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Fix limitcheck error when trying to print a PDF

17 Mar

I use an old salvaged office printer (Kyocera Ecosys FS-1118MFP) which might not be able to handle some fancy things with recent PDFs – or, who knows, the PDF was a very crappy one?

When trying to print the PDF in questions, I got an empty page and another one with the following error message:

ERROR:
limitcheck
OFFENDING COMMAND:
filter
STACK:
--nostringval--
--nostringval--
--nostringval--
--nostringval--
/DataSource
--nostringval--
--nostringval--
false
-mark-
-mark-
-mark-

A limitcheck error happens when a request “Exceeds printer’s memory or PostScript language limit.” The “offending command here” is “filter”, which probably has to do with decompressing an image.

On the second attempt at printing, the printer was stuck with the “receiving” led blinking for ages.

What helped me to print that PDF: I opened it with LibreOffice Draw (currently using version 6.1.5.2), which now does a great job at handling PDFs. I then exported it as a new PDF, which interestingly changed the size from 626.4 kB to 125.5 kB. I was then able to print the PDF without any error, and without having the printer think about it for an hour.

There will be other ways to fix that. You can try different way to reduce the complexity of the document (including converting it to an image before sending it to the printer). People often have success with reinstalling their printer for some reason.

Some links that might be of interest if you have that kind of error:

That was tested on an Ubuntu 18.04-derivative, with LibreOffice Draw version 6.1.5.2, Gnome Document Viewer 3.28.4 and CUPS 2.2.7.

fix all boot options gone from Asus F201E after LibreElec installation

16 Mar

I recently tried to install LibreElec 9.0 on my old Asus F201E, and the installation from the bootable USB seemed to work well, but at first boot from the hard drive, the system goes straight to the Bios options, with the usual boot options nowhere to be seen.

I noticed that I had never updated the BIOS version, so I got the latest from this page, put it on a USB kid (unzipped), turned the laptop on with the USB stick in, accessed the BIOS settings and used the EZ Flash tool. You can see your current BIOS version in there, and you can also navigate on your USB stick to find the update. The tool can then install that and reboots.

Straight after updating the BIOS, the computer booted the LibreElec partition as expected.

I assume that this could also work by restoring the existing version of the BIOS.

Add “open terminal here” in Gnome Files on Ubuntu Budgie 18.04

30 Aug

The distribution I currently used is shipped with Tuxedo computers and is based on Ubuntu Budgie 18.04. The thing that I missed the most when I started using it was the right-click menu item to “Open terminal here” in Gnome Files (version 3.26.3 at the time of writing).

Tilix is the default terminal on this distribution, but it does no matter which one you use. To add an extra right-click menu item to open your default terminal in the current directory, you can open the Software app and search for “Nautilus” (which is the other name of Gnome Files; check that it is indeed marked as “installed”) and tick the add-on called “Terminal plugin for Files“.

You shouldn’t need to log out and back in to see the change: right-clicking inside a directory should now offer the option “Open Tilix Here”.

Install the Riot desktop client on a Debian-based system

20 Jan

Riot is a messaging app that uses the Matrix decentralised communication network. It can be described as a Slack alternative.

It is available as a webapp from your browser, but you can also install a desktop client (which currently looks pretty much the same as the webapp) on a Debian-based system (i.e. all Debian, Ubuntu and Mint derivatives).

To do that, you need to type a few commands in a terminal.

First, you’ll need to add the right repository to fetch the packages from. To do that, open the sources.list file with your favourite text editor (Kate in my example; you might need to be root to be able to save your modifications):

sudo kate /etc/apt/sources.list

In that file, add a new line for the Riot repository, making sure you use the name of the Debian or Ubuntu version your distribution is based on (the list of available versions for this repo is here; for Linux Mint, see this list; in my example, I use “trusty” because my distro is based on Ubuntu 14.04):

deb https://riot.im/packages/debian/ trusty main

Then, download and add the corresponding key for authentication:

cd ~/Downloads
wget https://riot.im/packages/debian/repo-key.asc
sudo apt-key add repo-key.asc

You can now update your repositories and install the app with the two following commands:

sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install riot-web

Enjoy!

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.

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!