Archive for Kubuntu

Kubuntu: WinTV PVR-150 adventures

Watching TV under Kubuntu with kaffeine and xawtvAfter praising (K)Ubuntu for the last year or so, trying to install a common WinTV PVR-150 TV card was a major setback. Ironically, Ubuntu got the hardest part right all by itself: the TV card got autodetected, and an initial test with mythtv was successful. I could even capture TV with cat /dev/video0 > /tmp/tv.mpg. Very cool – but! There seems to be no reliable way of tuning the TV card. kdetv freezes after scanning about 50% of all channels and requires a reboot to get TV working again. tvtime doesn’t seem to support MPEG-2 cards. Kaffeine or mplayer can render the MPEG-2 stream, but cannot use the tuner. xawtv renders empty black windows (current NVidia drivers don’t support DGA any more, but -nodga gives me only black windows). Mythtv works, but it’s way too bloated for a simple TV viewer.

So I…

  1. Create a channel listing using xawtv’s scantv:
    scantv -c /dev/video0 -C /dev/vbi0 -o ~/.xawtv
  2. Start up xawtv, maximize the window, open channel listing (E).
  3. Start up kaffeine, opening the URL pvr:/
  4. Minimize the xawtv main window
  5. Voila!

Admittedly this might be just a minor problem with my installation, but the fact that it’s virtually impossible to find an application that can render the TV image and supports tuning and is not mythtv when the hardware apparently works is slightly embarrassing. Getting this setup up and running on Windows XP took 15 minutes at most, and it works without a glitch ever since.


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Kubuntu: Installing a Brother HL-5250DN Network Printer

I recently bought a Brother HL-5250DN mono laser printer. It features a duplex unit and can act as an autonomous network printer. Just for the fun of it, I decided to install it as a network printer and attached it to one of the ethernet ports of my Wireless LAN router. As expected, Windows installation was a breeze – but so was Kubuntu (Edgy).

Assign a static IP address to the printerFirst thing (for both Windows and Linux) was to assign a static IP address to the printer – launch the web interface (enter the printer’s IP address in your browser), go to “Network Configuration”, select “TCP/IP” and assign the printer a static IP address on your local network (by default, the printer uses DHCP – my router provides a table of leased IP addresses, so it was easy to find the newly attached printer).

Open Kubuntu’s System Settings screen (i.e. KControl), go to Printer –> Add Printer/Class –> Next –> Network Printer (TCP) –> Next.

Enter the printer’s IP address, e.g., and click Next.

For a quick test, select the HL-5170DN driver, or click Other… to select the BR5250_2.PPD file provided on the driver CD-ROM.The best driver currently available in Kubuntu seems to be the Brother HL-5170DN driver. It works, but may not utilize all features. Instead, insert the printer driver CD-ROM and copy Driver/PS/PPD/<your language>/BR5250_2.PPD to a local directory. Use a tool like flip to convert the line feeds from Windows to Unix format. In the model select dialog, click Other… and select the converted PPD file. Click Next. No you can print a test page and enter additional printer information – for me, this worked the very first time I tried. Duplex printing can be enabled in the printer’s properties. Nice done, (K)Ubuntu (and Debian). 🙂

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