Tales from beyond the .network


MSYS2: SSH authentication with PuTTY’s pageant

With ‘pageant’, the popular SSH client PuTTY provides a convenient tool for using SSH keys as authentication method. After loading all desired SSH keys into pageant, PuTTY is able to use those keys automatically for further authentication attempts.

Besides PuTTY itself, other applications are able to use pagent. Some programs like WinSCP and FileZilla provide pageant support out of the box, in some other cases, support for pageant needs to get added separately.

Running Windows, I use MSYS2 as my development environment of choice. Contrary to WSL (at least if we don’t want to use cross compilation), it’s easily possible to compile native Win32 binaries with GCC while preservice the ‘look and feel’ of a standard ‘Linux shell’.

From time to time, it’s neat to be able to use SSH, scp or rsync from within a MSYS2 session. It would be even better if we could use the SSH keys that are loaded into pageant anyways for this.


Using Snap Packages in Gentoo

One of the main advantages of snap packages is the possibility to use them not only on one Linux distribution like ‘traditional’ packages, but on a wide variety of distributions without having to modify or rebuild them. Many distributions provide the necessary snapd daemon in their repositories.

It is entirely possible to use snap packages with Gentoo too, even though we need to meet some specific prerequisites and do some tinkering. On the other hand, even building new snap packages with snapcraft and multipass or LXD will be possible afterwards. Since snapd is not available in Gentoo’s official portage tree, we use the overlay maintained by Jesse “zigford” Harris.


Creating a ScummVM Engine for The Clue!

A couple of months ago, I (somehow) initiated a new project: Creating a ScummVM engine for the game ‘The Clue!’, originally released in 1994.

‘The Clue!’, originally known as ‘Der Clou!’, was developed and published by the Austrian games studio ‘neo Software Produktions GmbH’. Some sources say that the game was published by ‘Max Design’, but that’s not really certain. However, we know for sure that the UK release was published by ‘Kompart UK’.


More Sheep: ScummVM 2.1.1 is here!

A couple of days ago, the ScummVM Team officially released ScummVM 2.1.1, codenamed “:More Sheep:”. This new release includes several improvements and a large amount of bugfixes. Not only the game engines, but also the ScummVM GUI and networking stack received improvements. Let’s have a closer look at the updates that were made for ScummVM 2.1.1.

Amongst other things, the developers fixed a bug that could lead to a crash when switching between certain languages in the GUI. Additionally, changes made to the options dialog won’t be erroneously saved when the dialog is left using the ESC key.


Manjaro: Fixing the screen resolution in VMware

Due to a bug in current versions of Manjaro, it is not possible to change the screen resolution if Manjaro is running as a VMware guest. Neither changing the resolution manually nor using the “Fit Guest Now” option is working correctly. Since the screen resolution is pinned to 800×600 pixels, it’s almost impossible to properly use the VM. I was able to reproduce the issue with my VM running Manjaro with the KDE desktop.


Official kernel packages for Gentoo?

In comparison to other Linux distributions, Gentoo handles kernel installations and upgrades quite differently. While other distributions deploy new kernel release over their package management, Gentoo only packages the kernel sources. It’s up to the user to compile and install the kernel in a second step. Gentoo developer Michał Górny is about to change that with the introcution of an official Gentoo kernel.

Traditionally, configuring and installing the kernel is done either manually or simplified by using genkernel. While configuring the own kernel allows a high level of adjustment to the hardware in use or to specific workloads, genkernel creates a more “generic” kernel.


Updating my ScummVM build server

Since a few months I’m running my own build server for the Windows versions of ScummVM. Originally, the server was intended to replace my previous toolchain based on MSYS2 and to provide self-contained (avoiding DLL hell) and continuously updated Win32 binaries.

In the meantime, this project evolved quite a bit. Currently, the official Windows versions of ScummVM as well as the Nightly Builds are built by this server. As you can imagine, the term “experimental” doesn’t really fit anymore, even though I’m still referring to this server as my staging environment.


Redirect multiple domains to the same website

Over the last couple of years, I aquired a nice collection of various domains. Since I only keep them for historical purposes, I decided to redirect all domains to this blog domain. Usually, you can achieve such a redirection by simply pointing all your domains to the same virtual host within your webserver configuration in case you are using WordPress. However, this won’t work when using some caching plugins. Some .htaccess magic will help though.


Apache2: mod_autoindex and UTF-8

For my ScummVM nightly server, I’m using the apache2 module mod_autoindex. I noticed that – even though I enabled UTF-8 support in the apache configuration – one vHost was still served with ISO-8859 encoding.

The problem is that the autoindex module simply ignores the global charset settings. Instead, it insists on using ISO-8859 for the vHost without further configuration.

In order to enable UTF-8 for sites generated by mod_autoindex, the parameter Charset=UTF-8 must be added to the IndexOptions of the specific vHost configuration.