Karmic: Keyring + Figaro’s Password Manager 2 fpm2

December 1, 2009

IMHO gnome-keyring has all components for a password manager application. But AFAIK there is no such application using libgnome-keyring0 and gnome-keyring.

But I can’t live without. So I recently checked the Karmic repositories for suitable applications and finally decided to give fpm2 Figaro’s Password Manager 2 a try.

Since then I use fpm2 on a regular basis. It’s fast, it’s straightforward and there are some features I really like.

For each entry you can define a so called Starter-Application. If e.g. you want to put your Launchpad-account into fpm2, you would add https://launchpad.net/ as URL and Web as starter-app. BTW, the default gnome-moz-remote does not really make sense in Ubuntu, because this command is unknown. Simply change the Web starter to

/usr/bin/firefox $a

Click on User and the defined username will be inserted into the cut buffer. Paste it into the webform. Same procedure for password and you’re done.


Xfce 4.6: Change default settings to use workspaces more efficient

November 29, 2009

I use 10 workspaces to virtually enhance my screen’s size. My personal best practice is to have certain important applications on dedicated workspaces, e.g. thunderbird on no 2, firefox on no 3 and emacs on no 4.

If I get an email with an URL, clicking on that URL will bring up a new TAB in my running firefox. Unfortunately standard Xfce 4.6 in Karmic will switch the firefox window from workspace no 3 to the thunderbird workspace no 2.

I do not like this. I want the apps keep running on the workspace I started them on.

Finally I found this to make things work:

xfconf-query -c xfwm4 -p /general/activate_action -s switch

I really can recommend this – give it a try !

Karmic: Keyboard customizing w/o xmodmap

November 28, 2009

Using a german keyboard most of the time I have to press <Shift><7> to get a slash. Working in Unix this is not really convenient so I created an suitable .Xmodmap ages ago.

This worked rock solid until evdev was rolled out (e.g. in Hardy Heron if I remember correctly).

From that point of time my settings in .Xmodmap were gone after a Supend / Resume of my laptop.

As usual with Google’s help it turned out, that I was not the only one with this issue. But I could not find a solution.

Finally I changed the systemwide configuration file /usr/share/X11/xkb/symbols/de.

In the section xkb_symbols “basic” I changed the keys AB08 and AB09

key <AB08> { [ comma, semicolon, slash, multiply ] };
key <AB09> { [ period, colon, slash, division ] };

(On my current laptop keyboard AB08 is the best choice, but on a standard keybord its AB09, so I changed both).

For the sake of completeness: The files in /usr/share/X11/xkb/keycodes map keycodes to symbolic keynames. In my case the file evdev contains:

xkb_keycodes "basic" {
<AB08> = 59;
<AB09> = 60;

You may call the binary xev to get the keycode of any key (among other information).

Now on to another configuration task. I use my laptop frequently with a standard PS/2 keyboard, connected to the laptop via a little electronic device which connects to the laptop via USB. lsusb gives me:

Bus 006 Device 002: ID 074e:0001 Digital Stream Corp. PS/2 Adapter

For reasons completely unknown to me the key “less greater bar” (German keyboard, left to y, would normally be keycode 94) is completely dead (LEDs on the PS/2 Adapter do not even flash when pressing this key). Maybe this device was designed for US keyboards in mind, were no such key exists … In my old .Xmodmap I used the left Windows key (keycode 133) to replace the dead one.

Unfortunately keycode 133 is bound to the key , which is a modifier key in karmic. Run xmodmap -pm to check. I reconfigured the key to emit “less” and “”greater”, but pressing <LWIN> + <AltGr> I never got “bar”.

Finally I changed /usr/share/X11/xkb/keycodes/evdev to read:

// Microsoft keyboard extra keys
// <LWIN> = 133;
<AE13> = 133;
//// <AE13> = 132; // Yen

Again in file /usr/share/X11/xkb/symbols/de I added:

xkb_symbols "basic" {
key <AE13> { [ less, greater, bar ] };

This configuration works as fine as my old .Xmodmap did also after a Suspend + Resume. Unfortunately it took me quite some time to get this working. From a user’s perspective this stuff is not really well documented. Of course my changes will be eventually overwritten by an update.

If somebody knows how to make my changes on a per user basis, please share.

Xserver issues: 96 dpi vs. 133 dpi, nv vs. nvidia

December 22, 2008

Since some weeks I occasionally run Intrepid Ibex on my Lifebook (booting from my test partition). I installed the box with defaults only. Having
lulu:/home/bav> lspci | grep -i nvidia
01:00.0 VGA compatible controller: nVidia Corporation GeForce 8400M G (rev a1)

Intrepid used the free nv-Driver:

lulu:/home/bav> less /var/log/Xorg.0.log
(II) LoadModule: "nv"
(II) Loading /usr/lib/xorg/modules/drivers//nv_drv.so

This worked, but surprisingly I got

(==) NV(0): DPI set to (96, 96)

which is simply wrong. The Lifebook has 133 dpi.

As I could not fix this, I quickly installed the nonfree NVIDIA binary Xorg driver, package nvidia-glx-177.

With this driver, I got correctly 133 dpi. Everything seemed fine …

I then realized, that changing the screen’s brightness no longer worked. It worked fine as long as I used the free nv driver. Now with the nonfree NVIDIA driver, the screen did not change brightness any longer.

Unfortunately there are situations, where the Lifebook’s screen stays dark (e.g. maybe after disconnecting from docking station). As I was not able to switch the screen brighter I had to reboot in this situation 😦

I uninstalled nvidia-glx-177 and started over with nv. Changing values in /proc/acpi/video/VGA/LCD/brightness worked as seen before but I was not able to find the right place to start X with 133 dpi.

Finally I got the tip to use Xfce 4 Settings Manager | User Interface | DPI. It had the value System Default. After I changed it all XFCE and Gnome applications were fine. Firefox and Thunderbird too.
Some other (e.g. emacs) still need some fine tuning.

I have no idea what xfce does here behind the scenes. Obviously the X-Server stills runs with 96dpi …

Complex systems tend to appear full of mystery …

Exploring the Asus EEE PC 900A with Xandros Linux

September 17, 2008

If you are interested in that topic, you might like to visit


Update: My EEE is broken, so currently no news on that page right now.

Update2: I finally got a new EEE, it’s running now with Intrepid Ibex.

Update3: If you run your EEE 900A with BIOS version 0403 (08/04/2008) you really should consider to update to 0607 (09/24/08). See above site for details.

sudo Trouble: Always asking for password despite NOPASSWD

May 26, 2008

Yes, I’m too lazy: I love NOPASSWD in my sudoers. Yes, this is bad security practice. Anyway, after installing Hardy I couldn’t make it work.

Finally I found that sudo takes the last appropriate entry that matches, not the first, as other tools do.

So after moving my custom sudoers rule to the end of /etc/sudoers, I now can continue my bad habits …

gnome-screensaver stays always black: lots of segfaults

May 26, 2008

Running xfce on my new Lifebook, I was completely locked out after I ran xflock4 (which in turn calls gnome-screensaver-command –lock).

Back to the prompt I saw a lot of segfaults reported by the kernel like this one:

May 19 12:54:07 lulu kernel: [ 1166.757433] gnome-screensav[8313]:
segfault at 31 rip 7f8a51b1c8d4 rsp 7fff5b3d9a10 error 4

Fortunately using xscreensaver instead of gnome-screensaver is a work around.

Firefox 3 kills http server of a server device

May 22, 2008

Running Hardy means using Firefox 3 Beta 5 per default. When I first visited the http-server of one of the devices in my customers datacenter, the screen was frozen after a second. Unfortunately the device’s http-server stayed frozen. There was no further connection possible. Even worse: This could be fixed only by cutting the device’s power.

Currently I have no idea how to work around.


There is a workaround. Install firefox-2. Set up a new profile foobar:

firefox -profilemanager -no-remote firefox

Start firefox-2 like this:

firefox-2 -P foobar -no-remote &

Java application issues: Lifebook reinstalled with i386

May 20, 2008

Yesterday I had my new Lifebook the first day in production. Unfortunately I had issues with a Java application which refused to start with the default Java in Hardy (I have to run Avocent DSView 3 to get server consoles and this is implemented in Java …).

So with openjdk-6-jre etc. and icedtea-gcjwebplugin as Web Browser Plugin
the application hung while loading. So I tried to switch back to sun-java5-jre but I had to learn that there is no package sun-java5-plugin for x86_64.

I can’t live without that ugly application – so in the evening I reinstalled my Lifebook with i386.

This is not fun – suggestions welcome !

Intel Core Duo / Santa Rosa: Fan always at max. speed until nvidia-glx-new was installed

May 17, 2008

My shiny brandnew Fujitsu Lifebook E8410 running Ubuntu Hardy has a significant drawback:  As soon as GRUB takes over control the fan starts to run at maximum speed. It runs at maximum all the time Hardy is up. When I shutdown the system it will turn down just before the system is powered off.

See my bug report at Launchpad.

There seems to be a workaround: After I installed nvidia-glx-new, the fan goes down as soon as the X-Server is started !!!

But I’m unsure about this workaround. acpi -V always gives me 27 °C for the CPU. On a HP notebook with the same chipset I saw

Thermal 1: ok, 36.0 degrees C
Thermal 2: ok, 37.0 degrees C
Thermal 3: ok, 50.0 degrees C
Thermal 4: active[3], 45.0 degrees C
Thermal 5: ok, 40.0 degrees C

dmesg says:

[ 62.903304] CPU0: Thermal monitoring handled by SMI
[ 63.494350] CPU1: Thermal monitoring enabled (TM2)
[ 65.594267] ACPI: Thermal Zone [TZ3] (42 C)
[ 65.597322] ACPI: Thermal Zone [TZ4] (40 C)
[ 65.598384] ACPI: Thermal Zone [TZ5] (0 C)
[ 65.606739] ACPI: Thermal Zone [TZ0] (61 C)
[ 65.610104] ACPI: Thermal Zone [TZ1] (59 C)

5 thermal zones !

The Fujitsu tells me

root@lulu:/proc/acpi/thermal_zone/TZ00# dmesg | grep -i therm
[ 17.074771] CPU0: Thermal monitoring enabled (TM2)
[ 17.517967] CPU1: Thermal monitoring enabled (TM2)
[ 19.371052] ACPI: Thermal Zone [TZ00] (27 C)
[ 19.371330] ACPI: Thermal Zone [TZ01] (27 C)

root@lulu:/proc/acpi/thermal_zone/TZ00# cat trip_points
critical (S5): 100 C
passive: 95 C: tc1=0 tc2=10 tsp=2 devices=CPU0 CPU1

Is this reasonable ?


Due to some java incompabilities I had to reinstall my Lifebook using i386. Nothing changed. Fan runs at maximum speed until I installed nvidia-glx-new.


I finally returned the Lifebook. The new one (with unchanged software) behaves different. The fan still runs at high speed during BIOS, Grub and early stages of boot, but it does not bother me. The fan turns down then. This is true for my current fully patched Hardy with nvidia-glx-new AND it is true for Intrepid Ibex Alfa 5 without nvidia-glx-new.


acpi -V on II shows completely bogus data.