Sunday, July 25, 2010

Speeding up Lucid Server Setup with Webmin

I don't mind setting everything up by hand, but this can be error prone and slow. Webmin is a neat program with a web based interface that makes it quick and easy to set up mounts and shares, among other things. These are the the directions for Ubuntu Server Lucid.
Lets just cut to the chase....

sudo aptitude -y install perl libnet-ssleay-perl openssl libauthen-pam-perl libpam-runtime libio-pty-perl libmd5-perl apt-show-versions libapt-pkg-perl

(it'll give you an error about libmd5-perl, don't worry about it)

sudo dpkg -i libmd5-perl_2.03-1_all.deb
sudo dpkg -i webmin_1.510-2_all.deb

Now you should be able to point a browser over to http://ipaddress and begin configuring.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

There's a new (Ubuntu 10.04 Lucid) server in town.

I recently acquired an old, but mostly functional laptop (broken screen, missing keys, etc....) that I thought would make a nice home server, after all I like to make use of the tech I have on hand and this frees up my desktop & netbook for other stuff.. like Starcraft and XBMC. Here are some of the functions I have in mind.
  • File Server
  • Media Server for my Netgear MP-101 and possibly web-clients.
  • Print Server
  • Scanner Server
  • Torrent machine
  • Radio Stream recorder
  • Radio Shark Recorder
  • Bashpodder Client
The Machine itself isn't so bad, it's a Compaq Presario with 512MB, 80GB and an Athlon XP Processor 2000+ (1.67GhzsoI don't foresee anything really taxing on the machine, especially without a GUI running. Once it is installed, I'll be configuring it through SSH and Web Clients. I chose Ubuntu Server 10.04 Lucid Lynx for the project because I am familiar with the Ubuntu line, is Debian based, has great repositories and support, and it is a LTS release.

The install was uneventful, I just was sure I selected Lamp Server, OpenSSH Server, Print Server and Samba File Server from the list and let it do it's thing.

The first thing I did after the install was to change the IP address from dynamic to static like so.

sudo nano /etc/network/interfaces
put a # in front of the line that says iface eth0 inet dhcp and add the following lines after it
iface eth0 inet static

You are of course going to have to fiddle with the numbers to reflect your own network.
hit ctl-o and ctl-x to save and exit. (if you used nano)
now you can restart networking by
sudo /etc/init.d/networking restart

You can check your settings by issuing ifconfig eth0

Next it's time to update all those packages that have changed since the cd was finialized.
sudo apt-get update && sudo apt-get upgrade

Finally I install a couple of packages that are really useful to have, but don't really need a whole blog post.
sudo apt-get install sendemail curl weather figlet links2

Thats it for now.. next post I'll be installing Webmin to speed up the setup process.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Along with sending my phone SMS messages I find it useful to have my server twitter me when something noteworthy happens. If you want to do this from the command line easily, just do this.

sudo apt-get install curl

nano ~/bin/filename

curl --basic --user "yourusername:yourpasswd" --data-ascii "status=`echo $@|tr ' ' '+'`" "" -o /dev/null
echo Message Sent!

save it with -o
exit with -x
give it execute permission chmod +x ~/bin/filename

use it like so filename "message"

That was easy!

Acer Revo+XBMC+Remote Control = Warm Squishy Goodness

The Acer Revo was just made for XBMC, it is small, compact easily hidden and can play HD content with ease. Assuming you already are running Ubuntu Lucid Lynx it dosen't take much to get XBMC up and running.
Drop to a terminal Applications->Accesories->Terminal (in Gnome)
sudo apt-get install ubuntu-restricted-extras
(in case you haven't done it already)

sudo apt-get install libvdpau1
(in case you haven't done it already)
sudo add-apt-repository ppa:team-xbmc
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install xbmc xbmc-standalone
sudo apt-get update

If you want to play DVD's
sudo wget --output-document=/etc/apt/sources.list.d/medibuntu.list$(lsb_release -cs).list && sudo apt-get --quiet update && sudo apt-get --yes --quiet --allow-unauthenticated install medibuntu-keyring && sudo apt-get --quiet update

sudo apt-get install libdvdcss2

If you have an IR remote...
sudo apt-get install gnome-lirc-properties
I really can't tell you much about configuring it because I bought this cheap one from, went to System->Preferences->Infrared Remote Control and let it autodetect and it 'just worked' here is a link in case you are interested...

Ubuntu Lucid+Acer Revo+ All the 'fixins

I Love my Acer Revo 1610! (the 3600 is dual core) The Nvidia ION makes video playback smooth as can be. Since Lucid recently came out, I decided to just do a clean install and actually document it this time. This little guide is by no means meant to be all comprehensive, just a little guide of some of the stuff I did when installing.I hope this is of use to someone.

Download the .iso from and burn it if you have an external drive, if not just dig up a 1GB flash drive and head over to to make a bootable flash drive.
boot and install Ubuntu.

After installation and booting, an icon should appear on the upper panel to the right of the screen, then it asks you if you want to use the proprietary drivers. Yes you do. If you are using HDMI cable, you might not hear anything - to fix it go to System->Preferences->Sound->Hardware tab and select Digital Stereo (HDMI) Output + Analog Stereo Input from the drop down, then click close.

If you have an LCD monitor, be sure sub-pixel smoothing is turned on by going to System->Preferences->Appearance-> and the Fonts tab.

Click System -> Administration -> Software Sources (password required) -> Other Software -> put a check mark next to lucid partner.This lets you get everything from the repository.

Since I am behind a router and use occasionally need it, I changed my IP configuration from DHCP to static. (note: you don't wan't to do this if you are on dial up or are directly connected to a cable modem) If you don't need it, don't do it.
sudo nano /etc/network/interfaces
If you are using DHCP you will see the following...
auto eth0
iface eth0 inet dhcp

Just put a # in front of the 'iface eth0 inet dhcp' line and add the following lines, adjusting for your individual situation
iface eth0 inet static

Now we can install a bunch patches that have been issued since the cd was finialized and a library to help with video playback. ION specific. If you don't have an ION, you prpbably don't need it.

Go to Applications -> Accessories -> Terminal and enter the following commands (or just cut and paste)

sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get upgrade
sudo apt-get install libvdpau1

Update your video drivers...
sudo apt-get update && sudo apt-get install nvidia-195-modaliases nvidia-glx-195

Install the restricted extras to get for audio/video codecs media playback
sudo apt-get install ubuntu-restricted-extras

Add the Medibuntu repository.

sudo wget --output-document=/etc/apt/sources.list.d/medibuntu.list$(lsb_release -cs).list && sudo apt-get --quiet update && sudo apt-get --yes --quiet --allow-unauthenticated install medibuntu-keyring && sudo apt-get --quiet update

Now we can download a library to decode encrypted DVD's for playback. (you want this)

sudo apt-get install libdvdcss2

Now you are ready to install the other applications you want from the Ubuntu Software Center. I recommend Skype, Alien Arena, Wine (so you can run some windows programs) VirtualBox (you can install an entire OS 'inside' Ubuntu), Samba (for filesharing on the network), Foomatic (to ease printer installs) look around, you'll find all kinds of goodies. (don't install VLC just yet.. read on)

There are also many apps not in the repositories you might want to have....

VLC is my favorite all around media player (I'll do XBMC soon...) but the version in the repository is outdated, do the following to get the latest version. (if you already installed it from the Ubuntu Sortware Center, remove it first)
sudo add-apt-repository ppa:c-korn/vlc && sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install vlc

Google Chrome is my favorite browser, fast and you can set up bookmark sync across other computers if you have a gmail account. The following command will install it and add it to the update list so it will stay current.
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install google-chrome-beta

Google earth is a favorite time-waster of mine and if you have added the Medibuntu repository (see above) it's a snap to get.
sudo apt-get install googleearth googleearth-data
Dropbox is just cool to have, you set it up and you have a folder that you can save stuff to and it syncs to other computers you have it installed on. Very useful for work and school, you'll never be without that document again. Don't have dropbox on the computer you are sitting at? Just head over to, login and you can download your files through the browser. Slick.
Get it at

Ubuntu Tweak lets you change all kinds of settings easily, I highly recommend it.
sudo add-apt-repository ppa:tualatrix/ppa
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install ubuntu-tweak

The repository has some pretty good games, but if you yearn for more download this and run it
then go to, find a game and click to install.
There is a great guide put out by the Ubuntu people themselves, give it a look

Monday, July 19, 2010

I'm Back after a long hiatus

I've been very busy lately and haven't kept up, but I have a whole list of stuff that will be in the comming weeks.