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Code/Systems

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MySQL: Yum Repositories

Announcing new Yum repositories for MySQL. This is a big deal, for anyone running MySQL or a related product. It was MariaDB‘s yum repositories which made it easy for me to migrate to v5.5 from 5.1 in CentOS.

With MySQL 5.6, Oracle is on a rather different tack than MariaDB. It’s adding some interesting features, too, which make it compelling to try or use in certain circumstances. For the known future I’m likely still sticking with MariaDB, though this is definitely a great option.

Bug #1238194

In Ubuntu 13.10, in the package initramfs-tools, I was hit by this bug. I put in the eighth comment, which I won’t duplicate here. It’s spooky that this happened in a released product. Other people had the same problem, too.

Sure, 13.10 is not an LTS release, though it’s a good example of how complex operating systems can be, and how testing everything is a difficult task.

Lightbeam for Firefox

Recently announced, Lightbeam is a super interesting project. It’s a plugin for Firefox that allows you to track how sites track you. It’s primary function is to visualize how sites are connected, and to show connections to the sites that you are not visiting directly but which are likely collecting your information.

There is the chance, too, for you to upload your data back to Mozilla, so they can build a better graph of how the web in general is connected. That part is entirely opt-in, and there are warnings before you go through with that option.

Another gem seems to be the option to block sites which the plugin has seen. You can, for instance, block google.com, which then disallows the browser from visiting any site within that domain. There is, of course, a large warning that going too far with this option can have unintended consequences. I love the NoScript and Adblock plugins, yet this goes one step further in preventing any traffic from these domains, not just scripts or objects, respectively. Well done.

vim: auto-lint your PHP files

Auto-commands in vim are pretty neat. I’m not sure if I’m sold on using this full time yet, but I thought I’d set something up such that whenever I saved a PHP file, I would automatically run the built-in linter to check that at least the syntax isn’t having any severe problems. Luckily, this is pretty easy to do:

autocmd BufWritePost *.php !php -l %

Font Viewer: Uninstall Fonts

I used the Font Viewer application to look at a font I had downloaded, and then tried out the “Install” button. Well, the font got into my system rather quickly that way, though I had no idea how to take it out.

I doubt too many people care about removing fonts, though I wanted to install ten of a family in one shot rather than clicking around to each one.

Local store

Font Viewer copies the font into the home directory, in .local/share/fonts/. You can remove the files stored there, at which point the system is generally pretty good about refreshing automatically to get it sorted out.

System location

In Ubuntu, you can install fonts just by copying them to /usr/local/share/fonts. This makes it easier to install en masse, to migrate to other systems rather than having them strewn about.

List everything

fc-list is a great command which shows you the list of all fonts, and where they are installed. Pipe this into a grep command and you can easily find where a particular font lives, or where you have its various copies.

Refresh cache

fc-cache -v -f will manually refresh the font cache, which you should probably run as root. I didn’t need to do this myself, since though if you wanted to run it for whatever reason, that’s the way to do it without hunting for man pages.

Jamming on code w/ my headphones

“Headphone hacker” is definitely a fairly wide trope, which I recognized when I heard it from a client, saying that a task should be easy enough, and that I can “jam on it for a bit while wearing your headphones.”

After hearing it as a stereotype, I then reflected for a half a second before I realized that yes, that’s most likely exactly what I’d be doing.

Ah well. Shit is fucking fun, anyway.

Ubuntu’s Framebuffer

It was a bit harder to find an answer to this than I had wanted, so here’s a quick tip: if you install Ubuntu Server, which does not have X or any graphical display, in a VM configuration the default framebuffer console can be sized a bit strangely, such that it doesn’t fit nicely in a virtual window.

stty: stopping the insanity

The first fix is to know about the stty command. You can run stty cols 42 which will tell everything to only use the first 42 characters of display, which means the rest will not run past the scrollbars, etc. You can now at least use vim, etc. to do what you need.

nomodeset in /etc/default/grub

Next part is to to change the value of GRUB_CMDLINE_LINUX_DEFAULT in /etc/default/grub to at least include the nomodeset option. Options are separated by spaces. Setting this option adds a line to the grub config for Ubuntu which tells the kernel not to bother with the framebuffer at all, which allows for a smaller set of terminals. Commit the change with sudo update-grub, and you’re on your way.