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Use Enigmail with Thunderbird 56 beta

12 Sep

If you are trying the sign and encrypt your emails with Enigmail (v. 1.9.8.2 in my case) in the latest Thunderbird 56 beta (v. 56.0b3 in my case), you might run into a blocker:

  • In Enigmail Preferences > Basic > Files and directory, a simple “(error)” appears and there is no way to fix the path the the gpg binary with an override;
  • When you try sending an email, an error message pops up: “Failed to initialize Enigmail. Send unencrypted message?”;
  • When you click on the Enigmail button in the composer window, a window pops up and vanishes in a fraction of a second;
  • The error console (ctrl + shift + J) shows an error message: “Contract ID ‘@mozilla.org/enigmail/cline-handler;1’ was registered as a command line handler for entry ‘cline-enigmail’, but could not be created.”

The issue has been fixed in a development version of Enigmail, so you will have to install the Enigmail Nightly build (the version 2.0a1pre works for me).

To install a downloaded addon (as an .xpi file), you will have to go to add-ons > extensions > cog button > install add-on from file.

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Fix “unmet dependency” issue for pulseaudio in KXStudio (and others)

18 Aug

[note: this tip will apply to other “unmet dependency” situations, but definitely not all of them]

If you are a user of the KXStudio repos, and use an environment rid of pulseaudio, you probably were disappointed to see that Firefox recently stopped supporting the ALSA backend. The issue came back recently for me, as Firefox 55 does not seem to have been compiled with the --enable-alsa.

If you are having the “unmet dependency” issue when trying to install pulseaudio-module-jack with apt-get, it might be an issue with conflicting package versions from different sources.

The following packages have unmet dependencies.
pulseaudio-module-jack : Depends: pulseaudio but it is not going to be installed
E: Unable to correct problems, you have held broken packages.

If you use aptitude instead, you will get some more info:

The following packages have unmet dependencies:
pulseaudio : Depends: libpulse0 (= 1:4.0-0ubuntu11.1) but 1:4.0-0ubuntu11.1+kxstudio1 is installed.

The culprit seems to be libpulse0 here. In other cases, you might have to follow the thread of unmet dependencies down until you get to the bottom of it (as in the case of Wine in another similar situation I had).

You can see that the conflicting versions of the package are basically the same, so using one over the other should not cause issues. The problem here is that the KXStudio version has an extra long name to identify its source. You can now identify the different versions of the package that are available:

apt-cache policy libpulse0

… and force the installation of a specific version:

sudo apt-get install libpulse0=1:4.0-0ubuntu11.1

After that, you should be able to install pulseaudio-module-jack without running into any issue.

Remember to start PulseAudio in Cadence so sound comes out of Firefox (no need to restart anything).

An alternative to Facebook events

7 Dec

After leaving Facebook, you realise how much people rely on it to organise events. Some organisations and even administrations actually only use Facebook to publicise their events, and people have to have an account to be able to RSVP, or even have a look at the detailed information.

Screenshot_2016-12-04-19-24-07.png

The pleasures of browsing a Facebook event when not signed up. Interestingly, the mobile view shows even less than the desktop website: not even a description of the event.

I thought I’d ask and look around for an alternative that people could use. Heck, even my local council advertises their events mostly through Facebook, how inclusive is that.

Ideally, my alternative event hosting would:

  • not require an account to RSVP or browse the information;
  • be free of charge;
  • be based on Free or Open Source software;
  • be respectful of privacy;
  • allow to export the event in different formats to add to calendars;
  • be easy to connect to Facebook.

The reality is that people still love the convenience of having all their events centralised in their Facebook, which means that if I am to convince some people to use a different service / platform, it will have to be nicely hooked up to Facebook so they don’t have to do twice as much work.

Sadly, the social network I am currently using (Diaspora, part of the Federation) does not have an event element to it. However, I used it to ask the community if they had ideas.

Some people recommended software like OpenSondage, Framadate (based on OpenSondage), and Dudle. Unfortunately, those are only enough to figure out what is the best time to schedule an event, as opposed to a fully-fledged event manager (where people see a description with a picture, find times and the address, can RSVP and share…).

I was also recommended to use ownCloud or Nextcloud to create an event with the calendar app. That is not enough, as it is not possible to advertise the event publicly – only through email. However, Framasoft based their software Framagenda on it, adding some functionalities like sharing the event by public link – but I could only figure out how to make a whole calendar public. It seems like the differences with the Nextcloud calendar element are minor.

Communecter is a great tool that allows to build a network between citizens, local councils, businesses and organisations. It looks very useful but is more directed towards organising and communicating at the local level, to foster inclusion  and involvement in the community. Not quite the simple event-creating tool I am looking for.

Open Event is Free Software (GPL-3.0) with several components to create events that follow a standard format and publish them to the web with a website generator, or to Android with an app generator; another component allows organisers to self-host a fully-fledged event manager that supports venues, programs and invitations. This is a very promising piece of software, and there is a live implementation at open-event-dev.herokuapp.com, but I could not register an account in order to test the event creation. It is definitely a project I will closely follow as it seems it is the closest to my requirements, but it seems it needs some more work to be usable on the demonstration website (server error when creating an account, 404 when trying to get a free ticket to an event, missing “how it works” page…). Their standardised format also makes it a great candidate for a potential integration in other Free Software projects like Diaspora.

Another very promising piece of Free Software that allows you to self-host is Attendize (AAL). It is already completely functional as a feature-full event management system (messaging, stats, ticketing and payment…), and is also very beautiful. There is a demonstration backend but it is only designed to test the software, which makes it less likely to replace an event manager that you simply need to sign up to. However, the software is very advanced and fits most of my requirements, so it is definitely something I would look into self-hosting.

Finally, Eventbrite is the obvious alternative that ticks most of the boxes. It is free of charge for free events, but their codebase is not entirely released as Free or Open Source software, although the company seems active on different FLOSS projects (see their GitHub account). They work hard on providing a good API to integrate their services to other apps and websites, which makes it super easy for Facebook users to have their event on both platforms.

In conclusion:

  • If you are ready to self-host, go with Attendize: it is Free Software and seems to do everything you might need it to as far as managing events goes. Also keep an eye out for developments in Open Event.
  • If you are advertising your events on Facebook but want to make them available to all, please create them on something like Eventbrite. They have a one-click Facebook publishing button that will make life easier, and you won’t coerce people into (re-)creating a Facebook account.

Do you know of other alternatives that would match the requirements?

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Remove DRMs from Kobo’s KEPUB format

1 Nov

Kobo decided to go the proprietary Digital Restriction Management (DRM) way by providing some ebooks bought on their platform in their in-house Kepub format. This means that they can only be read on a Kobo device.

You might have noticed that, when trying to copy an ebook from your Kobo device to your desktop Calibre library, it tells you it can’t do that because the book is “virtual”.

You can actually remove the DRMs from that format by using a plugin called Obok, part of the great DeDRM toolbox provided by Apprentice Harper.

  1. Download the latest obok_plugin.zip file from GitHub;
  2. Open Calibre (if you don’t have this amazing ebook management app already, install it);
  3. Install the plugin: `Preferences > Plugins > Load plugin from file`;
  4. Use the Obok plugin with your device plugged in: select the problematic Kepub ebook(s) and let it do its magic. You can now copy the ebook to your library without those pesky DRMs!

Learn more about the Kepub format on wiki.mobileread.com.

This was tested with Calibre 2.71, Obok DeDRM 6.5.3 and a Kobo Touch with its software at version 3.19.5761.

Add missing icons in Ring client

14 Sep

You might have noticed that your Ring desktop client (in my case, the ring package for an Ubuntu 14.04-based distro, version 20160908.1.07d3d92~dfsg1-1 at the time of writing, launched with the gnome-ring command) is missing some icons and shows a red “forbidden” sign instead.

Missing icons in Ring client

Missing icons in Ring client

I fixed that by simply installing a missing dependency called gnome-icon-theme-symbolic. You can do that by executing the following command in a terminal:

sudo apt-get install gnome-icon-theme-symbolic

Close and re-launch the client and the icons should be restored.

Fix two conflicting versions of Keybase

8 Sep

Not having updated keybase in a while (since 0.8.23!…), I ran into an issue after trying to get the latest version (1.0.17) as described on the website: an apt-cache policy keybase would tell me that I had the most recent version installed, whereas running keybase version would return the older one.

The problem is that keybase went from Node.js to Go, and the install method changed. The older version I had installed created a binary in usr/local/bin whereas the new version installed it in usr/bin.

You can see if that is your case by running the two following commands:

/usr/bin/keybase version
/usr/local/bin/keybase version

They should return different versions.

To fix that, you need to uninstall the older version with the following command:

sudo npm uninstall -g keybase

Then, run run_keybase and you should be good!

Install HWSD Viewer on an Ubuntu 14.04-based system

17 Aug

The Harmonized World Soil Database (HWSD) is a 30 arc-second raster database put together by a consortium of organisations: FAO, CAS, IIASA, ISRIC and JRC. It is a monumental collection of data about soil from all around the globe, and is therefore an important tool for researchers.

You can download the raw data or  visualise it on ISRIC’s online viewer, but there is a (closed-source) viewer app specially created to visualise, browse and query the data offline, the “HWSD Viewer”, which unfortunately was only developed for Windows.

To make the viewer work on and Ubuntu 14.04-based system (like KXStudio 14.04, but probably many other OS), you need to:

  1. Make sure you have Wine installed;
  2. Install the viewer, using the binary accessible from this FAO page;
  3. Install the missing runtime libraries thanks to Winetricks, with the following command:
winetricks jet40 mdac28

That should sort you out!

Specifically, what the Winetricks command resolves is:

  • The error message “This setup does not support installing on this operating system.” when trying to install MDAC from the Microsoft website;
  • The error message “Provider cannot be found. It may not be properly installed.” when the software realises Jet40 is not available.

HWSD viewer

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LibreOffice 5.1 becomes “still”, time to upgrade

28 Jun

If you haven’t done so already, it is the right time to upgrade to the LibreOffice 5.1 branch given that, with the release of the 5.1.4 version a few days ago, this branch becomes the “still” (i.e. more stable and secure) branch. Plus, the 5.0 branch reached end of life back in May, which means there won’t be any security fixes any more.

The 5.1 branch brings exciting new features (full release notes here), including:

  • Improvements to formula wizard (Calc)
  • New commands to add rows and column (Calc)
  • New statistics dialogue for calculating regressions (Calc)
  • PNG export (Calc)
  • Many improvements to formula engine (Calc)
  • Reorganised mode selection (Impress)
  • New “equalise” command for shapes (Impress, Draw)
  • Restart counter from presenter console (Impress)
  • Four new transitions (Impress)
  • Import MathML from clipboard (Math)
  • Improved trend line (Chart)
  • New and improved import/export filters (which means better format compatibility)
  • Reorganised menus
  • Lots of sidebar improvements (new sidebar, reorganised items, new buttons and icons…)
  • Special characters in spelling dialogue

On an Ubuntu-based system, you can upgrade to 5.1 by using the following commands in a terminal.

If you already had a PPA installed, remove it. For example, for the 5.0 PPA:

sudo add-apt-repository --remove ppa:libreoffice/libreoffice-5-0

Remove LibreOffice entirely:

sudo apt-get purge libreoffice*

Add the new PPA:

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:libreoffice/libreoffice-5-1

Update your repository info:

sudo apt-get update

Finally, install LibreOffice from the new repository:

sudo apt-get install libreoffice

That’s it!

Note: If you are on Linux Mint, your LibreOffice version might be “pinned” and you will need to do a bit more to upgrade. See this post for example. You might also need to install re-install libreoffice-gnome for it to look right.

Install Clementine 1.3 on Puppy Linux Tahrpup 6.0

16 Jun

I installed Puppy Linux for the first time, on my old decaying netbook that serves as a music station. Puppy Linux is more than a distro, it is a multi-faceted Linux project that experiments with different concepts. It also is a solution for resuscitating an old computer as it is very light and snappy for a number of reasons. The stock audio player Guayadeque is a great app, but I was missing my good old Clementine for the network remote feature.

On the Ubuntu 14.04-based Tahrpup 6.0 version, the stock version of Clementine is quite outdated. To install the more recent Clementine 1.3, you will need to get the right DEB installer from the Clementine website (the one packaged for Ubuntu 14.04, in its 32-bit architecture version), execute it, and then resolve the missing dependencies.

On my fresh install, the missing dependencies were:

  • libprotobuf
  • libechonest
  • libglew
  • libgstreamer-plugins-base1.0
  • liblastfm
  • libfftw3
  • libcrypto++

To install them, you can use Puppy’s PPM tool located in “Menu > Setup”, search them and click one on each of them to add them to the list of packages to install. You just need to click on “Do it!” when you have them all listed.

A way to check for package dependencies is to use the built-in tool “Check dependencies installed pkg”, accessible from “Menu > Setup”.

After that, Clementine should run, but if you get a crash when trying to play a track, you might want to also install the following gstreamer 1.0 plugins in order to decode most formats:

  • gstreamer1.0-plugins-good
  • gstreamer1.0-plugins-bad
  • gstreamer1.0-plugins-ugly

Upgrade CKeditor when migrating from Drupal 6 to 7

10 Jun

Here is a quick fix that might help you if you are migrating from Drupal 6 to Drupal 7.

If your CKEditor version is stuck at 3.6 in your status report, but you are sure you have the latest version of the module in your module folder, you might think that Drupal 7 deliberately only offers the CKEditor 3 branch.

Actually, you can use CKEditor 4 by checking if the path to your installation is right, and by making sure you have the actual latest library files in the right folder.

First, download the module and unpack it into the right module folder (probably sites/all/modules/contrib). You might have to remove a pre-existing CKEditor module folder. (Or better, rename it to ckeditor_old for the time being, and delete it when you are sure everything works fine.)

Then, download the library files add the library files into the ckeditor/ckeditor folder (where the COPY_HERE.txt file is).

Finally, you can change the path to the CKEditor library files by going to your website’s /admin/config/content/ckeditor/editg page and pointing to %m/ckeditor in the “Path to CKEditor” field.

This should allow you to use the latest version of CKEditor. Check in your status report that the right version appears. If everything goes well (and if you have copied your custom configurations to your new installation, specifically to the ckeditor.config.js file, if needed), you can delete the old module folder and the old library files.