Category Archives: Linux

Pirated Linux!

A few days back I had visited my parent’s home at Lucknow. My father had Fedora core 3 running on his box and I thought I should now upgrade that. After all, the packages for this particular release are no longer available at the official fedora web site as well. Even though I swear by Ubuntu, I could not arrange its DVD in time but I did manage to grab a copy of Fedora 10 DVD. Unfortunately, the system did not boot from it.

So I visited the Naaz Market, the local IT hub to get a fresh copy . BTW you can get pirated versions of almost all software there. So I asked one vendor if he has any flavour of Linux especially Fedora. He proudly said yes, version Redhat 9.0. That is so stone age (circa 2002). I moved to next shop. Same question from me. The shopkeeper almost whispered another question into my ears. ” Do you want Pirated or Original Fedora CDs”? I was flabbergasted. With a twinkle in my eye I said, I wanted pirated ones.  Still the DVD was costing Rs 200. So I refused.

I finally bought the April copy of PC Quest and installed Debian Lenny that came along with it. Free and Original.

WiFi Speed

I have purchased a new NETGEAR WGR614v9 wireless router. For security I configured it to use WPA2 Personal using AES-128 for encryption. I have purchased a broadband plan that gives me 2 Mbps connection speed. But I have noticed that when I connect from Windows, I get a maximum download speed of around 55 KBps where as when I use Linux I get a speed of around 150-160 KBps from the same site. ( While updating packages from the Ubuntu repositories, this goes upto 260 KBps.

Are there any known ways of tweaking the Windows stack for getting more performance or is it really broken?

Building Pidgin and Sipe

From the blog statistics it seems that a lot of people are now interested in using SIPE for communicating with OCS. In one of my previous post I had mentioned that SIPE with pidgin works wonderfully so I think its now appropriate that I should mention how I built Pidgin and SIPE. These instructions are applicable for Ubuntu (and Debian)

First you obviously need to get the sources :-P. You can get pidgin here.  I had used the 1.3.2 release of SIPE. Untar the source packages. In addition you essentially require to install the following packages.

sudo apt-get install autotools-dev libtool intltool

I had configured pidgin using the following options

./configure –disable-gstreamer  –disable-meanwhile  –disable-perl –disable-tcl –disable-tk

This essentially means that there would be no support for sound and scripting in perl, tcl or tk. Also “meanwhile” a port of Lotus Sametime would not be available as well. Building pidgin required installing the following packages

sudo apt-get install automake1.7 intltool libglib2.0-dev pkg-config libatk1.0-dev libcairo2-dev libexpat1-dev libfontconfig1-dev libfreetype6-dev libgtk2.0-dev libice-dev libpango1.0-dev libpng12-dev libsm-dev libxcomposite-dev libxcursor-dev libxdamage-dev libxfixes-dev libxft-dev libxi-dev libxrandr-dev libxrender-dev x11proto-composite-dev x11proto-damage-dev x11proto-fixes-dev x11proto-randr-dev x11proto-render-dev zlib1g-dev libstartup-notification0 libgtkspell-dev libxml2-dev libavahi-client-dev  libavahi-core-dev libavahi-ui-dev
libdbus0-dev libdbus-1-dev libdbus-glib0-dev libdbus-glib-1-dev libdbus-glib-dev libnm-util-dev network-manager-dev libgcrypt11-dev libgnutls-dev libgnutlsxx13 libgpg-error-dev liblzo2-dev libopencdk8-dev libpopt-dev libtasn1-3-dev  comerr-dev e2fslibs-dev

Yup with all the other options that were enabled, you really need those many packages. This would prepare pidgin to be installed in /usr/local. However,  if you want to install pidgin in /usr then add the following to configure


now do


sudo make install

For configuring sipe do the following in sipe source directory


By default this would install in /usr/local and this should pick up pidgin development headers as well. However, if you have installed pidgin in /usr append –prefix=/usr at the configure stage. Now do the usual


sudo make install

For configuring your account, choose Microsoft OCS/LCS from the protocols drop down list.  Fill in the following details

username: your email address (
password: your password

Use proxy : checked
Proxy server:  Usually this is your exchange server, but ask your IT department.
Use non standard port : checked
Port : 5061
Connection type : SSL/TLS ( or OCS is not running on SSL)
UserAgent: OC/2.0.6362.0 ( This corresponds to the latest Microsoft OCS client)
Auth User: your windows domain credentials
Auth Domain: your windows domain

You can also find out the server and port details by using wireshark on a Windows OCS client installation

The Sourceforge forum for this project is very helpful. If anything does not work, don’t hesitate to ask.

Once you save this you may be prompted to accept server certificate. This should setup your account. Should I say “Happy chatting”.

Pidgin and Sipe rocks.

Somebody in the higher echelons of my organization figured out that the lowly workers are not communicating properly and decided to roll out Microsoft Office Communications Server.  Everybody greeted this news with much glee because now we could officially chat. However, after the fanfare died and mist settled, I found that that much to my consternation, I could not use it since I boot into Linux and there is no official support.

Yesterday I came to know that there is AJAX based tool available through which non-windows people could log into “official” chat server. But IT being IT, turned down my plea for installing this Web extension. In their infinite wisdom, they decided that this would generate more support requests. Something that a mere mortal like me could not fathom.

So I turned to Google and found this beauty.  The posts in the forum looked very promising so I decided to compile and test for myself. And then I thought, what the heck, I will pull in the latest Pidgin as well. Pulling in the required dev packages was a bit tedious but when you are on Ubuntu, things work like a charm.

Configuring required  some efforts; mostly because on Windows, the OCS client does not show server details . A little bit of help from Wireshark was required and then finally I could see this result.

Sipe showing my chat buddies

Sipe showing my chat buddies


There are a few issues still. For example, on start up, on first attempt Pidgin shows an error message about some invalid signature but on clicking the reconnect button every thing works fine. This might have been fixed in the latest bleeding edge Git repository, but right now I am sticking to 1.3.0 beta provided at sourceforge site.

The ticket for OCS support on Pidgin makes an interesting reading. Seeing so many people ready to test/support is very interesting. Looks like its time to re-read this marvellous piece, “The Cathedral and the Bazaar

Stupid Fixes

There are times when you want to shout “What the hell?”. Actually I wanted to use a profanity but then children might also read this post some day. So I don’t. I am ranting because for some days, Amarok refused to play MP3. I am jumping the gun a bit so lets start from the beginning.

I have been using KDE 4.2 in Kubuntu 8.10 and recently it offered to upgrade to the latest packages. I did and since then Amarok refused to play MP3. It would prompt to install MP3 support but then would install nothing.  I checked and then rechecked and then double checked, but all necessary packages were already installed. Back to square one.

Today I managed to fix this by simply deleting ~/.xine directory. Ooof, is this a valid solution?

Kubuntu Rocks!

I had distro fever earlier. Trying out all the distributions out there at some point of time used to be my favorite pastime. Thankfully I no longer do that after I started using ubuntu and family, but I am always looking for some eye candy. My work desktop has Xubuntu 7.10 and I have setup dual monitor mode using Xinerama. Because of this issue I can’t upgrade.  I also have a laptop on which I tryout new releases of Ubuntu and today I tried Kubuntu 8.10. So far it is good. I have some problems, that I will list later but as far as eye candy goes, it definitely is very neat. This is how my desktop looks right now.


Update : kubutu can be downloaded from here. If you are adventurous enough you can even try to install KDE 4.2 beta packages. Instructions for doing that are here.   Thanks zachdude1094 for suggesting this.