viernes, 17 de marzo de 2017

Update Shyness

You know, when an animal eats a poisoned bait in a sublethal dose, the said animal learns to identify the poisoned bait and avoids it.   This is referred to as "bait shyness."

Updates? I know you mean well, but...
This month was a bumpy ride regarding updates and, consequently, I think I developed some kind of update shyness. 

It all started when I fired up Synaptic on PCLOS to update packages.  Normally, the process is completed with no hassle.  This time, however, there was a message about "broken" packages and, since I had never had broken packages before, I decided to log out and back in to see if everything was alright.

It was a poor choice.  The DE did not load, so I ended up with a black screen in front of my eyes and desperation all over me.  Fortunately, when I logged in as root, the DE was operational, so I fired up Synaptic again and fixed the broken packages.  That rectified the problem.

But the update madness had just started.  A couple days after the PCLOS incident, I booted OpenMandriva and Discover notified me that there were updates.  I must confess that the update process in OpenMandriva has not been easy for me: I prefer to use the Control Center, but sometimes it cannot install some packages and those have to be installed with Discover.  Sometimes, the latter simply refuses to load the package list.

In an attempt to circumvent the duality, I used urpmi instead.

I ended up with a system that refused to boot and had to reinstall from scratch.  Oddly, after the reinstall, the update went fine.  Go figure.

To finish my story, I started Fedora 25 and, again, Discover told me that there were updates. I updated confidently because Discover has never failed in Fedora.  The process seemed smooth and I went to sleep, but there was a surprise for me the next morning: Fedora was unable to see the wifi.   In fact, there was no kernel module for wireless connection at all!

Then fall, Caesar!

I saw that the problem was that, by an unknown reason, Fedora had installed a very old kernel and was booting with it by default.  When I tried the advanced options and booted a different kernel, the wifi worked without a problem, so I specified this kernel in GRUB2 to boot it by default.

Curiously, when Discover updated packages again, there was no problem.


So, my distros are working fine now.

But I do get a bit anxious every time I see that there are updates.  Even so, it is comforting to see that the problems are temporary. 

miércoles, 1 de marzo de 2017

Kdenlive and Audacity... A Powerful Combo for Education

The university where I work is pushing all professors to use a platform for online courses.

I am very critical of those learning environments because it is easy to claim that technology enhances education without considering the dark side of ICTs.

It was time to give the platform a try.  After all, the university is also advocating the use of FLOSS, so...

The creation of a virtual environment was rather easy, but to produce content is perhaps the most time-consuming activity.  Fortunately, my basic GIMP skills gave me a decent standing concerning the presentation of the different sections.

Then I decided to go ahead and produce a simple video. For this task, I selected Audacity (for recording/editing sound) and Kdenlive (for the video sequence).

I was expecting many problems because I am not an expert in sound/video.  In addition, it was my first time with Kdenlive.

The video-creating process was pretty straight-forward, however.  I got the still images and organized them to fit the sound track that I produced with Audacity and I never felt confused or got stuck; everything was intuitive.

Of course, my video was very simple, but I can say that Kdenlive and Audacity make a powerful combo for beginners who need to produce a quick video for a presentation.

I need to keep experimenting with them.

martes, 14 de febrero de 2017

A Glimpse of Mageia 6: Mageia 6 Sta2

Today, I got great news at G+. Jean Francois shared here a link to an FTP directory where I could download Mageia 6 Sta2 Live DVD.

Of course, I downloaded it and put it into a pendrive to test it on my ZaReason Strata.  It booted normally and, after a while, I was greeted by Plasma 5.

OK... where's the cashew thingy?
The new menu... Very Plasma-like.
I noticed that the icons were new and the DE is more responsive that the beta that I had installed previously.  I particularly loved the new icon for the Mageia Control Center (it reminded me of the nazar in Pisi Linux).

I used the system a bit to see if I could detect certain glitches even though I know this is not a final version.  My intention is not to write a review, but to assess potential problems and, most importantly, to get more familiar with Mageia running Plasma 5.

In general, and thanks to OpenMandriva Lx and Fedora, I can say that using the DE was not as awkward as the first time I ran a system with it.  However, there are some questions that my test drive is forcing me to ask:

1.  Where is the cashew control?  The DE was locked to Folder view, which is fine with me, but I could not add any plasmoids to see what gives.
2.  Will netdrake be replaced? The network applet was dead.  To use the Web, I had to add a new wireless network from MCC.  Both OpenMandriva Lx and Fedora use now KDE's network applet... Is Mageia following suit?
3.  Is Mageia discontinuing the desktop cube?  The effect could be activated, but it was not responsive.  I hope it is due to something that needs ironing and the desktop cube will be back in the final release.

Of course, this is a Live DVD.  Maybe the Install DVD will give more options.

Upgrade to OpenMandriva Lx 3

My HP Pavilion has been running OpenMandriva 2014 exclusively, but I decided to upgrade it to OpenMandriva Lx 3 last week.

The move was sensible; I needed the machine to work in my office at the university and, as they are shaking IT everywhere, I wanted to have software that was more up to date.

However, the upgrade was complicated.  The installation part was flawless and fast but, after finishing, when I attempted to upgrade the packages, I would lose display at a given point.

I remember that something like that happened to me when I tried to upgrade OpenMandriva Lx 3. on my ZaReason Strata the first time.  Eventually, I solved the problem then.  On the HP Pavilion, there was no such luck.

I tried installing from scratch multiple times, both with MCC and Discover, and even with urpmi on the CLI.  It seems that the culprit is a package called gtk-lib.

 Oh, well.  I decided to leave it like that while I figure out if that was a bad repo sync or what.  The machine works nice and, if I could survive last year using a 2-year-old system, I guess OpenMandriva Lx 3 will be fine.

miércoles, 8 de febrero de 2017


I read this article and it evoked so many memories!  It pretty much describes how I got started with Linux, except that, in 2009, I went for Mandriva instead of Ubuntu or Debian, as the author did.

sábado, 28 de enero de 2017

Almost a month with Fedora...

I installed Fedora 25 Workstation (KDE spin) almost a month ago, as a desperate attempt to get my all-in-one Epson XP 231 printer working.

The experiment ended with the printer/scanner working on OpenMandriva Lx 3.1, PCLinuxOS and, later, on Mageia 5.1.  Oddly, although I could scan without any problems on Fedora, the printer was not operational.

I knew nothing about Fedora.  After some reading, however, I managed to get everything running, except the Japanese IME, which has eluded me.  I hope I will manage to get it to work soon.

It seems Fedora 25 has earned a place among my favorite Linux distros.

sábado, 21 de enero de 2017

Temporary fix for Insync problem not running on OpenMandriva LX 3.1

After the Christmas update, Insync has refused to run properly on my OpenMandriva Lx 3.1 install.

When one first installs the package, it runs, syncs, and seems to be OK.  However, after closing the session, Insync is gone from the panel and nothing can summon it back.

To circumvent this issue, I uninstalled the package and, using the terminal, installed it again as root using the urmpi command.

After it synchronized and everything, I closed the session and it was gone again.  However, this time, one can bring it back from Konsole as root.  It is not the most elegant fix, but it is easy enough.

I guess this solves that problem for the time being...