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Ubuntu Linux 4.10: Warty Warthog

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Ubuntu Linux is a Debian-based Linux distribution -- and it's a great one!

Ubuntu 4.10 (aka "Warty Warthog") offers a decent desktop environment (GNOME 2.8 just after this version was released upstream), by default installs only one software-package per problem domain (e.g. OpenOffice.org for your office-needs, Mozilla Firefox to browse the web, etc.), provides regular release-cycles (every 6 months) -- and combines all this with Debian's package management system.
Sound really great, eh? You bet it does!

(warty) Installation and First Login

The installation - based on Debian Sarge's new "Debian Installer (D-I)" - (while still being text-based, which might be disliked by some people due to reasons I couldn't understand) is a breeze, basically.
Except for the partitioning tool, which, IMHO, does not have a really user-friendly interface. But it works just fine, that's important.

After the installation, you'll have a system using 1.5 GB of data, providing most everything you'll need to start working: Linux-kernel, XFree86 4.3.0, GNOME 2.8, Firefox 0.9.3, Evolution 2.0.2, OpenOffice.org 1.1.2, Gaim 1.0.0, Postfix 2.1.3, etc. ...
Note though: You won't get anything KDE-based by default (the Ubuntu team simply doesn't have to resources to officially support it at the same high level as they do with GNOME -- currently, let's see what the future might bring!?). If you want KDE, just add the "universe"-online-repository to your list of servers -- and install KDE using the package-management.

X keyboard configuration

As always, I installed using an English interface, but - being situated in Austria - used a German keyboard. While this worked fine, the following problem might appear: During the D-I -based installation, a user account is created. If you happen to use a password with special characters, you'll most probably have a problem to login, as the X-configuration uses a US-keyboard-layout (which means you won't be able to enter your special characters properly...).
To change this, press CTRL+ALT+F1, log in on the command-line as the user you created, edit the X-config-file (using something like `$ sudo vi /etc/X11/XF86Config-4`), and change the keyboard-layout from "us" to "de" (and most probably the "pc104" to "pc105" too).
Restart X: `$ sudo /etc/init.d/gdm restart`

Update -- 05-09-26: Fixed in Ubuntu 5.04 aka "Hoary Hedgehog". :)

"root" vs. "sudo"

FYI: Ubuntu disables the root-account per default. The idea is to have the initial user-account created during the installation process do all the administrative work using its password in combination with the "sudo" package.
If you wanna re-activate the Linux-common root-account, simply run `sudo passwd` and set a root-password.

BTW: Further users added will not be added to the /etc/sudoers file automatically and thus will not have root-privileges via 'sudo'.

Also see Ubuntu-Wiki: RootSudo.

(warty) Further X-configuration

I noticed that my monitor was used at only 60 Hz.
After manually adapting the "HorizSync" and "VertRefresh" values in /etc/X11/XF86Config-4 matching my monitor's values, and after restarting X, it ran perfectly fine at over 80 Hz -- configurable via the graphical configuration frontend to be found in the system config menu.

(warty) ISDN dial-up

I first tried to use the "isdn4linux"-packages in combination with "ipppd" (both can be found on the Warty-CD), but I could not get the system to work: First, the "hotplug"-daemon from Ubuntu 4.10 (= "Warty Warthog") misses to create some device-files in the "udev"-based /dev/ directory. After creating these manually, I still couldn't get the ISDN dial-up to work, as it constantly complained about the "system would lack PPP support". (I always get this behaviour when using the ISDN-kernel-functionality as modules instead of compiling it into the kernel -- and trying to recompile the Ubuntu-kernel to do just that didn't work for me ...)

The solution is to use Linux 2.6's official approach for ISDN: CAPI!
(Note: "isdn4linux" is actually deprecated in Linux 2.6 ...)
So, here's how I got my "AVM Fritz!PCI v2.0 ISDN (rev 01)" working - based on information posted by Michael Vogt on the "ubuntu-users" mailing-list ...

For your GNOME-experience, you might want to check out the Ubunut-packages "gpppon" or "gkdial-gnome" ... or even GNOME PPP.

(warty) Multi-Language Configuration

If you want several languages to be available, according to this ubuntu-users list thread, the only thing necessary to do is to run "sudo dpkg-reconfigure locales" and to enable more than one locale. (You should be able to select the languages from the Gnome login page then.)
(Note that I added the locale "de_AT@euro" once -- and it seems to have been necessary to set this as the system-default to be able to be used properly. Anyway, I fiddled 'round a little bit with this and somehow finally got it to work: English for user A, German for user B ...)

(warty) procmail

If you are used to using "fetchmail" and "procmail" to fetch mails from your external mail-accounts and then handle these incoming mails according to the rules defined in your ~/.procmailrc, you'll have to make sure that Postfix (the default SMTP-server on your Ubuntu-machine) indeed invokes procmail. /etc/postfix/main.cf should say:

mailbox_command = procmail -a "$EXTENSION"

(Make sure to reload Postfix once you changed its config-file.)

WARNING: While I didn't try and don't know anything about procmail in combination with Ubuntu Warty's default MUA "Evolution 2.0.2", I do know that I tried to get the combination "procmail and Evolution 1" to work ... and failed!
It seems that Evolution is very unhappy about an external program modifying its mailbox-files, especially when Evolution is currently running.

(warty) Notebook Users

If you're running a notebook with Speedstep or PowerNow! technology (or have any machine with a CPU capable of this, I assume), check /proc/cpuinfo and you'll find that most of the time your CPU is clocked at the low-frequency end. This is due to powernowd that is automatically installed by Ubuntu. It simulates AMD's PowerNow!-ideas by "low-clocking" your CPU if there's nothing to do (saves power, reduces heat), and as soon as the CPU is needed thoroughly powernowd "high-clocks" the CPU to full power again (offers best performance).
"powernowd" is always active, even if your notebook is connected to an external power-source. If you want the typical behaviour of "full-speed when power-cord is connected", check out this Ubuntu-users posting by Noah Dain.

There are (at least) two approaches to get "suspend"-functionality to work: Ubuntu-Wiki: PMTesting, Ubuntu-Wiki: SuspendHowto.

(warty) Java

A possibly more official approach to "Ubuntu and Java" can be found in the Ubuntu-Wiki: Java.
For Hoary, Breezy and Dapper, especially see the really good Java-dedicated article Java (on wiki.ubuntuusers.de).

Anyway, AFAIR I got Java to work according to my needs by simply downloading the J2SDK-1.4.2 (or JDK 5, to be more up to date) from java.sun.com, extracted it to /opt/java and added "/opt/java/bin" to ENV_SUPATH in "/etc/login.defs" as well as to PATH in "/etc/profile".

(warty) KDE

Ubuntu Warty comes without any KDE support. If you want this desktop environment, activate the "universe" package repository and install KDE.

FYI: According to this posting by "azz" on the ubuntu-users Mailing-List, installing KDE might change the permissions on ".ICEAuthority" in your home directory, which might block you from logging in to GNOME again.

I've just installed KDE by running 'dselect', selecting the "kde" meta-package, accepting all dependencies it marked, also added "kde-i18n-de" for the German translations of KDE and installed these packages.
After a while downloading and installing - there it was: KDE-option in GDM's session-menu, with KDE working perfectly fine!

The only drawback: The package "kvim" for some reason messed with the "vim"-package resulting in no /usr/bin/vim executable being available anymore:

  markus@ubuntubook:~ $ dpkg -S /usr/bin/vim
  diversion by kvim from: /usr/bin/vim
  diversion by kvim to: /usr/bin/vim.org
  vim: /usr/bin/vim

Running vim.org would work fine, but that's no solution. Somehow one could re-divert this (using dpkg-divert), uninstalling "kvim" seems to be the easier solution: Thus I purged the kvim-package, accepting the dependencies "kde" (which is only a metapackage), "kdeaddons" and "vimpart" also to be removed.
After that, "vim" worked just fine again...

(warty) Burning CDs

From AudioCDCreation: "Ubuntu's 1st release, WartyWarthog, contains no GUI solutions for the creation of audio CDs." ... see the webpage for more information on how to make audio CDs using Warty.


If you're using Warty's GNOME-2 default desktop, a Nautilus-window will pop up as soon as you insert a blank CD-recordable. Drag-and-drop your files and directories into this "CD/DVD Creator" (Location: burn:///) and hit "Write to Disc".
The first CD I wrote was broken: While I could see the content, I could not open any file due to I/O-errors. I don't know if this was a simple hick-up, or if I changed anything that was necessary for Nautilus to be able to properly write CDs. Anyway, I meanwhile installed KDE, k3b and set the SUID-bit of the cdrecord-executable ... I just tried Nautilus again some time, and it's simply been working perfectly fine since then!


If you want to write CDs on the command-line using cdrecord directly: It seems that Linux breaks SUID-root-rights of executables when trying to write CDs, thus you will have to run the cdrecord-binary as "root" (using 'su' or 'sudo') directly (relying on the SUID-bit being set might not work). I haven't checked yet if this is true for the Warty-kernel too ...
Anyway, with my ATA-based CD-writer (/dev/hdc), I can write a directory using a command such as "mkisofs -r -J directory/ | cdrecord dev=/dev/hdc -v -".


If you wanna use KDE's "k3b", follow these instructions: How To - Install k3b & login.
It basically boils down to installing "k3b" as well as "cdrdao" and then running "k3bsetup" and "k3b" via a root-shell (do not use sudo as this might screw your home-directory and you won't be able to login again, use a root-shell or "gksudo" or something like that ...)

Other CD-writing software

(warty) GTK-1 applications

While GTK-1 applications are becoming rare these days, the Sylpheed mail client is such a program.

In order to change the application's sans-serif font to a size that matches the other fonts used, I simply had to create ~/.gtkrc.mine with the following content:

style "user-font"
widget_class "*" style "user-font"

(This file is included by ~/.gtkrc-1.2-gnome2.)

(warty) Multimedia

XMMS & beep media player

Well, what is there to say about XMMS? I think everybody knows this great media-player.
Simply install it using Synaptic, apt-get, or whatever you're fastest with!

Though it doesn't seem to be really stable yet, another cool package is beep-media-player, which is based on XMMS, but offers GTK2-support for the file-chooser, etc.
And: the "gXMMS" panel applet can also control basic functions of the beep-media-player. :)


Here's a mailing-list thread with different ways on how to get Skype working.

You might find alternatives to Skype on NetPhoneDirectory - PC to Phone Information and Service Providers. GnomeMeeting for example comes with Ubuntu already ... :).
Also, I saw that openwengo has a Linux client...

(warty) HP Deskjet 5550

Works out of the box.
As far as I can tell is the solution based on HPIJS. A more featureful solution than HPIJS seems to be HPLIP, also available from http://hpinkjet.sourceforge.net/. Here's a thread in ubuntuforums.org on possible HPLIP-packages for Ubuntu.

Also see Hoary's section on HP DJ 5550.

(warty) Miscellaneous

NVIDIA drivers

If you have a NVIDIA-based graphics card, you might want to install the nvidia-glx package and adapt your "/etc/X11/XF86Config-4" file according to the descriptions of /usr/share/doc/nvidia-glx/README.Debian.
Furthermore, note that you will not have to install the nvidia-kernel-source, as according to its package-description Ubuntu already provides a pre-compiled module via the linux-restricted-modules package. Instead, make sure the nvidia-module is loaded at boot-time by adding it to the file "/etc/modules".

If you don't use the default 386-kernel but rather an optimised version such as k7 or 686, make sure you have the corresponding linux-restricted-modules-package installed! Otherwise you won't be able to load the "nvidia"-module simply because it isn't available ... :)


What you definitely want to do is to install the msttcorefonts package from the universe repository. (Simply activate the universe-repository in Synaptic, install the package and its dependencies and re-login. This will give you fonts such as "Andale Mono", "Arial", "Courier New", "Times New Roman", "Trebuchet" and "Verdana".)


If you want "numlock" to be active by default, simply install the package "numlockx".

Ubuntu Linux 5.04: Hoary Hedgehog

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(hoary) Upgrade from Warty to Hoary

The upgrade process from Warty to Hoary was done by simply performing the following steps:

(hoary) On some packages ...

Further packages I installed include:

Furthermore, Firefox now supports the Gtk+2.8 file selector. For this to work, just install the package "mozilla-firefox-gnome-support".

(hoary) Fonts of QT applications (Skype, LyX, ...)

The fonts of QT applications such as Skype or LyX were by far too large to be usable. To fix this:

(hoary) Skype Dependencies

After I installed "Skype" version 1.2 based on the corresponding .deb file offered "by Skype", when trying to launch it, it complains about the following error:
skype: error while loading shared libraries: libqt-mt.so.3: cannot open shared object file: No such file or directory
This can be fixed by installing the package "libqt3c102-mt".
(You can find out about this by searching for "libqt-mt.so.3" on packages.ubuntu.com.)

(hoary) The Music Player "Rhythmbox"

If Rhythmbox doesn't play anything but rather freezes instead, make sure to select "ALSA" (or "ESD" should work also, if you're using it) in "System -- Preferences -- Multimedia Systems Selector" for both "Default Sink" and "Default Source".

For mp3-support in the Rhythmbox Music-Player, install the "gstreamer0.8-mad" package, and you're done.

(hoary) Unusable Eyecandy

If you want to make your machine unusably slow but have some really cool eye-candy such as full window-transparency, fading menus and window-shadows, follow the following steps (available as of Hoary's X.org graphics server):

(hoary) Plantronics USB Headset ".Audio 45"

Since my notebook's sound-chip is quite bad when it comes to recording analog signals, but I still wanted to be able to use software such as Skype with a proper headset, I got myself a USB-based headset by Plantronics - the .Audio 45, to be precise.

The headset itself is quite ok concerning sound quality, though I think that Plantronics has better headsets to offer (which again is just a guess of mine) ... and you probably don't want to use it as the primary audio device for your music library if you're an audiophile. Furthermore, I do not really like the way it sits on my head, but then again I don't use it for work and it's well ok for every now and then usage.
The headset is actually a plain old analog one, with the USB part of it coming as an external USB audio device, which you plug the headphones' speakers and microphone jack-connectors into. (The USB device should AFAICT be able to be used by any analog headset, thus. On the back it says "Plantronics USB DSP v4 Audio Interface".)

I was really amazed by the ease of use with Ubuntu Hoary: Simply plug it in. :)
In more detail:

  May 11 19:16:36 localhost kernel: usb 1-1: new full speed USB device using uhci_hcd and address 3
  May 11 19:16:36 localhost kernel: input: USB HID v1.00 Device [Plantronics Plantronics Headset] on usb-0000:00:1d.0-1
  May 11 19:16:37 localhost usb.agent[11487]:      usbhid: already loaded
  May 11 19:16:37 localhost input.agent[11571]:      evdev: already loaded
  May 11 19:16:37 localhost input.agent[11571]:      evbug: blacklisted
  May 11 19:16:37 localhost input.agent[11431]:      evdev: already loaded
  May 11 19:16:37 localhost input.agent[11431]:      evbug: blacklisted
  May 11 19:16:38 localhost usb.agent[11448]:      snd-usb-audio: loaded successfully
  May 11 19:16:38 localhost usb.agent[11448]:      audio: blacklisted
  May 11 19:16:38 localhost kernel: usbcore: registered new driver snd-usb-audio

  hub 1-0:1.0: over-current change on port 1
  usb 1-1: new full speed USB device using uhci_hcd and address 3
  input: USB HID v1.00 Device [Plantronics Plantronics Headset] on usb-0000:00:1d.0-1
  usbcore: registered new driver snd-usb-audio

Skype and XMMS

The Sequence of Sound Devices

I soon then realised that, with the USB headset being connected at boot time already, it becomes the first ALSA device and as such is used for /dev/dsp instead of for /dev/dsp1. (This leads to all sound be played on the headset, and the Skype calls be directed to the speakers ... just the wrong way 'round!)

With the resources http://ubuntuforums.org/archive/index.php/t-2803.html and http://www.ubuntuforums.org/showthread.php?t=18926, I learned how to manually set the sequence of the sound devices -- simply by adding the "options [...]"-line to the corresponding file:

  $ tail -n 3 /etc/modprobe.d/alsa-base
  # markus -- 05-05-19
  # prevent snd_usb_audio (the headset) to grab index 0 (default sound device)
  options snd_usb_audio index=-2

(hoary) HP Deskjet 5550

If you want to use a2ps with the HP Deskjet 5550 printer, mind to modify the file /etc/a2ps-site.cfg and set "Options: --medium=A4dj", as otherwise the margins are wrong.

(hoary) Java

See this (German) article "Java" on wiki.ubuntuusers.de.

(hoary) Miscellaneous

Here's an article on the "Debian menu" entry in Ubuntu's second release, version 5.04, aka Hoary Hedgehog. (Though I haven't tried it, it seems that if you want a Debian menu entry listing most software packages in the system, you should install the Universe package menu-xdg. Also note that menu is related, with its command update-menus. This might lead to duplicated entries in the menu due to the two files /var/lib/menu-xdg/applications/menu-xdg and /var/lib/menu-xdg/applications/menu-xdg. Just remove the latter and you should be fine...)

Here's some interface and usability criticism on Hoary. Interesting read, for the most part!

Ubuntu Linux 5.10: Breezy Badger

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(breezy) Breezy is released!

Announcing the Ubuntu 5.10 release.

(breezy) Upgrade from Hoary to Breezy

The upgrade process from Hoary to Breezy was done by simply performing the steps below.
Please note that for some reason I decided to have "Synaptic" perform the upgrade process.

(breezy) mplayer

I had the previous mplayer installation upgraded to Breezy's version from the Ubuntu Multiverse package repository by explicitly selecting the package for an upgrade. (This involved a dependency package to be upgraded as well ... for some reason, this hasn't happened during the dist-upgrade process described above.)

Furthermore, I activated Marillat's Debian Sarge package repository and upgraded the corresponding libraries as well.

(breezy) Skype on Breezy

Summary ( vs.

I have used both versions "" and "" successfully on Ubuntu Breezy. (For the latter version, follow the descriptions on how to get a breezy-compliant deb-package taken from the links below.)

More details ...

It seems that the deb-packages for Skype versions and depend on the package "libqt3c102-mt", which is not available in Breezy anymore. As a result, the default Skype packages cannot be installed properly.

However, there are workarounds for the situation, such as building your own deb-packages (link 1) / building your own deb-packages (link 2) with an updated dependency-list.
Furthermore, I'm pretty sure it would be possible to use the statically linked bz2-compressed version, as it has the QT-libraries statically compiled into the binary.

While lots of resources in the web recommend to stick with the version for Ubuntu Breezy, most of these comments have been posted before the latest security-issues of Skype versions &= have been discovered recently. While it seems to be a denial-of-service "only", the problem is an "error in bounds checking in a specific networking routine". Judge for yourself on the criticality of this issue, however, an upgrade to is definitely recommended!

Skype version

As of October 12, Skype for Linux is available in version, which introduces two important features: Proper startup time (the annoying delay of the 1.2-versions is gone), and support for ALSA.
I have upgraded from without any problems on the very same machine which I have performed the steps from the installation instructions above on. The official Debian-package from Skype's download page worked properly out of the box.

(breezy) Multi-Language Configuration

While it has been quite easy with Warty already to get support for other languages installed on your system, with Breezy it's just fabulous: Run "System > Administration > Language Selector", select what you want, and you're done already!

Some more Details:
Selecting the corresponding language will ensure that all the corresponding packages are installed on your system. You can select "Translations" and "Writing Aids" separately, which is quite cool, really! My otherwise English Gnome was obviously lacking some more packages, as it kept showing the date in German all the time. After running the Language Selector and selecting the two languages "German" and "English" (with a form of the latter being set as the default language) and then logging in again, everything was fixed right away and the date now is shown in English format.
With all the corresponding languages being installed, it is enough to just select the wanted language at login-time -- each user can have their own language for their entire desktop experience!


Note that the writing aids do not cover thesaurus packages.
"openoffice.org2-thesaurus-<LANGUAGE>" seem to be referenced by some package, but they don't exist for Breezy.
I haven't tried, possibly the old German and English thesaurus packages for OOo1 might work for OOo2 as well, but somehow I doubt it.

Here's a German article on how to use an online thesaurus from the Uni Leipzig for the German language in OpenOffice: OpenOffice / Thesaurus (German).

(breezy) Java

See this (German) article "Java" on wiki.ubuntuusers.de.

How to add a key to the Package Management

Based on the descriptions from the project "Tor", the following steps worked just fine for me:

(breezy) Misceallaneous

According to the release notes for "Colony 3" (a milestone pre-release on the way to the final version of Breezy), the new graphical boot feature USplash can be activated after installing/upgrading by running the command "$ sudo dpkg-reconfigure linux-image-`uname -r`"). I have to admit I can't remember anymore whether I did this after the upgrade to "Breezy Final" -- I don't think it was necessary, but just to have it as a reference here ... :)

Ubuntu Linux 6.06 LTS: Dapper Drake

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(dapper) Dapper is released!

(dapper) Release and Install Notes

(dapper) Reviews and Stuff

(dapper) Upgrade from Breezy to Dapper

Here's how I upgraded from Breezy to Dapper.

(dapper) Miscellaneous

(dapper) Some more pre-release info I had gathered:

Here is some information I gathered in the meantime:

(dapper) Furthermore

(dapper) Really Various Stuff

Ubuntu Linux 6.10: Edgy Eft

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My life with Edgy Eft has become my default Ubuntu documentation.

For more details, see my page on Edgy & Feisty (64-bit based).

"Grumpy Groundhog"

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And to mention the last of the current Ubuntu release (released or planned to be): "Grumpy Groundhog" is going to be the actually never released always bleeding edge version of Ubuntu, targeted at software developers primarily.

Miscellaneous Links

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last modified: 2010-02-23 15:57:04
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