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Topics - Keith

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General Discussion / MOVED: systemd >> Unit Files
« on: December 28, 2020, 09:39:36 pm »
This topic has been moved to "General Help & Advice".


General Help & Advice / How to stop Kate text editor saving backups?
« on: December 09, 2020, 10:42:29 am »
I became fed up with the newer versions of the gedit text editor which, like many other applications, appears to be moving towards "mouse-only" commands.  I find it inconvenient to keep moving between keyboard and mouse just to do something that I used to be able to do with a few keystrokes while my hands are already on the keyboard.

So I moved to the Kate editor.  It's very good and is very configurable.  However;  I discovered recently that it saves a backup in XDP format of every file-save action.  Apparently this is a format that allows easy conversion between XML and PDF formats.  Not that I would ever want to do that.  And these files just keep mounting up. 

I found this link: that explains how to stop Kate from doing this, as follows:
Settings > Configure Kate > Editor Component > Open/Save > Advanced
Uncheck the box next to local files under "Backup on Save"

but when I navigated to that Kate settings page, the box was already un-ticked.

Does anyone have any experience of overcoming this feature?


{Ubuntu 18.04 on Lenovo Thinkpad T500.   Kate Version 20.04.0}

This topic has been moved to Genera Help & Advice as that seems a more appropriate place.

General Discussion / MOVED: Wobbly and exploding windows!!!!
« on: August 10, 2020, 02:46:26 pm »
This topic has been moved to "General Help & Advice" as it seems more appropriate there.

General Help & Advice / Identifying an Asus board
« on: July 12, 2020, 08:37:59 pm »
An elderly friend has an old Asus that I gave her ages ago.  It's a P6 P5G41 E with the PN5-E mother-board.  Can anyone tell me if it's 32 or 64 bit?  I have the manual but, bizarrely, it doesn't tell me! 
As she lives 120 miles away I don't want to pick it up for repair if it's only 32-bit - I'll give her another. 


General Discussion / Covid-19, contact tracing and privacy
« on: June 26, 2020, 08:20:54 am »
I came across a couple of web pages that are relevant to our lock-down status and might be of interest to Forum readers.
The privacy issues of contact-tracing applications may account for the poor take-up of mobile 'phone "apps", and with good reason. Here are the links:

By the way:  ProtonMail offers free and very secure mail and VPN services, and their customer care is first class even for non-paying users.  [I have no commercial interest in ProtonMail]


This topic has been moved to General Help & Advice as it seems more appropriate there.

General Help & Advice / Sendmail problems
« on: February 12, 2020, 06:23:16 pm »
Lenovo Thinkpad T500 - Ubuntu 16.04

Since my email provider has updated its security arrangements it can’t accept my emails sent from  the command line with a sender name that is not my registered username – e.g. an alias.  This ought not be a problem as I have set up my /etc/ssmtp/ssmtp.conf file with my registered base address that ought to be used by sendmail:

root=[email protected]

AuthUser=[email protected]

But when I use sendmail, it removes my surname from the “From” address and my mail provider rejects the email as the From name is incorrect:

[email protected]:~/.bin$ sendmail -v [email protected]  < mail_message
[<-] 220 mailfront20.runbox ESMTP Exim 4.90_1 Ubuntu Wed, 12 Feb 2020 18:55:02 +0100
[->] EHLO T500
[<-] 250 HELP
[<-] 334 VXNlcm5hbWU6
[->] a2VpdGhfc3RhbW1lcnNAcnVuYm94LmNvbQ==
[<-] 334 UGFzc3dvcmQ6
[<-] 235 Authentication succeeded
[->] MAIL FROM:<[email protected]>
[<-] 250 OK
[->] RCPT TO:<[email protected]>
[<-] 250 Accepted
[->] DATA
[<-] 354 Enter message, ending with "." on a line by itself
[->] Received: by T500 (sSMTP sendmail emulation); Wed, 12 Feb 2020 17:55:01 +0000
[->] From: "keith" <[email protected]>
[->] Date: Wed, 12 Feb 2020 17:55:01 +0000
[->] Text for message
[->] .
[<-] 550 Invalid From address. Please see
sendmail: 550 Invalid From address. Please see https://help.mailco/identities/
[email protected]:~/.bin$

In principle I could add the name "[email protected]" to my account as an alias and that would work, but someone has already claimed that so I can't use it.
My mail provider has been unable to help me and I would be grateful for advice. 

General Help & Advice / mpack & sendmail problems
« on: January 05, 2020, 03:48:44 pm »
I wrote a script ages ago that sends me an email automatically when some function is satisfied.  It has worked well but failed recently, with a message appended suggesting that I visit my mail provider’s website that explains the problem.
Although my application uses mpack, I show below an example using sendmail to demonstrate the problem.  I’ve changed my email address and mail provider for security, but keeping the same formats. 

Terminal command

[email protected]:~$ echo "Subject: sendmail test" | sendmail -v [email protected]
[<-] 220 mailfront20.emailco ESMTP Exim 4.90_1 Ubuntu Wed, 01 Jan 2020 17:06:01 +0100
[->] EHLO T500
[<-] 250 HELP
[<-] 334 VXNlcm5hbWU6
[->] a2VpdGhfc3RhbW1lcnNAcnVuYm94LmNvbQ==
[<-] 334 UGFzc3dvcmQ6
[<-] 235 Authentication succeeded
[->] MAIL FROM:<[email protected]>
[<-] 250 OK
[->] RCPT TO:<[email protected]>
[<-] 250 Accepted
[->] DATA
[<-] 354 Enter message, ending with "." on a line by itself
[->] Received: by T500 (sSMTP sendmail emulation); Wed, 01 Jan 2020 16:06:01 +0000
[->] From: "keith" <[email protected]>
[->] Date: Wed, 01 Jan 2020 16:06:01 +0000
[->] Subject: sendmail test
[->] .
[<-] 550 Invalid From address. Please see
sendmail: 550 Invalid From address. Please see
[email protected]:~$

You will see at the end the complaint that the From address is wrong and is rejected by my mail company following their updated security measures.  The correct address is shown on the “RCPT TO:” line but in the active line where the correct address needs to be the address has been shortened:  “MAIL FROM: <[email protected]>”.   And perhaps the other "From" line needs to be correct as well.

My email provider now requires that the from address is not an alias and the sSMTP.conf file (shown below) shows my base address correctly (as it always was).  I have even tried changing the Thunderbird default address back to the base address.  So I can’t understand why it has been changed in two places in sendmail.   

Contents of  etc/ssmtp/ssmtp.conf

# Config file for sSMTP sendmail
# The person who gets all mail for userids < 1000
# Make this empty to disable rewriting.
[email protected]

# The place where the mail goes. The actual machine name is required no
# MX records are consulted. Commonly mailhosts are named

[email protected]
AuthPass={my password}

# Where will the mail seem to come from?

# The full hostname

# Are users allowed to set their own From: address?
# YES - Allow the user to specify their own From: address
# NO - Use the system generated From: address

I would be very grateful for any advice.


Ubuntu / Using "mpack" to send files [SOLVED]
« on: July 25, 2019, 08:52:44 pm »
I use mpack on my T500 laptop, after a lot of initial difficulty, and now want to use it on an ASUSTeK P6-P5G41E running Ubuntu 18.04 in gnome-flashback.

The command format is mpack -s "<subject line>"  -a <file path>  <email address>   which works fine on my T500 but on the Asus the error message is "execv: No such file or directory"  although the specified file-path is valid. 

Any ideas would be welcome.
[EDIT]  It turns out that the Mail Transfer Agent "sendmail" was not installed by default.  Installing it removes the error message but the email is still not sent.
[EDIT2] Remembered that I need to set up a ssmtp.conf file in /etc/ssmtp so copied the file from my T500 and edited it for the owner of the Asus.  Still no joy.
[EDIT 3] It turns out that SSMTP was not installed despite Thunderbird working well.  Installing it makes mpack work OK. 

Install sendmail
Install SSMTP
Create a file /etc/ssmtp/ssmtp.conf
  See the second link below.

Useful links:

Ubuntu / Ubuntu 18: Lost icons in top right of Classic View [SOLVED]
« on: July 23, 2019, 07:00:33 pm »
ASUSTeK P6-P5G41E running Ubuntu 18.04 in gnome-flashback

I thought I was removing just one icon from the top right panel but they all disappeared! 
I've done this before (sorry!) but can't remember how to recover them, and my web search wasn't helpful.

I would be grateful for advice.

[EDIT] Tried dconf reset -f /org/gnome/gnome-panel/ without success.

[EDIT 2] Tried:
sudo apt-get update
killall gnome-panel
sudo apt-get install --reinstall gnome-panel gnome-applets
sudo apt-get -f install

...after this, ALL the top panels disappeared but a reboot restored them.  Success!

Internet Connectivity / No wireless with Mint 18 [SOLVED!]
« on: July 23, 2019, 09:13:21 am »
I have installed Mint 18 on a friend’s Dell Inspiron 1501 laptop.  Unfortunately, the built-in wifi doesn’t work with this installation although a USB wifi dongle works well (so I know that the network is set up correctly) as does Ethernet. 

Wifi enabled in BIOS and the network info entered. 
Keyboard Fn F2 to toggle wifi has no effect.
Here is some output that might help diagnosis:

[email protected] ~ $ rfkill list all
[email protected] ~ $ iwconfig
lo        no wireless extensions.
eth0      no wireless extensions.
[email protected] ~ $ lspci -vnn -d 14e4:
05:00.0 Network controller [0280]: Broadcom Corporation BCM4311 802.11b/g WLAN [14e4:4311] (rev 01)
   Subsystem: Dell Wireless 1390 WLAN Mini-Card [1028:0007]
   Flags: bus master, fast devsel, latency 0, IRQ 18
   Memory at c0200000 (32-bit, non-prefetchable) [size=16K]
   Capabilities: <access denied>
   Kernel driver in use: b43-pci-bridge
   Kernel modules: ssb, wl

08:00.0 Ethernet controller [0200]: Broadcom Corporation BCM4401-B0 100Base-TX [14e4:170c] (rev 02)
   Subsystem: Dell BCM4401-B0 100Base-TX [1028:01f5]
   Flags: bus master, fast devsel, latency 64, IRQ 21
   Memory at c0300000 (32-bit, non-prefetchable) [size=8K]
   Capabilities: <access denied>
   Kernel driver in use: b44
   Kernel modules: b44

[email protected] ~ $ inxi -Fxn
System:    Host: dell1501 Kernel: 4.4.0-145-generic i686 (32 bit gcc: 5.4.0)
           Desktop: Cinnamon 3.0.7 (Gtk 3.18.9-1ubuntu3.3) Distro: Linux Mint 18 Sarah
Machine:   System: Dell product: Inspiron 1501
           Mobo: Dell model: 0UW744 Bios: Dell v: 2.3.0 date: 03/15/2006
CPU:       Dual core AMD Turion 64 X2 Mobile TL-50 (-MCP-) cache: 512 KB
           flags: (lm nx pae sse sse2 sse3 svm) bmips: 3192
           clock speeds: max: 1600 MHz 1: 800 MHz 2: 800 MHz
Graphics:  Card: Advanced Micro Devices [AMD/ATI] RS482M [Mobility Radeon Xpress 200] bus-ID: 01:05.0
           Display Server: X.Org 1.18.3 drivers: ati,radeon (unloaded: fbdev,vesa) Resolution: [email protected]
           GLX Renderer: Gallium 0.4 on ATI RS480 GLX Version: 2.1 Mesa 11.2.0 Direct Rendering: Yes
Audio:     Card Advanced Micro Devices [AMD/ATI] SBx00 Azalia (Intel HDA) driver: snd_hda_intel bus-ID: 00:14.2
           Sound: Advanced Linux Sound Architecture v: k4.4.0-145-generic
Network:   Card-1: Broadcom and subsidiaries BCM4311 802.11b/g WLAN driver: b43-pci-bridge bus-ID: 05:00.0
           IF: N/A state: N/A mac: N/A
           Card-2: Broadcom and subsidiaries BCM4401-B0 100Base-TX driver: b44 v: 2.0 bus-ID: 08:00.0
           IF: eth0 state: up speed: 100 Mbps duplex: full mac: 00:19:b9:5d:ec:8c
Drives:    HDD Total Size: 80.0GB (9.0% used) ID-1: /dev/sda model: Hitachi_HTS54168 size: 80.0GB
Partition: ID-1: / size: 73G used: 5.9G (9%) fs: ext4 dev: /dev/sda1
           ID-2: swap-1 size: 0.94GB used: 0.15GB (16%) fs: swap dev: /dev/sda5
RAID:      No RAID devices: /proc/mdstat, md_mod kernel module present
Sensors:   System Temperatures: cpu: 52.0C mobo: N/A
           Fan Speeds (in rpm): cpu: N/A
Info:      Processes: 161 Uptime: 3:09 Memory: 354.1/870.2MB Init: systemd runlevel: 5 Gcc sys: 5.4.0
           Client: Shell (bash 4.3.481) inxi: 2.2.35

I’ve installed  b43-fwcutter and firmware-b43-installer
I am guessing that the installer installs the b43-fwcutter but I don’t know how to use it.
I did find an example of the use of b43-fwcutter:    b43-fwcutter -w /lib/firmware wl_apsta.o
but I’m not confident about just copying this as it might not be appropriate for this machine. 
Can anyone advise me on the the best way forward?

Thank you

Hardware Compatibility / usb wireless adapter for Ubuntu18.04
« on: July 11, 2019, 10:36:46 pm »
I am preparing an ASUSTeK P6-P5G41E desktop running Ubuntu 18.04 to give to a friend.  Having fitted a 256GB SSD (thanks, Mark) it's working much faster I want now to find a suitable USB wireless dongle for it. 
I bought one from Amazon that mentioned Linux suitability but Ubuntu 18 ignored it.  So I tried to install the accompanying drivers from the CD but the PC refused to extract the files, telling me that I didn't have sufficient privileges!  So I sent it back. 
I have a very old Belkin 802.11g adapter so tried that and it connected immediately - which makes it a valuable item that I want to keep! 

Bizarrely, I can actually still buy the Belkin 802.11g from Amazon, which I might do, but a more modern one that works out of the box would be better. 
I see lots of questions on the forums about getting dongles to work with Ubuntu 18 and would be grateful for advice from anyone on a device that will work on U18 without having to install anything. 


Ubuntu / Network manager icon missing in Ubuntu 18.04
« on: July 11, 2019, 01:24:16 pm »
ASUSTeK P6-P5G41E running Ubuntu 18.04

This machine doesn’t have a wireless card so before donating it I bought a USB wireless adapter (Bonest USB 3.0 ) as it mentioned Linux in the blurb.  I ignored the installation disk and plugged it in with no response from the system, which surprised me.  Indeed, the network manager told me that no dongle was detected.
Next I tried installing the Linux software from the disk but the extract command resulted in a message that I didn’t have sufficient privileges to do the extraction.  So I abandoned that to return the dongle to Amazon. 
At this point I noticed that the wireless manager icon had disappeared from the tray at top right.  Hmm!  I plugged in a very old, spare USB wireless adapter which connected me immediately, but still no icon. 
Looking on-line for possible solutions, I tried the following with no success:

[email protected]:~$ sudo service network-manager stop
[email protected]:~$ sudo rm /var/lib/NetworkManager/NetworkManager.state
[email protected]:~$ sudo service network-manager start
[email protected]:~$

[email protected]:~$ killall unity-panel-service
unity-panel-service: no process found
[email protected]:~$

[email protected]:~$ sudo apt-get install indicator-applet-complete
   Reading package lists... Done
   Building dependency tree       
   Reading state information... Done
   indicator-applet-complete is already the newest version (12.10.2+17.10.20170425-   0ubuntu1).
   indicator-applet-complete set to manually installed.
   0 to upgrade, 0 to newly install, 0 to remove and 0 not to upgrade.
[email protected]:~$

[email protected]:~$ sudo apt-get install --reinstall network-manager network-manager-gnome
[email protected]:~$

Not having the icon is no real problem as I can always get to the network manager via the menus but it’s a nuisance if I am giving the machine to a friend and I would be grateful for advice.

General Help & Advice / Formatting an SSD for system use
« on: July 08, 2019, 03:45:33 pm »
I bought a very cheap Asus with Mint on it and when visiting my local PC emporium I got the chap to swap the HDD for a 256GB SSD.  He checked out the system with windows (he’s a Windows only man).  Months later I get back to the Asus for the first time and it won’t let me boot a Live USB (despite changing the boot priority) and demanded that I register Windows. 

I extracted the device to a carrier and plugged it into a USB port on my Lenovo T500 laptop.  The response was:
Unable to mount 255 GB Volume
Error mounting /dev/sdb2 at /media/keith/FA24921C2491DC47: Command-line `mount -t "ntfs" -o "uhelper=udisks2,nodev,nosuid,uid=1000,gid=1000" "/dev/sdb2" "/media/keith/FA24921C2491DC47"' exited with non-zero exit status 14: Windows is hibernated, refused to mount.
Failed to mount '/dev/sdb2': Operation not permitted
The NTFS partition is in an unsafe state. Please resume and shutdown
Windows fully (no hibernation or fast restarting), or mount the volume
read-only with the 'ro' mount option.

Not understanding all this and impetuous as ever I decided to reformat it, not thinking that I would need a boot sector, etc.  So I now have a single Ext4 partition on it.  Plugging it back into the ASUS I tried to boot from an Ubuntu 18 live USB but the system just hung with a black screen. 

I’ve looked on line for how to partition the SSD but the instructions imply some knowledge that I don’t have. 
I’ve been very foolish but would be grateful for help in formatting it correctly (in a carrier USB’d to my Laptop) so that I can return it to the ASUS and Install Ubuntu 18. 

[Laptop:  Lenovo T500 64 bit and Ubuntu 16.04]

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