Gnustep unstable packages added to portage

Even if these packages are marked unstable, they do have some fixes (and the stable release is getting old). Some gnustep packages now need them in their latest versions (including gorm). So they’re now available in portage (moved from the gnustep overlay), under package.mask. Be warned though that upgrading to the unstable release means recompiling every one of your gnustep packages (revdep-rebuild is your friend). A few packages had to be fixed to work with new gnustep-gui, don’t hesitate to report if something does not work

The pieces to unmask are currently:

# Bernard Cafarelli < (09 Jan 2008) # Mask unstable gnustep and packages depending on it >=gnustep-base/gnustep-back-art-0.13.0 >=gnustep-base/gnustep-back-cairo-0.13.0 >=gnustep-base/gnustep-back-xlib-0.13.0 >=gnustep-base/gnustep-base-1.15.1 >=gnustep-base/gnustep-gui-0.13.0 >=virtual/gnustep-back-0.13.0 >=gnustep-apps/gorm-1.2.2 >=gnustep-apps/simpleagenda-0.33 

If you want to try the Cairo backend, this could be the right time (the unstable release works quite fine)

This brings Gentoo packages on par with the latest Gnustep Startup, have fun!

New gnustep soon stable, new windowmaker ebuild, NX news, … (and other things I’ve already forgotten)

It looks like real life finally lets me write some news on Gentoo work πŸ™‚

GNUstep news first: packages based on gnustep-make-2.0 are now almost all marked stable (see the progress in this bugreport), there’s only sparc left and then I’ll finish cleaning up the old ebuilds. In the gnustep overlay, you can now find (masked) unstable gnustep and gorm releases: lots of fixes, but requires lots of revdep-rebuild! πŸ˜‰

Thanks to grobian and truedfx, you can now try windowmaker-0.92.0-r7, it has some nice features to check out. This is still my WM of choice, even if I now run gnome on the laptop (easy compiz switching, better power management integration).

On the NX front, a nice Gentoo user has filled a few enhancement bugs on freenx (startup script, utempter use, …). I’m preparing a revbump integrating most of these, stay tuned. I’m also preparing a revbump for the free edition server, upstream has released a new version with many fixes (including some that could help people using selinux). And last, if you have problems with freenx, or freeedition server, there are two lengthy threads on the forums, where you may get help from other users. The freenx thread is here, and the one for the free edition is here

And closing this post, I’d like to say a big “thank you for all the work you’ve done on Gentoo” to Roy Marples (uberlord), and Seemant Kulleen (uncle Seemant)

Tips and tricks: Gentoo Linux on a Samsung Q45 laptop

I won’t talk here about the difficulties encountered while installing ~amd64 Gentoo on this baby, as most of the components work quite well and without a problem, but rather about a few tips I had to dig around the Internet. Some of these tips may apply to other PCs, or other distributions too πŸ˜‰

External kernel modules to emerge

To get most of the hardware, emerge:

  • net-wireless/iwlwifi: even if it’s still relatively new, it works much better than ipw3945 for the wifi! Update: merged in kernel, simply emerge net-wireless/iwl3945-ucode, and enable iwlwifi in kernel tree
  • media-video/linux-uvc: who knows, this webcam may be useful one day
  • x11-drivers/nvidia-drivers: yes, it’s proprietary, but you need it to try compiz-fusion (add “options nvidia NVreg_RegistryDwords=”PerfLevelSrc=0x2222” to /etc/modules.d/nvidia to fix flickering in X)
  • app-misc/sdricoh_cs: this is a *very* experimental driver for the card reader (I did not try further though, as I still have an old PCMCIA one that works fine and fast) ”Update””: turns out you don’t need this one, simply use the “sdhci” module from kernel

Power management

Now, let’s get the most of the battery. First some links that will give a lot of ideas to get a longer battery life:

  • Gentoo Power Management Guide
  • Intel-sponsored Less watts site: by the way, emerging powertop definitely is a good idea!
  • Mandatory to let your CPU rest while on battery: HRT (tickless system) patch for amd64, apply it to your 2.6.23 gentoo-sources. Update: merged in recent kernels
  • A patch to apply to gnome-applets (works fine here, less CPU wakeups)

By the way, nvidia broke the brightness key shortcuts while in X, but you can switch to a console (where the keys work!), adjust brightness, and switch back to X.

Gnome tips

For now, I run Gnome (2.20) on it, here a few fixes. First, the gnome-power-manager tray icon may not appear from time to time on login. This is a known problem, also known as bug 188618 to poor Gentoo developers. (Update) This was fixed by leio (don’t forget to thank him), now you just need to upgrade to gnome-power-manager-2.20.0-r1 (no need to kill and restart g-p-m manually now). For other distributions, this was accepted usptream, so you should be fine soon too πŸ™‚

OK, now that we have a battery life monitor, next tweak: if you have kept the hidden backup partition on this system, gnome will add a nice (completely useless) icon for it on your desktop. Thanks to the french Ubuntu forums, here is how to tell HAL to ignore that partition (/dev/sda1 in my case). Create a file called /etc/hal/fdi/preprobe/10ignore-disks.fdi, with these lines inside:

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"?> <deviceinfo version="0.2"> <device> <match key="block.device" string="/dev/sda1"> <merge key="info.ignore" type="bool">true</merge> </match> </device> </deviceinfo> 

And voila, this one will not bother you anymore πŸ™‚

Last thing, if you’d like to enter your password once at gdm screen, without the need to retype it for gnome-keyring (NetworkManager trying to connect to the home wifi), and even SSH passphrases, read this great planet post by fellow french conspiracy Gentoo developer remi.

Another last thing (last one I promise), about NetworkManager: this is a great tool, but it will work better if you add something like ‘RC_PLUG_SERVICES=”!net.eth* !net.wlan*”‘ to /etc/conf.d/rc (so the system does not try to start the interfaces before networmanager does). Also take a look at NetworkManagerDispatcher (bug here): this tool will automate start/stop of services when NetworkManager connects to a network (openvpn, ntpd, …)

OK, I’ve finished now, thanks to the few people that are still reading πŸ˜‰

NX servers 3.0 going security stable, removing old versions

NX 2.1 libraries (based on X libraries and Xnest server) are derived from an old XFree release, and are not maintained anymore upstream, in favor of the 3.0 version (based on, 64bit-clean, …). As pointed out by our nice security people, the code base in NX 2.1 is not patched against all vulnerabilities reported in XFree recently.

So, what will this change for Gentoo users? The free edition server 3.0 has been in the tree for some time and will be going stable shortly (and 2.1 packages removed). The bugs reported when 3.0 got out are all fixed now, so this is the best working version anyway!

For Freenx users, I am preparing a version bump that will work with 3.0 libraries (and will also work on no-multilib amd64 systems too). Upstream is working on a new version, with complete 3.0 support, but as it will be a complete rewrite, expect it “when i’s done” πŸ˜‰

Just in case, I’ll move the 2.1 nx libs ebuild in the NX overlay (package.masked of course), if people really need it for their freenx setup (and know what they are doing)

When these updates are done, next big task will be to finally write some nice documentation on NX servers in Gentoo (what’s NX, pros/cons of the different servers, how to set up advanced features, troubleshooting guide, …)

Updating GNUstep packages in portage

As a follow-up to my previous post, as gnustep base packages are marked ~ppc again, I have started to move the other packages from the overlay πŸ™‚

Visible results? Well, we have a cleaned-up windowmaker (still my favourite window manager after all these years), closing a few bugs, the return of gworkspace (temporarily package.masked because of vulnerable code in pdfkit), updated (and working with latest gnustep packages) gnumail, …

And now back to moving ebuilds in CVS, cleaning up old ones, and closing bugs (while my desktop gets an overdue “emerge -auDNt world”).

Oh, by the way, I won’t add Etoile itself in this batch, as it still needs some changes in the way the ebuilds handle the bundles defaults (which you definitly want OK, if you want to have a desktop “as-in-the-screenshot” πŸ˜‰ )

GNUstep in portage (finally) gets updates

After some months filling up the gnustep overlay, I am glad to announce that the new series of gnustep ebuilds are finally making their way in portage πŸ™‚
grobian added the new eclasses and all the gnustep-base packages (on which all other gnustep packages are built). Now we wait for arch teams to say “OK, everything’s fine” (bug #189372 for the curious), and then we’ll start moving in applications ebuilds
This will give me some time to complete the etoile ebuilds, the versions in the overlay work fine, but are still rough. By the way, if you try etoile and don’t get the nice and shiny background, check that you are not running a 1280×1024 resolution (or another with the same aspect ratio): the background image for this ratio does not exist yet.
Another good news for GNUstep fans: the gnustep herd is now 3-persons strong, with truedfx joining our forces! And now for the dockapps fans: wmforkplop is a nice dockapp that displays animations reflecting forking activity, while listing the top cpu consuming processes (and a “process browser” to kill the offending ones). There’s an ebuild available in my overlay, it looks better animated than in this screenshot:

FreeNX 0.7 in portage, Etoile 0.2 (almost) in the gnustep overlay

For the (free as in speech) remote desktop enthusiasts, nxserver-freenx-0.7.0 is now in portage. What’s new in it? Well, most patches from 0.6.0 ebuild were merged upstream, a few other bugs were fixed, and it has much better printing support (mostly untested by me, though, this requires a printer…). A patch submitted to the freenx mailing list by google folks also allows better font display (older versions displayed smaller fonts than in the commercial NX servers). One last thing, those with USE=xcb should have a working freenx again πŸ™‚

If you wonder about it, no freenx 0.7 does not use the new NX 3.0 features. However a full rewrite is under way, with modular design, NX 3.0 support, …

GNUstep users now… The gnustep overlay now holds an (almost complete) series of packages for Etoile 0.2. Run emerge etoile and remember to do as the emerge output says πŸ˜‰

Also remember that:
1. this is still a 0.2 version, do not expect macosx-on-linux (that said, the work already done is really impressive)
2. the ebuilds are still Work-In-Progress, they will probably change some more before the ebuilds work fine. As usual, feedback is welcome!

OK, next thing on my TODO list now: expat upgrade on my server!

GNUstep overlay progress

GNUstep on Gentoo users, this is for you! (other interested people can read on, of course)

The gnustep overlay is now almost 200 commits old, so it’s time for a status report (ie what’s the overlay usability status?)

  • New gnustep eclasses

These are more or less complete now (some changes still get in here and there), and are quite usable now πŸ˜‰ They still need some proper self-review, before getting reviewed by gentoo-dev folks

  • Updated base packages (and gnustep on gentoo organization)

These packages have not been changed for some time now and run fine, they’ll be ready for portage inclusion when the eclasses are

  • Packages updates

GNUstep ebuilds using the new system are easier to maintain, so the apps in the overlay behave quite well, and are up-to-date. People interested in ProjectCenter will most certainly like the the SVN pre-0.5 version available, quite an enhancement compared to stable 0.4.3 (for example this one works on ~amd64) As an enhancement, some of the gnustep-libs packages could change to the gnustep-base eclass (which does not require gnustep-gui and gnustep-back installed) instead of gnustep-2

  • Γ‰toilΓ© packages

The Γ‰toilΓ© project recently released their 0.2 version. Some packages were already in the overlay (popplerkit/vindaloo for example), I am now working on the missing ones, and adding a global ebuild to easily set it up for the user For now, all frameworks are available, most of the user applications (typewriter, grr, …) too. What’s still missing is Azalea and friends (the window manager), the Etoile background systems (that allow for macos-x style menus on top), and some integration

If you are curious about Γ‰toilΓ©, a livecd should soon be available (probably before all packages are integrated in the overlay). Or of course, the web site

End of holidays, NX updates

OK holidays are finished, let’s get back to (Gentoo) work!

NoMachine was pretty active these past weeks, fixing many bugs in NX 3.0 , that some NX users have or may have encountered:

  • users with USE=xcb, no more /etc/hosts cheat needed! The free edition server now works fine on them
  • with XDM, one could not open any new window after disconnecting and reconnecting the session
  • also a potential security issue was fixed in nxnode, please update to nxnode-3.0.0-r3

Freenx 0.7 was also released, I’ll get it into portage soon. Don’t expect the new features as in NX 3.0, this version still uses NX 2.1 libraries

And now back to clean up all the unread emails that tried to fill my poor inbox πŸ˜‰

NX 3.0 is out!

The Nomachine folks released a new major version of NX, highlights include (shamelessly taken from the release announcement):

  • Desktop sharing

NX 3.0.0 gives remote access to the local display of the Unix workstation where the server is installed, meaning that users and system administrators can now get quick access to all the computer’s resources and remotely control any NX-enabled PC over the Internet.

  • Session shadowing

Multiple users can now connect to a NX session at the same time, show and share files, demonstrate software and presentations, even chat with the other users on the server. Session shadowing is supported for all remote desktop protocols, including RDP (Windows Terminal Server) and VNC

  • Full support for the x86_64 architecture
  • Screen scaling capabilities

NX is now able to scale the content of the frame-buffer, to offer thumbnails of the remote desktop or to fit the desktop in a smaller screen.

  • Dynamic reordering of the screen updates

Based on the available bandwidth and the current level of congestion, NX will defer the most bandwidth-consuming operations to give precedence to interactivity. With browsers and office applications, for example, NX will reorder the screen updates to show first the textual output. With videos and games, NX will drop the intermediate frames,similarly to the way a media player would do in the same conditions, if the bandwidth is not sufficient to keep the frame rate of the requesting application.

  • Greatly reduced session reconnection times

Special attention was paid to ensuring that sessions can be migrated from a computer to another in literally no time. As an example, the time for reconnecting a GNOME session through a modem link went from the 2-3 minutes, required with the 2.x.x code-base, to 15 seconds.

  • Bug fixes, no more need for compatibility libstdc++

nxserver-freeedition is now bumped in portage, enjoy and test

As for freenx, the new features will need to be added, so if you want them, please send a mail to frenx mailing list or directly to Fabian Franz (the freenx developer) to motivate him πŸ˜‰ Read Fabian’s post and tell him “thanks!”

GNUstep-interested people, you’re not forgotten, the overlay heavy work is now mostly done, we’re in bug-fixing mode now. Etoile should soon release its 0.2 version (yes yes it will be added in the overlay after gnustep in gentoo is fixed)