Friday, October 30, 2015

Installing SCIDvsPC on openSUSE 13.2

I enjoy running openSUSE and play chess. However, I find it tough to get a chess program close to the quality of ChessBase and Fritz. Shredder Chess was the closest, but as of openSUSE 13x, Fedora 2x and Ubuntu 14x - a problem with the X makes it unusable.

Stockfish is a fine engine, but the chess UIs in Linux is sorely in need of overhaul.

Until I came across SCIDvsPC - seems to fulfill my needs - a DB with playing and analysis options. There are no binaries for openSUSE but you can download the tar ball and compile it. It sounds more horrible than it actually is. Firstly, install the depedencies:

#zypper in kbproto-devel libX11-devel libXau-devel libxcb-damage0 libxcb-devel libxcb-dpms0 libxcb-record0 libxcb-res0 libxcb-screensaver0 libxcb-xevie0 libxcb-xinerama0 libxcb-xprint0 libxcb-xtest0 libxcb-xvmc0 pthread-stubs-devel tcl-devel tk-devel xproto-devel gcc gcc48 glibc-devel libasan0 libatomic1-gcc49 libitm1-gcc49 libtsan0-gcc49 linux-glibc-devel gcc48-c++ gcc-c++ libstdc++48-devel snack tkimg tkimg-devel make 

Then extract the downloaded SCIDvsPC tarball:

$tar -zxvf  scid_vs_pc-4.14.tgz
$cd scid_vs_pc-4.14

After the extraction, the compile it:

#make install

To execute the SCIDvsPC application, type scid on the CLI.

Stockfish is an excellent analysis engine that can be installed if you have the Packman repository enabled. You can get it from One-Click install from here 

After installing Stockfish, you can add Stockfish to the list of analysis engines for SCIDvsPC. From the SCIDvsPC application, Tools -> Analysis Engines -> New;  enter /usr/bin/stockfish20.bin in the Command field and the click on the ~/scidvspc button and finally click on OK.


Wednesday, February 18, 2015

When zypper throws a "Error message: Failed to connect to port 80: Network is unreachable"

I enjoy running my openSUSE 13.2 off a thumbdrive because it affords me the luxury of bringing my entire Linux desktop everywhere with me. Live USB created with the current openSUSE 13.2 GNOME Live CD  (instructions are here), has ensured stuff like themes, software removed/installed and other preferences are persistent! Awesomeness!!!

All went well and I only use it when and if I decided to travel. Come the long Chinese New Year holidays and I decided to dust off the long unused Live USB and plugged it into my workhorse, DELL E6330 and ran zypper up.

Suddenly I was bombarded with a bunch of   "Error message: Failed to connect to port 80: Network is unreachable" .

Scouring the web has yielded the following solution:

  1. Edit the /etc/sysctl.conf file and add the following:

    net.ipv6.conf.all.disable_ipv6 = 1
    net.ipv6.conf.default.disable_ipv6 = 1
    net.ipv6.conf.lo.disable_ipv6 = 1
  2. Then execute the following:

    echo 1 > /proc/sys/net/ipv6/conf/all/disable_ipv6

 And my zypper works once again.

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Open Sans Pro and Source Sans Pro on CentOS/Fedora/RHEL

I generally find that the Open Sans family of fonts and the Adobe Source Sans Pro pleasing. And since I am the designated main typist in my office, creating eye-pleasing documents is part of the JD.

Download the Adobe Source Sans Pro here  and Open Sans here

Extract them and copy the extracted directories to /usr/share/fonts


#cp -R Open_Sans/ /usr/share/fonts

Then run the refresh


Or if you prefer reboot the computer to make use of the fonts.

Monday, August 5, 2013

Calibri and Cambria compatible fonts and Font Embedding in LibreOffice

LibreOffice being my primary productivity suite has never failed to amaze me with its usability and many features and updates from one version to the next.  I started using in 2000 and then move on to the go-oo fork and now the latest incarnation - LibreOffice suite.

For those of us who often exchange documents with people who uses MSO, a Calibri compatible but free to use font type would be Asap. Cambria would be the Droid Serif font.

Both fonts look gorgeous and if you are unsure that folks on the receiving end have your fonts - LibreOffice 4.1 (download here) now supports font embedding (Files -> Properties -> Fonts tab)  so that your document would not look weird when you use Font A to compose your docs but the receiver hasn't Font A but uses something else closest to replace the font - which in reality isn't really good enough.

Kudos to the devs and volunteers who contributed to LibreOffice and the equally impressive (and I would say, prettier) Apache OpenOffice.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

The often overlooked Seamonkey

I am very happy with my work lappy running CentOS 6.4 - I never need to worry about the next update borking my system.

Unfortunately, the supplied Firefox browser doesn't work too well with my personal banking site. Previously this was unimportant as I always had Google Chrome to fall back on; sadly Google decided not to support Chrome on the CentOS/RHEL platforms.

Would hate to trade the rock solid reliability of CentOS with Fedora - so it hit me why not Seamonkey?

With the EPEL repo added and a yum install seamonkey later, the latest Seamonkey is installed on my lappy - it is actually the same version that is on the Seamonkey site. Nothing to shout about on the looks, in fact being the "old guy" I am - the theme kinda brings me back....ah well...personal banking site....and wallah it works perfectly!! Yay....

Now back to work....

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Enabling Broadcom 4313 Wireless support and VLC installation on RHEL 6x/CentOS 6x

CentOS is an excellent desktop OS for the discerning user who wants rock solid performance without paying a premium.  However, since it is built from server source with some desktop apps and bits thrown in, stability comes at the cost of the latest and greatest version of the software bundled. For instance LibreOffice is still stuck at 3.4x, it's Pidgin instead of Empathy and there are no versions of Banshee available.

However, having lesser things to play actually makes it an attractive choice for focussing on getting work done since there are practically no games available but there is a plethora of "boring" server stuff that can only make a geek quiver with delight!   

Since I work in a RH shop, having a RHEL server installed on my notebook actually makes sense, but then I would have to "burn" through one subscription for no good reason. So CentOS it is then. 

Two problems come into mind - the Broadcom wireless (BCM4313) on my notebook wouldn't work with CentOS or RHEL and two, the lack of multimedia codecs would ensure that my notebook would be good for work and staging and precious little else. That wouldn't do since I live off my notebook. 

After trawling through the web, I managed to resolve my #1 problem and easily resolve issue #2. 

Preparing the repos

# rpm -ivh
# rpm -ivh
# rpm -ivh
# rpm -ivh
# rpm -ivh

Enabling Broadcom Wireless Support
The Broadcom driver doesn't come in a binary form due to licensing restrictions. To enable Broadcom 4313 support, we need to compile the driver from a Source RPM.

Install the required dependencies

As root:

# yum -y groupinstall 'Development Tools' 
# yum -y install redhat-lsb 
# yum -y kernel-devel-$(uname -r)

Preparing for compilation

Choose the right architecture archive (32 or 64-bit) and download the source RPM from ( to anywhere (e.g. Downloads) and the driver archive from Broadcom's site ( to ~/rpmbuild/SOURCES/

As normal user:

$ mkdir -p ~/rpmbuild/{BUILD,RPMS,SPECS,SOURCES,SRPMS}
$ echo -e "%_topdir $(echo $HOME)/rpmbuild\n%dist .el$(lsb_release -s -r|cut -d"." -f1).local" >> ~/.rpmmacros

Building the Source RPM

As normal user:

$ rpmbuild --rebuild --define 'packager <user name>' /home/<user name>/Downloads/wl-kmod*nosrc.rpm

Installing the Compiled RPM

As root:

# rpm -ivh /home/ericyeoh/rpmbuild/RPMS/x86_64/kmod-wl*.rpm

Remove unused services

As root:

# modprobe -r b43 b43legacy ssb wl lib80211

# modprobe -r bcma (for RHEL/Centos 6.4 and above)
# modprobe lib80211_crypt_tkip
# modprobe -r wl 

Reboot and it's good to go.

Remember to remove any instance of ndiswarpper if it's installed. 

Installing VLC
VLC is an all in one media player for the many MP3s and movies I have. VLC is one of those indispensable "if-you-are-stuck-on-a-desert-island" software. 

As root:

# yum --enablerepo=remi-test install vlc 

Friday, December 28, 2012

HP LaserJet P1005 on Fedora 17

A year ago I got myself a cheapo HP LaserJet P1005 printer. The price was right and it worked well with my openSUSE 11.4 (after some titanic struggles) desktop and Ubuntu 10x notebook then. Fast forward to the end of 2012, post apocalypse; and the printer was starting to gather dust at home and not wanting it to be the nesting grounds for ants, roaches and other nasties, I decided to bring it to work - as a temp printer (the office's primary printer has lapsed into deep coma) for the tech department.

My work desktop (also from home) is running Stella Linux, a respin of the venerable CentOS with all the nice multimedia bits with my primary lappy and on Fedora 17, as with the rest of the techies.

I was ready for some titanic struggles as I did with my desktop's previous openSUSE host; so with sleeves folded up and skipping lunch - me ready. Alas, after 5 minutes of Googling I found this page which directed me to the HP Linux Printing and Imaging page my anticipated struggle was resolved within 10 minutes.

Got my desktop's CUPS setup and firewalls opened for 631 TCP/UDP, enabled remote access to my CUPS server and shared printer.

All is working now.

Let the tree killing begin!!!