My name is Philipp C. Heckel and I write about nerdy things.
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Posts Tagged / Ubuntu


  • Jan 01 / 2017
  • 0
Administration, Linux

zfsu: ZFS utils for offsite backup, retention and maintaining a slow mirror

My laptop runs ZFS as its root file system (see this blog post) — meaning that I can snapshot my root file system and I can send it to another machine as a backup very easily. Unfortunately, while ZFS provides the raw functionality, there is no great tool to manage offsite backups and retention. To ease this pain, I wrote/forked and packaged a few helper scripts which I called zfsu, a collection of ZFS utilities.

It consists of the following tools: zfsu tx (aka zfstx) maintains a mirror of a ZFS pool over the network. zfsu ret (aka zfsret) is a simple script to apply local retention (destroy snapshots) of a file system and its snapshots. zfsu res (aka zfsres) is a script to resilver a slow mirror, e.g. a HDD disk if mirrored with a SSD.

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  • Dec 31 / 2016
  • 0
Linux

How-To: Move your existing Linux install to ZFS on Root

Ever since I joined Datto two years ago, ZFS has been part of my work every day. And every day, I am amazed how great it is. So naturally, I wanted to move my existing Linux Mint 18 installation to boot off of ZFS. Why, you may wonder? Well that’s easy. Because now I can snapshot my root file system, I can roll back if I need to, and I can restore individual files in a heartbeat.

It took a bit of fiddling in the beginning, but once you know how it works, it’s a piece of cake. This short post shows you how to move your existing Linux installation to ZFS on root (preferably Ubuntu 16.04+ based, may work for others).

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  • May 29 / 2014
  • 1
Programming

The magic of Gradle: create Windows installers, Debian packages, manage a PPA, and optional sub-projects

Gradle is great build tool. Compared to Ant or Maven, it’s so much easier to use and write proper code for it — it’s unbelievable at times. A little while ago, I switched from an ugly Ant/Maven installation to Gradle with my open source project Syncany. Ever since then, I am simply amazed about what Gradle can do. Granted, it’s not always easy to understand and the lack of proper documentation and IDE support makes things more like a trial-and-error-based packaging experience. However, the amount of time that it saves is worth it.

Since I really like Gradle and I myself often have a hard time finding proper answers for the questions I have, I’d like to demonstrate a few solutions that I have come up with. In particular, I’ll describe how to create a Windows installer using Inno Setup under Linux, create Debian packages and manage a PPA (debuild/dput) as well as how to add an optional Gradle sub-project.

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  • Jan 12 / 2011
  • 3
Linux, Multimedia, Scripting

Picasa for Linux: Export albums in sort order

As one of the best picture organizers out there, Picasa is (in my opinion) almost complete in terms of features and has a nice look and feel at the same time. Even though Google stopped developing the Linux version after 3.0, it still works perfectly using Wine and a couple of cp-statements.

However, as stated many times by Picasa users and bloggers [1,2,3,4,…], Picasa’s export function misses a tiny little feature that maintains the sort order of the album when exporting it to a folder. Instead of renaming the pictures to keep them sorted in normal file managers (by name), Picasa just copies the files of an album to one folder and thereby destroys the order. As if that wasn’t enough, Picasa also overwrites duplicates filenames from different source folders.

This missing feature has even led to small standalone projects that fix this issue, e.g. Picasa Independent Album Exporter (PIAE) and Picasa Order Preserver. While both applications do their job, both are a bit heavyweight, and PIAE only works for Windows (and not on Wine).

This post presents a tiny little Perl script that renames pictures of an exported album according to their Picasa sort order.

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  • Sep 21 / 2009
  • 8
Linux

Dell Latitude E6400: the Ubuntu fan and noise problem

A couple of days ago, my 4 year old laptop (HP nx8220) decided that it was time to retire and refused to switch on a couple of times. Even though it works most of the time, I can’t rely on it anymore and will therefore look for new notebooks in the next week.

On my journey through the Web I looked into the details of various business notebooks. I stumbled across the Dell Latitude E6400, which looks nice and has everything I wanted. Unfortunately, it also seems to have problems with Ubuntu. In particular, the fan seems to run all the time (and not too slow, but very loud) – as many forum posts and user reviews prove [1,2,3,4].

Since I couldn’t find a solution, I decided to ask the Dell support via their support chat.

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  • Sep 30 / 2008
  • 48
Linux, Office, Scripting, Synchronization

GCALDaemon deb-package for Ubuntu/Kubuntu

GCALDaemon is a great tool to synchronize many of Google’s services such as Google Calendar and Contacts with your local PC. Unfortunately, the installation on Ubuntu/Kubuntu and any other Linux distribution is still not the most comfortable. For this reason, I sat down some hours and packed the tool into a deb-package and additionally added a nice command line tool to simplify some of the basics.

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  • May 16 / 2008
  • 8
Linux, Synchronization

Unison 2.27.57 on Debian Etch and Ubuntu Hardy

The good thing about the file sync tool Unison is, that it’s available for several operating systems. This is great for groups working on different systems (Mac, Linux and Windows) but want to share and synchronize files on a remote server.

Well, the bad thing about Unison on the other hand is, that its backwards compatibility is anything but great, so that you have to make sure that everybody in the team uses the same version. And this can be tricky depending on what system you are using.

My home system is Ubuntu Hardy, the remote server system is Debian Etch. Both come with Unison 2.16.13 which would be great if not Apple’s new Leopard brings the newest version 2.27.57. Long story short, I needed the newest version on Hardy and Etch.

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  • May 15 / 2008
  • 1
Linux

Switch off sound on Ubuntu before login

Most of the Ubuntu users know the situation: You’re sitting in a public place, let’s say a lecture or a cafĂ©, and you forgot to switch off the sound of your laptop. Unfortunately, you can’t avoid the first short drumming. But by using the following command, it is at least possible to switch off the longer welcome melody of Ubuntu before you actually log in.

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