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I’ve just upgraded to Ubuntu 12.04 LTS “Precise Pangolin” on a number of devices. It’s been smooth so far, and I’ll write up the issues I’ve found soon. In the mean time, I’ve added a few packages to the precise repository.

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I’ve added several packages to the repository recently. I still use maverick, the last release before Unity became the default. I intend to move to Unity with precise, but until then I’ve been backporting things to maverick.

Highlights:

  1. maverick: fceux 2.1.5, backported from precise
  2. maverick: get-iplayer 2.8.0, taken directly from precise
  3. lucid: logcheck 1.3.14, backported from precise to correct a problem with wildcard globs in the lucid release

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HTPC, Take Two

It’s been almost two years since I assembled gozer, my first HTPC. Over the Christmas holiday I replaced gozer with zuul, a Zotac ZBOX HD-ID11.

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I’ve been searching for a good remote desktop client for a long time. My requirements are simple. It must:

  1. save passwords
  2. manage connections via the GUI
  3. support VNC and RDP
  4. work with our IP KVM

This last requirement is the kicker. When I change hosts on our Adderview IP KVM, it draws one frame at 0x0 resolution, and then changes to the resolution of the new host. This has crashed every VNC client I’ve tried except xvnc4viewer. Which of course, doesn’t save passwords or have a GUI (the raw X menu when you press F8 does not count).

I have tried KRDC, Vinagre, xtightvncviewer, and a number of simpler command-line VNC clients. They all seem to be designed to support the “my Mom needs tech support” problem, not the “I manage remote servers” problem. KRDC won’t even login to my KVM; it just hangs after authentication. I suppose that’s better than crashing, but it is still a show stopping bug for me.

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Last week I upgraded from Kubuntu 9.10 “Karmic Koala” to 10.04 “Lucid Lynx”. The word “upgrade” here is misleading, since I chose to reformat to take advantage of filesystem changes. However, I imported much of my customisations from backup. Here are my notes on Lucid, from the perspective of a long-time Kubuntu user.

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As of Ubuntu Lucid, the Sun Java JRE has been replaced with OpenJDK. Unfortunately, OpenJDK still isn’t a complete drop-in replacement for Sun Java. For instance, the Facebook “Upload Photos” applet doesn’t work correctly; the photos don’t have thumbnails and can’t be rotated before upload. The solution is to install the Sun Java JRE.

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Update 2010-10-14 – This problem has been resolved since pulseaudio 1:0.9.22~0.9.21+stable-queue-32-g8478-0ubuntu14. You can now play AC3 audio with the Lucid packages.

Since upgrading my media PC to Ubuntu 10.04 “Lucid Lynx”, pulseaudio can’t play files with AC3 audio. Unfortunately this includes all of my ripped DVDs, which were encoded with AC3 pass-through audio. If I play such a file in Miro, the video hangs after a few seconds. If I play it in Totem, the same happens but a pop-up is also displayed: “pa_stream_writable_size() failed: Connection terminated”.

I fixed it by downgrading Pulseaudio to the karmic version. Here is how.

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I use iptables firewalls on every server I administer, including all of our core routers (which run Linux too). There are lots of tools to easily configure a firewall. For simple tasks, Ubuntu now installs ufw by default, which has both command-line and GUI tools. For servers, consider Webmin.

If you want to do something more complicated, or prefer editing iptables rules yourself, you’ll have to do it by hand. When I first started doing this I found a template online and edited it to suit my need. Over time I’ve learned a lot more about iptables, and my templates have evolved.

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We run several virtual machine host servers on a network with multiple VLANs. The virtual machines are members of different VLANs, but are not themselves aware of the VLAN. This is how we did it.

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virt-manager now in repo

The latest virt-manager package in Ubuntu karmic is broken. We use virt-manager to manage KVM/QEMU virtual machines over an ssh tunnel. This worked fine in hardy and jaunty. But it is partially broken in karmic.

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