How to not open a PDF with GIMP

Some tools such as the command-line email client neomutt can launch graphical applications. In order to select which application for which file, mutt uses the mailcap system, provided by the mime-support package.

mailcap gets its default informations from two sources: some files installed by packages distributing the applications in either /usr/lib/mime/packages in mailcap format or in /usr/share/applications in FreeDesktop format. The Debian Policy specifies that the packages that provide informations in the FreeDesktop format refrain from repeat them in mailcap format (9.7.2).

The GIMP image editor declares its capacity to open PDF files in the file /usr/share/applications/gimp.desktop. GNOME's default PDF reader, Evince, declares this in /usr/share/applications/org.gnome.Evince.desktop. Desktop environments that follow the FreeDesktop standard have access to extra informations that give the priority to Evince. The mailcap system does not access them and gives the priority to alphabetic order. Therefore when one opens a PDF with mutt, it opens with GIMP, which is not convenient.

Fortunately, mailcap is easy to configure. In order to change the priority for one's personal account, one just has to copy the evince entry that is found in /etc/mailcap and place it into $HOME/.mailcap. For instance (but beware, it is simplistic):

grep evince /etc/mailcap >> $HOME/.mailcap

edited on feb. 28th to add $HOME to the example.

... meanwhile, in the BTS

An while people still debate about legitimate aggression in our mailing lists, we still get offensive bug reports via the BTS...

I voted

While the vote on init systems was being prepared, I thought about proposing an option telling that this vote is not necessary, and reminding that general resolutions should be used with parcimony, like in 2014. However, I then remembered that a) Sam was elected on a platform proposing more votes, and b) I proposed something similar in the elections in 2010...

Nevertheless, I am crushed under the number of options. Their texts are long, sometimes very similar, and do not separate clearly the normative from the preambles. Like in a parody of the dysfunctions of modern democracies, I ended up considering only the proposals written or seconded by people with whom I feel in phase. I have not voted for the others, which ranks them equally under « further discussion ».

Inbox zero

I accidentally erased all the emails in my inbox. This is very easy with mutt. I have some experience in recovering files, but last time I did, it was not so useful in the end. So please send me a reminder if you were expecting some answer from me!

On how useful are R packages in Debian

Debian distributes the R language for statistical analysis, data mining or bioinformatics (among others). Satellite to R are hundreds of packages (kind of function libraries), mostly distributed by CRAN and Bioconductor, which contribute a lot to the richness and versatility of the R ecosystem. Debian redistributes some of these packages in the Debian format. Like in all similar cases of "redistribution of a distribution", there is a tension between Debian's goals for its stable version, and the expectations of novelty for the users (in part because the development cycle of R is 6 months), and one sometimes wonder if there is a point for using the packages through Debian and not through the upstream repositories.

Today, after installing a minimal system in a "schroot" container, I installed a R package and all its dependencies natively, that is by downloading their sources through the R command line, which made me wait for 90 minutes until everything compiles, while the R packages redistributed in Debian are already compiled. 90 minutes of compilation for 10 minutes of work; 90 minutes of waiting that I could have avoided with a couple of well-chosen "apt install" commands. Thus, many thanks to all who maintain R packages in Debian!

I moved to Okinawa!

I moved with my family to Okinawa in August, in the Akano neighborhood in the Uruma city. We arrived on time to see a bunch of eisaa, traditional dances using lots for drums, that often take place at the end of August. Each neighborhood has its own band and we hope we can join next year.

We live in a concrete building with a shared optic fiber connection. It has a good ping to the mainland, but the speed for big downloads is catastrophic in the evenings, when all families are using the fiber at the same time. Impossible to manage a simple sbuild-update -dragu unstable, and I could not contribute anything to Debian since them. It is frustrating; however there might be solutions through our GitLab forge.

On the work side, I joined the Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology Graduate University (OIST). It is a formidable place, open to the public even on week-end (note the opening hours of the café). If you come visit, please let me know!

Print with Brother from Debian

I ran into circles for more than one hour, before eventually understanding that one needs to install the lib32stdc++6 package in order to use the Brother drivers (HL-L2365DW printer) on an amd64 system, since they are provided as i386 packages. Only after, I realised that there was more than a hint in the online instructions. The hardest part was that without lib32stdc++6, everything seemed to work fine, except that nothing was coming out from the printer.

Still not going to Debconf....

I was looking forward to this year's Debconf in Taiwan, the first in Asia, and the perspective of attending it with no jet lag, but I happen to be moving to Okinawa and changing jobs on August 1st, right at the middle of it...

Moving is a mixed feeling of happiness and excitation for what I am about to find, and melancholy about what and whom I am about to leave. But flights to Tôkyô and Yokohama are very affordable.

Special thanks to the Tôkyô Debian study group, where I got my GPG key signed by Debian developers a long time ago :)