bug

Debian unstable X11-related bug and workaround -- Unrecognized option: /etc/X11/xinit/xserverrc

FYI, if you're not using xdm/kdm/gdm but are instead starting the X11 server manually with startx (which is what I usually do) you might have experienced brokenness in Debian unstable recently:

Fatal server error:
Unrecognized option: /etc/X11/xinit/xserverrc

This is already reported as bug #482425 and #482527 and should hopefully be fixed soon, but in the meantime this patch against /usr/bin/startx should work around the issue:

--- /usr/bin/startx.orig 2008-05-26 18:21:26.000000000 +0200
+++ /usr/bin/startx     2008-05-26 18:21:36.000000000 +0200
@@ -107,9 +107,7 @@
 if [ x"$server" = x ]; then
     # if no server arguments or display either, use rc file instead
     if [ x"$serverargs" = x -a x"$display" = x ]; then
-       server=$defaultserver
        serverargs=$defaultserverargs
-       display=$defaultdisplay
     else
        server=$defaultserver
     fi

Hope that saves some people out there lengthy investigations and hassle.

Trac - web-based project management with wiki + bug-tracker + svn code browser

Trac screenshot

I've started looking at Trac recently, a nice web-based project management tool written in Python.

It integrates with existing Subversion repositories; for example, you can browse the code in your repositories with Trac (it'll be displayed syntax-highlighted), view diffs between revisions etc. etc. Additionally, you get a wiki (e.g. for project documentation), as well as a built-in bug-tracker a la Bugzilla, all integrated nicely into a single piece of software...

It's Free Software, of course (the license changed from GPL to revised BSD somewhat recently)...

A few words on the installation:

  • First, install Trac, e.g. via apt-get install trac.
  • Then create a so-called Trac environment with trac-admin /path/to/environment/myproject initenv. You'll be asked where your svn repository resides, what's the name of the project etc.
  • You can then edit /path/to/environment/myproject/conf/trac.ini, and change the header logo/URL, the default component/priority/issue-owner and more.
  • For more administration, I recommend using the interactive Trac shell via trac-admin /path/to/environment/myproject. Type "help" for um... help.
  • Read the docs for how to setup the web server in order to run Trac (you can use CGI, FastCGI, or mod_python).

So far I've set up ca. 7-8 Trac instances for various projects and I'm quite happy with it. While I was at it, I also created a tiny Trac article in the German Wikipedia.

You can get tons of useful plugins and macros over at trac-hacks.org for additional functionality, e.g. DoxygenPlugin, GanttPlugin, DebianBtsMacro, and many more.

Google Earth for Linux - Beta

OK, so Goole has finally released a first version of Google Earth for Linux (beta, of course).

Well, maybe this time they really mean it when they say "beta"...
Google Earth Linux 1 Google Earth Linux 2 Google Earth Linux 3
Here's some quick observations:

  • Of course, it's not open source, you basically get a bunch of *.so files and an executable.
  • It uses a bunch of open source software packages, though, e.g. libcurl, OpenSSL, libjpeg, libPNG, libtiff, libmng, zlib, Expat XML Parser, FreeImage, and a bunch of other things. All the licenses of those projects are contained in a README, though.
  • The installer seems to be (based on) the Loki installer, at least a ~/.loki directory is created with some stuff in it.
  • The maps cache, and some other files are stored in ~/.googleearth.
  • The ~/.googleearth/crashlogs directory contains log files which are generated when the application crashes, and sent to Google upon the next restart of the application automatically. The README says that you should basically chmod 000 ~/.googleearth/crashlogs if you don't want that. They say these files don't contain personal information. I haven't seen one yet (didn't crash, yet), so I cannot tell if that's true.
  • The EULA says that Google Earth will phone home (they call it "check for available updates to the Software"), and that you automatically agree to that when you use it: "By installing the Software, you agree to automatically request and receive Updates".
  • When I start Google Earth, I get a popup window which tells me to install Bitstream Vera Sans fonts or things might look strange. No idea which fonts extactly they mean, I've got the Debian packages ttf-bitstream-vera, and ttf-dejavu, but the warning still appears.
  • After Google Earth connects to the server(s) I get to see something resembling a globe, but not really what I (or Google possibly) expected. There's simply no textures for anything, I just see (broken) wireframes (see screenshot), but that's about it.

I'll have to play around with it a bit more, maybe it's an issue with the NVIDIA drivers or something. But as I don't have the source I can basically just make stupid guesses...

(via Golem, and a bunch of other sites)

Stuff V

  • I have started looking into SELinux on Debian recently. SELinux provides mandatory access control for Linux, which gives you great control over which process may do what with which files, other processes, network connections etc. I've still got a lot to learn and read (more posts will probably follow), but if you're inclined to try it yourself here are a few tips:
    • First, read the SELinux and especially the SELinuxSetup pages in the Debian wiki. Also checkout the SELinuxStatus page.
    • There are currently a few bugs I noticed, which cause some trouble: bug #369852 prevents a correct install of the selinux-policy-default package, but the work-around mentioned in the bug report works fine. I reported bug #372543 yesterday, but there's an easy work-around for that, too.
    • I had to change "SELINUX=enforcing" to "SELINUX=permissive" in /etc/selinux/config (at least for now), otherwise my system won't boot up anymore because of SELinux denied permissions (I think). I'm pretty sure this is either a bug or me doing something wrong, but I haven't figured out yet what that is.
  • Robert Nunnally (a.k.a Gurdonark) has created a photo collage video (YouTube, requires Flash) for Marco Raaphorst's "Blowing Snow" song. He used some of the Creative Commons licensed photos from my photoblog for the video.
  • Wow! Today the number of people subscribed to my music podcast (via RSS) exceeded 200 for the first time! Thanks everyone for listening!
  • GNU/Hurd 1.0.0 has been released. Finally! And they've built it on top of an interesting "middleware"...
Syndicate content