Tag Archives: ubuntu

YoFrankie! Unsupported!

First some specs on this brand spanking new laptop:

Intel® Core™ i7-840QM (1.86GHz, 8 threads, turbo boost up to 3.2GHz, 8M cache

6GB Shared Dual Channel DDR3 Memory

NVIDIA® GeForce® GT 445M 3GB

Ubuntu 10.04 LTS installed with all the latest updates installed and the latest Nvidia drivers from their site installed.

It can play games. More on this laptop possibly later since there’s a lot that’s gone on in my life since I last posted here.

So this morning I decided to put it to the test and try some nice games. Osmos is an awesome game and looks unbelievable on here. I have paid for Worldofgoo 3 different times and rightly so. It also plays amazingly and is fun as always. Tux racer is always fun. Then I thought I’d try out YoFrankie! from the blender project. While The game is playable, the experience is just not there. I have tried this game on other, less powerful computers and, while a bit choppy, I could see everything and play the game. On this computer there is no choppiness, but there’s a lot missing in terms of graphics. The opening sequence has a bird fly by and “drop” some words. This bird is completely invisible. Only the droppings and words show.

Playing the game is not as bad, but is still missing some details here and there as well as some animations just looking a bit last generation. Now, none of these issues I have seen in the past on other computers. With a good enough graphics card the game looks great but a bit choppy for movement since the past machines were’nt powerful enough.

So, to the community! Wait …. where’s the community? I tried their website. Nothing about a community, forums, wiki or any type of support. Ok, then to IRC! Being an Open Source project I joined #yofrankie on Freenode. Empty. Ok, this being written using blender, lets try those guys. #blender. AHA! I pose my question:

<leftyfb> where would I go for support with yofrankie?

The response:

DexterLB> it’s, sort of, kinda, actually, a bit unsupported, so you will, if I have to put it that way, support yourself 🙂

A little more dialog from #blender:

<leftyfb> support myself? So all the users are expected to be developers and support technicians?
<leftyfb> DexterLB: is that the official word from the Apricot Open game project?
<DexterLB> the official word is that only the community can help you
<DexterLB> and since there is no community as yofrankie is out of date…
<DexterLB> well technicly there is community but it’s very tiny
<leftyfb> out of date?
<leftyfb> so where is this very tiny community?
<JacobF> #yofrankie
<leftyfb> nope
<JacobF> >.>
<JacobF> it’s the official channel
<leftyfb> it’s completely empty
<JacobF> ya small community

We’ll get back to them in a minute. So I try to dig more on blenders website. I come across the blender institute site where I find #gameblender. Ok, this sounds more promising. Here comes some long IRC dialog. Turn back now if this makes your stomach turn:

<leftyfb> I have a core i7 with 6GB of system memory and an nvidia graphics card with 3GB of video memory. Ubuntu 10.04 with all updates and compiz turned off and latest nvidia drivers from nvidia installed. Yet yofrankie does not show the bird in the opening sequence and it seems like the graphics aren’t all there.

<leftyfb> per topic, I’m still using blender 2.49

<OOPz> not wishing to cast aspersions or anything, but with an nvidia card… almost certainly something youv done wrong

<OOPz> exactly what that may be tho, in nix… is anyones guess 😉

<leftyfb> what?

<leftyfb> something i’ve done wrong?

<OOPz> nvidia have always been rock solid with blender

<OOPz> almost never even hear of issues, and most that you do are solved by putting new drivers on

<leftyfb> this computer is 4 days old. It’s a fresh install of Ubuntu 10.04 with the latest nvidia drivers installed from their site. All other graphic intensive games and applications work just fine.

* OOPz shrugs

<OOPz> its linux… the price you pay for having all that control is.. you need to do it all yourself 😉

<leftyfb> wow

<OOPz> ‘wow’ what?.. coz if you cant take a joke, you need to get your sweet pink arse off the internet quick sharp, coz nobody is going to take you seriously

<leftyfb> OOPz: I didn’t come here looking for jokes. I came looking for help. Instead of telling me that I’m unsupported because I run linux, you could just say you don’t know how to help

<OOPz> newsflash, youre not in control of what kind of mood the people you run into are going to be in

<OOPz> and i believe i made quite clear, all pertinant facts at my disposal

<OOPz> beyond that.. JFGI

<leftyfb> I have found nothing on google since apparently this project is unsupported by it’s original developers or it’s non-existent community

* OOPz points and laughs

<OOPz> i have never run into a community that provides better support than the blender guys

<OOPz> but seriously, that rod lodged in your small intetine really isnt going to help you, at all

<OOPz> and i cant pretend im supprised you didnt find anything, like i said, nvidia are rock solid

<leftyfb> <DexterLB> it’s, sort of, kinda, actually, a bit unsupported, so you will, if I have to put it that way, support yourself 🙂

<leftyfb> <JacobF> #yofrankie

<leftyfb> <leftyfb> nope

<leftyfb> <JacobF> >.>

<leftyfb> <JacobF> it’s the official channel

<leftyfb> <leftyfb> it’s completely empty

<leftyfb> <JacobF> ya small community

<leftyfb> that’s from #blender

<leftyfb> i’m not seeing the support

<OOPz> odd that nobody is supporting a project that basically died 2 years ago, yeah

<OOPz> it wont be yf, itll be blender, your OS or your hardware

<OOPz> its so massivly unlikely to be the game, it hadnt even crossed my mind

<OOPz> 2.49 is as far along the dev cycle as it gets, so.. highly unlikly to be that too…. if  you were running 2.5x, yeah.. thatd be a very real possiblity, but… id bet big against it being blender itself

Back in #blender, I receive what I’m considering my final answer on the subject from someone who has done actual development on the project:

<neXyon> leftyfb: that’s a bug that’s fixed in svn, just check out the repo

Since I have no interest in checking out code and compiling software just to play a game which is supposed to be my time away from such tasks, this game is now considered dead to me. It seems to me that it is unsupported and no longer developed by it’s original developers. At least I can find no information to the contrary.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m gonna go play my XBOX where I don’t need to compile anything or reboot for my games to play.

FOSScon 2010 followup

Sorry it’s taken so long to post about this. So last Friday I and a friend of mine, Joe, took off from North Eastern Massachusetts headed for Rochester NY for the inaugural 2010 FOSScon. Joe has just finished taking courses at Lincoln Tech and is about to take the tests for A+, Network plus and MCP certifications and is excited to get into the world of FOSS and technology. It was supposed to be a 6.5 hour drive which ended up being about 9 since I had forgot I set my GPS to avoid tolls. If we had been on time, would have just caught the tail end of a pre-event dinner meetup that was put on at the last minute. Oh well, lesson learned for next year. Non-the-less, it was a nice ride through upstate NY during the day. Couldn’t have asked for better weather.

The next day we got to the event just as the opening keynote about BaseKamp was starting. Basekamp is “a non-commercial organization of people researching and co-developing interdisciplinary, self-organized art projects and based in Philadelphia.” A very interesting and established project which does a lot of good for the community.

Next we were on to the Resume workshop by Jim Bondi from the IT Cooperative Education Program Advisors at RIT. Since Joe will be hitting the ground running to find a job after his classes and externship, this workshop was one he really wanted to hit up. Being in the field a while and being on both ends of an interview myself, I didn’t think I would get much out of this as I actually did. A lot of the information given should be common sense, but some people just don’t put it together when writing their resume. I was also able to chime in with some comments based on experience to questions from the other attendees. Joe thought the talk was very informative and prompted him to go back and update his resume based on some of the advice given.

Lunch was where I think we learned how to improve a bit for next year. It was prettymuch everyone for themselves. Not saying I was expecting a free meal, but we should have had something organized so would have spent less time figuring out what was around for food and who was going to go where with who and spend more time mingling and discussing the talks, workshops and just shoot the breeze (read: geek out). In talking with some of the people who organized the event, this was noticed and will be something to be worked on for next year. Joe and I ended up eating a local bar and grill less than a mile away. While others had to trek quiet some miles away and had to rush to get back in time.

The next workshop Joe and I decided to attend was “Life without GUI”. Again, with Joe just getting into IT and FOSS, this would have been a great thing for him to learn some neat tricks on the command line within Linux. Unfortunately, I don’t think this workshop went very well. For one, I think they started earlier than they should have. We walked in after they had already gone through some decent tips. And to be honest, I don’t think the speaker was very good at teaching basics to people who aren’t on the same level. There was some butting of heads during the talk with differences of opinion and a blatant refusal to go over any simple commands like ls, cp or pwd even though we had a few extra minutes to spare. I was pretty disappointed with this workshop which could have been very valuable for Joe and even myself but instead was just brushed away as a waste of time. Maybe we learned how not to give a workshop.

Then we were off to “Learning how to fish: A self-help guide to finding Linux help on the internet” by Jorge Castro from Canonical. This talk was a complete opposite from the previously mentioned. Jorge is insanely good at giving a presentation. He first went on about how people perceive getting help in open source projects and hit the nail on the head doing so. Then he went on to how things should be done. Everything from how to properly use google, search forums and contacting the right people to get the most bang for your buck. Add to that, Jorge was very good at keeping everyone included in the discussion by asking questions from the audience and even adding in some topics that were brought up. Very well done.

After the talk we had some time to kill before the last keynote. I got to meet up with Jorge a couple others while we checked out the vendor section where Linode and the Free Software Foundation still had tables setup. Had some discussions with the Linode vendor, got some free tshirts and talked about some FOSSy type things. Then we found out there would be lightning talks before the final keynote. People scrambled to throw together some presentations. It was pretty impressive to see ideas just come up and people putting together lightning talks so quickly. The 5 minute talks went really well. Everything from Jorges talk about Unity in future versions of Ubuntu to a wiki project dedicated to the city of Rochester, NY and the people that live there.

Finally, we had the keynote from Jonathan Simpson from Freenode. This was an overview of the whole event, it’s goals, what it took to get here and the future of FOSScon. He also talked about the Geeknic and FOSSevents projects. Both of which I am very interested in and will hopefully be taking advantage of in the near future. There were some raffles being held in which Joe won a free digital copy of any O’reilly book he wanted.

At the end of the day, it was a very successful event. We got to take part in some great discussions and meet up with a bunch of new people. Some of which I have talked with online previously, some having discussions with for the first time. I am definitely looking for next year’s which should be bigger and better.

Thanks to Andrew Keyes for the photography and allowing me to use the pictures in this post. You can find the whole set of pictures on Flickr.

off to FOSSCON

I just registered and booked a hotel to attend FOSSCON this Saturday. The official description of the event is as follows:

The people behind FOSSCON are free software enthusiasts, user group members, coders and users — just like you! Free software is all about community and this is a very grassroots event, organized by the community and for the community. Our common goal is to provide a space for us to all come together in the northeast.

I’m hoping to meet up with lots of people from the open source world and attend some interesting and informative talks and workshops. If there’s anyone that would like to meet up during or after the event, feel free to post a comment here or contact me at leftyfb at ubuntu dotcom. Hope to see you all there!

“…But our princess is in another castle!”

For the past few years the Ubuntu Massachusetts Local Community team has been asked to present Ubuntu at the LPANE / Intel Nor’Easter Lanfest and this year was no exception. In the previous years we brought laptops and some low end desktops with wine barely running some low end games and showing off some of the open source games available at the time. We just didn’t have the proper equipment to demo. We did get some interest from people wanting to run Ubuntu dual boot for when they’re not gaming. But most people were really itching to bring their gaming experience to the Ubuntu desktop and until recently that wasn’t really an option (without a lot of work).

This year I was able to acquire a decent desktop and a 32″ LCD TV which I brought from home. This coupled with the latest innovation from the wine project enabled us to demo games from the Steam platform like Half-Life:2 and Team Fortress 2. We also had Starcraft playing perfectly. A lot of people were surprised on how well the games ran and excited about the progress Ubuntu and the wine project has made. We ended up doing 2 installs during the event and gave out a bunch of CD’s and what little swag we had.

The plan for next year is to have another decent gaming rig, possibly 2 or 3 so we can demo the recently announced Steam linux client, possibly even compete in some tournaments with an Ubuntu sponsored team.

All in all, it was a very fun event. Thanks to Martin for coming with me at the last minute and manning the table while I took off for a couple hours to geocache with Tom, the event organizer. Thanks to Justin who helped man the table the entire weekend and demo games. Thanks to Tom for having us at the event again and thanks to my fiance Sara who baked 4 batches cookies for everyone and packed me enough food and caffeine to last the 2 days and for supporting me in these projects.

P.S. we tried to get our table right next to the Microsoft Windows 7 tent which had one guy and a couple laptops and had a minesweeper tournament but another vendor got there before us. Take that any way you like and feel free to leave comments.

Here are some blurry pictures taken with my iPhone and old camera

the system is down

In this case, it’s medibuntu. Or more specifically, their Ubuntu repository. As far as I can tell it’s been down for about a week now and was also down a while back for some time. For anyone who needs to utilize this pretty important resource, there seems to be mirrors out there which I wasn’t aware of. Enter Andrew’s blog post on webupd9.org:

Firstly you’ll have to find out where your Medibuntu repo is located. Run this in a terminal:
ls /etc/apt/sources.list.d/medibuntu.list

If the file exists, press ALT + F2 and enter:
gksu gedit /etc/apt/sources.list.d/medibuntu.list

If running the above command lists the medibuntu.list as not found (“ls: cannot access /etc/apt/sources.list.d/medibuntu.list: No such file or directory”), then do the following:
Press ALT + F2 and enter:
gksu gedit /etc/apt/sources.list

Then for both cases, search for the lines which point to the main Medibuntu repository, which should look something like this:
deb http://packages.medibuntu.org/ lucid free non-free
deb-src http://packages.medibuntu.org/ lucid free non-free

Of course, if you’re not using Lucid, it’s going to say “karmic” or “jaunty”, etc.
Replace these 2 lines with any of these 3 mirrors:
Mirror 1:
deb http://mirrors.ucr.ac.cr/medibuntu/ lucid free non-free
deb-src http://mirrors.ucr.ac.cr/medibuntu/ lucid free non-free

Mirror 2:
deb http://mirror.oscc.org.my/medibuntu/ lucid free non-free
deb-src http://mirror.oscc.org.my/medibuntu/ lucid free non-free

Mirror 3:
deb ftp://ftp.leg.uct.ac.za/pub/linux/medibuntu/ lucid free non-free
deb-src ftp://ftp.leg.uct.ac.za/pub/linux/medibuntu/ lucid free non-free

If you’re not using Lucid, replace “lucid” in the above lines with “karmic”, “jaunty” or whatever Ubuntu version you’re using.

Finally, a remote desktop service for linux that doesn’t require opening firewalls!

As the topics says, we finally have a remote desktop solution without the need to open ports on a firewall or do reverse tunnel trickery. I’ve been using TeamViewer for a long time now to support my Windows and Mac customers and to remotely control the same at home. Now I have one single solution for all of them.

I downloaded and tested the desktop app right away. At first I just thought it was a client. But then I noticed it was giving a key/pass for someone to connect. I said to myself … “noooo , it can’t be”. Then I connected to my laptop remotely using the teamviewer client on my iphone  over 3G.

Even better, the service is completely free for personal usage. I will be looking into buying a license since I use it often and they certainly deserve the money.

Welcome to the linux community Teamviewer!

The Gnome war on features continues…

We’re back with another fun-filled episode of “How long till Gnome has a single button as it’s only feature?”. On today’s episode, Gnome has removed the ability to toggle between the text-based location bar and breadcrumbs with the touch of a button. This has always been a handy feature in nautilus for quickly navigating to hidden directories( .local ), to Windows (SMB) shares, FTP or SSH shares while toggling back the “better” looking breadcrumbs with only the click of a button. Not anymore folks! Remember, buttons are the devil!

UPDATE: The original bug in launchpad can be found here and the corresponding bugzilla bug for gnome here. And here is David Siegel’s post about the bright idea to remove yet more features including this one.

P.S. Yes, I know you can use CTRL+L or / or use the menu’s to bring up half the functionality of the button. The average user (who yes, does/did use this) shouldn’t have to learn hundreds of magic combo key’s to navigate their computer. Nor should they have to use the command line.

My first bug fix

Continuing on from my last post.

  • step #4 fix the problem. So it turns out that the way in which the icons were being displayed wasn’t exactly incorrect. We were just letting the “gtk-menu-images” overwrite us and not show the menu icons for the application. The solution is in gtk_image_menu_item_set_always_show_image (). This forces the display of the icons we specify. Thanks goes out to Glatzor and his comment to my original post about this issue. Thanks also goes out to kklimonda from #ubuntu-app-devel on FreeNode for helping me figure out the right syntax and areas to add this item. There was some grepping and reading involved on my part. I had the right file and was close to the right area, just didn’t have it 100% on my own.
  • step #5 submit fix to launchpad. Thanks goes out to doctormo for helping with this one. I had already used Ground Control to pull down a branch of my own to work on. Now it was just a matter of cleaning up the added files from compiling and committing my changes. After that you upload the changes to launchpad and propose the changes to be merged into the main trunk. I also linked my branch to the existing bug to keep things in order. Now I just wait for the maintainer to hopefully merge my changes and for them to make it into the next build of gSTM in some future version of ubuntu.
  • step #6 Now what I’d like to do is take my changes and the changes made in trunk that aren’t in the version of gSTM in the Ubuntu repositories, compile them all together, package them and submit them to my own PPA until they all make it into the main repositories. It’s going to be a bit pick and choose or at least involve some more bug fixing since one of the branches made a change that broke the notification icon.  I might revert these changes in my PPA build since I don’t care for the intended new icon anyway.

Daily Accomplishments:

  • fixed my first ubuntu bug!

Trying my hand at developing & bug fixing

WARNING: I am NOT a developer

with menu icons

One of the first applications I like to install on a fresh build of ubuntu is called gSTM or “Gnome SSH Tunnel Manager”. This allows me to setup and enable multiple ssh tunnels to/from different places with the click of a button. It provides a nice notification area icon which I can click and see at a glance all the tunnels I have preconfigured. In this same dialog box it shows the connection status of each tunnel indicated by a red(off) green(on) or yellow(?) icon to the left on the tunnel name.

Since Ubuntu 9.10, these status indicator icons are broken by default and need to be turned on by enabling “show menu icons” in the interfaces tab in the appearance preferences. Now with Ubuntu 10.04, this option has been removed from the preferences completely breaking the icons with little to no recourse(yes we can use gconf, I shouldn’t have to!).

Upon discussing (read: complaining) this problem with some of the Gnome community, I have been told that the use of these menu icons in this manner is incorrect and show be done by other means.

I plan to figure out the correct way to show these icons and resume functionality to this application and try to document my journey on here.

  • Step #1 Try to contact original developer: – fail. The contact the developer link on sourceforge gave me a bounceback email.
  • Step #3 Download the source code. – I originally downloaded the tarball from sourceforge. The problem with this is, there’s no debian directory and other magic bits to allow for easy packaging for debian/ubuntu which I would like to do in the end. I then downloaded the source in ubuntu using “sudo apt-get source gstm” which downloads all the source files to /usr/src/gstm1.2 including the packaging bits. And then I remembered about this whole Opportunistic developers thing and more specifically Ground Control by Martin Owens. I already had this installed so I just searched for “gstm” and downloaded the project and what I THINK is the correct branch to work from (gstm 1.2).

I’ve briefly looked at the icons it uses (green.xpm red.xpm yellow.xpm) and grepped for mentions of them in the code. So far i’ve come up with main.c and fniface.c.

Tonight I might try my hand at using one of the other applications mentioned in Jono’s Opportunistic Developer post called Quickly to see if I can import this project and see how it interacts with this developer environment.

continue on to part 2


I was going to write up a post complaining about the new version of Ubuntu moving the close, maximize and minimize buttons from the right-hand corner to the left along with instructions for changing it back but Daviey has already done that for me.

I’ve said it before and i’ll say it again; They can set whatever they want as default. Just give the average end user an EASY and intuitive way to change it to their liking.

gconf-editor is not average user friendly and this type of this is most certainly something the average user is going to want to change back. No matter how much the design team wants everyone to “just get used to it”. I’m getting real tired of designers telling me how I should use my computer.

Other than this major problem, I think the new theme and colors look great. I never disliked the orange and brown theme, but a lot of people did. This should make the OS more appealing to a larger audience.