GIO can’t mount SMB

When trying to mount SMB share using gio you might encounter the following error:

$ gio mount smb://ptnas1.cellebrite.local
gio: smb://nas.corp.local/: Location is not mountable

This error might be due to a missing gvfs backend. The smb backend should be located in /usr/share/gvfs/mounts/smb.mount. If it is missing, you should install the gvfs-backends package and it should resolve the mounting issue.

If the mount was successful, but you can’t see it under $XDG_SESSION_DESKTOP/gvfss/, you are probably missing the FUSE server that makes the mounted filesystem available to all applications and not only to GIO aware applications. You can install the FUSE server by installing the gvfs-fuse package. The server will automatically run after reboot. If you want to start the server immediately, you can start it manually:

$ /usr/lib/gvfs/gvfsd-fuse /run/user/1000/gvfs

PipeWire showing only dummy output

After the latest PipeWire upgrade on Debian, sound stopped working for. The bluetooth headset would not connect, and in the output options I had only one device labeled dummy output.

This was caused by a recent upgrade of the pipewire-media-session package to version 0.4.1-3. Debian decided that media-session is deprecated in favor of WirePlumber. As part of the package installation, the /usr/share/pipewire/media-session.d/with-pulseaudio file, signalling media-session it should handle audio, gets removed. As I didn’t have WirePlumber installed, nothing managed the audio configuration. The solution is to recreate the file and restart the relevant PipeWire servcies.

$ sudo touch /usr/share/pipewire/media-session.d/with-pulseaudio 
$ systemctl restart --user pipewire pipewire-media-session pipewire-pulse

Setting SPF Record

SPF allows one to specify which SMTP servers can send emails on behalf of a domain. The SPF record is defined as a DNS TXT record and specifies the list of allowed senders for the domain.

"v=spf1 a ip4:134.209.224.112 include:_spf.mx.cloudflare.net include:_spf.google.com ~all"
  • v=spf1 specifies that this TXT record is indeed an SPF record.
  • a include the IP addresses of the domain, as returned by the A or AAAA records. This is required to let your own server send emails.
  • ip4:134.209.224.112 allows a specific server by IP address to send emails. You can also use netmasks (ie /20) to allow ranges.
  • include:_spf.mx.cloudflare.net allows Cloudflare Email Routing to forward emails for your domain.
  • include:_spf.google.com allow sending emails via Google Workspace/Gmail.
  • ~all This marks every other server not listed so far as insecure/spam, but the email will be accepted. This can be replaced by -all which would tell the recipient to reject emails from unauthorized servers.

References

List obsolete packages using Apt

Apt 2.0 introduced a new feature allowing to use smarter patterns when listing packages. This allows to list all obsolete packages using the specifier ?obsolete or the shorthand ~o.

$ apt list ?obsolete

It will list all locally installed packages and packages.

You can also list all packages not provided by Debian (it will also catch packages once provided by Debian but since then remove from the repositories):

$ apt list --installed "?not(?origin(debian))"

Slack screen sharing under Wayland

To get screen sharing in Slack to properly work under Wayland, you need to explicitly tell Slack to use PipeWire for screen capturing. Copy Slack’s desktop file from /usr/share/applications/slack.desktop to ~/.local/share/applications/slack.desktop and modify the Exec line to look like:

Exec=/usr/bin/slack --enable-features=WebRTCPipeWireCapturer %U

Now restart Slack and screen sharing should work properly.

Extend laptop’s battery life using TLP

TLP helps optimize battery usage for laptops. TLP supports setting battery charging threshold, to allow keeping the battery partially charged, which prolongs its life. This can be done creating a new file under /etc/tlp.d/01-battery.conf:

START_CHARGE_THRESH_BAT0=80
STOP_CHARGE_THRESH_BAT0=85

Reload the TLP configuration for the new settings to take effect:

$ systemctl reload tlp.service

You can disable the battery threshold temporarily using:

$ sudo tlp fullcharge

Restoring the thresholds is done using

$ sudo tlp setcharge

Reset PIN for Yubikey after 3 failed attempts

When using a Yubikey as a GPG card, entering the wrong PIN multiple times will result in a disabled state. You can unblock the Yubikey by using the admin PIN.

$ gpg --edit-card
gpg/card> admin
Admin commands are allowed

gpg/card> passwd
gpg: OpenPGP card no. D2760001240102010006096610530000 detected

1 - change PIN
2 - unblock PIN
3 - change Admin PIN
4 - set the Reset Code
Q - quit

Your selection? 2

Enable TRIM on external LUKS encrypted drive

If you use an encrypted external SSD, you should periodically trim it. The first step would be to make sure the external drive itself supports trimming. The next step would be to make sure the LUKS partition on the device supports trimming as well. By default, encrypted filesystems do not support passing discard requests due to some security concerns. For example, crypttab man page states:

WARNING: Assess the specific security risks carefully before enabling this option. For example, allowing discards on encrypted devices may lead to the leak of information about the ciphertext device (filesystem type, used space etc.) if the discarded blocks can be located easily on the device later.

For most users, the benefit of TRIM outweigh those security concerns. The easiest way to enable TRIM is to pass the dicard option in /etc/crypttab. For example:

cdisk0 UUID=12345678-9abc-def012345-6789abcdef01 none luks,discard

The problem with the /etc/crypttab approach is that it requires you to pre-configure your external drives. A better approach would be to enable discards at the LUKS configuration, which would apply automatically whenever the drive is used. This can be done in LUKS version 2 headers.

# cryptsetup --allow-discards --persistent refresh luks-643dc0f7-c876-4e37-9207-5c053a75fc70

Where luks-643dc0f7-c876-4e37-9207-5c053a75fc70 is the name of the mapping for the encrypted drive. You can verify that allow_discards is now part of the flag by dumping the LUKS header.

# cryptsetup luksDump /dev/sda4 | grep Flags
Flags:       	allow-discard

Now, you should be able to use fstrim to trim your external SSD with LUKS encryption drive.

Enable TRIM/discard on external SSD

First, find out whether your device already supports TRIM commands.

$ lsblk --discard

Non-zero values in the DISC-GRAN and DISC-MAX indicate support. If it looks like your external SSD doesn’t support trimming, then maybe it supports UNMAP which is equivalent (UNMAP is just in the SCSI command set vs TRIM which is in the ATA command set). Assuming your external drive is /dev/sda

# apt install sg3-utils
# sg_vpd -a /dev/sda | grep -i unmap

If the last command has Unmap command supported (LBPU): 1 it means the drive supports the UNMAP command. If it’s supported, and discard wasn’t supported, it’s likely the kernel didn’t detect the UNMAP support. You can verify it by reading /sys/block/sda/device/scsi_disk/0\:0\:0\:0/provisioning_mode

$ cat /sys/block/sda/device/scsi_disk/0\:0\:0\:0/provisioning_mode 
full

full means no support. As we know our device supports unmap we can manually instruct the kernel about it.

# echo "unmap" >/sys/block/sda/device/scsi_disk/0\:0\:0\:0/provisioning_mode 

Now, lsblk --discard should report that the drive supports trimming, and you can use fstrim to trim it.

Making the change permanent

The changes above are ephemeral and will be reverted once you disconnect the drive. If you want to automatically apply those changes whenever your external drive is connected, we need to use udev rules.

Add the following rule to udev under /etc/udev/rules.d/90-usb-discard.rules

ACTION=="add|change", ATTRS{idVendor}=="0b05", ATTRS{idProduct}=="1932", SUBSYSTEM=="scsi_disk", ATTR{provisioning_mode}="unmap"

Replace idVendor and idProduct above with the corresponding values for your device, as can be found in the output of lsusb.

Reload the udev rules using

# udevadm control --reload