Sunday, May 23, 2010

mplayerthumbs eating all your memory?

There is a nice feature in kde which helps identify a file by its contents. This file previewer uses the mplayerthumb  package for previewing movie files however, which if used with the phonon backend it could end up eating all your systems memory, briging your computer to a halt :-/

If you seem to have a problem with a process named kio_thumbnails eating all your memory even though you have specificaly asked that files bigger than xMB (where x is lower than the system memory) shouldn't have a preview, then you should have a look at mplayerthumbsconfig. It is a small gui program that comes along with mplayerthumbs and helps you config a couple of things.

The option that you should change for now is the one labeled backend. Select mplayer and you are done. This problem should (and probably will) be corrected in the next version of kde. It affects kde4 versions till kde 4.4.3 for sure. :-/

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Sabayon: Configuring KDE to use wicd

The first problem I encountered in Sabayon Linux was that solid was compiled only with NetworkManager support and not wicd. The actual problem is that I find NetworkManager still not ready for everyday use. I had quite some problems with it in the past and even now that almost everything seem to work, there are some glitches in the applet that make it quite irritating to use. So what can be done? Can you use wicd instead of NetworkManager? Yes, but it cannot be configured from the KDE system settings.

The first thing you have to do is to login as root and stop the NetworkManager service with:
/etc/init.d/NetworkManager stop
rc-update del NetworkManager
Next you have to start the wicd service:
/etc/init.d/wicd start
rc-update add wicd
Now almost all should be set. You can launch wicd using either Alt+F2 or from a terminal to test that it works. You should be able to run wicd as a normal user too. However wicd will not appear in the system tray the next time you log in to KDE. You should create a file named wicd-tray.desktop in ~/.config/autostart/ with the following content:

[Desktop Entry]
GenericName=Network Manager
Name=Wicd Network Manager Tray
Name[en_US]=Wicd Network Manager Tray
Comment=Display network connection status in the system tray
Comment[en_US]=Display network connection status in the system tray
And that's about it! Have fun! :-)

Sabayon Linux 5.1

Even though I'm a Gentoo user for quite some years on my desktop pc, I recently got a laptop that isn't quite so powerful to be used for compiling big packages. It will take hours (even days) to get a working system with kde running. So I decided to try some distributions with binary packages which can be installed quite fast and have a system ready to use in less than an hour.

At first I tried Kubuntu as it is so popular and I must say that I was quite satisfied with the way it worked. It detected all devices without having to deal with configuration files and everything seemed fine until I tried to change some of the default settings. Where are all my configuration files? Unfortunately there are some differences between distributions so I had a hard time finding out where to do what and also I had to deal with both Gentoo and Kubuntu bugs...

So I thought: "It would be cool to have the power of Gentoo and the convenience of using binary packages...". And you know what? There is such distribution! And it's called Sabayon Linux. The installation was a breeze with the GUI installer and I must say that I am really impressed with the way everything work so far. It's actually a Gentoo system with prebuild binaries and a new package manager that can be used in parallel with portage!