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Friday, March 24, 2017

3D Modelling Software on Ubuntu 16.04 (OpenSCAD, FreeCAD, gCAD3D, Blender)

In addition to the previous post with 3D printer control software, you will likely want something to make models with!


This modeller uses a C-like programming language to create models. For example, to create a 20mm cube you type cube([20,20,20]);

Install with:

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:openscad/releases
sudo apt update
sudo apt install openscad

Run with openscad

I also find the scad-utils repository to be useful, the morphology plugin has a fillet tool:

OpenSCAD website:
OpenSCAD documentation:


A graphical modeller. This has many more features than OpenSCAD though I don't like the interface as much. A good workflow might be to make shapes in OpenSCAD and then import into FreeCAD to polish.

Install with:

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:freecad-maintainers/freecad-stable
sudo apt update
sudo apt install freecad

Run with freecad

FreeCAD website:
FreeCAD documentation:


This looks like a simpler version of FreeCAD

A deb package download is provided on the website for 32-bit and 64-bit.

Once downloaded, install with:

sudo dpkg -i gCAD3D*.deb

Run with gcad3d

gCAD3D website:
gCAD3D documentation:


I have not played with this much yet, but it's very popular

Install with:

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:thomas-schiex/blender
sudo apt update
sudo apt install blender

Run with blender

Blender website:
Blender support and docs:

Saturday, March 4, 2017

3D Printing Software on Ubuntu 16.04 (Cura, Slic3r, Pronterface, Repetier Host)

I recently got a cheap 3D printer and wanted to get started printing with Ubuntu. Some of the software is not so obvious to install, so here's how I got these popular applications going:


Cura is available in the PPA. To install, just:

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:thopiekar/cura
sudo apt update
sudo apt install cura

Launch with the cura command.

Cura website:

Slic3r (Slicer)

The version in repos is the latest (1.2.9) at the time of writing, however the package is missing some dependencies. This installs all that's required:

sudo apt install slic3r wx-common libopengl-perl libwx-glcanvas-perl

Launch the GUI with the slic3r --gui command

Slic3r website:

Pronterface (aka Printrun)

This requires python-wxgtk2.8 which is removed in Ubuntu Xenial 16.04, and the replacement python-wxgtk3.0 does not work well with Printrun.

There are some instructions around the internet suggesting to install the Wily 15.10 version, but that led to messy dependencies for me.

Luckily, WebUpd8 package python-wxgtk2.8 for 16.04 in their PPA, thanks!

First, install the dependencies Printrun requires with:

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:nilarimogard/webupd8
sudo apt update
sudo apt install python-serial python-wxgtk2.8 python-pyglet python-numpy cython python-libxml2 python-gobject python-dbus python-psutil python-cairosvg git

Now change to the directory where you want the application to be and fetch the software with:

git clone

To run, change to the Printrun directory with cd Printrun and run the python command.

Pronterface website:

Repetier Host

This uses Mono to run the Windows binary, install requirements with:

sudo apt install monodevelop libmono-system-serviceprocess4.0-cil

Download and uncompress:

tar xf repetierHostLinux_1_6_2.tgz
cd RepetierHost

Run with:

mono RepetierHost.exe

Repetier Host website:

Saturday, August 13, 2016

DOSBox Full Screen with proper Scaling and Aspect Ratio

It's quite confusing to get DOSBox to display games properly on modern hardware, partially because CRT monitors often displayed in non-square pixel modes, and partially because modern LCD displays don't scale well or support all the resolutions that CRTs did.

This post discusses the settings required in dosbox.conf to get DOS games displaying well.


Set this to your screen's native resolution such as fullresolution=1920x1200


The default surface cannot scale, so set this to output=overlay which can scale. If you have a decent graphics card you could also try output=openglnb


Set aspect=true to ensure the game is not stretched


Simple scaler=none will work, but you can experiment with the other scalers to see which performs well and which you like the look of.

The full config options are described at

Sunday, August 7, 2016

Another Steam Update breaks Ubuntu Xenial 16.04

As of the recent Steam update, Steam will not launch and the following is displayed:

$ steam
Setting up Steam content in /home/username/.local/share/Steam
Running Steam on ubuntu 16.04 64-bit
STEAM_RUNTIME is enabled automatically
Installing breakpad exception handler for appid(steam)/version(0)
libGL error: unable to load driver:
libGL error: driver pointer missing
libGL error: failed to load driver: r600
libGL error: unable to load driver:
libGL error: failed to load driver: swrast

You can fix it with:

mv .local/share/Steam/ubuntu12_32/steam-runtime/amd64/usr/lib/x86_64-linux-gnu/ .local/share/Steam/ubuntu12_32/steam-runtime/amd64/usr/lib/x86_64-linux-gnu/
mv .local/share/Steam/ubuntu12_32/steam-runtime/amd64/usr/lib/x86_64-linux-gnu/ .local/share/Steam/ubuntu12_32/steam-runtime/amd64/usr/lib/x86_64-linux-gnu/
mv .local/share/Steam/ubuntu12_32/steam-runtime/i386/usr/lib/i386-linux-gnu/ .local/share/Steam/ubuntu12_32/steam-runtime/i386/usr/lib/i386-linux-gnu/
mv .local/share/Steam/ubuntu12_32/steam-runtime/i386/usr/lib/i386-linux-gnu/ .local/share/Steam/ubuntu12_32/steam-runtime/i386/usr/lib/i386-linux-gnu/

This is yet another instance of the C++ libraries in the Steam Runtime not being compatible with the free software radeon driver for AMD (ATI) graphics cards:

I had a previous fix for this when they just packaged the i386 C++ library, but now they're packaging both the i386 and AMD64 C++ library, so my fix needed updating.

If Valve package one more C++ library that'll be 3 separate libraries: Half-Life 3 confirmed.

Monday, December 7, 2015

Disable Promise FastTrack FakeRAID on CentOS 7

I have a system with an onboard Promise FastTrack SATA RAID controller. This isn't a "real" RAID controller, but one which relies on the OS to perform some of the RAID work. This is commonly called "FakeRAID" and is not desirable.

Despite setting the controller into AHCI Mode in the BIOS, I still get a disk called  /dev/mapper/pdc_abcdef or similar and cannot use the disk /dev/sdb directly. I wanted the FakeRAID gone.

The FakeRAID is managed by Device-Mapper RAID called "dmraid".

An old CentOS 5 post suggests removing the dmraid package might work, but this wanted to remove anaconda and many other things, so didn't seem a good option.

There is a kernel boot parameter to disable Device-Mapper RAID so I applied this.

In /etc/default/grub add nodmraid to GRUB_CMDLINE_LINUX_DEFAULT:

GRUB_CMDLINE_LINUX_DEFAULT="quiet rhgb nodmraid"

Then re-create the GRUB2 configuration file:

grub2-mkconfig -o /boot/grub2/grub.cfg

Reboot, and no more FakeRAID drive. Success.