Posts Tagged ‘linux’

My Conky setup

December 19th, 2015 No comments


A couple of weeks ago, I have created my own fairly elaborate setup of the Conky system monitor. I have been wanting to fix up some of the weather display aspects, but I’m realistically not getting around to that anytime soon.

So, I have pushed it out to Github now.

Categories: linux Tags: , ,

Mice TV!

January 20th, 2014 No comments

Chido has two mouse-pets (Acomys Caihirinus, actually) and we finally did what we already planned to do long ago:


A live video stream of our mouse palace!

Some technical trivia – the IP cam used is Edimax IC-3110 (it’s pretty crappy, not recommended) and we are restreaming using vlc invocation:

cvlc -L --sout "#transcode{vcodec=mp4v,vb=1024,scale=1}:duplicate{dst=http{mux=ts,dst=:8090/mouses.flv},select=noaudio}" --no-sout-rtp-sap --no-sout-standard-sap --sout-ts-shaping=1000 --sout-ts-use-key-frames --ttl=40 rtsp://admin:PASSWORD@192.168.6.X:554/ipcam.sdp

(I did not get h264 FLV stream working reliably, unfortunately. I tried #transcode{vcodec=h264,venc=x264{keyint=20},vb=4096,scale=1} and duplicate{dst=http{mux=ffmpeg{mux=flv},dst=...,select=noaudio}.)

Categories: linux Tags: , , ,

Playing MP3 on Raspberry Pi with low latency

May 11th, 2013 1 comment

One commercial project I was working on for Raspberry Pi involved playing various MP3 samples when a button is pushed. The original implementation used mplayer to play back the samples, however the issue is that there was up to 1500ms latency between mplayer was executed and start of playback.

I didn’t do detailed profiling, but I think two factors causing high latency of mplayer were that (i) just loading all the .so libraries mplayer depends on can take many hundreds of milliseconds (ii) the file is being scanned for whatever stuff, streams detected etc. and that can also take some extra time; perhaps I could force mplayer to realize this is a simple MP3 file, but (i) is still the much bigger factor.

I wanted to avoid recoding all the samples to wav. That would allow me to use aplay directly and the playback starts immediately, but it would also feel really silly; decoding of MP3 is not the bottleneck, just the latency of mammoth software loading and initializing itself is. I also didn’t try mpd as that might have been a bit painful to set up.

Another point worth noting is that I didn’t use the crappy on-board PWM audio but a $3 chinese USB soundcard (which is still much better than PWM audio). And using reasonably up-to-date Raspbian Wheezy. So I tried…

  • mplayer -slave -idle, started in parallel with my program and receiving commands via FIFO. It hangs after the first file (even though it works fine when ran without -slave).
  • cmus running in parallel with my program, controlled by cmus-remote. Convincing it to use ALSA device of my choice was really hard, but eventually I managed, only to hear my files sped up about 20x.
  • madplay I couldn’t convince about using a non-default ALSA device at all.
  • mpg123 started immediately and could play back the MP3 files on a non-default ALSA device. Somehow, the quality was very low though (telephone grade) and there was an intense high-pitched clip at the end of the playback.
  • mpg321 I couldn’t convince to produce any sound and anyway it had about 800ms latency before playback started, probably due to its libao dependency.
  • sox, or rather AUDIODEV=hw:1 play worked! (After installing a package with MP3 support for sox.) No latency, normal quality, no clips, no hangs. Whew.

Verdict: There still is a software on Linux that can properly and quickly play MP3 files on Raspberry Pi, though it was a challenge to find it. I didn’t think of sox at first and I was almost giving up hope. BTW, normally you would use sox and play for applying a variety of audio transformations and effects in a batch/pipeline fashion and it can do a lot of awesome magic.

Categories: linux, software Tags: , , , , , ,

Using CUPS to print text files in non-UTF8 charset encoding

May 17th, 2012 No comments

At our university department, many people still haven’t migrated to UTF8 and are still happily using ISO-8859-2 – mainly due to the amount of legacy text (TeX, …) documents.
Nowadays, support for non-UTF8 is slowly waning though, and CUPS is a prime example. Most of (shabby anyway) support for non-UTF8 encodings have been removed few years ago. It is still possible to force CUPS to print text files in non-UTF8 encoding if you extract the appropriate files from ancient version (1.2 or some-such) of CUPS to /usr/share/cups/charset/ and print using e.g. lpr -o document-format='text/plain;charset=iso-8859-2'. However, there is simply no support for lpr automatically setting the charset based on your locale.

We decided that the best way to go is to simply auto-detect the encoding using the awesome enca package and convert text files from this encoding to UTF8. This should be actually fairly fool-proof in practice, unless you are dealing with an extremely mixed set of languages. Making own CUPS filter is easy – just change texttops entries in /etc/cups/mime.conv to textautoencps and create a new /usr/lib/cups/filter/textautoencps file:

if [ $# == 0 ]; then
  echo >&2 "ERROR: $0 job-id user title copies options [file]"
  exit 1
{ if [ $# -ge 6 ]; then
    cat $6
  fi; } |
    enconv -x utf-8 -L czech |
    /usr/lib/cups/filter/texttops "${@:0:6}"
Categories: linux, software Tags: , , ,

Publicly Killable Computations

March 7th, 2012 No comments

At our university department, people sometimes need to run expensive or long-term computations. We have few servers reserved for computations, but frequently it is useful to run computations on machines in the offices since some of them are fairly powerful and mostly get only very light use CPU-wise.

However, such computations must never impair any interactive or more pressing use of the machine. Therefore, we want to limit scheduling priority of the computations, limit total memory used by the computations and allow *anyone* kill *any* running computation. It turns out that this is not as trivial to achieve as I hoped.

In comes Computations under control: compctl – cgroup-based control of publicly limitable and stopable tasks. It is a tool that allows anyone to execute a command (or start screen) such that it is marked as a computation. Then, it allows anyone else to limit the total amount of memory allocated for all computations and to stop a specific computation or all computations on a machine. It uses cgroups to keep track of computations and limit the total memory usage, and a simple client-server architecture to perform priviledged tasks.

I hope it will be useful for someone else too. :-) Feel free to send in patches, and extra pairs of eyeballs checking the security would be welcome too. Top on my TODO list is simple debian package and a more verbose compctl –list output.

Categories: linux, software Tags: , , , ,

Multiple Kerberos realms on single host

June 9th, 2011 No comments

We are using Kerberos for central authentication at our university department; recently, we have set up a second realm for authentication to other services than UNIX logins (e.g. webmail) – we did not like the idea of reusing the same passwords.

Setting up a second realm has been pretty straightforward, just add the other realm to /etc/krb5.conf, write explicit port number to admin_server and kadmin_port options, add another init script for secondary admin server and… it almost works.

But suddenly, users find themselves unable to change their password within the original realm using passwd or kpasswd, with less than helpful Authentication error: Failed reading application request. And that’s the reason I’m writing up this, since you explicitly need to set the totally undocumented option kpasswd_port to a different value than 464! This is because kadmind provides the kadmin service on TCP port (749 by default), but also chpw service on UDP port (464 by default).

Categories: linux Tags: , ,

KMS vs Radeon 7000

February 21st, 2011 No comments

Just a quick note for those googlers out there again. My sister has my old and trusty Radeon 7000 (RV100) GPU in her machine and after distro upgrade, we had trouble getting it working with respectable performance; DRI etc. was all fine after the usual installation round of firmware-linux, but heavy 2D blipping work (e.g. moving windows, OpenTTD, darkening/lightening whole screen in various applications) was taking awful amounts of CPU within Xorg and things were really choppy.

It seems that there are some bugs lurking within the KMS; radeon.modeset=0 on the kernel commandline has a good shot at curing things like this!

Categories: linux Tags: , ,