Archive for the ‘Ubuntu’ Category

It’s something I need to remember: how do I install an old PyUSB package on Xubuntu (or a similar Debian-based OS). Why, you ask? Because I need that old version 0.4.3 for the little script that reads the solar energy numbers from the SMA Sunny Beam.

Image of the SMA Sunny Beam monitor for our solar panel installation

The SMA Sunny Beam monitor for our solar panel installation

Luckily, it isn’t too hard to do. This is my context:

Step one is to make sure you have the required header files to compile the PyUSB package. So you open up a terminal session and execute

sudo apt-get install libusb-dev
sudo apt-get install python-dev

Step two: Extract the root folder and all the files from the PyUSB archive, and make that folder your current directory in the terminal session.

Step three: compile and install the package with this command:

sudo python setup.py install

That’s it. When all goes well, you’ll be able to verify the existence of two new files on your system, in a directory called “/usr/local/lib/python2.7/dist-packages“:



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A few weeks ago I had trouble with some of the sd-cards in my camera’s. Taking pictures was not the problem, but the cards would not show up in the Finder or on the Desktop of my Mac Mini. Having no clue as to why those cards remained invisible, I booted my preferred alternative: Xubuntu.

Again, the cards did not show their contents, but at least Xubuntu told me what was going on: “unknown filesystem type 'exfat'“. The cards were formatted in exFAT – I suppose the Fuji X20 did that. A quick search instructed me on what to do, and a few minutes later I could see (and backup) my photos. So for those of you who found themselves in the same situation, here’s “How to Mount and Use an exFAT Drive on Linux“. Easy and very useful!

Trying out my new smartphone ;-)

Trying out my new smartphone ;-)

Since then, somehow that same sd-card is now handled like any other on the Mac. Did the Mini need the latest MacOS update, or was it just the reboot that did the trick? I’ll never know, but I did learn again that Xubuntu (or Linux in general) is more than just a toy for IT geeks – it can be very useful. But you all knew that, no?

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For my own comfort I am documenting this little (but essential) tidbit on my blog: How to “Remove Old Kernels In Ubuntu With One Command“. It’s a post from 2010, but it should work, according to the comments. I will admit, however, that I handled my current problem using the (manual) instructions I found on “Ask Ubuntu”.

Here's what I saw

Here’s what I saw (with a larger number)

I have been updating my system regularly, as it should, since the initial installation. Using the manual instructions mentioned, I managed to delete all 4.2 kernels and more.

Admittedly, I also issued these commands:

> sudo apt-get clean


> sudo apt autoremove

Yes, that last one uses ‘apt and not ‘apt-get‘ – that’s how it was spelled somewhere, and it cleaned up a lot of stuff! I’m not sure if it’s best or safest way to make sure you’re only running the latest installed kernel, though. I know Linux is for geeks <grin />, but I can’t help agreeing with one of the commenters on the post mentioned: “There’s no excuse Ubuntu doesn’t do some kind of automatic cleanup…“, or at least does so with a single, simple command or tool.

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As predicted in my previous post, I installed the Ice application from the Peppermint Linux distribution on my Xubuntu PC. Although is part of the PeppermintOS distribution, installation in Xubuntu (and presumably Ubuntu as well) is quite simple. I followed the instructions from the Ubuntu Forums thread “How to get a program called “ice” from Peppermint OS 6“. In a nutshell (make that a real shell in your Terminal, please):

cd ~/Downloads
wget https://launchpad.net/~peppermintos/+archive/ubuntu/p6-release/+files/ice_5.0.1_all.deb
sudo dpkg -i ice_5.0.1_all.deb

For good measure, you should check the latest Peppermint OS release packages to make sure you have the latest stable edition of Ice – just replace ‘ice_5.0.1_all.deb‘ with the name of the latest version.

The link to my PVOutput.org site works OK in Xubuntu. But you must remember that all Ice-generated applications use the same cookies etc. as the Chromium browser they are based on. That may not be 100% what you need, but I haven’t yet found a solution for that problem (other than writing your own application).

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A long time ago, say in 2011, I must have figured this out already: to boot an Asus EeePC from a USB memory stick or an SDCard, you have to proceed as follows:

Ignore the BIOS boot order, the boot menu overrides it temporarily, unless you want to boot from a USB stick every time it boots, changing it in the BIOS is not necessary. Just try it, instead of hitting F2 to go into the BIOS, hit Esc.

Every EeePC I’ve ever come across has the boot menu when you hit Esc, it is the easiest way to boot from a USB stick or SD card.

Start hitting the Esc key as soon as the machine boots: simple, and it works like a charm! Thanks, elliott678 !


It has taken many hours installing and testing different Linux distributions, but I think I have found the successor to ElementaryOS and Ubuntu on my two old PC’s. Xubuntu turns out to be the most fluent Linux on the old 1MB PC, and that means it will be good enough for the EeePC as well, I guess. I will probably install different versions on both of them: 14.04 LTS is good enough for the PC. On the EeePC I tend to experiment a bit more, and since it has double the memory a more recent version should offer more opportunities to familiarise me with the specifics of the X-variant of Ubuntu… That could well be my first new year’s resolution: learning Xubuntu!

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Lovely Moiré For Ubuntu

I’m still spending lots of time trying to find the best pictures from our trip “Down Under”. You’ll find them on Flickr, but be sure to have a look every few days in order to catch the latest additions. One of the things I managed to do during the photo selection process (apart from work and filling in a tax form, that is) is the installation of Ubuntu 15.04 (Vivid Vervet) on my trusty Asus Eee PC.

Loverly Moiré, Don't You Think?

Loverly Moiré, Don’t You Think?

This latest version of Ubuntu is running fine, better than the previous one: I no longer see an error message upon login. Thumbs up, Ubuntu!

At the same time, I’ve extended my English vocabulary: a vervet is an East-African primate (a monkey).

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This is news in the category “Just because it can be done“.

Wired: Running a web server on an Apple Newton: not bad for last century hardware. But how about a Java enterprise application server on a smartphone? Well, it’s possible – you just have tot install Ubuntu Touch first, says Mike Croft in “A Smartphone as a JEE Server: Glassfish 4 on Ubuntu Touch” (via DZone).

Just remember: you’ll need a lot of Nexus smartphones in a cluster to support some serious application traffic!

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