Friday, January 30, 2009

Adept updater crash

I had been hoping to blog more about programming stuff, but here has been lots of "yak shaving" activities for me lately. Linux is still a hairy beast, even if things are slowly getting better. And here is another one!

The "Adept updater tool" in KDE, which has a little icon in the systray informing you when important updates are unavailable, is light-years better than the default behavior of the Windows Update tool in Vista -

("I have downloaded updates and will restart now, shutting down your programs". "I am configuring updates, you may not turn off your computer right now.", "Now I'm going to restart your computer again". "This is a blue screen of death" "Could not start Windows. Would you like to try to restore your computer to last known working configuration?" No joke, this happens to me with SP1 for Vista, can't install it on my Dell laptop)

- but Adept is not completely bug- or annoyance-free either. Yesterday when downloading a new Linux kernel to my Kubuntu system, my update progress stopped suddenly. A command line style menu window had popped up asking if I wanted to keep my old locally changed grub conf file, or replace it with a new one. While Adept could show the menu to me if I went to the "details" tab, it could not process any input from me and transmit it to the install script, so I had to kill the Adept process.

Next time I tried to restart Adept, it said the update database was locked because another program was using it. This is the solution to this problem (most of it curtesy of "harleqinguy" at

sudo rm /var/lib/dpkg/lock
Removes lock file - only do if you are sure all programs which may access the update db are terminated, but the lock still remains.

sudo dpkg --configure -a
Reconfigures downloaded but not yet installed update packages, and backs up configuration files. Mainly to test if you can run update tools, and to try to fix any configuration mistakes you may have done

Now you can restart Adept, but trying to update your system through it will only lead to the same issues again, to get by this problem and get your shiny new kernel installed, go to your trusty command line and run

sudo apt-get upgrade

Thursday, January 29, 2009

KDE login jingle

To turn off the annoying KDE login/logout jingles (which doesn't respect your sound settings and plays loudly when you are at the library, at a lecture, a conference, next to someone asleep, etc, unless you remembered to have headphones plugged in):

Go to the KDE system settings program, click "Notifications" icon, "System notifications", "Applications" tab, select "KDE Systems notification" in dropdown menu, then select "login", then uncheck the "Play a sound" checkbox.

Done. Whew. They hid that pretty well.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Wine eject cd/dvd problem solved

A problem that has popped up for me several times and whose solution can be hard to find when Googling -

If you are trying to install a Windows game or application on Linux with Wine, always start the command from "outside" the cd.
I.e. - always DO write wine /media/cdrom/setup.exe
Do NOT write

cd /media/cdrom
wine setup.exe

If you are promted to insert the next disc, but Linux won't let you do the unmount command because "device or resource is busy" - try
wine eject d:

If all else fails, copy the whole disc to hard drive and run from there.