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Detour rant

I haven’t done much with my owncloud in quite a while. It was merely an experiment.and I eventually switched my file syncing to (then) BitTorrent Sync, now Resilio Sync. It’s the same program yet they created a new company to better market the shit outa that sucker. Which is fine with me, the program is free and you get nice perks for an one-time payment of 39.99$ If you are looking for a great, private and easy Cloud-Storage solution go check it out at https://www.resilio.com/

Since quite some time I use Kodi now, back then it was xbmc but eventualy evolved into Kodi. With the release of Windows 10 Microsoft decided to do an App-Store kinda thing on their own and called it Windows Store? Something like that. Anyhow, Kodi 17 Crypton was in Beta and it was only available through that win store thingy, which kinda sucked since I run my Kodi on a Win7 system. By now you can just download whatever way you want, but about half a year ago it looked like Kodi was only going to be available with win10. Thinking about it now it didn’t even make sense to me back then. But since I wanted to give Kodi 17 a try, I thought to myself why not setting up a linux system on one of my spare harddrives and install all that nice stuff there instead of relying on windows and its walled garden. Welp, it didn’t turn out to well to be honest.

I decided I want to go easy on the installation and choose an ubuntu system. I had good experience with xubuntu on another pc I setup for my family, so I gave it a go. I copied the img onto a bootable usb-drive, unplugged the windows hdd and booted up. It turned out the xubuntu usb-install didn’t like my IDE-HDD for reasons unknown. It just wouldn’t go through with the installation. So I copied an img of Lubuntu on the usb-drive. Same Kernel different desktop-enviroment. No trouble at all with the installation. Weird huh?!

Having the system running, I installed Kodi and whatever else I thought I needed. You know, I have 2 monitors connected to that machine. One is an old laptop LCD with a controller board attached, which I use for maintenance on that machine. The other monitor is a projector hooked up on a surround system via hdmi. Under windows that’s quite a handy solution. Whenever you need, you just fire up the projector and watch a movie. Plug n Play makes this possible and easy. Welp, apparently Plug n Play is still an issue under ubuntu in 2016! FOR FUCK SAKE! ARE YOU FUCKING KIDDING ME!!!

It turned out that 2 monitors are no problem for the lubuntu system, but once I turned the projector off, the resolution on the other monitor got borked and I wouldn’t be able to get the projector back to work on the system even when turning it on. I went through quite a bit of try and error. I was able to start a terminal which was not visible on my second monitor so I had to type blind.

xrandr –output HDMI-0 –auto –left-of DVI-I-2

After that the projector and the 2nd monitor would work normal again, but only for so long as I would not turn one of the monitors off. I didn’t dive too deep into the issue since I couldn’t find much information on the interwebs concerning this issue. not many people apparently run a setup like this and then get the same error.

So the whole thing was a dealbreaker. I gave up on the idea of having a ubuntu system with 2 monitors handling my Kodi-needs. But it kinda set me into rant mood about linux and it’s aim to get consumer relevant. When googling most of the information I find is outdated. Usually 2 to 3 yrs old. Usually alot of people don’t have a clue what they are doing, me neither, but aren’t there people out there working on this stuff?! Then there is the problem with usability. I mean Windows can handle this stuff since ages why can’t Linux?! If you really want to reach people, make it work and make it work the easy way. Not everybody wants to tinker with a system before it works and does simple jobs. I mean PLUG AND FUCKIN’ PLAY!!!??

Anyhow, now I am working on something different. Kinda like a future project, future in the sense that I am preparing for the future of my own house with a different media setup. But more on that in another upcoming post.

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The owncloud odyssey – Part 1

The last couple of weeks have been on and off for me. I was busy doing all sorts of stuff and didnt really get going on the xubuntu laptop of mine to work things out and test things out and so forth.

I tried installing and setting up an email server on my xubuntu system but so far just got it installed but sadly not running,…oh well, maybe it is running but I can’t really access it via a webinterface nor do I know how to access it with a proper email client like Thunderbird or something alike. So the email project has to wait. Instead I had the wonderful idea of introducing my father to owncloud.

There’s nothing wrong with my father but the home network structure is just wack. I had to set that up “properly” couple of weeks ago, still didn’t manage to sketch a blueprint of it for later use and adjustment. So, they got a couple of pcs in the building. Mainly a macbook connected via wifi and three computers on the office LAN, of which 2 are the main pcs we take into the equation. Owncloud would be an awesome solution for this setup to fulfill all my fathers wildest “Data Backup Dreams” – there is a bit of chaos involved in working on a couple of computers on basically the same files but they are never in sync and you have em backuped like 10 times not including the real backup where they are also stored like 10 additional times. So in the spirit of spring house cleaning we set out to breakdown this backup chaos into little bits of merging things together.

To cut all the story, we are now set out with the plan:

1. Get the Macbook data to be cleaned and streamlined, no double files.

2. Get the PC1 data to be cleaned and streamlined, no double files.

3. Setup the owncloud server on PC2 to make the merging and syncing of data easy.

4. Optional goal that developed from working on things: Get the owncloud accessible online via webbrowser and/or iphone app – at best via https (ssl)

Since I am not involved in cleaning my fathers data and because its not really a part of this blog I cut right to the core now. Point 3 and 4 shall be of our interest.

We installed Ubuntu 12.04 LTS on PC2, from now on called “the server”. It’s a pretty old machine, single core, maybe 1.6ghz and 768MB RAM, but it was spare and we have some 250GB HDD + 60GB for the System on it. Installing Ubuntu isn’t really much of a hassle if you got no special plans but we wanted to have the owncloud data stored in the home folder of the main user. I configured the 60GB HDD as ext4 and made it root and added a couple of gigs as swap from the same hdd. The 250GB drive was mounted /home/ (dont know if that makes sense, I am a noob) so the home-folder would have all the space it needed with the owncloud data folder in it. This is the basic setup I made out to work. And it did and does but sadly Ubuntu doesn’t really work well with owncloud it seems. After setting up everything it turned out the sync speed was slow as hell with clients on windows and macosx. This seems to be a common problem since almost over a year now and there is no real solution to the problem it seems. It has to do with a huge amount of small files it seems.

Switching from SQLite to MySql helped resolve this issue for some people. Installing php5-apc has helped some other people resolve the issue. Configuring MySql to have db_host be 127.0.0.1 instead of localhost has helped some other people. Unfortunately nothin of the above helped in our case. Gladly I stumbled upon a thread in which a user hinted that the problem might come from Debian based distros, he switched from Ubuntu to ArchLinux and the sync speed increased tremendously. I checked my own Xubuntu to Windows7 syncspeed and everything seemed to work fine.

So we deleted Ubuntu on the server and installed Xubuntu 12.04.3 LTS on it with the same HDD mounting setup. Turned out this resolved the issue for us. Why, we, I dont know but it works now and I like it to stay that way. The old machine runs way better anyway with lightweight xubuntu instead of Ubuntu. And I even got the cloud being accessible from the internet.

But more on all the details in the next post.

a documentation of fails,… maybe

Hello world,

with steamOs on the horizon, I thought it might be a good time to take a closer look into linux again. I always liked the idea of a free, opensource, crowd computed, highly customizable, super efficient operating system. So after a buddy of mine started diving into FreeBSD back in the days, now almost 15 years ago, I blindly tried to follow him and kind of failed due to the fact that I was also a bit lazy. Why work on an OS when you have a fine running windows machine on which you can do whatever you want?! Well, it took a couple of years til I gained more understanding of what it means “to do whatever you want” and now with the recent mass-surveilance of innocent citizens of whatever country with the help of proprietary software of tech-monoliths I really like the idea of an open OS which is controlled by the people and doesnt control the people. At least thats the idea.

Wow, I kinda lost track, I started because of games and now make statemenst about surveilance and tech-giants spying on us. I guess it all comes together somehow. I want to learn linux because I was always interested in computer and such stuff, I think Valves decision to build their own OS based on the linux kernel has great potential to change the whole PERSONAL-Computer game. Stating that the computer is personal again might be a nice marketing campaign but yet has to be fullfilled by those claiming it. With linux it was and is always possible. Yet there is the problem of embarking and diving into new things for alot of people. Linux doesnt have a reputation of being easy to learn and use, if you like it or not. Yet I think alot of things have changed in the last 15 years when I first entered the outskirts of linuxtown.

People only need to be able to use an OS, they dont need to program it. Windows, in my opinion, is highly complex yet people dont fear using it cause it makes it easy for them to just scratch the surface of possibilitys. MacOS goes a step further, it strips the main interface of all the complex stuff and presents you a nice sleak user experience, streamlined to be working, easy and enjoyable. Both OS  come preinstalled with a new computer depending on which model you purchase. And thats a big problem for linux marketshare. Accessibility has been highly increased over the last decade. There are distros like ubuntu, opensuse, elemtaryOs (beta), just to name a few, which make it very easy for the normal user to install said OS on their computer. If linux would come preinstalled on computers I guess people would use it, at least for a while. Compatiblity issues and choice of software aside. I know there are companies selling computers with preinstalled linux but it hasn’t reached the big market yet. I cant simply go into a store and chose between Win8, MacOSX and a popular linux-distro.

tldr; The purpose of this blog is mainly a documentation of fails/succes of my linux projects and attempts, but of course theres gonna be alot of attitude and opinion for free with my posts. I do not claim to know shit about linux, I’m a noob so take my opinion as such.