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Disable boot process checking for keyboard on Dell desktop

September 5th, 2008

Whenever I forgot to plug in my keyboard before booting my Dell desktop, it would halt with the amusing error message:

Keybard failure. Press F1 to continue, F2 for setup.

When I was at home, I could just plug in the keyboard and hit F1, but when I was trying to boot the computer remotely through wake-on-LAN, I was out of luck.

Turns out you can disable this in the BIOS (hit F2). On my Dell, it is under the “Standard CMOS features” section. You’ll find “Halt on …”, which was set to “All errors” for me. Switching this to “All but keyboard” disables the boot process checking for keyboard presence.

Installing okular in Gutsy

August 20th, 2008

I’m running Xubuntu but I don’t see why this wouldn’t work for Ubuntu.

I really like kpdf, but it cannot rotate pages. It seems that it is no longer actively developed, and that instead okular is kpdf’s successor. However, in Gutsy, if you try installing okular via aptitude, you get a dependency problem that aptitude cannot resovle for you (something about missing the virtual package libpoppler1).

You can work around this by adding the following repository to your /etc/apt/sources.list:

deb gutsy main


sudo aptitude update && sudo aptitude dist-upgrade

This installs quite a few kde things and may reinstall kde apps you might already have installed, such as amarok. It did for me. My guess is the problem is that okular is a kde4 app, and you need some kde4 stuff for it. I haven’t checked whether this breaks any of the other kde apps on your system! (Personally, I don’t care — I do have amarok installed but I’m hardly using it; I’ve grown fond of quodlibet instead).

Then, you can do:

sudo aptitude install okular

This will install a lot of dependencies.

You won’t be able to start okular by just using the command okular in a terminal, but you can find it in the Xfce menu under the “Graphics” applications. However, a

ps -ef | grep okular

while okular is running reveals that it sits at /usr/lib/kde4/bin/okular, so you can add

alias okular="/usr/lib/kde4/bin/okular"

to your ~/.bashrc (or, maybe add /usr/lib/kde4/bin to your PATH).

MikTeX package manager for Linux

June 15th, 2008

One of the few things I really missed when I switched from Windows to Linux was MikTeX, since it makes installation of LaTeX packages very easy, where Linux makes you jump through hoops. So I’m delighted that MikTeX brings this functionality to Linux, trough MikTeX Tools.

Since this is not available through aptitude, you have to download the source and compile, it but it’s straightforward if you follow the readme file that comes with the package. Above all, Ubuntu proved great as usual at helping me get the missing dependencies, by automatically suggesting which package I needed to aptitude when I typed a command it didn’t find (curl-config and cmake).

I just had one problem: when I tried to update the mpm database, I got:

mpm --update-db
mpm: error while loading shared libraries: cannot open shared object file: No such file or directory

It turns out the source files were in a different location, and all I had to do was:

sudo ldconfig

Now installing packages is as easy as:

mpm --install=emerald

Binding a key to the middle mouse button with xmodmap and xkbset

June 3rd, 2008

Great, I just found this here. This is how you can bind a key to the middle mouse button (I use the middle mouse button a lot to (a) paste stuff from the clipboard, (b) open links in background tabs in Firefox). I used the pause/break key, so it’s slightly modified. I first had to get xkbset via aptitude.

sudo aptitude install xkbset
xmodmap -e 'keysym Pause Break = Pointer_Button2'
xkbset m
xkbset exp =m

I don’t know yet whether this will persist after a reboot.

How to use mutt to e-mail images from DigiKam

May 26th, 2008

DigiKam has a nice feature that lets you e-mail images; it’s in the Image menu. You can change the mail agent to use, in the Mail tab of the dialogue that comes up. That’s nice as well. However, you can only pick from a dropdown of predefined mail agents, and that list doesn’t include mutt. (I first tried to trick DigiKam, by picking Thunderbird and then entering exo-open into the custom path for Thunderbird, but this doesn’t work).

You can, however, pick the “Default” mail agent DigiKam’s dropdown. Note that this will not use the mail agent that you’ve set as default in Xubuntu (or Ubuntu) (which sucks — I wish KDE apps would just accept the system defaults for that). You can generally change such settings using …


… and on a real KDE system, you would look for KDE ComponentsDefault ApplicationsEmail Client. Unfortunately, if you’re using Ubuntu or Xubuntu, you’ll notice that you don’t have an item Default Applications. Here’s what worked for me on Xubuntu:

sudo aptitude install kde-systemsettings

Now you’ll find the entry in kcontrol as described above. I’ve just set it to /usr/bin/exo-open, as this always gets translated to the default mail app that I’ve currently set via Preferred Applications in the Xfce Menu (which conveniently has a default for Mutt).