Archive for January, 2007


Play your legally purchased DVD in Kubuntu and get fined…

January 21, 2007

… At least that’s the case since 31dec 2006 in France too.
Your DVD player will complain that you’re not allowed to read DVD content and that you might use libdvdcss if the law in your country allows it (it won’t in USA and France at least).
If you live in one of those nice free country that allows it, just execute :
sudo /usr/share/doc/libdvdread3/
And you’re done, you can read your legally purchased DVDs…


Install xdtv on Kubuntu amd64

January 18, 2007

As I said in earlier post I wanted to install xdtv (on windows K!TV is the best soft I found around and xdtv is its linux version) but I couldn’t either set a full correct apt source neither find easily the amd64 deb from Marillat and I was a bit reluctant (or lazy) to compile it with the zillions of projects it depends on.
Finally found them here xdtv_2.3.3+2.4.0pre0-0.1_amd64.deb (it is referenced on xdtv site /Downloads).
You can try to sudo dpkg -i xdtv_2.3.3+2.4.0pre0-0.1_amd64.deb. But it’s unlikely to work directly. You’ll prolly need (find them either from depot or the web) :

dependency-step :

Finally you’ll hang on a last annoying dependency :
xdtv depends on libfaac0 (>= 1.24+cvs20060416); however:
Version of libfaac0 on system is 1.24clean-0ubuntu4.

As I didn’t want to backversion the lib with some cvs versions, I thought I would attempt to remove this dependency from the deb itself. Nothing easier :
dpkg-deb --extract xdtv_2.3.3+2.4.0pre0-0.1_amd64.deb \
dpkg-deb --control xdtv_2.3.3+2.4.0pre0-0.1_amd64.deb \

Now you’ll need to edit xdtv-custom/DEBIAN/control and remove libfaac0 (>= 1.24+cvs20060416), from it.
And finally rebuild the deb with :
dpkg --build xdtv-custom/ \

Finally you can install it
sudo dpkg -i xdtv_2.3.3+2.4.0pre0-0.1_custom_amd64.deb
Note : there might be some other thirdparties libraries missing (tvfonts, codecs…), do just like described on dependency-step.

Xdtv will also require ssuid, to fix that :
sudo chown root: /usr/bin/xdtv \
&& sudo chmod u+s /usr/bin/xdtv

You might encounter a problem seeing black screen when you launch xdtv and get only ‘Webcam’ as source and not ‘Television’, that is because your /dev/videoX taken into account is the wrong one. To check which /dev/videoX is the right one to use, you can either look at dmesg logs or (if you have xawtv installed) xawtv -hwscan which brought for me :
/dev/video0: OK [ -device /dev/video0 ]
type : v4l2
name : BT878 video (Pinnacle PCTV Stud
flags: overlay capture tuner
/dev/video1: OK [ -device /dev/video1 ]
type : v4l
name : Creative Labs Webcam 5
flags: capture

So just launch xdtv -c /dev/video0 (there must be a way to automate this detection), and you’re done, you’ll have the best image quality for your pctv on linux (The interface can’t be qualified “the best” but well I don’t care about the interface itself).


Kubuntu Install day!

January 14, 2007

I installed Kubuntu one week ago and thought I would share my experience toward that.

Firstly now that I have it installed, running, tweaked, I find it not so bad.
I have experienced quite a lot of os install :

  • For personal use : Debian (2.2, 3.0, Sarge), and the usual microsoft : windows9x/2k and XP.
  • For educational use : FreeBSD

And now it’s Kubuntu 6.10 Edgy turn, a Debian-based system.

I have to admit Kubuntu did a lot of effort on their install as it’s really easy to handle, with livecd (still I used to prefer the old interface with cfdisk … ;)). But when I installed the other os, I had been installing them on a newer machine while now it is 2 years old, so I won’t get the latest unresolved bug at install screen I had with the other install (sata not recognized for instance with Sarge DVDs…).

I experienced a small problem with grub that would install on an old ide hard drive used only for backup, the faster solution I found was to unplug the harddrive and reinstall with only my sata harddrive plugged (yeah I know I should have played with the hdX,X but had no fun…). By the way speaking of grub that I had installed since Debian Sarge, that’s a great and easy to use booter. I’m happy that LILO belongs to the past.

It took 1 hour to install (incl partition ordering/formatting), and I had a working linux running X (X was a big pain to handle in the past, it’s still a bit when you want the latest drivers working). It detected the other partitions (windows) and mounted them in media.

The ppoeconf was fastly configured (when you know it’s called that way) so I had inet 2minutes after install.

Ok now first problem, how do I increase resolution, I’m stuck at 1024 and 60Hz and my eyes don’t like that. Incredible, my (5 years old) iiyama screen is in the list! Ok click on ‘Test’ and you’ll get a blackscreen and noway to get rid of it even with ctrl-alt-F1… Ok reboot… Try again but with apply directly, cool I can view the effect now…

Ok now drivers, firstly a good idea is to save your /etc/X11/xorg.conf. Firstly tried the ubuntu way from Ubuntu Edgy Installation Wiki Guide. Unfortunately, with the ubuntu way of install I would get a DRI Initialization failed in /var/log/Xorg.0.log, and after installation of the drivers the manual way and a sudo aticonfig –initial then I would get a black screen of the death at login startup with my screen being requested 95Hz that it doesn’t support. So I took back my xorg.backup.conf uninstalled previous drivers and reinstalled the manual way and aticonfig –initial from my clean xorg.conf. Neat, I got it with DRI!!

Then wanted to listen to some Music, so I launched Amarok but it wouldn’t be able to grab the mp3 codec from the net (now it’s working good), So I switched to xmms which worked but had crazy fonts when browsing file system for mp3 (I didn’t fix that yet).

Ok, I find Konqueror better with each linux distro I installed in time, but my favorite webbrowser is : firefox. Naive as I am I tried to apt-get it without success, It would only bring me some patches… So I tried to install it from Mozilla but it complained that it doesn’t find the executable although I am 100% sure it is here… In fact this is the non-explicit message you’ll get each time you install an i386 binary on your amd64 architecture. After some search and some unsuccessful tries, I ended on an Ubuntu forum post How to install 32 bit Firefox with flash, it worked like charm!

While all this, I encountered a major problem with my keyboard : I was not able to type the essential key ‘|’ and several others you get while pressing ‘Alt Gr’. Also / * – + from keypad were not working, not that I use them that much but it’s faster when you have some calculus to do.
This was solved creating $HOME/.Xmodmap with :
keycode 113 = Mode_switch
keysym KP_Divide = slash
keysym KP_Multiply = asterisk
keysym KP_Add = plus
keysym KP_Subtract = minus

This won’t work as I read here and there that xmodmap is deprecated and that xkb should be used instead. For the moment I’ll just add xmodmap ./Xmodmap to my $HOME/.bash_profile. I’ll play with xkb later.

Ok, For the moment we stayed with the basis, I wanted to give a try to beryl 3d desktop manager version 0.1.4. I followed the simple Beryl Installation For Edgy but without success as when I would run beryl-manager I would end with a non-explicit message (again) : Beryl caught deadly signal 11. After some reading around the net I downloaded rearranged amd64 beryl package beryl-0.1.4.tar.gz that I got from Ubuntu Forum. It worked like charm, and then I had to admit I was really surprised by this nice and new Desktop!

Finally, I wanted to have my pctv working so I installed kdetv Viewer. It’s not bad but the screen is scrambled on certain screen size. Then I tried with XawTv, but their interface didn’t change and is still unfriendly… Wanted to try xdtv but couldn’t find the latest deb for amd64 so I took older one (I didn’t want to compile it, as it depends on zillions of lib and that I had better stuff to do than spending time on that), but without success. Finally the award winning for tv watching on my ubuntu was tvtime. But still the rendering without overlay is worse than with K!TV on Windows.

To draw a conclusion, I would say that Kubuntu managed to put one of the best distro around (Debian) available for Desktop users easily. Once configured you’ll have a good Desktop (I’ll blog about that later cause I still have criticism about that). But if you want it perfect, it will take you quite a lot of time to get to the result you want, lambda user doesn’t want that! He wants to click, reboot X times and that’s it…
Now a programmer can spend some more time to get his best Integrated Development Operating System Environment.


Why lambda user will install Vista…

January 14, 2007

… or at least keep his Windows 9x / 2K / XP.

Just because he wants a full-one-click-install/post-install. Yeah Linux distros improved a lot on that, but still when you want every key of your keyboard, a popular webbrowser working, you’ll need some tweaks.

To be continued with post on Kubuntu Install…


Take a product, don’t change it BUT call it ‘New’ …

January 7, 2007

… and you can only attract new buyers.
We often blame developers for not being good commercial people. Fact is a lot of marketing people and companies around IT care for them. Indeed some marketing people and companies are good at finding marketing-friendly names to popularize some stuff (ie web2.0).

Now is it good or bad ? As far as the underlying concept is justified that’s not shocking. For web2.0 it is justified as it’s not only a phenomena but also new (or refreshed) technolgies behind…

Marketing is polluting all it can find, from IT to … washing product. Now is it good or bad ? Thing is marketing is likely to bring more money and work as it must convince a consumer to buy some stuff he may (or may not) need, so it’s a good creditable cause.

So today, some lesson.

Take an existing product (washing liquid product), be sure not to change anything to it, but tell around this a new killing stuff, and also try to grab new client : the fashion and ecological consumer for example, you absolutely need that one!

Washing Product Before -> After

Here we go, I bought one of those liquid 6 months ago, and happened to buy the same lately without even noticing, until I put it next to the old one. Cool, I bought a “Nouvelle Formule” (New formula/ingredient in french). You’ll see you often buy so called new products (new yoghourt, with … fruit pieces in … Incredible!!! I always bought such since years and now they are new!!!).

Ok So I wondered what could have changed in six month because the product was pretty much looking the same. So I had a look at the back.

Washing Product Before -> After (back)

Here you can find that in the new formula 2-Bromo-2-Nitropropane-1.3-Diol is missing!! Strange… I’m nearly sure there is still 2-Bromo-2-Nitropropane-1.3-Diol in my bottle, I just think that it was either too long and there was not enough place for it or it could frighten potential buyers… “What the fuck is this 2-Bromo-2-Nitropropane-1.3-Diol ??? I won’t buy that!!”.

In the new formula we notice also that the bottle became ecological-friendly by being able to be recycled.

I’m nearly sure this product didn’t change its formula at all and that the 2-Bromo-2-Nitropropane-1.3-Diol is still in. Now question is : why did I choose that bottle in the supermarket ? Victim of the Marketing propaganda ? Here no… I just chose that one cause of its apple perfume… BUT something that is sure is that the product packaged this way can only bring more clients than it did 6 months before. I wonder already what will change in next new formula in 6 months. Will they put back the 2-Bromo-2-Nitropropane-1.3-Diol.

This marketing lesson can of course be applied to popular software selling. Some shareware authors upgrade version without changing any single stuff in their product, then they appear on top of shareware listing sites (tucows, zdnet…), and attract potential new buyers.