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Wed, May. 25th, 2016, 06:24 am
KF5 Steaming Pile that just keeps giving...

So an Evolution alarm went off, which initiated an xembed icon. Guess what? I can't click on it! Nothing happens! Just like the Java xembed. *sigh* KDE5 is still a big pile of poop for very simple stuff that keeps getting in your way to just "get your work done". I regret every day ever upgrading.

Mon, May. 16th, 2016, 08:48 pm
Creating non-journaled HFS+ filesystems

So, I am not quite sure when it happened, but the non-journaled Mac OS Extended (HFS+) is no longer an option in Disk Utility. The only option is Journaled HFS (encrypted and/or case-sensitive), MS-DOS, ExFAT. This is bad for me, because on Linux I can only read/write to non-journaled HFS+ (Journaled HFS+ is read-only) I wanted to use an external 1TB drive on linux and mac. So barring some kext driver that can read ext4/3/2, I had to pick HFS+.

The simple answer is to use the "diskutil" command line tool in Terminal as such:
[foo@bar ~]$ diskutil eraseDisk HFS+ GE128 /dev/disk2
Started erase on disk2
Unmounting disk
Creating the partition map
Waiting for the disks to reappear
Formatting disk2s1 as Mac OS Extended with name GE128
Initialized /dev/rdisk2s1 as a 122 MB case-insensitive HFS Plus volume
Mounting disk
Finished erase on disk2

Where GE128 is an arbitrary label, and /dev/disk2 is the disk in question. You don't have to unmount the drive when you run this command, it'll take care of that bit.

Also note that you can use the command line util to create journaled filesystems too, just change HFS+ with JHFS+ and many more filesystems. Use 'diskutil listFilesystems' to get a listing of those supported on your system, including its shortcut identifier as such:
[foo@bar ~]$ diskutil listFilesystems
Formattable file systems

These file system personalities can be used for erasing and partitioning.
When specifying a personality as a parameter to a verb, case is not considered.
Certain common aliases (also case-insensitive) are listed below as well.

PERSONALITY                     USER VISIBLE NAME                               
ExFAT                           ExFAT                                           
Free Space                      Free Space                                      
  (or) free
MS-DOS                          MS-DOS (FAT)                                    
MS-DOS FAT12                    MS-DOS (FAT12)                                  
MS-DOS FAT16                    MS-DOS (FAT16)                                  
MS-DOS FAT32                    MS-DOS (FAT32)                                  
  (or) fat32
HFS+                            Mac OS Extended                                 
Case-sensitive HFS+             Mac OS Extended (Case-sensitive)                
  (or) hfsx
Case-sensitive Journaled HFS+   Mac OS Extended (Case-sensitive, Journaled)     
  (or) jhfsx
Journaled HFS+                  Mac OS Extended (Journaled)                     
  (or) jhfs+

Tue, Apr. 12th, 2016, 08:58 am
Reclaiming your syslog from systemd!

So I figured this out a while ago, but as life is, been quite busy.

Rather simple with OpenSUSE. I just installed rsyslogd via zypper, and it asked me what to do. Should I uninstall systemd's console logging package and install rsyslogd or not install rsyslogd. I uninstalled systemd's console logging package.

Notably, it does not /stop/ logging certain console/dmesg items in the systemd journal. However, now you have var-log-messages etc back in plain text format, which is easier to deal with rather than trying to type with mittens!

Sat, Mar. 12th, 2016, 01:39 pm
KDESu / Sudo and Polkit Woes

So upon installing OpenSUSE (for KDE4!), I noticed that everything it wanted privileges to do (add/remove network connections, install apps, etc.) required "root" password even though I redirected kdesu to use sudo instead with "kwriteconfig --file kdesurc --group super-user-command --key super-user-command sudo". I also already tried to comment out the following:

#Defaults targetpw   # ask for the password of the target user i.e. root
#ALL    ALL=(ALL) ALL   # WARNING! Only use this together with 'Defaults targetpw'!

in my sudoers file. I wanted all KDE/gui password prompts to behave as it does on command line with "sudo".

I tested by opening a command-line and typing:

  • "sudo ls /root": worked! asked me for my password

  • "kdesu ls /root": worked! put up a different type of GUI pw prompt that came up when I tried to delete a network connection.

  • tried to delete a network connection: failed! It asked for root's password.

So then I noticed that on this particular dialog (the one that failed), there was something about polkit. Specifically "polkit-kde-authentication-agent-1". So that gave me another breadcrumb to search for on the net.

Long story short, after two days, delving into PolicyKit, what it does, and how it does it and the API... and it uses JavaScript(?!) in its configuration files... and there's no GUI to manage it, or even configure it... I found the answer.

Make a copy of 50-default.rules to 49-default.rules. Nullify 50-default.rules (not necessary, but I do this thanks to the other bastardized component - systemd). Edit the "[unix-user:root]" to "[unix-group:wheel]" (or whatever your /etc/sudoers has set as a group for elevated privileges). Please note you still have to set your user to be in that group (and logout/login).

Small rant: Next up - WHERE IS MY VAR LOG MESSAGES systemd? It works as plain text, now we need special tools to view the binary files. Next thing you know, they'll be using a binary registry like Windows... oh wait, yeah, Gnome's already doing that.

Sat, Jan. 30th, 2016, 11:37 am
DBD::Oracle timeout w/ Remote Database Link Query

So I had a problem with a particular database query. I would use a remote link as a join for selecting a popluation. I would then cycle through the single column that would return in a loop. I would then take that single column as an argument to a simple sql query over a database link that would return another single column. It would reach a point and hang there until a timeout getting the following error: DBD::Oracle::db prepare failed: ORA-01013: user requested cancel of current operation (DBD ERROR: OCIStmtExecute/Describe). Running the same exact query over SQLDeveloper worked just fine returning the NULL so I was perplexed.

TL;DR: in the secondary query, a null was being returned for that one column I was selecting, and it didn't know what to do with it. I changed my secondary query to "select *" instead of "select my_col from remote_db_table".

So first query was (in pseudo perl):

  select main.id
    from main
   where main.id in 
           (select remote.id 
              from remote 
            select other.id 
              from other)
my @ids = execute ...<above_query>...;
foreach $id (@ids) {
  "select remote.detail_col from remote where remote.id = '".$id."'"

It would hang at that second query when detail_col returned was NULL over a database link. I changed the second query to "select * from remote where remote.id = '".$id."'" and everything worked OK. I know it may run slower returning more rows, but at least it runs.

Wed, Sep. 23rd, 2015, 10:00 pm
KDE4 (F21) users DONT upgrade to KDE5!

So KDE5 is based on KDE Frameworks 5 and QT5. It has been an unusable disaster (esp. Plasma 5). KDE3 to KDE4 upgrade had issues, but they were basic UI issues, not UNUSABLE (crash/freeze) issues.

1) Plasma freezes upon login. I found a workaround several weeks ago, and that worked OK until I just did an update yesterday. I am using LxQT now because otherwise my work machine would be useless.
2) They took away the system tray! Normally apps use the XEmbed protocol, and KDE 5 completely stopped support for this. This means that Audacious, Java Apps, Pidgin etc. don't show up in the system tray.
3) You can't set custom time/date formats; only set country. So, for example, in KDE4 I was able to set the default date format as YYYY-MM-DD. I was able to set 24hr time, even though I live in the USA. If I change the date format to another country, it changes the first day of week?! Further, the date would be DD-MM-YYYY instead.
4) Klipper is broken. They builtin an inferior clipboard app that conflicts with klipper. The builtin app (see below #5) grabs the clipboard before klipper can get to it. Klipper sees the data and adds it to its history, but the app takes priority. Between the two conflicting, it means that when you copy something to the clipboard, you can't even paste!!
5) SECURITY issue with the built in clipboard app: you cannot turn it off!! You can disable the icon from showing up on the so-called "system tray" but it just makes the icon disappear. It doesn't disable the history/snooping. There's no way of turning it off.

I can deal with a new UI... I cannot deal with usability issues. I am using LxQT for now. It's is very sad, because I've been using KDE since 1998 and found it ground breaking.

One positive thing is that the upgrade to KDE5 (KF5 on F22) looks nice, and is smooth. If it would *only* work and not crash or freeze.

Mon, Sep. 21st, 2015, 07:45 am

KDE 5 (Plasma 5) based on KDE Frameworks (KF5) is a disaster. The last time this happened was from KDE3 to 4, but at least that was just aesthetics/UI issues, not pure crashing and core dumping.

Tue, Aug. 11th, 2015, 08:12 am
Syntax Highlighting in LESS

So it always irked me that when using 'less' I would have to put up without the syntax highlighting of vim. But I dealt with it because I didn't want to change any of the timestamps on the directory or file (vim by default creates a swap file in the directory of the file).

In a facepalm moment, I googled "less syntax highlighting" to wit: superuser.com.


export LESSOPEN="| /usr/bin/src-hilite-lesspipe.sh %s"
export LESS=' -R '

You need GNU's source-highlight package (Fedora 22). Or you can just download/compile it.

Thu, May. 28th, 2015, 11:00 pm
Oracle ojdbc v12 drivers problem with ORA-00933

So, I have been delaying this post because I still don't have a solution, but I hope it helps. I have a bug open with the Apache Commons DB Utils group (https://issues.apache.org/jira/browse/DBUTILS-125). Apparently, when I use the Oracle Instant Client version 12, everything goes pear shaped. I get the ora-00933 error, or table-not-found error. I do a drop in replacement of the same ojdbc6.jar but from Version 11, and everything starts working. I am baffled!

Fri, Mar. 20th, 2015, 09:37 pm
Firefox's "Open Containing Folder" under KDE

TL;DR: Firefox defaults to DBus for its filemanager, it falls back to the xdg standard. Gnome based file managers, Nemo/Caja/Nautilus provide the entry org.freedesktop.FileManager1. So it doesn't matter what you set as your default application for the filemanager mimetype - as per the freedesktop.org standard, firefox will always select a filemanager based on dbus (if it's there).

I run KDE as my primary desktop on Fedora (as of this writing Fedora 21). It started with a KDE Spin of Fedora when I first got my PC, and I've been running a fedup update since. In trying to use Apache Directory Studio (another GTK/SWT *MESS* for another post as of yet unresolved), I needed to install some themes that are native to Gnome/GTK. So after installing the various desktop environments offered by Fedora (MATE, Gnome, Xfce...) I decided to check them out, and see what themes they would install that would play friendly with ADS. Big mistake that took up over 12 hours of my life that I'll never get back. (Firefox is doing this often recently, and jumping the shark in my opinion.)

So after gvfs-mime (GLib/GIO Framework) even told me that my filemanager should be Dolphin and not Nautilus, I started to kick the desk. After much looking around, I found this dbus thing that firefox implemented at around version 30. This is after 10 years (earliest date was 2004) of a mozilla bugzilla ticket that said "firefox doesn't open my filemanager", or "doesn't open ANY filemanager" (for those of us without Gnome installed). I honestly think it's the "666" in the bug number is why it's been alive and pestering us for so long: 266600: https://bugzilla.mozilla.org/show_bug.cgi?id=266600

Here's what I did to fix it:

1) copy any FileManager1 service file from whereever it is on your filesystem into a local directory that will override it: "~/.local/share/dbus-1/services". In my case it was org.freedesktop.NemoFileManager1.service,
org.mate.freedesktop.FileManager1.service, org.freedesktop.FileManager1.service
2) replace the Exec line with "Exec=/usr/bin/false"

I don't know if you have to do ALL the services, and I ONLY use KDE, so YMMV. I did ALL the services I found because I was fed up with dealing with a seeminly simple function - LET ME CHOOSE WHAT FILE MANAGER I WANT TO USE!

The short option is to completely remove the offending filemanager, but it might completely criple the offending Gnome based WM/DE which installing it was the whole reason this problem came up.

So firefox bites it again and wastes hours of my time (not including writing this, as I feel it's a bit of catharsis). The whole point of using the xdg standard is that it's cross platform compatible. Further, why not allow a person to **override** it by using the built in settings in Firefox for handling files/directories (yeah, I tried that too: Edit->Preferences->Applications). Oddly enough I had a "file" entry in one computer, but not in the other. In the computer I had the "file" entry, I typed "xdg-open" as default handler to no avail.

After all of this, I might just bite the bullet and switch to Chrome (or just use Konqueror exclusively - it's kinda buggy and locks up a lot though).

Some (non-exhaustive) links I visited to piece everything together:
https://bugs.launchpad.net/ubuntu/+source/firefox/+bug/133133 ("Open containing folder" is only working if nautilus is present)
http://www.linuxquestions.org/questions/linux-software-2/firefox-iceweasel-workaround-open-containing-folder-with-user-defined-filemanager-903126 (Firefox/Iceweasel workaround: "Open containing folder" with user defined filemanager) 2011!!

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