Wednesday, February 17, 2010

» Generate a moderately secure random password

Just to remind myself... ;)
cat /dev/urandom \
| base64 \
| tr -d '[^:alnum:]' \
| cut -c1-10 \
| head -1
The command chain above does the following:
  • dd if=/dev/urandom: read random data from /dev/urandom and write it to STDOUT
  • base64: encode that binary data into Base64 to make it human-readable
  • tr -d '[^:alnum:]': remove all characters that are not alphanumeric (i.e. remove whitespaces, +, ...)
  • cut -c1-10: only keep characters 1 to 10 from each line
  • head -1: only keep the first line
Better randomness may be achieved by doing a cat on /dev/random instead of /dev/urandom, if you have enough entropy (see cat /proc/sys/kernel/random/entropy_avail) Obviously, if you prefer passwords of a different length, e.g. 16, change the cut -c1-10 accordingly: cut -c1-16

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Saturday, February 13, 2010

» FOSS event calendar site

Visit for a calendar of upcoming Free and Opensource events all over the planet. Thanks to the fine folks at freenode for that resource. Read the following post for further information.


Tuesday, February 09, 2010

» Call for testing openSUSE 11.2 with newer aria2

As you might now, Zypp (the package management stack of openSUSE) uses the very powerful aria2 application to perform its downloads, both for repository metadata and RPM files. Before that, it used curl. Since openSUSE 11.2, the Zypp stack defaults to using aria2 (unless the environment variable ZYPP_ARIA2C is set to 0, in which case it falls back to curl). But currently, we have two issues with the aria2 version we ship in 11.2 (which is version 1.5.2):Providing an online update normally means that we backport individual, minimalistic patches that fix the reported issues, in order to avoid introducing new bugs. The policy says that version upgrades must be avoided at all costs. But in this case, it is quite tricky, as the aria2 version that fixes the two above mentioned problems is 1.8.2, and the one that ships with 11.2 is 1.5.2, which is.. erm.. quite a bump. Now, if you feel like you'd like to contribute, please upgrade your aria2 package with the one that is available in the network:utilities repository, and let us know (sending me an email at pascal.bleser at our project's email domain (which is opensuse followed by a dot and then by org) is fine too) whether that newer aria2 version works for you or not. By "works" I mean that both the zypper command-line client and YaST2's software management module function properly. Even better if you disable IPv6 or if you're behind a proxy and it suddenly works :) Here is the procedure to follow, from a terminal, running as root (can be copy/pasted as is):
zypper ar -r \\

zypper up -t package aria2
And then just use zypper and YaST2 as usual. Then please send me feedback (either on bugzilla or by email, as mentioned above) on whether it works for you or if you run into problems. Note that a very few initial tests show that it works very well, so it is not actually expected that it could break the whole package management stack ;) Thanks for testing!


Monday, February 08, 2010

» Packman for Factory

We've started building and publishing a core set of multimedia/codec related packages at Packman for openSUSE Factory again, now that 11.3 M1 has been published. Currently available packages include: MPlayer, ffmpeg, fluidsynth, lame, xine, twolame, vlc and xmms, as well as the gstreamer stack and a pile of additional libraries. We don't build all the stuff that's in our 11.2/11.1/11.0 repositories for Factory, as the frequent updates to's Factory would cause havoc on our build servers. If you believe something essential is missing, please send us an email and we'll evaluate whether we'll add it or not. To add it to your factory (or 11.3M1) system, just do the following from a shell as root:
zypper ar -r \
Note that the repository metadata is currently not signed. If you want to add the keys that sign our packages to RPM's keyring, install the package rpmkey-packman from that repository (zypper in rpmkey-packman). That means we are actually following Factory, and not the frozen milestones. As we are having an OBS instance that is connected to the central OBS instance, any update to factory automatically triggers rebuilds in our factory repository when needed.

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