Saturday, March 27, 2010

Comprehensive Setup Guide for Ubuntu 9.04 (Jaunty Jackalope)

Note: I realized that I never published this on this blog site, and I haven't actually written a guide yet for Ubuntu 9.10. Since Ubuntu 10.04 is right around the corner, I will probably just wait for Ubuntu 10.04 to be released and then update this guide to be 100% compatible with the new version.

For the record, 95% of the information below pertains and works correctly with Ubuntu 9.10.

What applications come with Ubuntu 9.04 right out of the box?
  • Firefox: Web browser
  • Pidgin : Instant Messenger client (support for MSN, yahoo, aim, icq, etc)
  • OpenOffice 3.0.1: Word processor, spreadsheet, slide show.
  • Gimp: Photoediting/Graphics application
  • Brasero: CD/DVD burning software
  • Transmission: BitTorrent client
  • Rhythmbox Music Player: Music player
  • Movie Player: video player
  • Evolution: email package
  • F-Spot Photo Manager: Photo-editing package
  • Document Viewer: for opening PDF files

How do I open a terminal window...a shell...a command line?
Applications, Accessories, Terminal.

How to update all of my software to the latest and greatest?
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get upgrade

Adding Multimedia Repository support into Ubuntu
First, Ubuntu does not come with the ability to playback encrypted DVD's, MP3 files or other Windows codec stuff. The reason, is because these are not-open source, royalty free or have other license restrictions. The good news is that you can easily add this support with 1 single command;
Note: This also covers video codecs necessary for YouTube videos.

sudo apt-get install ubuntu-restricted-extras

Setting up the VLC movie player
sudo apt-get install vlc
sudo /usr/share/doc/libdvdread4/

In order to get movies to playback with VLC, i had to reboot Ubuntu. I'm not entirely sure why, but if yours is not working, a reboot will likely fix you too.

Setting up Amarok for music playback
There are many other apps for this, including things like Rhythmbox Music Player. I've just been using Amarok for a long time and included it here.

sudo apt-get install amarok libxine1-ffmpeg phonon-backend-xine phonon-backend-gstreamer

Installing Sun Java Support and Firefox Java Plugin
sudo apt-get install sun-java6-bin sun-java6-jre sun-java6-plugin

CD-ripping with grip to MP3
sudo apt-get install grip lame
Applications, Sound and Video, grip
Natively, this app will rip to an .ogg file (ogg vorbis). This is a fantastic high-quality open source free format...but if you have a portable device which won't use those can change to MP3 as I show you below.

I like to rip to MP3's on VBR 3 (Variable Bit Rate 3). Here is how I do that;
Open grip, Go to Config tab, encode, change to lame
Changed encoder command line to read: -V 3 --vbr-new %w %m
changed encode file format to read: ~/ogg/%A/%d/%t-%n.%x

The ripped files will be in a folder in your home folder (/home/username) in a subfolder called Ogg.

Mounting a Windows share on another computer
sudo apt-get install smbfs
sudo mkdir /mountpoint (you can call mountpoint whatever you like and put it wherever you want)
sudo mount -t cifs //server/share /mntpoint -o username=Windows_user_name

Mounting a Windows share on another computer at boot time

touch /home/user_name/.smbpassword
sudo gedit /home/user_name/.smbpassword
--add the following 2 lines into this file and save
password = NT_Password

sudo chown root /home/user_name/.smbpassword
sudo chmod 600 /home/user_name/.smbpassword

sudo gedit /etc/fstab
--add a line similar to the follow (change to suit tastes)
//server/share /mntpoint cifs credentials=/home/user_name/.smbpassword 0 0

sudo mkdir /mntpoint (obviously you can call this whatever you want)

test mount with;
sudo mount -a

How to make a transparent terminal window
Start terminal (Applications, Accessories, terminal)
Edit, profiles
Edit default profile
Click on Colors to set your color preference (I like green on black)
Click on Effects to set a Transparent background

How to change the logon screen to something else

Visit Eyecandy for your GNOME-Desktop -
On the left, click on GDM themes
Find one that you like, download it. It should be in the format of something.tar.gz
System, Administration, Login Window
click on Local tab at top
Choose add, find the GDM theme that you just downloaded (the something.tar.gz), click on Install
Set the theme to Selected Only
Pick the new GDM theme that you want to use.
Log off and back on.

Edit: You can also find pretty cool GDM themes here: GNOME: The Free Software Desktop Project

How can I install software without the Terminal or I don't know the exact name of what I need?
System, Administration, Synaptic Package Manager
Search for what you want, mark it, install/uninstall it

How do I modify the programs in the Applications menu?

System, Preferences, Main Menu

Is there something similar to Task Manager in Windows which shows me system performance?
System, Administration, System Monitor

How can I see how much disk space is free?
sudo df -h

After I download a lot using apt-get, i notice I run low on disk space
apt-get will cache everything it downloads to the hard drive in /var/cache/apt
sudo apt-get clean (erases the cache)

How can I quickly see how much space is being used and where in my file system?
sudo du -h --max-depth=1 / (that is 2 dashes before the word max)

How can I tell which applications are installed and which version?

dpkg -l |less (I piped to less because this is likely a long list

Mounting your NTFS partition if you are dual-booting with XP or Vista

First, determine where you Windows partitions are:
sudo fdisk -l (this will list your partitions, find the partition in question you want to mount...likely something like /dev/sda1)

sudo mkdir /windows (or whatever you choose to call this mountpoint)
sudo gedit /etc/fstab

Add following line to bottom
/dev/sda1 /windows ntfs-3g defaults,locale=en_US.UTF-8 0 0

NOTE: Obviously, you need to substitute in the value determined above for your Windows partition. In my case, it was /dev/sda1.

Test your configuration
sudo mount -a

How do I remotely connect to my Ubuntu box from a Windows or other Linux host?
The simplest method is with an SSH client
Install the ssh server on ubuntu with;
sudo apt-get install openssh-server

Now, from a Windows host, you can use either Putty, Winscp or any other SSH client
From a Linux host, just use the ssh client preinstalled.

Now, from How do I switch to xfce, fluxbox or KDE instead of Gnome?

sudo apt-get install xfce-desktop
sudo apt-get install fluxbox
sudo apt-get install kubuntu-desktop

Now, logout.
From Logon screen, click on Options, Choose Select Session and pick your desktop environment.

When you then logon, it will ask if you want to use the new session 1 time or make it permanent.

Getting rid of the awful Ubuntu Orange look
System, Preferences, Appearances
Under Theme, pick something like "Clearlooks"

Then, open up Firefox, go to Backdrops - Wallpaper iPhone App from InterfaceLIFT and get a new desktop background of your choice.

Installing Frostwire (open source equivalent to LimeWire Pro..peer to peer file sharing)

Go here: Application Information - Frostwire
Download 32-bit for Jaunty.
Choose save file and it will save to your desktop
Once it completes, double click on the .deb file on your desktop. It will open the package installer, click on Install Package in upper right

To launch it, Applications, Internet, Frostwire

Note: if you experience problems with the interface or the app not starting, be sure to follow the previous steps for installing Sun Java.

How to perform fast backups with rsync
This assumes that you save everything that you want to keep in your home folder (/home/username), and you have an external hard drive or USB keyfob that you can back up to

1). Plug in the USB key
2). Open a terminal window, and type: mount
3). Look for something like /dev/sdb1 /media/disk (that will be your external drive)
4). mkdir /media/disk/backups (creates a backup folder on the external drive)
5). rsync -rv /home/username/ /media/disk/backups/ (will backup everything onto your external drive)

The beauty of using rsync is that subsequent runs will ONLY copy files that have changed....thus backups will only take a few seconds. Also, if you want to make sure that files that you delete on the source hard drive are also deleted on the external hard drive, you can change the syntax to
rsync -rv --delete /home/username/ /media/disk/backups/ (there are 2 dashes before delete)

Everything beyond this point is geared around Eye Candy and is completely optional

Enabling proprietary video drives for ATI/Nvidia cards
My Linux machines all have NVIDIA based graphics cards in them, so I describe that procedure here. The installation for ATI cards should be similar.

System, Administration, Hardware drivers
I choose NVIDIA accelerated graphics driver (version 180) and choose activate.
The system will automatically download and install the driver.
Note: it will sit at 0% for a bit, just be will install

Getting basic eyecandy features enabled.
Make sure that you have installed the proprietary video drivers as described above for the best possible experience.

System, Preferences, Appearance, Visual Effects
You should be able to turn on Normal at this point, to get the basics.

Installing the Compiz Configuration Manager to Control the built-in eye-candy features.

Again, ensure that you install the proprietary video drives for the best possible experience.

sudo apt-get install compizconfig-settings-manager
Make adjustments from System, Preferences, CompizConfig Settings Manager

Installing the Emerald Theme Manager
sudo apt-get install emerald libemeraldengine0

now we need to make Emerald start once you boot into Ubuntu. To do so, go to System > Preferences > CompizConfig Settings Manager
check "Window Decoration" and click it, then in the "Command" field enter this:
emerald --replace

Get emerald themes from here: The Compiz Community -
Then go to System, Preferences, Emerald Theme Manager and import the themes you have downloaded.

Now, just logout and back on to get emerald running and you should be using your new theme.

Setting up a Mac like dock with the Avant Windows Manager
sudo apt-get install avant-window-navigator awn-manager awn-applets-python-extras awn-applets-c-extras

System > Preferences > AWN Manager, on the "General" tab and set it the way you want it to be
check auto start on logon
under Bar Appearance, change to 3D
Add any applets that you might want displayed

To start it now, either hit ALT-F2 and type in avant-window-navigator or log off and back on.

Making applications rollup, when you click on the title bar versus Maximize/Minimize

System, Preferences, Windows
Change titlebar action to "Roll up"

How can I install a screenlets applications (aka Desktop widgets)?
sudo apt-get install screenlets
Applications, Accessories, Screenlets
Pick the Screenlets that you want to run, choose whether you want to auto start them at logon.