07 March 2007

Blank incoming encrypted messages with Enigmail/Seamonkey

Enigmail was almost unusable on my laptop until today (Enigmail 0.94, Seamonkey 1.0.5 and 1.1.0). Set-up went fine: it was easy to install and import my keys, and adding my email accounts went as planned. I was able to send encrypted and signed messages with either secret key (I have two). Annoyingly, one of my secret keys—the “work” key—behaved oddly in Enigmail. I could decrypt messages at the command line with GnuPG, but any encrypted message that I tried to read in Seamonkey appeared completely blank. If I downloaded the message without Seamonkey and decrypted with the command line, the message appeared. Even stranger, Enigmail handled my other secret key without difficulty. After upgrading to Seamonkey 1.1.1, Enigmail (0.94) is, finally, working. I have found no information about this problem anywhere else. My ancient laptop proudly runs Slackware 11.0, a custom kernel, and Xfce. ---UPDATE 11 March 2007--- Well, I had it working. Now, though, the GnuPG-Seamonkey interface seems broken. I can see the encrypted messages in their encrypted form (better than before), but I cannot decrypt them without saving the file separately. I surely brought this upon myself when I updated my Slackware patches. After much fiddling with dependencies, I have switched to Claws-mail (Sylpheed) with the GPG plug-ins. Claws-mail is fast, but the SpamAssassin plug-in seems to slow things down an awful lot. I am optimistic about Claws so far. A whiny note in closing: I irrationally find the Netscape-style buttons on Seamonkey repulsive. Opera is pretty, but does not seem to work as well, and is slow on my hobbling $100 laptop. Despite my kissing Seamonkey mail goodbye, it looks like the browser will stay.

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04 March 2007

PDF, PostScript Viewer for Slackware 11

I am writing in LaTeX a lot these days, and I decided that my old laptop1 needed a versatile document viewer: something to read .pdf, .ps, perhaps .dvi files. Xpdf lacked certain fonts, and Evince seemed the obvious choice, but there were too many dependencies2.

Ghostscript compiled without too much trouble, but I wanted to spoil myself with a graphical user interface. Problems began—I was not able to get the GV program to compile, and GSView compiled but could open no files.

Here is what to do, and why:

  1. Tweak a Ghostscript sourcefile if you use gcc 3.4.6 on i686-pc-linux-gnu. I had never played in C before . . . scary. Due to


Edited ghostscript-8.54/src/gdevpdfe.c line 27 to read

typedef unsigned long long uint64_t;

  1. Compile GhostScript with shared object files.

tar -xzvf ghostscript-8.54.tar.gz

cd ghostscript-8.54

    GSView requires libgs.so, but the default compile for Ghostscript does not create them. So, in accordance with


Do the following in ghostscript-8.54 directory:

ln -s src/unix-gcc.mak makefile

make so

make soinstall

(I always run make and subsequent commands as root. It's amateur night in Linuxia.)

  1. Install the Ghostscript fonts.

tar -xzvf ghostscript-fonts-std-8.11.tar.gz

cd fonts


mkdir /usr/local/share/ghostscript/8.54/Resource/Font

cp * /usr/local/share/ghostscript/8.54/Resource/Font

  1. Install GSView.

tar -xzvf gsview-4.8.tar.gz

cd gsview-4.8

cp srcunx/unx.mak Makefile



make install

Before running make, I edited line 52 of Makefile to read


But I am pretty sure that this made no difference.

  1. Run GSView on a test file. In my case, I got two types of errors:

    • GSView needed the (installed) libgs.so file, but could not find it

    • GSView also could not find the fonts

Close the error windows with “Ok,” and click to Options-->Advanced Configure

Update Ghostscript Version


Give the correct location of Ghostscript Shared Object


Ghostscript Program as gs is fine

Add the fonts to the Ghostscript Include Path (see Step 3, above)


After closing the Advanced Configure dialog, you should be able to open your test file again.


1A $100 laptop, it turns out. More on this point to come.

2Since I run xfce.