Technology GarfNet - penguin powered and full of unixy goodness Sat, 23 Jun 2018 06:13:38 +0000 Joomla! 1.5 - Open Source Content Management en-gb Upgrade to 64 bit Goosebuntu (9.04 & 9.10)(Jaunty & Karmic) This is a relatively quick and very effective way to beef up your (K)Ubuntu installation. In other words, it's how to install all your favorite Ubuntu apps all in one go!

KDE 4 logo

Basically the list below contains most of my favouirite (K)Ubuntu applications complete with their code libraries. The name "Goosebuntu" is not entirely serious - it is just a name we coined in the office. However, the following apps will turn a standard (K)Ubuntu installation into something really rather special. If the application is already installed, then no matter, the system will just ignore that application. Also please remember that these are my favourite applications. They may not be yours! Though it is pretty easy to remove the ones you don't like by typing in a terminal:-

sudo apt-get remove [undesired apps]

Where [undesired apps] is a list of the applications you no longer require.

Applications from normal repositories

This assumes you have all the usual repositories enabled, that is the main, restricted, multiverse and universe repositories for your particular version (e.g jaunty, karmic) of Kubuntu. This is probably easiest done in a package manager such as Adept or Synaptic.

You also can use a package manager to select and install these applications. However this is an example of where using the Linux Terminal could actually be quicker. To make things easier for you, I have listed the files in a format that can easily be copied and pasted to your Termanal window for installation.

To use the clipboard commands (copy & paste) in a Terminal, right click in the Terminal Window and select the command from the popup menu. If you copy and paste my lists then please make sure the list includes the install command "apt-get install" together with "sudo" -  the command that makes you the "root user" temporarily. I.E.. the part that reads."sudo apt-get install"

]]> (Garfield Lucas) Technology Tue, 01 Sep 2009 16:25:59 +0000
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]]> (Garfield Lucas) Technology Mon, 16 Jul 2007 16:00:00 +0000
Upgrading Ubuntu 9.x to Kubuntu 9.x Firstly, as ever, please back up anything that is important - as you would with any major upgrade on any computer system!

Then you can either use the Synaptic package manager or in this instance it is probably quicker to install from a Terminal window.

First you need to ensure the system is fully up to date. Simply type one line at a time followed by the return key...

sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get upgrade

Now your system is ready for Kubuntu. Type...

sudo apt-get install kubuntu-desktop

This will install the Kubuntu desktop. The download will take a while because it has to download about a CD-ROM-full of files. It will ask you which login-manager you want to use: gdm or kdm. (Gnome Desktop manager or KDE Desktop manager). Basically this is changes what the login screen looks like. If you prefer KDE (as I do), then choose kdm, if you like Gnome, then choose gdm. If you change your mind later then you can change this later.

I did notice one small problem. On attempting to log in to Kubuntu for the first time, it would not let me in. With no error messages, it simply returned me to the login dialog. To fix this, select Gnome from the menu. Log in, log out again. SInce doing that, I have been able to log into Kubuntu without problem.

]]> (Garfield Lucas) Technology Tue, 01 Sep 2009 15:49:28 +0000
Another reason to be cheerful Bad Vista No Littering logo from the Free Software Foundation

You can finally dump Windows!

Several people people have written in asking questions along the lines of, "why are you dumping Windows and using Linux instead?"

The answer is simply that we now have overwhelming technical, financial and perhaps most importantly, moral reasons for no longer wishing to use Microsoft software - if it can be avoided. Here are just a few...

Moral Reasons

I believe that in its attempts to protect its corporate interests, Microsoft is trampling over its users basic human rights.

  1. As a British National and an EU citizen, I morally object to being forced to pay to use the proprietary products of a large, monopolistic, foreign corporation in order to access and manipulate my data. I am not the only EU citizen with this view .
  2. I especially object to Microsoft's deployment of Digital Rights Management techniques, effectively criminalising its users before any crime has been committed.
  3. I resent the constant upgrades that force the purchase of new hardware,
  4. I further resent paying for new versions of software that still don't deliver what was promised with the previous version.
  5. I dislike having to waste valuable computing resources running layer-upon-layer of virus checker, spyware detector etc, just to patch gaping holes in Microsoft security.
  6. I bitterly resent having to "reauthenticate" software just because I have changed a hard drive or upgraded my hardware - thus effectively informing a foreign company, in a foreign jurisdiction of my computing activity.
]]> (Garfield Lucas) Technology Sat, 04 Aug 2007 14:00:00 +0000
Backing up using big, cheap hard disks and some nifty Unix tools We all have our favourite methods of data backup. Certainly DVD is a good archiving and distribution medium. But for routine backup, I look for reliability, low cost, ease of use, high-speed, high capacity and redundancy - so I am not reliant on just one device.

One of my favourite methods is a complete off-site dataset consisting of a hotchpotch of USB/eSATA/Firewire disks. Only disadvantage is that they live 20km away and are only updated every couple of weeks. So I keep a further two 1Tb Samsung disks with recent data in my camera rucksack. These are updated daily. Cost around £80.00 each. (So no excuse for not backing up!)

But considering HD failure is the most common source of failure and that I am a naturally lazy git, my backup methodology needs to be really really easy and almost instant. Also I have become very reliant on my media server and my business can't really function well without it. So I figured I needed a more radical solution...

]]> (Garfield Lucas) Technology Wed, 10 Dec 2008 13:00:00 +0000
Cannot upgrade from Feisty to Gutsy 2007-10-18 saw the release of the latest Ubuntu & Kubuntu Linux, version 7.10, also known as Gutsy. Unfortunately a number of users are having difficulties with the upgrade.

Seems that either the "Version Upgrade" button doesn't show in your package manager...

Or if it does show then you cannot go much further. Adept users are often confronted with an error where you can start the "Upgrade Wizard" OK. A message comes up saying
"A new distribution version is available. Click next if you wish to upgrade."

So you click the "next" button. Then an error dialog appears...


Could not download the release announcement. Please check that your internet connection is active."

Unfortunately I got fed up with messing about so I took drastic action. But first I backed up my entire home drive to a NAS box (using mirrordir). In a terminal window I typed...

  • sudo mirrordir -v --no-chmod --no-chown /home/garf/ /mnt/smb4k/nas-00/garf-bak/

(I used --no-chmod and --no-chown switches because my NAS boxes won't let me change permissions via SAMBA. Ignore these if you are backing up to a USB drive or similar)

Then I typed these commands in a terminal window...

  • sudo sed -e 's/\sfeisty/ gutsy/g' -i /etc/apt/sources.list
  • sudo apt-get update
  • sudo apt-get upgrade

Note, this should be considered a last resort and it is not the generally recommended way. Basically it points your /etc/apt/sources.list at the gutsy repos. Then when you do the sudo apt-get upgrade it thinks you have lots of out of date packages, in my case 2GB worth, and tries to upgrade them all, package by package.

I ran into a few minor dependency issues, which generally I fixed by completely un-installing what ever app was causing the problem running "sudo apt-get upgrade" again and trying to reinstall the misbehaving app at the end of the upgrade. Some apps have known dependency issues that were not fixed in time for the Gutsy release. Gwenrename for example kept on conflicting with Gwenview... 

I find Gwenview very useful but very seldom use Gwenrename because it is very poor compared to Krename. Therefore I shed no tears about dumping it. I now have a fully working gutsy, with no dependency issues at all. And to celebrate I just got my USB-DVB TV stick working with Kaffeine!

]]> (Garfield Lucas) Technology Sun, 04 Nov 2007 18:00:00 +0000
Coppermine "batch-add" hangs Just occasionally one stumbles across a small but very annoying problem, that takes ages to hunt down a fix. However, when you do stumble across the solution, you find it was just one tiny mistake - that should never have been made in the first place.

On our site we use a special Coppermine feature that allows us to add a number of files at once. It is only available to site admins but the site would be almost impossible to run with out it. The problem was that the "batch add files" button  did not respond when we clicked it. Instead, the existing page just hung and after several minutes the browser showed a "Page cannot be displayed" error. I was really tearing my hair out. Even got my Chris Attewell, our ISP physically to reboot the machine.

Fortunately, we use SSH (secure shell) to control our servers remotely and when I ran "top" (a Linux program that shows memory and processor usage), every time someone clicked the "batch-add" button and the "searchnew.php" script was activated, an Apache2 process snaffled 99% of the machine's processor resources and the rest of the machines services ran at a snail's pace. This lasted until eventually "searchnew.php" script timed out. However there were no Coppermine or MySQL/PHP error messages and nothing unusual in either the Apache access or error logs.

I even installed a second Coppermine with a blank dataset and no files. Initially this ran fine - whch eliminated any MySQL & PHP issues - though we regularly "apt-get upgrade" for security reasons anyway. However when I copied our image files to the new installation the "batch-add" also failed - even before I had started to populate the new Coppermine database. This suggested that the problem may lie with our files and not with Coppermine.

So I used Konquerer (part of the KDE desktop for Linux) "fish" protocol securely to browse the files on our server (much more secure than FTP). That is when I stumbled across the problem. It was caused by circular symbolic links - and frankly gross stupidity on my part for allowing the situation to occur in the first place! Let me explain...

Unix allows you to create links to other files and folders as if they were in your current folder. In my case...

  • There was a symlink from /var/www/garfnet/coppermine/albums to /var/www/garfnet/media.
  • There was a second symlink from /var/www/garfnet/media to /var/www/garfnet/sounds. So far so good.
  • However a third link from /var/www/garfnet/sounds to /var/www/garfnet/coppermine meant that whenever the "searchnew.php" went hunting for files, it was going round in circles. 

Deleting that third symlink fixed the issue instantly and the system is working fine again - though I am finding it hard to come to terms with my embarrassment! Anyway, the moral of the story is that a "batch-add" not responding issue could be related to your file structure rather than to Coppermine. Or perhaps the moral is, don't drink too much Jagermeister whilst creating symlinks. Grin

In any event, I hope this is of some help to someone.]]> (Garfield Lucas) Technology Sat, 19 Jan 2008 01:17:48 +0000
Fed up with Norton Antivirus? Well, join the club! This horrid, resource-hogging monstrosity is the bane of my life. My advice? Dump Norton - if you can manage to uninstall the damned thing! My experience of Norton Antivirus is that it behaves much like the viruses it is supposed to protect you from...

  1. Uses lots of processing power.
  2. Stops other programs working properly.
  3. Difficult to remove.
]]> (Eboneezer Goose) Technology Mon, 05 Jun 2006 00:00:00 +0000
It's war! Two events this week could herald in the clash of the titans as the two global IT giants, Google & Microsoft slug it out for global internet dominance. Or so one might believe.

Google Chromium logo from the Wikipedia

  1. MS started rolling-out its much-hyped Microsoft Online Services (MOS). The new services are scheduled to be available to customers by mid-July 2009. Basically MS is trying to make a series of its applications available on-line. These sit upon the Azure Services Platform, Microsoft' new cloud based OS, intended to rival Google Apps
  2. Meantime on 2009-07-07 Google announced its new Linux-based Chrome OS operating system that some believe could unseat MS Windows from the "top slot"  - especially on lightweight machines such as netbooks.
]]> (Garfield Lucas) Technology Thu, 09 Jul 2009 15:00:13 +0000
FHS (File Hierarchy System) on Unix-like operating systems such as Linux The Linux file system can seem a little strange especially for those coming from an M$ Windoze background. This is my humble attempt at debunking it and perhaps making it a little easier to understand.

Several main differences...

There are some important differences between the DOS/Windows type file system and the system used by Unix-derived systens such as Linux and Macintosh OSX.

  1. Folder delimiter is a forwardslash  "/" not a backslash "\".
  2. Disk drives do not have drive letters. Instead they are mounted from within the file hierarchy system.
  3. File and folder names are case sensitive.
  4. Files and folders are hidden by adding a preceding dot.
  5. File and folder permissions are completely different.
  6. Unixy folks often refer to "folders" as "directories".
  7. The shorthand to access the current user's home folder is ~/ In my case ~/ is the same as /home/garf

]]> (Garfield Lucas) Technology Sun, 29 Jul 2007 02:20:27 +0000