Posts Tagged ‘upgrade’

Upgrade old crappy Windows 7 32 bit to Windows 10 32 bit, post install fixes and impressions / How to enter Safe Mode in Windows 10

Wednesday, June 28th, 2017


However as I've been upgrading my sister's computer previously running Windows 7 to Windows 10 (the process of upgrading is really simple you just download Windows-Media-Creation-tool from Microsoft website and the rest comes to few clicks (Accept Windows 10 User Agreement, Create current install  restore point (backup) etc.) and waiting some 30 minutes or so for the upgrade to complete.


Then it was up to downloading some other updates on a few times and restarting the computer, each time the upgrades were made and all the computer was ready. I've installed Avira (AntiVirus) as I usually do on new PCs and downloaded a bunch of anti-malware (MalwareBytes / Rfkill  / Zemanta)  to make sure that the old upgraded  WIndows was not already infected before the upgrade and I've found a bunch of malware, that got quickly cleared up.

Anyways I've tried also another tool called ReimagePlus – Online Computer Repair in order to check whether there are no some broken WIndows system files after the upgrade

(here I have to say I've done that besides running in an Administrator command prompt (cmd.exe) and running

sfc /scannow

command to check base system files integrity, which luckily showed no problems with the Win base system files.

ReimagePlus however showed some failed services and some failed programs that were previously installed from Windows 7 before the upgrade and even it showed indication for Trojan present on computer but since ReImagePlus is a payed software and I didn't have the money to spend on it, I just proceeded to clean up what was found manually.

After that the computer ran fine, with the only strange thing that some data was from hard drive was red a bit too frequently, after a short call with a close friend (Nomen) – thx man, he suggested that the frequenty hdd usage might be related to Windows Search Indexing service database rebuilt and he adviced me to disable it which I did following this article How to speed up Windows by disabling Search Index Service.

One issue worthy to mention  stumbled upon after the upgrade was problems with Windows Explorer which was frequently crashing and "restarting the Desktop", but once, I've enabled all upgrades from Microsoft and Applied them after some update failures and restarts, once all was up2date to all latest from Microsoft, Explorer started working normally.

In the mean time while Windows Explorer was crashing in order to browse my file system I used the good old Win Total Command or Norton Commander for Windows – WinNC (with its most cool bizzarre own File Explorer tool).


As I wanted to run a MalwareBytes scan and Antivirus under Windows Safe-Mode, I tried entering it by restarting the Computer and pressing F8 a number of times before the Windows boot screen but this didn't work as Safe-Mode boot was changed in Windows 10 to be callable in another way because of some extra Windows Boot speed up optimizations, in short the easiest way I found to enter Windows 10 Safe Mode was to Hit Start Button -> Choose Restart PC and keep pressed SHIFT button simultaneously
that calls a menu that gives you some restore options, along with safe mode options for those who want to read more on How to Enter Safe mode (Command Prompt) on Windows 10 – please read this article.


Once the upgrade was over and all below done unfortunately I've realized her previously installed WIndows 7 is x86 (32 bit) version and the Acer notebook 5736Z where it is being installed is actually X64 (64 bit), hence I've decided to upgrade my dear sis computer to a 64 Bit Windows 10 and researched online whether, there is some tool that is capable to upgrade WIndows 10 from 32 bit to Windows 10 64 bit just to find out the only option is to either use some program to creaty a backup of files on the PC or to manually copy files to external hard drive and reinstall with a Windows 10 64 bit bootable USB Flash or CD / DVD image, so I took my USB flash and used again Windows Media Creation Tool to burn Windows and re-install with the 64 bit iso.

If you're wonder about why I choose to re-install finally Win 10 32 bit with Win 64 bit, because you might think performance difference might be not really so dramatic, then I have to say the Acer notebook is equipped with 4 Gigabytes of RAM Memory and Windows 10 32bit  (Pro) could recognize a maximum of 3 Gigabytes (2.9 GB if I have to be precise) and 1 Gigabyte of memory stays totally unusued all the time with  Winblows 10 32 bit.


I've tried my best actually to not loose time to fully upgrade Windows 7 (32 bit) -> Windows 10 (64 bit) but to make Windows 7 32 bit Windows to use more than the default Limitation of 3GB of memory by using this thirt party PAE Externsion Kernel Patch
which is patching the Windows Kernel to extend the Windows support for PCs with up to 128 GB of memory however it turned out that this Patch file is not compatible with my Windows Kernel version once I followed readme instructions.

It seems the PAE (Physical Address Extension) is supported by default  by Microsoft only on 32 bit Windows Server 10 to read more on the PAE if interested give a look here.

Well that's all folks, the rest I did was to just boot from the USB drive just burned and re-install WIndows and copy my files from User profile / Downloads / Pictures / Music etc. to the same locations on the new installed Windows 10 professional 64 bit and enjoy the better performance.

How to update macos from terminal / Check and update remotely Mac OS X software from console

Friday, October 23rd, 2015


If you happen to have to deal with Mac OS X (Apple) notebook or Desktop PC (Hackintosh) etc. and you’re sysadmin or console freak being pissed off Mac’s GUI App Store update interface and you want to “keep it simple stupid” (KISS) in an Debian Linux like apt-get manner then you can also use Mac’s console application (cli) terminal to do the updates manually from command line with:




To get help about softwareupdate pass it on the -h flag:

softwareupdate -h

1. Get a list of available Mac OS updates

Though not a very likely scenario of course before installing it is always a wise thing to see what is being updated to make sure you will not upgrade something that you don’t want to.
This is done with:

softwareupdate -l

However in most cases you can simply skip this step as updating directly every package installed on the Mac with a new version from Apple will not affect your PC.
Anyways it is always a good idea to keep a backup image of your OS before proceeding with updates with let’s say Time Machine Mac OS backup app.

2. Install only recommended Updates from Apple store

softwareupdate -irv

Above will download all updates that are critical and thus a must to have in order to keep Mac OS security adequate.
Translated into Debian / Ubuntu Linux language, the command does pretty much the same as Linux’s:

apt-get –yes update

3. Install All Updates available from AppleStore

To install absolutely all updates provided by Apple’s package repositories run:

softwareupdate -iva

One note to make here is that always when you keep updating make sure your notebook is switched on to electricity grid otherwise if due to battery discharge it shutoffs during update your Mac will crash in a very crappy hard to recover state that might even cost you a complete re-install or a need to bring a PC to a Mac Store technical support guy so beware, you’re warned!

4. Installing all updates except Specific Softwares from Terminal

Often if you have a cracked software or a software whose GUI interface changed too much and you don’t want to upgrade it but an update is offered by Apple repos you can add the -i ingnore option:

softwareupdate -i [update_name(s)]

For example:

softwareupdate -i Safari-version-XXXX

5. View Mac OS Software Update History

The quickest way to see the update history is with System Information app, e.g.:


How to disable WordPress Visual Editor to solve problems Editor / Post problems after upgrade to WordPress 4.0

Monday, October 27th, 2014

Recently, I've upgraded to latest as of time of writting WordPress 4.0. The upgrade went fine however after upgrade even though I've upgraded also the CKEdit for WordPressVisual Editor stopped working. To solve the issue, my logical guess was to try to disable CKEditor:

(Plugins -> Ckeditor for WordPress (Deactivate)

However even after disabling, default WP Visual Editor continued to be not showing properly – e.g. the Publish / Save Draft / Preview buttons pane as well as the usual format text menu buttons (set text to Italic, Bold, Underline Text,  Create New Paragraph etc.) was completely missing and it was impossible to write anything in the text edit box like you see in below screenshot:


I've red a lot on the internet about the issue and it seem a lot of people end up with the WordPress broken Visual Editor issue after upgrading to WP 3.9 and to WordPress 4.0. A lot of people did came to a fix, by simply disabling all WP plugins and enabling them one by one, however as I have about 50 WordPress plugins enabled in my WP blog disabling every plugins and re-enabling was too time consuming as I had to first write down all the plugins enabled and then re-enable them one by one by hand (after re-installing the wordpress version) testing after each whether the editor works or not ..
Therefore I skipped that fix and looked for another one. Other suggestions was to:

Edit wp-includes/css/editor.min.css and include at the end of file:

.mce-stack-layout{margin-top:20px}.wp-editor-container textarea.wp-editor-area{margin-top:67px;}

I've tried that one but for me this didn't work out ..

There were some people reporting certain plugins causing the visual editor issues such reported were:

  • NextScripts: Social Networks Auto-Poster
  • Google Sitemaps – Append UTW Tags
  • Google XML Sitemaps
  • TinyMCE Advanced (some suggested replacing TinyMCE and related scripts)
  • JS & CSS Script Optimizer … etc.

There were some suggestions also that the issues with Editor could be caused by the Used Blog Theme. It is true I'm using very Old WordPress theme, however as I like it so much I didn't wanted to change that one ..

Others suggested as a fix adding to site's wp-config.php:

define('CONCATENATE_SCRIPTS', false);

Unfortunately this doesn't work either.

Finally I've found the fix myself, the solution is as simple as disabling WordPress Visual Editor:

To disable WP Visual Editor:

1. Go to Upper screen right corner, after logged in to wp-admin (A drop down menu) with Edit My Profile will appear::

2. From Profile screen to appear select Disable the visual editor when writing scroll down to the bottom of page and click on Update Profile button to save new settings:


That's all now the Post / Edit of an Article will work again with text buttons only.

Fixing Shellshock new critical remote bash shell exploitable vulnerability on Debian / Ubuntu / CentOS / RHEL / Fedora / OpenSuSE and Slackware

Friday, October 10th, 2014

If you still haven’t heard about the ShellShock Bash (Bourne Again) shell remote exploit vulnerability and you admin some Linux server, you will definitely have to read seriously about it. ShellShock Bash Vulnerabily has become public on Sept 24 and is described in details here.

The vulnerability allows remote malicious attacker to execute arbitrary code under certain conditions, by passing strings of code following environment variable assignments. Affected are most of bash versions starting with bash 1.14 to bash 4.3.
Even if you have patched there are some reports, there are other bash shell flaws in the way bash handles shell variables, so probably in the coming month there will be even more patches to follow.

Affected bash flaw OS-es are Linux, Mac OS and BSDs;

• Some DHCP clients

• OpenSSL servers that use ForceCommand capability in (Webserver config)

• Apache Webservers that use CGi Scripts through mod_cgi and mod_cgid as well as cgis written in bash or launching bash subshells

• Network exposed services that use bash somehow

Even though there is patch there are futher reports claiming patch ineffective from both Google developers and RedHat devs, they say there are other flaws in how batch handles variables which lead to same remote code execution.

There are a couple of online testing tools already to test whether your website or certain script from a website is vulnerable to bash remote code executions, one of the few online remote bash vulnerability scanner is here and here. Also a good usable resource to test whether your webserver is vulnerable to ShellShock remote attack is found on ShellShocker.Net.

As there are plenty of non-standard custom written scripts probably online and there is not too much publicity about the problem and most admins are lazy the vulnerability will stay unpatched for a really long time and we’re about to see more and more exploit tools circulating in the script kiddies irc botnets.

Fixing bash Shellcode remote vulnerability on Debian 5.0 Lenny.

Follow the article suggesting how to fix the remote exploitable bash following few steps on older unsupported Debian 4.0 / 3.0 (Potato) etc. – here.

Fixing the bash shellcode vulnerability on Debian 6.0 Squeeze. For those who never heard since April 2014, there is a A Debian LTS (Long Term Support) repository. To fix in Debian 6.0 use the LTS package repository, like described in following article.

If you have issues patching your Debian Wheezy 6.0 Linux bash, it might be because you already have a newer installed version of bash and apt-get is refusing to overwrite it with an older version which is provided by Debian LTS repos. The quickest and surest way to fix it is to do literally the following:

vim /etc/apt/sources.list

Paste inside to use the following LTS repositories:

deb squeeze main contrib non-free
deb-src squeeze main contrib non-free
deb squeeze/updates main contrib non-free
deb-src squeeze/updates main contrib non-free
deb squeeze-lts main contrib non-free
deb-src squeeze-lts main contrib non-free

Further on to check the available installable deb package versions with apt-get, issue:

apt-cache showpkg bash
4.1-3+deb6u2 -
4.1-3 -
Reverse Provides:

As you see there are two installable versions of bash one from default Debian 6.0 repos 4.1-3 and the second one 4.1-3+deb6u2, another way to check the possible alternative installable versions when more than one version of a package is available is with:

apt-cache policy bash
*** 4.1-3+deb6u2 0
500 squeeze-lts/main amd64 Packages
100 /var/lib/dpkg/status
4.1-3 0
500 squeeze/main amd64 Packages

Then to install the LTS bash version on Debian 6.0 run:

apt-get install bash=4.1-3+deb6u2

Patching Ubuntu Linux supported version against shellcode bash vulnerability:
A security notice addressing Bash vulnerability in Ubuntus is in Ubuntu Security Notice (USN) here
USNs are a way Ubuntu discloses packages affected by a security issues, thus Ubuntu users should try to keep frequently an eye on Ubuntu Security Notices

apt-get update
apt-get install bash

Patching Bash Shellcode vulnerability on EOL (End of Life) versions of Ubuntu:

mkdir -p /usr/local/src/dist && cd /usr/local/src/dist
gpg --import gpgkey.asc
gpg --verify bash-4.3.tar.gz.sig
cd ..
tar xzvf dist/bash-4.3.tar.gz
cd bash-4.3
mkdir patches && cd patches
wget -r --no-parent --accept "bash43-*" -nH -nd # Use a local mirror
echo *sig | xargs -n 1 gpg --verify --quiet # see note 2

cd ..
echo patches/bash43-0?? | xargs -n 1 patch -p0 -i # see note 3 below

./configure --prefix=/usr --bindir=/bin

make test && make install

To solve bash vuln in recent Slackware Linux:

slackpkg update
slackpkg upgrade bash

For old Slacks, either download a patched version of bash or download the source for current installed package and apply the respective patch for the shellcode vulnerability.
There is also a GitHub project “ShellShock” Proof of Concept code demonstrating –
There are also non-confirmed speculations for bash vulnerability bug to impact also:

Speculations:(Non-confirmed possibly vulnerable common server services):

• XMPP(ejabberd)

• Mailman



• Bind9

• Procmail

• Exim

• Juniper Google Search

• Cisco Gear


• Postfix

• Qmail

Fixing ShellShock bash vulnerability on supported versions of CentOS, Redhat, Fedora

In supported versions of CentOS where EOL has not reached:

yum –y install bash

In Redhat, Fedoras recent releases to patch:

yum update bash

To upgrade the bash vulnerability in OpenSUSE:

zipper patch –cve=CVE-2014-7187

Shellcode is worser vulnerability than recent SSL severe vulnerability Hearbleed. According to Redhat and other sources this new bash vulnerability is already actively exploited in the wild and probably even worms are crawling the net stealing passwords, data and building IRC botnets for remote control and UDP flooding.

yum add proxy on CentOS, RHEL, Fedora Linux howto

Thursday, June 5th, 2014

Whether you had to install a CentOS server in a DMZ-ed network with paranoic system firewall rules or simply you want to use your own created RPM local repository to run RPM installs and CentOS system updates via monitored Proxy you will have to configure yum to use a proxy.

There is a standard way to do it by adding a proxy directive to /etc/yum.conf as explained in CentOS official documetnation.
However for some reason:


proxy vars adding to /etc/yum.conf [main] section is not working on CentOS 6.5?
However there is a dirty patch by using the OS environment standard variable http_proxy
To make yum work via proxy in gnome-terminal run first:

export http_proxy=

or if proxy is protected by username / password run instead:

export username='yum-user'
export password='qwerty'
export http_proxy="http://$username:$password@your-proxy-server:8080/

Afterwards yum will work via the proxy, i.e.:

yum update && yum upgrade

To make http_proxy exported system wide check my previous post – Set Proxy System-Wide

Hope this helps someone.

How to do (all) install packages binary upgrade FreeBSD 7.2 to FreeBSD 9.0 RELEASE

Wednesday, October 3rd, 2012

FreeBSD binary upgrade portupgrade pkgng pkg_add 7.2 to FreeBSD 9.0 RELEASE how to
In last article I’ve writen how FreeBSD version to version upgrade can be done using, as it is (mostly) mandatory to complete a packages binary upgrade right after the kernel and world update, in this article I will explain how to do BSD binary package upgrade.

Once the BSD boots with a new after succesful:

# freebsd-update upgrade -r 9.0-RELEASE && freebsd-update install

1. Upgrade FreeBSD port tree structure (skele) with latest BSD available,br />
It is necessery either to rebuild all installed packages on System or do a binary upgrade, this is because some of the installed packages might already be linked to older versions of FreeBSD 7.2 [in my case] – (or whatever older version) world you have.

1. Update BSD port tree skele to the latest published on FreeBSD download servers

It is generally wise idea to upgrade your BSD port structure immediately after BSD world and kernel upgrade.
For convenience you can use following ports-supfile (configured to fetch latest FreeBSD) ports directory structure:

Download it in /etc and run csup:

freebsd# cd /etc/
freebsd# wget -q
freebsd# csup -g -L 2 /etc/ports-supfile
Parsing supfile "/etc/ports-supfile"
Connecting to
Connected to
Server software version: SNAP_16_1h
MD5 authentication started
MD5 authentication successful
Negotiating file attribute support
Exchanging collection information
Establishing multiplexed-mode data connection
Updating collection ports-all/cvs
Edit ports/UPDATING

The port structure upgrade takes me on my Pentium 1.8 Ghz with 1GB ramwith a 20 Mbit connectivity to the internet about 15 minutes; It could vary depending on PC hardware and Internet connectivity as well as to when for a last time the port tree was upgraded (how much new data csup has to fetch to hdd).

2. Re-build ports Index file /usr/ports/INDEX*

Onwards the ports index file needs to be rebuild;

freebsd# make index
Generating INDEX-9 - please wait..

Here my make index failed with an error:

*** Error code 1
1 error
Before reporting this error, verify that you are running a supported
version of FreeBSD (see and that you
have a complete and up-to-date ports collection. (INDEX builds are
not supported with partial or out-of-date ports collections -- in
particular, if you are using cvsup, you must cvsup the "ports-all"
collection, and have no "refuse" files.) If that is the case, then
report the failure to together with relevant
details of your ports configuration (including FreeBSD version,
your architecture, your environment, and your /etc/make.conf
settings, especially compiler flags and WITH/WITHOUT settings).
Note: the latest pre-generated version of INDEX may be fetched
automatically with "make fetchindex".
*** Error code 1

Cause this error, I had to update the index with portsnap (get already pre-generated one by another person).

portsnap has other advantages too – it doesn’t take so long time as well as load CPU less than manually building it; even better it takes shorter time to complete. This is why for (ports index updates) on productive servers it might be (probably) better to use portsnap:

freebsd# make fetchindex
/usr/ports/INDEX-9.bz2 100% of 1622 kB 203 kBps
freebsd# ls -al INDEX-*
-rw-r--r-- 1 root wheel 24216397 Mar 14 2011 INDEX-7
-rw-r--r-- 1 root wheel 36006912 Feb 8 2010 INDEX-7.db
-rw-r--r-- 1 root wheel 26526196 Oct 2 14:45 INDEX-9
freebsd# rm -f INDEX-7 INDEX-7.db

3. Do a binary package upgrade of every packages present on previous FreeBSD 7.2 install with portupgrade

It is generally also a good idea to create a dump of all system installed packages with pkg_info, before doing anything else:

freebsd# pkg_info -qoa | sort > /root/packagelist

Since my system is quite, slow I cannot afford to recompile all from BSD ports, thus I used the “old fashioned” portupgrade to complete the binary upgrade:

For “conservative” BSD users it might be better to use portupgrade, to do upgrade all installed packages with it run:

freebsd# rm /var/db/pkg/pkgdb.db && pkgdb -Ffuv && portupgrade -afpRr -m BATCH=yes

I got during above portupgrade errors like:

Stale dependency: brasero-2.26.0_1 --> hal-0.5.11_23 -- manually run 'pkgdb -F' to fix, or specify -O to force.

In order to solve this errors, I had to exec:

freebsd# pkgdb -Fa

Then after each time fixing the pkgdb database run:

freebsd# pkgdb -Ffuv && portupgrade -afpRr -m BATCH=yes

Besides portupgrade, the upgrade can be done using other metdhology;

a) Using a few lines shell of bash scripting loop and pkg_info and pkg_add

b) Using pkgng

4. Binary all package upgrade using pkg_info, pkg_delete, pkg_add with a while shell loop

An alternative FreeBSD installed packages upgrade to latest is with standard BSD tools combined with few lines of shell of bash while loop.

This whole update approach is thoroughfully explained in this BSD forum thread .

The update method pointed by the forum can be done by issuing (preferrably in bash shell root console):

root # pkg_info -qoa > /root/packagelist
root # pkg_delete -a -f
root # rm -r -f /boot/modules /usr/local /var/db/pkg
root # while read PKG; do pkg_add -r $( basename ${PKG} ); done < /root/packagelist

The problem with this update approach is if some packages names are changed, some packages might not be able to be found by and (respectively) will fail to fetch and install with pkg_add -r. Thus I personally don’t recommend using this .update method as it is unsafe.

5. Completing packages BSD binary upgrade with pkgng (PKG Next Generation) tool

Install pkgng from respective port, e.g.:

freebsd# cd cd /usr/ports/ports-mgmt/pkg
/usr/local/man/man8/pkg-remove.8.gz -> /usr/local/man/man8/pkg-delete.8.gz
/usr/local/man/man8/pkg-static.8.gz -> /usr/local/man/man8/pkg.8.gz
===> pkg-static (install)
install -o root -g wheel -m 555 pkg-static /usr/local/sbin
If you are upgrading from the old package format, first run:
# pkg2ng
===> Running ldconfig
/sbin/ldconfig -m /usr/local/lib
===> Registering installation for pkg-1.0.1
===> Cleaning for pkg-1.0.1
freebsd# make install clean

Right after installing you can use it and upgrade packs:

freebsd# cp -rpf /usr/local/etc/pkg.conf.sample /usr/local/etc/pkg.conf
freebsd# pkg update
Updating repository catalogue
repo.txz 100% 13MB 771.3KB/s 1.3MB/s 00:17
freebsd# pkg upgrade -fy
freebsd# pkg-static update
freebsd# pkg-static upgrade -fy


P.S. I tried the pkgng for my first time, for some weird reason I was unable to upgrade my packages with it on 1 host, though literally followed update instructions on Full binary upgrade with pkgng 1.0-beta7 – Bapt tutorial . If someone knows of a better tutorial how update can be done using pkgng drop me a comment or point me to a tutorial.
The overall all packages update experience for me wasn’t so nice as it took me too much of time to upgrade. I like BSD stability but when it comes to updates its a time eater …

How to do world and kernel binary upgrade of FreeBSD 7.2 RELEASE to FreeBSD 9.0

Tuesday, October 2nd, 2012

FreeBSD 7.2 to FreeBSD 9.0 kernel world and kernel binary upgrade fbsd logo

1. Use FreeBSD upgrade with 9.0-RELEASE as an argument

freebsd# freebsd-update upgrade -r 9.0-RELEASE

Note that you will get on screen an error message like so:

The update metadata is correctly signed, but failed an integrity check.
Cowardly refusing to proceed any further.

You can safely ignore the message but anyways it is good to do following substitution in freebsd-update sript:

2. Patch freebsd-update script with sed

freebsd# sed -i '' -e 's/=_/=%@_/' /usr/sbin/freebsd-update

After that, run freebsd-update, one more time:

freebsd# freebsd-update upgrade -r 9.0-RELEASE

3. Confirm merges and changes from 7.2 to 9.0

Here during the upgrade you will be prompted for about 20-30 questions, which in most cases will be okay if you answer with yes. Most questions, are just notifications that in FreeBSD 9.0, some extra users were added some version release numbers are changed and the old files need to get merged with the new ones. It is good idea to read all the prompts and be sure to know what you’re doing before answering. Anyhow in my case I was quite in hurry so I simply did yes and q (to quit each of the diff notification screens pop-ping up after each yes answer.

4. Install all the freebsd-update upgrade fetched binaries

Once this process is completed you can safely install FBSD 9.0 kernel and world binaries:

freebsd# freebsd-update install

5. Restart the system to test if FreeBSD 9.0 RELEASE just installed new kernel boots

To test if all is okay with the update restart system:

# shutdown -r now

After system boots, do uname and uptime to assure system boots with 9.0 kernel:

freebsd# uptime
7:37PM up 2 days, 22:37, 1 user, load averages: 1.05, 1.02, 1.00
freebsd# uname -a;
FreeBSD freebsd 9.0-RELEASE-p3 FreeBSD 9.0-RELEASE-p3 #0: Tue Jun 12 01:47:53 UTC 2012 i386

5. Finalize binary and world upgrade

Then to finalize the binary BSD world and kernel update once again issue:

freebsd# freebsd-update install
Please rebuild all installed 3rd party software (e.g., programs
installed from the ports tree) and then run
"/usr/sbin/freebsd-update install" again to
finish installing updates.

freebsd# freebsd-update install

That’s all FreeBSD 7.2 -> 9.0 (kernel and world) upgrade is succesful. After the upgrade some packages might not be working and you will have to check and manually update ports which are not working (due to linked to old FreeBSD 7.2 world libraries and so on). It is also good to upgrade all installed ports. I will explain how I did ports upgrade a separate article. Cheers 😉

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

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

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"
} {
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 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
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

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.

xorg on Toshiba Satellite L40 14B with Intel GM965 video hangs up after boot and the worst fix ever / How to reinstall Ubuntu by keeping the old personal data and programs

Wednesday, April 27th, 2011

black screen ubuntu troubles

I have updated Ubuntu version 9.04 (Jaunty) to 9.10 and followed the my previous post update ubuntu from 9.04 to Latest Ubuntu

I expected that a step by step upgrade from a release to release will work like a charm and though it does on many notebooks it doesn't on Toshiba Satellite L40

The update itself went fine, whether I used the update-manager -d and followed the above pointed tutorial, however after a system restart the PC failed to boot the X server properly, a completely blank screen with blinking cursor appeared and that was all.

I restarted the system into the 2.6.35-28-generic kernel rescue-mode recovery kernel in order to be able to enter into physical console.

Logically the first thing I did is to check /var/log/messages and /var/log/Xorg.0.log but I couldn't find nothing unusual or wrong there.

I suspected something might be wrong with /etc/X11/xorg.conf so I deleted it:

ubuntu:~# rm -f /etc/X11/xorg.conf

and attempted to re-create the xorg.conf X configuration with command:

ubuntu:~# dpkg-reconfigure xserver-xorg

This command was reported to be the usual way to reconfigure the X server settings from console, but in my case (for unknown reasons) it did nothing.

Next the command which was able to re-generate the xorg.conf file was:

ubuntu:~# X -configure

The command generates a xorg.conf sample file in /root/xorg.conf.* so I used the conf to put it in /etc/X11/xorg.conf X's default location and restarted in hope that this would fix the non-booting issue.

Very sadly again the black screen of death appeared on the notebook toshiba screen.
I further thought of completely wipe out the xorg.conf in hope that at least it might boot without the conf file but this worked out neither.

I attempted to run the Xserver with a xorg.conf configured to work with vesa as it's well known vesa X server driver is supposed to work on 99% of the video cards, as almost all of them nowdays are compatible with the vesa standard, but guess what in my case vesa worked not!

The only version of X I can boot in was the failsafe X screen mode which is available through the grub's boot menu recovery mode.

Further on I decided to try few xorg.conf which I found online and were reported to work fine with Intel GM965 internal video , and yes this was also unsucessful.

Some of my other futile attempts were: to re-install the xorg server with apt-get, reinstall the xserver-xorg-video-intel driver e.g.:

ubuntu:~# apt-get install --reinstall xserver-xorg xserver-xorg-video-intel

As nothing worked out I was completely pissed off and decided to take an alternative approach which will take a lot of time but at least will probably be succesful, I decided to completely re-install the Ubuntu from a CD after backing up the /home directory and making a list of available packages on the system, so I can further easily run a tiny bash one-liner script to install all the packages which were previously existing on the laptop before the re-install:

Here is how I did it:

First I archived the /home directory:

ubuntu:/# tar -czvf home.tar.gz home/

For 12GB of data with some few thousands of files archiving it took about 40 minutes.

The tar spit archive became like 9GB and I hence used sftp to upload it to a remote FTP server as I was missing a flash drive or an external HDD where I can place the just archived data.

Uploading with sftp can be achieved with a command similar to:

Connected to
sftp> put home.tar.gz

As a next step to backup in a file the list of all current installed packages, before I can further proceed to boot-up with the Ubuntu Maverich 10.10 CD and prooceed with the fresh install I used command:

for i in $(dpkg -l| awk '{ print $2 }'); do
echo $i; done >> my_current_ubuntu_packages.txt

Once again I used sftp as in above example to upload my_current_update_packages.txt file to my FTP host.

After backing up all the stuff necessery, I restarted the system and booted from the CD-rom with Ubuntu.
The Ubuntu installation as usual is more than a piece of cake and even if you don't have a brain you can succeed with it, so I wouldn't comment on it 😉

Right after the installation I used the sftp client once again to fetch the home.tar.gz and my_current_ubuntu_packages.txt

I placed the home.tar.gz in /home/ and untarred it inside the fresh /home dir:

ubuntu:/home# tar -zxvf home.tar.gz

Eventually the old home directory was located in /home/home so thereon I used Midnight Commander ( the good old mc text file explorer and manager ) to restore the important user files to their respective places.

As a last step I used the my_current_ubuntu_packages.txt in combination with a tiny shell script to install all the listed packages inside the file with command:

ubuntu:~# for i in $(cat my_current_ubuntu_packagespackages.txt); do
apt-get install --yes $i; sleep 1;

You will have to stay in front of the computer and manually answer a ncurses interface questions concerning some packages configuration and to be honest this is really annoying and time consuming.

Summing up the overall time I spend with this stupid Toshiba Satellite L40 with the shitty Intel GM965 was 4 days, where each day I tried numerous ways to fix up the X and did my best to get through the blank screen xserver non-bootable issue, without a complete re-install of the old Ubuntu system.
This is a lesson for me that if I stumble such a shitty issues I will straight proceed to the re-install option and not loose my time with non-sense fixes which would never work.

Hope the article might be helpful to somebody else who experience some problems with Linux similar to mine.

After all at least the Ubuntu Maverick 10.10 is really good looking in general from a design perspective.
What really striked me was the placement of the close, minimize and maximize window buttons , it seems in newer Ubuntus the ubuntu guys decided to place the buttons on the left, here is a screenshot:

Left button positioning of navigation Buttons in Ubuntu 10.10

I believe the solution I explain, though very radical and slow is a solution that would always work and hence worthy 😉
Let me hear from you if the article was helpful.

How to install GNOME server on Ubuntu 10.04.2 LTS Lucid

Wednesday, April 20th, 2011

After some upgrades of Ubuntu from 9.10 to Ubuntu 10.04.2, I faced problems during apt-get upgrade && apt-get dist-upgrade

I had to fix it up with apt-get upgrade -f , however the “fix” which was targetting a fix up to the apt-get dist-upgrade removed about 260 packages, among which were the grub boot loader , xorg-server and even gnome

As in order to fix the package mishap the apt-get update -f was my only possible solution I went by and confirmed that I would like to wipe out all the packages.

Logically afterwards it was required that I install my missing xorg-server and gnome in order to make the Ubuntu desktop work again.

Here is how:

ubuntu:~# apt-get update && apt-get xorg-server ubuntu-desktop

The ubuntu-desktop is a meta package which installs the GNOME environment.