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Enable and disable window dimming in KDE

When I make changes in OpenStreetMap, I often need to extract the object colour from a picture or a video, as example for a building, bench or a roof. This collides with a feature in KDE which I really like: Dim Inactive Windows.

The setting is in the KDE settings, under Desktop Effects -> Dim Inactive. As the name implies, it dims (makes them a bit more dark) all non-active windows - which makes it visually clear which window is currently active. Quite useful.

For picking a colour from a picture/video I'm using KColorChooser, which provides the colour in Hex code - exactly what I need in OSM.

However when KColorChooser is the active window, and all other windows are dimmed, it extracts the wrong colour from the picture/video - the colour which is already dimmed. Not what I need. Therefore when I do OSM edits, I temporarily disable this feature.

At first I went into the KDE settings, twice, but this is too many clicks. Then I figured out the commandline arguments to disable and enable this feature.

Disable "Dim Inactive":

kwriteconfig5 --file kwinrc --group Plugins --key diminactiveEnabled false
qdbus org.kde.KWin /KWin reconfigure

Enable "Dim Inactive":

kwriteconfig5 --file kwinrc --group Plugins --key diminactiveEnabled false
qdbus org.kde.KWin /KWin reconfigure

Now all I need to do is execute a small script which is in my personal ~/bin directory. Let the edits continue.

Note: I wish JOSM would have an integrated video player which also allows to pick colours. But so far I haven't found any such plugin.

How to configure notifications in Icinga2 Director

I'm using Icinga2 for a long time, but recently installed a new system and using Director for the first time. I know how to configure notifications in Icinga2 config files, but getting them working in Director (with Director options only) is a bit of a challenge.

Here is a step-by-step to get simple mail notifications working. From there it should be easier to configure more advanced notifications.

 

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Find fire stations in OpenStreetMap using Overpass Turbo

My kid got a new project: find fire stations. Google Maps is not really helpful here, obviously. And searching in the OpenStreetMap web interface is also a lot of work. But Overpass Turbo is able to find all the places.

 

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GSoC 2021 completed

The Google Summer of Code 2021 for the PostgreSQL Project is wrapped up. The timeline this year was shortened to half, compared to previous years. That’s good, because smaller projects can be worked on, and students have a chance to cope with a changing environment at home and university. On the other hand, the shorter time doesn’t allow diving into more complex projects. Nevertheless, with the help of all mentors, six students successfully concluded their projects.

 

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Avoid linebreaks in Hugo shortcodes

Shortcodes in Hugo are a neat and poweful system to avoid repating the same piece of text over and over again. Let's say I have the following text:

Nunc in odio id magna molestie congue. Donec erat nulla, pulvinar eget volutpat non, molestie at nisi. Curabitur nec tristique felis. Cras imperdiet, ante et vestibulum iaculis, tellus ipsum pulvinar felis, at viverra est tellus et eros. In nec dignissim lectus, bibendum hendrerit ex. Praesent lobortis eget justo non vehicula.

Nulla et neque cursus libero tristique laoreet nec a ligula. Fusce sit “amet” scelerisque erat. Quisque lorem lectus, lobortis vitae mattis non, tincidunt sed felis. Donec sit “amet” erat nibh.

Orci varius natoque penatibus et magnis dis parturient montes, nascetur ridiculus mus. In et imperdiet dui. In ut enim pharetra, blandit purus vel, malesuada est. Morbi sollicitudin eget leo nec dignissim. Praesent sed leo quis purus pretium aliquet sed quis arcu. Pellentesque facilisis tellus nulla, dignissim laoreet quam maximus et.

And I want to link the "amet" word, then I can create a shortcode:

layouts/shortcodes/amet.html

And in this shortcode I place the text:

<a href="https://www.lipsum.com/feed/html">amet</a>

In the Markdown source this is:

Nulla et neque cursus libero tristique laoreet nec a ligula. Fusce sit "{{< amet >}}" scelerisque erat. Quisque lorem lectus, lobortis vitae mattis non, tincidunt sed felis. Donec sit "{{< amet >}}" erat nibh.

Pretty easy. However Hugo by default does a little bit too much: while generating the static content, it adds a line break. Which in the browser results in:

Nulla et neque cursus libero tristique laoreet nec a ligula. Fusce sit “amet ” scelerisque erat. Quisque lorem lectus, lobortis vitae mattis non, tincidunt sed felis. Donec sit “amet ” erat nibh.
                                                                            ^                                                                                                         ^

There is a nasty little space between the word and the quotation mark. The generated HTML source shows the problem:

  <p>Nunc in odio id magna molestie congue. Donec erat nulla, pulvinar eget volutpat non, molestie at nisi. Curabitur nec tristique felis. Cras imperdiet, ante et vestibulum iaculis, tellus ipsum pulvinar felis, at viverra est tellus et eros. In nec dignissim lectus, bibendum hendrerit ex. Praesent lobortis eget justo non vehicula.</p>
<p>Nulla et neque cursus libero tristique laoreet nec a ligula. Fusce sit &ldquo;<a href="https://www.lipsum.com/feed/html">amet</a>
&rdquo; scelerisque erat. Quisque lorem lectus, lobortis vitae mattis non, tincidunt sed felis. Donec sit &ldquo;<a href="https://www.lipsum.com/feed/html">amet</a>
&rdquo; erat nibh.</p>

Usually a line break in HTML is not a big deal, the browsers deal with that. But here an unnecessary space is added while rendering the content. Hugo makes it complicated to avoid this problem. There is no default setting to turn this off, however the shortcode can have an extra Hugo tag to avoid the training linebreak:

<a href="https://www.lipsum.com/feed/html">amet</a>{{- / Strip trailing newline. / -}}

By adding the {{- -}}, the training line break is not included in the final HTML output, and the quotation mark comes right after the shortcode content.

Delete directories recursive on Hetzner Storage Box

Among other external solutions, I store some data on Storage Boxes from Hetzner. The Storage Box allows you to have sub-accounts, so for every server and system storing data there, I use a separate account. For each sub-account, one can select a subdirectory where the data is stored, and the sub-account then can only see this data. The Admin account can see all data, and see all directories.

The usual way I access the Storage Box from other systems is by using sftp protocol from ssh (don't confuse this with the "other" sftp). That's all good, until I remove a sub-account and want to delete the subdirectory with the data. The server doesn't know "rm -r" for recursive deletion, which means I have to traverse into every directory, delete all files, then delete the empty directories. And the encrypted backup I'm using is creating plenty of subdirectories.

Or I find a better tool.

 

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PostgreSQL Project @ GSoC 2021

Wow! The PostgreSQL Project got all 7 proposals accepted into Google Summer of Code 2021!

This year Google changed the participation terms a bit, and cut the time for the students in half. This is supposed to help students who can’t work full-time from home, especially in light of the global pandemic situation. It also means smaller projects, which are easier to handle even for students new to the project.

The PostgreSQL project got a great number of initial applications (29), and we talked with many of the students about refining their proposals. 27 out of the 29 applications were finally submitted by the students. Some are duplicates, some are clearly just copied from somewhere, but many propose good ideas.

After talking with available mentors, and “recruiting” a few more, we settled on 7 final applications, and submitted them to Google.

As usual many of the proposals are not directly developing code for core PostgreSQL, but work on tools and applications from the PostgreSQL ecosystem. Expect some great output over the following months.
 

Ansible and string comparisation for IDs

Was running in a stupid problem where Ansible (version 2.9.x) throws an error when a variable is defined. The Play:

- name: Check if id is defined
  fail:
    msg: "No id defined for {{ inventory_hostname }}!"
  when: id is not defined or id|length == 0

And the error:

TASK [Check if id is defined] *****************************************
fatal: [xxx.xxx.xxx.xxx]: FAILED! => {"msg": "The conditional check 'id is not defined or id|length == 0' failed. The error was: Unexpected templating type error occurred on ({% if id is not defined or id|length == 0 %} True {% else %} False {% endif %}): object of type 'int' has no len()\n\nThe error appears to be in '/path/to/playbook/configuration.yml': line 57, column 7, but may\nbe elsewhere in the file depending on the exact syntax problem.\n\nThe offending line appears to be:\n\n\n    - name: Check if id is defined\n      ^ here\n"}

Ok, it tries to compare an integer, fine. There are two ways to fix this problem:

1: Change the type to a string by updating the inventory:

From:

id=1

to:

id="1"

But this might have other consequences, as the other parts of the Playbook might depend on this being an integer.

2: Compare as string

when: id is not defined or id|string|length == 0

This casts the integer to a string, and then the length() function works.

Ansible, "copy" module and "become"

For testing I did spin up a couple of new virtual (Ubuntu 20.04 LTS) instances, installed PostgreSQL, and wanted to copy over a .sql file to install in the database:

- name: copy files to PostgreSQL data directory
  copy:
    src: "files/{{ item }}"
    dest: "{{ item }}"
    mode: 0700
  become: yes
  become_user: postgres
  loop:
    - file1.sql
    - file2.sql

And ran into a meaningless error message:

TASK [copy files to PostgreSQL data directory] ***********
fatal: [xxx.xxx.xxx.xxx]: FAILED! => {"msg": "Failed to set permissions on the temporary files Ansible needs to create when becoming an unprivileged user (rc: 1, err: chown: changing ownership of '/var/tmp/ansible-tmp-1618521951.848439-176484068031965/': Operation not permitted\nchown: changing ownership of '/var/tmp/ansible-tmp-1618521951.848439-176484068031965/source': Operation not permitted\n}). For information on working around this, see https://docs.ansible.com/ansible/become.html#becoming-an-unprivileged-user"}

 

 

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Make Ansible "postgresql_ping" fail if the database does not exist

Ansible has a very useful module "postgresql_ping" which checks connectivity to the database server. I'm using it in quite a few Playbooks as first step just to ensure that the database server is present - this fails early if there is a problem which otherwise just prevents the rest of the Playbook to work properly.

TASK [Check if database is available]
[WARNING]: PostgreSQL server is unavailable: could not connect to server: No such file or directory         Is the server running locally and accepting         connections on Unix domain socket "/var/run/postgresql/.s.PGSQL.5432"?
fatal: [127.0.0.1]: FAILED! => {"changed": false, "failed_when_result": true, "is_available": false, "server_version": {}}

 

However this module does not check if the database exists, just if the server is reachable. Example Playbook:

- name: Check if database is available
  postgresql_ping:
    db: "testdb"
  become: yes
  become_user: postgres

When I run the Playbook:

TASK [Check if database is available]
[WARNING]: PostgreSQL server is unavailable: FATAL:  database "testdb" does not exist
ok: [127.0.0.1]

 

As you can see, the database "testdb" does not exist. Which for the module is a reason to raise a warning, but not  a reason to fail.

One possible solution is to let this module do it's work, and add a "postgresql_db" call next, which ensures that the database is created. But not every Playbook is supposed to create and populate a database, and has all the required parameters (owner, encoding, template ect) available. Therefore it would be nice if "postgresql_ping" fails early if the database in question doesn't exist. That's possible, with two more lines of code:

- name: Check if database is available
  postgresql_ping:
    db: "testdb"
  become: yes
  become_user: postgres
  register: ping_database
  failed_when: ping_database.warnings is defined

And the Playbook run:

TASK [Check if database is available]
[WARNING]: PostgreSQL server is unavailable: FATAL:  database "testdb" does not exist
fatal: [127.0.0.1]: FAILED! => {"changed": false, "failed_when_result": true, "is_available": false, "server_version": {}}

Together with "any_errors_fatal: True" this ends the entire Playbook early enough before I have to debug the problem later on.