Mobile version re-enabled

After about a year or so with the mobile version of this blog disabled, I have decided to enable it again.  The reason I disabled it in the first place is that Blogger gives you very little control over it.  After getting requests, from both readers and Google, to make the blog more mobile-friendly, I have decided to do so.

While Blogger has now greatly improved the control the admin can have over the mobile version; it still leaves a lot to be desired.  I simply just don't have the time to write all the HTML myself, but do use some CSS of my own here.  The main issue with the mobile version, for me at least, is that it doesn't show the CC license at the bottom.  Maybe one day I can re-write all the HTML here and overcome that, but for now I am just using as simple a mobile template as I can.  This will hopefully encourage more mobile users to browse the standard version.  It's just short summaries and a link to the standard/web version.

Even though the mobile users here only make up about 2% (all mobile OS combined) of the visitors; I don't want to leave them out.  The main reason mobile users bring up to me is they desire larger text, and you get that with the mobile version.

This place will always be best viewed on a proper computer with at least a 1024x768 display, but now the mobile people who visit here can have it their way also; while still having the option to view the standard version.

I would like the mobile users who visit here to share any thoughts they might have to make their experience better.

Non-mobile users can view that version of the blog here.

Is Your Mozilla Browser Displaying the Right Colors?

I don't know how this happened, but somehow I stumbled on all these pages on color management in Firefox and I found out something interesting, unlike when I usually get lost surfing. It turns out my TenFourFox wasn't quite getting color management right with its stock settings. In fact, most of my browsers were failing the test (the exception being Iceweasel). Unlike the others, however, Firefox has the ability to ensure accurate color management with a little about:config tweak.

First, perform the aforementioned test. Go to BEST FIREFOX TEST PAGE and see if colors are correctly displayed. If they're slightly off, it's because the browser isn't converting untagged images to your monitor's profile. For me, WebKit (on OS X) and QupZilla (on Linux) failed as well as TenFourFox. So to bring full color management to TenFourFox, or any Mozilla browser, go into about:config, then type "gfx.color" in the filter bar to see the color management preferences. Change "gfx.color_management.mode" to 1 (from the default 2). After a restart, TenFourFox will apply color management not just to tagged images, but untagged ones as well.

I'm not sure why Iceweasel passed the test even though it had only partial color management with the default "2" setting, but I'll take it. I'm also not sure why full color management isn't the default. If it's because there's a performance hit, I haven't noticed it. I've been running TenFourFox with full color management enabled and haven't had any problems.

For further reading, check out these links:

Color Management on the Web

How To Enable Color Management in Firefox

This is not "zen's blog" anymore

I notice that in a large number of places that link to this blog, many still refer to this place as "zen's blog", but I'm only part of the machine these days, and its been that way for quite a while when you go back to Dr. Dave.  Mark (fiftysixk) has been here for almost a year now, and Dan from PPC Luddite has been here for at least a few months.

To refer to this place as mine is disrespectful to them.  I am the founder and admin, but in terms of content (writing) I am only 1/3 of the brains here.  Mark, the creator of Rated Win, is a very qualified and capable guy that works in the Houston space industry for a company owned by NASA, and Dan is the all-knowing Debian chef who created the greatest PowerPC blog ever, PPC Luddite.  These are two very capable and competent people which I respect a great deal, and they shouldn't be left out when referring to this place.  If you want to refer to it by author like that, then call it zen, Mark and Dan's blog, or maybe just PowerPC Liberation.  They deserve as much acknowledgment as I do, and maybe more.  Please read the author page for more info on the writing team here.

So please...  stop referring to this place as "zen's blog", because it isn't.  It's named PowerPC Liberation, and has three authors; not one.  There are three different perspectives to read here (four with the dr.dave content); not just mine.  I also plan on adding more authors in the future.  Logout from viva PowerPC has expressed interest in writing here at some point after his child is born.  Best wishes to him and his family.

 I only allow truly qualified people to write here, so you can take their words as gospel with confidence.  The one downfall is that qualified people are often very busy people also, so we don't have as much free time to write as some other sites.  This is why I will always be adding more authors as time goes on.  More authors means more perspectives and content.

Lastly...  I want to give another heartfelt thanks to both Mark and Dan for making this place more dynamic and fresh.  You've both been nothing but amazing with everything you've done, along with the pleasure I have knowing your great minds are working together with me here. 

Dropped Box

Dropbox announced in the recent past that they are dropping support for PowerPC.  I'm late to the table posting about this, but have been as busy as ever, and fellow author here Dan wrote about it on his blog.

I'm not a Dropbox user at all personally, but since my friend Logout from viva PowerPC was concerned enough to write an open letter to them, which I will include below, I thought this was well worth informing the readers here about.

Here is his open letter to Dropbox:

Dear members of Dropbox team,

Today I received your e-mail about ending support for Mac OS X 10.4 and 10.5. and I want to say something about that.

I am member of small but not-dead-yet worldwide community of users of Mac computers equipped with PowerPC microprocessors. Since 2005, when Apple announced switch to Intel CPUs, support for our computers vanished from almost all kinds of applications. Dropbox was one of the last still supporting us and I want to thank you for that effort. Let me just ask you not to cut us off.

You advise us to upgrade to OS X 10.6, which will still be supported after May 18th. This makes little sense to me, since there are just seven Mac models from 2006, for which 10.6 is the final version, all newer can upgrade to 10.7. On the other hand, Mac OS X 10.4 or 10.5 is the final version for much more computers, all Apple computers from summer 2000 to the end of 2005 to be exact. There are even some 1999 Mac models that can run 10.4 and many older can be upgraded to do so - with proper CPU upgrade it's possible to use Dropbox from Mac made in 1995. So with this one step you will cut off the whole decade of computers, but you will still support seven models from 2006, some of which have less CPU power than final PowerPC models from 2005.

I started with Dropbox five years ago on my on PowerMac G5 and now I still use it on that very same PowerMac G5 with OS X 10.5 as well as on PowerBook G4 with OS X 10.4, Lenovo T400 with Linux, HP desktop with Windows 7, iPad and BlackBerry Z10. You can probably say, that removing two computers from this list will do a little harm, but the opposite is true: I have Dropbox installed on all my computers to get my data to the PowerMac G5 on which I do all my typing, programming, photo editing, etc. Two months ago I even bought Samsung camera with Dropbox support to get pictures to this desktop without wires, now my complete ecosystem will be broken with demise of its central element.

Without my PowerMac, it has no sense for me to use Dropbox on other machines and devices. Even after you stop supporting 10.4/10.5 there will probably be some ways how to sync on these systems, like installing qemu (or other x86 PC emulator) with Linux and sync Dropbox via shared folder from this emulation. But I don't want to do things this ridiculous just to have my favorite cloud service on my favorite computer. So please, reconsider support for 10.4/10.5, you still support Windows XP (2001) and our systems are no older than this one.

Thank you.

Martin Kuka─Ź, Dropbox AND PowerMac user

So if you're a concerned Dropbox + Mac OS + PowerPC user like Martin/Logout; please add your voice to the ether here to let the developers know.

This is a trend that has been going on for a while with virtually all apps that still or once supported PowerPC, and it will keep happening until Cameron Kaiser is the last Mac OS/PowerPC developer.  It's inevitable.  All the more reason to add Linux into your computing cocktail.

Comments and HTML

This post is simply to explain to all the commenters here that Blogger's comment system fully supports HTML.  This will allow you to make URL's clickable and such.  Once I have spare time to write more CSS code here, I want to try and make it so URL's in comments will be made clickable automatically, but until then (and I'm not even sure how successful that will be), you can use HTML.

Here is the code required to make URL's clickable within comments:
<b><a href="">URL Title</a></b>

I added code to make the link bold, because otherwise it will not stand out, and will blend in with the rest of the text.  As I'm sure you all know already; bold is the language of clickable links here.

So there you go... you can all now use this and other code to make your comment links clickable. I'm not exactly sure what, if any, limits Blogger put on the extent of supported HTML, but I know that url code works perfectly.

Happy HTMLing!

Debian Bug Reporting Party!

This is my second post title in a row that ends in an exclamation point. But before I get voted off the island, I thought it would be a good idea to have a post dedicated to the reporting of Debian bugs great and small. I could kick it off by whining reporting my findings and linking to various bug reports I've left, and then you the reader can confirm and augment my bug report with your own additions. Then in the comments section, you can tell us about bugs you've run into and we can confirm and resolve to file a report to the ever-responsive bug squashing gods.

I've been switching over to Debian Jessie and I've run into several bugs that seem to be PowerPC issues. There are of course KMS issues with Xorg's radeon driver (black screen, system freezes, broken suspend), but I'm not sure there's much point in leaving bug reports since Xorg developers have basically said they don't have the hardware or inclination to debug our issues. This is a bit of a conundrum since KMS will now be required to use the radeon driver, and those of us who can't switch because of the above bugs are stuck with the fbdev driver and an unaccelerated desktop.

That said, maybe we can find a more receptive audience with sound bugs. The one I'm most interested in is this Clementine bug. It crashes whenever I try to play a music file, and it happens on all three systems I've used it on. I've never seen anyone else report a similar bug, so my question is, can anyone on PowerPC get Clementine to play files? Or is it just me?

Another bug I found is tangentially related to Clementine. Clementine pulls in gstreamer1.0-alsa as a recommended dependency, but with that package installed, all other GStreamer players crash. After I uninstalled gstreamer1.0-alsa, GStreamer apps like Rhythmbox and Banshee could once again play files. Again, I haven't seen this reported elsewhere, so maybe it's a PowerPC thing.

Definitely a PowerPC thing is this soundcard-detect issue, also reported and commented on in many other places. Hopefully somebody's working on it behind the scenes, or maybe the next bug report will be the magic one?

Finally, two other audio bugs: Quod Libet's equalizer plugin failed, and I can't get an audio server with jackd2.

In kernel bug news, I found a couple. First, hibernate isn't working for me, and second, when DPMS powers off the screen after 10 minutes of inactivity, the backlight won't come on after I wake it. The only way to turn the backlight back on is to toggle the brightness keys. This is on my iBook using the fbdev driver; I haven't tested it with KMS on my Powerbook as I've not upgraded that to Jessie yet.

As for GUI bugs, I found a massive one — as in it makes your icons massively oversized. This only happens in GTK3 applications when using an SVG icon theme, so an easy workaround is to ditch SVG icons or GTK3 apps.

In terribly sad news, xfburn appears to crash whenever I add files in preparation for a data burn. The package maintainer had nothing to say, but another developer with an interest seemed to think this was a PowerPC, or at least a 32-bit, issue.

This brings up something else. In the bug reports I've filed, package maintainers haven't been exactly jumping off their stools to respond. In a lot of these reports I left backtraces and everything, but there appears to be precious little debugging. Maybe if more PowerPC users chime in, we can get a better response. Or at least make developers feel really really guilty inside when they don't do anything.

Any bugs you've come across that really bug you? Leave them in the comments, and me and hopefully others can try to confirm them and organize a party of pitchfork and torch bearers to show up at a developer's doorstep.

Wanted: G5 Author

Have a G5?  Run Linux, Mac OS and other OS?  Have a legitimate background in technology, and would enjoy writing about it?  PowerPC Liberation needs you.

The G5 chip has always been very under-represented here, and not because of intent, but because the stance of this blog has always been to write from direct experience, not conjecture.  So since none of us who write here own a G5-powered machine, we can't really write from that perspective.

Logout from viva PowerPC has an open invite to be an author here, and that offer will always be there if he wants it.  He is about the only truly qualified G5 user I know of.

Anyone else, please send your details, and perhaps some sample writings, to powerpcliberation at gmail dot com.  In your details, please explain why you want to write here, along with how you're qualified to do so.  Only serious and qualified applicants will be considered.

The number one thing we need here is a G5-based Linux/Debian user; with some Mac OS and other operating systems peppered in.  So if you're a strict Mac OS only fanboy-type user; don't waste your time or ours.