Ubuntu Linux Learning

Installing Firestarter

Let's get started by downloading and installing Firestarter. Follow these steps 1. Select System Administration Synaptic Package Manager. You'll need to enter your password when prompted. Click the Search button, and enter firestarter as a search term. In the list of results, locate the program, and click the check box. Then choose to install the package, and click Apply on the Synaptic toolbar. 2. Once the desktop is back up and running, select System Administration Firestarter. When you run...

Personalizing Visual Effects

If you are unsatisfied with the default choices for visual effects, you can install the CompizConfig Settings Manager tool. This gives you complete control over the Compiz Fusion system, which provides Ubuntu's visual effects (see Chapter 8). Bear in mind that some of these settings are very technical, and little provision is made for those who are new to the effects subsystems. You can install the tool using the Synaptic Package Manager (System Administration Synaptic Package Manager). You'll...

Playing Audio Files

Audio playback under Ubuntu is normally handled by the Rhythmbox player. This is a feature-packed piece of software that can play back audio files, podcasts, Internet radio, and even CDs. However, Totem, the Ubuntu movie player, can also play back digital audio files. Additionally, Sound Juicer can play audio CDs. Like many modern music players, Rhythmbox can also manage your music collection, arranging it into a library so you can locate songs easily and create playlists. This makes it a...

Adding and Deleting Users and Groups at the Command Line

You can create new users at the command-line shell by using the useradd command. This command must be run with superuser powers, which is to say that it must be prefaced with the sudo command. The command to add a user is normally used in the following way The -m command option tells the command to create a home directory for the user. Used on its own, useradd merely updates system files with the new user's details and nothing else. There are several other useful command options, which can be...

Installing Windows Wireless Network Device Drivers

NdisWrapper is effectively an open-source driver (technically described as a kernel module) that allows Linux to use standard Windows XP drivers for wireless network devices. You might describe NdisWrapper as being a translation layer between the Linux kernel and the Windows drivers, which can be installed using NdisWrapper's configuration tools. You should only use NdisWrapper in one of two situations Your wireless network hardware simply isn't recognized by Ubuntu, which is to say, all you...

Deleting Files and Directories

But how do you get rid of files Again, this is relatively easy, but first a word of caution the shell doesn't operate any kind of Recycle Bin. Once a file is deleted, it's gone forever. (There are utilities you can use to recover files, but these are specialized tools and aren't to be relied on for day-to-day use.) Removing a file is achieved by typing something like this In some instances,you'll be asked to confirm the deletion after you issue the command. If you want to delete a file without...

Importing Photos Using FSpot

F-Spot is styled after image-cataloging programs you might have used under Windows or Macintosh, such as iPhoto or Picasa. Once you run F-Spot (Applications Graphics F-Spot Photo Manager), or after you click the Open F-Spot Photo Manager button that appears along the top of a Nautilus file browser window when you insert a memory card or attach your digital camera, the F-Spot Import window will appear. (Depending on your configuration, the Import window may appear within a file browser.) The...

Manually Edit the Partition Table

If, for any reason, you find that Ubuntu's default partitioning choices are not for you, you can opt to manually edit the partition table. There are essentially two stages to work through if you choose this option You're given the chance to repartition the disk manually. You can resize or delete any existing partitions and create the partitions Ubuntu needs. While creating editing the partitions, you'll be asked to assign mount points. You'll be prompted to tell Ubuntu which of the partitions...

Running the Shell via a Virtual Console

As noted earlier, you can start the shell in a number of ways. The most common way among Linux diehards is via a virtual console. To access a virtual console, press Ctrl+Alt, and then press one of the function keys from F1 through F6 (the keys at the top of your keyboard). Using a virtual console is a little like switching desks to a completely different PC. Pressing Ctrl+Alt+F1 will cause your GUI to disappear, and the screen to be taken over by a command-line prompt (don't worry your GUI is...

Setting Outbound Rules

By default, Firestarter allows all types of outgoing connections and, as with its incoming connections policy, this is by no means a bad choice for the average user. It's certainly the option that involves the least fuss. However, by opting to go with a restrictive traffic policy, you can completely control what kind of data leaves your computer. Any type of data connection that isn't authorized will be refused as far as the program sending the data is concerned, it will be as if your computer...

Installing Playback Software

Like the other multimedia software provided with Ubuntu, its video playback application, Totem Movie Player, is basic but effective and does the job well. However, because of patenting issues, Totem doesn't support all video formats out of the box. In fact, it supports very few of those you might be used to using under Windows or Macintosh. If you wish to play back the most common video files, such as those listed in Table 19-1, you must install additional software. Video and audio playback...

Listening to Podcasts

Podcasts are audio files that are distributed by RSS (Real Simple Syndication). This sounds complicated, but it's actually quite simple. It means that, once you're subscribed to a particular podcast, the audio files are downloaded automatically in the background, so that the latest episodes will always be available. This makes keeping up with the latest episodes effortless. Most podcasts take the form of MP3 files, but any audio file format can be used. In terms of content, podcasts range from...

Listening to Audio CDs

Just insert the CD, and you should find that Rhythmbox starts automatically. Click the name of the CD in the leftmost pane (look under the Devices heading), and then click the Play button on the toolbar. If you prefer, you can listen to audio CDs using Sound Juicer instead. Simply close Rhythmbox, and then start Sound Juicer (Applications Sound & Video Audio CD Extractor). Figure 18-4 shows the same audio CD in Sound Juicer and Rhythmbox. In both Sound Juicer...

Using the Screens and Graphics Utility

As we mentioned, if X.org fails to start based on the current graphical settings, the low-graphics mode of X.org will run with minimal display settings, as shown in Figure 6-1. In low-graphics mode, you have an option to launch the manual graphical configuration tool, the Screens and Graphics utility. Technically, this utility is made possible through the displayconfig-gtk package. The program can also be run while Ubuntu is up and running by opening a terminal window (Applications Accessories...

An Overview of the Screen and Graphics Card Settings

The Screens and Graphics utility allows you to configure the screen and graphics card settings. The Screen tab, shown in Figure 6-2, contains the following settings Screen This option allows you to select the display monitor that you would like to configure. If you have only one monitor, then you will see only one entry in this list. Monitor model This option allows you to provide the technical characteristics of your monitor such as horizontal range, vertical refresh rate, and...

Configuring Your Display

Let's go through the steps for configuring your display. 1. From the menu shown in Figure 6-1, click the Configure button to run the Screens and Graphics utility. You will see the screen shown in Figure 6-2. 2. Click the drop-down list next to the Model heading. 3. You will see the dialog box shown in Figure 6-4. The default selection is plug-and-play, where X detects monitor settings when Ubuntu is booting up. If you've encountered problems with the display, you can make the following...

Adding Functions to Toolbars

The quickest way to add icons and functions to any toolbar is to click the two small arrows at the right of a toolbar and select the Visible Buttons entry on the menu that appears. This will present a list of currently visible icons and functions, along with those that might prove useful on that toolbar but are currently hidden. Any option already visible will have a check next to it. Additionally, you can add practically any function to a toolbar, including the options from the main menus and...

Signing and Encrypting EMail

After you've set up your encryption keys, you can send e-mail with your digital signature to signify the authenticity of your e-mail, as well as encrypt e-mail so that the intended recipient is the only one capable of reading your mail and vice versa. As long as you've configured your PGP key, imported keys to trust, and configured your Evolution account, integrating this kind of security is seamless. To sign and or encrypt an e-mail message in Evolution, do the following 1. In Evolution,...

Making Backups from the Command Line

Although Simple Backup allows the uninitiated to make quick backups, the tar program is preferred by Linux old-timers. This creates .tar files and is one of the original carryovers from Unix. tar stands for Tape ARchive and refers to backing up data to a magnetic tape backup device. Although tar files are designed for backup, they've also become a standard method of transferring files across the Internet, particularly with regard to source files or other installation programs. A tar file is...

Word Processing Open Officeorg Writer

OpenOffice.org is an entire office suite for Linux that was built from the ground up to compete with Microsoft Office. Because of this, you'll find much of the functionality of Microsoft Office is replicated in OpenOffice.org, and the look and feel are also similar. The major difference is that OpenOffice.org is open source and therefore free of charge. OpenOffice.org Writer (Applications Office OpenOffice.org Word Processor), shown in Figure 11-1, is the word processor component. As with...

Inserting Objects with Object Linking and Embedding

All the OpenOffice.org programs are able to make use of Object Linking and Embedding (OLE). This effectively means that one OpenOffice.org document can be inserted into another. For example, you might choose to insert a Calc spreadsheet into a Writer document. The main benefit of using OLE over simply copying and pasting the data is that the OLE item (referred to as an object) will be updated whenever the original document is revised. In this way, you can prepare a report featuring a...

Inserting Pictures

Writer includes quite substantial desktop publishing-like functions, such as the ability to insert pictures into text documents and to have text flow around pictures. Inserting any kind of graphic a graph, digital camera photo, drawing, or any other type of image is easy. Simply choose Insert Picture From File. Tip If you have a scanner, you can also scan pictures directly into Writer documents. Simply click Insert Picture Scan Select Source. After you've inserted a picture, you can place it...

Mail Merging

Mail merging refers to automatically applying a database of details, such as names and addresses, to a document, so that many personalized copies are produced. It's ordinarily used to create form letters for mailings. OpenOffice.org makes the procedure very easy, but it requires source data that will be merged into the document. As with Microsoft Word, you can either enter this data within Writer itself or choose to import data from a separate document. Unless you have enough knowledge of...

Using Power Management Preferences

Depending on the degree to which your computer supports power-saving functionality, Ubuntu will let you configure your display to go into standby mode after a certain amount of time and will also allow you to configure your notebook to enter sleep (standby) mode. In addition, if you use a notebook computer, Ubuntu might let you configure additional aspects of your computer, such as the display brightness. These functions are controlled using the Power Management applet. To start this, click...

Transferring Files Between Bluetooth Devices

If you own a Bluetooth-equipped camera phone, you might be used to transferring pictures to your computer using Bluetooth. It's by far the easiest way of getting pictures off the phone and avoids the need for USB cables or card readers. To transfer files via Bluetooth, you can use the Bluetooth applet. Note Some phones refuse to transfer files unless the phone and computer are paired, so follow the instructions in the previous section first. Phones like the Nokia 6680 don't need pairing for...

Connecting Your Camera

Most modern cameras use memory cards to store the pictures. If you have such a model, when you plug the camera into your PC's USB port, you should find that Ubuntu instantly recognizes it. An icon should appear on the desktop, and double-clicking it should display the memory card's contents in a Nautilus window. Along the top of the window, you'll see an orange bar saying This media contains digital photos alongside a button marked Open F-Spot Photo Manager. Clicking this button will start...

Image Editing Using GIMP

GIMP is an extremely powerful image editor that offers the kind of functions usually associated with top-end software like Adobe Photoshop. Although GIMP is not aimed at beginners, those new to image editing can get a lot from it, provided they put in a little work. The program relies on a few unusual concepts within its interface, which can catch many people off guard. The first of these is that each of the windows within the program, such as floating dialog boxes or palettes, gets its own...

Applying Filters

Like other image-editing programs, GIMP includes many filters to add dramatic effects to your images. Filters are applied either to the currently selected layer or to a selection within the layer. To apply a filter, right-click the image and choose the relevant menu option. If you don't like an effect you've applied, you can reverse it by selecting Edit > Undo, or by pressing Ctrl+Z. The submenus offer filters grouped by categories, as follows Blur These filters add various kinds of blur to...

Working with Tables

Often, it's useful to present columns of numbers or text within a word processor document. To make it easy to align the columns, OpenOffice.org offers the Table tool. This lets you quickly and easily create a grid in which to enter numbers or other information. You can even turn tables into simple spreadsheets, and tally rows or columns via simple formulas. To insert a table, click and hold the Table icon on the Standard toolbar (which runs across the top of the screen beneath the menu). Then...

Version Numbers Code Names and Support

Each version of Ubuntu has a version number and also a code name. The version number is simply the year of release, followed by the month. The release made in June 2006 has the version number 6.06, for example. If an updated release is made after this, numbers are added to the end. For example, the first update to the 6.06 release is numbered 6.06.1. The code name is how Ubuntu is referred to informally, especially among community members, and is set by Mark Shuttleworth, the creator of Ubuntu....

Reducing the Boot Menu Delay

Getting rid of the GRUB boot menu delay can save some waiting around in the early stages of the boot process. The delay can be reduced to one second, or even eradicated completely. Of course, in such a case, you won't be able to choose which operating system you want to load if you're dual-booting with Windows. Even if Ubuntu is the only operating system on your computer, without the boot menu delay, you won't have the chance to boot into recovery mode or a previously installed Linux kernel...

Creating an EMail Signature

E-mail signatures are the blocks of text that appear automatically at the end of new e-mail messages you compose. They save you the bother of typing your name and contact details each time. To create an e-mail signature, follow these steps 1. Click Edit Preferences. Select Composer Preferences from the left side of the dialog box, and click the Signatures tab. 2. Click the Add button at the top right of the dialog box. 3. In the Edit Signature dialog box, type what you wish to appear as your...

Using 3D Effects

In addition to Fontwork effects, Impress includes a powerful 3D tool, which can give just about any on-screen element a 3D flourish (this tool is also available in some other OpenOffice.org applications). To use it, create a text box or shape using the Drawing toolbar at the bottom of the screen. Then right-click the text box or shape and select Convert 3D. Note The 3D option is designed simply to give your object depth. If you want to create a genuine 3D object that you can rotate in 3D space,...

Why Bother with the Shell

You might have followed the instructions in Part 2 of this book and consider yourself an expert in Linux. But the real measure of a Linux user comes from your abilities at the shell. In our modern age, the GUI is mistakenly considered progress. For instance, users of the Microsoft and Apple-based operating systems are quite accustomed to using a mouse to navigate and perform various tasks. While it's handy in certain situations it would be difficult to imagine image editing without a mouse, for...

Scanning for Viruses

With Windows virus scanners, you might be used to performing whole system scans. This isn't advisable with ClamAV, because it simply isn't designed for that task. Instead, ClamAV is designed to scan user files, such as documents. Note ClamAV is actually primarily designed to be used in concert with a mail server and to scan incoming or outgoing mail attachments. See the About page at the ClamAV web site (www.clamav.org about). You can try performing a full system scan, but in our tests, several...

Importing and Signing Public Keys

To be able to encrypt e-mail or files for others, and also verify their signatures, you need to import and then trust their public keys. You can obtain a public key from the person who created it or from other people who have that person's public key, or look it up from a key server. If you've obtained the public key file personally maybe on a floppy disk or via a USB memory stick and is it is accessible on your computer, you can import the key by running Seahorse Applications gt Accessories gt...

Using a Bluetooth Keyboard or Mouse

Your Bluetooth-equipped keyboard or mouse may work automatically under Ubuntu. However, if not, you may need to pair it to your PC, as follows 1. Before you can pair your keyboard or mouse with Ubuntu, you must edit a system configuration file. Open a terminal window (Applications Accessories Terminal) and type the following, which will open the file in the text editor 2. In the document that appears, look for the line that reads HIDD_ENABLED 0 and change the 0 to a 1, so it reads HIDD_ENABLED...

Resize the Main Partition

This is the default partitioning option if your computer already has Windows installed on it. Ubuntu will detect the main Windows partition and suggest the amount of resizing. Caution If there's not enough free space within the Windows partition, you won't be able to resize it to make space for Ubuntu. If this is the case, the Ubuntu installer will tell you. See Chapter 4 for suggestions for freeing up space. By default, Ubuntu attempts to grab as much space for itself as possible, without...