2012-01-28 ratposoni

I use xfce on my old iBook. Yesterday I wanted to switch back to ratpoison. No problem, I still have [RatpoisonSetup my configuration of 2003]. After half an hour I went back to xfce. Why?

The most serious problem was wifi. I work in my living room with a very weak wifi signal. The iBook receiver is very weak. I often loose the signal. When I’m using xfce, something takes care of this. With ratpoison, when the signal goes, it goes. And when it comes back, I can sudo ifdown and ifup and pray and sudo start networking and then it still won’t work. As I said, after half an hour I went back to xfce. Do I have to install this nm-applet I keep hearing about?

Had I spent more time with ratpoison, I would have investigated a solution to have Shift Tab switch windows. It’s hardwired into my motor patterns.

Update: Actually, I tried the solution using nm-applet and it appears to work! I went back to my [RatpoisonSetup ratpoison setup] page and updated it. I’m using ratpoison right now. 👌


Comments on 2012-01-28 ratposoni

Offtopic, but: My next PC will be named “Posoni”.

– Harald 2012-01-28 16:16 UTC


AlexSchroeder 2012-01-29 00:27 UTC

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2011-10-16 Installing Ubuntu 11.10 on my iBook G4

Upgrading my iBook G4 to Ubuntu 11.10 went without a hitch. But as the system rebooted, I ran into a problem:

WARNING boot device may be renamed. Try root=/dev/sda3 Gave up waiting for root device. […]

Now what? The Ubuntu forum got me the answer I was looking for:

  1. at the first boot prompt, answer l because you want to boot Linux
  2. at the second boot prompt, answer Linux root=/dev/sda3
  3. if that works, fix your config by running sudo yabootconfig -r /dev/sda3 from the command line

Thanks, Internet! ❤ :D

There is one strange, tiny problem I do have, however: The trackpad will not work if the laptop boots with an external mouse connected. When I run sudo trackpad show I get back no trackpad ! Weird, but not really a problem. :)

Update: For those of you coming here via Google search—if you are wondering how I got Unity to work—I did not. I switched to Xubuntu! Back when I was using Ubuntu 10, I made my switch: From the command line, I ran sudo tasksel install xubuntu-desktop. then, in order to save disk space, I ran sudo apt-get remove ubuntu-desktop and sudo apt-get autoremove. I haven’t tried it in a long time, but upgrading my Ubuntu system still works. Yay! :)


Comments on 2011-10-16 Installing Ubuntu 11.10 on my iBook G4

Thanks, exactly what I needed to fix an errant Mac Mini server. :)

– Kirk 2012-11-26 20:58 UTC

Awesome. :)

AlexSchroeder 2012-11-26 22:57 UTC

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2011-05-26 Xubuntu 11.04

Upgrading my old iBook to Xubuntu 11.04 after not having used it for many months was no problem!

Out of curiosity I installed Unity only to be told that my hardware to was too lame to run it. Installing it had the unfortunate side-effect of getting the Nautilus file manager again. Thus, whenever I started a session, the blue Xfce session manager (gdm?) background would be replaced by the rust brown background used by Nautilus for a second, until it was again replaced by the blue background of the Xfce file manager Thunar. I went back to my old post, 2010-07-24 Ubuntu to Xubuntu. I ended up removing nautilus and some dependencies, verified that sudo apt-get remove ubuntu-desktop had nothing to remove and ran sudo apt-get autoremove. Let’s restart and check. :)


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2010-04-30 Ubuntu 10

Ok, so yesterday my ISP’s downtime caused some extra trouble.

Here’s what I did:

  1. Tried the recommended way using the update manager in the Ubuntu Upgrade Notes and got an error.
  2. Ran sudo apt-get dist-upgrade which installed a new linux and asked for a reboot. But then nothing else happened. Yeah, wrong idea!
  3. Ran sudo do-release-upgrade which aborted with the same error.
  4. Checked out the Apple user Ubuntu forum and found a thread that recommended manually fiddling with the sources list. [1]
  5. So I did. I edited /etc/apt/sources.list and replaced all occurrences of karmic with lucid and commented out the two lines from partners.
  6. I ran sudo do-release-upgrade again. “Do you want to start the upgrade?” Yes!! “24 packages are going to be removed. 175 new packages are going to be installed. 1390 packages are going to be upgraded.” Sounds about right! “You have to download a total of 790M. This download will take about 1 hour 40 minutes with a 1Mbit DSL connection and about 1 day 6 hours with a 56k modem.” Just do it!
  7. As the thread noted my keyboard and the mouse clicks stopped working after a while and when I was asked whether I wanted to remove some obsolete packages, I couldn’t answer. I had to shut down the laptop manually.
  8. Rebooted, and was running the new Ubuntu! :D 👌
  9. Running sudo apt-get autoremove and removed 25 packages.

I think I’m done?

alex@orientalibombus:~$ lsb_release -a
No LSB modules are available.
Distributor ID:	Ubuntu
Description:	Ubuntu 10.04 LTS
Release:	10.04
Codename:	lucid

And I can already report a definite improvement. When the iBook awakens from sleep, I can reconnect to my wireless network. :)

I uncommented the partner lines again, ran apt-get update and apt-get upgrade – there was nothing to install, and no error messages. Good!


Comments on 2010-04-30 Ubuntu 10

Well what do you know. We match!

 robin@oscar:~$ lsb_release -a
 No LSB modules are available.
 Distributor ID:	Ubuntu
 Description:	Ubuntu 10.04 LTS
 Release:	10.04
 Codename:	lucid

Glad you got it all up and running in the end. I look forward to hearing what you think of it in a few days’ time :D

greywulf 2010-04-30 19:24 UTC

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2010-04-05 Xfce

My old iBook is still being used! I installed Ubuntu on it a while ago. Today I thought that it was kind-of sluggish and I decided to switch from the default window manager and desktop environment to something leaner. I remember a long time ago I had been using SlackWare and had switched from KDE to Xfce. Time to try it again!

Right now I sort-of miss the Exposé functionality. I think I just need to find a different solution or I might go back to Gnome because of the resources this will need.

My menu-bar background is black. Yuck, that’s ugly. Must find a better theme. I think I’m running into two things conflicting, here. By using Xfce 4 Settings Manager → Appearance I was able to switch from Albatross to Clearlooks, I fixed the menu-bar. Previously, I had only used the Window Manager setting to switch from Default style to Agua style. Solved, I think.

I find that my dead keys are only working partially. The obvious stuff like the circumflex (^ + e = ê) and the umlaut (¨ + o = ö) work, but I’ve grown used to Alt+2 resulting in “ and Alt+Shift+2 resulting in ” – something about my keymap is broken! It turns out that I want my Option key to be used as Alt, with Emacs treating Alt as Meta. The Alt key, however, should be used as whatever it’s called to access the extra stuff on a key (again, I’ll have to look up the names). Gah! Keyboard Layouts Settings is not helping.

Half the problem is solved by the following – now the Option key acts as alt/meta.

! Option key is alt/meta remove mod4 = Super_L add mod1 = Super_L

Using “keycode 64 = Mode_switch” doesn’t change the Alt key to give me access to the third and fourth keysym. What’s wrong? Time to reread my old blog posts… 2009-11-30 Keyboard Remapping. Truly, I feel like I’m giving advice to my future self. Ah, there it is!

! Alt key switches levels remove mod1 = Alt_L keycode 64 = ISO_Level3_Shift

And it works! Now to make this permanent… save the lines in a file called /.Xmodmap and they’ll get run when you log in. Problem solved!

(Also remember the changes I made to my system: 2009-12-19 Waiting For Processes…)

Update: I’m currently using the following:

keycode 133 = Meta_L keycode 64 = ISO_Level3_Shift remove mod1 = ISO_Level3_Shift keycode 65 = space space

I ended up typing a lot of Shift+Space = non-breaking space.


Comments on 2010-04-05 Xfce

Gah, I hate this. The Alt key correctly allows me to type []|{}“”‘’ and many other important characters – but the Option key still acts as Super modifier for Emacs. Damn. I want Meta!

The following gives me Meta on the option key in Emacs, but Alt is also Meta instead of level shifting! And in the terminal, the Alt key appears to be always on: Hitting E or T gets me the Edit or Terminal menu!

! Option key is alt/meta clear mod1 clear mod2 clear mod3 clear mod4 clear mod5 keycode 133 = Meta_L add mod1 = Meta_L ! Alt key switches levels keycode 64 = ISO_Level3_Shift

Every now and then I totally understand why I preferred the proprietary Apple + Mac OS solution. I must have wasted six hours on this topic alreay. Think about it. The amount of money I could have earned in six hours. What I could have bought with that.

All wasted in order to get the fucking keyboard to do what I fucking want. A useless waste of time. And it still doesn’t work. This makes me very, very angry.

And when I test it with xev, everything seems to work! XLookupString returns the correct strings.

What the hell is going on?

When I just use the following, neither Alt nor Option key have an effect.

! Option key is alt/meta clear mod1 clear mod2 clear mod3 clear mod4 clear mod5 keycode 133 = Meta_L

When I then add the following line, both Alt key and Option key start acting as Meta in Emacs!

add mod1 = Meta_L

Apparently the Alt_L binding for the Alt key is enough for Emacs to recognize it, even though it’s not bound to mod1.

AlexSchroeder 2010-04-12 08:25 UTC

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2009-12-24 Flickering Screen

Gaaah! I wanted to sit at the laptop and catch with my Google Reader – and find that my screen is flickering! Damn it. Does this herald the end of my beloved hardware – mere weeks after I finally installed Ubuntu on the iBook? Or has Ubuntu destroyed my monitor!?

The scary thing is that things seem much improved if I switch from 1024×768 to 800×600.

Update: Well, today it seems to be gone again. I wonder what that was about!


Comments on 2009-12-24 Flickering Screen

I don’t know if it was Ubuntu or age but my T42’s screen started cracking a few months ago and it’s battery died last month.

NoufalIbrahim 2009-12-28 05:36 UTC

Flickering screen usually means the inverter is slowly dying. If you’re into DIY, check here: and if it is the inverter, a replacement is 30$: I may also have an old and dead iBook somewhere that you could gut for parts.

Harald Wagener 2009-12-28 07:14 UTC

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2009-11-21 Ubuntu For The Win

Well, I decided to install Ubuntu 9.10 instead of trying to figure out what the problem with the wireless firmware (→ 2009-11-14 Mutt). When I installed it while connected to the network via ethernet cable, it offered to download and install the necessary driver for the wireless card. I set up the network, but the device still seemed to be unavailable. I rebooted the system and wireless just worked.


I’m surprised! And awed!

Alpinobombus is dead, long live Confusibombus! (my hostnames are all bumblebee related)

Now I just need to get the correct Swiss German keyboard mapping with the specific keys not visible on the keyboard – bracers, pipe, at sign, square brackets, that kind of thing. :)

The answer to that was available from System → Preferences → Keyboard. In the Layouts section, I picked Keyboard model Apple Laptop, no Separate layout for each window, Layout Switzerland German (Macintosh), and for Layout Options... I picked Key to choose 3rd level → Any Alt key.

Let’s see how well that works. I still have to install my beloved Emacs and see how the Option key turns out. :)

The answer to that turns out to be Alt/Win key behavior → Meta is mapped to Win keys. ✌

Just for kicks I also activated Ctrl key position → Make CapsLock an additional Ctrl.

I’m also interested in clicking via Touchpad. Don’t let yourself be confused. If xinput list shows that you have an “ADB mouse”, you can still have tapping and dragging!

sudo trackpad tap sudo trackpad drag

Yay! :)

In order to make this permanent, I added it to /etc/rc.local – without the sudo, of course:

  1. By default this script does nothing. trackpad tap trackpad drag exit 0


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2009-11-13 OpenBSD (macppc)

I made the last backup of my iBook Alpinobombus and installed OpenBSD/macppc on it. Burn the install46.iso image onto a CD, insert into iBook, hold c while booting.

The wireless network needs some sort of firmware which I downloaded from the net and saved on an USB stick. See man bwi for the location. Anyway, now I needed to get the package from the stick onto the laptop.

I don’t understand why i is relevant, but this [1] worked:

mount -t msdos /dev/sd0i /mnt/stick

I kept trying sd0a… :'(

I added the following line to /etc/fstab:

/dev/sd0i /mnt/stick msdos rw,noauto 0 0

I hope mount /mnt/stick will work from now on.

Back to the network! With pkg_add bwi-firmware-1.4.tgz finally available I installed the firmware for the Airport wireless card in my old iBook. 👌

Use ifconfig to verify that bwi0 is your wireless interface. Use ifconfig bwi0 scan to list the networks available and find yours.

Now the WPA stuff for my Schroeder network…

ifconfig bwi0 nwid Schroeder wpa wpapsk `wpa-psk Schroeder “secret”` ifconfig bwi0 up dhclient bwi0

And it seems to work. I can ping – win! :)

Thus, I removed any /etc/hostname.* files that didn’t work and created a single /etc/hostname.bwi0 file containing the following line:

dhcp nwid Schroeder wpa wpapsk `wpa-psk Schroeder “secret”`

I’m surprised it works!


  1. fixing the keymap layout – kbd -l lists de and others, but no Swiss German layout → update 💡 Apparently sg stands for Swiss German! :)
  2. setting up ports, getting Emacs ← very important! ;)
  3. setting up email
  4. Much later… Firefox?

Luckily I’ve used US keyboards before, and I’ve used vi before. 👌

Second Day

echo sg > /etc/kbdtype – apparently I can use wsconsctl to remap more keys.

Apparently there are no virtual terminals because there’s no VGA card, but there’s an alternative to GNU screen: tmux.

I realized that there are two levels of packages: 1. binary packages 2. the ports system. I started by setting PKG_PATH=`machine -a`/:`machine -a`/:`machine -a`/ in my .profile. [2]

In order to test this, I decided to run sudo pkg_add -v mutt.

At the same time I feel like setting up the ports system by downloading ports.tar.gz. [3]

Need Firefox and Emacs!


Comments on 2009-11-13 OpenBSD (macppc)

What about using the wired network to get the wireless firmware onto the macbook?

Harald Wagener 2009-11-13 17:20 UTC

Recht hast du. Habe ich aber auf die Schnelle auch nicht hingebracht. Mit etwas Suchen auf dem Internet und blödem Abtippen der Beispiele bin ich dann auf eine Lösung gekommen. :)

AlexSchroeder 2009-11-14 01:12 UTC

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2009-06-29 Perl Installation on Mac OS 10.3

Does anybody read these at all? I need to write things down so I won’t forget. I’m trying to install XML::Parser and running into a tiny. I need to run it as root using sudo because I can’t install it using my ordinary account. I hate this and try to remedy the situation once a year. :)

So it’s that time of the year again. I look at the o conf output and can’t find the place where I get to say I want to use sudo make install command. I’m also greeted by the following message when I start the CPAN shell, so I’m guessing this could be part of the problem:

  There's a new version (v1.9402) available!
  [Current version is v1.7602]

I’m trying to run sudo cpan Bundle::CPAN to see where that takes me… I actually had to run it several times (three? four?) but it worked in the end. Amazing.


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2008-10-10 Emacs 23 on Mac OS 10.3

My old iBook still runs Mac OS 10.3 aka. Panther. I keep thinking about replacing it with GNU/Linux one of these days. For the moment, however, I still use it when Claudia sits at our Mac Mini.

As I have switched to Emacs 23 from CVS on all my major machines, I feel like trying it on my laptop, too. I recently built Emacs 22 for my laptop. Now I feel like I wasted time on that… Oh well. We’ll see whether this works as intended! :)

I discovered that I still have some old libraries in /opt/local – old DarwinPorts stuff? I must confess that these days I hardly use ports anymore. I just download pre-built binaries, or build from source. That’s how awesome the world has become. :)

So anyway, Emacs from CVS → build from source, haha.

CPPFLAGS='-I/opt/local/include' LDFLAGS='-L/opt/local/lib' ./configure --with-gif=no --with-ns

Apparently all this Cocoa stuff is now called !NextStep because of the move to the EmacsApp project. Yikes! No more CarbonEmacsPackage stuff!

Strange: As I discovered a while ago, the libraries are not really necessary. And yet ./configure complained when it could not find them. I guess I should report that as a bug.

Trying to build it right now… Will report back.


In file included from nsfns.m:36:
keyboard.h:324: warning: redefinition of `Boolean'
/System/Library/Frameworks/CoreServices.framework/Headers/../Frameworks/CarbonCore.framework/Headers/MacTypes.h:255: warning: `Boolean' previously declared here
nsfns.m: In function `interpret_services_menu':
nsfns.m:293: warning: assignment from incompatible pointer type
nsfns.m: In function `ns_do_applescript':
nsfns.m:2042: error: `typeUTF16ExternalRepresentation' undeclared (first use in this function)
nsfns.m:2042: error: (Each undeclared identifier is reported only once
nsfns.m:2042: error: for each function it appears in.)
make[1]: *** [nsfns.o] Error 1
make: *** [src] Error 2

Do I report this as a bug?

Update: Doh, I discovered that all the CPPFLAGS etc. settings are not necessary. The only thing you need to use is --with-ns.


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