Sunday, December 30, 2012

OpenWRT insanity, shame and ignorancy

I have been hit by a idiotic, unreasonable, insane and stupid setting in OpenWRT:


Well what does it mean? Simple thing: Every long-lasting connections breaks after one hour. No matter whether I have TCP keepalive on, because TCP keepalive timeout defaults to 7200 seconds.

In practice you will see this:
brill@tapir ~ $ ssh
Linux milhouse 2.6.32-5-amd64 #1 SMP Wed May 18 23:13:22 UTC 2011 x86_64

Keep keep your hands off this server!
Nikdo tu na nic nesahejte!

Last login: Sun Dec 30 00:46:47 2012 from
<no activity for more than 1 hour>
brill@milhouse:~$ Write failed: Broken pipe

brill@tapir ~ $

There was a flame on this topic on OpenWRT forum:

And the result is: invalid, wontfix, fuckyourself.

Motherfuckers. They break everything. God... You can sacrifice filesystem, give up serial port, GPIO, LED diodes, whatever, but keep firewall working normally when you are building network appliance you idiots!

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Buggy Xfce xkb applet looses keyboard layout config

I have been hit by a nasty Xfce xkb applet bug, which is widely known in several bloody bugzillas (of RH/CentOS, Ubuntu, Debian,...) but it seems unresolved yet. The backround of the bug is, that the applet looses it's configuration, especially configured keyboard layouts and shortcut for switching them while for while which may seem to be random or it may seem to have some coincidence with suspending/wakeups of the computer. Well it is not random, it resolves to connections and disconnections of external (or even internal) USB keyboard, which may of course be triggered by suspend/wakeup.

So it seems I have the reason isolated. Now what is the solution? Well the applet is part of so-called Xfce-goodies, which is sort of external project. I did not find corresponding bugzilla nor some mailinglist etc. But I think that author is perhaps aware of this behavior, so there is no need to shout at him. But I needed the workaround and I think I have found one. It is simple and it is Linux-like: Just configure all your keyboards in xorg.xonf file in InputClass section and then use the applet as an indicator and switcher.

I am using following snippet of xorg.conf on my ThinkPad X301 which I am connecting and disconnecting to a USB keyboard:

Section "InputClass"
    Identifier "keyboard defaults"
    MatchIsKeyboard "on"
    Option "XkbLayout" "us, cz"
    Option "XkbVariant" ", qwerty_bksl"
    Option "XKbOptions" "grp:alt_shift_toggle, terminate:ctrl_alt_bksp"

Desktop hell

Well after some time I am back with my reckless criticism of insane (but OpenSource) desktops. Basically what can you choose when you want a Linux desktop? Well, of course plenty of things but when you need getting things done and you do not want to play with own xrandr, xkb, xinput scripting or with printing, keybindings for multimedia keys etc. you would probably need some desktop environment. And there are quite a lot of such projects (look at Wikipedia). KDE. Gnome3. Xfce, LXDE, Unity to name some.

Well what you can find is that there is a huge hare-core of Gnome3 and Unity. People just hate them because these desktops are everything but useful and intuitive. The both are resembling some of iPad madness and with Unity there are rumors on the web that it is actually designed for tablet computers and its usage on desktop is some sort of side-effect of development in the meantime when Canonical (author of Unity & Ubuntu) is negotiating deals with tablet manufacturers. Pity. In fact these desktops forces you to do things by their ways (different from what we all are used to from previous generations of desktops starting from Win 3.11 up to Gnome 2.32) and they are putting obstacles between you and your productivity apps. And I concur with all these objections against particularly these two desktops.

There is of course KDE. KDE is way long from what is my idea of a decent desktop. I like some aspects of it but it lacks what I need - really fast desktop (with or rather without eye-candy but really fast!), easy-to used virtual desktops, app panel and good application switcher and support for docking/undocking (which means changing screen resolution, switching on/off the LVDS etc. It takes me to the remaining Xfce.

But current stable Xfce (on Debian Wheezy) to be specific is fare from being easy to use. I had to tweak it deeply to become usable. I had 4 most severe problems I had to cope with. NetworkManager (+ NM Applet) was unable to connect to set network. (Solved). There are nasty sounds in different applications set. The most annoying are terminal bell in gnome-terminal and gdm3 greeter sound (turned off easily). Two problems are more complicated and I am still working on them. First is Xfce xkb applet which looses it's configuration (I mean set layouts, layout-switcher keyboard shortcut etc.) each and every time you connect or disconnect USB keyboard. Which effectively means it looses the configuration each time you dock or undock your laptop. And the last problem is automatic switching of desktop resolution and putting LVDS to on/off state according to presence of another screen connected via Display Port. I have done some scripting workarounds to switch this semi-automatically but I am not proud of it at all.

Next time I am going to put here mentioned Debian tweaks for the two already-solved problems on my Debian Wheezy + Xfce desktop.