Adobe Flash 10 for 64-bit Ubuntu Linux

Since Ubuntu Hardy Heron, it has become much easier to install Flash on Ubuntu, but the included restricted packages always leave me a bit disappointed. Luckily, Adobe provides a proper 64-bit version of Flash for Linux called “Square”. Since I tend to automate my installations, I wrote a script to install the latest version of Flash on my computer:

#! /bin/bash

# Remove any installed Flash packages
aptitude remove --quiet --assume-yes flashplugin-installer flashplugin-nonfree

cd /tmp/
tar xzvf $FLASH
mv /usr/lib64/mozilla/plugins/

Now Flash runs properly, and with the switch to “Square,” it even seems to consume fewer resources on my machine.

MySQL Duplicate Key in Table Errors

Recently, I tried to dump data from a production database and import it locally in a development environment. I went through the normal process of dumping the data:

mysqldump database > database.sql

And importing it locally:

mysql database < database.sql

However, I quickly got a duplicate key error:

ERROR 1022 (23000) at line 1170: Can't write; duplicate key in table 'sys_tracking_archive'

After some looking, I discovered the “–insert-ignore” option:

mysqldump --insert-ignore > database.sql

The second attempt to import the data worked correctly. Alternatively, I could have replaced all instances of “INSERT” with “INSERT IGNORE” in the original SQL dump file.

Privileged SSH Port Forwarding with Sudo

There are many articles about privileged SSH port forwarding but not much about properly using SSH keys and config files.

The problem is that upon typing:

ssh dakara -L 80:localhost:80

the response is:

Privileged ports can only be forwarded by root.

The obvious solution is to just use sudo:

sudo ssh dakara -L 80:localhost:80

but this produces:

ssh: Could not resolve hostname dakara: Name or service not known

Unfortunately, “dakara” is a host configured in ~/.ssh/config and not available to root. This can be fixed with:

sudo ssh -F ~/.ssh/config dakara -L 80:localhost:80

but this tries to connect as root and prompts for a password. Adding “-l $USER” sets the user name to my user name (This could also be set in the SSH config file.), and adding “-E” to sudo preserves the environment allowing my SSH agent to be used.

sudo -E ssh -F ~/.ssh/config -l $USER dakara -L 80:localhost:80

Now everything connects, and I am not prompted for a password.

FreeNX on Ubuntu

I have been using FreeNX on Ubuntu Linux as a terminal server for remote graphical access. (It’s similar to Remote Desktop on Windows.) It’s fast and works quite well on slow Internet connections. NoMachine provides clients for Mac OS X, Windows, and Linux, which means I can connect to my machine from anywhere.

Most of the instructions are available in Ubuntu’s documentation for FreeNX. First, add the repository, update the package listings, and install the FreeNX package:

add-apt-repository ppa:freenx-team
aptitude update
aptitude install --quiet --assume-yes freenx

Finally, set up FreeNX. I opt to use the default SSH key pairs (“–setup-nomachine-key”) because it doesn’t require additional configuration for the client to connect. I added the “–clean –purge” to fix authentication errors that I began having after I upgraded to Ubuntu 9.10.

/usr/lib/nx/nxsetup --install --setup-nomachine-key --clean --purge

After I install a client, I can connect to my computer from anywhere and use it as though I were sitting in front of it.

Simple Scan on Ubuntu

I have an HP ScanJet 5300C scanner and have had no luck getting it to run on Mac OS X after 10.3 Panther, Windows Server 2003, and Ubuntu Hardy Heron. After I upgraded to Ubuntu Karmic Koala, the XSane Image Scanner applications would scan a preview but would not actually save the image. (That’s more progress than I have had for a few years.) Next, I installed Simple Scan, which scanned and saved the image nicely. The program is a little simpler than I would like, but it beats the complexity of XSane. More importantly, it worked.

Review of Lake Erie Systems

I recently purchased an HP Color LaserJet 2550 Fuser from Lake Erie Systems. It was a little pricey, but it arrived quickly and functioned as promised. Apparently I was not particularly observant when I purchased a new fuser because I did not see that they also had an exchange program for refurbished fusers. I inquired via email as to options to return my old (empty) fuser and possibly receive some sort of credit. The representative that I worked with explained that credit is only available for refurbished fusers but that he would refund me $10 regardless. I informed him that I had not received a shipping label to return the current fuser. He apologized and sent out a shipping label, which arrived promptly. I mailed the fuser back and received my $10 credit.

Bottom line: Lake Erie Systems delivers their products promptly and as advertised. Their customer service is attentive and accommodating.

Ubuntu 9.10 Karmic Koala

I finally upgraded my brother’s desktop computer and my desktop computer to Ubuntu 9.10 Karmic Koala. Prior, both had been running Ubuntu 8.04 Hardy Heron, which was stable but was starting to show its age. I’ve always found that bleeding edge works well for desktops and tried and true works better for servers.

Ubuntu 9.10 works well, but I have discovered a few unresolved bugs that have proven to be annoyances. I’ve resigned myself to not being able to burn optical discs under Karmic because of a bug. This extends beyond Brasero to include the Wodim command line burning tool. After I upgraded, I switched from Rhythmbox to Banshee because it has better iPod syncing capabilities. However, those capabilities are a bit flaky, and I had to use this hack to make things work.

Regardless, it was a helpful and necessary upgrade. I look forward to the Ubuntu 10.04 Lucid Lynx update in April.

Decommissioning of LFS2 Mac OS X Server after 4.5 years

After four and a half years, I am turning LFS2 off for good.

According to the “/var/log/OSInstall.custom” log, “Native install completed 2005-08-14 18:55:58 -0700,” which is just under four and a half years ago. I have finally migrated all of the data and functionality (print, file, and LDAP) from Lund File Server 2 (LFS2) to Athos. LFS2 held up surprisingly well considering it was only a 533 MHz G4 with 768 MB RAM. When I set it up, I installed three used 120 GB Western Digital hard drives. After four and a half years of running continuously, all three drives still appear operational.

ISP Technical Support Sucks

Ars Technica has a nice writeup about “Dropped DSL and missing e-mail: two tales of moving woes.” I think one of the authors sums up technical support for any company perfectly:

If there were any doubts that Verizon has helpful dedicated people, this experience put them to rest. Unfortunately, I know that I’ll never encounter any of them the next time that I have a problem that requires me to dial in to the standard tech support line.

I rarely encounter competent technical support, whether it is at Embarq/CenturyLink, AT&T, Comcast, Time Warner, or Apple. What should take five minutes regularly takes multiple calls and even more tech support agents. On occasion, I do get someone helpful, but it is unfortunately not the norm.