Installing applications (Using synaptic package manager and terminal)

Applications is the key element of a computer. Without applications/softwares, computer is useless. Ubuntu has a pretty good software installation mechanism. All the softwares are at one place in Synaptic Package Manager which. This makes it easier to install applications. Instead of browsing the application website and downloading it from there and then installing it, all the applications are at one place. Just click on the application, mark it and you have it installed without any need of your intervention.

This is by far the best thing I liked in Ubuntu. You can access the synaptic package manager from System->Administration->Synaptic Package Manager. Type the application name and it will search as you type. To install an application, just right click on the application and select ‘Mark for installation’ and click on Apply. Your application will be downloaded and installed right away.

To install the same application using terminal, you can note down the exact name of the application as it appears in the Synaptic Package manager and in the terminal type:
sudo apt-get install package-name

Type in your password and your application will be installed after downloading.

In the default setup, there are most of the important repositories already added.

Repositories are collection of software which is at one place. If you add a repository in the source list, the applications available in the repository will be available in Synaptic Package Manager.

The source file is in the path /etc/apt/sources.list
You can add or remove repositories in this file.

That was a brief explanation about the application installation procedure on Ubuntu.

I hope you liked it.


[Solved] Wlan led does not blink in Ubuntu

This is a common problem in Ubuntu. The led which shows wlan activity doesn’t blink (flicker) at all. I googled and found some results out of which this tutorial helped a lot:

This maybe due to the fact that I am using madwifi drivers for my wlan. The other solution that I found was, though it didn’t work on mine but it has worked for many others:


Extracting and adding files from and to Rar and 7z files

For Rar files:

My friend sent me a link to a rar file just today. After downloading, I found that rar file wasn’t supported natively on Ubuntu. I tried different softwares but none was good. So finally I installed rar and unrar, both of them aren’t free. They provide integration with the native gnome archive manager.
To install them, type the following line in terminal and press enter:

sudo apt-get install rar unrar

When you double click a rar file it will automatically open with gnome archive manager (file roller). Also, you’ll be able to see the rar format option available in the create archive dialog box.

For 7z files:

I also wanted to have 7z support while I was at this. So I just installed p7zip-full for this. It also provided integration with default archiver of gnome. To install it, type the following in terminal:

sudo apt-get install p7zip-full

This will give 7z support. Try double clicking a 7z file and it will open directly in archive manager. You will also find the option to select 7z in create archive dialog box.


Connecting to a windows computer on LAN using Samba

Well, you would consider this to be very difficult task to accomplish but it wasn’t. It was confusing at first but once you know what you got to do, its really simple.
Samba is the application you need for this purpose. To install samba type:

sudo apt-get install samba4

in terminal and enter your password to download and install samba. Installation could also be done using Synaptic Package Manager.

Windows Vista had changed the way it authenticated users. It was different from windows xp. Samba wasn’t able to able to share files with windows vista due to this reason but it has been solved since Samba3.

Okay, getting back to the topic..

You also need smbclient to surf the windows shared files on the network. Install that by typing the following command in terminal:

sudo apt-get install smbclient

This will install the smbclient. To browse the shared folder, you can just go to Places->Network->Windows Network and find all the shared computers there. If you don’t see the shares there, don’t worry. I wasn’t able to see as well, so I typed smb:// in the address bar of any file explorer, where is the ip address of the windows vista computer.

To share files from ubuntu to windows, just right click on a folder, then click on properties. Click on share and select the ‘Share this folder’ option. It may ask you to install some services. Click on yes to install them. After installation, you’ll be able to browse the folder on your windows vista like a normal windows computer.

The guide may have some errors. Pardon me if thats the case. Remember, I am just a newbie. This did work for me, though.


The Ubuntu Interface

Well, I didn’t talk about the Ubuntu interface much in my first post.

The top-panel:

Well, its simple, clean and neat interface. You’ll find a panel on top of the screen (Yes, its called a panel). You have multiple menus on panel and you have the liberty to add more custom menus. By default, it has ‘Applications’, ‘Places’ and ‘System’ menu. The right side of the panel has the date and time along with other icons that are hidden. Its more like the taskbar of windows.

Applications: It houses all the executable applications that you have installed on your system so far. It has sub-menus for all the categories like Accessories, Internet, System tools, Sound and Video etc. I like the fact that all your applications go right into its respective category rather than cluttering in one place.

Places: It contains all the places you can go to. No pun intended there. By ‘places’ I mean the locations on network and on your disk. It has shortcut to all your sik partitions, your home folder, other common folders and network places. You also have the option to search for files in this menu.

System: As its name suggests, System has everything to do with how your Ubuntu works. You can modify the system settings and other application settings in this folder. This menu has two important sub-menus – ‘Preferences’ and ‘Administration’. In ‘Preferences’ you can modify different application settings as well as some hardware settings and system settings. In ‘Administration’ you can administer your system ie. create users and groups, test your system and install new software (the most important option). You also have option to shut-down, log-out and lock the system. You also have a help option here which contains basic to advance how-to’s for ubuntu and command reference.

When I first explored these menus, the applications were just a few. I knew for a fact that Ubuntu came with lots of applications pre-installed. I started to search for the option to display all the apps.

To-unhide the apps in the menus:

Right click any of the menu and select ‘Edit menus’. The interface is pretty simple and user-friendly. To unhide the apps, click the application under any sub-menu and checkmark it. You can add new menu and new items. As simple as that.

You can also add common applications directly on the panel, just like a quick launch (on windows). Just drag the app and put it there. Simple, eh?

The desktop/workspace:

You get enough a normal looking desktop with icons to mounted drives on them added dynamically when they are mounted. You can add all the icons you want here. Changing the desktop background couldn’t have been simple. Right-click on the desktop and select the option to change background. Select the file and its done.

Note that the background will revert to default if the background picture is in one of the other partition since drives are unmounted by default in ubuntu on start-up. I will write another tutorial to auto-mount the drives which solves this problem (find that tutorial here). Another temporary solution is to copy your wallpaper to your home drive and selecting it as the background.

The bottom panel contains all the running application, a button to show the desktop (by minimizing all the applications), button to trash folder and workspace buttons (one for each workspace for easy switching).

As you must’ve figured out, the interface is pretty neat and clean.

Though you might feel the workspace a much smaller than it looks on windows and the font to be really really ugly. Well, you can always change that.

Well, forgive me for my noob review of the interface and not posting screenshots but its only my 4th day with Ubuntu.

Finally this is my screenshot. Kindof messy, but this is it I’ve been able to achieve so far with the looks. Hey, not bad for the 4th day, is it?

Comments are more than welcome!!


Moving my firefox profile from windows to ubuntu

The only thing most of the people do on computer is surf the Internet. And for surfing Internet, the best browser, IMHO is Firefox (thankgod, someone made it). I use many plugins in firefox which make my life easier as well as help me in debugging my web applications.

I logged back into the windows (I didn’t want but there was no other way), and opened firefox. I already had FEBE plugin installed in firefox which is an awesome plugin which will back-up your bookmarks, extensions, themes, cookies, history etc, in one single archive. I backed up my profile and it took around 2 minutes to complete backup. I restarted and booted back in Ubuntu. I launched firefox, and installed FEBE and restored it by going to:
Tools menu -> FEBE -> Restore profile

I selected my backed up file.

Within 10-15 seconds, the profile was restored without any errors. I restarted my browser and found my firefox same as it was in windows.


My first day on Ubuntu – Installing Ubuntu

It feels so good typing this post in Ubuntu. Finally, I made it. After postponing installing Ubuntu for complete one year due to HDD free-space constraints, I finally dragged my lazy head and burned half a dozen dvds to get free space of 20 GB. I thought it was more than enough, so didn’t burn any more.

Then, I googled if Ubuntu could be installed on NTFS and was disappointed to see that although it could be installed, it was highly unrecommended. So I needed to make unallocated space on my HDD so that Ubuntu could automatically make Ext3 partition on that unallocated space.


Unallocated Space: The space on HDD which has no filesystem applied to it.

To do this, I ran Powerquest Partition Magic 8. The resizing of partition required reboot and so, I did. An error occured so I was in trouble now. I searched for a free partition manager tool on google and most of the results pointed to easeus partition manager. Without thinking twice, I downloaded the setup and installed it. It required a reboot too for resizing the partition. I was doubtful that this would work. I rebooted and it did work. It took around 30-40 minutes to resize the partition. Although, it was slow, it did work. I now had to just install Ubuntu. I inserted the CD and proceeded with the install. When it told to choose the partition, I chose  ‘Use the largest continuous free space’. It took around 15 minutes for installation to complete. I rebooted into xp just to see if the xp still worked (I was paranoid, lol). It did work. So I booted into ubuntu and started exploring it. Although this wasn’t the first time I was using Ubuntu, it certainly was the first time I used installed Ubuntu on my laptop.

It looked good and fast. The first thing I did was check if my wlan worked, since linux have a tendency to not work with wlans, webcams, bluetooths etc. But to my amazement, all these things worked.  I connected to my AP and fired up the Firefox from the top bar.

Browsing was as fast with firefox. I now had to go to windows xp to backup my Firefox profile using FEBE and restore it in ubuntu using the same plugin but I didn’t want to go back to XP :P. I decided to do it later.

I logged into msn im, using Pidgin which was in the Applications->Internet by default. The Application menu looked scarcely populated which was unusual. There should’ve been lots of applications there. So I thought they must be hidden. I right-clicked on ‘Applications’ and clicked on edit menus. I checked all the applications in all the menus. The menu looked more complete now. I love this feature on Ubuntu/Linux where applications automatically are categorised into appropriate categories in Applications menu unline windows where the Menu gets extremely cluttered after few months. I hope this doesn’t happen with Ubuntu.

I tried my hands on installing new applications. I tried to install virtualbox. I downloaded the appropriate package from its site and double clicked the installation file.

I then tried my hand at installing few apps. I did install Sun’s virtualbox, Gyachi (yahoo messenger alternative), amsn (msn messenger alternative).

I will keep exploring for today.

For people who are new to Linux: Read this

Its an awesome article (I read it as recommended by Shantanu Tushar).