::why ubuntu, anyway?

29 08 2006

Why does everyone have such a hardon for Ubuntu, anyway?

To be honest, I’m not sure.  I installed Ubuntu after failing to install Debian on my laptop since the installer wanted to know everything there was to know about my hardware but I was afraid to find out.  I had decided to try it after mucking around with RedHat 9 for quite a while and found myself wanting a more current OS.  I didn’t want to move to Fedora, which might seem like a more natural move, largely because 1) I didn’t want to pay for updates, and 2) I just never really liked RedHat all that much. 

I downloaded Ubuntu after hearing about it from a co-worker.  I was immediately impressed with the hardware recognition and the fact that I didn’t have to spend days getting little things like sound and video to work, the way I did with RedHat. 

Why do I stick with it?  Excellent support from the Ubuntu user community, for one.  The incredible breadth of software available, for another. 

Are there better distros out there that are just as good for the home user?  Probably?  Better distros?  Maybe. 

Do I find (k)Ubuntu lacking enough to go out and find them? 






25 08 2006

Ubuntu Christian Edition made it to Distrowatch today, which raised my eyebrow a little. I’ve seen some talk of this on the Ubuntu forums, and while I admit I do wonder why it is necessary to have a christian editiion of a linixu distro, I figure it is all in good fun anyway. I’ll stick with my Heathen edition, thank you very much.

I did have some curiosity, though, so I went to their web site to poke around. They link to Linux for Christians. Again, the question of why. So I clicked it hoping to find an answer instead of a laugh. I found a laugh instead.

It is almost makes me want to convert.

But I’m a jew, and we killed Christ.

And that means the dog would probably bite me.

more power to you, kids.



::streaming mp3s

23 08 2006

So, you’ve got a large (completely legal) mp3 collection that you want to share with others in the house or in the world, and you want an easy way to do it, right?

Gnump3d is the answer, my friend, and the answer is blowing in the wind.

or something.

Gnump3d is one of many steaming mp3 servers available from the open source community.  I’ve tried a few, including kPlaylist and Agatha, but I like Gnump3d the most.  It takes just a few minutes to configure, is easy to manage, and is very robust without being bloated.

Ubuntu users can install Gnump3d from the repositories, or you can download the source from the main site.  Either way is essentially the same result–the only difference is downloading directly from the site requires you to go through the hell of having to extract the files and run the ever tedious make install command.


Once installed, you configure the program by editing /etc/gnump3d/gnump3d.conf, which takes all of about 10 minutes.

In addition to mp3 support, Gnump3d will also handle your OGG and movie files, and much, much more!

It is also well supported with a not overwhelmingly active mailing list supported by fairly large community.  You’ll frequently find posts by the progam’s main author, which I like a lot.

give it a whirl, you’ll like it.



quit messing with the damn themes

23 08 2006

Not that anyone cares, or sticks around long enough to notice anything, but I have been messing with the page’s theme all day. 

Hopefully I’ll stick with what I’ve got now, and maybe put up some damn content.



jimbo’s setup

23 08 2006

I personally find it interesting to learn about the system(s) people run in their homes, and thought I’d take minute to tell you about mine.  Not only is it terribly fascinating, it might be relevant in the future as I talk about different things that have come up on different systems.

There is a total of 5 computers in our house, sharing a wireless connection via a Netgear wireless router.

My personal machine is a Dell Latitude D400 laptop.  It runs a 1.6Ghz PentiumM and has built in wireless.  It runs Kubuntu 6.06 flawlessly, with everything working right out of the box.  My only gripes with the system are: 1) The best screen resolution I can currently get is 1024×768, and 2) The battery life is only about an hour and a half.  I could get roughly twice that from Windows XP if it were on the same machine, which it isn’t.

My wife’s computer is a Dell Dimension C400, which screams along with a Celeron 400Mghz processor.  It runs Windows 2000 fairly well.  It would run Ubuntu very well, and she is reasonably familiar with it, but I don’t care to migrate her over right now.  We plan on buying a Mac laptop at some point in the next year or so.

My son Zach has a frankenputer that I handed down to him about two years ago.  I forget the exact configuration, but the processor is an AMD something that runs at about 1.1Ghz.  It has Windows XP installed.  He used Kubuntu 5.10 for a while, but repeated problems with installing and running Windows games over Cadega led us to give up and install Windows XP.  He does have a mild continuing interest in linux, and there could be a VMware installation or dual boot configuration in his future so he can continue to poke around with it when he wants to.

There’s another frankenputer running ubuntu server 6.06.  It is a 1Ghz P3 with 512MB RAM, which is more than adequate for my meager needs.  I use it to run Gnump3d for serving our mp3 collection and as a back up server for my machine.  My latest quest with this machine is to also create and store backups for my wife and son, but I haven’t really taken the time to explore this too heavily.

Our living room is home to a Dell Latitude C600 laptop that, for now, is a dual-boot of Windows XP and Kubuntu 6.06.  It serves as a laptop for my wife when she doesn’t want to\can’t sit down at her computer and as a jukebox for our mp3s.  I made it a dual-boot recently when I started running into problems streaming mp3s from within XP.  Kubuntu doesn’t have the same issue.  I don’t know how long it will remain a dual-boot. 

riveting, huh?



::can’t start X

23 08 2006

There’s a problem I see posted to the Ubuntu forums on a fairly regular basis that has to do with not being able to start an X session.  A user will report an error message that reads something like “no write access to /home/user/.ICEauthority…”

How does this happen?

You’ll get this error when you improperly run some graphical applications as Root.  Say you want to move some files to or from a directory in which you don’t have write access.  You fire up for favorite file manager as Root, do your stuff, and all is right with the world. 

If you’re like a lot of users, it might be days or weeks before you log out of your current X session, in which case you don’t remember performing the unhappy action above. The issue could be lurking for quite a long time, waiting for the next time you log in.

Well fear not, we can fix this in a jiffy.

From your login screen, either drop to a console session or log into failsafe.  You’ll be able to login here, but all you’ll have is a command prompt. From here, you’ll want to check the ownership of your files and try to see what Root has gone and taken ownership of.

$ ls -al |less

ls will list the contents of your directory (home, in this case), with two switches thrown in for flavor.  -a lists all files, and l (or -l if you want to do it all by itself) will give you the ownership and permissions.  Piping the command through less will pause the output a screen at time so you can actually see what you’re looking at. 

Depending on the application you ran as Root, there may be one or more files that is now owned by root.  You can take ownership of them individually, or you can reclaim ownership of all files in the directory at once.  Kind of like a dog pissing on his favorite tree.  Either way, the command is almost the same.

To reclaim ownership of an individual file:

sudo chown yourusername:yourusername filename (or in my case, something like sudo chown jim:jim .ICEauthority)

chown allows you change ownership of a file, with the first yourusername setting the user and the second yourusername setting the group. 

If you want to piss on the tree and make sure everyone knows that the whole yard is yours, simply modify the command like this:

sudo chown yourusername:yourusername *.*

Either entry will prompt you for your password–and remember–Ubuntu doesn’t enable the Root account by default, so you enter your username.

You should return to your command prompt without error.  Now you should be able to log out and log back in to your favorite X session.

And all is right with the world.

or something.

But sometimes I really want to run a graphical app as Root, what do I do?

You don’t have to fix files every time you want or need to run a graphical app as root.  If you’re using KDE, you will replace use of sudo with kdesu.  If you’re running Gnome, you’ll use gksudo instead of sudo.

so there it is…my first technical post.  Couple questions for those of you unlucky enough to come across my blog and bored enough to have read all the way down to this point:

1) Was it helpful?  If you came across this entry because you’re actually having this error, did it help you fix the problem?  Do you think it might help you in the future?

2) Was it easy to understand?

3) Was it easy to tell what was a command and what wasn’t?  Did you know what you had to enter at the command line, or did you have to muddle through the bold, italics, and bold italics until you figured out what was what?

4) What’s your favorite color?

Sometime in the next few days I’ll update the blog with some helpful links and resources I’ve found.  I know you’re giddy with anticipation now. 



::what the world needs now

22 08 2006

is another blog about ubuntu like i need a hole in my head.

or something like that.

So, I decided that I’m going to put up a blog about Ubuntu…what an original idea.  I’ve also been thinking about playing around with WordPress, so this seemed like as good a time as any.  Besides, this gives me something to do besides working right now, and that’s the last thing I want to be doing right now.

My name is jimbo, and I’m an Ubuntu user.

(hi, jimbo!)

 I’ve been using Ubuntu for a few years now, I don’t know exactly how long.  I started with Warty Warthog, if that means anything.  My previous linux experience included lots of frustration with Redhat, Mandrake, Corell Linux, and a pathetic attempt at Debian.  Ubuntu works, it is pretty painless, and it is not rocket science.  I use Kubuntu 6.06(Ubuntu with the KDE desktop environment, as well as Ubuntu 6.06 Server Edition, and I’ll talk some about both. 

I’ll also include lots of links to linux resoures, because you can never have enough of those.

Nothing earth-shattering, really.  I’ll probably be the only one reading my shit, but that’s okay.  Al Gore invented the Internet just for me, after all.

more later.