Category Archives: Linux

Edgy Eft released

Perhaps I’m a bit late in posting this, but version 6.10 of Ubuntu was released this week. I highly recommend you give it a go..there’s no need to install anything, you can boot the whole OS from the CD (and then choose to install if you like it). I’m using the live CD now to write this, neat huh?

Even if you can’t be bothered with that, I recommend you find out what all the fuss is about anyway:

Ubuntu Linux

Ubuntu is really starting to impress me quite a lot. This latest version comes with almost out of the box support for all those fancy 3d effects you may have seen on Youtube.

Skype 1.3 Beta for Linux

Amazingly, the skype people have finally released a version of skype for linux that actually works. I thought I’d never see the day, but here it is. Yes, it’s still a beta, but a massive improvement on earlier versions which wern’t even worth bothering with!

Download Skype 1.3 Beta for Linux.

Finally, something we can use. Also, bear in mind skype is evil and shouldn’t be used regardless. Use a proper SIP phone and VOIP network.

Creating PAL DVDs from XVID 16:9 format files

After reading a few guides, and a lot of trial and error, I’ve found this script I wrote works pefect every time, just supply you xvid file with the script and it’ll create the vobs.

You need tcmplex, transcode, and dvdauthor.


NEWFILE=`basename $FILE avi`vob

rm out.*

transcode -i $FILE \
-y ffmpeg \
--export_prof dvd-pal \
--export_asr 3 \
-o out \
-D0 \
-m out.ac3 \
-J modfps=clonetype=3 \
--export_fps 25

tcmplex -o $NEWFILE -i out.m2v -p out.ac3 -m d

Then to create the dvd structure, do this:

# Do this to add titles:
dvdauthor -o dvd/ -t thevob.vob
# Do this once you've finished adding titles to finish up the disc.
dvdauthor -o dvd/ -T

To burn, I found growisofs kept going funny on me, so I made ISO images first and then just burnt those off with cdrecord/nautilus cd burner.

mkisofs -input-charset default -dvd-video -o disc1.iso dvd/

[update – 3/11/06]
Seems Ubuntu keeps creating iso images that won’t fit on a 4.5GB dvd, so try this if the above fails:

growisofs -input-charset default -dvd-compat -Z /dev/dvd dvd/

All in all, it’s quite a slow process, the transcoding took a while on my celeron-m 1.4ghz, but I guess it’s not the fastest machine around!

Good luck! And remember, always make sure your input file is good before bothering.

[update – 3/11/06]
I’m considering writing a cool python app that does all this crud for you as it’s a real PITA to do manually. Plus I want to learn python and python gui stuff. Plus I think people would find it useful!

MySQL upgrade breaking things

If you’ve just updated your MySQL installation and have found this happening:
060511 22:38:11 [Warning] ‘./mysql/host’ had no or invalid character set, and default character set is multi-byte, so character column sizes may have changed
060511 22:38:11 [Warning] ‘./mysql/user’ had no or invalid character set, and default character set is multi-byte, so character column sizes may have changed
060511 22:38:11 [Warning] ‘./mysql/db’ had no or invalid character set, and default character set is multi-byte, so character column sizes may have changed
060511 22:38:11 [ERROR] Fatal error: mysql.user table is damaged or in unsupported 3.20 format.

Then you need to run this:

However, you’ve probably stopped mysql and can’t get it to start again to run that script! Well, that’s the problem I had anyway… to remedy this, do this:
mysqld_safe –skip-grant-tables –user=root &
pkill mysqld
/etc/init.d/mysqld restart

Good luck!

Yum breaking gnome-terminal in FC5

If like me, you performed a yum update this morning and your gnome-terminal has stopped working and instead is doing a lot of this:
(gnome-terminal:2274): Gdk-CRITICAL **: gdk_screen_get_number: assertion `GDK_IS_SCREEN (screen)’ failed
gnome-terminal: symbol lookup error: gnome-terminal: undefined symbol: vte_terminal_set_opacity

This is probably because you were trying out aiglx and you’ve removed the aiglx repo.

Try this:
rpm -e gnome-terminal vte –nodeps ; yum install gnome-terminal

The tricky part was figuring out why it’d happened.

Thanks to various people in #fedora for helping with this one!


XGL, an X server from Novell has been creating quite a stir this year. I thought I’d give it a try, so after faffing around for a while trying to get it working in Fedora, I had a go with Ubuntu Breezy… unfortunatelly it didn’t run well enough on my laptop (i810 gfx) for it to be any good so I went back to my lovely FC5 install.

I’ve recently tried AIGLX which is an extension to the xorg X server, which also didn’t run great. I think it’s definitely worth waiting for these technologies to develop a bit more before comitting to anything like this (they are alpha versions anyway).

Personally, I can’t see any real use for these technologies, although some people say they’re useful! However, the reason I don’t think they’re pointless is because it gets a lot of people interested in Linux, which can’t be a bad thing.

Hants LUG

About a week ago, I went to the Hampshire Linux User Group (LUG) meetup at the University. Quite an interesting experience. If you’re interested about linux, even if you don’t know what it is, you could go to one of these meetings and find out!

Having said that, my friends recently confirmed my nerd status. Oh well!