Running Jack Keane on Kubuntu 10.10 Maverick 64 bit

Linux Port of Jack KeaneGetting Jack Keane to run on the 64 bit edition of Kubuntu 10.10 Maverick Beta was not completely straight forward. Here is a summary of the problems I experienced and how I solved them in the end. [More…]

Generating PDF from scanned images using ImageMagick

I used the following command with some success. To keep the resulting file size down, you may play with the quality parameter and with resampling to an even lower density.

convert -page A4 -quality 20 -density 400x400 -resample 300x300 *.jpeg Result.pdf

Easy selection of software sources in Synaptic with Kubuntu

In Ubuntu, there is a non-standard dialog for the Synaptic package manager replacing the “Settings -> Repositories” dialog; it looks like this: Software-Sources

It renders the selection of Ubuntu package sources a lot more comfortable, whereas the standard Synaptic dialog is simply a graphical representation of the file /etc/apt/sources.list.

On a Kubuntu system though, the standard package manager is adept, so this one is augmented with the comfortable source selection, while Synaptic is left with the standard dialog. The trick to get the Ubuntu sources selection in Kubuntu without installing the whole of the gnome ubuntu-desktop package is to install the package software-properties-gtk with its dependencies.

This is on Kubuntu 8.04 Hardy Heron.

Firefox: Change the cursor for links that open in new window

I find it annoying and confusing not to know whether a link I click on will replace my currently viewed page or open in a new window resp. tab. Fortunately, Mozilla offers a way to “know before you go” for their Firefox browser. This configuration will change your mouse pointer to a different shape when hovering over a link that wants to open itself in a new window.

Migrating a KMail installation including GnuPG

These are the steps to migrate a KMail installation with GnuPG (GPG) keys and mail account passwords maintained by KWallet. It worked perfectly for a migration from PCLinuxOS 2005 (0.93) to Kubuntu 7.10 (Gutsy Gibbon), which is KMail 1.9.5/KDE 3.5.5 to KMail 1.9.6/KDE 3.5.8. [More…]

KMail slow? It may be a feature, not a bug…

KMail saved searchesRecently, I experienced KMail becoming unusably slow. With every navigation action, especially when deleting a mail, it came to a grinding halt for several seconds. Since I have a years long backlog of mails and mailing lists, I thought the reason was KMail reaching its limits in mailbox size.

So I made up my own mind about archiving my old mails, which is not exactly straightforward because KMail doesn’t offer an integrated way of archiving. When I was done, I noticed that there was not that much of a speed improvement as I had hoped for.

At the end, the culprit turned out to be a feature of KMail, which is to save your search queries and keep the result updated against modifications. Once these saved searches are deleted, KMail is back at full speed and responsive as ever. The screenshot shows how to delete the search folders.

All this is on an ancient KMail 1.9.5 using KDE 3.5.5.

Kubuntu Gutsy on Toshiba Tecra 8000

Tecra 8000 windowsMy Tecra 8000 is an ancient notebook with a 366MHz Pentium II processor, a 6 GB harddrive and an installed maximum of 256 MB RAM. Kubuntu 7.10 installs nicely on it, albeit very slowly.

Overall, I’m quite happy with the result. The systems feels faster than expected and is a perfect fit for its designated purpose, which is browsing the web and emailing. Application startup times are long, but once loaded, even a monster like OpenOffice is quite useable. There was only one major installation problem, namely getting WPA encryption to work with my PCMCIA WLAN card. [More…]

Naming/formatting of DVD-RAM media

On the command line, use
mkudffs --media-type=dvdram --vid="disk name" /dev/hdc.

Caution: This will wipe any content off the disk! I don’t know of a way to rename without clearing yet.

By the way, I have found out that you do not need the packet writing kernel module pktcdvd to use DVD-RAM media; there is hardware support built in the drives that works out of the box. However it is known to be much slower than using the module. This is true for me, as it literally takes hours to write a full DVD-RAM. Still I prefer this to using the module, as the latter has frequently frozen my machine completely. I will only try this again when I updated my kernel from 2.6.13 to a more recent one.

MPlayer with x264 support on PCLinuxOS

Quite a hassle. First get the mplayer source rpm package. This can be rebuilt rather easily with rpmbuild --rebuild /tmp/mplayer-1.0-0.svn20060827.1tex.src.rpm once all dependencies are installed (the build will complain about a lot of missing devel packages, some more are easily guessed by the error messages the build will fail with).
In principle, mplayer will autodetect installed codecs, but it doesn’t work for current pclos packages x264-0.46.511-1tex and x264-devel-0.46.511-1tex. A look into /usr/src/RPM/BUILD/mplayer-svn20060827/configure.log shows that mplayer explicitly enforces recent versions of x264. [More…]