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Entries tagged "stella".

Stella - a Centos desktop remix

Hello everybody, I'm doing a Centos 6 desktop oriented remix called Stella. This has been brewing since the summer and it's starting to get ready.
I've backported a lot of packages from Fedora and Rpmfusion and bundle several other repos, too, resulting in a big range of software available, including but not limited to:
LibreOffice, VLC, MPlayer, Shutter, Arista, Java, Flash, GParted etc

You can read (just slightly) more about it here:
I'd love to receive any feedback.


Stellar refreshments

Hello there!
I've made some new builds of Stella. There's nothing dramatic about them, still based on CentOS 6.2 + updates.
The one thing more remarkable is the NONPAE build for people with CPU's that are not PAE capable. This build uses only the NONPAE Elrepo kernel v3.
Notice I replaced the "TEST" suffix - which was putting off some people - with "BUILD".

More info and download links in the forums:

Stella 6.2 BUILD16

Hello, the other day I've released a new build of Stella with some fixes for Broadcom WiFi (b43) and VLC.
Announcement and download link here:


Skype 4.0 on EL6 (CentOS/Stella, ScientifixLinux, RHEL, PUIAS) update

UPDATE 14th August 2014: Microsoft has released a new Skype version, - you need AT LEAST this version to be able to login any more as they seem to have changed something in the authentication process. It is available in my repo, grab the latest from here:

So after a long long time we finally have a new Skype linux release - and it's not even a beta!
This seems to be the first release under Microsoft's auspice and I hope it will run well and not bother the users with too many annoyances (I hear the Windows version has in-call ads now? wtf!).
As usual, EL users will still not be able to just "rpm -ivh" their packages - this has never been Skype's strongest point, not even after M$'s acquisition, but it's not like I was expecting anything.
Here's how to install it manually:

UPDATE: Now there is an RPM that does all the dirty work. If you run Stella or Centos with nux-dextop repo active then you can just yum install skype, otherwise:
yum localinstall --nogpgcheck skype-
The RPM maintainer is Arkady L. Shane of the Russian Fedora community. Thank you, Arkady!


Hardware accelerated video playback on EL6 (RHEL, Centos, SL) and Intel SandyBridge

Recently I got to play with a linux laptop that had an NVidia card and was impressed by how well and efficient mplayer is when using VDPAU.
My personal laptop however is an all-Intel one with a 2nd generation i5 SandyBridge CPU and no NVidia GPU, but an Intel HD 3000. This is quite a popular setup nowadays and this is actually great because it turns out we can have hardware accelerated playback using entirely open source software, no binary blob required. Linus will be happy. :-)

Don't get me wrong, this is a great machine and mplayer uses around 30% of one core when playing 1080p video, however this is no match for the under 10% when using NVidia's VDPAU.

So let's start. What we need is LibVA from and gstreamer-vaapi (to enable acceleration in Totem) or/and a version of mplayer with VAAPI patches. I'll assume you are using Stella or EL6 with my repo nux-dextop.

yum install libva-freeworld gstreamer-vaapi
And that's it, open some HD content in Totem (aka Movie Player) and behold low CPU usage.

Thanks to Tux99 at SL forum for packaging gstreamer-vaapi.

If you want to use mplayer though we need to work a bit more and build it from source (until I'll make a package of it).
We need to install some development packages first:
yum install gcc make freetype-devel alsa-lib-devel pulseaudio-libs-devel yasm-devel patch subversion libva-freeworld-devel

Next we need to get mplayer-vaapi and build it:
cd ~/Downloads
tar xjf mplayer-vaapi-20110127.tar.bz2
cd mplayer-vaapi-20110127
...wait for the build process to finish then you can merely copy the mplayer binary to somewhere in the path and that's it - we do this not to overwrite or mess up other pre-existing mplayer installatons in the system.
cd mplayer-vaapi
mkdir -p ~/bin
cp mplayer ~/bin/mplayer-vaapi

At this point we're pretty much done, try testing it by playing some HD mp4 file with the following parameters: -vo vaapi -va vaapi.
mplayer-vaapi -vo vaapi -va vaapi /path/to/HDvideo.mp4
and enjoy low CPU usage. :-)

If you want to skip inputing these parameters each time you want to use VA-API then simply add the following to ~/.mplayer/config :

Here's the difference on my system:

Stock MPlayer, no acceleration:

VA-API enabled MPlayer:

This should work across all i3/i5/i7 chipsets (Intel HD 2000 & 3000), feedback welcome.

Stella 6.3 released

Following the release of CentOS 6.3 I finally managed to get Stella 6.3 out as well.
This is more an issue of incrementing the numbers since people running Stella have already received the updates from Centos 6.3. So, what's new in your favourite EL-based remix?

- all the cool new stuff in EL 6.3
- updated multimedia stack:
   new FFmpeg (0.10.4), MPlayer (1.0.14020120205svn) and VLC (2.0.3) (backported from RPMFusion. Thanks guys!)
- updated in nux-dextop repo: 
   Clipgrab (thanks symbianflo!), Minitube, Audacity 2.0 (available as audacity-freeworld)
- new inclusions in nux-dextop repo: 
   Megamario (SuperMario clone), Geeqie, Mumble suite, Phantomjs, Tarsnap and SCrypt

Also, as a bit of a news, is now indexing my repos nux-dextop and nux-misc - as such, searching for EL6 RPMs might give you results from :-)

Download 64 and 32 bit (NONPAE as well) ISOs from a mirror near you:


For any problems with Stella GNU/Linux use the forums (preferred) or email me directly:

EL6 power usage optimisation on Intel Sandy & Ivy Bridge

So you finally bought that fancy new laptop with a SandyBridge or IvyBridge chip, but the power usage goes through the roof when you use it on Linux? Well, there are a couple of things you could do:

1. Enable some nice features such as a lower power usage state capability of the Intel GPU (if you use the integrated Intel 3000/4000), frame buffer compression and optionally down-clock the LVDS refresh rate. Also, you can force PCI-Express to enable "ActiveState Power Management" which can save further power - just append the following to the kernel command line (in /boot/grub/grub.conf):
i915.i915_enable_rc6=1 i915.i915_enable_fbc=1 i915.lvds_downclock=1 pcie_aspm=force

2. Install and tweak tuned. Tuned is a Fedora utility responsible for tuning your system's power settings.
yum install tuned
service tuned start
service ktune start
tuned-adm profile laptop-battery-powersave

If you want to get even more serious about power saving, then the powertop program is very useful, too. For a graphical tool focused on power management have a look at Jupiter.
Feel free to play around with the settings and read the man pages for more information.
Be careful as some of these settings may cause some issues or instabilities. Use at your own risk.

Stella 6.4

Following the release of Centos 6.4 recently I'm pleased to publish the same version of Stella.

There is nothing special about this release other than the changes brought in by EL 6.4.

Download from the usual locations:


Stella GNU/Linux 6.5

Hello, following the release of CentOS 6.5 earlier I'm pleased to announce the release of updated Stella ISOs carrying the same version numbers - 6.5.

Download the 32 bit ISO or the 64 bit one (more mirrors available from the project's page).

If you are interested in more details you should check out the RHEL 6.5 release notes:

Enjoy! :-)

Stella 6.6 released

As a result of CentOS 6.6 release we have bumped up the version as well, so enjoy all the goodies of CentOS + extra desktop stuff with the new Stella.

Download it from the usual locations and let us know if you run into any issues!