PSA – Use ‘SNA’ if you are on optimus

"Optimus" is the tech where your laptop has an Intel AND an Nvidia card, the amount of problems this can cause are more than the sum of the parts on Linux. Trying to run apps on the Nvidia card had all sorts of issues until I switched the intel card on 'SNA' ("the successor to UXA"). It seems like every few years intel changes how their graphics cards work, and the new hotness is SNA. Before this, glitches included black windows, and apps just freezing until I resized their windows, or if you ran more than one GL app. As per the answer here at add the following to your /etc/X11/xorg.conf
Section "Device"
 Identifier "Intel Graphics"
 Driver "intel"
 Option "AccelMethod" "sna"
I'm not sure it's entirely problem free, I have had one or two logouts, but at least I can run more than one instance of my own app without random freezing and glitching.   [EDIT] It turns out I'm still getting glitchyness and lockups running on intel, at least running things on the Nvidia card with DRI_PRIME=1 works though. [/EDIT]  

Access files in a Linux virtual machine from Windows

I recently found a neat way of accessing files in a linux VMWare image.   This is really useful, as theres never really a good time to break your VMWare image, this is also handy if you don't want to run the whole machine, but just access the files inside. There is one caveat:
  • It only works if the filesystem is ext2 (ext3 works, and ext4 probably works).

Install VMWare DiskMount Utility

Accept the EULA, download and install the VMWare DiskMount utility. For convenience add the utilities folder to the path:
C:\Program Files\VMware\VMware DiskMount Utility
Do this through the Windows Gui, or even use my addpath utility.
At this point you can mount Windows VMWare images. The usage is:  vmware-mount drive-letter vmdk-image. Heres how I mount my Ubuntu image to the j: drive
[C:\vmware\Ubuntu]vmware-mount j: ubuntu.vmdk
No output here indicates success. At this point everything seems fine, but a crucial piece of the puzzle is still missing; try and view the files and you still can't:

Failing to see files in an ext2 VMWare image

The next step is to make Windows understand the ext2 filesystem, using a special driver.

Install ext2ifs

Grab ext2ifs from and install. If the following steps don't work then you may need to reboot.

Thats it!

You should be now able to access files inside your VMWare image (assuming it's ext2 and not reiserfs), remount the image and have a go: In my case I did:
[C:\vmware\Ubuntu]vmware-mount j: ubuntu.vmdk
[C:\vmware\Ubuntu] dir j:
Heres the output - hooray, I can copy my work out of the image !

Viewing files inside a VMWare image with ext2fs

This is very useful, especially if you do dist-upgrade in ubuntu and can't access the network.

Bonus tip:

Newer versions of VMWare player let you install VMWare tools from inside the GUI, this is another way to fix the kind of catestrophic problems you can cause yourself by accidentally upgrading the kernel in an image.

Date for wine 1.0 release announced

The Wine project has been going since 1993, and has got to the point where a large percentage of windows programs run well in linux. A perennial question is when 1.0 will be released, excitingly it looks like this will be sooner than we thought - as seen from their mailing list today:

Paul Vriens < at ??????> writes:

> Just noticed that the dates attached to the versions on
> are not correct.
> 0.9.58 came out on March 21st.
> Does this mean we still stick to May 9th or do we stick to 0.9.61 as being
> 1.0.0.rc1?

We should stick to May 9th, we'll just have to wait for this date to
coincide with a release. If my calculations are right this should be
release 0.9.218 on May 9th, 2014. Hopefully we can clear the 1.0 bug
list by then.

Alexandre Julliard