...making Linux just a little more fun!


This month's answers created by:

[ Amit Kumar Saha, Ben Okopnik, Faber Fedor, Kapil Hari Paranjape, René Pfeiffer, MNZ, Neil Youngman, Rick Moen, Suramya Tomar, Mike Orr (Sluggo), Steve Brown, Thomas Adam ]
...and you, our readers!

Editor's Note

You may have noticed the absence of Mailbag, Talkback, and other mail-related features of LG in the previous edition (LG#142) - your Mailbag Editor was engaged in an urgent project launch (the birth of our son, Michael Kaishu Okopnik) just as the LG editorial cycle started. I'm compiling this edition with the "help" of our newest staffer, who waves his first "Hello, World!" to the LG readership.
-- Kat

Our Mailbag

Bash Ref. Manual 8.4.3 Commands for Changing Text

tuxsun1 [tuxsun1 at gmail.com]

Tue, 04 Sep 2007 12:01:58 -0500

I do not understand how to implement negative arguments as documented in the following excerpts from the Bash Reference Manual, Chapter 8. Command Line Editing, Section 8.4 Bindable Readline Commands, sub-section 8.4.3 Commands for Changing Text:

|upcase-word (M-u)|
    Uppercase the current (or following) word. With a negative argument,
    uppercase the previous word, but do not move the cursor.
|downcase-word (M-l)|
    Lowercase the current (or following) word. With a negative argument,
    lowercase the previous word, but do not move the cursor.
|capitalize-word (M-c)|
    Capitalize the current (or following) word. With a negative
    argument, capitalize the previous word, but do not move the cursor.
Pressing ALT-u, ALT-l, or ALT-c to uppercase, lowercase, or capitalize the current (or following) word is very straightforward.

But for the life of me I'm baffled as to what they mean, "With a negative argument," to uppercase, lowercase, or capitalize the previous word.

What negative argument? From where? What keystroke(s)? I'm lost as to how to uppercase, lowercase, or capitalize the previous word.

What am I missing in their explanation?

Thank you in advance!


[ Thread continues here (2 messages/2.74kB) ]

Sound problems after Kubuntu upgrade

Mike Orr [sluggoster at gmail.com]

Sat, 11 Aug 2007 11:48:07 -0700

My sound isn't working right. How do I fix it?

Seriously, I upgraded from Kububtu 6.10 to 7.04 in a different root partition, though they're sharing the same home partition. Now where the old system makes a big sound, the new system makes a teensy-weensy little sound. I go back and startle the neighbors; I sally ho (or ho Sally), and I have to wait till the refrigerator shuts off to hear the sound.

The configuration in both appears to be identical. KInfoCenter says it's a VIA 8237 device with ALC655, Type 10 ALSA emulation. KMix has "Master" and "PCM" unmuted and their volumes near maximum. In the Switches tab, all the lights are off except "External Amplifier", which doesn't do anything either way.

The KDE Peripherals dialog has "Enable the sound system", "Run with the highest possible priority", "sound buffer as large as possible", "auto-suspend if idle after 60 seconds", "autodetect audio device", "default quality", "Midi through midi through port-0 - ALSA device". The test sound is quiet and distorted on the new system, but loud and clear on the old one.

Mike Orr <sluggoster@gmail.com>

[ Thread continues here (9 messages/11.29kB) ]

Clock problem

René Pfeiffer [lynx at luchs.at]

Sun, 5 Aug 2007 20:28:53 +0200

[[[ This is a followup to a question published previously. http://linuxgazette.net/141/lg_mail.html - Kat ]]]

On Jul 30, 2007 at 1227 +1200, Jimmy Kaifiti appeared and said:

>Hi , my name is Jimmy,can anyone help me fix the time on my PC.  I
>change the Battery so many time ,I mean the new CMOS Battery ,but my
>time is still not read correct

What hardware are you using? Which operating system do you use on top of this hardware? What did you try to keep the system clock in sync?

Modern PC hardware has several time sources, and not all mainboards have reliable counters for keeping the time in synchronisation. The CMOS battery may be one source of problems, but if you use an operating system with a Linux kernel it will read the time from the nonvolatile RAM on your board only once when booting. If you correct your time after that you may have to write it to the nonvolatile RAM on your board. This can be done with commands such as "hwclock --systohc" or similar.

Here is some information on the difficult task of keeping the system time sufficiently accurate:






Best wishes, René.

Things Debian Project Leaders Do

René Pfeiffer [lynx at luchs.at]

Sun, 5 Aug 2007 12:46:49 +0200

[[[ This is a followup to http://linuxgazette.net/141/misc/lg/things_debian_project_leaders_do.html - Kat ]]]

On Jul 27, 2007 at 1004 -0400, Ben Okopnik appeared and said:

> [...]
> I seem to recall a couple of programs in the Debian kit that do
> something like this by feeding random data to apps, but this one seems
> to be a real star. E.g., http://sam.zoy.org/zzuf/lol-firefox.gif crashes
> my Firefox ( very nicely - one-click functionality. :)

It does even crash the latest Iceweasel with the same one-click functionality. Maybe one of the libraries doesn't like it.=20

> [...] I haven't taught a security class in a
> while, but it seems like 'zzuf' would make a very nice teaching aid
> for when I'm explaining vulnerability discovery. [...]

I have some workshops on this topic in October and November, and thanks to Kapil the students will have a new toy. :)

Best wishes, René, just returned from the Adriatic coast.

[ Thread continues here (3 messages/2.49kB) ]

Extending GIMP Plugins

Amit Kumar Saha [amitsaha.in at gmail.com]

Tue, 21 Aug 2007 15:34:53 +0530

Hello all,

GIMP plugins extend GIMP, we know that.

Is there any way to make GIMP plugins themselves extensible. My point here is that, can we make a GIMP plugin which allows itself modifiable by a end-user to include a new functionality without much of a hassle on part of the end-user. Does any one know of a method to do this or any GIMP plugin which already does this?

I would appreciate even the slightest of insights.

Thanks a lot!


Amit Kumar Saha

[ Thread continues here (2 messages/2.01kB) ]

Latex Editors

Amit Kumar Saha [amitsaha.in at gmail.com]

Sun, 26 Aug 2007 00:36:35 +0530

[[[ This is a followup to http://linuxgazette.net/141/misc/lg/latex_editors.html - Kat ]]]

Hi all,

Its been a long time since this thread was alive. Well, during this phase I just completed a project report, completely prepared in LATEX, my first. I used Kile (kile.sourceforge.net) for my purpose. I was too dumb probably to either even try the Vim or Emacs extensions as suggested.

oh yes, the report has got such a neat, professional look to it. Thanks to Latex!

Thank you all for all the suggestions.


Amit Kumar Saha

I have a silly question

dinesh sikhwal [disikh at yahoo.com]

Sun, 19 Aug 2007 03:22:11 -0700 (PDT)

[[[ The original subject for this thread was "Talkback:128/lg_foolish.html". The only truth in that was the foolish part. No connection at all to the alleged inspiration, so I've taken the liberty of renaming it. And who's surprised that this came in as html mail? - Kat ]]]


[ Thread continues here (3 messages/2.41kB) ]

Random Numbers

MNZ [mnzaki at gmail.com]

Tue, 7 Aug 2007 17:48:20 +0300

Hey Gang, A question about computer "generated" random numbers, in short how random are they really?

I was trying to write this little perl script to play random songs and I noticed it tends to repeat a certain collection of songs (which changes everyday, or even every couple of hours). So what's really happening?



[ Thread continues here (19 messages/25.62kB) ]


Thomas Adam [thomas.adam22 at gmail.com]

Tue, 14 Aug 2007 22:21:40 +0100

[[[ This is a followup to http://linuxgazette.net/141/misc/lg/shuttle_sd39p2__should_i_buy_one.html - Kat ]]]

---------- Forwarded message ----------

From: Paul <sayhellotopaul@gmail.com>
Date: 14-Aug-2007 22:20
Subject: Shuttle-SD39P2
To: thomas.adam22@gmail.com


I read that you are using the above Shuttle and I am thinking about getting one myself. I was wondering though what graphics did you use and whether it is so silent that you do not notice it or that you can hear it but it is not bothering at all. I am thinking about getting a 8800gts, but am not sure whether it will be too loud for the system.. I would appreciate your info!


[ Thread continues here (2 messages/3.44kB) ]

C Programming [Debian Issues]

René Pfeiffer [lynx at luchs.at]

Fri, 17 Aug 2007 17:32:13 +0200

Hello, Steve!

On Aug 17, 2007 at 1607 +0100, Steve Brown appeared and said:

> [...]
> Do you know, sometimes getting an answer just allows you to think of
> more questions. I'm off to look into C programming again all because
> of one little email and make as well.

I know what you mean. :) While you are at it, I can recommend the book "Deep C Secrets" written by Peter van der Linden. http://www.taclug.org/booklist/development/C/Deep_C_Secrets.html

The book holds treasures of tips, hints and plain shocks for all who know C and like to revisit their skills. The author packs everything into a kind of technical novel with lots of entertaining examples.

Best, René, who also did a lot of C stuff on the Amiga.

[ Thread continues here (8 messages/7.71kB) ]


Suramya Tomar [security at suramya.com]

Tue, 14 Aug 2007 20:03:17 +0530

Hey Mohsen, Sorry I have no idea of what that particular error means as I have never seen it before. I am cc'ing this email to the TAG (The Answer Gang) @Linux Gazette and maybe one of the smart people who frequent the list might be able to help you with this.

TAG: Got this email a few days ago. Any idea whats causing this error and how to fix it?

> Dear Suramya, 
> I have readed Steve article,(Thanks Steve),
> i wanna DFS & i wrote a dfs.cfg which i attached it.
> i run following command:
> dfsbuild -V -c /etc/dfsbuild/dfs.cfg -w /myworkdir
> It works good,It retrieve packages while i get receive following message:
> **************************************************************
> D: Return code: 0
> D: call action: helper-remove
> P: Deconfiguring helper cdebootstrap-helper-makedev
> D: Execute "dpkg -P cdebootstrap-helper-makedev" in chroot
> O: (Reading database ...
> O: 7141 files and directories currently installed)
> D: Return code: 0
> D: call action: apt-cleanup
> D: Execute "apt-get update" in chroot
> O: Reading packages lists...
> O:
> D: Return code:0
> P: Writing apt sources.list
> [dfs/DEBUG] Saving sources.list
> [dfs/CRITICAL] Exception: (NoOption "mirror","get (i386/mirror)")
> dfsbuild: (NoOption "mirror","get (i386/mirror)")
> *********************************************************************
> I know that 0 code is correct action.But 2 or 3 last line confused me....
> Please help me......

Thanks, Suramya

Name : Suramya Tomar
Homepage URL: http://www.suramya.com

[ Thread continues here (2 messages/2.78kB) ]

Problem with openvpn certificate Revoke

Smile Maker [britto_can at yahoo.com]

Tue, 21 Aug 2007 04:49:24 -0700 (PDT)


I am running openvpn-2.0.9-1 in Fedora core 4.I installed as rpm.

When i try to revoke the certificate from the data base , I am getting the following error

"Using configuration from /etc/openvpn/easy-rsa/openssl.cnf
error on line 282 of config file '/etc/openvpn/easy-rsa/openssl.cnf'
6819:error:0E065068:configuration file routines:STR_COPY:variable has no value:conf_def.c:629:line 282
Using configuration from /etc/openvpn/easy-rsa/openssl.cnf
error on line 282 of config file '/etc/openvpn/easy-rsa/openssl.cnf'
6820:error:0E065068:configuration file routines:STR_COPY:variable has no value:conf_def.c:629:line 282
cat: crl.pem: No such file or directory "
Can u guys help me out


[ Thread continues here (2 messages/2.54kB) ]

Debian Issues

Amit Kumar Saha [amitsaha.in at gmail.com]

Fri, 17 Aug 2007 14:45:25 +0530


I have been facing a couple of "weird" issues on Debian 4.0

1. Every time (on a new boot) I have to "listen" to a video song, I have to run "alsaconf". I can see the video and listen to audio files but not the video songs until i run "alsaconf"

2. GCC reports linker error while using "sin", "cos", etc. However it is solved when i append a "-lm" during compilation

Waiting for some insights!


Amit Kumar Saha

[ Thread continues here (20 messages/24.13kB) ]

XMMS2 (Was: Random Numbers)

Thomas Adam [thomas at edulinux.homeunix.org]

Wed, 15 Aug 2007 00:19:07 +0100

On Tue, Aug 07, 2007 at 06:03:18PM +0200, Ren? Pfeiffer wrote:

> On Aug 07, 2007 at 1637 +0100, Thomas Adam appeared and said:
> > On 07/08/07, Ren? Pfeiffer <lynx@luchs.at> wrote:
> > > You could probably add a counter per song and check if the selected song
> > > was played more than $n times and prefer a song that was played less
> > > times.
> > 
> > "Collections".  XMMS2 allows for this:
> > 
> > http://wiki.xmms2.xmms.se/index.php/Collections
> Oh, I missed that feature apparently (but I am still "stuck" with
> xmms1, too lazy to upgrade).

It's not a straight upgrade -- the design of XMMS2 is completley different to XMMS1. You can't compare the two. In many respects, XMMS2 mimicks how MPD works, in that it's a client/server idea.

The GUi tools for it are all still in development. It lacks anything like ncmpc for the console though, alas. Something I am considering porting, actually.

-- Thomas Adam

"He wants you back, he screams into the night air, like a fireman going
through a window that has no fire." -- Mike Myers, "This Poem Sucks".

PPM Image Reader in C

Amit Kumar Saha [amitsaha.in at gmail.com]

Fri, 17 Aug 2007 11:47:38 +0530

Hi all,

Has anyone got a "ready-made" PPM image reading program in C? I have to meet a deadline for a project, so it would really be useful if anyone could provide me with such a program.


Amit Kumar Saha

[ Thread continues here (6 messages/4.40kB) ]

Talkback: Discuss this article with The Answer Gang

Copyright © 2007, . Released under the Open Publication License unless otherwise noted in the body of the article. Linux Gazette is not produced, sponsored, or endorsed by its prior host, SSC, Inc.

Published in Issue 143 of Linux Gazette, October 2007