Sun JDK 1.6 on Debian Squeeze for BlogBridge 6.7 and PyCharm good 55 bad 42

I switched back to Debian Stable (Version 6.0.5, "Squeeze") after my CentOS disk failed. Immediately ran into Java-related problems. The solution that had worked some years before on my Ubuntu system didn't work on my new Debian system...

Then, I decided to try out PyCharm. This also didn't work. Both BlogBridge and PyCharm require the Sun JDK 1.6. I'd installed this using aptitude, but I was missing a crucial step:

#update-java-alternatives -s java-6-sun

This step tells Debian to use the Sun JDK 1.6, not the default version that comes with Debian. Once I did this, I had the following as my default Java:

$ java -version
java version "1.6.0_26"
Java(TM) SE Runtime Environment (build 1.6.0_26-b03)
Java HotSpot(TM) Server VM (build 20.1-b02, mixed mode)

Now, both BlogBridge 6.7 and PyCharm 2.5 run on my Debian system.

Here is some good information from the Debian team about Sun Java on Debian:

My next problem will be when I need to have both Sun JDK 1.6 and the new Java 7 available on my system. When I try doing that, I plan to reference Crazy Squirrel's Quick Guide, How to Install Sun Java on Debian.

Ubuntu, BusyBox, Gave up waiting, Puppy Linux good 88 bad 89

I'd been wondering about my somewhat flaky Systemax Quad system, running Ubuntu Studio on one disk, Windows XP on another. The computer seemed subject to overheating. Tonight I got home from work and found that my system wouldn't boot into Ubuntu. Instead, I eventually received this message:

Gave up waiting for root device. Common problems:
ALERT! /dev/... does not exist.
Dropping to a shell!

BusyBox Built In Shell ...

A search for this situation fairly quickly located Bug #360378 in linux (Ubuntu): "Gave up waiting for root device after upgrade then busybox console". I scrolled down to steff's second 2009-11-05 post, where he says:

Well, since KUBUNTU 9.10 udev obviously doesn't recognize my disk and bristles to create an entry in '/dev/disk/by-uuid'! So I re-configured GRUB to use 'root=/dev/sda1' instead of the UUID. And voila, it works.

My problem then became to find some way whereby I could mount my own /dev/sda1 (which is where my root and boot directories are located) and get to the /boot/grub/grub.cfg file so I could make this change. I could mount /dev/sda1 from busybox, but I didn't find an editor there. I tried my old Knoppix 3.7, but it didn't recognize my /dev/sda1 as a block system (my /dev/sda1 is an ext4 file system). Finally, I searched for Linux Live CDs, and decided to try the latest Puppy Linux Version, 5.1.1. I downloaded the iso and made CD on another system, booted my failing system with Puppy Linux 5.1.1, and saw a /dev/sda1 icon on the Puppy Linux desktop. Clicking on the icon opened my /dev/sda1, and let me easily navigate to my grub.cfg file, and edit it.

I modified my "linux" boot command "root=" specifications to be:


Lo and behold, Steff's fix worked for me too!

Strange thing for me: my system was working fine when I powered down last night. Suddenly today it couldn't boot into Ubuntu and went to the in-memory BusyBox shell. But, as I said, I've considered my disk a bit flaky, so maybe a time out was happening using the UUID method of specifying the root disk, but going directly to the /dev/sda1 ID doesn't time out? Strange, but I'm back in business. So, I must close this entry and get back to work!

Installing Java for BlogBridge 6.7 on Ubuntu Studio 9.10 good 108 bad 114

In my earlier post, BlogBridge on Debian or Ubuntu Needs Sun Java, I showed how I got a version of Java installed on Debian that enabled me to run BlogBridge. On my new Ubuntu Studio 9.04 system, I ran into all sorts of problems as soon as I installed Open Office, BlogBridge, and OpenJDK 6. Both Open Office and BlogBridge ran, but the system kept freezing (a crashing real-time kernel, from what I've read).

My new Ubuntu Studio 9.10 install, with Open Office now also installed, is very stable. However, using Thunderbird as my RSS feed reader is annoying -- it's much more cumbersome process to see what's new and how old the entries are than is the case with BlogBridge, which has a nice little diagram showing the number of entries for each feed in each day of the past week. That's really convenient!

So, even though I think there has to be a Java Run-time Environment on this system somewhere (doesn't Open Office require that? or does it have its own built-in JRE or something?) -- I decided to install a JRE. After a bit of research, I went with the sun-java6-jre package.

BlogBridge now works. And, thus far, my system is still stable. Here's hoping that continues!

Keywords: blogbridge,java,jre,ubuntu

Open Office, Java, BlogBridge, Ubuntu Studio with Real-Time Kernel good 111 bad 111

On a new Ubuntu Studio 9.04 installation on a quad-core machine, I ran into problems where the system would hang. After doing some research and experimentation, I came to think the problems had something to do with interactions between the Ubuntu Studio 9.04 real time kernel, Open Office, and perhaps the OpenJDK 5 that I installed to get BlogBridge running.

Among the things that my research turned up was that other people have had problems running Open Office on Ubuntu Studio with the real-time kernel. People spoke of a problem in the low-level threading in the kernel that could cause the kernel to crash when Open Office was running. Sure enough, the problems occurred when I was running oowriter, a tool I use every day. In addition, I was seeing problems running BlogBridge, my favorite RSS aggregator tool.

Attempts to uninstall OpenOffice led to the system repeatedly locking up when it attempted to remove

Further research indicated that the Ubuntu Studio 9.10 release has a much more stable real-time kernel. So, since I had already wiped away my very stable gentoo system, I decided to wipe away the non-functioning Ubuntu Studio 9.04 release and try out 9.10.

First, I installed Ubuntu Studio 9.10 and did not install OpenOffice or BlogBridge or any Java runtime. After a few days of working with the system, all seemed fine: no lock-ups, no crashes. I used gnumeric instead of oocalc.

The problem, though, was that AbiWord could not handle all the complexity of the documents I work with. So, I went back to a page I had found earlier:

[Tutorial] Installing OOo on Ubuntu, Debian and Co.

This tutorial includes the warning:

But Ubuntu releases of OOo are known to be rather bugged...

And it provides instructions on installing OpenOffice without using the Ubuntu Studio "Add/Remove Programs" feature -- which might be one of those buggy OO installations.

Basically, you download the OO debs and install them from the command line using dpkg.

I'm really hoping this works. If it does -- if my system remains stable after the OpenOffice install -- I'll return to the BlogBridge problem. Right now I'm using Thunderbird's RSS feed reader, but that is cumbersome, because you can't at a glance see which feeds have new content within the last few days (something I need for my work as editor).

Anyway... OpenOffice is now in place on my Ubuntu Studio 9.10 real-time kernel quad-core machine. I am in the middle of writing a report, so I really hope the manual deb-based install works!

Update: OpenOffice JRE error

My first attempt to use my newly installed 3.2.0 required me to configure OO by entering my name and initials. Then, OOwriter displayed an error message: requires a Java runtime environment...

and asked me to install a JRE. Having experienced first hand and read about problems with JREs on Debian/Ubuntu, I did not want to get into installing a JRE. I was pretty certain that my Ubuntu already had a JRE installed, but somehow OpenOffice wasn't finding it. A web search led me to this page:

[Solved] Some wizards receive defective JRE error

The advice that solved the person's problem was to delete the javasettings_Linux_x86.xml in the user's ~/.openoffice.org2/user/config directory. Since I have 3.2, I didn't have exactly that directory name; instead, I found that file in ~/ So, I changed its name to javasettings_Linux_x86.xml_sav (I generally don't like deleting files whose purpose I don't understand). OOwriter popped up and let me open the report I've been working on. All seems fine!

So, what's in this javasettings_Linux_x86.xml that caused the error message?

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"?>
<!--This is a generated file. Do not alter this file!-->
<java xmlns="" 
<enabled xsi:nil="true"></enabled>
<userClassPath xsi:nil="true"></userClassPath>
<vmParameters xsi:nil="true"></vmParameters>
<jreLocations xsi:nil="true"></jreLocations>
<javaInfo xsi:nil="true"></javaInfo>

That <jreLocations xsi:nil="true"></jreLocations> looks rather suspicious, I'd say. Is it saying that no JRE location exists -- i.e., that no JRE is installed?

Anyway, OOwriter is running now. So, back to work on my report!

Keywords: blogbridge,debian,java,openoffice,ubuntu_studio

Gentoo: Installing Flash for Firefox good 130 bad 110

A new installation of Gentoo will typically not include a Flash plugin for your browser. I'm using Firefox. If you go to a site that has Flash content, Firefox asks you if you want to install the needed plugin. Clicking through, you get to the Adobe site, where you can download a *.gz file. Unfortunately, unpacking this file and following the instructions may not provide you with a working Flash player within Firefox.

This led me to search for a flash player using Gentoo's emerge --search option. Executing:

emerge -s flash

returned a list of applications that included net-www/netscape-flash:

*  net-www/netscape-flash
      Latest version available:
      Latest version installed: [ Not Installed ]
      Size of files: 8,747 kB
      Description:   Adobe Flash Player
      License:       AdobeFlash-10

That indeed sounded like what I was looking for.

So, I "emerged" the application:

emerge net-www/netscape-flash

restarted Firefox, and: Voila! I now have a working Flash player in Firefox on Gentoo Linux.

Keywords: firefox,flash,gentoo,linux,portage