Logging software installation/removal on Debian based systems

At work we have several servers running Debian anb because we are multiple persones maintaining them we end up having software (packages) installed that no one remember the reason for. I thought I would be of great if apt/dpkg had some build-in preference you could enable so people had to ad a comment why they install the software which they are about to, and the comment would be saved along with a list of the packages installed. Perhapes if using sudo you could also log who is installing what. You cannot trust that people always will leave a name for a number of reasons. I think the two greatest reasons would be:

  • pure laziness
  • hiding that they are about to fuck something up

I have to google around some more, to see if something like this have actually been implemented.

A colleague pointed out that ‘rpm’ have the ability to roll back you system to a specific day… though havn’t tried it so sadly I don’t know how well it works. But that would be a great thing to have in ‘dpkg’ also.

My first patch to FriFinans in the longest time

After alot of tutoring by my great colleague Frank Bille I have wrote a small, yet good patch for FriFinans. It saves you from a key stroke every time you enter data a field in the lists.

Before when you wrote a date in a field you and pressed Enter the date would be validated and the field state would change from editable to just showing you the inserted value (if ofcourse the value was valid). Then you had to press Enter again for the focus to move to the next field.

Now when you hit Enter and if the value in the edited field is valid, the focus will automatically shift to the next field. This new funcionality isn’t ofcourse limited to the date field but to all fields in tables.

Testing gnome-blog with Serendipity

I found gnome-blog a while back which is a small application from which you can add entries to you weblog. It also integrates with your GNOME panel so a blog entry is only one click away. At least it should integrate with the gnome-panel (running Ubuntu Hoary) but everytime I try to add it get this error:

The panel encountered a problem while loading “OAFIID:GNOME_BlogApplet”.

At the time of finding, I though it would be great if it actually worked with Serendipity (my weblog), and maybe just maybe if I had actually taken the time to look into it, I would have found that is does. In gnome-blog Preferences you have to set XML-RPC URL to point on the serendipity_xmlrpc.php.

I have testet it now - but I’m not that impressed :-( It puts in html tags around paragraphs which I’m not interested in, since I want the markdown post-processor to do that for me. Also when using BloggerAPI protocol the title of the post wasn’t saved in the title field as supposed to, but instead saved as the first line in the entry body. Last but not least my new post wasn’t activated (only saved as draft), so I have to open the webinterface anyways to activate it after posting. So much for trying to go around the webinterface… I dunno if it is gnome-blog or Serendipity that fucks it up.

Using the MetaWeblog protocol seems to work okay… now if it would just stop adding html tags!

Yeah yeah Frank I know it is Open Source :-D

A week in Paris

Last week I was in Paris with my girlfriend and my sister and her boyfriend. It was a great trip and our new digital camara (Canon Ixus 40) really hit the spot. We took almost 500 pictures, but it took a few days to get used to shoot at anything you see. Somehow both my girlfriend and I had trouble getting past the feeling of the limitation of a normal old school camara. Here is a cool picture my girlfriend took the St. Sulpice church (if you have read The Da Vinci Code you know which church I’m talking about):

Light ray in st. Sulpice Church

I was surprised that they are so bad at speeking english, until I learned that english lessons aren’t forced upon them (like here in Denmark). And I can confirm that there are still a few arrogant french people who havn’t gotten over that french isn’t the preferred language outside France. Sorry I can’t remember the name of the resturant where people NOT speaking french isn’t welcome AT ALL, because trust me… you don’t wanna go in there. Don’t get me wrong we meet alot of nice people… also french speaking ;)

Besides that the trip was a normal “go see as many worth-seeing things as possible” (including Disneyland). To finish things my girlfriend and I sat down and saw EuroTrip when we came home… it just kinda felt right.

Adam Kessel's Thinkpad X40 discoveries

The first thing i did when I returned from vacation in Paris with my girlfriend was to check out all my regular open source information websites to keep me up to date (More on Paris later). On planet.debian.org Adam Kessel wrote some interesting things for ThinkPad X40 owners. I have stolen the text from his blog entry in fear that the link to his weblog won’t work one day.

A couple of extremely useful recent discoveries on my IBM Thinkpad X40:

  • /proc/acpi/ibm, provided by the ibm-acpi package. You can control all sorts of Thinkpad-specific behaviors in here—including my favorite, which is the automatic display switching when you open and close the lid or dock/undock. You can turn off automatic display switching with:

    echo auto_disable > /proc/acpi/ibm/video

    You can also turn the light keyboard light on and off with:

    echo on > /proc/acpi/ibm/light
    echo off > /proc/acpi/ibm/light

    Etc. Go IBM!

  • Display corruption: this brings me to my biggest problem running GNU/Linux on the Thinkpad X40—display corruption. When you switch from internal LCD to external CRT, or sleep and resume, or close/open the lid (with the automatic switch behavior described above), the display moves down 15-20 pixels and the top lines are corrupted garbage. I’d post a screenshot, but of course the screen doesn’t realize it’s corrupted, so it would have to be a digital photo. In any case, I just discovered this experimental driver to replace i810_drv.o· which makes the problem go away entirely. Just drop it in over the i810_drv.o in /usr/X11R6/lib/modules/drivers/ (bad behavior for Debian—will be overwritten by an upgrade of course). Hopefully this driver will make its way into the mainline X drivers and eventually back into Debian. This makes using my Thinkpad at least 20% less annoying.

Now if only someone would write a driver for the internal SD card reader (apparently no one has gotten it to work·), I think I would have 100% usage of my laptop’s features.