Fedora 19 and GRUB2

Fedora 19 has removed box characters from the GRUB2 menu. This caught me by surprise and I thought it was a bug.

The release notes mentioned something about better GRUB2 visual integration but it was too vague.


I decided to do some more testing this time with upstream GRUB2.

GRUB2 UEFI PXE booting works too: unlike Fedora-GRUB2. GRUB2 only looks for grub.cfg in $prefix; it does not seem to look at the directory where core.efi is located. Standard GRUB2 does not do name mangling while looking for the configuration file. It is a purer implementation, but may not be so useful for Cobbler-like provisioning.

Standard GRUB2 also sets a whole slew of variables just like in i386-pc; when I looked at this more than a year ago the network stuff was quite broken: couldn’t get efinet tftp to work. It is great to see what progress has been made. Kudos to the GNU GRUB2 team!

## GRUB2 UEFI PXE environment; BUG ALERT: Fedora 19-GRUB2 leaves some of these blank

net_efinet1_boot_file=BOOTX64.efi (actually copied from $prefix/x86_64-efi/core.efi)


Fedora 19 Fixes for VM behaviour

Fedora 19 had problems as VM host for my Windows 7 64-bit guest: two kernel oops that I encountered:

These bugs caused oops’ing when the guest shuts down or uses the network, in a certain way, e.g, CIFS.

A recent kernel update 3.10.3-300.fc19.x86_64 has fixed this.

Kudos to the Fedora kernel team and now to test Windows guests properly.

Singapore DVB-T

LinuxTV: this stuff is all working on a noname DVB-T stick with RTL2832U and R820T tuner.
For Fedora kernels you have to use the LinuxTV media_build backport drivers to support the R820T tuner

usb 2-1.6: dvb_usb_v2: found a 'Realtek RTL2832U reference design' in warm state
usbcore: registered new interface driver dvb_usb_rtl28xxu
usb 2-1.6: dvb_usb_v2: will pass the complete MPEG2 transport stream to the software demuxer
DVB: registering new adapter (Realtek RTL2832U reference design)
usb 2-1.6: DVB: registering adapter 0 frontend 0 (Realtek RTL2832 (DVB-T))...
r820t 9-001a: creating new instance
r820t 9-001a: Rafael Micro r820t successfully identified
Registered IR keymap rc-empty
input: Realtek RTL2832U reference design as /devices/pci0000:00/0000:00:1d.0/usb2/2-1/2-1.6/rc/rc1/input20
rc1: Realtek RTL2832U reference design as /devices/pci0000:00/0000:00:1d.0/usb2/2-1/2-1.6/rc/rc1
input: MCE IR Keyboard/Mouse (dvb_usb_rtl28xxu) as /devices/virtual/input/input21
rc rc1: lirc_dev: driver ir-lirc-codec (dvb_usb_rtl28xxu) registered at minor = 0
usb 2-1.6: dvb_usb_v2: schedule remote query interval to 400 msecs
usb 2-1.6: dvb_usb_v2: 'Realtek RTL2832U reference design' successfully initialized and connected

This will be history when Singapore switches to DVB-T2 at the end of 2013.

But for the record…

    For services at 610MHz:

  • Digital 8
  • Digital 5
  • Digital CNA
  • MediaCorp HD5

The ‘MediaCorp HD5’ service uses H.264 AVC and this is misidentified by mplayer as a MPEG2TS. Found a workaround here: https://bbs.archlinux.org/viewtopic.php?id=159744
mplayer dvb://'MediaCorp HD5' -demuxer lavf

There is reference to an old channel at 538MHz, but this is unused now.

Initial DVB-T scan file:

# T freq bw fec_hi fec_lo mod transmission-mode guard-interval hierarchy
T 610000000 8MHz 2/3 NONE QAM64 8k 1/8 NONE

    Attached (as PDF) are an scandvb initial scan file and tzap channels file. The tzap file works with mplayer & vlc:

  • sg-MediaCorp (initial scan file)
  • channels (tzap file, suitable for mplayer,vlc etc)

Stable Windows 7 Pro in KVM: virtio & qxl drivers

Update: 2013-08-14. Latest Fedora drivers virtio-win-0.1-65 brings all drivers up to 6/19/2013

Update: 2013-07-22. Finally got round to testing spice-guest-tools-0.59.exe on Windows XP 32-bits. The “signedness” of QXL is moot as anything goes here.

QXL — dated 10/15/2012

VirtIO — dated 4/17/2013

Everything is working including audio/Spice. Strange, I don’t seem to have balloon here.

Update: 2013-07-22. RedHat has virtio-win-1.6.5-6.el6_4 on RHN.

Update: 2013-06-18. The “KVM — The Linux Kernel-Based Virtual Machine” site links to current verions of qemu, Fedora virtio iso, and Spice guest tools.


Update: 2013-05-11. I am now running with all Fedora virtio drivers v on two Win7 Pro guests. Fingers-crossed — they are running stable. One is using standard VGA and the other is using the signed RedHat QXL GPU driver from virtio-win-1.6.3-3.

I have Spice (instead of VNC) running in the guests for audio; sound from Win7Pro guest — what’s not to like!

In short:

  • host is KVM/Fedora 18
  • guest drivers: virtio from Fedora for Serial, Storage, Net, Balloon
  • guest drivers: qxl from RedHat for Display
  • vdservice.exe and vdagent.exe running from spice-guest-tools
  • audio is working using Spice

Previously: I was having a really hard time getting Windows 7 Pro, Windows Server 2008R2  KVM guests stable using virtio and qxl drivers.


  1. Drivers everywhere: Spice guest tools: http://spice-space.org/download/binaries/spice-guest-tools/.  Very obscure set of tools. Comes with lots of virtio drivers. Encountered problem with unsigned QXL drivers. When you install this you must manually stop the vdservice service, otherwise the files are locked.
  2. Fedora alternative http://alt.fedoraproject.org/pub/alt/virtio-win/. Very recent versions as of 4/17/2013: but no QXL.
  3. RedHat virtio-win-1.6.3-3.el6.noarch. The RedHat package has versions equal or slightly older than Fedora alternative. The QXL drivers are not in the ISO image but unpacked to /usr/share/virtio BUT the QXL driver is signed.

However, things seem to be coming together, albeit slowly:

  1. Windows 7 Pro guest is now stable with all the RedHat drivers.
  2. Windows 2008 R2 Standard KVM guest is stable with all drivers and QXL.
  3. The signed Red Hat QXL GPU driver that works is: version 10/15/2012

By stable I mean: in Windows Device Manager none of the devices has the dreaded exclamation icon and the VM does not randomly reboot or BSOD.

Now to tackle Windows 2012 server guests!!!!!!

FIXME: Update vdagent.exe/vdservice.exe to latest from Spice Guest tools 0.52 — DONE!

FIXME: I have qemu-ga: QEMU guest agent running; no idea how crucial this is to life and limb: http://wiki.libvirt.org/page/Qemu_guest_agent

FIXME: can one get sound using VNC?

Generally, RedHat have done well with the 1.6.3 release!!

Take away: KVM virtio drivers are not easy to find. The best sources are Fedora alternative (everything but QXL), and RedHat RHEL 6 Supplementary Channel ($$$$) with signed QXL . The jury is out on spice-guest-tools.

FreeIPA, Kerberized NFSv4

Notes on setting up Kerberized NFSv4  FreeIPA 2.2 under CentOS 6.3:

The NFS server needs a Service principal nfs/server.example.com

The NFS client needs a Host principal host/client.example.com. This will be done when the client joins the realm, so effectively nothing else needs be done on the client.

Android 4.0 ICS Supports Bluetooth Tethering!

Upgraded to Android 4.0.3 on a Samsung Galaxy SII. It now supports Bluetooth tethering to share its 3G Internet connection via Bluetooth.


Under Applications -> Settings -> More… -> Tethering and portable hotspot

is “Bluetooth tethering”.

I tried connecting using Ubuntu 11.10; it had no problem seeing the new service.

Hooray – this gives an alternative to Wi-Fi hotspot which consumes power like there’s no tomorrow.