Apple

Playing with the Darwin Calendar Server

Sorry for the lack of posts lately, I've been caught up with school and updating my FOSS on the side whenever I have some spare time.

The server that runs this site as well as diffingo.com and a few others is almost always idle - the load averages rarely exceed 0.5, and are most often sitting somewhere around 0.2 (it's a 1U/Core 2 Quad Q9550@2.83GHz/8GB RAM/2x1TB RAID 1). I have bigger plans for it in the future, but at the moment there just isn't a great deal for it to do since it handles everything so quickly.

I have been wanting to see how KVM VMs perform on it as well as try out the Darwin Calendar Server (DCS)... Seeing as DCS requires Python 2.5 and I didn't want to mess around with the live server's configuration (CentOS 5.x ships with Python 2.4), I installed Fedora 13 in a virtual machine so I could test the calendar server safely.

To my surprise, KVM works really, really well... I wasn't expecting that seeing as the versions I had used in Fedora were so much more recent. The performance is good - I haven't performed any stress-testing yet (which obviously will show a gap between the VM and running natively) but the DCS is running very smoothly and feels very responsive, so I'm confident that the difference in performance is not so large.

How I got the DCS running on Linux is a whole other story... I'll save that another post (F13/F14 DCS installation guides coming soon) but is it ever handy to have a CalDAV server! Previously, I was only able to sync calendars manually (with the USB cable) which made checking for homework assignments extremely annoying, as half of the information was always my iPod and the other half on iCal and I had to sync all the time. Now it's all over-the-air, so as long as there's Internet connectivity the calendar events can be pulled in or pushed out.

Fixing the iTunes 10 badness

I think many will agree that iTunes 10 was more of a marketing ploy than anything else... I found that iTunes 10.0 was worse than 9.x, primarily because of the "traffic light" style buttons in the window corner and graystyle icons. That was bearable though, and then the update to 10.0.1 came along made things even worse. No more Genius sidebar, and obnoxious "Ping" buttons every time a song is selected.

So I went on a quest to fix it, and found these commands on various forum threads and blogs:

(If you are unsure how to run these commands, quit iTunes and open Application > Utilities > Terminal. Copy/paste these commands in, hitting <Enter> after each to execute it.)

defaults write com.apple.iTunes hide-ping-dropdown 1
Disables the obnoxious "Ping" drop-down menu I mentioned earlier.

defaults write com.apple.iTunes show-store-link-arrows -bool TRUE
Restores the store arrow links present when a song is selected in 10.0 and earlier.

defaults write com.apple.iTunes disablePingSidebar 1
Disables the ping sidebar. Sadly, I haven't found a way to re-enable the Genius sidebar.

defaults write com.apple.iTunes full-window -boolean YES
Puts iTunes in "full window" mode, removing the traffic light window controls.

Now, the last thing is to restore color in iTunes. To do this, download the iTunes.rsrc file linked to in comment #7 on this thread. Next, right-click on iTunes in the Applications folder and select Show Folder Contents. Inside the Contents/Resources folder, copy the downloaded iTunes.rsrc file and opt to replace existing files when prompted. Restart iTunes and you should have coloured icons!

Note: If you're reading this but you're running iTunes on Windows, a user on Apple Discussions has posted how to do the same on Windows.

Some hidden gems in the iTunes 9 visualizer

It's more or less well known that the stunning visualizer in iTunes 9 is actually a modified version of The Barbarian Group's Magnetosphere. I recently downloaded a copy of the original magnetosphere visualizer, and one thing I enjoyed was the ability to control the amount and intensity of the particles (the glowing, moving dots). The following is displayed in the visualizer's help screen:

+/- Increase or decrease the intensity
A/S Add or Subtract particles (100 at a time)

While these commands are not listed in the help screen of the official iTunes version of the visualizer, to my surprise I found that they still work! They've proved useful for when the iTunes visualizer seems to get stuck for a bit with one of the big black stars blocking the view.

Installing PHP 5.2.10 on OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard

Since my update to Snow Leopard, I was pleasantly surprised to find that Apple has updated PHP to version 5.3 and also included the GD extension. While I no longer have to rebuild the extension manually like on Leopard, these changes to PHP brought around a different problem: Drupal is currently not compatible with PHP 5.3 (#360605).

I've been trying to get my local Drupal installations working, and although the patch from post #84 works pretty well (when applied to a D6 CVS checkout), Ubercart is still nonfunctional. Since I am currently building and testing Ubercart-enabled sites, my only remaining option was to downgrade to PHP 5.2.10. I wanted to have the same extensions and options that Apple's PHP 5.3 build had, so I started by viewing the output of phpinfo() and copying the configure command. To compile PHP, locally installed copies of libpng, libjpeg and pcre are required so let's started with that:

  1. (Like in the Leopard tutorial, I assume you have installed the Xcode & related developer utilities and that all downloads are saved in the "Downloads" folder in your home). Visit the libpng, libjpeg and PCRE homepages and download the latest release available for both. As of writing, the most recent releases are libjpeg 7, libpng 1.2.39 and PCRE 7.9.
  2. Compile libpng and libjpeg statically:
    cd ~/Downloads && tar xfz libpng-1.2.39.tar.gz
    cd libpng-1.2.39
    ./configure --disable-shared --enable-static
    make && make install DESTDIR=`pwd`/localinstall

    cd ~/Downloads && tar xfz jpegsrc.v7.tar.gz
    cd jpeg-7
    ./configure --disable-shared --enable-static
    make && make install DESTDIR=`pwd`/localinstall

    cd ~/Downloads && tar xfj pcre-7.9.tar.bz2
    cd pcre-7.9
    ./configure --disable-shared --enable-static
    make && make install DESTDIR=`pwd`/localinstall

  3. Since PHP will be built with MySQL support, download and install MySQL x86_64 for OS X. As of writing, the latest version is 5.1.38.
  4. Download PHP 5.2.10, available here
  5. Next, PHP needs to be prepared for compilation. As detailed in PHP bug #49267, a small change is required to get PHP to compile on Snow Leopard:
    1. Type in the terminal:
      cd ~/Downloads && tar xfj php-5.2.10.tar.bz2
      cd php-5.2.10
      nano ext/iconv/iconv.c
    2. Skip down to line 185 (Tip: <ctrl+c> shows current line)
    3. Remove the lib on #define iconv libiconv so that the code reads like this:
      #ifdef HAVE_LIBICONV
      #define iconv iconv
      #endif
    4. Hit <ctrl+o> and to save the file
    5. Hit <ctrl+x> to quit nano
  6. Now, PHP is ready for compilation. We will use a configure command relatively similar to the command extracted from phpinfo() earlier:
    ./configure '--prefix=/usr' '--mandir=/usr/share/man' '--infodir=/usr/share/info' '--disable-dependency-tracking' '--sysconfdir=/private/etc' '--with-apxs2=/usr/sbin/apxs' '--enable-cli' '--with-config-file-path=/etc' '--with-libxml-dir=/usr' '--with-openssl=/usr' '--with-kerberos=/usr' '--with-zlib=/usr' '--enable-bcmath' '--with-bz2=/usr' '--enable-calendar' '--with-curl=/usr' '--enable-exif' '--enable-ftp' '--with-gd' '--with-jpeg-dir=/Users/shortname/Downloads/jpeg-7/localinstall/usr/local' '--with-png-dir=/Users/shortname/Downloads/libpng-1.2.39/localinstall/usr/local' '--enable-gd-native-ttf' '--with-ldap=/usr' '--with-ldap-sasl=/usr' '--enable-mbstring' '--enable-mbregex' '--with-mysql=/usr/local/mysql/' '--with-mysqli=/usr/local/mysql/bin/mysql_config' '--with-mysql-sock=/tmp/mysql.sock' '--with-iodbc=/usr' '--enable-shmop' '--with-snmp=/usr' '--enable-soap' '--enable-sockets' '--enable-sysvmsg' '--enable-sysvsem' '--enable-sysvshm' '--with-xmlrpc' '--with-xsl=/usr' '--with-pcre-regex=/Users/shortname/Downloads/pcre-7.9/localinstall/usr/local'

    EXTRA_CFLAGS="-lresolv" make -j2

    Remember to replace shortname in /Users/shortname to your system account's shortname. If you're not sure what that is, type whoami in a terminal to find out.

  7. Finally, backup Snow Leopard's PHP extension so that PHP 5.3 can be restored later, and copy the PHP 5.2.10 extension in its place:
    sudo mv /usr/libexec/apache2/libphp5.so /usr/libexec/apache2/libphp5.so.orig106
    sudo cp libs/libphp5.so /usr/libexec/apache2/libphp5.so
  8. The final step is to restart Apache - this can be done by toggling Web Sharing in System Preferences, or alternatively via the apachectl command:
    sudo apachectl restart
  9. That's all! Now run phpinfo() and verify that PHP 5.2.10 is up & running. While I was trying to get this working, I stumbled accross two compile errors - for the sake of completeness, I've listed them below along with the failure cause:

    1. This error occurs if EXTRA_CFLAGS="-lresolv" is not used while compiling PHP:

      Undefined symbols:
        "_res_9_dn_expand", referenced from:
            _zif_dns_get_mx in dns.o
        "_res_9_search", referenced from:
            _zif_dns_get_mx in dns.o
            _zif_dns_check_record in dns.o
        "_res_9_dn_skipname", referenced from:
            _zif_dns_get_mx in dns.o
            _zif_dns_get_mx in dns.o
      ld: symbol(s) not found
      symbols:
        "_res_9_dn_expand", referenced from:
            _zif_dns_get_mx in dns.o
        "_res_9_search", referenced from:
            _zif_dns_get_mx in dns.o
            _zif_dns_check_record in dns.o
        "_res_9_dn_skipname"collect2: , referenced from:
            ld returned 1 exit status_zif_dns_get_mx
      in dns.o
            _zif_dns_get_mx in dns.o
      ld: symbol(s) not found
      collect2: ld returned 1 exit status
    2. This error occurs if the #define iconv libiconv is not changed to #define iconv iconv
      Undefined symbols:
        "_libiconv", referenced from:
            __php_iconv_strlen in iconv.o
            _php_iconv_string in iconv.o
            _php_iconv_string in iconv.o
            __php_iconv_strpos in iconv.o
            __php_iconv_appendl in iconv.o
            __php_iconv_appendl in iconv.o
            _zif_iconv_substr in iconv.o
            _zif_iconv_mime_encode in iconv.o
            _zif_iconv_mime_encode in iconv.o
            _zif_iconv_mime_encode in iconv.o
            _zif_iconv_mime_encode in iconv.o
            _zif_iconv_mime_encode in iconv.o
            _zif_iconv_mime_encode in iconv.o
            _php_iconv_stream_filter_append_bucket in iconv.o
            _php_iconv_stream_filter_append_bucket in iconv.o
      ld: symbol(s) not found
      collect2: ld returned 1 exit status

Boot Camp 3.0 + Windows XP Service Pack 3 = installation error

Seeing as I completely reformatted my MacBook Pro's hard disk, I also had to reinstall Windows via Boot Camp 3.0 today. Everything went well, however when the time came to install Service Pack 3 (my copy of XP is an SP2 OEM disc), I received an odd error I had never seen before:

An error occured while copying file osloader.ntd.  Cannot copy file to destination directory.  Click Retry to retry the operation or click Cancel.

A Google revealed that this error is caused by an Apple's new HFS+ drivers for Windows, as detailed here. Simply following the instructions and renaming the driver fixes the problem. After installing SP3, I restored the HFS+ driver to it's original state and all is well.