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Old 05-15-2010, 10:25 AM   #1
gargamel
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Registered: May 2003
Distribution: Slackware, SLAX, OpenSuSE
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Slackware64 13.1 RC1, removable USB devices and LUKS


Hi there,

the latest updates introduced some problems with USB devices in general and encrypted USB disks in particular here. I cannot precisely describe, what it is, but:
  • A card reader is no longer detected when connected to the system
  • When I connect an encrypted USB disk, it is detected, and a KDE dialog asks for the LUKS passphrase, but entering the correct phrase has no effec
  • Sometimes it works after several attempts
  • Sometimes it works after reconfiguring device notifier (not sure, what the correct English name of it is; I am referring the KDE mini program that shows when a new device is connected)
  • But most of the time it doesn't work, and after entering the passphrase once, be it correct or not, the dialog asking for it never appears again
  • Writing the passphrase into a text file and copying it into the dialog input fiel usually does work

Regarding the card reader, I have no idea, but regarding the LUKS problem I suspect it might have something to do with language or keyboard settings. My keyboard is non-US-English. If the KDE dialog ignores the language and keyboard settings of KDE, and uses the default locale, this might be an explanation for some cases. But I am by no means sure about this.


All I can say is, that these things used to work just fine before the updates of 6th May, 2010.

Unfortunately, I haven't had the time to track this down and isolate the conditions to reproduce it, so far. But the RC 1 announcements includes a "last call for bug reports", and I hope I can get back with more detail soon.

gargamel

Last edited by gargamel; 05-15-2010 at 10:27 AM.
 
Old 05-15-2010, 08:08 PM   #2
gargamel
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Update: With no USB devices connected at boot time, the card reader is properly detected.
With USB devices connected to my USB PCI card, it's not seen by the system.
This one seems to be hardware related, it seems. May be the recent updates didn't cause this part of the problem, but just disclosed it. Perhaps an IRQ conflict thingy.

gargamel
 
Old 05-16-2010, 04:19 AM   #3
gargamel
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Regarding encrypted partitions of USB disks:

When I connect such a device after boot time, a hard disk icon appears in Dolphin. In the device notifier applet it appears only, when the option "show hidden devices" is selected. When I click on the icon in Dolphin a window pops up asking for the LUKS passphrase.

Encrypted container (hard disk icon) in Dolphin
When I make a mistake entering the passphrase, clicking a second time on the icon, has no effect. I first have to "safely remove the encrypted container" with the corresponding context menu option (right-click on the icon).
So far I thought, that this was only necessary for mounted devices such as USB sticks, to ensure that the write buffer is actually written to the storage device. But an encrypted disk partition cannot be mounted before the correct passphrase is given, so I thought.
Anyway, after "safely removing" the device the icon is still there, and clicking with the left mouse button on it brings up the passphrase dialog, again.

Using the device notifier applet
(I hope this is the correct English name of it; I am referrring to the taskbar icon, that reports when a device is connected, and that allows to click on device icons to access the file system with Dolphin, e.g.)
When I connect the device with the encrypted partition, it is also "seen" by the device notifier applet, and displayed, provided that "show hidden devices" is selected. Clicking on the lock icon brings up the same dialog as in Dolphin. Entering the LUKS passphrase changes the device notifier icon to a check (is that the word? I mean the symbol that is the worldwide standard for "correct", and the opposite of X), and then --- nothing.
I have to "safely remove" the encrypted container in Dolphin (!), before I can try it again.

When I close and re-open Dolphin after the device has been connected and opened with it, I run into another problem: Entering the passphrase doesn't work. Typing the correct passphrase has no effect, except that I have to "safely remove" the encrypted container in Dolphin, first, before I can do anything with it. But when I write the passphrase into a terminal window or text editor and copy into the dialog asking for it, the device is opened.
To track this down a bit more I have changed my passphrase to something that uses only keyboard keys that are identical in US English and my language (German), and I have also switched keyboard settings between US English and German in KDE --- I can reproduce this ALWAYS.

While the card reader thing may be hardware related, the recent updates have introduced a major inconsistency regarding encrypted file systems and partitions, it seems... With KDE 4.3.5 and before the updates of 6th May, 2010 I haven't had any of the above problems. Or is it configuration thing in my system?

I am clueless...

BTW. my device notifier setting is to "mount" all removable media automatically.

gargamel
 
Old 05-16-2010, 04:27 AM   #4
gargamel
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Just found, that my right shift key is not working reliably... This probably explains the problem with entering the LUKS passphrase! Oooh, boy!

gargamel
 
Old 05-16-2010, 09:38 AM   #5
gargamel
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Registered: May 2003
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Regarding the other probs, it seems that the USB subsystem is much slower in this version. I found that most of the effects I described above vanish, if I just wait three to four times as long as in the past, i. e. 10 to 15 seconds now compared to 2 to five seconds in the past...
But this might also confirm that there is some IRQ conflict. I'll have to check BIOS options, it seems...

For the moment I consider this solved, as my problems are (probably!) hardware related. Sorry for the confusion, but the hardware defects and the updates came at the same time, therefore I thought it must have to do with the latter.

Glad, that they are not, and no objection against a release from my side (and I'd accept the decision of Pat V. and the crew, anyway, of course!).

gargamel

Last edited by gargamel; 05-16-2010 at 09:40 AM.
 
  


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