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IBEX time


Disgrace ! Why wasn't this mentioned anywhere on the Ubuntu blogs ? As Intrepid Ibex is the current Ubuntu version, today, at 11:04:56 GMT, the Unix time_t value was "IBEX", that being the ASCII representation of the 32bit number of seconds since New Year 1970.

Other interesting upcoming dates :

IBEX  Fri Dec 12 11:04:56 2008 GMT 
ICON  Sat Dec 13 05:59:42 2008 GMT 
IDLE  Sat Dec 13 23:59:01 2008 GMT 
IDOL  Sun Dec 14 00:11:56 2008 GMT 
IEEE  Sun Dec 14 17:41:25 2008 GMT 
INCH  Sun Dec 21 13:23:20 2008 GMT 
INDY  Sun Dec 21 13:27:53 2008 GMT 
INFO  Sun Dec 21 13:36:15 2008 GMT 
IRAN  Wed Dec 24 14:03:58 2008 GMT 
IRAQ  Wed Dec 24 14:04:01 2008 GMT 

Fear not, dear Ubuntu supporters, the ubuntu teams get another chance, as the lowercase numbers still yet have to come :

Ibex  Mon Jan  5 19:54:32 2009 GMT
Ibis  Mon Jan  5 20:11:31 2009 GMT
Idea  Wed Jan  7 08:18:41 2009 GMT
Idle  Wed Jan  7 08:48:37 2009 GMT
Idol  Wed Jan  7 09:01:32 2009 GMT
Iran  Sat Jan 17 22:53:34 2009 GMT
Iraq  Sat Jan 17 22:53:37 2009 GMT

Intrepid on the eeePC


As reported previously, I upgraded my eeePC to Intrepid lately, which introduced quite some space problems. Before I continue, I need to explain the storage contained in this netbook. I acquired the 900 Linux model, which contains 20GB in total. This 20GB is in fact a 4GB SSD drive, combined with a (much) slower internal 16GB SD card. As the SSD drive is really fast, I installed the Ubuntu eee onto it in a single partition (Ubuntu eee doesn't support LVM during install mode), and converted the 16GB drive later to a LVM volume group, on which I installed /home and /opt.

A default Ubuntu install is about 3GB, which means I got 75% used disk space on the SSD drive. Ubuntu needs about 1.5GB temp space in /var/cache/apt/archives during an upgrade, which I didn't had any more on the SSD drive, but I created an extra lvol on the SD card, and mounted this as /var/cache/apt/archives before the install. All went well, but I hit a 97% barrier during the install on the root partition, so I knew I had to resolve this.

Normally, I would enter both disks as physical volumes into the same volume group, but mixing disks with a different speed is a bad idea, and this would require a reinstall also. So I opted for a more ugly approach, where I would move one or more directories to a lvol onto the SD card. /usr was 2.5GB large, so an ideal candidate for migration. This went without any problem, but after a reboot, the /usr partition which resided now on the SD card, was so slow it annoyed the crap out of me.

I decided to move /usr back onto its original place, but to keep /usr/share (still 1.2GB large) onto the slower SD card. Now, moving /usr on a Unix system can be tricky. If everything is designed nicely, you should be able to boot into single user mode without needing anything in /usr. Which wasn't the case for Ubuntu... Booting into single user, starts a program with /usr dependancies, so unmounting /usr is impossible. The easiest solution was to comment /usr in /etc/fstab, which prevented the program to start up, and dumped me into a root shell, after which I could unmount /usr.



I noticed on the web that Ubuntu 8.10 was available, but found it weird that update-manager didn't warned me about this available upgrade. Turns out that the default set-up for Hardy is to subscribe to LTS upgrades only. Weird choice of Canonical... Modifying the sources list through System > Admin > Software Sources > Updates, and selecting the 'Normal Releases' entry enabled the upgrade through update-manager.

On my desktop, the upgrade went without a hiccup, but I got more trouble on my laptop : I copied alot of the files in /var/cache/apt/archives to my laptop, which was a no-no apparently for the upgrade to perform decently. Update-manager decided that the upgrade consisted of 3 packages, which I only noticed after I pressed the 'Continue' button. After this 'upgrade', update-manager was completely foobarred, so I had to switch to apt-get dist-upgrade cycles to get things working again. But in the end, everything went fine from there.

I started the upgrade on my eeePC also, but had to create an extra logical volume on the 16GB media in order to give the upgrade the 1.5GB space it required.

Intrepid is booting way slower than its predecessor, but in the general use, is feeling faster than Hardy.

dvd-slideshow : unknown file type 'raw'


The dvd-slideshow command takes a series of pictures, and transforms it into a mpg stream. You can add subtitles, transitions and music. However, the version in Ubuntu is quite old, and generates quite some problems :

[dvd-slideshow] see [dvd-slideshow] No audio files passed.  Using 0:1:0.000 silence.
[dvd-slideshow] Working on track 1 audio file 0
[dvd-slideshow] silence
[dvd-slideshow] Creating silence audio file for 0:1:0.000
sox soxio: Failed reading '/dev/zero': unknown file type 'raw'
[dvd-slideshow] This audio plays in slideshow from 0:0:0.000 to 0:1:0.000
[dvd-slideshow] ###############
[dvd-slideshow] Concatenating all audio files...
cat: /home/gerben/dvd-slideshow_temp_13985/audio1_????.raw: No such file or directory
sox soxio: Failed reading '-': unknown file type 'raw'
[dvd-slideshow] Creating ac3 audio...
[dvd-slideshow] ERROR during ffmpeg execution!

To get the package working, first upgrade to the latest version. The dvd-slideshow homepage offers a .deb version which installs nicely on Hardy.

Secondly, dvd-slideshow repeatedly calls "sox -t raw" in various ways. My understanding is that this line will fail unless libsox-fmt-sndfile is installed.

And last : change the /usr/bin/dvd-slideshow shellscript as follows :

- ffmpeg -i "$tmpdir/audio1.wav" -y -vn -ab $audio_bitrate -acodec ac3 -ar $audio_sample_rate -ac 6 "$tmpdir/audio1.ac3" >> "$outdir/$logfile" 2>&1
+ ffmpeg -i "$tmpdir/audio1.wav" -y -vn -ab ${audio_bitrate}k -acodec ac3 -ar $audio_sample_rate -ac 6 "$tmpdir/audio1.ac3" >> "$outdir/$logfile" 2>&1

Also, change all occurences of audio_bitrate like this






I just upgraded to Hardy, the new Ubuntu version. Not much to say, only that the upgrade went smooth and fast - I feared that the download servers would be overloaded the weekend after the release, but they were very responsive. There are only 2 minor upgrade problems :

First, Ubuntu choose to include Firefox3 beta, which sucks cause many of my add-ons are not compatibe with this version. Especially DeliciousButtons and Tabkit are extensions I already miss. Hopefully they get ported soon.

The second thing is that my fonts are foobarred, especially in Firefox. Which settings do you guys use with LCD screens (I currently use Best Contrast, with Full Hinting and VGBR subpixel ordering), and which fonts do you use in Firefox ?


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