Adding more functionality to Kubuntu 9.10 NBR

In a previous article, I covered off the installation of Kubuntu 9.10 (Karmic Koala) onto an aging, but much loved and reliable ASUS 701 EEE Netbook. In this entry, I will detail a few of the additional bits of functionality I’ve added to the already awesome Netbook Remix (NBR) of this latest OS drop.

Topics Covered

As always, if there are things you think I should be including, or better ways of doing stuff, let me know in the comments 🙂

Pairing Bluetooth to a Nokia E71

Using an inexpensive bluetooth adapter allows you to get online without having to drag out cables etc when you’re on the bus, in the car – wherever.

The adapter detected fine – but then came the job of setting up the pairing with my Nokia E71:

On the EEE

  • From the Home Screen, open the ‘Internet’ group, then open up ‘kbluetooth’
  • You should see a bluetooth icon appear on your toolbar
  • Right-click the bluetooth icon, and select ‘Settings’ > ‘Bluetooth Adapters’ from the dropdown menu.
  • From the ‘Bluetooth Adapter’ dialogue box, set:
    • Adapter Name: ‘[WhateverYouWant]’
    • Mode: ‘Discoverable’

NOTE: Your Netbook is now being all promiscuous and stuff to the world, long-term, this isn’t good.

  • Click OK


On the Nokia E71

  • Select ‘Menu’ > ‘Connectivity’ > ‘Bluetooth’ and set:
    • Bluetooth ‘On’
    • Visibility ‘Shown to all’ (the same promiscuous warnings apply)
    • My Phones Name ‘[WhateverYouWant]’
    • Remote SIM ‘Off’ (not sure what it does, didn’t need it on)
  • Now, scroll/tab to the right and you’ll see the ‘Paired Devices’ list.
    • Select ‘Options’ > ‘New Paired Device’

Your phone should now scan for any bluetooth devices in range (if your workplace is anything like mine you’ll see a heap of devices)

  • ‘Select’ the device with the name you set in the EEE steps above.
  • The phone will now prompt for a passcode – Enter a passcode (numeric) into your phone.

On the EEE

  • You should now be prompted to enter a passcode on the EEE, enter the same numeric code

On the E71

  • You will be asked to ‘Authorise device [the EEE] to make connections automatically’, select ‘Yes’
  • Your connection should now appear in the phone

(Optional)

  • Select ‘Options’ > ‘Assign short name’ and change the name of the device to something more friendly if you wish.

On the EEE

  • Right-click the bluetooth icon, and select ‘Settings’ > ‘Bluetooth Device Manager’ from the dropdown menu.
  • Your E71 should appear in the list, select the device and click ‘Set Trusted’

Congratulations, your devices are now paired… now to do something useful with the connection!

Installing EEE Control (EEE PC Tray)

EEE Control is a utility written to allow easy management of the ASUS EEE embedded devices such as en/disable the Webcam, SDCard, Wifi as well as setting power and performance schemes.

To set it up under Kubuntu NBR, simply open a terminal window and enter the following:

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:kubuntu-ppa/backports
sudo apt-get update && sudo apt-get install eeepc-tray

You should see an icon appear on your taskbar which allows you to access the functionality supported by your model of EEE netbook.

Installing UbuntuONE

Ubuntu One is your personal cloud. You can use it to back up, store, sync and share your data with other Ubuntu One users.”

…it’s just not in the Kubuntu NBR by default. To fix this, simply open a terminal window and enter the following:

sudo apt-get install ubuntuone-client-gnome

You will then find a UbuntuOne cloud icon in your ‘Internet’ applications group, and from there you are only a simple configuration away from your 2GB of free storage out in the interwebs somewhere.

Installing Skype

Skype is a VoIP client, if you haven’t heard of it in the last 5 years, you’ve probably been living under a rock – it works, the voice quality is acceptable and while the video capability can be variable, it’s got a huge number of subscribers so, give it a crack – you’ll probably find a number of your friends are already on there. My Current Skype Status is:

To get things running on your netbook, see below:

Remember, those of us with low resolution screens may need to invoke the <Alt> + <Mouse Click & Drag> trick to see the bottom of some dialogue boxes.

Hope this helps those of you out there wanting to squeeze a little more life out of your beloved Netbooks

Installing Karmic Koala (9.10) on an ASUS EEE 701 netbook

Koala

So – Karmic is out, and for those who are looking to upgrade to the new goodness, there’s a few simple tricks to make the process pretty much painless.

If you’re already running (K)Ubuntu 9.04, simply open up a terminal window and type:

update-manager -d

For those installing from scratch (and to be honest – it’s what I tend to still do, hang up from the Windows days?) things are almost as simple.

Getting the Files

  1. Grab a 2GB or larger USB stick
  2. Hit the web for your ISO files

Once the files are downloading (and they’ll take awhile as everyone hits the servers initially (trying a torrent may help), head on to the next step…
Making your USB bootable

  • Grab Unetbootin for your OS for a really easy way to create a bootable USB drive
  • Insert your USB stick, double check where it’s loaded then create!

On your EEE 701

  • Because of the native resolution of the original EEE, a number of dialogue boxes don’t fit so well on the screen. This is mostly only a hassle during the installation as, afterward, you should be able to hold down the <Alt> key while click-dragging the window you want to see the bottom of.
  • If you have an external monitor available, connect it and change the screen settings to display a more reasonable resolution, larger than the crippling 800×400 of the native 701 🙂
  • If you do not have an external monitor available, don’t panic – we can simply use the keystroke navigation as detailed below
    • Ubuntu Install (First Screen)
      • Press <Alt> + <F> (Forward)
    • Welcome Screen
      • Choose your language then <Alt> + <F>
    • TimeZone / Where are you
      • Select your location
      • <Alt> + <F>
    • Keyboard Layout
      • This should detect fine so…
      • <Alt> + <F>
    • Prepare Disk Space
      • To install to 4GB SSD (This will delete EVERYTHING ON THE DISK and install from a blank partition)
        • <Alt> + <E>
        • <Alt> + <F>
        • Partitions will calculate
      • For a Custom Install (to use SDHC card in a EEE for instance)
        • <Alt> + <S> (to Specify partitions)
        • <Alt> + <F>
        • Setup partitions as you wish
          • I chose to use /dev/sdc (the SDHC card) creating a Primary partition of [Full Size of Storage minus Amount of installed RAM (for swap) ]
          • Set mount point to ‘/’ and use the ext4 file system
          • Create a logical partition using the rest of available disk as swap (which should be size as the amount of RAM in your system)
          • <Alt> + <F>
        • Partitions will calculate
    • Who are you- Obvious really:
      • Your Name <Tab>
      • Login/Username <Tab>
      • Password <Tab>
      • Password Verify <Tab>
      • Device Name<Tab>
      • Choose your Login type
        • “Require My password” <Alt> + <M> – Default
        • “Login Automatically” <Alt> + <L> or
        • “Require my password to login and Decrypt Home folder” <Alt> + <R>
      • <Alt> + <F>
    • Summary
      • Last chance to check all your selections
      • Alt + I (to Install)
    • And now the installation will start…

At the end of the installation process, you will be prompted to remove the install media (USB drive) and reboot the machine.

You’re done!

Installing VMware Server 2.0.1 on Ubuntu Server 9.04

The following guide will take you through installing VMWare Server 2 on a minimal install headless Ubuntu v9.04 (Jaunty) Server. For a step by step on setting up the minimal server, read the article I posted here.

Getting the Pre-requisite Packages

First up, you will need to SSH into your server, and paste in the following command to install some additional packages which allow for the changes required to the kernel and the building of the VMWare server.

sudo apt-get install linux-headers-`uname -r` build-essential xinetd

Getting the VMware Server TAR ball

Once the extra packages are installed, you will need to grab the TAR ball from the VMWare site, and drop it into the directory where you wish to run your VMs from. For me, I’ve chosen to keep them under my users home directory in a directory called (imaginativly) ‘VM’. The following commands will make the directory ‘VM’ under your users root directory, then change to that directory:

mkdir ~/VM
cd ~/VM

From the PC you are using to SSH to the server, open a browser and visit the VMWare Server page from here you will need to download the server which will require you to create a VMware account, and login so that a licence key can be emailed to you.

Once logged in, you will be directed to the download page containing all the binaries for VMware Server.

Download the relevant TAR image for your architecture and linux version to your local machine, and do an MD5 checksum to make sure it arrived intact.

There is also a patch which you will require, you will need a login to the Ubuntu Forums however, to access the file below:

http://ubuntuforums.org/attachment.php?attachmentid=94477&d=1227872015

From here, transfer the TAR and the patch file in whatever way works best for you. If you followed my server build guide and installed the optional SAMBA extensions, you should be able to easily open the home directory on your server via a Windows network share – or similar for you particular operating system.

Running the Installer

Back to our SSH session now, unpack the patch into your “~/VM/” directory, then extract the VMware Server TAR ball and run the installer:

tar xvfz VMware-server-*.tar.gz
cd vmware-server-distrib
sudo patch ./bin/vmware-config.pl ~/VM/vmware-config.pl.patch.txt
sudo ./vmware-install.pl

Accept the default options (there are a LOT of them) throughout the installation and allow the installer to build any modules or kernels it needs to during the setup.

Choose the Administrative User

When prompted for the name of the current administrative user, select YES and type in YOUR user name (otherwise it’ll use root)

Select the Directory to Store the Virtual Machines

When prompted for the directory to store your virtual machine files, type in /home/[YourUsername]/VM/Virtual Machines and allow the installer to create the directory

Entering the Serial Number

Next you will be prompted for the serial number which should have been emailed to you for your VM Server installation, simply copy out of your email and paste into the SSH window.

Back to selecting the default values now until you are returned to the prompt.

Just in case things didn’t go well

If you think you may have made a mistake in the configuration, you can easily re-run the configuration tool by typing:

sudo /usr/bin/vmware-config.pl

If you REALLY made a hash of it, you can always remove the installation by typing:

sudo /usr/bin/vmware-uninstall.pl

and start again 🙂

Accessing the VMServer Console

After you installation sucessfully completes you will be returned to the prompt in your SSH session. That’s it – you’re done. All you need to do now, is attach to the VM Server console via your browser by typing in the address of your server box which will look something like this:

https://[YourUbuntuServerName-or-IPAddress]:8333/ui/

Read the documentation, and start setting up some Virtual Machines, or download any useful looking Virtual Appliances that catch your eye from the appliance marketplace.

Note: If you experience issues with the web console appearing to ‘hang’ ensure that you have loaded the lastest Java Runtime Environment (JRE) – get it here.

Setting Up Ubuntu Server 9.04

Ubuntu Server v9.04 InstallationThis article will address the base (minimal) build that I’ve been using while trying out a number of Virtual Environments for use in my home network. I’ve chosen to use an Ubuntu Server v9.04 (Jaunty) as my base OS – partiallybecause I use a lot of Ubuntu machines, but mainly – because it’s a popular choice with a very supportive community behind it who are all too happy to help others who get into difficulties.


Getting the Software & Burning the Disc

First things first, get yourself over to the Ubuntu Server Download page and get the relevant .iso image for your computers architecture. Because I’m installing on a Shuttle XPC Sn95G5, I’ll be going with the 64bit version.

Continue reading “Setting Up Ubuntu Server 9.04”

Windows 7 RTM – The last installation

Windows 7 PackagingSo Windows 7 is now released to manufacturing (RTM for you acronym junkies out there) and this is the last time I’ll need to be installing the operating system before it appears in the shops. During the Beta, aside from a few minor issues with hibernate, Windows 7 has been wonderfully stable and, I must say I’m impressed by the new Media Center interface (EngadgetHD have a look at it here).

Anyway – this is a HOWTO for installing the Windows 7 RTM [Get it here] from a USB drive, mainly because it’s faster than doing it from a DVD, and also – because my various DVD drives appear to not enjoy talking to each other. These instructions assume a Windows based operating system, I completed them using Windows Vista.

Continue reading “Windows 7 RTM – The last installation”