Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Garmin GPS

Just got hold of a Garmin Nuvi GPS set. I downloaded the malsing files via usb to Kubuntu 8.10 laptop.

Some software being tested:
  1. gpsbabel - text based and its too difficult to use as there is not much documentation.
  2. josm - Java based and took so long to load. Uses the gpsbabel engine to generate maps.
  3. qlandkarte 0.7.3 (keeps crashing when I load a map and GPX) - Can view the maps on Linux

Kubuntu 8.10 with Apache2, PHP 5 and MySQL5

In order to resume testing and developing web based application, I needed PHP, MySQL and Apache to complete the LAMP stack. Default Kubuntu 8.10 did not include those.

Steps taken.
1. Install Apache2 web server
sudo apt-get install apache2

2. Install PHP5 and enable the PHP5 in Apache
sudo apt-get install php5 php-pear
a2enmod php5

3. Install MySQL server
sudo apt-get install php5-mysql libapache2-mod-php5 mysql-server libapache2-mod-auth-mysql

This requires the setup of MySQL root password.

4. Install the Apache and MySQL documentations
sudo apt-get install apache2-doc mysql-doc-5.0

5. Enabled the user public_html directory
cd /etc/apache2/mods-enabled
sudo ln -s ../mods-available/userdir.load
sudo ln -s ../mods-available/userdir.conf

6. Steps to install the training application
  1. Create the database "example.db"

  2. Insert into the database with the script.
    mysql -u root -p example.db < mysqldata.sql

  3. Add the mcrypt tools.
    sudo apt-get install libmcrypt4 php5-mcrypt

  4. Add the MySQL pear libraries.
    sudo pear channel-update
    sudo pear install Auth_HTTP
    sudo pear install pear/MDB2#mysql

  5. Test the application.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

OSS Certification at OSCC

As part of the OSCC programme to increase OSS skilled officers in the government, an OSS certification inititative is launched. This week we have just completed the 2nd Certified Linux Administrator 01 training and it is their test day. Good to see that those in my class have been making steady effort to improve themselves over the days.

Some found time to make tasty chocolate cakes for the class with well wishes.

Today, they will sit for the practical paper in the morning then the MCQ paper at 3PM. All the best to all of the hard working students. I have seen the effort some have put in, and hopefully all will be smooth sailing.

Still, there is the test C that needs to be done later.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Kubuntu 8.10 Desktop at first glance.

The KMenu
Favourites must have the System Settings menu to configure the Dashboard & Kubuntu until it is just right for daily work.


There are Plasmoid widgets by default that I will leave on the desktop for the moment. This means that what I see is called the Dashboard and the Desktop is now a small window that can be moved around. Its neat, cause I can press Ctrl+F12 (or press the Show Dashboard Applet in the bottom panel) to dim all applications and view only the widgets and Desktop. No need to minimised all the application Windows.

By Default applications are launch with a single click, unlike the default Gnome desktop. I've been on Gnome for about 1.5 years now and its taking some getting use to reduce the number of clicks.

Default Kubuntu had only 2 workspace and no keyboard shortcut to switch between many workspaces. I can only return to 1st workspace with Ctrl+F1.

1. Right click Pager applet (in the bottom panel) and choose "Configure Desktop", increase to 4 workspace.
2. Click Kmenu ->System Settings ->Keyboard & Mouse ->Keyboard shortcuts. In the "Action" box scroll down to "Switch one desktop to the Right", and click the Global field. Click on the "None" button and enter Ctrl+Alt+Right Arrow. Do the same for the Left direction command. Test the shortcut and click "Apply".

The screen is sharp and nice, which is why I have always choosen KDE when Looks matters.

Problems are occuring when I plugin the Likom monitor and the projector. It is flickering on those external displays as though its switches the refresh rates. The monitor configuration tool didnt seem to work as it should when I plug-in the external displays.

FIX the projector flickering: Select KMenu
1. System Settings ->Advanced ->Service Manager
2. Turn off "Detecting RANDR (monitor) changes"

Application Windows
Firefox and Thunderbird scrollbars can be improved by Choosing
Kmenu ->System Settings ->Appearance ->Gtk Styles & Fonts
Then Click "Install Scrollbar Fix..." and restart both Firefox and Thunderbird.

Screen Capture
There isnt any program link to the "PrtSc" or Print Screen button. So here are steps taken to apply the screen capture button. Seems KDE 4.1 is broken in this area of keyboard configuration. Killed the khotkeys deamon but its still reading other hotkeys, I am still looking for daemon thats accepting the hotkeys. Things I will try...

1. Update the ksnapshot (mine upgraded to 0.8.1) and other systems updates.
2. Apply the shortcut keys to the Ksnapshot program.
Choose Kmenu ->System Settings. Choose the Advanced tab ->Input Actions

System Processes
To view or terminate system processes, press Ctrl+Esc. I can send kill signals to terminate processes. This also lets me see the amount of RAM being used.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

OLPC and web browsing

The OLPC connection to the wireless network was very stable and it came with Firefox 3.0.1
The yahoo mail pages rendered better than the Kubuntu 8.10 with Firefox 3.0.1. And its so neat! However since there are tonnes of online stuff for kids it also means more fun. But most ofthe games were Flash based and the Gnash that came with OLPC did not have any sound for the flash.

Here are my notes on adding Adobe flash plugins.

1. Go to and download flash 10 as an RPM package. It should then appear on the /home/olpc directory if I recall correctly. Alternativelyin a terminal type


2. Open a terminal and login to root

su -l

3. Install the flash

rpm -ih flash-plugin-

4. This installs flash to standard mozilla directory, which will not work. Create a link in the Activities directory for Firefox.

cd /home/olpc/Activities/Firefox-6.activity
ln -s /usr/lib/mozilla/plugins/ .

5. Open Firefox and test it on the flash website.

Martha then can play the online alphabet games! yippee!

Sunday, November 9, 2008 2008 at APIIT

Wow a major FOSS event held at APIIT! This I couldnt miss and I brought along Martha for both days. ran between 8 to 9 Oct 2008 with a capacity of close to 250 participants. This brought about the much needed awareness for students and fellow developers who have been using OSS but have not had the chance to embrace its aura. Abdullah found it mind blowing, OSS speak. Others were just awed that there was even such a movement and the various technologies available.

I had chance to mingle with FOSSchixs Nuha, Eavay, Liyana and Saro. They are keen to recruit Martha, but I suspect its more to make her into a mascot. They will have to wait a couple more of years before Martha can show her ICT skills. If not as a programmers, maybe a coordinator of OSS projects. See photos of martha at

Pia had a session where everyone is invited for a 10 sec pitch on why they should own an OLPC laptop. Martha pulled me down and managed to get an OLPC! Yippee she was so happy and managed to get around quite a bit on her own. Martha could move the cursor, turn the screen and select some of the menus.

Initially I could not get the OLPC wireless to work at home. With a hard reboot, then I saw my WPA network and managed to get connected after the password prompt appeared and I entered the correct password.

Some how the web browser wasnt very easy to locate.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Kubuntu 8.10 on Thinkpad R60

Kubuntu being just released, I tried it on the following system:

Thinkpad R60
Intel 3945

The result:
KDE 4.1 looked fantastic with minimal applications. The Alt-Tab between applications provided a nice 3D look.

The Wireless didnt work as well as the Eth. With the network manager I can add a WEP (Wired equivalent privacy) wireless AP (Access point) but no connection is established. I edited the wireless AP to use WPA (Wi-fi protected access) Personal and it works.
Another matter is that Kubuntu doesnt accept channel 12,13 and 14 (EU and Japan) out of the box. To support these channels, the Ubuntu main website provided instructions to edit the /etc/modprobe.d/options with the following:
options cfg80211 ieee80211_regdom=EU


Of course this means that defaults MS Windows XP cant access the device without downloading the WPA patch.

Sample output of iwconfig

wlan0 IEEE 802.11abg ESSID:"xcitebox"
Mode:Managed Frequency:2.417 GHz Access Point: 00:12:A9:06:58:74
Bit Rate=54 Mb/s Tx-Power=15 dBm
Retry min limit:7 RTS thr:off Fragment thr=2352 B
Power Management:off
Link Quality=80/100 Signal level:-65 dBm Noise level=-97 dBm
Rx invalid nwid:0 Rx invalid crypt:0 Rx invalid frag:0
Tx excessive retries:0 Invalid misc:0 Missed beacon:0


The browser is far from complete for access to simple web based applications like editing this Blog. Basically, the WYSIWIG editors didnt appear during editing of this blog. Need to install JRE.

First software will be JRE using the command below:

sudo apt-get install sun-java6-plugin sun-java6-jre
Installed Flash player 10 from for better access to web applications.

Konqueror didnt render very well. I am installing Firefox as I can import bookmarks from my previous Firefox on Ubuntu (Gnome).

Dual monitor:
Attaching Likom monitor to the laptop, the initial resolution was 640x480. Plugged out the monitor and plugged in then the program to reconfigure the monitor appeared. This can be done manually;

kcmshell4 display

Through Adept, I installed the Thunderbird2.0.0.17. Copied the previous profile directory into ~/.mozilla-thunderbird

Installed MP3 codecs with
sudo apt-get install libk3b2-extracodec

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