I’m going to Akademy 2010

June 28th, 2010

I haven’t been blogging in a long while, I hope this post will still make it into Planet Fedora and Planet Libre Finland.

So, I’m going to Akademy 2010 on next Saturday. I’m not that much of a KDE contributor, I’ve done some translations and bug reports, but that’s all. As Akademy is probably the biggest Free Software event organized in Finland so far, I still decided to attend. Hotel rooms at Tampere aren’t exactly cheap, which is why I’ll only be there for the conference weekend. The Nokia Qt thing on Monday sounds interesting, though, so maybe I’ll either try booking an extra hotel night or just take a train for the day to Tampere.

If any other Fedora contributors are attending Akademy, maybe we could meet up?

Fedora 12 Beta and ATI Radeon HD 3450: pcie_asm=off or nomodeset needed

October 23rd, 2009

In my previous post I wrote about BIOS problems with Fedora 12 and the Intel DP35DP motherboard. Sadly the problems didn’t stop there, I also had display problems with Fedora 12 Beta.

My desktop computer has an ATI Radeon HD 3450 video card, which apparently has an RV620 chip. Fedora 12 has kernel modesetting (KMS) support for Radeon R600/R700 chips and the Plymouth boot looked quite nice. After using the system for about a minute, the display went to power saving mode, just like that, on it’s own. I rebooted a couple of times with the same results, the system was pretty much unusable. I disabled KMS by adding the nomodeset parameter to the kernel line in /etc/grub.conf and now the system works like pretty much perfectly, apart from the missing graphical boot experience, of course ūüėČ . It seems R600/R700 KMS is still a bit buggy, but hey, this is a Beta version anyway.

Edit: I can also get the system to work with the pcie_asm=off kernel parameter. This might be the same situation as in the bug 517625.

Fedora 12 Beta / Linux Intel DP35DP mainboard requires BIOS update

October 23rd, 2009

I updated my desktop computer to Fedora 12 Beta, or maybe I should say Rawhide because there are already lots of updated packages after the Beta release.

The computer has the Intel DP35DP motherboard. When I tried to boot the Fedora 12 Beta kernel, which is 2.6.31.something, can’t remember the exact version anymore, the kernel printed lots of iommu and usb error messages on the screen and USB didn’t seem to work at all. The motherboard doesn’t have any PS/2 ports, so I would have needed USB support to use the keyboard and the mouse.

I downloaded the latest Fedora 12 and Fedora 11 kernels on my laptop from Koji, put the packages on a USB stick, booted the desktop computer with the Fedora 11 DVD in a rescue mode and installed the kernels to the system. Even the newest Fedora 12 kernel ( based) had problems, but the newest Fedora 11 kernel ( based) worked, which was a win.

Now I was able to read the logs written while the kernel failure happened, which included stuff like this:

kernel: DMAR:Host address width 36
kernel: DMAR:DRHD base: 0x000000feb00000 flags: 0x0
kernel: ------------[ cut here ]------------
kernel: WARNING: at drivers/pci/dmar.c:642 alloc_iommu+0x12c/0x286() (Not tainted)
kernel: Hardware name:
kernel: Your BIOS is broken; DMAR reported at address feb00000 returns all ones!
kernel: BIOS vendor: Intel Corp.; Ver: DPP3510J.86A.0293.2007.1002.1519; Product Version:
kernel: Modules linked in:
kernel: Pid: 1, comm: swapper Not tainted #1
kernel: Call Trace:
kernel: [] warn_slowpath_common+0x95/0xc3
kernel: [] warn_slowpath_fmt+0x50/0x66
kernel: [] alloc_iommu+0x12c/0x286
kernel: [] ? dmar_table_init+0x178/0x3d7
kernel: [] dmar_table_init+0x1ee/0x3d7
kernel: [] ? task_rq_unlock+0x24/0x3a
kernel: [] enable_IR_x2apic+0x21/0x218
kernel: [] native_smp_prepare_cpus+0x13c/0x384
kernel: [] kernel_init+0x93/0x29b
kernel: [] child_rip+0xa/0x20
kernel: [] ? restore_args+0x0/0x30
kernel: [] ? kernel_init+0x0/0x29b
kernel: [] ? child_rip+0x0/0x20
kernel: ---[ end trace a7919e7f17c0a725 ]---
kernel: DMAR:parse DMAR table failure.

The rest of the log was filled with entries such as
kernel: nommu_map_single: overflow 1236419b0+8 of device mask ffffffff
kernel: usb 3-1: device not accepting address 5, error -32
kernel: hub 3-0:1.0: unable to enumerate USB device on port 1

At least the error message was clear, “Your BIOS is broken”. So I went to the motherboard’s product page and found out the BIOS on the motherboard was about two years old and the newest available BIOS is from July this year.

I tried updating the BIOS with Intel’s Windows tool (I also have a Windows installation), but that just shut down the system without performing the update. Next I tried their Linux-based BIOS update boot CD, but it had the same effect, the system shut down, no BIOS update.

With a bit of googling I found the instructions for doing a recovery BIOS update, which means removing the BIOS jumper from the motherboard and booting the computer with a FAT formatted USB stick containing the BIOS file attached. This finally succeeded and the motherboard now has the newest BIOS. With it, the new kernel boots just fine ūüôā

After all this rambling, the main point I want to say is: If you have an Intel DP35DP motherboard and Fedora 12 has USB problems, update the BIOS. You may have to do that with the recovery method, if nothing else works.

Edit: As far as I can tell, bug 524808 is about the same issue. It seems like the developers are planning a workaround, but a BIOS which behaves this way is apparently really broken, so you probably should just update it anyway.

Edit 2: This was asked about in the comment section, the original BIOS my motherboard had was DPP3510J.86A.0293.2007.1002.1519 and the new one is DPP3510J.86A.0572.2009.0715.2346.

Edit 3: Chuck Ebbert mentions in the bug report that adding iommu=soft to the kernel parameters will disable the Intel IOMMU, which should work around this problem and let your system boot even with an older BIOS.

The Linux/open source friendly printer we finally bought

August 28th, 2009

A few days ago I wrote about trying to find a printer which works with open source drivers.

When discussing the purchase with my parents, they mentioned that they’d like to get a color printer for printing photos and such. So the printer we actually ended up getting for them is the HP CM1312 MFP. It is quite a bit more expensive than the monochrome ones but worth the extra price, IMO.

Apparently this printer has Postscript support, which probably helps a lot with Linux support. When I powered on the printer and then booted my parents’ Fedora 11 box, the printer automatically showed up in the “Printers” view (system-config-printer) and printing worked without any extra configuration.

HP claims that in order to be able to scan you’d need to download a proprietary plugin, but that’s false. Just make sure you have the libsane-hpaio package installed and that /etc/sane.d/dll.conf includes an “hpaio” line and scanning should work with programs such as xsane and GIMP.

Any laser multifunction printers out there with open source Linux drivers?

August 23rd, 2009

I’ll be updating this post when I get more information about multifunction laser printers with open source drivers.

Dear Lazyweb,

My parents would like to get a new laser printer, preferably an affordable multifunction one – I’ll probably be the one actually purchasing the device. They’re running Fedora 11 and I’d like to get them a printer which would work “out of the box” with open source drivers. They probably don’t even need the scanning features to work, they just need a photocopier and a printer. Here are some of my experiences with various printer manufacturers’ products. If I’m mistaken with some printers, please leave a comment.

Canon: These need a proprietary driver. With the printers I’ve tried, it works on Fedora but segfaults on Ubuntu. I’d hate to buy a printer with this kind of Linux support.

Brother and Epson: Apparently their Linux drivers are proprietary, I’d rather not buy something that requires a proprietary driver.

HP: HP is supposed to have decent Linux support with hplip, which is open source. However, basically all of their affordable (you could also read: cheap) multifunction printers currently on sale require a proprietary plugin according to this page. I’m quite disappointed with HP not providing open source/free software drivers for their current models.

So, dear Lazyweb, which multifunction printer out there should I get?

On a Finnish Linux forum someone recommended getting the HP LaserJet M1120 MFP, because apparently that also works with the foo2xqx open source driver. I’ll have to see if that one is available in the local shops.

Edit: 24 August

Samsung: I had completely forgotten to write about Samsung. I actually own a SCX-4100 myself and that one needs the proprietary drivers. At least in the past the Samsung proprietary drivers were horrible, the installer overwrote system libraries causing Qt apps not to work and all kinds of evil stuff like that. Since then I’ve manually searched for the PPD file, entered it into system-config-printer, searched for the binaries s-c-printer says are missing and copied them into place. All of this hasn’t really convinced me into buying a Samsung MFP again.

However, Myrtti mentioned in the comments (thanks!) that the SCX-4200 works with an open source driver, splix. Apparently the SCX-4500 works with the same driver, too.

Conclusion (almost ūüėČ ):

After a day of searching the local shops for multifunction printers and googling like crazy, I’m beginning to think I should just get the HP M1120. Printing should work with the foo2xqx driver and SANE claims to have support for the scanner too.

As Tim, the system-config-printer developer, wrote in the comments, foo2xqx isn’t (and won’t be) in Fedora. It seems to be available from the RPM Fusion Free repository, though, and that’s good enough for me.

(As a side note, the splix driver for the Samsung SCX-4500 isn’t available even from RPM Fusion and the scanner driver Myrtti mentioned seems to not be in SANE, which means getting that to work in Fedora would be more complicated than getting the HP to work.)

Suomen kielen oikoluku Fedora 11:ssä

June 21st, 2009

This post is about Finnish language support on Fedora 11 and will be mostly in Finnish. See the first screenshot on how spell and grammar checking for Finnish works in OpenOffice.org with the openoffice.org-voikko extension by the Voikko project. This is to my knowledge the first time an open source grammar checker is available for Finnish and Fedora 11 is the first mainstream distribution to have the feature by default.

The second screenshot is the Finnish Mozvoikko spell checking extension for Firefox at work.

Fedora 11 julkaistiin 9.7.2009. Siihen ehti juuri mukaan uudet versiot Voikko-projektin kehittämistä paketeista. Tarkalleen versiot ovat suomi-malaga (pakettinimi malaga-suomi-voikko) 1.3, libvoikko 2.1, mozvoikko 0.9.7, joka vastaa käytännössä täysin versiota 1.0 sekä openoffice.org-voikko 3.1. Voikko-projektin julkaisutiedot voi lukea täältä. Sen lisäksi monelle suomalaisellekin käyttäjälle tärkeänä päivityksenä Fedora 11:ssä on OpenOffice.org 3.1.

OpenOffice.org-voikko 3.1:n merkittävin uusi ominaisuus on oletuksena toimiva kieliopin tarkistus. Alla toimintoa kuvaava ruutukaappaus. Punainen alleviivaus merkitsee kirjoitusvirhettä, sininen kielioppivirhettä.

Openoffice.org-voikon kieliopin tarkistus, the Finnish grammar checker in openoffice.org-voikko.

Openoffice.org-voikon kieliopin tarkistus, the Finnish grammar checker in openoffice.org-voikko

Suomen kielen kieliopin tarkistus on merkittävä ominaisuus avoimen lähdekoodin tekstinkäsittelyohjelmistoissa, minun tietääkseni tällaista ominaisuutta ei ole aiemmin ollut ollenkaan tarjolla. Fedora 11 on ensimmäinen ns. mainstream-jakelu, jossa kieliopin tarkistus on mukana.

Lisäksi mainittakoon, että Mozilla Firefoxin suomen kielen oikolukulisäosa Mozvoikko asennetaan nyt Fedora 11:ssä oletuksena sekä DVD:tä että LiveCD:tä käytettäessä, jos asennus tehdään suomen kielellä tai suomen kielen tuki on muuten valittuna asennettavista pakettiryhmistä.

Kuvankaappaus Mozvoikon toiminnasta Firefoxissa. Screenshot of Finnish spell checking on Firefox with Mozvoikko.

Kuvankaappaus Mozvoikon toiminnasta Firefoxissa. Screenshot of Finnish spell checking on Firefox with Mozvoikko.

Valitettavasti Thunderbirdiin ei vielä voida kunnolla paketoida Mozvoikkoa Fedoran mukana toimitettavaksi, koska minun saamieni tietojen mukaan Thunderbird 3 ei ole vielä XULRunner-sovellus. Mozvoikko kannattaa asentaa Thunderbirdiin toistaiseksi Mozillan omasta palvelusta, jonne sen on paketoinut Ville Pohjanheimo.

Lis√§ys: Muistuipa mieleeni viel√§ sekin, ett√§ Fedora 11 on ensimm√§inen Fedora-versio pitk√§√§n aikaan, joka sis√§lt√§√§ p√§ivitetyt OpenOffice.org-suomennokset. T√§m√§ siksi, ett√§ OpenOffice.orgin suomen k√§√§nn√∂sprojekti l√§hetti p√§ivitetyt k√§√§nn√∂ksens√§ √§skett√§in my√∂s niin sanottuun Sunin “viralliseen” l√§hdekoodiin. V√§liss√§ oli parin vuoden ajanjakso, jolloin vain “ep√§virallisia” l√§hdekoodeja p√§ivitettiin ja t√§ll√∂in Fedora ei saanut OpenOfficen k√§√§nn√∂sp√§ivityksi√§ ollenkaan.

Mobile broadband configuration assistant on it’s way to Fedora 11

June 21st, 2009

I noticed a new NetworkManager/wpa_supplicant/mobile-broadband-provider-info update is now in Fedora 11 updates-testing.

This update includes the mobile broadband configuration assistant and the mobile broadband provider database which are based on the work Antti Kaijanmäki did in Summercode Finland 2008.

This how the first screen of the assistant looks like. I actually tested the assistant on my laptop with my Nokia E71 and it worked well.

The first screen of the assistant

I don’t want to start a distribution war here, but for me personally this was probably the only piece of open source technology that I find useful and Ubuntu had but Fedora didn’t. I’m glad Fedora now has it as well ūüôā
Thanks Antti, Dan Williams and all of the other people who’ve been involved in the development of mbca and the provider database.

Edit: Here’s Dan Williams’ blog post on the mobile broadband assistant.

Mumble and Pulseaudio/gnome-volume-control weirdness

June 17th, 2009

I took part in the Finnish Linux podcast LinuCast this evening, talking about Fedora 11. I had serious issues with getting the microphone sound working with Mumble.

I tested everything yesterday and things seemed to be working. Even during the pre-show talk everything worked. But once we went live on the stream, which is more or less directly recorded as a podcast episode, they couldn’t hear anything but crackle from me. I switched to my laptop while the show was running. Nothing changed. Then I decided to do a one last try with my desktop computer.

At that point I figured it out. As weird as it is, I needed to have the Sound Preferences window open while using Mumble. Otherwise the microphone sound would just crackle. Once I opened the Sound Preferences window, everything worked perfectly. The Sound Recorder program was working at all times, no matter if I had the Sound Preferences window open or not. Really weird. When the live show started, I had closed the Sound Preferences window in order to gain a bit more screen real estate as the window can’t be minimized, thus causing the sound problems.

Well, I got to say a couple of things about Fedora 11, it’s all in Finnish of course. Once the podcast is released, I’ll put the link on this blog, in case some Finnish Fedora user is interested.

Edit: For those who might not be reading the comments on my blog, here’s the bug report Casey filed about this issue.

My thanks on the Thank a Dev Day: Virtaal, Voikko, Enchant, PyEnchant

March 27th, 2009

It’s apparently Thank a Dev Day. Initially I didn’t really want to “spam” anyone’s inboxes with messages. But it just so happened that I wanted to fix some typos in the Finnish translation of Fedora’s installer Anaconda and I do actually want to take this opportunity to thank some developers. I still don’t like the idea of sending somewhat “meaningless” emails to people whose inboxes are probably already full, so I decided to use my blog:

I recently discovered the Virtaal translation tool by the translate.org.za team and I was using Virtaal to do my typo fixes. One interesting feature in Virtaal is that it does spell checking via PyEnchant. Spell checking is something I haven’t really seen in other translation editors, but it’s really useful in making high quality translations.

Here’s how (I think) the spell checking stack works when using virtaal. Virtaal uses PyEnchant to call the Enchant spell checking library, which then calls Voikko to do the actual Finnish spell checking.

So in TaDD 2009 I’d like to thank the developers of each part of this stack for making my life as a translator much easier. Thank you, developers of Virtaal, PyEnchant, Enchant and Voikko!

Mozvoikko will be installed by default in Fedora 11’s Finnish support

January 26th, 2009

I just made the change to Fedora 11’s comps file so that Mozvoikko, the Finnish spell checking extension for Firefox, will be installed by default when using Finnish in the installer or when the “Finnish support” group is specifically selected.

I could have done this for Fedora 10 already, but I decided to set Mozvoikko as optional instead and see if there would be any problems between Firefox and Mozvoikko. As there weren’t any, I thought it’d be good to have Mozvoikko as default.

I’ve also heard other people are working towards getting Mozvoikko installed by default in Ubuntu and Debian when using Finnish, Mandriva is apparently already doing so. I’m not sure about OpenSuse as I think packages can be added to the “core” only by Novell people, but various Voikko packages are available for OpenSuse as well.

Mozvoikko is being developed by the Voikko project, in case you want to have a look.