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Btw. any ideas which password manager besides LastPass works on iOS, Linux, FreeBSD and OpenBSD (sync with Nextcloud)?

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TIL: Thanks to the commit messages and FreshPorts FreeBSD has actually good change logs which I really miss with Linux distributions

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I just figured out that I can let xscreensaver play random videos via mplayer. Now my screensaver is a random collection of speed runs 😀

Switching and Linux, macOS, Android and iOS

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TL;DR: Yay Linux, Nay Android. Let’s stay with Linux but switch back to iOS.

Recently I am thinking about getting a new computer and phone and whether I should go back to macOS and iOS. I am using Linux and Android for a couple of years now and I am thinking recently about getting new devices. Let’s talk about computers first.

macOS and Linux

macOS is a really nice operating system. It is not open source but thanks to homebrw etc a lot of open source-software runs on it and the command line environment works as expected. Besides that you get a lot of commercial software from big and small companies that you either get on Linux or which you just do not get in that quality on other operating systems1. Additionally you do not need to tinker with them. Most of the time stuff just works.

But for one I like using open source software even though not everything works always. Just yesterday I tried using the proprietary NVIDIA-driver on Fedora 25 and failed miserably which led me to re-installing the system2 but eventually I will get it to work or the open source-driver might even be working well enough which I actually didn’t test yet. Or podcasting doesn’t work as smooth for me as it does on macOS. But I am getting it to work eventually. And nowadays most of the normal stuff just works. Especially when you are using Ubuntu. 16.04 was a “just works”-experience, even after moving my SSD from a Thinkpad X201 to a Dell T3500 with two NVIDIA-cards and a Xeon. The upgrade to 16.10 worked as well. I guess I wouldn’t have there any problems with podcasting, too. Playing games is possible nowadays as well with Steam etc. My recent problems came from trying to get NVIDIA-drivers to work in Fedora 25 which I like for some reason more than Ubuntu. The only thing that I dislike about Linux is that there is no backup-solution like Time Machine. TM is just awesome. But for most of the other stuff modern Linux-distributions just works. And there is even a simple solution for backups but it is not as good as that for macOS. All in all the pros of Linux, be it that it is open-source or that I can run it on commodity hardware just outweighs the cons of macOS with its high prices and hardware that is not servicable at all anymore.

iOS and Android

Android is quite nice in the customizability-department and there is some stuff you can’t do with iOS. For example syncing a single folder in my Dropbox with a single folder on my device, or doing the same with Bittorrent Sync. But nowadays I don’t use capabilities like that really a lot. I like to customize my device though. And buying games for cheap via HumbleBundle is great. And now comes the big “but”. And it is updates. First I owned a Moto X, now an LG G4. Both companies said that they will release updates a short time after Google released the updates. This didn’t happen. In addition Android seems all in all less secure than iOS. I am not even talking about installing apps from outside the Play Store. That’s a matter of using your brain. But the Play Store has from time to time malware and the Stagefright-stuff is frightening. If I am not mistaken I have several public known security bugs on my phone which aren’t patched by LG in a timely manner. That sucks. And the devices by Google cost now as much as iPhones and have an update guarantee of two or three years max. And I cannot install a custom ROM that might get more often updates since that would break my warranty because I would need to unlock the bootloader of my phone. And I already had a warranty case with this phone. I don’t want to risk to unlock my phone and then have a hardware-problem.

Since I do not need to use a computer nowadays in combination with an iPhone, I don’t see why I shouldn’t get a high quality device with a more secure OS than Android. I don’t buy the 100€-Android-devices anyway. I won’t necessarily buy the newest iPhone but the next phone I want to get is definitely an iPhone. Bye bye Android.

P.s.: I’d really like to try Ubuntu Phone but I don’t see a cheap way to do it. I don’t want to shell out 100+€ just for trying out a phone-OS which I might not like.


  1. An example would be OmniFocus…or anything else by the OmniGroup. Or OpenEmu which rocks still a lot more than RetroArch or EmulationStation

  2. which took like 15 minutes plus installing a bit of extra software and updates…thanks to enough bandwidth that’s not taking long as well.

Japanese input in Fedora23

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First the fix:

Set the following in $HOME/.config/imsettings/xinputrc

export GTK_IM_MODULE=ibus
export XMODIFIERS=@im=ibus
export QT_IM_MODULE=ibus

If the folder $HOME/.config/imsettings doesn’t exist, create it first.

And now a bit of background.

I switched for a short time to Ubuntu. My reasoning was that I can give better family support but I switched back to Fedora. Ubuntu was so far the worst Linux experience, at least with my existing configurations. But after switching back to Fedora 23 Japanese input didn’t work. Fedora 23 uses ibus as default method. And it tries to do things automagically and in doing that, they totally failed for me.

There is a script /etc/X11/xinit/xinitrc.d/50-xinput.sh. This script tries to do some magic and works pretty late in the process of starting your GUI when using the default GDM. First it unsets a whole bunch of environment variables and thus will probably anything you set up locally, when you come from another distribution like in $HOME/.xprofile or $HOME/.xinputrc or some other candidate for setting the variables above. Then it looks up if you have $HOME/.config/imsettings/xinputrc. If not, it should create $HOME/.config/imsettings and looks if you have a file $HOME/.xinputrc. If you have it, it gets moved to that folder. And then the file gets sourced and the script is finished.

The folder creation part is the place where I guess the script failed for me.

And if that file doesn’t get sourced by the script for whatever reason, the script looks up which LANG-variable you have set and compares it to a hardcoded list. And then sets up environment variables depending on your LANG-variable.

If you have set en_US.utf8 like me that means that they get set up in a minimal way which leads to not being able to use an IME. And of course the script doesn’t bother logging anything.

Dear Fedora Project, this is too much magic and can fail. Especially since there are multiple places in $HOME where you can potentially set up the three environment variables, not all recommended but possible. There is .xinputrc, .xinitrc, .xprofile, .profile and even .bashrc. And every tutorial in the net suggests setting it in one of these. Why do you add a new subdirectory in .config? And if stuff doesn’t work because of bugginess, why do you make everything dependent on the set language of the system? Never heard of anyone using English for example as native tongue and then speaks a foreign language? And then apparently you didn’t document that anywhere and do not log anything in the script, so troubleshooting gets really hard. I know those problems of setting up Japanese input in Linux. But I had those problem in the beginnings of 2000 and before. Great job catapulting us back 10 – 20 years, a blast from the past :/

More about Fedora

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So, now it is a week with Fedora. I stopped using Gnome and I am using again i3. I learned about copr which offers unofficial repositories that can be easily integrated in your Fedora install via “dnf copr enable repo/name”. That way I got again current versions of vim (Patch 1194, which is like 300 builds ahead of the official Fedora-vim) and tmux. For tmux this means that I can use again the new way to handle a mouse. And there is a repo for hugo, the blogging-engine I use. Copr feels a bit like the AUR but is not as complete as the AUR. I guess you can’t host there repos for software that use patented stuff like handbrake or makemkv. And the built for khal and vdirsyncer is not very current, so I still can’t use that. But the maintainer knows that but doesn’t have the time for rebuilding all the necessary packages. Anyway, copr makes me a happier person 🙂

I also got my first contact with the community in the IRC besides lurking. And I got fast answers on my shamingly stupid question without any mentioning of RTFM or some wiki. I could have answered it myself with the manual though…shame on me.

I get updates nearly daily on my system, which is more often than with Manjaro but not as often as with Arch. In the end this means hopefully more security and stability.

Btw. after a short chat on Twitter yesterday I looked again into switching to FreeBSD for my laptop but it still seems not ready for my use case. Netflix is still a problem and the proposed solution I found is running Linux or Windows in a VM and using there Chrome…yeah… Skype and Steam seems only available via Wine, no Dropbox afaik, Spideroak might work…it seems to be a further step back from using Linux in terms of available software and compared to running OS X. But maybe I upgrade my CentOS5-servers to FreeBSD instead of CentOS7. But actually I want an environment that is as heterogen as possible since it makes life easier…

Fedora23 – First Impressions

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When you read my blog posts, you know that I switched not that long ago from Manjaro, an Arch-based distribution to Arch. And now I switched again – this time to [Fedora]. Even so I was really satisified with Arch. It worked, it was fast and the Arch User Repositories are awesome. I rarely had to google how to install a software. I just had to use a wrapper to search them. And when I googled the first hit was often the Arch Wiki. Right now the Arch Wiki is probably the best documentation for Linux-related software.

But, yes there is a but, recently I started to look more into securing my system. Following more and more ITSec-people on Twitter, I got a bit paranoid and want to have a securer system. At work most of my servers run CentOS and usually I deactivated SELinux because it always meant annoyances. To be honest I didn’t know a thing about it and so when it made a problem I just deactivated it. I wanted to play with some new software, not learn how to troubleshoot some security system I do not need for my internal systems. Now I started to look into SELinux and the tools for redhat-based systems are really good and SELinux isn’t that hard and my systems get more secure1.

So I wanted to have more security for my system. I tried Grsecurity but I couldn’t get Chrome to run and hibernation wouldn’t work either. Then I tried to install SELinux but I failed. And when I asked on the forums and on the mailing list, I got not very satisfying answers and felt like I got hit by the infamous pseudo-elitism of the Arch-community. Henceforth I thought I try a redhat-system. CentOS is a bit too stable for me and I want regularly new packages. So I decided to go Fedora.

It has a nice installer which worked out of the box. I could use my full encrypted disk and keep my home-directory. After installation I got booted into Gnome which is ok. I like Gnome but I prefer tiling window managers nowadays. When I opened a terminal and typed vim, I got my first surprise. vim wasn’t available but I got offered that it is available in this and that package and if I want to install it. I did and it got installed. Neat. DNF, the package manager of Fedora, is quite nice. I really like that when I remove software dependencies from that software get usually removed as well. What I don’t like is the available software in the repositories. You need extra repos for non-free software (like codecs with patents), I need to google for a way to install software and sometimes it takes quite some time etc. I really miss the AUR. And I didn’t know that a lot of sotware is available for debian-based distros, but not so much for rpm-based distros. Another problem I didn’t expect was that I had now older software than before with Arch and that this could become a problem. I do encrypted backups with Backintime. For the encryption it uses encFS. Well, Arch has encFS 1.7.5, Fedora 23 1.7.4 and that meant that I couldn’t open my backup. I googled but I couldn’t find a way to install it. Maybe if I compiled it from source. I tried Linux Brew but that stopped when there was a dependency that needed XCode. What the…‽

Then I learned to know about Fedora Rawhide which seems to be some kind of beta-channel for Fedora and is closer to a rolling distribution. But when I wanted to switch to it, I would have lost Handbrake and the repo I am using offers only packages for Fedora 23. Probably it is for the better.

Another problem I had was with Japanese input. It was a lot of hassle and I thought it is the beginning of the 2000s. According to the internet it should have been easier, but it wasn’t for me. さて、 今日本語を入力できます2

Other small things are that I switched my login-shell to zsh but all the terminal emulators didn’t respect that and that some packages or the software they provide have strange names. For example the package that provides gvim (graphical vim) is called vim-X11. Or I installed “rxvt-unicode-256color-ml” because I wanted a urxvt with 256color-support. It isn’t started with urxvt like I am accustomed to but with urxvt256c-ml. And I wondered what went wrong when my mutt complained about missing colors. I understand the reason because then you can have standard urxvt also installed, still it is a bit weird imho.

So far, it doesn’t sound well. But, and here is a but again, there is some stuff I really enjoy. Using SELinux is a breeze. There are great tools that show you that something went wrong and how to fix it. IPtables is installed and pre-configured. There is a graphical tool to configure it further and it makes it really easy, even if you have no knowledge about IPtables. I like DNF as a package manager so far. Easy to use, good search, I like that it also removes unneeded dependencies by default etc. Fedora also uses Gnome-software which is like an App Store for Linux-software. It looks really nice and is easy to use. I will not really need it, since I like the command line but for browsing and finding new software it is nice.

I will need more time to get to a final conclusion. Thanks to the AUR Arch feels a bit more easier to use for me. But I like that I have now a more secure system. And I can experiment with stuff on my home machine I can later use at my job. Arch is nice for a desktop but I’d never install it on a server. There it will always be CentOS or Debian I guess…or some BSD. Thus for the time being I will stay with Fedora and I wonder how the upgrade to 24 will work out.

Some more experiences one week later.


  1. I really recommend to watch the talk Security-enhanced Linux for mere mortals. And I actually need it also for my internal systems. If there is a breach, this could make life harder for the intruder.

  2. Well, now I can type in Japanese.