a second, then I got the logon screen again.

Let’s think a little, what is happening during going to sleep mode? The system writes the memory content to a file on the hard drive with some additional info (processor state, etc.) and temporarily modifies the boot loader to start from hibernation, instead of normal booting. The file is there in the root of drive „C:”. Let’s see the boot configuration.


Oops. Now what is this? Google has several answers to this in various tech forums, but none of them worked for me. I could create another data store, but I couldn’t use it.

I have a multiboot system with usually at least 3 operating systems through Ubuntu’s Grub.

My Ubuntu with the Grub is on the first hard drive and my Windows 7 is on the second hard drive. If I changed the order and booted directly from Windows Boot Loader, everything worked OK!

So let’s take a look at the Grub menu now.


Something’s missing, right? Yes, changing the hard drive order, with command ’map’.

Let’s see what it does. The GNU GRUB Manual says:

Command: map to_drive from_drive

Map the drive from_drive to the drive to_drive. This is necessary when you chain-load some operating systems, such as DOS, if such an OS resides at a non-first drive. Here is an example:

          grub> map (hd0) (hd1)
          grub> map (hd1) (hd0)
The example exchanges the order between the first hard disk and the second hard disk.

So we need this:


That looks just a little better now. Windows „likes to be” the first HD, so Grub needs to fake it. After reboot to Windows 7, the Hibernate function worked perfectly, and “bcdedit” showed this picture:


So this is a good example of how you can fix a Windows related problem from a Linux environment (because I edited Grub from Ubuntu Jaunty).

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Virtualization in a box

I’ve been using virtualization for many years now, mainly for testing, but for compatibility reasons either. MS VirtualPC was the most convenient for me for Windows clients, but I discovered Sun xVM VirtualBox recently. It is as powerful as clean, it’s easy to set up and to use.

imageSome of the supported features are:
- HW virtualization;
- shared folders;
- Seamless Mode;
- 3D acceleration … and many more.

At installation it configures a virtual network for the clients, with 1 or more virtual cards, DHCP server and everything. Clients communicate with the LAN or the internet through this tunnel.


But the funniest and coolest feature is called the Seamless Mode. If you install Guest Additions on the guest system, you get some bonus features, including mouse movement integration with the host … and the possibility of Seamless Mode. Turning it on your guest system will break out of its prison; the desktop background will disappear, only the taskbar(s) and the program windows will exist on the host’s desktop. It’s just unbelievable :-).


I think a similar solution will be Microsoft’s Virtual XP Mode in Windows 7, with a little more integration (including even the Start menu), but Seamless Mode works between Windows and Linux systems as well.

Another great thing is, that you can find completely prepared, ready-to-run .vdi images on the net, and try new operating systems with just a few clicks. You have to pay for some of them, but a great amount of the library is free, so you can start experimenting.

You can find the software on the project’s webpage: .

You can download .vdi images from here: .

In the near future I’ll show you some interesting OS’s I’ve tried.