Friday, May 30, 2008

Fix for Netatalk nbp_rgstr: Connection timedout error

So, I had been playing around with VMWare Server in my Gutsy installation and when I restarted, my Netatalk daemon was failing with an error: nbp_rgstr: Connection timedout.

Luckily, I found this old forum post, which had the solution: Just go into your atalkd.conf file and uncomment the line that says eth0.

I'll walk you through it:

Open a terminal, then type:
sudo nano /etc/netatalk/atalkd.conf
Then delete the # sign in front of the word 'eth0'. Pretty simple!

Apparently, netatalk will just bind to whatever network interface is laying around, so it can sometimes get confused and bind to the crippled one used by VMWare Server. This fix just tells it to look for eth0 from now on instead of picking one willy-nilly.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

CPU-optimized Backend for gHandBrake

Edit: The original author of gHandBrake's site appears to be down and I haven't heard from him since I submitted code to add most of the advanced x264 options to the interface, so I decided to offer my updated version right here (64-bit binary plus source code) until further notice. If you need to compile it for a 32-bit system, I have a list of dependencies for HandBrake here, and precompiled binaries of Yasm Debian/Ubuntu systems here. If you have any problems with any of it, just let me know in the comments and I'll try to help.

You can also download the unmodified gHandBrake (fewer features, but more stable) here. This package includes both the source tarball and a precompiled 64-bit deb binary for Ubuntu/Debian users.

Original post: I've been trying out gHandBrake, the excellent new GTK frontend for HandBrake. It's very early in development, so it doesn't have many of the advanced options--such as advanced x264 options--implemented yet but it seems quite solid and will eventually be a great replacement for HandBrakeGTK/RippedWire, which is basically just an incomplete port of the Windows GUI (of note, HandBrakeGTK does not actually pass advanced x264 options to the commandline).

Unfortunately, the precompiled binaries offered by the author do not appear to utilize HandBrake's processor-specific optimizations, so I decided to offer an optimized 64-bit build of the backend that would:
Download link

To use it, just download and extract, then replace the old ghandbrake-backend with the newer version. In a console, you would type (assuming it was extracted to your desktop):
sudo mv -f ~/Desktop/ghandbrake-backend /usr/bin
Since switching to the updated backend, my average encoding speed went from ~40 fps to ~115 fps, but YMMV.

Of course, if you compiled gHandBrake yourself from source, you would already have the optimizations included as long as you had the yasm assembler installed when you compiled. If you want to go this route, I have a precompiled yasm binary that recognizes SSE3 instructions in my previous post.

Please leave me a comment if you have any questions or concerns.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

HandBrake 0.9.2 and yasm 0.7.1 precompiled deb binary for 64-bit linux

Update (5/15/09): The binaries on this page are woefully out of date, but I have working binaries built from the latest code available in my PPA repository. Directions for adding it to your package manager are available here.

Download: HandBrakeCLI-AMD64 0.9.2 (Thanks Alexander!)
Download: yasm-AMD64 0.7.1
yasm-i386_0.7.1 (it's in a tarball, but the deb is inside)

I just got finished doing some building for HandBrakeCLI. They used to provide a precompiled 64-bit binary on the official site, but they've stopped for some unknown reason, so I decided to provide a copy of my own.

This binary doesn't need to be installed. Just navigate to the directory that contains it and type
followed by any desired options (for more information on using the command line with HandBrake, visit the HandBrake wiki).

One of the biggest pains in compiling HandBrake (other than the lack of a comprehensive list of dependencies) is the fact that, to get the most out of HandBrake's processor-specific optimizations, you have to have the yasm assembler installed. Unfortunately, the version in Ubuntu's repos only supports instructions up to SSE2.

To correct this, I had to download and compile a newer version of yasm (namely 0.7.0) before I built HandBrake. Once I got that going, HandBrake recognized my cpu's extensions and accelerated the encoding speed to approximately 3.5-4x faster than the stock, non-yasm compile.

This binary should recognize any extensions present on my cpu: an AMD X-2 4000+ cpu, which has all the usual goodies up to SSE3 (so you fancy-pants core2duo users are out of luck on the SSSE3). Edit: A fella named Alexander was kind enough to supply a build with additional support for SSSE3 and Cache_64. Thanks Alexander!

My binaries include the original source code, which I have not modified. If you have any problems with them, please leave a comment or drop me an email and I'll see if I can correct the problem.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Hardy Never Worked, So I'm Back On Gutsy

As awesome as Hardy is, I could never get those damned random freezes I mentioned in my last post to stop, so I had to default back to Gutsy.

Fortunately, there were a few things I learned about integrating with Mac OS X 10.5 Leopard while fiddling with my Hardy install that are perfectly applicable in Gutsy, including screen sharing and networking with Netatalk.

Screen sharing was surprisingly easy to set up. Simply install xtightvncviewer from the repos:
sudo aptitude install xtightvncviewer
This should get make your Linux box accessible from your Leopard box, and you can also use it to control your Mac from Linux by typing into a linux terminal:
xtightvncviewer your.Mac's.IP.Here
You will likely have to enter some sort of password to gain access. There are also some command line options you can use to optimize your experience, which you can see by typing:
xtightvncviewer -help
If you plan on using screen sharing often from your Mac, you should consider adding a link to the program to your Dock. It's just a regular program located at /System/Library/CoreServices/Screen

On to networking:

I had previously used Samba to network my Macs with my Gutsy/Hardy box because I had always heard it was the easiest method. This simply isn't true. All it takes to get things going using Mac-native networking is to bring up a terminal and type:
sudo aptitude install netatalk
If you're on Leopard, you will run into the issue of it not liking cleartext passwords, which the Netatalk version from the Ubuntu repos happens to use. To fix this, you can either do it the hard way: by recompiling a new version of Netatalk from source with a special option enabled, or you can do it the easy way: by jumping on your Leopard machine and open up a Terminal and type (all on one line, courtesy of a commenter at
defaults write
afp_cleartext_allow -bool true
Now Leopard will happily communicate with the standard Netatalk from the repos. As a word of caution: this method is less secure than the 'hard way,' but I just needed it for my home network, so it's not a big deal to me.

If you want shares to be accessible to your Mac from your Ubuntu box, you'll have to add them to the end of the file /etc/netatalk/AppleVolumes.default (ex. /media/sda1 at the very bottom of the file) and then restart netatalk by typing into a terminal:
sudo /etc/init.d/netatalk restart

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