More on the Linux File System

May 11, 2010

Some of you might remember when I did a few post on the Linux file system.  If not, or you would just like to reread them just follow these links: part1, part2, and part3.  I’ll admit that I didn’t finish this series as I had originally planned, but it does provide a good place to start learning.  Maybe one day I’ll try and finish/improve upon this series, but I won’t hold your breath.

For those of you that would like to learn more about the file system you can either go to Google or you can run the command man hier from the terminal.  This will provide you with a general overview of each of the partitions for the file system.

Terminal Update

May 9, 2010

Well continuing in my recent “bashing Lucid Lynx” trend I have found a problem once again.  I am sure that we are all familiar with the graphical interface for updating our system.  If not then you can find it by going to System > Administration > Update Manager.  Well for some reason for me this program decides to freeze as well, and unlike Firefox it doesn’t ever recover.  Luckily there is a way to apply updates from the terminal (see the terminal is your second best friend, Google is first).  The command you will need is

sudo apt-get upgrade

This will install the newest version of all packages (programs) that are currently on your system. Here is what the man page says

upgrade is used to install the newest versions of all packages
currently installed on the system from the sources enumerated in
/etc/apt/sources.list. Packages currently installed with new
versions available are retrieved and upgraded; under no
circumstances are currently installed packages removed, or packages
not already installed retrieved and installed. New versions of
currently installed packages that cannot be upgraded without
changing the install status of another package will be left at
their current version. An update must be performed first so that
apt-get knows that new versions of packages are available.

So after reading this it would seem that you might have to run either sudo apt-get autoremove or sudo apt-get autoclean.

I am not sure if this will also take care of security updates as well so just to be on the safe side I would assume not.  So I’ll have to find a way to get this done from the terminal as well.  Hope this was helpful to some of you, or at least provided you with a bit of new information.

At Least it Doesn’t Look Horrible

May 7, 2010

I know I promised that I would try not to bash Lucid Lynx too much in this post, so I’ll get it out of the way at the beginning.  WAY TO JUMP ON THE RIDIN’ APPLE’S D*CK BANDWAGON!  Everything from the default login screen to the location of the Min/Max/Close buttons screams Mac OS X.

That being said, I must admit that it is a refreshing change from the old theme.  Though I did rather like that theme.  One of the biggest “flaws” in my opinion was moving the Min/Max/Close (mmc) buttons to the left.  You can either get used to this or move them back where they belong (on the right).  Moving them isn’t difficult at all, just run gconf-editor.  Then go to apps>metacity>general and from the list on the right choose button_layout; change its value to either
The former puts a simple menu button on the left side like you are used to from previous versions, while the latter has no such menu button. Either way the mmc buttons are now back on the right.

Next is the terminal, you would think it is impossible to mess this up.  Well they did and fortunately they provided the tools to easily fix their blunder.  Who thought that white text on a PURPLE background was a good idea? Well just open a terminal, select edit and then choose Profiles… (or Profile Preferences).  From here it is pretty self explanatory on how to get what you want.  Also a new feature that I like is that you can now choose the default size of the terminal from this location.  Before you would have to edit a file (who’s name I can’t recall at the moment). Other than that, it’s still the terminal we have all known and loved (you better love it or you’ll be severely limited in what you can do).

The notification applet/panel has changed some as well. I suppose it has its improvements but I can’t seem to find them.  However, I can’t find any real faults with it either, so the jury is still out.  I will say however, that it is a little annoying at times.

The set of default background are amazing.  For the first time I haven’t had to go to Google and do an image search to find one that I would like to use.  At least they got this part right I suppose.  Also the icon set didn’t get worse, I’m pretty impartial about this change as well.  The default theme is pretty good, but the only thing that bothered me about it is that when I made my top panel transparent it left behind regions that were still gray. To change this I just changed to the Dust theme, which more or less looks exactly the same.

The screensaver selection has been drastically reduced since 8.04. So either hope that the one you like is still there or you will be forced do download one that you do like.

Next post will be about the pre-installed applications and what I chose to add/remove.

Broken Login

May 7, 2010

So I’m sure that by now you’ve heard that by default Ubuntu has the root account disabled.  Naturally the first thing you ask when hearing this is, why?  Well once you think about it the answer becomes obvious. Security.  Everyone knows that every Linux system has a root account. So if you want to do “bad things” to it all you need to do is guess the password. Well if there is no password to guess then you are just S.O.L.

Now using logic along these lines you figure that a system is more secure if an “hacker” not only has to break passwords, but also guess the login names.  Well it seems that the Ubuntu developers threw this right out the window when making 10.04 (maybe they did it earlier but definitely not in 8.04).  By default, the login screen has you choose a user from a drop down list, and then you enter the password.  To make things worse, there isn’t an easy way to fix this.  Fortunately you can change this behavior, but you will need to do some work.

To begin with, you need to make an addition to your software repository.  Just  enter the following into the terminal:
sudo add-apt-repository ppa:gdm2setup/gdm2setup
Then you need to tell your system that you have made changes and they need to be implemented.
sudo apt-get update
Finally you are ready to install the program.
sudo apt-get install python-gdm2setup

To find the program you can go to System>Administration and it will be the new entry (sorry I don’t recall the name). Another cool thing is that you can now also change the background image of the login screen, which was “impossible” before (or so I have read).  Now if only I could find a way to make it so that when you enter your password no dots or anything appear, so as to not let others know how long your password actually is.

Next post I’ll talk about the issues I have with the new appearance. Don’t worry there are some things I actually do like (though not many).

Back to a Walking Speed

May 7, 2010

Well the Firefox slow down has finally gotten out of hand.  I’ve installed Swiftfox, which is basically Firefox but supposedly optimized for speed.  If you want to try it then just do a Google search for Swiftfox, and click on just about any link of your choice.

In the previous post I provided a link that showed how to supposedly fix the problem.  More or less what it instructed you to do was disable IPv6 in Firefox.  Well this didn’t work for me (though it might for you so I suggest you try it anyway).  After realizing that this didn’t work I found another site that showed how to disable IPv6 system wide.  Here is what the site says to do;

First check to see if IPv6 is enabled. If the following returns 0 then it is, otherwise it’s not.

cat /proc/sys/net/ipv6/conf/all/disable_ipv6

If it is enabled the you need to run the following and then restart your system.

echo "#disable ipv6" | sudo tee -a /etc/sysctl.conf
echo "net.ipv6.conf.all.disable_ipv6 = 1" | sudo tee -a /etc/sysctl.conf
echo "net.ipv6.conf.default.disable_ipv6 = 1" | sudo tee -a /etc/sysctl.conf
echo "net.ipv6.conf.lo.disable_ipv6 = 1" | sudo tee -a /etc/sysctl.conf

Just to be safe however, I installed Google Chrome anyway.  My system still freezes every now and then, but it’s no longer as bad as it used to be.  At this point I think that it’s something else (probably flash, who knows).

Another problem I’ve encountered is that Pidgin isn’t as responsive as it was back when I used 8.04.  But that could be due to the Facebook plugin, I’ve experienced this before so fixing it shouldn’t be too difficult.

Well my next post will most likely be about more problems I have with 10.04 (thank god this is a LTS, because it seems like the problems don’t stop).

EDIT: I totally forgot to mention what the tee command does.  It reads from standard in and writes to either standard out or a file.  When used with the -a flag it appends to the end of the designated file(s). Therefore, the following commands will have the same (overall) result.

echo "I can append to a file" >> my_file
echo "I can append to a file" | tee -a my_file

Similarly the same is true of the following.

echo "I can overwrite a file" > my_file
echo "I can overwrite a file" | tee my_file

Why so Slow!

May 6, 2010

Well I have finally installed Ubuntu 10.04 onto a 16GB flash drive.  I am currently in the process of getting all the programs that I enjoy using and or need.

So far the only problem is that everything seems…well slow.  To be more specific, Firefox is running slow.  I’m not sure what the reason for this is but I apparently am not the only person that has experienced this problem.  This site provides instructions on how to fix this. I’m not sure if it works or not since I haven’t been running FF long enough to notice the difference yet.  Regardless, I still plan to install Chrome and Epiphany.  Having more browsers can’t hurt.

Overall it has been an enjoyable experience so far but we’ll see how long that last.  Well back to setting up the system, I’ll keep you posted on any other issues I happen to run into.

Lucid Lynx

May 5, 2010

From the title you should know what I am about to say.  However, for those of you that have been living under a rock (or don’t keep up with these kinds of things) Lucid Lynx is the newest (at the time of this post) member to the Ubuntu family.  The first noticeable chance is that the default theme for version 10.04 is drastically different.  Just look around Google Images to see what I mean.  Also the Min/Maximize & Close buttons have been moved to the left of the window and have also been reordered.  Now you have two options, either get used to it or find a way to move them back.  I would go with moving them back to where they should be (yes Apple you were wrong for putting them on the left).  It’s not too difficult, maybe I’ll write a post on this or I’ll just post a link, still haven’t made up my mind.

I haven’t used it too much since I am still running from the LiveCD (long story) but I’ll let you know my thoughts when I finally install it and do some (much needed) configuration.

Oh one more thing, I will be using a 32bit version and NOT A 64BIT VERSION! The reason for the switch is the lack of flash support for 64bit Linux (thanks Adobe) and also none of the applications/programs I used took full advantage of the fact that I was using a 64bit processor.  Don’t worry I will mention some 64bit stuff every now and then when appropriate, but not as much as I did in the past.