Older blog entries for yeupou (starting at number 141)

Wished I bought an Android/iOS based phone (4-2cal Bada OS’s widget)

I don’t care much about phones. I don’t give a toss about eye-candy fancy stuff. It’s a tool and only phone related features matters to me. Also, I tend to break things: obviously because I’m careless (yes, I don’t care much about phones, as already stated). So when picking a phone, I go for the easiest to carry: lightweight and small. If it’s robust, it’s a plus.

But so-called smartphones seem to get bigger and bigger over years. So when my last phone died, I bought the cheapeast and smallest smartphone that was available to me through my phone provider. It’s a Samsung wave 723. Not bad hardware-wise. Sure, there is better hardware around, but every piece of hardware is or will be bested soon in one way or another: as long as it’s good enough, then it’s good. No, the obvious drawback is the OS it came with.

The OS is called Bada OS and seems to be one more Linux based OS, developed in-house by Samsung. It depends on Libre Software but it’s not obvious that it is composed of such software. Well, two weeks after getting this phone, Samsung announced they will no longer provide OS software upgrade for the Samsung wave 723 and several others of the serie. Brand new and already obsolete, the wave 723 is stuck with Bada OS 1.1 while Bada OS 1.2 provides T9 trace, which is not exactly what I consider frivolous.
Clearly, I’ll take into account this policy from outer space next time I’ll buy a phone.

4-2cal / Bada OS

Nonetheless, now I’m stuck with Bada OS and I needed a specific calendar app (highlighting 6 days work weeks). Bada OS provides “apps” and “widgets”, it’s unclear to me how pertinent is this distinction. Whatever. I needed something that sticks on the phone desktop, so it’s what is called here “widgets” and is in fact some kind of HTML/javascript packaged in a zip with the .wgt extension.
I wrote 4-2cal.wgt and I can, now, also acknowledge I’ve never seen a so poorly documented OS/environment since a very long time ago. Quite time consuming to be forced to second guess the specifics/cracks of the javascript implementation.
So, next time, I’ll definitely think twice before wasting time with a Bada OS-based phone.

Syndicated 2011-07-08 14:47:37 from # cd /scratch

Minimalistic BitTorrent client over NFS/Samba: with Transmission 2.x

I previously released a script to use transmission (BitTorrent client) over NFS/Samba.

This script was written for transmission 1.x. I updated to use transmission 2.x. It’s a hack more than anything else, it’s just a wrapper for transmission-remote, the official RPC client.

It works as before. You put $file.torrent in a watchdir, the script runs (cronjob) and create $file.trs (containing infos about the download) and starts the download. Rename it $file.trs- to pause it, remove the $file.trs to stop it. When the download is finished, you get a mail (if cron is properly set up).

Due to progress made by transmission devs, the install process is even simpler.

1) Set up watch and download dirs as before.

2) Install/Upgrade to transmission 2.x (packages cli and daemon).

3) [this make senses only if you used the previous version] Debian now starts transmission with the debian-transmission user. Trying to keep using torrent cause the init script to fail and, in the long run it’s anyway best to use the user debian maintainers provides. To easily switch to this new user, I removed the new debian-transmission entries in /etc/passwd and /etc/group and then replaced torrent by debian-transmission (except /home path obviously) in both these files (also updated /etc/cron.d/torrent/). Finally I ran chown debian-transmission.debian-transmission /var/lib/transmission-daemon /etc/transmission-daemon/settings.json.

4) Update transmission-daemon config. Make sure the daemon is down before, otherwise your changes won’t stay. So edit /etc/transmission-daemon/settings.json. I changed:

"blocklist-enabled": true,
"download-dir": "/home/torrent/download",
"message-level": 0,
"peer-port-random-on-start": true,
"port-forwarding-enabled": true,
"rpc-authentication-required": false,

5) Install the script torrent-watch.pl, test it:

cd /usr/local/bin
wget http://yeupou.free.fr/torrent2/torrent-watch.pl
chmod a+x torrent-watch.pl
su debian-transmission
cat status

6) Set up cronjob and log rotation:

* * * * * debian-transmission cd ~/watch && /usr/local/bin/torrent-watch.pl


/home/torrent/watch/log {
rotate 2

Then you should be fine :-)

Syndicated 2011-05-05 16:52:36 from # cd /scratch

Switching from NFSv3 to NFSv4

Today, I switched over NFSv4. I guess there published it for some reason and people claim it could increase file transfert rate by 20%.

In my case, to get it working properly, I…

Modified /etc/default/nfs-kernel-server on server side to have


Modified /etc/default/nfs-common on both clients and server side to have


Modified /etc/exports on server side to have something starting by




It forces you to set a root for the NFS server, in my case /server (which I had already in my NFSv3 scenario, so…), aka fsid=0.
You also need to specify nohide for any exports.

Modified /etc/fstab on clients side to set mount type to nfs4 and to remove the /server part from the paths, no longer necessary as path are relatives to fsid=0 which is /server. It gives entries like:

gate:/temp /stockage/temp nfs4 nolock 0 0

I had an export which was a symlink to somewhere in /home. NFSv4 is stricter than NFSv3 and there is no way to export something outside from fsid=0. So I made a bind, adding to /etc/fstab on server side:

/home/torrent/watch /server/torrent/watch none bind 0 0

After restarting nfs-kernel-server on the server side and nfs-common on both sides, umount NFS partitions and doing a mount -a on the client side, everything seems fine.

Syndicated 2011-01-06 18:03:19 from # cd /scratch

Package: amarok 2.4beta1 for Debian testing

Amarok is a nice music player for KDE. Inspired by iTunes interface, it features a clever random mode, provides Wikipedia/lyrics/photos pages for the currently played song, handles mtp devices and works with lastfm so you can have online stats of what you listen to and find people that listen to the same crap too. That’s definitely a nice software. But, unfortunately, it’s quite buggy.

This morning, Amarok would not start, no matter what. Well, it’s started once I erased .kde/share/config/amarok and .kde/share/apps/amarok. Then, shortly afterwards, it failed to start once more. I’m not quite frankly prepared to remove my Amarok config twice per day. So I decided I would just give a shot to a more recent version and the first beta for 2.4 around seemed a good pick.

Here’s amarok 2.4beta1 (2.3.90) packages for Debian testing amd64.

It was built with amarok Debian experimental directory (a new entry added in debian/changelog, usr/share/doc/kde/HTML/* removed from debian/amarok-common.install, usr/lib/strigi* removed from debian/amarok.install, usr/lib/kde4/*.so and usr/lib/*.so* added to debian/amarok.install, target override_dh_shlibdeps: added to debian/rules and all patches removed from debian/patches/series) and amarok official latest source package (renamed amarok_2.3.90.orig.tar.bz2) using the command dpkg-buildpackage -rfakeroot inside the amarok-2.3.90 directory (source tarball decompressed) containing also the debian directory.

Syndicated 2010-12-30 15:51:55 from # cd /scratch

Keeping the dpkg installed software database clean

The system on my workstation was installed in 2008, December. Actually, I installed Debian AMD64 version over an i386 version on the same box, which was installed around 2003.

Debian ships tools that makes it easy to keep a clean system. For instance, debfoster allows to easily get rid of all no-longer necessary libraries and al: you just have to select the important pieces and it will remove any software that is not required by one of these. And apt-get, nowadays, just like deborphan used to, even warns you when some software is no longer required and provides you with the autoremove command line argument that do the job automatically.

(debfoster is, supposedly, deprecated, like apt-get is in favor of aptitude. Well, I like debfoster)

That being said, if I run dpkg –list | grep ^r | nl | tail -n 1 on this box, after only one year, I get 617 lines about removed software I do not care about. Mostly, they were kept in the dpkg database because I (or me using the system) modified their conffiles. The following will clean this: for package in `dpkg –list | grep ^r | cut -f 3 -d ” “`; do dpkg –purge $package; done && debfoster

Syndicated 2010-12-26 23:30:40 from # cd /scratch

Using partitions labels

Recent linux versions (yes, I’m talking kernel here – linux is not an operating system) introduce new IDE drivers. It implies a device naming convention change. Instead of hda, hdb, etc, you get sda, sdb, etc, just like SCSI drives.

I have three hard disks on my main workstation – plenty of partitions. So in my case, it makes sense to use a unique identifier for each partition so nothing breaks up whenever I add/remove a drive or boot on an older kernel with the previous IDE drivers.

There are already uniques ids for each partition available using the command blkid. It returns unbearables and meaningless, but very uniques, ids like af8485cf-de97-4daa-b3d9-d23aff685638.

So it is best, for me at least, to label partitions properly according to their content and physical disposition, which makes for uniques id too in the end.

For ext3 partitions, I just did:

e2label /dev/sda2 sg250debian64
e2label /dev/sda3 sg250home

For the swap, e2label cannot help, so we set the label with mkswap, recreating it:

swapoff /dev/sda1
mkswap -L sg250swap /dev/sda1
swapon -L sg250swap

For ntfs partitions, I did:

apt-get install ntfsprogs
ntfslabel /dev/sdb1 hi150suxor
ntfslabel /dev/sdb2 hi150suxor2

Then, /etc/fstab must be edited as:

LABEL=sg250swap none swap sw 0 0

LABEL=sg250debian64 / ext3 errors=remount-ro 0 1
LABEL=sg250home /home ext3 defaults 1 2

LABEL=hi150suxor /mnt/suxor ntfs-3g defaults,user,noauto 0 0
LABEL=hi150suxor2 /mnt/suxor2 ntfs-3g defaults,user,noauto 0 0

Finally, grub (or any other boot loader) config should be updated to reflect that. However, unless I’m mistaken, with grub2 as shipped by debian, everything is generated usings scripts that does not seem to handle labels :(

Syndicated 2010-11-11 23:38:24 from # cd /scratch

Minimalistic BitTorrent client over NFS/Samba

Not quite AJAX

While current trends in music/movie industry will surely encourage development of a new generation of peer-to-peer softwares, the same way they made CD-burners cheap in a less than a decade, I’m still quite happy with BitTorrent.

I used torrentflux for quite some time. Shipped with Debian, installed on my local home server, accessible to any box on the network over https, even if it’s interface is not exactly eye candy, it works. I just had to configure web browsers to access http://server/torrentflux/index.php?url_upload=$ each time they hit a .torrent file. But even if web interface may be powerful, user-friendly, I resent torrentflux for having me to click plenty of time (at least two times just to start a download), after having logged in.

I took a look at rTorrent. It works by looking into a directory for new .torrent then load them automatically. Wonderful. Sadly, you have to log in over SSH and then manually select over a text user interface which download you want to actually start.

I liked the idea of dragging’n'dropping .torrent in one directory. It can be done over NFS or Samba, with no additional login. I have those already set up on my server. Next step is to handle queue management with the same directory.

I came up with the idea of using a command line BitTorrent client through a script that would watch the damn NFS/Samba directory. It would :
– notice and register new .torrents dropped
– allow to forcefully pause/remove any designated torrent
– allow to forcefully pause all downloads
– warn by mail whenever a download is completed and unregister the relevant torrent

So I wrote such script so it would handle transmission daemon as shipped by debian testing. It looks for file in a given directory named after the following syntax:
– $file.torrent = torrent to be added
– $realfile.hash = torrent being processed (delete it to remove the torrent)
– $realfile.hash- = torrent paused
– $realfile.hash+ = torrent (supposedly) completed and already removed
– all- = pause all

Here’s the HOWTO:

apt-get install tranmissioncli screen
adduser torrent
echo "torrent: youruser" >> /etc/aliases

su torrent
cd ~/
mkdir watch download

mkdir -p /server
ln -s /home/torrent /server

Obtain uid/gid of torrent necessary below:

cat /etc/passwd | grep torrent

Here I get 1003/1003.

Edit /etc/exports to set up NFS access (this assumes your NFS server is already set up), add:

# every box on the network get rw access to rtorrent

On each NFS client, add in /etc/fstab (you must create mount points):

server:/home/torrent/download /mnt/torrent/download nfs rw,nolock 0 0
server:/home/torrent/watch /mnt/torrent/watch nfs rw,nolock 0 0

Edit /etc/samba/smb.conf to set up Samba access (this assumes your Samba server is already set up, add:

path = /home/torrent/download
browseable = yes
public = yes
valid users = youruser
force user = torrent
force group = torrent
writable = yes

path = /home/torrent/watch
browseable = yes
public = yes
valid users = youruser
force user = torrent
force group = torrent
writable = yes

Restart NFS/Samba servers, mount networked file system on the clients.

Add a startup script for transmission-daemon, edit it if need be (daemon configuration is done here), fire it up:

cd /etc/init.d/
wget http://yeupou.free.fr/torrent/init.d/torrent
update-rc.d torrent defaults 80
/etc/init.d/torrent start

At any time, you can check the current daemon process with screen:

screen -r torrent

Add torrent-watch.pl in /usr/local/bin or /usr/bin (anywhere in $PATH):

cd /usr/local/bin
wget http://yeupou.free.fr/torrent/torrent-watch.pl
chmod a+x torrent-watch.pl

Check that it runs properly. Drag’n'drop any .torrent in /home/torrent/watch and run:

su torrent
cat status

If everything is ok, add in /etc/cron.d/torrent:

* * * * * torrent cd ~/watch && /usr/local/bin/torrent-watch.pl

You’re done.

Syndicated 2010-11-08 17:16:25 from # cd /scratch

Release: SeeYouLater 1.1

I’ve just released SeeYouLater 1.1 (fetch a list of IP or known spammers and to ban them by putting them in /etc/hosts.deny). This is a small cleanup release, now it avoids duplicates in both database and hosts.deny.

You can obtain it on the Gna! project page using SVN or debian packages.

Syndicated 2010-10-08 14:49:33 from # cd /scratch

Being warned of pending packages upgrades with apt-warn

I started using GNU/Linux with RedHat 5.2. It cames with plenty of packages (GNOME 0.20, Linux 2.0.36, etc) and I was quite happy to deal with RPM (RedHat Package Manager, hum) telling me which package is required to install another one, which package contains which files. You simply had to go to RPMFind.net to get missing packages. If no package was available, you could write a clean RPM spec to build one or use checkinstall to build RPMs on the fly when doing make install. It was more than ten years ago, still, nowadays Microsoft Windows XP (sorry, I never used Vista/7) have no clean packaging system that I know of; you have a clumsy list of installed software (InstallShield, whatever it means), no clear idea of dependancies, you can remove pieces of software required by other still installed software and there are plenty of installed pieces of software that you have no way of clearly listing.

At that time, I had a Pentium II 350 MHz and a Pentium 200 MMX as workstations and a Pentium 133 MHz as home server. I, soon enough, had the idea to write a script to produce a list of installed packages readable over intranet and so I published a BASH-based script to output an HTML view of a RPM database called pdbv, standing for Package DataBase View, the first version 1.0.0 being released in June 2002. On the Gna! project page, when listing pros and cons of pdbv, the first pro that came up was “it does not require lucid/gtk+/qt or other big libs”: nowadays, GTK+ and Qt probably no longer strike the mind of anyone as “big (bloated) libraries” and I assume Lucid is no longer even installed on most GNU/Linux systems. Later, I rewrote pdbv in Perl which made if was faster and lighter. Here are demos of pdbv: pdbv 1.x with French locale, pdbv 2.x.

As you can see browing pdbv’s demos, it obviously supports also dpkg (Debian Package, duh). I gradually switched over Debian GNU/Linux for two reasons: apt-get and the branching stable/testing/unstable. Apt-get was the end of wasting time on RPMFind. Debian stable offers astonishing stability for servers while testing/unstable provides brand new desktop software in a timely fashion.

Nowadays, I spend less time dealing with computers and I no longer rely much on pdbv. Due to lack of support (I guess I’m to blame; but KPackage or Synaptic are surely more useful to endusers anyway), it will be removed from Debian at its next stable release (it is still in Debian lenny but no longer in testing). I no longer care much about which software is installed, I use debfoster to keep clean my systems (I know, just like apt-get, debfoster is deprecated in favor of aptitude, but I cannot help using it instead).

However I’d like to know which upgrades are pending. For this reason (and I’m quite sure I’m reinventing something that already exists, but I failed to find it and I wanted it my way), I wrote a small script called apt-warn that will run apt-get update and then warn you of pending updates (only if it has not warned you already about them). It requires Apt::Pkg. It is supposed to be installed a cronjob in /etc/cron.daily. Running on my workstation this morning, it outputs:

Follows 4 newly updated package(s) that you could upgrade on bender:
hicolor-icon-theme (0.11-1 -> 0.12-1)
sudo (1.7.2p7-1 -> 1.7.4p4-2)
xserver-common (2:1.7.7-4 -> 2:1.7.7-6)
xserver-xorg-core (2:1.7.7-4 -> 2:1.7.7-6)

Follows 5 recently updated package(s) that you also could upgrade:
autopoint ( ->
gettext ( ->
gettext-base ( ->
login (1: -> 1:
passwd (1: -> 1:

Autopoint, gettext, login and passwd pending upgrades were already warned about yesterday. A second run will return no output since there is no other available upgrade not already warned about.

Syndicated 2010-09-19 10:19:39 from # cd /scratch

Getting MPlayer to cope cleanly with redshift

Redshift is a nice tool that adjusts the color temperature of your screen according to your surroundings. As result, your eyes hurt less if you are working in front of the screen at night.

It is easy to set up, it is for instance already packaged for Debian (package redshift). Once installed, you have to determine longitude and latitude of your position – googling around should do. And you can made some test to defines which range of temperature you want redshift to work with – I like it cold, so I go from 6500 to 9300. And you add it in autostart, the way you want.

In my case, I added redshift -l 48.799:2.505 -t 6500:9300 & just before startkde in my ~/.xsession

Easy, isn’t it? Sure. But when I watch TV with MPlayer or any video with SMPlayer, especially around 01 AM, I’d like color temperature back to normal. And, no, I’m not fond of the idea of doing a killall each time I start watching a video and then a call to redshift afterwards when I’m done.

Configure SMPlayer to use this MPlayer wrapper that kills and starts redshift at the right time

So I wrote a wrapper that send SIGTERM to any redshift process when starting, call MPlayer then, when over, restart redshift. It uses basic perl functions so it has no dependencies. You may however edit it to the set latitude/longitude and temperature range to whatever you like.

It should be just as if you were using MPlayer, so you can configure SMPlayer, or any MPlayer frontend, to use this wrapper. Obviously, this wrapper could be modified to work with vlc, xine or any else video rendering engine.

Syndicated 2010-09-09 14:55:00 from # cd /scratch

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