Categotry Archives: debian


How to update the google talk / hangouts plugin for Linux


This threw me for a loop! Literally.

I wanted to use Google Hangouts, but it told me I needed to update the plugin.

I downloaded the plugin, installed it, fired up hangouts again, only to be told, I had to update the plugin again! The screen looks something like this:

Google Hangouts Plugin

What the? I just installed the plugin! How could you tell me I needed to install it again?

I did a sanity check.

apt-cache policy google-talkplugin

I got back the following:

Version table: 0
500 stable/main amd64 Packages
*** 0
100 /var/lib/dpkg/status

The page Google had sent me to, was trying to install the version 3.10 plugin. That isn’t going to work.

apt-cache policy shows me the installed version, 3.10 and the current version in the repo. 4.9!

So I told it to get the latest version in the repository.

sudo apt-get install google-talkplugin

When I redid the apt-cache policy it showed:

Version table:
*** 0
500 stable/main amd64 Packages
100 /var/lib/dpkg/status

and behold!

hangouts plugin



How to install PC Study Bible V5.x using wine in Linux


Unfortunately this broke PC Study Bible

Linux Kernel 3.14 Breaks Wine for 16-bit Windows Applications using 64 bit kernel (Ubuntu 14.04 lts):

3.13.0-32-generic #73-Ubuntu SMP Tue Dec 16 00:22:43 UTC 2014 x86_64 x86_64 x86_64 GNU/Linux

W O R K A R O U N D:

Upgrading to kernel:

3.13.0-44-generic #73-Ubuntu SMP Tue Dec 16 00:22:43 UTC 2014 x86_64 x86_64 x86_64 GNU/Linux

and Wine 1.7

When configuring wine (snippet from article below)


If you have a 64-bit system, Wine will start an 64-bit 
environment by default. You can change this behavior using 
the WINEARCH  environment variable. Rename your ~/.wine 
directory and create a new Wine environment by running

WINEARCH=win32 winecfg

This will get you a 32-bit Wine environment. Not setting
WINEARCH will get you a 64-bit one. 


There are somethings that Linux does better then Windows. PC Study Bible, although a 32 bit Microsoft Windows application, can be successfully installed in Linux. However, there are some tricks to doing this.

These directions are overly simplified to allow novice Linux users, the best opportunity for success. As always I break it down step by step.

1. If you do not have wine installed, that is the very first step. Wine stands for: Wine is NOT an Emulator (which is recursive). What wine does, is allows you to run most windows applications (that do NOT require USB support) under Linux.

Let’s install wine!

sudo apt-get install wine

NOTE THAT I AM RUNNING THE 64 BIT FLAVOUR OF Linux (Debian) so that requires some extra steps (detailed below)

The fist cd you want to install is the New Reference Library CD.

I choose NOT to autorun anything. So it is necessary to navigate to the CD.

2. As mentioned in the winehq article: we will need to change settings in /etc/security/limits.conf

The # on the line is comment, and does NOT need to be coded.

cd /etc/security # go to the directory
sudo cp limits.conf # backup the current file
sudo nano limits.conf # edit the file

You want to add a line to the file:

user hard nofile 32000

Where user is your user name. Apparently PC Study Bible likes to open a gazillion files, this sets the upper limit to 32000 files.

ctrl + o to write, ctrl + x to end.

3. To mount the cd, (using system mount points): — mount requires root privileges —

sudo mount /dev/sr0 /mnt

You will get back:

mount: block device /dev/sr0 is write-protected, mounting read-only

which is absolutely NORMAL.

4. Now navigate to the directory:

cd /mnt

5. Install the programme with wine:

wine setup.exe

Pcstudy Bible Install

IF you are installing PC Study Bible in a 64 bit environment, YOU MUST tell it to use a 32 bit architecture (works fine with 64 bit Debian/Wheezy (V7)):

Linux Homer 3.2.0-4-amd64 #1 SMP Debian 3.2.46-1+deb7u1 x86_64 GNU/Linux

wine setup.exe winearch=32

the winearch=32 tells it to use a 32 bit environment. If you do NOT do this, the installshield WILL FAIL.

6. To unmount the cd: (note # is a comment and does not need to be coded)

cd ~ # back to the user home directory
sudo umount /dev/sr0

Repeat steps 3-6 for EACH cd/dvd you want to install.

7. To run PcStudy Bible, it will be necessary to create a shortcut with the following properties: (If a shortcut is NOT automagically added)

env WINEPREFIX=”/home/USERID/.wine” wine C:\\windows\\command\\start.exe /Unix /home/USERID/.wine/dosdevices/c:/windows/profiles/All\ Users/Desktop/PC\ Study\ Bible\ 5.lnk

where USERID is your userid.

The actual executable is located at:

cd ~/.wine/drive_c/Program Files/Biblesoft/PC Study Bible/Program
wine joshua.exe

The file launcher looks like this:

Command: env WINEPREFIX=”/home/USER/.wine” wine C:\\\\windows\\\\command\\\\start.exe /Unix /home/USER/.wine/dosdevices/c:/users/Public/Desktop/PC\\ Study\\ Bible\\ 5.lnk

Working Directory: /home/USER/.wine/dosdevices/c:/Program Files/Biblesoft/PC Study Bible

Where USER is your login username.

8. Et voilà




For me, PC Study Bible runs faster using wine in Linux, than using native Windows.


HDhomerun3 Product Review



With the arrival of the Digital Age, Silicon Dust has a niche market: For those people who want to free themselves from cable bills, Silicon Dust created a digital tuner which can easily be added to a computer network, allowing you to have your own Personal Video Recorder. One of it’s unique features is that it is a networked appliance, so any device on the network (with the proper software) can watch videos from virtually anywhere on the planet with highspeed internet connection. It is compatible with Windows, Mac, and Linux.

The product does come with an installation disc for the Windows operating system. I choose to use the free open source Mythtv for Linux. Mythtv installation can be frightening. I required assistance from my friend Mike M. in the Kansas City area.

The installation went with a few hiccups, but the real challenge was just ahead. Configuration. That is more art then science. It required more thaumaturging (magic wand waving) then I would have liked. The biggest issue was that when I did the channel scans, and then ran mythfilldatabase to update the logs. Nothing happened! It turns out that you need to add the xmltv id.(see highlighted red section — xmltv id is just and index into a database that contains the channel specific information. Zap2it is the easiest to use)


After that, I was watching tv for the first time! YaY!

All good things crashed last week. The digital tuner quit working. It would NOT tune any hidef channels, either over-the-air, or cable, even though my HDTV received them fine, either way.

The true mettle of a company is revealed when there are repair issues. The problems did not surface until day 31 of a 30 day return period. I am under the manufacturer’s 1 year warranty period now. What I found out…has been challenging. There is NO telephone number to call for Tech Support. It is all done by email via Fog Creek. Silicon Dust does NOT do their own Tech Support. It is done by a 3rd party vendor. Support is very slow, arduous and painful. You can expect 1 reply / day. It could take weeks to solve a simple problem. The embedded diagnostic software, that phones home is operating system dependent: requiring the user to have Windows. For Linux users, this requirement is un-acceptable. If a product is advertised as Linux compatible, then the diagnostic software should be available native to Linux, NOT Windows.

The email Tech Support, lack of native diagnostic software, the Windows requirement, and product reliability/durability gives this product 1.9 out of 5 rating. (C-)


How to: Install Skype on 64 bit Debian Wheezy


It is NOT as easy as it would first seem. Some magic wand waving (oh yes — Hokey Pokey again!) is required.

Download Skype for Debian 7 (multi-arch)

NOTE: if you are using Ubuntu or Linux Mint, you will need to download the Ubuntu Multiarch version, instead.

Debian Skype

1. What is multi-arch? Multi-arch supports the 32 bit libraries needed to run Skype or even Boinc. So first we need to tell Wheezy (Debian 7 — 64 bit) that we need this support:

Linux 3.2.0-4-amd64 #1 SMP Debian 3.2.41-2 x86_64 GNU/Linux

sudo dpkg --add-architecture i386

Normally, you would just get a prompt.

2. Now update the system:

sudo apt-get update

and it should find all the necessary components for the 32 bit support. Yup, Skype even on a 64 bit system, is a 32 bit application!

3. I found it necessary to run upgrade after doing the update, this differs from what other sites say.

sudo apt-get upgrade

4. Let’s install Skype!

sudo dpkg -i skype-debian_4.1.0.20-1_i386.deb

Or whatever version you download.

5. If you end up with um-met dependencies like I did, Don’t Panic!

Simply tell Linux to fix the dependencies:

sudo apt-get install -f

Repeat step 4 (above)

6. Q.E.D.



Stabilizing an atheros ar9485 (ath9k) connection in Linux (Wheezy)


If you search the internet, one of the issues that seems to come up a lot, are connectivity issues with the atheros AR 9485 card.

I am configuring a new laptop, an HP Pavilion G6-2323DX for my Mom. I ran into many issues that caused me to have to do hokey pokey.

This is pure hokey pokey. But it does work.

The operating system I am using is Debian/Wheezy V 7 RC 1 (64 Bit)

If you do a uname -a I get back:

Linux AnnLin 3.2.0-4-amd64 #1 SMP Debian 3.2.41-2 x86_64 GNU/Linux

Let’s just step by step check things.

1. let’s see if Linux see’s the card:

lspci | grep Wireless

You will get back a line like:

02:00.0 Network controller: Atheros Communications Inc. AR9485 Wireless Network Adapter (rev 01)

That means Linux sees it, but of course it is NOT configured.

2. Let’s see if the driver (ath9k) is loaded. We will use modprobe.

modprobe ath9k

if the device driver is loaded, it will just return a prompt. That’s a “good thing” as Martha would say.

3. Let’s look to make sure the wpa-supplicant programme is installed. The WPA supplicant provides wireless protected access (encryption) for our connection.

dpkg -l | grep supplicant

and you should get back:

ii wpasupplicant 1.0-3+b2
amd64 client support for WPA and WPA2 (IEEE 802.11i)

We’re good!

4. Now let’s modify /etc/network/interfaces

cd /etc/network # go to network interfaces
sudo cp interfaces # make a backup copy
sudo nano interfaces

You will get back something like this:

# This file describes the network interfaces available on your system
# and how to activate them. For more information, see interfaces(5).

# The loopback network interface
auto lo
iface lo inet loopback

#define the network interface for the wireless lan card
iface wlan0 inet dhcp
wpa-ssid MyHome
wpa-psk MyPass

wpa-ssid is the name of the wireless network you are trying to connect to. wpa-psk is the password for that network. Yup plain text!

The iface line defines wlan0 so it has access to the internet, and gets it’s ip address dynamically (dhcp).

The card interface is STILL not up!

5. Bring up the interface!

sudo ifdown wlan0; sudo ifup wlan0;

you will get output that looks like:

ifdown: interface wlan0 not configured
Internet Systems Consortium DHCP Client 4.2.2
Copyright 2004-2011 Internet Systems Consortium.
All rights reserved.
For info, please visit
Listening on LPF/wlan0/20:16:d8:e5:32:b4
Sending on LPF/wlan0/20:16:d8:e5:32:b4
Sending on Socket/fallback
DHCPDISCOVER on wlan0 to port 67 interval 8
DHCPREQUEST on wlan0 to port 67
bound to — renewal in 37985 seconds.


Install wicd (Wireless Interface Connection Daemon)

sudo apt-get install wicd

once that is installed, REMOVE the gnome network mangler!

sudo apt-get purge network-manager-gnome


Reboot the machine. After re-booting bring up the interface.

sudo ifdown wlan0; sudo ifup wlan0;

It should look like this:



now go back to /etc/network/interfaces and remove (or comment out with a # in front the wpa-ssid, and wpa-pskid for the wlan card. so just: iface wlan0 inet dhcp and whatever else was there — just not the wpa information.

cd /etc/network # go to network interfaces
sudo nano interfaces

9. Restart the network:

sudo /etc/init.d/networking restart

you will get back something like this:

[….] Running /etc/init.d/networking restart is deprecated because it may not[warnnable some interfaces … (warning).
[….] Reconfiguring network interfaces…Internet Systems Consortium DHCP Client 4.2.2
Copyright 2004-2011 Internet Systems Consortium.
All rights reserved.
For info, please visit

Listening on LPF/wlan0/20:16:d8:e5:32:b4
Sending on LPF/wlan0/20:16:d8:e5:32:b4
Sending on Socket/fallback
DHCPRELEASE on wlan0 to port 67

this basically makes sure we don’t have any errors in /etc/network/interfaces


Reboot once again, and this time the interface should come up automatically. Screensaver engagement should not knock the connection offline.

And that’s what it’s all about!

I have to thank 3 people for all their help. Joe, Loni and Frances.



Dear Mark: Thanks for Ubuntu 10.04 lts


Dear Mark Shuttleworth:

Thank you for Ubuntu 10.04 lts. It was perhaps the best Linux OS I have used. As it hits end-of-life at the end of the month, I have gone in another direction. Debian/Wheezy. I am not at all happy with the direction that Canonical has taken, in regard to desktop environment. I realise with Unity, you are trying to give the same desktop look/feel to all modes of communication: desktop, laptop, cell phones.

While my cell phone runs a Linux variant, it is customised to the device. One design does NOT fit all. Imagine trying to use a cell phone os, on a desktop. Oh wait. I think that’s windows 8.



Getting gtalk to work in Pidgin


Sometime ago, gtalk quit working in Pidgin.

This assumes you have Pidgin and the facebook chat module installed:

sudo apt-get install pidgin

If you add an account. It just never connects. At least not for me. This was the work around I found.

This is an OLD SCHOOL fix. This was straightforward for me, but it may not be for you

Here’s the word explanation:

1. Hit the advanced tab.

2. Change the port to 443.

3. Change the connect server to

4. Hit save.

And what it should look like when you are done!

Old School Gtalk Configuration for Pidgin


How to fix audio cd in Linux (unable to open mrl)


When I tried to play an audio cd I recently got from the library in vlc, I got the error:

VLC is unable to open the MRL

And it told me to see the logs. So I tried dmesg, and niente. Nothing. Yeah that helps!

So I went into vlc tools/preferences/Audio and changed the output module to pulse audio output. So it looks like:

VLC Audio Output Options

Who knew?



How to install and configure openvpn (virtual private network) for Linux


Virtual Private Networks are a useful tool, to allow us to securely reach an isolated computer or network.

Yet, is requires more tweaking then one would imagine. So here’s a step by step guide on how I did it, with a LOT of help in understanding some of the key concepts, provided by my friend Joe, and protocol explanations from Darren of hak5.

1. What’s the first thing we do? Why install openvpn of course!

sudo apt-get install openvpn

2. Now we need to generate our secret key. This is used to authenticate a remote user trying to gain access. We will use openvpn itself to generate the secret key. NOTE: Debian by default, does NOT provide a path to /usr/sbin

You can fully qualify it: /usr/sbin/openvpn

temporarily add it to the PATH variable: export PATH=$PATH:/sbin:/usr/sbin:/usr/sbin

Or just add:

export PATH=$PATH:/sbin:/usr/sbin:/usr/sbin

to .bashrc

If you add it to .bashrc, you will need to logout and back in again, so it will re-read the file.

Let’s generate that key!

openvpn --genkey --secret vpn.key

Simple, huh?

3. Let’s move some files, and create the configuration file for openvpn.

first, let’s move our secret key file:

sudo cp vpn.key /etc/openvpn/.

The period at the end, is significant. It says copy the file, right here.

4. Next is the configuration file. Using your favourite editor (nano in my case) create the
/etc/openvpn/openvpn.conf file as follows: Most of the explanations of the parameters come from here.

# Sample openvpn configuration file
# jjs June 6, 2012 V1.0
# annotated by Wayno
# remote specifies the address of the server


# dev tun specifies that we are using a tunnel device

dev tun

# ifconfig tells ip address for the interface


# and the secret key name (in /etc/openvpn)

secret vpn.key

# use port 5001 (default) to connect to the vpn. This may require
# you to add this in your router.

port 5001

# if you want data compression


# ping every 10 seconds, if no ping in 120 seconds, other side dead

keepalive 10 120

# ping timer starts after it receives a connection


# don't recreate a virtual net interface TUN after automatic restart


# Don't read pre-shared static key file again after auto restart


# user and group

user nobody
group nogroup

# after initialization, run in the background as a daemon


# setup the route after ifconfig


# append the /etc/openvpn/openvpn.log

log-append openvpn.log

5. Restart openvpn

sudo service openvpn restart

If you check /etc/openvpn/openvpn.log you will get something like this:

sudo cat openvpn.log
Tue Oct 2 01:22:07 2012 OpenVPN 2.1.3 x86_64-pc-linux-gnu [SSL] [LZO2] [EPOLL] [PKCS11] [MH] [PF_INET6] [eurephia] built on Feb 21 2012
Tue Oct 2 01:22:07 2012 NOTE: OpenVPN 2.1 requires ‘–script-security 2’ or higher to call user-defined scripts or executables
Tue Oct 2 01:22:07 2012 /usr/sbin/openvpn-vulnkey -q vpn.key
Tue Oct 2 01:22:07 2012 WARNING: file ‘vpn.key’ is group or others accessible
Tue Oct 2 01:22:07 2012 LZO compression initialized
Tue Oct 2 01:22:07 2012 TUN/TAP device tun0 opened
Tue Oct 2 01:22:07 2012 /sbin/ifconfig tun0 pointopoint mtu 1500
Tue Oct 2 01:22:07 2012 GID set to nogroup
Tue Oct 2 01:22:07 2012 UID set to nobody
Tue Oct 2 01:22:07 2012 UDPv4 link local (bound): [undef]
Tue Oct 2 01:22:07 2012 UDPv4 link remote: [AF_INET]
Tue Oct 2 01:22:07 2012 OpenVPN 2.1.3 x86_64-pc-linux-gnu [SSL] [LZO2] [EPOLL] [PKCS11] [MH] [PF_INET6] [eurephia] built on Feb 21 2012
Tue Oct 2 01:22:07 2012 NOTE: OpenVPN 2.1 requires ‘–script-security 2’ or higher to call user-defined scripts or executables
Tue Oct 2 01:22:07 2012 /usr/sbin/openvpn-vulnkey -q vpn.key
Tue Oct 2 01:22:07 2012 WARNING: file ‘vpn.key’ is group or others accessible
Tue Oct 2 01:22:07 2012 LZO compression initialized
Tue Oct 2 01:22:07 2012 TCP/UDP: Socket bind failed on local address [undef]: Address already in use
Tue Oct 2 01:22:07 2012 Exiting
Tue Oct 2 01:22:10 2012 read UDPv4 [EHOSTUNREACH]: No route to host (code=113)
Tue Oct 2 01:22:20 2012 read UDPv4 [EHOSTUNREACH]: No route to host (code=113)
Tue Oct 2 01:22:20 2012 read UDPv4 [EHOSTUNREACH]: No route to host (code=113)

6. Let’s see if it works?

ping -c 5

PING ( 56(84) bytes of data.
64 bytes from icmp_req=1 ttl=64 time=0.033 ms
64 bytes from icmp_req=2 ttl=64 time=0.041 ms
64 bytes from icmp_req=3 ttl=64 time=0.030 ms
64 bytes from icmp_req=4 ttl=64 time=0.041 ms
64 bytes from icmp_req=5 ttl=64 time=0.040 ms

— ping statistics —
5 packets transmitted, 5 received, 0% packet loss, time 3999ms
rtt min/avg/max/mdev = 0.030/0.037/0.041/0.004 ms

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