"A human being should be able to change a diaper, plan an invasion, butcher a hog, conn a ship, design a building, write a sonnet, balance accounts, build a wall, set a bone, comfort the dying, take orders, give orders, cooperate, act alone, solve equations, analyze a new problem, pitch manure, program a computer, cook a tasty meal, fight efficiently, die gallantly. Specialization is for insects." (Robert A. Heinlein)

Monday, 28 March 2016

Test Drive: Ubuntu Mate 16.04 on the EEEPC

Here I am, again, doing some “test-drive” on the EEEPC 900 and some newly released Linux distribution. Even thought I found, with Xubuntu, a stable lightweight solution for my old netbook still I'm looking curiously to what other lightweight solutions have to offer. After reading about the soon to be released Ubuntu-Mate 16.04 and its new so called “Mutiny” desktop layout, I so decided to download and give it a try.

A quick look ...

After boot Ubuntu Mate 16.04 welcomes you with the usual reassuring old styled desktop. In addition a handy welcome application is started too.

Saturday, 27 February 2016

Monitoring the Raspberry PI with RPI-Monitor

My Raspberry PI is, ,silently and tirelessly, doing its work as a headless server, mostly working as media-server thanks to MiniDLNA and SFPG gallery. Thanks to all this working silent and without asking maintenance I sometimes even forget about the Raspberry PI this is because I felt the need of looking for a tool that allowed me to check the Raspberry status trough a simple web interface.


RPI-Monitor is a web-based monitoring application developed by RPI-Experiences. I got informed about it by reading its description on eLinux.org page. On the same page I also found detailed information on how to set-up repository and install RPI-Monitor package so that installing it has been a mere copy-and-paste exercise.
sudo apt-get install apt-transport-https ca-certificates
sudo wget http://goo.gl/rsel0F -O /etc/apt/sources.list.d/rpimonitor.list
sudo apt-key adv --recv-keys --keyserver keyserver.ubuntu.com 2C0D3C0F
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install rpimonitor
Once installed RPI-Monitor is available at port 8888 of Raspberry PI address
The “Start” button brings to RPI-Monitor status page where monitoring information is neatly exposed

Wednesday, 6 January 2016

Ubuntu 15.10: Some post installation fix

After upgrading my desktop computer to Ubuntu-Gnome 15.10 I went on with installing software packages I needed and it took me a while to notice there were problems in my network disk mounts. I had the configuration copied from the previously backed-up “fstab” configuration file. Everything was working fine before upgrading but in the new installation the system started with the configured Samba shares unavailable. Manually re-executing the mount sequence (with command “sudo mount -a”) solved the problem until next reboot.
I checked the system log and got the following error message:

Jan 3 11:15:05 veritons661 kernel: [ 20.826880] CIFS VFS: Error connecting to socket. Aborting operation.
Jan 3 11:15:05 veritons661 kernel: [ 20.827770] CIFS VFS: Error connecting to socket. Aborting operation.
Jan 3 11:15:05 veritons661 mount[680]: mount error(101): Network is unreachable
Jan 3 11:15:05 veritons661 mount[680]: Refer to the mount.cifs(8) manual page (e.g. man mount.cifs)
Jan 3 11:15:05 veritons661 kernel: [ 20.828593] CIFS VFS: cifs_mount failed w/return code = -101
Jan 3 11:15:05 veritons661 systemd[1]: media-nas.mount: Mount process exited, code=exited status=32
Jan 3 11:15:05 veritons661 systemd[1]: Failed to mount /media/nas.
Jan 3 11:15:05 veritons661 systemd[1]: Dependency failed for Remote File Systems.
Jan 3 11:15:05 veritons661 systemd[1]: remote-fs.target: Job remote-fs.target/start failed with result 'dependency'.
Jan 3 11:15:05 veritons661 systemd[1]: media-nas.mount: Unit entered failed state.
Apparently, during the boot process, the system tried to mount network drives before the network was up and ready. I quickly discovered I wasn't alone with my problem, AskUbuntu pages offered some solutions. The first I tried, using the “_netdev” mount option in order to force the system to wait for the network to be ready, didn't work for me. The second solution has been configuring the network shares to be mounted only at the first access using “noauto” and “x-systemd.automount” mount options.
Here is how my “fstab” configuration looks like:

// /media/nas cifs noauto,x-systemd.automount,x-systemd.device-timeout=3,uid=maxx,credentials=/home/maxx/.smbcredentials,iocharset=utf8,sec=ntlm,file_mode=0777,dir_mode=0777 0 0
# Public
// /media/public cifs noauto,x-systemd.automount,x-systemd.device-timeout=3,guest,uid=maxx,iocharset=utf8,file_mode=0777,dir_mode=0777 0 0
The network shares are now correctly mounted and there is no noticeable delay at first access. Only Nautilus seems to have been driven a little crazy about it since it shows drive icons doubled.

Thursday, 24 December 2015

Thursday, 3 December 2015

Ubuntu 15.10 “Wily Werewolf” on Veriton S661 (full install)

After almost one year I managed, just in these days, to change my Internet provider and have back my land-line ADSL connection. First things first, I started with updating my home desktop computer (the Acer Veriton S661) I left mostly unattended during this period since my mobile Internet contract was barely enough for daily connectivity needs. Unfortunately it seems my computer has been left too much without upgrading and the update process halted signaling many “404” errors while accessing to different repository locations. May be I could find another solution to upgrade my system but, since I usually keep the “/home/” folder on a separate partition, I decided to go for a complete re-installation of latest Ubuntu-Gnome release.

The installation process

I proceeded with installing as usual, prepared a USB disk with Ubuntu's tool, booted from it and went on with installing. On order to maintain my separate home partition I selected the custom “Something else” installation type