Wednesday, December 31, 2008

The secret CLI of the SRW2016 switch

I wrote earlier about my new switch. I've now gotten time to play with it - and started testing munin with it. Munin now has a very nice Munin::Plugin::SNMP module to support SNMP plugins - and just minutes ago I managed to verify that it works correctly with authenticated SNMPv3. My main problem was that I didn't specify '-l authNoPriv' on the snmpwalk command line. When I tried the snmp__uptime plugin with SNMPv3 configuration it worked at once. I spent *hours* figuring that out.

It turns out that the web view for the switch really only works with IE on Windows (not even Firefox on Windows) and even uses a ActiveX plugin. This sucks. BUT, the switch has a s3cr1t cli! Firstly telnet to the switch and enable the ssh interface by navigating the menus.

Then ssh to it, log in on the screen and at the menu screen press ^Z. You get a ">" prompt at which you can type "?" or "help" or "lcli". Lcli will ask for your username and password again. And then you're in a IOS look-alike cli interface. There is a wiki for it here with some articles on different things. It can clearly benefit from your contributions.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Pulse-audio rant

I have always found that audio works better if I disable sound servers. So in KDE I have always disabled artsd. In F10 everything seems to be compiled to first use pulse-audio-server (se amazing architecture diagram on the right), a gnome desktop sound server, and then, perhaps, the ALSA device driver. After my upgrade to F10 it was first only half installed and impossible to get working. After intensive use of strace and google I figured out that installing pulse-audio-utils and rebooting to reset whatever erronous state the machine was in fixed that.

Now that I got Amarok working too I finaly found that everything but the flash plugin in Firefox supports pulse-audio. Wouldn't play Money For Nothing off YouTube. Somehow flash and pulse-audio/amarok excludes each other. Quitting Amarok (small click in the speakers as it shuts down - I've not heard that in ages...) and restarting Firefox took care of that, but what a bother.

Out goes pulse-audio:

# rpm -qa | grep pulse

Find list of offending packages. Then:

# yum remove pulseaudio-libs-glib2 pulseaudio-core-libs pulseaudio

And yet again Alsamixer will show a sane selection of mixer levers. I'm probably some kind of dinosaur but why are the young 'uns keeping up this crap? ALSA is all we (I) need! Go away! In the future George Bush will be dead (he said so himself) and the rest of us will use laptops. We don't need no steenking network sound daemons.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Mp3 support for Amarok in Fedora 10

I recently upgraded my one Fedora machine to f10. Being a KDE user I was forced to switch to KDE 4 on yet another machine. I must say: f10 with KDE is very nice looking. I've also been forced to this with Ubuntu 8.10 (U810). The KDE 4 in Ubuntu 8.10 is not as nice looking - mostly thanks to the way cool solar background image in f10.

And that 3D acceleration works on my f10 box (old ATI card) and not on my U810 machine - for reasons unfathomable to me. So finally my KDE has native fadey and wobbely windows without requiring the ingestion of intoxicating substances. Clearly the twenty-ohoh's have reached my desktop too.

Which just leaves me with the need to make my point: F10 comes with Amarok 2. As usual mp3 is not supported but the old ways to fix this are obsolete. Working instructions for f10 was not so easy to find. The Fedora Wiki directs it's readers to buy a gstreamer plugin to enable mp3 playback.

In the end I found instructions for getting the support from rpmfusion - yet another addon repo for Fedora. I had to do this:

# rpm -Uvh

# yum groupinstall sound-and-video

To paraphrase Dire Straits (first big release on CD way back then): All I want is my MP3! --- I have no idea which one - or ones of the packages were needed to fix the mp3 support.

All I want for Christmas is...

Today (24th) was Christmas in Norway. Just one of the ways Santa manages to get more time to deliver the packages - I'm sure he has lots more coping strategies.

My wife and I are building a house. It'll be done come summer (the roof is on now, roofing tiles and all :-). So I've started to plan ahead for the machine room. The house will have pretty good wiring potential - we'll be able to wire at need (if I have forseen our needs and specified sufficient tubing for wiring). So next obvious need is a switch. Need one with management, VLAN and SNMP support of course; to be able to do interesting things. So my Christmas gift to myself is a Linksys SRW2016, a 16 port 10/100/1000Mbps switch. Way cheap. The management is of the "webview" flavour, but what the hell, it was cheap at the price and has good capabilities. The VLANs will enable me to use as little wiring as posible. The SNMP support will hopefuly motivate me to make Munin a fully fledged MRTG killer (it's important to have dreams! :-) I'll just have to cope with the "webview", whatever.

Best of all, it's fan free and rack mountable. In a few months I'll have to find a cheap 19", 80cm-1m deep rack. If anyone in the Oslo (Norway) area has a rack to spare please write (or call or SMS or MMS)! In the mean-time I have a toy :-)

God Jul!

Friday, December 12, 2008

Linux and Brother MFPs

I've spent some time at my parents' lately. My dad has a huge beast called Brother DCP-9045CDN in the basement office. It's a "MFP", or multi-function printer. It's a scanner/colour printer combo that can also copy. It has a 35 page automatic paper feeder tray.

Ages ago when multifunction devices were introduced it was the age of "winprinters" and "winmodems" - dumb printers and modems that needed pretty advanced and hardware close drivers to work. The multifunction devices were exactly the same. Some of these worked with Linux but everyone were better off avoiding the win* hardware. Winmodems have since gone the way of the dinosaur it seems. I've not researched MFPs in general but this Brother device is very Linux friendly. So friendly is that Brother provides drivers in both RPM and DEB formats.

I'm plesantly surprised and happy :-)

Looking into this device I found that the printer supports PCL and BR-Script. BR-Script seems a very capable Postscript clone. No need for downloading drivers: just open your CUPS (the Linux/Unix/OS X printer software) configuration interface and configure it as a br-script brother device. This printer has the IP address, so I tell CUPS the printer URL is lpd:// (does anyone know what the IPP URL for these devices are?) CUPS has a good set of Brother drivers and I selected the one described as "Brother DCP-8040 BR-Script3". Once set up it printed at once.

To use the scanner I needed to go to and follow the links do support/download drivers and select Linux. I downloaded the .deb package, ran dpkg -i on it on my Ubuntu 8.04 (Hardy) machine. I guess if I hadn't fiddled with this Firefox would have run a GUI installer on the package for me so I just would have had to click "OK". The package contained SANE drivers. SANE is the standard scanner framework on Linux. I just had to run "brsaneconfig2 -a name=dcp9045 model=DCP-9045CDN ip=" as root - very clearly documented on the site. Then I ran "kooka" (KDE scanner program) from the KDE menu, it asked me what scanner I wanted to use, I selected the Brother one. Insert paper in the scanner press "scan" and it just worked.

*grumble* When Linux is as easy as 1-2-3 - where is the fun in it? >:-)

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Neonode goes bankrupt

If you read my previous posting about the current state of phones you may have been worried for me. Or not. I ended up getting a Neonode N2. For the size, not for the feature list. The feature list is sort of lacking, but they made up for it by very nicely and thoughtfully solving a gaggle of other things.

The one item I've ever owned that got the most "what the hell is that?" or "that's some small phone!" comments. That quite popular phones were this small around 2001 is clearly forgotten.

I like it for it's logical and direct interface. I would have bought their next model. But they went bankrupt. I wonder where I'll have to turn for my next phone.