Posted in Fedora, Music&Video, Philosophy

About Codecs and Fedora

 

It’s well known that Fedora ships free software only, except for some firmware in order to boot.  But unlike Debian that has a non-free repository, Fedora offers no options to those who want to install closed source software.  This is because of legal issues; as Fedora relies on Red Hat Enterprise they have to follow the same rules and Red Hat, as a USA based company, has to avoid everything related to copyright.

This is why Fedora never shipped codecs except those that are open source. People who want to listen to their usual music files have to install some third party software or repository to get them working.

 

Some background

Every audio and video format needs two sets of codecs: for decoding and for encoding.

Patents don’t cover the file format itself, but the codecs you need to process it.  This means that every file format has two patents, one for decoders and another for encoders.

Encoding means you’re editing a file and saving it in a specific format.  Examples of this are the use of Audacity and KDEnlive.

Decoding means you’re listening or watching a file without modifying it.  Examples of this are the use of Totem and Clementine.

 

Good news!

The good news are that the patents for encoding and decoding MP3 and AC3  had expired, and Cisco made an agreement with RH related to H264, so now it is legally possible for Fedora to offer these codecs from repositories.

This means that those who install Fedora 25 will be able to listen to their music out of the box and can install the codecs needed for editing music from repositories. Those who installed Fedora 24 can install the codecs from repositories as well, if they didn’t install them via third party.  And those who will install Fedora 26 will get all the codecs for free out of the box!

 

Happy listening, Fedorians and thanks for reading!

 

 

 

 

Posted in Fedora, Eye Candy, Users

Flickering windows

 

I installed KDE Plasma a week ago, tried it and left.  Then yesterday I decided to play more seriously with it. I updated it to 5.9 and tried to use it.

It had a lot of problems and took me hours to solve them all.  Just to find another issue that wasn’t critical but certainly annoying.  But it was too late at night, so I cleaned the computer using Bleachbit and turned it off.

Today I turned it on and everything was working fine, so I assumed that some temporary file, cache or whatever was the cause.  I used my computer normally and turned it off when I had to go out.  So far so good.

And then it happened again.

 

The Problem

Windows seemed to flicker and twinkle, often refusing to disappear when one would close them.  Also minimise/maximise caused them to tremble and leave a ghost of window over the desktop.  Often I had to click twice or more on the  “Show desktop”  button to get them to disappear.  It was driving me insane when someone from the Fedora Telegram group sent a suggestion to fix it.

 

The Solution

The solution to this weird and apparently random problem was quite simple.  If you go to System Settings => Display & Monitor => Compositor  you’ll find some options including the rendering backend.  Set it to OpenGL 3.1  and apply.  That should be enough to fix the  “bug”.  If the problem seems to come back, change the rendering from Accurate to Smooth  (or any other that works for you).

 

Technical details

Laptop: Dell Latitude E6500, with Nvidia video card, 500GB hard disk, 4GB RAM and Dual Core processor.  System:  Fedora 25 Workstation with KDE Plasma 5.9.

 

Hope this is useful, thanks for reading!

 

 

 

 

Posted in Fedora, Hardware, System, Users

Problems with USB ports

 

If you’re experiencing problems with USB ports, ABRT is throwing system error messages or you something odd related to USB during the boot, here you have two ways to find out what’s going on.  Once you know there are two possible ways to sort it out. Let’s see.

 

Commands

If the error, or at least the error message, just happened, you can run this command:

journalctl -xe

and this will show you what just happened.

If you only notice the problem time later, you can run this another command:

dmesg

and search for errors related to USB ports.

 

Looking for a solution

Now you know what happened you can search for it Google with a simple search, or in wiki pages or books, or in forums, groups and mailing lists.  If it’s not urgent, always try the Google Search first.

 

Aftermath

Write down the solutions that worked in a note and keep it handy.  That will save you time and headache in the next opportunity an error occurs.

 

Hope this is useful for you, thanks for reading!

 

 

Posted in Design tools, Design

Pictures comparison

As a plus and to help you to see what might be the best option for you, I leave here the same pictures after treated with the different methods I posted.

 

Cavalier 03 (PhS)
With Photoshop Unsharp Mask

 

Cavalier 02 (PhS)
With Photoshop High Pass Filter

 

Cavalier 02 (G)
With Gimp

 

Note:  The High Pass photo is grey because I preferred to leave it this way.  The original colour of these statues is greyish, they look sepia because of the candles light  (it’s a monument inside a church).

 

 

 

 

 

Posted in Design tools, Design

Sharpening a pic

Sometimes it may happen that you may want to fix a mistake in the focus of a picture.  This can be done in three ways, two with Photoshop and one with Gimp.  I will explain them all, but be warned  it won’t fix serious problems.

 

Banner P04

 

First method

  • Duplicate layer  (Layer => Duplicate layer).  Now you have two layers looking exactly the same.  You’ll work on the top layer, been the original picture the background.
  • Apply the  “unsharp”  filter  (Filters => Sharpen => Unsharp Mask).  Despite the name, what it does is sharpening the image according certain parameters you select.
  • Regulate Amount, Radius, & Threshold.
  • Save the image by exporting to your favourite  (preferably JPEG).  This will flatten merging the two layers into one picture.

Second method

  • Duplicate layer  (same as before).
  • Convert the duplicated layer into a Smart Object  (Layer => Smart Object => Convert).
  • Apply High Pass filter  (Filters => Others => High Pass Filter).  Regulate the strength and accept.
  • Be careful when set the radius, too much will make the image look odd.  But don’t worry, if you make a mistake, just undo it and apply the filter again.
  • Now the image look all grey but this is easy to be fixed, whether applying a Photo filter  (Image => Photo filter)  or setting High Pass to Overlay mode  (see picture below).  Additionally, you can regulate the opacity
  • Export the image as explained before.

smart-filter-blending-options-icon

 

Banner G04

Just one…

  • Apply the sharpening filter  (Filter => Enhance => Sharpen).
  • Play with the controls at will.  If you don’t like the result, just undo and start over.
  • Export your image as JPEG  (or other format)  with the highest quality.

photo_2017-05-04_11-45-00

 

Yes, I did it on purpose.  I left the easier an more effective for the end.  Choose wisely.