Tag Archives: thinkpad

Realtek RTL8188CUS – USB 802.11n WiFi Review

When using FreeBSD on a new laptop you sometimes find out that the WiFi chip that it came with is not supported … or not yet supported in RELEASE version and support exists in CURRENT development version that you do not want to use.

This is where Realtek RTL8188CUS chip comes hand.

realtek

Its used in many appliances and products but we are interested in its small USB WiFi version that is really small.

The Realtek company even got Taiwan Green Classics Award 2011 for their 802.11b/g/n 2.4GHz 1T1R WLAN Single Chip Controller (RTL8188CE/RTL8188CUS) on 2011 year when it was introduced.

chip

chip-look

Its not very powerful as it comes with 1×1 antennas and 802.11n support – yes only single antenna. 150Mbps at most.

Its also very small and almost does not stick out of the laptop.

chip-space

When connected it also gives subtle little dim light.

chip-light

FreeBSD

I will now show you how it works on FreeBSD. This is for 12.2-RELEASE version but it worked the same for 11.1-RELEASE 3 years ago.

My ThinkPad W520 laptop already has Intel 6300 with 3×3 antennas and 802.11n standard WiFi card supported by iwn(4) driver.

# sysctl net.wlan.devices
net.wlan.devices: iwn0

We will now attach Realtek RTL8188CUS chip and will check whats coming in dmesg(8) command.

# dmesg
(...)
ugen2.3:  at usbus2
rtwn0 on uhub4
rtwn0:  on usbus2
rtwn0: MAC/BB RTL8188CUS, RF 6052 1T1R

… and some more information from usbconfig(8) command.

# usbconfig
(...)
ugen2.3:  at usbus2, cfg=0 md=HOST spd=HIGH (480Mbps) pwr=ON (500mA)

# usbconfig -d 2.3 show_ifdrv
ugen2.3:  at usbus2, cfg=0 md=HOST spd=HIGH (480Mbps) pwr=ON (500mA)
ugen2.3.0: rtwn0: 

Its now listed as rtwn0 as its supported by the rtwn(4) driver on FreeBSD.

# sysctl net.wlan.devices
net.wlan.devices: rtwn0 iwn0

Lets connect to some wireless network with this Realtek chip. I will create wlan1 device as wlan0 is already taken by the other Intel 6300 card.

# ifconfig wlan1 create wlandev rtwn0

# ifconfig wlan1
wlan1: flags=8802<broadcast,simplex,multicast> metric 0 mtu 1500
        ether 00:1d:43:21:2d:1c
        groups: wlan
        ssid "" channel 1 (2412 MHz 11b)
        regdomain FCC country US authmode OPEN privacy OFF txpower 30 bmiss 7
        scanvalid 60 wme bintval 0
        parent interface: rtwn0
        media: IEEE 802.11 Wireless Ethernet autoselect (autoselect)
        status: no carrier
        nd6 options=21<performnud,auto_linklocal>

# wpa_supplicant -i wlan1 -c /etc/wpa_supplicant.conf
Successfully initialized wpa_supplicant
wlan1: Trying to associate with d8:07:b8:b8:f4:81 (SSID='wireless' freq=2442 MHz)
wlan1: Associated with d8:07:b6:b8:f4:81
wlan1: WPA: Key negotiation completed with d8:07:b6:b8:f4:81 [PTK=CCMP GTK=CCMP]
wlan1: CTRL-EVENT-CONNECTED - Connection to d8:07:b6:b8:f4:81 completed [id=40 id_str=]
^Z // HIT THE [CTRL]+[Z] KEYS HERE
zsh: suspended  wpa_supplicant -i wlan1 -c /etc/wpa_supplicant.conf
# bg
[1]  + continued  wpa_supplicant -i wlan1 -c /etc/wpa_supplicant.conf
#

We should now have network LAYER 2 connected and wpa_supplicant(8) should be running in a background and wlan1 interface should have associated status.

# ps ax | grep wpa_supplicant
48693  4  S        0:00.43 wpa_supplicant -i wlan1 -c /etc/wpa_supplicant.conf
50687  4  S+       0:00.00 grep --color wpa_supplicant

# ifconfig wlan1
wlan1: flags=8843<up,broadcast,running,simplex,multicast> metric 0 mtu 1500
        ether 00:1d:43:21:2d:1c
        groups: wlan
        ssid wireless channel 7 (2442 MHz 11g ht/20) bssid d8:07:b6:b8:f4:81
        regdomain FCC country US authmode WPA2/802.11i privacy ON
        deftxkey UNDEF AES-CCM 2:128-bit txpower 30 bmiss 7 scanvalid 60
        protmode CTS ht20 ampdulimit 64k ampdudensity 4 shortgi -stbc -ldpc
        -uapsd wme roaming MANUAL
        parent interface: rtwn0
        media: IEEE 802.11 Wireless Ethernet MCS mode 11ng
        status: associated
        nd6 options=29<performnud,ifdisabled,auto_linklocal>

</performnud,ifdisabled,auto_linklocal></up,broadcast,running,simplex,multicast>

Lets add LAYER 3 with IP address using dhclient(8) command.

# dhclient wlan1
DHCPDISCOVER on wlan1 to 255.255.255.255 port 67 interval 3
DHCPOFFER from 10.0.0.1
DHCPREQUEST on wlan1 to 255.255.255.255 port 67
DHCPACK from 10.0.0.1
bound to 10.0.0.9 -- renewal in 3600 seconds.

We just got the 10.0.0.9 IP address.

One last step with DNS and we will test the connection with ping(8) command.

# echo nameserver 1.1.1.1 > /etc/resolv.conf

# ping -c 3 freebsd.org
PING freebsd.org (96.47.72.84): 56 data bytes
64 bytes from 96.47.72.84: icmp_seq=0 ttl=50 time=119.870 ms
64 bytes from 96.47.72.84: icmp_seq=1 ttl=50 time=119.371 ms
64 bytes from 96.47.72.84: icmp_seq=2 ttl=50 time=119.128 ms

--- freebsd.org ping statistics ---
3 packets transmitted, 3 packets received, 0.0% packet loss
round-trip min/avg/max/stddev = 119.128/119.456/119.870/0.309 ms

Works.

FreeBSD Benchmark

I next tested the performance of this simple single antenna Realtek chip using NFS large file transfer in thunar(1) file manager.

not-great-not-terrible

The results are not that bad but not great either.

The file copy from LAN server attached directly to WiFi router to my laptop was about 2.9 MB/s fast. I was 5 meters away from the router.

server  ==LAN==>  router  ==WiFi==>  laptop  @  2.9 MB/s

The file copy from laptop using WiFi to LAN server attached directly to WiFi router was about 2.6 MB/s fast. Still about 5 meters away from the router.

laptop  ==WiFi==>  router  ==LAN==>  server  @  2.6 MB/s

That is 23.2 Mbps and 20.8 Mbps respectively. Really far from theoretical single antenna 802.11n 150 Mbps transfer … its probably fault of the FreeBSD wireless stack.

I would say that its sufficient for Internet browsing but using local LAN resources over NFS can be painful.

On the contrary my Intel 6300 WiFi card does 5.5 MB/s on the laptop-to-router-to-server copy and 10.5 MB/s on the server-to-router-to-laptop road. That is 44 Mbps and 84 Mbps respectively instead of 450 Mbps theoretical maximum. Both the Intel 6300 and my router have 3×3 antennas.

Would love to see these number closer to 30 MB/s …

Raspberry Pi

One of the other benefit of the Realtek RTL8188CUS chip is that it works very well on small Raspberry Pi boxes. Personally I have tested it on the Raspberry Pi 2B and it worked like a charm.

rpi

Price

This chip is also great when it comes to price. Products based on this chip are available everywhere. They are on EBAY. They are on ALIEXPRESS. And it costs as low as $2.50 in many cases.

Sometimes the delivery costs more then the product itself πŸ™‚

Enjoy.

UPDATE 1 – Middle Ages

Reddit user Yaazkal user from Reddit just reminded me thatΒ  rtwn(4) driver on FreeBSD still does not support 802.11n protocol.

It’s still in the middle ages of 802.11g transfers.

Oldschool Gaming on FreeBSD

When was the last time you played a computer game? I really like one of Benjamin Franklin quotes – “We do not stop playing because we grow old, we grow old because we stop playing.” – he lived in times where computer games did not existed yet but the quote remains current. I do not play games a lot, but when I do I make sure that they are the right and best ones. They are often games from the past and some of these games just do not age … they are timeless actually. Today I will show you some oldschool gaming on FreeBSD system.

Here is the Table of Contents for the article.

  • Native Games
    • Native Console/Terminal Games
      • Interactive
      • Passive
    • Native X11 Games
  • AMIGA Games
  • DOS Games
    • Fourteen Years Later
  • Windows Games
  • Flash/SWF Games
  • Web Browser Games
  • Last Resort
  • Closing Thoughts

Here is my Openbox ‘games’ menu.

openbox-games-menu

Discussions and comments from ‘external’ sources are available here:

Native Games

First we will start with ‘native’ games on FreeBSD – as of today there are more then thousand games available in the FreeBSD Ports collection.

% ls /usr/ports/games | wc -l
    1130

You can get nice description for each of these games (from the pkg-descr file) by using the below command. I assume that your FreeBSD Ports tree is under /usr/ports directory.

% for I in /usr/ports/games/*/pkg-descr
> do
>   echo ${I}
>   echo
>   cat ${I}
>   echo
>   echo
>   echo
> done \
>   | grep \
>       --color=always \
>       -A 100 \
>       -E "^/usr/ports/games/.*/pkg-descr" \
>   | less -R

Here is the one-liner that you can actually copy and paste into your terminal.

% for I in /usr/ports/games/*/pkg-descr; do echo ${I}; echo; cat ${I}; echo; echo; echo; done | grep --color=always -A 100 -E "^/usr/ports/games/.*/pkg-descr" | less -R

Here is how it looks.

native-ports-list

This way you can browse (and search in less(1) command) for interesting titles.

Native Console/Terminal Games

Interactive

Lets start with the most simple games – the text games played in terminal. I play only two of these and they are 2048 and ctris games.

The 2048 is generally a single C file – 2048.c – from here – https://github.com/mevdschee/2048.c/blob/master/2048.c – you need to compile it with the cc(1) command – like that.

% cc -o 2048 2048.c
% ./2048

game-2048

The other one ctris is available in the FreeBSD Ports or you can add it by package with pkg(8) command.

# pkg install -y ctris

game-ctris

There are also several other terminal games like Tetris in the FreeBSD Ports – they are bsdtris or vitetris ones for example.

Passive

The are also terminal ‘non-interactive’ games (or maybe I should call them terminal screensavers alternatively).

My favorite two are cmatrix and pipes. The first one is available from FreeBSD Ports.

IMHO it looks best when launched this way.

% cmatrix -a -b -u 6 -C blue

game-cmatrix

Some time ago I ‘ported’ or should I say modified the pipes so it will work properly on FreeBSD and its available from – https://github.com/vermaden/pipes/blob/master/pipes.sh – here.

game-pipes

Native X11 Games

Time to move to some more graphically appealing games – the X11 games.

One of the better open source games it the Battle for Wesnoth which is also available in the FreeBSD Ports so adding package it easy.

# pkg install -y wesnoth

game-wesnoth

AMIGA Games

Most AMIGA games have been ported to DOS and its generally more convenient and a lot faster to play the DOS ‘ports’ using dosbox(1) instead of playing their original AMIGA versions under fs-uae(1) emulator. Some games like Sensible World of Soccer are better in original AMIGA version (little larger field view for example in the AMIGA version – but that only makes the DOS game little harder as you see less) then in DOS port but still the difference is not that huge to wait for each game start roughly 60 seconds with fs-uae(1) and manually switching virtual floppies.

swos-amiga-dos-xbla

As you can see on the far right the Sensible World of Soccer game has been even ported to the Microsoft XBOX console – SWOS – available here πŸ™‚

There is however (at least) one AMIGA game that has not been ported to DOS and its made by the legendary TEAM17 studio. Its the All Terrain Racing game. When you check its reviews back when it was released it did not get that high scores as Sensible World of Soccer for example but its one of the better looking and fun racing games made for AMIGA. But Sensible World of Soccer was named one of The 10 Most Important Video Games of All Time on 2007 so it really hard to beat that. Even Sensible Gold got a lot worse reviews.

game-atr

Originally it came in two floppies version so everytime you will launch this game in fs-uae(1) you will need to change the virtual floppy … which is real PITA I must say … not to mention 60 seconds of waiting for it to start. But there is other possibility. The All Terrain Racing game was also created for the AMIGA CD32 variant which used CD-ROM discs instead of floppies. That way by loading single ISO file you do not need to switch floppies anymore each time the game starts. Yay!

Fortunately the fs-uae(1) config for All Terrain Racing game is not long or complicated either.

fs-uae

The fs-uae(1) is also easily installable on FreeBSD by using packages.

# pkg install -y fs-uae

As the All Terrain Racing game is started/loaded from ISO file the save/load game state is not made ‘natively’ in the game but level up above – in the fs-uae(1) itself with SAVE STATE and LOAD STATE options as shown below.

game-atr-save-load

Not all AMIGA games are available as CD32 version but one may also use virtual Hard Disk option on the fs-uae(1) emulator to avoid switching floppies.

DOS Games

The DOS games can be very conveniently played by using the DOSBox which is available on FreeBSD as dosbox packages (or port).

# pkg install -y dosbox

Games in DOSBox start very quickly which is very nice. They also run very smoothly.

dosbox

Like you see I prefer to keep my games outside of the ~/.doxbox directory while keeping only configuration files there. But that is just ‘organizational’ choice. Make your own choices how and where to keep the games that suits you best.

Its also very convenient to redefine all keyboard shortcuts with DOSBox builtin keyboard remapper. For example instead of default [CTRL] for ‘FIRE’ button in Sensible World of Soccer I prefer to use [Z] key instead and that is my only mapping currently.

dosbox-keys

Keep in mind that as the DOSBox main config file is kept as ~/.dosbox/dosbox-${VERSION}.conf file (its ~/.dosbox/dosbox-0.74-3.conf as of time of writing the article) the remapped keyboard shortcuts as kept in the ~/.dosbox/mapper-${VERSION}.map file (its ~/.dosbox/mapper-0.74-3.map as of time of writing the article). Also keep in mind that if you will start dosbox in ~ (home) dir and not in ~/.dosbox~dir then dosbox will creates ~/mapper-0.74-3.map file (in your home dir) instead of proper ~/.dosbox/mapper-0.74-3.map place.

I also made script wrappers for each game so I can launch them quickly both from command line or by using dmenu.

scripts-games

You will find them all as games-* scripts in my GitHub repository – https://github.com/vermaden/scripts – available here. The DOSBox configuration files are in the dosbox dir on the same repo – https://github.com/vermaden/scripts/tree/master/dosbox – here.

My favorite DOS (originally from AMIGA) game is Sensible World of Soccer. I also like to play first Settlers game and Theme Hospital occasionally.

The DOSBox also allows you to easily record both audio (into WAV files) and video (into AVI files) with keyboard shortcuts.

For example I have recorded replay of my Sensible World of Soccer goals this way (then converted it to GIF using ffmpeg(1) for this).

SWOS Goals.

This is the ffmpeg(1) spell that I used to convert the DOSBox made AVI file to GIF file.

% ffmpeg -i ~/.dosbox/capture/sws_eng_001.avi -vf "fps=30" -loop 0 swos.goals.gif

Keep in mind that some games – and Sensible World of Soccer is one of these games – have more then one graphical mode to run them. When you start the game without any switches then it starts in low graphics mode which is easy to spot on by looking at pixelated/dotted ‘S‘ logo on the top right corner. The lines on the field are also not antialiased.

game-swos-not-full

When you add /f flag to the Sensible World of Soccer binary then it starts in full graphics mode and the ‘S‘ letter has now solid grey color on the back and lines on the field are also antialiased now.

game-swos-full
Here is how it looks in the DOSBox config file.

[autoexec]
@echo off
mount C: ~/.dosbox
C:
cd swos-SFX
sws_eng.exe /f

The Sensible World of Soccer has a special place in my private games ‘Hall of Fame’. Its the only game that I was able to play straight for 26 hours with breaks only for meals and pee … but that was in the old AMIGA times in the 90s.

Fourteen Years Later

One of the very old but also very nice logic games I played two decades ago was Swing game. I was not able to start this game in ‘normal’ mode as it started in ‘network’ mode each time. While searching for a possible solution I found … my own bug on DOSBox created 14 years agohttps://www.dosbox.com/comp_list.php?showID=2499 – here. I was not able to force the Swing game to start in ‘normal’ mode back then so I ‘marked’ it as ‘non working’ and moved on.

Now when I checked the bug report I see useful solutions to the problem. Pity I am not able to login and ‘thank’ as I do not remember my password and DOSBox page does not offer password reset service.

Seems that Swing needs to have its game directory mounted again as CD-ROM device. That way Swing starts in ‘normal’ mode and local Single and Multi Player games are now possible.

game-swing

The most important part of DOSBox config is here:

[autoexec]
@echo off
mount C ~/.dosbox
mount D ~/.dosbox/swing -t cdrom -usecd 0
C:
cd swing
swing.bat

Windows Games

Good old WINE. On FreeBSD there are two WINE versions. There is 64bit version as emulators/wine package and 32bit version names emulators/i386-wine. You want to use the latter because most games are 32bit and the 64bit version of WINE is not able to run them 32bit games. The installation on FreeBSD is typical as shown below.

# pkg install i386-wine

Old/classic Windows games usually keep your saved games directly in their installation folders under dirs named ‘SAVE’ or ‘SAVEDGAMES’ but in some time between 2005 and now the game developers started to think that its a ‘great’ idea to store them in your ‘My Documents’ directory … I do not have to tell you how I fell about that ‘decision’ but on FreeBSD it means that you will have saved games directories created directly in your ~ home directory (its /home/vermaden in my case) directory. What a mess.

winecfg

That is probably the only thing I configure in WINE on FreeBSD with winecfg – I set ‘My Documents’ location to ~/games.EXTRACT/profile directory instead.

The DOSBox is also better for gaming then WINE because it allows convenient [ALT]+[ENTER] shortcut to switch between fullscreen and windowed modes. With WINE I need to keep two game ‘startup’ scripts. Separate ones for windowed mode and for fullscreen mode.

wine-window-fullscreen

Below is an example of Colin McRae Rally 2.0 game under WINE on FreeBSD.

game-colin

My best time for Stage 1 on Italy was ‘only’ 2:09.84 so I was not fast enough to beat the all time best with 2:05:75 immortalized here – https://youtu.be/iLLMIJzpoVk – on YouTube.

Other classic – original Baldur’s Gate game below. It was possible to dual class into specialist mage – not possible now in Enhanced Edition.

game-baldurs-bg1

More up to date Baldur’s Gate: Enhanced Edition also works well.

game-baldurs-play

Less popular titles like Lionheart: Legacy of the Crusader also work well under WINE on FreeBSD. Very unusual game as it used the S.P.E.C.I.A.L system from Fallout instead of ‘typical’ choice like Advanced Dungeons and Dragons like in other Black Isle games.

game-lionheart-play

If for some reason your game does not work under WINE on FreeBSD then you should try Project Homura solution. Its also available as games/homura package (or port) on FreeBSD.

Flash/SWF Games

As I really hate Adobe Flash technology when browsing the web pages but I quite like the compact SWF files as simple flash games using WINE and Flash Player Projector from Adobe. I also use WINE to start the Windows version of that Flash Player Projector program. Its available here – https://www.adobe.com/support/flashplayer/debug_downloads.html – in the debug downloads.

You can pick one of these two but I use the first one.

An example of Governor of Poker 2 game running in the Flash Player Projector under WINE.

game-poker

All of these games can be found on various sites Flash games by looking in the View Page Source in your browser and looking for the link to the SWF file. I can not post these games here for download but if you will have problem finding them then let me know πŸ™‚

Web Browser Games

A class of games that are played directly in the web browser. Examples of such games can be Krunker

game-krunker

… or Spelunky for example.

game-spelunky

If you are VERY bored then you can also try the Chrome Dinosaur Game built into the Chromium browser. To access it try to open the page that does not exists like http://non-existing-site.com for example.

game-chromium

The Chromium browser will then display No Internet error message. Press [UP] arrow now and start to play.

game-chromium-end

If you liked the 2048 game and you DO have Internet connection you may also play 2048 directly at DuckDuckGo page.

game-duck-2048

Last Resort

Sometimes WINE does not work and the game is available only for Windows or Linux. The solution is to use the Virtualbox here. Remember to select/enable the 3D acceleration and install Virtualbox Guest Additions for good performance.

virtualbox

Closing Thoughts

All of these games were played smoothly on oldschool Intel HD Graphics 3000 card from 2011 Sandy Bridge CPU model i7-2820QM as this is with what my ThinkPad W520 came.

If I forgot to post something or its not obvious then feel free to let me know. This post as usual grow more then it should πŸ™‚ Also if you think that I missed some important dosbox(1)/wine(1)/fs-uae(1) options then let me know please.

EOF

FreeBSD Desktop – Part 18 – Configuration – Global Dashboard

Many times I have found myself watching the various ‘debug’ commands like top/ps/mount/df or various log files like /var/log/messages or /var/log/automount.log when I thought something went wrong … or just takes little too long. I needed to open several terminal xterm(1) sessions (which is quite fast as I open them with [WIN]+[SPACE] and then [ENTER] but still …) and check what went wrong.

These actions tired my so I created a thing called Global Dashboard with all information I would ever need for such debugging.

You may want to check other articles in the FreeBSD Desktop series on the FreeBSD Desktop – Global Page where you will find links to all episodes of the series along with table of contents for each episode’s contents.

From all the commands that FreeBSD contains I have chosen these 12 ones:

  • mount -p
  • /var/log/automount.log
  • /var/log/messages
  • vmstat -i
  • usbconfig
  • ps axwww -o %cpu,rss,command
  • sockstat -l -4
  • top -m io -o total
  • gstat -p
  • df -g
  • pciconf -l
  • ifconfig

Make sure you have doas(1) installed and configured. The most basic way to do it is below. You will have to be in wheel group to make it work properly.

# pkg install doas
# echo 'permit nopass :wheel as root' > /usr/local/etc/doas.conf
# chmod 400 /usr/local/etc/doas.conf

Let me show you how it looks.

Here is the typical empty desktop with Global Dashboard disabled.

conky-off.png

… and here is the Global Dashboard enabled.

conky-on.png

For the sake of comfort I will use [Scroll Lock] key with xbindkeys to toggle between this ‘debug’ session on and off as I already use [Pause Break] key to Pause Any Application described in the Part 16 – Configuration – Pause Any Application episode of FreeBSD Desktop series.

scroll-lock.jpg

Conky

We will have to use older (1.9) version of Conky as the current one (1.10/1.11) are broken for anything serious.

We will use portdowngrade tool for that job.

First, lets install needed packages.

# pkg install portdowngrade conky xbindkeys

Assuming that you have up to date FreeBSD Ports tree in the /usr/ports directory – we see that current Conky version in the Ports is 1.11.

% cd /usr/ports/sysutils/conky
% cat distinfo 
TIMESTAMP = 1550919299
SHA256 (brndnmtthws-conky-v1.11.3_GH0.tar.gz) = 0140e749537d4d05bf33fbac436e54756faa26021e16f2bca418e9eeea724eb4
SIZE (brndnmtthws-conky-v1.11.3_GH0.tar.gz) = 2390099

We will now downgrade the Conky port to usable 1.9 version with portdowngrade utility. I already tried various Conky Port versions and the one that you are looking for is r419144 revision.

# cd /usr/ports/sysutils
# mv conky conky-1.11
# portdowngrade sysutils/conky | grep -C 17 r419144
------------------------------------------------------------------------
r422880 | madpilot | 2016-09-28 18:55:38 +0200 (Wed, 28 Sep 2016) | 13 lines

- Update conky and conky-awesome to 1.10.4
- Take maintainership [1]
- Options adapted to new version
- Removed LUA option since it's a mandatoory requirement now
- Use project own install target
- Fix installation of lua helper libraries
- Project moved to github
- in conky-awesome, properly use OPTIONS_EXCLUDE

PR:           212629
Submitted by: me
Approved by:  ntarmos@ceid.upatras.gr (former maintainer) [1]

------------------------------------------------------------------------
r419144 | pawel | 2016-07-26 20:57:23 +0200 (Tue, 26 Jul 2016) | 2 lines

Fix typo

------------------------------------------------------------------------
r419142 | pawel | 2016-07-26 20:40:20 +0200 (Tue, 26 Jul 2016) | 8 lines

- Add explicit IMPLIES between dependencies and simplify option handling [1]
- Convert to USES=localbase
- Switch some options helpers from LIB_DEPENDS to USE=xorg and USE=gnome

PR:           210414 [1] (based on)
Submitted by: elferdo@gmail.com
Approved by:  maintainer timeout

------------------------------------------------------------------------
r418767 | mat | 2016-07-19 13:04:13 +0200 (Tue, 19 Jul 2016) | 11 lines

We will now fetch the Conky port from r419144 revision – working 1.9 version.

# portdowngrade sysutils/conky r419144
A    conky/files
A    conky/Makefile
A    conky/files/patch-configure
A    conky/files/patch-lua-cairo.pkg
A    conky/files/patch-src-conky.c
A    conky/files/patch-src-freebsd.c
A    conky/files/patch-src-freebsd.h
A    conky/files/patch-src-fs.c
A    conky/pkg-descr
A    conky/distinfo
Checked out revision 419144.
You should be done-- now cd into conky and you can run
# make deinstall install clean

Please note that portdowngrade no longer modifies the ports tree; the
checked out port is at
/usr/ports/sysutils/conky

Done. Let’s verify that its the version we need.

% pwd
/usr/ports/sysutils
% cat conky-1.11/distinfo 
TIMESTAMP = 1550919299
SHA256 (brndnmtthws-conky-v1.11.3_GH0.tar.gz) = 0140e749537d4d05bf33fbac436e54756faa26021e16f2bca418e9eeea724eb4
SIZE (brndnmtthws-conky-v1.11.3_GH0.tar.gz) = 2390099

% cat conky/distinfo 
SHA256 (conky-1.9.0.tar.bz2) = baf1b550f135fbfb53e5e286a33aadc03a667d63bf6c4d52ba7637366295bb6f
SIZE (conky-1.9.0.tar.bz2) = 626555

Yup. We will now build a Conky 1.9 package (may be handy later).

# pwd
/usr/ports/sysutils
# cd conky
# pwd
/usr/ports/sysutils/conky
# make package
===>   conky-1.9.0_6 depends on file: /usr/local/sbin/pkg - found
=> conky-1.9.0.tar.bz2 doesn't seem to exist in /usr/ports/distfiles/.
=> Attempting to fetch https://downloads.sourceforge.net/project/conky/conky/1.9.0/conky-1.9.0.tar.bz2
conky-1.9.0.tar.bz2                           100% of  611 kB  216 kBps 00m03s
===> Fetching all distfiles required by conky-1.9.0_6 for building
===>  Extracting for conky-1.9.0_6
=> SHA256 Checksum OK for conky-1.9.0.tar.bz2.
===>  Patching for conky-1.9.0_6
===>  Applying FreeBSD patches for conky-1.9.0_6
===>   conky-1.9.0_6 depends on executable: gmake - found
===>   conky-1.9.0_6 depends on package: libiconv>=1.14_11 - found
===>   conky-1.9.0_6 depends on package: pkgconf>=1.3.0_1 - found
===>   conky-1.9.0_6 depends on file: /usr/local/libdata/pkgconfig/x11.pc - found
===>   conky-1.9.0_6 depends on file: /usr/local/libdata/pkgconfig/xext.pc - found
===>   conky-1.9.0_6 depends on file: /usr/local/libdata/pkgconfig/xdamage.pc - found
===>   conky-1.9.0_6 depends on file: /usr/local/libdata/pkgconfig/xfixes.pc - found
===>   conky-1.9.0_6 depends on file: /usr/local/libdata/pkgconfig/xft.pc - found
===>  Configuring for conky-1.9.0_6
===>   FreeBSD 10 autotools fix applied to /usr/ports/obj/usr/ports/sysutils/conky/work/conky-1.9.0/config.rpath
(...)
====> Compressing man pages (compress-man)
===>  Building package for conky-1.9.0_6
===>  Cleaning for conky-1.9.0_6

… but where is our package, its not in the /usr/ports/sysutils/conky directory. Its not in the /usr/ports/distfiles dir either.

As I use WRKDIRPREFIX=${PORTSDIR}/obj option in the /etc/make.conf file it should be somewhere in the /usr/ports/obj then.

% grep WRKDIRPREFIX /etc/make.conf 
WRKDIRPREFIX=${PORTSDIR}/obj

Let’s find(1) it.

% find /usr/ports/obj -name conky\*txz
/usr/ports/obj/usr/ports/sysutils/conky/work/pkg/conky-1.9.0_6.txz

There. I will move it to /root directory to keep it.

# mv /usr/ports/obj/usr/ports/sysutils/conky/work/pkg/conky-1.9.0_6.txz /root

We will not clean up after the port/package building.

# make -C /usr/ports/sysutils/conky clean distclean
===>  Cleaning for conky-1.9.0_6
# 

We will now delete installed Conky 1.11 version and install our working 1.9 version.

# pkg delete conky
Checking integrity... done (0 conflicting)
Deinstallation has been requested for the following 1 packages (of 0 packages in the universe):

Installed packages to be REMOVED:
        conky-1.11.3

Number of packages to be removed: 1

Proceed with deinstalling packages? [y/N]: y
[1/1] Deinstalling conky-1.11.3...
[1/1] Deleting files for conky-1.11.3: 100%

# pkg add /root/conky-1.9.0_6.txz
Installing conky-1.9.0_6...
Extracting conky-1.9.0_6: 100%

Last check for the Conky version.

% conky --version
Conky 1.9.0 compiled Tue Mar 19 12:55:55 CET 2019 for FreeBSD 11.2-RELEASE-p9 (amd64)

Compiled in features:

System config file: /usr/local/etc/conky/conky.conf
Package library path: /usr/local/lib/conky

 X11:
  * Xdamage extension
  * XDBE (double buffer extension)
  * Xft
  * ARGB visual

 Music detection:

 General:
  * math
  * config-output

Great. We have needed Conky version.

By the way – did you thought how much work will it take to make the same on Debian or CentOS without the FreeBSD Ports infrastructure? πŸ™‚

Xbindkeys

The only needed configuration in the ~/.xbindkeysrc is this one below – it may be different for your keyboard so make sure to ‘catch’ needed key event.

% cat ~/.xbindkeysrc
# SCROLL LOCK | Scroll Lock
"~/scripts/desktop-debug.sh"
  m:0x0 + c:78

If you need more information about how Xbindkeys work then read the FreeBSD Desktop – Part 9 – Key Components – Keyboard/Mouse Shortcuts episode.

Scripts and Configs

This is the ~/scripts/desktop-debug.sh script.

#! /bin/sh

pgrep -q conky

case ${?} in
  (0) killall -9 conky ;;
  (1) ~/scripts/__openbox_restart_conky.sh ;;
esac

… and the ~/scripts/__openbox_restart_conky.sh script.

#! /bin/sh

VERSION=1.9
PROFILE=T420s

killall -9 conky

nice -n 20 conky -c ~/.conkyrc.${VERSION}.${PROFILE}.LOG.1 &
nice -n 20 conky -c ~/.conkyrc.${VERSION}.${PROFILE}.LOG.2 &
nice -n 20 conky -c ~/.conkyrc.${VERSION}.${PROFILE}.LOG.3 &
nice -n 20 conky -c ~/.conkyrc.${VERSION}.${PROFILE}.LOG.4 &
nice -n 20 conky -c ~/.conkyrc.${VERSION}.${PROFILE}.LOG.5 &
nice -n 20 conky -c ~/.conkyrc.${VERSION}.${PROFILE}.LOG.6 &
nice -n 20 conky -c ~/.conkyrc.${VERSION}.${PROFILE}.LOG.7 &
nice -n 20 conky -c ~/.conkyrc.${VERSION}.${PROFILE}.LOG.8 &
nice -n 20 conky -c ~/.conkyrc.${VERSION}.${PROFILE}.LOG.9 &
nice -n 20 conky -c ~/.conkyrc.${VERSION}.${PROFILE}.LOG.a &
nice -n 20 conky -c ~/.conkyrc.${VERSION}.${PROFILE}.LOG.b &
nice -n 20 conky -c ~/.conkyrc.${VERSION}.${PROFILE}.LOG.c &

I use have several laptops so I need to distinguish which config files are used on which laptop, that is why I use PROFILE field – which is set to ThinkPad T420s in that example.

Here are the commands defined in these ~/.conkyrc.1.9.T420s.LOG.* files.

% grep exec ~/.conkyrc.1.9.T420s.LOG.*
.conkyrc.1.9.T420s.LOG.1:${color #eeeeee}${exec mount -p | awk '{print $1, $2, $3}' | column -t}
.conkyrc.1.9.T420s.LOG.2:${color #eeeeee}${exec tail -n 16 /var/log/automount.log}
.conkyrc.1.9.T420s.LOG.3:${color #eeeeee}${exec grep -v -E 'pulseaudio|message repeated|null_update_chw|route failed:|send_packet: |gen6_gt_|feeder_|cdce0: (Su|Re)' /var/log/messages | tail -16}
.conkyrc.1.9.T420s.LOG.4:${color #eeeeee}${exec vmstat -i}
.conkyrc.1.9.T420s.LOG.5:${color #eeeeee}${exec doas usbconfig}
.conkyrc.1.9.T420s.LOG.6:${color #eeeeee}${exec ps axwww -o %cpu,rss,command | head -1; ps axwww -o %cpu,rss,command | grep -v conky | grep -v '%CPU' | sort -n -r | head -15 }
.conkyrc.1.9.T420s.LOG.7:${color #eeeeee}${exec sockstat -l -4 | cut -c 1-50}
.conkyrc.1.9.T420s.LOG.8:${color #eeeeee}${exec top -m io -o total -b -s 1 -d 2 | grep -A 15 'PID USERNAME' | tail -n 16}
.conkyrc.1.9.T420s.LOG.9:${color #eeeeee}${exec gstat -p -I 345678}
.conkyrc.1.9.T420s.LOG.a:${color #eeeeee}${exec df -g | awk '{print $5,$6}' | column -t}
.conkyrc.1.9.T420s.LOG.b:${color #eeeeee}${exec pciconf -l}
.conkyrc.1.9.T420s.LOG.c:${color #eeeeee}${exec ifconfig -l -u | sed s/lo0//g | while read I; do ifconfig ${I}; done}

… and here is the diagram showing where these commands are placed.

I will use twelve (12) Conky configuration files for this purpose, each with one of the commands from above list.


 a df(1)       | b pciconf(8)             | c ifconfig(8)
---------------+--------------------------+---------------------
 7 sockstat(1) | 8 top(1)                 | 9 gstat(8)
---------------+--------------------------+---------------------
 4 vmstat(8)   | 5 usbconfig(8)           | 6 ps(1)
---------------+--------------------------+---------------------
 1 mount(8)    | 2 /var/log/automount.log | 3 /var/log/messages

Next are the full Conky configuration files.

~/.conkyrc.1.9.T420s.LOG.1

alignment                bottom_left
background               yes
gap_x                    3
gap_y                    3
minimum_size             279 193
maximum_width            280
double_buffer            yes
draw_outline             no
draw_shades              no
default_outline_color    444444
default_shade_color      444444
own_window               yes
own_window_class         conky
own_window_colour        222222
own_window_type          override
own_window_transparent   no
update_interval          2.1
use_xft                  yes
xftfont                  ubuntu mono-10
border_inner_margin      0
border_outer_margin      0
border_width             2

TEXT
${color #ee0000}% /sbin/mount -p
${color #eeeeee}${exec mount -p | awk '{print $1, $2, $3}' | column -t}

~/.conkyrc.1.9.T420s.LOG.2

alignment                bottom_left
background               yes
gap_x                    288
gap_y                    3
minimum_size             513 193
maximum_width            514
double_buffer            yes
draw_outline             no
draw_shades              no
default_outline_color    444444
default_shade_color      444444
own_window               yes
own_window_class         conky
own_window_colour        222222
own_window_type          override
own_window_transparent   no
update_interval          2.2
use_xft                  yes
xftfont                  ubuntu mono-10
border_inner_margin      0
border_outer_margin      0
border_width             2

TEXT
${color #ee0000}% /var/log/automount.log
${color #eeeeee}${exec tail -n 16 /var/log/automount.log}

~/.conkyrc.1.9.T420s.LOG.3

alignment                bottom_left
background               yes
gap_x                    807
gap_y                    3
minimum_size             789 193
maximum_width            790
double_buffer            yes
draw_outline             no
draw_shades              no
default_outline_color    444444
default_shade_color      444444
own_window               yes
own_window_class         conky
own_window_colour        222222
own_window_type          override
own_window_transparent   no
update_interval          2.3
use_xft                  yes
xftfont                  ubuntu mono-10
border_inner_margin      0
border_outer_margin      0
border_width             2

TEXT
${color #ee0000}% /var/log/messages
${color #eeeeee}${exec grep -v -E 'pulseaudio|message repeated|null_update_chw|route failed:|send_packet: |gen6_gt_|feeder_|cdce0: (Su|Re)' /var/log/messages | tail -16}

~/.conkyrc.1.9.T420s.LOG.4

alignment                bottom_left
background               yes
gap_x                    3
gap_y                    201
minimum_size             279 193
maximum_width            280
double_buffer            yes
draw_outline             no
draw_shades              no
default_outline_color    444444
default_shade_color      444444
own_window               yes
own_window_class         conky
own_window_colour        222222
own_window_type          override
own_window_transparent   no
update_interval          2.4
use_xft                  yes
xftfont                  ubuntu mono-10
border_inner_margin      0
border_outer_margin      0
border_width             2

TEXT
${color #ee0000}% /usr/bin/vmstat -i
${color #eeeeee}${exec vmstat -i}

~/.conkyrc.1.9.T420s.LOG.5

alignment                bottom_left
background               yes
gap_x                    288
gap_y                    201
minimum_size             513 193
maximum_width            514
double_buffer            yes
draw_outline             no
draw_shades              no
default_outline_color    444444
default_shade_color      444444
own_window               yes
own_window_class         conky
own_window_colour        222222
own_window_type          override
own_window_transparent   no
update_interval          2.5
use_xft                  yes
xftfont                  ubuntu mono-10
border_inner_margin      0
border_outer_margin      0
border_width             2

TEXT
${color #ee0000}% /usr/sbin/usbconfig
${color #eeeeee}${exec doas usbconfig}

~/.conkyrc.1.9.T420s.LOG.6

alignment                bottom_left
background               yes
gap_x                    807
gap_y                    201
minimum_size             789 193
maximum_width            790
double_buffer            yes
draw_outline             no
draw_shades              no
default_outline_color    444444
default_shade_color      444444
own_window               yes
own_window_class         conky
own_window_colour        222222
own_window_type          override
own_window_transparent   no
update_interval          2.6
use_xft                  yes
xftfont                  ubuntu mono-10
border_inner_margin      0
border_outer_margin      0
border_width             2

TEXT
${color #ee0000}% /bin/ps axwww -o %cpu,rss,command
${color #eeeeee}${exec ps axwww -o %cpu,rss,command | head -1; ps axwww -o %cpu,rss,command | grep -v conky | grep -v '%CPU' | sort -n -r | head -15 }

~/.conkyrc.1.9.T420s.LOG.7

alignment                bottom_left
background               yes
gap_x                    3
gap_y                    399
minimum_size             279 193
maximum_width            280
double_buffer            yes
draw_outline             no
draw_shades              no
default_outline_color    444444
default_shade_color      444444
own_window               yes
own_window_class         conky
own_window_colour        222222
own_window_type          override
own_window_transparent   no
update_interval          2.7
use_xft                  yes
xftfont                  ubuntu mono-10
border_inner_margin      0
border_outer_margin      0
border_width             2

TEXT
${color #ee0000}% /usr/bin/sockstat -l -4
${color #eeeeee}${exec sockstat -l -4 | cut -c 1-50}

~/.conkyrc.1.9.T420s.LOG.8

alignment                bottom_left
background               yes
gap_x                    288
gap_y                    399
minimum_size             513 193
maximum_width            514
double_buffer            yes
draw_outline             no
draw_shades              no
default_outline_color    444444
default_shade_color      444444
own_window               yes
own_window_class         conky
own_window_colour        222222
own_window_type          override
own_window_transparent   no
update_interval          2.8
use_xft                  yes
xftfont                  ubuntu mono-10
border_inner_margin      0
border_outer_margin      0
border_width             2

TEXT
${color #ee0000}% /usr/bin/top -m io -o total
${color #eeeeee}${exec top -m io -o total -b -s 1 -d 2 | grep -A 15 'PID USERNAME' | tail -n 16}

~/.conkyrc.1.9.T420s.LOG.9

alignment                bottom_left
background               yes
gap_x                    807
gap_y                    399
minimum_size             789 193
maximum_width            790
double_buffer            yes
draw_outline             no
draw_shades              no
default_outline_color    444444
default_shade_color      444444
own_window               yes
own_window_class         conky
own_window_colour        222222
own_window_type          override
own_window_transparent   no
update_interval          2.9
use_xft                  yes
xftfont                  ubuntu mono-10
border_inner_margin      0
border_outer_margin      0
border_width             2

TEXT
${color #ee0000}% /usr/sbin/gstat -p -I 300000
${color #eeeeee}${exec gstat -p -I 345678}

~/.conkyrc.1.9.T420s.LOG.a

alignment                bottom_left
background               yes
gap_x                    3
gap_y                    597
minimum_size             279 272
maximum_width            280
double_buffer            yes
draw_outline             no
draw_shades              no
default_outline_color    444444
default_shade_color      444444
own_window               yes
own_window_class         conky
own_window_colour        222222
own_window_type          override
own_window_transparent   no
update_interval          2.7
use_xft                  yes
xftfont                  ubuntu mono-10
border_inner_margin      0
border_outer_margin      0
border_width             2

TEXT
${color #ee0000}% /bin/df -g
${color #eeeeee}${exec df -g | awk '{print $5,$6}' | column -t}

~/.conkyrc.1.9.T420s.LOG.b

alignment                bottom_left
background               yes
gap_x                    288
gap_y                    597
minimum_size             513 272
maximum_width            514
double_buffer            yes
draw_outline             no
draw_shades              no
default_outline_color    444444
default_shade_color      444444
own_window               yes
own_window_class         conky
own_window_colour        222222
own_window_type          override
own_window_transparent   no
update_interval          2.8
use_xft                  yes
xftfont                  ubuntu mono-10
border_inner_margin      0
border_outer_margin      0
border_width             2

TEXT
${color #ee0000}% /usr/sbin/pciconf -l
${color #eeeeee}${exec pciconf -l}

~/.conkyrc.1.9.T420s.LOG.c

alignment                bottom_left
background               yes
gap_x                    807
gap_y                    597
minimum_size             789 272
maximum_width            790
double_buffer            yes
draw_outline             no
draw_shades              no
default_outline_color    444444
default_shade_color      444444
own_window               yes
own_window_class         conky
own_window_colour        222222
own_window_type          override
own_window_transparent   no
update_interval          2.9
use_xft                  yes
xftfont                  ubuntu mono-10
border_inner_margin      0
border_outer_margin      0
border_width             2

TEXT
${color #ee0000}% /sbin/ifconfig wlan0/em0/tun0
${color #eeeeee}${exec ifconfig -l -u | sed s/lo0//g | while read I; do ifconfig ${I}; done}

Thats a quite a lot configuration files but I think that this configuration done once will serve many many times in the future πŸ™‚

These Conky configuration files are suited for the 1600×900 resolution, you will have to modify values of the gap_x/gap_y/minimum_size/maximum_width parameters to make it fit into other resolution.

Initially I wanted to write a script/generator for that, but lets face it – I will not be able to properly cover each possible resolution πŸ™‚

UPDATE 2 – Latest Conky 1.11 Also Works

When I wrote this article I wrote that older Conky 1.9 version is needed (The conky-1.9.0_6 exactly which could be retrieved using portdowngrade sysutils/conky r419144 command).

Conky 1.10 introduced many bugs along with entirely new configuration format.

Latest Conky 1.11 (its conky-1.11.4_1 package on my box to be exact) works like a charm with Conky 1.9 configuration. It still has bug of NOT passing the mouse clicks to the desktop so of you want to make a left/middle/right click on the desktop aim on the place other then the Conky Dashboard space.

You can of course still follow the original article and fetch/build Conky with 1.9 version and have working left/middle/right mouse clicks on the desktop.

EOF

FreeBSD Desktop – Part 2.1 – Install FreeBSD 12

This article is an update/rewrite to the already published FreeBSD Desktop – Part 2 – Install. With the upcoming introduction of the FreeBSD 12.0-RELESE version new possibilities arise when it comes to installation. I already talked/showed that method in my ZFS Boot Environments Reloaded at NLUUG presentation but to make it more available and obvious part of my FreeBSD Desktop series I write about it again in dedicated article entry.

You may want to check other articles in the FreeBSD Desktop series on the FreeBSD Desktop – Global Page where you will find links to all episodes of the series along with table of contents for each episode’s contents.

Now (in FreeBSD 12.x) it is possible to install FreeBSD on GELI encrypted root on ZFS pool without any additional partitions or filesystems. No longer separate UFS or ZFS boot pool /boot filesystem is needed. And what is even more appealing such setup is supported both on UEFI and BIOS (also refereed as Legacy or CSM) systems. Such setup is also compatible with both new bectl(8) utility and the old proven beadm(8) tool. It is also nice that to make such setup you only need to choose the Auto ZFS option from the bsdinstall(8) so you will not have to do it by hand. I advice using GPT (BIOS+UEFI) as it will support both system types so when you are running BIOS system now and will move the disk to other system that boots with UEFI it will also just work out of the box.

The FreeBSD 12.0 is currently at the RC1 stage so we will use that one for below examples of such setup. The 12.0-RELEASE is expected to arise before Christmas if no significant problems or bugs will be found on the road to RC2 and RC3 editions.

For the record here is the FreeBSD 12.0-RC1 Availability information page and aggregated FreeBSD 12.0-RELEASE Release Notes for the upcoming new major FreeBSD version, but it is not yet complete/ready.

I will only show one install process that will work for both UEFI and BIOS systems – the crucial option here is GPT (BIOS+UEFI) to select (which is also the default one). The other option that You need to select is Yes for the Encryption part and also select the SWAP size. You may as well do not use swap and enter ‘0‘ here which means that SWAP partition will not be created. You may as well create ZFS ZVOL partition for SWAP on ZFS pool later or just create a file like /SWAP and enable it as SWAP. No matter which SWAP option you will choose if your system swaps then you are too low on memory and neither of these methods are better or worse then.

freebsd-install-01.png

freebsd-install-02.png

freebsd-install-03.png

One last thing about the default FreeBSD (no matter if 11.x or 12.x) ZFS dataset/filesystem layout. I showed it on my ZFS Boot Environments/ZFS Boot Environments Reloaded presentations but without any text comment as I talked it live.

By default both /var and /usr filesystems are part of the Boot Environment. They are protected and snapshoted during the beadm create newbe process (or by bectl(8) also). Its appears that /var and /usr are separate processes when you type zfs list commend as shown on the slide below.

zroot-layout-01.png

… but when you check the canmount parameter for all ZFS datasets, then it become obvious that /usr and /var are ’empty’ datasets (not mounted).

zroot-layout-02.png

… and also confirmation from theΒ df(1) tool.

zroot-layout-03.png

I asked FreeBSD Developers what is the reason for such construct and its for the mountpoint inheritance purposes. For example when zroot/usr has mountpoint set to /usr then when you create zroot/usr/local dataset, then it will automatically get the /usr/local for the mountpoint parameter by inheritance. At the first sight it may be misleading (I also got caught) but it makes sense when you think about it.

The only filesystems that are NOT included for the Boot Environment protection are these:

  • /usr/home
  • /usr/ports
  • /usr/src
  • /var/audit
  • /var/crash
  • /var/log
  • /var/mail
  • /var/tmp

While in most cases it is not needed to protect these in the Boot Environment protection if you want to also protect these type these two comments to move all the /usr/* and /var/* datasets/filesystems into the Boot Environment pool/ROOT/dataset. It will work on a running system without need for reboot, just make sure you use -u flag.

# zfs rename -u zroot/usr zroot/ROOT/default/usr
# zfs rename -u zroot/var zroot/ROOT/default/var

Now grab that FreeBSD ISO and install it the best possible way up to date πŸ™‚

You will probably want to get amd64 version which is suitable for both 64-bit AMD and Intel systems.

EOF

Β 

FreeBSD Desktop – Part 16 – Configuration – Pause Any Application

Many desktop oriented operating systems try to provide various usability improvements and features, like quite useful Expose or Dashboard in Mac OS X or useless Tiles concept in recent editions of Microsoft Windows systems.

pause.key.jpg

After using UNIX for so many years I knew that I could freeze (or pause) any process in the system with kill -17 (SIGSTOP) signal and then unfreeze it with with kill -19 (SIGCONT) signal as I described in the Process Management section of the Ghost in the Shell – Part 2 article. Doing it that way for the desktop applications is PITA to say the least. Can you imagine opening xterm(1) terminal and searching for all Chromium or Firefox processes and then freezing them one by one every time you need it? Me neither.

Fortunately with introduction of so called X11 helper utilities – like xdotool(1) – it is now possible to implement it in more usable manner.

Today I will show you how to freeze any X11 application with single keyboard shortcut or mouse gesture if you utilize them in any way with small simple script.

When such feature can be useful (or what for)?

Lets say you have Firefox started with many tabs open (50+) and you know that it drains battery life from your laptop. You can close it but when You will need information from any of those tabs, then You will have to start Firefox again (even more battery usage) and load all needed tabs (battery …). The alternative is to pause all Firefox processes when You do not use them. This will freeze all its processes and subprocesses and it will not use any CPU (or battery) power. When you will need it, then you will unpause it without the need to load all tabs again.

Other example may be some heavy processing. For example you started RawTherapee or Darktable processing of large amount of photos and you are not able to smoothly watch a video. Just pause it, watch the video and unpause it again to finish its work.

Its also usable in single player gaming when You can REALLY pause the game, literally πŸ™‚

You may want to check other articles in the FreeBSD Desktop series on the FreeBSD Desktop – Global Page where you will find links to all episodes of the series along with table of contents for each episode’s contents.

First we need to install the so called X11 helpers. Do that with this pkg(8) command.

# pkg install xprop xdotool zenity xbindkeys

Now for the script that would make all this magic happen. The desktop-pause.sh script is available on GitHub as its syntax is nicely colored there. Save it in some place where its searchable through ${PATH} variable like ~/bin or ~/script directory and make it executable.

% fetch -O ~/scripts/desktop-pause.sh https://raw.githubusercontent.com/vermaden/scripts/master/desktop-pause.sh
% chmod +x ~/scripts/desktop-pause.sh
% echo $PATH | grep scripts
/sbin:/bin:/usr/sbin:/usr/bin:/usr/local/sbin:/usr/local/bin:/home/vermaden/scripts

It has three ways of usage.

% desktop-pause.sh
usage: desktop-pause.sh OPTION [ARGUMENT]

OPTIONS:
  -a  -  Do pause/resume active window.
  -s  -  Do pause/resume interactively selected window.
  -p  -  Do pause/resume specified PID.
  -l  -  Do list paused processes/windows.
  -L  -  Do list paused processes/windows with PIDs.

ARGUMENT:
  PID for '-p' option.

If started with -a option, then it would pause/unpause the currently active window. This option is best used with keyboard shortcut or mouse gesture. It you start desktop-pause.sh script with -s argument, then the cursor will change and you will be able to select which window to freeze (or unfreeze). The -p option is usable in terminal directly as you may want to freeze/unfreeze a process without X11 environment or for some debugging purposes for example. The last -l option will list applications that are currently paused.

pause.key.thinkpad

Most present-day generation laptops have island type limited keyboards so you will have to choose for yourself which keyboard shortcut to use. As I still use 2011 ThinkPad T420s laptop with 7-row keyboard I have little more options. The [Pause Break] key seems to be the best candidate for such feature πŸ™‚ I will use it for the ‘active window freeze/unfreeze’ with -a option and [SHIFT]-[Pause Break] key for the more interactive -s option.

To create such new keyboard shortcut we will use handy xbindkeys(1) tool.

Lets see what code we will have to put into the ~/.xbindkeysrc configuration file.

% xbindkeys --help
xbindkeys 1.8.6 by Philippe Brochard
usage: xbindkeys [options]
  where options are:
  -V, --version           Print version and exit
  -d, --defaults          Print a default rc file
  -f, --file              Use an alternative rc file
  -p, --poll-rc           Poll the rc/guile configs for updates
  -h, --help              This help!
  -X, --display           Set X display to use
  -v, --verbose           More information on xbindkeys when it run
  -s, --show              Show the actual keybinding
  -k, --key               Identify one key pressed
 -mk, --multikey          Identify multi key pressed
  -g, --geometry          size and position of window open with -k|-mk option
  -n, --nodaemon          don't start as daemon

As its single key we will need --key option. Lets do it then.

% xbindkeys --key
Press combination of keys or/and click under the window.
You can use one of the two lines after "NoCommand"
in $HOME/.xbindkeysrc to bind a key.
"(Scheme function)"
    m:0x0 + c:110
    Pause

Now lets read the [SHIFT]-[Pause Break] sequence.

% xbindkeys --key
Press combination of keys or/and click under the window.
You can use one of the two lines after "NoCommand"
in $HOME/.xbindkeysrc to bind a key.
"(Scheme function)"
    m:0x1 + c:110
    Shift + Pause

We now have all needed information for the ~/.xbindkeysrc configuration file. Here is how it looks configured.

% cat ~/.xbindkeysrc

# [Pause Break] FOR ACTIVE WINDOW
"~/scripts/desktop-pause.sh -a"
  Pause

# [Shift]-[Pause Break] FOR INTERACTIVE WINDOW
"~/scripts/desktop-pause.sh -s"
  Shift + Pause

Now lets start xbindkeys(1) and verify that it works.

% xbindkeys

Press the [Pause Break] key when you are in the terminal where you started xbindkeys(1) utility. Now hit [ENTER] several times, the terminal should be freezed. Now hit [Pause Break] key again. The etnered [ENTER] keys have been passed to it as it was unfreezed.

Lets check the Firefox example.

When processes run like usual they have on of the I*/S*/R* state like shown below.

% ps ax | grep firefox | grep -v grep
67981  -  S       3:28.66 /usr/local/lib/firefox/firefox -contentproc -childID 58 -isForBrowser -prefsLen 31209 -schedulerPrefs 0001,2 -appdir /usr/local/lib/firefox/browser 41124 tab
41124  0- S      68:44.94 firefox
43940  0- S      25:52.43 /usr/local/lib/firefox/firefox -contentproc -childID 1 -isForBrowser -prefsLen 27620 -schedulerPrefs 0001,2 -appdir /usr/local/lib/firefox/browser 41124 tab

When you will now freeze Firefox with [Pause Break] key its processes will have T state.

% ps ax | grep firefox | grep -v grep
67981  -  T       3:28.66 /usr/local/lib/firefox/firefox -contentproc -childID 58 -isForBrowser -prefsLen 31209 -schedulerPrefs 0001,2 -appdir /usr/local/lib/firefox/browser 41124 tab
41124  0- T      68:45.17 firefox
43940  0- T      25:52.85 /usr/local/lib/firefox/firefox -contentproc -childID 1 -isForBrowser -prefsLen 27620 -schedulerPrefs 0001,2 -appdir /usr/local/lib/firefox/browser 41124 tab

After you unfreeze them again with [Pause Break] key they will get back to normal I*/S*/R* state.

% ps ax | grep firefox | grep -v grep
67981  -  S       3:28.67 /usr/local/lib/firefox/firefox -contentproc -childID 58 -isForBrowser -prefsLen 31209 -schedulerPrefs 0001,2 -appdir /usr/local/lib/firefox/browser 41124 tab
41124  0- S      68:45.54 firefox
43940  0- S      25:53.01 /usr/local/lib/firefox/firefox -contentproc -childID 1 -isForBrowser -prefsLen 27620 -schedulerPrefs 0001,2 -appdir /usr/local/lib/firefox/browser 41124 tab

You may of course specify by hand the Firefox PID which is 41124 in current state.

% desktop-pause.sh -p 41124
INFO: kill -17 41124
INFO: kill -17 67981
INFO: kill -17 43940

The Firefox browser will be paused again.

% ps ax | grep firefox | grep -v grep
67981  -  T       3:28.68 /usr/local/lib/firefox/firefox -contentproc -childID 58 -isForBrowser -prefsLen 31209 -schedulerPrefs 0001,2 -appdir /usr/local/lib/firefox/browser 41124 tab
41124  0- T      68:46.68 firefox
43940  0- T      25:56.22 /usr/local/lib/firefox/firefox -contentproc -childID 1 -isForBrowser -prefsLen 27620 -schedulerPrefs 0001,2 -appdir /usr/local/lib/firefox/browser 41124 tab

Use it again to unpause it.

% desktop-pause.sh -p 41124
INFO: kill -19 41124
INFO: kill -19 67981
INFO: kill -19 43940

And viola! Firefox runs again.

% ps ax | grep firefox | grep -v grep
67981  -  S       3:28.68 /usr/local/lib/firefox/firefox -contentproc -childID 58 -isForBrowser -prefsLen 31209 -schedulerPrefs 0001,2 -appdir /usr/local/lib/firefox/browser 41124 tab
41124  0- S      68:46.72 firefox
43940  0- S      25:56.28 /usr/local/lib/firefox/firefox -contentproc -childID 1 -isForBrowser -prefsLen 27620 -schedulerPrefs 0001,2 -appdir /usr/local/lib/firefox/browser 41124 tab

There are no downsides to this feature but one has to remember paused applications will not refresh themselves as their processes are freezed. Below you can see frozen Epiphany browser upon which the xterm(1) window was moved. Pretty Windows like effect.

epiphany.paused

After you unpause the Epiphany it gets back to normal as shown below.

epiphany.unpaused.png

Remember to add xbindkeys(1) command to your ~/.xinitrc (or ~/.xsession file) to make it permanent.

UPDATE 1

One of the Hacker News users named rhn_mk1 explained the lack of window contents refresh while application is freezed. I will just cite his comment below.

That depends on the window manager. The application state is not really affected, it just stops updating (redrawing its area). When another window moves away, the window manager asks the “underlying” application to update that area of the screen. It’s dead, so the WM keeps displaying the last thing that was there, until something else happens in that spot.

On the other hand, compositing window managers will dedicate a separate buffer to each application, where they have exclusive access. That kind of a window manager would not have to ask the application to update anything – it would just take the image from the dedicated application’s buffer and update the screen with it. Since the application’s buffer can’t be modified by anything else, it would have the last state of the application in it. That would in turn find its way to the screen. No glitches.

UPDATE 2

One of the Reddit users 89luca89 pointed me to the browser-suspender solution that ‘simply suspends the browser when not in focus using STOP/CONT’ signals.

UPDATE 3

The Lobsters user seschwar pointed out that there is Stoppable Layout functionality for XMonad which automatically pauses the processes of all windows except for the active one and it also uses SIGCONT and SIGSTOP signals.

UPDATE 4

One of the Hacker News users named imglorp suggested that my “command could also iconify/minify the app’s windows”.

This is really good idea.

I just added -A and -S options that also minimize a window.

% desktop-pause.sh 
usage: desktop-pause.sh OPTION [ARGUMENT]

OPTIONS:
  -a  -  Do pause/resume active window.
  -A  -  Do pause/resume active window and minimize it.
  -s  -  Do pause/resume interactively selected window.
  -S  -  Do pause/resume interactively selected window and minimize it.
  -p  -  Do pause/resume specified PID.
  -l  -  Do list paused processes/windows.
  -L  -  Do list paused processes/windows with PIDs.

ARGUMENT:
  PID for '-p' option.

Here is the changelog for the desktop-pause.sh script:
https://github.com/vermaden/scripts/commit/03591a138b14cededa15a05fe9c77bf1a941795d

EOF