Monthly Archives: May 2012

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WCGBrowser updated

I’ve been wanting for some time to update my wcgbrowser code to be python3 compatible, but I’ve been held back by the ambiguity surrounding the configobj library — in a nuthshell, the official project isn’t 3.x compatible, but there is a fork that is. Unfortunately the fork maintainer isn’t putting real effort into a release, and Debian won’t include it until they do.

So fed up with that, I got a wild idea last night to port the code to something more supported. I considered JSON and XML, but settled on YAML, since it seems to be reasonably hand-hackable, well supported, and handles about any data types I need.

I thought this would be a big deal, but surprisingly it only took about 20 minutes to get things working. I decided to keep going with my momentum by adding the remaining command-line configuration parameters to the config file and making sure the whole thing worked with python 3.

I also fixed some logic bugs in the process. Nice.

If anyone out there is actually using it, you can get the latest code on github.  Naturally, the conversion to YAML will break any existing configuration; sorry in advance.  To make up for it, I’ve fully commented the config file so it should be pretty simple to figure out how to port it over.  Also, bear in mind that it’s now looking for a config file called “wcgbrowser.yaml”, not “wcgbrowser.conf”.

Debian for Ubuntu people

It’s no secret that many people’s first Linux experience these days is on Ubuntu; yet as they — for one reason or another — find themselves needing to branch out into the wider Free OS world, Debian is often the next stop along the road.  Having introduced a few Ubuntu users (in real life or online) to Debian, I’ve noticed a few common stumbling blocks, and thought it might be nice to offer a little guide for those making the transition (or expansion) to Ubuntu’s parent distro.

It’s also no secret that there tends to be a bit of friction between the Debian and Ubuntu communities, both users and developers, for a variety of reasons.  For the record, I appreciate and use both distributions quite a bit, so I hope that this article will help users from both camps have a healthy appreciation for the other.


The Debian Administrators Handbook arrives, free!

The big news in the Debian world this week is the liberation of the The Debian Administrators Handbook, which, thanks to donations from a crowdfunding campaign, has now been released under free-as-in-speech licenses.  It’s even been packaged up and placed in the Debian repositories, so it’s a quick “aptitude install” away.

I spent some time browsing through the manual online today, and thought I’d share my reactions.

Ubuntu Studio 12.04

A screen cap of the Ubuntu Studio Desktop

The Ubuntu studio 12.04 desktop.

Not so long ago, I posted about my attempts to bring my old DAW system back to life with Lubuntu.  Emboldened by my success, and eager to get it on a nice firm LTS-release foothold, I tried to upgrade it to Precise Pangolin a few weeks ago.  Sadly, the results were not so great:  after upgrading, I ran afoul of a mysterious bug that caused Ardour, Audacity, and Hydrogen (and possibly other programs) to segfault when I started them.  Despite my best efforts to track down the error (probably caused by my liberal use of PPAs and 3rd-party repositories), it became clear I needed to start afresh.

This time I decided to skip a bit of the DIY and just grab a ready-made audio production distro; after all, there are plenty of them out there, aren’t there?  Well, the hunt began for an audio-production oriented distro that would work decently on an older 32-bit system while promising future updates; and yes, believe me, my not-so-fond-of-Ubuntu friends out there, I didn’t limit myself to ‘buntuland.  Yet search as I might, every project I found seemed either at least 18 months stale (if not out-and-out abandoned), or a one-man project based on Debian or Ubuntu anyway.  In the end, Ubuntu studio seemed best to fit the bill.  So I downloaded the nearly 2 GB .iso file, popped it on my flash drive, and loaded it onto the old workhorse; and here, dear reader, are my findings so far…