Friday, April 27, 2007

I have switched to Kubuntu

I am now running Kubuntu Feisty. I switched mainly because I decided to give KDE a real shot. I had used it my first two attempts to switch to Linux but those came to a grand total of less than a month.

Some of the applications are nice but I was trying not to mix technologies. My wife's machine was running Ubuntu with the standard gnome interface, so I decided to switch things up a little bit and try KDE.

Overall I am not sure about the switch. It is new, so I am still struggling through some of the changes that seemed so second nature after a couple installs of gnome. I have also had a few program crashes, which I didn't experience too much with gnome.

There are some great applications though, I am definitely going to keep some of the KDE apps if I move back to gnome. I want to give it a valid chance though, so I am going to run it for a month or two before I even truly start to judge.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

My Feisty experience

I have been using Feisty on my primary machine since Herd 2. It has been an interesting an experience and I just wanted to go through some of the issues I had as well as some of the great experiences.

First, overall it has been pretty good especially since I had limited expectations going into it. It has been overall a pretty stable system.

Issues I had:
1. From the get go I used the network manager that comes default to setup my Static IP hard-wired network. It didn't properly append the Static tag though so I lost internet connection completely immediately which makes troubleshooting fun (had to use my Wife's Dapper machine).

It ended up being a simple correction once I found it. I think this has been corrected since Herd 2.

2. Even after I got my network connected the network manager continued to think I was not connected to a network. This would not have been a huge issue, except Liferea (my feed reader) reads that setting and would automatically switch to offline mode. This was a minor hassle, but still a hassle.

This has also been corrected at some point along the way with an update, I am not sure if the network manager is properly detecting my connection now (I disabled it almost immediately since I am using a Static IP) or if Liferea is ignoring it again.

3. The Restricted Drivers manager would probably be very helpful but it will not work if you have manually edited your xorg.conf file. This means it was useless for me and anyone else who has edited the file so they can get their extra mouse buttons to work.

I did have some problems, but overall even the alpha was very stable. Regular updates have corrected almost every issue I have had.

I couldn't see how great the network manager now worked for wireless since my computers are all currently hard-wired (only inches from the router). I also didn't play around with the automatic codec installation since I already installed most codecs out of habit out of the shoot.

I think there is a lot here that will greatly appeal to a new user and the out of the box config will definitely help with desktop penetration. I did find myself switching back to the original menu and doing most of the things manually, but that is more because it was faster for me the old way. I understand the biggest reason for the changes is to help new users and I think Feisty makes great strides in that direction.

Kudos to everyone involved, and I look forward to continuing to help as Feisty moves through beta to gold.

Create an ISO with this simple bash script

I found a lot of information on the web about creating an ISO using command-line so I wrote a bash script to make things easier.

The main reason I wrote this is I have Ubuntu left at the default behavior of automatically mounting my CD-Rom drive and the drive cannot be mounted for this process.

Like my VPN script I put the bash file (named createiso) with executable permissions
a folder in my path file, /home/bin for me which defaults as a user path
in Ubuntu. Here is the bash file.

sudo umount /dev/hdc
echo -n "What do you want to name the iso (use .iso ext): "
read -e ISONAME
dd if=/dev/hdc of=/home/[userdir]/$ISONAME
sudo mount /dev/hdc /media/cdrom0

Make sure you change [userdir] to your directory (or change completely) and the /dev/hdc and /media/cdrom0 are correct for you. I found this by reviewing my /etc/fstab you can simply run "gedit /etc/fstab" from console (without the sudo you can't screw anything up).

To use run "createiso" from the console and it will prompt you to name the ISO. Make sure you use the .iso extension.

Monday, March 26, 2007

Cisco VPN bash script

I wrote a little bash script to allow you to start and stop the service as well as connect and disconnect a little easier. The main reason I had to do this is I didn't want the service running all of the time since I only use it infrequently to connect to my work.

I found a place that has the client as well as instructions for installing the client here

You do need the kernel source to compile this, you can run this command in the console window to download the ones specific for the kernel you are using.

sudo apt-get install build-essential linux-headers-'uname -r'

I then followed the steps in the document with only a minor change. The question "Automatically start the VPN service at boot time [yes]" I of course told it no.

I ended before "Load the VPN client's module into the running kernel:" as that is what my bash script is for.

You need to get the profile for your VPN client, I had a profile for mine that uses a key token. I put the profile in the same directory as the VPN client /etc/opt/cisco-vpnclient and deleted all of the original ones in there.

Finally I put the bash file (named vpn) with executable permissions a folder in my path file /home/bin for me which defaults as a user path in Ubuntu. Here is the bash file.

case $1 in
start) sudo /etc/init.d/vpnclient_init start;;
connect) sudo vpnclient connect [vpn_profile];;
stop) sudo /etc/init.d/vpnclient_init stop;;
dis) sudo vpnclient disconnect;;
*) echo "Only use start, stop, connect and dis";;

Make sure you change [vpn_profile] to your actual profile.

To use just open up your console of choice and type "vpn start" to start the service, "vpn connect" to connect using your profile specified above, "vpn dis" to disconnect, and finally "vpn stop" to stop the service.