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Sun, 06 Jul 2014

xserver-xorg-video-intel 2.99.912+20140705 in experimental

Since the release of xf86-video-intel 2.99.912 a month ago several enhancements and fixes in xf86-video-intel git piled up. Again testing is very much appreciated: xserver-xorg-video-intel packages.

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Fri, 04 Jul 2014

Keep dpkg in c

Some projects tend to like to abstract everything - KDE, I am looking at your developer base, see phonon for a very misguided effort. While abstracting config files like elektra tries to do looks like a laudable goal, it can't cover all of them plus is a maintenance nightmare.
Adding a crappy^Wbloated c++ layer in order not to prompt user is definitely using the wrong tool at hands. It seems this year again Debian choose super boring Google summer subjects, while Linaro let the students do cool stuff. BTW git implemented all kind of merge strategies, that would be the first place to look at and merge into dpkg.

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Wed, 11 Jun 2014

xserver-xorg-video-intel 2.99.912 in experimental

With the release of xf86-video-intel 2.99.912 good sna support is expected for several generation of Intel devices. Again testing is very much appreciated: xserver-xorg-video-intel packages.

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Fri, 30 May 2014

xserver-xorg-video-intel 2.99.911+git20140529 in experimental

Since the release of xf86-video-intel 2.99.911 lots of changes landed in upstream git. Hence for better Haswell support it was decided to use latest git. Again testing is appreciated (positive tests known on Haswell-ULT HD 4400 and Haswell HD Graphics 5000): xserver-xorg-video-intel packages.

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Thu, 29 May 2014

xerver-xorg-input-synaptics 1.8.0 in experimental

The new xf86-input-synaptics 1.8 release is available in experimental. It supports the new Lenovo *40 series and the cute Carbon X1 thingy. Testing is appreciated, as this might soon move to unstable: xerver-xorg-input-synaptics packages.

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Fri, 08 Mar 2013

Wrong moves
A bizarre closed user-tracking schism is rebased from shaky grounds to an unexisting target. It is sad to see this continous decline due to unchallenged decisions.

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Fri, 05 Oct 2012

New klibc release 2.0.2

The new klibc features fixes for latest 3.6 Linux, dash sync and arm fixes. For details see the longer story on: klibc 2.0.2 release announcement or klibc git repository.

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Thu, 31 May 2012

New klibc release 2.0

The new klibc features prominently the merged stdio branch (causing the version bump). The buffered I/0 allows a faster fstype and thus faster boot. Plus klibc gained the support of several stream I/O functions, for details see the longer story on: klibc 2.0 release announcement or klibc git repository.

The dhcp cmd ipconfig can now generate enough info for a proper lease file too and got fixed concerning the min length of it's replies. Google sponsored the /etc/fstab or cmdline boot mounting in kinit.

2.0 is shipping several arch fixes including i386 signal fixes, m68 support, s390x, sh4 compile fixes. There is still portability work todo: #439181 ia64 shared lib buggy (longdated unresolved ia64 mystery), #634890 amrhf all binaries segfault (maybe signal related), status on parisc is unknown, avr32 patch is untested (might as well just merge) and sh4 SIGILL. We got nice arch testcoverage thanks to mksh testsuite and working mksh klibc support. We are confident of this release on all this archs: alpha, armel, m68k, mips, ppc, ppc64, sparc, s390, s390x and x86. (:

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Sun, 06 May 2012

Gnome shell rocks

The Gnome shell is a great step. Finally the Linux default Desktop is not only useful (as Gnome 2.X used to be), but also stylish and modern. It's a different kind of desktop, which seems to irk desktop habits of some peoples. I'm proud to show it off. This happened for the last time years ago while doing some funny config quirks of fvwm. Gnome 3.x is cool. (: Also the customisability via all the extensions is fun.

What I do miss is the gnome weather (There used to be an incarnation with plenty of geographical sites, which got somehow got axed later.) and more packaged extensions for out of the box deployments (wish #661782).

I seem to be too lunatic to find session settings in "System Settings" for having startup applications run or the used applications reopened (please yes evince show the same pdfs).

The other minor critic is that "System Settings" is quite empty, but has on each system a funny advertisement for "Wacom Tablets". Ah and after a myriad of suspends and network-manager stops/restarts gnome-shell likes to segfault, which is no nuisance as it restarts.

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Tue, 23 Aug 2011

klibc 1.5.25 release

Mike Waychison from Google sent fancy costum tailored enhancements to kinit. Thanks to new klibc capget and capset support kinit now understands "drop_capabilities=" bootparam. It specifies a list of capability names that will be dropped before switching over to init. dirent.h saw the addition of scandir() and alphasort(). Gentoo devs pushed a klcc enhancement. For details see klibc 1.5.25 release annoucement.

A lot of stuff is in work: current klibc patch queue.

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Wed, 27 Jul 2011

klibc release 1.5.24

Good pile of fixes made it worth to release current klibc git master. Patches came from Gentoo, Google and Openembedded. For details see klibc 1.5.24 release announcement.
Forgot somehow to announce the previous klibc 1.5.23 dash sync release and containing Ubuntu arm+ppc64 porter fixes.

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Wed, 18 May 2011

klibc 1.5.22 release

This release has several ipconfig (klibc dhclient) enhancements, arm porting fixes and usual cleanups: For details see klibc 1.5.22 release announcements or klibc git.

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Fri, 13 May 2011

initramfs-tools release 0.99 "scarpe rotte e pur bisogna andar"

This new release features /run usage and xz support. For the details see the release announcement of latest initramfs-tools. The upload itself fixes 18 (19) bugs in the Debian BTS and has also a cute lilo support patch hiding under "initramfs-tools: Fix handling of numeric root= arguments to be udev-friendly" coming from Ubuntu. (; Ben Hutchings revamped the bootloader linux-2.6 hooks in order that update-initramfs no longer calls any bootloader by itself. Thank you for all the contributions. The development docs got nicely refreshed too.

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Wed, 26 Jan 2011

klibc 1.5.21 release

This release is "slightly" delayed due to lots of physics calculations for my final PhD year at the TU Vienna with all fixes that piled up since last summer: Support for newer GNU make 3.82, x86_32 signal fun, the self explantory KBUILD_REPRODUCIBLE and various cleanups: For details see klibc 1.5.21 release announcements or klibc git.

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Mon, 13 Dec 2010

CUPS Printer foo

I seem to have a sweet spot for having troubles with printers in stressy times. For restarting a stopped specific queue under CUPS it is easiest to specify:

 cupsenable <queuename>

The symmetric command for stopping is cupsdisable.

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Sat, 28 Aug 2010

Release of klibc-1.5.20

This release fixes an important ipconfig regression from Lenny due to a badly tested monster patch 4efbcf90f60. ipconfig should now perform better then ever, thanks to the inflow of fixes since Lenny release. This RC fixes are scheduled for Squeeze and it already landed in Sid.

1.5.19 had no release announcement, but fixed compilation on x86_32, the syscall handling on sh4 (initramfs-tools is said to boot fine with it), valgrind ipconfig warnings and added getrusage() for the mksh port.

Thanks to hpa for giving me the official co-maintenance of klibc. Thanks to all contributors.

P.S.: See klibc git repo.

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Thu, 22 Apr 2010

Fresh klibc 1.5.18 release

The overdue dash sync from 0.5.3 took a month to be done, but now klibc is shipping newer dash 0.5.6 then actual unstable dash.

Fixes for this release include fstype support for btrfs and ext4 without journal. Moving README's around so that they can be shipped for avid readers: README.ipconfig go :) The goodie from this time is the sh4 build fix form the very active Debian sh4 porters. ipconfig, nfsmount and kinit have now simpler DEBUG build. ipconfig build warnings got shot by a Google patch.

If your patch hasn't made it yet, please ping me for next queue: klibc git repo, Unofficial patch queue.

P.S.: Ubuntu Lucid pushes out klibc 1.5.17 thanks to Colin Watson.

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Sat, 20 Mar 2010

New klibc release 1.5.17

Not only fixes ipconfig regressions due to fixes in 1.5.16, but ipconfig should no longer discard useful packages. We also fixed a long standing klibc sparc specific socket bug (#444087): sparc lists socket system calls, but does not provide all of them natively. So one is better off on sparc to use sys_socketcall.

Thanks to Jan Hauke Rahm the packaging switched to modern Source Format 3.0 (quilt) with debhelper 7 usage reducing cdbs overhead on build. This is a big switch and makes me very happy.

New addition include a $(make help) target in Makefile to ease klibc build. A small losetup got added to klibc-utils.

i386 and sparc build fine against current linux-libc-dev: klibc-1.5.17 released
P.S.: New outfall seem to include armel and s390 due to libgcc changes.
Update: Seems only a small packaging error due to test target invocation, should be fixed in 1.5.17-3.

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Mon, 15 Mar 2010

New release klibc 1.5.16 uploaded

The upload reduced RC count by one as klibc builds against recent linux-libc-dev including 2.6.34-rc1. Also libklic-dev uses them directly once installed thanks to a patch from Ben Hutchings. The klibc build saw several fixes from a big and refined Google patch queue.

The klibc-utils mount grew several useful features and ipconfig saw lots of bug fixes (send requested optional hostname, raise field length for rootpath DHCP option, ..): hpa klibc 1.5.16 release announce, Git klibc repo.

Update: According to build log there is still work todo for i386 and sparc. :)

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Tue, 27 Oct 2009

HTC Magic 90 days Android usage

I love the fact that phones are ready to get a decent OS. I bought the phone for better connectivity and to get GPS goodness. 90 days later seems a good time to review the pros and cons:

  • The phone sees updates (Android 1.6 has recent 2.6.29 build with much nicer battery status and search box).
  • Easy to pick google calender together with useful gmail integration.
  • Often use the phone for a quick websearch (cinema programs on the run, news, shop opening times, ..) - to lazy to power up real laptop.
  • The touchscreen interface isn't too bad, but missed the nice resize effect seen on other touchscreens OS.
  • Connectbot is a half decent ssh client.
  • The consumed data is very low - never managed to touch the 1GB download bandwith limit.
  • gmaps is fun to look up and helpful in finding directions.
  • Last but not least important phone functions as easy dialing and good voice transmission are working.
  • The worst omission is a decent pdf reader. No way to read latest papers on
  • The next big missing thing that worked since years with mobile phones is bluetooth file sending and receiving out of the box.
  • A more minor bugger - but still quite annoying: contacts sent to you as vCard don't get easily imported in contacts.
  • The camera from the HTC magic is not really pleasant.

Of course Android still seems like an alien sandboxed Linux, but I must say that the average usage capability of the mobile phone is very nicely enhanced.

P.S. Using allmost daily also Google Talk, Ultimate Stopwatch & Timer, Finance, GPS Status and the ultra cool Google Sky Map.

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Mon, 09 Mar 2009

git: Throw away first X commits of a repository

Today got asked by a colleague, who wanted to throw away the early history of his repo. git allows you easily to rewrite the history start with:

echo $FIRST_SHA >> .git/info/graft
git filter-branch -f

Then with interactive git rebase you can rewrite this important initial commit. Of course you have to define $FIRST_SHA and your repo shouldn't be dirty.

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Wed, 25 Jun 2008

Open Source Graphic Drivers - oops less often

If you haven't read yet: Linux Graphics, a Tale of Three Drivers. The hard data is based on reports thanks to It matches quite evenly our bug experience on the Debian Linux images. As already stated "Open Source Graphic Drivers - They don't kill kittens". The unnamed company claims no need for open drivers.

Hardware vendors need not to forget that they don't get revenues from the drivers side. The conclusion is to buy hardware, where the vendor cares about Linux support. That means documents the hardware and enhances current free xorg with all needed goodies of enhanced power support and last but not least 3D acceleration support.

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Fri, 23 May 2008

"Open Source Graphic Drivers - They don't kill kittens"

People don't seem to get that once you load a 1MB binary blob into your kernel you are no longer running a free operating system. There is no way to fix it. No way to see what is going wrong.

Fedora 9 is shipping the latest xorg Release. It features major improvements for the Intel and Radeon drivers. The well known randr features got pushed even more. Plus gaining better 2D and 3D effects and important power saving improvements. Thanks to all the xorg hackers!

Big blame on a unnamed company that can't keep up with latest Linux (Xen gained paravirt_ops support in 2.6.24 - oh yeah but we are still on 2.6.18 state). To truly support Linux you'd have to first release your specs and then help existing xorg hackers. Even Via seem to have got the message lately after years of no transparence.

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Fri, 28 Sep 2007

happy git usage

Apparently Scott James Remnant in his article on version control systems confuses arch and git. One can only speculate that his short git usage stems from the pre 1.0 days, where you had to use higher level tools (called porcelain) to happily work on git. A funny anecdote is that Scott back in his dpkg hacking year promoted arch heavily.

Ubuntu^Wbzr propaganda spreads speed gains as big bonus of the last major releases. In order to be able to do that you have to start with a terrible baseline. Testing bzr on middle sized repos is no fun at all. The bzr pain inside launchpad must be beyond imagination.

Nowadays it is much easier to hack on mdadm than on lvm2. The reason is that later project uses rusty cvs. With git it is really easy to contribute back. Either you mail the patches or publish your repository. git will help you along on each way.

The other very big bonus of git is the big community around git. It is a community excited around building and delivering the best version control system. The git development does regular surveys on git usages and incorporates back the wishlists.

The most "funny" way to use git is to run it as cvsserver. You may believe me or not i have seen git cvsserver emulation usage in the wild.

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Tue, 28 Aug 2007

YAPC::Europe 2007
The current Perl confernce in Vienna seems to get the biggest YAPC::Europe ever, see q&d YAPC first day notes.

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Thu, 16 Aug 2007

Huawei E220 HSDPA usb modem

The usb modem works out of the box with current Linux 2.6.23-rc2 (why would you use older ;-).

usb 2-2: new full speed USB device using uhci_hcd and address 8
usb 2-2: configuration #1 chosen from 1 choice
option 2-2:1.0: GSM modem (1-port) converter detected
usb 2-2: GSM modem (1-port) converter now attached to ttyUSB0
option 2-2:1.1: GSM modem (1-port) converter detected
usb 2-2: GSM modem (1-port) converter now attached to ttyUSB1
For lazy guys wvdial drei the wvdial.conf for 3 connectivity (hint - fix pin):
[Dialer drei]
Modem = /dev/ttyUSB0
SetVolume = 0
Dial Command = ATDT
Init1 = ATZ
;Init2 = AT+CPIN=1234
Init3 = ATE1V1&D2&C1S0=0+IFC=2,2
Init4 = AT+IPR=115200
Init5 = ATE1
Phone = *99#
Stupid Mode = 1
Init8 = AT+CGDCONT=1,"IP","","",0,0
Dial Attempts = 2
Username = xx
Password = xx

Current mood very happy. :) Aboves means connectivity almost everywhere in Austria due to A1 network fallback.

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Fri, 20 Apr 2007

Fun with Legend Annotations in Graphs

E\sT\N \f{Symbol}t\0 f
Once you start typing such strings blindly, you know that you have been generating lots of graphs with xmgrace. :)
LaTeX equivalent would be
E_T \tau f

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Tue, 10 Apr 2007

Happy switch from bzr to git
The cardinal reason for the switch is collaboration: git scales. During my bzr usage time of the last year i observed the following shortcomings of bzr:

  • Speed - This improved a bit lately but not enough for my q&d usage.
  • Documentation - Beside the obvious "svn-style" commands the usage of the other commands isn't obvious and the man pages lack examples. git is not perfect in that regard, but you quickly find typical usage pattern on wiki tutorials or on many google hits.
  • Pager - On big diff output bzr doesn't pipe that to pager^Wless. I consider that as a big usability bug.
  • Branches - I recently learned that a bzr repository corresponds to a git repo with just one branch. This seems strangely complicated. I really love to have different branches ready to checkout in my `pwd`. This short-coming blocks cooperation as i'm not confident enough to fetch random changes from bug reporters in my own branch.
  • Minor Nitpicks:
    * Push command - Defaults on the non-obvious old sftp protocol. Worked with rsync on some very ancient version.
    * Repo format - Changes on every major upgrade.
    * Patchlevel - Probably for svn compat reason the chosen default patchlevel is -p0 not -p1.
  • Latest initramfs-tools repo is available at:
    git clone git://

    Thanks to tailor it is now possible to move from different version control systems. For git as target repository it is recommended to use latest upstream either directly via darcs or at least install the unstable version. The etch version throws strange python backtraces.

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    Wed, 14 Mar 2007

    ext[23] online resizing
    The e2fsprogs package in Etch features the ext[23] resize2fs, see it in action on a mounted /usr partition:

    nancy:/root# egrep usr /proc/mounts 
    /dev/mapper/nancy_vg1-usr /usr ext3 rw,noatime,nodiratime,data=ordered 0 0
    Now let's extend a bit that logical volume:
    nancy:/root# lvextend -L+700M /dev/nancy_vg1/usr       
    Extending logical volume usr to 4.68 GB
    Logical volume usr successfully resized
    Next easy step is to invoke resize2fs
    nancy:/root# resize2fs /dev/nancy_vg1/usr 
    resize2fs 1.40-WIP (14-Nov-2006)
    Filesystem at /dev/nancy_vg1/usr is mounted on /usr; on-line resizing required
    old desc_blocks = 1, new_desc_blocks = 1
    Performing an on-line resize of /dev/nancy_vg1/usr to 1227776 (4k) blocks.
    The filesystem on /dev/nancy_vg1/usr is now 1227776 blocks long.
    Update: Mika of course already blogged about ext3 online resizing. Bug #400797 is a very good reason not to use ext2resize. I remember a post from Theodore Tso on it's bad code quality. Don't trust it.

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    Mon, 28 Aug 2006

    network state monitoring
    If something wierd is going with your network card and other methods fail to pinpoint (aka strace doesn't follow netlink) use as root (you'll get a nice log to stdout):

    ip monitor all

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    Tue, 18 Jul 2006

    Set your email per git repo
    Previously used export GIT_AUTHOR_EMAIL="", but belows is much nicer as it can be set per repository.

    git repo-config

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    Mon, 17 Jul 2006

    Git server setup
    On Debian take care to install git-core and optionally gitweb for the web interface.

     grep git /etc/inetd.conf
    # git server
    git     stream  tcp     nowait  root /usr/bin/git-daemon git-daemon --inetd --syslog --export-all --base-path=/var/cache/git
    Add the git service:
     grep git /etc/services
    git             9418/tcp                        # git
    Now add your users in /var/cache/git/$user and give them write rights. For the fancy web interface you need those settings:
     cat /etc/gitweb.conf
    # path to git projects (.git)
    $projectroot = "/var/cache/git/"
    # directory to use for temp files
    $git_temp = "/tmp";
    # target of the home link on top of all pages
    $home_link = $my_uri;
    # html text to include at home page
    $home_text = "/var/cache/git/indextext.html";
    # file with project list; by default, simply scan the projectroot dir.
    $projects_list = '/etc/gitweb.lst';
    Latest gitweb has branches for mod_perl usage for now this is enough:
     egrep git /etc/apache2/sites-enabled/ssl
     ScriptAlias /git /usr/lib/cgi-bin/gitweb.cgi
    Small sample project list:
    mattems%2Fklibc%2F.git maximilian+attems

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    Mon, 03 Jul 2006

    git cheat sheet
    Using git involves a decentral development even if central server is supported. Git is amazingly fast and scales very well. Some of the following commands may help to get used to it.

    # clone the last revision localy
    git clone /path/.git
    # clone repo from remote pc                         
    git clone git+ssh://user@host/path/.git
    # create your own branch
    git branch <username>
    # set your email and name which will show up in the commits
    git repo-config ""
    git repo-config "firstname name"
    # show latest changes
    git log
    git log <file>
    git show
    git show <commitid>
    # check which branch currently is active                                        
    git branch
    # create and use a test branch
    git checkout -b test
    # commit either all or some parts related to the files
    # please don't forget to add an meningfull desc
    # the first line is the subject, all below the body
    git commit -a
    git commit file
    # merge your test branch once your happy back to your branch
    git checkout username
    git pull . test
    # undo all local modification as they b0rk
    git checkout -f
    # push your changes to the repo all can have access to
    git push git+ssh://user@host/path/.git branch
    # eventually delete the test branch
    git branch -D test
    # tag the current revision
    git revert <commit-id>
    # change commit message to last edit
    # (yes that's the only one you can change others are protected)
    git commit --amend
    # delete last commit
    git reset HEAD^
    # cherry-pick a change from one local branch to another local branch.
    git checkout <first local branch>
    git log path/to/changed/file
    git checkout <second local branch>
    git cherry-pick <sha1 refspec from the previous 'git log' output>
    # merging others changes
    git fetch git+ssh//user@host/path/.git mater:incoming
    git log mater..incoming
    git checkout mater
    git pull . bob-incoming

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    Wed, 15 Mar 2006

    Ethtool - query or set your ethernet
    Curious about which NIC hides in your box, use those commands, replace $iface with ethX:

    $ sudo ethtool -i $iface
    driver: tg3
    version: 3.47
    bus-info: 0000:40:00.0
    Following command shows your NIC statistics:
    $ sudo ethtool -S $iface
    If your nic shows some aging signs, your may want to be sure:
    $ sudo ethtool -t $iface
    The test extra info:
    nvram test     (online)          0
    link test      (online)          0
    register test  (offline)         0
    memory test    (offline)         0
    loopback test  (offline)         0
    interrupt test (offline)         0
    A friend had the crazy wish to have an 10MBs connection:
    sudo ethtool -s $iface speed 10
    which he could also have had while loading the 8139too media modul param:
    insmod 8139too media=0x01
    Disable TCP/UDP checksums
    ethtool -K $iface tx off

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    Tue, 14 Mar 2006

    LUKS crypto partition
    LUKS is the Linux Unified Key setup. It is much easier to handle than previous cryptsetup. LUKS uses dm-crypt. Encrypt the partition with luks, you may want to run a bad block check before and overwrite it with random data. Out of simplicity this is skipped. Initialize the LUKS partition.

     cryptsetup  luksFormat /dev/sda2
     This will overwrite data on /dev/sda2 irrevocably.
     Are you sure? (Type uppercase yes): YES
     Enter LUKS passphrase: 
     Verify passphrase: 
     Command successful.
    Create mapping between logical and physical partition
    cryptsetup luksOpen /dev/sda2 sda2
    Enter LUKS passphrase: 
    key slot 0 unlocked.
    Command successful.
    Now you create your filesystem on top and voila your using an encrypted partition:
    mkfs.ext3 /dev/mapper/sda2

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    Tue, 24 Jan 2006

    boot from usb disc
    Take care to backup any data before formating your device. Copy your root. Change your current root device to the usb device. Of course your kernel or better your distro initramfs should have support for booting from usb disc.

    mkfs.ext3 /dev/sda1
    mount /dev/sda1 /mnt
    find / -xdev | cpio -pm /mnt
    echo "(hd1)   /dev/sdb" >> /mnt/boot/grub/
    perl -pi -e s/sda1/sdb1/ /mnt/boot/grub/menu.lst
    perl -pi -e s/sda1/sdb1/ /mnt/etc/fstab
    grub-install --install-dir /mnt /dev/sdb

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    Wed, 18 Jan 2006

    install grub
    In bad situations grub-install has weired failures. It is quite handy to specify everythink on the grub cli (change sda to your block device):

    grub> device (hd0) /dev/sda 
    grub> root (hd0,0)
    grub> setup (hd0)

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    Wed, 14 Dec 2005

    Allow other users access to your INBOX
    cyrus is best administered with cyradm(1):

    connect hostname_server
    sam user.my_username other_user read
    lam user.my_username
    The sam command changes the acl's and lam will list the new rights.

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    Mon, 12 Dec 2005

    ipw2200 mode monitor
    2.6.15-rcX have merged the newer driver but yet the monitor mode fails:

    iwconfig eth1 mode monitor
    Error for wireless request "Set Mode" (8B06) :
    SET failed on device eth1 ; Invalid argument.
    The Patch adding IPW2200_MONITOR wasn't enough as it seems: Kconfig options for IPW2200. Firmware 2.4 is said to immediatly restart on monitor mode.
    Also noticed that ipw2200 doesn't survive kexec, will look into that.

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    Mon, 28 Nov 2005

    simple ccache usage
    Debian makes ccache usage simple. Add to your .bashrc or .zshrc:

    While compiling you want to know your stats:
    watch ccache -s
    If your home is fucked and has not enough place for a big .ccache, you'll see that the cache will not grow big: Free it up and you'll get all the bonus.

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