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