How I Used Basic Debian Packaging with Git

I was recently looking for a way to support building a basic Debian package for email2pdf - a fairly simple Python program I maintain. In particular, I wanted to: Keep the Debian build process simple - its packaging has always been a bit of a mystery to me. Ensure that the git revision was in some way reflected in the Debian version number in a mostly monotonic way, which solely the git revision would not, since it’s merely a SHA1 hash.

Fixing initrd to Regain Ubuntu Encrypted Root Prompt on Boot

Recently, I upgraded my Ubuntu 12.04 server, which uses an encrypted root directory (with LVM and LUKS). Unfortunately, somewhere along the way the upgrade broke the boot process - next time I booted, it hung for 5 seconds, then timed out and dropped to a BusyBox prompt. I quickly found a workaround which allowed me to manually intervene and continue the boot each time: cryptsetup luksOpen /dev/sda5 root exit Of course, however, I didn’t want to intervene on every boot, especially since this is normally a headless server.

Compiling FlightGear 2.4.0 for Ubuntu Linux 10.04 (Lucid)

Update 2011-08-26: If you are using Ubuntu 11.04 or later, it looks like this is now packaged as a .deb by PlayDeb. This post may still be of interest to those using earlier versions of Ubuntu. I recently had cause to install FlightGear 2.4.0 on Ubuntu 10.04. It’s not packaged in the form of a deb yet, so I’ve documented the commands I used. No guarantees this’ll work for you, as I haven’t tested them rigorously; and I’m assuming some Linux and command-line knowledge.

Windows 7 64-bit on VMWare on Ubuntu Hangs on Boot-up

I recently tried to install Windows 7 64-bit on VMWare Workstation 7.1.3 on top of Ubuntu 10.04 as a host. I found that it behaved quite unreliably once the VMWare tools were installed into the guest OS - in particular, it regularly hung on boot-up. However, once I saw this error message, which clued me into the problem: ![]({{ site.blog_root }}/images/Selection_001_vmware.png) I discovered that the solution was to disable 3D graphics acceleration - in the VM’s settings, untick Display / Accelerate 3D Graphics.

Turning off Resume from Hibernation in Ubuntu 10.04

I use dm-crypt on all my machines now, including laptops, to provide full-disk encryption. I also use it to encrypt swap partitions with a randomly-generated key. All of these are features that Ubuntu 10.04 provides out-of-the-box, at least when you use the alternate CD to install. I also recently installed µswsusp on one of my laptops, a userspace hibernation facility. I didn’t really connect the dots until one day I left the laptop running, coming back to find it hibernated.

Huawei K4505 with Ubuntu 10.04

I just acquired a new Vodafone Mobile Broadband modem to replace an aging ExpressCard version I had that wasn’t working too well. It came in the form of a Vodafone-branded Huawei K4505 USB stick. It didn’t work completely out-of-the-box with Ubuntu 10.04, at first appearing unrecognisable. After some hunting, I discovered that these sticks initially present themselves as USB Mass Storage to allow you to install the Windows drivers. You have to give a few magic incantations on Linux to make them switch into modem mode:

Disabling Synaptics Touchpad with Ubuntu 10.04

I recently installed Ubuntu 10.04 on my Thinkpad T61 and set about disabling the touchpad, which I always find irritating. There seemed to be lots of guides to this, including this one, but none of them seemed to work for me. Eventually I figured some fairly simple steps which did work: Install two packages if they aren’t already installed (gpointing-device-settings is the more modern version of gsynaptics and will uninstall it if it’s installed):

veryPC AT20

I recently bought a veryPC AT20 as a more powerful replacement for an aging Debian-hacked NSLU2 that I had serving up files, doing backups, and other such tasks. I thought I’d do a quick review in case it’s of value to anyone considering a machine from veryPC (at the time of writing, it seems to be no longer for sale, although the veryPC AT10 looks similar). I particularly wanted something more meaty than my NSLU2 so I could do full-disk encryption, fully-encrypted offsite backups, so it seemed ideal.

Using AT&T Network Client VPN with Ubuntu 64bit

(This post is probably of most interest to my IBM colleagues - however, since the AT&T Network Client is also available for other organisations, I’ve posted this here in case it’s of use to other folks.) I recently installed Ubuntu 64bit (amd64) on my Lenovo Thinkpad T61. Unfortunately, the Network Client is not available in a 32bit edition. So I had to perform a few tweaks to get it to work.