Reporting a Network Driver Bug: Bash Scripting


Today I needed to report a whole bunch of information about my ethernet device to the nice people who develop the driver. They have a whole (long) list of information they’d like to have, but no script to help you collect it up.

So, to aid this, I built one using some super bash-fu:

If you’re interested in bash, you should get a kick out of some of the hoops it has to go through to collect various bits of info. Especially useful is the grabbing of the end of the dmesg log file after running modprobe.


Inkscape Stable PPAs

Have you ever wanted a stable release of your favourite application in Ubuntu but find that there are only ever nightly build ppas? I found that last year when inkscape 0.47 was released and Ubuntu 10.04 would never really have the ability to download and install it without using the sources.

So I asked on the Inkscape mailing list for a stable PPA. Now thanks to Alex Valavanis and Cafuego for putting in the hard work, there is now a stable PPA for new inkscape releases:

One is for the current stable/supported release of Inkscape (not populated yet).

The other is a nightly/trunk PPA for our testers and those who just want the newest features right away.

Thanks to everyone for sorting this out, this means a lot to the ease of use of Ubuntu with applications that support Ubuntu with their new releases. Thoughts?

Posted in UbuntuTagged inkscape, , 2 Comments on Inkscape Stable PPAs

Dpkg Configuration Question

I have an automated script which keeps my center machines up to date with packages (and uninstalls anything that shouldn’t be there), but I’m suffering one particular problem:

Configuration file `/etc/xdg/autostart/docky.desktop'
==> File on system created by you or by a script.
==> File also in package provided by package maintainer.
What would you like to do about it ? Your options are:
Y or I : install the package maintainer's version
N or O : keep your currently-installed version
D : show the differences between the versions
Z : start a shell to examine the situation
The default action is to keep your current version.
*** docky.desktop (Y/I/N/O/D/Z) [default=N] ?

This happens when we’ve updated the file on the client machines to make them behave correctly, in this case we wanted docky to not load on every desktop login but only on those users that choose to use it. But now the update script is blocking waiting for an answer to this question that will never come.

So, how do I disable this question and answer it in the script?

Update: So `dpkg –force-confold` is the right option, but that doesn’t help with my apt-get dist-upgrade command. Is there a way to pass this option though apt-get?

Update2: Looks like the command is: `sudo apt-get -o DPkg::Options=”–force-confold” dist-upgrade`

Posted in Ubuntu8 Comments on Dpkg Configuration Question

Re: Control is Highly Overrated and Overpriced

Ken’ Hess has posted a blog article on ZDNet about how control over your own computer is overrated. This sentiment I feel is an attempt to embarrass people into moving their computing further onto the cloud.

This type of thinking also deeply effects the free and open source culture. Since one of the reasons for using FOSS is ultimate control (and responsibility).

From an individual perspective the goal of personal control is simple: You have this responsibility to provide this service and you do it with this property running this configuration. It’s human nature to want to control directly the service you’re responsible for. The other option is to pass over control to a good friend who you have a good positive relationship with (company or individual is irrelevant).

I think the failure of a speedy transition to “cloud computing” has been a failure in relationship building, but I’m sure that will come along in due time as the industry matures.

From a social perspective, having everyone on the same centralised system can introduce a fragility which can cause some interesting cascading and simple root failures which would be very bad for economy should enough businesses all move to the same few providers.

A lot of the people who would want their services taken care of are already not in a good mood from the 20 years of bullshit from the likes of Microsoft, as providers go we’ve had some fairly nefarious characters in control of everyone’s desktops.

I think it will take a while to turn that around, of course I’m putting my bets on distributed computing using things like the sheva plug or the free software router currently in development, because distributed resources that are properly designed can be much more interesting that centralised service prevision.

What are your thoughts?

Kinnect your Face

I’ve been fascinated with technologies that allow us to interact with the computer better, everything from facial identification (who is near the computer) to expression recognition for changing the operation of the computer to reflect the user’s mood.

I discovered this organisation who are playing with Microsoft Kinect and OpenCV. OpenCV is the free and open source graphics processing library and already does some pretty amazing things (you just need a super computer to run it quickly enough for some tasks).

Using the Microsoft Kinnect device might be a smart move as getting the hight maps directly from the hardware allows the computer to cut down on the amount of calculations to figure out where faces are, how they move, and even recognition features.

What I really want of course is a GDM login screen which detects your face and asks for your password automatically (it’s used as a replacement for your username, not your password i.e. identification not authentication). This would be the pinnacle in community center login control.

What do you think?

FOSSed 2011

Between July 6-8 2011 there will be another FOSSed event here in the North-east of the United States. It’s up in Maine and features a mix of educational and software types, a good solid event for anyone interested in FOSS and the education scene.

I went last year and did enjoy it quite a bit. The sessions were fun and we got to see some of the interesting ideas being experimented with in various schools around the country. There was plenty of time to just chat about all sorts of tech during the breaks and the accommodation was on site. Easier to deal with travelling.

This concludes this public service announcement. Comments welcome below.