WeChat on Fedora

Finally found a way to do the install on Wine on Fedora — and that’s using Lutris. Lutris lets you install Windows games onto Linux and allows you to script the setup of the game environment to fit the game itself.

So I used it to download the WeChat binary, setup the environment (which involved downloading fonts via winetricks) and adding a registry hack. That seems to work now. Have added it to my app-installs playbook on Gitlab (https://gitlab.com/blenderfox/pixelbook-fedora-setup)

It’s not fully automated, it does still require you to run through the setup manually, and then quit both the WeChat application (so Lutris sees that the setup has exited) and Lutris before the playbook proceeds.

Installing Fedora on Pixelbook

This slightly lengthy article goes through my attempts at installing and setting up Fedora on my Pixelbook.

I previously had Ubuntu on there, modified and hacked using https://github.com/yusefnapora/pixelbook-linux.

However, as Ubuntu progressed on, it was clear this repo was not being maintained and updated and rapidly, stuff starting to fail as it required later versions of packages. Even the kernel was still on 4.4.x even now. I spent a long time trying to compile the kernel while trying to figure out the right options for a working kernel, with not much luck.

Putting in things like the “old-releases” repos helped keep things ticking over, but things were still breaking repeatedly, and the microphone kept breaking during calls due to the way the hacks were implemented.

The final straw came when the office decided to buy Apple M1 Macs for the developers (I refused to use one. My hate-hate relationship with Apple is well documented)

The decision to use M1 macs has now led to a problem whereby the docker images that are used are no longer compatible with the macbooks since they are arm64. The macs can use qemu emulation, but that is not perfect, giving weird errors when running the docker images under emulation. Leaving it to me, who is still using an amd64 machine to try to figure out multiarchtecture builds.

I was (and still am) reluctant to do the multiarch builds. Using multiarch builds would mean the devs are running a docker image that is not the same as that which is running on the test and production clusters and that in itself, means they are not developing on, or testing on an infrastructure that is representative of the test or production environments.

If the infrastructures were arm-based environments, sure, then that would be representative then, but not as it stands.

In fact, right now, if the developers build the docker image locally to test something, then pushed that to production, they would break production, as it runs on amd64 images.

I don’t think this was thought through carefully enough, to be honest.


But enough of the rant. We are where we are, and I need to try to bail out the situation.

My hacked Ubuntu would not support multiarch build no matter what I tried, but when I tried to use Fedora in a Qemu VM (virtualbox also wouldn’t work, since the virtualbox installer compiles kernel modules and that always failed with the custom kernel used by the hacked Ubuntu installation.)

So I decided to try to wipe the Ubuntu installation and start again from scratch, with Fedora.


Fedora 35 was the version I ended up using, and the latest at the time I started this activity.

Out of the box, it had native support for the touchpad, including two and three-finger scrolling via Unity 41. Two-finger scroll scrolls the active window. Three-finger scrolling up gives the window overview, and three-finger scrolling left or right switches workspaces.

Fedora by default uses btrfs. CloneZilla didn’t seem to play well with that so had to start again, but perhaps it was due to the MyChromebox BIOS being too old. Upgraded and that seemed to work better.


After CloneZilla’ing the initial install so I could rollback to that if everything fell over, I started setting up the installation.

First thing I did is visudo‘ed myself into the sudoers file, with a NOPASSWD param for passwordless sudo

Next I ran dnf update to update packages. There was about 1G of data to update and install.

Then I ran a CloneZilla to backup the laptop state at this point.


From this point, I started setting up the laptop. I found this repo on GitHub where the owner created a setup for Pixelbook https://github.com/jmontleon/pixelbook-fedora — similar to the one I used for setting up Ubuntu on the Pixelbook. The repo owner also appears to have compiled his own version of the kernel and has his own COPR repository.


After spending a week tinkering with the instructions and getting some bugs ironed out, audio finally worked.

I built an Ansible playbook to help with the instructions running. This was adapted and incorporated into the repo.

With audio now working, I CloneZilla’ed the laptop state again, to have a good state to rollback to.

I then copied my file backup from my external USB into the laptop and then CloneZilla’ed the state again


With the files copied, now it was time to get the apps installed. I built another Ansible playbook to help speed things up and it’s located here https://gitlab.com/blenderfox/pixelbook-fedora-setup/

The repo contains two playbooks one for doing the audio (it’s essentially the same one in the jmontleon repo) and the second for app installs.

Summary of apps I installed initially:


Updates

It’s been a long time since I posted on here — my last post (before today’s posts) was July 17 when I had to self isolate. A lot has happened since then, so this post will be a bit of an update list


I had to take my dad into hospital for a prostrate operation (this was planned before I had to self-isolate) — he already had a PCR test and was cleared. My LFT was also clear, but I still had to self isolate. This was before the self-isolation changes happened. The operation was successful, but he needed to be held a few more days to see an ENT specialist due to them finding lumps in his throat. The concern was that they might be cancerous, but turns out it was just irritation so they gave him some Gaviscon to take after means and soothe the throat. Both my dad and I are prone to post-meal throat irritation so it might mean I might be subject to the same thing later in life.


I got a ticket after driving my dad to the hospital for taking a left turn when I was not supposed do, due to badly signposted roads. My appeal was rejected on the grounds I had paid the ticket. This is how the council screws you over — if you pay the fine to avoid the 100% charge, they will claim that admits guilt. If you don’t, they delay the response until after the 2-week window so you then have to pay the 100% charge.


I finally decided to upgrade my phone and went for a OnePlus 9 Pro. The phone is classed as a “Phablet” and much bigger than the Samsung Galaxy S5 I have been using for years:

The case on the left is for the OnePlus, the case on the right for my S5

I had problems activating the new SIM and eventually Three had to send me a new one, and soon after I got that new one, I got a message saying Three were going to be doing works on the mast in my area and ever since then I have had horrendously bad speeds at home. By bad, I mean speeds of < 1Mbps and even down to 0.2Mbps. Using 3G band sometimes helps, but only marginally.

I’ve taken my complaint up to the Ombudsman but Three are still refusing to do anything about it — even charging me to leave contract early.

I’ve been with Three many years but I will not be recommending them going forward. I will be checking other providers when my contract expires.


We’ve started to go back to the office. My team is doing three days a week in the office, and you pick which three days as long as there are a max of 8 people in the office (due to some office reorganisation, we only have 8 seats for the entire team).

Surprisingly many people have left jobs during and post lockdown (some might have been nudged due to the lockdown, and not just in my office, but generally.)


I won a Twitter completion by Curve for a swag bag. Just had to tweet them three images of their different adverts — all of which showed up on the same station, so that wasn’t too difficult.


Then we had the annoying as heck “Panic at the Pumps” causing shortages.

Driving past Alperton Sainsbury’s

This video from my dashcam shows the queue of traffic. This is the queue leading into the Alperton Sainsbury’s. I was there at around 5am and it took me 30 minutes to clear the queue even with less people in the queue. This queue will probably take 90 minutes to clear, assuming the fuel was not gone by the time they got to the front of the queue

Driving past Whetstone Esso

This video, also from my dashcam shows the queues that built up outside the petrol stations — this Esso I actually went into at 4:30am that morning and they were not open, even though there were staff in the shop (so maybe they were waiting for delivery?)

You’ll get people tooting impatiently and even people cutting the queue and then blocking the lane for the people behind (they must be luxury car drivers)


My house purchase has progressed and we have moved on and are now ready to exchange. However, one of the two sellers is unable to complete his purchase (he’s part of a chain and needs to complete his purchase before he can complete the sale on the current house).


Finally, I got a letter from Principia Law who are the ones trying to claim money back from the drunk driver who wrecked my previous car.

They want me to release my bank records for the period of time I had the hire car. But everyone I have discussed this with seems confused as to why this is required since the accident is a “no-fault” claim on my part, so they should not even need my bank details.

I asked them to call me today to discuss this. I may also speak to the office legal team for their thoughts.

Resizing LVM Volumes

Just a quick note to remind myself outhow to resize logical and physical LVM volumes

  • Activate the Volume group:

lvm vgchange -ay

  • Resize the logical volume (sizing down by 100G in this example)

lvm lvresize --size -100G /dev/vg/root -r --verbose

  • Resize the physical volume:

pvresize --setphysicalvolumesize {size of pv minus {size toreduce}}G /dev/path/to/pv

  • If you get an error about “later extents”, it’s due to the swap being added to the partition (which does not get moved automatically), so you will need to move the data

lvm pvs -v --segments /dev/sda5 to get position ids:

/dev/sda5 ubuntu lvm2 a-- 698.04g 150g 0 xxx root 0 linear /dev/sda:0-xxx
/dev/sda5 ubuntu lvm2 a-- 698.04g 150g xxx nnn 0 free                          
/dev/sda5 ubuntu lvm2 a-- 698.04g 150g yyy zzz swap 0 linear /dev/sda5:yyy-zzz
  • Move the data:

lvm pvmove --alloc anywhere /dev/sda5:yyy-zzz

  • Check the positioning again

pvs -v --segments /dev/sda5

/dev/sda5 ubuntu lvm2 a-- 698.04g 150g 0 xxx root 0 linear /dev/sda:0-xxx
/dev/sda5 ubuntu lvm2 a-- 698.04g 150g xxx nnn swap 0 linear /dev/sda5:xxx-yyy(-1)
/dev/sda5 ubuntu lvm2 a-- 698.04g 150g yyy zzz 0 free
  • Then retry the resize

pvresize --setphysicalvolumesize {size of pv minus {size toreduce}}G /dev/path/to/pv

Pixelbook

Spent a big chunk of today preparing for, and attempting to upgrade my Pixelbook to Gallium OS.

I imaged it, then made a file backup of my home directory, before installing the OS, overwriting my Ubuntu, then restoring the home directory backup into the newly installed OS and then chowning the directory to me.

As a habit, I then imaged the laptop at this state.

I prepared a semi-automated script to install apps that I had installed on my Ubuntu, which included things like virt-manager, virtualbox, google-chrome and the like.

However, I soon found out that VirtualBox 6.1 seems to crash the mouse driver on reboot and the mouse pointer no longer moves and Gallium doesn’t even seem to see a pointer device when you check the mouse and touchpad option. I had to revert back to the image just after the file copy.

There is always the option of installing VirtualBox 6.0 from the Ubuntu repositories rather than the Oracle repositories, which uses a different installation setup. Maybe that will result in a different outcome.

Eventually, I restored back to my original Ubuntu installation so I can retry again tomorrow.

EDIT: Retried again the next day, and found out the sound wasn’t working, even on the live disk. Better find out what’s the deal with that…

EDIT2: Found out that my Pixelbook model doesn’t have working sound drivers on GalliumOS. I guess I will have to wait until that is fixed before using that. I guess I’m staying on Ubuntu. In the meantime, I’m going to see if I can compile a later version of the kernel to see if I can somehow get VirtualBox working better.

Pixelbooks and Ubuntu 20.04

After using my Pixelbook Eve on Ubuntu Eoan (19.10), my Ubuntu has started notifying me for an upgrade to 20.04 LTS. So, based on my past experiences of Ubuntu upgrades and how they always break things, I went through the process of backing up my files and making a Clonezilla image of my Pixelbook before even starting to do anything.

Then I went through the upgrade. It went through without any problems, but when it went to reboot afterwards, I was black screened after the Ubuntu splash screen.

I suspect it’s because my Pixelbook contains some tweaks via this GitHub repo, and that is still using a 4.x kernel. Last update was in 2019, so maybe it’s out of date.

Before restoring my old image back on, I installed GalliumOS which is an Ubuntu-based distro specifically aimed at ChromeOS devices. Then made a backup image of that before restoring the old image back on.

I might try installing Ubuntu 20.04 from clean and see if that has any better Pixelbook support than the older versions of Ubuntu, and make it so I don’t need to use the hacks. Bear in mind the hacks used the ChromeOS kernel, and I couldn’t do some things like use ufw or gufw. Using GalliumOS should fix that since I wouldn’t be using tweaks.

However, there’s still an annoying quirk GalliumOS has on my Pixelbook and that’s the jumpiness of the mouse pointer — touch the touchpad and the pointer jumps to that part of the screen, as if the touchpad was a representation of the screen, not a touchpad. It’s a quirk that can be gotten used to, but it is still annoying.

Slow Download Speeds on Steam For Linux

I’ve been getting horrendously slow speeds on Linux Steam (~500k/s) and 5-6Mb/s on Windows, and only now found out why. There’s a ticket on GitHub for this:

https://github.com/ValveSoftware/steam-for-linux/issues/3401

In short, the client is very aggressive on its DNS requests, which normally causes it to be throttled by servers, leading to really slow downloads. However, using dnsmasq allows the requests to be cached locally and offload the requests.

Even though the instructions are for Arch, they worked for me:

  1. Install dnsmasq
  2. Modify /etc/dnsmasq.config and add the line listen-address=127.0.0.1
  3. Restart the dnsmasq service (systemctl restart dnsmasq.service) or reboot your machine

Enjoy the speed

General Updates

So I haven’t been posting here much recently so here are some updates.

Been slowing trying to get back into running, have been slacking off WAAAAY too much lately. Tried using Aaptiv (@aaptiv) which is a training fitness app that has trainers talking you through the stuff, there are a few problems with it.

  1. When you use a stretch/strength training routine or yoga routine, you’re reliant on them telling you what to do, there’s no video guide to show you the correct form, and that’s bad. Other apps like FitBit Coach has videos where you can copy the coach to make sure you have the right form.
  2. On Treadmill/Running routines, they talk in mph, but treadmills here in the UK go in km/h, which requires conversion (1.0 mph = 1.6 kph)

On a separate note, I have bought another attempt at the CKA exam, but this time bought the bundle with the Kubernetes Fundamentals Training from Linux Foundation. Let’s see how different that is to Linux Academy’s training….

 

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