Linux – gHacks Technology News http://www.ghacks.net The independent technology news blog Sun, 26 Mar 2017 09:43:40 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.7.3 A Look at Desktop Environments: KDE 5 Plasma http://www.ghacks.net/2017/03/25/a-look-at-desktop-environments-kde-5-plasma/ http://www.ghacks.net/2017/03/25/a-look-at-desktop-environments-kde-5-plasma/#comments Sat, 25 Mar 2017 06:22:33 +0000 http://www.ghacks.net/?p=131570 This time around we will be looking at KDE: powerful, graphically beautiful, and filled with an array of useful software; but the most resource intensive of the major desktop environments. KDE has always been a weird thing for me, I quite enjoy its almost limitless amount of customizability, the great tools that it comes with, […]

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This time around we will be looking at KDE: powerful, graphically beautiful, and filled with an array of useful software; but the most resource intensive of the major desktop environments.

KDE has always been a weird thing for me, I quite enjoy its almost limitless amount of customizability, the great tools that it comes with, and yet I never seem to stick with it and I have no idea why; I actually couldn’t pinpoint the reason even if I tried, so you can take that as you wish.

Check out the first part of the desktop environments overview covering Mate here.

A Look at Desktop Environments: KDE 5 Plasma

The machine I am using has the following specs:

  • Intel i5-4210U
  • 8GB DDR3
  • SSD
  • Fresh install of Manjaro KDE with no extra software installed

For this I decided to wipe my Manjaro XFCE/MATE install and install a fresh copy of Manjaro KDE for two reasons.

Firstly, because I read that installing KDE over XFCE with Manjaro can be a headache and I simply didn’t want to deal with that.

Secondly, I initially was going to install OpenSUSE as it’s my favourite KDE powered distro, but I read that Manjaro KDE was very well put together, I hadn’t tried it yet, and I love Manjaro; so I thought it would be a good experience. However, this overview will not be focusing on Manjaro specific software.

Customization and Default Appearance

Manjaro KDE Default

KDE is gorgeous, this is a well known fact; it’s got plenty of bells and whistles, effects, transitions, animations and other various forms of eye candy.

In Manjaro running KDE Plasma, it’s a mostly dark theme with green accents, flat icons, and an abstract background by default; overall, a great start.

Right clicking the desktop and selecting “Configure Desktop” took me to where I could change my wallpaper and a few other options, so I promptly swapped over to one of the other defaults, a nice forest photo.

KDE Cascade Kicker

The kicker menu in the bottom left corner is nice, great animations, nice organization too; however I find it clunky and slow, I absolutely love it’s organization but I find the delay in animations slows down my productivity.

Thankfully, KDE has the options built right in to change your menu style to either a fullscreen system that reminds me of Gnome or UNITY as well as the Launchpad from Mac OS X, or a more traditional cascading menu like the older windows systems.

I prefer the cascading menu, as it’s still got superb organization including the option to add favourite applications to a little side bar built into the menu for quick and easy launching of frequently used programs.

The animations have a lot more zip to them as well, so no delay when you want to find a program, and overall I find it still looks attractive to the eye as well. To make this change, you simply right click the kicker, and select “Alternatives.”

Changing themes was a breeze in KDE as well, and has some rather nice options included by default. Clicking the kicker menu > Settings > System Settings, will take you to a screen where you have all the various settings similar to the Windows Control Panel; simply click “Workspace Theme” and the theme manager will open.

I personally selected “Maia Dark” as my theme, and I must say it’s rather nice. More themes can be downloaded from https://store.kde.org/

Default Software

Talking about default KDE software, should always begin with Dolphin in my opinion. Dolphin is the creme de la creme of GNU/Linux file browsers; powerful, attractive, full of features and nicely organized, it’s truly hard to beat Dolphin.

I typically customize my Dolphin to include a filter bar, folder tree, and split screen view; maximizing my efficiency and saving myself clicks down the road when I have work to do I don’t feel like doing via CLI.

KDE Dolphin

Other awesome pieces of software include things like Gwenview, which is the default photo organizer and viewer for KDE Plasma; it’s attractive yet minimalistic (for KDE), and does everything I personally need... digiKam however takes that to the next level with an open source KDE alternative to Adobe Bridge.

A very powerful, professional grade photo organizer and manager; digiKam is a great piece of software for anyone who’s seriously shutter happy like I am.

KDE digiKam

One piece of software I’m not sure about whether is shipped with KDE Plasma by default or whether the Manjaro team decided to use on their own, was Krita:

Krita is a photo editor similar to GIMP or Adobe Photoshop, however I personally haven’t used it much.

Note: it is available as a free download for Linux, Mac and Windows here.

Doing a little research on it, it seems like many people are starting to switch from GIMP to Krita, and it (apparently) has much better organization and tools that neither GIMP nor Photoshop have. So, YMMV with Krita, but definitely worth checking out!

KDE Krita

Some other noteworthy applications included with KDE are:

  • Kget – A download manager that I have made great use of in the past
  • Konversation – an IRC Client. I typically use weechat (a CLI IRC client) inside a screen session on a VPS of mine so I’m constantly connected, but Konversation is quite great for casual IRC users.
  • KnetAttach – A tool to make easy Dolphin integration to remote folders a breeze.
  • K3b – CD/DVD burning software
  • KDE Partition manager
  • Ksysguard – KDE Task manager. Very similar to Windows Task Manager, very simple to use (CNTRL+Esc makes for a nice and easy hotkey too, which is set by default)
  • Kate – KDE version of notepad
  • Ark – Very powerful and easy to use archive manager similar to winRAR / 7zip /pzip

There are others included as well, KDE does a wonderful job of including plenty of built in tools to manage your system, and all of them are powerful.

System Resources

KDE Ksysguard

The one potential downside to running KDE is that it’s hungry. I do not recommend running KDE on a netbook, older machine, or anything less than a decent i3 with 4-6GB of RAM minimum. Just my own personal recommendation mind you, those are not official numbers from the KDE community.

On my system, with nothing open or running outside of the default startup services, KDE used around 600MB of RAM and 8% CPU. With Firefox +40 Tabs on the Manjaro Homepage, Gwenview with a photo loaded, LibreOffice with this document loaded, Dolphin and Spotify with a song playing, it used 1.7GB of RAM, and around 18-20% CPU; not the end of the world, this laptop handled it without issue, but do keep in mind if you are using a netbook or other older machine that KDE will without any doubt run your machine to a grinding halt.

Final Words

KDE is beautiful. KDE is powerful. KDE is customizable beyond potentially all other desktop environments with the inclusion of things like widgets / plasmoids and endless amount of theme possibilities...I do not have any real reason why I have never stuck with KDE in the past; perhaps since it’s installed on this laptop I’ll run it for a while and see if it can trump MATE in my personal preferences. I do highly recommend KDE to anyone who doesn’t mind sparing the resources, and desires a gorgeous and mighty environment for their GNU/Linux machine!

What about you? What are your thoughts on KDE? What DE do you use?

More desktop environment overviews to come, so stay tuned!

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A look at Desktop Environments: MATE http://www.ghacks.net/2017/03/24/a-look-at-desktop-environments-mate/ http://www.ghacks.net/2017/03/24/a-look-at-desktop-environments-mate/#comments Fri, 24 Mar 2017 17:23:25 +0000 http://www.ghacks.net/?p=131561 One of the most amazing things about GNU/Linux is it's customizability, both on a deeper system level but also on the surface with various desktop environments and window managers at the users disposal. My personal favourite of the various desktop environments is MATE (pronounced Mah-Tay). I started using GNU/Linux about 17 years ago on my […]

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One of the most amazing things about GNU/Linux is it's customizability, both on a deeper system level but also on the surface with various desktop environments and window managers at the users disposal.

My personal favourite of the various desktop environments is MATE (pronounced Mah-Tay). I started using GNU/Linux about 17 years ago on my buddies computer his uncle set up for him, which used Mandrake Linux, but it wasn't until about six years later when I decided to install Ubuntu on my own machine at home and really dive into learning how to use the operating system that would later become a major part of my life.

Back when I installed Ubuntu it used the Gnome 2 desktop environment, and so I became very familiar with its user interface. Nowadays Gnome has gone a different direction however there is still a huge userbase of people who loved the old interface, and so the MATE project was born out of the ashes of Gnome 2 as a fork of the original code.

MATE, while being based off Gnome 2 has further developed the code and brought forth a plethora of new features and updates, so it gives me that old nostalgic familiarity while still remaining relatively up to date with features; granted not quite as up to date as some of the other desktop environments, but I have yet to find a feature I desperately needed and was lacking.

So, for the first part in this series about the various desktop environments, let's have a look at MATE!

A look at Desktop Environments: MATE

The machine I am using for this has the following specs:

  • Intel i5-4210U

  • 8GB DDR3

  • SSD

  • Using Manjaro as the OS, initially XFCE edition but installing MATE afterwards

This will not be written so much as a scored review, but simply an overview for those who are not familiar with MATE, who may be looking for a change in their day to day happenings and clickings.

Customization and Default Appearance

MATE Desktop Default

The default appearance after I installed MATE onto my Manjaro system is honestly hideous in my opinion, but thankfully MATE is very easily themed.

It comes with two panels on the top and bottom of your screen that pretty much have everything you could need readily accessible; albeit perhaps a little more cluttered than some users may prefer.

I prefer to remove the bottom panel, and add a window list to my top panel; this saves a little bit of screen real estate which given that this laptop has a 13" screen is always nice. One thing I do add though is a dock that hides on the bottom of my screen using Docky, with my favourite applications added to it for quick and easy access.

MATE Desktop Themed

Customizing the appearance of MATE is fairly quick and painless and thankfully has quite a few options for pre-packaged themes and wallpapers to select from.

If you are using the MATE menu with the three "Applications / Places / System" buttons, you can easily access the theme section by clicking System > Preferences > Look and Feel > Appearance and then selecting the theme of choice.

Wallpapers can be accessed by right clicking the desktop and selecting "Change Desktop Background."

MATE has the option of using GTK 2.X as well as GTK 3.X, so there are hundreds of themes available. For more, visit https://www.gnome-look.org

Default Software

MATE Caja

MATE comes with all the default software you'd expect from a general user environment, and actually is bundled with my favourite terminal software. 

While I admit that KDE has my favourite file manager, Dolphin, the file manager in MATE known as Caja is quite capable and decent all on its own.

MATE also comes with the Eye of MATE Image Viewer, which is a very lightweight but quite capable image viewing program that I have grown quite fond of over the years. It's definitely not the most powerful thing in the world, but it's quite useful.

Overall, any system that runs MATE will have most software you need preinstalled, and the MATE specific tools are all designed to be simple, light, and get the job done.

System resources used

mate system resources

MATE is known as a fairly lightweight environment, albeit not as light as XFCE, LXDE or the even more lightweight window managers like i3 or openbox.

Mate when I closed all software I had open, and shut down Docky, was using around 460MB of RAM only, and around 0.7% of my CPU on both cores -- so very little system resources were being used.

Even when I open Firefox with 40 tabs on google, Caja, Spotify with music playing, Eye of Mate with an image loaded, my terminal and OpenOffice with this tutorial opened; my system reported 1.9GB of RAM being used, so my laptop was able to handle it all without any issues whatsoever.

Final words

I can't stress it enough, I adore MATE. It's light, it's attractive, the software that comes bundled is useful without being overly complex or bogging down the system with bells and whistles you don't need. It's not as fancy as KDE, and it's not as light as XFCE or LXDE; but MATE does what it does well and I have nothing I personally can complain about.

What about you? What's your take on MATE? What DE do you use?

Stay tuned for overviews on other environments to come!

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5 Things to learn how to do in GNU/Linux via Command-Line http://www.ghacks.net/2017/03/22/5-things-to-learn-how-to-do-in-gnulinux-via-command-line/ http://www.ghacks.net/2017/03/22/5-things-to-learn-how-to-do-in-gnulinux-via-command-line/#comments Wed, 22 Mar 2017 06:06:04 +0000 http://www.ghacks.net/?p=131461 GNU/Linux is powerful, very powerful, but truth be told it can also be a daunting experience when trying to learn to utilize the true power behind a GNU/Linux system; the terminal. Using the CLI, or Command Line Interface, can speed up MANY processes and tasks, once you know how to use it and some of […]

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GNU/Linux is powerful, very powerful, but truth be told it can also be a daunting experience when trying to learn to utilize the true power behind a GNU/Linux system; the terminal.

Using the CLI, or Command Line Interface, can speed up MANY processes and tasks, once you know how to use it and some of the basic commands for it. This tutorial is not meant to transform you from scared first timer into Linuxbeard poweruser, but rather to give you your first babysteps into the deeper world of your system.

So, let's just jump right into this. This tutorial is assuming you already have a GNU/Linux system installed, and you can access your terminal with su/sudo permissions. If you DO NOT have sudo permissions at the least, you need to contact your systems administrator and get sudo access otherwise certain parts of this tutorial will be impossible for you to follow.

Wait..wait..what ARE sudo permissions?

sudo means "Superuser do". In other words, it's how you perform an action as an administrator, without actually logging into your root account by using the command 'su'

So, if you have sudo permissions (which unless it's a company machine or something...) you will, and can do sudo things.

1. Changing folders, copying, pasting, moving, and renaming files/folders via CLI

linux command

So, you have a computer, you installed Ubuntu/Debian/Manjaro/Redhat/OpenSUSE/Gentoo or whatever your flavour of choice is, on it. Great! But don't you find it annoying when you have to open your file manager such as Dolphin or Caja, click fifty times to get to the directory you want, then click a bunch more times to copy some files, then navigate to where you want them to go, and click some more to paste them? Yeah, you can use keyboard shortcuts for copy/paste, but you're still clicking like a maniac...So, let's speed this process up!

Open your terminal of choice. Depending on your Desktop Environment this could be one of a few different options, and also located in a few different places...So, dig it out, and open it.

Now, typically you are starting in your home folder...So, let's change that. Let's navigate to a different folder!

Hint: If you ever used MSDOS back in the day, this first command will be either nostalgia, or an annoyance.

cd Documents

Ta-Da! You are now in your Documents folder!

The cd command, which stands for 'change directory' itself can also be quite powerful however. You do not need to be in the parent folder of a directory you wish to enter. For example. I can be inside my Documents folder which is located at /home/username/Documents, and then I can visit an entirely different folder without having to go back to my Home folder. This can be done by typing the exact path you wish to cd into.

For example

cd /home/username/Downloads

This can be typed from ANYWHERE, and you will pop directly into your Downloads folder. This rule applies to all things, from changing directories (cd) to copying/pasting/moving/deleting/creating/executing files as well!

Moving, copying, renaming files

linux shell touch ls

But what now? Well, let's make a file, and then move it somewhere else...

To do this, we are going to use a command called 'touch' that simply creates a blank file. You could use any file you wanted really, but let's just make a blank file for this tutorial, so we aren't moving important things all over the place.

But first, let's see what files are currently already IN our documents folder!

ls

As you can see, the 'ls' command, lists all files and folders in your current directory. And then we will make our blank file...

touch tutorial

And then list the files again...

ls

And as you can see, you now have a file called 'tutorial'

Okay, so we now know how to navigate into directories...But what do we do with files? Let's try a few things. We are going to be utilizing a few different commands here, so I'll break them down before we start.

  • cp - copy
  • mv - move
  • rm - remove

So, let's play with our tutorial file. Make sure you are in the Documents folder

cd /home/username/Documents

Be sure you replace username with your exact CaSe SeNsItIvE username!

Now let's move that file somewhere else:

The syntax for this usually goes as follows for simple commands: COMMAND [LOCATION OF ITEM] [LOCATION DESIRED]

However, if your terminal session is currently inside the folder of the file/item you wish to interact with, you do not need to state the specific source of the root item, only the desired location you wish to copy/move it to.

mv tutorial /home/username/Downloads
cd /home/username/Downloads
ls

You should now find the file inside your Downloads location. Next, we will copy that file back to our Documents folder.

cp tutorial /home/username/Documents

Then remove the one in our Downloads folder:

rm tutorial

And finally cd back to the Documents

cd /home/username/Documents
ls

And voila, our file is back here again, with the other copy gone.

This is the basis of moving things around!

Renaming in Linux

In order to rename a file, you must move it using the mv command, and giving it the new name, or copy it with the cp command and giving it the new name.

Working with folders is slightly different, we must change our command a little. For example:

rm -r /home/username/Documents will remove the entire folder Documents and everything within it.

mv /home/username/stuff will however move the folder 'stuff' and everything within it.

If you ever see the error, "-r not specified; omitting directory" then you must add -r after the initial command, to include other files within the directory. You must also add -r to remove directories.

Creating folders

create folder

The last thing we will cover in this part, is making a new folder. Simply, it is the command 'mkdir'

Using it could be done for example, like:

mkdir stuff

or

mkdir /home/username/stuff

That's it for the basics of file management within the CLI. It may seem like a hassle now, but given time and practice, it becomes much faster and easier to navigate and do system tasks this way. For example.

cp -r ~/stuff2/* ~/Downloads/ && mv ~/Downloads/* ~/Stuff

The above example uses a couple of shortcuts not explained yet, so I'll give a super quick breakdown to show just how fast you can do things.

  • Firstly, ~ can be used to substitute for '/home/username/ to shorten how much you need to type.
  • Secondly, && is used when we want to put multiple commands in one line, via CLI.
  • Lastly, * is used in CLI as a wildcard. It must be used very carefully, as it tells the your system to include EVERYTHING.

Let's assume that the folder "stuff2" has 400 files inside of it. I just moved all of the files out of stuff2, into the downloads folder, and then move everything inside the Downloads folder into the stuff folder. Obviously, I could have skipped a step and just gone directly from the stuff2 to stuff folders, but for example sake, that line took me about 7 seconds to type out, and did what would have taken a minute or two to click around and do!

2. Creating a new user

linux add user

Making a new user is extremely simple via Command Line. Yes, you could click through your Desktop Environment, find the settings, the user accounts area, and click through the procedure of setting up a new user...or....

sudo useradd -m bob

Done. Yes, really, that's it. You could now theoretically log out and change accounts over to 'bob'.

The -m (LOWER CASE!) gives bob a home directory.

useradd makes the user

And obviously bob is the username.

3. Change passwords for a user

change user password linux

So, we made bob. But what if bob wants to add or change a password? Or what if you want to change your password, or change bobs password FOR him?

passwd

passwd is the command we use. It can be used a couple different ways for these examples.

If you are logged in as the user you wish to change the password for, simply enter

passwd and follow the instructions the CLI will give you.

However, if you want to change a different users password, you need to add two things.

sudo passwd bob

sudo, because only an administrator or the user themselves can change someones account (if it's not yours), our passwd command, and the username of the password we are changing.

Simple stuff!

4. Kill processes (And actually kill them dead!...I'm looking at you, Windows Task Manager!

ps aux

So, you were surfing websites that maybe you should avoid in the future, got a popup that won't close, and won't stop playing an 8bit melody of 'It's a small world' repeatedly? No problem, we can just kill Firefox and that's that.

the commands we are going to be using are:

ps aux
kill

The ps aux command is going to list everything running on your machine for you, program and services wise, for ALL users.

putting in the command will spit out a bunch of lines of text for you. One such line, may look like this:

usernam+ 4022 6.3 4.6 2299028 373428 ? Sl 17:33 0:17 /usr/lib/firefox/firefox

The part we want to focus on is called the PID, its the process identfication number. The PID is the FIRST set of numbers you will see on the left.

Once you have figured out which process you want to kill, such as Firefox, and the PID of the process, now we need to kill it.

The command we want to use is the kill command. Most of the time, using it without any options will work fine. However, I've grown to absolutely love the -9 option, with forces the application to kill, forcibly if need be.

So, what we need to do to kill Firefox, is:

kill -9 ####

Replace ##### with the PID of the process and BAM, Firefox for example, is gone!

5. How to check disc space

df linux

Okay, this one is super simple, and requires about...actually, you could have already been done before you even read this far.

df

BAM. Disc space is listed in detail for you. Well, since that was SO easy, you should have no issues, right?

Stay tuned for more CLI tutorials and 'things every GNU/Linux user should know how to do' type tutorials to come!

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Setting up CSF Firewall front end for IPTables http://www.ghacks.net/2017/03/18/setting-up-csf-firewall-front-end-for-iptables/ http://www.ghacks.net/2017/03/18/setting-up-csf-firewall-front-end-for-iptables/#comments Sat, 18 Mar 2017 06:55:32 +0000 http://www.ghacks.net/?p=131293 Firewalls, commonly underused by home users yet probably one of the most important aspects of securing your machine; ever. Windows users have a HUGE array of options in front of them, but GNU/Linux isn’t quite as flexible in terms of giving you a thousand and one options. Thankfully, there is the powerful IPTables firewall built […]

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Firewalls, commonly underused by home users yet probably one of the most important aspects of securing your machine; ever.

Windows users have a HUGE array of options in front of them, but GNU/Linux isn’t quite as flexible in terms of giving you a thousand and one options.

Thankfully, there is the powerful IPTables firewall built into most systems. However, IPTables can be a daunting task for people to configure and learn how to use, thankfully there are front ends and other tools that can make setting up a very powerful firewall MUCH easier for the end-user.

CSF, or ConfigServer and Firewall, is one such IPTables frontend, and is an absolute powerhouse in itself while still maintaining a much easier setup.

MANY Distros come with firewall GUI frontends included in the system, but for the odd one that doesn’t, or if you are setting up a firewall on a text only system such as a VPS, or you just have decided to do away with graphical environments as a whole; this is for you.

For this, I am setting up CSF on one of my VPS, through a text only environment via SSH, so it’s absolutely required that you have some basic proficiency and understanding of how to use a terminal environment on your system if you wish to follow the exact steps I will be taking.

Note: You could do the vast majority of this if not all of it using a graphical environment, but I personally still would prefer to do it via command-line because I find it much faster to do simple things like extractions, copy pasting, text editing etc via terminal; but the choice is ultimately up to you. Just know that this tutorial is strictly text.

The Installation of CSF

CSF Homepage

The first step is to download the tarball from the CSF website https://configserver.com/cp/csf.html

The first thing you’ll want to do is navigate to whatever folder you intend to download CSF to as root.

  • su
  • cd /usr/src

Then download the tarball

  • wget https://download.configserver.com/csf.tgz

And then we need to extract the tarball

  • tar -xzf csf.tgz

Move into the new directory

  • cd csf

And run the installation script

  • sh install.sh

Next, we need to check if our system has all of the required IPTables modules installed. Some of these may not be installed but so long as the following script does not give a -Fatal Error- then you are good to go.

  • perl /usr/local/csf/bin/csftest.pl

You should hopefully get a message like this: “RESULT: csf should function on this server”

In the scenario where you get fatal errors, this likely means that IPTables is either not installed, or not started / loaded into the kernel; look up the documentation / forums / search engine results for installing or starting IPTables for your distro of choice.

With all that being said, CSF is now installed! However, it’s not actually -DOING- anything yet, so, we need to configure it.

To do this, we simply need to edit one file, albeit a long file, it’s fairly well commented and documented, and relatively straight forward if you have any knowledge of networking or how the internet and your system work together. For those of you who have no idea what ports are for example, this may be a bit above your head and I highly recommend checking out some articles on the topic before you delve in deeper.

Configuring CSF

Let’s get started by opening the CSF configuration file with your favourite text editor, I personally use Nano for things like this.

  • nano /etc/csf/csf.conf

The first thing you will see is the following, and it is absolutely essential that you do not play with this setting until we are completely done!

###############################################################################

# SECTION:Initial Settings

###############################################################################

# Testing flag - enables a CRON job that clears iptables incase of

# configuration problems when you start csf. This should be enabled until you

# are sure that the firewall works - i.e. incase you get locked out of your

# server! Then do remember to set it to 0 and restart csf when you're sure

# everything is OK. Stopping csf will remove the line from /etc/crontab

#

# lfd will not start while this is enabled

TESTING = "1"

Basically keeping this on (1=on 0=off) will ensure you don’t lock yourself out of your system by misconfiguring your firewall. Once you are confident everything is working as it’s supposed to, you can disable this.

There are some settings next referring to system logging, I recommend you simply scroll past them as they are set fine for most cases by default, and scroll until you see:

# SECTION:IPv4 Port Settings

CSF by default will be aware of all ports currently being used, and will adjust itself accordingly. For example, on this VPS I host a number of services from VoIP servers to gameservers for a few gaming clan clients of mine, and CSF has sorted that out for me.

# Allow incoming TCP ports

TCP_IN = "10011,20,21,22,25,53,25639,80,110,143,443,465,587,993,995,9987,8080,8181"

# Allow outgoing TCP ports

TCP_OUT = "25639,10011,20,21,22,25,53,80,110,113,443,587,993,995,8080,8081,9987"

# Allow incoming UDP ports

UDP_IN = "20,21,25639,10011,53,9987"

# Allow outgoing UDP ports

# To allow outgoing traceroute add 33434:33523 to this list

UDP_OUT = "20,21,53,25639,113,10011,9987,123"

As you can see, a number of TCP and UDP ports are already being granted passage through the firewall. You may want to double check any games, servers or services you run for what ports they use, and ensure that these ports are all listed accordingly.

If you are unsure of what ports you require open, you can check with the following commands:

  • netstat -vatn
  • netstat –listen
  • netstat -lntu

And look for things such as

  • tcp 0 0 0.0.0.0:8081 0.0.0.0:* LISTEN

In this example, port 8081 is being listened on, so I need port 8081 open.

I will add some links at the bottom of this article for more indepth focus on this for those who need it.

After you are all set on setting up the IPv4 ports, you will want to make sure Ipv6 is also taken care of if you utilize it on yout system, much in the same fashion.

After that, you theoretically could simply start CSF and be good to go, however I highly recommend reading through the rest of the configuration file and changing anything you feel needed; ESPECIALLY if you are setting this up on any kind of server environment. CSF has some pretty awesome anti-DDoS protection options in it. I have used CSF on other servers of mine, and attempted to pwn them pretty hard for testing purposes just to have CSF put me down. That said, it's definitely not unbeatable, but it's solid, that's for sure.

Running CSF

Once that is all said and done, we want to test CSF to ensure everything is working properly.

To do this, let's start CSF

  • csf -e

You should see a bunch of text scroll through your screen, and a message that reads:

  • csf and lfd have been enabled

*WARNING* TESTING mode is enabled - do not forget to disable it in the configuration

At this point, the firewall is running. Now is when you try to connect your usual services, run your games, and do whatever it is that you normally do.

If at this point you have no issues (which you shouldn't if you followed the comments in the config file properly!) you can disable testing mode.

  • nano /etc/csf/csf.conf

TESTING = "1" becomes TESTING = "0"

And then

  • csf -r

to restart CSF.

You're done!

Anytime you ever need to add ports, you can simply open the CSF config file again, add the port numbers, and then restart csf with

  • csf -r

If you ever need to stop CSF, use

  • csf -x

Your system is now protected by a firewall!

More resources and information can be found at:

  • https://configserver.com/cp/csf.html
  • https://forum.configserver.com/

Now You: Do you use the built-in firewall on your system?

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Review of Manjaro XFCE Edition http://www.ghacks.net/2017/02/28/review-of-manjaro-xfce-edition/ http://www.ghacks.net/2017/02/28/review-of-manjaro-xfce-edition/#comments Tue, 28 Feb 2017 11:20:36 +0000 http://www.ghacks.net/?p=130783 Manjaro has always been one of my personal favourite distributions of GNU/Linux, it combines the speed and power of Arch Linux and its Pacman and AUR repositories, with the user friendliness and overall ‘out of the box’ feel of Ubuntu and other well known new user friendly distros. Having been probably a year or so […]

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Manjaro has always been one of my personal favourite distributions of GNU/Linux, it combines the speed and power of Arch Linux and its Pacman and AUR repositories, with the user friendliness and overall ‘out of the box’ feel of Ubuntu and other well known new user friendly distros.

Having been probably a year or so since I last sat down and installed Manjaro and gave it a whirl, I decided a review of the latest version 16.10.3 might be in order. So, I quickly fired up my web browser, downloaded the ISO and got to work.

For this review I will be giving details as well as ratings out of 10, with as little personal bias as I possibly can, however there will be minor things that my own personal opinion will shine through on, such as security features or arrangement of menus/applications. The topics I’ll be covering are:

  • Ease of installation

  • Ease of use

  • Preinstalled software

  • Preset settings

  • Overall feel

Manjaro XFCE Edition REVIEW

Once I had my LiveUSB made, I booted off of it without any issues and opened up Calamares, the Manjaro installation utility. I’ve had mixed opinions of Calamares in the past, occasionally running into issues with it; but I must say that the version packaged with the latest stable release of Manjaro ran impeccably well.

It took me less than one minute to go from opening the utility, to starting the installation of the system. Installation went without a hitch, and in less than 20 minutes I was booted into my new Manjaro system, running in a dual-boot with Windows.

INSTALLATION: 10/10

Changing the kernel  / updates

Manjaro First Updates

Once I was booted into my shiny new Manjaro, and connected my Wi-Fi, I immediately was presented with a notification in my task bar about updates that needed to be done. Popping open the Pamac utility it was very easy to start the necessary updates. I had no issues getting the updates completed. Now, I personally prefer to stay up to date on which kernel I run, usually going with the latest LTS release of Linux, so after I was finished with the regular system updates, I decided to pop open the Manjaro Settings Manager and change my kernel.

Manjaro Kernel Utility

Manjaro had been installed using kernel version 4.4.48-1, however I saw that 4.9.9-1 was an option and is the latest LTS release, so I switched over to it with just a couple clicks, then removed the previous kernel and rebooted my machine. No issues when starting back up.

Manjaro is the only distro I have personally used that makes changing kernels as easy as this, and I think the Manjaro team should be commended for incorporating such a graphics utility into their distro. It’s quite nice for those of us who like to stay on top of things, but easy to use for users who are not comfortable with using the terminal.

NOTE: If you decide to update your kernel, you will find that upon rebooting your machine after to use the new kernel you no longer have Windows listed in your GRUB. This is easily fixed: Open a terminal (Cntrl+Alt+T) and type ‘sudo update-grub’, enter your root password, and grub will rescan your system and put windows back in.

Default Settings, Firewall

Manjaro Firewall

After I was finished setting up the new kernel, it was time to check out some of the default settings. The first thing I always like to check when installing a new distro is my firewall. Many distros come packaged with the firewall disabled, which I can understand because some people prefer to not use them, to set them up manually via things like IPTables.

I personally am of the belief that everyone should be using some sort of firewall, and that it should be enabled by default on a fresh installation. If the default settings do not work well for someone, let them customize it a little; but it’s better to be safe rather than sorry. Manjaro, sadly, had the firewall turned off by default; which was promptly turned on by yours truly.

Startup

Manjaro Startup Items

Next, I checked the startup settings to see if there were any unnecessary services or software starting up on boot that could be slowing down the system without justifiable cause.

I did note that Manjaro had one of the fastest startup times I have seen on a distro in some time; partially I don’t doubt because I opted for the XFCE flavour, which is extremely lightweight while still maintaining a decent level of eyecandy.

Upon opening the settings and navigating to the startup options, I noted that the list was rather small, something I was pleased greatly to see. I didn’t find anything in the startup that I felt should have been disabled by default or seemed unneeded.

I also ran through some quick checks for things like compositing of the window manager and power management, and everything seemed reasonably set to standards most users will likely be content with.

Overall I was quite happy with the default setup, but having the firewall disabled by default dropped my score a few points, I have a huge thing about security of my systems; but perhaps that stems from my background in server work.

Start Menu

Whisker Menu

My only gripe about the system in terms of settings and ease of use, is the use of the XFCE Whisker Menu. This is where my own opinion comes through a little more; I can’t stand the Whisker menu. I find it clunky, crowded, and awkward to navigate, plus a waste of clicks.

Applications Menu

I personally opted to remove the Whisker menu from the bottom panel and replace it with the “Applications Menu” that more closely resembles that of Windows 95/98/ME/2000. I find it much faster to navigate, less clunky, and much smoother to use; although this truly boils down to a matter of opinion. For that, I dropped a single point on my rating; but you can feel free to yell at me in the comments about it!

Drop Down Terminal

Manjaro Drop Down Terminal

Another thing I absolutely LOVE that is included in Manjaro, is the incorporation of a dropdown terminal. I personally use the terminal quite often, and always have the hotkey Cntrl+Alt+T set for my terminal if my distro doesn’t have it already as a default.

Hitting the hotkey in Manjaro brings down a terminal window from the top of the screen / sends it away again when hit again. This makes doing a quick terminal command and then sending it off again a breeze; something that Manjaro has done for a while and I am glad they are continuing to do again.

DEFAULT SETTINGS: 7/10

EASE OF USE: 9/10

Prepackaged Software

The next thing I wanted to explore was the software that comes prepackaged with Manjaro, if there migt be anything that the general user could use that wasn’t included and the default system tools of note.

The first thing I noticed as I went through the applications menu was that as with previous releases I have used before of Manjaro, the Steam client was included, a big plus for those users who still want to play games on their GNU/Linux system; now they don’t have to even worry or think about how to install steam to play their favourite GNU/Linux compatible steam games.

Manjaro also came with the Libreoffice suite which as become the norm for most distributions, and functions very closely to Microsoft Office.

Another common item packaged with Manjaro is the photo editor GIMP, an Adobe Photoshop alternative that I personally use on a regular basis. Firefox is the default web browser, and Thunderbird the email client shipped with the distro, both products I support highly and adore, but I was also happy to find Pidgin as well, which is a multi-protocol chat client I regularly use to keep my various chat programs all in one package, rather than running multiple programs all at once.

Pidgin

When I opened the Multimedia section of the applications menu, I was not surprised to find VLC, which is probably the most used video player among GNU/Linux and Windows users alike; but I did find a program I’d never even heard of before for the use of music.

Guayadeque

Guayadeque, a music player that I’ve not come across before is the music player of choice in Manjaro XFCE, and although I did not actually play any music with it; I did click around its UI a little bit and I must say that I rather liked the layout and features that came with it. I’m not going to get in-depth about it, but it’s something I may have to look a litle deeper into in the future; I typically use Banshee for local MP3 files, although I typically stick to my Spotify for music (that I had to install, thankfully it’s packaged in the AUR, a topic we will discuss in a more in-depth look at Manjaro in the future!)

Overall, the software packaged with Manjaro was satisfactory and even a little surprising with the addition of a music player I’d never used before but am quite intrigued about. I personally didn’t find anything that I immediately felt was lacking; perhaps if I used the distro for a few weeks something may arise, but at a first glance I was satisfied.

DEFAULT SOFTWARE: 10/10

The Verdict

All in all, I love Manjaro, it’s clean, it’s fast, it’s organized, it’s got GUI tools I have yet to find anywhere else, and it’s about as stable as any Arch Linux based system is going to get. I had no issues, no hiccupps, no errors, and no problems whatsoever. It comes with a variety of wallpapers and themes, it comes with all the generic software a standard user will probably want to play with, and it was extremely easy to install; a distro that I can highly recommend without hesitation to anyone who hasn’t found their permanent GNU/Linux distro home, or for the distro hopper looking to try something new.

Overall Feel: 10/10

Average: 9.2/10

More information about Manjaro can be found:

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Setting up a Windows / Linux Mint Dual Boot using MBR http://www.ghacks.net/2017/02/22/setting-up-a-windows-linux-mint-dual-boot-using-mbr/ http://www.ghacks.net/2017/02/22/setting-up-a-windows-linux-mint-dual-boot-using-mbr/#comments Wed, 22 Feb 2017 13:10:44 +0000 http://www.ghacks.net/?p=130609 Windows is the reigning champion when it comes to operating system share percentages according to NetMarketShare. However, as the world is learning more and more, day by day, there are other alternatives out there; the main two being Apples Mac OS X, and GNU/Linux. However, not everyone is ready to entirely dedicate themselves or their […]

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Windows is the reigning champion when it comes to operating system share percentages according to NetMarketShare.

However, as the world is learning more and more, day by day, there are other alternatives out there; the main two being Apples Mac OS X, and GNU/Linux.

However, not everyone is ready to entirely dedicate themselves or their machines to making the switch to GNU/Linux, and so that leaves some people in a pickle of trying to decide what to do. Thankfully, there is a very easy solution: Dual-Booting!

How to dual boot Windows and Linux

A dual-boot system is exactly what it sounds like, two different Operating Systems running on the same machine, be it on the same hard drive or separate, usually with a bootloader such as GRUB to handle helping the user select which OS they want to boot into when they turn their machine on.

It sounds like it’s complicated, but in the world of GNU/Linux today, it’s actually a very simple task, and for the average user it could be done in an hour or less. So, today we will be talking about how to set up a dual-boot with Windows and Linux Mint 18.1 ‘Serena’ Cinnamon Edition!

Things you’ll want for this are:

  • A USB Flash drive of at least 4GB
  • An active Internet connection
  • At least 20GB free space

PREPARING FOR THE INSTALLATION

NOTE: This tutorial assumes you are currently running Windows as your primary OS, and you wish to install Linux Mint onto the same Hard Drive that your Windows system is running on.

If you are currently running a GNU/Linux system, and wish to Dual-Boot with Windows on a single drive, you have two main choices:

Reformat the entire system with Windows and then follow this tutorial, or you will need to make separate partitions using something like Gparted and then install Windows, followed by re-installing the GRUB bootloader as Windows will overwrite the boot sector with it’s own Master Boot Record, essentially trapping your GNU/Linux partition as invisible and unbootable until you re-install GRUB.

We will cover doing a tutorial like that in the future, as well as doing a multi-disk boot setup with separate Operating Systems on separate drives. Note End

Attention: we recommend that you create a system backup before you proceed. While the method outlined below works really well and should not cause any issues, it is better to be safe than sorry. A backup ensures that you can restore the system if things go wrong during the process (power outage, data corruption, PC won't boot anymore, you name it). You can use Veeam Endpoint Backup Free for that, or any other backup software that supports full backups.

The first thing you are going to want to do is download our Linux Mint ISO by navigating to https://www.linuxmint.com/

Click on ‘Download’, and then select your flavour of choice; for this article I selected ‘Cinnamon’ and of course 64bit since my laptop supports it, as anything made in at least the past decade will as well.

From here you will be given a list of download locations, as well as the option to download your ISO via Torrent, select the download of your hearts desire, and we will be on our way to the next step!

Another piece of software you’re going to want is Rufus, a tool for making our ISO bootable off a USB stick, so head over to https://rufus.akeo.ie/ and grab the portable version of rufus.

Once you have both the ISO And Rufus, we will be using Rufus to make the LiveUSB. Open Rufus, and you’ll want to leave most options as their default, with the exception of one thing:

If you intend to use a drive over 2TB in size, or your windows system is currently setup to use GPT rather than MBR, then you will want to select “GPT” in the first drop down box

How do I know if my system is using GPT or MBR?

Checking if your system is currently set up as MBR or as GPT is a simple process in Windows; simply visit your control panel, and select “Administrative Tools”

Windows Administrative Tools

Then select “Computer Management”

Windows Computer Management

And then continue to “Disk Management” where you will locate your Windows drive, and right click the grey box where the disk number is listed, and select ‘Properties’.

Windows Disk Management

Windows Disk Selection

From there, click the Volumes tab, and it will list the partition style!

Windows Volume Tab

My laptop uses the MBR style, and thus this tutorial will be focusing on that, however using GPT is really quite similar in regards to installing Linux Mint, and I will write up a detailed guide in the near future focusing on GPT for those of you who are using GPT partition tables.

Moving forward, besides selecting either MBR or GPT, the rest of the settings in Rufus should be left as default, and then it is time to select our Linux Mint ISO by clicking the small disc icon, and then picking the ISO file.

rufus

Once that is done, click Start! You may get a popup window next mentioning something about Syslinux versions and how Rufus will need to download two files; the short version of this is that Rufus needs to download two small files to support this latest version of Linux Mint; click yes to allow Rufus to download the files needed, and then another box will pop up asking which mode you wish to use to write the image file to the USB, leave the recommended option selected and click ‘OK’.

Lastly a window will pop up notifying you that everything on the USB is about to be destroyed in order to write the ISO to the USB Drive; so if you have anything crucial on this USB Stick you will want to back it up before proceeding, otherwise once again click ‘OK’ and let Rufus work its magic; once it’s done, it’s time to boot into our LiveUSB.

Depending on your BIOS/UEFI the hotkey to press to get to your boot menu will vary, it could be DEL, F1, F8, F12 etc, so when you reboot your machine keep a lookout for the text letting you know, and hit that button, then select your USB stick as the device to boot from, and you’ll reach the Linux Mint splash screen.

Either let the time run down, or select ‘Start Linux Mint’ to be taken to the LiveUSB Desktop. Feel free to click around and explore if you wish, and when you are ready, select “Install Linux Mint” from the Desktop and we will start the installation process.

INSTALLING LINUX MINT

The first thing that we need to do is to make sure your language of choice is selected on the left side of the window that will pop up, and then select Continue.

The following screen is going to have a checkbox that says “Install third party software for graphics and Wi-Fi hardware,Flash,MP3 and other media,” you have two choices here: Select the box and have things installed for you automatically, or don’t.

Most people are going to select this box, however there are some people who switch to GNU/Linux in order to avoid proprietary software altogether, and they may not wish to have closed-source software or plugins/codecs installed onto their machine; if this sounds like you, leave it unchecked, regardless when you have made your decision you’ll want to click Continue.

The next screen for the purpose of this tutorial will be very easy to navigate. You’re going to get multiple options available to you, such as erasing the entire disk and installing Linux Mint, Installing Linux Mint alongside your current system, encrypting Linux Mint, using LVM or doing your own partition setup. We are going to select, “Install Linux Mint alongside Windows”.

Next we are given a screen that shows what the Linux Mint installer wishes to do in terms of partition sizing, by way of showing bars to represent the partitions. You can slide the bars to adjust the sizing of things be it increasing the Linux Mint Partitions and decreasing the Windows partitions or vice-versa, by clicking and dragging the dotted line back and forth. Once you have figured out how you want to size things, you’ll want to click ‘Continue’. I recommend giving Linux Mint a bare minimum of 20GB space.

Linux Mint Installer Partitions

The installer will then pop up a box or two letting you know that the changes need to be written before installation can proceed.

NOTE: This is your last chance to back out before the resizing takes place, so if you aren’t sure you want to proceed, this is the time to cancel. If you are ready to continue, click away to do so, and the installation will start.

The next screens are all pretty straightforward as well. First you’ll be asked to choose your location either by clicking on the map, or typing your location in. This is for your locale and your timezone settings.

Next, we are asked to choose our language and keyboard layout....For most, leaving this as is, is what we want.

And then we are taken to a screen asking for our details. Username, password, name etc. You absolutely MUST set a password here, regardless of whether you choose to require a password to login or not. I also highly recommend you choose to encrypt your Home folder; it will have a next to zero performance hit, but will increase the security of your system, should your machine ever fall into an adversaries hands.

Once that is done, you’ll be presented with a nice slideshow showcasing some of the features of Linux Mint Cinnamon Edition.

Simply let the installer continue until it is done, and when all is finished you will be presented with a box asking if you wish to reboot into your new system or not.

Click reboot!

When your machine starts back up, you will be presented the the GRUB bootloader screen, which will enable you to choose whether you want to boot into Windows or Linux Mint. Select the OS of your desire with your arrow keys, press enter, and enjoy!

More details about Linux Mint 18.1 Cinnamon can be found here, as well as some links about what to do after your installation in terms of setting things up!

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Installing Linux Mint 18.1 Serena MATE Edition 64bit http://www.ghacks.net/2017/02/16/installing-linux-mint-18-1-serena-mate-edition-64bit-using-entire-hard-disc-from-a-windows-system/ http://www.ghacks.net/2017/02/16/installing-linux-mint-18-1-serena-mate-edition-64bit-using-entire-hard-disc-from-a-windows-system/#comments Thu, 16 Feb 2017 06:48:04 +0000 http://www.ghacks.net/?p=130473 There are many popular distributions of GNU/Linux to choose from, but it’s generally recognized among the GNU/Linux world that there are a few major players that people tend to gravitate towards more often than others. The most common known are primarily Ubuntu, Fedora, OpenSuse, Debian, and Linux Mint. There are vast numbers of other distros […]

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The post Installing Linux Mint 18.1 Serena MATE Edition 64bit appeared first on gHacks Technology News.

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There are many popular distributions of GNU/Linux to choose from, but it’s generally recognized among the GNU/Linux world that there are a few major players that people tend to gravitate towards more often than others.

The most common known are primarily Ubuntu, Fedora, OpenSuse, Debian, and Linux Mint. There are vast numbers of other distros that range in simplicity and user-friendliness from the it-works-out-of-the-box-like-Ubuntu: Manjaro, which is based on Arch Linux, to Arch Linux itself which is built entirely from the command line, to Gentoo which takes building your own system to an even further level than Arch.

However, today we are going to be focusing on Linux Mint version 18.1 which is code-named ‘Serena’, and my personal Desktop Environment flavour of choice ‘MATE’ which is a fork of the old Gnome2 code base that anyone who used Ubuntu a decade ago was likely familiar with.

Firstly, why Linux Mint? I love Mint, it’s not my favourite distro out of all that I have used, but it definitely is one of the most complete in terms of a working system out of the box with as little configuration needed as possible.

There is also the fact that because it’s based on Ubuntu is uses the same repositories as Ubuntu, which gives it a huge wealth of available software and package for users to download and install; a huge leap in simplicity for users who don’t wish to get into using things such as Git or building from source.

Mint is a great option for users who want to migrate away from Windows or Mac, have a fully working system with office software, music and video players, simple graphics and other hardware proprietary driver installation and more.

Linux Mint installation tutorial

In this tutorial we will cover how to do a base Linux Mint install using the entire hard drive without setting up dual boot by removing windows entirely, as well as how to install any proprietary drivers if you would prefer them over the open source drivers as well as update all packages to the latest versions available in the default repositories so that we have a fully functional and ready to use system.

The things we are going to need for this tutorial are:

  • A blank USB Flash Drive of at least 4gb (Larger if you plan to use the USB Drive for running the Linux Mint live USB for more than just installing, in that case go to 8+GB)

  • Any computer running Windows 7, 8.1, or 10

  • A Hard Drive of at LEAST 20GB in size that you plan to use entirely for Linux Mint

  • An active internet connection

  • One hour of time

The first thing you’re going to want to do is head over to http://LinuxMint.org and hover over ‘Download’ and then select ‘Linux Mint 18.1’ which will take you to the download page, from there select ‘64-bit’ from the MATE downloads listed, if your system is 64bit (Most are. If you’re running a machine that is Pentium 4 or newer, you are likely 64bit, so if you didn’t have to blow the dust off your machine first and check for cobwebs, select 64bit)

Linux Mint Download Page

From there you will be taken to a page of various download locations. You are going to want to select a mirror that resembles a close location to where you are, such as by country.

I personally do not live in the USA but I find that the Kernel.org link always is nice and fast for me, faster than my local mirrors; so I tend to choose that one. The download will be the same regardless, so just pick whichever one makes your heart content.

Linux Mint Download Mirrors

Once you have your ISO file downloaded, you will need to make either a bootable DVD or a LiveUSB of the Linux Mint ISO. My personal recommendation is to make a LiveUSB as it will function considerably faster than a DVD, as well as many laptops today do not have CD/DVD drives.

To do this we will be using another piece of software called ‘Rufus’. There are many different tools out there similar to Rufus however I have personally had less issues and find Rufus to be the fastest.

You can download Rufus from https://rufus.akeo.ie/ and then scroll down until you find ‘Rufus 2.12 Portable’. We have no need to install Rufus to the hard drive at this time, so the portable version will do us just fine.

Once you have Rufus and the Linux Mint ISO downloaded, you’ll want to pop open Rufus.

Rufus1

Upon opening Rufus it can look a little overwhelming with various options to select, however most of these actually are quite fine as their defaults. The only ones we are going to want to select are as follows:

  • DEVICE – Make sure that your USB stick is selected here

  • Partition scheme and target system type – MBR is usually fine, unless you have a hard disk that is over 2TB in size, or you specifically intend to use UEFI. If you have absolutely no idea what this means, stick with the default 'MBR' partition scheme for BIOS or UEFI’

  • File System – Leave as FAT32

  • Cluster Size – Leave as Default

  • New volume label – Lets name it ‘Linux Mint LiveUSB’

  • Leave all other options as per defaults and let’s click the small disc icon, navigate to where your Linux Mint ISO is, and select it.

  • Click Start – A warning will pop up notifying you that what you are about to do will erase everything on the USB Drive. This is normal and expected, your flash drive should be blank anyway (if it’s not, BACK UP YOUR STUFF OR IT WILL BE LOST FOREVER). Click Okay, and let Rufus do it’s thing.

Once Rufus has finished, the next step is to boot off your USB Drive and into the Linux Mint live environment; but what IS a live environment?

Linux Mint Live Environment

A Live environment or LiveUSB/LiveCD is a really neat feature that allows you to ‘try before you buy’ GNU/Linux. You can boot off the device (USB in our case) you have put your flavour of GNU/Linux onto, click around, install software, surf the web, and generally use as normal; without actually touching your computers Hard Drive.

The entire system will run off the USB stick, and when you reboot back to your main Hard Drive, your primary system is still there untouched, unless you chose to install the GNU/Linux system, as we will be doing.

In order to boot from your USB stick you are going to need to select the USB stick in your BIOS as your primary boot device. This part is the only part that you will need to figure out a little bit on your own, as without going through the steps of listing EVERY different BIOS in existence and the steps necessary; this tutorial can’t really guide you on how to do this. However, some basic pointers are:

  • Mash the DEL key on your keyboard upon doing a reboot of your machine, the second the power goes on. Typically this is the key that will take you into your systems BIOS. The key is listed usually during boot, it may also be F1 or another key.

  • You’ll want to navigate using the arrow keys of your keyboard through the BIOS, until you find something like ‘Boot Order’ or ‘Boot Devices’

  • You’ll then want to use the legend typically at the bottom of your screen, and adjust the boot order until your USB drive is the FIRST device in the list, or is the ‘Primary Device’ etc.

  • Once done, exit the BIOS (There is always a page somewhere that has the option to ‘save and exit’ the BIOS)

  • The Machine will reboot, hopefully into Linux Mint!

Assuming all was done successfully, you should see a screen like this:

LM-BootSplash

Just let the countdown do its own thing (or if you already hit a button, select “Start Linux Mint”) and you should in a short time, be taken to the Linux Mint MATE default desktop screen.

LM-Desktop-Live

Now, feel free to click around until you get bored or you satisfy your curiosity, and then double click the “Install Linux Mint” desktop icon.

Next, make sure your language of choice is selected on the left side of the window that will pop up, and then select Continue.

The following screen is going to have a checkbox that says “Install third party software for graphics and Wi-Fi hardware,Flash,MP3 and other media,” you have two choices here: Select the box and have things installed for you automatically, or don’t. Most people are going to select this box, however there are some people who switch to GNU/Linux in order to avoid proprietary software altogether, and they may not wish to have closed-source software or plugins/codecs installed onto their machine; if this sounds like you, leave it unchecked, regardless when you have made your decision you’ll want to click Continue.

The following screen for the purpose of this tutorial will be very easy to navigate. You’re going to get multiple options available to you, such as Erasing the entire disk and installing Linux Mint, Installing Linux Mint alongside your current system (Like dual-booting Windows and Linux Mint together), Encrypting Linux Mint, Using LVM or doing your own partition setup.

For this tutorial let’s select “Erase disk and install Linux Mint,” and then click “Install Now”.

Attention: This removes any data on the hard drive. Make sure you have backed up any data that you don't want to lose before you make that choice.

LM-EraseDisk

A window is then going to pop up, letting you know what the installer is about to do, such as erasing your old partitions, resizing them, making new ones for Linux Mint, so on and so forth. Unless you have specific needs for partition sizes, the default settings will be fine for the purposes of this tutorial. However, PLEASE BE AWARE: THIS IS YOUR LAST CHANCE TO MAKE SURE ANYTHING FROM YOUR WINDOWS MACHINE IS BACKED UP. IF YOU WANT TO SAVE ANYTHING, DO NOT CLICK ‘Continue’, DOING SO WILL ERASE EVERYTHING YOU HAD.

That being said, if you are all backed up and ready to go.....click Continue.

LM-LastChance

From here your system will now install Linux Mint. But the setup is not entirely done yet, we still have a few things to do while the system installs. The first screen you are going to see is going to ask you to select your location and timezone. You can click the map, or select your location from the drop-down boxes.

LM-Location

Then you will get a screen asking you to select your language and keyboard layout. Unless you use a different language or layout than most, leaving this as default is best.

Following that will be a screen asking you for some details:

  • Your Name (John, Bob, Carol, Chris, etc)

  • Your Computer name (John’s Laptop, MachineODoom, etc)

  • Your username (Coolguy123, RagingDeathKill, etc)

  • Your password (DO NOT FORGET THIS, and YES, YOU NEED IT!)

  • Whether you want to Log in Automatically or whether a password is required (You STILL need a password even if you select automatic login!)

  • Whether you want to encrypt your home folder

GNU/Linux has a very different filesystem structure than Windows does. There is no C:/ Drive, there is no “Program Files” Folder etc, 99 percent of what you do, and save, will be kept in your ‘Home Folder.’

So, if you wish to keep your home folder protected from outsiders who may wish to access it, check this box. I highly recommend everyone encrypts their home folder, even if you didn’t select to encrypt your entire Linux Mint installation earlier in the tutorial. You will not notice this encryption happening, there is no noticeable performance hit, and it means that should your machine ever fall into the wrong hands, without your password, nobody can access your home folder. Even if they remove the hard drive, place it into another machine and attempt to access it; they will be unable. What reason is there NOT to encrypt?

Once all of that is done, click Continue.

LM-Username

Now you are going to be presented with a nice shiny slideshow showcasing some of the basic features of Linux Mint. Feel free to sit back and enjoy the show, go get a coffee/beer, and let the installation finish.

LM-Slideshow

Once finished, you will be presented with a box asking if you wish to continue testing or reboot. Let’s get out of the LiveUSB and boot into our new Linux Mint System!

Once your machine has reboot you should be welcomed with a shiny new login screen (If you selected requiring password during the install), click your username, enter your password, then press enter to log in and reach your desktop.

Upon reaching your desktop you will have a box pop up with the Linux Mint MATE welcome screen. On here will be various buttons for things like New Features, Documentation, Forums, Drivers, and Donations, as well as an option for you to uncheck/check a box to show the welcome screen on startup. Let’s leave that box checked for now and select “Drivers”.

LM-Welcome

The first thing you are going to notice is that a box is going to pop up asking you for your password. This is normal, a security feature of GNU/Linux. Those of you familiar with Mac OS X will be familiar with this way of doing things as well; or those of you running Windows who did not disable UAC.

Anytime you do anything on a system level, requiring elevated privileges, you will be asked for your password; in order to help prevent hackers or bugs from doing anything that shouldn’t be done. Enter your password, and the Driver Manager will pop up.

Updates

Now, depending on your hardware you may be given some options here. Things like GPU drivers, CPU microcode firmware and such may all be potential options, or you may simply have no options pop up. You will need to make an executive decision about what to install or not install. If you are a gamer and wish to play games requiring heavy 3D acceleration using an NVIDIA GPU for an example, using the open source driver that is installed by default may not be enough, so you’ll want to select the NVIDIA Driver listed as an option.

I myself on the machine installed, only had the option of installing proprietary firmware for my Intel CPU. I’ve attached a photo to show you what that looks like. Select the driver(s) you wish to use, then select Apply Changes, and enter your password if requested.

Once that is done, it may tell you depending on your choices that a system reboot is necessary. Hold off on that for the time being, as we are going to update our system as a whole first, and then we will do a reboot anyways.

After you have done everything involving drivers, it’s time to update our system, as even though we are running the latest version of Linux Mint, packages are updated sometimes multiple times a day, and it’s always good to keep our system running the latest software. In the bottom right corner of your screen beside your clock, will be an icon of a shield with a blue circle and the letter ‘i’ inside of it. If you click on that, a window will pop up asking you to set an update policy.

LM-Update1

The average user is going to either want to select the first or the second option; option three should only be selected by users who are comfortable and experienced with Linux.

Read the details given about each option, and make your choice of either option one or two; I personally recommend option two, as you still are only given updates that will not impact critical parts of the system and potentially break something if a conflict happens with another package, but you will also get security and kernel updates as well which are crucial to anyone using their machine on the internet.

The only real reason I can see using the first option is if you have no intention of ever installing new software, visiting websites on the internet beyond your email or extremely basic web searches, or the machine is only ever going to be used for super simplistic tasks. Your grandmother might want to choose option one, but otherwise; go with option two, and then select ‘OK’

At this point the Update Manager is going to pop up, and show you updates that are available. Simply click “Install Updates”, enter your password, and the Update Manager will handle the rest for you. Once that is done the first time, it’s going to show you more updates. The reason for this, is the software updated itself first, and once the Update Manager itself was updated, then it can show you the latest packages your system needs. Again, click ‘Install Updates’ and let the system do its thing.

Once that is finished, let’s reboot the system. Click the ‘Menu’ button in the bottom left corner of your screen, select ‘Quit’ and then ‘Restart’ to restart the system. Assuming that everything goes as it should your system should reboot normally, take you back to the login screen if you have one, and then bring you back to the desktop again.

Installing Software

The last part of this tutorial is getting some programs! On your welcome screen (because you kept it as showing up, right?) select “Apps”, enter your password, and then you will be taken to the ‘Software Manager’. This is where you will get the vast majority of programs you ever use, until you start dealing with outside repositories, installing software via terminal etc.

For now, let’s install something simple; Banshee, a music player. We already have one installed called Rhythmbox, but I prefer Banshee. We could simply search for Banshee within the Software Manager, but let’s explore a little and find it. Looking at the main screen you will see a variety of categories, let’s select ‘Sound and Video’, which will then show us a big list of software.

LM-SoftwareManager

Once inside the Sound and Video category, scroll down until you find Banshee and double click it. This will take you to a page with screenshots and information about the program. Simply click ‘Install’ and the program will automatically take care of downloading and installing Banshee for you. Once that is done, click your Menu in the bottom corner, then click ‘All Applications’ in the top right corner, navigate with your mouse to ‘Sound and Video’ and you will find our brand new shiny Banshee listed. Installing a vast array of software is literally that simple. Explore the various software that is already installed, and if you can’t find a type of software that you’d like to have, browse the Software Manager and install something for it!

That’s it for the basic installation of Linux Mint 18.1 MATE. There is a lot more that can be done that will be covered in more tutorials in the future, but this should be enough to get you started into the wonderful world of GNU/Linux.

More information can be found at the following sites, for installing software, drivers, and other things we touched on during this tutorial! Another thing to keep in mind, is that because Linux Mint 18.1 is based off Ubuntu 16.04, if you ever run into trouble and can’t find answers on the Linux Mint website, do a web search for your problem with the keywords Ubuntu 16.04, and the fix for it if one exists, should be fully compatible with your Linux Mint system!

https://www.linuxmint.com/documentation/user-guide/MATE/english_17.3.pdf

http://forums.linuxmint.com/

https://www.linuxmint.com/documentation.php

Enjoy your new Linux Mint system!

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Linux Mint 18.1 KDE and Xfce released http://www.ghacks.net/2017/01/30/linux-mint-18-1-released/ http://www.ghacks.net/2017/01/30/linux-mint-18-1-released/#comments Mon, 30 Jan 2017 06:57:04 +0000 http://www.ghacks.net/?p=129963 The Linux Mint team has just released the long term support release Linux Mint 18.1 as a KDE and Xfce edition to the public. The new version of Linux Mint brings software updates and refinements mostly. First, some information on Linux Mint 18.1 being a long term support release. The Mint team will support Linux […]

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The Linux Mint team has just released the long term support release Linux Mint 18.1 as a KDE and Xfce edition to the public.

The new version of Linux Mint brings software updates and refinements mostly. First, some information on Linux Mint 18.1 being a long term support release.

The Mint team will support Linux Mint 18.1 with security updates until 2021. Future versions of Linux Mint will use the same base package as Linux Mint 18.1 until 2018. This ensures that it is easy to update to new versions.

Starting in 2018, the Linux Mint team will work on a new base package and focus its efforts on it.

The previous versions of Linux Mint will be supported until 2017 (Linux Mint 13), or 2019 (Linux Mint 17.x).

Linux Mint 18.1

linux mint 18.1

Linux Mint 18.1 Cinnamon, released earlier this month

If you are upgrading from Linux Mint 18, you can use the built-in Update Manager for that as it offers the most convenient experience:

  1. Select Menu, and there Administration > Update Manager.
  2. Click on Refresh once the Update Manager interface has loaded.
  3. Click on "install updates" afterwards to start the process.

Check out our detailed how to upgrade Linux Mint guide for additional information on the process.

Some features of the new Mint version are available in the KDE and the Xfce release. Many are edition specific however.

Linux Mint 18.1 What's New

update manager origin

The Update Manager may display the Origin of an update in the latest version. You need to enable it under View > Visible Columns > Origin in the Update Manager menu before it becomes available.

Kernel updates are highlighted better in the Update Manager, and when you open the kernel window, kernels are now sorted by version and recommendations are given for the most stable, and the most secure kernel.

The Linux Mint 18.1 Xfce edition ships with updates to built-in applications, and even some changes. Xed for instance saw improvements to the on-page search functionality. Search opens at the bottom now instead of the top so that it does not obstruct part of the text anymore.

It is real-time now as well as it finds text while you are typing, and you may tap on the Enter-key at any point in time to jump to the first result quickly.

The editor supports dark themes fully in the latest version, and highlights to you if it is run with administrative privileges.

Xplayer, the media player, may blank secondary displays now when playing a video in full screen. Other improvements include full compatibility with EXIF orientation tags, and that the rotation plugin and the subtitle plugin are enabled by default.

The media player Banshee was replaced with Rhythmbox in Linux Mint 18.1. The reason given was that Banshee "suffered many regressions lately".

Other improvements in Linux Mint 18.1

  1. Software Sources supports anycast now which picks an appropriate server near your physical location automatically when selected opposed to selecting one of the available mirrors near your location manually.
  2. New selection of background desktop images.
  3. KDE Only: KDE Plasma 5.8 desktop environment.
  4. Xfce Only: You can navigate categories in the application menu using the keyboard now. The menu supports web search actions, for instance !w Ghacks to search Wikipedia for the term Ghacks.
  5. Xfce Only: Language settings checks are improved, as localized versions of "a lot more" packages are now installed. The Input Methods configuration screen has been improved to make the selection easier and better understandable for novice users.

You can check out the release notes for Linux Mint 18.1 Xfce and KDE here.

Download links for the latest ISO image of Linux Mint 18.1 are provided on the official site. This is useful if you want to test the new version in a Live CD or virtual environment first, or install it from scratch.

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Wine 2.0 is now available http://www.ghacks.net/2017/01/25/wine-2-0-is-now-available/ http://www.ghacks.net/2017/01/25/wine-2-0-is-now-available/#comments Wed, 25 Jan 2017 18:13:00 +0000 http://www.ghacks.net/?p=129843 Wine 2.0 is the most recent version of the popular compatibility layer for operating systems such as Mac OS X, BSD, and for Linux. What it allows you to do is run -- some -- Windows programs on those devices. This is excellent for users who switched from using Windows on their machines to Linux […]

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Wine 2.0 is the most recent version of the popular compatibility layer for operating systems such as Mac OS X, BSD, and for Linux.

What it allows you to do is run -- some -- Windows programs on those devices. This is excellent for users who switched from using Windows on their machines to Linux or Mac OSX, but want to use certain programs only available for Microsoft Windows.

I ran the excellent KeePass password manager for Windows for instance on Linux back in the days using Wine.

Wine 2.0 is the newest version of the compatibility layer that introduces plenty of new and improved features.

Wine 2.0

wine 2.0

Highlights of the new Wine 2.0 release are support for Microsoft Office 2013 and 64-bit support on Mac OS. The release notes list support for "many new applications and games" on top of that, but does not go into detail or list them individually. So, if you ran into compatibility issues with programs or games before, Wine 2.0 may resolve those and it is worth checking that out.

Some of the highlights of the Wine 2.0 release are:

  • Implementation of additional DirectWrite features.
  • Window, bitmap and GDI DC render targets are implemented in Direct2D.
  • Mac OS graphics driver supports Retina rendering mode.
  • Support for display resolutions such as 640x400 and 1280x960 supported in desktop mode.
  • Additional Direct 3D 10 and 11 features implemented.
  • Support for additional graphics cards added.
  • GStreamer version 1.0 support for audio and video.
  • Web Services API is supported.
  • Uninstallation support in MSI improved.
  • Loading multiple kernel drivers inside the same user-mode process is supported.

The Wine team notes that Wine 2.0 is the first release of the new annual release schedule of Wine. One effect of the new release schedule is that some features could not be included in the release because they were not ready for release.

This includes in particular the Direct3D command stream, the full HID support, the Android graphics driver, and message-mode pipes.

These features have been deferred to the next development cycle. Release numbering has changed as well. New stable releases will be numbered 2.0.1, 2.0.2 and so on, while development releases 2.1, 2.2 and so on. The next major stable release will be Wine 3.0.

The Wine 2.0 source code is already available, binary downloads will be provided on Wine HQ's official download site.

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How to upgrade to a new Linux Mint version http://www.ghacks.net/2016/12/26/how-to-upgrade-to-a-new-linux-mint-version/ http://www.ghacks.net/2016/12/26/how-to-upgrade-to-a-new-linux-mint-version/#comments Mon, 26 Dec 2016 07:41:58 +0000 http://www.ghacks.net/?p=127617 The following guide provides you with instructions on how to upgrade a device running Linux Mint to the latest version of the Linux distribution. The main present that I handed out during Christmas was a shiny new laptop for my girlfriend. The device came without operating system, and I made the decision to install Linux […]

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The following guide provides you with instructions on how to upgrade a device running Linux Mint to the latest version of the Linux distribution.

The main present that I handed out during Christmas was a shiny new laptop for my girlfriend. The device came without operating system, and I made the decision to install Linux Mint on the device and not Windows.

I installed Linux Mint 17.3 on the device, wrapped it up nicely, only to read a day later that Linux Mint 18 has been released.

So, the first thing I did after she unwrapped her present was to take it away from here to install the latest version of the Linux distribution on the device.

How to upgrade to a new Linux Mint version

There are two main methods to upgrade Linux Mint to a new version. The recommended way, or playing it safe, is to use a new liveDVD to install the new version on the device. This involves backing up all data and software on the device prior to the upgrade, and restoring the backed up data afterwards.

You can read about this method on the official Linux Mint Community site.

What I did was upgrade directly from the running system instead. It is still recommended that you back up your data before you proceed. I had no need for a back up as there was no data on the device other than a couple of changes I made to it after installation of Linux Mint.

Backup Linux Mint

linux mint backup

To back up, select Menu > Administration > Backup Tool. Note that you can also type Backup Tool and select it this way. This works even if the language of the Linux Mint installation is not English.

Select Backup files in the next step, and configure the process.

  1. Select your home directory as the source. You may need to click on "other" to select it.
  2. Select a destination directory for the backup. It is recommended to use an external storage device, or a second hard drive for it.
  3. Click on advanced options afterwards. You may want to add a description for the backup, and modify the settings there as you see fit. It is usually not required though as everything is set up just fine. You may save a bit of storage space if you select an archive format under output.
  4. Select Forward to proceed.
  5. You may exclude files from being backed up on the next screen. This depends largely on how you are using your computer. You may want to exclude the download folder for instance, or any other folder that you don't require that is under the home directory.
  6. Select forward again.
  7. The backup tool displays all parameters of the back up job on the final screen.
  8. Click apply.

To back up the installed software, open the backup tool again.

  1. This time however you need to select "backup software selection" on the first page that opens.
  2. Select a destination for the backup job in the next step.
  3. The program displays the list of software installed by you or an admin. You can select some or all of the programs.

The Linux Mint upgrade

linux mint system information

The first thing you may want to do is check the current version of Linux Mint. To do so, select menu and type "version", and select System Information.

If you prefer Terminal, open a prompt and type cat /etc/linuxmint/info.

Step 1: Using the Update Manager

linux mint update manager

The Linux Mint Upgrade Tool works only if Linux Mint 17.3 is installed on the device. If you are still on Linux Mint 17.0, 17.1 or 17.2, or even an older version, you need to run the Update Manager first.

Also, please note that the KDE edition of Linux Mint cannot be upgraded this way. If you run KDE, you need to download the live version and run the installer using it.

  1. Select menu, type update manager, and then the result from the listing.
  2. Select refresh first (the program may ask you about your updating preference, simply click ok to get to the main interface).
  3. Apply all updates.
  4. Check Edit at the top to see if you get an option to upgrade to the latest "same" version of Linux Mint. So, if you are on Linux Mint 17.1 for instance, see if you get the option to upgrade to Linux Mint 17.3 there.
  5. If you see the option there, select it (e.g. Edit > Upgrade to Linux Mint 17.3 Rosa).
  6. follow the instructions.

Step 2: Upgrade Linux Mint to a new version

upgrade linux mint

The following commands are all run from a Terminal window:

  1. Select Menu, type terminal, and select the result.
  2. First, you need to install the Linux Mint Upgrade Tool. Run the command apt install mintupgrade.
  3. Then, you may want to run an upgrade check, or a simulation of the upgrade, to make sure it will run without issues. The command for that is mintupgrade check.
  4. Once you are satisfied with the result, type mintupgrade download to download the packages require to upgrade to the latest version of Mint.
  5. Then, once they have been downloaded, run mintupgrade upgrade to perform the upgrade. Please note that this will take a while to complete.

And that is all it takes.

Closing Words

This method of upgrading to the latest version of Linux Mint is not as fast as installing the new version using a live copy of Linux Mint. I do prefer it though, as I don't have to prepare a USB device first (or burn the new copy of the distribution to DVD), before I can get started.

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After ignoring Linux for years, Adobe releases Flash 24 for Linux http://www.ghacks.net/2016/12/18/after-ignoring-linux-for-years-adobe-releases-flash-24-for-linux/ http://www.ghacks.net/2016/12/18/after-ignoring-linux-for-years-adobe-releases-flash-24-for-linux/#comments Sun, 18 Dec 2016 13:29:53 +0000 http://www.ghacks.net/?p=127125 Adobe has just released the first final Adobe Flash Player stable release, Flash Player 24, for GNU/Linux in years. The company announced back in September 2016 that it would bring back Flash for Linux from the dead. This came as a surprise as it had ignored Linux for the most part when it comes to […]

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Adobe has just released the first final Adobe Flash Player stable release, Flash Player 24, for GNU/Linux in years.

The company announced back in September 2016 that it would bring back Flash for Linux from the dead. This came as a surprise as it had ignored Linux for the most part when it comes to Flash.

Adobe promised back then that it would provide a Linux version of Adobe Flash Player that would be in sync with the company's regular Windows and Mac releases of Flash Player.

A beta release of Flash 23 was released at the time with the promise that a final version would be made available.

This beta version was only available through the Adobe Labs website. Once installed on a device running Linux, browsers like Firefox or Pale Moon would pick up the plugin automatically giving users options to run most Flash content on the Internet.

Most? Adobe stated back then that the Linux version of Flash Player would not support some features, GPU 3D acceleration and support for premium video DRM for instance. The company recommended the Chrome web browser and its integrated version of Linux for that as it does not have that limitations.

flash player 24 linux

If you point your web browser to the Adobe Flash Player download site, and there more precisely on the download site for "other versions", you will notice that Flash Player 24 Final for Linux is now provided as a download.

This is the same version that is offered for Windows and Mac operating systems as well. You can select 32-bit or 64-bit Linux from the menu, and pick one of the available versions afterwards.

The following versions are listed currently:

  • Flash Player 24 for Ubuntu (apt)
  • Flash Player 24 for Linux (YUM)
  • Flash Player 24 for Linux tar.gz both as PPAPI and NPAPI
  • Flash Player 24 for Linux rpm both for PPAPI and NPAPI

The release means that Adobe is offering the same Flash Player version for Windows, Mac and Linux once again.

The release comes at a time when browser makers such as Google, Mozilla and Microsoft are slowing phasing out support for plugins and thus also Flash.  The companies have or will set Flash to click to play to block Flash content from loading automatically. The next step would be to remove support for Flash altogether, but this will probably not happening in the next two or so years considering that there are still plenty of sites out there that require Flash to work properly.

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Adobe resurrects Flash for Linux from the dead http://www.ghacks.net/2016/09/06/adobe-resurrects-flash-for-linux-from-the-dead/ http://www.ghacks.net/2016/09/06/adobe-resurrects-flash-for-linux-from-the-dead/#comments Tue, 06 Sep 2016 03:44:44 +0000 http://www.ghacks.net/?p=124638 Adobe just announced that it made the decision to bring Flash for Linux up to sync with Flash for other operating systems. This means that Linux users will have access to the latest Flash releases just like users on other operating systems had for the past four years. While Linux users could use Google Chrome […]

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Adobe just announced that it made the decision to bring Flash for Linux up to sync with Flash for other operating systems.

This means that Linux users will have access to the latest Flash releases just like users on other operating systems had for the past four years.

While Linux users could use Google Chrome or a comparable browser that ships with its own Flash version, those on Firefox or other browsers had to rely on an old version of Flash, and some command line fu to get it to work.

Adobe announced today that it will release Flash Player for Linux in sync with Flash Player for Windows and Mac going forward.

Today we are updating the beta channel with Linux NPAPI Flash Player by moving it forward and in sync with the modern release branch (currently version 23). We have done this significant change to improve security and provide additional mitigation to the Linux community.

If you point your web browser to Adobe Labs, you will notice that the company has reversed its policy on Linux support.

You find downloads for NPAPI plugins listed on the page for Linux that let you download the latest version of Adobe Flash, Flash Player 23 Beta at the time of writing, and install it on Linux.

flash player linux

Any browser still supporting NPAPI will pick up Flash Player and integrate it so that Flash content can be accessed while using it.

Adobe notes that the security is the motivation behind the change, and that some features won't be fully implemented on Linux. The company mentions GPU 3D acceleration and premium video DRM explicitly.

That said, we believe that the new NPAPI build represents a significant step forward in functionality, stability, and security and look forward to hearing your feedback.

It recommends to users to use the PPAPI version of Flash Player if that functionality is required. The PPAPI version is integrated in Google Chrome and many Chrome-based browsers, but not in other browsers such as Firefox.

The change comes at a time where Flash is on its way out on the Web. Facebook dropped Flash Video in December 2015, Google announced that it would block more Flash content, and Mozilla announced the end of NPAPI plugin support in Firefox.

Closing Words

The release of "in-sync" versions of Flash Player on Linux is good news for the Linux community. One could argue that Adobe is four years late but the release is a good thing nevertheless from a security and stability point of view. (via Neowin)

Now You: Do you require Flash?

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Linux Mint 18 Final First Look http://www.ghacks.net/2016/06/30/linux-mint-18-final-first-look/ http://www.ghacks.net/2016/06/30/linux-mint-18-final-first-look/#comments Thu, 30 Jun 2016 07:31:18 +0000 http://www.ghacks.net/?p=122850 Linux Mint 18 is the latest version of the popular Linux distribution that is a long term support release that is supported until 2021. Linux Mint 18 is offered in two versions, Linux Mint 18 Cinnamon and Mate that feature different desktop environments. Basically, Cinnamon is more graphics intensive and some default programs may be […]

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Linux Mint 18 is the latest version of the popular Linux distribution that is a long term support release that is supported until 2021.

Linux Mint 18 is offered in two versions, Linux Mint 18 Cinnamon and Mate that feature different desktop environments. Basically, Cinnamon is more graphics intensive and some default programs may be different as well.

The release notes for both versions of Linux Mint are available already, but the official downloads of the ISO images are not yet. Some mirrors list the stable versions of Linux Mint already however.

Linux Mint 18 First Look

linux mint 18 first look

You can run Linux Mint as a live DVD without installation by booting it, and install the Linux distribution when it is started or keep on using the live variant exclusively.

Linux Mint Cinnamon ships with Cinnamon 3.0, an updated desktop environment that offers new features and improvements.

It offers window management improvements, options to disable favorites and system options in the menu applet, animation effects that are enabled by default, improved out-of-the-box touchpad support, new accessibility and sound settings, and more.

X-Apps

X-Apps is a new feature of Linux Mint (both versions) that can best be described as generic applications that work in multiple desktop environments.

linux mint x-apps

The basic idea is to give both desktop environments the same set of core applications which improves development but also the user experience.

The goal of the X-Apps is not to reinvent the wheel. Quite the opposite in fact, it's to guarantee the maintenance of applications we already enjoyed and to steer their development in a direction that benefits multiple desktop environments.

Examples of x-Apps on Linux Mint 18 are the default text editor Xed which is based on Pluma, the default image viewer Xviewer based on Eye of GNOME, the default document and PDF reader Xreader which is based on Atril, the default photo organizer Pix which ia based on gThumb, and the default media player Xplayer which is based on Totem.

The team notes that GNOME, MATE and Xfce apps that X-Apps replace are still available in the repositories, and that they can be installed side-by-side.

Update Manager

linux mint 18 update manager

The update manager of Linux Mint was updated visually and functionality-wise. It supports themes better, and the main screen uses stack widgets and animations.

A new start screen is displayed on first start that provides users with options to select one of three update policies:

  • Don't break my computer.
  • Optimize stability and security (default).
  • Always update everything.

Each policy is explained on the screen, and user recommendation are provided as well.

It features two new settings that let you see and select kernel updates. The Kernels window has been overhauled, and a new warning screen is displayed on launch which users can disable.

Another change is that the Kernels page does not list fixes and changes anymore, but links to the relevant bug reports and changelogs instead.

New Mint-Y theme

mint-y

Linux Mint 18 introduces a new Mint-Y theme that is not enabled by default. Mint-Y is available as a dark, light and mixed version, and is based on the popular arc theme.

Mint-Y looks modern, clean and professional. It embraces the new trends, but without looking too "flat" or minimalistic.

Do the following to explore the new theme:

  1. Click on menu, enter theme, and select the  Themes from the results.
  2. Click on any of the items displayed on the themes screen, e.g. desktop, and select one of the Mint-Y variants to enable them.

System improvements

apt upgrade

Linux Mint 18 improves the apt command introduced in Linux Mint 3.1 in 2007. Apt continues to support all previous features, but benefits from improvements of the Debian apt command on top of that.

  1. Apt install and apt remove show progress now.
  2. New commands such as apt full-upgrade or apt edit-sources are introduced that do the same as apt dist-upgrade and apt sources.

The add-apt-repository command supports the remove parameter in Linux Mint 18 which you can use to remove items from the command line.

Other system improvements in Linux Minut 18 are support for exFAT file systems out of the box, reintroduction of Btrfs support, and a thermal sensor daemon Thermald which monitors the CPU temperature and prevents overheating.

Other improvements

linux mint 18 background images

The default theme of the login screen has been improved. Passwords can only be entered once a username has been typed or selected. This is done to prevent the accidental typing of the password in clear text.

A selection of new background images has been added to Linux Mint 18 which you can select in the following way:

  1. Right-click on the desktop and select change desktop background.
  2. Switch from Linux Mint to Sarah.
  3. Select a background image from the list of thumbnails.

Other improvements include better HiDPI support, easier installation of popular applications such as Steam or Dropbox, support for OEM installations in all versions, and the default installation of Gufw, the graphical firewall configuration tool.

Linux Mint 18 will receive security updates until 2021, and until 2018, future versions of Linux Mint will use the same package base as Linux Mint 18.

Now You: What's your take on Linux Mint 18?

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Linux Mint hacked, ISO images compromised http://www.ghacks.net/2016/02/21/linux-mint-hacked-iso-images-compromised/ http://www.ghacks.net/2016/02/21/linux-mint-hacked-iso-images-compromised/#comments Sun, 21 Feb 2016 07:13:04 +0000 http://www.ghacks.net/?p=119241 The Linux Mint team revealed today that compromised ISO images of Linux Mint have been distributed from the official website on February 20th, 2016. According to the blog post, the intrusion happened on February 20th and was detected shortly thereafter and fixed. The official homepage of the project is down at the time of writing. […]

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The Linux Mint team revealed today that compromised ISO images of Linux Mint have been distributed from the official website on February 20th, 2016.

According to the blog post, the intrusion happened on February 20th and was detected shortly thereafter and fixed. The official homepage of the project is down at the time of writing.

This means that the attackers had only a limited time frame in which they were able to distribute the compromised ISO image.

The attackers managed to hack the website and manipulated download links on it that they pointed to one of their servers offering the compromised ISO image of Linux Mint.

Update: New information came to light. The site's forum was compromised, and users are urged to change passwords on all sites they have shared it with. In addition, the hacker managed to change the checksum on the Linux Mint website so that the hacked ISO images would verify when checked.

Update 2: The Linux Mint team released an update for the Linux distribution today that introduces a TSUNAMI detection program which checks for traces of the backdoor. If an infection is found, the team suggests to download Mint anew from the official website to install the new safe version on the computer.

Linux Mint hacked

linux mint

The investigative team found out that the compromised version contains a backdoor that connects to a website hosted in Bulgaria.

Only downloads of Linux Mint 17.3 Cinnamon seems to have been affected by the hack.

What's interesting here is that torrent links were not affected, only direct links on the Linux Mint website.

The reason is simple; popular torrents are distributed from several seeders and peers, and once they are in circulation, it is not possible to manipulate the data, say replace it with a hacked image.

What you can do

If you have downloaded Linux Mint on February 20th from the official website using direct links, or downloaded the Linux distribution earlier and want to make sure that it is clean, then you have the following options.

If you have the ISO image available, you can check its signature to make sure it is valid. If you run Linux, use the command md5sum nameofiso.iso, e..g md5sum linuxmint-17.3-cinnamon-64bit.iso.

Windows users can use a program like RekSFV or File Verifier for that instead.

The ISO image is clean if the signature matches one of those listed below.

6e7f7e03500747c6c3bfece2c9c8394f linuxmint-17.3-cinnamon-32bit.iso
e71a2aad8b58605e906dbea444dc4983 linuxmint-17.3-cinnamon-64bit.iso
30fef1aa1134c5f3778c77c4417f7238 linuxmint-17.3-cinnamon-nocodecs-32bit.iso
3406350a87c201cdca0927b1bc7c2ccd linuxmint-17.3-cinnamon-nocodecs-64bit.iso
df38af96e99726bb0a1ef3e5cd47563d linuxmint-17.3-cinnamon-oem-64bit.iso

You may want to check network traffic if you don't have access to the ISO image anymore. The compromised version of Linux Mint 17.3 connects to absentvodka.com (this may change, so check for any connections that don't seem right).

Obviously, if you have downloaded the ISO image just yesterday, you can go the safe route and download a legitimate ISO again from the official site (use torrents), and install it.

Doing so ensures that the system is clean and without backdoor access.

The official website is not accessible at the time of writing. The Linux Mint team seems to have taken it down in order to investigate the hack and clean up the site to ensure that other areas have not been compromised as well.

The two main torrent files you may be interested in are:

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Tails is a privacy focused Live operating system http://www.ghacks.net/2015/09/20/tails-is-a-privacy-focused-live-operating-system/ http://www.ghacks.net/2015/09/20/tails-is-a-privacy-focused-live-operating-system/#comments Sun, 20 Sep 2015 14:30:55 +0000 http://www.ghacks.net/?p=116088 I have not covered Live operating systems in a long while. These systems are usually Linux-based and allow you to boot into the system without installing software or making any changes to the data that is on a computer. Basically, they run independent of the host system they are run on which, as an added […]

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I have not covered Live operating systems in a long while. These systems are usually Linux-based and allow you to boot into the system without installing software or making any changes to the data that is on a computer.

Basically, they run independent of the host system they are run on which, as an added side-effect, means you can run them on nearly any computer system that supports USB, SD cards or optical discs.

Tails is a privacy-focused Live operating system that is easy to use but mighty powerful at the same time.

Preparing Tails

tails

Probably the easiest way to create bootable media using Tails is to download the latest ISO image that is offered on the official site. You can use the direct download for that or download it via BitTorrent instead.

The team suggests you verify the ISO image after the download to make sure it is legitimate and has not been tampered with. Instructions on how to do that are provided on the website.

Once done, burn the ISO image directly to DVD or install it on a USB device or SD card. Instructions on how to do that are also provided on the website under First steps with Tails.

The main advantage of USB or SD is that you can create encrypted persistent storage to save data across sessions.

Using Tails

This is where it gets interesting. You may need to configure the boot order of the system to boot Tails and not the other operating systems that may be installed on computer's hard drives.

Once Tails starts up, you are walked through a short introductory sequence that already highlights some of the unique features of Tails.

Among the options there are to activate a camouflage option to make Tails look more like Windows 8, an option to spoof MAC addresses and initial network configuration options.

This may sound confusing but the options presented are easy to understand and don't require that you make any manual input at this point in time (apart from selecting an administrator password that is).

Tails should work automatically from that moment on in most cases. The system connects to TOR automatically to secure network traffic and the TOR browser is the main Internet browser. It is a modified version of Firefox with improved privacy and several add-ons such as NoScript or HTTPS Everywhere installed.

Tails ships with a truck load of nice to have features including LibreOffice, the instant messaging software Pidgin that is preconfigured with OTR (Off the Record Messaging), a feed reader, Bitcoin client, the mail program Claws Mail with GnuPGP support and a lot more. The full list of supported programs is provided on the official website.

You may run into issues however when using Tails due to security limitations. File uploads to the Internet are not permitted for instance, and if you connect another USB drive to the computer, you will notice that you cannot select it to save files on it.

Closing Words

Tails is a privacy powerhouse. It encrypts Internet connections using TOR so that you remain anonymous on the Internet and can bypass censorship or blocked resources. Files, emails and instant messaging ships with encryption turned on by default for extra security, and since it is a live environment, it won't leave any traces on the underlying system unless explicitly permitted by the user first.

Linux users will feel right at home for the most part while Windows users may have a harder time adjusting especially if something is not working out of the box.

A good place to start troubleshooting is the official website and there especially the getting started guide and documentation.

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Linux Mint window customization options outshine Windows http://www.ghacks.net/2015/06/06/linux-mint-window-customization-options-outshine-windows/ http://www.ghacks.net/2015/06/06/linux-mint-window-customization-options-outshine-windows/#comments Sat, 06 Jun 2015 17:01:47 +0000 http://www.ghacks.net/?p=114141 Whenever I'm not at home, I'm taking my ThinkPad laptop with me that I installed Linux Mint on. While I could run a flavor of Windows on the device as well, I made the deliberate decision to install Linux on the device to discover what it has to offer. I discovered the window customization settings […]

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Whenever I'm not at home, I'm taking my ThinkPad laptop with me that I installed Linux Mint on. While I could run a flavor of Windows on the device as well, I made the deliberate decision to install Linux on the device to discover what it has to offer.

I discovered the window customization settings recently on the system and have to admit that I wish that Windows would offer similar options. While it is certainly possible to use third-party programs for that on Windows, at least for some functionality, there is nothing comparable when it comes to native Windows customization options.

There is probably a faster way to open the window customization settings but I opened them via Menu > Preferences > Windows.

windows customization linux mint 1

The Titlebar section highlights several features that Windows does not support by default:

Customize the buttons that are displayed in the titlebar

On Windows, you get minimize, maximize and close only. Using the Windows menu, it is possible to display up to six different buttons in total (placed on the left or right).

The additional buttons that you may add are menu, sticky and shade. Menu displays the window menu, sticky sets it to be on top and shade adds a roll-up feature to it so that only the titlebar of the window is displayed when it is activated.

You may furthermore customize actions on mouse clicks. The default actions are to maximize on double-click, to lower the window so that it is only displayed in the taskbar on middle-click, and to display the menu on right-click.

Toggle options that you may replace existing clicks with are always on top, to roll-up the window, to maximize vertically or horizontally, and to toggle all workspaces.

It is furthermore possible to define an action when you mouse scroll on the title bar.

Window Focus features

windows customization linux mint 2

The focus dialog lists two interesting settings. The first prevents focus stealing when enabled. This can be useful for instance if you need windows to keep focus no matter what, for instance while writing an article to prevent focus stealing and thus sending what you write to the new window and not the original application.

The second feature brings windows that require attention to the current workspace. Linux supports different workspaces that you can run programs on (Windows 10 introduces this natively to the Windows world).

Closing Words

The majority of features are available through third-party programs on Windows. You may for instance use Stop focus stealing to prevent that from happening or WinRoll to add the roll-up feature to the operating system.

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How to install Mono on Linux Mint http://www.ghacks.net/2015/03/28/how-to-install-mono-on-linux-mint/ http://www.ghacks.net/2015/03/28/how-to-install-mono-on-linux-mint/#comments Sat, 28 Mar 2015 11:06:30 +0000 http://www.ghacks.net/?p=111987 I'm using the excellent password manager KeePass version 2.x on Windows to manage all my accounts and information. When I checked the Linux download page, I noticed that only KeePass 1.x was available for Linux which was a problem as the key file that I used could not be loaded in that version. The developer […]

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I'm using the excellent password manager KeePass version 2.x on Windows to manage all my accounts and information. When I checked the Linux download page, I noticed that only KeePass 1.x was available for Linux which was a problem as the key file that I used could not be loaded in that version.

The developer of KeePass suggested to use Mono to run KeePass 2.x and so my journey began to install Mono on Linux Mint.

My first stop was the installation instructions page on the Mono website. It displays information for various Linux flavors including Ubuntu, Debian and derivatives.

First thing to do was get the Mono Project GPG signing key and the package repository which has to be done from the Terminal interface.

You can launch a Terminal window from the quick launch area or by opening menu first and selecting Terminal from it.

Run the following commands one after the other:

sudo apt-key adv --keyserver keyserver.ubuntu.com --recv-keys 3FA7E0328081BFF6A14DA29AA6A19B38D3D831EF
echo "deb http://download.mono-project.com/repo/debian wheezy main" | sudo tee /etc/apt/sources.list.d/mono-xamarin.list
sudo apt-get update

The next thing you need to do after running the commands above is to install the mono-complete package.

synaptic

Here is how you do that:

  1. Open the Menu, search for Synaptic and open the Synaptic Package Manager afterwards.
  2. Once it has been loaded, search for mono-complete.
  3. You should get one result only.
  4. Right-click on it and select mark for installation.
  5. Once done, click on apply to run the installation on your system.
  6. You will receive a prompt detailing all changes that the installation will make to the system and files in the process. Click apply to proceed with the installation.
  7. If everything goes well, Mono should be installed in the end on your system.

Since I wanted to run the Windows program KeePass 2.x on Linux Mint, I used it to test if Mono was working properly on the system.

mono complete

I downloaded and extracted the latest portable KeePass 2.x version from the official website and opened the folder afterwards on the system. A right-click inside the folder allowed me to open a terminal there.

All that was left to do was run mono KeePass.exe to see if it works. What can I say, it did.

Tip: One issue that I ran into when executing the command was that I typed only lower case characters which resulted in a not found error. I remembered that case was important on Linux and used uppercase characters where needed.

Now that KeePass is running, I can try and get other Windows programs to run on Linux as well. I'm not sure how well that will work if at all, but I'll report my findings here on this site.

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What is keeping you from switching to Linux? http://www.ghacks.net/2015/03/27/what-is-keeping-you-from-switching-to-linux/ http://www.ghacks.net/2015/03/27/what-is-keeping-you-from-switching-to-linux/#comments Fri, 27 Mar 2015 18:15:01 +0000 http://www.ghacks.net/?p=111983 I installed Linux Mint on a Thinkpad today to get used to the operating system and Linux in general. That got me thinking; what is keeping me from using Linux on all my devices? I have used Windows ever since I got my first personal computer back when the Pentium 1 was the latest craze. […]

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I installed Linux Mint on a Thinkpad today to get used to the operating system and Linux in general. That got me thinking; what is keeping me from using Linux on all my devices?

I have used Windows ever since I got my first personal computer back when the Pentium 1 was the latest craze. Yes, I never experienced DOS to its fullest extent even though many programs still required it.

I did try Linux back then but it was hardly usable and complicated to setup. And that stuck with me I guess.

Thinking about it, there are three core reasons why I'm not switching to Linux on all of my computer systems and wave goodbye to the Windows world.

The first is time. Switching to a new version of Windows takes time, but switching to a whole new operating system will take so much longer. I'm not only talking about installation and moving data to the new system but everything after that initial setup.

Programs are one area for example. I know that some programs that I use regularly are available on Linux as well. Firefox, Thunderbird and VLC are supported, and there are several others that are as well.

convertxtodvd 5 review

But for programs that are not cross-platform, I'd have to find a suitable alternative. For the screenshot taking tool SnagIt, for KeePass, for the video to DVD converter ConvertXtoDVD, for the excellent news reader Newsbin and several others.

That not only means searching the Internet up and down for alternatives but also testing them to find out if they offer what I require.

Programs are just one part of the equation. As was the case with the missing WiFi support today, I have to find out how things are done using Linux. This goes from simple tasks such as changing the wallpaper or disabling sounds to configuring network settings or a firewall.

The second reason are games. While I'm not a die-hard gamer anymore, I like to play games. The situation got a lot better in recent time with games such as Pillars of Eternity being available for Linux as well. That's however not the case for all games, not by a long shot. This means that I have to keep a Windows installation for games.

It would not be too difficult to keep one Windows PC though and switch my main system to Linux I guess.

The third and final reason is Ghacks. Since Ghacks is predominantly visited by people using Windows -- last time I checked more than 93% -- it would be foolish to abandon that operating system. While I'd certainly gain new readers writing exclusively about Linux topics, it is not something that I want to do.

The solution here is the same as for the second reason: keep one Windows system and use that for gaming and testing.

I'd like to make time for switching my main system but it is not there yet. What I plan to do is however use Linux on my laptop and get used to it this way. While it will take longer than a radical switch, it is the best I can do right now. Eventually though, I'd like to run all but one system on Linux and not Windows.

Now that you know my reasons for not switching to Linux just yet, I'd like to hear yours. What keeps you from switching to Linux on your computer system(s)? If you made the switch already, what was the most difficult thing to adjust to?

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How to get Wifi working in Linux Mint after installation http://www.ghacks.net/2015/03/27/how-to-get-wifi-working-in-linux-mint-after-installation/ http://www.ghacks.net/2015/03/27/how-to-get-wifi-working-in-linux-mint-after-installation/#comments Fri, 27 Mar 2015 14:23:18 +0000 http://www.ghacks.net/?p=111971 I had to reinstall the operating system on my Thinkpad laptop and decided to install Linux Mint on it instead of Windows 8 or 10, the operating systems that were previously installed on it. The installation of the Linux distribution wentfine. I had to use the Universal USB Installer to copy the ISO image to […]

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I had to reinstall the operating system on my Thinkpad laptop and decided to install Linux Mint on it instead of Windows 8 or 10, the operating systems that were previously installed on it.

The installation of the Linux distribution wentfine. I had to use the Universal USB Installer to copy the ISO image to a Flash drive since the device I wanted to install Linux Mint on had no optical drive.

The laptop booted into the Live Linux Mint environment on boot after connecting the USB Flash Drive to it and making sure that the boot order would pick it up prior to operating systems on the hard drive.

The installation went fine and the first boot after it booted right into the Linux Mint desktop (after entering the password I used to encrypt the data on the device).

I noticed then that the operating system did not pick up any wireless connections even though some were available in the vicinity. The only connection options were wired, and since I was not able to make use of that, I had to find out what was going on.

First thing I did was open the Driver Manager to find out if the wireless adapter was installed properly. You find the Driver Manager in the second column after selecting Administration in the first.

driver manager

It displayed that the wireless adapter was not installed and let me know that I needed a wired connection or Linux Mint on USB to install it. I connected the USB drive again, switched from "do not use this device" to the device in question and clicked on apply changes afterwards to install the necessary drivers.

So, one option to grab the right drivers is to connect the Linux device via a wired cable to the Internet. Or, and that is also an option, you could use the Linux Mint copy on the USB device for that as well.

Linux Mint picked the driver up from the Flash Drive I installed the operating system from. After the install finished, wireless connections became available when I clicked on the connections symbol in the system tray area.

wireless connections

All I had to do was pick the right wireless network from the list and enter the password to connect to it.

As a user coming from Windows, I wish this would be a bit easier. On Windows, wireless networking is installed by default so that you can connect to the Internet right away without having to install device drivers first (in the majority of cases at least).

I'd imagine that this operation could be problematic for users who give Linux a try and cannot figure it out on their own.

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How to install Linux on a computer without DVD drive http://www.ghacks.net/2014/08/16/how-to-install-linux-on-a-computer-without-dvd-drive/ http://www.ghacks.net/2014/08/16/how-to-install-linux-on-a-computer-without-dvd-drive/#comments Sat, 16 Aug 2014 08:26:10 +0000 http://www.ghacks.net/?p=105886 The -- very old -- laptop of a friend of mine died the other day and I offered to give her my old laptop as a replacement. Problem was, an old version of Windows was installed on my old laptop which I had to get rid of. Since I did not have any spare Windows […]

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The -- very old -- laptop of a friend of mine died the other day and I offered to give her my old laptop as a replacement. Problem was, an old version of Windows was installed on my old laptop which I had to get rid of.

Since I did not have any spare Windows product keys at the time, I decided to install Linux on the device instead. While the main reason was that I could do so without paying a dime, it would improve the overall system security as well which is always a good thing.

Since I'm not really a Linux guy, I had to do some research on how to get Linux on the device. Turns out, it is pretty simple and straightforward.

Here is what you need for that:

  1. Grab a copy of the Universal USB Installer from this website.
  2. Download the Linux distribution you want to install, e.g. Ubuntu.
  3. Have a USB Flash Drive at hand with several Gigabyte of storage. I have used an 8GB Lexar Flash Drive for this but you can use more or less any other as well.

Preparations

install linux usb

Start the Universal USB Installer program on your computer. It is a portable program that you can execute without installation. Once you have agreed to the License Agreement, you select a Linux Distribution (the one you downloaded), the actual ISO image on your hard drive, and the USB Flash Drive letter in the interface.

Installation

Insert the USB Flash Drive into a free USB slot on the laptop and boot it up. Depending on its configuration, it may pick up the drive automatically and boot from it, or you may need to modify the boot order in the BIOS prior to that.

I suggest you boot with the stick inserted and check if the Linux boot manager GRUB is loaded. If that is the case, you can proceed with the installation.

If not, monitor the first screen after you hit the power button. It should tell you which key to press to enter BIOS. This is usually F1, F2 or DEL.

When the boot manager is displayed, select install Ubuntu from the options. You can alternatively try it without installation first, which can be useful if you don't know if Ubuntu is the right operating system or if you want to use it without installation.

Once you have made the selection, wait until the installation dialog pops up.

  1. Select the language.
  2. Select whether you want to connect to a wireless network right away. This can be useful to download updates or other programs to the system. You can do so at a later time as well. Pick the wireless access point from the list of detected ones and enter the password to establish the connection, or click quit to skip the step.
  3. The installer will verify that enough drive space is available to store the system (6.4 Gigabyte in this case). If the device is connected to a wireless network, it is possible to select to download updates while installing. It is recommended to select that option to make sure that the distribution is up to date after installation. Last but not least, you can also select to install third-party software for media playback (mp3).
  4. On the next screen, you can select to erase the disk and install Ubuntu, or do something else. Here you can also select to encrypt the installation and use LVM for logical volume management. Depending on your needs, you may want to enable both options.
  5. Select your location in the world on the next step.
  6. Pick the default keyboard layout in the next step.
  7. Then you are asked to select a username and password, and enter a name for the computer as well
  8. Once done, wait for the installer to finish the process. This can take a while depending on the device itself and the selections that you have made during the setup phase.

You are asked to restart the PC after the installation to complete it.

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Explain Shell breaks down Linux command line arguments for you http://www.ghacks.net/2013/12/02/explain-shell-breaks-linux-command-line-arguments/ http://www.ghacks.net/2013/12/02/explain-shell-breaks-linux-command-line-arguments/#comments Mon, 02 Dec 2013 19:43:32 +0000 http://www.ghacks.net/?p=96475 While it is possible to use modern Linux distributions without touching the command line at all, or only on rare occasions, you will usually quickly come into contact with command line arguments when you want to make a change to the operating system and need to research how it is done on the Internet. You […]

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While it is possible to use modern Linux distributions without touching the command line at all, or only on rare occasions, you will usually quickly come into contact with command line arguments when you want to make a change to the operating system and need to research how it is done on the Internet.

You can run these commands right away, but if you do not really know what they will do, it is usually not a good idea to do so.

Back in the days when I had to do some research on how to do certain things on a Linux server, it was quite common that some elitist users suggested you run the rm command on your server to fix the issue you were facing.

Their reasoning was that you should not be running Linux if you did not know it, and while they were certainly right to a degree, making the point by letting users run commands on their systems that wreaked them was hardly the way to do so.

Explain Shell

explain shell

Explain Shell is a free online service that will break down command line arguments that you enter for you. If you do not know what the commands find . -type f -print0, tar xzvf archive.tar.gz or iptables -A INPUT -i eth0 -s ip-to-block -j DROP do, you can find out now using the service.

All you need to do is paste or type the command including all of its arguments into the form on the main website, and tap on the enter key afterwards.

The web service will look up the command, and break it down into its parts. Each element of the commend is explained on its own, and highlighted when you move the mouse cursor over it.

The source of the information is taken from manpages. While you can get the same information by displaying all arguments of a command on the command line, or by going through the manpage of a command manually, it is usually easier and faster to use Explain Shell instead.

The core reason here is that it will only display the arguments used in the command. So, instead of having to go through parameters that are not used in the command -- as manpages list them all -- you only need to go through those that are actually used.

If there is one thing to criticize, it is that the order of explanations is not necessarily the order of the command line argument. In the example above for example, the actual command (iptables) is listed in the third position and not the first as you would expect it to.

Verdict

Explain Shell is a super-useful service for Linux users of all experience levels. It will quickly break down commands so that you can understand what they will do in as little time as possible.

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Surprise! DuckDuckGo is Gnome’s new default web search engine http://www.ghacks.net/2013/08/30/surprise-duckduckgo-gnomes-new-default-web-search-engine/ http://www.ghacks.net/2013/08/30/surprise-duckduckgo-gnomes-new-default-web-search-engine/#comments Fri, 30 Aug 2013 06:26:41 +0000 http://www.ghacks.net/?p=93860 Gnome is a long-standing desktop environment and user interface that is part of the GNU project and available for use in various Nix-like operating systems including Linux. Gnome announced plans to switch its main web search engine from Google to DuckDuckGo recently. If you are a regular reader of Ghacks you know that DuckDuckGo is […]

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Gnome is a long-standing desktop environment and user interface that is part of the GNU project and available for use in various Nix-like operating systems including Linux.

Gnome announced plans to switch its main web search engine from Google to DuckDuckGo recently. If you are a regular reader of Ghacks you know that DuckDuckGo is a new type of search engine that came to life in recent time. Instead of focusing solely on search and the user as a product, it aims to protect the privacy of users in several ways.

I do not want to rehash all that has been said already here many times, only this much. DuckDuckGo, and alternatives such as Startpage for that matter, do not put users in a bubble when they search. While some may like personalized search results, I prefer my results to be unbiased when I do research.

A basic example is the following: if a search engine like Google believes you are a Republican voter, you may get a different set of results than if it believed you to be a Democratic voter. While that may be really nice for you when all political searches support your views, it is very dangerous at the same time.

duckduckgo tips

Several reasons are listed by the Gnome project why the switch has been made to DuckDuckGo:

  1. Privacy: Google, the previous default search engine, tracks users while DuckDuckGo does not collect or share personal information.
  2. Cooperation: The search engine shares a percentage of revenue that comes from Gnome users with the project.
  3. It works: A privacy focused search engine with bad results would not be a suitable candidate. According to tests made by project members, DuckDuckGo works well and has interesting features, like its !bang syntax, that many may appreciate.

It is clear that privacy has been the main focus of the decision, as the two other points fit search engines like Google or Bing as well.

The transition is for a time limited period only, after which it will be evaluated again. Gnome users who are already using a customized search engine have nothing to worry about, as they won't be affected by the change at all. Users who do not want to use DuckDuckGo can change the search engine easily to one they like to use.

According to the announcement, this change will affect Web from 3.1 and be released in September.

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Firefox 24 for Linux gets native MP3, AAC and H.264 support http://www.ghacks.net/2013/06/23/firefox-24-for-linux-gets-native-mp3-aac-and-h-264-support/ http://www.ghacks.net/2013/06/23/firefox-24-for-linux-gets-native-mp3-aac-and-h-264-support/#comments Sun, 23 Jun 2013 16:36:39 +0000 http://www.ghacks.net/?p=91493 Firefox users who use the Windows 7 or Windows 8 operating system benefit from support for H.264, Mp3 and AAC formats that Mozilla implemented in version 21 of the web browser. Support means that users of the browser on those systems can play audio and video files requiring these formats in the browser without plugins. […]

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Firefox users who use the Windows 7 or Windows 8 operating system benefit from support for H.264, Mp3 and AAC formats that Mozilla implemented in version 21 of the web browser. Support means that users of the browser on those systems can play audio and video files requiring these formats in the browser without plugins.

The organization promised to deliver solutions for other operating systems, both Windows as well as Linux and Macintosh in the near future.

Windows Vista users will get support for the formats this Tuesday with the release of Firefox 22 stable, while Linux users will have to wait until Firefox 24 to get support for Mp3, AAC and H.264 in the browser.

Native support requires some explanation. Mozilla is not implementing support for the formats directly in the browser because of licensing issues. The decision was made to support the formats on operating systems that shipped with support for them.

In the case of Windows, Firefox is using the Media Foundation Framework to integrate support into the browser, on Linux, it is using GStreamer.

The Linux implementation has just landed in the latest Nightly build for the operating system. It is not enabled by default, and users who would like to take it for a test drive need to perform the following operation to enable it:

  1. Download the latest Linux Nightly version or update an existing Nightly version running on Linux.
  2. Type about:config into the browser's address bar and hit the enter key.
  3. Confirm that you will be careful if the screen pops up and it is your first time accessing the advanced configuration page.
  4. Search for gstreamer.enabled using the filter menu at the top.
  5. Double-click the preference to set its value to true.
  6. This enables support for the formats in Firefox for Linux.

gstreamer enabled

To disable support again, perform the same operation a second time and make sure the value reads false afterwards.

You can then play Mp3 and AAC audio files and H.264 video files in Firefox's Linux version.

You can download the latest Nightly builds of the browser from this page.

It is not clear yet when support for the media formats will come to Windows XP or Apple Macintosh systems. (via Sören Hentzschel)

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Ubuntu 13.04 released: how to upgrade http://www.ghacks.net/2013/04/25/ubuntu-13-04-released-how-to-upgrade/ http://www.ghacks.net/2013/04/25/ubuntu-13-04-released-how-to-upgrade/#comments Thu, 25 Apr 2013 15:49:34 +0000 http://www.ghacks.net/?p=87592 Ubuntu 13.04 "Raring Ringtail" has been released today as part of the usual six month release schedule of the Linux distribution.  New users can download the latest version directly from the Ubuntu website where the desktop version can be downloaded as a 32-bit or 64-bit release. Both downloads have  a size of about 700 Megabyte […]

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Ubuntu 13.04 "Raring Ringtail" has been released today as part of the usual six month release schedule of the Linux distribution.  New users can download the latest version directly from the Ubuntu website where the desktop version can be downloaded as a 32-bit or 64-bit release. Both downloads have  a size of about 700 Megabyte and come in form of a disc ISO image that needs to be burned to disc or written to an USB device. Wubi, the helpful installer for Windows, is not included in the release this time due to a number of bugs the developers could not fix in time.

You can read about all feature changes in Ubuntu 13.04 here on the official release notes page. Only this much, you should not expect major changes this time. Several packages were updated in the new release, including the Linux Kernel, Unity, Upstart, Libre Office or Python. The focus of the release was to introduce performance and memory improvements to Ubuntu.

The desktop version is not the only one that benefits from those improvements though, as Ubuntu Touch, the version of the distribution for mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets, will benefit from it even more than the desktop version.

ubuntu 13.04

Here is a short video that demonstrates some of the new additions that have been added to Ubuntu 13.04.

How to update Ubuntu to version 13.04

All Ubuntu users who are not running 12.10 of the Linux distribution need to update to version 12.10 first before they can upgrade to 13.04. If you are running Ubuntu 12.10 you can update the desktop client in a few simple steps:

  • Open the Software Sources menu.
  • Press Alt-F2 in the menu and type update-manager in the command box.
  • Here you should receive a notification that the new distribution release 13.04 is available.
  • Click on the upgrade button and follow the on-screen instructions to upgrade Ubuntu 12.10 to 13.04.

To upgrade from an earlier release to Ubuntu 12.10 do the following.

  • Run the command update-manager -d from the Unity Dash or the command line
  • Click the check button to perform a check for a new update.
  • If updates are found select install updates and follow the instructions on screen to upgrade.
  • If no updates are found, open Settings and then Updates in the Software Sources application.
  • Make sure Notify me of a new Ubuntu version is set to "for any new version".

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Ubuntu 12.10: what is new and how to test it http://www.ghacks.net/2012/10/19/ubuntu-12-10-what-is-new-and-how-to-test-it/ http://www.ghacks.net/2012/10/19/ubuntu-12-10-what-is-new-and-how-to-test-it/#comments Fri, 19 Oct 2012 18:31:10 +0000 http://www.ghacks.net/?p=71157 If you take an interest in the Linux world you have probably already noticed that Ubuntu 12.10 has been released. The new version of the popular Linux distribution comes with a set of new and improved features, of which at least have been controversially discussed by the community. Integration of Amazon results in searches is […]

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If you take an interest in the Linux world you have probably already noticed that Ubuntu 12.10 has been released. The new version of the popular Linux distribution comes with a set of new and improved features, of which at least have been controversially discussed by the community. Integration of Amazon results in searches is probably the most controversial feature of this release. The feature pulls deals from Amazon when the search is being used, and money is earned for Ubuntu when users click on those results and start to buy on Amazon. The feature can be disabled in under the Privacy settings.

Other features worth mentioning is the option to pin web apps such as Facebook or Gmail to the launcher on the Ubuntu desktop so that they can be launched with a single-click from there.

The Dash now supports online searches as well as local searches, which ties in with the aforementioned Amazon integration. What's interesting in this regard is the option to link online accounts to the system's Online Accounts' feature so that you can search Google Drive, Flickr and other services right from the Dash.

ubuntu amazon

The top 10 features according to the guys from OMGUbuntu are:

  1. Theme Tweaks
  2. Shopping Lens
  3. Ubuntu One Updates
  4. Window Management
  5. Remote desktop login
  6. Encryption built in
  7. Online Accounts
  8. Preview App Installs
  9. Unity Previews
  10. Web Apps

Ubuntu 12.10 adds several improvements to the Linux distribution that move it more towards a connected online world. If you want to try the new Ubuntu 12.10 but do not really know how, maybe because it is your first time, let me walk you quickly through setting up Ubuntu on your computer.

What I suggest is to download the Ubuntu 12.10 ISO image from the official website and burn it to DVD. Afterwards, boot from the DVD and make sure you select to use the live system and not the installer. The main advantage of the Live system is that it won't modify your current setup in any way, it basically loads Ubuntu temporarily for the session. When you exit the operating system, there is no trace left of it on the system. You can alternatively take a look at the installation guide which explains how you can use an USB Flash drive instead and how to install the distribution if you want to try it out for a longer period of time.

Are you an Ubuntu user? What's your take on the new version?

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Learn Japanese Kanji, Katakana and Hiragana With Tagaini Jisho http://www.ghacks.net/2012/05/06/learn-japanese-kanji-katakana-and-hiragana-with-tagaini-jisho/ http://www.ghacks.net/2012/05/06/learn-japanese-kanji-katakana-and-hiragana-with-tagaini-jisho/#comments Sun, 06 May 2012 12:17:12 +0000 http://www.ghacks.net/?p=63096 When it comes to learning foreign languages, I never came upon a more learning intensive language than Japanese. This can be partially attributed to the foreign characters, and to the fact that you have to get your head around multiple alphabets and thousands of Kanji signs. Japanese learning software can help students tremendously in the […]

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When it comes to learning foreign languages, I never came upon a more learning intensive language than Japanese. This can be partially attributed to the foreign characters, and to the fact that you have to get your head around multiple alphabets and thousands of Kanji signs.

Japanese learning software can help students tremendously in the task, both when memorizing and understanding the different alphabets and signs, but also when trying to improve Kanji drawing skills.

Tagaini Jisho is another excellent free Japanese dictionary and Kanji lookup tool that is available as a Open Source application for Windows, Mac OS X and Linux.

learn japanese

It takes little time to get accustomed to the program. You can look up any Kanji right away in the interface by using the search form at the top right. The program accepts both English words, Japanese signs, and Romaji. You see both the Japanese Kanji and the English (sometimes German as well) meanings of the word.

The software ships with stroke order animations for more than 6000 Kanji, which you can play directly in the program to learn how to draw Kanji. It lacks a drawing module though, which means that you should have a sheet of paper at hand, or an image editor open to practice the drawings.

It is possible to add looked up word to a study list that the program maintains. The study list can be used in tests that the program creates for you, or as a way to learn new words or words that you have difficulties with. Personal notes and tags can be added at any point in time, which may contain custom explanations, memory hooks or related words or signs.

The program in addition can display both the Katakana and the Hiragana alphabets in the interface, again with options to add individual letters to the study list.

Print and export options are provided as well. When it comes to printing, options to print normally or in booklet format are available. The export options include HTML and TSV formats.

Closing Words

The program's strength is its search feature, which you can use during your studies. The Kanji animations are also excellent to get a better understanding of how characters and signs are drawn correctly. When it comes to tests though, it is not the most sophisticated of tools just yet. Still, if you are currently learning Japanese, or have the intention to start learning the language, then this is a tool to have in your arsenal.

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System Rescue CD, Windows Repair and Recovery Tool Collection http://www.ghacks.net/2012/03/19/system-rescue-cd-windows-repair-and-recovery-tool-collection/ http://www.ghacks.net/2012/03/19/system-rescue-cd-windows-repair-and-recovery-tool-collection/#comments Mon, 19 Mar 2012 15:18:08 +0000 http://www.ghacks.net/?p=59412 Windows users have several options at hand when their system does not boot anymore. They can try to boot into Safe Mode, use System Restore to recovery the system to a previous state, or use repair options on the Windows CD to repair the issue. When Windows 8 gets released, options get even better with […]

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Windows users have several options at hand when their system does not boot anymore. They can try to boot into Safe Mode, use System Restore to recovery the system to a previous state, or use repair options on the Windows CD to repair the issue. When Windows 8 gets released, options get even better with the included reset and refresh options.

Sometimes though you may need something more powerful, for instance if you need to correct partitioning errors or recover files from a failing hard drive.

System Rescue CD is a Linux Live CD that has been specifically designed for repair and rescue operations. You should not get too confused with the CD in the application's name though, as you can also install the contents on an USB stick instead which is handy for PCs that do not come with an optical drive anymore (See this manual page for the Windows installer link, and Linux console commands to create the USB version of the rescue disc).

system rescue cd usb

Everyone else can download System Rescue CD as an iso image from the project website. When you first boot either from the rescue CD or USB drive, you get to see the following boot menu. A tap on the enter key loads the system with the default boot options.

system rescue cd

Znless you have selected different settings during creation, the CD will load the console if you select the default options. You can type wizard and select a graphical user interface to boot into an interface that should be more pleasing to the average user. Linux buffs on the other hand who feel at home using the console can use it for all recovery and repair options.

From here, you can start programs like the file explorer Midnight Commander, the partitioning tool Gparted, the data recovery tool Testdisk, a CD and DVD burner, or the antivirus software Clam.

rescue cd

You also get access to a web browser or mail reader, in case you need to look up information on the Internet. System Rescue CD is one of those useful-to-have tools when disaster strikes. It is best used in situations where standard recovery options fail, especially after hard drive crashes and other emergencies.

You can check out the related articles and tags below for a selection of alternative solutions. While we are at it, which recovery solution would you recommend?

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No More Flash Updates For Linux, Unless You Use Chrome http://www.ghacks.net/2012/02/22/no-more-flash-updates-for-linux-unless-you-use-chrome/ http://www.ghacks.net/2012/02/22/no-more-flash-updates-for-linux-unless-you-use-chrome/#comments Wed, 22 Feb 2012 13:56:45 +0000 http://www.ghacks.net/?p=57816 Breaking News: Adobe just made an announcement on the official Air and Flash Player Team Blog that changes are coming to Flash Player on Linux. The company has partnered up with Google to "develop a single modern API for hosting plugins within the browser". PPAPI (code-named Pepper), adds a layer between the browser and underlying […]

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Breaking News: Adobe just made an announcement on the official Air and Flash Player Team Blog that changes are coming to Flash Player on Linux. The company has partnered up with Google to "develop a single modern API for hosting plugins within the browser". PPAPI (code-named Pepper), adds a layer between the browser and underlying operating system that "abstracts away differences between browser and operating system implementations".

Google will provide a PPAPI implementation later this year for all 32-bit and 64-bit platforms that are supported by the company's Chrome web browser. All Chrome version on all operating systems, and not only Linux, will receive an update that implements the PPAPI-based Flash Player.

adobe-flash-player

Changes do not end here though for Linux users. Adobe notes that the Flash Player browser plugin for Linux will only be available via the PPAPI plugin that is part of the Google Chrome browser distribution. Adobe will not provide direct Flash Player browser plugin downloads anymore on their site, nor will it update Flash Player on Linux anymore with non-security related updates.

This basically means that Flash Player 11.2 is the latest cross-browser version of the browser plugin for Linux. While it is theoretically possible that other browser developers will implement Pepper, it could also mean the beginning of the end for Flash on Linux. Mozilla for instance states on MozillaWiki that it "s not interested in or working on Pepper at this time".

Adobe will support Flash Player 11.2 on Linux for five years after release with security updates. Linux users have five years that they can continue to use Flash contents in other browsers besides Chrome. After that, they either have to hope that other browser developers have implemented Pepper by now, ignore Flash from that moment on, or switch to Chrome when they want to access Flash contents in their operating system.

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FreeBSD 9.0 Has Been Released http://www.ghacks.net/2012/01/13/freebsd-9-0-has-been-released/ http://www.ghacks.net/2012/01/13/freebsd-9-0-has-been-released/#comments Fri, 13 Jan 2012 16:43:22 +0000 http://www.ghacks.net/?p=55774 The operating system FreeBSD 9.0 has been released yesterday. The new version introduces several new technologies, feature additions and updates, including USB 3.0 support, the TRIM command for the Fast File System which improves interaction with Solid State Drives (SSDs), an update to Storage Pool Allocator version 28 which adds support for data deduplication and […]

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The operating system FreeBSD 9.0 has been released yesterday. The new version introduces several new technologies, feature additions and updates, including USB 3.0 support, the TRIM command for the Fast File System which improves interaction with Solid State Drives (SSDs), an update to Storage Pool Allocator version 28 which adds support for data deduplication and triple parity RAIDZ, and support for the Highly Available Storage (HAST) framework which offers network based Raid 1 functionality for additional data redundancy.

Additional features include updates to Gnome version 2.32.1 and KDE version 4.7.3, support for high performance SSH, an update to the NFS subsystem which now supports NFSv4 in addition to version 3 and 2, and kernel support for Capsicum Capability Mode, "an experimental set of features for sandboxing support".

Support for USB 3.0 and Fast File System TRIM support are without doubt two of the most important feature additions in FreeBSD 9.0. The USB subsystem furthermore supports USB packet filtering now, which can be used to capture packets which go through the USB host controller.

freebsd

FreeBSD 9.0 is the first update of the operating system after the February 2011 FreeBSD 8.2 release, and the first major version update in two years.

Users interested in all of the changes can access the highlights here or detailed change log here. Please note that both release logs are highly technical.

Users who never came into contact with FreeBSD or another BSD variant before should start at the Resources for Newbies that offers help in selecting the right FreeBSD version, installation instructions and tutorials that should get most people started after installation.

FreeBSD 9.0 can be downloaded from the official website. The operating system can be downloaded as an ISO image which needs to be burned to DVD first, before the computer can be booted from it to start the installation of the operating system.

Additional information are available at the official website.

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Linux has “only 10 great apps” according to Gnome Creator http://www.ghacks.net/2011/09/29/linux-has-only-10-great-apps-according-to-gnome-creator/ http://www.ghacks.net/2011/09/29/linux-has-only-10-great-apps-according-to-gnome-creator/#comments Thu, 29 Sep 2011 13:25:23 +0000 http://www.ghacks.net/?p=50938 When Microsoft released a late alpha, but generally stable version of the Windows 8 Developer Preview the other week a great many people, including myself, were greatly surprised.  This is because it goes against everything Windows chief Steven Sinofsky generally believes.  But it was very clear why Microsoft had made this decision. They know full […]

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When Microsoft released a late alpha, but generally stable version of the Windows 8 Developer Preview the other week a great many people, including myself, were greatly surprised.  This is because it goes against everything Windows chief Steven Sinofsky generally believes.  But it was very clear why Microsoft had made this decision.

They know full well that any modern platform will live or die on the number and quality of the apps available for it and, in order to gain any kind of critical mass on tablets and other mobile devices when it ships next year, Windows 8 will need a good number (we're talking thousands) of good quality apps in a wide variety of categories sitting ready in the new Windows Store.

This, according to Linux Gnome co-creator Miguel de Lcaza is why Linux is doing so badly on the desktop.  In an interview given to Tim Anderson's IT writing blog...

When you count how many great desktop apps there are on Linux, you can probably name 10. You work really hard, you can probably name 20. We’ve managed to piss off developers every step of the way, breaking APIs all the time.

He also cites the confusion caused by so many completely different distributions of Linux on the desktop as a reason for the platform's failure to take off in any meaningful way.

To be honest, with Linux on the desktop, the benefits of open source have really played against Linux on the desktop in that we keep breaking things. It is not only incompatibilities between Red Hat, Unbuntu, Suse, but even between the same distribution.  Ubuntu from this week is incompatible with the one nine months ago. And then there are multiple editions, the KDE version, the Gnome edition, the one that is the new launching system.

It's unusual that only a few short years ago we were all saying that what set one operating system apart from others were factors including ease of use, power and flexibility.  Then along came the iPhone and almost everything changed to the quality and availability of apps, so much so that this has even now become Microsoft's new focus; this is despite the fact that nobody would ever criticise the Windows desktop platform for ever being short of software.

He was also asked about Windows 8 and said...

They are Microsoft, it’s going to succeed. In three years they are going to have this thing on half a billion computers, so it will be out there.  I have to say, I actually like Windows 8. I am not a Windows user. It’s probably the first time that I would use a Windows machine.

This may be somewhat optimistic as first Microsoft will need to placate business and IT pro users who like the flexibility and power of full desktop apps.  There can be no doubt that he is a man who knows what he's talking about though.  He still is critical about Windows though where it's deserved.

Right, and it is needed, they definitely need to fix this mess, a lot of malware, spyware, and the fact that everybody is sysadmin, and has to reinstall their machine every so often.

In the defence of GNU/Linux (which isn't something I'm often accused of doing) it has a lot going for it with modern distributions, I even have a full chapter devoted to it in my book Troubleshooting Windows 7 Inside Out and will probably do the same for the Windows 8 edition next year.

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How to Add Keyboard Input Languages to Ubuntu http://www.ghacks.net/2011/09/29/how-to-add-keyboard-input-languages-to-ubuntu/ http://www.ghacks.net/2011/09/29/how-to-add-keyboard-input-languages-to-ubuntu/#comments Thu, 29 Sep 2011 06:52:26 +0000 http://www.ghacks.net/?p=50923 It is easy to type in multiple languages in Ubuntu. This tutorial will guide you through the simple steps to adding keyboard languages to Ubuntu and show you how to modify the settings for keyboard shortcuts to toggle between languages. You can switch between different keyboard layouts, preview and print the layouts, and alter settings […]

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It is easy to type in multiple languages in Ubuntu. This tutorial will guide you through the simple steps to adding keyboard languages to Ubuntu and show you how to modify the settings for keyboard shortcuts to toggle between languages. You can switch between different keyboard layouts, preview and print the layouts, and alter settings at any time.
To add keyboard languages in Ubuntu, click on “System” and this will open the System menu. Select “Preferences” and then “Keyboard”.

ubuntu keyboards

This opens the Keyboard Preferences dialog in which you can select different language layouts. Click the “Layouts” tab and then click “Add”.

Now the Layout dialog box opens. Scroll through the various different countries and variants to select the desired language layout that you want to set. Keep in mind that you can set multiple languages and the default will not be lost. In this demonstration, we are selecting basic German for the keyboard layout. Select by country to choose any language and then select any applicable variant. Certain countries, such as the United States, can display several different languages. When your selections have been made, click Add and you are able to preview the keyboard layout for that language setting.

keyboard language

You are also able to set the layout by language and set a variant. When you have completed your selections, click Add.

In this case, the keyboard language was set both by country and by language. You can do either one, but the layout may vary somewhat if you do not set by country and by language. This is something you will have to experiment with, as the settings will be different for each country and language. Always view the preview to be sure that it is what you are looking for or at least close to what you are looking for.

Notice that we now have two languages displayed in the Keyboard Preferences. Both are immediately usable and you can add additional languages or simply close the dialog.

keyboard preferences

Now that multiple languages have been installed, a new icon will be displayed in the System tray. This will be located in the upper-right portion of the screen. An abbreviation of the country for which the keyboard is set is shown here. Click on the icon to reveal the list of languages and to change languages. You may also access Keyboard Preferences here to add more languages.

Click on “Show Current Layout” to preview the keyboard layout for a selected language. Here, the language was switched to German and we get a layout preview.

You can print this layout easily from this screen. At the bottom-right you will see the Print button. Click Print and you have an easy reference to keep beside your keyboard for reference.

To change keyboard shortcuts for switching languages, open the keyboard preferences dialog and click the “Layouts” tab. Now chose the keyboard shortcuts to switch between input languages. For example, check the box next to “Alt+Shift” and this will be the shortcut to change keyboard languages. Choose the shortcut that is most convenient for you.

keyboard shortcuts

There are other options in Keyboard Preferences to customize keyboard settings, should you desire to experiment with these. This covers the basics for adding keyboard languages to Ubuntu.

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Microsoft buys $100 million of support from SUSE http://www.ghacks.net/2011/07/27/microsoft-buys-100-million-of-support-from-suse/ http://www.ghacks.net/2011/07/27/microsoft-buys-100-million-of-support-from-suse/#comments Wed, 27 Jul 2011 08:28:50 +0000 http://www.ghacks.net/?p=48281 Despite the problematic relationship between Microsoft and Linux vendors over the years, it's not always been a case of frosty relationships.  Previously Microsoft decided to work closely with Novell on the Enterprise version of SUSE Linux, and now the company has renewed their alliance with SUSE by purchasing $100 million of support. This support will be […]

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Despite the problematic relationship between Microsoft and Linux vendors over the years, it's not always been a case of frosty relationships.  Previously Microsoft decided to work closely with Novell on the Enterprise version of SUSE Linux, and now the company has renewed their alliance with SUSE by purchasing $100 million of support.

This support will be for Windows enterprise customers who are also running a SUSE machines in conjunction with their Windows boxes.  It's a good move on the part of Microsoft to avoid upsetting business customers who are already feeling squeezed with extremely tight profit margins and software assurance costs to the Redmond giant.  The move will mean these enterprise customers won't have to pay for further Linux support.

microsoft support suseIn a press release Microsoft said..."As IT operating environments become increasingly consumerized, cloud-based and automated, there is an implicit expectation that the underlying technologies from multiple vendors should work together. For this reason, the collaborative relationship between Microsoft and SUSE has come to be viewed as a model for the industry.  The joint Microsoft-SUSE collaboration has served more than 725 customers worldwide across a range of industries, such as manufacturing, oil and gas, healthcare, and financial services."

"Our collaboration with SUSE not only helps customers to achieve success today, but also seeks to provide them with a solid foundation for tomorrow," said Sandy Gupta, general manager of the Open Solutions Group at Microsoft. "Through our continued engagement on the technical side, an outstanding support offering from SUSE and our ability to provide mutual IP assurance, we feel confident that we will be able to deliver core value to those running mixed-source IT environments well into the future - and into the cloud."

This move doesn't mean that Microsoft will stop complaining about Linux or even stop suing for patent infringement, as these are just what the technology industry does (probably at the request of lawyers needing to justify their sky-high salaries).  It's further evidence though that, deep down, technology companies around the world are more interested in building better experiences for their customers than they are feathering their own nests.

This is something I have always felt sets the tech world apart from other industries such as finance or energy.  It's a good move and both Microsoft and Novell should be applauded for working together again.

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How to Customize Extra Mouse Buttons in Linux http://www.ghacks.net/2011/06/28/how-to-customize-extra-mouse-buttons-in-linux/ http://www.ghacks.net/2011/06/28/how-to-customize-extra-mouse-buttons-in-linux/#comments Tue, 28 Jun 2011 08:01:40 +0000 http://www.ghacks.net/?p=47048 If you are using a mouse, trackball, or touchpad with extra buttons in Windows, chances are the manufacturer has created software to configure the buttons. Rarely do they create such software for Linux. Btnx (button x) can be used to configure the mouse buttons in Linux for a variety of pointing devices. With a three […]

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If you are using a mouse, trackball, or touchpad with extra buttons in Windows, chances are the manufacturer has created software to configure the buttons. Rarely do they create such software for Linux. Btnx (button x) can be used to configure the mouse buttons in Linux for a variety of pointing devices.

With a three button mouse, typically people keep the default settings. With a five button mouse, the extra two buttons often go unused. The default is that they typically are used to go back and forward in web browsers and file managers. This is not as handy in other programs. Other functions might be more useful; the user should decided what they need. For example, I would rather use the extra buttons to copy and paste text. Enter btnx.

Using Btnx

To install btnx, search for it in Ubuntu's Software Center (found in the Application menu). Alternatively, you can install it from the command line.

sudo apt-get install btnx

Now you can access btnx from:

Applications > System Tools > btnx

This will bring up a GUI dialog box for you to configure you mouse. From here, click "Detect mouse & buttons" and follow the steps. It will have you test your mouse and label the buttons. Don't forget to add your scroll wheel. It is an extra step compared to manufacturers' software, but it only takes a minute or two. Next, click on the "Buttons" tab to configure what each button does. Usually, it is the extra mouse buttons that are the best to customize, but any can be changed.

In this case, I set the keycode on "Button-1" (named by me) to "C" and the modifier to "Ctrl." Since this is just a case of simulating "ctrl+c" to copy something, left or right control keys are irrelevant. Naturally, I set the "Button-2" as "ctrl-v" for paste. Page Up & Page Down would also make sense. Options are not limited to key combinations. Programs and other buttons can be set as well. A wide array of functions are available for someone to choose from.

extra mouse buttons linux

Make sure to click the "Enabled" check box. To apply the changes, restart btnx from the "Configurations" tab. If a change does not seem to be taking place, try restarting btnx or your computer.

Note: The homepage and the help files were not available. For clarification and program details, use the man pages from the Wayback Machine.

Problems and Issues

In tests, while the remapping worked, a curious side effect evolved: the buttons now work as both copy & paste and forward & back. This made them useless in websites. Further research lead to a fix: xinput. The program will let you swap or disable mouse buttons, among other things. It should come with Ubuntu and other types of Linux, but it can be installed from the terminal:

sudo apt-get install xinput

Once installed, you need to use it to list and show devices:

xinput list

You should see your pointing device listed. Look for your manufacturer's name. If the name appears twice, then you need to use the "id" number in place of the name. Once you have found this information, you can disable the extra button functionality with the following line:

xinput set-button-map "Your mouse name" 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 0 0

Now, your mouse should work as intended. Btnx will still know you are pressing the buttons, so the remap will still work. If you have problems, try running through "Detect mouse & buttons" again to make sure they were set correctly. Note: You may have to do this each time you customize the buttons.

Closing

It took some time to find the answers, but I now have perfectly functional copy & paste buttons on my trackball. These solutions where found in the forums at ubuntuforums and pinoygeek. With luck, you will not have the problems that I ran into. If you do, I hope this article saves you the trouble of having to research the solution. Please feel free to share how you remap your mouse in the comments.

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Give Yourself The Proper Linux Privileges on Your New Machine http://www.ghacks.net/2011/06/15/give-yourself-the-proper-linux-privileges-on-your-new-machine/ http://www.ghacks.net/2011/06/15/give-yourself-the-proper-linux-privileges-on-your-new-machine/#comments Wed, 15 Jun 2011 06:51:21 +0000 http://www.ghacks.net/?p=46485 For many of us, the days following the fresh install of a new Linux distribution are like starting your life over. It's a time for new beginning – new choices for programs, new configurations, new icons. You have a clean slate, and it's time to explore the possibilities the unknown distro brings with it. Naturally, […]

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For many of us, the days following the fresh install of a new Linux distribution are like starting your life over. It's a time for new beginning – new choices for programs, new configurations, new icons. You have a clean slate, and it's time to explore the possibilities the unknown distro brings with it.

Naturally, you jump on your computer, open up a terminal window, and start throwing out sudo apt-get install commands left and right to play with new applications. But wait: Error messages start flying back saying that you profile is not included as a sudoer.

Well, not exactly. If the first time you attempt to operate as root on a recently installed system and the system spouts back something about your profile not having sufficient privileges to carry out the task, it means that you properly installed the distro.

The fact is that you (probably) do not want to be operating as supervisor all the time. It can be dangerous, and far too often it leads to system meltdowns at the worst possible times. While not having to insert a password before any administrative task can be helpful a lot of the time, using root as a primary account leaves your computer exposed to user stupidity – and plain dumb mistakes happen to the best of us.

sandwich

Ok, so you don't want to be root all the time, but you obviously need to be able to carry out administrative tasks from time to time – like when you want to do something as simple as installing a new program. So how do you add your profile to the sudoer file?

It's actually very easy. First, open up a terminal window (probably the one that yelled at you for having insufficient privileges in the first place). For this tutorial let's pretend your username is alpha, so every time you see alpha substitute in your general user profile. Go ahead and type is “su” on the first line and hit enter. You will be prompted for your password – go ahead and supply it.

linux console

Next, you need to give yourself permission to edit the sudoers file. Type

  • chmod +w /etc/sudoers

Then click enter again. Now you can go in and add yourself to the list. Type

  • echo 'alpha ALL=(ALL)' >> /ect/sudoers

And then go ahead and click enter again. Congratulations, you're now on the list. Before we leave, we want to reset the permissions of the sudoer file by typing

chmod -w /etc/sudoers

Click enter again, type “exit”, press enter again, and then type “exit” one more time to leave the terminal window. And that's it! Your profile has now been added to the list of those with administrative privileges.

While it is not a difficult procedure, it is one that is easily forgotten. Once you have given yourself sudo privileges you can give them to other Linux users as well, whether you have multiple profiles set up for other users on your computer or even different profiles for different tasks.

Update:

Edit: A number of people have responded to this post raising very justified concerns about configuring sudo in this manner. While it is perfectly safe if you are careful about every change you make, a mistake in configuring sudo can lead to bad problems down the line. As a safeguard, many people prefer editing the sudo file through the visudo command, which, if sudo has not yet been configured, must be accessed when logged in as root. To do so, login as root, open a terminal and type:

visudo

At the bottom of the new series of characters is a line that reads:

#includedir /etc/sudoers.d

To enable a user full access to sudo, simply type:

  • “insertusernamewithoutquotes” ALL=(ALL) ALL

Press Ctrl+X to exit the program and click Y to save a backup buffer file on your way out just in case things go wrong.

Two ways to address the same problem – This method simply provides a failsafe.

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Sync Apple Devices To Your Linux System http://www.ghacks.net/2011/06/08/sync-apple-devices-to-your-linux-system/ http://www.ghacks.net/2011/06/08/sync-apple-devices-to-your-linux-system/#comments Wed, 08 Jun 2011 12:58:57 +0000 http://www.ghacks.net/?p=46218 Experienced users of handheld products know that in order to protect your data and applications it is important to sync apps frequently with a primary machine. Unfortunately, this is often easier said than done for Linux users. While many devices are able to sync without much manipulation on your part, Apple products tend to cause […]

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Experienced users of handheld products know that in order to protect your data and applications it is important to sync apps frequently with a primary machine. Unfortunately, this is often easier said than done for Linux users. While many devices are able to sync without much manipulation on your part, Apple products tend to cause more headaches.

There are various workarounds for this problem, but most are hit and miss. There is no one size fits all solution to this problem, but there is one series of changes that works for many Linux users. It builds up to the installation of a program called “ideviceinstaller,” and it works for about 90% of users. If you are frustrated with your iPod/iPad/iPhone and really just want to back things up, it's probably worth a try.

First, download all the little helpers that you might need along the way. Open up a terminal window and type in the following list:

sudo apt-get install libtool automake autoconf libplist-dev libplist++-dev libplist++1 libzip-dev libclutter-1.0-dev libclutter-gtk-0.10-dev libusbmuxd-dev libglib2.0-dev libgnutls-dev git-core swig intltool build-essential python-dev

That should update your system with almost everything you might need to start installing the programs necessary to get your devices identifying and syncing up with your computer. Next you need to download and install the latest version of a program called “libimobiledevice” which will enable ideviceinstaller to work properly when you install it later. Unlike the last piece of text you inserted into the terminal, take these one line at a time, and make sure your system has finished the process before stepping forward to the next. Again in the terminal:

cd ~/Downloads
wget http://www.libimobiledevice.org/downloads/libimobiledevice-1.0.1.tar.bz2
tar xvjf libimobiledevice-1.0.1.tar.bz2
cd ~/Downloads/libimobiledevice-1.0.1
./configure
make
sudo make install

You now have almost everything that you need to get ideviceinstaller working properly. But before we install the final auxiliary program, install ideviceinstaller onto your system. To do so, type the following into your terminal:

git clone git://git.sukimashita.com/ideviceinstaller.git
cd ideviceinstaller/
./autogen.sh
./configure
make
sudo make install

Now it's time for one last installation. The program “sbmanager” is the final component necessary for everything to run smoothly. In the terminal, type:

git clone git://git.sukimashita.com/sbmanager.git
cd sbmanager
./autogen.sh
./configure
make
sudo make install

With any luck, your system should now be ready to take whatever your Apple hand helds can throw at it. Close out of your terminal, plug in your devices, and see if it works.

Here are a few of the most important tasks you can do with the program. To run any of them, simply open your terminal window while your devices are plugged it.

idevicebackup backup ~/backup Creates a backup file of your device
idevicebackup restore ~/backup Restores your device to its previous backup state
ideviceinstaller -a [name of application, without brackets]
Creates an archival copy of an app
ideviceinstaller -r [name of application, without brackets]
Restores an app to its previous archived state
ideviceinstaller -l Displays a list of all apps on your Apple device

While most users will be set to go after following these steps, be prepared to spend some time fixing any errors along the way. The most common is that libimobiledevice.so.1 does not exist. To fix this, type the following in your terminal:

sudo ln -s /usr/local/lib/libimobiledevice.so.1.0.1 /usr/lib/libimobiledevice.so.1

That should fix 90% of the problems you may encounter in running this how-to. Have fun and good luck!

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Changing Your Linux Background Automatically http://www.ghacks.net/2011/06/05/changing-your-linux-background/ http://www.ghacks.net/2011/06/05/changing-your-linux-background/#comments Sun, 05 Jun 2011 14:49:45 +0000 http://www.ghacks.net/?p=46081 Compared to Windows and Apple, some people consider Linux distributions to be the most user-friendly, personally customizable operating systems available. They enable you to adjust and tweak pretty much anything you want to. All they require is a basic understanding of the dynamic of Linux. One fun change you can make is customizing your desktop […]

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Compared to Windows and Apple, some people consider Linux distributions to be the most user-friendly, personally customizable operating systems available. They enable you to adjust and tweak pretty much anything you want to. All they require is a basic understanding of the dynamic of Linux.

One fun change you can make is customizing your desktop in a pretty unique way – by changing the background image every so often automatically. While some programs exist to help you with this task, there is absolutely no reason why you cannot do it yourself with a few simple commands. Before long you can have your entire vacation album scrolling behind your open windows, changing photos every five, ten, or thirty minutes – it's entirely up to you.

To begin, open a terminal window and open a new text file:

gksu gedit

You are going to insert a line of commands into this file, which you will later turn into a shell script. The function of each line is outlined below; you only need to copy and paste the big block of text further down. The individual explanations are so you can customize the code to fit your needs.

picsfolder=”/media/documents/photosfordesktop”

This line points to whatever folder holds the photos you want scrolling in the background. Be sure to change it to whatever folder holds yours.

cd $picsfolder

This changes the current directory to the new folder full of pictures.

files=(././.jpg)

This creates an array out of all your photos, allowing them to be mixed up for display later.

N=${#files[@]}

This simply identifies the number of pictures in the new array.

((N=RANDOM%N))

This chooses a random photo from those you made available.

randomfile=`echo ${files[$N]} | cut --characters=”1 2” --complement`

This identifies the name of the specific photo chosen.

Gconfigtool-2 -t str –set /desktop/gnome/background/picture_filename “$picsfolder$randomfile”

This sets the desktop with your new (temporary) photo as the background.

Now, take all those commands, put together below, and copy and paste them into the text editor you opened earlier:

picsfolder=”/media/documents/photosfordesktop”
cd $picsfolder
files=(././.jpg)
N=${#files[@]}
((N=RANDOM%N))
randomfile=`echo ${files[$N]} | cut --characters=”1 2” --compliment`
Gconfigtool-2 -t str –set /desktop/gnome/background/picture_filename “$picsfolder$randomfile”

Save your text document as /bin/timedwallpaper.sh and exit the text editor. Everything is ready – now you just need to tell your computer to do it. For this next part your distribution needs to have “cron” installed, a program which typically comes pre-packaged. To make sure you have it, type

sudo apt-get install cron

Once you have ensured it is installed, type

crontab -e

At the bottom start a new line and type

*/5 * * * * timedwallpaper.sh

This sets the time between pictures at five minutes. Change the number to whatever you see fit. Arrow down to the next blank line, and then type

@reboot timedwallpaper.sh

After that, press Control+x, then y, and finally enter. Exit the terminal and you are good to go. Not only will your script run however often you program it to, it will now reset each time you start your computer as well. Enjoy the scenery!

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Integrate the Terminal with the Desktop On Linux http://www.ghacks.net/2011/06/04/integrate-the-terminal-with-the-desktop-on-linux/ http://www.ghacks.net/2011/06/04/integrate-the-terminal-with-the-desktop-on-linux/#comments Sat, 04 Jun 2011 13:10:09 +0000 http://www.ghacks.net/?p=46008 Over the years there have been all sorts of fun ways to edit one's Linux terminal window. In addition to editing all the boring old things like text color and scroll settings, people have edited their headers, terminal behaviors, and even integrated an entire terminal window into their background. Many people are fond of that […]

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Over the years there have been all sorts of fun ways to edit one's Linux terminal window. In addition to editing all the boring old things like text color and scroll settings, people have edited their headers, terminal behaviors, and even integrated an entire terminal window into their background.

Many people are fond of that last one, but it isn't really all that easy to do. Most people employ the help of little programs for things like that, but the software used to embed the terminal is rarely updated to new versions of various distros.

One, however, has stayed intact, and this tutorial will help you through the process of putting the terminal right where we all need it – on the desktop.

First of all, you need to create a new Terminal profile that will run under the parameters you will set later. Open up your Terminal, then go to File, New Profile, type “Transparency” (without the quotes) as the title, and then click Create.

This creates the profile necessary to continue. You now need to fix a few settings. Under Title and Command, change the initial title to Transparency and select Keep Initial Title in the drop down menu. Select transparent under the Background tab, and set it to be as (you guessed it) transparent as you like. Some people prefer completely clear, but make sure the font color will stand out against your existing desktop background.

Next you want to download the program that will make all this possible. In your terminal, type:

sudo apt-get install devilspie

Next, you need to create a configuration file for your profile:

mkdir ~/.devilspie
gedit ~/.devilspie/Transparency.ds

Then take the following piece of code and pasted it in Transparency.ds:

( if
( matches ( window_name ) "Transparency" )
( begin
( set_workspace 4 )
( undecorate )
( skip_pager )
( skip_tasklist )
( geometry "890x694+178+58" )
( below )
( pin )
( println "match" )
)
)

Almost there! Now all you need to do is make sure that your computer opens a Terminal window in this manner each time it boots. Under System Settings open Startup Applications. First, click add, and under command, type:

devilspie -a

Then click enter. Click add again, and under command type:

gnome-terminal –window-with-profile=Transparency

That's all there is to it. Reboot your system, and when it comes back up you should find a handy terminal window built right into your desktop, ready to work at whatever you desire.

terminal-desktop

If the configuration listed here does not quite work for you, experiment with the code you pasted in Transparency.ds under “geometry”. Those are the parameters the system uses to place the box. Of course, you can always fiddle with the color and transparency settings assigned to the profile by going to the Terminal and clicking on Edit, then Profile Preferences.

This neat, quick little quick little fix will be of interest to your Linux inclined friends and make Windows users wonder why they can’t do the same thing.

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Universal USB Installer, Install, Run Linux From USB http://www.ghacks.net/2011/05/09/universal-usb-installer-install-run-linux-from-usb/ http://www.ghacks.net/2011/05/09/universal-usb-installer-install-run-linux-from-usb/#comments Mon, 09 May 2011 08:47:05 +0000 http://www.ghacks.net/?p=44899 I just got the replacement battery for my Acer Aspire 3810T and decided to make a clean cut. Instead of continuing to use Windows 7 as the operating system I have decided to install the latest Ubuntu on the notebook. I'm not using the device that often, actually only if I'm on holiday, and I […]

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I just got the replacement battery for my Acer Aspire 3810T and decided to make a clean cut. Instead of continuing to use Windows 7 as the operating system I have decided to install the latest Ubuntu on the notebook. I'm not using the device that often, actually only if I'm on holiday, and I thought it would be a good way to start fiddling around with a Linux desktop OS.

The Acer laptop comes without optical drive, which means that I have to install Linux from an USB device. But how do you get the Linux installation files on the USB device and ensure that Linux can be booted and installed from the device?

I remembered that I have reviewed UNetBootin, the Universal Netboot Installer, in 2008. The program is still around and updated regularly to include popular Linux distributions.

A friend recommended a similar program called Universal USB Installer which offered a similar functionality. And since I have not reviewed that program yet, I made the decision to use that program to install Linux on my notebook.

Preparing the USB device

Universal USB Installer is a portable application for Microsoft Windows operating system. Just run it to open the configuration screen. Everything is handled on that screen. Make sure you plug in your USB stick before you start the program, as it will not be recognized by the program otherwise. The stick needs to have a size of at least 2 Gigabytes. It should also be reasonably fast as the copying and installation may take a long time or fail if it is to slow.

universal usb installer

You start by selecting one of the available Linux distributions from the pulldown menu under Step 1. Available are the latest stable releases of Ubuntu, Debian, Linux Mint, Open Suse and a couple dozen more.

You can select to download the ISO from the project homepage, or select an existing ISO image from the local hard drive. Downloads were processed in Microsoft Internet Explorer, even though that was not the default web browser on my computer system.

You select the usb flash drive letter under step 3. Only removable drives are displayed by default. You can override that option to display all drives but that is usually not recommended as installation on a local hard drive may break the installed operating system on those drives.

install ubuntu linux usb

It is recommended to format the drive which will erase all contents stored on it before the Linux distribution is copied to it. Persistent file size is only necessary if you plan to run the Linux system from USB stick. Since my intention was to install it on the notebook, I did not need to configure that storage.

installing ubuntu

Installation of the Linux distribution on the device takes time, especially if the device is not that fast. A progress bar indicates the remaining time and the current state of the copying process.

Using the Linux distribution on USB

Now that Linux has been installed on the USB device, you can make use of it in two different ways. You can plug it into any computer to run Linux directly from the device, or use it to install Linux on that computer. One thing that you probably need to do is to enter the BIOS setup to change the boot order. The notebook's hard drive is usually the first boot device, and you need to change that so that your USB device comes first and the hard drive second.

The loader of the selected Linux distribution is displayed once you have made the boot order change. It is then just a matter of selecting to Install the Linux distribution on the hard drive, or run it from USB device.

Verdict

The process of copying Linux to an USB device has been pleasant. It took less than five minutes to download and copy all relevant files on the USB device. The first USB stick that I tried caused a problem during installation, probably because it was not fast enough. The second USB stick that I tried was faster and installation commenced without further problems.

Users who want to install Linux on a netbook without optical device can use the Universal USB Installer to do that comfortably. The program is constantly updated with new Linux releases. A download is provided at the developer website. that has been linked above in the article.

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Active Edge Screen Actions in KDE 4.6 http://www.ghacks.net/2011/04/19/active-edge-screen-actions-in-kde-4-6/ http://www.ghacks.net/2011/04/19/active-edge-screen-actions-in-kde-4-6/#comments Tue, 19 Apr 2011 19:57:51 +0000 http://www.ghacks.net/?p=44116 Being Linux fans, you all know that Linux offers a lot of ways to manage the desktop. One of the best ways that Linux offers for keeping your desktop organized is multiple desktops. This feature has been around since nearly the beginning of the Linux desktop. Multiple desktops (or workspaces) allow you to create a […]

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Being Linux fans, you all know that Linux offers a lot of ways to manage the desktop. One of the best ways that Linux offers for keeping your desktop organized is multiple desktops. This feature has been around since nearly the beginning of the Linux desktop. Multiple desktops (or workspaces) allow you to create a number of workspaces where you can organize your work better.

In KDE 4 there are some great ways of managing those desktops. One of my favorite ways is using Active Edge Screen Actions to enable the Compiz Cube to switch workspaces. But the Active Edge Screen Actions can be used for much more than just switching workspaces. Let's take a look at this feature and see just what it can do.

What are Active Edges?

To put it simply, Active Edges are locations on the screen where you can place the cursor and an action will occur. As the name implies, we're dealing with the edges of the screen -- specifically, the four corners and the center spot of each edge (center left, center top, center right, center bottom). That means there are eight different locations where an action can be set. When the cursor hovers over that location (the timing can be specified in the settings) the action configured will happen.

What actions can be configured? Any of the following:

  • No Action.
  • Show Dashboard.
  • Show Desktop.
  • Lock Screen.
  • Prevent Screen Locking.
  • Present Windows -- All Desktops.
  • Present Windows -- Current Desktop.
  • Desktop Grid.
  • Desktop Cube.
  • Desktop Cylinder.
  • Desktop Sphere.
  • Flip Switch -- All Desktops.
  • Flip Switch -- Current Desktop.

For actions such as Desktop Grid/Cube/Cylinder/Spere and Flip Switch, those must be set up to work before the Action Edge can be set up. But once the action is working, it can be associated with an Action Edge.

Configuring an Action Edge

Figure 1

To do this click K > Computer > System Settings > Workspace Behavior > Screen Edges. When that new window opens (see Figure 1), right-click on one of the eight edges. When you do that a pop-up menu will appear where you can choose the action you want to associate with the edge. Select the action you want, and click Apply.

Once configured, test the Action Edge out. Remember, there is an Activation Delay for the edges. By default that delay is 150 milliseconds, so that action will not happen instantly.

A small conflict

You will notice, in this same screen, you can set edge flipping and window tiling. The Edge Flipping feature can be set up to flip to activate when either only dragging a window or always. Here's the problem, if you have edge flipping and window tiling both set up, the window tiling will allow the edge flipping to work, but it's a bit confusing and you could wind up with a tiled window instead of a flipped edge. I would recommend either one or the other. Also, if you configure Edge Flipping to be always on, you will lose four of your Action Edges (top/bottom center, right/left center).

Final thoughts

I'm a big fan of using multiple workspaces and Action Edges in KDE. These features do a great job of making your work more efficient and organized.

 

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Make Enlightenment E17 desktop aware of new applications http://www.ghacks.net/2011/04/14/make-enlightenment-e17-desktop-aware-of-new-applications/ http://www.ghacks.net/2011/04/14/make-enlightenment-e17-desktop-aware-of-new-applications/#comments Thu, 14 Apr 2011 19:19:13 +0000 http://www.ghacks.net/?p=43924 When you install a new application on a Linux distribution, that enjoys the Enlightenment E17 desktop, sometimes those applications will automatically add a menu entry and sometimes they won't. When an application is installed, you might find yourself looking through the entire menu hierarchy to find it's launcher. If there isn't one there, what do […]

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When you install a new application on a Linux distribution, that enjoys the Enlightenment E17 desktop, sometimes those applications will automatically add a menu entry and sometimes they won't. When an application is installed, you might find yourself looking through the entire menu hierarchy to find it's launcher. If there isn't one there, what do you do? Let's find out, shall we!

Run everything launcher

Figure 1

Of course, like every good desktop environment, Enlightenment has a "run dialog" that allows the user to run a command, without having to open up a terminal window.

The Everything Launcher is similar to GNOME Do, minus the ability to search for files. But by pressing the Alt-Esc combination a window (like that in Figure 1) will pop up allowing you to enter a command for launching. As you can see I have entered "claw" which instantly pops up both Claws Mail and clawsker. Both of these are applications. You can either click on one of the icons or finish the command and hit enter.

You can also click text and then copy whatever you have entered to the clipboard. Very handy, if you ask me.

But what if you want to make an icon or menu entry for an application? For that you have to (in E17 parlance) create a new application.

Creating new application

This actually isn't creating a new application, but instead creates a launcher for the application, that can be added to a shelf or menu. Here's how this is done.

Figure 2

  1. Click Settings > All > Apps > New Application.
  2. Fill out the basic information (The Application entry is the actual command for the application.)
  3. Create an Icon for the application by clicking on the Icon tab and then entering the path to the icon in the field.
  4. Add any options, if necessary.
  5. Click OK.

You have now created an application. But where can you launch that application from? Let's add it to the favorites menu. To do this, follow these steps:

Figure 3

  1. Click Settings > All > Apps > Favorite Applications.
  2. From this new window (see Figure 3) scroll up or down to find the new application you created.
  3. Click on the application and then click Add.
  4. Click OK to finish adding the application.

There is, of course, an easier way to do this. Once you have the application opened do the following:

Right-click the title bar of the application.

Select the application name and then either:

  • Add to Favorites Menu
  • Add to iBar.
  • Create Keyboard Shortcut.

Figure 4

In order to create a Keyboard Shortcut do the following:

  1. After you click Create Keyboard Shortcut the Keyboard Bindings window will open.
  2. Click the keyboard shortcut combination you want to use.
  3. Click on the Command entry under Launch.
  4. Enter the command to be launched in the Action Params area.
  5. Click OK.
  6. Now test the keyboard shortcut.

If you make a mistake in the above steps, you can click the Escape key to get out of this.

Final thoughts

You will be hard pressed to find a desktop environment more flexible than E17. And with the help of tips like this, it becomes a very user-friendly desktop environment as well.

 

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