Archive for December, 2011

Upgrading Skype 2.0 to Skype 2.2 beta on Debian GNU / Linux – Skype Mic hell

Saturday, December 31st, 2011

Making Skype work with Alsa on Debian GNU / Linux

Though, I'm GNU / Linux user for many years now. I have to say, everything is not so perfect as many people present it.
Configuring even simple things related to multimedia on Linux is often a complete nightmare.
An example, today I've decided to upgrade my 32 bit Skype version 2.0 beta for Linux to 64 bit Skype 2.2 beta .
The reason I was motivated to upgrade skype was basicly 2.

a) My Skype run through 32 bit binary emulation with /usr/bin/linux32

b) I had issues with my skype if someone give me a Skype Call, while I have a flash video or some other stream in Browser (let's say Youtube).
Actually being unable to receive a skype call or initiate one while I have some kind of music running in the background or just some kind of Youtube video paused was really annoying. Hence until now, everytime I wanted to speak over skype I had to close all Browser windows or tabs that are using my sound card and then restart my Skype program ….

Just imagine how ridiculous is that especially for a modern Multimedia supporting OS as Linux is. Of course the problems, I've experienced wasn't directly a problem of Linux. The problems are caused by the fact I have to use the not well working proprietary software version of Skype on my Debian GNU / Linux.
I would love to actually boycott Skype as RMS recommends, but unfortunately until now I can't, since many of my friends as well as employers use Skype to connect with me on daily basis.
So in a way I had to migrate to newer version of skype in order to make my Linux experience a bit more desktop like …

Back to the my skype 2.0 to 2.2. beta upgrade story, the overall Skype upgrade procedure was easy and went smootlhy, setting correct capturing later on however was a crazy task ….
Here is the step by step to follow to make my upgraded skype and internal notebook mic play nice together:

1. Download 64 bit Skype for Debian from skype.com

For the sake of preservation in case it disappears in future, I've made a mirror of skype for debian you can download here
My upgrade example below uses directly the 64 bit Skype 2.2beta binary mirror:

Here are the cmds once can issue if he has to upgrade to 2.2beta straight using my mirrored skype:

debian:~# wget http://www.pc-freak.net/files/skype-debian_2.2.0.35-1_amd64.deb
...

2. Remove the old version of skype

In my case I have made my previous skype installation using .tar.bz2 archive and not a debian package, however for some testing I also had a version of skype 2.0beta installed as a deb so for the sake of clarity I removed the existing skype deb install:

debian:~# dpkg -r skype
...

3. Install skype-debian_2.2.0.35-1_amd64.deb downloaded deb

debian:~# dpkg -i skype-debian_2.2.0.35-1_amd64.deb
...

After installing skype, I installed pavucontrol A volume control for the PulseAudio sound server

4. Install pavucontrol

debian:~# apt-get install pavucontrol

PavUcontrol PulseAudio mixer screenshot

Pavucontrol has plenty of sound configurations and enables the user to change many additional settings which cannot be tuned in alsamixer

pavucontrol was necessery to play with until I managed to make my microphone able to record.

5. Build and install latest Debian (Testing) distribution alsa driver

debian:~# aptitude install module-assistant
debian:~# m-a prepare
debian:~# aptitude -t testing install alsa-source
debian:~# m-a build alsa
debian:~# m-a install alsa
debian:~# rmmod snd_hda_intel snd_pcm snd_timer snd soundcore snd_page_alloc
debian:~# modprobe snd_hda_intel
debian:~# echo 'options snd-hda-intel model=auto' >> /etc/modprobe.d/alsa-base.conf

In my case removing the sound drivers and loading them once again did not worked, so I had to reboot my system before the new compiled alsa sound modules gets loaded …
The last line echo 'options snd-hda-intel model=auto' … was necessery for my Thinkpard r61 Intel audio to work out. For some clarity my exact sb model is:

debian:~$ lspci |grep -i audio
00:1b.0 Audio device: Intel Corporation 82801H (ICH8 Family) HD Audio Controller (rev 03)

For other notebooks with different sound drivers echo 'options snd-hda-intel model=auto' … should be omitted.

6. Tune microphone and sound settings in alsamixer

debian:~$ alsamixer

Alsamixer Select Soundcard Debian Linux Screenshot
Right after launching alsamixer I had to press F6: Select Sound Card and choose my sound card (0 HDA Intel).

Following my choice I unmuted all the microphones and enabled Microphone Boost as well as did some adjustments to the MIC volume level.

Alsamixer My Intel SoundCard Debian Linux

Setting proper MIC Volume levels is absolutely necessery, otherwise there is a constant noise getting out of the speakers …

7. Use aumix to set some other sound settings

For some unclear reasons, besides alsamixer , I often had to fix stuff in aumix . Honestly I don't understand where exactly aumix fits in the picture with Alsa and my loaded alsa sound blaster module?? If someone can explain I'll be thankful.

Launch aumix to further adjust some sound settings …

debian:~$ aumix

Aumix Debian GNU Linux Squeeze Screenshot

In above screenshot you see, my current aumix settings which works okay with mic and audio output.

9. Test Microphone the mic is capturing sounds correctly

Set ~/.asoundrc configuration for Skype

Edit ~/.asoundrc and put in:

pcm.pulse {
type pulse
}
ctl.pulse {
type pulse
}
pcm.!default {
type pulse
}
ctl.!default {
type pulse
}
pcm.card0 {
type hw
card 0
}
ctl.card0 {
type hw
card 0
}
pcm.dsp0 { type plug slave.pcm "hw:0,0" }
pcm.dmixout {
# Just pass this on to the system dmix
type plug
slave {
pcm "dmix"
}
}
pcm.skype {
type asym
playback.pcm "skypeout"
capture.pcm "skypein"
}
pcm.skypein {
# Convert from 8-bit unsigned mono (default format set by aoss when
# /dev/dsp is opened) to 16-bit signed stereo (expected by dsnoop)
#
# We cannot just use a "plug" plugin because although the open will
# succeed, the buffer sizes will be wrong and we will hear no sound at
# all.
type route
slave {
pcm "skypedsnoop"
format S16_LE
}
ttable {
0 {0 0.5}
1 {0 0.5}
}
}
pcm.skypeout {
# Just pass this on to the system dmix
type plug
slave {
pcm "dmix"
}
}
pcm.skypedsnoop {
type dsnoop
ipc_key 1133
slave {
# "Magic" buffer values to get skype audio to work
# If these are not set, opening /dev/dsp succeeds but no sound
# will be heard. According to the ALSA developers this is due
# to skype abusing the OSS API.
pcm "hw:0,0"
period_size 256
periods 16
buffer_size 16384
}
bindings {
0 0
}
}
I'm not 100% percent if putting those .asoundrc configurations are necessery. I've seen them on archlinux's wiki as a perscribed fix to multiple issues with Skype sound in / out.

Onwardds, for the sake of test if my sound settings set in pavucontrol enables the internal mic to capture sound I used two programs:

1. gnome-sound-recorder
2. arecord

gnome-sound-recorder GNU / Linux Screenshot
gnome-sound-recorder

gnome-sound-recorder is probably used by most GNOME users, though I'm sure Linux noviced did not play with it yet.

arecord is just a simple console based app to capture sound from the microphone. To test if the microphone works I captured a chunk of sounds with cmd:

debian:~$ arecord cow.wav
Recording WAVE 'cow.wav' : Unsigned 8 bit, Rate 8000 Hz, Mono

Later on I played the file with aplay (part of alsa-utils package in Debian), to check if I'll hear if mic succesfully captured my voice, e.g.:

debian:~$ play cow.wav
cow.wav:
File Size: 22.0k Bit Rate: 64.1k
Encoding: Unsigned PCM
Channels: 1 @ 8-bit
Samplerate: 8000Hz
Replaygain: off
Duration: 00:00:02.75
In:100% 00:00:02.75 [00:00:00.00] Out:22.0k [-=====|=====-] Clip:0
Done.

By the way, the aplay ASCII text equailizer is really awesome ;) aplay is also capable of playing (Ogg Vorbis .ogg) free sound format.

Further on, I launched the new installed version of skype and tested Skype Calls (Mic capturing), with Skype Echo / Sound Test Service
I'll be glad to hear if this small article, helped anybody to fix any skype Linux related issues ?. I would be happy to hear also from people who had similar issues with a different fixes for skype on Linux.
Its also interesting to hear from Ubuntu and other distributions users if following this tutorial had somehow helped in resolving issues with Skype mic.

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How to prevent SSH and FTP bruteforce attacks with iptables on Linux

Friday, December 30th, 2011

Earlier I've blogged about how to prevent brute force attacks with fail2ban, denohosts and blockhosts , however there is easier way to secure against basic brute force attacks by not installing or configuring any external programs.
The way I'm talking about uses simple iptables rules to filter out brute force attacks.

Here is a small script to stop ssh and FTP invaders which try to initiate more than 3 consequential connections in 5 minutes time to port 22 or port 23:

SERVER_MAIN_IP='AAA.BBB.CCC.DDD';/sbin/iptables -N SSH_WHITELIST
/sbin/iptables -A INPUT -p tcp --dport 22 --syn -m recent --name sshbr --set
/sbin/iptables -A INPUT -p tcp --dport 22 --syn -j SSH_WHITELIST
/sbin/iptables -A INPUT -p tcp --dport 22 --syn -m recent --name sshbr \
--update --rttl --hitcount 3 --seconds 300 -j REJECT --reject-with tcp-reset
/sbin/iptables -A SSH_WHITELIST -s $SERVER_MAIN_IP -p tcp --dport 22 --syn -m recent --rttl --remove

The only thinIf the rules are matched iptables filter rules will be added to the iptables CHAIN SSH_WHITELIST
In case if you want to add some more truested IPs add some more iptables rules, like:

ALLOW_IP='BBB.CCC.DDD.EEE';
/sbin/iptables -A SSH_WHITELIST -s $ALLOW_IP -p tcp --dport 22 --syn -m recent --rttl --remove

Each filtered IP that matches the rules will be filtered for 5 minutes, if 5 minutes is enough, the 300 value has to be increased.
 

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How to install and configure Jabber Server (Ejabberd) on Debian Lenny GNU / Linux

Wednesday, December 28th, 2011

Ejabberd server erlang logo hedgehog

I've recently installed a jabber server on one Debian Lenny server and hence decided to describe my installations steps hoping this would help ppl who would like to run their own jabber server on Debian . After some research of the jabber server softwares available, I decided to install Ejabberd

The reasons I choose Ejabberd is has rich documentation, good community around the project and the project in general looks like one of the best free software jabber servers available presently. Besides that ejabberd doesn't need Apache or MySQL and only depends on erlang programming language.

Here is the exact steps I followed to have installed and configured a running XMPP jabber server.

1. Install Ejabberd with apt

The installation of Ejabberd is standard, e.g.:

debian:~# apt-get --yes install ejabberd

Now as ejabberd is installed, some minor configuration is necessery before the server can be launched:

2. Edit /etc/ejabberd/ejabberd.cfg

Inside I changed the default settings for:

a) Uncomment%%override_acls.. Changed:

%%%% Remove the Access Control Lists before new ones are added.%%%%override_acls.

to

%%
%% Remove the Access Control Lists before new ones are added.
%%
override_acls.

b) Admin User from:

%% Admin user
{acl, admin, {user, "", "example.com"}}.

to

%% Admin user
{acl, admin, {user, "admin", "jabber.myserver-host.com"}}.

c) default %% Hostname of example.com to my real hostname:

%% Hostname
{hosts, ["jabber.myserver-host.com"]}.

The rest of the configurations in /etc/ejabberd/ejabberd.cfg can stay like it is, though it is interesting to read it carefully before continuing as, there are some config timings which might prevent the XMPP server from user brute force attacks as well as few other goodies like for example (ICQ, MSN , Yahoo etc.) protocol transports.

3. Add iptables ACCEPT traffic (allow) rules for ports which are used by Ejabberd

The minimum ACCEPT rules to add are:

/sbin/iptables -A INPUT -p tcp -m tcp --dport 22 -j ACCEPT
/sbin/iptables -A INPUT -p tcp -m tcp --dport 5222 -j ACCEPT
/sbin/iptables -A INPUT -p udp -m udp --dport 5222 -j ACCEPT
/sbin/iptables -A INPUT -p tcp -m tcp --dport 5223 -j ACCEPT
/sbin/iptables -A INPUT -p udp -m udp --dport 5223 -j ACCEPT
/sbin/iptables -A INPUT -p tcp -m tcp --dport 5269 -j ACCEPT
/sbin/iptables -A INPUT -p udp -m udp --dport 5269 -j ACCEPT
/sbin/iptables -A INPUT -p tcp -m tcp --dport 5280 -j ACCEPT
/sbin/iptables -A INPUT -p udp -m udp --dport 5280 -j ACCEPT
/sbin/iptables -A INPUT -p tcp -m tcp --dport 4369 -j ACCEPT
/sbin/iptables -A INPUT -p udp -m udp --dport 4369 -j ACCEPT
/sbin/iptables -A INPUT -p tcp -m tcp --dport 53873 -j ACCEPT

Of course if there is some specific file which stores iptables rules or some custom firewall these rules has to be added / modified to fit appropriate place or chain.

4. Restart ejabberd via init.d script

debian:~# /etc/init.d/ejabberd restart
Restarting jabber server: ejabberd is not running. Starting ejabberd.

5. Create ejabberd necessery new user accounts

debian:~# /usr/sbin/ejabberdctl register admin jabber.myserver-host.com mypasswd1
debian:~# /usr/sbin/ejabberdctl register hipo jabber.myserver-host.com mypasswd2
debian:~# /usr/sbin/ejabberdctl register newuser jabber.myserver-host.com mypasswd3
debian:~# /usr/sbin/ejabberdctl register newuser1 jabber.myserver-host.com mypasswd4
...
etc.

ejabberdctl ejabberd server client (frontend) has multiple other options and the manual is a good reading.

One helpful use of ejabberdctl is:

debian:~# /usr/sbin/ejabberdctl status
Node ejabberd@debian is started. Status: started
ejabberd is running

ejabberctl can be used also to delete some existent users, for example to delete the newuser1 just added above:

debian:~# /usr/sbin/ejabberdctl unregister newuser jabber.myserver-host.com

6. Post install web configurations

ejabberd server offers a web interface listening on port 5280, to access the web interface right after it is installed I used URL: http://jabber.myserver-host.com:5280/admin/

To login to http://jabber.myserver-host.com:5280/admin/ you will need to use the admin username previously added in this case:
admin@jabber.myserver-host.com mypasswd1

Anyways in the web interface there is not much of configuration options available for change.

7. Set dns SRV records

I'm using Godaddy 's DNS for my domain so here is a screenshot on the SRV records that needs to be configured on Godaddy:

GoDaddy DNS SRV records screenshot

In the screenshto Target is the Fually qualified domain hostname for the jabber server.

Setting the SRV records for the domain using Godaddy's DNS could take from 24 to 48 hours to propagate the changes among all the global DNS records so be patient.

If instead you use own custom BIND DNS server the records that needs to be added to the respective domain zone file are:

_xmpp-client._tcp 900 IN SRV 5 0 5222 jabber.myserver-host.com.
_xmpp-server._tcp 900 IN SRV 5 0 5269 jabber.myserver-host.com.
_jabber._tcp 900 IN SRV 5 0 5269 jabber.myserver-host.com.

8. Testing if the SRV dns records for domain are correct

debian:~$ nslookup
> set type=SRV
> jabber.myserver-host.com
 ...
> myserver-host.com

 If all is fine above nslookup request should return the requested domain SRV records.
You might be wondering what is the purpose of setting DNS SRV records at all, well if your jabber server has to communicate with the other jabber servers on the internet using the DNS SRV record is the way your server will found the other ones and vice versa.

DNS records can also be checked with dig for example

$ dig SRV _xmpp-server._tcp.mydomain.net

[…]

;; QUESTION SECTION:
;_xmpp-server._tcp.mydomain.net. IN SRV

;; ANSWER SECTION:
_xmpp-server._tcp.mydomain.net. 259200 IN SRV 5 0 5269 jabber.mydomain.net.

;; ADDITIONAL SECTION:
jabber.mydomain.net. 259200 IN A 11.22.33.44

;; Query time: 109 msec
;; SERVER: 212.27.40.241#53(212.27.40.241)
;; WHEN: Sat Aug 14 14:14:22 2010
;; MSG SIZE rcvd: 111

9. Debugging issues with ejabberd

Ejabberd log files are located in /var/log/ejabberd , you will have to check the logs in case of any issues with the jabber XMPP server. Here is the three files which log messages from ejabberd:

debian:~$ ls -1 /var/log/ejabberd/
ejabberd.log
erl_crash.dump
sasl.log

I will not get into details on the logs as the best way to find out about them is to read them ;)

10. Testing ejabberd server with Pidgin

To test if my Jabber server works properly I used Pidgin universal chat client . However there are plenty of other multiplatform jabber clients out there e.g.: Psi , Spark , Gajim etc.

Here is a screenshot of my (Accounts -> Manage Accounts -> Add) XMPP protocol configuration

Pidgin account configuration XMPP on debian Linux
 

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Feast of Saint Stephen’s martyrdom in Bulgarian Orthodox Church / Saint Stephen the first Christian Saint

Tuesday, December 27th, 2011

Saint Stephen Martyrdom Orthodox Christian Icon

It is 27th of December, the 3rd day of Christmas and in those day in the Bulgarian Orthodox Church we co-memorate saint Stephen's Martyrdom.

Its a well known fact that by his martyrdom Saint Stephen become the first Christian martyr
Stephen's name etymology comes from Greek (Stephanos) and translated means "Crown".

What we know from Orthodox Church's tradition is that Stephen was a very young in his age of Martyrdom probably in his 20s.

Stephen's glorious martyrdom has inspired and strengthened significantly the early seveerly hunted Church and has give a lot of courage and faith to many of our early Saint Martyrs. These early Church saints now incesently pray to God to have mercy on our earthly Church.
Its not much known fact St. Stephen held a rank in the early Church clergy, he was a HieroDeacon.
Hierodeaconism in our church is considered the maximum rank of deaconship one can have just before he is ordained for a Priest.

St. Stephen Orthodox Christian icon

St. Stephen was burning for love in Christ and had a strong faith in God, turning many Jewish to our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. He has shown the truth way to many by teaching them, how to properly interpret the Old Testament (Ancient Jewish) writtings.
He explained to many jewish, how all the old scriptures testify about the coming of the Messiah (Christ), which will save all who believe in his name from sins hell damnation.
As Jewish looked for ways to shutter any kind of preaching of the Gospel and kill Christianity, they saw Stephen as a big enemy just like all Christians in those early days. Therefore they looked for ways to accuse him and execute them and end up the large numbers of jewish people converting from Jewism to Christianity
The whole story of stoning (execution) of st. Stephen is described in the Holy Scriptures in the book called Acts of the Apostles

As he was about to die, Stephen looked up to heaven and said;

"Behold, I see the heavens opened, and the Son of man standing at the right hand of God."
Then, as he was being stoned, he cried out, "Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.".Our Beloved saints last words were, "Lord, do not hold this sin against them." manifesting his saintship and deep Christ love even during his last moments of earthly living.
St. Stephen is celebrated in almost all West Roman Catholic Church and in Anglicans.
Churches who co-mmemorate the great saint are located in all around the world.
St. Stephen is also considered a patron saint of Republika Sprska (Bosnia and Herzegovina)
Stephen's name later probably become the origin name for western's so popular Steven name).
Saint Stephen Orthodox Christian Icon 11th century byzantine icon
 

Saint Stephen's Byzantine Icon from the 11th Century

Let by the Holy Prayers of St. Stephen God have mercy on the Church and increase our faith and mercies to us sinners.

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How to turn off telnetd on FreeBSD

Sunday, December 25th, 2011

There is a brand new remote FreeBSD vulnerability in telnetd in all its versions starting from version 7 to 9. It is therefore advisable that the telnet daemon be completely disabled.

To disable telnetd on FreeBSD:

1. Open /etc/inetd.conf

freebsd# vi /etc/inetd.conf

2. Comment out the line

telnet stream tcp nowait root /usr/libexec/telnetd telnetd

e.g.:

#telnet stream tcp nowait root /usr/libexec/telnetd telnetd

3. Restart inetd

freebsd# /etc/rc.d/inetd restart

The whole remote root telnetd FreeBSD security advisory (SA), can be read here

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Happy Christ’s Birth! Merry Christmas

Saturday, December 24th, 2011

Christ's Birth Orthodox icon, Merry Christmas

Christ has born! Merry Christmas and Happy Holiday to all my readers!

The meaning of Merry Christmas comes from Christ Mass , the word has changed to (Christmas) through the years.
The origins of the word comes from the western world and especially has a tight relatin with Latin language and the Roman Catholic Church.

In Eastern Orthodox Churches, we say Chestit Rojdestvo Hristovo , which translated to English is Happy Christ's Birth by this tring to put more accent on the real significance of the feast, which is Christ's birth.
It's a pity nowdays many people forgot the real meaning of Merry Christmas but just celebrate without really realizing the deep spiritual meaning this two beautiful words contain.
Our Bulgarian Orthodox Church will mark the Christ's birth with a Holy Liturgy early in Sunday's morning tomorrow 25th of December.

With these bright feast I wish to all my blog readers;
A lot of Best of Health, Good Fortune, Loving Kindness, Hope, Faith, Love and Personal and Professional Success!
May God bring in our hearts the Angels joy which saluted our Saviour Jesus Christ's birth 2011 years ago.

Have a great Christmas!
 

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How to test if USB Camera is working with Cheese on GNU / Linux

Friday, December 23rd, 2011

I just bought an USB Camera (my notebook doesn't include an embedded camera). The camera is some infamous brand chineese name Eilondo
and on the camera all that is written is SUPER USB2.0 1.3 mega pixel

I bought exactly this camera because I was said by the shop reseller that the camera works without any driver installations on Windows XP and Windows Vista

On my Debian Squeeze GNU / Linux it was detected in dmesg without any troubles, here is how the camera got detected in my kernel log :

debian:~# dmesg |tail -n 10
[25385.734932] usb 2-1: USB disconnect, address 4
[25388.905049] usb 2-1: new high speed USB device using ehci_hcd and address 5
[25389.050753] usb 2-1: New USB device found, idVendor=1e4e, idProduct=0102
[25389.050757] usb 2-1: New USB device strings: Mfr=1, Product=2, SerialNumber=0
[25389.050760] usb 2-1: Product: USB2.0 Camera
[25389.050762] usb 2-1: Manufacturer: Etron Technology, Inc.
[25389.050936] usb 2-1: configuration #1 chosen from 1 choice
[25389.056056] uvcvideo: Found UVC 1.00 device USB2.0 Camera (1e4e:0102)
[25389.058242] uvcvideo: UVC non compliance - GET_DEF(PROBE) not supported. Enabling workaround.
[25389.059113] input: USB2.0 Camera as /devices/pci0000:00/0000:00:1d.7/usb2/2-1/2-1:1.0/input/input26

I was troubled by the message uvcvideo: UVC non compliance – GET_DEF(PROBE) not supported. Enabling workaround. , and hence looked for an application to test if the camera can recored properly.

While checking in packages available in Software Center , I found a plenty of programs under the search keyword Camera
I however decided to test it using just one application Cheese A tool to take pictures and videos from your webcam which I've seen to be quite popular among Liunx users.
Cheese is part of GNOME Desktop, so that was another reason I decided to give it a try. I was pleasently surprised about how good these tiny but functional proggie is.

To run Cheese in GNOME I nagivated to the menus:

Applications -> Sound & Video -> Cheese Webcam Booth

Just in case if Cheese is not installed, installing it with apt:

debian:~# apt-get install cheese

Cheese has capabilities to take pictures, a consequential photos take up, as well as create Video movies.

Cheese take camera testing tool Debian GNU Linux

The program has support to apply 12 Effects / (Masks) to add some fun to the pictures or video snapshots.

Test Video Camera on Debian Linux Cheese Effects

Probably the best thing about Cheese is its simplistic interface, which for me personally is a main criterion to evaluate a program quality ;).

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Geki2 and Geki3 a Xenon 2 Megablast like games for GNU / Linux and FreeBSD

Thursday, December 22nd, 2011

Do you remember the old arcade spaceship shooter Xenon 2 Megablast? I do ;) For all those who are too young to remember, here are two screenshots:

Xenon2 Main game Screen PC DOS ver

Xenon 2 megablast PC DOS level screenshot

Even though Xenon 2 Megablast original can now be played using dosbox DOS emulator. Its interesting to mention I've found two Linux games that more or less can be qualitified to resemble Xenon 2.
The games are Native Free Software games and existing in package repositories of most Linux distributions and *BSD port trees.

Geki 2 and Geki 3 are of a less quality to Xenon but still, the game experience is nice and is among the Arcade shooter games to bring you fun in the boring days if you're on GNU / Linux or FreeBSD Free OS platforms.

Installing Geki2 and Geki3 on Debian and Ubuntu Linux is standard with apt:

debian:~# apt-get install geki2 geki3
...

On Debian GNU / Linux , after installed the games would not create GNOME Applications -> Games -> game startup shortcuts, however the game startups will get added in GNOME Applications Menu under:

Applications -> Debian -> Games -> Action -> Geki 2
and
Applications -> Debian -> Games -> Action -> Geki 3

The games can be launched also manually with commands:

geki2

Geki 2 Linux Xenon 2 like game Main Menu

or

geki3
Geki3 gameplay screenshot Debian Linux

Geki 2 is a way closer to Xenon 2 as it has similar look and feel and the same vertical direction the spaceship is navigated.
In Geki 3 still the shoot 'em' up spaceship like arcade is present, however instead of penguin you have to fly a flying penguin, as well as the spaceship move direction is horizontal.

 Both the games have the same sound and music effects. The game music and effects are not of top quality but are not bad. In general  the games surely gives some of the arcade atmosphere.

Geki 2 GNU Linux Xenon 2 like vertical shooter arcade
Geki 2 Xenon 2 Megablast like on Debian Linux

In the tradition of the arcade games at the end of each level in both games you face the Level Boss Enemy, you should destroy.

Geki3 Level boss Debian Linux Screenshot
As you can see in below's screenshot the overall graphics of GEKI 3 is poorer while compared to GEKI 2

still GEKI 2 gampley is fun and addictive and I would say not less enjoyable than GEKI 2.
 At times I even think that Geki 3 is more fun because it is more dynamic.

 Maybe other reason, why I enjoyed more Geki 3 is also the fact that Geki 2 is a way harder to play. Dying only 3 times in the game you get  GAME OVER  and the next game you're started from the beginning of the same level you died in …

Geki2 Linux different shooting Screenshot

 Something really annoying that affects both the games; there is no option to play them in Fullscreen mode! ARGH!

Game controls for Geki2 and Geki3 are identical as follows:

Up - Arrow up key
Down - Down arrow key
Right - Right arrow key
left - Left arrow key
Shoot - z or Space
Pause - s

Geki2 and Geki3 are fun and can kill some time, but definitely aren't that (professional) as other spaceship shoot'em'up arcades for Linux and BSD. Games like Starfighter , Critical Mass or  powermanga .
 Lest that they are two worthy to install and play on your Free Software OS.

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GPL Arcade Volleyball – DOS Volleyball oldschool game remake for GNU / Linux

Wednesday, December 21st, 2011

Do you remember that oldschool Arcade VolleyBall game which was so popular on 16 bit (8086 XT) computers.
I remember this game from the years I was 12 years old, back in the days where we the gamers distributed all the DOS games on 360 KB 5.25" diskettes

I was looking over the games available to install on my Debian GNU / Linux today just to be happily suprised to find GPL Arcade Volleyball an identical game remake of the old Arcade Volleyball 8086 classic freeware game.

I remember we spend many hours with friends playing on the old Manifactured in Bulgaria Pravetz 16! computers
During communism and post communism Pravetz was the only computer brand we could buy from the market, as there was limitations on the exported and imported tech equipment within the USSR union.
Pravetz computers are a literal remake of 16 bit IBM 8086 computers and the computer design and integrals was stolen from IBM 16 bit 8086 / 8088 PC architecture

Arcade Volleyball has set a mark on my generation and I believe many people will remember the times this game was a hit with a bit of Nostalgia ;)
In the Game GPL Arcade Volleyball Debian GNU / Linux

Besides being an identical remake of PC Arcade Volleyball , GPL Arcade Volleyball is even expanded as it includes extra features which the original game lacked. Game includes:

  • Network Volleyball client / server Game (up to 4 players)
  • 6 Game Themes which completely change the game look & feel to be modernistic

Here are few GAV screenshots of the different existing game Themes:

Screenshot GPL Arcade VolleyBall Yisus

GPL Arcade Volleyball Yisus theme gameplay GNU / Linux
Yisus GAV Theme gameplay screenshot

GPL Arcade Volleyball Unnamed Theme Screenshot

GPL Arcade Volleyball unnamed Gameplay Theme Debian
GAV – Unnamed Theme Gameplay

Screenshot GAV FABeach gameplay
GAV – FaBeach Theme Gameplay

GAV supports both Window and fullscreen modes. To enable Fullscreen mode, while inside the game use:

Extra -> Fullscreen (Yes)

Saving preferences is also something which I if I recall correctly the original game lacked. This is done by navigating to:

Extra -> Save Preferences

GAV is said to support Joystick in resemblance to the original DOS game, though I've never tested it with a joy.

One of the greatest GAV game (hacks) is the Inverted Theme. Selecting it inverts the order in the game, where the game player becomes the volleyball ball and the ball becomes the player ;)

GPL Arcade Volleyball Arcade Inverted Theme - remake of DOS Volleyball Arcade
GAV does not yet not have a Free / Open / Net BSD port as far as I currently see, anyways since the game is Free Software probably soon a port will be available for BSDs as well.
The default GAV game controls are a bit untraditional. By default the one player game starts you play Volleyball game player positioned on the left.

For left player the default control keys are:
 

  • z – move player left
  • c – move player right
  • left shift – jump

Right player controls are:
 

  • Left – left (arrow key)
  • right – right (arrow key)
  • jump – up cursor key

GAV supports also a shortcut key for switching between windowed and full screen game mode by pressing F10
Installing the game on Debian and Ubuntu Linuces is done with:

linux:~# apt-get --yes install gav

Unfortunately gav does not have a definition to be added to GNOME or KDE Applications menus, thus to start the game after installed one has to do it manually by typing either in gnome RUN (Alt+F2) or on command line:

linux:~$ gav

Happy playing ;)

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Communistic Government BCP epoch deliberately tried to destroy the Bulgarian Orthodox Church

Wednesday, December 21st, 2011

Communism Reality, Anti Communism Poster

As a Child I've been baptized in the Orthodox Church and since then I've been a complete atheist until the age of 21.
What is the reason to get my faith in God in 21? This is a short post to shed some light on the great efforts of communism to erradicate faith in God in Communistic countries and change faith in God with faith in man and how this kind of approach devastates societies.
During the communism it's a well known fact that communists, all the members in the Bulgarian Communist's Party (BCP),has led an anti Bulgarian Orthodox Church government politics. The fact that Communistic Governments are fighting Churches and faith in God is less known among youngesters and hardly known by people part of western democratic societies.

I did not lived this time myself, but I heard many stories about the stupidities of communism.
Many older people say, when communism came to rule the Communist Government did immediately destroy some Orthodox Christian temples, some priests were convinced in crimes they were not responsible for etc…
Other priests were send in the Concentration camps and many of them never returned in the society.
"Access" to the Churches was limited and sometimes prohibited to the orthodox layman and often to clergy.
During these terrible communism era, it was prohibited to everybody who is a member of BPC to attend Orthodox Church services or identify himself as christian in public.
I've heard from my grandma an interesting story she witnessed, while she was working as a cleaner in the militia (police).
Here is the story:
One day my grandma wanted to go to the Church St. George located on the city centre of Dobrich city Bulgaria.
A policeman stopped her when she was entering the temple and since he knew her as an employee in the police called her by name and told her that she is not allowed to enter the church building, because she is working in the police.
My grandma asked the militiaman to let her enter the temple to pray for just few minutes and light up a candle (just for this time) without reporting for that in the police.
The policeman agreed to let us in and keep silent that she entered the Church this time,but warned her that if he sees her another time entering the church he is going to report to the respective authorities.
Another part of the Government active politics against the Bulgarian Orthodox Church was by placing an ex-criminals who were sentenced for thefts, rapings, agression or other crimes as a priests in the Church.
By this move the supreme counsel of the bulgarian communist party wanted to break the people confidence in the Church as the true holy apostolic Church. The most fierce communists during these days did their best to present the church of God as a corrupted and void institution who only steals from people and exists only to deceive society.
Yet many years after the fall of communism this people distrust in the church that communists sow through the years.

What is pity is even after the communism is gone for a long, time the churches are only full on biggest feasts and no more than 5% of the citizens are regularly going for Church service or have even the basic knowledge on the Church truths and mysteries.
Following the fall of communism the democratic governments who come to power, elected in a citizen democratic elections did not do much to help the church either, some of them does lead politics openly hostile to our Bulgarian Church.
The last government selected, seems to be less hostile to our Church, but people have once been cut away from the Church and now its really hard for our nation to get back to faith.
The severe crisis (a word that means judgement in greek) and the hardships many people experience started to make some people rethink about what is the meaning of life and made them occasionally go back to faith of our fathers orthodoxy.
What will happen further nobody knows, we need to pray and hope God will have mercy and people will repent for their sins and come back to faith again.

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