Ubuntu 6.10 Quick Update

I’ve spent this evening playing with this latest release of Ubuntu and I am very impressed. It is very clean and refined. I’ve established that the IBM buttons on my laptop function as expected and provide a suitable on-screen display which matches the theme nicely. I have tested hibernation, and this also works flawlessly without me doing anything. Fantastic.

Ubuntu 6.10 – Edgy Eft Released

Yesturday was the latest release of Ubuntu. So I decided to install it on my laptop replacing the existing Redhat Fedora Core 5. I had several small annoyances within FC5, just small things that upset the desktop experience. One of which is windows not being redrawn within a reasonably time frame, such as when running the update manager, whilst it evaluates updates. Should the window be moved, the window didn’t get redrawn. Like I said they were only small issues, and it certainly won’t stop me from re-visiting Fedora in the future especially since Fedora Core 6 has just been released.

Anyway, like I said I have decided to give Ubuntu 6.10 ago on my laptop. I backed-up my home directory, and booted into the installer. I especially liked the “check cd” option, which made sure the packages on the cd weren’t corrupt. The first thing I noticed on the cd was after selecting an option the cd has a progress indicator which is similar to the old windows progress bars (grey background, with blue progress). Given the rest are in Ubuntu’s traditional war paint (orange/browns), I thought this was a little strange. Clearly though this doesn’t detract from the live cd in anyway. The installer was simple enough to use. The only small issue I have in my mind is the re-partitioning side of things. The default action is to clear the partition table and start from scratch (i.e. remove any existing operating system). I didn’t use this option so it may warn unaware users of the potential damage that could be caused by following this default setting. I went to manually re-partition the filesystem, and this is my other niggle. I knew which partitions I wanted to keep (the windows partition, and the manufacturer partition), and which I wanted to delete/replace. But gparted didn’t make it obvious which partitions were windows and the manufacturer partition, something im sure other distro’s have hi-lighted in the past. Again from a new-user/non technical perspective I can see how this friendly linux installation could confuse or scare them. However, gparted worked like a charm and was able to resize and replace the partitions I had used with Fedora. Once past the re-partitioning phase I was then able to specify what to do with all of my partitions, and it was smart enough to default my windows and manufacture partitions to simply be mounted. The other partitions I assigned manually.

The rest of the installation went like a breeze, it was very simple. After the reboot, I got a grub menu listing several options including my windows OS. But this is my last niggle (well I haven’t fully tested it yet), the grub screen is very traditional, just black and white text. There is no grub splash screen as found with other linux distributions, which means us dual-booters have to either put up with the ugly grub screen, Or those of us in-the-know can setup our own grub splash screens.

Finally, I booted into Ubuntu and things look great. Unlike Fedora Core 5, Ubuntu easily detected my screen and set the correct screen resolution, It was also able to correctly detect my wireless card. Ubuntu appears to have correctly identified and enabled all the hardware in my laptop, without reference to me, which is a very good thing.

To summarise, for new users who want to test the water, or have a legitimate need to use Ubuntu in a dual-boot configuration, I feel there are a couple of areas which need to be addressed within the Ubuntu installer to make things a little more obvious. But other than that, things appear to be great.

phpbb2 patch – delete user and associated topics/posts

Overnight forums.lugradio.org were spammed by some spambot(s). I helped with the manual cleanup, and it occured to us that there really should be an easy option for not only deleting users, but also their posts. This patch is intended to delete the posts and topics from spambots and not legitimate users.

To resolve the issue I performed a vanilla installation of phpbb2 (2.0.21). And added the required functionality, after which I created a patch for others to utilise. This is purely experimental, I have only used it on my vanilla install, please perform a backup before both patching your existing phpbb2 installation and actually utilising the patch. To summarise; use it at your own risk!

This patch will add a tick box on the manage user page below the delete user tick box. To delete a user and their posts, you must click both checkboxes.

This will then delete all the entries for the user from the posts_text table, and the posts table. It will also delete any entries for the user from the topics table. A side issue of deleting the entries from the topics table, is that should any legitimate users reply to a topic which is subsequently deleted the reply post will be lost (but will remain in the db), this isn’t ideal but could be fixed by modifying this patch.

In addition, I have edited the subsilver template. If you are using a different template, you will need to edit the template to add the tick box. Editing the admin/user_edit_body.tpl within your template you can identify the lines I have added to the subsilver user_edit_body.tpl and add them to your template, it is a simple process.

Should your forums get a collection of posts from a spambot. You should be able to identify the name(s) of the accounts. Then login to the admin section. In the admin section you can select the “Management” option from the user admin section, and then enter the name of the account which has been spamming the forums. Scroll to the bottom of the page and tick both the “delete user” box, and also the “delete users posts” box. Clicking submit will delete the user and corresponding posts/topics.

The patch was created using diff -Nur and is available here http://www.codez.co.uk/phpbb2_delete_user_and_posts.diff


Back from Egypt

This is just a quick post on my return from Egypt. I have just put some pictures up in my gallery area, from my recent trip.

I went to an area called Marsa Alam which is on the Red Sea. Whilst there I took the opportunity to do some snorkling in the Red Sea, which was beautiful, and also went across the Country to Luxor to visit some of the ancient Egyptian sites including the Valley of the Kings. Whilst in Luxor, I also crossed the nile by water.

The trip was a fantastic experience and I would recommend it to everyone.

Anyway there are a selection of photos from my trip now available for viewing, and this is a mixture of the resort I stayed in, the trip to Luxor and the snorkling expedition I went on.

Linux on a Laptop

I often hear people asking which laptop(s) linux works fine on.

Well, my IBM Thinkpad R51 works perfectly. As I write its about 15months old. For at least the last year it has been dual-booting to gentoo, which supports *all* my hardware without any problems. Well in all honestly, I never got hibernating working properly, but Im not bothered about that. Under Gentoo my wireless worked (ipw2200), the screen resolution was as expected (1400×1050), sound worked, as did the volume buttons. I also had cpu speed scaling working depending on whether I was running on mains power or battery. Essentially it worked perfectly, but in all honesty it did require some time to configure, but then thats gentoo – you need time and patience but you get a great custom system.

Recently, I installed FC5, infact Im in FC5 currently. This installed fine, and the hardware all works fine. However, it didnt “just work”, the 2 issues I had were the wireless card, which wasnt difficult todo. And the screen resolution, which required me to figure out (guess) what model screen my laptop uses. It was useable at 1024×768, but now im back upto 1400×1050, im much happier. But I havent tried hibernating this yet, its just not a feature I use currently.

However, IBM sold their desktop division to Lenovo. Now as I understand it, Lenovo aren’t rushing out to support Linux which is a disappointment. I expect that if you buy an IBM laptop you’ll get a laptop which works under Linux. But if you get a Lenovo laptop, well, dont hold your breath. To be honest, im far from impressed by the quality of the Lenovo equipment I’ve seen, but I havent seen a Lenovo laptop yet. On the brighter side of things, Im confident there will be IBM laptops kicking around in warehouses for the time being, but I’d buy one whilst you can. Incidentally, I’ve found that older IBM laptops have great Linux support also, so you could always buy something off ebay.

Windows Vista Beta 2 – First Impressions

Right I’ve just finished installing Vista Beta 2, and yes I know its a beta so things may change, but here are my first thoughts;

1. At long last, when I pick my country as the United Kingdom, the default keyboard is United Kingdom – Genius! Unfortunately, It still defaults the timezone to US and Canada – oh well, suppose we can’t have it all.

2. Reboots – now this is something I expect to change by the time the product hits the shelves. I lost count of the number of times the installation routine rebooted my system. Even when I thought I was ready to play, it then rebooted.

3. After finishing the install it gave me the “Choose a username and picture” screen, which also had a field entitled “Password (Recommended)”, which was optional. My opinion is that in this day and age, a password should not be optional, especially on an account which will be an Administrator account. With the new security features included in Vista, it could be this screen that lets it all down.

4. Nice Colour Scheme, Nice Screen Savers. Nice Transparencies. Generally Great Presentation! It’s probably me, but I tend to find Microsoft have better looking fonts than Linux Distributions. Microsoft also usually have nicer colour schemes/themes as standard also. But thats just opinion really. (For anyone that doesnt know, I use Linux quite abit – I’m currently posting this via Fedora on my Laptop).

Anyway, they are my first impressions of Vista. I’ll post more as, when and if I feel the need.

Im not going to post any screenshots, since every man and his dog has done this already. If you havent seen some screenshots already, I’m sure google can give you a help-in-hand.

Sharepoint and Microsoft Beta’s

At work I’ve been busy working on some development bits for Windows Sharepoint 2003 (WSS). Whilst doing that, I decided to download the Beta of Sharepoint 2007, to look at its Workflow components (although I haven’t got around to doing this yet). But whilst grabbing that Beta and reading some bits about it, I thought I may as well grab the beta for Outlook 2007 since it works with Sharepoint 2007. Well this has turned into a busy download week, as then I caught the beta download bug. So now I’m sat here waiting for Windows Vista Beta 2 to install on my Workstation, with a hugh variety of Office Beta software installed on my laptop. I’ll do a follow up post very soon detailing my first impressions, once I’ve had chance to use everything a little.

Gallery Moved

Right, for those of you who have visited mysite before, most likely because you know me. I have now moved my pictures into the gallery. There arent any comments next to them yet, so for those of you who havent seen them before they will appear as just aload of random pictures (which I suppose they are).
Getting the gallery setup was a bit of a pain. I tried several different plugins, which claimed to do what I wanted, but that when implemented they didnt work for various reasons. However the gallery plugin I have used seems very nice and polished.


Note: Since this post the gallery has been moved to picasa


I’ve spent months, well more honestly years, designing and re-designing my website. Everytime I redesign my website I start putting content on it, but I never get around to finishing either the design or the adding of content.

The last design I implemented, I started adding content, and then I was made aware it didnt work in Internet Explorer (it didnt like my stylesheets).

Anyway, i’ve decided to save myself some time and just implement WordPress, so here it is. The next step is to add some content, so lets see if I actually get around to doing it this time. Of course this WordPress site will still need to be customised, but i’ll do it slowly whilst putting content up. Expect the site to change as I develop the theme.

Finally, enjoy your visit. I intend to put the photos from my old website on here somewhere. And I also plan to put some information on Network XML, and comment on technology bits and pieces once everynow and then.

I dont plan on updating this daily or even weekly, but lets see how it goes.

Thanks, Kenny

XRMS – Opportunities bug fix

I have found the single speach marks (‘) around company in the opportunities files some.php and sidebar.php create sql errors. Removing the marks around this field name allows the query to execute and in-fact makes this field consistent with the rest in the query.

A patch is attached. Patch created using diff -Naur

– c.company_name AS ‘company’, u.username AS
owner ” . “,
+ c.company_name AS company, u.username AS
owner ” . “,