Arnt Gulbrandsen
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Linux on the ARM Chromebook: Not quite yet

Installing ubuntu on the Chromebook was really simple, and the result works in principle, but it's not usable. Too many missing packages, some random crashes (while using Unity), and the Chromebook doesn't sleep properly.

KDE (kubuntu-desktop) seems to work better than Unity/Gnome, but not well enough for production use, not even by a twenty-year linux veteran such as myself. I don't want to spend much time hacking on it now, so I'll try again in a few months.

Ubuntu 12.10 on the Nokia Booklet

The Nokia Booklet will not resume from sleep using 12.10 and I cannot find the problem. 12.04 works, so today is the day when I learn whether my backup regime really works. (Update: It worked oh so slowly. I assume it's time to stop upgrading linux on this laptop and get a new one soonish, so I ordered an ARM Chromebook.)

More on Ubuntu 12.04 and the Nokia Booklet

I've written earlier that Ubuntu 12.04 runs well on the Nokia Booklet. True, it does. But I glossed over the pain of installing. Sorry.

My first problem was that I had installed an SSD, and the 3.0 linux kernel, the chipset and the SSD weren't friends. The installer would die immediately after partitioning the disk.

I got around that by booting ubuntu (actually kubuntu) from a USB stick, choosing try kubuntu, connecting to a wireless network, opening a terminal and […More…]

A minor security bug in Ubuntu

This has two parts.

First, sudo, which ubuntu encourages using rather than su. Sudo can be set up to allow users to do just some things as root rather than everything, by editing the file /etc/sudoers.

Second, various Ubuntu programs that run as root. Some expect that the user's $PATH starts with /sbin and /usr/sbin, and run programs without specifying the complete file name.

If a user has limited sudoers privileges, then various Ubuntu-supplied programs can often be tricked into granting the user complete root access.

For example, sudo apt-get install firefox will run either ldconfig or start-stop-daemon (I forget). Not every package has this problem, but many enough to make it a FAQ.

I feel sure that whoever reports this will be told by the sudoers maintainers that the problem is with e.g. apt-get, and by the apt-get people that the problem is with sudoers. Both are reasonable responses, but I'd rather write code than argue. So all I'll do is publish this.

Linux on the Nokia Booklet 3G

My previous laptop (a Lifebook P7210) grew bad-tempered. Investigate or replace? Stupid question considering how much netbooks cost.

My new laptop is a Nokia Booklet 3G, a moderately expensive netbook with good battery lifetime, a 3G modem, a high-resolution screen and no fan. Ubuntu 10.10 runs well […More…]

Warning: untrusted versions of the following packages…

Three million web forum postings contain wrong, misguided or overly complex solutions, so here:

When ubuntu complains WARNING: untrusted versions of the following packages will be installed, that's because of bad data in the keyring for ubuntu packages, which is part of the package ubuntu-keyring. […More…]


Some fonts have already been updated to include ẞ, including the ones I generally use (on ubuntu 10.04). Lovely.


Here's what I did to get a sensibly large character repertoire for my keyboard, using ubuntu 9.10.

First, read any of the fine explanations of the compose key and configure some suitable key.

Next, explain to ubuntu that you do wish to XIM:

im-switch -s default-xim

By this time, X applications will read your ~/.XCompose file when they start, so set it up. There's a large repertoire on github:

cd ~/src
git clone git://

Here's my ~/.XCompose […More…]