Rendering problems with virtual terminal emulators


I just finished the initial phase of troubleshooting one hell of an annoying problem recently. The symptoms for this is quite something at this time or age, and I’m even more surprised about the driver that’s causing it.

Overview of the symptoms (usually with xterm or urxvt)
  • Screen flickers: constant screen flickering (a little is normal, constant is that every time you type it flickers)
  • Slow rendering: The text won’t render correctly, you have to either press tab again or complete the action.

I made mistakes when I was observing the issue. Initially I thought that because xterm and urxvt are old it means that it no longer meets the modern criteria of a what makes a “modern terminal”, whatever that is.

I kept thinking that urxvt xft setting was underperforming, but that wasn’t the case.

So, before I go onto why I keep using urxvt (urxvt256c-ml in my case (256 stands for 256 color support and ml equals to multilanguage)) I had a very frustrating problem with uxterm, it didn’t read japanese characters correctly and thus it didn’t read anything beyond western characters.

So urxvt worked in the end and I decided to phase out xterm because it wasn’t worth putting more than the embarrassing hours I’ve sank “fixing” rendering problems.

What’s causing it?

The funny thing about this rendering problem is that it’s actually caused by NVIDIA blobs. If you use open source drivers you’ll notice that there are no rendering problems at all. But if you turn on NVIDIA drivers, the rendering problems on gnome-terminal, xterm, urxvt appears.

There’s no fix.

As far as I know there’s no fix for this. It doesn’t matter if you stop using xft or turn off `buffering. It won’t solve the redrawing problems at all. Something in the NVIDIA drivers is causing instability.

Take with a grain of salt

Whether you believe me or not, removing NVIDIA blobs is how I solved the rendering problem.

VPS + SSH bruteforce attacks

Out of nowhere I had a sudden urge to know “how many people have tried to brute force my VPS?”. The thing about these brute force attacks is that they are all automated and you can’t really filter out “manual” attacks.

I’m surprised that, even though I’m some random person in the internet with no background I’m a target.

33k+ lines of denied access were found in my /var/log/auth.log, that’s sort of scary in a way. I want to find a way to ban (through IP) these attacks.

What to do?

If you got curious and took a peek at your log files. First of all? Change to SSH publickey authentication (more information). Using SSH public key authentication can prevent a lot of headaches due to weak passwords or passwords falling into the wrong hands.

Attacks won’t stop, that’s for sure. So why not take some time and at least protect your personal VPS.

Home, sweet home.

There are a few things I’ve been wanting to write about. I guess I should start by saying that a new Ghost theme is under way for this site.

I installed Fedora 22 back on my main computer along with Windows 10 in the same HDD. Both OS have stabilized, I’ve learnt to accept the fact that GNU/Linux will always be part of my life as a person who tinkers, who develops, and love to see new things.

One of the things I’ve been meaning to tackle is what to do once I graduate. There are certain variables right now that makes it nigh impossible for me to move to the U.S.

While it’s something that’s been a constant in my worries; there’s something worth analyzing and that is how much of your job defines you as a person.

I’m not by any definition the humblest human being. Like any other I have goals to achieve. Sadly, those goals have been getting stomped to an illness I have. Well, not sure if I should call it an illness. I suppose.

Basically, I don’t want my profession to define who I am as a human being, rather define myself for who I want to be, more than “the go-to guy” or “that crappy programmer”. I recognize that I’ve spent a huge amount of my life studying programming, and plenty of things related to computers.

It all boils down to being social. Eventually in ten years from here I might lose my passion, or I might redefine the goals I have right now to something more family-oriented or people-oriented in general.

This field comes with a lot of snark, a lot of pessimism. I’d say it’s the perfect field for anti-social people like me.

Rather, I want to tackle these things now so in the long run I don’t become overly attached to the profession. I’m not going to become “irresponsible” all of the sudden either.

Spreading to other things that aren’t computer-related (including video games) is one of my goals starting now. Programming is awesome, and at the same time can drive you nuts, yet I feel like I’m missing so much more.

I think it’s self-explanatory, isn’t it?

So, I’ve been thinking of picking up the cello (instrument) and maybe find other things to do. More outdoor activities wouldn’t hurt either.

As for posts in this website. I know there aren’t many solid posts, most of them are garbage while other contains a lot of helpful content like the WINE guides. I’ll try bringing interesting subjects to write about, no promises!