nVidia Drivers for Linux

nVidia posted new drivers for Linux yesterday, and are already available on Fedora repos… Now that’s what I call service 😉

[tags]nVidia, Linux, Fedora[/tags]

My First Day With Fedora Core 6

I see Linux distributions as if they were cars. You usually have a favorite brand, a model that has a special place in your hear but that you ‘ve replaced by a better one, and in between you take a few test drives. This is my relation with Linux distros.

I began with SCO (UNIX in school), Red Hat, Suse and finally Ubuntu. I tested a few versions of Fedora along the way but it always failed to remain on my PC for lots of reasons, being the main one the lack of a good software repository and packaging distribution system like APT. I still remember installing FC4 and the huge amount of time it took to made the first update.

I’ve been a Ubuntu fanboy 🙂 since 5.10 and enjoying every bit of it. Ubuntu became a very popular distribution with a very active community. The distro’s user friendliness has gather lots of users and has been responsible for a large number of switches from Windows to Linux. Ubuntu is indeed a great distro, nonetheless, 6.10 has let me down.

As you can see, following my latest posts, I recently upgraded to 6.10 (both server and desktop pcs) and everything went fine with the upgrade, but the Ubuntu installation on my desktop pc revealed some flaws I wasn’t expecting crippling features which I consider crucial on a desktop system. First and most critical, it became slow and unstable. Edgy is slower than Dapper and the fluidity of the system has changed, even without playing with eye candy stuff like Beryl or Compiz. Second, applications in Gnome crash like hell, mainly Firefox, Evolution, Thunderbird and Gaim, I’ve never used the “Force Quit” button as often as I did last week. If Ubuntu wants to be the open source replacement for Windows it shouldn’t crash and freeze like Windows does.

And so, I got tired of it and decided to install another distro. Suse 10.1 was on the list but all the latest Novell and Microsoft crap (by the way tell them how fucked up they are) has turned my head on another direction. Fedora Core 6 was released almost at the same time that Ubuntu 6.10 was, so I went and gave Fedora another try. And I’m pleased I did so because I wasn’t expecting to be so positively surprised like I was.

FC6 install took ages, I installed from a DVD and even so it seemed an eternity, after of course, crashing twice due to ACPI issues with my Asus P4C800 Deluxe board. (Note to self – Buy a New Computer!!!)

After an hour FC6 was installed and working. The first thing that captures your eye is the new DNA theme that comes with ZOD (All Hail Zod!) which is great and way better than the brownish theme from Ubuntu. The Fedora Art Theme has done a great work no doubt about that, and you should see what are they working on for FC7, the new icons are great… but I digress.

After the eye candy, what FC6 shows you is the fluidity and stability that I had never seen in the distros I installed since 2005, more or less the year that GNOME has been growing heavy on resources. FC6 reveled itself has a working power horse but lacking features that came on Ubuntu installed by default or, even worse, installed by Automatix. God, I never gave so much value to Automatix like I did today at 3 AM when trying to figure a way to play DVDs on FC6. Every “How To” I followed didn’t work, only after a tip from VD and removing and installing a few packages related to video and multimedia did the trick, which remembers me that YUMEX is still slow as shit, but nevertheless functional and secure. Working with repos like Livna has made YUM more tolerable, still the download speed is not even close of the APT mirrors from Ubuntu. While banging my head all night long I was almost ready to quit and put the Ubuntu 6.10 CD in the drive, but still the stability and speed of the system overcome my laziness and moved me from going back to “Brownux“. The old days of Linux tweaking and hacking were back! Soon I got the system working the way I wanted, with the apps I needed, it was only a matter of time and information. One just has to follow the myriad of FAQs and How Tos on the web, most of them, unfortunately, still cover Fedora Core 5.

Summarizing: I’ll keep my FC6, I’m very pleased with it. It’s like that car you buy with manual shifts after you drive auto for sometime. I’ve got get some info on SELinux implemented on FC6 and check a few more details in order to optimize my system. Meanwhile, I’m making a page on my blog with some useful info on FC6. Keep an eye on! 😉

[tags] Linux, Fedora, Fedora Core 6, Ubuntu, Suse, Novell, Microsoft, shift[/tags]


Get SongbirdThe last time I tried Songbird was when it first was made available 😛 At first it didn’t impressed me, heck, the sound didn’t even worked on Windows… The impression it gave me was that Songbird was a beefed-up extension for Firefox, kinda like Flock but with some multimedia gizmos. And so it was long left forgotten in my “don’t even bother to look again” list of software.

I don’t know what got in me today to install the Songbird Developer Preview 0.2 on my Ubuntu. Download, untar, run, that’s it. Songbird looked for my audio collection and identified my albums perfectly and fast. One or two clicks later and it was playing a few Enigma tracks. Cool! This time it even plays music 😉

But I’m being bad… Songbird has matured very much since the first version, and it’s very nice to have a cool and good looking media player with good features and that doesn’t suck like the majority that comes bundled with most of the distributions out there… still I rather have something like Amarok for Gnome.

[tags]Songbird, Linux, Ubuntu, Audio, Music, Amarok[/tags]

Gone Edgy

Done… I’ve upgraded my desktop and my server to Ubuntu 6.10.
Everything went smooth, the Desktop took a little to long to upgrade because the mirrors were a little crowded but the server upgrade was awesome. I upgraded it via ssh, although I was a little afraid something could gone wrong and kill the ssh daemon, but nothing bad happened. Here’s a small how to for the server upgrade:

Ubuntu Server upgrade – From 6.04 to 6.10

# cd /etc/apt
# cp sources.list sources.list.dapper
# sed 's/dapper/edgy/g' sources.list > ed
# mv ed sources.list
# apt-get update
# apt-get dist-upgrade

Peanuts 😉

[tags]Ubuntu, Ubuntu 6.10, Edgy Eft, Linux, Dapper, Upgrade[/tags]

Beryl on Ubuntu Dapper

Compiz has been forked. And it’s about time if you asked me. Since I updated the kernel on my Dapper, Compiz stoped working and no updates have been around since then. I found out about Beryl via Rui Moura’s blog (by the way, welcome to P*) where he presented us with a nice and simple tutorial to install Beryl on Dapper for the ATI, but since I have a Nvidia, it was just a matter to find the right instructions for XGL.

Beryl was very fast and simple to install and it’s much more easier to configure via the Beryl Manager, the only cons are the slightly loss of performance, less themes and a few bugs, but besides that Beryl looks promising!

[tags]Beryl, Compiz, Ubuntu, Dapper, XGL, Nvidia[/tags]

Ubuntu Crash

Just to warn you that the latest Ubuntu update crashes X11. You can find the solution here.

[tags]Ubuntu, Ubuntu Crash, Linux[/tags]

Your Own Personal Mail Server

Are you sick of having all your mail spread arround on your computers? When you have more than one pc, or even if you check your email at work and then at home, it’s a nightmare to keep track of so many emails. And if you’re like me, I have multiple mail accounts, meaning more mail from diferent sources, well the solution isn’t spending all your day sending mail back and forward from one account to another. The solution is actually preety simple: IMAP!

This how to covers Ubuntu 6.06 Server (yes the server version of Ubuntu duh!) but it’s preety simple to adapt to other distros. Let’s start!

Be warned that you may loose some email messages in the process so test this first with a dummy account!

Assuming you have Ubuntu installed and updated, open a shell and type:

mkdir Maildir
(create this on your home folder)

sudo apt-get install dovecot

Let it install all the packages need for dependecies.

Dovecot is an open source IMAP and POP3 server, is very simple to install / configure and suports the Maildir format which is a standard and the one we’re going to use. Dovecot is very complete and has several options, most of them related to security, I’m not covering those so feel free to explore.

So, back to the shell and enter:

sudo nano /etc/dovecot/dovecot.conf

Now change the following:

# Protocols we want to be serving:
# imap imaps pop3 pop3s
#protocols = imap imaps
#protocols = imap imaps


# Protocols we want to be serving:
# imap imaps pop3 pop3s
#protocols = imap imaps
protocols = imap imaps

Save the file and run dovecot:

sudo /usr/sbin/dovecot

And now test your IMAP Server:

mutt -f imap://yourusername@localhost

You should get a little nagging about the certificates but after that you enter your password and you should be able to see your empty IMAP folder.

Now the next part is to get the email from the other accounts and for this we’re using a little app named Getmail. Getmail can check your POP and IMAP accounts, I’ll cover only the POP accounts but there’s some examples you can check. Getmail also features some very usefull mail sorting options you can check later.

So, if you’re using Ubuntu 6.06 “normal” then you should be able to download Getmail via apt-get:

sudo apt-get install getmail

If you’re using the Ubuntu server version you won’t get this package via apt-get unless you add the right repository or download the package and install it manually:

wget http://archive.ubuntu.com/ubuntu/pool/universe/g/getmail4/getmail4_4.4.3-1_all.deb

dpkg -i getmail4_4.4.3-1_all.deb

Now comes the lame part 😛

You’ll have to write a little configuration file for each of the POP / IMAP accounts you want to check. I’m going to give you an example for a regular POP account and for a GMAIL account.

Again, back to the shell and type:

cd .getmail
touch gmailrc
sudo nano gmailrc

The configuration file for a GMAIL account:

type = SimplePOP3SSLRetriever
server = pop.gmail.com
port = 995
username = yourusername@gmail.com
password = yourpassword

type = Maildir
path = ~yourhomedirectory/Maildir/

delete = true

Save it and repeat the process for a regular POP account:

touch ispmailrc
sudo nano ispmailrc

type = SimplePOP3Retriever
server = pop3.myisp.com
username = yourusername@myisp.com
password = yourpassword

type = Maildir
path = ~yourhomedirectory/Maildir/

delete = true

Save and test it:

sudo /usr/bin/getmail --rcfile=gmailrc

If all goes well you’ll get a few messages like this:

getmail version 4.4.3
Copyright (C) 1998-2005 Charles Cazabon. Licensed under the GNU GPL version 2.
0 messages retrieved, 0 skipped

This means Getmail is working, now send yourself some messages to your accounts to test it and run getmail again to check if it delivers to your IMAP folders. You can check it using Mutt like we did earlier.

By now everything should be working perfectly, we just have to automate the email checking. Let’s use crontab. Go to the shell and enter:

crontab -e

Now copy this line and save the file:

* * * * * /usr/bin/getmail --rcfile=gmailrc --rcfile=ispmailrc >> /dev/null 2>&1

(this has to be all in one line, don’t break it or it won’t work correctly!)

And we’re done! Now use an IMAP compatible client like Mozilla Thunderbir or Evolution and you’ll never have to worry with email again.

[tags]IMAP, POP, E-Mail, Email, GMail, Personal Mail Server, Linux, Ubuntu, Ubuntu Server, Getmail, Dovecot[/tags]

Unix Babes

After seeing this I feel a strange urge of traveling to Greece…

Oh and by the way, before you buy a ticket to Greece… it’s a fake.

[tags]Unix, Babes, Beach[/tags]