Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Ubuntu in my desktop (status)

I'm preparing to install Ubuntu 8.04 "Hardy Heron" in my desktop machine.


Before starting
  • Try, using the Ubuntu live-cd, at least graphics, sound and cable network access (done)
  • Backup important data (done)
  • Decide the partition layout for all my hard drives (example) (done)
  • Rethink my home network (IPs, Windows workgroup names...)
  • Decide between Ubuntu 32 bits and Ubuntu 64 bits for my AMD Athlon 64BIT X2 DUAL-CORE 4200+ SKAM2 2.20 GB
    • I've decided to go with Ubuntu 32 bits (done)
    • Check if both cores are beeing used (done)
I will be dual-booting (for now) with Windows XP, and in order to release myself from Windows completely, here's a "to achieve" list.

This list doesn't have a significant order of importance.

To achieve (check the installation eXPerience here)
  • Internet access using my home network (cable) (achieved)
  • Internet access using my home network (wireless)
  • Read and write support from Linux to my Windows partitions (just in case) (achieved)
  • Read and write support from Windows to my Linux partitions (just in case)
  • Divx and Xvid playback with subtitle files support (achieved)
  • Full browser experience (Java, flash...) (achieved)
  • Microsoft Office 100% support (achieved using a virtual machine)
    • it isn't enough .doc support
    • as an example, the Excel formats, graphs, etc. should be exactly the same
    • it could be done using a virtual machine
  • Windows XP in a virtual machine (objective - legacy support) (achieved)
  • Streaming media content (xvid, divx) to my Xbox 360
    • the the content must be converted to the right format in real time
    • it must add subtitles to the media (for instance .srt separated files)
    • in Windows I use TVersity
  • Print to PDF (achieved)
  • Have a subtitle editor (achieved)
    • a needed feature is to fix the subtitles in order to keep a fixed number of characters for column
    • in Windows I use Subtitle Workshop
  • Software to mount cd image files (like .iso) (achieved)
  • Recording software (CD and DVD support) (achieved)
  • Google Earth and Google Notifier (achieved)
  • Full iPod Touch support (it could be done using a virtual machine)
  • Full Calendar and Contacts sync support for Qtek 9100 (it could be done using a virtual machine) (achieved)
  • Apache, PHP and MySQL solution for my home database solution, currently working in Windows (achieved)
  • Remote Desktop Connection to other machines, including Windows (it could be done using a virtual machine)
  • Home network (at least shared folders) (achieved)

Other nice stuff I'd like
  • BIOS upgrades (it could be done using a virtual machine)
  • System monitor (hard drive free space, cpu, memory, network and temperature)

Friday, April 25, 2008

Upgrading to Hardy

And I'm set. I'm now officially running Ubuntu 8.04 LTS.

The recommended (and easier) way to upgrade from Ubuntu 7.10 is to use Update Manager. But the servers are clotted (April 25th)...
I tried it two times and it just isn't possible at this moment (yes, I want Hardy).

So I downloaded the alternate version of Ubuntu (check bellow the "Start Download" button).
This version isn't a live cd, and it can be used to upgrade Ubuntu.

I installed (Applications > Add/Remove) Gmount-iso. This way I could use the iso file without having to burn a cd.

To make sure cd image isn't corrupted:
  • In the Terminal
$ md5sum ubuntu-8.04-alternate-i386.iso
  • You should get the correct hash for the iso you're checking
166991d61e7c79a452b604f0d25d07f9 *ubuntu-8.04-alternate-i386.iso
  • Check the hash values here
After an hour I got the alternate version of Ubuntu 8.04, mounted the iso file using Gmount-iso and, in the Terminal:
$ gksu "sh /cdrom/cdromupgrade"
And off we go. Upgrading to 8.04.


Thursday, April 24, 2008

Hardy is out

Here it his. Ubuntu 8.04 LTS, codename Hardy Heron, is out.

This is the second Long Time Support (LTS) release from Ubuntu and it will be supported for 3 years (instead of the normal 18 months).

For those who don't want to install a new OS every 6 to 18 months this is a great chance to do a fresh install and keep your desktop up and running, with full support, for a long time.

If you have Ubuntu 7.10 it's easy to upgrade to Ubuntu 8.04. Basically you just need to update your system using Update Manager (check the list of links bellow).

Check your Ubuntu version:
$ lsb_release -a
I will upgrade my laptop and will be back soon will feedback.

Meanwhile here's some useful links:

Monday, April 21, 2008

Firefox Tip: Opening Search results in a new tab

Here's a useful tip to always open your Firefox search results in a new tab:
  • In the address bar type about:config
  • Look for browser.search.openintab
  • Double click the False value (in the Value column) to change it to True
  • Now try to search something in your favourite search engine
PS: this works in every OS (at least Linux and Windows).

Conky

Conky (1.5.1) is an application that posts system monitoring info onto your Desktop. It is very light-weighted and very cool to play with.


Steps to install

In the Terminal:
  • install conky
$ sudo apt-get install conky
  • get a configuration example file (check a nicer one bellow)
$ zcat /usr/share/doc/conky/examples/conkyrc.sample.gz > ~/.conkyrc 


Thursday, April 17, 2008

Firefox Widgets

Firefox widgets (buttons, radio buttons, drop down menus, text fields and checkboxes) in Ubuntu don't look so good. I don't like it. And I'm not the only one.
So, we can change the images and CSS code for the widgets so Firefox will look really nice :)

Here's a tip from Ubuntu Forums.


Steps to make Firefox widgets look good
  • Download the Firefox Widget Installer
  • Run the installer
    • unpack the archive and run the graphic_installer
    • install in the Firefox directory (default is /usr/lib/firefox)
  • Make this the default look, even when Firefox is updated
    • to make the default look
    $ sudo dpkg-divert --add /usr/lib/firefox/res/forms.css
    • to undo the previous
    $ sudo dpkg-divert --remove /usr/lib/firefox/res/forms.css

Before


After


Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Elisa Media Center

Today I was talking with a friend of mine about Media Centers. A little by change I found a great Open Source solution.

It's called Elisa.

Here's a little demo:


I had to try it. It is super simple to install.


Saturday, April 5, 2008

Error while starting Ubuntu

Yesterday, when I was starting up my Ubuntu machine, the screen went white and I had to manually turn off the laptop.

When I started it again the file system checkup (fsck) started. I got a lot of yes or no questions about fixing several problems. Near the end fsck aborted and I was left in the terminal to try and fix the problem.

I rebooted the system, but there was a X server error and it went to the terminal again.

Ok, at this moment I was scared. A lot of data I didn't wanna lose.

I logged to my desktop machine and went to Ubuntu Forums.

 Here's what I did, and yes, I'm posting from Ubuntu:
  • I started by unmounting all my file systems:
$ sudo umount /dev/sda1
$ sudo umount /dev/sda5
$ sudo umount /dev/sda6
$ sudo umount /dev/sda7
  • Then I run a filesystem check, like this:
$ sudo e2fsck -C0 -p -f -v /dev/hda1
$ sudo e2fsck -C0 -p -f -v /dev/hda5
$ sudo e2fsck -C0 -p -f -v /dev/hda6
$ sudo e2fsck -C0 -p -f -v /dev/hda7
And that was it :-)

I rebooted and all was ok.