Archive for the ‘Ubuntu’ Category

Pondering Linux

Posted: Thursday, June 10, 2010 by El Guru in Firefox, Open Source, Other, Ubuntu

Note: I am posting this both on my personal El Guru and Firefox Extension Guru’s Blogs to get as much feedback as I can on this.

As some my long time Firefox Blog readers may recall I had experimented a bit back in 2007 with Linux Ubuntu. Never really got a chance to do much with it as about six-months after I had installed Ubuntu I had to replace the computer. Given everything I do online, I could not be without a computer for a few days. Because of this I could not go my usual route and have one custom built for me. So the same day I ended purchasing an HP Pavilion off-the-shelf which came installed with Windows Vista. For an off-the-shelf machine this HP is not too bad, except for the Windows Vista part. I know my way around Vista and it does what I need it to do, just so slowly. Heck to even shut-down takes about 2-3 minutes and a restart takes another 3 minutes or so. I really need to do a clean install of Windows Vista again, but if I am going to go through all that trouble I may just as well switch over to Linux.

I recently took a look at what I running and discovered about 95% of the applications I use could run on Linux. A couple exceptions would be Quicken, WinAmp and WeatherBug. WinAmp would not be that big of a deal as I really liked Amarok over WinAmp. Checking on WeatherBug’s site they have a beta available for Debian Linux distribution (Debian, Ubuntu, LinuxMint, etc), so that could work (beta software doesn’t bother me). Quicken is going to be an issue, but I suppose if I do go the dual-boot route I can boot into Windows for that (or find an Open Source equivalent or may be use Wine).

The big applications that I am always using are Firefox, Chrome (it handles Flash based games much better than Firefox) and Thunderbird. Firefox shouldn’t be too difficult to re-setup other then getting my extensions reinstalled (time to do some house keeping anyways) and importing my bookmarks (easy to do since I have to that about once a week at work). Last time I did Thunderbird, I had set it up so that it used my Windows profile. I won’t need to do that this time around as all four of email accounts I use in Thunderbird are setup IMAP so it should remain synced no matter which was I access my email. The only thing I will need to import is my contacts which should not be difficult. Chrome all I need to do with that is just install it (I am not even running any of the extensions).

For my web development work I use an old Open-Source application called NVU. Sadly this is not the most stable program in the world but it gets the job done. There is/was a Linux equivalent called KompoZer I would be interested in finding an Open Source HTML/WYSIWYG Editor. For FTP Client I use FileZilla and I know that is available for Linux.

Now, my two main concerns are installing Linux and some of the hardware I am using. I’ll address the hardware first as this relates to my install concerns. I am using a 24″ Acer Monitor set at a resolution of 1920×1080 in Windows. Back when I had Ubuntu with my 19″ running at 1440×900 I had quite the challenge being able to get Ubuntu to support that high of a resolution. Further I have a Western Digital My Book external USB hard drive. That shouldn’t be too difficult to get mounted within Linux. I use the drive primarily for back-up of my data.

When I ran Ubuntu in 2007 on my Windows XP machine I had installed on partition on a separate (from the drive with Windows XP) internal drive. This time around I don’t have this luxury, without going out and buying another (SATA) drive and trying to install it within this cramped case (hence the reason I bought the external). I have heard it is possible to re-partition the hard drive which Windows is installed on without damaging Windows. I have plenty of space (169 GB available) so should be plenty of room for Linux on the same drive.

So here are my concerns and questions in regards to trying do a dual-boot install of Linux:

  • Is it possible to have Linux and Windows both on the same drive but on different partitions without messing up my Windows Vista install? I should add I do have the recovery disks for my system so if something does go wrong I can reinstall Vista.
    • I might even consider wiping and installing Linux on another machine. As long I can get Linux to mount my external drive I should be able to access all my data from either machine. I just would need to invest in a KVM switch so I don’t have to keep disconnecting/reconnecting peripherals when I need to switch machines.
  • What would be a good distribution to use that would handle my hardware requirements relativity painlessly? About a year ago I do recall downloading and even burning to a CD an ISO for Mint, but never did anything with it.
    • If I go with the clean install on another machine method, I would imagine this would be an easier way to install Linux.

So any feedback, advise, suggestions, success./horror stories, etc would be appreciated. This is something I am looking to be doing in the next month or so.

Back on May 1st, The Firefox Extension Guru’s Blog turned 3. Taking a looking back around May 1st for the past 3-years, here were some of the big news items:





July 6 will be the 2-year anniversary of the launch of The Firefox Extension Guru’s Home then under the domain.

Fx Ubuntu & Epiphany

Posted: Wednesday, August 8, 2007 by El Guru in Browsers, Firefox, Fx 2.0, Ubuntu

I have not had much luck with Firefox on Ubuntu lately. I booted up into Ubuntu earlier today and ran the software updates which included an upgraded to Firefox (release not nightly). Now, I am back to the point where Firefox just freezes after a couple minutes. Not sure what is causing this, last time it was due to the Kernel update around Memorial Day, but that was fixed with another Kernel update and going to I suspect it may be something gone afoul in my profile, so next time I will start with a fresh profile.

While I was in Ubuntu I did have a chance to take a brief look at the Epiphany Browser, a Gecko based browser for the GNOME desktop. The Epiphany Extensions Package is a collection of extensions which also includes the popular GreaseMonkey extension. However according to Wikipeida:

Greasemonkey is available for Firefox, Flock and Epiphany. The Epiphany Greasemonkey extension is part of the Epiphany-extensions package. However, this extension is not fully compatible as of release 2.15.1, since some Greasemonkey API functions (e.g. GM_getValue) are unsupported.

It does not appear this has been resolved in the latest version 2.18.1 as I still could not get Epiphany to install a GreaseMonkey script.

Ubuntu & Microsoft: NO DEAL!

Posted: Monday, June 18, 2007 by El Guru in Blogs, Microsoft, Ubuntu

Sounds as if the Ubuntu founders either think Microsoft is bluffing with the threat of patent infringements or could be they are not falling for Microsoft’s patent protection deal (blackmail) .

Novell, Xandros, Linspire … and Ubuntu? Nope, it’s not gonna happen, says Mark Shuttleworth, the founder of the popular Linux distribution, debunking rumors that Ubuntu will be the next to agree to a patent protection deal with Microsoft.

    “Allegations of ‘infringement of unspecified patents’ carry no weight whatsoever. We don’t think they have any legal merit, and they are no incentive for us to work with Microsoft on any of the wonderful things we could do together. A promise by Microsoft not to sue for infringement of unspecified patents has no value at all and is not worth paying for. It does not protect users from the real risk of a patent suit from a pure-IP-holder (Microsoft itself is regularly found to violate such patents and regularly settles such suits). People who pay protection money for that promise are likely living in a false sense of security.”

News Source: Todd Bishop’s Microsoft Blog >> Ubuntu Linux founder says no Microsoft deal

Ubuntu Update

Posted: Friday, June 8, 2007 by El Guru in Blogs, Firefox, Fx 2.0, Ubuntu

It has been a while since I have been into Ubuntu. I think the last time I was on was around Memorial Day when the Kernel update caused problems with Fx Today I went back in and updated the Kernel again and went to Fx Fx is running smoothly now.

So my next issue to tackle was the on again/off again sound. Looking through some troubleshooting sites for Ubuntu Sound issues I came across the site: Debugging Sound Problems. Keep in mind my system came with a built-in sound chip on the motherboard but I had added my own SoundBlaster PCI512/Live! Card. I figured out the problem once I read this:

Most sound applications output to card0 by default. In some cases, other audio devices (like a USB MIDI Keyboard) might be recognized as a soundcard and take card0, bumping your real soundcard to card1. cat /proc/asound/cards to see which devices are connected to which cards.

I launched the terminal and ran the ‘cat /proc/asound/cards'
command and here is what I discovered:

Turns out card0 was being detected as the on-board sound chip which was bumping the Live to card1. This left me with one of two options. The first was to find a way to make Ubuntu and/or Amarok playback to card1 by default. I looked at the instructions for Amarok and it seemed very complicated. The second option was to disable the on-board sound chip via the BIOS. That was not too difficult, just took a little hunting in the BIOS to figure out how to disable.

So after a reboot back into Ubuntu I still didn’t have system sounds. I ran the ‘cat /proc/asound/cards' command again and this time only card0 showed up and it showed up as SB Live. I opened the Sound Preferences (via System >> Preferences) and clicked on the ‘Test’ button. I had a test tone! This was a first.

Next I launched Amarok and started playing music. Nada, or so I thought. I could very faintly hear the music (even though the test tone came through at normal volume). I opened the Volume Control and after some fiddling with both the Master and PCM controls as well as adjusting my speakers I had music and test tone at normal volume! Of course now I wonder what is going to happen when I got into Windows next time, if I am going to be blasted by the start-up sound or not hear it.

For my next project I am going to setup Thunderbird in Ubuntu so it will run off my Windows profile. This way, no matter which OS I am using my Thunderbird will always be in sync. See [Linux] Sharing Thunderbird with Windows for details.

Update: Relaunched Windows XP and volume was at a normal level.  Also fixed funky formatting issues occurring throughout this entry.

Sound Fixed but New Issue

Posted: Monday, May 28, 2007 by El Guru in Firefox, Fx 2.0, Ubuntu

First has anyone else ran into troubles with Fx and the upgrade Linux Kernel?  My Fx keeps crashing after a couple minutes running in the new Kernel.  I was able to reboot into the old Kernel and it works fine.  I know there has been some issues with video cards on the new Kernel but those were at boot up.  I can boot into the new Kernel but when I use Fx it becomes unresponsive after a few minutes and then will come back for may be 10-20 seconds for going unresponsive again.

Now the sound issue has drove me batty but I got it figured out.  If boot fresh (machine powered off) into Ubuntu I have sound.  If reboot (without a shutdown) I won’t have sound when I come back in.  I have even tried installing (now since removed) Pulse Audio (had issues with that as well, but that was also with the new Kernel).  I also removed the asound.conf file I had created (never had one prior).  I don’t quite understand what is causing me not to have sound when I reboot but this method/fix seems to be working.

Sound Issues Fixed Themselves?

Posted: Sunday, May 27, 2007 by El Guru in Add-ons, Fx 2.0, Ubuntu

As a result of the Ubuntu Sound Issues as well as post on the Ubuntu Forums, I had some suggestions as to how to fix my issues.  Now this morning I booted directly into Ubuntu and the dangest thing happened, I had sound again. I also have determined that my other sound issue were being caused by as Nogg3r5 put it: “unreliable alpha software”.

So far so good, I’ve been using Fx 2 along with Banshee media player all morning.  Just wish Foxy Tunes supported Banshee.  I did drop the folks at Foxy Tunes a note about this as it had been discussed in their forums prior but that was back in July 2006.