martedì 2 agosto 2011

A bit of customizations for GNOME 3


Today I would like to spent some words about the latest GNOME Desktop Environment release, the successor of the glorious GNOME 2.x branch: I'm talking about GNOME 3, which represents a real innovation in terms of D.E. concept.

I let everyone who were eventually still unaware about this Desktop Environment, which so far is the bigger concurrent of KDE (another Desktop Environment based on Qt libraries) to see directly about what I'm talking about.

Now let's move directly to show the extensions and minor customizations I made on my GNOME 3 which is currently my default D.E. on my openSUSE 11.4 64bits.

My small cosmetic additions here reported are nothing in comparison to the top level development existent behind The GNOME Project itself, as well as the knowledge enclosed behind the smaller gnome-extensions, like the ones I'm presenting here which have been realized by some smart developers and free software enthusiasts around the globe as Finnbarr P. Murphy.

I installed the following Murphy's gnome-shell extensions since as it is per default GNOME 3 shell in my opinion appears a bit "crude and with little usability":

  1. activities button
  2. application button
  3. themeselector
  4. workspaces menu
Gnome 3 in all its splendor :-)

Gnome-Shell extensions: Activity and Applications buttons

Gnome-Shell user panel

Gnome-Shell "Windows"

Gnome-Shell Theme Selector

Gnome-Shell Workspaces-Menu

Gnome-Shell Applications Button (details)

gnome-shell extensions (default directory)

Gnome-Shell specific and simple settings of metadata.json

That's all Folks!

I hope to have at least suggested some ideas in order to give a different face and usability to latest GNOME.

See U later!

domenica 29 maggio 2011

opensuse 11.4 Broadcom BCM4311 wireless

I will to write this brief notes due the fact I faced a frustrating situation when suddenly my wireless stopped to work.

I use an old HP Pavillion DV6230BR laptop which is equipped with an AMD Turion 64 processor (64bit), a BCM4311 802.11b/g Wireless LAN Controller and latest openSUSE 11.4 64bit O.S.

So far I used to install the Broadcom wireless drivers on previous openSUSE, by using the system supplied script:


which allows to install a free version (reverse engineered) of Broadcom drivers.

But nowadays it seems that newer kernels require the new proprietary Broadcom drivers which are available through the Packman repository:
  • broadcom-wl
  • broadcom-wl-kmp-[kernel flavour]
To check what is the right broadcom-wl-kmp-[kernel flavour], simply issue a "uname -a" on your system console and choose consequently the package to be installed.
Also take care about the architeture if you have a 32 or 64 bit platform.

I.E. if "uname -a" returns with "", then your package shall be:


When you have installed the two broadcom packages above from Packman repository, you have to reboot your system.

Likely the wireless board doesn't went recognized at first glance, this is due the configuration file:


which blacklists some kernel modules which went no loaded, then you have to play right on them in order to make your wireless work.

I.E. in my case the above configuration file has been modified in this way:

# modules blacklisted for broadcom-wl

blacklist bcm43xx

#blacklist ssb

#blacklist b43

blacklist ndiswrapper

blacklist brcm80211

blacklist wl

As you can see I blacklisted all but ssb and b43 which are essential to my wireless board to work.

Finally, after a second reboot, you will notice that the orange wireless led on the front of the laptop keyboard begins blue, confirming that correct Broadcom drivers have been loaded, then you can use your Wi-Fi connection as in the past.

lunedì 11 aprile 2011

Installing Zenoss Core 3.0.3 on RHEL 3

After a long period of inactivity here on my Blog, I would like to share my experience to install and configuring Zenoss Core 3.0.3 on an RHEL (Red Hat Enterprise) relase 3 server which acts as data collector for a bundle of Sun (now Oracle) servers running Solaris 5.8 and 5.10.

I chose the "stack version" because it is a "all inclusive" version of the monitoring tool which contains all the necessary environment to work.

Zenoss needs some additional requirements to work, refer to this Wiki page: Zenoss Installation; in particular using it to collect data from Sun Solaris servers, we need Net-SNMP packages installed and configured on each servers.

To provide this I used the Sunfreeware precompiled pkgs available for Solaris 5.8 and 5.10, these packages are (5.8):

netsnmp-5.6-sol8-sparc-local.gz The NET-SNMP (formerly UCD-SNMP) package contains various tools relating to the Simple Network Management Protocol - installs in /usr/local. Dependencies: openssl-1.0.0d and either the libgcc-3.4.6 or gcc-3.4.6 packages need to be installed also. The configure options used in this package were ./configure --with-mib-modules="smux ucd-snmp/diskio mibII/mta_sendmail" --enable-mfd-rewrites --enable-ucd-snmp-compatibility --with-defaults --enable-ipv6 --with-out-mib-modules="mibII/ipv6" --without-perl-modules --disable-embedded-perl --prefix=/usr/local. It is important to read the README.solaris file in /usr/local/doc/netsnmp for some details on installation and potential problems with net-snmp and Solaris.

You shall to install netsnmp; openssl; gcc on each of the server you wish to collect data from.
Then you shall configure the snmpd.conf file in order to enable snmpd daemon to work in your environment.

Zenoss has been currently updated to version 3.1.0 but I suggest to wait a bit before to upgrade your version, since whenever a new release went available normally occur some bugs or malfunctions that affect correct Zenoss operation.