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.

Acrobat Reader

March 25, 2010

Well long (though interesting) story short I had to reinstall Ubuntu (still version 8.04).  I’ll give you th long story soon enough, but first here is something that might be useful.

At first I was fine with using Evince for viewing PDF files but there are just a few things that Acrobat does that I like.  Overall I still prefer Evince since it is much faster at loading and not “bloated” with features that I won’t ever use.  Regardless I still needed to install Acrobat.

Normally you would be able to just run sudo apt-get install acroread, but for some reason acroread is no longer in the Ubuntu list of provided programs.  So I had to do some work on Google.  Sure finding Acrobat was easy but I needed to make sure that it would work on an 64bit OS.  As usual, a pain in the ass.

I won’t go into all that I tried, I’ll just tell you what worked.  First go to this site and choose the appropriate OS (Linux) and the .bin file.  Apparently choosing the x86 version is fine.  Assuming that it was downloaded to your desktop run chmod u+x *.bin, where * is whatever the file is called.  Then finally run sudo ./*.bin.  Make sure to add the sudo or you’ll run into some issues (I’ll let you see what kind).  During the install when asked where to store the file(s) make sure to pick a location that is in your PATH.  I chose /usr/bin but I suppose that any location will work.

Now you can run acroread and be on your way.

Flash and Flashplayer 10

December 1, 2009

Let’s face it flash is a bitch.  Sadly lots of web pages make use of it.

So if you are using a 64bit architecture then you are almost always shit out of luck.  Well there is finally a way to get around this.  Yes I know that this isn’t anything new, but I haven’t had a need to update until recently.  So naturally I went to Google (if you haven’t picke up on the pattern here by now then I don’t know what’s wrong with you) and took a look around.  Most of the results were restatements of the same method (which didn’t work by the way).  However, I did manage to find one that did, here is the link to the site.  Just in case anyone else might need it.

I’ll say it once again, flash is a bitch.

More on Facebook and Pidgin

November 12, 2009

Well Facebook has up and gone and changed their way of logging in (or something along those lines). For this reason I was not able to connect to my facebook account through Pidgin. As a result I just didn’t talk to some of my friends for a while. Don’t ask me why they believe that facebook-chat is much better than say AIM and GoogleTalk.
However, thanks to the Ubuntu forums (if you haven’t been here yet and you use Ubuntu, what is wrong with you) and Google I was able to solve the problem. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: “For a beginning Linux, user Google is your BEST FRIEND!”

Well without further delay, here is a solution.  First get close Pidgin, then run sudo apt-get remove pidgin-facebookchat.  This will remove your old version of the package. In addition you will need to remove your libjson-glib-1.0-0 package.  I suggest using the package manager for this (System>>Administration>>Synaptic Package Manager) to do this, only because I don’t remember the exact package name.

Now you all you have to do is download the new packages. The libjson-glib package can be found at from this list of files I selected libjson-glib-1.0-0-dbg_0.7.6-0ubuntu1_amd64.deb, your choice will depend on if you are using a 64bit or 32bit processor.  If you are using 64bit use the file listed above, for you 32bit users choose the ones that ends in i386.deb.  Finally to get the facebookchat plugin go to this site: and download the most recent version.

At this point I assume that everything is saved to your Desktop.  First right click on the libsjon file, and select “Open with GDebi Package Installer”.  If you don’t have GDebi Package Installer, then head over to the package manager and get it, or use apt-get install.  Or you could install it yourself, but I find using this tool to much easier and less time consuming.  Now that you have the correct libjson-glib file installed, repeat the process except to the pidgin-facebookchat file.

Start up Pidgin and re-enter your login information and it is back to “business” as usual.

Linux File System: Part 1

September 5, 2009

You just moved over from Window and are now working with Ubuntu.  The only problem is that you have no idea how the file system is laid out.  In Windows you know that there are partitions D:\ (usually the recovery partition/drive) and C:\ (which acts like the main partition/drive).  Even further, these partitions are visible when you boot up your computer so you don’t have to worry about mounting them.

Now as for a Linux system, EVERYTHING IS A FILE!!! (and if it isn’t a file it’s a process).  Directories like /home (similar to C:\Users\[user name] in Windows) is just a special kind of file, that contains “pointers” do it descendants.  At this point I should mention that in Linux the file system is set up like a tree, with root node /.  Those of you that are familiar with working in DOS will have to get use to using / to navigate between directories and not \.  Really it’s not that hard to do, but does take some getting used to.  And if you are going to say “Why does Linux not adhere to the standard?” Just remember that Linux is based off of Unix which has been around much longer than Windows.  Additionally Windows doesn’t have a great track record when it comes to adhering to standards (IE for example).  Something else to keep in mind is that file names are case sensitive.  That means that THIS.txt is different from tHiS.txt or This.txt and even this.txt.  In Windows this isn’t the case (Thanks Kevin telling me this.  I always entered file names as if they were case sensitive when working with Windows.)

Remember earlier when I said that under Windows you don’t have to mount drives/partitions once you boot up the system?  Well under Linux you don’t have this convenience.  However, there are some advantages to this set up, so you shouldn’t cry too much.  For instance the /usr (the file that contains most of the system executables, I’ll talk about this more later) can be mounted from another computer on your network and everything will work just fine.  Just try moving the folder C:\WINDOWS to another location (have fun fixing your registry errors if you actually do this by the way).  The reason this will work under Linux is because it will still see /usr as a local directory that’s part of the local directory structure.

It is finally time to talk about the different parts of the Linux file system. To see what the directories under / are just go to that directory and enter ls -p. The entries with a / after them are directories, everything else is just a regular file.
On my system the list of directories is:

/bin /boot /dev /etc /home /initrd /lib /lib32 /lost+found /media /mnt /opt /proc /root /sbin /srv /sys /tmp /usr /var

The /lib32 directory seems to be special to 64-bit machines so I won’t be talking about it. However, I figure that it is similar to /lib, but provides support for 64-bit systems.

In part 2-and part 3, if it is needed, I will discuess each of these directories.  Nothing too detailed but it should provide you with a good starting point.

This is What Linux Sounds Like

August 11, 2009

So what good is a system that has Amarok (if you don’t know what this is and you use Ubuntu/Kubuntu, stop now and check out the link) but doesn’t play sounds?  I’ll let you come to your own conclusions on that.  For me the answer is “pointless and rather annoying”.  A few days ago I had my first issues with my sound card.  Basically I would not be able to play songs on Amarok while watching a video on a site (read: YouTube).  It turns out that I was trying to route all of my sound through PulseAudio.

No clue why it only started causing problems a few days ago and not any time before.  Here is my ad-hoc solution.  System>Preferences>Sound.  Then in this menu change have ALSA manage the sound events and PulseAudio control the sound playback for videos and music. Everything else is set to Autodetect.  You’re almost done.  Now you just need to open up Amarok and go to Settings>Configure Amarok>Engine.  In this menu use the Xine Engine for your Sound System, for the Output Plugin select PulseAudio. “Problem solved”.

In addition to solving the above problem it also allowed me to preview music files with a mouse over.  Some people complain about this feature, but I really like it. Saves me the time of opening an actual media player.

I honestly spent about two hours searching around Google and the Ubuntu forums trying to find a solution to this.  However, nothing seemed to work; or my system was already configured as they recommended.  Don’t take this the wrong way, I LOVE the Ubuntu forums. In fact they have helped me solve most of my problems, such as getting my computer to not freeze up when I insert and SD card, but that’s a whole differnt story.

Well I am now somewhat more interested in learning more about PulseAudio and Xine, so I will probably spend some time reading those Wikipeia pages I linked at the beginning.  They should be a good place to start.  Maybe I will be able to find a better solution to suggest.  Who knows, maybe this is just a 64-bit problem, but I really doubt that.

Flash Issues

July 9, 2009

I would like to start off by saying that I am running Ubuntu 8.04 on a 64-bit architecture.  So some of the usual fixes for the 32bit version just don’t work, but I’ll ramble about those later on.

So if you are like most people you use the internet.  And you might visit this YouTube site every now and then. Well Ubuntu (and probably other Linux distributions) doesn’t have native flash support. Thus you will not be able to watch videos and use various other sites.  Luckily there is a rather painless solution, well there are several but I will only outline one.

First open up our good old friend the terminal. Now type sudo apt-get install flashplungin-nonfree. Then enter your password when prompted.  That’s it, more or less. You should now be able to view any flash content that’s out there on the web (well any that doesn’t require you to have version 10).  After doing this I did however experience a small hick up, as I found out later wasn’t all that rare.  Basically flash would stop working after a while. Pages would still load but the flash content would not.  The solution was to delete the file, no idea why but it fixed the problem.  In order to do this you must first find where it is located, which could require some digging around.  Fortunately the terminal comes to our rescue once again (this seems to be a recurring theme). Just enter locate, and it will list all the locations where this file is located, pretty neat. The locate command can also work with regular expressions (regx), but seeing as how I don’t know regx as of yet I won’t talk about it.

At this point I think I should further explain apt-get, seeing as how this is a pretty important package handler. The three  “main” uses of this command are to install packages, remove packages, and update/remove ‘useless’ packages.

  1. Installing packages: sudo apt-get install Pkg. Pretty self explanatory from the command.  It installs the package Pkg to your system. You can list more than one package at a time so sudo apt-get install Pkg1 Pkg2, will install Pkg1 and Pkg2.
  2. Remove packages: sudo apt-get remove Pkg. The same as install except that it removes Pkg.
  3. Update/Remove useless: sudo apt-get update, updates all packages to their most recent version. It is advised that an update is run before this so that apt-get knows what packages to update. Also this command doesn’t remove any packages so your old versions will be left sitting around (but not installed). To remove the clutter run sudo apt-get autoremove.

I just notticed that I have used sudo all over the place but you can mess around and figure out when you do and don’t need to use it.