Category Archives: Linux

Google Chrome on Linux

Disappointed in not having Google Chrome for your favourite Linux distro ? Now you shouldn’t be. Fetch the Google Chrome packages from here. They are on the development stage and wouldn’t be a stable one. But you can give it a try. Features like Flash will not work in this release. Installing Google Chrome will add the google repository so your system will automatically keep Chrome up to date. (If you don’t want Google’s repository, do “sudo touch /etc/defaults/google-chrome” before installing the package.)

Have Fun.

Note: The Linux build still lacks certain privacy features, and is not appropriate for general consumer use.
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Jaunty on my new Toshiba Satellite !!!

I bought a new Toshiba Satellite L310 Notebook last week. It is my first laptop and I’m happy that I bought it with my own money (from my salary). Weeks before I took the Tosh, I had been looking for a good laptop which would be a nice pickup taking into account the price, configuration and style. I was planning to take a Dell Inspiron 14 or Dell Inspiron 15 before I had changed my mind to the HP Pavilion Series. But the HP Pavilion laptops I liked were not there in the retail shops and Amazon (Actually there was, but they wouldn’t ship to India). After some time surfing the web, my eyes stuck into a review of Asus EeePC at Register. It is  a netbook (meant for common tasks such as browsing, e-mail etc.) with a mind-blowing battery backup of 9Hrs (but the absence of optical drive is a compromise). For the next few weeks there was not even a single other notebook in my mind. But when I reached home from Chennai, one of my cousin, who is working in a Computer Peripherals Marketing Company told me about the Tosh. He said that one is the best one they’re having now at their showroom. After explaining the configurations of the Tosh, I began to think that taking a netbook only is a waste and made up my mind to take a Tosh instead.

Next day I visited the retail shop and purchased a Toshiba Satellite L310-D4012 (I still donno why the model is not showing in the official Tosh website). Its not that bad in looks, infact I liked the lappie on first sight itself. The only think I didnt’t like about Tosh is that its colour is not black, its metallic silver. Here is my Tosh’s spec

  • Intel Core 2 Duo Processor T6400, 2.0 GHz Speed
  • 2 MB L2 Cache, 800 Mhz FSB
  • Intel 965GM Express Chipset
  • 2-GB DDR2 667 SDRAM expandable to maximum 4-GB
  • 250-GB, 5400 rpm Serial-ATA Hard Disk Drive with Shock Absorber
  • DVD SuperMulti Double Layer Optical Drive (DVD-RW/RAM)
  • 14.1-inch (35.8 cm) WXGA 200NIT Hi-bright Clear Superview TFT Widescreen Display (HBCSV), 1280 x 800 pixels screen resolution
  • Integrated Intel Graphics Media Accelerator GMA X3100 Graphics Chipset with 358 MB Shared Video Memory
  • Integrated 56-kbps V.90 Fax/Modem
  • Integrated Bluetooth v2.1
  • Integrated 10/100 Ethernet LAN
  • Intel PRO/Wireless 3945ABG network connection 802.11 a/b/g
  • Integrated 1.3 MP Webcam
  • Fingerprint Reader
  • Glossy Mercury Silver Chasis – IMR Finish
  • Integrated Microphone
  • Toshiba Spill resistant 101 keys Keyboard
  • SRS Surround Sound Sound, Herman/Kardon Speakers
  • 2 USB v2.0 Ports
  • 1 e-Sata Port
  • S-Video TV Out
  • IEEE 1394 Port
  • Express Card/54
  • 6-in-1 Bridge Media Slot (supports SD Media, Memory Stick Memory Stick Pro, Multimedia Card, XD-Picture Card)
  • IEEE 1394 port
  • 6-Cell Li-ion Battery, 3.7 hours backup
  • Dimension: 334 x 242 x 37.5 mm
  • Weight : 2.62 kgs (with battery) / 2.35 Kgs (w/o battery)

Now you would be thinking about the price Huh? It might be 45K or 40K. But tell you the truth. I got this machine for just 33500/-, the best deal as they said and for sure it is.

Then the only problem infront of me was the Tosh’s Linux support. I installed the latest Ubuntu 9.04 Jaunty Jackalope to my new Tosh and I got really excited to see the Tosh working just fine under Linux. Here I will tell you about the hardwares I tested.

Resolution : Native (Out of the box)

Wireless : Working (Out of the box)

Camera : Working (Out of the box)

Audio : Working (Out of the box)

Fingerprint scanner : Works with AES1610 driver in libfprint eventhough lsusb shows AES1600.

Bluetooth : Will work if enabled (Fn + F8 will not enable BT, but you need to enable it from Windows)

Functional Keys : Working except bluetooth’s Fn + F8

ACPI functions : Partially working as toshiba_acpi module doesn’t support Phoenix BIOS. But function like suspend, hibernate, brightness adjustents etc. will work.

Note: Some of the ACPI functions are not working because of the Phoenix BIOS. I think a BIOS update will resolve the issue of not having an option to turn on the bluetooth in BIOS Settings. I searched the web for ACPI configuration, but even the omnibook modules didn’t work for me.

Some Tricks : If you feel you’re having low volume on Jaunty, try this. Add the following line to /etc/modprobe.d/alsa-base.conf

options snd-hda-intel position_fix=1 model=3stack

After a restart, you’ll feel some changes. Also look here for resolving your sound problems.

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Filed under Hardware, Linux, Personal, Review, Ubuntu

Windows 7 and the Linux lesson

You may love Linux or hate it, but when a distribution is complete, there’s very little hesitation by commercial operators when it comes to getting the completed operating system out there.

The Ubuntu 9.04 release candidate was posted on April 16 with final code promised for seven days later on April 23. The final Ubuntu 9.04 code was turned around as promised.

The same cannot be said of Microsoft and Windows. And that’s causing some frustration among those who want to get on with Windows 7.

The Windows 7 Release Candidate – build 7100 – has reportedly been leaked to the web. And unlike previous Windows 7 builds that showed up on one torrent here or there, the release candidate’s on four. The word is that Windows 7 Release Candidate will be available to MSDN and TechNet members at the end of next week with general availability on May 5.

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HP Pavilion DV6000 Notebook and Linux

HP Pavilion dv6000 (Core 2 Duo) review

Today I got a chance to put my hand on the beautiful HP Pavilion DV6000 Notebook which my uncle bought from Kuwait. It was pre-installed with Windows Vista :(, and he already complainted about Vista that it runs awesomely slow. It runs too slow eventhough it had a Dualcore processor and 2GB of RAM. Later I found that it contained dozens and dozens of unwanted softwares that runs on the startup. I removed them and now it runs Vista better.

Being a Free Software and GNU/Linux enthusiast and a promoter of GNU/Linux, I decided to try Ubuntu 8.04 LTS Live DVD on the Lappie. Alas !!!!, it gave me the GNOME desktop in a flash :). Sound worked perfectly and the sound quality was perfect as in Vista (Lappie have Altec Lansing Speakers). As it was having Nvidia Graphics the Compiz effects were not working with the Free Nvidia drivers (But the Binary packages from restricted drivers section enables it).

Next, I tried Knoppix 5.3.1 on it and being a lighning fast Live Distro it booted to the Desktop like the way it was booting from haddisk. All the hardwares worked like charm under Knoppix and I was really excited to see the new HP Pavilion DV6000 Notebook working smoothly under GNU/Linux.

For those who are planning to buy a laptop, this one is one of my recommendation :).

Ooops I forgot to check whether Wireless and Modem worked under Linux, I’ll check it and post it later.

Product Specifications HP Pavilion dv6725ee (dv6000)

LightScribe DDL Support under Ubuntu 8.04

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Building DVD Images Of Ubuntu Repositories

Many of the user’s/first time tester’s of Linux (Ubuntu) are having difficulties in installing a softwares that are not pre-shipped with the distribution CDs. Most of the home user’s don’t have an unlimited bandwidth broadband connection to download all those softwares through Synaptic or other package managers. This is a HOWTO for the unlimited bandwidth internet users who can help those who are not having an Internet connection, by downloading the complete Ubuntu repositories and make DVD images of the repositories. You can distribute them to others so that they can use the DVDs as a repository and they don’t have to depend Internet to install softwares. This method is taken from Howtoforge.

Ubuntu doesn’t offer DVDs ready to download with its main, universe, multiverse and/or restricted repositories. With the contents of this howto you can do it yourself.

Having the Ubuntu or Debian repositories on DVD can be useful for those users who don’t have access to the Internet where they have their Ubuntu installed but have access somewhere else to download the repository and build and burn the DVDs.

Building a local mirror

We have to install debmirror:

sudo apt-get install debmirror

Now we get the Ubuntu repositories in a local directory. In the example below we get main, universe and multiverse sections of the repository in the i386 architecture.

debmirror --nosource -m --passive --host=archive.ubuntulinux.org --root=ubuntu/ --method=ftp --progress --dist=dapper --section=main,multiverse,universe --arch=i386 ubuntu/ --ignore-release-gpg

You could change the options below as you prefer:

  • –host – the URL of the repository.
  • –dist – the distro of your OS (dapper, edgy, sarge, … ).
  • –section – the section you want to mirror locally.
  • –arch – the architecture of your box.

Separating the archive into DVD-sized directories

The repositories we got are too big (about 30Gb) to burn them to a DVD so we have to separate them into volumes.

The tool debpartial will do it for us.

sudo apt-get install debpartial

We make the directory where the volumes will reside.

mkdir ubuntu-dvd

and we make it to construct the package descriptors to every volume.

debpartial --nosource --dirprefix=ubuntu --section=main,universe,multiverse --dist=dapper --size=DVD ubuntu/ ubuntu-dvd/

Now we have to put the packages into the directories debpartial has just created. The script debcopy which also comes with the debpartial package will do it. The script needs ruby.

sudo apt-get install ruby

If everything is ok…

ruby debcopy ubuntu/ ubuntu-dvd/ubuntu0
ruby debcopy ubuntu/ ubuntu-dvd/ubuntu1
ruby debcopy ubuntu/ ubuntu-dvd/ubuntu2

Where ubuntu/ is the directory with the complete repository created with debmirror and ubuntu-dvd/* are the directories ready to host the new DVD-ready repository.
If we want to make soft links from the complete repository instead of copying the packages we can call debcopy with the option -l:

ruby debcopy -l ubuntu/ ubuntu-dvd/ubuntu0
ruby debcopy -l ubuntu/ ubuntu-dvd/ubuntu1
ruby debcopy -l ubuntu/ ubuntu-dvd/ubuntu2

Now every directory (ubuntu0, ubuntu1 and ubuntu2) fits on one DVD.

Making iso images

To get the directories ubuntu0, ubuntu1, ubuntu2 into an iso image ready to burn we can use mkisofs:

mkisofs -f -J -r -o ubuntu-dvd-0.iso ubuntu-dvd/ubuntu0
mkisofs -f -J -r -o ubuntu-dvd-1.iso ubuntu-dvd/ubuntu1
mkisofs -f -J -r -o ubuntu-dvd-2.iso ubuntu-dvd/ubuntu2

Now you can burn the iso images or mount them. Add them to the /etc/apt/source.list with the command:

sudo apt-cdrom add

Now we can verify the new repositories…

sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get upgrade

… and, if I explain in the right way, you should have your box upgraded.

About the script ‘debcopy’

I heard about someone who can not find the script debcopy, above described.
In that case, download it from here

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Filed under Articles, Linux, Tips, Ubuntu

Making Photo Slideshow DVD’s under Linux

As there are no simpler graphical tools available under Linux for this purpose, I’m explaining the method to create a slideshow video DVD of images/photos using a commandline tool called dvd-slideshow. Don’t be scared. It’s not that hard 🙂

It can be installed via Synaptic under Ubuntu OR you can fetch the latest from here.

Preparing your slideshow

Before generating a slideshow, you need to produce an input file which specifies which pictures to use, how long each picture stays on the screen and which transition effect is applied.

The simplest way to do it is to put all of your pictures in one directory and run dir2slideshow. This will create the input file for the next step. Although there are many configuration options, this command should give you acceptable defaults:

dir2slideshow -n 'test slideshow' -t 5 -c 1 slideshow_pictures

This asks to take all the (JPEG or PNG) pictures from slideshow_pictures, show them for 5 seconds and then crossfade to the next picture for 1 second. It generates a test_slideshow.txt input file. Pretty standard defaults, but the link above gives you a description of all the options available.

An interesting switch is -p if you want to generate a PAL slideshow instead of default NTSC.

You have then a file describing your slideshow’s characteristics. Its syntax is fairly straightforward; you can hand-edit it if needed.

Generating the slideshow

Once you are happy with your input file, generating the slideshow is something as simple as typing:

dvd-slideshow -n 'test slideshow' -f test_slideshow.txt

If you add the switch:

-a audiotrack.ogg

it will add an audio track to the slideshow. The result will be 2 files: test_slideshow.xml and test_slideshow.vob. You can try playing your slideshow with mplayer:

mplayer test_slideshow.vob

If you are happy with it, you can move to defining the menu. The thing which this tool amazes me is that it took only 22 minutes to render 580 photos to a DVD video with 10 mp3 sound tracks. In Windows media player, making a video of 100 images with audio backgrounds will surely take more than half an hour 🙂

Making DVD menus

You can use the tool “DVD Styler” for this purpose. (Availabe in Synaptic)

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Encrypt Emails within Firefox

FireGPG is a Firefox extension under MPL which brings an interface to encrypt, decrypt, sign or verify the signature of text in any web page using GnuPG. FireGPG adds some features to the Gmail1 interface, to let you use GPG’s features directly in your webmail. More webmails will probably be supported in the future. FireGPG is able to detect PGP blocks in any page (for example a public key), and lets you easily manage these different blocks.

FireGPG isn’t a key manager. You must install the GnuPG software!

On GNU/Linux and Mac OS, it’s GnuPG. You can install it with your favourite package manager (like Synaptic, YaST, Yum, etc.) or from its official website.

If you are using Microsoft Windows, you have to download WinPT and GPG, and install it at the default location.

Install FireGPG

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