Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Listening to Our Better Angels

I've been most distressed tonight, to hear of my friend Noirin being assaulted at an ApacheCon party, here: Worse, there are people calling her out for naming the attacker! Seriously, people? (I hear the comments are even worse over at Hacker News. I refuse to get even more disturbed and upset, so I'm not going to be reading them.)

In two separate discussions about this, with people who know and love Noirin, women said that the story makes them reluctant to attend cons and other FLOSS events, since assaults seem to be common. Yes, if you haven't been keeping up with the news, this happens OFTEN.

This doesn't make me fearful, it makes me ANGRY. Of course I'm angry at the perpetrators, but I'm also angry at those who protect them, and those who say 'we want more women to participate,' while not setting the standards of NO ASSAULT, and enforcing those standards. That seems like a very low expectation, don't you think? No ASSAULT!?

I can't help but contrast this assault with my experiences at last week's UDS in Orlando Florida. Ubuntu has a Code of Conduct, and not only enforces it, but has an even higher standard for community leaders. And there is discussion about having the Leadership CoC be formally signed also. I applaud this initiative, and hope that more communities create enforceable standards, and that conventions and other large gatherings will do likewise. There is no reason for any person to fear for their safety at these gatherings! I felt completely safe in Orlando, and I credit the high standards for that feeling of safety. Of course my favorite Kubuntu is covered by the same codes of conduct.

I call on the LinuxFest Northwest to set up and announce No Assault or Harrassment standards, and enforce them. I guarantee that a reputation as a safe space *will* result in more women attending. See the Con Anti-Harassment Project for specifics.

However, I think we need to go beyond a negative, and move toward positive expectations. I love the LinuxChix famous two rules: 1. Be polite, and 2. Be helpful. Indeed! And many projects have a standards. Among them, KDE Community Code of Conduct, GNOME Code Of Conduct, Gentoo Linux's Code of Conduct, the Mandriva Linux Code of Conduct, to name those I could easily find.

In addition, Freenode has an inspiring description of the "catalyst" role and how important it is to the continued use and usefulness of Freenode IRC: And today, Jono Bacon, the Ubuntu Community Leader for Canonical, has posted The OpenRespect Declaration: I think we all owe it to one another as free humans, to respect one another.

PS: In case another reminded is needed: Thanks for posting this link just when I needed it, Hypatia.

PPS: Also see The Open Source Women Back Each Other Up Project

Friday, November 5, 2010

Help the Graner Family

As many of may of heard, Amber Graner, Ubuntu community member extraordinaire, and Peter Graner received horrible news this week while at UDS: their house caught on fire.

Thankfully their children and dog are fine!

Rikki Kite has started a fund to help out the Graner family.

In the spirit of community, please donate whatever you can.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

LoCo Teams in the Natty Cycle

Still trying to organize my thoughts after the UDS in Orlando. While the election results are distracting, I think it's important to analyze what lies ahead, and get moving before the holidays hit.

Washington Team
1. We need to hold leadership elections, and transfer power over the Launchpad team to the leadership.

2. We need to begin scheduling and hold regular meetings, even if they are only in IRC.

3. We need to get the official logbot in our #ubuntu-us-wa channel on Freenode. Linda is requesting that, so I hope it will happen soon.

4. We need to look at the calendar and plan some Team events, so advance planning can take place.

5. We need to figure out how to get monthly reports done monthly, so that we can get approval!

In the discussion about increasing diversity in the Ubuntu Community, Pici posted a great link, which might be helpful in how we conduct our LoCo team:

Ubuntu Community Local Teams
There are some exciting plans ahead. Some of them (from Ubuntu LoCo Council Items for the Natty Cycle):

* Community leaders to sign the Leadership Code of Conduct in Launchpad

* Team Re-approvals from the LoCo Directory instead of wiki pages

* Move content from the wiki to the LoCo Directory

* Standard Team Re-approval form


* Standards for teams, a set of guidelines:

* Update the standard Application to include Team reports and give more details

* Enforce the team naming standards [this can't happen soon enough, IMO]

PS: May 9-13 UDS-O, Budapest! Lay your plans now. :-)

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Surviving, Thriving at Ubuntu Developer Summits

First: to survive, one must attend, in person or remotely. Attending in person involves either asking for sponsorship from Canonical, or paying your own way. Attendence is free, so local folks can register and walk in. Without the encouragement of my fellow Ubuntu-Women team members, requesting sponsorship is not something I would have considered. However, the application process was painless, and I was sponsored! My flight, food and lodging are all included, which is amazing.

Since I have a wonderful friend who lives close to Orlando, Florida where this UDS is being held, I flew in Friday, and spent two wonderful days on the Wekiva River, paddling and boating up and down the river. Besides hours spent catching up on our lives (years spent separated by an entire continent!), we ate simply and slept when we were tired. So I arrived Sunday night rested and ready to work.

Second: Promptness is appreciated. Rooms are shared with a room-mate, so set your alarm early enough to allow time for both of you to shower, dress, eat, and arrive for the first events at nine in the morning. This involves going to bed the night before, rather than spending it at the hotel bar!

Third: Set up what you will need to participate fully in your sessions before they begin. If attending in person, a netbook with good battery life is best, with Quassel-with-a-core installed, along with your favorite browser(s), Gobby (*UGH!*), and time to review the documents associated with the sessions you'll be attending. This involves first reading the blueprints of the issues you find important, subscribing to them, and registering your attendence as essential if this is so. The scheduling software (Summit) attempts to allow every essential person to attend all their sessions by shifting the timing of the sessions. I haven't found a way to go back and change subscribing to subscribing and must attend if there is a way. There are a couple I had to miss because I didn't check the essential box. Once you find out the name of the rooms, join all the room channels in Quassel so you don't have to do this later. I chose Quassel on my netbook because it is lighter in weight than my favorite Konversation, but I didn't have time to set up a core account. I wish I had done, so I had all UDS sessions in IRC.

If you are attending remotely, you'll need to connect to the streams through Amarok or your favorite music/streaming app. Fire up IRC, join all the room-named channels, and you're ready. You might want earphones since some of the voices are far from the microphones. Don't be afraid to "speak up" in IRC, and ask people to repeat things, or to speak more clearly/loudly. If gobby is being used in your session, be prepared to help take notes, fix spelling errors, clarify points, etc. This is a collaboration. Etherpad may be used as an alternate, if the session leader chooses.

Fourth: Eat enough - there are good meals provided, with plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables. I tried to sit down most of the time with people I did not know, and fix that. :-) Drink enough -- not at the bar, silly! Drink enough water to keep you healthy. Coffee is provided, along with tea, pop, snacks, etc. Sleep enough -- this is the hard part. You will be meeting all the people you've been working with all year, many for the first time. The temptation to spend all your time socializing will be strong! Don't exhaust yourself. Have fun -- yes, the work is fun, but there are opportunities to party, to visit local cool sites (here, Disneyland, of course! And Universal Studios, Sea World, etc.). Choose wisely, take lots of pictures, and you'll have a time you'll never forget!

Fifth: Take time to blog, tweet, dent about what you are doing. There are countless people who want to know, or need to know. Be eyes and ears for them.

PS: If I sound preachy, it's my future self I'm preaching to. :-)
PPS: Pictures in a bit.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

UDS and You, Wherever You Are

I was fortunate to get sponsorship to the Ubuntu Developer Summit in Orlando, Florida, but most of the participants did not! Many if not most folks will be in IRC and listening to the streams, and we on-site participants will be in IRC also, and be responding real-time to those of you who are remote.

Laura Czajkowski has written a great guide to doing this, and I hope you will try it out. Look at the sessions, and pick a couple of them, and BE THERE!

Apachelogger has updated his Icecast script so you can listen right from Amarok. Use the script search to find it, and then select your sessions from the Internet session.

I look forward to "seeing" you there -- especially you Kubuntu folks!

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Blogger sadness > New Blog

I'll keep up my Linux Grandma blog here for now, but Blogger has started adding an insidious ad across the blog content, obscuring it from the reader. That must be really annoying, and I don't want to subject people to that. Serendipity is the blog software that KDE uses, and so far, it seems great. I might install it on my own server for the other blogs I have, and move the content from Blogger. What a pity; Blogger used to be great.

Maverick Meerkat Kubuntu, released 10/10/10, was quite an adventure in installation, due to PEBKAC (problem exists between keyboard and chair), but with the help of my son, and friend maco, and my blogged experience of the last install, I have quite a beautiful install going.

All apps installed well, most importantly Amarok and Konversation. Once I regained my old /home partition, I have my music again, unfortunately without covers and lyrics. However, the new cover-fetching is excellent, and I hope to have that all rebuilt in the next couple of months. Until then I'll be playing "Random" a lot!

While mentioning Amarok, I have to say that it's Roktober, so give! I did, and it feels great. Also, it's great to have it built from git again. All the latest!

The biggest surprise with Mav was installing Skype again, to test my built-in video camera and mic. Previously, the camera worked, but never the mic. I thought maybe it was mis-installed. However, once I unmuted it in pavucontrol (Pulseaudio controller), it worked perfectly!

I've been recently given Kubuntu membership, and am headed for UDS next weekend, to plan for Natty, the next release. Please give me any feedback you'd like me to take to Florida about the future of Kubuntu.

I'll be blogging, at least about KDE, Kubuntu, and Amarok here:

Such a pity about Blogger. ::sigh::

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Post-Maverick Install Woes - no /home

Why oh why? I told the process Not To Touch my /home, which Thomas had so thoughtfully labelled. AND said to use it as /home. But cat fstab shows:
$ cat fstab
# /etc/fstab: static file system information.
# Use 'blkid -o value -s UUID' to print the universally unique identifier
# for a device; this may be used with UUID= as a more robust way to name
# devices that works even if disks are added and removed. See fstab(5).
proc            /proc           proc    nodev,noexec,nosuid 0       0
# / was on /dev/sdb1 during installation
UUID=649ffd64-17b4-4a95-aebe-360413cc3203 /               ext4    errors=remount-ro 0       1
# swap was on /dev/sdb5 during installation
UUID=dfe16a55-80c3-42c8-937a-4341cb2886c8 none            swap    sw              0       0

Where is /dev/sdb6, which was /home?

I can't deal with this tonight. I can't feel too discouraged, after escaping from the botch-install hell of the last couple of days. Maverick looks and feels GREAT! It's just bizarre to have no settings, and no content whatsoever, not even my old backup. Amarok is lonesome with no music.

Maco asks, in IRC, if the partition is still on the harddisk, which of course has been my question.
sudo fdisk -l
tells me:
Disk /dev/sda: 400.1 GB, 400088457216 bytes
255 heads, 63 sectors/track, 48641 cylinders
Units = cylinders of 16065 * 512 = 8225280 bytes
Sector size (logical/physical): 512 bytes / 512 bytes
I/O size (minimum/optimal): 512 bytes / 512 bytes
Disk identifier: 0x000c403c

   Device Boot      Start         End      Blocks   Id  System
/dev/sda1   *           1        2432    19530752   83  Linux
/dev/sda2            2432       48642   371178497    5  Extended
/dev/sda5            2432        2918     3905536   82  Linux swap / Solaris
/dev/sda6            2919       48642   367271936   83  Linux

Disk /dev/sdb: 7958 MB, 7958691840 bytes
245 heads, 62 sectors/track, 1023 cylinders
Units = cylinders of 15190 * 512 = 7777280 bytes
Sector size (logical/physical): 512 bytes / 512 bytes
I/O size (minimum/optimal): 512 bytes / 512 bytes
Disk identifier: 0x000ee8a7

   Device Boot      Start         End      Blocks   Id  System
/dev/sdb1   *           1        1023     7769654    c  W95 FAT32 (LBA)
Partition 1 has different physical/logical endings:
     phys=(1023, 244, 62) logical=(1022, 244, 62)

At this point,
sudo blkid /dev/sda6
to get the UUID for /dev/sda6, which says:
/dev/sda6: LABEL="home" UUID="1e3555c0-f248-446e-a9a7-6a42ab95eced" TYPE="ext4"
Yay! It's still there on the disk, still with it's nice label. Thanks, Thomas!

Now it's time to edit fstab, and add the line:
UUID=1e3555c0-f248-446e-a9a7-6a42ab95eced /home               ext4    errors=remount-ro 0       1

I did that by using Kate, which is somewhat unorthodox, but it's what I like.
kdesu kate
then append the line above, save as fstab. Finally, I moved my present $HOME in case I need some of the settings or files from the last few days.
sudo mv $HOME /oldhome
and then restart. Let's see if it works!


I want to report success! My /home is all happy, and my /oldhome dotfiles mostly copied back over. This time around, Chromium built OK, and I'm actually editing this blog in it now. Hallelujah, Maverick rocks! If I can build Amarok from source again, I'll be in heaven.

PPS: Amarok built without a hitch!

GRUB2 and chroots, dammit!

Worst outcome from an install so far. Upon automatic reboot, when all is reported success:

error: the symbol `grub_xputs` not found
grub rescue:>

Terror struck my heart, and hopelessness, and googling. I found that not only was I not alone, but it is a result from a long-standing bug, which bothered me greatly as I was installing:, specifically: "Grub doesn't identify SATA drives in the same order as the BIOS." Not only was this extremely confusing to me as I was trying to decide what to do during the install, even though I thought I had prepared very well, but also, "I had to boot from the live image and chroot" as the bug commenter did.

On the other hand,that worked well. See the process here: Guess what the post is called? Fix Symbol 'grub_puts' Not Found When Migrating From Ubuntu Karmic To Lucid.Imagine that. BUG IS STILL THERE. And it bit me, and that hurt. A side issue is that my /home isn't found, but I think I know the fix for that, and I'm sure it is partially my ignorance and inexperience at fault.

There were other possible solutions suggested, which I didn't try. For starters, I could only have one computer plugged into the Internet at a time, which meant I was looking for solutions in one screen, and typing them in on the other. The less to type, the fewer chances of typing errors making the problem even worse. But here they are, if you are in terror as I was, and my solution didn't work, or has disappeared: and


Comment I got by email from Holger Herzog:

Hi Valorie,

I read your blog entry - thanks much for that! - and I ran into further troubles caused by something that was not mentioned on _any_ of the web sites regarding this grub problem:

I have boot fs and root fs on different partitions!

Then I had to mount the _root_ fs partition as described in the tutorials and _additionally_, I had to mount the boot fs under "boot" under the mounted root fs:
mount /sdROOT /mnt/temp
mount -B /dev /mnt/temp/dev
mount -B /dev/pts /mnt/temp/dev/pts
mount -B /proc /mnt/temp/proc
mount -B /sys /mnt/temp/sys

AND, additionally:
mount /sdBOOT /mnt/temp/boot

Otherwise I got an empty "grub>" prompt with no kernels found by grub.


Problem presented in #kubuntu tonight with the same problem (and maybe the same bug cause) where grub was installed onto the USB key instead of on the hard drive. And even after Grub2 was installed on the HD,
sudo apt-get install grub2
still was non-booting. The magic command which finally fixed grub
sudo grub-setup /dev/sda

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Installing Maverick anew; Cliff Notes version

I was going to write a long rant/whine about my botched upgrade and re-install of Maverick on 10/8, but it's both painful and boring. That said, being back on a horrible install of Lucid (KDE on top of 32-bit Ubuntu) is painful and boring. ESCAPE!

My zsync trick didn't work, since I didn't want a liveCD, but the alternate install. And the torrent stopped working, probably courtesy of Comcast. Thanks, Comcast! Wget, however, works wonderfully. For instance, this is the command I used:
Less than ten minutes later, I have my image, and can write it to the thumb-drive. While the ISO is downloading and writing to the drive, I need to figure out where /home is, so I save that.

I'll spare you reading my over-long novel about a botched Lucid upgrade/re-install, by culling the highlights. Use
sudo blkid
to see your partitions. This time, what I see is:

/dev/sda1: UUID="28de0df5-ddbb-4bf9-a61a-e7a5aa007f2a" TYPE="ext4"
/dev/sda5: UUID="dfe16a55-80c3-42c8-937a-4341cb2886c8" TYPE="swap"
/dev/sda6: LABEL="home" UUID="1e3555c0-f248-446e-a9a7-6a42ab95eced" TYPE="ext4"
/dev/sdb1: LABEL="New Volume" UUID="0741-0B7E" TYPE="vfat"

/dev/sda1 is my present Lucid install, which I conclude by process of elimination. I'll be glad to see THAT disappear! Sda5 swap is swap, which will stay as-is. Look at that LABEL="home" on sda6 -- that stays put. The sdb1 New Volume is my thumb-drive.

One of the reasons my last Lucid install experience was such a nightmare, was that I was already stressed because of the botched upgrade, and consequent dead laptop. Within the alternate install windows, I didn't realize I could still access the command prompt, by using
. Try that; you can use it any time, anywhere! While there, maco told me to use
sudo mount /dev/sda5 /media ; ls /media
to see what was in sda5, and then we stepped through all of them, so see which was /home. Remember to
sudo umount /media
before stopping, or
sudo umount /media ; sudo mount /dev/sda6 /media ; ls /media
if you are going to continue to step through your partitions, and
(list) the contents. Of course substitute the numbers you see in your own

I'll write about the actual install when I do it tomorrow. Wish me luck!

Friday, October 8, 2010

Necessity, Mother of Learning Zsync

I don't need to invent, just learn! My recent Kubuntu update from Lucid to Maverick RC broke YouTube. Actually, it broke my ATI graphics card driver, and the cure, as Jussi told me, is to re-install Maverick.

I have the alpha ISO on my hard drive, and slow as my Internet connection is here sometimes, I really didn't want to download essentially the same file AGAIN. Zsync to the rescue! As explained here,, if you use zsync on a ISO CDimage, you will get only the parts you need, not what you already have. So, I downloaded zsync, and did the command
You will need to replace the cdimage URL to the one you want, of course! Rather than taking over 3 hours, as it did to download the alpha, it took about ten minutes!

This is a wonderful tool for ISO testers to use, since you will not have to constantly download almost identical files. *Learned another tip about zsync from MJEvans at today's Maverick Release Party. Change the name of your old file to be identical to that of the new file before starting the process, and it will happen without any need to add additional filenames to the command line. Clever! Thank you Michael!

In Kubuntu, there is a magic program called usb-creator-kde. After the ISO is written to my little USB drive, all that remains is backing up my home partition -- just in case! And then re-installing Maverick Meerkat. I'll update this if anymore learning takes place!

Update: The download and write processes described above both went perfectly. However, the daily file I chose to install was NOT a perfect fit for my equipment, and I made a bad choice, in retrospect, in choosing to attempt a fresh install when I did. More details in another post.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

10.10 Maverick Meerkat Release Party, Burien Washington

Let's hang out, celebrate Maverick Meerkat release, and show off the shiny and new. Then we'll sup on some delicious pizza! See you there.

Bison Creek

Bison Creek Pizza, 630 SW 153rd St #F, Burien, WA 98166-2260

Google Map of Bison Creek Pizza

Another fun production from your Washington Ubuntu LoCo (Local Community). Oh, and I just found out that we can use the cloud-server for free on Sunday, courtesy of Canonical. For more information, see:

Register here:

Official announcement on the wiki here:

Monday, September 20, 2010

Amarok New stuff - 2.3.2 Release, Insider 15

Like this beautiful image,


Amarok 2.3.2, code name Moonshine, illuminates your music today. Check out the release notes here:

New: as of Thursday, our crack team of translators have already got the release notes translated to French, German and Spanish! Spread the news!

While you are downloading and installing, check out the new Amarok Insider: Some of the subjects covered: What's New in Amarok, Interview with a Developer: Leo Franchi, Podcasts on your Mobile Device, Automated Playlist Generator, Weekly Windows Build Now Available, and Organizing a Music Collection.

* Now available in German, too! Thanks, Xenios!

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

New Thing today: build a tarball

I'm no longer running Amarok from GIT! Today was tagging for 2.3.2 (yay!), and Nightrose needed tarball testers. A tarball is "A package of files gathered together using the tar utility." ( To clarify, once the developers agree that Amarok is ready to release, it is tagged, and compressed for testing, then available to the distribution packagers.

I've never participated in the tarball testing, because I didn't know how, and didn't like the idea of ditching my git version. However, in the last six months, building from git has become almost second nature. Leo Franchi (lfranchi) helpfully explained how to build from a tarball, in three easy steps. Step one, download. If you have never used wget, it is worthwhile learning, because it is super EASY and FAST. In this case, the command was
cd ~/kde/src/
~/kde/src$ wget
Once it downloaded, oh so quickly, it was time to untar the file, thus:
~/kde/src$ tar xf amarok-2.3.2.tar.bz2
And then build as usual:
cd $HOME/kde/build/amarok
~/kde/build/amarok$ cmake -DCMAKE_INSTALL_PREFIX=$HOME/kde -DCMAKE_BUILD_TYPE=debugfull $HOME/kde/src/amarok
(I did cmake in case it was needed, perhaps it isn't)
~/kde/build/amarok$ make -j3 && make install
In a very few minutes, it was built and running successfully!

Thanks to all the Amarok developers who have helped me learn how to help out this year.

Note: because I was already running Amarok built from git, all the directories were set up, and dependencies installed. If you are building an app from a tarball for the first time, it will be a bit more complicated, as you must set up your directories and install any dependencies too. There is usually a README file (text file) which you can open and use as your guide to installation.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Ubuntu Global Jam - Lessons Learned

At first our Jam experience seemed like a failure. We had two attend, and one of them was me. Thank goodness for Charles (acerimmer); his arrival made the afternoon fun. The first difficulty was Internet connectivity -- my laptop reported that it was getting a good wireless connection, but I was only able to use IRC and get webpages for about 10 minutes in the four hours at the library.

So the ability to connect with others around the state, and around the world was pretty much nil.

Technically, I was unable to load Kubuntu Mav in a virtualbox. I found out from Charles that I had not allocated enough memory, and that K/ubuntu's package might be missing a crucial xorg.conf file. Since the Kubuntu developers didn't mention this last point, more investigation is needed.

Also, I was unable to fully load the Mav LiveCD. I found out that my issues were not uncommon: This is still alpha software, after all.

My liveUSB key was also a fail, giving the same error message to both me and Charles. I found out that it wasn't my fault, but that of Lucid. After removing that useless LiveUSB install from my cute little 8-gig USB key, I copied the ISO onto it, but Charles was unable to load it into a virtualbox on his laptop either -- incompatible 64-bit systems! I'm not sure what that's about, but hope he'll file a bug about it.

After we talked some about upcoming LoCo events, we decided to leave early. We had both run out of options for testing.

However, the Jam continues through Sunday, and once I got home and got connected again, androidbruce gave me a great idea: swap out my present hard drive for my old backup one, and install on that! Although I was unsuccessful at partitioning off the old backup, which is mostly music, not much harm done to lose it, either. I had hoped to save it, just to be able to play some music during testing. Oh, well! So, as Scarlett O'Hara so wisely observed, Tomorrow is another day!

PS: Also -- more publicity is better! Craigslist? Any other ideas for spreading the word?

Friday, August 27, 2010

Learning New Skills: Reformat, Partition, Backup, Virtualize

Too much peace and quiet is too much, I guess. As soon as the current skill-set is working, I seem to need to add more complexity. Tomorrow is Ubuntu Global Jam, designed to get *buntu users together to test new software, the next release, work on bugs, clean out stale wiki pages, and other useful stuff. Seattle-area members of the Washington LoCo are gathering at the Rainier Beach Library tomorrow for Global Jam, so I thought I would try out Kubuntu Maverick, which is at the end of alpha. I figured backing up my current ~/home would be wise, so I bought a hard-drive at Costco for $99. For under a hundred dollars, I got 1.5 terrabytes!

Unfortunately, I hadn't done my research ahead of time, and it turns out that this Seagate model, the Free Agent, doesn't really like Linux, and isn't supported. Plus it was NTFS, so I figured out how to re-format it into EXT3, here: Basicly, use sudo fdisk -l to figure out what you have, and then mkfs.ext3 /dev/sdb1 to re-format.

I asked some friends what the best Kubuntu partition manager was, and it turns out to be Partition Manager, hahaha. On the other hand, I'm not sure I got it successfully partitioned, but I decided that I could always do that later, if necessary. So after doing a bit of research, I settled on LuckyBackup to manage the backup, because it's a nice light GUI on top of rsync, which rocks. Set it up last night, and let it back up during the night. It feels GREAT to start out a day with success! I let it update ~/home this morning, and also backed up /usr.

Next step, ask the developers in #kubuntu-devel what is most useful for tomorrow. So, now downloading (very slowly) the Maverick 64-bit ISO, and investigating how to install Virtualbox for testing. Using a guide to getting it going. It really was very easy!

I found another guide for those who are testing inside the environment, at The seamless mode ( seems like it is worth trying out also.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Amarok Quick Start Guide in Translation

Thanks to the hard work of the wonderful Amarok Promo Team, we now have the beginning of the Amarok Handbook completed, and in the able hands of the KDE Translation team ( It's quite exciting to see the completed pages roll in on #kde-www. Neverdingo has written a wonderful blog post about the procedure: If you love Amarok, and have ever thought about translating, now is the time to step up! This is going from our small team, to the larger team of KDE, and it is thrilling to see.

I guess we did something unusual, beginning our Handbook in the KDE wiki system. I'll have to say that comparing the process to our old way, which was using Google Docs -- it is like night and day. The one advantage of Gdocs is that you can tell who is also editing, and what they are doing, but we got around that, for the most part, by communicating in our IRC channel. There is simply nothing better than seeing your document take place marked up and looking professional! Wiki markup isn't complicated, and the guides ( and are easy and helpful to use.

I will never again use Google Docs for more than just text. The wiki rules! Userbase is awesome! Thank you, thank you, KDE.

I understand the next bit of this process is the DocBook markup, which sounds mysterious and scary still, since I don't know much about it. There is a guide to that as well, which I'm sure I'll be consulting often. For now, though, we'll concentrate on finishing the rest of the Handbook, for those who need more detail about the finer points of using the best music program of all time, AMAROK!

Thank you Mamarok, and Willem, Nightrose and Pete, Abhi and Adrián, Emilio and Dima for all your work. You've been GREAT.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Amarok 2.3.2 Beta 1, "Sentinel" released

Our Amarok students are still finishing up this year's Google Summer of Code projects, and we'll hopefully release them some time later this fall, when they are fully tested and working. Meanwhile, help us weed out some bugs to make Amarok 2.3.2 the rock solid release we want.

Amarok 2.3.2 Beta 1, codename “Sentinel” is out.

Since the last release in the 2.3 series the Amarok team has been working through the laziest days of summer to implement very much needed fixes, changes and even some new features, especially concerning filtering and podcasts. Read the full announcement here. Please report bugs:

Kubuntu package available here:

The new Quick Start Guide is nearly ready: Please ping me with any complaints, suggestions, or offers of help!

The Sentinel 3270 ft., Yosemite.

The Sentinel in Yosemite Park, California USA. "The Sentinel 3270 ft., Yosemite." Digital ID: 435032. Watkins, Carleton E. -- Photographer. 1861-1866

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Off to CLS and OSCON

What a string of letters! CLS is the Community Leadership Summit,, July 17-18 at the Oregon Conference Center in Portland, Oregon. "CLS brings together community leaders, organizers and managers and the projects and organizations that are interested in growing and empowering a strong community." I've not attended before, so it will be all new to me. It's free, and an "unconference," which sounds interesting. That's this next weekend.

Next week is OSCON, O'Reilly's commercial conference in the same venue. I'll be staffing a table with the Oregon LoCo, for Washington LoCo, Ubuntu-Women, and Linuxchix. You can bet I'll do my bit to support Kubuntu, and Amarok of course.

Lydia and Jeff from Amarok will be in town for CLS and part of OSCON, and I'll be sharing a room with Meryll from Seattle Linuxchix. I hope to see more of our Seattle members at OSCON as well.

If you are coming and want to meet up, please email me. So far, Monday evening looks interesting.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Linuxchix Seattle, and Firewalling

I was hoping to meet Hypatia and her man tonight, but maybe next time. In any case, many of the linuxchix met up at Boom Noodle, and ate a delicious meal. Then we walked up East Pike to Caffe Vita, and shared delicious coffee and tech talk. Although I connected to the Boom Noodle wireless without a problem, it was impossible to connect here at Caffe Vita. I finally was able to connect through Kevin's tethered iPhone! And download nmap. :-)

I'm not entirely sure what's up with my wireless card, but it must not be toast, because it eventually worked.

Meryll Larkin taught us how to test our security with nmap, and helped me set up a firewall with hosts.allow and hosts.deny files. Then she tried to hack me -- without success. :-)

Also, I started up Amarok and successfully scrobbled to, so my hosts.allow file is working well.

Life is good.

Linuxchix is at, Amarok at, at

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Girls Using *Buntu -- Win a Netbook!

Ubuntu Women has launched another competition!

Nine days left to enter -- get the word out to any *buntu-using girls! Posters and such are available.

If you're interested in spreading the word throughout the twitter and circles, the original status updates are:

A quick howto for entering:

Win that little girl a netbook or other cool geeky stuff. :-)

Friday, April 23, 2010

Locked out of my own website!

I tried to ssh into our server, now hosted at I got a notice, all scary-like:

The RSA host key for has changed,
and the key for the corresponding IP address
is unchanged. This could either mean that
DNS SPOOFING is happening or the IP address for the host
and its host key have changed at the same time.
Offending key for IP in /home/valorie/.ssh/known_hosts:4
Someone could be eavesdropping on you right now (man-in-the-middle attack)!
It is also possible that the RSA host key has just been changed.

Of course, that last bit is the important part. The host key has been changed. How to fix that at my end? My son said to edit out the line in my ~/.ssh/known_hosts file. However, when I opened Kate to edit it, I saw:

|1|2ZZc4RXTORIrgsDBWb2zqWRRw8s=|ZJCjvrfPLAEPwVQ6lGdYtVhoAK0= ssh-rsa AAAAB3NzaC1yc2EAAAABIwAAAQEAqp3hNrWz5ZWwogg1In70rBynezwkleYbOAgtDdbR7dfrcGJC/deLeprn+bXgfeO058EeHqAeU0be5tn1siui+GWm9rQ1PEfrT46fZCgSWeZVYVcQ5vRQItN/a6XFe00WPWrYEhXwgmM6la2gm8kOa5kCTSDOIN8v5XcqA85Pbnd57zmAcVWejaYndk1SkO9V1ctrxz8yGM6NuN+ThawQaLa1tWuj4aKFNWj2DBc3Dyx1IztUFdN0GcIRRg47qwU7KQGqv/2g77gsRmSvVILrRy1CR82lrsxpo5SdvMkqFJQSz/jyTN1x/6FbGJjAwkhIBQXkpQyxmQwzFb/Hf/pgMw==
|1|qZ+nY7U1kgMnDp26n6sdtbh+lmQ=|KGnxdNek7Rs137p3NgH3ZaLijdI= ssh-rsa AAAAB3NzaC1yc2EAAAABIwAAAQEAqp3hNrWz5ZWwogg1In70rBynezwkleYbOAgtDdbR7dfrcGJC/deLeprn+bXgfeO058EeHqAeU0be5tn1siui+GWm9rQ1PEfrT46fZCgSWeZVYVcQ5vRQItN/a6XFe00WPWrYEhXwgmM6la2gm8kOa5kCTSDOIN8v5XcqA85Pbnd57zmAcVWejaYndk1SkO9V1ctrxz8yGM6NuN+ThawQaLa1tWuj4aKFNWj2DBc3Dyx1IztUFdN0GcIRRg47qwU7KQGqv/2g77gsRmSvVILrRy1CR82lrsxpo5SdvMkqFJQSz/jyTN1x/6FbGJjAwkhIBQXkpQyxmQwzFb/Hf/pgMw==
|1|U+ZwcJShMD52Hxfk+BnxgfDnH4o=|QepSzrHlsR1vchO12+soBb1mAwo= ssh-rsa AAAAB3NzaC1yc2EAAAABIwAAAQEAysa2byLN+E1SeM8Wo7kMGLE+BPAg3nkKg5OhKmssRj945kKuqCBy3wvwVcrfe4zSvVMfotN06tAvmdflFokNXv9ANZJ9qu42HeFxNwkIz04w5E9YeHEG4rTtUW0dSsp13kcaU5Jp3z60C4QNUfZuNOGQmV+yYlOCiLXgR6eYmtkC+/hKZhPkO4GbxwLlEzW5Rzd8vy5czN87Pnr4Z1a/g+T+xKil8B2K41160+GQQNIPfYUCGnA9ccw1kRmWIYV+omJieXiigawUvhnQoHmWRllUhOq6y5jhvQVseO7S+EVFobMFxZ/P2+SzOlg2KaZu/8M0YZtxcrSM8NHnZLq+iw==
|1|b6NemVdIE2FvkU5/cH5FXaDbUks=|Hr4ppmN0hOhCb5ey2NS1yaeuits= ssh-rsa AAAAB3NzaC1yc2EAAAABIwAAAQEAysa2byLN+E1SeM8Wo7kMGLE+BPAg3nkKg5OhKmssRj945kKuqCBy3wvwVcrfe4zSvVMfotN06tAvmdflFokNXv9ANZJ9qu42HeFxNwkIz04w5E9YeHEG4rTtUW0dSsp13kcaU5Jp3z60C4QNUfZuNOGQmV+yYlOCiLXgR6eYmtkC+/hKZhPkO4GbxwLlEzW5Rzd8vy5czN87Pnr4Z1a/g+T+xKil8B2K41160+GQQNIPfYUCGnA9ccw1kRmWIYV+omJieXiigawUvhnQoHmWRllUhOq6y5jhvQVseO7S+EVFobMFxZ/P2+SzOlg2KaZu/8M0YZtxcrSM8NHnZLq+iw==

What the heck? I went to #linuxchix to seek counsel, and rik was around to tell me that that's a hash of the hostnames. He said, "the idea of hashing the hostnames was to stop an exploit [of someone who] got in as one user then using your keys (if you had then in an agent) to ssh in to every other host in your known_hosts file." Which would be a bad thing!

So in the console, I ran ssh-keygen -R
and got back: /home/valorie/.ssh/known_hosts updated.
Original contents retained as /home/valorie/.ssh/known_hosts.old

and wooooohooooooooooo I'm in!

Thank you Thomas, rik and the linuxchix!

Thanks to all my commenters, too. Once I knew what was going on, the error message made more sense to me. That's the problem with error messages the first time you see them; you don't know enough to make sense of them. Often I google the error feedback in quotes, and sometimes that gets me the answer I need. Perhaps I should have tried that this time, but whining in IRC worked faster. :-)

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Kaudiocreator Returns in KDE4

UPDATE on Kaudiocreator:

Thanks to Apachelogger, the KaudioCreator package is now available as part of kdemultimedia This is the BEST cd-ripper I've ever used, and I hope the wonderfulness came across to KDE4.

The programmer can be contacted on KDE-Apps:

Audex is also available; somewhat of a fork of this wonderful program. Thanks so much to the programmer to porting to KDE4. I appreciate it very much!

PS: Audex can be found here:

I also like Sound Juicer, but reinstalling it would have pulled in about 20 other packages, so no! I'm now happily ripping a classical CD, by the way. :-)

Oh, and by the way, I know I can rip CDs inside of Amarok, and I'm glad for that capability. But I'm pretty picky about tags, and like to rip to a directory outside of my collection, so I can check the tags before moving the files inside my collection. That way Amarok displays everything correctly from first play.

Followup note: While I still try KAudioCreator first, I have to use Sound Juicer about a quarter of the time in Lucid. While K "allows" edits to what it finds from Freedb, some those edits aren't used! Also, if the CD has any scratches, it tends to go into a tizzy, and have to be killed. Audex now crashes on startup every time, and leaves me no backtrace. I guess I could run in gdb, but really, no debugging package available? So Sound Juicer is a good fallback, even with all those dependencies. I also tried RipperX again -- still UGH! and also the CLI program abcde. Not only too techie for me, also no choices of tracks or tags.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Lucid beta, bugs, and Alsamixer

The ongoing saga of running a beta release, I guess. Everything was pretty cool for 10 days or so, but then......

A few days ago, my laptop lost its voice. After doing some update or another, there was NO sound, except an occasional odd clicking noise when instead it should have been playing a music track. In KDE, one can test various sound devices and services in System Settings > Multimedia. This is also, by the way, where you see what backends are available to you, such as Gstreamer, Xine or VLC. This same window is used in Amarok to configure Playback > Phonon. Once sound disappeared, this configuration window in System Settings started crashing, so I filed a bug about that. Actually, it's still crashing, even now that I have sound back.

The nice part about filing that bug is that the crash handler AKA Dr. Konqui now asks you, if certain debugging packages would help display a more helpful backtrace, if you would like to install them. Then it searches the database, fetches the packages and installs them for you. Be sure to reload your report after the installations, of course!

Finally, I went over to Launchpad and filed a bug there about the sound issue, since my tests have revealed that this was a general problem, not a KDE one. if you are interested in this issue.

Salient points: aplay -l displays your sound equipment.

Of course first, I always checked Kmix. Often some channels were muted, but unmuting made no difference. I must have done that 20 times or so. I uninstalled Pulseaudio, which made no difference. I tried booting into next older kernel, still no sound. I used the TTY to run a sound file from Music123, which runs below X. It gave no error message; but appeared to be playing the file. No sound.

I also removed the phonon config in ~/.kde/share/config - no change. Rebooting into my original Kubuntu Lucid beta LiveCD, I heard sound again! After days. More updates, but still no sound.

In desperation, I asked in #unbuntu+1 (Freenode). The kindly folks there commiserated, and one person asked about Alsamixer. I remembered using it in opensuse, so I consulted my blog post here, and opened alsamixer in the console, and then used Ksnapshot to take a screenshot of it.

See where it says Speaker, and MM? Jordan_U kindly pointed out that that meant MUTE, and that I could change that by using the arrow keys to highlight the speaker column, and then use the M key to change to unmuted, which is 00 -- none of which makes any sense to me. However, sound now works! I updated my bug with the new information, because while my problem is solved, there is still a venomous bug, crawling around and biting random people!

Now I can get back to work in Amarok. Wonderful IRC people to the rescue once more! Thanks to Jordan_U and the rest of the helpful folks in #ubuntu+1.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Chmod, and rebuilding from scratch

Before I forget, just a brief note about what I learned yesterday. After some odd errors both in Amarok and during an Amarok re-build, both of which involved permissions, I did a $ sudo chmod 777 /home -R command,* blew away my old Amarok build (going back to empty folders) and successfully rebuilt.

Also, all those tracks with previously un-editable tags -- now editable. So, sudo is no longer required to do a make in $HOME. Perhaps using sudo for that in the first place created some of the problems, so in future, I'll check permissions first!

*I've been advised (thanks, Mamarok!) that 777 is a bad idea, since it gives permission to any and all. chown -R username folder/ is better.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Scripts, Not Just for Making Movies

A few months ago, I offered to write the Handbook for Amarok, my favorite music software. Along the way to that goal, I began publishing the Amarok Insider, which had been on hiatus for awhile. I've heard it said that the best way to learn something is to teach it to someone else, and this has proven true for me at least in technical writing. I wanted to learn how to build from source, because the more people do this, the more testing can be done before release, instead of after. This makes for more stable releases, and for the newsletter editor, provides advance experience with new features.

We have wonderful help for building Amarok from source should you be interested in doing so, here: Right now developers are working on a new backend for Amarok, because Xine and Gstreamer, the two available now, are not satisfactory. VLC has the additional advantage of being cross-platform, and Amarok is available for Linux, Windows and Mac. Phonon-VLC, the new backend, is in rapid development like Amarok is, so testers need to build from source in much the same way. Again, Myriam has written the essential guide to installing and updating:

After using her guides to install Amarok, VLC and Phonon-VLC from source (with invaluable personal support from her, and other developers), I decided to make myself a shortened version, with just the commands I need to update and build, since I have all the dependencies installed, and the proper directory structure built. I realized once I had the short list written, that it looked a bit like a script! Here is my list:

Clean build?
rm ~/kde/build/amarok/CMakeCache.txt
rm ~/kde/src/phonon-vlc/build/CMakeCache.txt

Update phonon-vlc

cd ~/kde/src/phonon-vlc/build
git pull

cmake -DCMAKE_INSTALL_PREFIX=$HOME/kde/ -DCMAKE_INCLUDE_PATH=$HOME/kde/include/ -DCMAKE_LIBRARY_PATH=$HOME/kde/lib/ -DCMAKE_BUILD_TYPE=debugfull $HOME/kde/src/phonon-vlc/

make -j3 && sudo make install

Update Amarok

cd $HOME/kde/src/amarok
git pull

cd $HOME/kde/build/amarok
cmake -DCMAKE_INSTALL_PREFIX=$HOME/kde -DCMAKE_BUILD_TYPE=debugfull $HOME/kde/src/amarok

make install

kbuildsycoca4 --noincremental

After this stroke of inspiration, I looked around for some help in building a bash script, but found only tutorials which didn't seem to apply. When I asked on #linuxchix, rik, chf and joh6nn offered to help. We eventually came up with a Makefile, which unfortunately doesn't really work yet, although I don't understand why yet. Here is our product:

# Makefile for updating and building

.PHONY: all install clean all-clean phonon-vlc-clean phonon-vlc-update phonon-vlc-build phonon-vlc-install amarok-clean amarok-update amarok-build amarok-install

.DEFAULT: install

rm ${HOME}/kde/src/phonon-vlc/build/CMakeCache.txt

cd ${HOME}/kde/src/phonon-vlc/build
git pull

phonon-vlc-build: phonon-vlc-update
cd ${HOME}/kde/src/phonon-vlc/build
cmake -DCMAKE_INSTALL_PREFIX=${HOME}/kde/ -DCMAKE_INCLUDE_PATH=${HOME}/kde/include/ -DCMAKE_LIBRARY_PATH=${HOME}/kde/lib/ -DCMAKE_BUILD_TYPE=debugfull ${HOME}/kde/src/phonon-vlc/

phonon-vlc-install: phonon-vlc-build
make -j3
sudo make install

rm ${HOME}/kde/build/amarok/CMakeCache.txt

cd ${HOME}/kde/src/amarok
git pull

amarok-build: amarok-update
cd ${HOME}/kde/build/amarok
cmake -DCMAKE_INSTALL_PREFIX=${HOME}/kde -DCMAKE_BUILD_TYPE=debugfull ${HOME}/kde/src/amarok

amarok-install: amarok-build
make install
kbuildsycoca4 --noincremental

all: phonon-vlc-install amarok-install

install: amarok-install

clean: amarok-clean phonon-vlc-clean

all-clean: amarok-clean amarok-install phonon-vlc-clean phonon-vlc-install

Two reasons this isn't finished and working: I had a meeting, and rik had to sleep! I did a make -d all and got a TON of output, the end of which is at . My console buffer was full of output! Later I hope to have a finished script to present to those who are interested in building packages from source. The problem so far is that the script seems to skip over or error out on the git pull step. Updates later.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Installing Lucid beta -- Adventure Story or Buddy Movie?

It seemed so simple. I went to and downloaded and installed the update yesterday afternoon, no problem! This morning, KpackageKit informed me that I had over 1000 updates, and since I was busy with Alsachat, I decided to just let it go, although I was a bit apprehensive about the power situation. We had a wind advisory going on, and I know that disconnecting during updates is a very bad idea. With about 30 minutes to go, however, KpackageKit crashed! When I tried to use the console (as I should have in the first place), I couldn't because KpackageKit had crashed, and not cleanly quit. If I had been thinking clearly, I would have used the command killall kpackagekit, but I thought it was named "kpackageit" -- and didn't look it up. So I restarted, and got a kernel panic!

I didn't panic, though -- I attempted to start in safe mode, without success. Then I selected the next oldest kernel, and dropped down to the command level. However, I was unable to successfully use apt-get update, even there. And I still couldn't boot into kubuntu. I decided that a fresh install of Lucid beta was the best idea, so I decided to write the disk on Anne's old laptop, which now runs opensuse. The problem I ran into there was that the CD drive wouldn't stay closed with a CD in it! I had to tape it closed to successfully write the CD. And my laptop booted with the LiveCD. But when I got to the place in the install where one must decide where to install it, I really was stymied, and scared to wreck my computer. I don't know the last time I backed up my home directory -- I know, bad Valorie! And I knew it was it was on its own partition, but.....well, I poured out my story in IRC, so here is the rest of the story.... [scroll to the bottom if you don't want to read the gory details!]

valorie: I'm so discouraged
valorie: my laptop is borked
valorie: I downloaded and installed lucid beta yesterday and everything was cool
valorie: today, there were over 1000 updates, and stupidly I told kpackagekit to go ahead and download them
valorie: part way through, it crashed
valorie: but anyway, I tried to re-do them with apt-get
valorie: but I couldn't because of the kpackagekit crash
valorie: now I can't get the computer to boot at all
valorie: tried an older kernel, and apt-get update there
valorie: but it kept throwing error messages
valorie: :(
valorie: I dl'ed and burned the lucid beta CD on this old laptop of my daughter's
valorie: but I'm afraid to bork up my computer even worse
valorie: it does look like my son made a separate partition for /home
valorie: but how do I know which one it is?
valorie: I did an fdisk -l /dev/sda
valorie: and can see how big each of the partitions are
valorie: and I know which one is swap, because it says
valorie: but that leaves 3 other possibilities
maco: blkid helps there
valorie: I don't know what that means
valorie: I see the IDs
valorie: 83, 83, 82, 83
valorie: for /dev/sda5, 6, 7, 8
valorie: this SUCKS
valorie: lucid worked just fine last night
valorie: as an upgrade
crimsun: well, sda5 is your extended partition, and sda7 is your swap
crimsun: so either sda6 or sda8 is /home
maco: valorie: 83, 82, etc... sounds like filesystem types. UUIDs are those loooooooooooong strings that identify the partition itself
maco: try "blkid /dev/sda5" for example
valorie: do I have to run that as root?
valorie: it gave me nothing
maco: i was just explaining what they were because of the confusion above
maco: you can type it without the /dev/.. stuff to just get a list of partitons and UUIDs
maco: do what as root?
maco: what gave nothing?
maco: (blkid does not need to be done as root)
nigelb: apparently yes
nigelb: gives me nothing here too
maco: iiiinteresting. i can run plain old "blkid" as not-root and have it be happy
crimsun: as well it should. access to a block device requires elevated privileges.
valorie: as root, it says 5 has uid=0caf054f-9d98-453d-9ab0-d2baf34bcld0 sectype=ext2 type=ext3
valorie: or pretty close to that
valorie: hard to copy from one screen to the other
maco: apparently i'm in a group i shouldnt be in
crimsun: maco: you upgraded; that makes sense
maco: oh
valorie: 6 & 8 are both ext4
valorie: anyway folks, do you think trying to install over top of my previous install would be the best idea?
valorie: I can't recall how old my most recent backup is
valorie: so I really do not want to wipe out /home!
maco: thats what i always do
nigelb: now, thats better :)
valorie: if people will be here to hold my hand
nigelb: valorie, there always will be :)
valorie: ok, I'm to the scary place
valorie: it advocates shrinking /sda1 from 178.5 GB to 105.2 GB
valorie: Kubuntu in 73.3 GB
valorie: sda5 to 235.3 MB!
valorie: I think that was swap, and I had problems when it was too small before
valorie: gads, I don't know if I have the courage
valorie: does it know which one is /home?
valorie: is it preserving it?
valorie: it leaves 6 unchanged in size
valorie: and 7
IdleOne: valorie: use gparted to display your partitions to you and take a screen shot of it. Make notes on paper in "real words" of which partition is what.
valorie: eliminates 8, which used to be 160 GB
maco: valorie_: are you in manual partition mode?
valorie: abort the install and do that?
maco: if you want to reuse the same / partition, you have to choose "manual partitioning" at the partition step instead of one of the guided ones
valorie: Prepare disk space is where I am
valorie: ok
maco: did you figure out which one is currently / and which is /home ?
valorie: no, I have no clue
valorie: I know 1 is windows
valorie: 7 is swap
valorie: aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaah
valorie: the manual bit expects me to know
valorie: and I know nothing.....
maco: you can mount them and look
valorie: how?
valorie: abort the install?
maco: do you have a desktop right now?
valorie: what do you mean?
maco: or did you do the "just install and don't give me a desktop to use during it" mode?
maco: you're on a live cd right?
valorie: yes
maco: are you able to get to a terminal?
valorie: no, I think I should quit
valorie: this is too scary
maco: no no its ok!
maco: i'll walk you through
maco: let me quickly read back through what you did before
IdleOne: valorie: relax :) remember before you click anything ask yourself this " Did I triple check my double checking?"
valorie: each click so far has been easy
maco: valorie: try sudo mount /dev/sda5 /media ; ls /media and see if that looks like /home or /
valorie: speak english, etc
valorie: maco, there is no way to do that
maco: valorie_: ctrl+alt+f1?
valorie: just the install window
valorie: ah, ok
valorie: ok, no -- it is all abi, config, initrd,, vmcoreinfo, vmlinux
valorie: etc.
valorie: so that must be /, correct?
maco: do you have a separate /boot ?
maco: that looks like /boot
valorie: grub is in there, so maybe
maco: those are the files i see in /boot
maco: ok so we know 5 = boot
valorie: and memtest
valorie: yeah
valorie: ok
maco: now sudo umount /media ; sudo mount /dev/sda6 /media ; ls /media and see what 6 is
maco: if you see root, bin, sbin, var, lib, etc, etc... thats /
maco: if you see your name.... /home
maco: and once you know what that is, since we know 7 is swap, then you can guess what 8 is
valorie: ok, bin, cdrom, etc, home, initrd., etc
valorie: so maybe that's home?
valorie: or perhaps /
maco: thats /
valorie: gotta be root
maco: ls on home in there though
maco: make sure your data isn't really hiding in there
maco: as that'd be bad
valorie: just ls home?
maco: ls /media/home
valorie: k
valorie: nada
maco: ok good
valorie: cool
maco: so then 8 is home
maco: alright back to the installer
valorie: this is making me feel so much better
maco: click on sda5, hit the edit button, and tell it use as /boot, and go ahead and let it format
valorie: control alt which?
maco: probably f7
valorie: nope
maco: try different f#'s til you find it?
maco: (this is what i do)
valorie: 8 did it
maco: ok
maco: click on sda6, hit the edit button, tell it to use as /, and format as ext3 or ext4, as you prefer
maco: click on sda7, hit edit, swap, no mountpoint for swap
maco: click on sda8, hit edit, mountpoint /home, use as ext3 (since thats its current format), and make sure you do NOT have it set to format that partition
valorie: when I click on 5, it brings up a edit partition screen
valorie: new size
valorie: use as
maco: leave the size alone if you want
valorie: format
valorie: mount point
valorie: but use as doesn't have root as a choice
maco: sda5 should be /boot
maco: and thats the mountpoint
maco: sorry, i mixed up when the dialog says "use as" blah. "use as" means "what format do you want?"
valorie: right
valorie: one of the choices is swap
maco: you have ext3 now. you can stick to that or go to ext4 or reiserfs or whatever
valorie: perhaps I was wrong and that was swap?
maco: no, it'll offer all possible filesystems one every partition
maco: since its a new install, if you *wanted* you could make that partition be swap, so it's offering that
valorie: so ext3 journaling file system?
maco: yep
valorie: ok
maco: but i'm assuming you're sticking to the same disk layout you had before
maco: this making sense?
valorie: yes
maco: good :)
valorie: should ANY of them be set "format this partition?
maco: i don't think its necessary, but maybe for /boot might be a good idea since i don't know if it'll actually clear out the old kernels if you dont
valorie: weird, because it shows a check under format for /home and /
valorie: ok
maco: thats because you haven't gotten there yet
valorie: I'll re-look
maco: you'll remove that checkmark when you edit them
valorie: it's grayed out
valorie: the only one that's got a black check is /boot now
maco: you're looking at the table of all the partitions right now, right?
maco: that's read only
valorie: right
maco: you have to click on those partitions and hit "edit"
valorie: so do I do anything to those ntfs partitions?
maco: nah, leave your windows alone
valorie: so click change?
maco: valorie: well i'm not looking at the screen right now, but if the edit button is now the "change" button...sure!
valorie: no, i think forward is the way to do
valorie: otherwise it will create a new partition
valorie: and I don't want that
valorie: correct?
maco: valorie: there's a "new" button and a "edit" one, right?
maco: valorie: you want to use "edit" on each existing linux partition and not use "new" at all
akk: I think I right-clicked on the partition and chose Edit from the context menu.
valorie: right, I edited each
valorie: no new
maco: oh ok
maco: and you got rid of the "format me!" on /home right?
maco: (thats sda8)
valorie: well, it's still got a grayed check mark
valorie: as does 3
maco: but 5 has a black checkmark?
maco: ugh i dont like this UI. it should have *NO* checkmark if it's unchecked. grr.
maco: not a but-look-we-greyed-it-out checkmark to mean unchecked
valorie: 5 has a black checkmark
valorie: yeah, it's confusing
akk: Yeah, having a checkmark at all sounds scary.
maco: ok then i think you're good to hit "next"--just make sure when you get to the end you read the confirmation screen
valorie: but I've tried 3 times ad I can't get rid of it
maco: this is a kubuntu lucid install disk?
valorie: yes, kubuntu lucid beta
valorie: it says that 5, 6, 7 and 8 will be formatted
maco: O_O
valorie: yeah
maco: go back
maco: did you set them to a different filesystem than what they were before? (all ext3)??
valorie: ah, I left a mounted system
valorie: grrr
maco: oooh
maco: sorry. sudo umount /media
maco: then maybe it'll let you edit things properly?
valorie: it will umount, I think
valorie: but I have to go back and redo it
valorie: bleah
maco: sorry :( i should've told you to umount before switching back to the installer
valorie: I'll scroll up -- it will be faster this time
valorie: damn, it's the same
valorie: says all 4 will be formatted
valorie: still with the grayed checkmarks
maco: valorie_: hmm you might need an alternate cd. sounds like a bug.
valorie: yeah, I can't allow that
valorie: :(
valorie: too much there on /home
valorie: gads, burning another damn CD on this machine -- if there is a cd in it, the cd tray keeps coming open
valorie: I had to tape the damned thing shut to get it to burn
valorie: lol
maco: hahaha
valorie: I wonder if my thumb drive is big enough
valorie: rats, I don't have it right now
valorie: :(
valorie: all right, I'll try to burn the alternate CD
maco: valorie: bug filing time too it seems
valorie: I guess as a good netizen, I had better
valorie: searching for liveCD bugs....
maco: ubiquity is the installer package
valorie: bug filed
valorie: now to write another CD
valorie: ok, alternate cd booting
valorie: the autoconfig for network fails, probably because I can't get the wireless to turn on
valorie: can I use the IP address from this machine to manually config?
maco: you can just tell it to skip
valorie: ok
valorie: actually, it is insisting
maco: what?
maco: it doesn't need net to do an install
maco: so it should let you just skip configuration of the interface
valorie: there we go
valorie: ok, i'm to partitioning
valorie: and again chose manual
valorie: then....configure the logical volume manager?
maco: eek!
maco: no lvm necessary
maco: pick the manual-not-lvm one
maco: i've only ever used lvm once, and that was because i *had* to for my system administration class
valorie: guided partitioning
valorie: configure software RAID
valorie: configure lvm
maco: then go to guided partitioning
valorie: configure encrypted
valorie: ok
maco: sounds the most reasonable
valorie: that takes me back to these choices:
valorie: guided:resize /dev/sda1 & use freed space
valorie: use entire disk
valorie: entire disk/lvm
valorie: entire and encrypted
valorie: and manual
valorie: and you already saw the manual choices
maco: and manual is where it brought up the raid stuff?
maco: what the...this is weird
valorie: yes
valorie: maybe guided and use entire disk
maco: no that'd delete everything
maco: hmm i think i need to try this in a vm
valorie: no, not that one
valorie: that just erases the entire disk
valorie: gaaahhh
valorie: oh, duh
valorie: in the manual, I can choose the partitions
valorie: geez
valorie: fear and stress makes me stupid
maco: chamomile tea?
valorie: water, right now
maco: chamomile tea good for getting rid of the stress part
valorie: ok, gonna scroll up and do this
maco: ok
valorie: mount options? label?
valorie: reserved blocks
maco: ignore that
valorie: bootable flag
maco: you don't need to worry about it
valorie: ok,
valorie: for boot -- erase data on this partition
maco: bootable flag goes on your windows i think. iirc, windows won't boot if its not marked bootable, while linux will go "what? grub told me to!"
valorie: hmmm, it makes it sound like I shouldn't erase it
valorie: it can no longer be recovered, etc.
valorie: choices: resize, copy data from another partition
valorie: erase data on this partition
valorie: delete the partition
valorie: done setting up partition
valorie: I assume don't resize
valorie: but erase?
rww: In debian-installer (and Ubuntu alternate CD) speak, delete deletes the partition, erase writes over all the data on it (a la DBAN) and then deletes it, I think.
valorie: the thing is, the header makes it sound like it is going to be erased *anyway*
valorie: "You are editing partition #5 of /dev/sda. This partition is formatted with the ext3 journaling file system. ALL DATA IN IT WILL BE DESTROYED.
valorie: in caps, the last bit
valorie: so I'm thinking my goof in the last go around was telling it I wanted them formatted
valorie: no formatting is probably what I wanted
valorie: ::sigh::
maco: i think this installer makes it slightly clearer than the gui one whether data will be kept. gui one says "format? yes/no" this says "format or keep?" which is a bit clearer IMO
maco: when it shows the list of partitions it puts F if its formatting and K if its keeping, i believe
valorie: so I guess I'm done with 5
maco: ok. now on to the others!
valorie: BUT - if you don't change "use as" --it is "do not use"
valorie: so....
maco: for use as you set what the current partition is
maco: then below that it has a format or keep option
maco: er, what the current filesystem is
valorie: no, it has all the file systems, swap, physical volume for encryption, RAID, LVM, do not use
valorie: and then go back
valorie: I don't see a place to tell it to use 6 as /
valorie: blah
maco: set the filesystem there
maco: for each partition there's a list of things you have to set
maco: "use as" is the filesystem
maco: you also have to set the mountpoint
valorie: right, but it warns above it will be destroyed
valorie: gah
maco: did you not change the "format/keep" part yet?
valorie: which is fine for everything but /home!
valorie: so 8, I think I just don't edit, right?
valorie: do not use
valorie: done setting up this partition
valorie: that seems reasonable to me
valorie: it will want to re-write boot, / and swap
valorie: to re-write
valorie: and don't touch /home
valorie: correctomundo?
valorie: finish partitioning and write changes to disk.....
valorie: there is no K, by the way
valorie: F or nothing
maco: if you do not use 8 it wont know to mount it as /home
maco: but then again, you can always edit /etc/fstab to TELL it to use that as /home after installation's done anyway
valorie: but if I format it, it's dead
maco: I'm pretty sure you can inform it of what format to use AND tell it to keep the data
maco: it should be one of the other questions on the partition edit screen
valorie: no, it isn't
maco: got a camera on-hand? i gotta see this
valorie: it has all thefile systems, swap, physical volume for encryption, RAID, LVM, do not use
valorie: and then go back
maco: yes but those are the options for "use as:" right?
valorie: yes
maco: there are more questions than just "use as"
maco: one of them should be asking whether to format or keep the data
valorie: Partition settings:
valorie: use as: do not use
valorie: blank
valorie: bootable flag: off
valorie: blank
maco: if you change do not use to the filesystem, that blank line might change to "format/keep"
valorie: resize
valorie: copy data
valorie: no, then it changes the menu
valorie: use as: ext3
valorie: mount point
valorie: mount options
valorie: label
valorie: etc.
maco: ok chck out mount options then
valorie: right above it says: All data in it WILL BE DESTROYED
maco: because it hasnt been set to "keep" mode yet
maco: just have to figure out where that mode is hidden
valorie: ok, noatime
valorie: relatime
valorie: nodev
valorie: nosuid
* maco shakes fist at screen
valorie: noexec
valorie: ro
valorie: sync
valorie: usrquota
valorie: rgpquota
maco: ok thats not sounding like it
maco: what's after "etc."
valorie: reserved blocks
valorie: typical usage
valorie: bootable flag
valorie: resize
valorie: copy data
valorie: erase data
valorie: delete
valorie: done
maco: if you go to "erase data" what does it say?
valorie: that's the one that warns that it will overwrite with random chars
maco: hrmph
valorie: I don't see a way to do it except do not use
maco: did you go to "mount point" yet?
maco: does it maybe offer it in there?
valorie: no
valorie: no choice of home
maco: i mean does it offer the dont format thing in there?
valorie: oh, I'm wrong, it does offer home
valorie: but still warns that it will be destroyed
valorie: even if I choose home, then go back and remove the formatting option
valorie: the /home bit disappears
valorie: so I'm guessing the editing is the only way
valorie: oh, I could send the pic to your email
valorie: duh
maco: hmm ok. i *know* pre-lucid had a way to set the filesystem AND keep the data
maco: i used it a bunch during installfests
valorie: gosh, brain is dead
valorie: so, finish partitioning and write changes to disk?
maco: hang on i wanna see this picture...
maco: can you take a pic of the page before that? the one that lists "use as" and "mountpoint" and such?
valorie: ok, I'll go back to that
valorie: sending
maco: valorie: ooooh i see a reason!
maco: valorie: that one is currently ext4
maco: so picking ext3 would mean changing its format
maco: try picking ext4 in the "use as:" and see if suddenly you're allowed to not-format
valorie: voila!
valorie: you are right
valorie: so should I go back and change any of the others?
maco: /home is the only one you care about saving
valorie: ok
valorie: yay!
valorie: I guess my question better would have been
valorie: is there a use to have them all formatted the same?
valorie: ext3 or ext4
valorie: etc.
maco: ext4 for /boot and / tends to mean faster boot
valorie: ok, I'll go back and change 'em
valorie: good grief
valorie: so they are all ext4
valorie: now finish and start partitioning?
valorie: right, maco?
maco: yep
valorie: soooo scary
valorie: it's happening....
valorie: booting......
valorie: gonna unhook here and see...
valorie: btw, /home seems to be fine
valorie: you rock, maco
valorie: and I owe you big-time
maco: yay!
valorie: next, install konvi and uninstall amarok
maco: uninstall amarok???
valorie: I build it from git
valorie: has to be uninstalled first, though
valorie: what the hell
valorie: even though Knetworkmanager can see my wireless
valorie: it will NOT connect
valorie: no matter how many times I tell it to
valorie: grrrrrrrrr
valorie: finally!
valorie: had to restart

Thus endeth the lesson. One bug filed, two CDs burnt, one laptop restored to workability. All in only FIVE HOURS! I certainly wish I had filed a bug when KpackageKit crashed, but I've filed a few from a crash, and without all the -debug and -devel packages installed, they aren't much use. AND I wish I'd thought to look at the spelling of KpackageKIT. On the upside, I installed a new distro version without using Thomas' time. I do owe Maco for 5 hours of work, for sure! I would like to thank crimsun, nigelb, rww, and akk for their help also. #ubuntu-women, you rock!

While preparing this blog post, I needed to remove a bunch of IRC cruft like time stamps, such as [22:53:43] and [03:49:53]. It seemed like a good time to use regular expressions (regex) to remove them in my favorite text editor, Kate. Thanks so much to Afuna on #ubuntu-women who helped me learn a bit. By the way, the magic regex was: \[[0-2][0-3]:[0-9]{2}:[0-9]{2}\] . And I understand *why*! Thanks again, Afuna!

Thursday, April 1, 2010

I love geeks! on IRC

Happy April Fools! I shared a link I got in #amarok, with the #linuxchix channel, and got the most fun command suggestions! All commands are in italic., interspersed with a few comments which might help you make sense of them. Add more commands in comments! Click and try date
apt-get moo (add "-v", "-vv" and even more "v")
man cat
find kitten (a game)
man next
man last
make me a sandwich
(as an alias of wget)

*chf: "xyzzy" is the magic word of a text adventure game. Used in the right place as a command, it does something, everywhere else it outputs "nothing happens."

joh6nn: if you type "display" for today's, type next
maria: apparently it likes finger, but I feel strangely cheated that it doesn't know what touch is
sudo reboot
sudo make me a sandwich
go west

thykier: mmm, it responds to CTRL + L (although it is a little weird to trigger CTRL in the terminal)
thykier: you can actually play that game
thykier: nice song though (and stay clear of "south")
maria: thykier: it's easy to go south if you know how to avoid the obvious :)
go down
light lamp

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Curiosity, or How We Go Down the Rabbit Hole

Congratulations to the scientists at the Hadron Collider, who have made this gigantic machine act as a time machine. In an interview (which I can't find on NPR or on the BBC!), one of the scientists defended the large multi-national investment in the collider, and in basic science in general, mentioning that most science is done to satisfy curiosity, without thought to where the findings will lead, or their practical applications. And yet, modern technology is built on the foundation of work wrought by those curious people who followed their interests where they led, even down rabbit holes, across oceans or under them, or out into space.

In Free and Open Source Software, we do the same thing. Of course sometimes both scientific research and programming are done to scratch an itch, or solve a discrete problem. But large projects are done by people with a vision of what they want to create, and the enthusiasm to draw others to help in the programming, documentation, dissemination, and advertising. I've recently gotten involved with Amarok, writing the Handbook and the Insider newsletter. It's been great getting to know the team in IRC, on the mail lists and on the Forum. It was very exciting to participate in the release of 2.3, after seeing all the work that had gone into it.

And yet we continue to hear complaints about the 2.x series not being the "perfect" 1.4! Sometimes in shockingly emotional language. The other day I read the comments on a forum post hating on 2.3 for lack of comment support, and have been digesting them ever since. Post is at, and comments are supported in 2.3, but are not searchable. Some of the verbiage is appalling: "I hate Amarok with almost every fiber of my being," "Amarok 2 is the reason I lost faith in the open source doctrine," and the summation of almost all the criticism, "They screwed up big time when going to 2.x, the forums had all kinds of constructive feedback but they couldn't hear anything and refused to listen with their head up their ass. My faith is lost in them." Hear we hear the longing for Eden, a mythical past when that perfect software created the ultimate music experience. I believe this is why the emotion can run so high.

While I agree that 1.4 was wonderful, it is in the past. It's done, and Eden is myth. If the developers didn't have a vision of an even better music experience, they probably would have moved on to a different project by now, and done bug-fixes only, if that. When you look at popular free projects, that's how it goes! Progress or slow death. This happens with companies, too. Some entrepreneur gets an idea, builds a company around that idea -- and then either becomes Manager in Chief, and stops innovating, or recruits a manager, and moves on to the Next Big Idea. Mark Shuttleworth has recently done that in Canonical, where he handed over the managerial duties to Jane Silber, so he can focus on the parts of the project that he still finds engaging. The Amarok developers have moved on, and I'm grateful they are still interested in creating a perfect music experience.

Those folks who believe Amarok 1.4 *is now* the perfect music experience, have the right to support and extend that. That is what free and open software is all about. I might think they are jumping down a rabbit hole, but what's wrong with that? People are still reading and enjoying Alice in Wonderland, and Through the Looking Glass. Not everyone is a programmer; I am not, and not interested in learning. I do enjoy technical writing, and helping people solve their problems, and I've made myself a job on the Amarok team. Rather than looking back to a mythical, perfect past, why not find a way to contribute NOW, and create progress and change?

Also posted as a reply to the forum post. -v

Saturday, March 27, 2010

End of the Line

I hope you've discovered RadioLab, either on NPR (National Public Radio) or on the web. If not, check them out. Tonight I heard the most beautiful stories; beautiful and heart-breaking. This one struck me most, because we're at this place with my dad. He broke his hip before Christmas, and now is healed enough in body to move out of the rehab place, but his mind -- well, just listen to the story. He's there, at the end of the line. And I wish the Regency had a bus stop out front.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Ada Lovelace Day

I started this blog a bit too late to blog on AL Day. But I was inspired by many of the great posts I read, and did post via, and have continued to read many inspiring posts. Two of my recent favorites are Magni's: and this one about Deb Richardson, Linuxchix founder:, which I saw on

Amber Graner posted a wonderful long blog about many of the women in Ubuntu-Women: I've recently come to know Amber and many of these women, and it was great to read more about them. And here are some of women I've met in KDE and Amarok:

I definitely plan to blog on Ada Lovelace Day 2011!

IRC - Timewaster or Productive?

Tonight has proven to me that IRC is productive. First the fine folks at #linuxchix helped me get sound working on Anne's old laptop. Then the people in #opensuse-kde helped me prune my somewhat warty repository list, even writing out the commands I would need to remove the extras, such as zypper rr home:wstephenson:branches:KDE:KDE4:UNSTABLE:Desktop.

I had a duplicate, too -- the same repository from two different mirrors. I thought I hadn't gotten anything from it after all that, but yaloki said, "to see whether you have a package from the packman repository installed on your system: rpm -qa --qf='%{NAME}-%{VERSION} %{VENDOR}\n'|grep -i packman." I did, and so removed one but not both. Finally, remur_030 suggested that "afterwards 'zypper dup' so everything has a proper install backed by repositories." That is working away right now in the little laptop next to me.

In short, if you need some technical help, hop on IRC, and ask! Googling is good, thinking is good, and it's also good to hang out and answer questions too. It was a productive night, as I got help in those two channels, and also the suggestion in #amarok that I aggregate this blog on Planet KDE, which I did.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

The Adventure Begins!

Linux now has its own blog, and I'll begin with the latest. My daughter Anne contributed her old laptop, in which son Thomas installed OpenSuSE. I thought it might be fun to install Amarok and see how a new user sees it, but to my surprise, it's part of the standard install. However, the version was ancient, so an upgrade was in the works. To my delight, Konversation was also installed, so I could hop right onto IRC and ask a few questions in #suse. Unfortunately, they were hating on KDE4 and Amarok2 in there, so not very helpful!

The #opensuse-kde channel (on Freenode IRC) was much more helpful and friendly. This is an old Compaq Windows XP machine, so it was a bit of a challenge to get current software up and running. One of helpful websites was, where you can search for any package name, and see what is available in all repositories, even private ones. I was able to find Amarok 2.3 in "unstable," but I'm happy to report that now that all parts are installed, it seems *very* stable. Just getting everything installed took quite awhile, as Open Office decided it wanted updating as well. Plus the Yast/Zypper system is enough like the apt-get system of K/ubuntu to cause me quite a bit of confusion. I tried to copy/paste as much as possible, so as not to mess up command structure.

I guess Kubuntu packagers have spoiled me, though. I found that the backend, which is the part of Amarok that allows the sound to come through the speakers, wasn't included in the base install! When I tried to configure Phonon and make sure the sound card was working, Amarok instantly crashed. So I located the newest Phonon I could find, and phonon-backend-xine, and installed them. What kind of laggard packaging system is this!

Now I could configure my sound system at last, but the sound card test gave no sound, and I recalled that I'd seen a notification on each startup that the sound card was giving up.

So, no sound. Install drivers? I checked the Nvidia website, but they don't have a driver for such an old sound card. The website explained that such drivers are part of the linux kernel, so I don't have to worry about it! OK -- helpful people in Linuxchix (irc:// helped me test Alsa. sudo alsamixer showed me the channels, and I unmuted the few channels which were muted, such as line, line jac, mic and mic boost. That seemed to make no difference, so the next thing to check was Alsaplayer (not installed) or aplay, but aplay never started.

Next, cat /etc/group. The only group I'm a member of is video, so I had to add myself, sudo vi /etc/group. I usually use Kate, but it wasn't installed, so vi it was. i to insert, arrow keys to move about, escape to return to command mode, :x to write (save) and exit.

Why wasn't I automatically added to these groups when I installed Pulseaudio? Good question. I've never had to edit groups before, and I've been using Linux for ..... over 10 years, I guess. Anyway.

To add myself to the necessary groups, I made the line audio:x:17:pulse into audio:x:17:pulse,valorie, and the same with pulse-access, then escape and :wq to write and quit. Finally, I closed all running programs and restarted the computer. Upon starting up Amarok, and testing Pulsaudio (the sound card no longer shows up as an entry), it worked! SOUND!

Since I've not transferred any of my music tracks to the laptop yet, I used Magnatune, and listened to some beautiful classical music, courtesy of the band Asteria. Thank you to Anne, to Thomas, to OpenSuSE and the fine folks in #opensuse-kde, Christoph Franzen (chf) and the rest of #linuxchix, and the fine developers of Amarok. Finally, thanks to Mackenzie Morgan (maco) for helping me make this entry vi-correct. Vi manpage online:

Ultimately, this old laptop will be available for my grandson Oscar to play Qimo on. I'll put on some of my favorite music too, so if we lug it up to the cabin, Amarok will be useful for more than learning and testing!