Mount exFat filesystem on Debian

ExFat file systems are not supported out of the box on Debian, but support is provided by installing the exfat-utils package:

# apt-get install exfat-utils

Reading package lists... Done

Building dependency tree       

Reading state information... Done

The following additional packages will be installed:


The following NEW packages will be installed:

  exfat-fuse exfat-utils

0 upgraded, 2 newly installed, 0 to remove and 28 not upgraded.

Need to get 73.0 kB of archives.

After this operation, 295 kB of additional disk space will be used.

Do you want to continue? [Y/n] y

fdisk -l shows my usb disk as:

Disk /dev/sdc: 186.3 GiB, 200049647616 bytes, 390721968 sectors

Units: sectors of 1 * 512 = 512 bytes

Sector size (logical/physical): 512 bytes / 512 bytes

I/O size (minimum/optimal): 512 bytes / 512 bytes

Disklabel type: gpt

Disk identifier: ...

Device      Start       End   Sectors   Size Type

/dev/sdc1      40    409639    409600   200M EFI System

/dev/sdc2  411648 390721535 390309888 186.1G Microsoft basic data

So to mount sdc2:

mkdir /media/usbdisk (or whatever mountpoint you prefer)

mount -t exfat /dev/sdc2 /media/usbdisk


Downgrading nvidia drivers on Debian 8 to legacy version 304

I have an old HP desktop with onboard nvidia 6150 graphics, and I’ve posted before about installing  the legacy 304 drivers, and installing latest nvidia drivers to support an nvidia 750ti.

I recently moved the 750ti card into my 2008 Mac Pro, so now when booting the HP desktop into Debian with the latest nvidia drivers, Cinnamon crashes, and all I get is a default/low resolution display. So time to go the other way and downgrade back to the legacy 304 drivers (I won’t be moving the 750ti back to this machine).

Taking a gamble that I wouldn’t need to uninstall anything, I followed the steps in this post to install the 304 driver using this command:

aptitude -r install linux-headers-$(uname -r|sed 's,[^-]*-[^-]*-,,') nvidia-legacy-304xx-driver

This gave the error:

The following packages have unmet dependencies:
 nvidia-legacy-304xx-alternative : Depends: glx-alternative-nvidia (< 0.7) but 0.7.3~bpo8+1 is installed.

… accepting the yes option resulted in no changes, so I uninstalled the package it was complaining about:

sudo apt-get remove glx-alternative-nvidia

This removed a number of the previous 375 driver related modules that I had installed for the 750ti card.

Cleaned up anything no longer needed with:

sudo apt-get autoremove

and then rebooted, and success, back to regular 1920×1080 resolution

Packet Radio with Debian Hamradio Pure Blend

I stumbled across this concept of ‘Debian Pure Blends‘ a couple of days back. These are Debian distros that are configured with software preinstalled for a specific purpose, like graphic design, and astronomy. The Ham Radio distro caught my eye as it’s preconfigured with ax25 and Direwolf for Packet Radio.

The trouble is, while it has these included in the distro so you get them out of the box, it doesn’t seem they’re configured, and worse, the ax25 support doesn’t appear to work with Direwolf.

Here’s a few notes of my experimenting:

Direwolf uses a direwolf.conf file in your home directory which you customize with your callsign and setup to connect with your soundcard input and output. There doesn’t seem to be a copy of this file anywhere on the filesystem. The file is usually created if you’re building/installing from source by running ‘make install-conf’. I searched my fresh Debian install and couldn’t find a copy of direwolf.conf anywhere, so already being familiar with Direwolf, I decided to uninstall the pre-installed version (apt-get remove direwolf) and build/install from source unstead. See my previous notes on how to do this.

Immediately ran into the libasound library missing:

/usr/bin/ld: cannot find -lasound
 collect2: error: ld returned 1 exit status
 Makefile.linux:257: recipe for target 'fsk_fast_filter.h' failed
 make: *** [fsk_fast_filter.h] Error 1

This is fixed by installing libasound:

apt-get install libasound2-dev


Edit /etc/ax25/axports and add a line like this:
1 YOURCALL-1 1200 255 2 2m packet

Starting up direwolf for the first time:

 kev@kh-debian:/etc/ax25$ direwolf -t 0 -p
 Dire Wolf version 1.3

Reading config file /home/kev/direwolf.conf
 Audio device for both receive and transmit: default (channel 0)
 Channel 0: 1200 baud, AFSK 1200 & 2200 Hz, E+, 44100 sample rate.
 ERROR can't open device /dev/ttyUSB0 for channel 0 PTT control.
 Permission denied
 Note: PTT not configured for channel 0. (Ignore this if using VOX.)
 Ready to accept KISS client application on port 8001 ...
 Ready to accept AGW client application 0 on port 8000 ...
 Virtual KISS TNC is available on /dev/pts/1
 WARNING - Dire Wolf will hang eventually if nothing is reading from it.
 Created symlink /tmp/kisstnc -> /dev/pts/1

Looks like /dev/ttyUSB0 cannot be opened for my PTT on my Rigblaster Plug n Play.

Following instructions from here, as root, I did:

usermod -a -G dialout kev

and then logged out and logged back in again. That fixed that issue.

The input volume was low, so I bumped up the mic slider in the top right to about half way, and now the input volume is better:

KG6SJT-10 audio level = 43(20/19) [NONE] |||||||__
 [0.3] KG6SJT-10>ID:Network Node (YCARES)
 Unknown message type N, motorcycle


Next up, starting Direwolf and then starting up my ax25 stack with kissattach and mkiss (which I’ve covered before here), I was getting a Permission Denied error:

kev@kh-debian:~$ sudo kissattach /dev/ptmx 1
AX.25 port 1 bound to device ax0
Awaiting client connects on

Followed by:

kev@kh-debian:~$ sudo mkiss /tmp/kisstnc /dev/pts/4
 mkiss: open: Permission denied

I posted a question about this on the Direwolf group on Yahoo Groups here. Since it looks like mkiss is getting permission denied accessing /tmp/kisstnc from Direwolf, I started Direwolf with a sudo and this avoided this error. Direwolf shouldn’t need to run with sudo permissions so something’s not quite right, but this did allow me to get up and running, and then I could ‘axcall 1 kberr’ to make a connection to nearest packet node.

To get to this point I could have installed a vanilla version of Debian, Direwolf from source, and ax25, and I probably would have got to the same point in about the same about of time, but when I have time I’ll take a look at the other apps that get preinstalled.

RT73 wifi driver on Debian 8 completely filled my hard disk with syslog messages

Just installed Debian Hamradio Pure Blend, and I thought a 20GB partition for / would be plenty, but after a day I was getting disk full errors. So I shrunk my /home partition and extended my / partition up to 50GB. A day later it was at 100% again (I had just deleted some log file files to free up some space):

kev@kh-debian:/var/log$ df -h

Filesystem      Size  Used Avail Use% Mounted on
/dev/sda9        58G   53G  2.5G  96% /
/dev/sda10       20G  279M   19G   2% /home

Guessing something was up, I cd’d into /var/log to see what was showing up in my log files and was surprised to see this:

kev@kh-debian:/var/log$ ls -lS

total 49743852

-rw-r----- 1 root              adm  15123453253 Dec 24 18:37 syslog
-rw-r----- 1 root              adm  13204397200 Dec 24 18:37 kern.log
-rw-r----- 1 root              adm  12416440518 Dec 24 18:37 daemon.log
-rw-r----- 1 root              adm  10053382069 Dec 24 18:37 messages
-rw-r----- 1 root              adm    139506083 Dec 23 07:04 syslog.2.gz
-rw-rw-r-- 1 root              utmp      292292 Dec 24 18:33 lastlog

Ok, ok. That’s where my disk space has gone.

Looking in syslog, I’ve got these messages repeating about 100 times a second:

Dec 24 18:55:01 kh-debian wpa_supplicant[862]: wlan0: Failed to initialize driver interface
Dec 24 18:55:01 kh-debian NetworkManager[696]: <error> [1482634501.576472] [supplicant-manager/nm-supplicant-interface.c:856] interface_add_cb(): (wlan0): error adding interface: wpa_supplicant couldn't grab this interface.
Dec 24 18:55:01 kh-debian NetworkManager[696]: <info> (wlan0): supplicant interface state: starting -> down
Dec 24 18:55:01 kh-debian kernel: [ 2026.757616] ieee80211 phy0: rt2x00lib_request_firmware: Info - Loading firmware file 'rt73.bin'
Dec 24 18:55:01 kh-debian kernel: [ 2026.757646] rt73usb 1-7:1.0: firmware: failed to load rt73.bin (-2)
Dec 24 18:55:01 kh-debian kernel: [ 2026.757652] rt73usb 1-7:1.0: Direct firmware load failed with error -2
Dec 24 18:55:01 kh-debian kernel: [ 2026.757656] rt73usb 1-7:1.0: Falling back to user helper
Dec 24 18:55:01 kh-debian wpa_supplicant[862]: Could not set interface wlan0 flags (UP): Cannot allocate memory
Dec 24 18:55:01 kh-debian wpa_supplicant[862]: nl80211: Could not set interface 'wlan0' UP

 Following the install instructions here: – and then rebooted, problem solved. Log messages gone.