If you are looking for the epic motorcycle journey blog that I've written, please see the Miles By Motorcycle site I put together. 
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  • keyboard auto-repeat on Fedora Core 12
    03/29/2010 10:24AM

    Every once in a while, under Fedora Core 12, keyboard auto-repeat will be turned off for some strange reason. To restore keyboard auto-repeat without having to restart Xwindows use the commant:

    xset r

     See the man page for more information on the xset command.

  • Fedora Core 12 vmware workstation 7 "c header files matching your running kernel" error
    03/06/2010 5:44PM

    I have finally given up on Ubuntu 9.10. I should have done that some time ago.

    I've switched to Fedora Core 12, which I was loathe to do because of some very bad experiences with previous versions. I'm happy to report that FC 12 suffers from none of the problems I saw in Ubuntu. 

    Networking works.

    Sound works.

    It's a more "expert developer friendly" distribution than Ubuntu which I would assume also explains why the quality of forum posts about Fedora Core seems to be much higher than Ubuntu.

    I am running on a Dell Vostro 400n; it's a cheap consumer grade SATA machine with an nVidia card:

    [root@humility kernels]# /sbin/lspci -nn | grep 'VGA\|NV'
    01:00.0 VGA compatible controller [0300]: nVidia Corporation GeForce 8600 GTS [10de:0400] (rev a1)

    The installation did not seem to include 3d drivers. This is the one place where the Ubuntu install process was smoother than the Fedora one.

    After some googling around I came across this guide:

    http://forums.fedoraforum.org/showthread.php?t=204752&highlight=nvidia

    Which seemed to work like a champ.

    However, it upgraded the kernel to Linux version 2.6.32.9-67.fc12.i686.PAE.

    I went to run VMware expecting it to "just work" and encountered the:

    "c header files matching your running kernel were not found"

    I did some more searching and there's some talk on the VMware community site that getting VMWare Workstation 7.0.1 to work with the Linux 2.6.32 kernel requires some patches, but there was no mention anywhere that I could find about the kernel headers issue.

    Based on a old post for some ancient distribution, I figured out that I needed to install the kernel-PAE-devel package to get the right headers:

    yum install kernel-PAE-devel

    which installed the kernel-PAE-devel-2.6.32.9-67.fc12.i686 package that included the /usr/src/kernels/2.6.32.9-67.fc12.i686.PAE/ directory.

    I re-ran vmware initially as a normal user and it failed to start any compilation. I then re-ran it as root and it compiled the new drivers correctly. Everything seems to work once again.


  • Slow DNS Lookups in Ubuntu 9.10 (Karmic Koala)
    01/28/2010 11:28PM

    One of the most frustrating things about Ubuntu/Kubuntu 9.10 (and 9.04) is the random but frequent 20 sec DNS lookup delay that happens when IPV6 is enabled. Apparently, the resolver first attempts an IPV6 lookup, even if no interfaces are defined. It will sit and time out, at random, for 20 seconds before attempting the IPV4 lookup.

    There are a number of proposed fixes. One is to turn of IPV6 in firefox. This seems to work for a while, but then fails.

    Here's a link to article about turning off IPV6 in Ubuntu:

    http://www.ubuntugeek.com/how-to-disable-ipv6-in-ubuntu.html

    In grub, to turn off IPV6 edit /etc/default/grub and change

    GRUB_CMDLINE_LINUX_DEFAULT=quiet splash

    to

    GRUB_CMDLINE_LINUX_DEFAULT=ipv6.disable=1 quiet splash

     run

    update-grub

    and reboot.

    It's not clear to me yet whether this actually works around the problem or not. Initially on reboot, opening 20 some tabs in firefox seemed much quicker than before but I did get a long hang once I brought up thunderbird. So it may not be a fix after all. Only time will tell.

    To turn off IPV6 in firefox (which doesn't seem to work around the issue but is probably good to know):

    Enter about:config in the URL bar then and search for:

    network.dns.disableIPv6

    and set it to true.

    Here's a link to a very long bug report discussion on the subject:

    https://bugs.launchpad.net/ubuntu/+source/eglibc/+bug/417757?comments=all

    2010-02-03 Update:

    Even with all these changes, I was continuing to get DNS timeouts until I came upon this bug in launchpad (which of course I found /after/ commenting on the bug above, figures:

    https://bugs.launchpad.net/ubuntu/+source/nss-mdns/+bug/94940

    Editing /etc/nsswitch.conf and changing

       hosts: files mdns4_minimal [NOTFOUND=return] dns mdns4

    to

       hosts: files dns

     seems to /finally/ get the DNS lookup performance I would expect.

    Update 2010-02-18 - spoke too soon:

    While initial network connection speeds seem to improve from the steps above, it quickly became apparent that there's still a problem with networking. This seems to happen primarily when I do multiple simultaneous network connections.

    Here's a thread on the subject, which may or may not be useful:

    http://ubuntuforums.org/showthread.php?t=1395866&highlight=slow+internet

    Update 2010-02-21 - ok, maybe it's "fixed" now

    Based on a forum post I read somewhere about the latest kernels implementing some standard too stringently, I decided to try to upgrade the firmware for my DLink DI-707 firewall gadget. It had been a firmware version 2.51. I upgraded it to version 2.57. I immediately noticed an improvement in network performance. My initial tests are not able to reproduce the problem I was seeing, but it's too early to tell for sure.


  • Technorati
    11/27/2009 8:09PM
    Submitted this blog to technorati.
    F82AAZKE9KWM
  • YML.COM Upgraded for formVista 0.8.9.2
    11/07/2009 3:36PM

    I've upgraded the formVista install to the latest and greatest version. This version upgrades jQuery to 1.3.2 and also includes the "Share" links on blog articles making it easier to cross post things to other sites. This version also fixes yet another long standing login bug. So if you have any problems logging in please let me know.