Patched Marble Packages for Debian Stretch

The Marble program in Debian stretch has a problem: the API for the interface to Open Street Map search changed, but the Debian version of Marble has not been updated, so the search functionality is broken. I reported this bug in Debian package bug 903491. One individual submitted a patch to the bug report. I downloaded the deb source for this package, added that patch into the deb, and rebuilt the package. For those who do not want to wait for the official fix, the patched marble debs are available here:

( mysteriously does not allow ftp links to be rendered, so you must copy and paste that into you Web browser address bar or your ftp client.)

You’ll need to download all the files that end in “deb”, except the ones with the word “dbgsym” or “dev” which are not required. Then run the command

dpkg -i <packages>

where <packages> is a list of all those package file names exactly, separated by spaces. dpkg -i *.deb might work for you.

When I ran the command, the marble-maps deb did not install, because of a missing dependency. But since the marble-maps package was already installed from the original installation, this did not matter. I started the program, and was able to do searches as normal.

screenshot from 2019-01-07 20-09-03The reason this is important to me is it allows me to do map searches without having to use Web browser application code that I do not trust. (I think though, to submit OSM contributions, you would still need to use the Web browser application.) Also Marble has some nice features like the various map sources that are available.



Snipe-IT Asset Management

I want to promote a free software asset management system (marketed as Open Source). This is of interest to free software advocates who need an asset management system, and want to support a free software platform. Home page is:

homepageYou could download and install your own server, complete with source code. But if you are busy running a business, you will probably want to use the paid hosted service. Here is what your dashboard looks like, once you have some inventory:


I’ve pixel-ized out a lot of data, not wanting to get in trouble for revealing internal company data. But I use this every day for management of my enterprise sales inventory. Mainly I use it for tracking assets and consumables. Consumables are batches of stuff that get used up, but the individual items in the batch don’t need to be tracked (other than decrementing the batch count).

Consumable View

Assets are items that are tracked individually and have some unique asset tag assigned to each unit (e.g., serial no can be used). You create the model numbers separately, and then just assign the model no to each asset when you create the asset. Since the product image only needs to be assigned to the model no once, it is easy to visualize your asset inventory with product images:


By default, there isn’t a Status category for “sold” items (you could add one) — personally I just use the Deployed status to show it has been taken out of inventory. And if I need an inventory report, I just generate a report of “Ready to Deploy” items.

Not saying it is the perfectly ideal inventory system in every imaginable way, but it has been very useful to me for everyday practical inventory management, and it is also a free software project. I use it at my desk with a barcode scanner, and also we set up a tablet with another barcode scanner to use out in the warehouse. My experience with the hosted service has been very stable, and I’ve received good support from the company behind it.

Go to Meeting with Ekiga

The expectation when I am sent a GoToMeeting invite is that I am supposed to go to a Web site and then download a ton of proprietary garbage programming into my Web browser, which is not acceptable if I am running a libre system. If I don’t want to do that, I either have to borrow somebody else’s computer, which is inconvenient, or I have to just call in and miss all the visuals.

However, I noticed on my last GoToMeeting invite that there is an option for a direct connection over H323 protocol:


Zooming in:


To be safe I pixel-ized out a lot of the numbers, but it is an address combining an access code and an IP address. Evidently, GoToMeeting was only marketing to “Cisco devices”, but it also us to connect with Ekiga using the same protocol. Just open up Ekiga, and “dial in” like so:


That is “h323:” followed by the access code, followed by the ‘@’ symbol, followed by the ip address. You should then see something like so:


When the meeting starts, you’ll see the organizers screen, along with an image from your camera on the bottom right.

The image can be removed if it is in your way. Note however that your camera is still recording you, as well as your microphone. You’ll want to be sure to set up your speakers and microphone in such a way that the directivity of the microphone is away from speakers, or you will create feedback noise that will disrupt the whole meeting.


I don’t know if this system would allow you to present a meeting without proprietary software, but at least it allows you to participate.