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Saturday, 9 April 2011

Flash broken in firefox 4 in Arch Linux..... for some 64bit users

Firstly my apologies for not posting in such a long time. I am now at Uni and have been quite busy. Also I haven't really been doing much in the way of Linux fixes recently as things have been........ well just working!

Until recently that is. I saw the mockups of firefox 4 and liked it instantly. The second it was in the Arch Linux repositories I installed it and started using it as my main browser instead of opera or chromium.
Sadly there are some issues with it, especially with flash. The other issues were just annoyances that were fixed with about:config changes. (Not that I'm blaming the folks at Mozilla for this, there is a high chance its Adobe's fault...)

For some reason some websites using flash display fine but others go haywire and parts of the flash disappear or flicker.

One suggested solution I found was to do the following:

1. Click Here
2. right click on player
3. click settings
4. choose left-most tab
5. uncheck "Enable Hardware Acceleration"

However this only worked for some people but not for me.

There is a pre-release copy of Adobe Flash Square in the archlinuxfr repository (I presume most Arch Linux users have this for yaourt), and installing this, which prompted me to remove the existing copy of flash, and restarting firefox fixed the issue for me completely.

For those with archlinuxfr:

bash$ sudo pacman -S flashplugin-prerelease

or to get archlinuxfr add the following to your /etc/pacman.conf in the appropriate section.

# The french Arch Linux communities packages.
Server =$arch

EDIT: After a security hole was discovered the package was pulled but due to a new release, the package is back in the AUR as flashplugin-prerelease at version as of today. I'm unsure as to what version is in the archlinuxfr repository currently but I assume it will be older than the one in the AUR.

Thursday, 11 November 2010

Fix popping sounds in Linux

Quite a lot of people have had a problem when, when their computer boots up and just before sound plays/stops they get loud popping noises which can be very annoying and a bit concerning.

This is caused by a new 'feature'which is supposed to save power by powering down the sound chip when not in use.

To prevent it from doing this thus preventing the popping sounds edit your:


(I prefer to use vim. Nano is a good alternative)

bash$ sudo vim /etc/modprobe.d/modprobe.conf

and add the line:

options snd-hda-intel power_save=0

then reboot, and your issue should be fixed.

This only works for intel chips using the snd-hda-intel driver.

To look for options for other sounds cards with the same issue ( I haven't heard of any) open a terminal and type:

modinfo snd-MY-MODULE

replacing MY-MODULE with the sound module used.

Saturday, 30 October 2010

Saitek cyborg R.A.T in Linux

I have finally finished setting up my new system with arch linux.

I am currently having problems with sound not muting when headphones are plugged in so this may well be one of the topics I cover shortly.

I did however manage to get my new mouse, the saitek cyborg R.A.T.5 running in Linux.

There is a problem when you first plug it in that means you have to click the change mode button every second click but I managed to find a fix that should also work for the R.A.T.3 and the R.A.T.7.

Here are pictures of the R.A.T.3 ,5 & 7 for those who haven't seen them:

The R.A.T.3:

Saitek Cuborg R.A.T.3
The R.A.T.5:
Saitek Cuborg R.A.T.5
The R.A.T.7:
Saitek Cuborg R.A.T.7

(there is also a R.A.T.9 but I can't confirm that the fix works for it)

The fix is quite simple.

It does rely on Xmodmap.

Here are instructions using sudo. If you have a root account ommit sudo and run them as root.

First you need to edit the Xmodmap file with your favourite editor. I prefer vim. the Xmodmap file should be here:


so to edit with vim I typed:

bash$ sudo vim /etc/X11/Xmodmap

If you are unused to vim I recommend nano as a good alternative:

bash$ sudo nano /etc/X11/Xmodmap

All the file has to contain is:

pointer = 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 0 0 0

If there is already information in your Xmodmap I recommend putting this at the start.

You can then restart X or your computer and it should work without a problem.

Wednesday, 13 October 2010

Announcement: Ubuntu 10.10 Released

Ubuntu 10.10 was released on Sunday and is being hailed as the best Ubuntu yet.

It seems to be even faster than 10.04 and is much more stable.

A lot of hardware that has been problematic in older versions of Ubuntu has sprung back to life and the release seems generally good.

Have a look at the features HERE.

Download a copy HERE

If you have Ubuntu 10.04 installed you can directly upgrade to 10.10.

  1. Start System/Administration/Update Manager.
  2. Click the Check button to check for new updates.
  3. If there are any updates to install, use the Install Updates button to install them, and press Check again after that is complete.
  4. A message will appear informing you of the availability of the new release.
  5. Click Upgrade.
  6. Follow the on-screen instructions.

Of course on the forums for a few weeks there will be posts claiming that it is full of bugs and more useless than ever etc....

Every release has some bugs when its brought out but they usually get fixed very quickly.

Thursday, 7 October 2010

De/Wm's: GNOME

GNOME stands for "GNU Network Object Model Environment" and is a desktop environment for various Unix-like operating systems, most notably GNU/Linux, and as part of the Java Desktop System in Solaris.

Gnome is very popular, rivalled by KDE, and is used as the Default Desktop Enviroment on many LInux Distro's.
Gnome is written in C mainly as this is the language GTK+ is written in.

The Gnome desktop enviroment usually comes with the following software:

X window manager--->Metacity
X display manager---->GDM
File manager------------>Nautilus
Widget toolkit --------->GTK+
Terminal emulator ->GNOME Terminal
Text editor-------------->gedit
Video player----------->Totem
Audio player----------->Rhythmbox
CD burners------------->Brasero
Image viewer---------->Eye of GNOME
Office suite-------------->GNOME Office
Web browser----------->Epiphany
E-mail client------------->Evolution
Instant messenger---->Empathy
Archive manager------>File Roller
PDF viewer--------------->Evince
Widget engine----------->gDesklets
Licenses used------------> GPL, LGPL

Developers of OS's often modify the software bundled with the desktop enviroment in the repositories and often the desktop enviroment itself to include branding, for instance Ubuntu.

Here is a screenshot of gnome 2.3 running.
(Click to see full size image)
Gnome 2.30 running on OpenSUSE

Wednesday, 6 October 2010

Announcement: Desktop Enviroments & Window Managers

Most of the content in this blog so far has mainly been shell script or Non GUI tutorials.

I have decided to start doing GUI tutorials as well.

I will be starting with information about Desktop environments/Window managers in Linux (De/Wm for short) by having a brief blog post on each, prefixed with: "De/Wm's:".

I may not cover all De/Wm's but will certainly try to cover quite a few, hopefully including:



There are of course many more.

A window manager is system software that controls the placement and appearance of windows within a windowing system in a graphical user interface.
A desktop environment is a collection of software designed to give functionality and a certain look and feel to an operating system.

A Desktop Environment will have a window manager, however it it possible to run a window manager without a Desktop Environment..... up to a point.

Here are the default Wm's for some De's:


Different Desktop environments and window managers are written in different programming languages and are designed for different purposes.

I will cover this in upcoming articles.

Tuesday, 5 October 2010

64 Bit flash returns to linux!

Sorry not to have posted for so long. I have been very busy.

Anyway, I am a 64 bit user and have had no issues with anything apart from flash.

I have tried the 32 bit plugin with ndiswrapper which was awful and very slow to respond. I have also tried several open source alternatives such as Gnash and although they are coming along well they don't seem to be up to much as of yet.

A while ago Adobe released a 64 bit plugin but it was scrapped and removed from their site due to an apparent security hole.

However it is now back and apparently fixed so I have tried it and it works reasonably well.

It has been nicknamed "Square" and is availible for Windows, Mac and Linux.

The only noticable difference is that flash videos are no longer stored in /tmp/ while streaming but are now in your browser's cache, for firefox users this would be /home/user/.mozilla/firefox/profile.default/Cache/ .

For Ubuntu users there is a PPA for it. To install use:

bash$ sudo add-apt-repository ppa:sevenmachines/flash

bash$ sudo apt-get update && sudo apt-get install flashplugin64-installer

For other distro's or for those who want it directly from adobe labs the download link is:

Installation of the Flash preview has to be done manually – but this isn’t that difficult.

Unpackage the file.
Copy the file to the plugins folder of your browser:

I hope that works for 64 bit users out there. Its certainly much smoother for me.

Users should note that as this release is termed a ‘preview’ and should not be taken as a final stable release so may be slightly buggy.