Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Finding Small Victories

I spent today in a hell of a state.

My depression was having some rather negative effects on me. Wall vision making me quite easy to startle (and thus, to some extent, paranoid), a nervousness (understatement - I was having anxiety attacks) around people especially strangers, breaking out in cold sweats etc.

I just wasn't coping well.

So tonight while sat in front of the TV and having very few distractions I managed to achieve a few small successes.

I needed to set up a new computer - different hardware - with the Manaiakalani image. After trying various drivers and the like, I got this up and going with relatively little effort. The only bit I'm not entirely happy with is the fact that I had to use a more updated kernel not yet avaliable in the repositories. I suspect I'm going to have to use this same kernel for the hardware I've got out there in the wild in order to get the sound working reliably.

This could be a big deal. Indications are that the powers that be would like to move away from Ubuntu at some point - to Android or Google Chrome (the OS, not the browser. Way to confuse things Google). This could be a mistake. All of those customizations being made for the netbooks at the moment to make them work the way we want them to will probably end up changing to what Google ordain we should or shouldn't be able to do with the netbooks. Sure it's Linux - but it's their own take on Linux with their own limitations

I'm never happy when a vendor forces you to use hardware in one way or another.

But that's neither here nor there.

After sorting out that laptop I then went on to work on a program that tries to ease the transition to new wireless security protocols. Each netbook will have their own pre-shared key to get onto the network.

I've found a problem where the keyring, the bit that's encrypted and stores passwords, can corrupt at times. It then constantly asks the user for the password in order to decrypt it.

The solution to this is fairly simple - delete the keyring. But what happens when the network password is too random to remember?

So the solution? To avoid the keyring altogether and to instead make the network avaliable to all users on the computer - thus stored by the system rather than on a per-user basis.

Unfortunately network manager, the funky program that manages, surprisingly enough, the network, doesn't have a really convenient way of doing this. Sure, after setting up a connection you can go back in, edit the connection and tick the right check box, but this is a really long way to accomplish something fairly simple.

So I've written the beginnings of a small script that presents an easy way of accomplishing this. A single step process that then writes the configuration for Network Manager.

This is part of that "What it really means to run Linux" bit that I mentioned. Open source in full swing. Making things work the way we want them to work. Brilliant.

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