Add missing network settings to Ubuntu Intrepid

Network Settings Dialog
If you remember the screen-shot on the right than you used to add host aliases, set your host name etc. from Ubuntu Hardys menu System --> Administration --> Network.

After upgrading to Ubuntu 8.10 (Intrepid) this menu was gone, and the options can't be found anywhere.

Install instructions


sudo aptitude install gnome-network-admin

After this instruction the menu entry returned and you can tweak your network as usual.

MS Project 2003 on Ubuntu

As I already mentioned about Gantt Charting, on Windows commonly used is MS Office Project. Not always you can avoid its use, especially if anyone else in your company uses it and you'll be asked to prepare a Gantt chart for them.

So what can you do if you don't want to abandon your great Ubuntu desktop?

The solution is to run in under the hood of Crossover (will only work with MS Project 2003 Pro).
But I ran into some trouble, so I'll explain the solution here.

It is still recommendable to use any of the
open source applications which I mention here!


Install instructions

  1. Install Crossover of course. Do it with your normal user account, the recommended way.
  2. Install MS Project 2003 Pro from Crossover's internal installer, inside a win2000 bottle.
    • After being installed you can already run Project, but it will complain all the time that you have to add gbui://mainpage.htm to your trusted sites inside of Internet Explorer.
  3. So we have no other choice as to install IExplorer always.
    • Make sure you select the same win2000 bottle as the one of Project, otherwise your settings will not been seen by Project.
    • Crossover will tell you that it is a bad idea and that it will most likely fail, but nevertheless go on and ignore the warning at the end.


Configuration


Now we have to add the mentioned page to your trusted sites list.
  1. Launch Crossovers Configuration application.
  2. Manage Bottles tab.
  3. Select the win2000 bottle and push Configure.
  4. Enter the Control Panel tab.
  5. Push the icon for Internet Options.
  6. Go to Security --- Trusted sites -- Sites... and enter gbui://mainpage.htm
    • You'll have to disable Require server verification first.
That's it, leave and apply the settings and from now on, MS Project 2003 will work like a charm.

Click here for full resolution


Ubuntu 8.10

Yesterday the latest Ubuntu version was released.

Just upgrade your existing Ubuntu system or see the download and upgrade instructions in one of these sites:
  • http://www.ubuntulinux.org
  • http://www.ubuntu.com

Get Ubuntu

Open Source language checker


LanguageTool is a rule-based language checker that will find errors for which a rule is defined in its XML configuration files or Java code.

You can think of LanguageTool as a tool to detect errors that a simple spell checker cannot detect, e.g. mixing up there/their, no/now etc. It can also detect some grammar mistakes. It does not include spell checking

It has been integrated in OpenOffice's latest 3.0 release, but can be used under 2.x also.

Install instructions in OpenOffice 3.x


Double click LanguageTool-0.9.4.oxt to install it. If that doesn't work, call Tools -> Extension Manager -> Add... to install it.
Close OpenOffice.org and re-start it.

For OpenOffice 2.x use LanguageTool-0.9.2.oxt instead.

Google Redesigned


Google Redesigned is a Firefox extension that aims to fully redesign the look and feel of popular Google services. This is achieved with Cascading StyleSheet (CSS) files which are loaded on the client's browser. The extension simplifies the use of these styles by providing auto-updates, easy management and notifications of changes.

More screenshots

MS Office Fonts in OpenOffice Linux

Sometimes you open a MS Office Word document and you discover that some of the fonts don't look equal on your screen, and even worse, look very different on print-outs.

What happens?

MS Office users heavenly use some MS Office specific fonts (like Comic Sans, Webdings), which aren't installed by default on your fresh Ubuntu system. So OpenOffice tries to simulate these with similar fonts, the same applies to the printer driver.

Okay, you could go and setup a font replacement table in OpenOffice, but there's a much quicker way of solving the problem.

Installation of MS Core Fonts


Just install the msttcorefonts package from Synaptic, from the Applications menu or the command line:
sudo aptitude install msttcorefonts

Matroska


Matroska is a new multimedia container format usually found as .mkv files (matroska video) and .mka files (matroska audio).

This high-end container format supports fast seeking, embedded chapters and subtitle, several video and audio tracks, and supports latest codecs like H.264 and AAC (I highly recommend to encode your videos with these for quality reasons).
Unlike other container formats like AVI, you can easily switch between subtitle or audio tracks during playback and stream it over RTP.
In the near future it will also include menu support like found on DVDs.

Tools


To create such a multimedia stream the best tool is MKV-Toolnix, a graphical user interface for the mkvmerge program, which allows to create Matroska files from other formats.
It can be found for Windows and for Linux.

Install instructions for Ubuntu Hardy


The following instructions will install the latest version, not the old one which is found in the official Ubuntu repository.

sudo -s
echo "deb http://www.bunkus.org/ubuntu/hardy/ ./ #MKVToolNix - Cross-platform tools for Matroska
deb-src http://www.bunkus.org/ubuntu/hardy/ ./ #MKVToolNix - Cross-platform tools for Matroska" > /etc/apt/sources.list.d/bunkus.list
wget -q http://www.bunkus.org/gpg-pub-moritzbunkus.txt -O- | apt-key add -
aptitude update
aptitude -y install mkvtoolnix-gui
exit

VirtualBox 2.0

Website
VirtualBox 2.0 has arrived!

What's new in version 2.0:
  • 64-bit OS guest support (only on 64-bit hosts, as one might expect)
  • New-version notifier
  • Guest property information interface
  • Framework for collecting performance and resource usage data (metrics)
  • Added SATA asynchronous IO (NCQ: Native Command Queuing) when accessing raw disks/partitions (major performance gain)
  • and of course, bug fixes.
Even better, on Ubuntu Hardy it can be installed from a package repository now.

The complete install instructions for Ubuntu can be found in my special tutorial about VirtualBox.

subcommander

Recently, I discovered another graphical client for the subversion source control system.

subcommanderSubcommander is a cross platform (MacOSX, Windows & Linux) client with diff and merge tool and integrates very well into Ubuntu, and supports much better subversions trunk, branches and tags layout.

Screenshot
Compared to eSvn it can browse and work directly with repositories, and has all features from kdesvn.
See also my previously post about subversion GUIs.

It can be installed from Synaptic, aptitude or apt-get, but unfortunately doesn't create an entry in the applications menu.

Thunderbird Window Border Fix

I got crazy these days, because after having upgraded Ubuntu to Hardy Heron, Thunderbird started to act strangely after some uses.
Suddenly, it started to miss its borders of the main window, being maximized always and didn't react on any changes like shrink, move, resize, maximize.
It covers the toolbar completely and when you open for example its addons window it doesn't show up, because it is hidden beneath the main window.

BTW, I use a two monitor system, and the main window always shows up on the left screen.
Haven't tried it with a single monitor.

Finally, I found a fix of this problem:

  • Close Thunderbird

  • Edit by hand the file ~/.mozilla-thunderbird/xyz1234.default/localstore.rdf in your default profile directory.

  • Search the entry

    <RDF:Description RDF:about="chrome://messenger/content/messenger.xul#messengerWindow"
    width="800"
    height="600"
    sizemode="normal"
    screenX="5"
    screenY="5" />

  • Change the width, height and screenXY entries to the ones you see here

  • Restart Thunderbird and it should have its borders again.

Tab Mix Plus for Firefox 3.01

Tab Mix Plus, one of the best Firefox extensions, isn't yet available for the latest version of this great browser, but it's developer is working to make it compatible.
If you don't want to wait any longer, you can install a development version which works with Firefox 3.01.

Media Player Classic

Wikipedia
Media Player Classic (MPC) is a compact media player for Windows. The application mimics the look and feel of the old, light-weight Windows Media Player 6.4 but integrates most options and features found in modern media players.

In conjunction with the Combined Community Codec Pack (it's included here), it should be your first choice for playing any multimedia file on Windows and not that overblown WMPlayer included in that OS.

Quicktime Alternative

Wikipedia
Very similar to Real Alternative, QuickTime Alternative is a trimmed down version of QuickTime that contains only the essential components needed for playing QuickTime content that is embedded in webpages.

Real Alternative

After having installed Combined Community Codec Pack on your fresh Windows System, you may stumple upon some real video files which don't play back (f.ex. Real Video 4.0 format isn't supported by ffdshow from that codec pack).

But there's still no reason to install the oficial Real Video package, which clutters your system with unnecessary stuff (that codec really sucks, go for x264 instead).

Wikipedia
With Real Alternative you can play Real Media files without RealPlayer.
The pack can be used with any DirectShow-enabled media player, such as Media Player Classic, which is included as part of the package.
As you already will have installed the CCCP, you can just install the Lite version, which doesn't include Media Player Classic.

Firestarter


Firestarter is a firewall for Linux systems.
Linux isn't that vulnerable to Internet attacks than Windows (look here for a free firewall for Windows), but to have such a firewall has some advantages:
  • View active network connections, including any traffic routed through the firewall.
  • Ability to share the firewall host's Internet connection among all the computers on your local network. This is done through a technique called Network Address Translation, or NAT.
  • Option to whitelist or blacklist traffic.
  • Sets up DHCP for a local network.


On Ubuntu it can be installed right from the Applications menu.

Disk Usage Analyser

You want to find out where all the space on your hard disk was going?

Well you could have a look from a Linux command line with du -H, but that's not very user friendly.

Much better to use a graphical tool for that purpose.

Ubuntu (Linux)


Baobab


Baobab has been included as a component of gnome-utils with the name 'Disk Usage Analyzer' and can be found as such in Ubuntu's Applications->Accessories menu.

Baobab can easily scan either the whole file system tree, or a specific user-requested directory branch (local or remote).

Filelight


Website
Baobab's radial map view comes from Filelight which was developed mainly for the KDE environment. It's radial map is still more graphical than Baobad's one, so you may like to check it out instead. It can be installed directly from the Applications menu.

Windows


Scanner


Website
Scanner uses a unique concentric pie chart (very similar to Filelight) to display the usage of your hard disk or other media. The chart shows all major files and folders from all directory levels at once.

Photo Organizer

Picasa is a free software download from Google that helps you:

  • Locate and organise all the photos on your computer.
  • Edit and add effects to your photos with a few simple clicks.
  • Share your photos with others through email, prints and on the web: it’s fast, easy and free.


It was developed first for Windows, but nowadays it is supported for Linux using the Wine emulation framework.

Install instructions for Ubuntu


sudo -s
wget -q -O - https://dl-ssl.google.com/linux/linux_signing_key.pub | apt-key add -
echo "deb http://dl.google.com/linux/deb/ stable non-free # Google software repository" > /etc/apt/sources.list.d/google.list
aptitude update
aptitude -y install picasa


More instructions on installing Picasa on Linux systems.

Desktop Launcher

After installing lots of programs on your system, either your application start menu and/or desktop gets crowded and filled up with lots of icons and entries.

Sometimes, you know which application you want to start, but you need minutes to find the corresponding entry or icon.

This is were desktop launchers come to be very handy.
Just press a known key-combination, then start typing some letters of the programs name (for example, fir for firefox, em for emacs) and quickly the launcher suggests which action you mean and you just have to confirm the action with Return.

Even better, you don't have to introduce exact parts of the name. For example, you could launch the firefox web browser with fir, ff or web. Maybe the first time, you'll have to search it in the offered list of possible matches, but the next time Firefox would be the first choice.

This does not only work with applications, but also with any kind of document, like sound files, text files, emails, URLs, etc.

It's worse to try out. Since I use them, I have a very small set of icons left on the desktop.

On Ubuntu



Gnome-Do allows you to quickly search for many items present in your GNOME desktop environment (applications, Evolution contacts, Firefox bookmarks, files, artists and albums in Rhythmbox, Pidgin buddies) and perform commonly used actions on those objects (Run, Open, Email, Chat, Play, etc.).

Install instructions for Ubuntu IntRepid


sudo sh -c 'echo "deb http://ppa.launchpad.net/do-core/ppa/ubuntu intrepid main
> deb-src http://ppa.launchpad.net/do-core/ppa/ubuntu intrepid main" > /etc/apt/sources.list.d/gnomedo.list'
# Import "Launchpad PPA for GNOME Do Core Team" public key
sudo apt-key adv --recv-keys --keyserver keyserver.ubuntu.com 28A8205077558DD0
sudo aptitude update && sudo aptitude install gnome-do


These instructions are supposed to install a newer version (which will be released in Ubuntu 8.10), but on one of my system fails, caused by two broken dependencies.
In that case you can install an earlier version with the following instructions:
wget http://launchpadlibrarian.net/13274945/gnome-do_0.4.0.1-0ubuntu2_i386.deb
wget http://launchpadlibrarian.net/13300449/gnome-do-plugins_0.4.0-0ubuntu2_all.deb
http://launchpadlibrarian.net/13300450/gnome-do-plugin-rhythmbox_0.4.0-0ubuntu2_all.deb
wget http://launchpadlibrarian.net/11408966/libevolution3.0-cil_0.15.4-0ubuntu2_i386.deb
sudo dpkg -i libevolution*.deb gnome-do_*.deb


Go here to see install instructions for other Ubuntu versions.

Change key binding


By default, gnome-do's panel is launched with Super-Key+Space. (Super-Key normally is the left Windows-Key).
You can check the key binding with
gconftool-2 -g /apps/gnome-do/preferences/key_binding
.
If you want to change the binding use
gconftool-2 -t string -s /apps/gnome-do/preferences/key_binding "<Super>space"
and just insert the key combination that you prefer.

Automatic launch on session startup


See my manual about avant-window-navigator, which explains how to obtain this.

On Kubuntu Hardy



Kubuntu already ships with Katapult installed by default.
It is similar to gnome-do, but its hotkey combination is Alt-Space.
In my opinion it's a bit worse than gnome-do, so just purge it and install gnome-do instead which fits well into every kind of desktop.

On Windows



Launchy is a free windows utility designed to help you forget about your start menu, the icons on your desktop, and even your file manager.

Launchy indexes the programs in your start menu and can launch your documents, project files, folders, and bookmarks with just a few keystrokes!

You bring it forward by holding the Alt-key and tapping the Space-key. You then type in a few keys of the program you are searching for and hit enter once it has been found.

Firefox 3 Download Day is today


After resolving some server problems, today is Firefoxs Download Day.
Go and grab it!

You can also see how many downloads have been performed in each country.

By the way, reload the download page several times and you'll see that they used different background graphics. I found three so far...



Great! Today the FireFTP extension was updated and works with Firefox 3 now!

Firefox Extensions (1st update)

I made some updates to my Firefox Extensions list.
It now indicates if an extension isn't compatible with new Ubuntu Hardy.

New extensions:
  • WebMail Notifier
  • DragDropUpload
  • SpamAvert
  • Better GMail 2
  • DownloadHelper

Gantt Charting

A Gantt chart is a popular type of bar chart that illustrates a project schedule. Gantt charts illustrate the start and finish dates of the terminal elements and summary elements of a project.

I don't like Gantt charts much, which you'll understand if you work with Agile Development methodologies like SCRUM.
But these kind of diagrams are still heavily used in lots of projects, so sooner or later you'll need a program to handle them.

Windows


There's the mother of all: MS Project.
What should I say, as many of MS Office programs, its heavy, slow, and error-phrone. And it's not free and doesn't run on Linux.

Ubuntu


For Ubuntu there are several free applications available, and some of them can handle MS Project files, which is very important if your boss only handles this program.

Read my special article about this kind of applications, their dis-/advantages, special installation instructions aso.

Real video on Ubuntu

Unfortunately, I stumbled upon some video files using the RealVideo 4 codec and totem claimed about an unknown codec.

RealVideo is really outdated, you should use h.264 codec for video encoding instead, but in case you have the same trouble, just go and install the w32codec package from MediBuntu.

Totem now recognizes the codec and can playback such files perfectly.

Firefox 3 Download Day

Download Day - English

Day is near that Firefox latest version will be official.
On june 17th they plan to set a Guinness World Record for the total downloads of Firefox on the so called Download Day.

Funny!
You can pledge to download Firefox 3 today. And, help spread the word!

Today, another 3 add-ons they I find useful have been ported to Firefox 3 Release Candidate.
So, I'm really looking forward to the official release.


Update: It is expected that Firefox 3 ships this upcoming Tuesday, June 17th. See Mozillas Developer site about this news.

Migration to Ubuntu

I found this really interesting article about the experience of migrating a whole company to Ubuntu Linux.
If you need to convince your own boss to use Ubuntu in your department, just send him this link and maybe he'll help you:

Articulo original en EspaƱol.
Translated article to English

Add Ubuntus default repositories from shell

Often you see instructions for this step which refer either to use the graphical tools like Synaptic or Software Sources, or to edit the /etc/apt/sources.list by hand (bad habbit).

Why not use Software Sources command line parameters to do this automatically?

Add default repository


The tool that's accessed from Ubuntus administration menu is called software-sources-gtk. It can be given the name of the repository that should be enabled on the command line.

Example for installing partimage from universe repository


sudo software-sources-gtk -e universe
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install partimage


That way, you can enable any of the four repositories main, universe, restricted, and multiverse.

Update for Ubuntu Hardy


The command changed lately from software-sources-gtk to software-properties-gtk.

Add third party repositories


Again, you shouldn't edit the /etc/apt/sources.list configuration directly, but instead you simply create a new file xyz.list in the /etc/apt/sources.list.d folder.

Example of adding repository for KeepassX


sudo add-apt-repository ppa:keepassx

# For Hardy
sudo echo "deb http://ppa.launchpad.net/keepassx/ubuntu/ hardy main # KeepassX" > /etc/apt/sources.list.d/keepassx.list
sudo apt-get update

That way, it's much simpler to automate tasks like adding and removing third party repositories from shell scripts and keep your /etc/apt/sources.list file clean.

Y-PPA-Manager

With Natty there comes another repository manager, more graphically, but can be used from shell too. Read more about it in this post.

Comodo Free Firewall

First of all: If you really want to be safe when connecting to Internet ... use a Linux distribution like Ubuntu.

But if you're unlucky to use Windows, well then you should use a firewall software and whenever possible, use anything else then Windows integrated one.

Comodo Free Firewall


Finally, I found a decent replacement for Outpost which was my favourite for a very long time.

Comodo Free Firewall is not only a simple firewall, but has several intelligent protection mechanism to protect your machine against any kind of malware, it learns continuously which applications performs what kind of actions, so any alteration is detected. You can submit suspicious files to Comodo for analysis.
And it is completely free of charge, and fully functional.
This fact and that it consumes much less memory than Outpost makes this one my favourite.

Outpost Pro Firewall


Outpost Pro was my favourite firewall for a long time.
I liked especially its low impact in the systems performance, its excellent attack detection mechanisms, its possibility so see all data flows through any TCP/IP connection and its logging system. Apart from being a good firewall, it is a good tool for debugging internet connections. It also detects alterations of executables, but when monitoring dynamic library loads, the system impact is noticeable.

ZoneAlarm


For some time I used ZoneAlarm, but finally discarded this firewall of its bad impact on the systems performance.

AVG


AVG is another firewall which was free software, but I'm not sure anylonger about this.
It never convinced me, because you couldn't see what was going on under the hood. Maybe newer versions have evolved decently.

Network Brigdes

Network bridges are handy when used with virtual machines, for example using virtualization software like Virtualbox.

How can you create a network bridge?

Ubuntu


The following command line instructions create a bridge between the physical ethernet connector eth0 and a virtual host adapter vbox0 from Virtualbox:

sudo -i
apt-get install bridge-utils
ifconfig eth0 10.3.3.1 netmask 255.255.255.0
brctl addbr br0
ifconfig eth0 0.0.0.0 promisc
brctl addif br0 eth0
dhclient br0
brctl addif br0 vbox0
ifconfig vbox0 10.3.3.2 up

These instructions create a bridge called br0 and sets a static IP on the vbox0 adapter.

Windows XP


On Windows XP (I haven't and will never try it on other Windows versions) things are much easier:
Just select the two network adapters (f.ex. a physical and a host adapter from Virtualbox) that you want to connect from the network explorer, and click with the right mouse button over on of them.
You'll find a menu entry like Create Bridge.
After a while, a new icon appears, representing the new bridge which is fully operative.
If you want to unlink the adapters again, just delete the bridge icon.

MediBuntu

Medibuntu (Multimedia, Entertainment & Distractions In Ubuntu) is a repository of packages that cannot be included into the Ubuntu distribution for legal reasons.

Its main focus is on multimedia support, something similar to the Combined Community Codec Pack for Windows.

The most interesting feature is a full version of ffmpeg (including MP3 and x264 encoding).

More help on adding the repository and installing individual packages can be found in the Ubuntu online help.

Ubuntu 8.04 (hardy heron)

Should I upgrade to Ubuntu's latest release or should I wait?

At the moment, based on my own experience, there are more negative impressions than positive ones.

Negative

  • Most of my recommended Firefox add-ons don't work anylonger with the latest beta version of Firefox that gets installed automatically.
  • OpenOffice 2.4 lacks the paste special dialog when I try to paste some text copied from web pages into a spreadsheet. Why was that removed?
  • VirtualBox doesn't work anylonger. It has to be reinstalled, but I still have some trouble with its module.
  • It takes an eternity to start from my external USB drive (it slows down completely, and needs about half a minute to spin-up again). With 7.10 (feisty) it only took a few seconds.
  • My Windows partition doesn't show up in nautilus any longer as "Windows", but only as "xx.x GB Media", no matter what I try to get this configured.
  • Compiz wooble windows work worse on Dual screens (almost imposible to drag maximized windows from one screen to the other).

Positive

  • Some icons are much nicer.
  • Slightly speep-up of the whole system, especially Firefox (maybe of some few add-ons only?)
  • Handling of wireless nets is better, as well as the new keyring.

Wine

Wine is as a compatibility layer for running Windows programs on Linux.

Wine does not require Microsoft Windows, as it is a completely free alternative implementation of the Windows API consisting of 100% non-Microsoft code, however Wine can optionally use native Windows DLLs if they are available. Wine is a program loader, allowing many unmodified Windows programs to run on x86-based Unix.

Utilities for Wine


Wine-doors



Wine-doors is an application designed to make installing Windows software into Wine much easier. It is essentially a package management tool for Windows software on Linux systems, like Synaptic for Ubuntu.

winetricks


winetricks is a script to download and install various redistributable runtime libraries into your Wine setup to be able to run certain applications.

Tips & Tricks


By default, Wine uses Windows colour scheme for the applications GUIs.
But this doesn't fit very well with Ubuntus colours.

Wine-doors already gives you the possibility to install a set of colors that fit well with Ubuntus desktop look, but In the Ubuntu forums, there's a good guide about how to change the colour scheme by hand.

AcetoneISO

AcetoneISO2, is a feature-rich and complete software application to manage CD/DVD images. Thanks to powerful open source tools such as fuseiso, AcetoneISO2 will let you mount typical proprietary images formats of the Windows world such as ISO BIN NRG MDF IMG and do plenty of other things. Everything will be done inside a handy GUI.

It's installation is a bit tricky, so you can go and see my install instructions for Ubuntu.

Boot-Up Manager

Boot-Up Manager is an application to handle run-levels configuration of any Debian derivative system. With this program the user will easily start and stop boot-up scripts, change their startup order, without the necessity to handle through complex links and permissions.


It's a good tool to see quickly what gets started on your Ubuntu system under the hood.

It can be installed directly from the application menu or with

sudo apt-get install bum

or click here.

Boot-up management from the shell


If you prefer the shell to configure these run-levels, have a look at the update-rc.d command, which can configure the different run-levels for any script that resides in /etc/init.d.
Want to install a new service on your Debian system?; just do this:
sudo -v
sudo cp myservice /etc/init.d
sudo update-rc.d myservice defaults

GRUB for DOS

GRUB4DOS is an universal boot loader based on GNU GRUB, it's the DOS extension of GRUB.
It enables dos users to run the configuration console directly in real mode.
It can boot off DOS/LINUX, or via Windows boot manager/syslinux/lilo, or from MBR/CD.
It also has builtin BIOS disk emulation, ATAPI CDROM driver, etc.

It's much more powerful than Linux Grub and you should read its tutorial here to learn about all its options.
It's impressive.

The project also contains an utility called WINGRUB, an GUI intends to help configuring and installing GRUB in the WINDOWS environment.
This is very useful whenever your Windows destroys GRUBs MBR and you don't want to restart your system from a Linux LiveCD for recovering. With WinGrub you can do this directly from Windows.

Remote Desktops

UltraVNC is a powerful, easy to use and free software that can display the screen of another computer (via internet or network) on your own screen. The program allows you to use your mouse and keyboard to control the other PC remotely. It means that you can work on a remote computer, as if you were sitting in front of it, right from your current location.

UltraVNC runs under Windows operating systems (95, 98, Me, NT4, 2000, XP, 2003...). Its embedded Java Viewer allows you to connect (and make File transfers) from a simple Web Browser on any Operating system supporting Java (Linux, Mac OS...) to an UltraVNC server.

You can connect directly from your Ubuntu desktop with tsclient (Applications --> Internet --> Terminal Server Client).
Previously, you have to ensure you have the VNC Client installed as well:
sudo apt-get install vnc-viewer

Then you can select VNC as connection protocol to connect to your Windows box from Linux.

Tip: Use the special F8 key


Most of the VNC clients have a special mapping for the F8 key. A menu will open and you can
  • send the F8 key to the remote desktop
  • send Ctlr-Alt-Del to the remote desktop
  • change the preferences of the VNC client
  • and other stuff depending on the client

Wallpaper changer

Sick of seeing the same wallpaper over and over again?
You have a lot of nice raytracing pictures and would like to see all of them from time to time?

Change your wallpapers easily with any of the following applications.

Ubuntu


Wallpaper Tray
The application lets you add directories, wallpapers are then randomly selected at login or at a given interval. You can also search your wallpaper collection, and delete wallpapers you don't like anymore.
The tray icon changes to the actual image set as wallpaper.
This one is my first selection for changing wallpapers.
Install with
sudo aptitude install wallpaper-tray
or Synaptic.

Desktop Drapes
I used this first and has the advantage that it shows if a wallpaper fits well to your chosen screen resolution.
It's big problem is that it will not include all pictures when you add a folder to your wallpaper collection. It only supports one folder for images, but you can add single pictures as well.
Install with
sudo aptitude install drapes
or Synaptic or Applications main menu.

Webilder
Webilder delivers stunning wallpapers to your Linux desktop, directly from Flickr and Webshots. You choose what keywords (tags) to watch for, and photos are automatically downloaded to your computer. Webilder can also change the wallpaper every few minutes.
I haven't tried this one yet...

Automatic startup


Any of these applications won't start automatically when restarting your session.
Therefore, you'll have to create an entry in the list of startu programs which can be found in System-->Preferences-->Sessions
Have a look at my tutorial for the Advanced Window Manager for an example.

More languages in Evolution

Evolution provides integrated mail, addressbook and calendaring functionality to users of the GNOME desktop.

Advantages


For me, there's only one reason I would use Evolution instead of Thunderbird:
  • Evolution can use Outlook Exchange accounts (like the one I have to use in the office).


Disadvantages



  • It is only for Linux systems.
  • Insufficient edition possibilities when composing messages (no lists, no embedded images, ...)
  • Simple filters didn't worked for me.
  • Evolution can't be deinstalled from Ubuntu, because it is somehow linked to several applications, so uninstalling Evolution forces you to uninstall applications like Nautilus.
    This reminds me on IExplorer on Windows.


Tips & Tricks


More languages


By default, Evolution comes only with your systems language.
If you need more languages for spell checking, you have to install the corresponding aspell packages, for example:
sudo apt-get install aspell-de

Restart Evolution, and select the new languages for spell checking.

View Office documents

There's OpenOffice so why should I bother to install the Microsoft Office Suite?
  1. Some MS Office documents aren't displayed right with OpenOffice. There are few ones, but it still happens.
  2. Documents with Macros often aren't handled.
  3. You just don't want to start OpenOffice to see a PowerPoint that a friend has send you via email, because it isn't immediately.
Okay, these are some reasons, but I still don't want to install this huge Suite or I'm using Linux so this is no choice.

You don't have to.
There exist free tools from Microsoft which can display Word, Excel and Powerpoint documents, without having installed the Office Suite.
Moreover, they work perfectly with Wine on Linux.

They are simple Viewers, you can't edit the documents, but printing works as well.

You can find them here:

DVD Ripper

On Ubuntu, several tools are available. The following three can be installed right from the application menu.

dvd::rip


I recommend this tool, because it's fast and has a lot of options for tweaking the final output.
+ It lets you encode with several codecs
+ lets you specifying the final movie size
+ visual clipping and scaling
+ normalizing audio, multiple audio languages
+ subtitle handling
- Only supports 3 container formats (Avi, Ogg, Mpeg), not Matroska f.ex.
- Audio only in mp3 or AC3, not AAC f.ex.

Install note:


You should install additional software for being able to use all features:
sudo -i
apt-get install xvid4conf


AcidRip DVD Ripper


- Only Avi and Mpeg container
- Doesn't save your setup
- A bit confusing interface

Thoggen DVD Rip


+ Quick and easy setup of encoding
- Only supports Ogg for audio and Theora for video
- Slow encoding

DVD Authoring

Q-DVDAuthor is a GUI frontend for dvdauthor and other related tools.
The goal is to provide an easy-to-use, yet powerful and complete interface to generate DVD menus, slideshows, and videos to burn on a DVD.

Installation on Ubuntu


You can install it from the Application menu. But I recommend to install it from the command line, so some optional tools used will be installed as well.
sudo apt-get install qdvdauthor transcode toolame dvdrtools


Visit also


Check out the applications web page for some menu templates and user guides.

Mount .ISO image as CD/DVD drive

On Ubuntu or any other Linux


There's a console way or a GUI way.

Mount by hand


sudo mount -o loop -t iso9660 my.iso /mymountpoint


GUI way


The best tool is AcetoneISO, supporting almost all kind of disc images. Read more about this tool in this separate post.

Add Gmount-iso from the application menu or install it by issuing
sudo apt-get install gmountiso
.

Just select the .iso image you want to mount, select a folder where it should be available and that's it.
Unfortunately, it seems to support only .iso images.

If you need to create .iso files, look at this post.

Integration into Nautilus


Some people have created scripts that can be launched directly from Nautilus on the .iso file. You can also look here for instructions with screenshots.

On Windows


Several applications exists, all supporting several other image formats apart from .iso

Virtual CDRom Control


From Microsoft there is a very small tool (~ 60kb) which can mount .iso and some other formats.
Read the Readme.txt about it's install and usage instructions.

Daemon Tools


DAEMON Tools is an advanced application for Microsoft Windows which provides THE best optical media emulation in the industry.
It supports the biggest amount of protection modes and image formats.
But it's uninstallation was quite bad some time ago, not sure if it is better nowadays.

Alcohol 120%


Alcohol 120% can also create several virtual drives and permits to mount images directly from the right mouse menu.
But it's main purpose is burning images to CD/DVD, supporting several protection modes either.
I recommend this tool, but it's not freeware.