Karmic

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Kubuntu 9.10 (Karmic Koala)

Introduction

  • On October 29, 2009 Kubuntu 9.10 was released.
  • It is codenamed Karmic Koala and is the successor to Kubuntu 9.04 Jaunty Jackalope (Jaunty+1).
  • Ubuntu 9.10 (Karmic Koala) is NOT an LTS (Long Term Support) release and is no longer supported with security updates (as of April 2011). It is recommended to upgrade to the current version of Kubuntu.
This guide is maintained at the Linux Center of the University of Latvia.
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Contents


General Notes

General Notes

  • This is the original Kubuntuguide. You are free to copy this guide but not to sell it or any derivative of it. This Kubuntu help guide is neither sold nor distributed in any other medium. Beware of copies that are for sale or are similarly named; they are neither endorsed nor sanctioned by this guide. Kubuntuguide is not associated with Canonical Ltd.
  • Kubuntu allows a user to accomplish tasks from either a menu-driven Graphical User Interface (GUI) or from a text-based command-line interface (CLI). In Kubuntu, the command-line-interface terminal is called Konsole, which is started: K menu -> System -> Konsole Terminal.
In this guide, text inside the grey dotted box like this should be put into a Konsole terminal.
  • Many changes to the operating system can only be done by a User with Administrative privileges. 'sudo' elevates a User's privileges to the Administrator level temporarily (i.e. when installing programs or making changes to the system). Example:
sudo bash
  • 'kdesudo' can be used instead of 'sudo' when opening a Graphical Application (such as the graphical text-editor application kate) through the "Run Command" dialog box or the CLI (although it is no longer required to do this). Example:
kdesudo kate /etc/apt/sources.list
  • "man" command can be used to find help manual for a specific command. E.g. "man sudo" will display the manual page for the "sudo" command. Example:
man sudo
  • While "apt-get" and "aptitude" are fast ways of installing programs/packages, you can also use KPackageKit (or even the Synaptic Package Manager), a GUI method for installing programs/packages. Most (but not all) programs/packages available with apt-get install will also be available from KPackageKit (or Synaptic Package Manager). In this guide, when you see
sudo apt-get install package
you can search for package in KPackageKit (or Synaptic) and install it that way.
  • Many instructions use the text editor "nano" (which is universally available in Linux). However, it is often easier to use the text editor "kate" in Kubuntu instead.
  • "K" or "K menu" means the bottom-left (or upper-left) button, akin to the Start button in Microsoft Windows®.
  • If you are using the 64-bit version, replace any "i386" with "amd64".

Other versions

How to determine which version of Kubuntu you're using

In Konsole type:

lsb_release -a

How to find out the version of your Kernel

uname -a

Newer Versions of Kubuntu

  • Kubuntu has a six month release cycle, with releases in April and October.
  • Maverick Meerkat (10.10), scheduled for release in October 2010. This will not be an LTS version.
  • Lucid Lynx (10.04 LTS), released on April 29, 2010, is the next LTS (Long Term Support) version.

Older Versions of Kubuntu

  • Jaunty Jackalope (9.04) (supported until October 2010)
  • Intrepid Ibex (8.10) (no longer supported)
  • Hardy Heron (8.04 LTS) (Long Term Support version with desktop support until April 2011 and server support until April 2013)
  • Dapper Drake (6.06 LTS) (Long Term Support version with server support until June 2011. Desktop version no longer supported.)

Other Resources

Kubuntu Resources

  • Kubuntu Forums has a large community for online solutions and specific help.

KDE Project

Kubuntu Screenshots and Screencasts

New Applications Resources

Other *buntu guides and help manuals

  • Ubuntuguide -- Ubuntu uses the Gnome desktop.
  • Lubuntu -- Lubuntu can run with as little as 256 Mb RAM. It is better for older machines with limited resources.
  • Edubuntu -- Edubuntu is a collection of software bundles optimized for use in educational environments. LTSP (thin client terminal server support) and many networking tools are bundled. A version for use with KDE (Kubuntu) is available.
  • official Ubuntu Server Guide -- a good starting reference for server packages
  • Ubuntu Doctors Guild -- a collection of tips for using (K)ubuntu Linux in health care environments
  • SkoleLinux -- a collection of (open-source) educational tools for Debian/Ubuntu Linux

Installing Kubuntu

Warning: Kubuntu Desktop edition installer no longer allows a custom installation of GRUB, and it now uses GRUB2, which is difficult to customize. DO NOT USE the Karmic Koala Desktop edition if you use a boot partition, use multiple OS (more than 2), or chainload bootloaders. The Kubuntu installer will overwrite your Master Boot Record and you will later be forced to recreate it. This is a serious flaw in Karmic Koala.

The Ubuntu Server edition installer does not have this problem, and, in general, I recommend its use instead (adding a kubuntu-desktop to the server afterwards).

Hardware requirements

Kubuntu Karmic Koala runs with as little as 384 Mb RAM. (The GUI installer requires a minimum of 256 Mb RAM, while the alternative text-based installer can run using only 192 Mb RAM.)

The installation takes between 3-4 Gb hard drive space, and 8-10 Gb will be needed to run comfortably.

Netbooks will run Kubuntu Karmic Koala, which has been optimised for speed, efficiency, and quick bootup.

If you have an older computer with less memory than this, consider Lubuntu (if 160 Mb RAM or greater), PuppyLinux (if 256 Mb or greater), or DSL (if minimal RAM, limited hard drive space, running from a USBdrive, or running from within another OS).

Warning: The original Linux kernel supplied with Karmic Koala had a flaw in the motherboard / CPU fan sensor modules. It required that motherboard hardware be compatible with existing drivers, or the computer would slow to a crawl and then freeze. This has now been corrected with the new updated kernels (> 31.17) and should no longer be a concern. See this section for a more thorough discussion.

Fresh Installation

Kubuntu Karmic Koala contains the KDE 4.3 desktop by default. The desktop has been improved and many bugs fixed since earlier versions of KDE 4. In addition, the incorporated Linux kernel is more efficient and more hardware is recognized by default. Especially on a smaller system with limited hard drive space, a new installation is recommended to prevent software bloat that can accumulate when updating older versions.

See this guide for burning the ISO image to a CD ("LiveCD").
Use the LiveCD for installation.

Kubuntu Netbook Edition

The KDE Plasma Netbook desktop is optimised for netbooks with screens less than 10". An edition of Kubuntu with the KDE Netbook Plasma desktop can be downloaded here. Install using the instructions as above.

KDE 3 Remix

Kubuntu Hardy Heron LTS used a simpler but well-respected stable desktop, KDE 3.5. This desktop is now available for Karmic (and can even be run alongside KDE 4) using Kubuntu Karmic KDE 3 Remix. This Remix includes the latest upgrades to KDE 3.5, while taking advantage of Karmic's speed improvements.

Dual-Booting Windows and Kubuntu

Rarely, a user may experience problems dual-booting Kubuntu and Windows. In general, a Windows OS should be installed first, because its bootloader is very particular. A Windows installation usually occupies the entire hard drive, so the partition needs to be shrunk, creating free space for the Kubuntu partition. (You should clean up unnecessary files and defragment the drive before resizing.) The Windows partition can be resized from within Windows Vista using the shrink/resize option in the Administrative Tools --> Disk Management tool. If using Windows XP (or other Windows OS), use GParted partition manager to shrink the Windows partition and thereby leave free space on the hard drive for the Kubuntu partition. If done this way, there is no problem installing Kubuntu as the second operating system and it is done automatically from the Kubuntu LiveCD. Allow the Kubuntu LiveCD to install to "largest available free space."

A Windows partition should be at least 20 Gb (recommended 30 Gb), and a Kubuntu partition at least 10 Gb (recommended 20 Gb). Obviously, if you have plenty of disk space, make the partition for whichever will be your favoured operating system larger. For a recommended partitioning scheme, see this section.

Alternatives include:

  • Wubi (Windows-based Ubuntu Installer), an officially supported dual-boot installer that allows Ubuntu to be run mounted in a virtual-disk within the Windows environment (which can cause a slight degradation in performance). Because the installation requires an intact functioning Windows system, it is recommended to install Ubuntu in this manner for short-term evaluation purposes only. A permanent Ubuntu installation should be installed in its own partition, with its own filesystem, and should not rely on Windows.
  • EasyBCD, a free Windows-based program that allows you to dual-boot Windows Vista and Ubuntu (as well as other operating systems) by configuring the Vista bootloader.

Installing multiple OS on a single computer

Warning: The Karmic Koala Desktop edition installer no longer allows a custom installation of GRUB, and it now uses GRUB2 (which is difficult to customize). DO NOT USE the Karmic Koala Desktop edition LiveCD installer if you use a boot partition, use multiple OS (more than 2), or chainload bootloaders. The Desktop edition installer will overwrite your Master Boot Record and you will later be forced to recreate it (this is a flaw in the Desktop edition installer). Use the Ubuntu Server edition installer instead (and then later add the kubuntu-desktop).

If you want to install more than 2 operating systems on a single computer, check out these tips.

Upgrading Intrepid or Jaunty to Karmic

There are several methods for upgrades from the command-line interface (Konsole) (which can be used for both the desktop and server editions of Kubuntu/Ubuntu).

  • This is the preferred method:
sudo apt-get install update-manager-core
sudo do-release-upgrade
  • You can also use the update-manager (all editions):
sudo apt-get install update-manager
sudo update-manager -d
  • You can also use:
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get upgrade
sudo apt-get dist-upgrade
(Note: the first two lines simply make sure your current distribution is current before upgrading the entire distribution, and are optional.

Always backup your system. Upgrades did not work for me. I had to make customizations to my Intrepid and Jaunty installations to make my hardware work with them, but these customizations were not required in Karmic. When the system attempted to migrate the customizations during an attempted upgrade, it crashed my system. Fortunately, I had backed up all my important files, and reinstalling them on a fresh Karmic installation was therefore accomplished relatively quickly.

Upgrading Hardy to Karmic

A new installation is recommended if you are upgrading from Hardy (or older), in order to prevent software bloat, and to avoid some configuration file incompatibilities between the KDE 3.5 desktop used in Hardy and the KDE 4 desktop used in Karmic. (KDE 4 is an entirely new desktop and differs significantly from KDE 3.5.)

However, it is possible to serially upgrade from Hardy to Intrepid, and then from Intrepid to Jaunty, and then from Intrepid to Karmic.

Add Extra Repositories

Software packages and programs are freely available for download at multiple online sites with standardized structures, called repositories. There are repositories officially sanctioned and monitored by the Kubuntu/Ubuntu developer community, while other repositories are independently provided, without official sanction or supervision (and should be used with caution). Additional information is available from the Kubuntu Repository Guide.

Types of Repositories

  • There are four major package repository types in Kubuntu:
  • main - Supported and supervised by Canonical. This is the major part of the distribution.
  • restricted - Software not licensed under the GPL (or similar software license), but supported and supervised by Canonical.
  • universe - Software licensed under the GPL (or similar license) and supported by users.
  • multiverse - Software not licensed under the GPL (or similar license), but supported by users.
  • There are also these additional types of repositories:
  • karmic-updates - Updates to official packages.
  • karmic-backports - Current version software from Lucid Lynx (Karmic+1) that has been backported to Karmic Koala.
  • karmic-proposed - Proposed updates & changes (bleeding edge stuff).

Third party repositories

Software developers often maintain their own repositories, from which software packages can be downloaded and installed directly to your computer (if you add the repository to your list). Many of these third party repositories and software packages have never been reviewed by the (K)Ubuntu/Debian community and can present a security risk to your computer. Trojans, backdoors, and other malicious software can be present at any unregulated repository. When using repositories not endorsed by the (K)ubuntu/Debian community, make sure you have utter confidence in that site before enabling the repository and installing a software package from it.

Add Repositories using the Package Manager

This is the preferred method.

  • K menu -> System -> System Settings -> Add and Remove Software -> Settings -> Edit Software Sources.
  • Here you can enable the repositories for Kubuntu Software and Third Party Software.
  • For Third Party Software select Add -> enter the repository's address. It will have a format similar to:
deb http://archive.ubuntu.com/ubuntu/ karmic main restricted
deb-src http://archive.ubuntu.com/ubuntu/ karmic main restricted
  • Example: To add the Medibuntu repository, Add:
deb http://packages.medibuntu.org/ karmic free non-free
  • Download the repository key to a folder.
  • Example: The Medibuntu key can be downloaded from
http://packages.medibuntu.org/medibuntu-key.gpg
  • Then add the key from:
K menu -> System -> System Settings -> Add and Remove Software -> Settings -> Edit Software Sources -> Authentication -> Import Key File...
  • (Alternatively, you can manually add the key from the Konsole command line terminal. See Add Repository keys.)
  • Refresh the package list from the new repository:
K menu -> System -> System Settings -> Add and Remove Software -> Software Updates -> Refresh

Manually add repositories

  • Do this at your own risk. Modify the default Kubuntu sources.list only if you understand what you're doing. Mixing repositories can break your system. For more information see the Ubuntu Command-line Repository guide.
  • Create a backup of your current list of sources.
sudo cp -p /etc/apt/sources.list /etc/apt/sources.list_backup

Note: sudo - runs the command with root privileges. cp = copy. -p = prompt to overwrite if a file already exists.

  • Edit the list of sources:
sudo nano /etc/apt/sources.list
or using a graphical editor:
kdesu kate /etc/apt/sources.list
  • Note: To use your local mirror you can add "xx." before archive.ubuntu.com, where xx = your country code.
Example: deb http://gb.archive.ubuntu.com/ubuntu karmic main restricted universe multiverse indicates a repository for Great Britain (gb).
  • Here is a sample sources.list. At the end have been added repositories for Medibuntu and Google:
deb http://us.archive.ubuntu.com/ubuntu/ karmic main restricted
deb-src http://us.archive.ubuntu.com/ubuntu/ karmic main restricted

## Major bug fix updates produced after the final release of the
## distribution.
deb http://us.archive.ubuntu.com/ubuntu/ karmic-updates main restricted
deb-src http://us.archive.ubuntu.com/ubuntu/ karmic-updates main restricted

## N.B. software from this repository is ENTIRELY UNSUPPORTED by the Ubuntu
## team. Also, please note that software in universe WILL NOT receive any
## review or updates from the Ubuntu security team.
deb http://us.archive.ubuntu.com/ubuntu/ karmic universe
deb-src http://us.archive.ubuntu.com/ubuntu/ karmic universe
deb http://us.archive.ubuntu.com/ubuntu/ karmic-updates universe
deb-src http://us.archive.ubuntu.com/ubuntu/ karmic-updates universe

## N.B. software from this repository is ENTIRELY UNSUPPORTED by the Ubuntu 
## team, and may not be under a free licence. Please satisfy yourself as to 
## your rights to use the software. Also, please note that software in 
## multiverse WILL NOT receive any review or updates from the Ubuntu
## security team.
deb http://us.archive.ubuntu.com/ubuntu/ karmic multiverse
deb-src http://us.archive.ubuntu.com/ubuntu/ karmic multiverse
deb http://us.archive.ubuntu.com/ubuntu/ karmic-updates multiverse
deb-src http://us.archive.ubuntu.com/ubuntu/ karmic-updates multiverse

## Uncomment the following two lines to add software from the 'backports'
## repository.
## N.B. software from this repository may not have been tested as
## extensively as that contained in the main release, although it includes
## newer versions of some applications which may provide useful features.
## Also, please note that software in backports WILL NOT receive any review
## or updates from the Ubuntu security team.
deb http://us.archive.ubuntu.com/ubuntu/ karmic-backports main restricted universe multiverse
deb-src http://us.archive.ubuntu.com/ubuntu/ karmic-backports main restricted universe multiverse

## Uncomment the following two lines to add software from Canonical's
## 'partner' repository. This software is not part of Ubuntu, but is
## offered by Canonical and the respective vendors as a service to Ubuntu
## users.
deb http://archive.canonical.com/ubuntu karmic partner
deb-src http://archive.canonical.com/ubuntu karmic partner

deb http://security.ubuntu.com/ubuntu karmic-security main restricted
deb-src http://security.ubuntu.com/ubuntu karmic-security main restricted
deb http://security.ubuntu.com/ubuntu karmic-security universe
deb-src http://security.ubuntu.com/ubuntu karmic-security universe
deb http://security.ubuntu.com/ubuntu karmic-security multiverse
deb-src http://security.ubuntu.com/ubuntu karmic-security multiverse

## Medibuntu - Ubuntu 9.10 "Karmic Koala"
## Please report any bug on https://bugs.launchpad.net/medibuntu/
deb http://packages.medibuntu.org/ karmic free non-free
deb-src http://packages.medibuntu.org/ karmic free non-free

# Google software repository
deb http://dl.google.com/linux/deb/ stable non-free
  • Refresh the packages list from the new repositories:
sudo apt-get update

Add repository keys

  • Download the gpg keys for the repositories and automatically add them to your repository keyring:
  • Example: To obtain and add the Medibuntu repository key:
wget --quiet http://packages.medibuntu.org/medibuntu-key.gpg -O - | sudo apt-key add -
  • Example: To obtain and add the Google repository key:
wget --quiet https://dl-ssl.google.com/linux/linux_signing_key.pub -O - | sudo apt-key add -

Note: wget - retrieves a file from a network location. --quiet = no output. -O - = Output downloaded item to the screen. The | (pipe symbol) is used to capture the output from the previous command and use it as an input for the piped command (i.e. apt-key, which adds it to the keyring).

  • Alternatively (and perhaps more easily), you can use apt-key directly:
sudo apt-key adv --keyserver keyserver.ubuntu.com --recv-keys KEY
where KEY is the missing key code printed in apt-get output, e.g. EF4186FE247510BE.
Note: Key servers often use port 11371. Make sure your firewall allows port 11371 to be open.

Package Installation and Updates

Apt and Package Basics

Most new users will use KPackageKit or the Adept Package Manager to install packages. The instructions below are for installing packages from the command-line terminal (Konsole).

  • Install packages:
sudo apt-get install packagename
  • Example:
sudo apt-get install mpd sbackup
  • Remove packages:
sudo apt-get remove packagename
  • To remove all dependencies:
sudo apt-get autoremove
  • Example:
sudo apt-get remove mpd sbackup
  • Search for packages:
sudo apt-cache search <keywords>
  • Examples:
sudo apt-cache search Music MP3
sudo apt-cache search "Text Editor"
sudo apt-get update
  • Upgrade packages:
sudo apt-get upgrade
  • Upgrade the entire distribution (e.g. from Intrepid to Jaunty):
sudo apt-get dist-upgrade

Installing .deb packages

Debian (.deb) packages are the packages that are used in Ubuntu/Kubuntu. You can install any .deb package in your system. .deb files can generally be installed from your file manager (Konqueror or Dolphin) merely by clicking on them, since file associations with the default installer is already set in Kubuntu. These instructions are for those who wish to install packages from the command-line terminal (Konsole).

  • Install a downloaded Debian (Ubuntu/Kubuntu) package (.deb):
sudo dpkg -i packagename.deb
  • Remove a Debian (Ubuntu/Kubuntu) package (.deb):
sudo dpkg -r packagename
  • Reconfigure/Repair an installed Debian (Ubuntu/Kubuntu) package (.deb):
sudo dpkg-reconfigure packagename
*Example:
sudo dpkg-reconfigure mpd

Handling (Tar/GZip) and (Tar/Bzip2) archives

(Tar/GZip) archives end in ".tar.gz" and (Tar/Bzip2) archives end in ".tar.bz2". Bzip2 is the newer, more efficient compression method. These files can generally be automatically extracted by merely clicking on them from your file manager (Konqueror or Dolphin), since file associations with the appropriate archival utilities are set by default in Kubuntu. These instructions are for those who wish to use the command line terminal (Konsole).

  • To extract:
tar xvf packagename.tar.gz

Note: tar is an application which can extract files from an archive, decompressing if necessary.

-x means extract.
-v means verbose (list what it is extracting).
-f specifies the file to use.
  • Decompressing ".gz" files
gunzip file.gz
  • Decompressing ".bz2" files
bunzip2 file.bz2
Note: You can also decompress a package first by using the command gunzip (for .gz) or bunzip2 (for .bz2), leaving the .tar file. You would then use tar to extract it.
  • To create a .gz archive:
tar cvfz packagename.tar.gz folder
  • To create a .bz2 archive:
tar cvfj packagename.tar.bz2 folder

Installing a package from source

  • Make sure you have all the necessary development tools (i.e. libraries, compilers, headers):
sudo apt-get install build-essential linux-headers-$(uname -r)
Note: "uname -r" lists the current kernel you are using
  • Extract the archive that contains the source files:
tar xvf sourcefilesarchive.tar.gz
  • Build the package using the package's script (in this case the configure script), compile the package (make), and install the compiled package into your system (make install):
cd /path/to/extracted/sourcefiles
./configure
sudo make
sudo make install
Note: typing ./ before a filename in the current folder allows the Linux shell to try and execute the file as an application even if it is not in the path (the set of folders which it searches when you type a command name). If you get a "permission denied" error, the file is not marked as being executable. To fix this:
sudo chmod +x filename
Example: In the above instructions, configure is the shell script to build the package from source. To be sure the configure script is executable:
sudo chmod +x configure
Create a .deb package from source files

If your build from source is successful, you can make a Debian (Ubuntu/Kubuntu) package (.deb) for future use:

  • Install package tools:
sudo apt-get install checkinstall
  • Rebuild package using "checkinstall":
cd /path/to/extracted/package
./configure
sudo make
sudo checkinstall
  • Keep the resulting ".deb" file for future use. It can later be installed using:
sudo dpkg -i packagename.deb

Note: These are basic instructions that may not always work. Some packages require additional dependencies and optional parameters to be specified in order to build them successfully.

Aptitude

Aptitude is a terminal-based package manager that can be used instead of apt-get. Aptitude marks packages that are automatically installed and removes them when no packages depend on them. This makes it easy to remove applications completely. To use Aptitude, replace apt-get with aptitude in the command line. Example:

sudo aptitude install packagename
sudo aptitude remove packagename
sudo aptitude update
sudo aptitude upgrade

For an ncurses-based graphical user interface, type

sudo aptitude

For more information, see the aptitude documentation.

KPackageKit

KPackageKit is the KDE frontend for packagekit, a new GUI package manager installed by default in Kubuntu. It allows PolicyKit to restrict user privileges regarding package installation.

While "apt-get" and "aptitude" are fast ways of installing programs/packages, you can also use KPackageKit (K menu -> System -> KPackageKit Software Management) for installing programs/packages. Most (but not all) programs/packages available with apt-get install will also be available from KPackageKit. This is the preferred method for most desktop users. In this guide, when you see

sudo apt-get install package

you can simply search for package in KPackageKit and install it that way.

  • K menu -> System -> KPackageKit Software Management
  • Search for the name of the program/package. You can also search for a word in its description. Then "Find by Name."
  • Check the down arrow next to the name of the package. (If the program is already installed, click the x sign to remove it).
  • Click Apply.
  • The selected program(s) will be automatically installed (or removed), along with its dependencies.
You can also access KPackageKit from
K menu -> System -> System Settings -> Add and Remove Software

Adept Package Manager

Adept is the GUI package manager previously used in Kubuntu. It has largely been replaced by KPackageKit. It can be installed, however:

sudo apt-get install adept
adept

Most (but not all) programs/packages available with apt-get install will also be available from the Adept Package Manager. In this guide, when you see

sudo apt-get install package

you can simply search for package in Adept and install it that way.

K menu -> System -> Adept Package Manager
  • Search for the name of the program/package. You can also search for a word in its description.
  • Check the box next to "Install this package".
  • Click Adept -> Apply Changes.
  • The selected program(s) will be automatically installed, along with its dependencies.

You can also use the Adept Installer to add/remove programs.

K menu -> Adept Installer Add/Remove Software

Synaptic Package Manager

Synaptic Package Manager is the GTK-based GUI package manager for Gnome/Ubuntu. It can be used in Kubuntu without difficulty, and often works better than both KPackageKit and Adept. Usage is similar to the other package managers. Install:

sudo apt-get install synaptic

Manual Updates

sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get upgrade
sudo apt-get install linux-headers-$(uname -r)
or
K menu -> System -> System Settings -> Add and Remove Software -> Software Updates -> Apply all available updates
or
K -> System -> Adept Manager -> Adept -> Fetch package list
or
K -> System -> Adept Manager -> Sources -> Fetch current package lists
If there are packages available for updating, you will be prompted whether to install them.

Automatic Updates

  • K menu -> System -> System Settings -> Add and Remove Software -> Settings -> Edit Software Sources -> Updates -> Automatic Updates
or
  • K menu -> System -> Adept Manager -> Sources -> Edit Software Sources -> Updates -> "Check for Updates"

Desktop Add-ons

There are many add-on icons, themes, wallpapers, 3-D effects, and other customizations available for the KDE desktop.

KDE Eye-Candy Resources

  • KDE Look has wallpapers, splash screens, icons, and themes for windows managers (including Kwin and Compiz) and other applications.

KDE Artwork

KDE Artwork is the package that contains themes, wallpapers, screensavers, widget styles, emoticons, and miscellaneous multimedia enhancers for the current KDE theme. Install:

sudo apt-get install kdeartwork

Kwin

KWin is the default Windows Manager in Kubuntu. It provides most (but not all) of the 3-D effects available in Compiz Fusion.

  • To enable these effects:
K menu -> System -> System Settings -> Desktop -> General -> "Enable Desktop effects"
  • Choose which effects to use:
K menu -> System -> System Settings -> Desktop -> Desktop Effects -> All Effects

Compiz Fusion

Compiz Fusion is available as a separate Windows Manager, to allow advanced desktop effects such as the rotating cube desktop. Some Kubuntu users choose to run Compiz instead of KWin. It is quite fast in Kubuntu and is not troubled by window flicker seen in some other windows managers. Install:

sudo apt-get install compiz compizconfig-settings-manager compiz-kde compiz-fusion-plugins-main compiz-fusion-plugins-extra emerald librsvg2-common

To change to Compiz as the Window Manager:

K menu -> System Settings -> Advanced -> Session Manager -> Window Manager -> Compiz

Note: You must logout and log back in for the change to take effect.

  • Select Compiz Configuration:
K menu -> Settings -> CompizConfig Settings Manager

Fusion Icon

Fusion Icon is a tray icon that allows you to easily switch between window managers (such as between KWin and Compiz), window decorators, and gives you quick access to the Settings Manager. This allows quick toggling of 3-D desktop effects (that may not be compatible with some applications).

sudo apt-get install fusion-icon
Start:
K menu -> System -> Compiz Fusion Icon

You can then easily access CompizConfig Settings Manager from the icon.

Rotate the Compiz Cube

Set the CompizConfig Settings Manager to enable the "Desktop Cube" and "Rotate Cube" and "Viewport Switching" options. Click on the icon for each to customize settings. For example, to change the appearance of the cube, click on the Desktop Cube icon to access its settings. You can set the hotkey buttons for rotating the cube in the "Viewport Switching" settings. Otherwise, hold down the Ctrl+Alt+Left mouse button and drag the mouse (or touchpad) the direction you want to rotate the cube.

Remember, the cube rotates between desktops. It's not a cube unless you have at least 4 desktops running. You will not get a cube if you are only using 2 desktops (you will get a "plate"). You can still rotate the sides of the plate, of course, but it will not be a cube. (Recent users from the Windows OS may have no experience with the concept of simultaneous desktops, but they are nice once you learn how to use them).

When running Compiz fusion as the Windows Manager, you must change the default number of desktops from within CompizConfig Settings Manger. To enable 4 desktops:

K menu -> System -> CompizConfig Settings Manager -> General -> General Options -> Desktop -> Horizontal Virtual Size -> 4

When you start an application, you can assign it to any one of the 4 desktops by right-clicking the upper left corner of the application window and choosing the "To Desktop..." option. Rotating the cube shows the different desktops. You can also go to a desktop using the taskbar icon which shows the 4 desktops.

Emerald

Emerald is the theme engine for Compiz Fusion. Multiple themes are available from KDE Look, some of which are used in KWin as well. Oxygen, a default theme in Kubuntu, is an Emerald theme, for example. (These themes originated from the Beryl project before it merged with Compiz to form Compiz Fusion.) The Emerald Theme Manager for Compiz Fusion can be installed:

sudo apt-get install emerald

deKorator

deKorator is a window decoration engine for KDE. You can easily install lots of themes with this engine. See the installation instructions at KDE Look.

Widgets

Add Plasma Widgets to the desktop

Plasma has replaced Kicker in Kubuntu. Plasma comes with plenty of applets/widgets (called plasmoids or widgets) that you can use on the desktop. Also see the KDE 4.3 Plasma FAQ or the KDE 4.4 Plasma FAQ.

  • Click on the Plasma icon in the upper right of the desktop.
  • "Add Widgets" and select from one of the already installed widgets/plasmoids.
Example: Add the Comic Strip widget/plasmoid. This will display a comic strip from the Internet. Click on the wrench icon to choose the comic strip, such as Dilbert.
  • "Install New Widgets".
  • "Download new Plasma Widgets" to choose a widget/plasmoid from KDE-look.
Example: Add Widgets -> Install New Widgets -> Download new Plasma Widgets -> Order by: Highest Rated -> Google Translator -> Install. Then Add Widgets -> Google Translator (to put it on your desktop).
or

Note: There are problems installing Mac OSX widgets in newer version of KDE. See this KDE forum thread.

Add scripting for Plasma Widgets

Many installable widgets use customised scripts (written in Ruby, Perl, Python, Java, or another scripting language). Each may require installation of a scripting engine. All the script engines can be installed at once:

sudo apt-get install plasma-scriptengines

Add Plasma Widget packages

A large number of Plasma Widgets are available as packages, not as widget add-ons. To find a list of these, search for plasma-widget in your package manager (e.g. KPackageKit). For example, to install the Flickr plasma widget, install the plasma-widget-flickr package. Similar complete packages include Google Calendar, Fortunoid, Translatoid, Customizable Weather, Next Wallpaper, and other plasmoid packages.

SuperKaramba Desktop Widgets / Gadgets

SuperKaramba is a tool that allows you to create themes and widgets.

sudo apt-get install superkaramba-kde4

Change USplash Boot Screen

This is the splash screen you see at bootup, when you are asked for a login and password.

  • K Menu -> System -> System Settings -> Appearance -> Splash Screen -> Get New Themes...
or
  • Download splash screens at KDE Look
  • K Menu-> System -> System Settings -> Appearance -> Splash Screen -> Install Theme File
  • Browse to your splash screen tar archive file and select it from your download location.

Google Desktop

Google Desktop for Linux is a proprietary suite of widgets and applications to give Google control over your computer and thereby allow you to use Google services. A .deb package can be downloaded and installed from Google Linux Downloads. For installation instructions, see Google Desktop for Linux Instructions.

Dock applications

Avant Window Manager, Cairo Dock, and Wbar are dock-like applications for Kubuntu/Ubuntu Linux. A dock represents running programs as icons at the bottom of the screen (as is done on the Mac OS X desktop), instead of by toolbar panel segments (as is done in Windows and other Linux window managers). See this brief comparison of dock applications.

Avant Window Navigator

  • Avant Window Navigator requires that a desktop composition manager (such as Kwin (Kubuntu/KDE), Metacity (Ubuntu/Gnome), Compiz, Xcompmgr, or xfwm4 (Xubuntu)) be installed and running.
  • Install and upgrade proprietary nVidia or ATI graphics drivers so that the compositing manager functions properly.
  • Install AWN:
sudo apt-get install avant-window-navigator awn-manager
(Note: If you are using Gnome (Ubuntu) and do not already have a compositing manager installed (such as Compiz), Metacity will be installed as part of the installation.)
  • Enable automatic startup of AWN at bootup:
  • Menu -> System -> Preferences -> Sessions -> Add...
avant-window-navigator
  • Select which applets should run from the dock menu by default:
  • Menu -> Applications -> Accessories -> Avant Window Navigator Manager
You can drag application icons onto the list, then activate or deactivate the applets from the list.

Cairo Dock

Cairo Dock can be used either with a desktop compositing manager (such as Compiz or the KDE4 Kwin Window Manager) or without one. See the Ubuntu installation instructions for details. It is available from the repositories:

sudo apt-get install cairo-dock cairo-dock-plugins

wbar

wbar is a quick-launch bar (not a dock) that has an appearance similar to Avant Window Manager and Cairo Dock. It is GTK (Gnome) based but can work in all desktop environments. It does not require a compositing manager to be installed and is therefore quicker and more suitable for low-end hardware systems. It is the default in the Google gOS desktop and is available as a .deb package from Google. Download and install (from the command-line Terminal):

wget http://wbar.googlecode.com/files/wbar_1.3.3_i386.deb 
sudo dpkg -i wbar_1.3.3_i386.deb
  • Start wbar with custom start options (e.g. by pressing alt+F2). Here is an example:
wbar -isize 48 -j 1 -p bottom -balfa 40 -bpress -nanim 3 -z 2.5 -above-desk
Here is another example:
wbar -above-desk -pos bottom -isize 60 -nanim 1 -bpress -jumpf 0.0 -zoomf 1.5

For a full list of command-line startup options, see:

wbar --help

Tip: If you want the "wave" effect just increase the -nanim value. I like the icons to just pop up so I don't use it, but with 9 icons 5 there is a nice "wave" effect.

Obviously, you could create a menu item with the command line options (similar to the examples above), or a batch file that can be automatically started at system startup (as a cron event or startup session).

You can also change wbar startup options by editing the configuration file:

sudo gedit /usr/share/wbar/dot.wbar

See this example configuration file. However, not all options are able to be set from the configuration file and must be run from the command line. For more info see this wbar guide.

wbarconf

A simple wbar configuration utility can be downloaded as a .deb package and installed:

wget http://koti.kapsi.fi/~ighea/wbarconf/wbarconf_0.7.2-1_i386.deb
sudo dpkg -i wbarconf_0.7.2-1_i386.deb

Yakuake command-line terminal

Yakuake is a stylish command line terminal that can be used instead of Konsole.

sudo apt-get install yakuake

Enable it by going to K -> System -> Yakuake

Use it by pressing F12.

Virtualization

Virtualization allows a second operating system (OS), such as Windows or OS X, to be run from within (K)Ubuntu. This requires extra RAM (because both (K)Ubuntu and the virtualized second OS require separate amounts of RAM) and a license for the second OS. If you wish to run a virtualized instance of Windows XP, for instance, you must have a license for Windows XP.

VirtualBox

VirtualBox is a fast and complete virtualization solution owned and maintained by Sun Microsystems. There is a free and fully open-source edition available under the GNU GPL license.

  • Install the open-source edition:
sudo apt-get install virtualbox-ose virtualbox-ose-source virtualbox-guest-additions
  • You can also add the QT-version (if using KDE/Kubuntu, for example):
 sudo apt-get install virtualbox-ose-qt
  • Start VirtualBox:
Menu -> VirtualBox OSE PC virtualization solution

For usage instructions, see the End-user documentation. For information on installing Virtualbox in Windows so that Ubuntu can then be installed within in a virtual machine running in Windows, see this page.

Proprietary versions of VirtualBox

A few additional features that are not yet in the OSE version, such as a USB device interface, are available in the proprietary version of VirtualBox. To install a proprietary edition of VirtualBox:

  • Add the following string to your repository list:
deb http://download.virtualbox.org/virtualbox/debian karmic non-free
  • Add the key fingerprint to your Linux:
wget -q http://download.virtualbox.org/virtualbox/debian/sun_vbox.asc -O- | sudo apt-key add -

VMWare

VMWare is a commercial virtualization platform that currently offers two free products: VMWare Player and VMWare Server (the latter with a free renewable yearly license). VMWare Player can play virtual appliances that have already been created, whereas VMWare Server (which has a broader range of features) allows the creation of virtual machines. In general, VMWare Server is recommended unless you only need to play an appliance. (Appliances will also run in VMWare Server). Users that wish to run servers (or processes) that need to be available to a network from within the virtual machine should use VMServer. If you wish to install a new OS within a virtual machine (other than in an appliance), you will need VMWare Server.

VMWare Player

Installation instructions are on the website, or at the Ubuntu community wiki. In brief, to install the free VMWare Player:

  • Install pre-requisites:
sudo apt-get install build-essential linux-headers-$(uname -r)
  • Get the binary package/installation script, give it executable privileges, then run the installation script:
wget http://download3.vmware.com/software/vmplayer/VMware-Player-2.5.3-185404.i386.bundle
chmod +x VMware-Player-2.5.3-185404.i386.bundle
sudo ./VMware-Player-2.5.3-185404.i386.bundle
  • Run:
Applications -> System Tools -> VMWare Player
Create an Ubuntu Appliance for VMWare Player

Ubuntu JeOS is a server edition of Ubuntu optimised for use within Virtual Appliances. A virtual appliance can be built for VMWare with Ubuntu JeOS using vmbuilder.

For routine installation of Ubuntu within a virtual machine, use the Ubuntu edition for virtual machines.

VMWare Server

  • Install pre-requisites:
sudo apt-get install build-essential linux-headers-$(uname -r)
  • Download the server source files for your architecture (32-bit or 64-bit) from the VMWare Server website and retrieve your license key by email.
  • Extract the files, give execution privileges to the install script, and run the install script:
tar xvf VMware-server-2.0.1-156745.i386.tar.gz
cd vmware-server-distrib
chmod +x vmware-install.pl
sudo ./vmware-install.pl
VMWare Package

VMWare Appliances (that include an Ubuntu/Debian OS) can be created using VMWare Server and the VMWare Package utility. These appliances can then be deployed to users who can play them using VMWare Player. Install:

sudo apt-get install vmware-package

Keyboard errors in VMware guest

After installing VMWare 6.5, and installing a guest OS, the Function, arrow and Del/End/etc keys do not function. This is a bug with VMWare´s code. Add this line to ~/.vmware/config (create file if necessary) to fix this issue:

xkeymap.nokeycodeMap = true

KVM

KVM is the free open source virtualization solution implemented as a Linux kernel module (in the recent kernels) for computers whose processors contain virtualization extensions (Intel VT or AMD-V). See the Ubuntu installation instructions. Install:

sudo apt-get install kvm

Qemu (without KVM)

If your computer does not have the virtualization extensions, you can still run the QEMU virtualization platform. See this Ubuntu community documentation. It can be installed from source code.

Xen

Xen is an efficient open-source virtualization ("hypervisor") platform (which includes a merge with QEMU). It is the basis for the Amazon EC2 Cloud and is generally intended for use on a server (or on "baremetal" systems, i.e. no OS yet installed). It is free open source under a GPL license. The latest desktop (and installation instructions) is available from the website. (A commercial version is also offered by Citrix.) Implementation in Ubuntu requires some modification, currently. For more info, see the Ubuntu community documentation. Install:

sudo apt-get install xen-hypervisor xen-docs convirt

A Xen virtual machine host can also be installed automatically with certain 64-bit CPUs, using the 64-bit Ubuntu Server LiveCD. (A (K)Ubuntu desktop can then later be added -- see Ubuntu server).

Virtual Machine Manager

Virtual Machine Manager is an application to allow viewing of all instances of virtual machines on your system. It includes a secure implementation of VNC. This and other virtual management tools are available as an integrated package in (K)Ubuntu. Install:

sudo apt-get install ubuntu-virt-mgmt

Crossover for Linux

Codeweavers' Crossover Office for Linux is a subscription-based commercial package that allows many Windows programs to be run on Ubuntu without the need for a Microsoft OS license or a complete virtualization system. See the website for more info. Codeweavers releases older versions of this product into the free package Wine.

Wine

Wine is a free open-source package that is similar to (and implements many elements of) CrossOver for Linux. Like CrossOver for Linux, no Microsoft license or virtualization platform is required to run Windows programs.

sudo apt-get install wine

Also consider installing Microsoft's TrueType fonts:

sudo apt-get install msttcorefonts

PlayOnLinux

PlayOnLinux is a Wine frontend which simplifies the installation and launch of many Windows programs, particularly games. Install:

sudo apt-get install playonlinux
Internet Explorer 7

Internet Explorer 7 can be installed with PlayOnLinux. Select "Internet Explorer 7" from the "Internet" section of PlayonLinux.

Internet Explorer 6

Internet Explorer 6 can function under Wine, albeit imperfectly. For most purposes, Firefox can be used (with the User Agent Switcher plugin) to mimic Internet Explorer, but for those instances when it can't, IE6 may be useful. A beta implementation of Internet Explorer 7 is also available from this package. For more info, see IEs 4 Linux.

  • Make sure you have wine and cabextract packages:
sudo apt-get install wine cabextract
  • Download IEs 4 Linux and install:
wget http://www.tatanka.com.br/ies4linux/downloads/ies4linux-latest.tar.gz
tar zxvf ies4linux-latest.tar.gz
cd ies4linux-*
./ies4linux --no-gui

Transgaming Cedega

Cedega is a commercial application (similar to CrossOver Office and Wine), for installing and running some Windows applications, specifically games, without the need for virtualization or a Microsoft license. It provides 3D support, software acceleration support, and a high level of DirectX support. Installation instructions are found on the website.

Mono

Mono is a free open source project sponsored by Novell to allow .NET programs to function in Linux ((K)Ubuntu) and Mac OS X. . Several GNOME applications (like Tomboy, F-Spot, and Banshee) require mono to be installed, so mono may already be installed by default on your system. The most recent version is available here.

sudo apt-get install mono-2.0-devel

Moonlight

DosBox

DOSBox is a DOS-emulator that emulates CPU:286/386 realmode/protected mode, Directory FileSystem/XMS/EMS, Tandy/Hercules/CGA/EGA/VGA/VESA graphics, and a SoundBlaster/Gravis Ultra Sound card (for sound compatibility with older games). You can "re-live" classic games that otherwise won't run on newer computers.

sudo apt-get install dosbox

ScummVM

ScummVM allows certain classic graphical point-and-click adventure games to run (provided you already have their data files). ScummVM replaces the executables shipped with the games, allowing play on Linux operating systems (for which they were not originally designed).

sudo apt-get install scummvm

Edutainment Applications

There are many, many superb applications that can be installed with a single click.

K menu -> System -> KPackageKit -> Software Management
or
K menu -> Add/Remove Software (Adept Installer) -> Edutainment.

Below are a few examples that can be installed from this menu:

  • Celestia -- a free planetarium and space simulator for the desktop
  • Stellarium -- an astounding planetarium for the desktop
  • K3DSurf -- a program for modeling 3,4,5, and 6 dimensional models.
  • Bibletime-- a Bible study tool using the QT platform
  • Zekr -- an Islamic Quran study tool (available in Utilities)
  • Oregano -- a program for electrical engineering schematics
  • RlPlot -- a high quality graph generator
  • Mnemosyne -- a flash-card tool
  • Gramps -- map your family-tree and co-operate with genealogy projects

Google Earth

Google Earth gives you an annotated eagle's eye view of our planet. This is a free proprietary package (you must accept the license to use this package).

sudo apt-get install googleearth-package
make-googleearth-package --force
Doubleclick on the resulting .deb file.
-- or --

To install the latest Linux binary, download and save the GoogleEarthLinux.bin package from Google Earth downloads. Then install:

chmod +x GoogleEarthLinux.bin
./GoogleEarthLinux.bin

Run:

Applications -> Internet -> Google Earth 3D planet viewer

You should turn off the Google Earth -> View -> Atmosphere setting, or you might see clouds everywhere and the ground won't show up.

Troubleshooting

If Google Earth opens, shows the splash screen, and then crashes, you’re probably experiencing a common issue. Running ~/google-earth/googleearth in a terminal will show this error: ./googleearth-bin: relocation error: /usr/lib/i686/cmov/libssl.so.0.9.8: symbol BIO_test_flags, version OPENSSL_0.9.8 not defined in file libcrypto.so.0.9.8 with link time reference

To fix this, browse to the folder you installed Google Earth into. By default this will be google-earth in your home folder. Find the file libcrypto.so.0.9.8 and rename it to something else, like libcrypto.so.0.9.8.bak. Google Earth should now start correctly.

cd ~/google-earth
sudo mv libcrypto.so.0.9.8 libcrypto.so.0.9.8.bak
sudo ln -s /usr/lib/libcrypto.so.0.9.8 ~/google-earth/libcrypto.so.0.9.8
(Note: You can also specify /home/user/google-earth instead of ~/google-earth ).

For other issues, see the Ubuntu help pages on Google Earth.

Uninstall Google Earth

To uninstall run the uninstall shell script located in the /home/user/google-earth folder (or whichever folder you installed google-earth into).

FBReader (e-book reader)

FBReader is a free cross-platform e-book reader, based on the GTK platform. Install:

sudo apt-get install fbreader

Games

There are some phenomenal games for (K)Ubuntu Linux.

There are hundreds of free, open-source games available in (K)Ubuntu. Most (including the KDE Games collection and the Gnome Games collection) can be accessed through the Games section of your Package Manager.

Examples are:

Vdrift

Vdrift is a free open source 3-D racing game, similar to Need for Speed, with realistic physics, multiple drift tracks, and multiplayer games. Support for joysticks, mice and keyboard is included. A binary package for Linux is available from the website.

Action

Incredible action games (including those from the Top 25) are available in Ubuntu. Many can be installed using:

Applications -> Add/Remove Software -> Games

Examples are:

  • Alien Arena -- a multi-player first person shooter action game with free servers. The repositories have version 7.0-1. For the current version 7.2 see the website.
  • OpenArena -- an open-source multi-player first person shooter action game, with free servers. The repositories have version 7.7. For the current 8.1 version see the website.
  • Tremulous -- a Halo-like multiplayer first person shooter action game. The repositories have the current version.
  • Sauerbraten - a multiplayer graphics-rich first person shooter game evolved from Cube.

Nexuiz

  • Nexuiz is an open-source multi-player first person shooter game with free servers and tournaments.

The current version 2.4.2 is in the repositories.

sudo apt-get install nexuiz nexuiz-music

You must have desktop effects turned off (System -> System Settings -> Desktop). There are a few other problems. See the Nexuiz forums. Some recommend running from a shell:

sudo ./nexuiz-linux-glx.sh

or

sudo ./nexuiz-linux-sdl.sh

  • A 35 map community pack is available here. To install, extract the map pack to /home/username/.nexuiz/data (or ~/.nexuiz/data ).

UrbanTerror

UrbanTerror is a multiplayer first person shooter action game. It uses the open-source quake 3 engine and features many real weapons and free-to-use servers for multi-player functionality. See the Installation instructions at the website.

  • Alternative installation with a script:
  • After downloading the script open Terminal into your download directory then make the script executable with the following command:
sudo chmod +x urt40-linux-installer.sh
  • Now double click on the script to execute and follow the directions
  • The install will take a while, as the script executes a download of the necessary files which are about 541MB
  • After the install you will have a nice UrbanTerror icon on your desktop (unless you installed as root)

Spring

The Spring Project is a scripting engine platform to develop and play free multiplayer games such as Star Wars Imperial Winter and Complete Annihilation. See these installation instructions for adding the repository, then installing as a package.

PlaneShift

PlaneShift is a promising free full-immersion online fantasy game (MMPORG). Client downloads and patches are available here.

  • Make the downloaded binary installation file executable:
cd /directory_where_downloaded
chmod +x PlaneShift-v.0.42-x64.bin
  • Run the executable binary as root (this must be done from the command line Terminal):
sudo ./PlaneShift-v.0.42-x64.bin
  • Follow the instructions for installation. When prompted whether to manually set permissions, answer "no."
  • During installation, most users have recommended installing this game to your /home directory as a single user installation, instead of to /opt for all users. This avoids permissions problems. I was able to install to /opt, but it takes some effort.
  • Make sure your user belongs to the games group:
System -> User Manager -> user -> Groups -> check games
  • Download the updater patch psupdaterlinux64.zip and unzip it to your download directory.
  • Run the updater as root:
chmod +x psupdater
chmod +x psupdater.bin
sudo ./psupdater
Applications -> Lost & Found -> Client and Setup

To run it from the menu, I had to edit the menu entries by checking the box: "Run in terminal." Alternatively, run it from the command-line Terminal:

sudo /opt/PlaneShift/pssetup
sudo /opt/PlaneShift/psclient

Notes: This game ran very slowly for me on a 32-bit installation with a DSL connection and I gave up. The 64-bit installation worked better, but there were still many freezes. This is a game very much in development, and is still in alpha stage.

Doom

Skulltag

Skulltag is an updated version of ZDoom that includes network play. See the website for simple (K)Ubuntu installation instructions. (You can use the Freedoom Iwad (see below) if you don't have an original Doom2.wad.) Note: Most of the modules require dependencies from the Universe repositories. Make sure you have the Universe repositories enabled (Synaptic Package Manager -> Settings -> Repositories -> Edit Software Sources -> Community-maintained Open Source software (universe) -> (ticked)).

  • Install prerequisites:
sudo apt-get install timidity timidity-interfaces-extra
  • Then add the skulltag repositories, update, and install Skulltag and DoomSeeker (the Skulltag online server utility):
echo "deb http://skulltag.net/download/files/release/deb/ jaunty multiverse" | sudo tee /etc/apt/sources.list.d/skulltag.list
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install skulltag doomseeker-skulltag
  • If you don't have a doom2.wad, tnt.wad, or plutonia.wad already, you can copy the freedoom.wad to your ~/.skulltag folder:
cd ~/.skulltag
wget http://mirror.cinquix.com/pub/savannah/freedoom/freedoom-iwad/freedoom-iwad-0.6.4.zip
unzip freedoom-iwad-0.6.4.zip
cp freedoom*/doom2.wad .
rm freedoom-iwad-0.6.4.zip
  • If you need more help (regarding the Skulltag-server, firewalls, and port forwarding with Skulltag, for example), see my additional tips.
PrBoom

PrBoom is a free open source port of the original first person shooter action game, Doom.

sudo apt-get install prboom freedoom timidity timidity-interfaces-extra

There are thousands of extra maps (Wads) available for this game. It is easiest to keep a directory for your wads in your home directory:

mkdir /home/user/wads
or alternatively, use the /usr/share/games/doom folder, giving universal privileges to the folder:
chmod -R 777 /usr/share/games/doom

Place your doom2.wad, tnt.wad, or plutonia.wad (from your original game) into this folder. If you don't have one, you can copy the Freedom version of doom2.wad from /usr/share/games/freedoom into this folder. Place any new .wad's you have downloaded from the Internet into this folder as well. Then run the game using both the original iwad map as well as your new .wad map (you will only see the new map).

prboom -iwad /home/user/wads/doom2.wad -file /home/user/wads/new_wad.wad

Note: Only doom2.wad, tnt.wad, or plutonia.wad can be used as an iwad. You must have one of these in addition to any new wad you wish to use. When in doubt, use doom2.wad.

Note: this game can also be installed using Applications -> Add/Remove Software -> Games as Freedoom, but you must also install timidity and timidity-interfaces-extra.

Wing Commander Privateer

The Linux version of this free version of Wing Commander can be downloaded as a binary here.

Internet Applications

Internet applications enable you to make full use of your Internet connection. Web browsers, Email clients, Instant Messengers, and more are included in this category.

Web Browsers

Mozilla Firefox

Mozilla Firefox is the ubiquitous web browser. Based on open source components, it is trademarked and cannot be altered or re-distributed with any change that involves the name or trademarks. Install the current version:

sudo apt-get install firefox
Install Firefox 3.6

Firefox 3.6 is not yet in the official Ubuntu repositories. Obtain from the Launchpad repositories and install:

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:mozillateam/firefox-stable
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install firefox-3.6 firefox-3.6-branding

Note: This method requires that port 11371 for the (repository) keyserver be open in your firewall.

Firefox Plug-ins
Adblock plug-in (block ads in a web page)

Adblock Plus blocks ads that appear in web pages. You can subscribe to a free filter service, and can add ads to block with a single click.

sudo apt-get install mozilla-firefox-adblock
  • You can also add this extension from Firefox -> Tools -> Add-ons -> Get Add-ons -> Browse All Add-ons. (This method will also ensure that automatic updates are installed by Firefox.)
Noscript plug-in (controls scripts)

The Noscript plugin is considered one of the most important security measures for browsing the Internet. Most viruses and trojans gain access to computers from the Internet through scripts. This plugin allows you to choose which scripts to allow and blocks the rest.

sudo apt-get install mozilla-noscript
  • You can also add this extension from Firefox -> Tools -> Add-ons -> Get Add-ons -> Browse All Add-ons. (This method will also ensure that automatic updates are installed by Firefox.)
User Agent Switcher plug-in for Firefox

The User Agent Switcher plugin allows a browser to masquerade as another browser, allowing (most of the time) browser-specific content to be displayed.

  • You can add this extension from Firefox -> Tools -> Add-ons -> Get Add-ons -> Browse All Add-ons. (This method will also ensure that automatic updates are installed by Firefox.)
Video Download Helper plug-in for Firefox

The Video Download Helper plugin allows the download of videos (including Flash videos) from sites like YouTube.

  • You can add this extension from Firefox -> Tools -> Add-ons -> Get Add-ons -> Browse All Add-ons. (This method will also ensure that automatic updates are installed by Firefox.)
Unplug Download Management

The UnPlug add-on lets you save video and audio which is embedded on a webpage.

  • You can add this extension from Firefox -> Tools -> Add-ons -> Get Add-ons -> Browse All Add-ons. (This method will also ensure that automatic updates are installed by Firefox.)
Adobe Acrobat Reader for Firefox Plug-in
sudo apt-get install acroread mozilla-acroread acroread-plugins
Adobe Flash Player for Firefox Plug-in

To install the official Adobe Flash plugin (Flash 10) for Firefox:

sudo apt-get install adobe-flashplugin
Gnash Plug-in (Open source Flash Player replacement)

Gnash is available in a 64-bit version as well as a 32-bit version. It is the open source replacement for Adobe Flashplayer.

sudo apt-get install gnash

After installing, change your web browser's Preferences -> Applications so that SWF and SPL files use Gnash.

Java Runtime Environment (JRE) for Firefox plug-in

This package must be installed to run Java in Firefox, even if JRE is installed using kubuntu-restricted-extras or when installing OpenOffice.

sudo apt-get install sun-java6-plugin sun-java6-jre

Note: You must accept the license to use this product.

Kaffeine Plug-in for Firefox

This package also installs the Kaffeine player.

sudo apt-get install kaffeine-mozilla
MPlayer plug-in for Firefox

This package also installs MPlayer.

sudo apt-get install mozilla-mplayer
VLC plug-in for Firefox

This package also installs the VLC player.

sudo apt-get install mozilla-plugin-vlc
Helix player plug-in for Firefox

This package also installs the Helix player, which is the open source player that plays Real Player content in Linux.

sudo apt-get install mozilla-helix-player
Moonlight plugin for Firefox

Moonlight is part of the Novell Mono project that is an open source implementation of Silverlight (the Microsoft multimedia presentation platform). It is based on FFMpeg. It is made to work best with the Firefox 3 web browser, as a plugin (but also works with other mozilla browsers). Version 1 is available as a plugin for mozilla-based browsers:

sudo apt-get install moonlight-plugin-mozilla
Version 2 is available here.
  • Netflix under Moonlight
Netflix streaming requires both the capabilities of Silverlight 2.0 and Digital Rights Management modules. Although the current version of Moonlight 2.0 will run most Silverlight content (including Netflix content), Netflix has not yet released Digital Rights Management modules for Linux. Please contact Netflix directly for further information or sign a petition.
  • Olympics under Moonlight
The Novell Mono project has been working overtime to bring an alpha version of Moonlight 3 (compatible with Silverlight 3), with which the streaming video of the Olympics (by NBC and CTV) can be viewed. This works successfully for me. The Moonlight project warns that not all security gaps have been tested, so it should be used in a limited fashion. Nevertheless, my viewing of the Olympics (I am in the US so can only access NBC, since CTV is blocked in the US) is equal using this plugin (with Firefox in Linux) to my viewing using Silverlight in Windows. Download the Moonlight 2.99 plugin here.
FireFTP for Firefox

FireFTP is a Firefox extension for FTP transfers.

Firefox Widgets
Turn off browser bar drop-down list in Firefox

This is the most frequently asked problem regarding Firefox. To turn off the location browser bar drop-down list (and therefore not show your browsing history):

Firefox -> about:config (in the location browser bar) -> browser.urlbar.maxRichResults -> right-click -> Modify -> set value to 0

IceCat (IceApe Browser)

IceCat is Firefox distributed without the Mozilla trademark restrictions. It is endorsed by the Debian project (on which Kubuntu is based). It is formerly known as IceWeasel and is also known as IceApe Browser. Install the current version:

sudo apt-get install iceape-browser

SeaMonkey

SeaMonkey is an open-source integrated internet application suite (web browser, IM (IRC) client, Email client, RSS/News reader, and web development tools). It is based on the same components as the Mozilla products (Firefox, Thunderbird, etc.) and shares the same trademark and branding restrictions. There are many plugins, similar to those for Thunderbird and Firefox. Install the current version:

sudo apt-get install seamonkey

IceApe

IceApe is an open-source integrated internet application suite (including web browser, IM (IRC) client, Email client, RSS/News reader, and web development tools). It is based on the same components as the Mozilla product SeaMonkey, but has no restrictive trademark licensing, and is endorsed by the Debian project (on which Kubuntu is based). Install the current version:

sudo apt-get install iceape

Konqueror

Konqueror is the default web and file browser included with Kubuntu.

Konqueror plug-ins
KGet (Download Manager) plug-in for Konqueror

KGet is a download manager for the Konqueror browser, but it can also work with Firefox as part of the FlashGot plugin.

sudo apt-get install kget

Opera

Opera is a proprietary browser and internet suite (currently free on PCs) also used in some mobile devices and gaming consoles. It includes email, an address book, IRC chat, integrated BitTorrent, and webfeeds. A limited number of plugins are also available.

sudo apt-get install opera

Download Managers

Downloader for X

Downloader for X is a GTK-based free-standing download manager utility. Still included in current repositories, the project appears dead. It is open-source, but does not have a GPL license.

sudo apt-get install d4x

Email Clients

KMail

KMail (Kontact Mail) is the default email client included with Kontact. Access it by going to

K menu -> Office -> Kontact Personal Information Manager

or

K menu -> Internet -> KMail

Kontact includes email, an address book, a calendar, reminders, pop-up notes, a link to the Akregator News/RSS reader, time-tracking, and more.

To change view mode or aggregation mode (grouping) of the message list pane, use the icons to the right of the search pane. (Configuration of this doesn't seem to be available from the settings menus.)

PGP and Kmail

PGP-encrypted messages can be emailed using Kmail. See this tutorial.

Kmail -> Configure Kmail -> Security -> Crypto Backends

Thunderbird

Mozilla Thunderbird is a licensed and trademarked free open-source email client that is compatible with Firefox. Install:

sudo apt-get install mozilla-thunderbird
Enigmail

Enigmail is an add-on to Thunderbird that allows you to easily encrypt your email using OpenPGP, which is included in the kernel by default. It also allows you to create and manage the encryption keys. Go the website and click "Download Now". Install:

Thunderbird -> Tools -> Add-ons -> Install -> select downloaded file
New Mail Icon for Thunderbird

"New Mail Icon" is an experimental tray add-on which notifes you of new mail. Download from the website. Install:

Thunderbird -> Tools -> Add-ons -> Install -> select downloaded file

Evolution

Evolution is the default Gnome-based email client used in Ubuntu. Installing it will also install many Gnome components.

sudo apt-get install evolution

Newsreaders

Akregator

Akregator is the default news/RSS reader included with Kubuntu. Usage instructions are found in the Handbook.

RSSOwl

RSSOwl is a Java-based RSS | RDF | Atom Newsfeed Reader.

Install java and in order to use the internal browser, install the packages xulrunner and firefox:

sudo apt-get install sun-java6-jre firefox xulrunner

Change to your "opt" directory:

cd /opt

Download the zip-archive into your opt directory:

sudo wget http://downloads.sourceforge.net/rssowl/rssowl-2.0.5.linux.zip

Extract the archive and remove the extracted file:

sudo unzip ./rssowl-2.0.5.linux.zip && sudo rm ./rssowl-2.0.5.linux.zip

Make a startscript:

sudo kate /usr/bin/runRSSOwl.sh

add the following lines to your startscript file /usr/bin/runRSSOwl.sh and save it afterwards.

    #!/bin/bash
    cd /opt/rssowl
    ./RSSOwl

Make the startscript executable:

sudo chmod u+x /usr/bin/runRSSOwl.sh

To start RSSOwl:

runRSSOwl.sh

Instant Messengers

Kopete

Kopete is the default Instant Messenger application for KDE/Kubuntu. Webcam video capability is incorporated. You can access multiple services with it. You can access it by:

K Menu -> Applications -> Internet -> Kopete Instant Messenger.
Kopete Styles

Additional styles for Kopete are available from KDE-look. Install from:

Kopete -> Settings -> Configure -> Chat Window -> Style -> Get New...
GoogleTalk on Kopete

Kopete can be configured to work with GoogleTalk Instant Messaging (but not VOIP) using the Jabber protocol. See these GoogleTalk instructions.

Konversation (IRC client)

Konversation is no longer the default Internet Relay Chat (IRC) client in Kubuntu, but is highly recommended nevertheless. It functions similar to the venerable mIRC. Make sure you have ports 6667-6670 open in your firewall to use IRC (and ports 1024-1028 open to use DCC). Install:

sudo apt-get install konversation

Run:

K menu -> Internet -> Konversation

Quassel (IRC client)

Quassel is a cross-platform IRC client currently in development and (for some reason) is now included as the default Kubuntu/KDE client. Based on the Qt platform, there is not yet any DCC implementation (which makes this client limited in usefulness) and it has many bugs. Try Konversation instead.

Pidgin

Pidgin is an open source IM application. It is the default in the Ubuntu (Gnome) desktop, but will work in Kubuntu (KDE). You can access multiple services with it.

sudo apt-get install pidgin

aMSN

aMSN is an MSN Messenger utility that functions like the original client. Unlike Kopete, it is not made for the KDE desktop (but can be installed nevertheless). Install it:

sudo apt-get install amsn

To enable Drag-and-Drop capabilities to aMSN for easy file transfer see Ubuntu Geek.

Emesene

Emesene is an MSN messenger client that uses a simplified interface similar to the original client. Unlike Kopete, it is not made for the KDE desktop (but can be installed nevertheless). Install it:

sudo apt-get install emesene

Kmess

Kmess is an MSN messenger client for KDE that is an alternative to Kopete (for MSN users).

sudo apt-get install kmess

KDEuBlog (Microblogging)

KDEuBlog is a desktop widget used for microblogging on sites like Twitter and Identi.ca. Install:

Widget icon (upper right corner of desktop) -> Add widgets ... -> Microblogging

FTP Clients

Although Konqueror can use FTP via kioslaves, you might wish to use a dedicated FTP client.

Filezilla

Filezilla is the ubiquitous free open-source FTP client and server for all platforms.

sudo apt-get install filezilla

Filesharing / P2P

Do not share copyrighted material or content that is otherwise illegal to share.

KTorrent

KTorrent is the default BitTorrent client in Kubuntu.

K menu -> Internet -> KTorrent

Be sure to have your firewall ports open (by default 6881 and 4444).

Azureus

Azureus is a Java-based BitTorrent client.

sudo apt-get install azureus

QTorrent

QTorrent is a PyQT-based BitTorrent Client that is supposed to be very fast.

sudo apt-get install qtorrent

Transmission (BitTorrent Client)

Transmission is the GTK-based default BitTorrent client in Ubuntu (Gnome). KTorrent can be used in Kubuntu.

sudo apt-get install transmission

Apollon (P2P Filesharing)

Apollon is an older BitTorrent client oriented towards KDE. It uses plugins for compatibility with multiple networks.

sudo apt-get install apollon gift

KMLDonkey (P2P eMule/eDonkey2000 Client)

KMLDonkey is a KDE frontend for MLDonkey, the P2P file sharing program (and network) that is able to use different network protocols.

sudo apt-get install kmldonkey mldonkey-server

Videoconferencing and VOIP

Videoconferencing and voice over Internet (VOIP) applications are merging into integrated applications. Most of these applications now allow placing calls to non-Internet based telephones for a small fee.

Ekiga

Formerly known as Gnomemeeting, Ekiga is a SIP compliant fully functional open source integrated VOIP and videoconferencing program.

sudo apt-get install ekiga

Skype

Skype is a proprietary integrated VOIP and video conferencing program similar to Ekiga.

sudo apt-get install skype
  • To get the most recent version, download and install the 32-bit version:
wget -O skype-ubuntu-current_i386.deb http://www.skype.com/go/getskype-linux-beta-ubuntu-32
sudo dpkg -i skype-ubuntu-current_i386.deb
sudo rm skype-ubuntu-current_i386.deb
How to install Skype on a 64-bit system

The current version of Skype for 64-bit systems is a masqueraded 32-bit module. To use on a 64-bit system you might still need to install the needed packages:

sudo apt-get install ia32-libs lib32asound2 libqt4-core libqt4-gui
  • Then download and install the current Skype .deb package from the Skype website:
wget -O skype_ubuntu-current_amd64.deb http://www.skype.com/go/getskype-linux-beta-ubuntu-64
sudo dpkg -i skype-ubuntu-current_amd64.deb
sudo rm skype-ubuntu-current_amd64.deb
  • If the 64-bit version doesn't work for you, use the 32-bit version:
wget -O skype-ubuntu-current_i386.deb http://www.skype.com/go/getskype-linux-beta-ubuntu-32
sudo dpkg -i --force-architecture skype-ubuntu-current_i386.deb
sudo rm skype-ubuntu-current_i386.deb

Wengophone

Wengophone is an integrated VOIP and videoconferencing client available on many platforms. Wengophone was initially an open-source GPL-licensed package ('Wengophone Classic'). Both the Classic version (available as a .deb file) and the current proprietary binary version are available from the website. Wengophone Classic has now been rebranded as QuteCom, however. To install the current version as an Ubuntu/Kubuntu package, see these instructions.

  • Download and install the older Wengophone Classic version (.deb package):
wget http://download.wengo.com/wengophone/rc/wengophone-0.958m-1.i386.deb
dpkg -i --force-architecture wengophone-0.958m-1.i386.deb

Gizmo5

Gizmo5 is an Internet soft-phone application, similar to Skype, that uses the SIP protocol. Install (.deb package):

wget http://download.gizmo5.com/GizmoDownload/gizmo-project_3.1.0.79_libstdc++6_i386.deb
dpkg -i --force-architecture gizmo-project_3.1.0.79_libstdc++6_i386.deb

Asterisk VOIP PBX system

Asterisk is an enterprise-grade, free open source PBX and telephony system for VOIP.

sudo apt-get install asterisk

Kiax

Kiax is an LGPL-licensed open source IAX (Inter-Asterisk eXchange) application. It is used for making VoIP calls from an Asterisk PBX. The current version must be installed from source files. See the website for download and installation instructions, or see this Ubuntu Launchpad site.

OpenSIPS / OpenSER (SIP server)

OpenSIPS is an open-source SIP server that allows connections to be made through the Internet for VoIP, IM, and other communications protocols. While there are many public SIP servers, these are subject to spoofing and other "impersonation" problems. A company may wish to host its own SIP server to avoid the problems inherent in public services whose trustworthiness can not be determined. OpenSIPS is the successor to OpenSER (which is the version in the repositories). Install OpenSER 1.3.2 from the repositories:

sudo apt-get install openser

Alternately, the newest version of OpenSIPS can be downloaded as a .deb package from the website and installed. Installation and usage instructions are on the website.

Web meetings

Web meeting software allows video conferencing among many clients, with one server as host.

BigBlueButton

BigBlueButton is a free open source chat/video/audio and desktop sharing platform similar to GoToMeeting, WebEx, DimDim and similar products. Developed by GoogleCode, it utilises all open-source modules. A Moodle plugin is also available. See these installation instructions and these additional detailed instructions.

WebHuddle

WebHuddle is a free, open source Java-based browser client (and server) for web meetings. To install the server, first install pre-requisites, including Java, JBOSS Application Server, and xvfb.

sudo apt-get sun-java6-jre jbossas4 xvfb

For more details on setting this up in (K)Ubuntu, see this.


Privacy

PGP (Message Encryption)

PGP (OpenPGP and GnuPGP) is a tool to encrypt your messages (such as email) to be unlocked only by someone who has a key to unlock it.

KGPG

KGpg is the GUI for KDE to manage the key pairs and other options of GnuPGP.

Tor

Tor is a project to allow privacy while using the Internet and to limit usage tracking. It routes your traffic through several anonymous nodes, so that your usage appears to come from an IP other than your own. (There are always risks when using the Internet that even Tor can not help with, though. Read this.) Using Tor can slow down your Internet usage significantly, depending on how much traffic is being passed through the Tor network (routine file-sharing or large downloads will also significantly reduce performance of the Tor network.)

  • Tor network speed improves when there are more volunteers to run relays (and relays have better anonymity), bridges, and exit nodes. Please consider being a relay or bridge node if your ISP does not filter Tor and you have good bandwidth. Additonally please consider configuring your relay as an exit node (if you are in a favorable network and don't mind a little bit of potential hassle for being an exit node).
  • Note: Due to recent attacks on the Tor network, it is worthwhile to install the most current version of Tor. See this section.
  • Note: Attack vectors to defeat Tor anonymity have been described. See here and here.

Install Tor (Network privacy)

  • Install Tor by following the instructions here. Note that the instructions require port 11371 on your firewall to be open to use the gpg keyserver (and download the key for the debian package). Then see the Tor installation guide for details. In general:
sudo apt-get install tor
  • Here is an example installation method:
sudo add-apt-repository "http://deb.torproject.org/torproject.org saucy main"
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install deb.torproject.org-keyring
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install tor
Use your own OS' version instead of saucy.
  • To install the signing key for the repository (make sure port 11371 in the firewall is unblocked):
gpg --keyserver keys.gnupg.net --recv 886DDD89
gpg --export A3C4F0F979CAA22CDBA8F512EE8CBC9E886DDD89 | sudo apt-key add -
  • If, after installing Tor, you wish to remove the Tor repository:
sudo add-apt-repository --remove "http://deb.torproject.org/torproject.org saucy main"
sudo apt-get update
  • Tor can be run in its default configuration from the command-line (or from a menu item with the "Advanced -> Run in terminal" box ticked):
tor
A separate menu item can be created to reliably shut down Tor:
sudo killall tor
  • By default Tor listens for Socks5 traffic on port 9050. (Socks5 proxies are able to tunnel both UDP and HTTP traffic through them.) In general, applications (including other daisy-chained proxies) should be configured to use Tor as a Socks5 proxy on port 9050.
  • I don't like Tor to automatically start at boot, so I edit the /etc/tor/torrc configuration file (use the gedit text editor instead of kate if using Ubuntu instead of Kubuntu):
sudo kate /etc/tor/torrc
and change the line so it looks like:
#RunAsDaemon 1
RunAsDaemon 0
then restart Tor:
sudo /etc/init.d/tor restart
or
sudo service tor restart
  • I also like to make sure Tor doesn't start at bootup using Bootup Manager:
sudo apt-get install bum
Run Bootup Manager:
sudo bum
Make sure Tor doesn't start at bootup:
tor (unticked) -> Apply -> Yes

Using Tor with Firefox

Tor acts as a Socks5 proxy on port 9050. Recent versions of Firefox allow direction of all traffic, including DNS resolution, through a Socks5 proxy. To enable this behaviour (after starting and running a previously installed version of Tor):

Firefox -> Edit -> Preferences -> Advanced -> Network -> Connection:Settings -> Manual proxy configuration (ticked) -> SOCKS Host: 127.0.0.1 (or localhost) -> Port: 9050 -> SOCKSv5 (ticked) -> No Proxy for: 127.0.0.1 (or localhost)
  • To return to using Firefox without a proxy (such as Tor), choose "No proxy" in the Firefox Network settings:
Firefox -> Edit -> Preferences -> Advanced -> Network -> Connection:Settings -> No proxy (ticked)

Tor Browser Bundle

The Tor Browser Bundle (Tor, Vidalia GUI, a modified version of Firefox, and Torbutton) provides greater functionality and security than the stock Firefox version with the standalone Torbutton. Install from here the version for your language and unpack it. For example:

wget https://www.torproject.org/dist/torbrowser/linux/tor-browser-gnu-linux-x86_64-2.2.35-12-dev-en-US.tar.gz
tar -xvzf tor-browser-gnu-linux-x86_64-2.2.35-12-dev-en-US.tar.gz

Then change to the extracted directory and start the Tor Browser Bundle:

cd tor-browser_en-US
./start-tor-browser

A menu item can also be created with the command to start it.

Torbutton (Firefox plug-in)

Once the Tor Browser Bundle is installed and Tor is running properly, Torbutton allows you to choose whether to use Firefox through the Tor anonymizing network or not. Updates to Torbutton can be installed using the .xpi extension found directly from the website.

  • As of 2012, Torbutton only works with modified versions of Firefox found in the Tor Project's Tor Browser Bundle (Tor, Vidalia GUI, a modified version of Firefox, and Torbutton) or with some older (non-updated) versions of Firefox.
  • Newer versions of Firefox may refuse to start when Torbutton is installed. If this occurs, Firefox must be started in safe mode:
firefox -safe-mode
Be sure to select "Start in Safe Mode" instead of "Reset Firefox" (unless you want to erase all your configuration settings and erase all your extensions/add-ons/plug-ins). Once in Safe Mode, the Torbutton extension can be disabled or removed (Firefox -> Tools -> Add-ons -> Extensions -> Torbutton -> Remove) and Firefox set to use "No proxy" in the Firefox Network settings:
Firefox -> Edit -> Preferences -> Advanced -> Network -> Connection:Settings -> No proxy (ticked)
  • The standalone Torbutton add-on for Firefox disables many functions of Firefox (when used with older unmodified versions of Firefox), such as the Drag and Drop function. It must therefore be disabled (Firefox -> Tools -> Add-ons -> Extensions -> Torbutton -> Disable) while using many of these Firefox functions.

Using Thunderbird with Tor

Tor acts as a Socks5 proxy on port 9050. Recent versions of Thunderbird allow direction of all traffic, including DNS resolution, through a Socks5 proxy. To enable this behaviour (after starting and running a previously installed version of Tor):

Thunderbird -> Edit -> Preferences -> Advanced -> Network & Disk Space -> Connection:Settings -> Manual proxy configuration (ticked) -> SOCKS Host: 127.0.0.1 (or localhost) -> Port: 9050 -> SOCKSv5 (ticked) -> No Proxy for: 127.0.0.1 (or localhost)
  • To return to using Thunderbird without a proxy (such as Tor), choose "No proxy" in the Thunderbird Network settings:
Thunderbird -> Edit -> Preferences -> Advanced -> Network & Disk Space -> Connection:Settings -> No proxy (ticked)

Note: To ensure absolute privacy of the location of your email client, an email account should be set up only through Tor (the first time) and should NEVER be accessed without tunneling through Tor.

TorBirdy (Thunderbird plug-in)

TorBirdy is an "experimental" Thunderbird email client add-on to allow older versions of Thunderbird to use the Tor network. (Also see the Tor website for more info.) It will not be able to be installed if you have recent versions of Thunderbird / Firefox. Install:

Thunderbird -> Tools -> Add-ons -> Get Add-ons: Search all add-ons: torbirdy -> Install

Using Choqok with Tor

Choqok is a Twitter / microblogging client. Choqok allows the use of a Socks5 proxy. If running Tor on port 9050, configure Choqok to use the Socks5 proxy on port 9050:

Choqok -> Settings -> Configure Choqok... -> Behavior: Proxy -> Use manually specified proxy configuration (ticked) -> SOCKS Proxy: 127.0.0.1 (or localhost) -> Port: 9050 -> OK

Using Filezilla with Tor

Filezilla, the ubiquitous FTP client, can be used with Tor. Filezilla directly allows the use of a Socks5 proxy. If running Tor on port 9050, configure Filezilla to use the Socks5 proxy on port 9050:

Filezilla -> Edit -> Settings -> Connection:Generic proxy -> SOCKS 5 (ticked) -> Proxy host: 127.0.0.1 (or localhost) -> Proxy port: 9050 -> OK
  • Note: Many services block FTP through Tor using Filezilla or any client that uses a separate communication channel and data channel. This is because the data channel and communications channel must be from the same IP address for these services, which doesn't occur using an FTP client through Tor. For such providers, use a browser-based FTP method instead.

Using Rekonq/Konqueror/Dolphin with Tor

KDE services that access that Internet, such as Rekonq, Konqueror, or the Dolphin File Manager, can be made to use Tor by setting the systemwide KDE "Network Settings" to use the Tor proxy. (All three programs share the same KDE Network Settings).

Settings -> System Settings -> Network and Connectivity: Network Settings -> Proxy -> Use manually specified proxy configuration: (ticked) -> SOCKS proxy: 127.0.0.1 (or localhost) -> Port: 9050 -> Apply
or
Konqueror -> Settings -> Configure Konqueror... -> Web Browsing: Proxy -> Use manually specified proxy configuration: (ticked) -> SOCKS proxy: 127.0.0.1 (or localhost) -> Port: 9050 -> OK
or
Rekonq -> Settings wrench icon -> Configure rekonq... -> Network -> Proxy -> Use manually specified proxy configuration: (ticked) -> SOCKS proxy: 127.0.0.1 (or localhost) -> Port: 9050 -> OK

Using Konversation with Tor

Konversation is an Internet Relay Chat client similar to mIRC. Unfortunately, without Tor your IP address is easily determined while using an IRC client. Konversation directly allows the use of a Socks5 proxy. If running Tor on port 9050, configure Konversation to use the Socks5 proxy on port 9050:

Konversation -> Settings -> Configure Konversation... -> Behavior: Connection -> Proxy (ticked) -> Type: Socks v5 -> Address: 127.0.0.1 (or localhost) -> Port: 9050

Internet Messaging with Tor

Kopete

The Internet Messaging client Kopete can be used with Tor using the Off-the-Record messaging system, which is already installed by default. Enable the plugin:

Kopete -> Settings -> Configure -> Plugins -> OTR (ticked) -> OK -> OTR Settings (Wrench icon)

Pidgin

The Internet Messaging client Pidgin can be used with Tor using the Off-the-Record messaging system. Install the plugin:

sudo apt-get install pidgin-otr

XChat

The Internet Relay Client XChat can be used with Tor using the Off-the-Record messaging system. Install the plugin:

sudo apt-get install xchat-otr

Using Tor with Dropbox

Tor acts as a Socks5 proxy on port 9050. Recent versions of Dropbox allow direction of all traffic, including DNS resolution, through a Socks5 proxy. To enable this behaviour (after starting and running a previously installed version of Tor):

Dropbox -> Options -> Preferences... -> Dropbox Preferences: Proxies -> Proxy Settings: Manual (ticked) -> Proxy type: SOCKS5 -> Server: 127.0.0.1 (or localhost) -> Port: 9050
  • The transfer of multiple large files through Tor is discouraged as it slows down the Tor network.

Using proxies with Tor

usewithtor

  • If you installed a recent version of Tor from the repositories, you will have installed the "usewithtor" package. A number of applications can be automatically redirected to the Torsocks proxy (torsocks) with this utility:
usewithtor myapplication

A menu item with such a command can then be created.

  • By using torsocks, usewithtor will also block an application from sending UDP traffic (which is not anonymized by the Tor network).
  • Applications that you wish to "usewithtor" (with torsocks) or "torify" (with tsocks) should use port 8118 for the http proxy port and port 9050 for the socks port.

torify

  • Another method is to "torify" an application with a different tor socks proxy (tsocks) if tsocks has been configured (edit /etc/tor/tor-tsocks.conf).
torify myapplication
  • tsocks does not explictly block UDP traffic, so if it is desirable to allow UDP traffic while anonymizing ftp traffic, use this method.

Privoxy

  • I use the Privoxy proxy to tunnel http traffic through Tor. Install the Privoxy http proxy:
sudo apt-get install privoxy
  • Applications can be set to send their http traffic to Privoxy over port 8118; Privoxy will then in turn forward the http traffic to Tor over port 9050. (Use an IP address other than 127.0.0.1 if Privoxy and/or Tor are not on the local machine. Use localhost instead of 127.0.0.1 if using IPv6 addressing on your systems).

Note: For some older versions of Privoxy, users have reported better success designating the address of the host computer as 127.0.0.1 instead of localhost in the configuration settings.

  • Edit configuration files.
  • In the configuration file Privoxy is configured by default to listen on port 127.0.0.1:8118. See Firewall considerations. Edit the Privoxy configuration file (use the gedit text editor instead of kate if using Ubuntu instead of Kubuntu):
sudo kate /etc/privoxy/config
Add the lines
forward-socks5 / 127.0.0.1:9050 .
forward-socks4a / 127.0.0.1:9050 .

Note: socks5 allows more authentication choices, UDP for external DNS resolution, and accommodates IPv6. (By including both lines, socks4a is used as a fallback if a program does not support socks5.)

  • Restart Privoxy:
sudo /etc/init.d/privoxy restart
or
sudo service privoxy restart

Other proxies

Other proxies such as socat, Polipo can also be used with Tor instead or Privoxy. Squid can also be daisy-chained to one of the proxies.

Ensuring applications use the proxy

  • See this advice. (Note: this is labeled as "old advice.") In (K)Ubuntu, the bash configuration files are at ~/.profile (i.e. /home/user/.profile) for the current user or at /etc/profile for system-wide usage. Using this advice, edit one of those two files and add the lines at the end of the file:
http_proxy=http://127.0.0.1:8118/
HTTP_PROXY=$http_proxy
export http_proxy HTTP_PROXY

Using specific applications with Tor

  • Torchat can be used for IM through Tor. Install:
sudo apt-get install torchat
  • Other applications may allow for the http proxy and the chainloaded socks services of Tor to be used independently (in parallel). Once Tor (and the relevant proxy or proxies) are running, the http proxy 127.0.0.1:8118 and the socks proxy 127.0.0.1:9050 can be specified in the configuration settings of an application that allows for this.

Tor GUIs

  • It is not necessary to use a GUI with Tor.
  • If you will use Tor with a GUI interface (such as Vidalia or TorK), however, edit the Tor configuration file (use the gedit text editor instead of kate if using Ubuntu instead of Kubuntu):
sudo kate /etc/tor/torrc
  • Add the line so that the GUI interface can control Tor over port 9051:
ControlPort 9051
Note: There is some concern that allowing control of Tor over port 9051 is not secure. If you will not be using a GUI, this step is not advised.

Vidalia (Tor interface)

Vidalia is the recommended Qt4-based GUI frontend for Tor. If not installed with Tor, install:

sudo apt-get install vidalia

Tork (KDE Tor interface)

TorK is a KDE interface for Tor that relied on the older Qt3 platform. It is no longer included in the (K)Ubuntu repositories (as of Natty 11.04). However, if desired it can still be installed (along with the required older Qt3 libraries) by adding the Maverick repository (directly or using a package manager):

deb http://ubuntu.mirror.cambrium.nl/ubuntu/ maverick main universe
  • Installing TorK also will install privoxy and unless you have also added the Tor repository directly, will also install an older version of Tor from the Ubuntu universe repositories. See these installation tips. Install:
sudo apt-get install tork privoxy
  • Run TorK (K menu -> Internet -> TorK Anonymity Manager) for the first time using the First Run Wizard (TorK -> Tools -> First Run Wizard).
"No, tor is going to run on this PC" then "I have to start Tor manually" then "Run A Tor client with default settings" then "I want to use Privoxy..." then "Privoxy starts in the background when my computer boots up" then go through the remaining options.
I then start ("Play") TorK as a Client. I happen to like Konqueror for Anonymous browsing, since it worked the first time for me without a problem. I keep Firefox for non-Tor browsing (so I don't have to change any of its settings) or install Torbutton (see below). You may have to fiddle with your Network proxy settings in Konqueror or Firefox (if things don't work the way you expect them to).
  • Allow the Firewall (like Firestarter) to allow ports 8118, 9050, 9051, or just turn off the firewall completely, until everything is working. Then turn the firewall back on. (You should monitor your firewall carefully. TorK has settings to automatically turn it off, if you aren't careful.) No ports are required to be left open in the firewall for Tor to work, as all traffic will be directed through the socks port 9050 (which avoids the firewall).
  • Applications that you wish to "torify" (with tsocks) or "usewithtor" (with torsocks) should use port 8118 (i.e. 127.0.0.1:8118) for the http proxy and port 9050 (127.0.0.1:9050) for the socks port.
  • Once configured as a client successfully, if you have the bandwidth and a stable environment please enable the client/relay mode and/or server mode so that the Tor bandwidth is increased.
  • Note: Tork constantly monitors the network (both Tor and non-Tor traffic). This can cause slowing of the Tor traffic from your computer and even cause intermittent interruptions. (Tor runs in the background and does not require Tork to be running as a control module.) If Tor is running in a stable mode, it will be faster (and less problematic) to stop Tork (sudo killall tork) and allow Tor to run in the background.
  • Note: Traffic that is routed through Privoxy (and then presumably to Tor from Privoxy if configured correctly) will be logged as "non-Tor" traffic by Tork. As long as Privoxy is working correctly, however, this traffic is being forwarded through the Tor socket.
  • Tork does not start Privoxy properly. Privoxy must be started (prior to starting Tork) as a startup program (e.g. using the Bootup-Manager) or manually with the command:
sudo /etc/init.d/privoxy start
or
sudo service privoxy start

Prevent autostart of proxies and Tor

  • Whenever I stopped the TorK GUI and then later wanted to start it again, I had to manually kill the Privoxy and Tor processes first.
sudo killall privoxy
sudo killall tor
  • Further, Tor, Privoxy, and Polipo install themselves as automatically started services at bootup. Preventing automatic startup (at boot) of Tor and Privoxy (and/or Polipo) can be accomplished by one of the methods in this Ubuntu Forums thread. Personally, I like using Bootup-Manager:
sudo apt-get install bum
but another option is:
sudo update-rc.d tor disable
sudo update-rc.d privoxy disable
sudo update-rc.d polipo disable

which will also stop updates from re-installing the applications as startup services when updates are made.

  • If Privoxy is stopped, it must be re-started with the Bootup-Manager or using the command:
sudo /etc/init.d/privoxy start
or
sudo service privoxy start

Firewall considerations

Single computer

If you have the Tor client, the proxy client (Privoxy, Polipo, or socat), and the browser client (or other application) on the same computer, you do not need to have any open ports in order to use Tor. In such a circumstance it is safest to block all ports that connect to the Internet. The socks proxy bypasses the firewall entirely (so there is no need to leave any ports open in order for it to communicate).

By closing all ports (using a firewall), applications will be prevented from bypassing Tor (accidentally or unknowingly). Later, if you wish to have some of your traffic directed through Tor and some of your traffic traffic routed outside of Tor, you can open the ports for the traffic that will not go through Tor.

Proxy on LAN

If the proxy (Privoxy, Polipo, socat, etc.) on your LAN is on a computer different from the computer(s) that have the end-user client applications, it is best to open the port (e.g. 8118) for communication only between computers on the LAN (with the end-application clients on them) and the computer on the LAN with the proxy on it. Port 8118 should then not be open to the Internet but only to the computers on the LAN that will use the proxy.

If the Proxy and Tor client are on different computers as well, port 9050 should be open (on the LAN, not on the Internet) between the computer with the Proxy and the computer with the Tor client only, so that the Proxy can forward traffic to the Tor client (but not to the Internet). (Obviously, if the Proxy and the Tor client are on the same computer, there is no need to open the 9050 port at all.)

Blocking all non-Tor traffic using iptables

To ensure that no unprotected traffic "leaks" from applications without your knowledge, it is possible to configure your firewall iptables to prevent all traffic except that which is transmitted through Tor.

Tor network initialization

It may be necessary to open port 443 (or less desirably port 80) to allow resolution of the nodes of the Tor network. Consider using DNS privacy methods.

Troubleshooting

Upgrading to Tor 0.2.4

  • In 2013 a botnet appears to have started to operate on Tor using the v0.2.3 client (with speculations about both the USA's FBI and NSA involvement). This slowed the Tor network by increasing handshakes between relay nodes. See this info. In addition, DDoS attacks in 2014 exploit vulnerabilities in Tor versions < 0.2.4.18-rc. See this info. For these reasons it is best to use a recent version of Tor.
  • In the past, it was suggested by some users that the v.0.2.2 client (which is still available in the (K)Ubuntu repositories) was not vulnerable to the 2013 botnet. This has not been verified nor does it seem immune to recent attacks.

Router speed

  • Although applicable to p2p traffic, this information is generically applicable to Tor as well.
  • Some routers (including a certain version of the Linksys WRT54G) slow down when the incoming/outgoing connection log (cache) becomes full (which can happen with many Tor or P2P connections). Disable the Log if this problem occurs.
  • An uncommonly recognized problem (with some routers, such as the WRT54G, with heavy traffic flow on startup) is that of a connection storm. The fix is not trivial and may require using custom firmware and/or working with the iptables firewall. See this info.

Other resources

  • Tor documentation
  • Obfsproxy is a proxy to transform data between a client and a Bridge node into innocent looking data, in order to circumvent Deep Packet Inspection (DPI) censorship. See the Debian/(K)Ubuntu instructions.
  • OnionCat is a VPN adapter/service that transmits IP-based data transparently through the Tor network on a location hidden basis. (Also see this.) A Launchpad repository is here.
  • FoxyProxy is a proxy service that can connect to the Tor network. Also see the Firefox plugin download page.
  • Tails is a free, complete GNOME-based Debian Linux operating system with Tor enabled by default. Iceweasel (the free Debian version of Firefox) and other Internet tools are cryptographically-enhanced, and, for privacy, browsing and other Internet usage traces are minimised. Components include LUKS for disk-encryption, Nautilus Wipe for erasing disk traces using the Nautilus file manager, KeePassX for password generation and encyrypted password storage, the Firefox plug-in HTTPS Everywhere to ensure the usage of encrypted website portals, and Off-the-Record_Messaging for Internet Message encryption, among others.
  • Anonymous email tips -- setting up web-based email anonymously through the Tor network
  • Free webhost reviews -- any online storage site must be assumed to be insecure, so these should always be accessed through Tor and never used for private files. A popular method is to sign up for a webhost account (through Tor) using an anonymous email account (also created using Tor) then subsequently to use Filezilla with Tor to securely transfer files to the webhost. See this article if interested in using the webhost as a webseed for BitTorrent. Because many free webhost providers are insecure, you may wish to consider accessing the free webhost within a quarantined virtual machine and access the webhost only through Tor (such as with Filezilla with Tor).
  • Here are some moderated lists of Tor hidden services from the Deep Web Wiki (primarily accessible with Tor running and enabled as a proxy):

Similar networks:

Proprietary Extras

Proprietary software helps you maximize your Internet experience, but is not open source. The software available includes Multimedia Codecs, Java Runtime Environment, and plug-ins for Firefox and Konqueror.

Restricted Extras

The Kubuntu Restricted Extras will install Adobe Flash Player, Java Runtime Environment (JRE) (sun-java-jre) with Firefox and Konqueror plug-ins (icedtea), a set of Microsoft Fonts (msttcorefonts), multimedia codecs (w32codecs or w64codecs), mp3-compatible encoding (lame), FFMpeg, extra multimedia codecs for K3b, the package for DVD decoding (libdvdread3, but see below for info on libdvdcss2), the unrar archiver, odbc, and cabextract. It also installs multiple "stripped" codecs and avutils (libavcodec-unstripped-52 and libavutil-unstripped-49). This is a single command approach.

sudo apt-get install kubuntu-restricted-extras
You could also use Ubuntu Restricted Extras (ubuntu-restricted-extras), but it installs plugins for the Gstreamer platform (the default in Gnome) and does not install the K3b codecs, so it is not recommended.
Note: Installation only works completely and properly when done from the command-line terminal Konsole. The entire package will not usually install completely from within a Package Manager.

Photos and Graphics

Manage and edit your photos, create stunning 3D drawings and graphics, or convert between formats.

GIMP (Image Manipulator)

Gimp is a powerful, full-featured, free open-source graphics and image editor, similar to Adobe Photoshop.

sudo apt-get install gimp

There is an extra set of brushes, palettes, and gradients for The GIMP.

sudo apt-get install gimp-data-extras

Dia (Diagram editor)

Dia is a free open source GTK-based diagram creation program for Gnome. It is similar to Visio.

sudo apt-get install dia

Kivio (Diagram editor)

Kivio is an open source flow-chart and diagram creation program that is part of the KOffice Suite for KDE. It supports Dia stencils.

sudo apt-get install kivio

Inkscape Vector Illustrator

Inkscape Vector Illustrator is an open source drawing program similar to Illustrator and CorelDraw.

sudo apt-get install inkscape

Digikam (Photo Organiser)

Digikam is a comprehensive open source digital photo organiser and editor. Install it:

sudo apt-get install digikam kipi-plugins digikam-doc

Google Picasa (Photo Organiser)

Google Picasa is a photo editor and organiser similar to Digikam. It allows uploads to a Google web server for online exchange. For more info, see the Picasa for Linux FAQ. A self-installing .deb file is available at Picasa 2.7 downloads.

Tesseract (Optical Character Reader)

Tesseract is a command-line optical character reader. Also see Ocropus. Install:

sudo apt-get install tesseract-ocr

Cuneiform (Optical Character Reader)

Cuneiform is an optical character reader currently available from launchpad repositories. Installation instructions are available there.

Xsane (Scanning utility)

Xsane is a full-featured scanning utility. Install:

sudo apt-get install xsane

Gnome-Scan (Scanning Utility)

Gnome-Scan is a simple utility for scanning (still in alpha stage). Install:

sudo apt-get install gnomescan

Gwenview (Image Manipulator)

Gwenview is the quick image manipulator installed by default in Kubuntu (K menu -> Graphics -> Gwenview Image Viewer). Simple cut-and-paste, resizing, and format conversion are some of the graphics files manipulations that can be accomplished. Install:

sudo apt-get install gwenview

OpenClipart (ClipArt Library)

OpenClipart is a utility to provide access to a large library of free clipart. It includes a utility for OpenOffice Gallery. Install:

sudo apt-get install openclipart

Screencasts and Desktop Recording

Several utilities allow you to capture your desktop (and then create a screencast from it).

recordMyDesktop (Desktop Session Recording)

recordMyDesktop is a desktop recording utility, which has both pyGTK and a pyQT4 GUI frontends available. Recordings are saved in Theora video/Vorbis audio files. Only the Gtk version is available from the repositories (but it works well with KDE/Kubuntu nevertheless). To install with the gtk GUI:

sudo apt-get install gtk-recordmydesktop

Using recordMyDesktop with PulseAudio

  • If you have not installed Pulse Audio Controls and Volume utility, they are useful for monitoring your pulse audio devices:
sudo apt-get install pavucontrol paprefs padevchooser
  • Change the recordMyDesktop settings so that the capture device is the one you select through pulse audio:
gtk-recordMyDesktop -> Sound Quality (ticked) -> Advanced -> Sound -> Device: pulse

This sets recordMyDesktop to use whichever input device(s) are selected through pulse audio. If you have several input devices, all of them will be recorded. This is an easy way to mix inputs.

Istanbul (Desktop Session Recording)

Istanbul is a desktop recorder for the Gnome desktop. It records your session into an OGG Theora video file.

sudo apt-get install istanbul

xvidcap (Desktop Session Recording)

xvidcap is a utility to capture your desktop as a video. Install:

sudo apt-get install xvidcap

WebCamStudio

WebCamStudio creates a virtual webcam that can mix several video sources together and can be used for live broadcasting. See the website for installation instructions.

Wink (Presentation Editor)

Wink is a open source tutorial and presentation editor. It allows you to capture screenshots and use them for presentations.

sudo apt-get install wink

Camorama (Web Cam)

Camorama is a simple GTK-based (i.e. Gnome-based) interface for webcams using the v4l (video for linux) drivers.

sudo apt-get install camorama

Freeseer (Presentation capture)

Freeseer is a utility to capture output from a projector or other display device (including another computer). See these installation instructions.

Screencast Demos

Video Applications

Capture, record, edit, and convert video using these applications. Also see this list of open source video applications. Trivia: The movie Avatar was created on a super-computer comprised of 4,000 servers running Ubuntu Linux, co-ordinated by the open-source Sun Grid Engine.

PiTiVi (Non-linear Video Editing Suite)

PiTiVi is a simple, limited-capability open source video editor that will be the default in newer versions of Ubuntu. It uses the GStreamer/Fluendo framework. Install:

sudo apt-get install pitivi

Avidemux (Video editor/processor)

Avidemux is a free, GPL-licensed open source cross-platform video editor and processor. Using mencoder as a backend, it allows cropping, trimming, special effects, and conversions between many filetypes (MPG/DVD, AVI, MP4, ASF). Install the GTK-based version:

sudo apt-get install avidemux

Kino (Non-linear Video Editing Suite)

Kino is a widely used GUI-based non-linear video editing suite for Linux. It imports video files into (and then uses) the DV (Digital Video) format for editing.

sudo apt-get install kino mjpegtools

KdenLive (Non-linear Video Editing Suite for KDE)

Kdenlive is a GUI-based non-linear video editing suite for KDE based on FFmpeg and the MLT video framework. It has tools for DV, video4linux, and screen capture. Install:

sudo apt-get install kdenlive mjpegtools

Cinelerra (Non-linear Video Editing Suite)

Cinelerra Community Version is a complete high-end open source video editing suite that is a derivative of a similar commercial system. Follow the installation instructions for Ubuntu.

LiVES (Video editor/processor)

LiVES is a free, GPL-license open source video editor and processor that is promoted as being useful for VJ editors. Install:

sudo apt-get install lives

OpenMovieEditor

OpenMovieEditor is a free, open source movie editing program for basic movie making. Install:

sudo apt-get install openmovieeditor

Blender

Blender is a free GPL-licensed 3D graphics and modeling tool that has been used in several animation projects. Install:

sudo apt-get install blender

Stopmotion (Animation)

Stopmotion is an open-source program for creating stopmotion animation. Install:

sudo apt-get install stopmotion

Audio Applications

Audacity (Audio Editor and Recorder)

Audacity is the leading cross-platform free open source (GPL-licensed) audio recorder and editor. It can be used to record, splice, edit, and manipulate sound files similar to tools found in recording studios. Install:

sudo apt-get install audacity

Ardour (Digital Audio Workstation)

Ardour is a free, GTK-based professional-grade digital audio workstation for high end audio manipulation and mixing. Install:

sudo apt-get install ardour

Rosegarden (Digital Audio Workstation)

Rosegarden is a midi/audio interface for synthesizers, as well as a digital audio studio for recording, editing, and notating music. It is often used in combination with Audacity. Install:

sudo apt-get install rosegarden

Hydrogen (Drum synthesizer)

Hydrogen is an advanced drum machine for Linux. Install:

sudo apt-get install hydrogen

EasyTag (ID3 Tag Editor)

EasyTag is an open-source GTK-based ID3 Tag Editor for mp3 and other file formats. Install:

sudo apt-get install easytag

Run:

Applications -> Sound & Video -> EasyTAG

UbuntuStudio (Ubuntu distribution customized for multimedia editing)

UbuntuStudio is an official derivative of Ubuntu that pre-packages many multimedia editing packages. (Each of the packages can also be installed independently.) See the website for a full list of the premier audiovisual software packages available for Ubuntu Linux.

sudo apt-get install ubuntustudio-audio
sudo apt-get install ubuntustudio-video
sudo apt-get install ubuntustudio-graphics

Audio / Video conversion

Here is a nice review of some of the applications that enables conversion and handling of these types of files.

FFMPEG video / audio conversion

FFMPEG is the swiss-army knife of video and audio format conversion. It succeeds when no other program can. It is free and open source. If it not yet installed on your system as part of another package (it is used by many video/audio editors), then install it:

sudo apt-get install ffmpeg

Example: To convert a saved Flash video (.flv) to an MPEG-2 format playable on a DVD, convert:

ffmpeg -i samplevideo.flv -target ntsc-dvd samplevideo.mpg

Then use K3b (or Gnomebaker) to write the mpg file to a New DVD Data Project.

  • For PAL use -target pal-dvd. For widescreen, use -target film-dvd. For other conversion tips, see this forum. (Note: Most Flash video has very low resolution, with a screen size of 360x270, for example. You may see a slight diminishment in resolution if you wish to convert it to 720x480 (which is the NTSC standard size) or other screen size. You can keep the original screen size and resolution by omitting the -target parameter.) If your original file is 16:9 widescreen and you desire a 4:3 letterbox output for playing on an overscanned TV, you may need to pad the file so that the widescreen is not compressed (see this forum):
ffmpeg -i samplevideo.flv -target ntsc-dvd -s 648x364 -padleft 36 -padright 36 -padtop 58 -padbottom 58 samplevideo.mpg
  • You can also use the WinFF GUI and add the command (as above) as a "Preset," for subsequent use. For example:
Video converter (WinFF) -> Edit -> Presets ->
Preset Name: Letterbox -> Preset Label: 16:9 Widescreen to 4:3 Letterbox
Preset command: -target ntsc-dvd -s 648x364 -padleft 36 -padright 36 -padtop 58 -padbottom 58
Ouput file extension: mpg -> Category: DVD
-> Add/Update -> Save
  • To convert to MPEG-4 (mp4) files, use
ffmpeg -i samplevideo.flv outputvideo.mp4
  • FFMpeg requires that multiple restricted extra codecs be installed. This can be done in a single easy step from the command-line Terminal:
sudo apt-get install ubuntu-restricted-extras
FFMPEG GUI

WinFF is a free, GPL-licensed open source GUI frontend for FFMPEG. Install:

sudo apt-get install winff xterm
Run:
Applications -> Multimedia -> Video converter (WinFF)
Join video segments

Individual video segments (MPEG-2, for example) can easily be joined:

cat samplevideo1.mpg samplevideo2.mpg samplevideo3.mpg > samplevideo123.mpg
You can then write the resulting MPEG-2 file to a DVD and play it in most DVD players.
Split a file into segments

Any file can be split into segments using the Linux command:

split -b 1440k my_big_file

which will split my_big_file into equal segments of size 1440 kb.

Save any streaming Flash video

An easy way is to install the Video Download Helper plug-in for Firefox.

Otherwise, most Flash videos download to the /tmp directory while you watch the video, creating a randomly-named video file there (such as Flashuh4G6s). When you close the webpage, this file in the /tmp directory will be erased. After the entire video has downloaded, but before you close the webpage, copy that file (such as Flashuh4G6s) to your home directory (where it will not be erased). Of course, for this to work, you must change your Flash (or Gnash) settings to allow an unlimited buffer. While watching your Flash video, right click to bring up the Flash -> Settings window. Set the Buffer to "Unlimited."

Once you have copied the file, rename it appropriately with the .flv added to the filename. You can then watch it using VLC or Mplayer.

Here is another method that involves making a symbolic link.

Save rtmp / flv streams

flvstreamer is a command-line application to dump rtmp streams. Install:

sudo apt-get install flvstreamer

Example of usage:

flvstreamer -r "rtmp://host/dir/file.flv" -o filename.flv

If you see the following the "WARNING: Download may be incomplete, try --resume!" message, try to use the --resume option:

flvstreamer -r "rtmp://host/dir/file.flv" -o filename.flv --resume

Convert Flash video audio to mp3

Once you have downloaded flash video content (.flv) from the Internet (using the Video Download Helper plug-in for Firefox, for example), the audio component can be converted to an mp3 using this command (from the command line Terminal). (This will work for any type of video file, not just Flash.)

ffmpeg -i nameofvideoclip.flv -ab 160k -ac 2 -ar 44100 -vn nameoffile.mp3

where -i indicates the input, -ab indicates the bit rate (in this example 160kb/sec), -vn means no video ouput, -ac 2 means 2 channels, -ar 44100 indicates the sampling frequency. See FFMPEG docs for more info.

2ManDVD

2ManDVD is a GUI utility for creating DVD videos. It is the successor of ManDVD. Choose the version for your architecture and install it from the 2ManDVD website. Click on the download link and select to open it with the GDebi Package Installer (default). (If you have previously installed ManDVD you must uninstall it first.) For a usage tutorial, read this 2ManDVD guide.

Run

Applications -> Sound & Video -> 2ManDVD

DeVeDe

DeVeDe is a program to create video DVDs and CDs suitable for home players (i.e. VCD, sVCD or CVD) from any source video file that is supported by MPlayer. Choose the version for your architecture and install it from the DeVeDe website. Click on the download link and select to open it with the GDebi Package Installer (default). For a usage tutorial, read this DeVeDe guide.

Run

Applications -> Sound & Video -> DeVeDe

ManDVD

ManDVD is a QT-based DVD authoring tool which accepts several different file types as input. Install:

sudo apt-get install mandvd xine-ui

DVD Author

DVD author allows you to create menus and format your MPEG-2 videos onto a DVD disc so that you can play it in a commercial DVD player. DVD Author is a command line tool, but several GUI's exist. Install:

sudo apt-get install dvdauthor
QDVDAuthor

QDVDAuthor is a Qt-based GUI for DVD Author. Install:

sudo apt-get install qdvdauthor

Run:

Applications -> Multimedia -> QDVDAuthor

Follow instructions in the Quick-Start Guide:

QDVDAuthor -> Help -> Quick-Start Guide

For a tutorial on authoring DVDs, see this guide.

Ripper X CD Ripper/Encoder

Ripper X is a GTK-based (i.e. Gnome) open source utility to rip CD audio tracks to OGG, MP3, or FLAC formats. It supports CDDB lookups.

sudo apt-get install ripperx

Asunder CD Ripper/Encoder

Asunder is a GTK-based open source CD ripper/encoder which saves to Wav, MP3, OGG, FLAC, or WavPack. Self-installing .deb packages are available here.

Audex CD Ripper/Encoder

Audex is a port to KDE4 of the KAudioCreator package used in KDE 3. It can create output for LAME (MP3-compliant), OGG Vorbis (oggenc), FLAC and RIFF WAVE. It must be installed from source, currently (see the website).

Gnac (GNome Audio Converter)

Gnac (GNome Audio Converter) converts between all GStreamer supported audio formats. It is not yet part of the standard repositories. See these installation instructions.

SOX (encodes/decodes audio)

SoX is a somewhat confusing command-line utility to convert audio formats. See this usage guide. Install:

sudo apt-get install sox

Run:

sox

CDs and DVDs

K3b (CD/DVD burner)

K3b (KDE Burn Baby Burn) is the default KDE CD and DVD burning utility included in Kubuntu. This includes the ability to burn VideoDVD's. K3b is included by default in most Kubuntu installations. If not, install:

sudo apt-get install k3b

Install MP3 support for K3b

Due to licensing requirements, mp3 capabilities for K3b must be installed separately. (Note: this package is automatically installed as part of kubuntu-restricted-extras). Install the libk3b3-mp3 package:

sudo apt-get install libk3b6-extracodecs

If it still does not work then:

sudo apt-get install lame

DVD Playback Capability

To play encrypted DVDs, the libdvdcss2 package is essential. libdvdcss2 is a simple library designed for accessing DVDs like a block device without having to bother about the decryption. More information about this package can be found at VideoLAN.

  • You can install libdvdcss2 as a 64-bit .deb package without installing the Medibuntu repositories:
wget -c http://packages.medibuntu.org/pool/free/libd/libdvdcss/libdvdcss2_1.2.10-0.2medibuntu1_amd64.deb
sudo dpkg -i libdvdcss2_1.2.10-0.2medibuntu1_amd64.deb
or a 32-bit .deb package:
wget -c http://packages.medibuntu.org/pool/free/libd/libdvdcss/libdvdcss2_1.2.10-0.2medibuntu1_i386.deb
sudo dpkg -i libdvdcss2_1.2.10-0.2medibuntu1_i386.deb
  • You can also use guidelines provided at Medibuntu. This will install the Medibuntu repositories on your system and then install the libdvdcss2 package:
sudo wget http://www.medibuntu.org/sources.list.d/jaunty.list --output-document=/etc/apt/sources.list.d/medibuntu.list
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install medibuntu-keyring
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install libdvdcss2
You can also install 32 bit or 64 bit Windows multimedia codecs (if you haven't already done so using kubuntu-restricted-extras):
sudo apt-get install w32codecs
or
sudo apt-get install w64codecs
  • Instead of downloading directly from Medibuntu, you could also use the script included with the libdvdread3 package to download and install libdvdcss2:
sudo apt-get install libdvdread3
sudo /usr/share/doc/libdvdread3/install-css.sh

K9copy (DVD Ripper)

K9copy is the free open source DVD backup, copying, compression, and authoring utility that requires libdvdcss. You can easily create MPEG-2. MPEG-4, or DVD videos with this utility. For other info, see either this or this guide.

sudo apt-get install k9copy
  • Tips: At times you may not be able to copy your DVD directly from DVD to DVD. This may because you have a small imperfection in the DVD, or because the DVD was initially created with a non-standard burning method. There are two methods that can help solve this problem:
  • Copy the VIDEO_TS and AUDIO_TS folders from your original DVD directly to your hard drive. Then use k9copy to burn a DVD directly from these hard drive folders.
  • Use k3b (or Gnomebaker) to copy an .iso image from the original DVD to your hard drive. Then use k9copy to extract from the hard drive .iso image and then burn a DVD directly from it.

Handbrake

Handbrake is a GPL-licensed open source tool for converting DVD to MPEG-4 (iPod format) that is an alternative to k9copy. (It can handle many DVDs that k9copy cannot.) Installation is from the developmental PPA archive.

dvd::rip

dvd::rip is a DVD backup/copy program, written in GTK-based perl (for the Gnome/Ubuntu desktop), that uses the transcode video/audio processing and conversion tools. It is simjilar to k9copy. See the website for installation and official documentation. For other info, see this dvd::rip tutorial. Install:

sudo apt-get install dvdrip rar

DVD Fab (DVD Ripper)

DVD Fab is a favoured DVD backup tool in the Windows community for today's DVD encryption methods. It must be run in Wine (since it is a Windows application). It comes as a fully featured 30-day trial, but see these instructions for fine-tuning the trial period.

Music Players

Amarok

Amarok is the default music player in Kubuntu. The new version (in Jaunty) also allows you to play Shoutcast internet radio streams from within the program.

Amarok themes

Amarok themes can be downloaded from KDE Look and installed.

  • Download the theme (ending in .tar.bz2) to your home directory (or chosen directory).
  • Amarok -> Settings -> Appearance -> Install New Style
  • Select the downloaded file.
  • Click OK.

Amarok with Ipod

Amarok 2 can be confusing with Ipods because you no longer add a media device. It may just work and you do not know it.

  • Plug in and mount your device.
  • Click on Local Music tab at left and see if your device is listed.
  • Copy to and from your device by right clicking on a media item and choosing "copy to collection" and then choosing the target to copy to. This can be done from your device or your local music collection.

Amarok Podcasts

  • Click on Playlists tab at left.
  • Click on Podcasts.
  • Click on Add Podcast.
  • Paste in URL to podcast.
  • You can change the storage location of the downloaded podcasts by right clicking the podcast in the list and choosing "configure". By changing the file to your music folder you will be able to copy podcasts to media devices.

Stream Amarok output to Airport Express

Make sure your firewall is not blocking ports 5353, 5000, and 6000.

Audacious

Audacious is a compact, fast music player that is a fork of XMMS. It resembles WinAmp and can use WinAmp and XMMS skins. It supports many plugins and is ideal for streaming content. Install:

sudo apt-get install audacious

You can switch switch between the "PulseAudio Output Plugin" and the "ALSA Output Plugin" under

Audacious -> Preferences -> Audio -> Current output plugin.

Banshee Music Player

Banshee is a Gstreamer, Mono and Gtk-based music player for Linux and Mac OS X. It supports multiple mp3 players (including the iPod).There are plugins for podcasts, internet radio, and more.

sudo apt-get install banshee

Exaile Music Manager and Player

Exaile is a GTK-based music player that supports many formats, incorporates a Shoutcast directory, a plugin for iPod, Last.FM support, tabbed playlists, and other features. Install:

sudo apt-get install exaile

Songbird Music Player

Songbird is an open source music player from Mozilla with an appearance meant to resemble iTunes. It is in current development and does not yet have full support for mp3 players (such as the iPod). It incorporates a Shoutcast internet radio interface. The current beta version can be downloaded from the website.

Multimedia Players

Most current video multimedia players play many video formats, including the Flash video .flv format.

MPlayer Multimedia Player

Mplayer is a video player with a wide range of formats supported (including RealMedia and Windows-codecs) and a wide variety of outputs.

sudo apt-get install mplayer

SMPlayer

SMPlayer is an enhanced frontend for MPlayer.

sudo apt-get install smplayer

Dump a video stream to disc

You can dump a video stream to disc using Mplayer:

mplayer -dumpstream streamurl

If you don't know the exact URL of the stream you wish to save, you can discover it from the webpage it is embedded in by using the Firefox add-on UnPlug. Do not save streams that are illegal to download.

VLC Multimedia Player

VLC is a cross-platform multimedia player that supports many formats without need for additional codecs. It can not only receive video streams (also see here to convert it to mp4), but can act as a server for video streams, as well. It is one of the only players that can view and backup almost any DVD format, no matter which copy protection is used. See these tips for using VLC to backup/rip encrypted DVDs.

sudo apt-get install vlc vlc-plugin-pulse

VLC plugins

There are many VLC plugins. You will likely only need to install a few of them, however, depending on your hardware and input/output configuration:

sudo apt-get install vlc-plugin-ggi vlc-plugin-jack vlc-plugin-pulse vlc-plugin-sdl vlc-plugin-svgalib mozilla-plugin-vlc vlc-plugin-esd


Xine-UI Multimedia Player

Xine UI is a multimedia player based, of course, on the xine platform. It can also play streamed video from the Internet and supports most formats, including some uncommon ones.

 sudo apt-get install xine-ui

Kaffeine Video Player

Kaffeine is the default video player in Kubuntu. Install:

sudo apt-get install kaffeine

RealPlayer 11 Multimedia Player

The Linux Realplayer is actually based on the open-source Helix player. Helix itself can be installed as a package easily (read Helix plug-in) and used instead of Realplayer. These instructions are to install the proprietary version of RealPlayer only.

Download Real Player official linux player

Open a terminal and cd to the directory you have downloaded realplayer's .bin file. Then issue the following commands

chmod +x RealPlayer11GOLD.bin
sudo ./RealPlayer11GOLD.bin

When it asks for installation path enter /usr/local/RealPlayer

For all other questions just choose default by pressing enter.

If you have installed mozilla-mplayer package you will need to delete the mplayer firefox plugin for real player videos. Other wise all real player files will open with mplayer. For that please do this

cd /usr/lib/firefox/plugins
sudo rm mplayerplug-in-rm.*

Please remember to restart firefox and when ever you click on a real player video choose the option open with and use /usr/bin/realplay

Internet TV

Miro Player

Miro Player (formerly Democracy TV Player) is an open-source Internet TV and video player that allows you to watch Internet TV and videos. Unlike other video players, it contains a structured guide that includes more than 2500 channels, has built-in BitTorrent, and has features that can automatically save videos, such as from YouTube.

sudo apt-get install miro

Myth TV

See MythTV

Sopcast Internet TV

Sopcast is an interface to play live P2P video streams through the VLC media player. Install VLC first. This is a Chinese program and most content is hosted in China and may not be legal in your area. Please consult local regulations.

You can install the SopCast Player PPA using the following commands:

 echo "deb http://ppa.launchpad.net/jason-scheunemann/ppa/ubuntu `lsb_release -cs` main" | sudo tee -a /etc/apt/sources.list
 sudo apt-key adv --keyserver keyserver.ubuntu.com --recv-keys CD30EE56 

If you are using Karmic or later:

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:jason-scheunemann/ppa
sudo apt-get install sopcast-player

Run:

Applications->Sound & Video->SopCast Player

Zattoo

Zattoo is a free Internet TV player that allows you to watch terrestrial television from various countries in Europe. See the Zattoo Download page for further instructions on installation. For screenshots and an alternate installation guide, see this UbuntuGeek guide.

  • Install dependencies first:
sudo apt-get install libgtkglext1 adobe-flashplugin
 wget http://zattoo.com/release/download.php
  • Install the downloaded .deb package:
sudo dpkg -i *.deb
  • Run Zattoo:
K -> Application -> Multimedia -> Zattoo Player
Note: you have to register for a free account when the player starts.

Internet Radio

Internet radio streams through different ports, so check your firewall if you are not able to play the streams.

Last FM

LastFM is a service for sharing music recommendations and individual radio streams. It is included as an option in Amarok, or can be installed separately:

sudo apt-get install lastfm

Shoutcast Internet Radio

Shoutcast is the first and last free mp3 streaming service. Hundreds of radio streams can be played through Amarok, Audacious, or other multimedia player. Simply associate the .pls streams with your favourite player (Audacious or XMMS2 recommended).

StreamTuner Stream Directory Browser

StreamTuner lists streams available on the Internet through a GTK-based interface. It lists Shoutcast and Live365 streams, among others. Install:

sudo apt-get install streamtuner

BBC program recording

  • get_iplayer allows BBC streams (through their iplayer service) for UK users, as well as Hulu streams for US users, to be recorded to mp4, wav and mp3 files (depending on content). See the website for usage.
  • iPlayer can be run in Wine using these instructions.

Media Centers and PVR (Personal Video Recorder)

There are a number of open-source Media Centers for Linux, some of which include personal video recorder functions. For a full list of open-source media centers, see this guide.

MythTV

MythTV is a media center with PVR (personal video recorder) for retrieving, recording, and playing broadcast and Internet TV and other multimedia content. It has many options and plugins for expansion. To be useful, you will need a compatible TV tuner card. For setup tips, see this guide. Install:

sudo apt-get install mythtv

Mythbuntu

Mythbuntu is an integrated Ubuntu (Xubuntu) desktop optimised for MythTV usage. In can be used instead of adding MythTV to a Ubuntu desktop.

XBMC

XBMC is a free, mature, open-source cross-platform media center. It does not have a PVR capability nor as many functions as MythTV, but has a very nice interface.

deb http://ppa.launchpad.net/team-xbmc-intrepid/ubuntu intrepid main
deb-src http://ppa.launchpad.net/team-xbmc-intrepid/ubuntu intrepid main
  • Install:
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install xbmc

Boxee

Boxee is an XBMC-like open source package to allow streaming video over the Internet, including from YouTube and other sites. It is a fork of XBMC, and is still in alpha development and testing stage. It is currently available for 32-bit systems only, and recommended for Hardy. A current version is anticipated soon. (Note: Boxee does not run Netflix on Linux, despite their ads). See these download instructions.

Elisa

Elisa is a cross-platform media center that uses the Gstreamer multimedia framework. Commercial plugins are available from Fluendo. It supports PVR and Music Jukebox . Install:

sudo apt-get install elisa

LinuxMCE

See LinuxMCE.

Multimedia Servers

MPD Multimedia Playing Server

MPD is a music server meant for LAN usage. It can be controlled from remote clients. It can also stream internet streams.

TiMidity++ MIDI Sound Server

TiMidity is a MIDI software synthesizer required by several games and other MIDI-dependent applications.

sudo apt-get install timidity

uShare UPnP A/V Media Server

uShare is a UPnP media server compatible with the Xbox360 and PS3.

sudo apt-get install ushare

Also see: How-to: Run uShare at Startup.

Home Automation / Home Theater / Home Security

Complete Systems

Linux MCE (Media Center Edition)

LinuxMCE is an integrated home theater/home security/home automation/telephone PBX/intercom system for your home. It incorporates MythTV, Pluto home automation, Motion security surveillance, Asterisk PBX, VDR video disk recorder, and other home automation/security/theater packages in an integrated platform. It is available in 32 and 64 bit versions. LinuxMCE can run either as a standalone Home Theater PC or can co-ordinate a fully networked home, using the networking capabilities that are intrinsically part of the Kubuntu Linux OS. For more info see the LinuxMCE website or wiki.

The most recent stable version runs on Kubuntu 7.10 (Gutsy). An alpha version for Kubuntu 8.10 (Intrepid) has been released, and the full version is anticipated soon. LinuxMCE can be installed at the same time as the Kubuntu OS (on a new PC with an nVidia graphics card), with a single DVD installation. Alternatively, Kubuntu can be installed first and LinuxMCE then installed from a 2 CD installation.

Home Security

Zoneminder surveillance system

Zoneminder manages surveillance cameras and stores images on the hard disk. Images can be viewed using a (LAMP) server remotely. X10 devices can be triggered using built-in perl scripts. For more info see the Zoneminder website.

Install:

sudo apt-get install zoneminder ffmpeg
Myth Zoneminder

MythZoneminder allows you to view your security cameras through Myth TV, essentially. It is a plugin that interfaces the two packages Zoneminder (which must be working on your system) and Myth TV (which must also be working.) See the installation instructions.

It can be found in Synaptic as the mythzoneminder package.

sudo apt-get install mythzoneminder

Office Suites

Open Office

Open Office is installed by default in Ubuntu, with Writer (Word equivalent), Presentation (PowerPoint equivalent), Calc spreadsheet (Excel equivalent), and Base relational database (Access equivalent).

Open Word 2007 Documents in Open Office

The latest edition of OpenOffice opens .docx (i.e. Word 2007) documents by default.

KOffice

The KOffice suite is part of the KDE project and is meant to provide the capabilities of the OpenOffice suite without the licensing restrictions of OpenOffice. It can be used in any version of Ubuntu. Install:

sudo apt-get install koffice

AbiWord

AbiWord is a fast, collaboration-enabled word processor. For the most current version see the AbiWord web site. To install from the repositories:

sudo apt-get install abiword

Personal Information Managers

Kontact Personal Information Manager

Kontact is the default PIM included with Kubuntu. Kontact includes email, an address book, a calendar, reminders, pop-up notes, a link to the Akregator News/RSS reader, time-tracking, and more. Its many functions resemble MS-Outlook. Through connectors it interfaces with many groupware servers (such as Kolab and eGroupware). Install:

sudo apt-get install kontact

Mozilla Sunbird (Calendar)

Sunbird is a standalone group calendar in the Thunderbird and Firefox family of applications, and is compatible with ICS, CalDAV (e.g. DAViCAL, and WCAP servers. (It operates almost identically to the Lightning calendar extension of Thunderbird.)

sudo apt-get install sunbird
  • A related (branded) package known as SeaMonkey Calendar can also be installed.
sudo apt-get install mozilla-calendar
  • A related (unbranded) package known as IceApe Calendar can also be installed.
sudo apt-get install iceape-calendar

BasKet Note Pads

BasKet Note Pads is a personal note-taking application that resides on your computer and can be used for creating "to-do" lists. It is great for centralising your thoughts in one place. Install it:

sudo apt-get install basket

Planner (Project planning & management)

Planner is an MS-Project-like planning and management tool.

sudo apt-get install planner

Time Tracker

You can keep track how long you use an application with TimeTracker. Keep records for billing or simply limit your Internet usage.

Financial Software

For a brief introduction, see this list of 10 Linux financial tools.

KMyMoney (Personal Finance Management)

KMyMoney is a personal finance manager that uses double entry accounting, the method professional accountants use. It is similar to MS-MyMoney and Intuit Quicken, with automatic setup of categories for businesses. It is designed for the KDE/Kubuntu desktop (but will work in Gnome/Ubuntu). Install:

Applications -> Add/Remove Programs -> Office -> KMyMoney

or from the command-line terminal:

sudo apt-get install kmymoney2

GnuCash (Personal Finance Management)

GnuCash is a free, open source GPL-licensed personal finance manager that uses double entry accounting like professional accountants. It is GTK-based (Gnome 2). The current version can be installed from source files (see the website for installation instructions), or the package version can be installed:

Applications -> Add/Remove Programs -> Office -> GnuCash Finance Management

or from the command-line terminal:

sudo apt-get install gnucash

Moneydance (Personal Finance Management)

Moneydance is a commercial cross-platform Java-based personal finance manager similar to KMyMoney that sells for $40 per license.

SQL-Ledger (Enterprise Finance Management)

SQL-Ledger ERP is a free, open-source, platform independent double-accounting-method system and enterprise resource planner (inventory, work and purchase orders, taxes, etc.) that uses the SQL database server (PostgreSQL/Oracle/Mysql databases). It uses a web browser for an interface and be accessed remotely. It is extremely comprehensive and is available in many languages. Install:

sudo apt-get install sql-ledger

WebERP (Enterprise Finance Management)

WebERP is a free, open-source enterprise resource planner and accounting suite similar to SQL-Ledger that uses a web browser as an interface. It runs on the LAMP server. It is somewhat difficult to implement and use, but conforms to strict accounting guidelines. Set up your LAMP server first, then install using the web site instructions.

Phreebooks (Enterprise Finance Management)

Phreebooks is a free open-source enterprise resource planner and accounting suite similar to WebERP. It also runs on a LAMP server. It is in active development in 2008. A demo is available at the website.

Quasar (Enterprise Finance Management)

Quasar is a proprietary Linux-based accounting suite similar to Quickbooks. For a single user without point-of-sale or networking needs, it is free. For other users it costs CA$500 per seat. An installer for KDE-based systems is here.

Groupware

Groupware solutions include shared calendars, group email servers, groups address lists, group projects, and internal messaging. They require (one or more) servers with LAMP or similar server stacks.

Groupware Servers

Groupware servers are meant to operate on a server platform. You must install the server version of Ubuntu/Ubuntu first. Read Servers.

Kolab

Kolab is the most comprehensive open-source groupware solution available and is distributed as a multi-platform solution. (It integrates easily with both Ubuntu (including Evolution) and KDE/Kubuntu (including Kontact).) It is free and open source with a GPL license (unlike other groupware solutions), yet enterprise support is also available. It is scalable to large organizations and is Outlook (MS-Exchange) and Mozilla compatible. This is a German package, however, and documentation in English can occasionally be limited. The Kolab website provides its own instructions for installation from source (currently v. 2.2). Version 2.2 includes the Horde web interface.

  • Note: Kolab uses its own server components, and it is best to run Kolab on a dedicated server. However, it is possible to run other servers on the same machine, as long as you choose alternate ports if the server modules conflict.
  • Install the compiler and other necessary stuff:
sudo apt-get install build-essential
Kolab Ubuntu package
  • There is an Ubuntu/Kubuntu package for the new version of Kolab (v. 2.2), but no documentation support for it yet exists. Install:
sudo apt-get install kolabd
Manual Kolab installation
  • Make a directory for the Kolab installation and make it universally accessible:
sudo cd /
sudo mkdir /kolab
sudo chmod 777 /kolab
  • Optional: If you wish to mount kolab in its own partition, then create a new partition (using Gparted, for example). Figure out the device name of your extra partition:
sudo fdisk -l
It should be something like /dev/sda3.
Mount /dev/sda3 (or whatever your partition is) as /kolab by editing /etc/fstab:
sudo nano /etc/fstab
and adding the line:
/dev/sda3  /kolab  ext3  defaults,rw 0 0
then reboot and make sure there are no errors.
  • Make a directory into which to download kolab:
cd /tmp
mkdir /kolabtmp
  • Download all the current Kolab files:
cd /tmp/kolabtmp
wget -r -l1 -nd --no-parent http://files.kolab.org/server/release/kolab-server-2.2.2/sources/
  • Install Kolab (as root using sudo -s):
sudo -s
sh install-kolab.sh 2>&1 | tee kolab-install.log
  • Reboot your system.
  • Stop Kolab services and run the configuration utility:
sudo /kolab/bin/openpkg rc all stop
sudo /kolab/sbin/kolab_bootstrap -b
Obviously, you should know all your details, such as your fully qualified host name (which you can determine from hostname -f), domain details, etc., before doing this step. If you are not familiar with OpenLDAPand LDAP basics, you should learn about it, as Kolab uses the slapd OpenLDAP server daemon.
  • Restart all Kolab services:
sudo /kolab/bin/openpkg rc all start
  • Login to the web administrator interface using "manager" and the password you set at bootstrap configuration:
https://yourhost.yourdomain.name/admin

Citadel

Citadel is a turn-key fully open source groupware solution (that is also Kolab compliant) with a structure rooted in bulletin-board systems, and is therefore user friendly. Installation instructions are found at the website.

eGroupware

eGroupware is a robust and stable free open source groupware solution (with GPL license) based on the LAMP stack (the default server stack included with Ubuntu Server) and the Postfix mail server (both of which should be installed first). There is a new version recently available, with a new corporate sponsor in Germany and a commercial enterprise version. Compatibility with many clients has been improved. Egroupware provides the easiest installation and quickest setup time of all groupware solutions. Much of the documentation for the current version, unfortunately, is not in English.

sudo apt-get install egroupware

Open-Xchange

Open-Xchange is a proprietary groupware solution (meant as an MS-Exchange replacement) that has released a "community edition" based on commercial versions. The latest .deb package is for Hardy Heron 8.04. It is compliant with many different types of clients, including Kontact, Outlook, and Palm PDAs. Installation instructions are at the website and are not trivial.

OpenGroupware

OpenGroupware is a groupware solution based on the postgreSQL database. There is an enterprise version and a limited open source version, and development appears to have been stagnant in 2008. Installation must be from source, as packages are very outdated. See the website for details.

Zarafa

Zarafa is the leading European MS-Exchange replacement/groupware solution. It is proprietary, but a GPL-licensed (except for trademarks) free open-source community edition was released in 2008. Download instructions are available from the website.

Zimbra

Zimbra is a proprietary groupware solution that offers an open source "community edition". Although currently free, the community edition is limited in features and does not have a GPL license. All submitted modifications and contributions become the property of Yahoo.

The latest version is for Hardy Heron 8.04 LTS and can be downloaded as a .tar.gz file from the website.

SugarCRM Server

SugarCRM is a commercial customer relationship management (CRM) platform and groupware server (sales, marketing, support, project management, calendaring) system with a community edition. It supports MySQL and MS SQL databases. For more info see SugarCRM Server Setup.

SchoolTool

SchoolTool is a free open source groupware solution for use in primary and secondary schools which includes calendaring, gradebooks, attendance records, and student information databases. It was created with the help of the Shuttleworth Foundation (which also sponsors Ubuntu). See these installation instructions.

Groupware Clients

Many groupware solutions have connectors to interface with clients such as Kontact/KMail and Mozilla Thunderbird (or SeaMonkey).

Kontact Personal Information Manager

The Kontact Personal Information Manager, included in Ubuntu by default, interfaces with many groupware servers.

KDE Groupware Wizard

Kubuntu provides a wizard (script) to help clients (such as Kontact/Kmail) connect to a groupware server. Currently supported groupware servers are Kolab, eGroupware, SUSE Linux Openexchange, and Novell Groupwise.

Zimbra Desktop

Zimbra Desktop is a desktop that collaborates with Zimbra servers. See the Zimbra Desktop FAQ. For more info also see Ubuntugeek's Zimbra Desktop Installation Guide for Hardy 8.04.

Oracle Calendar Desktop Client

The Oracle Calendar Desktop Client is proprietary calendaring software for use with Oracle groupware/database systems.

Download Oracle Calendar Desktop Client:

wget http://www.k-state.edu/infotech/calendar/oracle-10-clients/DesktopClients/Linux/cal_linux_1011.tar.gz

Extract:

tar -xvf cal_linux_1011.tar.gz

Change into the extracted files directory:

cd OracleCalendar_inst/

Prepare the files:

mv cal_linux cal_linux.bak; cat cal_linux.bak | sed "s/export LD_ASSUME_KERNEL/#xport LD_ASSUME_KERNEL/" > cal_linux; rm cal_linux.bak

Change permissions:

chmod +x gui_install.sh cal_linux

Start the GUI installer:

sudo sh gui_install.sh

DAViCal Calendar Server

DAViCal is a CalDAV, postgreSQL, Apache and php-based shared Calendar server that works with Mozilla Thunderbird/Lightning/Sunbird, Evolution, and other calendar clients. Install:

sudo apt-get install davical

Then see these detailed installation instructions.

Darwin Calendar Server

Darwin Calendar Server is an open-source port of Apple's CalDAV-based calendar server that works with Mozilla Thunderbird/Lightning/Sunbird, Evolution, and other calendar clients. Install version 1.2 from the repositories (then see the website for usage instructions):

sudo apt-get install calendarserver

WebCalendar

WebCalendar is an ICS-based server for group calendars that can use many different databases as the backend, is written in PHP, and is compatible with clients such as Sunbird/Thunderbird (Lightning), Apple iCal, and Evolution. The newest version can also be viewed using RSS clients. See the website and the wiki for installing the newest (1.2) version. Install the older (1.05) version from the repositories:

sudo apt-get install webcalendar

Wiki software

Wiki software allows an organization to have a manual that can be edited by a number of collaborators. Wikipedia is the best known example.

MediaWiki

MediaWiki is the free, open source server software that Wikipedia uses. It is scalable to very large uses. It runs on the LAMP server stack (which uses the MySQL database and is available as an installation option with the (K)ubuntu server), or it can be used with a postgreSQL database. See these detailed instructions. (Other instructions are also available here.) Install from the repositories:

sudo apt-get install mediawiki
  • Edit the config file so it recognizes MediaWiki:
sudo nano /etc/mediawiki/apache.conf

Uncomment (remove the #) the line:

Alias /mediawiki /var/lib/mediawiki
  • Restart apache2:
sudo /etc/init.d/apache2 restart
  • Run/install MediaWiki by logging into:
http://localhost/mediawiki
You will be prompted for configuration variables to be set. The trickiest is the MySQL user/password. Hopefully you remember your MySQL superuser that you set at the time of LAMP (or MySQL) installation.
  • Copy your local settings configuration file to /etc/mediawiki (and make a backup of the original):
sudo cp /var/lib/mediawiki/config/LocalSettings.php /etc/mediawiki
sudo mv /var/lib/mediawiki/config/LocalSettings.php /var/lib/mediawiki/config/LocalSettings_at_install.php

Edit your configuration variables there:

sudo kate /etc/mediawiki/LocalSettings.php
  • If you are using a virtual host server, make a symbolic link (named in this example mywiki) from your /usr/share/mediawiki installation folder to your /var/www folder:
sudo ln -s /usr/share/mediawiki /var/www/mywiki

then make sure you have an apache2 virtual hosts configuration file (in /etc/apache2/sites-available) that points to /var/www/mywiki as the DocumentRoot. Make a symbolic link from your virtual host configuration file in /etc/apache2/sites-available to /etc/apache2/sites-enabled to enable it. Restart apache2 after enabling the sites. (Warning: MediaWiki is not secure at installation and can be easily hacked by new users. Do not publish your wiki to the Internet before reading all the instructions and changing the configuration file (LocalSettings.php) so that it is more secure.) You would then access the database at:

http://my.virtualwikihost.org

Twiki

Twiki is an open source wiki engine used by many small to medium size companies internally. It has an active development team with multiple plugins. See the website for installation instructions. Install:

sudo apt-get install twiki

Moin Moin

Moin Moin is free, open source (GPL-licensed) wiki software written using Python, with a large community of users, including the Apache, Debian, and Ubuntu wikis. See these Ubuntu installation instructions. Install:

sudo apt-get install python-moinmoin

TiddlyWiki

TiddlyWiki is an open source personal wiki. It is ideal for creating a list of things to do, note taking, or as a collaboration tool for a small team. It is a single HTML file that can reside on your computer or can even be uploaded to a web server and be used as a simple website. It is developed using a Firefox browser as an interface. Installation instructions are on the website.

Web Publishing

Drupal (Web content publishing)

Drupal is the leading open-source website creation and content collaboration tools. A modular approach to website building, from simple out-of-the-box websites to complex sites is possible with a short learning curve. Get more info on how to get started. Drupal requires an installation of a LAMP server stack; if you have not already installed LAMP, it will be installed along with Drupal 6. I have found it easier to use the MySQL database (the "M" in LAMP), but Drupal6 can also integrate with PostgreSQL if you have it installed. Drupal is available as a package, or from the command-line terminal:

sudo apt-get install drupal6
  • After everything is installed (and the problems below sorted out), restart the apache2 server:
sudo /etc/init.d/apache2 restart
  • Finish installation through your browser:
http://localhost/drupal6/install.php

You can then also see these installation tips for installing through the browser, then see these Drupal site building tips. A Drupal/Ubuntu users group is found at Drubuntu.

Installation quirks

libgd2-xpm

When I installed my Ubuntu server, it installed libgd2-noxpm. This is a graphics library (without X pixmap (XPM) or font configuration (fontconfig) support). However, Drupal requires libgd2-xpm, which is used instead of libgd2-xpm. Removing libgd2-xpm doesn't appear to be trivial, however. I could not remove it using apt, Adept, or KPackageKit.

However, Synaptic Package Manager does appear to remove libgd2-noxpm successfully, and then libgd2-xpm can be installed.

Exim vs. Postfix

Exim and Postfix are mail handlers. I had installed Postfix at the time I installed my Ubuntu server (but was not using it). But Drupal uses Exim and therefore removes Postfix at installation and installs Exim instead. Therefore, it is better not to use Drupal on a mail server that uses Postfix.

WordPress

WordPress is a popular free open source web content manager that started as a blog tool and now incorporates many publishing elements. For bloggers and small to medium-sized websites, WordPress provides the fastest installation and customization process with many modules. WordPress requires an installation of a LAMP server stack first. Then install:

sudo apt-get install wordpress
  • Make a symbolic link from your Apache2 www folder to your installation folder and install a new MySQL database named localhost to use with WordPress:
sudo ln -s /usr/share/wordpress /var/www/wordpress
sudo bash /usr/share/doc/wordpress/examples/setup-mysql -n wordpress localhost

Note: If you already know the name of your (virtual) host URL for WordPress, then use it as the name of your database instead of localhost. For example, my URL is mysite_x.homeserve.org so my command is:

sudo bash /usr/share/doc/wordpress/examples/setup-mysql -n wordpress mysite_x.homeserve.org
  • If you will access your WordPress server through a virtual host, then create your virtual host configuration file in the /etc/apache2/sites-available folder. Once you have edited the file, make a symbolic link from it to the /etc/apache2/sites-enabled folder. Restart apache2:
sudo /etc/init.d/apache2 restart
  • Install WordPress through a browser:
http://localhost/wordpress
or, if you are using a virtual host:
http:/mysite_x.homeserve.org/wordpress

Note: The Jaunty repositories contain version 2.7.1, which is subject to a security worm. If you install this version, please update immediately to the current version from the Tools -> Upgrade menu. (Alternatively, install the current source version from the website.)

For the automatic updater to work, all the WordPress files, folders, and subfolders must be owned by www-data (which is also the owner of the apache2 process) prior to updating.

sudo chown -R www-data /usr/share/wordpress

Joomla (Web content publishing)

Joomla is a powerful open source website creation and content management tool that allows website creation for use in every arena from the simple to complex corporate environments. Info for beginners is a good place to start.

Scribus (Desktop publishing)

Scribus is an open-source package that provides professional-appearing desktop publishing.

sudo apt-get install scribus

Plone (Content Management System)

Plone is a free, open source (GPL-licensed) multi-platform content management system used by many large organizations around the world. It is available with an integrated installer here. Some users have had some difficulties in Jaunty, due to changes in Python.

Gallery (Photo album website)

Gallery is a PHP-based method of presenting a photo album on a website. A [http://drupal.org/project/gallery Drupal interface is also available for Gallery2. Install:

sudo apt-get install gallery2

Distance teaching

Moodle

Moodle is a free open source platform for hosting online learning courses. It can be integrated with webinar software. A LAMP server installation is required (sudo tasksel install lamp-server). Also find free Moodle themes here. Install:

sudo apt-get install moodle
  • Database server software for Moodle: mysql-server -> follow remainder of instructions. Assuming the database is hosted on the same computer as the one Moodle is being installed upon, accept localhost for the options when prompted.
  • Edit Moodle configuration options (if needed). (Use the gedit text editor instead of kate if using Ubuntu instead of Kubuntu.):
sudo kate /etc/moodle/config.php
  • Edit Moodle apache2 configuration file (if needed). (Use the gedit text editor instead of kate if using Ubuntu instead of Kubuntu.):
sudo kate /etc/moodle/apache.conf
  • Finish installation through the browser. (I recommend the "unattended" installation.)
http://localhost/moodle/admin

For more information, see these detailed tips.

Claroline

Claroline is a free open source platform for hosting e-learning courses and online student collaboration. A LAMP server installation is required. Installation is from source files available at the website, with instructions found here.

Dokeos

Dokeos has a free learning platform, but also a medically-oriented proprietary platform that includes modules for case presentations and imaging. It is widely used in Europe.

Software Development

Kompozer Web Development Editor

Kompozer is a Gecko-based web authoring system that combines web page editing with web file management in a WYSIWYG manner. It supports XML, CSS, and JavaScript in an XUL architecture.

sudo apt-get install kompozer

Quanta Plus (Web IDE)

Quanta Plus is an integrated development environment integrated with the KDE desktop. It allows webpage development, database design, and XML design and scripting, for example, using multiple development tools. The latest stable version is 3.5, however, and integrates with the KDE 3.5 environment (Ubuntu Hardy Heron). You should therefore use Ubuntu Hardy Heron with this product. (There is also a commercial version (Quanta Gold), also oriented towards KDE 3).

sudo apt-get install quanta kompare kxsldbg cervisia

Netbeans IDE

Netbeans is a free open-source integrated development environment used to create applications using Ajax, Ruby, pHp, Groovy, Java, Javascript, C++, and other scripting tools.

sudo apt-get install netbeans

BlueFish Web Development Editor

BlueFish is a GTK-based (Gnome-oriented) editor to write websites, scripts and programming code. It supports perl, Python, pHp, CSS, XML, Java, Javascript, C, SQL, and other formats.

sudo apt-get install bluefish

Gobby (Multi-user development)

Gobby is a free, multi-platform open source collaborative editor supporting multiple documents in one session and a multi-user chat. Install:

sudo apt-get install gobby

Version control software

Copies of software being developed at many different locations require a method to ensure that the multiple distributed copies remain synchronized. This can be done using a central repository or using a distributed synchronization technique. For further information, see the official Ubuntu documentation. Several version control platforms exist:

Science, Technology, and Engineering Applications

What .. you thought Ubuntu was just for play? Also see Ubuntu Science.

Health applications

VistA (Enterprise Electronic Health Record)

OpenVistA and WorldVistA are two varieties of the largest and most robust CCHIT-approved electronic health record platform in the public domain. They are GPL licensed, are based on the US Veterans Administration health record system, and can be installed as an integrated database, server, and client system. See the detailed download and installation instructions for OpenVistA and WorldVistA, or visit Vistapedia for other instructions. Also see the Ultimate Server with OpenVistA EHR.

CAD

  • QCAD is a commercial CAD alternative to AutoCAD with a community open source edition. Install:
sudo apt-get install qcad
  • VariCAD is a commercial 3D CAD package for multiple platforms (including Linux). There is no open source or community version.

Mathematical solutions

Scilab, Octave, and Freemat are three open source solutions for solving complex mathematical equations.

Octave

Gnu Octave is a free, open source (GPL licensed) platform for solving linear and non-linear equations, similar to (and mostly compatible with) Matlab. It interfaces well with Gnuplot. For troubleshooting tips, see this thread. Install:

sudo apt-get install octave3.0

Also recommended:

sudo apt-get install libatlas3gf-base gnuplot qtoctave

Note: QTOctave is a GUI for Gnuplot or Easyplot 1.1, and and the ATLAS library is an algebra-software-optimization set of utilities.

EasyPlot 1.1 is an alternative to GnuPlot, with a version that can be used with QTOctave. It must be installed from source.

An older GUI for Octave/Gnuplot is qgfe (available as the package qgfe).

Freemat

Freemat is a free, open source (GPL licensed) platform for solving linear and non-linear equations, similar to (and mostly compatible with) Matlab. Install from Add/Remove Programs (Edutainment) or

sudo apt-get install freemat

Amateur Radio applications

Fldigi is a free, open-source (GPL) application for digital-mode amateur radio communications using a sound card. Enable "Community Maintained Software (universe)" in Software Sources; then install either from Add/Remove Programs under (Amateur Radio) or by typing

sudo apt-get install fldigi

Amateur Electronics

Arduino

Arduino is an open-source electronics prototyping platform based on flexible, easy-to-use hardware and software. It's intended for artists, designers, and hobbyists interested in creating interactive objects or environments. See this tutorial.

Miscellaneous software (not endorsed by this guide)

JBidwatcher

JBidwatcher is a Java-based application allowing you to monitor auctions, submit bids, snipe (bid at the last moment), and otherwise track your auction-site experience. See the website for more details.

Utilities

Utilities facilitate everyday tasks, such as keeping the clock up to date, archiving utilities, and more.

Archiving Utilities

ZIP

The command-line terminal utility ZIP creates files that are compatible with the time-honored PKZIP and WinZip. It is included in (K)Ubuntu by default. Extracting zip files can be done with the unzip utility. using the -P option allows using a password for the files:

zip -r -P mypassword desination.zip *

Note: The -r option indicates to include all subdirectories recursively.

FileRoller (Archiving GUI)

FileRoller is a GUI for many types of archival utilities.

X-archiver (Archiving GUI)

Xarchiver is a GTK-based GUI front-end for many archiving utilities. Install:

sudo apt-get install xarchiver

BChunk

BChunk is a command-line utility that allows you to convert .cue and .bin files into an .iso file (so that they can be opened and manipulated in Ubuntu). Warning: If the bin/cue image has audio tracks, they will be lost.

Get BChunk

sudo apt-get install bchunk

To convert .cue and .bin files, navigate to the folder and run this command (replacing filenames with your own):

bchunk inputfilename.bin inputfilename.cue outputfilename.iso

After the file is converted into ISO you can mount it using:

sudo mount -o loop outputfilename.iso /media/output

Navigate to /media/output and you should see all the content there. You can then copy it anywhere.

To unmount:

sudo umount /media/output

HJSplit Files Joiner/Splitter

HJSplit for Linux (Java version).

  • Make sure you have Java Runtime Environment installed:
sudo apt-get install sun-java6-jre
  • Download the HJSplit JAR file:
wget http://www.freebyte.com/download/hjsplit/hjsplit_g.jar
  • Create the directory for HJSplit:
sudo mkdir /opt/hjsplit
  • Move the file to an appropriate directory:
sudo mv hjsplit_g.jar /opt/hjsplit/ 
  • Run:
cd /opt/hjsplit/ && java -jar hjsplit_g.jar 
Note: You could also make a terminal shortcut (menu item) in K Menu Editor.

Rar

Rar archives files into the proprietary .rar format.

sudo apt-get install rar

This application is a 40-day trial.

Unrar

Unrar extracts files archived with the proprietary .rar format. A free version can be installed:

sudo apt-get install unrar-free

or the proprietary version (also free for noncommercial use) can be installed with the ubuntu-restricted-extras package or with:

sudo apt-get install unrar

7-Zip

The open-source 7-Zip archive format was originally designed for Windows (and DOS) but is also available for Ubuntu. The GNU/Linux version of 7-Zip does not come with a GUI, but Ark can hook into 7-Zip to handle 7z archives. Install:

sudo apt-get install p7zip-full

Hard Drive Utilities

KDiskFree (Hard drive properties monitor)

KDiskFree is a KDE utility for monitoring free disk space, etc.

sudo apt-get install kdf

Clock Utilties

Screensavers

Partition Managers

Also see these tips for partitioning scheme suggestions, other partitioning tools and methods, and usage of multiple partitions for multiple OSs.

GParted Partition Manager

Gparted is a GTK (Gnome)-based partition manager that can also be used with KDE.

  • This utility works best when run from a LiveCD. Recent versions of the Ubuntu LiveCD have a copy of GParted on them. Start the Ubuntu LiveCD in demo mode (not in install mode) and then start GParted:
Menu -> System -> Administration -> GParted
  • You can also install the package into your OS (once it is installed on your hard drive):
sudo apt-get install gparted

System Backup and Recovery

Rsync

Rsync is the directory backup and transfer tool for Linux. It is installed by default in Ubuntu. It can provide any type of backup, and options are extensive. Several GUI frontends for Rsync are listed here.

GRsync

GRsync is a GTK-based GUI front-end for Rsync. Install:

sudo apt-get install grsync

Bacula

Bacula is the most widely-used GTK-based open source (GPL-licensed) network backup utility that is used in both server and desktop installations. A catalogue of backups can be maintained using MySQL, PostgreSQL, or SQLite. For more info see the Ubuntu documentation. Both text-based and GUI frontends are available. Install the MySQL version:

sudo apt-get install bacula

SBackup

SBackup is a simple backup and restore utility for the GTK-desktop. Install:

sudo apt-get install sbackup

Keep (Backup and Recovery)

Keep is a backup utility that was used in previous versions of Ubuntu. It has not been recently updated and is no longer included in Ubuntu by default. Install:

sudo apt-get install keep

Run:

  • System -> Keep (Backup System)
  • Backup:
Click "Add a Directory to Backup"
Select directories you wish to backup
Select a location to place the backup
Set how often you wish the backups to take place, and how long to keep them
Click "Backup Now"
Select the directory groups you wish to backup.
  • Recover:
Click "Restore a Backup"
Select the directory groups you wish to restore.

Partimage (Partition backup)

Partimage is a free open-source utility to back up an entire partition into an .iso image. It can be used across a network, as well. Install and run:

sudo apt-get install partimage
sudo partimage

Partimage cannot be used from within the partition you wish to backup. You will either have to run it from a different partition or from a LiveCD that contains it. (A serious limitation of Partimage is its inability to backup/restore split image files to/from multiple media (e.g. spanned DVDs/CDs), limiting its usefulness as an inexpensive cloning and distribution solution. Partition image backup/restoration must be to/from a single hard drive, large capacity USB stick, or networked storage space.)

dd

dd is a *nix command that enables the copying of files or an entire disk using a single command. Parameters must be precisely specified to avoid risk of accidentally erasing data. See these brief instructions or these instructions for detailed options. You cannot copy a hard drive that contains the operating system you are currently running. Instead, boot into a LiveCD and run the dd command that way. An example command to copy Hard drive X to Hard drive Y is:

dd if=/dev/hdx of=/dev/hdy
  • ddrescue is a variation of the dd command that allows working with potentially corrupted datasets, partitions, or hard drives.

FSArchiver (Filesystem Archiver)

FSArchiver is a utility to backup the filesystem by files (instead of by partition blocks). A filesystem backed up in this way can be moved to a different sized partition or another disk filesystem altogether (e.g. from ext3 to ext4). Backups can be split and stored on (and restored from) spanned media (e.g. multiple DVDs/CDs). While it is still under development, this is one of the few backup methods that worked reliably for me in a variety of situations. It is included in the System Rescue CD.

System Rescue and Cloning Utilities

System Rescue CD

SystemRescueCD is a LiveCD that includes important utilities such as GParted, Partimage, ddrescue, Rsync, and FSArchiver. Several of these utilities cannot be used from within a running partition, so using them from a LiveCD is often necessary. Download and burn the LiveCD from the website.

Clonezilla

Clonezilla allows the backup or duplication of a partition for a single machine or for multiple machines over a network. (It is similar to Norton Ghost.) It includes Partimage, partclone, and other utilities. It is available as a LiveCD which can then be burned. (A serious limitation of Clonezilla is its inability to backup/restore split image files to/from multiple media (e.g. spanned DVDs/CDs), limiting its usefulness as an inexpensive cloning and distribution solution. Partition image backup/restoration must be to/from a single hard drive, large capacity USB stick, or networked storage space.)

Disk Imaging software

  • G4U is a utility to image a disk bit by bit.
  • G4L is a utility to image a disk bit by bit. It includes a GUI interface.

Ubuntu Customization Kit

sudo apt-get install uck

Remastering software

Debian and (K)Ubuntu Linux operating systems can be "remastered" and customized (using one of a number of utilities) for re-distribution. (See this Wikipedia list.) This enables an organization to pre-load desired applications and customizations for distribution among its members, while preserving the intrinsic architecture and function of (K)Ubuntu. The customized (K)Ubuntu OS can then be distributed on a CD or on a USB flashdrive. Users are then free to further customize the OS, or even to revert back to the original default (K)Ubuntu settings. Also see the Ubuntu wiki.

Run Ubuntu LiveCD from a USB pendrive

The Ubuntu LiveCD can be installed on and run from a USB pendrive. Settings can be "persistently" saved (but the LiveCD kernel modules can not be upgraded). Programs can be installed and run, however, and files saved to the USB drive. (The installed programs will remain installed). See these Pendrivelinux instructions. An Ubuntu Live CD is needed to do the install.

The USB "LiveCD" can also be used to install Ubuntu on computers (including netbooks) that do not have CD-ROM/DVD drives.

USB pendrives to be used to run Ubuntu should have a minimum of 2 Gb (preferably 4 Gb). If you wish to install a fast, fully functional Linux system on a pendrive that has less memory than that, use PuppyLinux.

Create a boot CD to allow booting from the USB drive

Many computers do not allow booting from a USB drive (but they do allow booting from the CD-ROM). You can create a CD-ROM using these Pendrivelinux instructions and set your BIOS to boot from this CD-ROM. When you boot from this CD-ROM, it will use the bootup files on the Ubuntu USB drive you previously created (in the step above).

USB Creator

You can make a "LiveCD" on a USB pendrive using USB Creator and either a LiveCD or an .iso version of the LiveCD stored on your hard drive. See these instructions or these PendriveLinux instructions. Install:

sudo apt-get install usb-creator

User Administration

K menu -> System -> KUser User Manager

Add New Users

  • "New" button
  • Change the "Login Name" to the desired username
  • Click the "Passwords and Security" tab
  • Enter the desired password

Modify Users

  • Select the user you wish to modify
  • Click the "Modify" button

Removing Users

  • Select the user you wish to remove
  • Click the "Delete" button

Change your user groups

It is quite often necessary to have extra privileges to do certain tasks. These privileges are assigned to your user by belonging to certain groups. The tasks are allowed to be performed by any user belonging to the group associated with that task.

Example: a "sudoer" is a user who can perform certain administative tasks, such as updating the system. To become a "sudoer" a user must belong to the "sudo" group.
K menu -> System -> Kuser User Manager -> user -> Groups --> check sudo

To become an administrator, you must belong to the adm, admin, and sudo groups. To be a virtualbox user, you must belong to the virtualbox group. To change printer settings you must belong to lpadmin. To use the cdrom, you must belong to cdrom. To use hot-pluggable devices, you must belong to plugdev. To share Samba folders (on a Windows-based network), you must belong to sambashare. To access NTFS files using the virtual filesystem fuse, you must belong to the fuse group. To use many games, you must belong to the games group. The list is long, and not always obvious.

Unfortunately, while this is the feature that gives Linux such a high-level of security, it can also take diligence to remember to add your user to certain groups. It is not uncommon for programs and functions on your system not to work merely because you don't have privileges to do so because you forgot to add your user to the appropriate group(s).

Of most importance, you must already be an administrator in order to change membership in groups. Therefore, if you create a new user and intend to give that user administrative privileges (by assigning the user to the administrative groups), you must do so from your original administrator account (the one you set up at installation) or from another administrative user account.

PolicyKit

PolicyKit-KDE is the KDE frontend for PolicyKit, a toolkit for controlling system-wide user privileges.

Timekpr (Parental controls)

Timekpr is a program to track and control the computer usage of user accounts. (This is different from KTimeTracker, which merely records your usage but does not restrict it.)

  • If updating, remove any prior versions:
sudo dpkg --purge timekpr
deb http://ppa.launchpad.net/nedberg/ubuntu jaunty main
deb-src http://ppa.launchpad.net/nedberg/ubuntu jaunty main
  • Install:
sudo apt-get install timekpr
When prompted which default display manager to use, select "kdm"
  • Start:
K menu -> System -> Timekpr Control Panel

Web content filtering

DansGuardian provides web filtering capability, similar to NetNanny. It is useful for limitng objectionable content in publicly accessible workstations, or for filtering objectionable content for younger users. It integrates with ClamAV, and uses several criteria for filtering websites (which is difficult to modify). It is used with Tinyproxy (best for individual users) or the Squid proxy (best for a network server). Install:

sudo apt-get install dansguardian tinyproxy
or
sudo apt-get install dansguardian squid

See these installation instructions for setup details. In brief,

  • Edit the dansguardian configuration file:
sudo nano /etc/dansguardian/dansguardian.conf
comment out the UNCONFIGURED line:
#UNCONFIGURED
If using tinyproxy instead of Squid, change the proxyport to 8888:
proxyport 8888
  • Reinstall dansguardian:
sudo apt-get install --reinstall dansguardian
  • Set your browser to use the localhost:8080 proxy. For example, in Firefox:
  • Firefox -> Edit -> Preferences -> Advanced -> Network -> Settings
  • Manual proxy configuration -> HTTP proxy: localhost -> Port: 8080
  • A Webmin module is available to administer settings. Also, a GUI to change Dansguardian settings called Webstrict is in development.

System Administration

Automating Tasks

  • Cron is a system daemon that runs tasks in the background according to instructions found in a crontab file. To edit the crontab file for the current user:
crontab -e

Tasks that normally require administrative (sudo) privileges should be added to the root user's crontab:

sudo crontab -e

Add commands using the format specified here (or see the Ubuntu Community Help). The crontab command format can also be found using:

man crontab
  • Scheduled/automated tasks (cron events) can also be edited using a GUI interface.
K menu -> System Settings -> Advanced -> Task Scheduler

KWallet (Password Manager)

KWallet is a password manager for the KDE desktop. Refer to the handbook for detailed usage instructions. If a password is not desired to be used for an application, merely leave the password blank when prompted.

Boot Menu

Login Menu settings

You can change the Login menu settings from the GUI interface:

K menu -> System Settings -> Advanced -> Login Manager

You can choose an integrated theme or select individual components of the login screen/process.

GRUB boot manager settings

Grub2

Karmic comes with Grub2, one of the most difficult boot managers to customize. (Grub2 is also known as grub-pc.) See the evolving instructions at the Ubuntu wiki or Ubuntu forums. In brief, some settings can be edited:

sudo nano /etc/default/grub
sudo update-grub
  • You can also use this command:
sudo grub-mkconfig --output=/boot/grub/grub.cfg
Grub Legacy

The older version of GRUB ("Grub Legacy") is available, for use with a boot partition, for example. Install:

sudo apt-get install grub
  • If you have multiple operating systems (OS) on your computer, you may be using the GRUB Legacy boot manager (in a boot partition, for example). You can edit the options for GRUB Legacy in the menu.lst configuration file. (See this detailed info.)
sudo nano /boot/grub/menu.lst
(kate can also be used instead of nano as the text editor.)
Chainloading Grub2 from Grub Legacy

To chainload Grub2 (installed in this example in the /dev/sda7 partition) from Grub Legacy, use an entry of this format in the Grub Legacy menu.lst configuration file (stored in a boot partition, for example):

title Kubuntu Karmic OS (chainloader)
rootnoverify (hd0,6)
kernel /boot/grub/core.img

Default Applications

You can choose which program to use as your default program for a specific task.

K menu -> System -> System Settings -> Default Applications

Kill a process

Sometimes a program (or "process") just freezes. To "kill" (or end) the program/process:

K menu -> System -> System Monitor -> highlight the errant process -> Kill process

From the command line:

sudo killall process
where process is the name of the frozen program, such as firefox.

Manage Startup Services

You can select which services will run at startup.

K menu -> System -> System Settings -> Advanced -> Service Manager -> Startup Services

Enabling NUM LOCK On Startup

K Menu-> System -> System Settings -> Keyboard & Mouse -> Keyboard ->"turn on Numlock on KDE Startup"

Working with Menus

  • There are two menu formats -- Kickoff Menu Style and Classic Menu Style. To swtich between the two, you must have the Widgets unlocked:
Right-click K menu -> Unlock Widgets

the choose your menu style:

Right-click K menu -> Switch to ... Menu Style
  • To edit menus, unlock widgets as above, then:
Right-click K menu -> Menu Editor

Create an encrypted folder

With Kubuntu, you can create a folder whose contents are encrypted. See these instructions.

Create a symlink from a file to another location

A symbolic link (also known as a symlink) is a method in Linux of referring to a file (or directory) in one location from another location. Usage:

ln -s /path/to/source /path/to/destination

If /path/to/destination requires superuser rights, then use:

sudo ln -s /path/to/source /path/to/destination

This is similar to, but more powerful than, creating Shortcuts, with which former Windows users may be familiar.

Assign a root password

To be able to log in as root directly, you must assign a root password. This can be done with:

sudo passwd root

Afterwards, you can use

su

to get a root prompt. You would then use the root password.

Get a root prompt without using a root password

If you have not set a root password (or don't know it), you can obtain root user privileges anyway. From the command-line terminal (Konsole):

sudo -s
or
sudo su
or
sudo bash

You will use your own user password instead of a root password.

You could also get a prompt to become any other user on the computer by typing:

sudo su <username>

Use the File Manager as root

sudo dolphin
or
kdesu dolphin
or
kdesu konqueror

Of course, you can make a Menu Item / Shortcut using either the kdesu dolphin or kdesu konqueror command, as well.

Synchronize clock to network time server

The Network Time Protocol (NTP) allows time synchronization of your computer to time servers on the Internet.To enable it:

  • K menu -> System Settings -> Date & Time
  • Check the "Set date and time automatically" option
  • Choose an ntp time server near you.

Manually Mount and Unmount a device

To manually mount a device:

sudo mount /dev/hda

replace /dev/hda with the location of the device.

To manually unmount a device:

sudo umount /dev/hda

replace /dev/hda with the location of the device.

Windows Compatibility

Mounting NTFS Partitions (with read/write privileges)

Install NTFS-3G, the NTFS manager:

sudo apt-get install ntfs-3g

Note: You should also be a member of the fuse group to use ntfs-3g.

Find out the name of your ntfs partition:

sudo fdisk -l

Method 1: In this example, the NTFS drive is listed by fdisk as /dev/sda2, but yours may differ.

Make a mount point for the drive:

sudo mkdir /media/WindowsNTFS

Edit fstab:

sudo nano /etc/fstab

Comment out the automatically added lines by Kubuntu installation:

#/dev/sda2  auto nouser,atime,noauto,rw,nodev,noexec,nosuid 0 0
#/dev/sda2 /mnt auto user,atime,noauto,rw,nodev,noexec,nosuid 0 0

and instead add the line:

/dev/sda2 /mnt/WindowsNTFS ntfs-3g quiet,defaults,rw 0 0

Note: There are many ways to mount the drive, depending on your needs. The fstab file controls this process. See How to edit and understand fstab and Intro to using fstab.

In this example, I indicated that the file system was an ntfs-3g filesystem, so did not use the auto option (which detects the filesystem automatically). I used rw to specify read/write privileges for all users, but umask=0 and umask=000 are accepted by some kernels.

Method 2: Edit fstab:

sudo nano /etc/fstab

When Kubuntu installation finishes, it mounts all ntfs partitions automatically with ntfsprogs, adding a line similar to the following to fstab:

UUID=8466268666267956 /media/sda1     ntfs    defaults,gid=46 0       1

Change this line to:

UUID=8466268666267956 /media/sda1     ntfs-3g    defaults,nls=utf8,locale=zh_CN.UTF-8,rw,gid=46 0       1

In this example, I have a Chinese-language Windows installation on my first partition, so I set the locale parameter (locale=zh_CN.UTF-8) so that my Chinese documents can display correctly. Setting rw (same as umask=0 or umask=000) lets me read/write the partition without sudo. gid=46 specifies that the drive will belong to the group of hot-pluggable devices (plugdev) and is not necessary unless your ntfs drive is a hot-pluggable one (such as an external USB drive). nls=utf8 is the default and is optional for most ntfs users, but there are other options for Chinese (and other specialized character-set users).

Mounting FAT32 Partitions

Follow the above instructions, but use vfat instead of ntfs-3g.

In other words, if you have made a mount point directory /mnt/WindowsFAT32 and your FAT32 drive is /dev/sda3, then edit the /etc/fstab file to include the line:

/dev/sda3 /mnt/WindowsFAT32 vfat quiet,defaults,rw 0 0

Hardware

CPU and motherboard

The original Linux kernel supplied with Karmic Koala implemented mandatory CPU temperature and fan speed sensor monitoring (which was optional in previous kernels). The output from the sensors was used to effect CPU scaling (throttling) in the event of "out of range" temperature values. However, not all motherboards/CPUs have sensor drivers available, and due to a bug in the feedback routine, missing sensors drivers incorrectly reported as an "out of range" error in this kernel. This threw multiple errors which were logged (using rsyslogd) to both the /var/log/kern.log and the /var/log/syslog files, filling them to multiple Gb size within a few hours. This had the effect of slowing, then freezing, the machine.

The new Linux kernels (> 31.17) have fixed this problem by disabling the feedback throttling. If your machine is affected by this problem, go ahead and install using the original kernel supplied with Karmic, but then do an update/upgrade to obtain the current Linux kernel.

Disable CPU Frequency scaling

(These instructions should not be necessary any longer, even for the problem noted above. They are maintained here for reference only.) My motherboard does not have drivers for my CPU fan sensor. Therefore, the Linux kernel cannot monitor the temperature and fan speeds properly and throttles the CPU (aka frequency scaling) inappropriately. This has the effect of slowing or freezing my computer. To turn off this behavior, I used the Debian RCConf utility:

sudo apt-get install rcconf
sudo rcconf

and unchecked the ONDEMAND item. (I also unchecked the fan control item). I then rebooted. For more info, see this.

libsensors

libsensors (libsensors3 and/or libsensors4) is a module that allows an interface (such as lm-sensors) to monitor your motherboard/CPU temp and fan speeds. You can adjust settings:

sudo kate /etc/sensors.conf
sensors -s

libsensors and lm-sensors are not used by the Linux kernel (which uses other routines).

Some hardware CPU sensors are not recognized by the Linux kernel, causing system slowdown or freezing. Here is some info about hardware/sensors problems.

Sensors-applet (Motherboard monitoring)

Sensors-applet (or xsensors) is the Gnome (Ubuntu) frontend for lm-sensors. These sensors monitor the temperature and fan-speed sensors of your motherboard.

sudo apt-get install sensors-applet lm-sensors
sudo sensors-detect
sensors-applet
  • Make sure your sensors are installed.
sensors

For more info, see this thread.

Graphics Card

Install Latest Nvidia/ATI drivers

Ubuntu uses a GUI frontend to Jockey for the installation of the proprietary nVidia drivers (and other proprietary drivers).

Menu -> System -> Hardware Drivers
  • Sometimes after a kernel upgrade a proprietary driver may stop working. In such a case, try installing the new linux-headers that match the newly upgraded kernel:
sudo apt-get install linux-headers-$(uname -r)
If dkms and build-essential have never been installed on your system, these can also be worthwhile:
sudo apt-get install dkms build-essential

Fix Intel graphics resolution problems

On a fresh install of Karmic Koala I had no problems with my onboard Intel graphics card. However, on an update from Jaunty to Karmic, I could not get higher screen resolutions -- the same problem I had in Jaunty. Therefore, my solution is the same, i.e. to revert to the old Intel drivers, as detailed here.

Screen Keeps Flickering

If you have an Intel Corporation Mobile 915GM/GMS/910GML card, your screen may flicker every 5-10 seconds. To prevent this:

  • System -> Administration -> Advanced -> Service Manager
  • Uncheck "Detect RANDR (monitor) changes"

Reconfigure xserver-xorg

sudo dpkg-reconfigure xserver-xorg

xorg.conf

Before installing any driver for ATI or nvidia, please make backup xorg.conf before following this method.

sudo cp /etc/X11/xorg.conf /etc/X11/xorg.conf.bak

If you have edited this file but would like it to be automatically updated again, run the following command:

sudo dpkg-reconfigure -phigh xserver-xorg

If you want to try this xorg.conf after installing the driver, you must back up your xorg.conf as following. And then, edit /etc/X11/xorg.conf in text editor. Add or modify this xorg.conf sample.

xorg.conf for nvidia
 Section "Screen"
 Identifier "Default Screen"
 Device "Configured Video Device"
 Monitor "Configured Monitor"
 SubSection "Display"
 Depth 16
 Modes "1280x1024" "1024x768"
 Option "AddARGBGLXVisuals" "True"
 EndSubSection

 Option "AddARGBGLXVisuals" "True"
 Defaultdepth 24
 EndSection
 Section "Module"
 Load "glx"
 Load "GLcore"
 Load "v4l"
 EndSection
 Section "Device"
 Identifier "Configured Video Device"
 Boardname "vesa"
 Busid "PCI:1:0:0"
 Driver "nvidia"
 Screen 0
 EndSection
 
 Section "Device"
 Identifier "Device0"
 BoardName "Generic Geforce 5500"
 Driver "nvidia"
 Vendorname "NVIDIA Corporation"
 Option "DualHead" "1"
 Option "ShadowFB" "1"
 Option "FPScale" "1"
 Option "TwinView" "True"
 Option "TwinViewOrientation" "RightOf"
 Option "UseEdidFreqs" "True"
 Option "Metamodes" "1024x768,1024x768"
 Option "UseDisplayDevice" "DFP"
 EndSection
 
 Section "Device"
 Identifier "Videocard0"
 Driver "nv"
 VendorName "NVIDIA Corporation"
 BoardName "GeForce 7600 GT"
 EndSection
 
 Section "InputDevice"
 Identifier "Generic Keyboard"
 Driver "kbd"
 Option "XkbRules" "xorg"
 Option "XkbModel" "pc105"
 Option "XkbLayout" "us"
 EndSection

 Section "InputDevice"
 Identifier "Configured Mouse"
 Driver "mouse"
 EndSection
 Section "ServerLayout"
 Identifier "Default Layout"
 screen 0 "Default Screen" 0 0
 EndSection
 
 Section "Extensions"
 Option "Composite" "Enable"
 EndSection

Installation of ATI and nVidia Graphics drivers

nVidia Driver

If you have problems with nVidia drivers after upgrading, check this UbuntuGeek guide for solutions to common problems with nVidia. The current nVidia drivers are automatically maintained in Jaunty, however, in

System -> Administration -> Hardware Drivers

Look for the current drivers to activate there.

  • Here are alternate manual instructions.
  • Please make a backup of xorg.conf before following this method.
sudo cp /etc/X11/xorg.conf /etc/X11/xorg.conf.bak
  • Install the nvidia-settings package:
 sudo apt-get install nvidia-settings
  • Download the nVidia driver:
wget -O NVIDIA-Linux-x86-pkg1.run http://www.nvidia.com/Download/index.aspx?lang=en-us
sudo sh NVIDIA-Linux-x86-pkg1.run

and choose yes to any verbose response. After you install the driver, reboot your computer.

ATI Driver

If you have problems with ATI drivers after upgrading, check this link for solutions to common problems with ATI.

Monitors / Displays

Turn off power saving

Even when on AC power, the power saver feature of Ubuntu sometimes changes the screen brightness to the battery setting on laptops. This was a problem with the ACPI power management module in the past, but should now be fixed. If not, change the settings:

To access the Guidance Power Manager module, click on the power icon on the desktop taskbar.
Change the brightness setting for "Battery powered" to maximum.

You can also turn off power management settings (invoked when the computer is idle):

System -> Administration -> Display -> Power Control -> uncheck "Enable display power management"

Configure Dual Monitors with nVidia

  • Make sure that the nVidia driver has been installed and is functioning properly on your first screen. Also, make sure both monitors are connected.
  • Open the command-line terminal Konsole and type:
sudo nvidia-settings
  • Select "X Server Display Configuration".
  • You should see 3 boxes (2 if your card doesn't have an S-Video out). From here you can configure all of your card's outputs.
  • Check the "(Disabled)" box.
  • Select "Configure...".
  • The most common choice is TwinView. Select it.
  • Setup the desired screen resolutions and positions of your two active displays.
  • The new display will likely have resolution set to "Auto" to match your first. Change this if you wish.
  • Leave the first screen's position as "Absolute" and set your second display's position relative to that.
  • "Clone" means the same output on both.
  • Once you are satisfied with your settings, hit Apply to test them.
  • Note: if your displays are side-by-side, the kicker may extend across both screens as well as any maximized applications. This will be corrected when the X server is restarted.
  • If everything else is ok, hit "Save to X Configuration File". Now hit Ctrl+Alt+Backspace to restart X. You now have 2 screens!
  • (The NVIDIA X Server Settings application can be also found in K -> System Settings to change settings later, but this does not always work because settings need to be changed as the root user.)
  • Troubleshooting: if the X server fails to reload you can recover your old X configuration. In a terminal:
sudo cp /etc/X11/xorg.conf.backup /etc/X11/xorg.conf

Hard Drives and USB Storage

Optical Drives

Printers & Scanners

The new CUPS interface recognizes many printers. Specific printers not recognized can often be installed using instructions found at the Linux Foundation OpenPrinting database.

Brother printers

Most Brother printers are auto-detected or can be installed directly from the CUPS interface. For information on a specific model, see the Linux OpenPrinting site.

Sound

Many programs require ALSA sound. If you are not hearing sound, try selecting ALSA as the default sound system:

System -> Administration -> System Settings -> Sound

In Jaunty, only your soundcard may be listed. Try selecting that.

Also check your program's preferences section to make sure ALSA is selected. This is necessary for many multimedia packages, for example.

Pulse Audio

Jaunty has Pulse Audio version 0.9.14 and Pulse Audio Volume control 0.97 in the repositories. On my system I had to install them:

sudo apt-get install pulseaudio pavucontrol padevchooser

I then had to enable my user to belong to the pulseaudio groups:

System -> User Manager -> user -> Groups ->
check pulse pulse-access and pulse-rt

Configure Pulse Audio:

System -> Settings -> PulseAudio Preferences Sound Audio preferences

I also had to set PulseAudio as my default sound system:

System -> System Settings -> Multimedia -> Device Preference
Note: Unfortunately, not all programs like PulseAudio. Many programs require special plugins for PulseAudio. YMMV. Pulse Audio still has many bugs. Installing PulseAudio disables ALSA for many soundcards. You may end up with no sound at all if you install PulseAudio. If this happens you may have to uninstall it.

Airport Express

Airport Express with Pulse Audio

The Airport Express (AEX) is a network device with an audio output jack that can be connected to speakers or an amplifier. You can stream audio over the network (wired or wirelessly) to (or from) this device.

These capabilities require the newest version 0.9.15 of Pulse Audio and Pulse Audio Volume Control 0.98, as well as pulseaudio-module-raop (for Airport Express). Instead of (or after) installing the default 0.9.14 packages from the Jaunty repositories, obtain them by adding the repositories from this Launchpad site:

deb http://ppa.launchpad.net/themuso/ppa/ubuntu jaunty main
deb-src http://ppa.launchpad.net/themuso/ppa/ubuntu jaunty main
then download the GPG key here
and save it as themuso.gpg.
then install the repository key and update:
sudo apt-key add themuso.gpg
sudo apt-get update

then install:

sudo apt-get install pulseaudio padevchooser pulseaudio-module-raop pulseaudio-module-zeroconf

Then configure Pulse Audio:

Menu -> Settings -> PulseAudio Preferences Sound Audio preferences -> Network Access

and check both:

Make discoverable network sound devices available locally
Make discoverable Apple Airtunes devices available locally

Note: Make sure your firewall is not blocking ports 5353, 5000, and 6000.

My AEX is discovered, but I got no sound through it until I selected it as the default sink (output) by one of two methods:

  • From the PulseAudio Volume Control:
Menu -> Multimedia -> PulseAudio Volume Control -> Output Devices
then click the arrow and set the AEX device as default
  • From the PulseAudio Device Chooser:
Menu -> Multimedia -> PulseAudio Device Chooser -> Manager -> Devices -> Sinks
I then noted the name of my Airport Express device to be raop.Base-Station-e60157.local, so I entered that as the sink:
PulseAudio Device Chooser -> Default sink -> Other -> raop.Base-Station-e60157.local

Now, any devices (or multimedia players) setup to play through PulseAudio will play through the stereo attached to the Airport Express.

GSTransmit

GSTransmit is a tool to allow GStreamer-based utilities to stream output to an Apple AirTunes Device (such as the Airport Express), without using Pulse Audio. It is available as a self-installing .deb file from the website.

raop-client

Another method to stream audio to the Airport Express without Pulse Audio uses raop-client, a tool written in Ruby. See information here.

Airfoil

You can stream media from a PC running Windows or Mac OS X that is connected to an Airport Express network to your Ubuntu Linux desktop, using Airfoil. (Unfortunately you cannot send media output from Ubuntu to the Airport Express network, only receive from it.) This can be useful in a distributed multimedia system, for example, in which your Ubuntu PC is connected to a media center. You must be running Mono. You can download the .deb package at Rogue Amoeba. Installation instructions are at Rogue Amoeba Linux support.

Mice

Activate side-mouse-buttons in FireFox

Adding two lines to xorg.conf will activate side-mouse-buttons in FireFox.

  • This should work with most brands of the 5-button mouse. Here is a list of mice that worked with this instruction.
Logitech MX310
Logitech MX510
Logitech MX518
Logitech MX700
Logitech MX Revolution
Intellimouse Explorer (first edition)
Razer Copperhead
  • Backup X.org configuration file
sudo cp /etc/X11/xorg.conf /etc/X11/xorg.conf.bak
  • Modify the X.org configuration file
kdesu kate /etc/X11/xorg.conf
  • Find the Input Device section for your mouse and add two lines as shown below.
  • You may also increase the number of buttons if your mouse has more than 7 -- just fix the rest of the section based upon the number of buttons.
Note: "back/forward", "wheel click" & "tilt left/right" all count as buttons
  • Change:
Section "InputDevice"
 Identifier "Configured Mouse"
 Driver "mouse"
 Option "CorePointer"
 Option "Device" "/dev/input/mice"
 Option "Protocol" "ExplorerPS/2"
 Option "ZAxisMapping" "4 5" 
 Option "Emulate3Buttons"       "true"
EndSection
to:
Section "InputDevice"
 Identifier "Configured Mouse"
 Driver "mouse"
 Option "CorePointer"
 Option "Device" "/dev/input/mice"
 Option "Protocol" "ExplorerPS/2"
 Option "ZAxisMapping" "4 5"
 Option "Emulate3Buttons" "true"
 Option "Buttons" "7"
 Option "ButtonMapping" "1 2 3 6 7"
EndSection

Touchpad

For Synaptics Touchpads:

sudo apt-get install gsynaptics

For more info, see the Ubuntu help wiki.

Wacom Pen Tablets

Support for the Wacom pen tablet is integrated into Jaunty by default, including for hotplugging. For more info, see the Ubuntu documentation.

Remote Controls

LIRC (Infrared Remote Controls)

LIRC (Linux Infrared Control) allows you to use most infra-red remote controls. This can be installed from Applications -> Add/Remove Packages -> Settings -> Infrared Remote Control

or
sudo apt-get install lirc

Remuco (Bluetooth and WiFi Remote Controls)

Remuco is a utility for controlling many multimedia players (such as VLC, Amarok, Rhythmbox, Audacious, and many others) using a Bluetooth or WiFi remote control. Each player has its own package. For example, the VLC package is named remuco-vlc and can be installed:

sudo apt-get install remuco-vlc

Bluetooth

BlueZ is the package that allows Bluetooth connectivity in Ubuntu Linux. This package is included within the current kernel of Ubuntu. To add utilities to check whether your Bluetooth adapter's firmware is current, install:

sudo apt-get install bluez-utils bluez-firmware

then run

sudo dfutool

WiiMote

The Wiimote (Wii Remote Control) uses both Bluetooth and Infra-red technology. It communicates with Ubuntu Linux using the incorporated BlueZ Bluetooth drivers and/or LIRC drivers. (It can function with Bluetooth alone, however.) You will need a Bluetooth receiver on your PC (such as a Bluetooth USB stick or built-in Bluetooth receiver, for example). (Note: not all Bluetooth receivers will work with the Bluez drivers. Check this list or test yours first.)

  • Install the cwiid Wiimote controller package and the lswm Wiimote discovery package:
sudo apt-get install wminput lswm
  • Install the drivers (or just reboot):
modprobe uinput
Note: You can also add uinput to the modules files so it loads automatically at bootup:
sudo echo "uinput" >>/etc/modules

Run (while pressing button 1/2 on the Wiimote):

sudo wminput

For more info, and to learn how to enable the infra-red functions, see this guide.

USB

Wireless Cards

Atheros Cards

Atheros Wireless cards should work automatically with the new kernel by installing the proprietary driver. At installation, after the first reboot, you will be prompted whether to use the proprietary drivers.

It should no longer be necessary to install the following package:

sudo apt-get install madwifi-tools 

These instructions for the Atheros 802.11 b/g integrated card are here for reference only (or if you wish to install them manually instead):

madwifi-hal-0.10.5.6-current.tar.gz
  • Extract the files
  • Make sure your linux headers and build-essential packages are installed:
sudo apt-get install build-essential
sudo apt-get install linux-headers-$(uname -r)
  • Unload any drivers already running.
sudo ifconfig ath0 down
sudo ifconfig wifi0 down
  • Change to the directory where you extracted the driver.
cd <directory_where_driver_unzipped>
  • From that directory, run the installation scripts:
cd scripts
sudo ./madwifi-unload
sudo ./find-madwifi-modules.sh $(uname -r)
cd ..
  • Complete the installation by compiling the source and installing it.
sudo make
sudo make install
  • Add the installed drivers to your system.
sudo modprobe ath_pci

Following this, Network Manager was able to see the wireless card and I was able to configure everything else (WEP / WPA key, etc.) from there.

Complete instructions are available at MadWifi UserDocs.

Atheros AR242x

Alternate instructions for installing the Atheros AR242x card are here.

3G

3G protocols allow wide area cellular communications that include not only cellphone voice transmission but also integrated broadband internet connections. This can be integrated into a single device, or communications can be received through an EVDO adapter. Examples of 3G radio interfaces include Mobile WiMax, CDMA-2000, TD-CDMA, EDGE, and DECT. For info using 3G with the Ubuntu Network Manager, see this page. For additional info on using 3G with Ubuntu, see this guide.

he220r1

he220r1 is a (K)ubuntu driver package for the Huawei e220 USB modem. It has also been found to work with other 3G devices, such as Nokia, Sony Ericsson, and Motorola. See the website for download and installation instructions.

T-Mobile Option 225 (Web'N'Walk) Stick

This website offers a driver optimised for the T-Mobile Web'n'Walk Stick/Option 225.

Virgin Huawei e169

See this Ubuntu forum solution:

sudo gedit /etc/ppp/options

find the line that says:

#-chap

and uncomment it (delete #)

-chap

this (I think) disables CHAP authentication

I also had to change the APN to VirginBroadband instead of VirginInternet which was the default, and now it's happy.

Other settings
Number *99#
Uname <your virgin username>
PW <your virgin password>

EVDO Cards

EVDO cards include USB modems and adapters to receive wide-area cellular broadband Internet connections.

Sprint

Sprint EVDO cards can be used most easily through KPPP. For instructions, read the Sprint Mobile Broadband Setup Guide. Also see the EVDO Forums.

Verizon

See this Crystal Networking guide.

Tethering your PC to your Verizon cell phone

This is a per-minute plan in which you can use Verizon broadband services through your cell phone (such as the Motorola RAZR) connected to your PC via a USB cable. See this guide.

Digital Cameras

WebCams

See the Ubuntu webcam guide for more info. Many webcams that worked in Hardy Heron may not work in Intrepid Ibex. This may be due to a migration from v4l (video for Linux) to v4l2. See this discussion.

EasyCam

EasyCam2 is a utility for finding and installing drivers for your webcam. See these installation instructions.

iSight

Linux drivers for the digital iSight camera (connected by FireWire), using ALSA for sound, are here. The video component is already supported by current kernels (see here for more information).

Luvcview (USB webcam viewer)

Luvcview can be used to view your USB webcam to test it. Install:

sudo apt-get install luvcview

View your webcam:

luvcview -f yuv

Netbooks

Ubuntu can be installed on netbooks. (See this this page for laptop and netbook compatibility reviews.) At this time the Ubuntu Netbook Remix (or equivalent) is preferred to the standard Gnome-based desktop, especially for new users. Ubuntu Netbook Remix is provided to several individual netbook manufacturers (such as Asus and Acer) to be optimised for that device. (You can contact your specific netbook manufacturer for specific details on this product.) If you already have Ubuntu Netbook Remix (or eeebuntu Netbook Remix) installed, you can choose to add the full Ubuntu (Gnome) desktop, if you wish:

sudo apt-get install ubuntu-desktop
  • Asus eeePC 1000H
  • Reduce font size one or two sizes, and set the screen DPI to 120.
  • eeebuntu Netbook Remix is available for this device.
  • Dell Mini 9
  • Ubuntu Netbook Remix runs on this device well. See this guide.
  • HP Mini 1000 Mi
  • A custom edition of Ubuntu is installed on this version of this device. No additional configuration is necessary.
  • Samsung NC10
  • Some package should be installed for keyboard functions (FN Key+functions). The procedure to install these package is available in this forum.


Another method is to install Ubuntu onto your netbook from scratch using a USB flashdrive LiveCD.


Acer Aspire One

There are several Ubuntu-based and other Linux-based OS's specially customised for the Acer Aspire One. Some of them are:

Also see the Ubuntu website for detailed tweaks and fixes. More useful information can be found in the Ubuntu Linux sub-forum at aspireoneuser.com

Palm

Other

Mobile Devices

Ubuntu Linux offers an operating system for Mobile Devices (such as the Samsung Q1 Ultra or Elektrobit MIMD) with a unique and simplified interface. For more information see the Ubuntu MID Edition site.

GPS

Tux Mobil has a list of Linux applications for use with GPS devices, and compatible hardware. Two GPS packages are available from the Ubuntu/Kubuntu respositories:

  • Viking is a free open source package to view GPS data in maps, and to plot co-ordinates. This has been reviewed as the best Linux GPS mapping program.
sudo apt-get install viking
  • GPS Drive is a free navigation software package that displays your position on a zoomable map using your GPS device. It is GTK-based but can be used in Kubuntu. It uses the gpsd daemon that interfaces with a variety of GPS hardware. A .deb package of the current version is also available from the website. Install:
 sudo apt-get install gpsdrive
  • tangoGPS is a beautiful, lightweight GPS mapping program that uses map data from the Openstreetmap project. Is is a GPL-licensed open source project. A .deb package can be found here.

MP3 / Video Players

Sansa Fuze

The Sansa Fuze is a very high quality MP3 audio as well as video player. It is recognized by default as a USB device in Ubuntu/Kubuntu. To convert videos into a format that can be copied to the player, use Video4Fuze.

  • Install prerequisites:
sudo apt-get install wine
  • Download and install:
wget http://video4fuze.googlecode.com/files/video4fuze-0.4.1_all.deb
sudo dpkg -i video4fuze-0.4.1_all.deb
  • Convert files (mpg or mp4) using Video4Fuze. Do not use the Sansa Fuze player as the output folder, but use an output folder on your computer. Once the files have been converted, then copy them directly to a Video folder on the Sansa Fuze (using Nautilus in Ubuntu or Dolphin in Kubuntu).
  • I like k9copy to extract something (that I have saved) on a DVD to an mp4 (.avi) first. The Sansa Fuze likes video at 224 x 176 and DivX 4/5, so I extract to those specifications:
Menu -> Multimedia -> k9copy -> Input: DVD -> Output: MPEG-4 encoding -> folder icon: /home/user/Videos
k9configure -> MPEG-4 -> Video -> Codec: MPEG-4 (DivX 4/5) -> Width: 224 -> Height: 176
-> Audio: mp3 (lame) -> Bitrate: 128

I then use video4fuze to convert the extracted mp4 (.avi) into the format that the Sansa Fuze likes.

  • Limitations: At this time Flash videos (.flv) cannot be converted directly by Video4Fuze. You must convert flash videos to another format (such as .mpg or mp4/.avi) prior to Video4Fuze conversion, using a converter such as mencoder or ffmpeg (e.g. with WinFF as the GUI).

Networking

Network Manager

Network Manager is the default network manager in Ubuntu. It has a tray applet that allows you to switch between Internet connections (such as wireless APs or wired connection).

Wicd Network Manager

Wicd is a GTK-dependent networking manager written in Python that can be used in all variants of Ubuntu. Some users report it to be faster and more stable than Network Manager. To avoid networking conflicts, Wicd requires the removal of Network Manager prior to installation.

sudo apt-get install wicd

Set a static IP address

I couldn't get Network Manager to accept my static IP address settings manually. Here's the alternative method (which works for wired interfaces only, not wireless):

  • Remove Network Manager:
 sudo apt-get remove network-manager
  • Edit the /etc/network/interfaces file:
sudo kate /etc/network/interfaces
  • and replace the line (ok if line is missing)
iface eth0 inet dhcp
  • with the following lines (using your own LAN settings, of course):
auto eth0
iface eth0 inet static
address 192.168.0.35
netmask 255.255.255.0
network 192.168.0.0
broadcast 192.168.0.255
gateway 192.168.0.1
  • Then restart networking:
sudo /etc/init.d/networking restart
  • Check to see if your settings are now correct:
ifconfig
  • If you need a static IP address and have a wireless connection, you have 2 choices:
  • Install the newer version of Network Manager from the launchpad repository:
  • Add the repository key (you need port 11371 open in your firewall to use the keyserver):
sudo apt-key adv --keyserver keyserver.ubuntu.com --recv-keys BC8EBFE8
deb http://ppa.launchpad.net/network-manager/ppa/ubuntu karmic main
deb-src http://ppa.launchpad.net/network-manager/ppa/ubuntu karmic main
  • Update
sudo apt-get update
or
  • Uninstall the network manager widget and install wicd
sudo apt-get remove network-manager
sudo apt-get install wicd

Wireless

Network Manager

Network Manager has been redesigned for Ubuntu and now works quite well. You should not require other network managers, and, in fact, more than one network manager can cause conflicts.

It can be accessed from the tray icon.

Manual configuration from the command-line

3 steps for WEP:

sudo iwconfig eth[N] essid [SSID]
sudo iwconfig eth[N] key restricted s:[PASSWORD]
sudo dhclient

WPA is more complicated:

su
mkdir /etc/wpa_supplicant
cd /etc/wpa_supplicant
echo network = { > wpa_supplicant.conf
echo ssid="SSID" >> wpa_supplicant.conf
echo key_mgmt=WPA-PSK >> wpa_supplicant.conf
echo psk="PRESHAREDKEY" >> wpa_supplicant.conf
echo } >> wpa_supplicant.conf
cd /etc/network
vim interfaces

Now add after "auto eth[N] ..." & "iface eth[N] .." (press 'i'):

wpa-driver wext # or whatever driver your network card needs
wpa-conf /etc/wpa_supplicant/wpa_supplicant.conf

Save the file ('Esc', ':x', 'Enter') and restart your system.

Internet connection sharing (DHCP server)

In most LANs, an inexpensive router is used to provide DHCP functions (internet connection sharing).

However, DHCP services can also be provided by a single host computer on your LAN if it is directly connected to the Internet. (This is useful, for instance, if you have a 3G or other wireless EVDO connection to your computer which you want to share with the other computers on your LAN). Other client computers on your LAN would then connect to the Internet through your host computer's Internet connection. The host computer now essentially performs the DHCP functions of a router.

All "client" computers on the LAN ought to be connected to a central LAN switch or router. (If using a router, it should have its own DHCP functions disabled -- you shouldn't have 2 DHCP servers on a LAN unless you know how to nest LANs). They should all be set up to obtain DHCP-assigned dynamic IP addresses and use the same LAN subnet settings (which in the example below is LAN IP range 10.0.0.1 - 10.0.0.250 with netmask 255.255.255.0 and gateway 10.0.0.1). The host computer to be used as the gateway/DHCP server is then connected (through its own ethernet port) either to one to the ports of the switch (if used), or to a LAN port of a router (don't use the WAN port). The host computer then connects directly to the Internet (WAN) through a second port (which in the example below will be a wireless (wifi) port (wlan0)).

(Note: This setup is easiest if you connect all computers on the LAN with Ethernet cables to the central switch or router. But also see using a nested wireless LAN router below.)

(Note: If you want your LAN to use the same subnet as your WAN, see network interface bridging.)

  • Install the DHCP server and firewall programs:
sudo apt-get install dhcp3-server firestarter
  • Rename the startup command (through a symbolic link) for the DHCP server. This is required or Firestarter will not know where to find it:
sudo ln -sf /etc/init.d/dhcp3-server /etc/init.d/dhcpd
  • Edit the DHCP server configuration file:
sudo nano -w /etc/default/dhcp3-server
Change the line
INTERFACES=""
to
INTERFACES="eth0"
  • Restart the DHCP server:
sudo dhcpd restart
  • Right click on Network-Manager -> Edit Connections... -> Wired -> Add
-> Connection name: Shared internet connection
-> IPv4 Settings -> Method: Manual -> Add
-> Address: 10.0.0.1 -> Netmask: 255.255.255.0 -> Gateway: 0.0.0.0
-> Available to all users: [x]
  • Attach the ethernet cable to (eth0).
Network-Manager -> Wired Networks -> Shared internet connection
  • Adjust your firewall to allow the internet connection sharing. Start Firestarter:
sudo firestarter
  • Tell the firewall which port is your direct Internet Connection:

Firestarter -> Preferences -> Firewall -> Network Settings -> Internet connected network device: (wlan0)

-> IP address is assigned by DHCP: [x]
  • Tell the firewall which port is for the LAN, and specify the details for the LAN:

Firestarter -> Preferences -> Firewall -> Network Settings -> Local network connected device: (eth0)

-> Enable internet connection sharing: [x]
-> Enable DHCP for the local network: [x]
-> DHCP server details -> Create new DHCP configuration -> Lowest IP address to assign: 10.0.0.2
-> Highest IP address to assign: 10.0.0.250 -> Name server: <dynamic>
Note: Use your own desired LAN settings (internal DHCP-assigned dynamic IP address range), of course. In this example I don't use the full IP range 10.0.0.2 - 10.0.0.255 for dynamic IP addresses because I want to reserve some LAN addresses (10.0.0.251 - 10.0.0.255) to be used as static IP addresses).
  • Notes:
  • If you wish to use this setup all the time, make the "Shared internet connection" profile your default connection profile in Network Manager.

Using a nested wireless LAN router

Many users will already have an established LAN that uses an existing wireless router and has client computers that are setup to connect wirelessly to the router. Here's how to maintain this setup and still use the internet connection sharing method of a single host computer as described above. This method is known as nested LANs. The wireless router will serve as a nested LAN for its wireless clients (only), but in turn will appear as a single device to the main LAN. The two LANs must have different IP ranges. For example, the main LAN may have an IP range 10.0.0.1 - 10.0.0.255 (with netmask 255.255.255.0), as in the above example. The router's nested wireless LAN must then use a different IP range (for example 192.168.0.1 - 192.168.0.255 with netmask 255.255.255.0).

  • Do not use your wireless router's WAN (Internet) port.
  • Connect the host computer (to be used as your main LAN gateway/router) to a LAN port (not the WAN/Internet port) of the wireless LAN router.
  • Configure your wireless router's LAN so that it appears to be a single device to the main LAN:
  • Setup your wireless router so that the Internet Connection type is "Static IP" (often in the "Internet Setup" section). Configure the settings so that its "Internet IP address" is within the static IP address range of your main LAN (e.g. 10.0.0.254), and make sure the subnet mask matches the one you chose for your main LAN (e.g. 255.255.255.0). The gateway setting should be set to match the IP address of your host computer of the main LAN (e.g. 10.0.0.1 in the example of the preceding section). Now the wireless router will appear to the host computer as just another device on the main LAN.
  • If your wireless LAN is already functioning, you probably don't have to change any settings, but double-check to make sure the schema are compatible. Configure the wireless router's settings for the nested wireless LAN. This is done by enabling the router's DHCP server functions (in "Network Setup" or some similar configuration section of the router). The router ought to have as its own wireless LAN gateway address a "local IP address" (or "LAN IP address") of 192.168.0.1 (for the IP address range used in this example), and a "starting IP address" (for the DHCP-assigned dynamic IP address range to be used for the wireless clients) to be 192.168.0.2 or greater. (Some routers ask you to specify the entire range (such as 192.168.0.2 - 192.168.0.255.)
  • Make sure all your wireless client computers are set to obtain their DHCP-assigned dynamic IP addresses from the wireless router (gateway IP 192.168.0.1) instead of from the main LAN gateway.
  • Now all communications from the wireless client computers will be routed to the wireless LAN router first, which will then in turn route them to the host computer (which is acting as the main LAN gateway/router), which will then in turn route them to the Internet (WAN).
  • Note: The host computer for the main LAN must have a static IP address (e.g. 10.0.0.1 as in the example of the preceding section) and it must match the gateway IP address configured in the wireless LAN router settings.

Network Interfaces Bridging

  • Install bridge-utils to be able to create network bridges:
sudo apt-get install bridge-utils
  • Edit /etc/network/interfaces:
sudo nano /etc/network/interfaces

The interfaces file should look like this after editing it:

auto eth0
iface eth0 inet manual
#
auto br0
iface br0 inet dhcp
#
bridge_ports eth0 wlan0
#
# The loopback network interface
auto lo
iface lo inet loopback
  • Restart networking with:
sudo /etc/init.d/networking restart

Using Dynamic IP addresses for a webserver

Normally, domain name servers (DNS) that are used publicly on the Internet match a web server's URL name with the IP address of the server's host computer. If your computer has a static IP address, then you can publish your own web server's URL as belonging to the static, unchanging IP address of your computer.

However, if your IP address is dynamic (always changing) because you use an ISP (Internet Service Provider) that constantly changes your IP address (using DHCP), then you will need a DNS service to constantly keep track of your dynamically changing IP address and match it to of your web server's URL. Fortunately, there are a few DNS services that will do this for you, either for a small fee or even for free. For more info, see this Ubuntu help article.

For specific tips on setting up this service, see this article.

Filesharing

NFS

NFS is the default networking protocol for network file sharing in *nix systems (including Ubuntu Linux).

Samba File Sharing

Samba client

Samba is a networking protocol that allows compatibility with Windows-based networks. The Samba client is installed by default in Ubuntu Jaunty and should work seamlessly (unless you have have a firewall blocking the ports).

Samba server

The following instructions are to install a Samba server (which is not installed by default). This allows you to share your files over a Samba (Windows) network to other Samba clients.

  • Install Samba:
sudo apt-get install samba samba-tools system-config-samba smbfs
Note: samba-tools, system-config-samba, and smbfs are optional.
  • Modify Samba settings.
  • Method 1:
System -> Administration -> Advanced -> Samba
(Note: this is available only if you installed system-config-samba.)

It is recommended that your user be a member of the sambashare group, as well.

  • Method 2:
Enable File Sharing Server With User Login (Very Reliable Method)
Do the following on the machine that has the files to be shared:
  • Add current user to Samba:
sudo smbpasswd -a username
(replacing username with your login username)
  • Open the samba config file:
sudo nano /etc/samba/smb.conf
  • Add the directories to be added (right at the end) in the following format:
[Pictures]
path = /home/username/<folder_to_be_shared>
(Replace username with your username and <folder_to_be_shared> with the folder you want to share)
Press CTRL+X and then Y to save.
  • Restart Samba
sudo /etc/init.d/samba restart
  • On Windows access the folder in the following format in Windows Explorer:
\\192.168.x.x
(replace 192.168.x.x with the actual IP address of your server which is serving the folder)
  • On Linux type the following in Konqueror or Nautilus:
smb://192.168.x.x
(replace 192.168.x.x with the actual IP address of your server serving the folder)

Note: If you use Sharing in KDE's System Settings panel, be aware that there is a small bug, reported here. In brief, you need to comment out/delete any instances of these two lines in /etc/smb.conf :

case sensitive
msdfs proxy

Change your Workgroup

To change your Samba (Windows network) workgroup:

sudo nano /etc/samba/smb.conf

Look for the line:

workgroup = WORKGROUUP

and change the setting to whatever your LAN workgroup is.

Recognizing Win98 machines

Microsoft networking is extremely quirky. To enable recognition of PCs with Windows 98, edit your Samba configuration file:

sudo nano /etc/samba/smb.conf

Then add the following lines to the file:

[global]
# THE LANMAN FIX
client lanman auth = yes
client ntlmv2 auth = no

Integrating into Mac OS X Network

See this guide for information on integrating Ubuntu into an existing Mac OS X Appletalk network.

Local Area Network

Modems / Dial-up

GPPP is the default modem dialing application.

Applications -> Internet -> GPPP Internet Dial-up

Remote Access

There are several methods of remote access. VNC sharing allows you to view and control a remote computer's desktop. (Windows users use a similar proprietary protocol called remote desktop protocol (RDP)). XDMCP allows a complete remote X-windows based login. Remote connections are hazardous unless proper security precautions are taken to prevent unauthorized logins and to ensure encryption of transmitted data.

SSH

Secure Shell or SSH is a network protocol that allows data to be exchanged over a secure channel (or "tunnel") between two computers. Encryption provides confidentiality and integrity of data. The OpenSSH client is installed by default in Ubuntu so you can connect to another computer that is running an SSH server.

Connect to a remote SSH server
From the command-line terminal

Install the OpenSSH client (if not already installed):

sudo apt-get install openssh-client

From the command-line Terminal type:

ssh -C <username>@<computer name or IP address>
Note: The -C option indicates compression, which speeds up transmission through the tunnel.

For example:

ssh -C joe@remote.computer.xyz
or:
ssh -C mike@192.168.1.1
or
ssh -C 192.168.1.1 -l mike
Note: -l specifies the login id.


If the SSH server is listening on a port other than port 22 (the default), you can specify that in your connection (with the -p option). For example, if the SSH server is listening on port 11022, connect:

ssh -C joe.friday@remote.computer.xyz:11022
or
ssh -C remote.computer.xyz -p 11022 -l joe.friday

If you have made a public/private key using ssh-keygen, the private key must be stored in /home/user/.ssh. The key should be accessible only to user

sudo chmod 600 /home/user/.ssh/identity
or
sudo chmod 600 /home/user/.ssh/id_rsa 

To login with the key:

ssh -C remote.computer.xyz -p 11022 -l joe.friday

Note: You can run the command as a menu item, but the command must be "run in terminal."

Port forwarding through SSH
  • In brief, use
ssh -C <remote ip> -p <SSH tunnel port> -L <local port>:<remote computer>:<remote port> -l <user>

This specifies that any communications from your computer (localhost) going out through <local port> will be transmitted securely through the the SSH tunnel port. To use VNC through the tunnel, you would use an application like Krdc or Vinagre:

krdc vnc://localhost:<local port>

Note: localhost is equivalent to (and interchangeable with) 127.0.0.1. Either can be used.

Note that for VNC, the default <local port> is 5900. In general, a remote VNC server (such as X11VNC) is also listening on the default <remote port> 5900 as well. The default <SSH tunnel port> is 22, as discussed above. All these can be changed, however, if you desire greater security.

For me, I noticed that I had to set <remote computer> to be the internal LAN IP address of the remote computer (such as 192.168.1.155) instead of the remote router's IP address, which is specified in <remote IP>. (If the remote computer has a static IP address (i.e. is directly connected to the Internet without an intervening router), then <remote computer> and <remote ip> would be the same.)

Example: For extra security, my SSH Server uses <SSH tunnel port>=11022. I want to VNC to a remote computer on a remote LAN with a router whose IP address is <remote ip> = 244.205.123.123. The remote computer to which I want to connect has a static IP address within the remote LAN of <remote computer> = 192.168.1.155. I have set up an X11VNC server on this computer that is listening on <remote port> = 6912 (instead of the default 5900). I setup port forwarding on the router of this remote LAN to forward port 6912 to this server computer. I want to VNC to this remote computer from my laptop, through the Internet. My laptop VNC client (Krdc) will use the default <local port> = 5900. My name is <user> = joe.friday. This is my story.

ssh -C 244.205.123.123 -p 11022 -L 5900:192.168.1.155:6912 -l joe.friday
krdc vnc://localhost:5900

If you have set up a private/ public key pair with a passphrase, or if your SSH server requires a passphrase, of course, you will be prompted for the passphrase after issuing the SSH command.

Note: Port forwarding assumes that the ports are also forwarded through the router(s) and through any firewalls. See the documentation for your router(s) and firewall to learn how to do this. The advantage of SSH tunneling is that only the <SSH tunnel port> needs to be open and forwarded by a router. All encrypted communications will go through your router using this single port. This is what makes the communications secure.

A combined command might be:

ssh -C -f -l joe.friday -L 5900:192.168.1.155:6912 244.205.123.123 -p 11022 sleep 5; krdc --fullscreen vnc://127.0.0.1
PuTTY

PuTTY is a GTK-based GUI client-interface for SSH connections and eases the setup for port forwarding, SSH public key authentication, and automated login. A user would run Putty to create the SSH tunnel (instead of the ssh command) and then run a program such as Krdc or Vinagre. PuTTY is available for both Linux and Windows (but for routine Linux usage OpenSSH is generally recommended instead).

sudo apt-get install putty putty-tools
  • To create a 2048-bit RSA key pair compatible with OpenSSH, it is possible to use Puttygen (part of Putty-tools). (For me the Linux version of Puttygen is occasionally buggy, however, so I recommend OpenSSH keygen for routine usage instead):
puttygen -t rsa -b 2048 -O private -o putty_rsa.ppk
puttygen putty_rsa.ppk -O public-openssh -o id_rsa.pub
puttygen putty_rsa.ppk -O private-openssh -o id_rsa
  • Move the OpenSSH-compatible keys to the ~/.ssh (i.e. the /home/user/.ssh) folder
mv id_rsa* ~/.ssh
  • Copy the public key ( /home/user/.ssh/id_rsa.pub ) to the server that is hosting the OpenSSH server, into the /home/serveruser/.ssh (for whichever user is the administrative user for the server -- generally the user that installed the server initially). If the SSH tunnel is (still) set at default port 22, you can copy the key using the utility:
ssh-copy-id serveruser@remoteserver.computer.xyz
  • Connect a VNC client (such as Krdc) through SSH using the command-line:
putty -ssh -i ~/.ssh/id_rsa -l serveruser -L 5900:127.0.0.1:5900 remoteserver.computer.xyz -P 22
krdc vnc://127.0.0.1:5900
or as a single command:
putty -ssh -i ~/.ssh/id_rsa -l serveruser -L 5900:127.0.0.1:5900 remoteserver.computer.xyz -P 22 sleep 5; krdc vnc://127.0.0.1::5900
  • Alternatively, the PuTTY SSH Client GUI can be run (from Menu -> Internet -> PuTTY SSH Client) and options configured from there.
Using keys created by Puttygen in OpenSSH

The public security key generated by Puttygen in Windows is generally not compatible with OpenSSH security keys unless it is edited. For example, the default OpenSSH key is 2048-bit RSA (SSH-2). When a 2048-bit RSA (SSH-2) PuTTY public/private key pair is generated (by Puttygen) in Windows (see this tutorial), the public key looks like:

---- BEGIN SSH2 PUBLIC KEY ----
Comment: "rsa-key-20100302"
AAAAB3NzaC1yc2EAAAABJQAAAQEAjdp567qxsGkhELlMQup2mXHdsveCWq/maU6k
unPpbkwEuhkasuOrhkAWgv5v3d8S857zdHcfnXWi2FkEaJuFxqpJ2IkFuvqRdqYD
ZCcASj2S0LoXdWpC4uon6VH8oBT31r+wkDfmI2a+K74jgXjtm1BWWxwOpKaWQHi9
YItbY/06renRex34n3ejO20JRqD/BxnFU7ND41Szo3ZMKoa0yzhevU2ntt74BCvC
bYFHdSoRbi3AH8qGInzFfhXPdrG8qA382ZKEh5Bmy8Qxb9Uen/+jjP51YxN/ykee
RwSrdSCZekB6jN6uuTLNDEXJSJizqlPU8tROqf3pYv1kxzD9bw==
---- END SSH2 PUBLIC KEY ----
  • To be used by OpenSSH, the saved public key must be edited.
  • Delete the first two lines (with the BEGIN and Comment: in them) and the last line.
  • Join the remaining lines into a single line.
  • Place ssh-rsa at the beginning.
  • It should end up looking like:
ssh-rsa AAAAB3NzaC1yc2EAAAABJQAAAQEAjdp567qxsGkhELlMQup2mXHdsveCWq/maU6kunPpbkwEuhkasuOrhkAWgv5v3d8S857zdHcfnXWi2FkEaJuFxqpJ2IkFuvqRdqYDZCcASj2S0LoXdWpC4uon6VH8oBT31r+wkDfmI2a+K74jgXjtm1BWWxwOpKaWQHi9YItbY/06renRex34n3ejO20JRqD/BxnFU7ND41Szo3ZMKoa0yzhevU2ntt74BCvCbYFHdSoRbi3AH8qGInzFfhXPdrG8qA382ZKEh5Bmy8Qxb9Uen/+jjP51YxN/ykeeRwSrdSCZekB6jN6uuTLNDEXJSJizqlPU8tROqf3pYv1kxzD9bw==
  • Once the PuTTY public key is in this format, it can be appended to the ~/.ssh/authorized_keys file on the OpenSSH server. (The private key stays on the client computer, of course). PuTTY can then connect (from Windows or Linux) to an OpenSSH server using the public/private key method.
Connect using SSH Agent

With SSH Agent you can automate the use of public key authentication and open an XDM or VNC session using a script. See this tutorial.

Also see this alternative simple approach: Connect with SSH and start an application with a single command.

Setup an SSH server
sudo apt-get install openssh-server

Note: The OpenSSH server can also be installed when doing a server installation as an option from the LiveCD.

Note: An OpenSSH server can also be set up on a Windows server using Cygwin. See these instructions.

  • Don't forget to forward the port on which your OpenSSH server is listening. The default SSH port is 22; if the default is used, the router should therefore forward port 22 to the computer on the LAN that is hosting the OpenSSH server. The OpenSSH listening port can be changed; in fact, each computer on the LAN can listen on its own unique SSH port, if desired. The router must forward each specified listening port to the correct computer. Therefore, if computer 1 has its OpenSSH server set to listen on port 22221, then the router should forward port 22221 to computer 1's LAN IP address. If computer 2 has its OpenSSH listening port set to 22222, then obviously the router must forward port 22222 to computer 2's LAN IP address. To change the listening port of the OpenSSH server, edit the /etc/ssh/sshd_config file:
sudo gedit /etc/ssh/sshd_config

and change the listening port from 22 to your desired listening port:

Port 22221

then restart the OpenSSH server:

sudo /etc/init.d/ssh restart
Limit authorized SSH users
OpenSSH Public Key Authentication

See this OpenSSH Public Key Authentication Tutorial.

In brief, it is necessary to generate a public / private key pair. On your client machine, generate the pair:

ssh-keygen

A prompt asks for a passphrase. If you wish to use OpenSSH without a password from a secure client (to which no one but you has access), leave the passphrase blank. If you enter a passphrase, you will be asked for this passphrase each time you use the SSH client. By default, a 2048-bit RSA SSH-2 key pair is generated and stored in the /home/user/.ssh folder. The private key is named id_rsa and is meant to stay in that folder. (The public key is id_rsa.pub and is meant to be copied to the OpenSSH server.)

  • The private key must only be accessible (and should be read-only) to user, the owner of the file:
chmod 600 /home/user/.ssh/id_rsa
You could also make the entire .ssh folder accessible only to user:
chmod 700 /home/user/.ssh
  • Copy the public key ( /home/user/.ssh/id_rsa.pub ) to the server that is hosting the OpenSSH server, into the /home/serveruser/.ssh (for whichever user is the administrative user for the server -- generally the user that installed the server initially). If the SSH tunnel is (still) set at default port 22, you can copy the key using the utility:
ssh-copy-id serveruser@remoteserver.computer.xyz
  • The ssh-copy-id utility only works over port 22. An alternative if you have changed your SSH port is to copy the /home/user/.ssh/id_rsa.pub key to the server manually. On the server make sure the directory /home/serveruser/.ssh exists and that there is a file authorized_keys (with write privileges) in that folder. If not, create such a file while logged into the server as serveruser (the touch command creates an empty file):
mkdir ~/.ssh
cd ~/.ssh
touch authorized_keys

Then concatenate the id_rsa.pub key you have copied to the ~/.ssh folder. (Make sure the owner of id_rsa.pub, after copying, is serveruser.):

cd ~/.ssh
chown serveruser id_rsa.pub
cat authorized_keys id_rsa.pub >> authorized_keys
  • Make sure the OpenSSH server knows to look for the key file. On the remote server, edit the OpenSSH configuration file:
sudo nano /etc/ssh/sshd_config
  • Uncomment the line (i.e. remove the # at the beginning of the line):
#AuthorizedKeysFile %h/.ssh/authorized_keys
  • Remove the ability to login to the OpenSSH server using password authentication:
 sudo nano /etc/ssh/sshd_config
  • Change the line
#PasswordAuthentication yes
to
PasswordAuthentication no
  • Restart the OpenSSH server:
sudo /etc/init.d/ssh restart
  • Now you can connect securely with an SSH tunnel without requiring a password, logging in as serveruser.
ssh -l serveruser -L 5900:127.0.0.1:5900 remoteserver.computer.xyz -p 22
Connect with SSH and start an application with a single command
  • If you have created an OpenSSH key pair (without a password), you can start both the SSH tunnel and a VNC program (such as Krdc or Vinagre) to run through the SSH tunnel with a single command:
ssh -f -l serveruser -L 5900:127.0.0.1:5900 remoteserver.computer.xyz -p 22 sleep 5; krdc vnc://127.0.0.1::5900
  • Alternatively (and probably preferably) you can create a Menu Item / Shortcut with the above command.

Note: This command is a command-line mini-script. The SSH option -f option tells the SSH client to fork into the background after starting. (This option is not available in the PuTTY client.) This allows the command line to continue to proceed to the next command(s) listed on the command line mini-script. The 5 second wait ("sleep") timeout allows time for the SSH tunnel to be created before proceeding to the next command. (This can be lengthened if necessary.) After the wait period, the program (Krdc VNC in this example) is started.

  • Of course, any program could be started (to be run through the SSH tunnel) in this fashion, not just a VNC program.

VNC

Virtual Network Computing (VNC) mirrors the desktop of a remote ("server") computer on your local ("client") computer (it is not a separate remote login, as is XDMCP). A user on the remote desktop must be logged in and running a VNC server (such as X11VNC, Vino, or Krfb). Keyboard and mouse events are transmitted between the two computers. VNC is platform-independent —- a VNC viewer on one operating system can usually connect to a VNC server on any other operating system.

Vino Remote Desktop VNC server

Vino-server (the Gnome VNC server) is included by default in Ubuntu. Start:

System -> Preferences -> Remote Desktop

  • You can accept uninvited connections in the Security section. You can require a password for these connections.
  • This implementation of Vino does not allow changing the default listening ports (which start at 5900). If you wish to customize your VNC connection, use X11VNC instead.
How to securely use VNC with SSH tunneling

It is less secure to leave the VNC listening port open to the Internet, even with a password. (This can expose you to password cracking attempts.)

It is more secure to use SSH to tunnel your VNC connection. Under SSH port forwarding, the VNC listening port is the <remote port>. To increase security, this listening port can be changed from the default 5900. Only the VNC server and the SSH client need to specify the <remote port> in a secure connection.

X11VNC Server

While Vino is easy to use, X11VNC allows far more customization and therefore can be used more in situations where greater security is needed.

  • Install an X11VNC server to share your desktop with other computer:
   sudo apt-get install x11vnc
  • Run X11VNC without a password:
x11vnc -forever -rfbport 5900
Note: -rfbport 5900 specifies the port to listen on. The port number can be changed. This option is not required if the default port 5900 will be used. Don't forget to open/forward this port in your firewall/router. By default X11VNC server exits after the first client disconnects. To keep it running (and allow future connections), use the -forever option. See here for more command line options.
  • Create a password to use with X11VNC:
mkdir ~/.vnc
x11vnc -storepasswd YOUR_PASSWORD ~/.vnc/x11vnc.pass
  • X11VNC can then be started with a password:
x11vnc -forever -rfbport 5900 -rfbauth ~/.vnc/x11vnc.pass -o ~/.vnc/x11vnc.log -loopbg -display :0
  • You can create a startup script so that X11VNC is automatically loaded at startup (with password settings):
echo "/usr/bin/x11vnc -forever -rfbport 5900 -rfbauth ~/.vnc/x11vnc.pass -o ~/.vnc/x11vnc.log -loopbg -display :0" > ~/.config/autostart/x11vnc.sh
chmod +x ~/.config/autostart/x11vnc.sh
  • You can test the startup script:
~/.config/autostart/x11vnc.sh
Using VNC with SSH

See Port forwarding through SSH for additional information.

Vinagre VNC client

Vinagre is the default Gnome-based VNC client used in Ubuntu.

  • Applications -> Internet -> Remote Desktop Viewer
Terminal Server Client

The Terminal Server Client is an Ubuntu/Gnome frontend for rdesktop (for RDP connections to Windows computers) and one of several vncviewer clients (for VNC connections). In can be used instead of Vinagre.

  • Applications -> Internet -> Terminal Server Client
  • To use it with VNC, one of the VNC clients must be installed first. For example, install the TightVNC client:
sudo apt-get install xtightvncviewer
  • Note that the TightVNC client can be used from the command line (or as a menu item) directly:
vncviewer 192.168.0.12::5900
where 192.168.0.12 is an example host location that is running a VNC server on port 5900. For more command-line options, use
man vncviewer
Krdc VNC client

Krdc is the default VNC client in Kubuntu/KDE. It can be used for both VNC and RDP connections.

  • K-Menu -> Internet -> Krdc
  • The command-line connection (for use as a menu-item, for example) is:
krdc vnc://<remote IP>
  • If the remote (Krfp) VNC server is using a <remote port> other than the default 5900 port, use
krdc vnc://<remote IP>:<remote port>
  • Krdc can also connect to a Windows server using RDP (Remote Desktop Protocol).
krdc rdp://<remote IP>:<remote port>
Using a VNC client with SSH

See this howto for an automated setup using a script (it did not work for me, but it might for you).

In brief, you would initiate an SSH tunnel with port forwarding using Putty or the command line:

ssh -C <remote ip> -p <SSH tunnel port> -L <local port>:<remote computer>:<remote port> -l <user>
then you would start a VNC client such as Krdc:
krdc vnc://localhost:<local port>

<local port> will usually be the default 5900, in which case you could simply use

krdc vnc://localhost
XVNC4Viewer VNC Client

XVNC4Viewer is an alternative to Vinagre or the Terminal Server Client (vncviewer). Install:

sudo apt-get install xvnc4viewer

FreeNX

FreeNX is a remote desktop display server/client solution that natively incorporates SSH tunneling (unlike VNC). It is therefore more secure than VNC (unless VNC is coupled with SSH tunneling).

FreeNX Server

The Free server .deb package can be downloaded from No Machine free server downloads.

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:freenx-team
  • Install the package:
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install freenx
FreeNX Client

Download the self-installing .deb file from No Machine Client downloads.

XDMCP

XDMCP allows a separate remote login by an authorized user. This login is separate from the local user.

  • XDMCP is not secure over the Internet and should only be used within a LAN. It cannot be tunnelled through SSH. It is turned off by default in Ubuntu. To enable it, edit the configuration file:
gedit /etc/gdm/custom.conf
  • Find and change (or add) the line from false to true so that it reads:
[Xdmcp]
Enable=true

Telnet

VPN clients

A VPN (Virtual Private Network) allows a secure encrypted connection ("tunnelling") over the Internet between a client (either standalone or on a separate LAN) and a home or corporate LAN server.

VPN through Network Manager
  • The default Network Manager in Ubuntu/Kubuntu has a VPN client available. This includes support for IPSec and Cisco-compliant VPN connections. Install:
sudo apt-get install network-manager-vpnc
  • To connect to a VPN network using OpenVPN (SSL), install the plugin:
 sudo apt-get install network-manager-openvpn
  • To connect to a VPN network using PPTP (MS Windows servers), install the plugin:
sudo apt-get install network-manager-pptp
  • Configure:
Network Manager icon (in system tray) -> VPN Connections -> Configure VPN
Other VPN clients

Standalone VPN clients based on protocol are available (but not necessary if using Network Manager):

  • vpnc, grml-vpn -- for Cisco-compliant (IPSec) VPN networks
  • openswan -- for IPSec (OpenSwan) VPN networks
  • pptp-linux -- for PPTP (MS Windows-compliant) VPN networks
  • openvpn, gadmin-openvpn-client -- for OpenSSL (OpenVPN) VPN networks

VPN servers

OpenVPN

OpenVPN is a free, GPL-licensed open-source cross-platform VPN solution based on OpenSSL (not IPSec). Install the server (then see the website for further installation instructions):

sudo apt-get install openvpn bridge-utils

A GUI configuration utility (GTK-based) is available:

sudo apt-get install gadmin-openvpn-server

Also see these installation tips.

Poptop (PPTP Server)

Poptop is a free open-source PPTP-based VPN server compatible with MS-windows PPTP clients. Install:

sudo apt-get install pptpd
OpenSwan

OpenSwan is the open source implementation of IPSec-based VPN connections for Linux (and is a successor to FreeSwan). Install:

sudo apt-get install openswan linux-patch-openswan

WebDAV

WebDAV is a method for allowing remote access to local folders via an HTTP-based web browser. This can be combined with user authentication (using LDAP or other password mechanism).

Security

Ubuntu by default is a fairly safe system. However, if you intend to use Ubuntu as a server, or for critical applications in which loss of data (by accident or by malicious intrusion) would be disastrous, you should learn how to make Ubuntu more secure. A good introduction to Ubuntu Security Best Practices is available. Recommended reading includes the book Cyber War by Richard Clark.

Firewall

Network communications go through "channels" called ports. You can restrict which ports are available ("open") for network communications, creating a barricade to unwanted network intrusion. Firewalls do this job for you. But I guarantee that if you install one before you know how to use it that one or more networking programs on your system will stop working. Read every bit of documentation about a firewall before installing it -- you won't regret the time invested. All of these packages modify iptables, which is the set of rules that controls network access in and out of your computer. (You can modify iptables manually from the command line, as well, but if you are that much of an expert, you probably don't need this guide.) Also see the official Ubuntu documentation.

Firestarter

Firestarter is an intuitive firewall manager used to set the iptables values which provide firewall capabilities in Linux (including Ubuntu). It has a very easy-to-use GUI.

sudo apt-get install firestarter

Guarddog

Guarddog is a GUI firewall configuration utility that has been used for KDE. It has a complex array of configuration, and is difficult to use for some beginners.

sudo apt-get install guarddog

Uncomplicated Firewall

Uncomplicated Firewall is installed in Ubuntu by default, but all ports are open initially. It is configurable through the command-line interface. See this forum thread, or this usage tutorial, or Ubuntu community help for tips on how to set up and use it. If not installed, it can be installed:

apt-get install ufw
Gufw

Gufw is a graphical user interface for Uncomplicated Firewall. Install:

sudo apt-get install gufw

Anti-virus

If you are running a file server, interface frequently with Windows drives, or use virtualization, you will want a virus checker for your Windows files.

ClamAV

ClamAV is the open source virus tool for Linux. To install ClamAV:

sudo apt-get install clamav

AVG

AVG offers a free virus scanner for Linux in a .deb package. Download and install from the website.

Avast

Avast offers a Linux edition (for home users only) in a .deb package. Download and install from the website.

Anti-spam

Spam Assasin

SpamAssasin is written in perl, and is mostly for use with a server (such as a groupware server or Apache). Install:

sudo apt-get spamassassin

Rootkit checkers

Rootkits are malicious trojan-like programs to allow an intruder to become a root user and therefore have complete administrative control over the system. There aren't many rootkits in the wild for Linux. Still, this is a growing security problem (especially in other operating systems) and it is a matter of time before more rootkits appear in Linux. Checking for rootkits isn't always successful from a system that is already infected. Your rootkit checker should therefore be run from another system, or a USB pendrive with a Ubuntu LiveCD installation. See the rootkit checker manuals for instructions how to do this. If you are infected with a rootkit, you must backup all your files and re-install your system. (Thank goodness this is easy with Ubuntu, unlike with other operating systems).

Chkrootkit

Chkrootkit checks locally for signs of a rootkit. See the chkrootkit manual for usage instructions.

Install:
sudo apt-get install chkrootkit
Run:
sudo chkrootkit

Rootkit Hunter

Rootkit Hunter is compatible with (K)ubuntu systems. See the usage instructions.

Install:
sudo apt-get install rkhunter
Run:
sudo rkhunter

Malicious commands to avoid

There are many malicious commands to be avoided in Linux (as in all operating systems). It is worthwhile to be aware of these dangerous commands so that they are not executed by accident or by malicious advice. The list of dangerous commands is also posted here for reference since this is important information to stay aware of.

Network Monitors

There are two types of network monitors: those that monitor your own system's network settings and those that monitor network traffic. The latter includes security tools (that can also be used as hackers tools) for exposing security weaknesses in a network. Be aware and be safe! A list of available tools is at Top Ubuntu Security Tools.

Netstat

Netstat is the Linux command-line tool to monitor network status and functions. There are many usage parameters. See the manual for help.

netstat

Etherape (Network monitoring)

EtherApe is a graphical utility that allows you to see (in real-time) where connections are being made on your network, or between your network (or computer) and the Internet. If you are experiencing unexpected network activity on your computer or LAN and wish to see where the activity is occurring, this is an easy tool to use. Both "local" user and "root user" installations are created; in general you must use the root user installation to see all your network traffic.

sudo apt-get install etherape

List open files

Sometimes you will see your network slowing and want to know which files are sending data over ports. Use this command:

lsof -i -n -P

Nmap

Nmap is a free open source utility for network exploration (including showing open ports and running services) and security auditing. Install:

sudo apt-get install nmap

Scan your own PC:

nmap localhost

(Once you have found out which ports are open, use a firewall to close the ones you don't want open.)

Nmap GUI

Install:

sudo apt-get install nmapfe
or you can try Zenmap:
sudo apt-get install zenmap

Nessus

Nessus is a proprietary comprehensive vulnerability scanning suite that is free for personal, non-enterprise usage. See the website for details.

Snort

Snort is the de facto open source standard for intrusion detection. Install:

sudo apt-get install snort

It can be used with an MySQL database (sudo apt-get install snort-mysql) or with a PostgreSQL database (sudo apt-get install snort-pgsql).

AcidBase

AcidBase is an intrusion detection / basic analysis and security engine that uses Snort. Install:

sudo apt-get install acidbase

AppArmor

AppArmor is a set of security enhancements developed by Novell for SUSE Linux. It is installed in (K)ubuntu by default.

Disable AppArmor

AppArmor can prevent some services from running as expected and cannot be used in conjunction with SELinux. To disable it:

/etc/init.d/apparmor stop
update-rc.d -f apparmor remove
apt-get remove apparmor apparmor-utils

SELinux

SE Linux (Security Enhanced Linux) is an NSA (US National Security Administration) recommended set of tools for enhanced security in Linux systems. It enforces strict access controls (privileges) and is meant for mission-critical installations. It is not suitable for the casual desktop user. It was first available in Hardy Heron and is being updated for Intrepid Ibex. It is not compatible with AppArmor (which must first be removed).

sudo apt-get install selinux

Network Management

Monitor your network or datacenter with a framework of utilities. Comparable to IBM Tivoli (which can cost thousands of dollars), these solutions are generally available as either community or enterprise editions.

  • Hyperic is an open-source network monitoring framework that can be used in either a datacenter or a cloud environment (it is used for Amazon Cloud). Both a free community version and a subscription enterprise version are available.
  • Groundwork OpenSource offers a community edition that integrates other packages such as Nagios, Nmap, and others. There is a subscription enterprise version as well. It has its roots in a university setting.
  • OpenQRM is the GPL-licensed, free open-source community successor to the very popular network monitoring solution Qlusters. It is available as a Debian/Ubuntu package. See the website for details.
  • Canonical offers the Landscape network management service for $150 per node, with a free trial available.
  • Zenoss is a commercial network monitoring subscription package (about $150/node) with a limited free "core" edition also available.

Nagios

Nagios is a free open source network monitoring solution. It is available as a package installation in Ubuntu. It is administered from a web interface (http://localhost/nagios) and is expandable using a large number of available plugins. Install:

sudo apt-get install nagios3

Cacti Monitoring Server

Cacti is a complete, free open source network graphing solution designed to harness the power of RRDTool’s data storage and graphing functionality. Cacti provides a fast poller, advanced graph templating, multiple data acquisition methods, and user management features out of the box. It uses MySQL and PHP (part of the LAMP server stack). All of this is wrapped in an intuitive, easy to use interface that makes sense for LAN-sized installations up to complex networks with hundreds of devices. For more info see Cacti Server Setup.

Servers

Many server packages (such as Apache2, MySQL, PHP, etc.) can be installed individually, on either a Desktop edition or a Server edition (using the tasksel command described below). It is not necessary in general, therefore, to install Ubuntu Server if you only wish to use an occasional server package on a Desktop edition. Most of the instructions for individual server packages will work on the Server edition, on the Desktop edition, or on a Server edition that has had an Ubuntu or Kubuntu desktop installed on it.

Nevertheless, the Server edition is optimised for speed and ease of monitoring and maintenance when implemented in large networks and is therefore recommended. (For complete information see the Ubuntu Server Guide.) It is always possible to add an Ubuntu (Gnome) or Kubuntu (KDE) GUI desktop to an Ubuntu Server at any time.

Note that Karmic Koala is not a long-term support version, and there are changes from Hardy Heron to Karmic Koala (including an occasional new bug). Unless new features, such as Xen (virtualization) support or the Tomcat (Java) server, are desired, some users recommend the most recent Long Term Support (LTS) version (8.04 Hardy Heron) for stability.

(If you are attempting to create a dual-boot or multi-boot configuration with multiple operating systems on your computer, then see these tips.)

(Tip: During installation of the server, an initial user / password is created. Many servers are intended to run unattended with little subsequent intervention and it can be easy to forget the original user / password pair that is created at installation. I suggest writing this information down and taping it to the inside of the computer case cover for later reference. (Lock the computer case if you desire extra security.))

There are many server packages that are available to be installed during the Server edition installation process (from the LiveCD menu). It is not critical to install them at the outset, however, because they can also later be added (as a one-step task) using the tasksel command. For a list of server packages that can be installed at any time using the tasksel command:

sudo tasksel --list-tasks

Ultimate Server Walkthrough

  • Here is an installation walkthrough of an ultimate server for Ubuntu. Using instructions from Ubuntuguide, this ultimate server has two wikis (MediaWiki), two Drupal websites, a Moodle online learning website, a BigBlueButton teleconferencing server, an Ubuntu desktop, and dynamic DNS access from the web. All components can be expanded and/or additional servers added.
  • To run multiple servers on multiple computers on a LAN using only a single IP address and router, see this solution using reverse proxies in Apache.

Add a desktop to an Ubuntu Server

Packages that require server capabilities (such as Drupal with Apache, etc.) are often happier when a Server edition is installed as the base OS. However, adding a desktop can make the administration and maintenance of many packages easier for many users (albeit with a cost of reduced server speed). Add an Ubuntu (Gnome) or Kubuntu (KDE) desktop to a server using:

sudo apt-get install ubuntu-desktop
or
sudo apt-get install kubuntu-desktop

LAMP server installation

During server installation, you will have the option of installing a LAMP (Linux, Apache, MySQL, pHp) server stack. Many (but not all) open source servers use this integrated server stack. Drupal, for example, needs to have a LAMP server installed. If you intend to install a groupware server, however, make sure it is compatible with a LAMP server stack before choosing this option. Many groupware servers will install LAMP (or their own variation) automatically, so you do not need to install the LAMP stack. Others will install and use postgreSQL instead of MySQL, so you would not need to install a LAMP server.

Apache2 + MySQL + PHP

This is the preferred method:

sudo tasksel install lamp-server

(Tip: During installation of the LAMP server, an initial MySQL "root" user password is created. This information will sometimes be needed when installing other server packages that use MySQL. I suggest writing the MySQL password down and taping it to the inside of the computer case cover for later reference. (Lock the computer case if you desire extra security.))

Other servers

During server installation, you can choose other servers to install, as well. These include a Mail server (Postfix with Dovecot), a DNS server (bind9), the OpenSSH server, a print server, a Tomcat Java web server, a Samba file server (for use with Windows networks), and a virtual machine host (Xen). Again, if you are using a groupware solution, you should be careful about installing these services, as they may conflict with similar (but competing) servers which the groupware solution will install by default.

eBox (server and network manager)

eBox is a web-browser based server management platform that is useful in managing multiple servers and networking functions in a small to medium business. It is modular so that as the network grows and more networking functions or servers (such as the ones listed below) are added, eBox can manage those, as well. Install:

sudo apt-get install ebox

OpenSSH server

OpenSSH allows encrypted communications through a designated secure port. The OpenSSH server also can be installed as an option during the Ubuntu Server LiveCD installation. Also see setting up an SSH server. Install:

sudo tasksel install openssh-server

Postfix (Mail Server)

Postfix is a free open source mail server. It can be installed as the "Mail server" option when installing the Ubuntu server from the LiveCD. It interfaces directly to Dovecot, the free open source IMAP and POP3 server.

Bind9 (DNS server)

BIND DNS servers are the most commonly used on the Internet. Bind9 is the current edition and is installed by selecting the "DNS server" option when installing Ubuntu server from the LiveCD. See the usage instruction here.

Apache Tomcat (Java server)

Tomcat is a free open source platform from Apache which provides a "pure Java" HTTP web server environment for Java code to run (see here for more info).

It is not part of the Apache2 web server. Installation can be done by checking the "Install Tomcat server" option at the time of the initial Ubuntu server installation from LiveCD.

Xen virtual machine host

Xen is a free open source virtualization platform that allows the host to run "guest" operating systems simultaneously (see here for more info). Xen implementation in the (K)ubuntu server is based on integration with KVM, the kernel-based virtualization platform in Linux. KVM integrates with QEMU components, which have been merged with Xen.

Note: KVM requires a 64-bit processor with a virtualization extension, i.e. an Intel VT or AMD-V CPU, therefore this package currently is successful only with the 64-bit Ubuntu server installation and on those CPUs.

Installation can be done by checking the "Install virtual machine host" option at the time of the initial Ubuntu server installation from LiveCD.

Print server

Ubuntu uses the CUPS print server, which is integrated into the desktop. Installing a print server in Ubuntu Server is necessary only if you do not intend to use a desktop (i.e. you intend a "headless" server). Because this guide is orientated towards users who will install a Ubuntu desktop on top of the server, please see Ubuntu server documentation for this option.

Apache2 Webserver with PHP and Perl support

To install an Apache webserver (but not the entire LAMP stack) with both PHP and Perl CGI support, see this guide.

OpenLDAP

OpenLDAP is a community-based LDAP server that allows directory querying over TCP/IP, generally for organizations arranged by domain. Ubuntu uses the slapd daemon for the OpenLDAP server. See the official Ubuntu documentation for more information about installation and setup.

NOTE: Karmic's OpenLDAP installation (2.4.18-0ubuntu1) is significantly different from the one from Jaunty. Updated instructions are needed.

Cluster (cloud) computing

Eucalyptus is a project from University of California Santa Barbara to facilitate cluster computing on Ubuntu servers that have Xen enabled. It has been included in the Karmic Koala server edition, but is very much in development. It is not meant for mission-critical deployments at this time. See the website for details.

Enterprise Network Firewall

IPCop

IPCop is a free open source (GPL-licensed) firewall solution for use as an independent appliance (on a dedicated PC) in an enterprise network. It allows remote management and can protect multiple servers, including web and email servers. IPSec-based OpenVPN is supported. The CD image .iso and other files can be downloaded here. Installation instructions are on the website.

SmoothWall

SmoothWall Express is an award-winning, free, open source (with a GPL license) firewall solution for use as an independent appliance (on a dedicated PC) in an enterprise network. Download the installation CD .iso image here (server OS included), burn onto a CD, and install on a new, dedicated PC. Many features, however, such as VPN server, database access authentications, and content filtering are only implemented in a commercial version, however, and are not available in the community version.

Endian

Endian is a very robust, free, open source universal threat management appliance similar to IPCop and Smoothwall. It also incorporates OpenVPN. Like Smoothwall, Dansguardian is used for content filtering (and is included in the community edition). Commercial and hardware versions with some additional features, automatic updates, and professional support are available. See the website for details.

LTSP (Thin client support)

LTSP (the Linux Terminal Server Project) adds thin-client support to Linux servers. The package is free, GPL-licensed, and the client can be used to run programs on either Linux or Windows LTSP servers. There is a module for classroom management (ltsp-controlaula) as well. Installation instructions are here. The alternate LiveCD can also be used to install a terminal server, as indicated in these instructions.

LTSP Server

Install:

sudo apt-get install ltsp-server ltsp-manager

LTSP Client

Install:

sudo apt-get ltsp-client

iTALC (Thin client for Education)

iTALC is a free, open source (GPL-licensed) thin client solution that supports both (K)Ubuntu Linux and Windows XP. It has been used widely in educational settings to monitor, share, and control multiple workstations. See the website for download and installation instructions.

Internet Cafe software

Internet Cafe (or CyberCafe) software is specialized LAN-administration software that includes time usage monitoring, billing, and administration. It can also be used in schools, libraries, and organizations with multiple monitored workstations requiring usage limits.

OutKafe

OutKafe is a free, open-source, GPL-licensed cybercafe solution based on a postgreSQL database server stack. It is run on hundreds of sites. It is GTK-based but can be run with Kubuntu (KDE).

OpenKiosk

OpenKiosk is a free open source multi-platform server/client solution for administering and monitoring groups of workstations, such as in libraries, school labs, and internet cafes. Installation is from source files. See the website for details.

CafePilot

CafePilot is a free multi-platform Java-based server/client solution for real-time monitoring and billing of Cybercafe workstations. A complete custom Ubuntu-based LiveCD server/multiple-client solution (including OS and many applications for unlimited workstations) is available for $100 here.

Pessulus (Lockdown Editor)

Pessulus is a GTK (Gnome)-based utility that allows an a computer administrator to restrict acccess to several administrative functions, including the command-line Terminal and many other functions. This is useful on public kiosk PCs, for example. Install:

sudo apt-get install pessulus

Miscellaneous solutions

This thread discusses several other solutions, including:

Network Attached Servers

FreeNAS

FreeNAS allows a PC with several hard drives to function as a self-contained network attached storage RAID device. It is a very small, fast system, so that an older PCs could function quite well as an NAS.

Setup RAID in Ubuntu/Kubuntu

See this thread for a discussion how to set up RAID on an Ubuntu/Kubuntu server.

Databases

There are several free enterprise-strength databases that can be used in (K)Ubuntu Linux.

PostgreSQL

PostgreSQL is a free standards-compliant enterprise-strength open-source database, initially developed at UC Berkeley. See the PostgreSQL Server documentation for server configuration information. Install:

sudo apt-get install postgresql-8.3
or
sudo apt-get install postgresql

MySQL

MySQL is one of the most widely-used relational databases, and has been licensed under the GPLv2. It has now been bought by Oracle as part of the purchase of Sun. It has long been integrated into co-ordinated server platforms using the LAMP stack, but it can also be installed separately.

sudo apt-get install mysql-server

Tips & Tricks

Change to black Panel bar

Intrepid used a nice black Panel bar (Taskbar) at the bottom. Jaunty uses a blue one. To change from the blue bar back to the black bar, you will have to install the Nitro desktop theme. It differs from the default Oxygen theme only in the color of the Panel bar.

Right-click on your desktop -> Appearance Settings -> Desktop Theme -> New Theme...
Search for Nitro and "Install". Then close.
Right-click on your desktop -> Appearance Settings -> Desktop Theme -> Theme -> select Nitro.
Changes will take place when you log on next time.

Autostart a program at bootup

Any program (or script) can be made to Autostart at bootup by creating a symbolic link to that program (or script) in the ~/.kde/Autostart folder.

For example, to start Firefox at bootup, create a symbolic link:

sudo ln -s /usr/bin/firefox ~/.kde/Autostart

Run a script from a menu item

It is possible to place a short script in a menu item / shortcut to answer an interactive query (such as a password query). Here is an example that is used to enter a password during an SSH negotiation. First, install the utility expect:

sudo apt-get install expect

The use a command in the Menu Item / Shortcut similar to:

expect -c 'spawn ssh -l sshuser -L 5900:127.0.0.1:5900 remoteserver.remotedomain.org -p 22 ; expect assword ; send "sshpassword\n" ; interact'

In this example the password sshpassword is returned when the ssh program requires a password. Expect waits for some text to be displayed in the command-line terminal then returns text in return. The Menu Item must be "Run in terminal", therefore.

KDialog (User interface for scripts)

KDialog allows user input to scripts. This allows the automation of tasks with the option of user input during those scripts.

Run Command

You can run any application in your path using the Run Command. Right-click on the Plasma Icon in the upper right of your desktop to find the command. You can also use Alt+F2.

Restore the Task Manager bar

It is easy to remove the Task Manager bar accidentally and find yourself with an empty desktop. Here's how to restore it to its default state at installation:

  • If you have accidentally erased your Task Manager bar completely, add it again from the Plasma icon in the upper right corner of your desktop. You can drag your Task Manager bar anywhere you want using the "handle" on the edge of the bar (which pops up unless you have the widgets locked).
  • Right-click on the Task Manager bar -> Panel Settings to configure it. You will notice a configuration bar that will pop up. While this is displayed you can drag things around the Task Manger bar how you like them. You can also change the dimensions of the Task manager bar using the arrows, and can choose the centering options for the Task Manager bar.
  • You can also (re-)add widgets to the Task Manager bar using the Add Widget option on this configuration bar as well. (Note: This is different from the Add widgets option found in the Plasma icon in the upper right corner of your desktop, which adds widgets to your desktop, not to the task manager bar).
  • The original default task manager bar at installation included the "Applications Launcher (traditional menu based)" widget, the "Digital Clock" widget, the "Pager" widget, the "System Tray" widget, and the "Trashcan" widget. Add whichever ones you have accidentally removed, then drag them around the Task Manager bar into desired positions.
  • Close the configuration bar when you are done by clicking on the red X.

Restore Konqueror as Default File Manager

  • K-menu -> Run (or use the "Run command..." option from the Plasma Icon in the upper right corner of your desktop).
  • Open KDE components -> File Associations -> inode
  • Choose directory. In the right part of the window, change the application preference order so that Konqueror would be the first app in the list.
  • Do the same with system_directory.

Remove Konqueror temporary thumbnail files

When browsing files locally, Konqueror builds up thumbnails of the images viewed. To remove these thumbnails, from the command line terminal Konsole:

cd ~/.thumbnails/normal
rm -rf *.png
cd ~/.thumbnails/large
rm -rf *.png
Note: You can substitute /home/user for ~, if you choose, where user is your username.

Screen snapshot

K menu -> Graphics -> Ksnapshot Screen Capture Program

Turn off Hot Keys

This is the most evil option on any operating system, in my opinion. A mis-stroke enables any number of random events. Unfortunately, this problem is pervasive in operating systems and is difficult to turn off.

K menu -> System -> System Settings -> Advanced -> Input Actions -> General Settings -> check "Disable KHotKeys daemon"
K menu -> System -> System Settings -> Advanced -> Input Actions -> Gestures Settings -> check "Disable mouse gestures globally"

If you wish to be selective about it (this doesn't often work, however), start by disabling unnecessary desktop hotkeys.

K menu -> System -> System Settings -> Keyboard & Mouse -> Keyboard Shortcuts

Also, you may want to deactivate linking gestures to sticky and slow keys:

K menu -> System -> System Settings -> Accessibility -> Activation Gestures -> uncheck "Use gestures for activating sticky keys and slow keys"

Note: You probably will have to disable hotkeys in many applications, as well.

Hotkeys from the Synaptics Touchpad can be selectively turned off using this information from the Ubuntu documentation.

Activate Suspend or Hibernate

Right-click on the Guidance Power Manager icon in the toolbar (looks like a battery icon).

Associate default applications

K menu -> System -> System Settings -> Advanced -> File Associations -> x-content -> video-dvd -> Applications Preference order -> Add...
then choose your favourite media player. There are similar options for Blu-Ray (video-bluray) and HD DVD (video-hddvd). Set each individually.
  • To assign the default player for playing mpegs (or other video formats):
K menu -> System -> System Settings -> Advanced -> File Associations -> video -> mpeg -> Applications Preference order -> Add...
then choose your favourite media player. You can do this for a host of video file formats, including .wmv (x-ms-wmv, or Microsoft WMV format), .flv (x-flv, or Flash video), quicktime, and so on.
  • To assign .pls audio streams to play through Audacious:
K Menu -> System -> System Settings -> Advanced -> File Associations -> audio -> x-scpls -> Applications Preference order -> Move Audacious to the top (or Add... it).
Make sure *.pls appears in the Filename Patterns section.

Associate files using Dolphin file manager

  • You can also associate files using the Dolphin file manager:
Right-click on a file -> Open with ... -> Known Applications ->
choose the application to associate with the file
-> Click: "Remember application association for this type of file"
Example:
From Dolphin, right-click on musicfile.mp3 -> Open with... -> Known Applications ->
choose Audacious
-> Click: "Remember application association for this type of file"
Now all .mp3 files will be associated with Audacious.

Use Windows-appearing fonts

Users who switch to Kubuntu from Windows may notice subtle differences between the default fonts in Kubuntu and those in Windows. The Microsoft Core Fonts can be installed as part of the kubuntu-restricted-extras package, or separately:

sudo apt-get install msttcorefonts

Most default fonts in Windows are Times New Roman. You can select the Times New Roman fonts in applications like Firefox to make them appear like Windows. However, the Deja Vu font in Kubuntu mimics the Times New Roman font closely, and has been found to be desirable for most users.

Run a Gnome desktop from Kubuntu

It is possible to install the GTK-based Gnome desktop (the default in Ubuntu) in Kubuntu.

apt-get install ubuntu-desktop

There is a risk of software bloat and some incompatibilities between modules when doing this. At login, you can choose (as an option) whether to start the KDE (Kubuntu) desktop or the Gnome (Ubuntu) desktop. Nevertheless, when there are two modules trying to perform the same function (one from each desktop), it is possible to have conflicts.

Random password generator

  • Pwgen is a command line utility to generate a block of random passwords. Run it from Konsole (in Kubuntu) or Terminal (in Ubuntu). Install:
sudo apt-get install pwgen
  • Run pwgen:
pwgen
  • UUIDgen is a default utility to generate a random UUID. Run:
uuidgen

The random UUID can also be used as a password, if desired.

MD5Sum

To check the MD5 sum of a file, use this command in the command line:

md5sum filename

Software Troubleshooting

Amarok Troubleshooting

Amarok permissions error on Amarok startup

If you get a permissions error when launching Amarok, try the following:

sudo chown -R user /home/user 
Note: Replace user with the actual username. This command changes the owner of the folder /home/user to user. -R means "recursively", i.e. including all subfolders.

K3B Troubleshooting

Cdrecord has no permission to open the device error

If you receive the "cdrecord has no permission to open the device" error while burning using K3B, open a terminal and type:

 sudo chmod 777 /dev/scd0
Note: replace "/dev/scd0" with your own device.
Note: chmod 777 is the universal option for granting full permission to a folder. The 777 mask indicates that read, write, and execute permission is given to all users.

Licenses

Linux is largely a community of volunteers and as such represents one of the largest altruistic efforts on earth. This includes companies who decide to contribute their own software into the public domain for free use. The continued success of sharing depends on licenses that keep software free and usable for anyone who wants to use it. However, there must be a method for Linux users and developers to make money, as well. Licensing helps protect each of these efforts. See the Wikipedia Free Software Licensing article and the GNU operating system licensing page for more complete information.

  • Kubuntu Derivatives do not need a license, according to its developer. See this blog article.

GPL license

The GPLv3 license (and the Affero GPLv3 license for network-based software) intends that the software module or package is free to use in any environment, and furthermore, any software that relies on that GPLv3-licensed module must in turn also be completely free. Commercial and proprietary software packages can't use or incorporate GPLv3-licensed modules.

LGPL license

The Lesser GPL license intends that the software module or package is free to use in any environment, including in commercial and proprietary software packages. This allows companies to develop proprietary packages which includes LGPL-licensed modules, from which they can make a profit. The disadvantage is that their products (which benefit from the LGPL-licensed modules) are not required to be in the public domain in turn. (Many companies often later donate their entire package into the public domain, however, after they no longer make a profit from them.)

ODbL license

The ODbL (Open Database License) is a "share alike" open license intended for databases.

Apache license

The Apache license has been around a long time. It is compatible with the GPLv3 license, but, unlike the GPLv3 license, it does not require modified software to retain the Apache license. In other words, Apache-licensed software can be modified and the modified software then made proprietary (and therefore not returned to the open source community).

BSD license

The BSD license is similar to a public domain license. There are currently many confusing iterations of the BSD license, however, mostly regarding attribution notices and advertising that is required to be provided along with any software derivatives. The BSD license allows the option of propagation of either (otherwise-licensed) free open source restrictions or proprietary restrictions. It therefore allows a mix of (otherwise-licensed) proprietary modules and open sourced-licensed modules to co-exist in the same package. This flexibility has made the BSD license popular with complex distributions (such as the (BSD Unix-based) Mac OS X operating system, for example).

Creative Commons licenses

Espoused by many large public-domain projects, there are a variety of Creative Commons copyright licenses for different scenarios. Many variations impose "non-free" limitations and versions prior to version 3 were denounced by several large open-source projects; particular variations of this license must be examined closely.

Proprietary licenses

There is a vast array of proprietary licenses, all different. You never know what your limitations for software are unless you read every word. Most are attempts by lawyers to have an opportunity to create a lawsuit in the future. Some may be called "free" licenses but have many limitations which you will not be aware of until you are in the middle of a lawsuit. No license outside of the GPLv3 license is recommended. Be careful when committing your organization to a mission-critical software package with a proprietary license. Also see this outstanding article on the Open Source Enterprise Trap.

Requests

If you have Kubuntu requests that you would like to be part of this guide, put them here.

  • Where do I get the plasmoid that shows the Little Dog Doing Backflips? I understand that this widget is only available for Kubuntu Karmic Koala...
"No, that is a cross between a plasmoid and a widget, called a phidget. Phidgets seem to move around the desktop far too quickly." --perspectoff
  • I want to use the miniature version of a widget. Is that available?
"Yes, the mini widget is called a midget." --perspectoff
  • How do I import a copy of Kubuntuguide into my own wiki?
See this page.
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