Tag Archives: Ubuntu


I have been reading UbuntuHQ for a while now, after I found an incoming link in my dashboard :)
They have a nice collection of Tutorials and Tips, application reviews and news related to Ubuntu. You can browse the Howtos section here. They are a community site, meaning you can register and submit articles.

I’ve added their RSS feed to my blogroll, please feel free to subscribe to their feed, lots of good stuff :)

(Side note: nice blog theme too ;-D).

What is a rank regarding the web?

BoardReader. I had never heard of this site, I’ve just been getting lots of results from them when I perform Linux and Ubuntu Google searches lately. So I looked a little bit more into it.

The About Us page states:

Boardreader uses proprietary software that allows users to search multiple message boards simultaneously, allowing users to share information in a truly global sense.

Special retrieval and indexing algorithms as well as unique topic relevance ordering rules are but a few parts of what is needed to allow you to view what we affectionately call the ‘human experience’.


Here is the ubuntuforums page on BoardReaders. UF is ranking 19 (Apple is 9) and there is an interesting list of the most active threads and members for the week ^^
I am not sure what to make of it for now, but this is another piece of information regarding UF activity.

However, I have a couple of questions.

      1- How do they measure activity? I’m not so tech and math savvy, so even if they explained, I may not be able to understand. But I guess it should be explained, so that the results they are displaying can make sense. I suppose it has to do with numbers (posts, incoming and outgoing links, pages views etc..).
      2- They provide a ranking page. What is a rank? How is it set up? What does it mean?
      3- Is it fame, based on usage? The more a forum is used, the more relevance it has kinda thing?

World Wide Word of Mouth? Is that what ranking is? Please tell me something new.

Using restricted formats with Gutsy.

Even when you have decided you would go with free formats and applications, you can end up owning a device that only plays restricted multimedia formats (and do not wish to spend more money until its time to get a another one reading free and open-source formats), want to watch a DVD you’ve rented or bought, some videos on the intatubes, use some Microsoft fonts to share work documents with colleagues etc. The world is not perfect :)

For legal reasons, Ubuntu is not shipped with the packages that will allow you to use the restricted formats. In most parts of the world, you are however entitled to play and watch CDs or DVDs you own (you have paid for using the license, right?) on your Ubuntu system. It is illegal to use the packages to crack the protections and redistribute the files.


This package and the kubuntu or xubuntu flavors (kubuntu-restricted-extras, xubuntu-restricted-extras) is located in the multiverse repositories. It will install the following:

 gstreamer0.10-plugins-ugly, gstreamer0.10-plugins-ugly-multiverse,
            msttcorefonts, flashplugin-nonfree, sun-java6-plugin, unrar,
            gstreamer0.10-plugins-bad, gstreamer0.10-plugins-bad-multiverse,
            gstreamer0.10-ffmpeg, liblame0, libdvdread3

 Installing this package will pull in support for MP3 playback and decoding,
 support for various other audio formats (gstreamer plugins), Microsoft fonts,
 Java runtime environment, Flash plugin, LAME (to create compressed audio
 files), and DVD playback. 
 Please note that packages from multiverse are restricted by copyright or legal
 issues in some countries. See http://www.ubuntu.com/ubuntu/licensing for more

Enable the multiverse repositories. Here is a GUI tutorial, below is a complete /etc/apt/sources.list file for Gutsy:

# Base.
deb http://archive.ubuntu.com/ubuntu/ gutsy main restricted universe multiverse
deb-src http://archive.ubuntu.com/ubuntu/ gutsy main restricted universe multiverse

## Bug fix updates.
deb http://archive.ubuntu.com/ubuntu/ gutsy-updates main restricted universe multiverse
deb-src http://archive.ubuntu.com/ubuntu/ gutsy-updates main restricted universe multiverse

# Security.
deb http://security.ubuntu.com/ubuntu gutsy-security main restricted universe multiverse
deb-src http://security.ubuntu.com/ubuntu gutsy-security main restricted universe multiverse

Reload the /etc/apt/sources.list file and install the package with your favorite package manager. The procedure I give here is with aptitude, please use apt-get or Synaptic if you prefer.

sudo aptitude update
sudo aptitude install ubuntu-restricted-extras

You’ll be pretty much set up with these.
You’ll have to accept some licenses along the install process. Use the Tab key to get to the OK button ;)

Other codecs

These are not within the Ubuntu repositories. You have to go for third party repos. Be aware that you should disable all third party repos to perform a version upgrade.

libdvdcss2 and the xxxcodecs (w32codecs, w64codecs and ppccodecs) are provided by the medibuntu project. Please look here for a tutorial.

Unfortunately, seveas repos do not have Gutsy packages yet.. Looking forward to it :)

Want to become a MOTU?

A MOTU (Master of the Universe) Q&A session will be held on Friday, November 16th, 12:00 UTC, in #ubuntu-classroom on irc.freenode.net.
Thanks to 23meg for posting this announcement in the Packaging and Compiling Programs section on UF. The Agenda:

  • MOTU processes, how to get involved, Ubuntu Development process
  • packaging


UF thread
Ubuntu-motu-mentors mailing list thread

The power of misused rm command on Ubuntu Linux

Some @##&% posted rm based commands on UF yesterday. The intent was to deliberately nuke new users systems, as the posts were in the beginners section, in unanswered, or 1-2 replies threads.

In addition to be banning the accounts and IPs and removing all the posts, we turned back on a confirmation email registration process. Many thanks to all the regular members who have been helping, placing warning in their sigs, posting in threads and reporting the infamous posts.

It is so frustrating to see this happening. There must be at least 10 pages of reports and infractions sitting around the staff area for the two posting waves we had. Breaking someone else’s system, I just do not see how funny it is. Is it for fame? Power? Out of boredom? See K.Mandla’s blog article for some interesting insights.

In any case, educating the new users is one of the answers we can give. Here is a little tutorial, based on a forum’s post where Aysiu has explained the rm command.

Excerpt from man rm:

       rm - remove files or directories
-f, --force
              ignore nonexistent files, never prompt
 -r, -R, --recursive
              remove directories and their contents recursively

So any command based on rm -rf will recursively remove files without asking for a confirmation. As everything is a file on Linux (the concept of directories does not really apply, each “directory” is a file) you can wipe everything that is sitting in the “directory” you are running the command from. Guess what happens if you run it in your /home..

Examples – DO NOT RUN THEM

Now, a precise file to delete can be indicated:

rm -rf /home
sudo rm -rf /

The first one will wipe /home, regardless from where the command is running. The second one will wipe the entire root file system (/). Admin privilege is required to access /, gained with sudo on Ubuntu.

Basic recommendations

  • Do not run these commands, unless confirmed by long time members. rm is useful and is sometimes the only solution.
  • Backup, backup and backup again. On at least two separate removable devices for important stuff. The only user I am aware of being caught in the process had everything backed up.
  • Be curious and search for commands you do not understand, either with man or a search on Google or UF. You’ll improve your knowledge and skills at the same time.
  • Read the UF announcement

Oh well.. One of these days.

PS: thanks to Stefano Rivera, see the comments below :)

Midori, a lightweight web browser with the webkit rendering

Please see the updates below to get the latest Midori and Webkit for Ubuntu.
Also, you can go here for support, Stemp seems busy ;)

This is a translation of the midori article written in French by my friend Stemp. midori is a web browser using the webkit engine. If this is of some interest to you, there is also an epiphany-webkit package in Bruce Cowan’s PPA.

As far as I know, Stemp has packaged midori for Ubuntu, but some libs need to be upgraded from the debian repos.


The biggest problems with compiling on Ubuntu are the older webkitgdk libraries.
Debian Unstable has the latest libwebkitgtk :

The libwebkitgdk-dev package from Ubuntu will need to be uninstalled.

The midori sources are here: midori-0.0.10 (currently an early alpha).

To compile:

sudo checkinstall

Install the package and go!
Please check the screenshots on Stemp’s blog page (first link).

Edit1: midori-0.0.11 is now available.
Edit2: There is now a midori package for gutsy in Stemp’s PPA. The procedure to install with your favorite package manager is here.
Edit3: Midori 0.0.12 is now available on Stemp’s PPA.
Edit4 – 071208: Midori 0.0.13 et Webkit svn 283+ now available on Stemp’s PPA. Please note that webkit svn28482 will prevent current version of epiphany-webkit from running.
Edit5 – 080512: midori-0018-and-webkit-33023 now in Stemp’ PPA.
Edit6 – Midori 0.1.1 and WebKit 38850 from the webkit-team PPA with install instructions for Ubuntu.
Edit7Midori 0.1.5 and WebKitGtk+ 1.1.3 for Ubuntu Hardy, Intrepid & Jaunty.

La Lettre Hebdomadaire Ubuntu

Après quelques petits hoquets, la LHU (traduction de la UWN) reprend sa parution et s’offre un hébergement supplémentaire. Elle est publiée principalement sur le site de la LoCo francophone par les administrateurs de ce site.

Vous la trouverez aussi sur

Les avantages sont que toute personne avec un compte wiki sur ubuntu.com peut publier la traduction une fois qu’elle est terminée et que le blog est ouvert à vos retours et commentaires. Vous pouvez aussi y souscrire par les flux RSS et la lire dans votre lecteur de flux préféré.

Bonnes lectures !

Common bugs in gutsy with workarounds

With Frodon, we’ve been working on collecting, and linking all in one handy place, a series of common gutsy bugs with Launchpad entries and fixes. Please check the UF thread I’ll be also updating here. Hope you’ll find this info helpful :)

We’ve been searching the forums for these, please feel free to point us at other threads with bug reports and fixes, thanks.

Priorities for APT repositories (debian-based distributions)

I knew I could pin a package version, setting up an /etc/apt/preferences file, please see
newtonfn on the ubuntuforums elegantly worked this resource out to set up a priority to repositories as well.
In this particular example, the medibuntu repos are set to have a lower priority, so that any package present in two repos from the /etc/apt/sources.list (here, medibuntu and skype) gets installed and upgraded preferably from the other repo (the skype one in the example):

Package: * 
Pin: release l=Medibuntu
Pin-Priority: 400

A package present only in the medibuntu repo will be installed/upgraded from medibuntu. As I said, very elegant!

Change GDM background color to match your GDM theme (applies to Xfce)

Please read the Launchpad bug report where the issue was raised.

At the bottom of /etc/gdm/PreSession/Default change :

 # Default value
        if [ "x$BACKCOLOR" = "x" ]; then


 # Default value
        if [ "x$BACKCOLOR" = "x" ]; then

Where #dab082 is the default brown color that appears right after GDM exits and before the desktop files are loaded. Works nicely with Xfce here.

Edit: from the bug report, the bug is fixed in Hardy :)