Archive for January, 2009

A summary of dongle manufacturers

 | January 19, 2009 12:41 pm

I’ve picked 3 dongle manufacturers who have professional websites, and make a positive impression regarding support and quality.  All support Java Native Interfaces (JNI).

  • Aladdin Hardlock. They make a very competent and professional impression.  Website is a bit business oriented (as opposed to developer oriented).  They provide a lot of tools for tracking your product, which may or may not be useful.  Java, as well as Mac and Linux are supported.  Demo can be ordered here for free.  Rental, feature based, and sold software models are available.  To provide the licensing models we need, we will want the Hasp HL Pro setup.  I haven’t found  a pricelist on their website.  I have not determined whether or not drivers are required for their dongle.
  • Matrix software protection system:  These guys seem pretty professional, and they have German and Swiss offices, which could be valuable in the case of problems.  The usb dongle is driverless.  Linux, Windows and Mac are all supported.  These guys have two model series ML and MK, differing in paranoia level (MK only posseser of master key can reprogram the dongle). Price for a single USB dongle is 34 EUR, for 100 dongles price per dongle is 22 EUR.  You can order an evaluation kit for 40 euros here.  A lot of big name guys use them.  No mention of Java Native Interface (JNI), so I called their customer rep in CH, and asked about it, and yes there is one.  He tells me you will have to include a seperate dll with your java code to support the dongle calls.  I imagine this is the case with all options.
  • Microcomputer Applications Inc (Keylock).  These guys are awesome, because they provide you with a checklist for evaluating hardlock manufacturers, which you can download here.  I looked over it, and it’s very useful.  The evaluation kit is free and can be downloaded here.  Windows and Linux supported, no Mac.  Price is 21 USD per dongle, for orders of 10-24.  Unfortunately they require drivers and a dll (see this link).
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64-bit Fedora 10 Post-installation setup

 | January 14, 2009 12:44 pm

I manage 5 Fedora installations: my work and home PC’s, my laptop, my fiancee’s laptop,  and my buddy Charles’ PC, who is generously giving Linux a shot.  I told him he’d probably have an easier time with Ubuntu, but that I would have an easier time helping with Fedora, as that’s what I know.  Often I update these machines at widely different intervals, particular with Charles’ PC, since I don’t see him that often.

Fedora is great in many ways, and I stick with it because I’m pretty happy with it, philosophically and technically, but you often have to put a little work on it, particularly if you’re a 64-bit user and you to use a good graphics card.  Anyway, I thought it would be handy for me to have a checklist on the web, so I don’t forget anything the next time.  This is just a collection of solutions I’ve dug up somewhere else, but it might still be useful for others.

These are the things I have to do to get Fedora working acceptably:

  1. Fix the DNS lookup bug.  On all the machines I administer, this causes massive dns lookup failuers, with the effect that although you can ping an address, you don’t have any internet access (no web browser, no yum…).Add access to the fusion repository.Install various extra software.
  2. Access to fusion
  3. Add MP3 support/get Amarok working.
  4. Get Flash working (people need their youtube).
  5. Nvidia support.
  6. Make FAT partitions writeable by users, and add ntfs support.
  7. Disable physical file folders.
  8. Enable automounting of external drives (usb sticks for example).

1. Fix the DNS bug

Apparently there is a known bug, which mucks up the domain name lookup with certain ISP’s, of which bluewin (my ISP) is one.   In the bug description the complaint is that you get unreliable name lookups, but in the case of bluewin, you get no successful lookups.  A workaround is described here.  All you have to do is:

  1. Make sure that dnsmasq is installed.
  2. find out the network interfaces the machine has ( route -n )
  3. create a file called /etc/dhclient/< your network intervace name here >.conf consisting of the line
  4. ‘ prepend domain-name-servers 127.0.0.1; ‘
  5. Start dnsmasq (‘service dnsmasq start’).
  6. tell dnsmasq to start every time the computer does (‘chkconfig dnsmasq on’)
  7. restart the network connection (‘service NetworkManager restart’)
  8. Add ntfs write support.

2. Access to fusion:

Fusion is  a merge of the largest existing addon repos, and means to be the extra repo for fedora, including (separate) free and non-free packages that Fedora is not able to ship of license or export regulations (see comment by ingvar).

# rpm -Uvh http://download1.rpmfusion.org/free/fedora/rpmfusion-free-release-stable.noarch.rpm http://download1.rpmfusion.org/nonfree/fedora/rpmfusion-nonfree-release-stable.noarch.rpm

3. Add mp3 support

I use Amarok as my primary music application.  Fedora comes with Amarok 2, which I am still evaluating, but I found Amarok 1 vastly superior to the alternatives, so I’m hoping Amarok continues to be awesome.  I actually hate switching apps.  Unfortunately, just installing Amarok gives me no sound.  After running Amarok in a console and checking out the output, I tried:

# yum groupinstall phonon*

which did the trick.  I  Finally, to support mp3’s, you can do:

# yum groupinstall sound-and-video

4. Get Flash (i.e. Youtube) working

This solution  comes from here.   I quote verbatim:

  • rpm -e nspluginwrapper.i386 flash-plugin (if you have installed them)
  • cd /usr/lib64/mozilla/plugins/ (this is where your Firefox plugins are)
  • wget http://download.macromedia.com/pub/labs/flashplayer10/libflashplayer-10.0.d20.7.linux-x86_64.so.tar.gz (to download the Flash plugin)
  • tar -xvzf libflashplayer-10.0.d20.7.linux-x86_64.so.tar.gz (to extract the plugin)
  • restart firefox.

At this point you tube shows up fine.

5.  Enable your 3d hardware acceleration

In my case, I just run ‘yum install kmod-nvidia’ and restart X.  If you have a radeon card, I suppose the solution is the obvious one.

6.  Make the fat drive writeable, and add NTFS write support, so people can easily work with Windows.

For any fat partition, change the umask in fstab to 000.  For NTFS support, ‘yum install ntfs-config.noarch’.

7. Disable “physical” file folders.

This is the annoying behavior, default in gnome, that opens a new window for every folder that you open.  Get rid of it by double clicking on a folder, and in the resulting window open edit->preferences->Behavior, and check the box for  “Always open in browser windows”.  There is a scriptable way to do this, so if someone wants to tell me, please do.

8.  Allow automounting of usb drives etc.

I really hope this is an error, but it’s possible it’s a security precaution.  By default, if you plug in a usb stick or some such storage device, you won’t see it automatically on your desktop.  This is because automounting isn’t allowed by default.  You can change this by going to System->Preferences->Authorizations and click on hal->storage->Mount file systems from removable drives.  Click on the Edit box in the Implicit Authorizations sections, and change Anyone to yes.

9.  Scripts:

I have a script which installs a lot of the stuff I typically want but is not included in Fedora by default.  These include mplayer, par2, rar,  amarok(music listening), emacs, development tools, etc.  If you want it, the script is here.

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