Upgraded Laptop to Fedora but switched back 2 debian

A couple of weeks Ago I decided to change the distro on my laptop. I was running Ubuntu 10 LTS. I wanted to switch to a newer distro as this was already running a couple of years and it started showing.

I experimented a bit with Debian Stable, Fedora 16, Ubuntu 12, Linux Mint. In the end I chose Fedora 16 as Debian Stable was still Gnome 2, Linux Mint was ok but not really my thing. Ubuntu 12 was not stable. So finally I chose Fedora 16. After some tweaking and patching of VMWare (Linux Kernel 3 and VMWare aren’t really good friends.) I got everything up and running. I was pretty satisfied but gnome crashed now and then when I wanted see all open appz on my desktop.

This weekend I switched again to Debian 6 testing as this is also Gnome 3. I had to do the same stuff as for Fedora but I noticed already that it’s much more stable and it is also much faster than Fedora. Boot is really a difference of +30 seconds.

I already investigated Gnome 3 a bit and I have to say I really like it. It now combines really the things I was missing on Mac with the things I loved on Linux.

Appearantly not so well known option on Linux

I was talking to some colleagues about some features I used on a regular basis. I was amazed that not many knew the @reboot option.

If you want to run a process as a certain user after your system reboots you can easily use this @reboot option. When you put this in your crontab as a user, the script that follows will be performed after reboot. For production systems I would off course use other tools but for many of the pet projects I run and internal systems that are not mission critical using this option works perfectly for booting my Java app server. (In most cases this is either GlassFish or Tomcat).

Just wanted to share this for people who read my blog and who wanted to perform the same things that took a while to setup.

What’s new

It’s been almost a year since my last blog entry. Damn that’s a long while. So what’s new in that year. Actually a lot 🙂

I’ve become a father for the second time. This is costing me a lot of sleepless nights at the moment. But one smile of our daughter and it’s worth it. And boy does she smile when she sees her father.

We are finally making some progress on our new house. The plans have been drawn, the city has given a green light and now we are waiting for quotes from the construction companies. It looks like we will actually start the construction somewhere after the summer vacation of 2012.

On an IT point of view, also a lot has happened. I’m actually coding much less coding then I used to, and actually I would like to do some more coding. So I picked up some of my old pet projects and started including newer technologies like primefaces 3 and Vaadin. Have to say they work really nice. It takes less code to get some functionallity in an app, off course you have to live with they way their components work (which I do).

I actually also traded my Apple iPad for an ASUS transformer tablet with dock. I have to say magnificient machine. It took me a while to find all the replacement tools for the appstore appz ( a decent PDF reader took a while).

Lets see what 2012 holds for blogging.

Linux Exchange Integration

Like many of us, most of the companies I work for have a Windows based environment. This implies that our mail is handled by Exchange. In many cases you can access the mail with IMAP, however some companies choose not to open up anything except the webmail (and OWA).

As you may know, Android has the possibility to do over the air sync of calendar,email and contacts using the Microsoft ActiveSync software. As Android is a Linux device with a Java layer on top. I already checked if I could extract the sources from the Android app. During my search I came across a small project called davmail . Davmail is a project written in Java that acts as a proxy for OWA. It connects to the OWA of your company and exposes the receiving of mails using an IMAP or POP interface. You can also send mails using standard SMTP. This will then be translated in a Active Sync call to send the actual mail. It also exposes your contacts and calendar. I’ve not yet managed to get the Calendar working but at least my mail is now working. Up until now I was always booting a Vmware. The only thing this VM would be doing was running Oultook.

Let’s hope these days are over and I can finally leave the Windows behind. (Not if it would be a Exchange 2010 at least the webinterface would be a RIA but as it’s still the 2007 edition not much rich GUI is available for Linux).

So everybody looking for an alternative give it a go and let me know, I’m pretty interested to hear what you think about it.

Upgrade Ubuntu fail (again)

A couple of weeks ago Ubuntu released their new version (10.04). This time I waited a bit to perform the upgrade of my laptop. The promosed very fast startups (sub 10 seconds). So yesterday night I upgraded. This morning booting took twice as long as before, some tools didn’t even work, my wifi didn’t want to connect anymore,…

I’ve been a ubuntu user since the very first  release. Pretty much every time they did an upgrade to the next version I ended up reinstalling everything. So like always I reinstalled my Ubuntu. But this time is really the last time, if with the next release I have to reinstall I’ll just switch to basic Debian. In the end it just has to work, right?

Maybe it’s also my mistake to add extra repositories to install tools that are not available in default Ubuntu. But I prefer that over installing straight from a .deb file.

Anybody else also having these issues? (I know a friend of mine had to reinstall as well, broken wifi)

Video editing in Linux

I like many people always had problems with doing video editing on Linux. A couple of weeks ago I found the openshot video editor . I haven’t done much with it, but it looks very promossing. I’ll start using it for building my future screencasts and video’s. As soon as they are available I’ll post a link to them on this site.

What I’ve done so far is adding a couple of video’s and doing picture in picture view of the 2 movies. I can’t rememeber if I could do that using Pitivi or Kino. Another nice feature was the inclusion of a transparant PNG file, I would then put it in the bottom have of the picture and you could add some text underneath a movie (like they do in the news). It gave it a nice touch.

The only minor thing was the exporting of the video. I found it not that clear, on the other hand I’m no video guru so I might have to brush up on that. However I do think that somebody who knows nothing at all about video’s and codecs’ will have a difficult time creating the end result.

Keep you posted on my adventures 🙂

Printing in Gnome

Today I had to print +30 invoices. I had created 30 pdf’s but couldn’t find a way to print them all at once. In Windows you just drag them to the printer you want to print on (doesn’t matter what format) and Windows does the rest.

Does anybody know how you can do this in Gnome, this would be very handy at the end of every quartor 🙂

alps touchpad multi touch

A couple off weeks ago my Dell Latitude E6500 arrived, it was installed with a Windows 7. Off course it was only a matter of hours before a fresh Linux kernel was doing the heavy lifting on that machine.

Before I used the Dell I was using an Acer. I was pretty satisfied but it was already an old machine. One thing I really liked about it was the multi touch scrolling, much like you have with Apple. For those who don’t know. If you are surfing and you have to scroll down. You just put both your fingers on the touchpad and drag them down. The page will scroll. On my Dell this didn’t work however, so I started investigating and after a while I found out that Dell uses a ALPS touchpad. Most other vendors use a synaptic touchpad. It seems the people from ALPS haven’t released any (good) documentation and therefor the Linux hackers can’t enable the multitouch.

This seems to be the first downside of my new Machine. For the rest pretty much everything worked out of the box. Wifi, Compiz, … Even my new usb headset with micro worked out of the box. Only real thing you have to add is the MP3 codecs.

DWR call count is not a number

For all our applications we use pretty much the defacto standards. For us DWR is also a defacto standard for doing AJAX with a JEE backend. Like many of our applications we can’t dictate what type of browser the customer should use, so we have to check all browsers. So during the last sprint we checked it on all versions of ie, no problems. We deployed and one of our main testers create a defect ticket.

In the ticket he described the application as always creating alerts with the description call count is not a number . He used ie7, you would expect this from ie6 but not from ie7. However off course other users with ie7 didn’t have this issue. After some googling this seemed related to DWR, however we couldn’t really find the cause for the problem. However we did find a workaround for the issue.

We added this small piece of code

<script type=”text/javascript”>
function errH(msg){}


This might not be the best solution, but after losing quite some time this was the preferred solution

jquery apache tomcat ajp issues , ie6 hangs

The application I work on is accessed from all over the world, we don’t have any control over what kind of browser access it. So we have to check pretty much all possible combinations. After our latest release we had trouble with some users who were running windows 2000 with internet explorer 6.

I know this is an old system, but we can’t force them to upgrade, neither can we force them to install a real browser (i.e. firefox) as they don’t have local admin accounts. I checked windows xp with ie6 and this worked without any problems. So I picked up a windows 2000 cd and installed it in a vm. I upgraded the browser to the same version as the customer but couldn’t reproduce the problem.

After some emailing and friendly help from their local IT sysadmins, I could access an identical vm on their local systems. I user our test environment to do some tests changing settings here and there. After a couple of minutes I found out that the problem had to do with the jquery library. So I tried accessing it with the actual URL, maybe there was a security constraint or something but this worked without any problem. Even stranger when I accessed the applicaiton again everything worked perfectly, normally after the login the page would freeze and you had to kill the iexplore process.

After a while I figured it out. To shrink the size of the html we were using the compression options of apache. This shrinked the actual html sometimes with 80%. However we also shrinked all javascript libraries. JQuery default ships with a minimized library. It seems that some internet explorer versions have problems with accessing this file. I imagine that ie6 can’t handle a file that is minimized file and gziped at the same time.

So any one out there experiencing the same problems, you can check if you didn’t run into the same problem as we did.