Archive | October 2006

Adventures in a New Ubuntu 6.10 Clean Install: Day 4

Day 4

How to Install the Most Common Applications in Ubuntu 6.10 in One (or Two) Click(s)!

My next task was to get all multimedia related applications installed and formats to work. Of course this includes MP3 playback, DVD playback, etc. I also wanted to get all my major and favorite applications installed and working correctly.

The Answer (with a capital ‘A’)? Automatix (with a capital ‘A’)!

Automatix2 GUIAutomatix is an awesome and quick way to install the most common applications users use in Ubuntu. The newest Automatix2 has a nice and easy to use user interface. This new version also gives you the ability to uninstall them the same easy way it was to install them! Awesome!

As of this writing, Automatix can install and tweak 56 applications! Here is the list taken from the Automatix website:

  1. Acrobat Reader (Adobe Acrobat Reader and plugin for Firefox 1.5)
  2. AMSN 0.95 (MSN client with webcam support)
  3. Amule (Latest version of a P2P file sharing client)
  4. Archiving Tools (Additional archiving tools (rar, unrar, ace, and 7zip))
  5. AUD-DVD codecs (NON-FREE Audio and DVD codecs) (Installation of this option is illegal in the United States of America)
  6. Avidemux (Video Editing Tool)
  7. Azureus (Installs Azureus bittorrent client)
  8. Backup and Restore (A graphical backup and restore solution for Ubuntu (GNOME))
  9. Beagle (A Mono-based search program)
  10. Bittornado (Bittorent Client)
  11. Boot-up Manager (Easy configuration of startup and shutdown scripts and services)
  12. Checkgmail (A nifty gmail checker)
  13. Ctrl-Alt-Del (This configures Ctrl-Alt-Del to Open Gnome System Monitor (GNOME ONLY))
  14. DCPP (Linux DC++ client)
  15. Debian Menu (Shows all installed applications on your system)
  16. Democracy Player (Internet TV platform)
  17. DVD Ripper (DVD ripper)
  18. Extra Fonts (Additional fonts and msttcorefonts)
  19. Flashplayer (Adobe Flash Player for FF)
  20. Frostwire (P2P file sharing client (GPL clone of Limewire))
  21. Gdesklets (eyecandy for Gnome)
  22. Gaim 2.0 beta3 (The latest version of a popular IM client compatible with YIM/MSN/AIM/Jabber etc)
  23. GFTP (FTP client for GNOME with ssh capability)
  24. Gizmo Project (VoIP phone)
  25. Gnomebaker (The best GTK2 CD/DVD burning software)
  26. GnomePPP (Graphical dialup connection tool (GNOME ONLY))
  27. GnuCash (Money management software for GNOME)
  28. Google Earth (Satellite Earth imagery application from Google)
  29. Google Picasa (Photo editing application from Google)
  30. iLinux (iLife Alternative (Banshee, F-Spot, Kino))
  31. Liferea (A RSS reader for GNOME)
  32. Listen Media Manager (Latest version of a new media manager and player for GNOME)
  33. Media Players (Totem-xine, VLC and Beep Media Player (with docklet))
  34. MPlayer & FF plugin (MPlayer and Firefox 1.5 plugin)
  35. Multimedia Codecs (Commonly needed audio and video codecs)
  36. Multimedia Editing (Audio (Audacity) Video (Kino) and ID3 Tag (Easytag) editors)
  37. Nautilus Scripts (Open Nautilus, and any file with gedit with a right click, as root (GNOME ONLY))
  38. NDISWrapper (A driver wrapper that allows you to use Windows driver for network cards)
  39. Network Manager (A program and menu applet that allows you to easily change networks)
  40. NVIDIA Driver (Installs NVIDIA drivers on select NVIDIA cards)
  41. Opera Browser (Opera Web Browser)
  42. OpenOffice Clipart (clipart in OpenOffice)
  43. Programming Tools (Anjuta (C/C++ IDE), Bluefish (HTML editor), Screem (web development), NVU (HTML editor)
  44. RealPlayer (RealPlayer)
  45. Rhythmbox (Latest version of Rhythmbox)
  46. Ripper and Tuner (Streamripper (rips Internet radio streams) and Streamtuner (Internet radio client))
  47. Security Suite (ClamAV AntiVirus and Firestarter Firewall)
  48. Skype (A free (as in free beer) Voice Over IP software)
  49. Slab (Novell’s “Slab” menu used in SLED 10)
  50. SUN JAVA 1.5 JRE (Sun’s version 1.5 JRE & The Firefox plugin)
  51. SUN JAVA 1.5 JDK (Sun’s version 1.5 JDK (Most users DON’T need this))
  52. Swiftfox Browser (optimized Firefox browser for your specific CPU)
  53. Swiftfox Plugins (Java, Flash, Acrobat, Mplayer, MS fonts)
  54. Thunderbird 1.5 (Email client)
  55. Wine (Installs Wine)
  56. XChat (a popular IRC client)

And that’s just the list for Ubuntu. There are some minor differences in Kubuntu and other flavours. You can view them all here.

To install Automatix in Ubuntu, follow the quick and easy steps outlined on the website here. Once installed, run it from System Tools > Automatix. From there, you can install whichever applications you want.

I realized that after using Automatix to install most of my favorite applications that it saved me a lot of days of work if I were to do it manually.

Now I can concentrate on my customizations and other applications that I’ve discovered along the way that I absolutely love.

Stay tuned to find out more about these personal favorites!

Adventures in a New Ubuntu 6.10 Clean Install: Day 3

Day 3

How to Mount a FAT32 Drive/Partition with Read and Write Access for All Users

The next step I tackled in my sexy, shiny, and sultry Ubuntu 6.10 was to mount my FAT32 Data Partition so I can read and write to it and access my previous Ubuntu 6.06.1 backups, along with all my other data, of course.

Since the Disks applet (I think that’s what it was called in 6.06.1) is no longer available in Gnome because it is unmaintained, I would have to manually edit my /etc/fstab file. For those who don’t know, this file mounts the partitions, CD/DVD Roms, floppies, etc, of your file system.

Before you edit this file, you should do a backup of it:

sudo cp /etc/fstab /etc/fstab_backup

Here is what my fstab file looks like:

# /etc/fstab: static file system information.
proc /proc proc defaults 0 0
# /dev/sda1
UUID=21b32fac-8d97-4ee0-89e7-bbf3dc146ec8 / ext3 defaults,errors=remount-ro 0 1
# /dev/sda5
UUID=fd07dad2-18d3-4ad2-9a19-b9801d056927 none swap sw 0 0
/dev/hdd /media/cdrom0 udf,iso9660 user,noauto 0 0
/dev/hdc /media/cdrom1 udf,iso9660 user,noauto 0 0
/dev/ /media/floppy0 auto rw,user,noauto 0 0

I figured that mounting my FAT32 Data Partition would be easily done by adding the following line at the end of my /etc/fstab file:

/dev/hda5 /data vfat iocharset=utf8,umask=000 0 0

…and then do a: sudo mount -a #Mounts everything in fstab

It worked, but the root of my My Documents folder on that partition wasn’t writable. Some other folders at the root level were writable and others weren’t. Also, some folders within My Documents were writable and some weren’t, like My Music, My Pictures, and others. Seemed like the “Windows-related” folders weren’t writable. But folders within those folders were writable.

It’s odd.

I figured I could just do a sudo chown -hR leonivek:leonivek /data but I would only get an “Operation not permitted” error.

After searching on the Ubuntu Forums, this post explained that I would still need to change the actual permissions of that mount point. To do so, I had to do this:

sudo chmod a+w -R /data

Bingo! Now everything is accessible — read and write — for all users.

If you need some help with your fstab and mounting drives, I recommend reading the following pages:

Adventures in a New Ubuntu 6.10 Clean Install – Day 2, Part 2

Day 2, Part 2

The First Bug Encountered in Ubuntu

I actually wrote Day 2, Part 1 in OpenOffice Writer. When I was done it, I logged on to this blog in the new Firefox 2.0, started the post, and copied and pasted it – BAM! OOo Writer crashed! It didn’t crash when I copied it, it crashed when I pasted into Firefox, but nothing was pasted! I tried again, and it crashed once more with nothing pasted. I couldn’t paste my post.

So my first thought was to copy into a different application to see if it would work. If it didn’t, then it probably meant that the problem lies with OpenOffice. Problem was, I didn’t have any other programs to paste to without losing my formatting and links. And since I had done nothing to the system yet, I didn’t have any blog software to work in. Not even email!

Enabling All Repositories in the New “Software Sources” Applet

So I fired up the “Add/Remove” Applet in search of something else to paste to. On loading it, it dawned on me that I needed to enable all repositories. Well, I didn’t need it to solve this first bug of mine, but I knew I would need all of them down the line.

So I clicked on System > Administration > Software Sources. I was greeted with something different from the previous Ubuntu 6.06.1 Dapper. This new applet was categorized in 5 different tabs: Ubuntu 6.10, Internet Updates, Third Party, Authentication, and Statistics.

The first tab, Ubuntu 6.10, was where I could enable/disable the main, universe, multiverse, and restricted sources. I could also tell it to download from the Server for Canada, since this is where I live!

The second tab, Internet Updates, allowed me to select what kind of updates (important, recommended, proposed, or backported) it should look for. It was also where I could tell it how often to check for updates automatically and other related settings.

The third tab, Third Party, allows a user to add custom APT lines of repositories that they want as a source. You can even add a CDROM.

The fourth tab, Authentication, allows a user to add (or import) Key Files for source authentication.

The Statistics tab, the fifth one, allows a user to select if they want to submit statistical information that will anonymously send a list of installed software and how often it was used to improve support for the most popular applications and to rank applications in search results.

Nifty! I like that idea…

Investigating the First Bug Encountered

From the Add/Remove Applet, I decided to add the AbiWord Word Processor to see if I could paste from OOo Writer to it so I can then paste from AbiWord to Firefox.

Well, it worked… kinda. It pasted the text, but crashed OOo Writer and my text lost all of its format and hyperlinks. I tried again, just to see. It still crashed, BUT the text never pasted.

So this meant that it was either an OOo bug or something – that I might not know of – in between the OOo Writer and the pasted application. Not sure what it could be, though… Will have to investigate this later, though. I’m itching to do other things in Ubuntu…

UPDATE: This is a known bug and has already been reported in LaunchPad at

UPDATE:  You can find a solution here

Adventures in a New Ubuntu 6.10 Clean Install – Day 2, Part 1

Day 2, Part 1

Configuring Display Settings and Resolution

The first thing I had to do once I got to my Ubuntu desktop (after login, of course!) was to reconfigure my display settings. The maximum resolution allowed was 1024×768 with a refresh rate of 60Hz. My default is usually 1280×1024 @ 75Hz. So my screen was too small and flickered at such a low refresh rate.

To fix this screen resolution issue, I did a sudo dpkg-reconfigure xserver-xorg.

I also had to Google my monitor’s specs so I can correctly tell the xserver what my horizontal and vertical frequency ranges are. When I ran that command in terminal and followed the steps, I noticed that Ubuntu had set my X Server Driver to “vesa” for some reason. I changed that to ATI, my video card manufacturer. I continued with the other steps and mostly hit Enter throughout unless I knew what to change. I got to the frequency range and inputted the correct numbers.

After finishing the reconfiguration of my display settings, I did a CTRL+BACKSPACE to restart the xserver and make the settings go into effect.

My display was finally normal again.

Adventures in a New Ubuntu 6.10 Clean Install – Day 1

Day 1

This will be the first post in a series of posts called the Adventures in a New Ubuntu 6.10 Clean Install. I will document my entire experience in preparing for a re-installation of Ubuntu from 6.06.1 to Ubuntu 6.10 with a format.

Best way to download Ubuntu

Now that Ubuntu 6.10 was released today, I was finally able to start getting my system back up and running in a dual-boot configuration with Windows XP Professional.

I opted to download the i386 ISO image using the available torrents since it would be the fastest way to download it. It only took about 45 minutes to download at varying speeds.

Before I continue my installation anecdote, I must explain my computer configuration…

My computer configuration

I have an Intel Pentium 4 processor running at 3.0 Ghz with 1.0 GB of RAM. My motherboard is an Intel Desktop D865PERL. I have a (crappy) ATI Radeon 9200SE video card. I have a (crappy) Samsung SyncMaster 955DF CRT monitor. I have 2 physical drives: one is a 160 GB IDE drive, and the other is a 80 GB SATA drive. My IDE drive is partitioned in 2: One partition is for Windows XP Professional, and the other is for my data. The SATA drive is dedicated entirely to Linux.

When I originally installed Ubuntu 6.06 LTS, I opted to make my Data partition a FAT32 partition for easy access from Ubuntu Linux. This separation of OSes from Data would prove beneficial if ever an OS would crash. I can simply format either OS partitions/drives and start over without losing any data.

After I rendered my original Ubuntu useless, I backed up my important files and settings in Linux from within Windows with Explore2fs.


Installation was quick and painless. Nothing really to say about it! I told the Gnome partition manager (gparted) to wipe out my SATA drive and install on that drive. It told me that it would install GRUB on HD0, which is the first physical drive in the computer. Installation time: 32 minutes (including answering questions during install).

Accessing Linux Partitions from Windows XP

As you may have read in my last post, I toasted my Ubuntu last night when installing the Release Candidate for Ubuntu 6.10 (Edgy) without backing up some data first. I learned my lesson (although I expected it and somewhat wanted it to fry)!

It didn’t affect my partitions though… I was still able to boot to my Windows XP partition. So naturally, my first task was to find a tool that will allow me to access my Ubuntu Linux partition and backup the files I want/need to backup from my Home directory.

I found the tool (or should I say Google found the tool). It is the small but amazing Explore2fs by

I didn’t have a lot to backup though since all of my data is on a data partition in FAT32. I only had to backup a bit of music, linux-only related documents, and some pictures. Of course I also backed-up some Ubuntu software settings, Thunderbird email, and Liferea RSS feeds, to name a few.

Explore2fs is a great “quick-fix”!

How to Kill Your Ubuntu: Impatience!


I was impatient.

I killed my Ubuntu system.


Despite what I said in a previous post, despite all the warnings, I was anxious and impatient and I went and installed the Release Candidate of Ubuntu 6.10 Edgy last night. I couldn’t wait 5 days for the final release. Stupid me.

Now I can’t load X and my cordless keyboard from my keyboard/mouse combo is not working in CLI (command line interface). It’s rendered useless (without a degree in Linux-ism! <grin>). Although I haven’t really looked into it… I don’t know if I really want to. There were a lot of errors during the upgrade so, I don’t want to spend the rest of 2006 fixing it! I wish I could just type in: $ sudo fix-it –now

Of course, in my impatience, I didn’t really back up anything. Now I have to figure out how to access my Linux partition (either from Windows XP or a Live CD) and copy what I want to keep to my Data partition (FAT32).

There’s not much to backup. I’d like to keep my Thunderbird emails and settings, though… oh, and possibly my Amarok settings and data. There’s some music, pictures, and videos I’d also like to move. As for other Ubuntu-specific configs or software, that’s not really important.

BUT, there is a couple positive things to this (believe it or not)…

First, my Ubuntu is my first-time Ubuntu installation and has been installed since April (I think?). Since then, there’s been a lot of tinkering, customizing, testing, updating, re-tinkering, etc, that my system has gained a lot of peculiarities and issues that I can’t get rid of… like my issue with transparent panels killing my x-server and crashing Ubuntu. Re-doing my system will allow me to start over from scratch with a brand new system. I know my way around it now and I know what I want, what I don’t need to try, and what not to do (like install a RC on top of a highly tinkered system — shut up, I know now!).

Second, with a new Ubuntu version from scratch, it will give me more material to write for my blog! I plan on documenting most of my experiences, issues, and reviews. Hopefully, it will help the newbies experiencing fear, uncertainty, and doubt about using Linux.

Wish me luck!

5 Days Until New Ubuntu 6.10 is Scheduled to be Released!

On October 26, 2006, Ubuntu 6.10 is scheduled to be released.

Although I’ve been wanting to download and test the Betas and Release Candidates, I’ve deliberately forced myself not to. I decided that I will wait for the final release to come out. Maybe I’m a little chicken, but mainly I’m just not prepared if something would go wrong. I don’t have any recent backups of all my data. Once I get that done, then I’ll allow the upgrade.

I’m hoping that this new release will fix my transparency problem that causes Ubuntu to crash.  We’ll see…

Internet Explorer 7: What were they thinking??

I know this is off-topic and has nothing to do with Ubuntu/Linux, and I know I haven’t posted in a while (been busy studying the XML Handbook), but I need to vent my frustrations at Microsoft and their attempt at creating a new “browser”.

I’m talking about IE7.

It was released on October 18, 2006. It will be deployed through automatic updates starting November 1, 2006. I’ve been testing this new version since its early beta stages…

I don’t call that atrocity a browser, even in its final version.
Read More…