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Posts Tagged #Ubuntu

Ubuntu is a hugely popular Debian-based Linux distribution that is supported by Canonical. Ubuntu is offered in both a mature desktop variant and a stable and versatile server variant.

Posted on by Arnon Erba in News

Ubuntu 18.04 LTS (Bionic Beaver) is out today, after a short delay caused by a last-minute bug. The 18.04 release has been highly anticipated, since it is the first long-term-support (LTS) release since the switch back to GNOME as the default desktop environment for Ubuntu and the abandonment of Unity. Along with the glamour of a new desktop environment, 18.04 brings a new kernel, updated software packages, five years of support, and a multitude of other improvements. The new release also brings some controversy in the form of a new network manager. You can read the full release notes here, and you can grab Xubuntu 18.04, Kubuntu 18.04, Lubuntu 18.04, or any of the multitude of similarly updated Ubuntu variants.

The author has not tested 18.04 yet, but intends to do so as soon as he is finished messing about with CentOS and can be bothered to spin up a virtual machine.

Posted on by Arnon Erba in General

I recently set up a fresh installation of Ubuntu 14.04 alongside Windows 7 on my laptop. The last release of Ubuntu that I used regularly was the previous long-term release, 12.04, and I’ve avoided the in-between releases because they didn’t run as smoothly on the older Pentium 4-based hardware I had. Also, I sold my dedicated Core 2 Duo-powered Ubuntu 12.04 laptop a number of months ago, leaving me with only Pentium 4 systems to experiment with Ubuntu on. With the release of 14.04, however, I decided to dual-boot the new flavor of Ubuntu on my previously Windows-only Core i3-based laptop. I recently finished upgrading the laptop to a 240 GB solid state drive (a worthwhile performance upgrade, if I may say) and hadn’t wanted to mess around with the drive until I had let it work in for a while. Given that 14.04 has been out for a while now and has received some updates, I figured that now was the time to install it and to find out from first hand experience what’s improved in Ubuntu since 12.04. I don’t intend for this to be a full review of Ubuntu; instead, I would like to cover some improvements in the latest LTS release and how it operates on newer hardware.

My first move in dual-booting Windows 7 and Ubuntu was to shrink my Windows partition to accommodate a new 20 GB partition for Ubuntu. I chose to create an empty partition beforehand instead of having the Ubuntu installer partition the disk, for whatever reason. This doesn’t really affect the installation process, but it did surprise me when I chose “install Ubuntu alongside Windows 7”. Instead of asking me where I wanted to put my Ubuntu installation, it automatically found and chose the empty partition. Luckily, this was where I wanted Ubuntu, but I was surprised at the lack of options the installer gave me.

I am impressed at the improvement in Ubuntu’s graphics driver support. Granted, my notebook does not have dedicated Nvidia or AMD graphics – good for Ubuntu, not so great for gaming – but Ubuntu detected the on-chip graphics as Sandybridge Mobile without any additional configuration. Unity seems faster overall, and window animations are more polished. There are also a few new UI improvements, such as the added option to show window menus in the window title bar instead of in the top bar. Despite these improvements, I had to make some custom changes to get the system running just how I like it.

This is one of the great things about Linux, though. It may not work perfectly at first, but there’s plenty of ways to get it working just how you want it to. Most of the tweaks I made related to Grub and dual-booting, but I also set up a custom script to prevent the brightness from returning to 100% whenever the system rebooted, fixed an issue with Chrome not opening from the Dash, shrank the menu and title bars to 0.875 scale, and turned off the Amazon search suggestions in the Dash. That may sound like a fairly small amount of adjustments, but that was about all I had to do. Overall, Ubuntu 14.04 worked well straight out of the box and I was able to get on to using it within a day after only a few hundred megabytes of updates. Here’s looking at you, four-year-old Windows installation disc.

In the end, Ubuntu 14.04 is even smoother and more refined than 12.04 and is a perfectly good candidate for everyday use. LibreOffice 4.2, included by default, is better than ever, and if you don’t need legacy Windows software Ubuntu is the way to go.

Posted on by Arnon Erba in General

This year I had the opportunity to do something I’ve been wanting to do for a while. I was able to use my Ubuntu laptop full-time as my main computer both in and out of the house. It was an interesting experience, especially as everyone I was working with had either Windows or Mac OS X. Here’s what happened over the month I used Ubuntu full-time, and here’s what I thought of it.

The first question you’ll probably have after reading the introductory paragraph is, “Why did you only make it one month? Doesn’t that mean you decided Ubuntu wouldn’t work full-time?” The simple answer is, no. The main reason I stopped using my Ubuntu laptop full-time because of hardware issues unrelated to Ubuntu. The long answer covers what I thought of Ubuntu over that month and how well it worked out for me.

Let’s start with the computer I was using. If you’ve seen some of my previous posts, you’ll probably know that my current Ubuntu machine is a Sony Vaio VGN-150e with a 2 GHz Core 2 Duo and 2 GB of RAM. (Ed: not anymore.) It’s not new, but it is perfectly adequate for Ubuntu. The problem lies with the fact that the laptop has a dead battery. Not a worn-out battery, a completely dead battery. I have a suspicion that the problem may even lie with the charging circuit and not the battery itself. This means that when the laptop is unplugged, it instantly dies just like a desktop would. If I happened to be working somewhere without a power outlet, I wasn’t going to be working. This complicated matters to the point where I finally gave up on using the laptop full-time.

But what about Ubuntu? During my experience, I decided that Ubuntu is perfectly usable on a day-to-day basis. In fact, I only discovered one issue: compatibility with traditional Windows programs. Everyone I worked with had Microsoft Office, which made the formatting of many shared documents I had to work with look very odd when opened with LibreOffice. I know LibreOffice isn’t part of Ubuntu and it isn’t Ubuntu’s fault that document formats aren’t universal, but I can’t see any way of getting around this issue except for buying Microsoft Office or forcing everyone else to use Ubuntu. When I finally switched from the Sony to my newer Windows 7 Acer laptop, I chose to use Windows because I already had purchased Microsoft Office and felt that I might as well make use of it.

On everything else except for compatibility, however, Ubuntu did well. I didn’t have a single crash, and I enjoyed the security of using Linux. The bottom line is that my main issues turned out to be hardware-related and that if I had a new laptop that was built for Ubuntu and didn’t have to constantly work with Microsoft Office documents, I would still be using Ubuntu full-time right now. As it is, I use Windows during the day and Ubuntu occasionally.

Posted on by Arnon Erba in How-To Guides

The login sound is disabled by default in Ubuntu 12.04+. The only sound that plays by default when an Ubuntu machine boots up is the drum beat sound that plays when the login screen loads. The sound that plays when the user logs in is disabled by default, but it is possible to enable and change it to anything you want. You can also disable the drum beat sound, if you would like to. See this Ask Ubuntu post for instructions on how to disable it.

To enable and change the Ubuntu login sound, you won’t need any extra tools aside from a terminal window and your own custom sound in .ogg format.

First, you will need to unhide and enable Ubuntu’s login sound startup process. Open up a terminal window, copy/paste this line of code, and run it.

sudo gedit /usr/share/gnome/autostart/libcanberra-login-sound.desktop

This will open up the file libcanberra-login-sound.desktop in Gedit with root privileges so that you can edit it. You should see this script open in Gedit:

loginsound1

Edit the last line in the file and change NoDisplay=true to NoDisplay=false.

Once you’ve done that, save and close the file and open the Startup Applications dialogue. The option GNOME Login Sound should now be visible.

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Check the box next to it. Now, the default Ubuntu login sound should play when you log in to your account.

Now you can change the default sound. To do this, you will need to replace the default sound file with one of your choosing. However, to edit the login sound file, you must access it with root privileges. You can do this through a terminal session or by opening Nautilus, the file manager, with root privileges.

Method One: Terminal Session

Convert your custom sound file to .ogg format, name it desktop-login.ogg, and move it to the Downloads folder.

Then, open a terminal window and run this command:

cd /usr/share/sounds/ubuntu/stereo

This will open the directory containing the login file in the terminal window.

loginsound3

You will need to replace the file desktop-login.ogg with one of your own. You can back up the original file and then replace it with your own all inside the terminal window by running these commands:

sudo cp desktop-login.ogg desktop-login.ogg.old
sudo cp ~/Downloads/desktop-login.ogg

The first command renames the original desktop-login.ogg file to desktop-login.ogg.old. The file will remain untouched in its original directory, but Ubuntu will ignore it and use any custom desktop-login.ogg that you add to the directory.

The second command imports your custom desktop-login.ogg file to the system sounds directory. Done!

Log out and log back in to test your new login sound.

Method Two: Open Nautilus as Root

This method uses the file manager’s GUI to perform the sound file switch.

Open a terminal window and run this command:

gksu nautilus

This will open Nautilus with root privileges so that you can edit the login sound file. Browse to /usr/share/sounds/ubuntu/stereo and click on desktop-login.ogg. Press F2 and rename the file to desktop-login.ogg.old. This is the backup of the original file. The file will remain untouched, but Ubuntu will ignore it and use any .ogg file with the name desktop-login that you add to the directory.

loginsound4

Now, open a new window and browse to the location that your custom sound file is stored. It must also be named desktop-login.ogg, but it can be any file you want. Copy/paste your custom file into the root window we were just using. Done!

Log out and log back in to test out your new login sound.

Posted on by Arnon Erba in How-To Guides

By default, Ubuntu hides the system’s default autostart entries in the “Startup Applications” dialogue. If you want to enable, disable, or remove any of these entries, you will need to unhide them before opening Startup Applications.

startupentries1

To unhide the system’s default entries, run this code in a terminal:

sudo sed -i ‘s/NoDisplay=true/NoDisplay=false/g’ /etc/xdg/autostart/*.desktop

Now your Startup Applications dialogue should look something like this:

startupentries2

To disable an option, uncheck its box rather than removing it. As these are system startup options, don’t disable something unless you know what it does.

Posted on by Arnon Erba in News

(Editor’s note: It’s been a while since I got stickers from System76, so the stickers probably aren’t the same, but it looks like the offer is still valid.)

After a while of looking for an Ubuntu sticker for my Ubuntu-powered Sony Vaio laptop, I came across System76’s free Ubuntu sticker offer. To get free stickers, send a self-addressed stamped envelope to the location listed for your country at https://system76.com/swag/stickers. I sent a letter in as well as an envelope, and a few weeks later got my envelope back in the mail with stickers inside.

If you’re thinking about taking this free sticker offer, here’s what the stickers I got looked like. (Ed: My old photography is horrible.)

One sheet had a white System76 logo and four slightly translucent grey and orange Powered by Ubuntu stickers.

system76stickers4

There was also a strip of four shiny foil Powered by Ubuntu stickers.

system76stickers2

A small sheet with four Ubuntu Key stickers.

system76stickers3

Finally, a large black-and-white System76 banner.

system76stickers1

Thanks to System76, Inc. for providing me with the stickers!