Correcting for DST with FreeFileSync

Synchronizing my dedicated data partition with my external USB backup drive has always been problematic when daylight saving time (DST) comes and goes. The problem is that – instantly – all the files on the external (FAT) drive appear to become one hour older (or younger) than the same files on the hard drive. Some versions of FreeFileSync have a fix for this issue. An alternative is to reset the time stamp on the files on the external drive.

The DST issue was fixed in Version 6.8 of FreeFileSync. Essentially, on newer versions of the software, one can opt-in to ignore a shift in file modification times of one hour (or more).

My particular problem is that I am currently running Linux Mint Version 13 (Nadia), a long-term support (LTS) version that will be supported until April, 2017. Unfortunately, any attempt to run the current release of FreeFileSync (Version 6.11), produces the error message: “/usr/lib/x86_64-linux-gnu/libstdc++.so.6: version `GLIBCXX_3.4.18′ not found (required by ./FreeFileSync)”. The problem seems to be that Nadia only supports FreeFileSync up to Version 5.21 (the release available in Software Manager).

Now, since I’m not yet ready to update my version of Linux Mint (even though Version 17 – Qiana – is also an LTS version, supported until April, 2019), I needed another method to work around the DST problem. My solution was to change the time stamp on all the files on my external USB drive by one hour in order to bring them into line with the files on my hard drive. Since, the two drives were synchronized before the change in time occurred, this was a simple fix to FreeFileSync’s issue with DST on external drives.

However, since there are quite a number of files to be processed, an automatic method seems preferable. Fortunately, we can bring the power of the Linux command line to bear on the problem. From the root of the Linux file system, the following command (in my specific case) has the desired effect:

find /media/SILICON16GB -type f -exec touch -r '{}' -d '-1 hour' '{}' \;

Effectively, the command locates and touches each file on the external USB drive (SILICON16GB) and sets the time stamp one hour earlier, thus mimicking the effect of DST.

References:

Problem with saving time again?
http://sourceforge.net/p/freefilesync/discussion/help/thread/33079e91

Linux Mint Releases
http://www.linuxmint.com/oldreleases.php

How to loop through directories to touch files
http://www.unix.com/shell-programming-scripting/94751-how-loop-through-directories-touch-files.html

linux/shell: change a file’s modify timestamp relatively?
http://superuser.com/questions/122863/linux-shell-change-a-files-modify-timestamp-relatively

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Restoring a Linux partition on the T100

Having been disappointed that Ubuntu Linux Version 14.10 (Utopic Unicorn) didn’t seem to provide any new support for the Asus Transformer T100 hybrid tablet, I decided to give Fedlet a try. This customized version of the Fedora distro is specifically aimed at computers with Bay Trail CPU’s, but with an emphasis on the Dell Venue 8 Pro (i.e. the developer’s machine).
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Unicorn remains a mythical creature

For those of you owning an Asus Transformer T100, who were anxiously anticipating that the newest release of Ubuntu Linux (Version 14.10, Utopic Unicorn) would boot effortlessly on this hybrid tablet, you can stop holding you breath – it won’t!
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Establishing Wi-Fi connectivity on the T100

Now that we have Ubuntu Linux installed on the T100, it’s time to move on and establish a Wi-Fi connection using the computer’s own wireless card rather than a plug-in USB wireless adapter.
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T100 Timeout Issue Solved!

The previous post showed how to capture the details of the timeout errors on disk access that were plaguing the Linux boot process on my Asus T100. A Google search for the most prevalent error string – mmcblk0rpmb: timed out sending r/w cmd command – provided a link to a kernel patch (from Nell Hardcastle) that essentially prevents access to the rpmb partition on the T100′s eMMC drive and so avoids the timeout issue. My good friend Ruslan Kuznetsov on the “Asus T100 Ubuntu” Google+ Community added this patch to a new version of his 32-bit linux-image/header files, and updating Ubuntu with these modified files – finally – solved my timeout problem!
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Logging the boot process

Booting the Asus T100 into Ubuntu Linux takes forever – but why? To find out, we need to show the commands being executed as they occur and/or to review the commands used at the end of the boot process.
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Installing Linux on the Asus Transformer Book T100

Firstly, let me say that, while I have a version of Ubuntu running on the T100, the process is not simple, nor is it completely successful. Some functions (e.g. screen rotation) are not yet working, and a number of other items (e.g. sound and Wi-Fi) have somewhat limited support. One specific problem that I (and others) have encountered is a long series of timeout errors on disk access when installing Ubuntu. If this is a problem for you, if you persevere, the errors will eventually resolve themselves, and the installation will complete. The result is a system that can run a word processor, a spreadsheet, access the Internet, and no doubt do much more. (To date, I have done much more installing than using!) Lots of people are working on trying to fix/provide enhanced support for the non-working items. So, the bottom line is that is early in the game for running Linux on the T100. However, if you want to give it a try, I hope that this posting will help.
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