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Screen Calibration on Ubuntu 12.04 with Spyder2 [workaround] May 6, 2012

Posted by claudio in Uncategorized.
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The bad news: the default colour calibration wizard on Ubuntu 12.04 has a bug: awful magenta cast on some screens. Fine on others.

The good news: it works flawlessly using the (graphical) alternative below.

As a enthusiastic photographer (see my latest Perl Fosdem pictures) I am very positive about the colour management integration in the latest Ubuntu (12.04). Sure, colour calibration was possible before, but now it’s an integral part of the system and not a simple add-on. Ubuntu++

Once the reviews are in, I will probably buy the ColorHug open source hardware calibration device. In the meantime I borrowed an old Spyder2 (express) from my father-in-law. I do not recommend buying new devices from Colorvision. The company is known to be very antagonistic to free and open source software. But, if you already have the hardware in a drawer it’s better to use it.

Once you plug in the device, the “Calibration” button will activate and the necessary packages will be installed. However, for this HOWTO it’s easier just to install the software (and its dependencies) from a shell window:

$ sudo apt-get install gnome-color-manager

(This install argyll as a dependency that does the real calibration beneath the GUI.)

This step is only applicable if you have a Spyder 2 device. As mentioned above, the company is not FOSS-friendly and doesn’t even provide technical specifications. You will need the firmware of the device from the Windows driver. If you trust me, you can get mine here [MD5: 007ac5705a3a8ed7edf01569700e6ebf]. Put it in the .local/share/color directory in your home directory (create the needed directories if not present). It was extracted from the 2.3.6 Windows driver for the Spider2 Express (the latest at the time of writing). If you want to create the file yourself, see here. In short: you’ll need the driver CD. If you don’t have it or want/need a more up-to-date version, you’ll need to install the driver and feed the generated .dll to spyd2en: spyd2en -v ./CVSpyder.dll

In the GUI (Dash -> Applications -> Color, or simply type “color” and click the icon), if you select your screen and the “Calibrate…”, the steps offered by the wizard are straight forward. Very easy. While it worked great on the computer of my better half, the generated profile on my own laptop (attached to an external screen) had a terrible magenta cast. Not of the type “your eyes will adapt to it”.

After investigating and looking closely at the profile, it was clear that the profile used a 6500K white balance, instead of the 5000K requested in the wizard (it’s called “Photography and graphics” there). Furthermore, the wizard offered 3 calibrations options: 4, 10 and 20 minutes depending on the desired accuracy. While I chose 4 minutes for testing purposes, the calibration took a long time (an hour or longer). Also, the advanced output in the calibration window (hidden by default) categorised the screen as CRT while it’s a LCD. Because of this, I don’t think the problem is tied to the specific firmware (running the latest available) of the hardware, but rather to gnome-color-manager integration with the device and maybe certain configurations. I don’t have other calibration devices available to test. Bug reported.

dispcalGUI is a OS-agnostic alternative to gnome-color-manager and in fact – just as gnome-color-manager – and GUI on top argyll. Just download the deb (the most recent deb for Ubuntu 11.10 works fine on 12.04). If you double click it, the Ubuntu Software Manager will launch and perform the installation (or just use “dpkg -i” if you are a Debianista at heart).

Now, launch the dispcalGUI application from the Dash or just open a terminal (Ctrl + Alt + t) and type:

$ dispcalgui

Select the Photography profile, your screen (if you have a multi monitor setup) and probe your device (by clicking on the “recycle” arrows) and give your profile a more recognisable name and a location. I use brand_model_calibrationDevice, e.g. Samsung_SyncMaster2443FW_Spyder2Express). Click on Calibrate and Profile and go read a book or take some pictures (it will take a lot longer than 20 minutes, probably an hour). If you wish you can skip the white point and black level, YMMV.

Now go back to the Ubuntu Color Settings as above and add the new created profile by selecting your screen, then click “Add profile”, select other and choose the path you save the monitor profile.

Your monitor is now calibrated!

Logitech Wireless Trackball M570 on Ubuntu March 1, 2012

Posted by claudio in Uncategorized.
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A colleague working in our IT-helpdesk found an old Logitech TrackMan Wheel in his drawer. “Old” as in out-of-production model launched around 2002. The thing was good as new: the trackball was still in his original package and the documentation and CD package were sealed. The person that ordered the thing years ago didn’t get used to it after one try. Lucky me :).

So I gave it a try and wow… I have gone ergonomic! While it took some minutes to kill the reflex to move the mouse around, I got used to the trackball mechanism very fast. When I got home I ordered the heir of this model, the Wireless Trackball M570.

At its arrival, my Virtualbox Windows VM was ready to be booted in order to pair the mouse and the wireless adapter. Sadly, Logitech only provides a MS Windows and Mac OS X binary. Once paired, the interwebs agree on this, the combination works on whatever OS you connect it too.

Big was my surprise, when everything worked out of the box in Ubuntu (11.10). Logitech seem to do the right thing nowadays and the devices are already pre-paired. Letting the pairing to the customer seems medieval when you thing about it. Logitech++.

So, everything works fine. The trackball is fantastic. The only complain is that the scroll-wheel makes a cheap plasticky sound when clicked, and as a UNIX user, it’s something you do often. This new model has 2 additional buttons compared to the original TrackMan. Out of the box, they are configured as Back and Next (e.g. while browsing in Firefox).

I don’t care much about these buttons and not at al for the Back and Next function. They are out of the way, so if you don’t use them, they won’t drive you crazy. Anyway, while they are there, why not give them a shot and assign them a useful task: easystoke to the recue! (“sudo apt-get install easystroke” from the shell, or search for “easystroke” on the Ubuntu Software Center)

I configured the additional buttons as Page Up and Page Down, something I really do use often (I find it easier on the hand than using the scroll wheel). I followed the instructions from the Archlinux wiki. Being a wiki, I copy the short instructions in case it get removed or moved:

easystroke is a mouse gesture application, but it can be used to manage mouse buttons as well. It’s main advantage o-ver btnx is that it’s more versatile. On the other hand, it’s user-based, so any user has to configure it to reflect his own needs.

In order to set up easystroke to manage your extra mouse buttons, you’ll need to do this (example features Back/Forward mouse buttons) : run:

easystroke -g

Go to Preferences tab > Additional buttons > Add, and add any special button.

Go to Action tab > Add action, give the new action a name, as Type choose “Key”, as Details set “Alt+Left” for Back button, “Alt+Right” for Forward button, as Stroke click the proper mouse button (confirm if a warning is displayed), and voilà! Your mouse button is configured.

I add some screen-shots for your comfort that illustrate my specific configuration. Nota Bene: to get Shift+Page Up/Down working (e.g. scrolling in a terminal), you need to add the combo to easystroke.

Define the main screen in Ubuntu Unity dual screen setup May 13, 2011

Posted by claudio in Uncategorized.
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I use a dual screen setup at home. On the left side I have a big lcd screen and on the right the fixed screen of the laptop (on a docking station). The big screen is my main screen, while the smaller screen is for things I like to keep open like mail or an irc session (ssh+screen+irssi).

In this new install, the unity global menu can be found on the smaller screen.This probably makes sense on a lot of setups, but I prefer this icon menu on my main screen as it feel more accessible (it’s physically closer) and it autohides anyway.

I did not find a graphical way to set this up, but editing the configuration file is very easy:

$ vi ~/.config/monitors.xml

or if you prefer a graphical editor:

Press Alt + F2 and type “gnome-text-editor ~/.config/monitors.xml”

Identify you main monitor (name, resolution, etc) and change “no” into:


That’s it.

Ubuntu 11.04 beta 2 test drive: first thing first (updated 11.10) April 20, 2011

Posted by claudio in Uncategorized.
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EDIT: This howto also works on Ubuntu 11.10

A new workstation at work is a great opportunity for trying out the latest Ubuntu 11.04 beta (2). So far, so good. I had low expectations for Unity, but the shell does not feel buggy nor slow. Nice. The installation is *extremely* fast. Anyway, sadly like with every new Ubuntu release, there is still some cleaning up to do after an install…

$ sudo apt-get remove --purge $(dpkg -l | perl -lwn -e '/.+((lib)*mono-.+?)\s+.+/ and print $1') ; sudo rm -rf /usr/lib/mono

[sudo] password for claudio:
Reading package lists… Done
Building dependency tree
Reading state information… Done
Note, selecting ‘libmono-addins-gui0.2-cil’ for regex ‘mono-addins-gui0.2-cil’
Note, selecting ‘libmono-addins0.2-cil’ for regex ‘mono-addins0.2-cil’
Note, selecting ‘libmono-cairo2.0-cil’ for regex ‘mono-cairo2.0-cil’
Note, selecting ‘libmono-corlib2.0-cil’ for regex ‘mono-corlib2.0-cil’
Note, selecting ‘libmono-i18n-west2.0-cil’ for regex ‘mono-i18n-west2.0-cil’
Note, selecting ‘libmono-management2.0-cil’ for regex ‘mono-management2.0-cil’
Note, selecting ‘libmono-posix2.0-cil’ for regex ‘mono-posix2.0-cil’
Note, selecting ‘libmono-security2.0-cil’ for regex ‘mono-security2.0-cil’
Note, selecting ‘libmono-sharpzip2.84-cil’ for regex ‘mono-sharpzip2.84-cil’
Note, selecting ‘libmono-system2.0-cil’ for regex ‘mono-system2.0-cil’
Note, selecting ‘libmono-zeroconf1.0-cil’ for regex ‘mono-zeroconf1.0-cil’
The following packages will be REMOVED:
banshee* banshee-extension-soundmenu* banshee-extension-ubuntuonemusicstore* gbrainy* libappindicator0.1-cil* libart2.0-cil* libgconf2.0-cil* libgdata1.7-cil* libgkeyfile1.0-cil* libglade2.0-cil*
libglib2.0-cil* libgmime2.4-cil* libgnome-vfs2.0-cil* libgnome2.24-cil* libgtk-sharp-beans-cil* libgtk2.0-cil* libgudev1.0-cil* liblaunchpad-integration1.0-cil* libmono-addins-gui0.2-cil*
libmono-addins0.2-cil* libmono-cairo2.0-cil* libmono-corlib2.0-cil* libmono-i18n-west2.0-cil* libmono-management2.0-cil* libmono-posix2.0-cil* libmono-security2.0-cil* libmono-sharpzip2.84-cil*
libmono-system2.0-cil* libmono-zeroconf1.0-cil* libndesk-dbus-glib1.0-cil* libndesk-dbus1.0-cil* libnotify0.4-cil* libtaglib2.0-cil* libubuntuone1.0-cil* mono-2.0-gac* mono-csharp-shell* mono-gac*
mono-gmcs* mono-runtime* tomboy*
0 upgraded, 0 newly installed, 40 to remove and 0 not upgraded.
After this operation, 34.3 MB disk space will be freed.
Do you want to continue [Y/n]? Y

This will remove applications and libraries I rather don’t have on my system. The rm removes auto-generated cached mono assemblies (not associated to packages).

I don’t longer use a note taking application, but when I did I liked zim:

$ sudo apt-get install zim

If you want a tomboy clone, install gnote instead:

$ sudo apt-get install gnote

I am pretty happy with rhythmbox as my music player:

$ sudo apt-get install rhythmbox

Ubuntu 10.04 installed (aka get rid of unwanted stuff)… April 29, 2010

Posted by claudio in Uncategorized.
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sudo apt-get remove --purge libmono-corlib2.0-cil

Adobe Flash missing some mouseclicks November 3, 2009

Posted by claudio in Uncategorized.
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bugWhile trying to play a flash game with my daughter, I noticed that flash wasn’t working properly on Ubuntu 9.10 on some sites. The fix is trivial, and can be found here.

As Internet posts tend to disappear or move after a while, I copy the fix just in case:

First you need to edit /usr/lib/nspluginwrapper/i386/linux/npviewer file from terminal

gksudo gedit /usr/lib/nspluginwrapper/i386/linux/npviewer

Add the following line before the last line of text


Save and exit the file.

Add rar extraction to Gnome’s Archive Manager (file-roller) May 11, 2009

Posted by claudio in Uncategorized.
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You may see this when trying to decompress a rar file:

Too bad that file-roller does not tell you what to do (in contrast to Rhythmbox when new codecs need to be installed).

The solution is very simple, just install unrar like this:

sudo apt-get install unrar

That’s it. The Archive Manager can uncompress rared files now.

Install 64-bit upstream Vuze (aka azureus) on Ubuntu 9.04 April 28, 2009

Posted by claudio in Uncategorized.
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logo-azureusOn our 64-bit series, we continue today with Vuze. There is a slightly older version on the Ubuntu repositories, so if you just want a running vuze, you can be happy and stop reading.

However, if you prefer to use the upstream latest version (vuze has its own update mechanism) on Ubuntu 64-bit, this is what you can do:

1. Create a local directory for applications. I use ~/bin.

mkdir ~/bin

2. Download and uncompress vuze.
cd ~/bin
tar xvjf  Vuze_Installer.tar.bz2

(Alternatively you can use the Archive Manager and copy the vuze directory to bin in your home directory).

3. Download swt (SWT binary and source, Linux (x86_64/GTK 2)) for Linux 64-bit. Open it with the Archive Manager and copy swt.jar to ~/bin/vuze (~ is your Home Directory). (The download page is rather confusing, make sure you download swt and not eclipse).

4. Create a launcher for  vuze by right clicking on Applications and choosing “Edit Menus”. The command is “/home//bin/vuze/azureus %f” and the icon can be found in “/home//bin/vuze/”

That’s it.

Vuze 4.2

Ubuntu release party: Installeer Ubuntu Linux op je computer! (Belgium, dutch) April 28, 2009

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I received this invitation for the Ubuntu Release Party of Indymedia.be:

Ubuntu release party: Installeer Ubuntu Linux op je computer!

Georganiseerd door: Indymedia.be
Wat: Other …
Wanneer: Zondag 03.05.2009, 14:0019:00
Waar: Indymedia.be mediacentrum
Adres: Haachtse Steenweg 51, Brussel

Op 24 april verschijnt de nieuwe versie van Ubuntu Linux, een alternatief besturingssysteem voor je computer. Indymedia.be nodigt je uit op een ‘release party’: breng op zondag 27 april je computer mee, en we installeren samen Ubuntu.

Het Indymedia.be mediacentrum bevindt zich vlakbij de Botanique, 5 min. wandelen van het Noordstation). Klik hier voor een wegbeschrijving.


Wat is Ubuntu?

Ubuntu is een eenvoudig te gebruiken besturingssysteem voor je computer. Het bevat alle nodige programma’s om je computer te gebruiken, netjes verzameld op één enkele cd. Bovendien bevat Ubuntu tekstverwerkings- en spreadsheetprogramma’s, kan je ermee op het web surfen en je e-mail lezen.

Dit alles maakt van Ubuntu een prima alternatief voor Microsoft Windows of Apple’s OS X. Je kan er alle huis-tuin-en-keuken-computerwerk zonder problemen mee verrichten (en nog veel meer) – en het is volledig gratis te verkrijgen en te onderhouden. Ubuntu staat ook bekend als een uiterst stabiel en veilig systeem.

Ubuntu is vrije software: je mag het systeem vrij gebruiken, kopiëren, aanpassen en verder verspreiden. Het is ook ‘community developed’: het wordt door talloze vrijwillige programmeurs van over de hele wereld ontwikkeld.

Meer weten over Ubuntu? Surf naar http://www.ubuntu.com, of bezoek de website van de Belgische Ubuntu community: http://www.ubuntu-be.org.

Wat doen we op zondag 3 mei?

We houden een zogenaamde ‘release party’: naar aanleiding van de nieuwe versie van Ubuntu, nodigen we je uit om samen Ubuntu te installeren op je computer, problemen met bestaande installaties proberen op te lossen of gewoon een koffieklets houden over Ubuntu, vrije software, …

  • Als je Ubuntu wil installeren op je computer, maak dan zeker en vast op voorhand een kopie van al je documenten, foto’s, e-mails, … die op je computer staan. Er kan immers altijd iets fout lopen.
  • Wil je Ubuntu uitproberen maar niet noodzakelijk installeren op je computer? Dat kan. De Ubuntu-cd laat je toe de volledige Ubuntu-omgeving te testen, zonder ook maar iets op je computer te installeren (aan de hand van een zogenaamde live cd).
  • Het is ook mogelijk om Ubuntu en een ander besturingssysteem (bijvoorbeeld Windows) naast elkaar te gebruiken op dezelfde computer – op voorwaarde dat je computer over voldoende schijfruimte beschikt.

Zin om mee te doen?

Als je op 3 mei naar de Ubuntu release party komt, stuur dan een mailtje naar Bruno De Bondt: bruno@indymedia.be. Vermeld in je mail met hoeveel personen je komt en hoeveel computers je in totaal meebrengt – liefst ook wat je met die computer wil doen (installeren of enkel testen). Zo krijgen we een idee van de nodige netwerkinfrastructuur, installatie-cd’s, …

Aan de Ubuntu-kenners onder jullie:

Als je zin hebt om mee te helpen met installeren, of mensen mee op weg wil helpen met Ubuntu, contacteer dan Bruno De Bondt (bruno@indymedia.be) of Han Soete (han@indymedia.be).

Install 64-bit Adobe Flash Player on Ubuntu (updated to 11.04) April 26, 2009

Posted by claudio in Uncategorized.
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FlashEDIT: Update to Flash 11 beta 1

EDIT: This howto –while referring to the directory “.mozilla”– works without adaptation for chromium (that reads ~/.mozilla/plugins).

Now that there is a java browser plugin and a working wine for 64-bit on the Ubuntu repositories, there is not much holding back 64-bit Linux on the desktop. Maybe the only thing missing is the Adobe Flash player. Most of the time Flash is just annoying, nevertheless sometimes needed. Luckily, there is now a Flash Player release for 64-bit Linux (however, still beta alpha beta but stable so far). I am pretty sure the instructions are identical for other Linux distributions.

To install it:

1.  The beta of Flash 11 64-bit can be found here (the “Download plug-in for Linux 64-bit” link).

The alpha program has been opened and closed several times (was here and here), but at the moment of writing is open again: download the flash binary here. Because of the intermittent presence of the binary, I put a copy of the latest version here (the md5 checksum is 49b55c7eb8044453e5f6f2e4b3cb4084) and keep my fingers crossed for html5 :). NB: The screenshot is from a previous release, however the actual binary *is* the latest.

2. Unpackage it using a terminal (with the assumption your firefox downloads into your Desktop as default):
cd Desktop
tar xvzf flashplayer11_b1_install_lin_64_071311.tar.gz

(The name of the tar.gz file may change when a new version is released, change accordingly).

3. Create a plugin directory in your $HOME (instead of a system directory):

mkdir -p .mozilla/plugins

4. Move the file to the plugin directory:
mv Desktop/libflashplayer.so .mozilla/plugins

(You may safely ignore the other contents. Place the contents in ~/.local/share if needed).

5. Restart firefox. Go to about:plugins to see if it’s enabled:
That’s it.

Edit: Alternatively, you can use the graphical approach:

1. Download the binary (see the command line instructions above).
2. Select “Open with ” in firefox (you have to click on open to enable the ok button) and clck on OK.
3. The archive manager will open and show you the libflashplayer.so file.
4. Click on extra and a save window will open.
5. Type ctrl + h to show hidden files. Go to .mozilla (dubble click).
6. If no “plugins” directory is present, click on “Create Folder” on the top right and type as name “plugins” (without the quotes). Press Ener.
7. Click on Extract.
8. Click on Close on the windows showing the result.
9. Close the archive manager.
10. Restart firefox.


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