BSD and USB Webcams

I have a Logitech Quickcam VC for the LPT-port. I bought this cam years ago, because at that time I had no machine with an USB port, and because there was a Linux driver for the Quickcam. Well after i bought it, i noticed that the Quickcam _VC_ is incompatible with the normal Quickcam. Die, Logitech, Die! This cam really sucks. First It requires Windows, second it requires a screen resolution of 800x600x32bpp, so you can’t run it on an old computer and third it requires a lot of resources, so you can’t do any work, while the camera program is running.
Now that I have enough computers with USB I am thinking about getting a new one. Unfortunately information about Webcams on BSD is hard to find, but last week someone posted a pointer to takaM’s list Some of the models listed there are even listed on Geizhals. So maybe I really should try to get one. I have also considered buying a standalone camera, like the Axis ones. I have also seen cameras with WLAN, but my budget is rather tight, 200 EURO’s is the maximum I can afford.


Today I was really astonished to hear “Oberkrainer”-like Volksmusik on FM4. A group called global.kryner played famous popsongs e.g. Madonna’s “Like a virgin” in this traditional style. Although I don’t like Volksmusik, this was quite funny. There are a few mp3-examples on their Website and they will release a CD soon.

X updates

XFree86 4.4 has been released for a while. Additional there is now the release and the Xlibs.
FreeBSD has still XFree86 4.3 in ports, because Eric Anholt is currently in Cuba. If you read my older blog entries, you probably know that I am interested in the new XServer, because i need the via(4) driver for riccardo. Additional there are still issues with the Xlibs on amd64, more shared libraries (libXau and libXRes) are required because of the usual PIC issues.
Dejan Lesjak has now submitted an update of the XFree86 ports, and Jung-uk Kim sent in fixes for amd64. I am trying to test these fixes on all my machines.
On mchammer, everything seems to work, except that I can’t terminate the Xserver with Ctrl+Alt+Backspace anymore. I am planning to test them on riccardo this evening.
I am still looking for someone with an IA64 for testing, as this is the only architecture this has not been tested yet.
The plan could be to get everything ready for the end of next week and to commit it after the portsfreeze ended, but at least we are in a good state when Eric returns from Cuba.
In case you are interested, a tarball of the XFree86 4.4 ports can be found in my stuff directory.
Until the portsfreeze starts, i should fix the shared library issues in 4.3 and I want to commit a few updates to the fd.o ports. done.
Now we just have to find volunteers that make a port out of the release and that help Eric finish porting the fd.o Xserver (kdrive) to FreeBSD.

Missing MT Feature

After blogging breaks I always miss a feature in MT. I like to have both elements of my blog index page, the sidebar, and the articles aligned at the bottom. The only way I can do this is by manipulating the “Show articles of the last n days” option in the MT configuration, which is not really handy. What I would like to have is an option like “Show as many articles that fit into n pixel”.
But of course I know HTML is not a Layout System but a Markup Language so I probably will dream forever of this feature.

Ridiculous Elections

If you are currently located in Austria, you can’t escape the election campain for the federal president. The austrian federal president is often seen as a surrogate emperor. Although the federal president is formal the head of the state, he has nearly no political power in the constitution.
With this background both candidates were selected by their parties because they don’t have a strong opinion and “somehow” can be elected by everyone.
This makes it difficult to run a campain, because it is nearly impossible to talk about goals and the candidates opinion on a specific topics is relevant only for catching voters. Benita Ferrero Waldner writes a ridiculous weblog and Heinz Fischer tries to impress the young voters with cheesy parties like “Dancing for Democracy”
I often wonder how politicians with no own opinion can survive, as being politician implies that they have to make descions especially if they are holding an office. Both candidates of this election have made questionable decisions that did show that they are not able to run their office (“Causa Wiesenthal”, “Volxtheaterkarawane”), and i think that if they have been politicians in a larger country (like e.g. Germany) they would have been forced to retire years ago.
However I can’t really compare Germany and Austria, as in Germany the president is elected by the parliamentarians and not by the population, so the german president elections are not that ridiculous, as there is no need to launch guranteed content-free pseudo election campaigns.
Weblink: Hinter dem Laecheln, why you should not vote for BFW.

NetBSD annoyances

Yesterday I updated my NetBSD box olga to 1.6.2. There were several things that annoyed me, so that I will not switch to NetBSD in the near future.
The update started smooth. The old NetBSD was recognized and I just had to confirm that I am really sure I want to overwrite my old installation. The problems started after the reboot. First, the update replaced the rc.conf and instead of using a reasonable default (like interfaces with DHCP and starting an sshd daemon), they put a variable there to drop into single user mode. After I fixed that I wanted to start the sshd daemon, because the box is running headless. But the update procedure removed the ssh hostkey, which prevents the sshd from starting. In FreeBSD if there is no hostkey, the rcNG startscript regenerates the hostkey, but not on NetBSD. I had to copy and paste the relevant parts of the FreeBSD startscript to regnerate a new hostkey. The next problem. The updated replaced the /etc/passwd, so there was no other user then the root user. Why did they do that? If they don’t have something like mergemaster, than they should not overwrite the old values. This is not rocketscience. But that’s what I love about FreeBSD, reasonable default values.
BTW, I will be offline during Easter, so don’t expect blog entries until Monday.