Ben Laurie blathering

Ben vs. Bandit, Part 2

As I previously wrote, I’ve been trying to get Bandit’s identity selector to work on FreeBSD. The good news is: I succeeded (with the burning of some midnight oil and the assistance of Dale Olds). The bad news is that it is a bit fragile.

Anyway, here’s how. First off, gnome-keyring-deamon has to be running. If you are running Gnome, then no doubt there’s some cute way to do it, but I’m not (for what it’s worth, I’m currently using XFCE4 as my desktop). So, I have to start it by hand (my shell is bash, btw – if you use a csh-like shell, you’ll need to do something slightly different)

eval `gnome-keyring-daemon`

Obviously one should script this for daily use – and, of course, you need to share the same daemon across all your shells. Next, you need digitalme, built in the last phase, somewhere on your path. Then run firefox (in such a way that it sees the keyring daemon environment variables you just set), install the XPI, if you haven’t already, and follow the instructions to test it. Or, if you want to win an iPhone, follow this process instead.

There some possible pitfalls. If you run digitalme when the keyring daemon is not running, then you have shot yourself in the foot; digitalme creates its card store and expects to store some corresponding magic in a keyring it creates. If the daemon isn’t running, the store is created, but not the corresponding keyring, and it never recovers. The answer is to delete ~/.iss, where the card store is, and start again.

A second way you can go wrong is when you create the information card: you might expect Bandit to automagically grab it and save it, but it doesn’t – you have to save the card to disk and manually import it into digitalme. I’m told this will be fixed at some point.

Thirdly, the first time you try to use the card it isn’t linked to your account, so it appears to fail. Read the screen carefully – it should be offering to set the link up.

Finally, and the most annoyingly – on FreeBSD at least, gnome-keyring-daemon is weirdly flaky. It just randomly stops running, sometimes before you’ve even got Firefox started. When this happens you have no option but to restart both it and Firefox – and, if you’re unlucky, you will have caused the first of these problems and will have to delete the card store.

As you can see it’s all a bit of a hack at the moment, but at least it works. The only real issue, other than rough edges, is the flaky keyring daemon, which I am trying to debug now.

1 Comment

  1. […] That phone might actually be a good idea because Ben could stay in closer touch with all the people working on information cards…  But hey – let’s give credit where it’s due:  the next thing Ben did was to roll up his sleeves and start to compile his own BSD version of Digital Me.  Cool.   He writes about it here. […]

    Pingback by IdentityBlog - Digital Identity, Privacy, and the Internet's Missing Identity Layer — 4 Oct 2007 @ 10:12

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