I recently changed my KVM servers to use the kernel command-line parameter nomodeset for the virtual machine kernels so that they don’t try to go into graphics mode. I do this because I don’t have X11 or VNC enabled and I want a text console to use with the -curses option of KVM. Without the nomodeset KVM just says that it’s in 1024*768 graphics mode and doesn’t display the text.
Now my KVM server running Debian/Unstable has had it’s virtual machines start going into graphics mode in spite of nomodeset parameter. It seems that an update to QEMU has added a new virtual display driver which recent kernels from Debian/Unstable support with the bochs_drm driver, and that driver apparently doesn’t respect nomodeset.
The solution is to create a file named /etc/modprobe.d/blacklist.conf with the contents “blacklist bochs_drm” and now my virtual machines have a usable plain-text console again! This blacklist method works for all video drivers, you can blacklist similar modules for the other virtual display hardware. But it would be nice if the one kernel option would cover them all.
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In the tetralogy “Joseph and His Brothers“, Thomas Mann states, “Deep is the well of the past...”. Sometimes this well is bottomless and it may appear far away and passed, yet all of our actions and everyday decisions come to life by its contents. It is the fundamental substrate, the raw material from which to draw the basic connections of our creativity.
The image of the well, used by Thomas Mann, is very significant. In symbolism, the well is the place where you take contact with the deep self and where to get water that gives life. The ancient times remind us of the socializing role of the well, invested with an aura of sacredness, where sharing with others took place. It was…
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I received a very nice Christmas present today. As my regular readers probably know, I have been working on the the Isenkram system for many years. The goal of the Isenkram system is to make it easier for users to figure out what to install to get a given piece of hardware to work in Debian, and a key part of this system is a way to map hardware to packages. Isenkram have its own mapping database, and also uses data provided by each package using the AppStream metadata format. And today, AppStream in Debian learned to look up hardware the same way Isenkram is doing it, ie using fnmatch():% appstreamcli what-provides modalias \ usb:v1130p0202d0100dc00dsc00dp00ic03isc00ip00in00 Identifier: pymissile [generic] Name: pymissile Summary: Control original Striker USB Missile Launcher Package: pymissile % appstreamcli what-provides modalias usb:v0694p0002d0000 Identifier: libnxt [generic] Name: libnxt Summary: utility library for talking to the LEGO Mindstorms NXT brick Package: libnxt --- Identifier: t2n [generic] Name: t2n Summary: Simple command-line tool for Lego NXT Package: t2n --- Identifier: python-nxt [generic] Name: python-nxt Summary: Python driver/interface/wrapper for the Lego Mindstorms NXT robot Package: python-nxt --- Identifier: nbc [generic] Name: nbc Summary: C compiler for LEGO Mindstorms NXT bricks Package: nbc %
A similar query can be done using the combined AppStream and Isenkram databases using the isenkram-lookup tool:% isenkram-lookup usb:v1130p0202d0100dc00dsc00dp00ic03isc00ip00in00 pymissile % isenkram-lookup usb:v0694p0002d0000 libnxt nbc python-nxt t2n %
You can find modalias values relevant for your machine using cat $(find /sys/devices/ -name modalias).
If you want to make this system a success and help Debian users make the most of the hardware they have, please helpadd AppStream metadata for your package following the guidelines documented in the wiki. So far only 11 packages provide such information, among the several hundred hardware specific packages in Debian. The Isenkram database on the other hand contain 101 packages, mostly related to USB dongles. Most of the packages with hardware mapping in AppStream are LEGO Mindstorms related, because I have, as part of my involvement in the Debian LEGO team given priority to making sure LEGO users get proposed the complete set of packages in Debian for that particular hardware. The team also got a nice Christmas present today. The nxt-firmware package made it into Debian. With this package in place, it is now possible to use the LEGO Mindstorms NXT unit with only free software, as the nxt-firmware package contain the source and firmware binaries for the NXT brick.
As usual, if you use Bitcoin and want to show your support of my activities, please send Bitcoin donations to my address 15oWEoG9dUPovwmUL9KWAnYRtNJEkP1u1b.
For four years now, we’ve had a tradition: I go up to the attic one night, make a lot of noise, and pretend to be Santa. The boys don’t think Santa is real, but they get a huge kick out of this anyway.
The other day, this wound up with me singing a duet with my 7-year-old Oliver, and seeing a hugely delighted 10-year-old Jacob.
All last week, the boys had been lobbying for me to “be Santa”. They aren’t going to be able to be here on Christmas day this year, so I thought – why not let them have some fun. I chose one present to give them early too.
So, Saturday night, I said they could get ready for Santa. They found some cookies somewhere, got out some milk. And Oliver wrote this wonderful note to “Santa”:
That is a note I’m going to keep for a long time. He helpfully drew arrows pointing to the milk, cookies, and even the pen. He even started Santa’s reply at the bottom!
So, Saturday night, I snuck up to the attic, pretended to be Santa, and ate some cookies, drank some milk, and wrote Oliver a note. And I left a present.
Jacob has been really getting into music lately, and Laura suggested I find something for the boys. I went looking for something that could record also, and came up with what has got to be a kid’s dream: a karaoke machine.
The particular one I found came with two microphones, a CD player, audio recording onto SD card (though it’s a little dodgy), and a screen for showing words on any music that’s karaoke-enhanced.
Cue gasps of awe and excitement from the boys when we came down in our PJs and sweats at 6:45 Sunday morning to check it out.
Jacob excitedly began exploring all the knobs and options on it (they were particularly fond of the echo feature), while Oliver wanted to sing. So we found one of his favorite Christmas songs, and here he is singing it with me.
When you have a system with a line in, line out, and several microphone jacks, you can get creative. With a few bits of adapters from my attic, the headset I use for amateur radio worked with it perfectly. Add on a little mic extension cord, and pretty soon Oliver was pretending to be an announcer for a football game!
Then, Oliver decided he would act out a football game while Jacob and I were the announcers.
Something tells me there will be much fun had with this over the next while!
Just wait until I show them how to hook up a handheld radio to it in order to make a remotely-activated loudspeaker…
From November 25 to 27 some people met in the hackerspace bitraf in downtown Oslo. On Saturday and Sunday we met in the morning and hacked and translated all day until we went for dinners in the evening. Despite the short time I think we managed to get a lot done and had good fun, so I'm hoping we'll have another gathering in 2017!
Debian Edu / Skolelinux is currently in better shape regarding the upcoming Debian release than we ever have been, which is pretty awesome. Today, on December 21st, all our changes are in Stretch, except for debian-edu-artwork.git, which awaits a desktop-base upload to unstable… the only thing missing is being able to install Debian Edu using our profiles from official media… releasing Debian Edu Stretch on the same day as Debian Stretch would be a huge success though!
These are the notes taken in a pad (thanks riseup!) during the meeting:
Phil Hands worked on
Knut Yrvin worked on
Ingrid Yrvin worked on
Ole-Erik Yrvin worked on
Wolfgang Schweer worked on
Petter Reinholdtsen worked on
Dominik George worked on
Holger Levsen worked on
Mike Gabriel was sick and couldnt come to Oslo and worked at home instead:
Thanks to the Debian sprints programm and our sponsors for supporting the travel of Wolfgang, Dominik, Phil and myself! Mike opted out from reimbursement as he couldn't travel due to sickness.
FPGA (Field Programmable Gate Array) are increasingly popular for data acquisition, device control and application acceleration. Debian now features a completely Free set of tools to program FPGA in Verilog, prepare the binary and have it executed on an affordable device.
See http://wiki.debian.org/FPGA/Lattice for details. Readers familiar with the technology may rightly guess that this refers to the yosys package together with berkeley-abc, arachne-"Place-and-Route" and the icestorm tools to communicate with the device.
The packages have been contributed by the Debian Science team.
We hope this effort to support the FPGA community to collect an increasing number of skills to further smoothen the Open Source experience and lower the entry barriers for this tantalising technology.
A novel on late adolescence and self-finding, set on a mixture of stages ranging from Vienna, its Hinterland, to China. The recent book of the Viennese young writer Cornelia Travnicek (official page, WikiPedia) tells a complicated story about finding and loosing your parents.
The main actors, Johanna, always helpful and supportive of those around here, and Ernst, a Chinese adoptive son in Austria, are good friends since early childhood. He sets out to find his parents in China, while she has to deal with profound change in her own world while worrying about his travel and distance.
Although in principle a nice and interesting story, I felt that the book is at times weighting too much on sentiments, second hand sentiments, and trying to extend the story. By itself this wouldn’t be a problem if the language would be of a great story teller, but in this case it just extends and gave me hard time continue reading. The surprising ending isn’t that surprising, a single line 2/3 through the book just let it slip so that it is clear who is the father.
All in all not a bad book, but I wouldn’t recommend it from the depth of my heart. Still, as Viennese I felt a bit nostalgic with parts of dialect appearing in the book.
What happened in the Reproducible Builds effort between Sunday December 11 and Saturday December 17 2016:Reproducible builds world summit
The 2nd Reproducible Builds World Summit was held in Berlin, Germany on December 13th-15th. The event was a great success with enthusiastic participation from an extremely diverse number of projects. Many thanks to our sponsors for making this event possible!
Whilst there is an in-depth report forthcoming, the Guix project have already released their own report.Media coverage
Ducible, a tool to make Windows builds reproducible.
FreeBSD now has an option to eliminate kernel build metadata (Ed Maste).
John Darrington has been working on a patch to Gettext.
A large number of revisions were made to the website during the summit, including re-structuring existing content and creating a concrete plan to move the wiki content to the website:
9 package reviews have been added, 19 have been updated and 17 have been removed in this week, adding to our knowledge about identified issues.
3 issue types have been added:
One issue type was updated:
During our reproducibility testing, some FTBFS bugs have been detected and reported by:
trydiffoscope was split from the main diffoscope repository by Chris Lamb so that the two projects can be released independently and so that trydiffoscope can more easily be available on PyPI. It also simplifies the diffoscope packaging.
trydiffoscope 64 was uploaded to unstable by Chris Lamb.
This week's edition was written by Chris Lamb and reviewed by a bunch of Reproducible Builds folks on IRC and via email.
I recently was lucky enough to see one of my long-time favourite drum and bass artists live! Squarepusher! I know and love his music since the late 90s.
My girlfriend got us tickets for the Shobaleader One performance at Progy & Bess in Vienna. It was fantastic! 90 minutes of high energy jazz.
As a personal memory, I captured one of my favourite Squarepusher tracks, Cooper's World. This is another case of #unseenphotography.
While I am usually not very much into jazz, I like this fusion of dnb and jazz very much.
The Isenkram system I wrote two years ago to make it easier in Debian to find and install packages to get your hardware dongles to work, is still going strong. It is a system to look up the hardware present on or connected to the current system, and map the hardware to Debian packages. It can either be done using the tools in isenkram-cli or using the user space daemon in the isenkram package. The latter will notify you, when inserting new hardware, about what packages to install to get the dongle working. It will even provide a button to click on to ask packagekit to install the packages.
Here is an command line example from my Thinkpad laptop:% isenkram-lookup bluez cheese ethtool fprintd fprintd-demo gkrellm-thinkbat hdapsd libpam-fprintd pidgin-blinklight thinkfan tlp tp-smapi-dkms tp-smapi-source tpb %
It can also list the firware package providing firmware requested by the load kernel modules, which in my case is an empty list because I have all the firmware my machine need:% /usr/sbin/isenkram-autoinstall-firmware -l info: did not find any firmware files requested by loaded kernel modules. exiting %
The last few days I had a look at several of the around 250 packages in Debian with udev rules. These seem like good candidates to install when a given hardware dongle is inserted, and I found several that should be proposed by isenkram. I have not had time to check all of them, but am happy to report that now there are 97 packages packages mapped to hardware by Isenkram. 11 of these packages provide hardware mapping using AppStream, while the rest are listed in the modaliases file provided in isenkram.
These are the packages with hardware mappings at the moment. The marked packages are also announcing their hardware support using AppStream, for everyone to use:
air-quality-sensor, alsa-firmware-loaders, argyll, array-info, avarice, avrdude, b43-fwcutter, bit-babbler, bluez, bluez-firmware, brltty, broadcom-sta-dkms, calibre, cgminer, cheese, colord, colorhug-client, dahdi-firmware-nonfree, dahdi-linux, dfu-util, dolphin-emu, ekeyd, ethtool, firmware-ipw2x00, fprintd, fprintd-demo, galileo, gkrellm-thinkbat, gphoto2, gpsbabel, gpsbabel-gui, gpsman, gpstrans, gqrx-sdr, gr-fcdproplus, gr-osmosdr, gtkpod, hackrf, hdapsd, hdmi2usb-udev, hpijs-ppds, hplip, ipw3945-source, ipw3945d, kde-config-tablet, kinect-audio-setup, libnxt, libpam-fprintd, lomoco, madwimax, minidisc-utils, mkgmap, msi-keyboard, mtkbabel, nbc, nqc, nut-hal-drivers, ola, open-vm-toolbox, open-vm-tools, openambit, pcgminer, pcmciautils, pcscd, pidgin-blinklight, printer-driver-splix, pymissile, python-nxt, qlandkartegt, qlandkartegt-garmin, rosegarden, rt2x00-source, sispmctl, soapysdr-module-hackrf, solaar, squeak-plugins-scratch, sunxi-tools, t2n, thinkfan, thinkfinger-tools, tlp, tp-smapi-dkms, tp-smapi-source, tpb, tucnak, uhd-host, usbmuxd, viking, virtualbox-ose-guest-x11, w1retap, xawtv, xserver-xorg-input-vmmouse, xserver-xorg-input-wacom, xserver-xorg-video-qxl, xserver-xorg-video-vmware, yubikey-personalization and zd1211-firmware
If you know of other packages, please let me know with a wishlist bug report against the isenkram-cli package, and ask the package maintainer to add AppStream metadata according to the guidelines to provide the information for everyone. In time, I hope to get rid of the isenkram specific hardware mapping and depend exclusively on AppStream.
Note, the AppStream metadata for broadcom-sta-dkms is matching too much hardware, and suggest that the package with with any ethernet card. See bug #838735 for the details. I hope the maintainer find time to address it soon. In the mean time I provide an override in isenkram.