So Much Potential

I was doing some thinking and I realized there’s a few pieces of technology in Linux that have so much potential but are extremely under-utilized.


PolicyKit is an awesome piece of software. It allows for a finer grained permission system. Instead of launching an entire application as root, you can elevate your privileges in a seamless manner. However, PolicyKit is so under used. For example, when Gnome deprecated gnome-vfs and moved to gio/gvfs, Nautilus supposedly got a framework in place that would allow PolicyKit integration. So if you needed root permissions to makes changes to the file system you would be able to basically click a button and elevate your privileges through PolicyKit. Synaptic could also benefit from some PolicyKit integration. Why isn’t PolicyKit used more?


Tracker is a great metadata indexer that crawls your files system and indexes metadata from files. Instead of only searching by file name, you can use Tracker to search ID3 tags or search for text in a OpenOffice or Word document. The problem is, no one has integrated this great search functionality into applications. Once again, there’s an opportunity for some integration with Nautilus. If Nautilus could use Tracker as a backend for searching and have the ability to add tags to files, it would really add some great functionality.

There’s so much potential here. It’s a shame it’s not being used.


Iomega Prestige HDD and Karmic

Just a little heads up. If you have an Iomega Prestige USB hard drive and you use suspend a lot and you are planning to upgrade to Ubuntu 9.10 or already have, there’s an annoying bug that makes the drive go in to an unresponsive state until power cycled. The symptoms include

  • Takes a long time to actually suspend, waiting at a blank screen
  • Drive doesn’t automatically power off like it should when it detects the computer has been suspended
  • Drive is no longer visible to the system after resuming, even after unplugging it and plugging it back in
  • Must be power cycled before it functions properly again


Here’s the bug report

Update: HP LaserJet p1505 on Ubuntu

I am happy to announce that the HP LaserJet p1505 printer works out of the box on Ubuntu 9.10. 😀 No more hacking around that was required for Ubuntu 9.04. If you followed my other post to compile the drivers and you are going to upgrade to Karmic it would be best to uninstall the compiled version of foo2zjs. Hopefully you’ve kept the source directory around. If so all you need to do is “cd”  into the directory and run

sudo make uninstall

Then you can upgrade and then reinstall the Ubuntu foo2zjs package

sudo apt-get install foo2zjs

When you plug the printer in system-config-printer may prompt you if you want to install a plugin for the printer. Accept and follow the instructions. Afterwards you will probably need to open hp-toolbox and click the “download firmware” button in the main window. Afterwards the printer should be working. That said, after I upgraded and plugged in the printer it “just worked” and I didn’t have to do any of that stuff. As much as I was disappointed that this printer didn’t work in Jaunty, I am equally happy that it is working perfectly in Karmic. 😀