Archive for December, 2008

Getting Lucida Typewriter font back

December 17, 2008

While doing some “maintenance” on my Debian Testing system, I upgraded some packages and also decided to get rid of the large xorg.conf and its accumulated cruft; and indeed, after renaming that file (and XF86Config-4 as well) Xorg came up again and also autodetected the new monitor – nice! However, for some reason KDE’s Konsole didn’t have a nice font anymore. Instead of Lucida Typewriter it now used the first font it could find.

Whether that was due to upgrading fontconfig or due to some now-missing font paths I don’t know. However, some googling finally revealed a posting (http://ubuntuforums.org/showthread.php?p=2434863) which explains how to get the bitmap fonts back on board (reconfigure fontconfig to enable bitmap fonts, then rebuild the font cache):

# dpkg-reconfigure fontconfig-config
(select native rendering, automatic AA, and answer yes when asked to enable bitmap fonts. )
# fc-cache -f -v

I didn’t even need to log out – after restarting Konsole, it now offered Lucida Typewriter and many other “Fixed” fonts. Finally usable fonts again :-)

Wifi on EeePC 701 with Ubuntu Hardy

December 3, 2008

Last week I noticed that wireless LAN on my EeePC 701 was quite unreliable under Ubuntu Hardy 8.04 (dropped packets, and very low bandwidth). I was using the new open-source ath5k driver, which apparently has some bugs yet. There seem to be many possible solutions floating around on the net, but what has helped for me is the madwifi driver from Tim Gardners PPA:

  • in Software Sources dialog, add deb http://ppa.launchpad.net/timg-tpi/ubuntu hardy main as package source
  • install “madwifi-kernel-source” package (this also installs dkms and some other stuff, and builds a new ath_pci kernel module); currently, the package is at version 0.3862-1
  • edit /etc/modprobe.d/blacklist: add blacklist ath5k to disable the existing ath5k driver; make sure there is no blacklist ath_pci entry in that file
  • edit /etc/modprobe.d/options to set the correct country code (otherwise you might see a line like this in dmesg: “MadWifi: ath_getchannels: Unable to collect channel list from HAL; regdomain likely 96 country code 0”): add options ath_pci xchanmode=0 outdoor=1 countrycode=276
  • after a reboot, wifi should work, and lsmod | grep ath should show that ath_pci is loaded.

Details for the PPA can be found at https://launchpad.net/~timg-tpi/+archive . The countrycode options are taken from http://wiki.voyage.hk/dokuwiki/doku.php?id=how_to_set_country_code_for_madwifi_device .

So… VNC and Youtube work fine now, so I’m quite happy. Note that this driver is not completely open source, but it should fix wifi until ath5k gets more reliable. Thanks to the madwifi hackers for this driver, and to Tim Gardner for the packaging!

Update: looks like a kernel update overwrote the madwifi driver (which I only noticed out of the blue after doing a reboot instead of suspending). So system loads old ath_pci driver -> chip is not detected -> no Wifi -> stone age :-(

DKMS documentation is scarce on the net; “dkms status” says the module is “built”. Manually running “dkms install -m madwifi -v 0.3862” only gives “Good news! Module version for wlan_xauth.ko exactly matches what is already found in kernel 2.6.24-23-generic. DKMS will not replace this module. You may override by specifying –force.”. Indeed, running “dkms install -m madwifi -v 0.3862 –force” then installs the correct ath_pci.ko in the correct place, but still… Sigh.

Edit box in WordPress

December 3, 2008

Grrr… Why isn’t there a simple checkbox in the WordPress settings interface to disable that evil post editor? I’m on my second post yet and am already annoyed by the weird text selection and copy/paste mechanisms… Don’t they understand that some people might prefer a normal textarea?