Colors of Noise

Entries from December 2010.

git-buildpackage tip #2: using git-import-dsc --download for quick fix and review
20th December 2010

When reviewing packages from I like to have them under version control so I can easily compare different versions, write patches and clean up autogenerated files. So when looking at a package I do a

git-import-dsc --download

This command first fetches the files via dget from devscripts and then imports the upstream sources onto the upstream branch (upstream by default) and the debian modifications onto the debian branch (master by default). I can then invoke git-buildpackage as usual. Since this works incrementally I can import newer versions into the same repository and use git diff to see the changes.

If I'd like to hack on a random Debian package (say xul-ext-nostalgy) I usually use:

git-import-dsc --download xul-ext-nostalgy

This uses apt-get source to fetch the source package and imports it into git using the same branch layout as described above so I can use all the familiar git commands to generate patches, etc..

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Tags: debian, git.
git-buildpackage tip #1: using gbp-clone to clone a remote repo
18th December 2010

Let's say you want to clone a git repository that has the debian packaging on master and the upstream source is kept on upstream/master (since it tracks upstream's master branch). You can simply use git clone or you can do a

gbp-clone --upstream-branch=upstream/master --pristine-tar git://

This will additionally set up master, upstream/master and pristine-tar to track the corresponding remote branches. There's no --debian-branch option in the above example since master is the default.

If you want to safely update these branches at a later point invoke

gbp-pull --upstream-branch=upstream/master --pristine-tar

from inside the repository. This will only update the branches if they can be fast-forwarded. If the repository has a debian/gbp.conf describing the branch layout a call to


is enough.

Tags: debian, git.
Prepaid GSM/UMTS cards please meet the GNOME Prepaid-manager-applet
6th December 2010

During a trip to Switzerland I needed some internet connectivity for my laptop and so I got myself a prepaid UMTS SIM card. That's a lot cheaper than roaming with the UMTS card from my local provider. NetworkManager worked great: after putting the SIM card into the laptop a dialog popped up asking for the PIN, then selecting the provider, ready to go!

After I used up my prepaid credit things got a bit more rough. The connection was failing for now "obvious" reason. So I put the SIM card into a mobile phone, pulled out the manual that came with the SIM card, found how to check the balance and dialed:


and the mobile phone returned that I didn't have enough credit left. So I got myself a top up code from the next supermarket, dialed:


put the card back into my laptop and could connect again.

That's a bit cumbersome to repeat since you not only have to know the above USSD sequences (those vary between providers) but also need a mobile phone to put the SIM card into. So I added prelimanary USSD support to ModemManager, extended mobile-broadband-provider to support balance top-up information and hacked together a simple prepaid-manager-applet that allows you to check and top-up your prepaid balance right from your GNOME desktop. This needs more work (and a nice icon) but it's basically usable.

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Tags: gnome.

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