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a man slumped on his desk, from 'The Sleep of Reason Produces



Archive for the ‘Linux’ Category


living with guile

Liz is BLOGGING LOUDLY next to me, inspiring me to write in her wake. I do have plenty to say, but most of it is wrapped around work, and consequently needs to bake a little before I reveal it to the world. I love my job, but there’s a part of me that’s sad at how little I can talk informally about. Law firms are taciturn places by nature, and my own work is so … frequently diplomatic. Oh well, it all appears eventually, in some form or another.

Meanwhile, in real life, I continue to hack on my guile ‘n’ guix constructed machine. I submitted my first guix patch! My approach to this laptop is to make only the most incremental of changes when I absolutely feel I need to do them. So, for instance, I wanted to submit that patch, so I set up mail — but only outgoing email. I admit to some fripperies: I’ve just discovered that recent Xft/cairo/fontconfig/something support color emojis, and so I splashed out on fonts. But otherwise, it’s interesting cobbling everything slowly from scratch.


For bots interested in 3D acceleration in Debian, modesetting edition

This is really for people searching for extremely specific search conditions. My TLDR; is: “Have you tried doing upgrading libgmb1?”

For everyone else (and to make all the keywords work). I recently magically lost 3D hardware acceleration on my laptop running X, which has an Intel HD520 graphics card buried within it.  It was a real puzzle what had happened — one day everything was working fine, and the next I had noticed it was disabled and I was running slooow software emulation. XWindows’ modesetting drivers should be able to use acceleration on this system just fine, at least after around Linux 4.4 or so.

I spent a lot of time staring at the /var/log/Xorg.0.log, and in particular these sad lines:

and, later

Those were the only clues I had. I got to that painful point where you search for every combination of words you can think of, and all the links in Google’s results glow the visited link purple of “you already tried clicking on that.”

Anyway, to cut my long story short (and hopefully your story too, person out there desperately searching for EGL_MESA_drm_image etc), I eventually find the answer in this thread about modesetting and xserver-xorg-core on Jessie/unstable, from the awesome and endlessly patient Andreas Boll:

> > If you use mesa from experimental you need to upgrade all binary
> > packages of mesa.
> > Upgrading libgbm1 to version 12.0.1-3 should fix glamor and 3d acceleration.

Tried it. Worked for me. I hope it works for you too!

Moral: everyone who is brave enough to own up to their problems on the Internet is a hero to me, as well as everyone who steps in to help them. Also, I guess you shouldn’t run a Frankendebian (even though everybody does).


if the 3.4.1 Debian wheezy gnome-shell starts up slowly for you

I love titles like that.

Anyway, I am intensely enjoying being back in Debian-space, and I am slowly accreting small mechanisms of usefulness around me. Vim keystrokes are bleeding out everywhere. My caps lock is now a Meta key, and springs up little windows when I dance on it.

I still quite like Gnome 3, although it took a sly upgrade to the unstable version of Debian (now pretty much stable, and pretty much called Wheezy) before it was really usable.

My biggest peeve was that it took a million years to start. I knew it wasn’t doing anything useful in that time. I suspected it was something to do with my Contacts list, which is huge, tied to Google Contacts, and also not doing much that was useful. Gnome Contacts is not a particularly well-excavated place right now, and it seems like tying it to the gnome-shell was a somewhat overambitious idea. I run strace on the gnome-shell process (as you do), and it confirmed that that was happening was that gnome-shell was excitedly counting my friends and their habits instead of doing something vaguely useful, like letting me run an application or two.

In Gnome 3.5, it looks like they’ve finally disentangled gnome-shell and the contacts service, but Gnome 3.5 won’t be coming to Debian for a while. I vaguely considered trying to build it myself, but then I remembered — isn’t huge chunks of gnome-shell written in Javascript for exactly this kind of userland tweaking?

Sadly, the impressive gnome-shell extensions feature kicks in a little too late in the shell bootup process for it to wrench out the contacts support before the drooling begins, but I did find a line in the internal javascript code of gnome shell that, once killed, lets it boot up in non-geological time.

Ideally you shouldn’t mess with the internals of a debian package like this, but it’ll hopefully all be fixed by the next upgrade anyway. Here’s the patch. All it does is stick turns one line into a comment by prepending ‘//’ in front of it. You can do it by hand by sudo nano /usr/share/gnome-shell/js/ui/overview.js and finding the ContactDisplay line below, or save the lines below and patch it with patch -p0 < wherever_you_saved_those_linesbelow .

Tada! It pays to explore some of the other files in that directory, although possibly not mess with them. Gnome 3 really needs better documentation, and if I was a man with infinite time, I would greatly enjoy writing more of it up.


petit disclaimer:
My employer has enough opinions of its own, without having to have mine too.