Avahi on Breezy followup

So after I posted some instructions for setting up Avahi on Breezy, a fair number of people at UBZ did so. For most people this worked fine, but it seems that a few people’s systems started spewing a lot of network traffic.

It turns out that the problem was actually caused by the zeroconf package (which I did not suggest installing) rather than Avahi. The zeroconf package is not needed for service discovery or .local name lookup, so if you are at UBZ you should remove the package or suffer the wrath of Elmo.

Avahi on Breezy

During conferences, it is often useful to be able to connect to connect to other people’s machines (e.g. for collaborative editing sessions with Gobby). This is a place where mDNS hostname resolution can come in handy, so you don’t need to remember IP addresses.

This is quite easy to set up on Breezy:

  • Install the avahi-daemon, avahi-utils and libnss-mdns packages from universe.
  • Restart dbus in order for the new system bus security policies to take effect with “sudo invoke-rc.d dbus restart“.
  • Start avahi-daemon with “sudo invoke-rc.d avahi-daemon start“.
  • Edit /etc/nsswitch.conf, and add “mdns” to the end of the “hosts:” line.

Now your hostname should be advertised to the local network, and you can connect to other hosts by name (of the form hostname.local). You can also get a list of the currently advertised hosts and services with the avahi-discover program.

While the hostname advertising is useful in itself, it should get a lot more useful in Dapper, as more programs are built with mDNS support.

Ubuntu Below Zero

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I’ve been in Montreal since Wednesday for Ubuntu Below Zero.

As well as being my first time in Canada, it was my first time in transit through the USA. Unlike in most countries, I needed to pass through customs and get a visa waiver even though I was in transit. The visa waiver form had some pretty weird questions, such as whether I was involved in persecutions associated with Nazi Germany or its allies.

I am getting up to speed with Bazaar NG, which looks like it should solve some of the scalability problems in bazaar. The main Launchpad tree had more than 600 branches merged in, comprising about 15,000 revisions). The equivalent bzr tree is significantly smaller, and contains the full revision history for the line of development. As well as the performance improvements, the tool feels a lot nicer to use.

DSB-R100 USB Radio Tuner

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Picked up a DSB-R100 USB Radio tuner off EBay recently. I did this partly because I have better speakers on my computer than on the radio in that room, and partly because I wanted to play around with timed recordings.

Setting it up was trivial — the dsbr100 driver got loaded automatically, and a program to tune the radio (gnomeradio) was available in the Ubuntu universe repository. I did need to change the radio device from /dev/radio to /dev/radio0 though.

One of the issues with the gnomeradio is the UI for tuning the radio. The following controls in the main window are used for this purpose:

  1. The slider on the left hand side of the window.
  2. The rewind and fast forward buttons (which are actually scan forward and backward).
  3. The track backward and forward buttons (which actually move back or forward by 0.05MHz).
  4. The presets option menu (which is initially empty).

What you can’t do from the main window is type in a frequency with the keyboard. You can type in frequencies directly when entering presets though, which is nice. These controls could probably be reduced to just an entry field for the frequency (possibly a spin button), and the presets option menu. The scanning feature seems most useful in setting up the presets: create a preset for each radio station that can be tuned and be done with it.

There are a few other small complaints:

  • The button for turning the radio on or off (the button with a speaker on it) doesn’t change appearance like most other mute controls.
  • The recording feature doesn’t use GStreamer. It’d be nice if it offered the same audio profiles for recording as Sound Juicer and other apps.
  • The input selection and volume control should probably also use GStreamer, so that they can work with the ALSA mixer.

I haven’t yet looked into software for doing timed recordings. Other people have though, so I could probably use those scripts as a base.

License Proliferation

Glynn: you say that the CDDL is just an attempt to stop the proliferation of software licenses, yet the end result appears to be yet another license.

I realise that many of the changes in the CDDL with respect to the MPL make sense (e.g. not fixing choice of legal jurisdiction into the license), but it is still another license for people to digest.

Of course, this complaint would be invalidated if many of the projects using the MPL or one of its variants switched to the CDDL instead. Has Sun approached anyone about doing so? (e.g. Mozilla, Cairo, etc).

update: I guess it is possible that such a license merger is under discussion.