Sunday, December 4, 2011

Screen Lock in LXDE

After using LXDE on my work computer for over a month now, I can only say, wow! But some things I took for granted like locking the screen using keystrokes when I was on GNOME doesn't work out of the box.

To enable screen lock using keystrokes on LXDE, edit the ~/.config/openbox/lxde-rc.xml file and put in the following:

<keybind key="C-A-l">
     <action name="Execute">
           <command>xscreensaver-command -lock</command>

Log off and on and you will be able to lock the screen with Ctrl-Alt-L

Thursday, December 1, 2011


Of late I have been a great enthusiast and user of lighter DEs such as LXDE and XFCE. On the computers that I work on, it's either LXDE (work computers) or XFCE (home and personal machines). While the sexy GNOME 3 or KDE 4x gets all the attention, I generally find that the newer DEs seem to have "lost it" i.e. too much fluff rather than substance.

Somehow, the GNOME and UNITY folks are dead set on making everything a tablet UI and the KDE people are just too happy to have more things to click on.

Pretty is good, but it just gets in the way. When was the last time flying and wobbly windows made anyone type faster?

Perhaps my choice is a sign of age; to me a desktop should be like a desktop with its panels, toolbars etc. Besides, on my Lenovo notebook, XFCE or LXDE actually gives me more battery time, a quieter and cooler notebook to work on. And I can still get all my usual GTK or Qt apps with a yum or zypper away.

HDMI output is crucial for me as I often watch the latest episodes of American Guy or Supernatural on the big TV. The wife is a great fan of the latter and with a computer, it's always easier to have support for Chinese subs.

XFCE on openSUSE 12.1 doesn't do HDMI audio by default sadly. The video comes out a little "stretched" and can be solved easily via the XFCE Setting Manager's Display Applet. To enable sound output, install the PulseAudio Volume Control (pavucontrol), select the Configuration Tab and choose HDMI output.

And now back to Peter Griffin....

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

SUSE Studio updated to include openSUSE 12.1

Concurrent with the launch of openSUSE 12.1, SUSE Studio has included an option to include openSUSE 12.1 as a base OS. 

The one click upgrade of existing images/appliances are not there yet at this time. An awesome achievement.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

openSUSE Map

Geeko lovers, add yourself to the openSUSE Map (

You will need a Novell (registration is free) and if you already have a Novell account and have not validated your email address, you will need to edit your profile, enter your email address and then validate it.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011


An interesting tool that can be used to to undelete files/dirs in ext3/ext4 filesystems. For its website :

extundelete is a utility that can recover deleted files from an ext3 or ext4 partition. The ext3 file system is the most common file system when using Linux, and ext4 is its successor. extundelete uses the information stored in the partition's journal to attempt to recover a file that has been deleted from the partition. There is no guarantee that any particular file will be able to be undeleted, so always try to have a good backup system in place, or at least put one in place after recovering your files!

Get it at

Or for openSUSE users you can add this repo:

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Java Plugin for Firefox in Fedora 15 64-bit

Due to a personal preference, I still feel that the Oracle/SUN JRE is superior to OpenJDK.

It is a pain to enable Oracle/Sun JRE plugin for Firefox in Fedora 15; they just force you to do their OpenJDK and IcedTea for browser. For some sites, unfortunately, these FOSS variants just won't work .

To enable the "real" JRE support for FF, just create a symbolic link of the plugin lib from $JAVA_HOME to /usr/lib64/mozilla/plugins e.g. :

ln -s $JAVA_HOME/lib/amd64/default/ /usr/lib64/mozilla/plugins

Ensure that your JAVA_HOME variable is defined.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Samba issue in openSUSE 11.4 - Failed to open /etc/samba/secrets.tdb

If you ever encounter this issue where you get errors like:

primus:/etc/samba # rcsmb restart
Shutting down Samba SMB daemon Warning: daemon not running.

And from your /var/log/messages you get:

Failed to open /etc/samba/secrets.tdb

Just disable AppArmor.

Google Chrome incognito

It just occurred to me that I cannot automatically clear all private data from Google Chrome when I exit unlike in Firefox.

Well if I launch Chrome in incognito mode (or porn mode) it doesn't retain any private data.

Just do a chromium --incognito

Configuring pure-ftpd with Authorised User access on SUSE Linux

  1. Install the pure-ftpd package
    zypper in pure-ftpd

  2. Edit the /etc/pure-ftpd/pure-ftpd.conf file and modify and save the following directives with the values stated:
    ChrootEveryone YES
    Demonize YES

    AnonymousOnly NO

    NoAnonymos YES
    PureDB /etc/pure-ftpd/pureftpd.pdb #(This line needs to be uncommented)

  3. Create a UNIX dummy user account and a home directory for an authorised user
    • Create a UNIX dummy account
      useradd -s /dev/null ftpduser

    • Create a chrooted ftp home directory for the authorised user (it can be anywhere on the system - just get the UNIX file permission/ownership correct)
      mkdir /srv/ftp/ftpduser

      chown -R ftpduser /srv/ftp/ftpduser

  4. Creating and associating pure-ftpd virtual user account (we call it jim) to UNIX system account
    pure-pw useradd jim -u ftpduser -d /srv/ftp/ftpduser

    • Then update the /etc/pure-ftpd/pureftpd.pdb database
      pure-pw mkdb
      (required for each time user added/removed/modified)

    * You may associate multiple virtual user accounts to one UNIX user account. All virtual user accounts will use the local permissions permissible to the UNIX user account.

    * You may also do a one-to-one matching i.e. one virtual account to one UNIX account - but you may need to create multiple home directories.

  5. Restart the pure-ftpd daemon and you are good to go. Ensure that the appropriate firewall port is opened.

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Configure Apache with OpenSSL in SUSE

  1. Create a random data file
    cat /dev/random > randomfile

  2. Create key pair
    openssl genrsa -des3 -out server.key -rand randomfile

  3. Sign the created Public Key and create a digital certificate
    openssl req -new -x509 -key server.key -out server.crt
    Answer the questions posed and then copy the Public Key and digital certificate into appropriate directories:
    server.key --> /etc/apache2/ssl.key/
    server.crt --> /etc/apache2/ssl.crt/

  4. Configure Apache to use OpenSSL
    Edit the /etc/sysconfig/apache2 file
    APACHE_START_TIMEOUT="10" - the httpd start time out

  5. Configure the main site to use HTTPS
    Edit the /etc/apache2/default-server.conf file and add the following directives from the /etc/apache2/vhost.d/vhost-ssl.template file
    SSLEngine on
    SSLCertificateFile /etc/apache2/ssl.crt/server.crt
    SSLCertificateKeyFile /etc/apache2/ssl.key/server.key

  6. Configure a Virtual Host to use HTTPS
    • Follow steps 1 to 3 to create the key and digital certificate
    • Edit the /etc/apaches2/vhost.d/.conf file
    • Change VirtualHost :80 to VirtualHost *:443
    • Append the ServerName directive with 443 e.g. vhost.mydomain.lan to vhost.mydomain.lan:443

Friday, May 27, 2011

How to upgrade openSUSE 11.4 to use GNOME 3

Just managed to get GNOME 3 running on my openSUSE 11.4 desktop. GNOME 3 is pretty and does need getting used to but so far I have been pretty happy with it on Fedora 15. I have an old Pentium D with 2GB of RAM and an ancient NVIDIA GeForce 7600GT. To upgrade to GNOME 3 you need to add the repo.

Adding the repo:
zypper ar -f obs://GNOME:STABLE:3.0/openSUSE_11.4 GNOME_STABLE_3.0

The do a distribution upgrade:
zypper dup

Before you reboot the system to enjoy the GNOME 3 goodness, install the gnome-shell and theme packages:
zypper in gnome-shell metatheme-adwaita-common

The GNOME tweak tool is a must to modify the GNOME 3 desktop:
zypper in gnome-tweak-tool


Tuesday, May 3, 2011

KVM on openSUSE 11.4

KVM hasn't been as popular as the XEN hypervisor on the SUSE/openSUSE platform. However, Red Hat has been instrumental in drumming up interest and support for KVM in the past couple of years. I still feel that XEN has a greater support (as in official support that is!) for "Enterprise" apps like SAP and such, but the inner geek in me is absolutely trembling with joy for KVM support since openSUSE 11.3 and in SLES/SLED 11 SP1.

For those who want to get KVM on openSUSE 11.4, have a look at the excellent article at back to work....and happy hacking!!

Monday, April 25, 2011

Getting GNOME3 on openSUSE 11.4

openSUSE is currently the only major Linux distro that has worked to offer the latest GNOME 3 Desktop Environment to its current branch.

openSUSE 11.4 users can navigate to this page to get some GNOME 3 goodness.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Font Smoothing in openSUSE

I have heard people commenting on how "ugly" openSUSE looks compared to the smoothness of Ubuntu. It's all relative one may argue, but having a pleasant UI matters to us who stare at the screen for long periods of time.

OOTB openSUSE doesn't do font smoothing or subpixel hinting due to freetype2's subpixel hinting implementation may infringe Microsoft's ClearType patents. This is why it is disabled both upstream (by the freetype2 authors) and in the freetype2 RPM packages that ship with openSUSE.

To solve this, we need to replace the default freetype2 RPM with a copy from the OBS.

Navigate to

Follow the instructions to either do it from the CLI or 1-Click install.

openSUSE users may also click on this link to execute the YMP (YaST Meta Package) to kickstart the process.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Installing Ubuntu Fonts in openSUSE 11.4

Although I do not use Ubuntu and its derivatives extensively in my daily computing, the short sojourn I had with Ubuntu Netbook Remix (UNR) impressed upon me the Ubuntu font.

While openSUSE 11.4 has a large amount of font types to choose from, I still find that the Ubuntu font is pretty awesome; I especially like it on my HP Mini 2140 netbook running openSUSE 11.4.

To install the Ubuntu font type on openSUSE 11.4 :
  1. Download the latest Ubuntu font type from
  2. Unzip the zip archive - unzip
  3. Move the unzipped directory to /usr/share/fonts - mv ubuntu-font-family-0.71.2/ /usr/share/fonts
  4. Run SuSEconfig and you are good to go.

Note that the font archive version may differ from the above example.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Banshee 2.0 is out!

Banshee is an open source media player that is based on Gtk# and Mono and uses the Gstreamer framework for multimedia file playback. It can also be used for managing podcasts and listening to online radio.

The new 2.0 version introduces a Windows build.

Banshee is a project sponsored by Novell SUSE.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

LibreOffice on openSUSE 11.3

To get the LibreOffice goodness in openSUSE 11.3, just add the following repo:

There are also versions for openSUSE 11.2 and 11.4. Just change the end part to the desired version number.

Installing KDE 4.6 in openSUSE 11.3

Just add the following repos into openSUSE 11.3 to get KDE 4.6 goodness:

Wednesday, January 26, 2011