Year: 2010

Java browser plugin on Ubuntu 10.04

Since a while (I think since I upgraded my Linux installation from Ubuntu 9.10 to 10.04), my Mozilla Firefox (3.6.3) did not recognize the Java plugin anymore. The interesting learning is that this does not really affect day-to-day internet usage – even though I am regularly browsing through the web, I noticed the missing applet functionality only very seldom, and it has never been a blocker for me in the last couple of months. I never really liked Java applets on web pages, and it seems that this technique has now almost been superseeded by other technologies like flash. Nevertheless, yesterday I was forced to make the Java browser plugin work on my installation because the german postal service DHL requires it for printing out stamps. Earlier they used a scripted PDF document which could be printed with Acrobat reader and which connected to the DHL web site to ensure it is printed only once, but due to customer complaints they switched to a Java applet based solution (at least, the PDF approach also worked in Linux 😉 ) So, I did two things to make the Java plugin work again:

  • Ubuntu has removed the SUN (now aka Oracle) java packages from their repository. Since I suspected an installation issue, I installed the current JDK from the Oracle web site (Ubuntu now only contains OpenJDK, but I do not yet have experience with it)
  • Installing the JDK was not sufficient. Additionally, I had to link /etc/alternatives/ to the library below the jre/lib/i386/ directory, instead of the library below the jre/plugin/i386/ns7 directory.
This finally made the browser plugin work.

Installing “old” software

At least on Debian, its easy: simply use in the sources.list configuration file, like

deb sarge main contrib non-free deb-src sarge main contrib non-free

and you have access to old Debian releases, even when they are not officially maintained anymore.

New piece of hardware

For some (smartphone related) project, I need wireless network access to do a proof of concept. In addition, I wanted to be able to work with the laptop also at other places in the house, not only on my desk, and I also wanted to get rid of the network cable. So it was time to get some wireless access point. After some research on the web, I found that the Linksys WRT54GL router had very good ratings. One advantage of this router is that the firmware can be replaced with some open source firmware which adds extended capabilites.

It was really easy to setup the router, yet two special things had to be considered:

  • The default router IP address is But in my network, this address is already assigned to the existing primary router. So, the first thing was to connect the WRT54G router to a PC through one of the four normal router LAN ports, and then reconfigure the router address.
  • Then, unfortunately the quick start guide only describes how to connect the router to a broadband modem (through the WAN port). When used as access point “only”, the approach is a littlebit different: simply connect the router through one of the four normal router ports to the network. There is no crossover cable necessary, the router automatically detects that it is connected to a switch or hub and configures the port accordingly.

After these small problems have been solved, the router could be configured and I was able to test the new cable free world 🙂