Thursday, October 29, 2009

Arch, Gentoo, and *buntu

Hey all. As I have been recently working on setting up an Arch system on my alienware, I'd like to point all you enthusiasts to a resource that has been invaluable for me.

On the right hand side of the page, there are links to the different arch tutorials. That, and the archwiki, are detailed and helpful. Even though I'm mainly a Kubuntu guy, I find the Arch community to be very intelligent and independent compared to many other communities. I've tried a bit of Gentoo in my spare time and found it to be exciting, but difficult. The tutorials and forums tend to be less 'simple' and straightforward, which is why arch is so attractive to me.

Hopefully I'll have a fully configured system in a few days. I've spent about a week on this already.

In other GNU/Linux news, I'm really impressed with the Kubuntu 9.10 RC. Really Impressed.
On a school laptop (which takes 2+ min to cold boot to XP with all the school services enabled, ~1 min with Kubuntu 8.10) with 2 Ghz Dual Core Intel Centrino, 2 GB DDR2 ram, integrated Intel graphics, it loads in approximately 20 seconds.

"sudo shutdown -h now" will shutdown in about 5 seconds. Sadly, this is the only way to shut down as the KMenu driven shutdown will not work. It gets hung up on some process so it won't shut down.
That, and the amarok blog I mentioned before make the experience a little less pristine.
But it's by far the best *buntu release to date, faster than any Windows OS on the equivalent hardware, more stable, and less prone to malware. Firefox and OpenOffice look much better with the QT/KDE theming and firefox runs like a dream, unlike the 3.5.3 beta I was using on 8.10.

The shutdown issue as far as I can see is the only show stopper, and it's not even the official release yet. Since shutdown is so darned fast using sudo, I can really see the potential here.

Now if only ATI and nVidia would get their drivers in order. Supposedly 20-40% worldwide uses GNU/Linux, I'm surprised they haven't taken more action. But the goings on of corporations is beyond me currently, and they have done many beneficial things for the open and free software communities.
Maybe with Windows 7, they will finally see Linux as a driving force they can get behind.
It seems Redmond has gone a little overboard with the whole 'Rebooting will solve all your problems' Windows concept.
Trolling for google results provides these links:

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Installing Amaork 1.4 in KDE 4 (Kubuntu 9.10)

As per my previous post, playlist functionality was disappointing in amarok 2.x, so here's a brief tutorial on how to get it working in 9.10 (could work in 9.04 and others I'm assuming too). I am using the command line only, so a user should be somewhat familiar with using it, and installing packages via apt with it, as well as compiling sources.

(Please note, this may break your amarok 2.x application:
amarok: symbol lookup error: /usr/lib/ undefined symbol: _ZTIN6TagLib3MP44FileE , and I can no longer import a collection into amarok 1.4. LastFM does not seem to work.)

Amarok 1.4 source:

1. Install.
You will need -dev packages for compiling. Some of these include: kdelibs-dev, kde-devel, xorg-dev, qt3 and qt4 -dev packages, build-essentials, gcc 4.3 or 4.4 (I'm also assuming you have g++ 4.3 or 4.4), and others that may crop up. There are forums that contain the packages you need to install.

( mentions the following packages to install)

sudo apt-get install cdbs comerr-dev diffstat fdupes gawk gettext-kde kdelibs4-dev kdesdk-scripts libaa1-dev libacl1-dev libart-2.0-dev libasound2-dev libaspell-dev libattr1-dev libaudio-dev libaudiofile-dev libavahi-client-dev libavahi-common-dev libavahi-qt3-dev libbz2-dev libcaca-dev libcucul-dev libcups2-dev libcupsys2-dev libcurl4-gnutls-dev libdbus-qt-1-dev libdirectfb-dev libdirectfb-extra libesd0-dev libfftw3-dev libflac-dev libgcrypt11-dev libgl1-mesa-dev libglu1-mesa-dev libgnutls-dev libgpg-error-dev libidn11-dev libifp-dev libilmbase-dev libjasper-dev libjpeg62-dev libkadm55 libkrb5-dev liblcms1-dev libldap2-dev liblua50-dev liblualib50-dev libmad0-dev libmng-dev libmpcdec-dev libmtp-dev libmusicbrainz4-dev libmysqlclient15-dev libncurses5-dev libnjb-dev libofa0-dev libogg-dev libopenexr-dev libpcre3-dev libpq-dev libqt3-compat-headers libqt3-headers libqt3-mt-dev libsasl2-dev libsdl1.2-dev libslang2-dev libsqlite3-dev libssl-dev libsysfs-dev libtag1-dev libtasn1-3-dev libtiff4-dev libtiffxx0c2 libtunepimp-dev libusb-dev libvisual-0.4-dev libvorbis-dev libxine-dev libxml2-dev libxmu-dev libxmu-headers libxslt1-dev lua50 mesa-common-dev qt3-dev-tools quilt ruby1.8-dev

I'd recommend viewing the blog as it has a lot of info regarding amarok 1.4.

Another quick mention: MTP. This will give you grief unless you have the right version. The issue is, you need to downgrade to in order for this to work.
This one should be an easy .configure/make/make install (as root)

You will also need xine, and might need to compile it from source as well (I did)

2. Ruby.
This one deserves its own point, because it may give you a lot of grief. Install Ruby1.8 or higher (I used Ruby1.9.1) as well as having the rubyfull and ruby (ruby-dev) packages. If amarok is still spitting out some ruby header errors, then do the following:

sudo apt-get install --reinstall ruby

That fixed it for me, but make sure you have ruby installed.

3. Configure.
I'm assuming you have the source extracted, packages installed, and are ready to configure. First, my recommendations:
./configure --without-arts --program-suffix=-1.4
(I didn't add this, but you probably should. '--enable-mysql')

Don't build with arts, as 9.10 and other new-ish versions tend to use xine and pulse.
I added the prefix so I can run both amarok 2.x and amarok 1.4.10.
Be sure to google any errors that occur, many of them are self-explainatory.

4. Make
Here's where you will need to know if you have gcc 4.3 or gcc 4.4.
According to an Arch package report, having the updated 4.4 version will require some cpp file editing.

It's not too difficult even for noobs, but definitely detracts from the experience. Make-ing is the last difficult part of installing amarok 1.4.x.

If compiling with gcc-4.4 and up (as I did), some .cpp files will create errors so you have to add '#include ' to those classes (at the top of the file, I put them before the other include statements) OR '#include ' if that fails. (you may get this error: "error: 'rename' is not a member of 'std'", and including stdio.h will not fix it).
If you are using gcc-4.3, this shouldn't be an issue, but I have not tried it.
I edited approximately 8 .cpp files total. (you can use kate, nano, or any text editor.)

Once make-ing is done, then type

sudo make install

This should go without a hitch.
To run amarok, you MUST call amarokapp-1.4 (program suffix = -1.4, remember)
not amarok-1.4.

One issue I encountered is that the default .ogg file with Matthias's 15 second clip did not play. I already had installed mp3 codec support by running amarok 2's install script so mp3s play great. If I have any issues along the way to using 1.4 now, I'll post them on this blog.

I hope this helps many users hoping to regain the functionality of a quality audio player.
I am not going to test a lot of extra functionality, mostly playlist, tagging, and support.

You can comment or e-mail me if you'd like a hand, but don't expect a solution.

Anyway, cheers all.

EDIT: Just as a point of interest, amarok2 saves playlists in a .xspf format, which is why the amarok1.4 'm3u' extension is not found. I heard that when a collection is being updated, any playlists should be automatically added. I added the playlists to the /home/$USER/.kde/share/apps/amarok/playlists folder after I updated my audio, which could explain it. But I'm sure you diehard 1.4 fans don't mind.

Kubuntu 9.10 RC - First Impression

I installed Kubuntu 9.10 Release Candidate on my school-owned laptop yesterday.
So far, things are looking quite good, but there are a few disappointments as well.

[Machine specs:
> 2.0 GHz Dual Core Intel Centrino
> Mobile GM965 / GL960 Intregrated Graphics controller
> 1200x800 res
> All partitions ext4 format ]

By far, the biggest showstopper for me is the inclusion of Amarok 2.x.
I'm not going to complain about the interface, because that's not really the issue even though I prefer 1.4.x's interface.
I cannot import my old playlists from Amarok 1.4.x. I copied them over to the ~/.kde/share/apps/amarok/playlists folder, yet it still will not show them.
I have a mysql database to hold all my songs, yet when re-attaching my external with my music, it had to re-scan it all (which took about 10 minutes). Didn't happen with the older version.

Another issue is the new grub loader. It's unintuitive compared with grub 1.5, but all in all, learning the ropes isn't too difficult.

Now on to the good stuff:

- Compositing (Window Effects) is automatically enabled on an integrated Intel chipset. Yes, a lot of work has been done to get it working right. I love transparency, so this really made an impression.
- Fast. These school laptops have poor chipsets and build quality. Windows XP (modified with school software) takes approximately 2 and a half minutes to boot unless services are cut. Kubuntu races along, even with all the limitations of hardware.
- Improved notifier and taskbar. In 8.10, there were issues with some notifications freezing (unable to close) and spacing issues in the external device widget. This release gets it right, and it looks even better. Organization has definitely been polished.

Note: I skipped the 9.04 release, video driver issues.

I'm no professional reviewer, but this looks good. I'd definitely trust *buntu over Windows 7 on older hardware like this.
I've also been spoiled, as my other laptop is an alienware. (How's that for a bumper sticker?)
In comparison, Kubuntu 9.10 on this laptop IS slower than 8.10 on my alienware, BUT bootup time on 9.10 is superior to my 8.10 notebook.
That really says something. Congrats, Canonical.