Lewis' Blog Tales from the trenches of information technology


Hate KDE Plasma5 on openSUSE Leap 42.1? Me, too.

After severely breaking my well-oiled openSUSE 13.2 installation, and wasting a couple hours trying to fix it (unbootable), I finally bit the bullet and just did an in-place upgrade to Leap 42.1.

Of course, the first thing I noticed was that my display driver was incorrect (max res 1024x768). The second thing was that the desktop was all but unusable.

My first assumption at that point was that it was just the resolution, and that I was indeed missing something which was somewhere off-screen. However, after installing the proper radeon driver, I was left with the same, barely usable desktop. What happened?

Apparently, the openSUSE team decided to switch to KDE's Plasma5 from KDE4 as the default desktop. Not only is Plasma5 unfinished (unfinished=still missing some expected functionality and components common to KDE4), but it seemed (for me) to leak memory badly and do a number of other not-very-nice things when moving windows and such. In addition, the kicker was awkward to use, cluttered to read, and decidedly non-SuSE in appearance.

I tried a few new themes, thinking that perhaps it was just the rather unbranded, default KDE theme which was at fault, but alas, nothing would help.

I stumbled upon this thread in the openSUSE forums, which provided some great links.

Once I got KDE4 back (as well as my old familiar desktop selector menu at login), I discovered that my Apper widget was missing from my panel. I fixed that by downgrading to Apper from plasma5-pk-updater, then uninstalling plasma5-pk-updater and friends (breaking the pattern to satisfy the dep solver), and then marking Apper as locked and plasma5-pk-updater (and friends) as taboo (never install).

Perhaps at some point I'll provide a detailed set of instructions for all of this, but for now, my heartfelt thanks to Wolfgang Bauer (wolfi323) for his wonderful repo and build of plasma5-session (which allows switching back and forth between desktops).


Still more PHP 5.3 fixes for Joomla! 1.5

When you're on a roll, you're on a roll...

Almost done patching this particular old rowboat. This installment deals with quieting this bit of error log noise:

PHP Deprecated:  Function eregi() is deprecated in blahblah\components\com_htmlmap\views\htmlmap\tmpl\default_map.php on line 20


Updating the TCPDF library in Joomla! 1.5

TCPDF is an excellent PHP class for creating PDFs from dynamic (or static, for that matter) web content. Unfortunately, the version of TCPDF bundled with Joomla! 1.5 (all 1.5 releases after at least 1.5.8 - someone please correct me if I am wrong - was version 2.6.000_PHP4, dated March 7, 2008. It's also not very PHP 5.3-friendly (there are other parts of Joomla! 1.5 which are not fully compatible with PHP 5.3, but this article will focus on TCPDF). Time to freshen up, methinks.


How not to update the BIOS on a newer (post 2009) Intel desktop board

Still in the thick of the system migration involving the virtualization of the previous W2K install. I procured the hardware to build the new workstation, which is based on an Intel DZ77GAL-70K desktop board and an i5-3570K CPU. (I won't go into detail here concerning my choice of the K series CPU and the matched desktop board, but I will provide some references below 1.)


A sincere apology to users of my YUM repo mirror

You see, it all started in January, when I decided to do a good deed (I should have known better). I set up a YUM repository mirror for Netlabs.org, as OS/2 now uses RPM and YUM for (some) package management (I have a post in draft on that whole issue). It turns out, however, that for reasons which I shall explain, the xml (and related) files in my mirror weren't getting updated, so while I was doing a great job of adding content, I wasn't updating the repo information, so subscribers had no idea.

So, for all of you out there who have come to rely over the past couple of months on my US mirror of the Netlabs YUM repository, I most humbly apologize for the inconvenience. It's fixed now, though.


Random thoughts on Thunderbird’s current state

Well, like the Mozilla Suite before it, Thunderbird seems to have been given the Boot by MSF. This is hardly surprising for a group which single-handedly (single-mindedly?) decided that "nobody wants an internet suite anymore; people only want separate web browsers and email clients." Right...


A new year, a new WordPress version

Happy New Year, all.

I specifically held off upgrading WordPress from 3.2.1 to 3.3 until more of my plugins had been updated and until I'd had a chance to read up on what others were experiencing. All things considered, though, the upgrade seemed to be fairly painless (though why some people insist upon running their own websites and doing such installations and upgrades themselves I shall never understand), and this evening, it seemed that I had a handful of plugins which were candidates for updates, so I took the plunge all the way 'round.

If you happen to notice anything amiss, please bring it to my attention via the contact form or direct email (most of you reading this blog probably have it, but in case you don't, just use lgrosenthal at the domain of this site or .com, and you should get right through to me.

Thanks for reading, and again, Happy New Year!


Broken Windows updates for .NET

Ah, into the land of (broken) Windows we go...

I despise Windows. Have I said that before? Here, in case I haven't, I'll say it again. I despise Windows. That feels better. It's good to get such things off one's chest. What a hopelessly broken operating paradigm. Oh, well. It's gotten better, I guess. that is to say, it used to be even worse.

I've been spending much time of late working between zypper and yum on various flavors of Linux and now, eComStation, which has its own port of yum. Of the two, I prefer zypper, though either is head and shoulders beyond the inane Windows patching system. However, when in Rome...


New version; new theme

After reading some truly hair-raising comments about the WordPress 3.1 upgrade, I had resigned myself to waiting for at least the .1 version to be released. Upon logging into my admin panel over the weekend, however, I was greeted by the prompt to upgrade to 3.1.1, and threw caution to the wind.

The upgrade went off without a hitch (WordPress is truly slick regarding its handling of updates, themes, and widget installations, and I am rarely - if ever - left feeling that I must use my IT talents to maintain my own blog), and I then set about looking for perhaps a slightly less drastic theme.

The result is what you see. So far, I'm quite happy with the result (I haven't changed anything on the handheld side, still using Carrington Mobile). If you have some comments or if something doesn't seem to work quite right, please drop me a note via the contact page and let me know.