the itjerk

my adventures with technology

Monthly Archives: April 2011

linux as as desktop

I first started using Linux to run slimserver for my Squeezebox, though I *attempted* to run versions as early as the 2.3 kernel. Since then, it's come a long way, baby. I switched from Corel Linux to Redhat to Fedora and then Ubuntu. It's become my primary desktop, my test server, and a lot more, all on my third self-assembled computer; Linux reminds me again and again why I love computers and computing.
Geek, I know.

Just some other random thoughts on Natty Narwhal:

1. Unity stinks. As in the previous post and video from Linux Journal, I too fail to see the "better" in the change to it. The Dash is not workable, and the launcher is a waste of non-configurable space. Call me a Gnome guy.

2. I've started to use Workspaces, but it begs for the panel at the top of the screen. Call me a Windows guy.

3. Banshee is one amazing media player. Now if it would only quit without having to kill it.

4. Hard to get used to both the new scroll-bars and windows going full-screen when moving the top title bar. Also, mouse has unclickable dead spots in the middle-left of the screen. It's the little things…

5. Firefox 4.0.1 is your friend, Chromium could be. Opera is still a pain to install on Linux. Why is that?


ubuntu 11.04 natty narwhal

Okay, I've pretty much concluded that Unity sucks in the previous post. After two years, it was time for a clean install of Ubuntu. Of the various benefits, what I find most useful is that it makes me rethink which applications I am using, and why am I using them. We tend to develop a fetish for certain apps, which in and of itself is okay, but ultimately computers are tools, and whatever gets the job done, gets the job done. So with a clean install, I can rethink everything.

Natty Narwhal has of course the controversial choice of Unity desktop as default, but otherwise its shaping up to be what I expect from Ubuntu – a distribution that just works. Few quirks – moving windows by the title bar makes them go full-screen, have to shift-page-up/down in terminal, Firefox still doesn't remember it's window position on the desktop.

Here's my installation notes:

11.04 Natty Narwhal, April 28th 2011, clean install on a new HD

1. Installed from 32bit Desktop DVD. checked mp3 support.

2. change login window options, sudo apt-get install nautilus-open-terminal (restart of x), openssh-server, numlockx, landscape-common, gufw, lame, vorbis-tools

3. mount 2nd hard drive; create /mnt/music/, change permissions, put in /etc/fstab:
/dev/sdb1  /mnt/music     ext3    defaults,relatime        1 2
ln -s /mnt/music /home/one/music (put in banshee prefs)

3a. mount NAS via cifs
sudo apt-get install samba samba-tools system-config-samba smbfs
sudo smbpasswd -a username
sudo nano /etc/samba/smb.conf (add share for whatever to share (old use the old smb.conf)
then mount Network Drive in /etc/fstab:
//XXX.XXX.XX.XX/one /mnt/backup cifs auto,credentials=/root/.smbcredentials,uid=1000,gid=1000,rw 0 0
create .smbcredentials (as root)
cd /root/
echo username= > .smbcredentials
echo password= >> .smbcredentials
chmod 600 and edit smbusername + pwd

4. install apache2, mysqlserver, php5, drupal6. restart. setup websites. untar and copy to /var/www. import, but first  create an empty database. 
mysql -u root -p XXXX < XXXX.sql
sudo /etc/init.d/apache2 restart

5. add  deb stable main to /etc/apt/sources.list, then sudo apt-get install squeezeboxserver. set library folder and other preferences.

6. AmazonMP3 downloader (what a pain), Opera, Chromium, Filezilla, Nicotine-Plus, Grsync, Pinta, Gimp, Audio Extractor (gstreamer ugly!) (edit rip path with gconf2), VLC, EasyTag, Ubuntu restricted extras!, check gmail

7. scripts and crontab. scripts into /usr/bin then chmod a+x
for cron, need to run as root (sudo crontab -e) then "sudo /etc/init.d/cron restart"

On the web:

i hate unity

Ubuntu Linux 11.04 (aka Natty Narwhal) is here, and I'm in the middle of a clean install to a newish hard drive. More about that later. But in the meantime, I hate Unity. It just sucks (especially Launcher and Dash). Easy enough to fix, just choose "Ubuntu Classic" at the system login screen and it all goes away… for now.

Linux Journal's Shawn Powers sums it up quite eloquently on the clip below:

to the cloud, amazon style

Introduced this week is Amazon's Cloud Player and streaming music service. The so-called, "buy anywhere play anywhere" service allows 5GB of storage on Amazon's servers, and the ability to stream music either over the web or on the go with their free Android app (which is an update of the previous Amazon MP3 app). So upload some music, or purchase some from Amazon's mp3 store (which do not count toward your quota), and stream away. Additional space can be purchased and your cloud drive can also host files, pictures etc. The service worked exactly as billed, but unfortunately only supports the mp3 and aac files (non-DRM of course). There's a helpful uploader app that's based on Adobe (shudder-horror) Air available for Mac and PC, while Linux users can just fill the cloud via a web browser.

Ubuntu One may have been first to introduce a cloud music player, but Amazon's is free. Now back to your regularly scheduled program (on Pandora, Rhapsody, etc.).

On the web: