U2F and KDE/SDDM on Funtoo

U2F keys, such as the yubico YubiKey are relatively easy and inexpensive way to add two factor authentication to one’s workstation. Adding U2F authentication to local accounts on a linux machine is quite easy. In Gentoo/Funtoo, the pam_u2f ebuild will provide everything you need to get started.

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A Charger Option for the Panasonic DMW-BLG-10PP Battery

The DMW-BLG-10PP is a 1025mAh, 7.2V, lithium-ion battery that Panasonic uses in a few of their newer cameras (including the GX85). In the case of the GX85 kit, Panasonic opted to not include a battery charger. Instead, the battery is to be charged in the camera body through the micro-USB port. This is slightly annoying as the flap protecting the micro-USB port is not as easy to deal with as the battery hatch.

For those who want a standalone charger, Panasonic sells it as part of a battery and charger accessory kit. However, if you have a DE-A99(B) lying around (the charger from the GF5 and a few other older kits), it will work for charging the GX85’s DMW-BLG-10PP battery pack. The battery physically fits into the DE-A99B, and the electrical interface is the same (4 pins: -, D, T, +). Despite the capacity of the DMW-BLG-10PP being larger than what the charger was originally designed for (940mAh), the DE-A99B will still charge it.

-John Havlik

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Alcatel LINKZONE 4824 and Linux

After almost 4 years of service, the time has come to replace my Netgear AirCard 340u. While it works great with my IdeaPad s405, it has problems with newer Intel systems (the AirCard falls into a cycle of infinite boot loops). Since I’m retiring the s405, it was time to find a new mobile data device. Unfortunately, the market for USB broadband modems has not advanced in the last 4 years (the AirCard 340u is still the most capable). So, I had to settle for a wireless hotspot.

The Alcatel LINKZONE 4824, at the time of writing this, is the latest wireless hotspot for T-Mobile USA. It supports 802.11b/g/n and emulates an Ethernet adapter over USB via RNDIS. On the data network side, it supports LET band 12 (T-Mobile USA’s 700MHz spectrum)—a significant advantage over the AirCard 340u in areas where band 12 has been deployed.

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Funtoo Plex Media Server Overlay

Both Gentoo and Funtoo provide Plex Media Server within their portage repositories via the plex-media-server ebuild. However, lately, Funtoo’s plex-media-server ebuild within media-kit has fallen behind Plex releases. The quick solution is to use Ghent’s funtoo-plex overlay. With Funtoo moving to kits, local overlays are quite easy to use.

Assuming an install setup per the Funtoo default kits instructions, start by creating a directory for your overlays. Then, clone Ghent’s funtoo-plex overlay:

mkdir /var/git/overlay
cd /var/git/overlay
git clone https://github.com/Ghent/funtoo-plex.git

At the time of writing, Ghent’s overlay is still configured for a pre-kits setup. Fortunately, migrating to a kits compatible setup is straight forward: open up /var/git/overlay/funtoo-plex/metadata/layout.conf and replace masters = gentoo with masters = core-kit.

The last step is to create /etc/portage/repos.conf/funtoo-plex.conf. Place the following into /etc/portage/repos.conf/funtoo-plex.conf:

main-repo = core-kit

location = /var/git/overlay/funtoo-plex
auto-sync = no
priority = 10

Now, running emerge -av plex-media-server should grab the newer ebuilds from Ghent’s funtoo-plex overlay. Note that you will need to occasionally pull the latest master branch in the repo using git pull origin master from within /var/git/overlay/funtoo-plex/.

-John Havlik

[end of transmission, stay tuned]