New blogger guidelines for cookies in the EU

My blogger admin page provided me with the following message on new cookie regulations for the European Union and its member states:

European Union laws require you to give European Union visitors information about cookies used on your blog. In many cases, these laws also require you to obtain consent.

As a courtesy, we have added a notice on your blog to explain Google's use of certain Blogger and Google cookies, including use of Google Analytics and AdSense cookies.

You are responsible for confirming that this notice actually works for your blog and that it is displayed. If you employ other cookies, for example by adding third-party features, this notice may not work for you.

So as the administrator of this blog, I am responsible for making sure this notice is available to anyone from an EU nation.  I have made more custom modifications to this blog than I can count, and there is a chance they could get in the way of this notice.  If you live in the EU and do not see this notice; please contact me directly, or comment here, and I will correct it.

This blog doesn't use AdSense at all, so the only cookies are blogger stats and my third-party stats.  I can assure you that both are perfectly harmless.  The third-party stats I speak of is StatCounter, which are one of the most trusted and popular website/blog stat services on the net.


Based on some testing I have done... the notice only shows itself once. I tried it with at least 5 EU nation codes, and once I clicked either "Learn More" or "Got It" it didn't show itself again. Even after a browser relaunch.

The MacMini G4 file server

I recently received a MacMini G4 and now to figure out what to do with it. I saw really cool video on how to use a macmini as a file server. In the video OS X was used but I wanted to do this on Linux. Two common ways to set up a file server are NFS and Samba.

This post will deal with setting up a file server using NFS on PowerPC.

Initial setup and network management

Besides the MacMini, I also got an external 1TB hard drive that I would be using as shared storage. I chose the 1TB drive mostly for testing. Right now it is fitting my needs, however in the future I do plan upgrading to a 4TB drive.

I installed Jessie on the mini with XFCE as the DE. I am going to run this headless, but I also wanted to be able to remote into the GUI. When I set my lxc containers I used vnc4server for remote access. Now I have found a better tool. Anyone who needs to have remote DE access to a server the tool I now recommend is xrdp. The is pretty easy, all you need to do is install the package,
apt-get install xrdp

The system takes care of the rest. Then all you need is an rdp client. The best one I have seen so far is remmina. Using it is pretty straight forward. The only gotcha I found was that you will need to define your screen resolution or it will not connect.
It is best if the macmini had a static ip in case dhcp give it a new address on reboot. So made a static reservation on my router.

NFS Install

Installing the NFS package is as simple as following,
apt-get install nfs-kernel-server

This will install package and needed dependencies. The system should start NFS upon install, but to verify this run these commands to see if you get the following results,
rican-linux@debian-minippc:~$ ps aux |grep smbd
root 8877 0.0 2.8 40012 14476 ? Ss Jul07 0:10 /usr/sbin/smbd -D
root 8878 0.0 1.5 40020 8028 ? S Jul07 0:01 /usr/sbin/smbd -D
root 15921 0.0 2.6 40332 13388 ? S 22:36 0:00 /usr/sbin/smbd -D
root 15922 0.0 2.6 40332 13388 ? S 22:36 0:00 /usr/sbin/smbd -D
root 15924 0.0 2.7 40484 14084 ? S 22:36 0:00 /usr/sbin/smbd -D
root 15926 0.0 2.6 40528 13768 ? S 22:36 0:00 /usr/sbin/smbd -D
rican-l+ 15949 0.0 0.4 4564 2072 pts/0 S+ 22:43 0:00 grep smbd
rican-linux@debian-minippc:~$ ps aux |grep nmbd
root 8899 0.0 1.0 25728 5432 ? Ss Jul07 0:03 /usr/sbin/nmbd -D
rican-l+ 15952 0.0 0.4 4564 2180 pts/0 S+ 22:43 0:00 grep nmbd

Once you have verified that NFS running, then you will need to edit the /etc/exports file in order to add the directories to share. You should have something like this below,
"/media/rican-linux/My Passport/" ip address(rw,sync,no_subtree_check,no_root_squash)

The first portion defines what directory you are sharing. Then you need define what machine you want to access your share. I have heard you can actually define by an entire subnet, but for some reason that did not work for me. So have a separate entry for each machine I want to access my share via NFS. The portion in parenthesis defines the permissions of the share. You can reference the exports man page for details. Then after you are done with the exports file, you need to reload it by running the following,
exportfs -ra

This should get you ready to set up the client side. This is done by installing the following package,
apt-get istall nfs-common

Once that is installed create a directory to serve as your mount point (I created one in my home directory for convenience). Then as root mount the drive,
mount ip address:path_to_drive mount_point

If successful you should see the following,
rican-linux@debian-ppc:~$ df -h
Filesystem Size Used Avail Use% Mounted on
/dev/sda3 71G 25G 43G 37% /
udev 10M 0 10M 0% /dev
tmpfs 404M 12M 393M 3% /run
tmpfs 1010M 72K 1010M 1% /dev/shm
tmpfs 5.0M 4.0K 5.0M 1% /run/lock
tmpfs 1010M 0 1010M 0% /sys/fs/cgroup
tmpfs 202M 8.0K 202M 1% /run/user/1000
ip address:/media/rican-linux/My Passport 932G 1.6G 930G 1% /home/rican-linux/macmini-ppc

If you wanted to make this permenant then update the fstab file. If you are wanting more information the Debian Wiki and the Linux Documentation Project sites are good resources to look at.

G5: Nouveau & 2D Acceleration

DISCLAIMER: None of what you'll read below is of my own work, but mostly a summary on what I read about on the Debian PPC mailing list.

I have what I believe is somewhat exciting news for G5 owners in regards to using Nvidia cards and the open source nouveau driver, but more testing needs to be done!  What I'm about to explain and show should hopefully be able to allow you to at least achieve 2D acceleration.

However, before we become too excited, let us take a step back first and examine the situation with nouveau on G5 PowerMacs.  As of today (7/5/2015), I'm the only other known individual who has been able to make this fix work with the other individual being the one who filled us (the Debian PowerPC mailing list) in on how to get it working.  To be clear, I'm using Late 2005 PowerMac (Identifier 11,2) using a Quadro FX4500 Nvidia card.

As already known from my previous post on a fresh install of Jessie on a G5, I had to pass in an extra yaboot parameter (nouveau.noaccel=1) that would disable any acceleration with the Nvidia card using the nouveau driver. This would at least give us G5 owners with an Nvidia card a usable system, although all graphics rendering was happening on the CPU.  Not the most terrible thing in the world when using a dual-core G5, but definitely disappointing knowing how much power the graphics cards have to offer. 

Since the release of Jessie, there have been a handful of threads on the mailing list about issues other users were having when trying to use the nouveau driver.  Many people, myself included, recommended the yaboot parameter fix due to lack of expertise and knowledge of the nouveau driver, graphics programming, and troubleshooting.  Just this past week or so, another Debian user posted a thorough analysis on why the nouveau driver was having issues with the Debian 3.16.0-4 powerpc64 kernel and what could be done as a workaround to overcome the issues and at least achieve 2D acceleration. Notice that I said "workaround" and not "fix."

Basically, it came down to one or two different kernel configurations or both.

1) Right now, only a 4Kb pagesize configuration in the kernel will work with the 64-bit G5 kernel running the nouveau driver. The default pagesize of the included kernel-image (again 3.16.0-4-powerpc64 in Debian Jessie) is 64kb, which as mentioned by the poster improves performance of the driver, but again is not supported on G5 PowerMacs. To check the pagesize in use by your running kernel run the following command in a terminal:

getconf PAGESIZE

This will likely either return 4Kb or 65536Kb. 

2) The kernel configuration might also be set to have the nouveau driver use MSI interrupts.  As quoted by the poster regarding these interrupts:

The newer nouveau drivers in more recent kernels default to using MSI interrupts, however with the PPC G5, when using MSI interrupts, the powerpc FCODE rom on Nvidia cards does not correctly set up the MSI address (or vector).

To verify if you are using MSI interrupts or not, run the following command in a terminal:

cat /proc/interrupts

Look for the nouveau entry and confirm whether it is MSI or MPIC.

What the poster ended up doing was rebuilding a newer 3.18.16 kernel, disabling MSI interrupts as well as adjusting the pagesize in the kernel configuration to 4kb.  Not only that, but he has also posted a copy of this kernel image and headers for G5 owners to download and test on their G5 machines.

So this is a call to all other G5 owners running the latest Debian Jessie release and using an Nvidia graphics card.  Download and install the files linked above and post your results to the Debian PPC mailing list ASAP!  If need be, drop a comment with your results, and I will plug them into the aforementioned thread on the mailing list.  I would recommend downloading and installing this newer kernel image and headers on a brand new Jessie install if possible.

Remember to add in a new kernel configuration in your /etc/yaboot.conf file that links to the newly installed kernel and run sudo ybin -v to wrap it all up. From there, go ahead and reboot to the new kernel and test things out.

I can vouch that the above kernel does allow 2D acceleration now on my G5 PowerMac. Also, as I mentioned in the mailing list thread, I had to load the i2c-powermac module to stop the fans from sounding like a 747 ready for takeoff.  Now that I have 2D acceleration, I can now use xrandr and arandr to set my dual monitors up properly in an extended desktop setup that spans across both of them.  Now if we could only figure out how to achieve 3D hardware acceleration us G5 owners would be set for a little while longer.

Bug reports for these two problematic issues and configurations have been filed here and here.  From the sounds of it, you would not be able to make these two configuration changes work on G5 with the current Debian kernel 3.16.0-4 so do not pull out your hair trying.

I did some browsing around on the nouveau website and found that this G5 PPC pagesize issue is listed as a DRM to-do on this page.  My plan is to touch base with them about it again and see what, if anything, I can do to help. In the meantime, I've been reading up more and more on the nouveau driver and Linux graphics in general, so here is to hoping I'll be able to assist in some small way.  The developers of nouveau have some excellent documentation over at their site so I encourage you to check that out if you would like to also assist in any way.

Also, and lastly, it appears that 4.0+ kernels present all sorts of new issues with nouveau and G5s, but if nothing else, this small bit of information outlined above is hopefully a good sized step in the right direction!  We need to continue to do our duty of reporting any bugs we find regardless of whether anybody who currently is a developer wants to devote any time to them.  It helps just to have that information out there and available.