Thursday, November 26, 2009

Building qfsm on Ubuntu 8.04

I just tried to build qfsm on Ubuntu 8.04. The only dependencies listed by qfsm are CMake and Qt 4.3.x - both of which are available through the Ubuntu packet manager.

However, when I followed the instructions provided along with the qfsm source code, I encountered this error message:
[ 41%] Building CXX object CMakeFiles/qfsm.dir/src/ExportAHDLDlgImpl.o
In file included from qfsm-0.51.0-Source/src/ExportAHDLDlgImpl.h:21,
                 from qfsm-0.51.0-Source/src/ExportAHDLDlgImpl.cpp:21:
qfsm-0.51.0-Source/src/ui_ExportAHDLDlg.h:27: error: expected constructor, \
  destructor, or type conversion before ‘class’
make[2]: *** [CMakeFiles/qfsm.dir/src/ExportAHDLDlgImpl.o] Error 1
make[1]: *** [CMakeFiles/qfsm.dir/all] Error 2
make: *** [all] Error 2
It turns out that the definition of the QT_BEGIN_NAMESPACE macro was nowhere to be found on my system. Luckily, removing the corresponding lines in the qfsm source code allowed me to build the code just fine. I used this one-liner to remove the offending lines:
$ for file in `grep -R QT_BEGIN_NAMESPACE * | awk -F : '{ print $1; }'` ; \
  do sed -i -e '/QT_.*NAMESPACE/d' $file ; done

Friday, September 18, 2009

Graphics Card

For some reason I have to look up the model of the graphics adapter in my thinkpad everytime I do an update... so here it goes: My T61p has a Quadro FX 570M in it.

Friday, July 24, 2009


A quick follow-up to "Parallels" for Linux. I've managed to run the Windows XP Partition on my Laptop inside KVM-88 like this:

sudo qemu-system-x86_64 -hda /dev/sda -net nic -net user -m 1024 -cdrom fixntldr.iso -boot d -usb -usbdevice tablet -monitor stdio
To send Ctrl+Alt+Del, I needed to enter this at the QEMU shell:
sendkey ctrl-alt-delete

Edit (Jul 30th, 2009): Here is a link to the QEMU console commands.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Flashrom, Alix 1.C and FreeBSD

I'm quite surprised that flashrom works pretty much out of the box on FreeBSD running on my Alix 1.C board. All I needed to do was comment out the code in the enable_flash_cs5536() function part of the chipset_enable.c file. Then, this simple command let me read out the BIOS image:
$ flashrom -f -r -c "SST49LF040" bios.bin

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Avnet Spartan-3A Eval Board

So I got this Xilinx Spartan-3A Board by Avnet recently. I bought it because it features a fairly large parallel flash chip (32 MBit) and an even larger SPI flash (128 Mbit).

The board also features three clocks. One 16MHz clock is driven by an on-board oscillator while the other two (12 MHz and 32 kHz) are derived from a small controller.

For the last few evenings, I tried to get the parallel flash to work. Since a single cycle of the slow 32 kHz clock meets the timing requirements of the parallel flash chip, I thought I'd try to use that before enhancing the design to also work w/ the faster clock(s).

Unfortunately, that didn't work. When using the slow clock, mapping a signal directly to an output (LED) worked just fine, but routing the signal through more than few flip-flops didn't work at all. Apparently, the FPGA didn't like the slow clock too much.

Bottom line: Took me three days to figure out that the board doesn't work with the slow 32 kHz clock. Oh well, at least I learned something new...

Thursday, February 26, 2009

SSH Tricks

My shell scripting skills suck. So it comes naturally that I learn a lot every time I need to write a script. The trick I'm about to describe is so neat that I want to share it.

Assume for a second that you need to execute a series of commands on a remote machine, but you can't pass them to SSH at once. Or consider that you might need to transfer a file over to a remote host and then extract it there. Normally, you'd need to create several SSH connections for this. In the "transfer, then extract" scenario, you need one connection for scp(1) and another one to extract the file on the remote host. Unless you have your public key in the remote host's ~/.ssh/authorized_keys file, you need to enter your password for the remote host twice. It's probably not a big deal for most, but it's annoying at times.

It might be obvious for some, but I recently found out that ssh(1) offers a solution for the problem described above. It allows you to open one connection in "master" mode to which other SSH processes can connect through a socket. The options for the "master" connection are:
$ ssh -M -S /path/to/socket user@rhost
Alternatively, the ControlPath and ControlMaster options can be set in the appropriate SSH configuration files. Other SSH processes that want to connect to the "master" connection only need to use the -S option. The authentication of the "master" connection will be re-used for all other connections that go through the socket. I'm not sure if SSH even opens a separate TCP connection.

Going further, this can be used in scripts to save the user a lot of password typing, especially if the execution flow switches between local and remote commands a lot. At the beginning of the script, simply create a &qout;master" connection like this:
$ ssh -M -S /path/to/socket -f user@rhost \
    "while true ; do sleep 3600 ; done"
It should be noted that the path to the socket can be made unique by using a combination of the placeholders %l, %h, %p, %r for the local host, remote host, port and remote username, respectively. The -f parameter makes SSH go into the background just before command execution. However, it requires that a command is specified, hence an endless loop of sleep(1) calls is added to the command line. Other SSH connections can be opened like this, not requiring any further user input (for authentication):
$ ssh -S /path/to/socket user@rhost
This leaves the problem of how the "master" process can be terminated when the script has finished. Some versions of SSH offer the -O parameter which can be used to check if the "master" is still running and, more importantly, to tell the "master" to exit. Note that in addition to the socket, the remote user and host need to be specified.
$ ssh -S /path/to/socket -O check user@rhost
$ ssh -S /path/to/socket -O exit user@rhost
However, there are still two problems to be solved. First, when the "master" quits, the dummy sleep loop continues to run. And second, how can the "master" be terminated if the given SSH version doesn't offer the -O parameter (short of killing the process by its PID)?

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

brctl(8) and tunctl

brctl is part of the bridge-utils package. Source code is available on Sourceforge.

tunctl is part of the User Mode Linux (UML) utilities available at the UML web site.

Friday, January 30, 2009

hexdump(1) lies!

This week I found out that hexdump(1) on Linux doesn't seem to work with bytes but with half-words. I found out because I compared a byte-by-byte binary dump (output of a separate program) to the output of hexdump(1) (dumping the same data) and noticed that hexdump(1)'s output always swapped two adjacent bytes.

Maybe I haven't found the right parameters, though.