Wednesday, 28 December 2011

Ubuntu 11.10 Oneiric Ocelot - moan & groan: part 2

I happen to have 11.10 not only on my personal netbook but on my work station too. So here I came to work this morning (i.e., half an hour ago) and pushed the start button. The magical message shows, which goes like this: "errors found on drive /. Push F to attempt to fix errors, I to ignore, S to skip mounting and M to fix manually".

Pushed F to fix errors. The message then turns into error message connected to /tmp mount point.  The cause of this unexpected behavior may had something to do with leaving the USB stick last night in, and booting system today with it in. But I'm not sure. Asked a friend that also has 11.10 and says he never experienced something like this so it may be a very isolated case I'm talking about here. You'd think there would be no mount errors but seems the 11.10 is still unstable (considering that the work station was shutdown properly as always).

So, pushed F to fix errors: waited for a while without results. Pressed restart, removed the USB flash, this time the screen with recovery mode appears. Selecting recovery mode, I had the chance to run clean, dpkg, fsck then resume. Same error shows ("errors found on drive /. Push F to attempt to fix etc."). Okay, then let's do it manually. Pressed M to attempt manual fixing. Then console-mode shows, and I ran fsck without arguments. I spent about 10 minutes pressing on <y> on prompts from system regarding corrupted inodes. Fix? Clear? Allocate? yeah. Then Ctrl+D to exit shell and reboot. Same error shows, tried my luck with F again (attempt fix errors). Waited for 30s, then finally the login screen showed normally and everything is fine now.

I may be masochistic but I'm really happy that even these types of situations can be handled somehow by the user, this is why I prefer Unix myself. I must confess I had this type of issue (filesystem errors) with 9.10 and 10.04 once in a while. I'd do the same thing with 9.10 (run dpkg, fsck etc.) but almost always 10.04 would fix errors with the initial disk scan&fix automatically.  As a sidenote, 11.10 also runs pretty successfully the initial disk scan&fix (if it hadn't been for the situation this morning, I'd remove the "pretty") but is it just a figment of my mind that it seems to need the scan with a higher frequency than 10.04?

Monday, 26 December 2011

12.04 Precise Pangolin; moan & groan about Oneiric Ocelot

Precise Pangolin (PP)

They're keeping Unity, urgh.

Oneiric Ocelot
I started out with Ubuntu 9.10 (about a year), I've been down with 10.04 LTS version for over a year and been using 11.10 Oneiric Ocelot for over three months now - I'd say I could make a well-off comparison.

I'll be straight, I'm not crazy about Unity. I thought I should wait until I get used to it, but to no avail. I was almost thinking of switching to Fedora, believe me.

If I have 3 windows of the same app open (don't ask me why, need may arise to do that) why do I have do make the double amount of clicks to close all of them? Say I have three Firefox windows open and I want to close them.
a. go to Unity, click on app icon to call screen with 3 Firefox windows (grey overlay one)
b. pick  appropriate Firefox window
c. close window

Oh wait, that's 3 times more clicks.

And then, there is the really annoying window controls situation. Always placed at the top of the screen on a singleton kinda nav bar (looks like they were trying some Mac nav style, really?). If I've got a puny messenger window and an Office document window open, it's annoying to have to make deliberate extra clicks just to get the tool bar of the Libre office show up. And then click back on Unity to get messenger back on, go to the far top-left corner to access this time messenger's tool bar. Or even click on some random person in my Pidgin list, just for the sake of bringing back on the Conversation dialog and actually talk with whom I want to.

I won't say anything about the boot time, how slow Ubuntu Software Center loads, OR about the sporadic bug that my Asus EeePC 901 is experimenting. It goes like this:
- open Firefox, Pidging, maybe Rhythmbox (not much of a Banshee fan, so I'm glad they're reinstating RB on Pangolin 12.04)
- do your stuff happily for some amount of time
- then, out of the blue, everything dies and you see the black screen with a list of registers and commands.

The error messages sounds like this: "Panic occurred." Reading between the lines, the errors are due to a semaphorization issue, lack of sync between threads and/or processes. Is there some bug in the kernel? I may be asking too much though so I suppose that this is an issue affecting this brand of notebook in certain circumstances I have yet to reproduce. I'll be careful and make a photo with the death screen next time and post it here.

There is also something tiring about their avantgarde concept of scrollbar. Please. I can't ven get Eclipse to show correctly these types of scrollbars they've pushed onto PP. The users know what I'm talking about. Thank God double-touch pad is working blissfully.

What am i happy about in Oneiric  Ocelot? Not sure. It's like a bittersweet gift. Unity is cool for sliding in and out faithfully (I really expected bugs on this, blocks and so on), providing fast access to windows (if you've got only one window of an app open...) and I have to confess that when I occasionally get on a Windows, I have the tendency to go to the left and have Unity show up. Call it the power of habit. Other than that...all functionalities were working the same on 10.04 LTS. I bet there are a lot of other things that have changed but you know, this is the type of report you'd get from a User Testing/Acceptance Testing session.

I'll just wait a bit more, till April.

Friday, 23 December 2011

Import GWT/ Google App Engine project to Eclipse in Linux "Unable to locate the App Engine agent." error

Another happy episode of Ubuntu quirks.
I'm an Eclipse newbie (been using Netbeans for its straightforward interface and fairly intuitive project management tools) so it's natural that I may be bothered by all sorts of intricacies that don't come in handy all the time.
Configuration: Ubuntu 11.10, Eclipse Indigo, Open JDK

So, I've got this Google App Engine & GWT project on SVN, checked it out somewhere on my local filesys. Mind you, the project is already an Eclipse one, and my installation of Eclipse already has installed GWT, Google App Engine and all that magic. So I'm thinking, everything should work smooth, right? Wrong. Try to run project as Web Application, start web server, and naturally error occurs:

java.lang.RuntimeException: Unable to locate the App Engine agent.
Please use dev_appserver, KickStart,  or set the jvm flag: "-

Luckily, after a bit of search I found this really useful post and did what the smart guys and girls say there.
Click on project > select Run As...> Run Configurations > selected from the left the google project html page > click Arguments tab > paste in VM Arguments the exact javaagent flag they're quoting in the error message, replacing <sdk_root> with your Google App Engine SDK location. In my case, the path was this:

Another friendly advice found out the hard way. If you're working with GWT, Google App Engine(GAE) and have Eclipse Indigo (i.e., you got the juice by way of installing plugins from ),  use JDK 1.6. This is what did good things for my colleagues and me.

Click-right on project > Properties > Java Compiler > Compiler Compliance Levels: make sure 1.6 is selected. Even if you've upgraded to 1.7, it's useless - GAE and GWT will scream and not function as expected. It'll save you 2h of F words.

Tuesday, 6 December 2011

Play .asx files in Ubuntu

In case you had this issue - strangely enough, had no such problem on Ubuntu 10.04, but 11.10 seems to bring along some unexpected items here and there (no way!).

This post would have been okay, if only
> sudo apt-get install mozilla-mplayer
would not  retrieve "E: Unable to locate package mozilla-mplayer"

1. Copy the .asx file path (that you're trying to access in the search bar)
2. Open Rhythmbox (music and all things audio player)
3. Rhythmbox > top menu > Music > New Internet Radio station (or Ctrl + I)
4. Paste the .asx URL in the input > "Add"
5. Rhythmbox > click "Radio" icon in left sidepane - you'll see a list of radios, double click on the freshly added radio station and start listening

Note: you can also click on the added station > right-click > Properties > Edit metadata and genre. It's gonna be easier for you to access your favorite stack of radios in the left sidepane (with genres).