Flu sucks

If you tried contacting me in the last few days, I was deeply offline due to high fever. Not fully recovered yet. Flu be damned!

Standard software not in standard?

I was consulting a small company with a couple Debian servers the other day and I found that they did not have some packages that I expected to be there. Now thinking about it on every server that I install or take over the first thing I do is install a bunch of packages, such as: sudo, mc, wajig, localepurge and a bunch of others that I can't remember at the first moment, but that I re-discover each time I find them missing. I assume that other people have discovered other great non-standard tools that I am missing out on.

What software do other people consider standard on their servers?

Dealing with common mistranslations

In the Latvian l10n community we often deal with the problem of mistranslation of common words such as "file", "preferences" and "advanced". There are several words that fit each of those and over the years preferences in the community have shifted back and forth.

I just came up with an idea of making a script that would download all the translations, search for these common words in the source strings and see if any of the common translations and mistranslations are in the translation for that string. Then it could form up a web page with statistics of the mistranslations and possibly even links to specific instances to allow for corrections. It would also find new mistranslations :)

How other translation teams handle this problem?


I have decided to do something special for my 25th birthday this year so I have made plans to visit Frankfurt from 23rd to 25th of March with my girlfriend. Her birthday is just a day before mine.

I have read the Wikitravel article and am looking forward to seeing the city. Is there anything special that I should look up? I am interested in trying some German traditional food while I am there, any suggestions on food to try and places to get it from? And finally, are there any Debian developers that would care to meet for a drink and maybe point us to some places only locals know?


A few days ago I got myself an Asus EEEPC to experiment with it being in a role of a small server and a tiny internet kiosk. I installed Debian on it, but the process was not for the feint of heart, that's for sure. First of all the d-i font was messed up and all the menus overflowed the screen making it very hard to select anything. Additionally it seems very strange to me that there was a special d-i image made for EEEPC, but that image did not include built-in support for the computers wired or wireless network interfaces. That made my day highly problematic as I do not have an easy way to get to the Internet via a wired connection and the provided d-i image did not have enough files on it to finish the base install without networking.
This again made me think that the approach Ubuntu took is more favorable in most situations - have the install image boot a mostly functional system (it does not have to be X even) and then install from there. It actually feels more flexible than using the highly restricted d-i environment.
I will be looking to make a Debian rescue image designed for the EEEPC that you could dd onto a USB key, boot from and have a minimal Debian system with working ethernet, wifi and some basic rescue tools and a way to install a basic Debian system as well. That should make it much easier for people to get Debian onto their EEE PCs. I do hope that the Debian EEEPC project will improve as well.

(Latvian) Velostāvvietas Rīgas centrā

(This blog post is in Latvian and is about a public discussion that the capital of Latvia, Riga is having about where to put new bicycle racks in the center of the city. In the post I point to an article describing where to send in suggestions, point out a few possible locations for such racks and suggest installing racks with build-in locks that would require inserting a refundable coin to remove the key locking a bike in place)

Rīgas dome vāc ierosinājumus par jaunu velostāvvietu novietojumu Rīgas centrā. Es tur nosūtīju sekojošus ieteikumus, parosieties arī jūs.

Vislabāk velovietnes būtu izvietot tādā vietā, kas būtu pārredzama no ceļiem, pa kuriem iet daudz cilvēku un arī kur būtu novietotas drošības novērošanas kameras, lai minimizētu zādzību risku.

Viena vietne varētu atrasties Strēlnieku laukumā vai tā tuvumā, jo tur ir viegla piekļuve no Krasta ielas. Vieta starp RTU ēku Kaļķu 1 un
Krasta ielu varētu būt ļoti piemērota. Tas arī ierosinās studentus lietot velotransportu pa ceļam uz lekcijām Kaļķu ielā.

Alberta laukuma varētu atrasties vieta velosipēdu novietošanai - šī vieta ir viegli pieejama no Stacijas puses un ir tuvu vairākām viesnīcām. Ja ir plāni izveidot Pay&Ride automātisko velosipēdu nomu, tad šis varētu būt par vienu no vislabākajiem punktiem šādai iecerei.

Pils laukums ir viegli sasniedzams no Pārdaugavas pa Vanšu tiltu. Ja tur izveidotu velostāvvietu, tad tas ievērojami atvieglotu iespēju atbraukt ar velosipēdu pa Jūrmalas veloceliņu pāri Vanšu tiltam, nogriezties pa labi un uzreiz droši noparkoties.

Tāpat lūdzu apvērt ideju pielietot velovietnes ar iebūvētu atslēgu, lai nebūtu nepieciešams vest līdzi savu slēdzeni. Katrai vietai varētu būt sava slēdzene (bieza un pietiekoši gara cietmetāla trose) un atslēga. Atslēgu varētu izņemt no slēdzenes tikai tad, kad slēdzene ir aiztaisīta un slēdzenes mehānismā ir ielikta 1 Ls monēta. Atslēdzot slēdzeni ar atslēgu monēta tiktu atdota atpakaļ. Tas nodrošinās pret vandālismu, kad vienkārši visām slēdzenēm tiktu izņemtas atslēgas un aizmestas prom. Taču jebkurā gadījumā jābūt vieglam veidam kā aizvietot nozaudētās atslēgas gan gadījumos kad velosipēda īpašnieks to pieprasa (tas var aizņemt vairākas dienas un prasīt 5-10 Ls un iesnieguma uzrakstīšanu) vai arī kad velosipēds ir pamests pieslēgtā stāvoklī. Jaunas atslēgas izgatavošanai nevajadzētu prasīt vairāk kā 1 Ls no pilsētas budžeta, tad tas 1 Ls slēdzenē šos izdevumus atmaksās.

Sneaky blacklisting of WiFi in HP laptops?

I've been there before, but somehow I hoped that HP has come to its senses, so when my girlfriend got a HP Compaq 6715b laptop with a Broadcom wifi card that does not work with the open source driver and randomly crashes under load with ndiswrapper driver, I said - "well, I'll just get an Intel mini-PCIe wifi card and plug it in". I should have know better.

While there is no obvious impenetrable error message like on NX6110, the 6715b simply ignores any non-HP wireless cards. They do not show up in lspci and don't even appear in Vista. I have all the latest drivers and latest BIOS.

I will look a bit for a workaround, possibly along the same lines as before (make a non-HP wifi card look like a HP wifi card), but I really must say - despite all the support for Debian HP has on the server side, I will have to recommend everyone I know to never, ever buy any HP laptops! By having an easy access latch to the WiFi slot they seem to embrace user choice, but in the confines of their BIOS they just cut through the heart of it by only allowing their own cards to be installed and used.

Note: it is possible that the card itself is non-functional, but given the previous experience and some similar messages on the forums about all kinds of other HP laptops .. I wouldn't bet on that.

I would love to be proven wrong on this or shown a way to either make the non-HP IPW3945 card work or how to make the original Broadcom wifi card work in a stable manner. Currently it causes 4-8 hard lockups a day if the laptop is left acting as a bittorrent seed for a few thousand clients. Now i am just too tired to deal with this reasonably and should rather head for bed.

Super bowl XLII

No Debian content here. Just like last year I decided to watch one of the largest sport events in the USA - the final game of the National Football League Super Bowl XLII (roman numerals are different for the sake of it :P ). I came to like the Japanese take on American football, so I watched the Superbowl last year and was appalled at the lack of any entertainment value in the game. I was told that it was one the worst Super bowls ever, so I gave it another try.

Just like last year the American football looks to be very lawyer-friendly: bundles of complex rules and exceptions. The game could have been much simpler. Like for example, a lot of rues come from the fact that the game timer almost never stops. It is good for TV companies as they can plan their broadcast times better, but horrible for the stop-go game like the American football is. Just stopping the timer on every point the ball is stopped like they do in final seconds would cut out a lot of rules. Playclock and all. Rules on use of timeouts and stuff. Of course the game time would need to be adjusted down a bit. Now you have 4x15 minutes of 'game' where at most 20 minutes of that is in action. That game time is a lie - most of the time people are just standing around.

Terminology irks me quite a lot. Why is it a "1st down" when there have been two "1st down"s just a few minutes ago? Something along the lines of "down counter reset" would be much clearer. And what is cryptic "1st & 10" doing in the middle of the screen? It would have been much clearer if that info would be split: "Downs: 1/4" and a measuring arrow between the ball and the yellow line with "10yd" written on it. And then there is an obscured "two in two" or "two for two" or "two in O" phrases which apparently means the same as "two 1st downs out of two tries" in the context. Can't the commentators be a bit more elaborate and actually say the units of measurement? "Giants strength first tonight"? How about "in the lead", English anyone?

The camera placing editing is just horrible - the camera direction is switching all the time and that is confusing as hell. In normal football when professional camera teams are working, you always get all the shots from one side and even one general angle. If for clarity reasons a camera shot from other side is needed (usually in a replay) they always say that the image is from the reverse side in large letters on the screen. Here a lot of close-up shots were all over the place and even rotated around inside one shot! That might look fancy, but is just crappy camera work and editing.

Then commentators start talking walls of numbers and walls of names. Unless you know by hearth who plays at what position, there is no way to understand what those people are saying. Than is just sloppy commentary. Is FOX incompetent in all possible ways?

Then again the funky rules came into play just at the end of the first quarter - I have no idea why the ball was moved to the end line. Apparently the defender did or didn't something. Did not see anything worth penalizing the team like that at all. They dropped the term 'pass interference' later on. Isn't interfering with the pass the whole point of the defense play in this game??? Lawyer game, I'm telling you. And later on, pulling on guys arm while he is catching and being tackled apparently is just fine. And holding is illegal???

On the big penalty on the Giants the judge could have just said that the ball is out of bounds. Giving a 10yd penalty for such a minor thing is just ridiculous.

The halftime show was kind of meh. Staged to extreme, but no soul nor sense. And what were all those people doing on the field? Isn't that bad for the grass? And the commercials .. Average at best. Horrible at worst. For example a government commercial saying parents to protect their prescription medicine to .. help out your neighborhood drug dealer??? Oh and does anyone still doubt that media is controlled by republicans after that Coke commercial where the democrat is portrayed as bald and ugly and the republican is portrayed as the nice guy going for the compromise. And then they both Segway into the sunset? Brainwashing and prejudice embedded in a Coke commercial !?! WTF is going on in USA !?

The 12-man-on-the-field penalty in the 3rd quarter is another legalese bullshit in the game. It is clear that the extra player had no effect on the game so it is just ridiculous for the judge to penalize the team for that. A couple small penalties were given for Patriots as well, judge bias was not as prevalent as last year.

The camerawork stayed the same through the game - confusing, flashy and sloppy. Other cameras are in the shot line all the time. The game however did compensate for that all. The 4th quarter was very nice and exiting. I had no idea of the teams before the game, but I did like the Giants more - they just seemed to have more will and soul in their game. So I rooted for them since the 2nd quarter and it was very satisfying to see them win the game in the final seconds.

Summary: good game, great final quarter, horrible coverage and crappy sideshows (adverts and halftime show).

Using FUSE encfs in a graphical way

If you want to use encfs module from FUSE to encrypt some of your files and do not want to go into the command line to mount and unmount that encrypted folder, here is what you do:

Add a line such as this to your /etc/fstab:

encfs#/home/aigarius/.crypt/ /home/aigarius/crypt fuse rw,user,noauto 0 0

Where '/home/aigarius/.crypt' is the folder where you have created an encrypted folder (with "encfs /home/aigarius/.crypt /home/aigarius/crypt" command) and '/home/aigarius/crypt' being the place where you want to mount to see the decrypted files.

After you boot into Gnome, you go to Places->Computer, right-click on 'crypt' drive icon and select "Mount". It will prompt you for the passwrd and mount the folder. Unmounting will disconnect it. Enjoy.


A person that I deeply respect and who is very know in Latvian IT society recently said that he often uses a quote of mine in his presentations. I completely forgot that I ever said that, but it sounds very much like what I would say, so I wanted to write it down so that I do not forget about it again:

90% of the people do not understand copyright, the other 10% simply ignore it.

Heh, I must have been optimistic. There is no way that so many people actually understand copyright. :)

Note: most Debian Developers and FLOSS developers in general are an exception to this rule, but sadly comprise such a small percentage of the population that it means very little from a public policy perspective.