Ubuntu - Setup a BTSync Client running per User Session

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BitTorrent Sync is a new p2p tool which opens some fantastic possibilities. It may revolutionize the way you'll handle your private file sharing as it allows you to share & synchronize your files across multiple devices (PC, tablet, smartphone, ...) on the net in almost real time.

Some examples of the possibilities opened by BTSync are described in the article BTSync - How peer-to-peer may Simplify your Life.

As BTSync is a young project, you can get latest binary from the project site but you still don't get proper Ubuntu installation package handling BTSync daemon launched per user session. With this type of configuration, BTSync will be launched at login time with the current user's credentials.

This article explains how to install a BTSync daemon on a Ubuntu workstation with BTSync daemon being launched at session login using the user's credentials. It will allow your currently logged-in user to share files with a BTSync daemon running using current account. You'll get a synchronisation daemon equivalent to Dropbox.

It has been tested under Ubuntu 12.04 LTS 7 Amd64 but it should be applicable to any debian based distribution with little adaptation.

Read more: Ubuntu - Setup a BTSync Client running per User Session

Debian - Setup your Server as a Permanent BTSync Peer

dropcap-debian-btsync

BitTorrent Sync is a new p2p tool which opens some fantastic possibilities. It may revolutionize the way you'll handle your private file sharing as it allows you to share & synchronize your files across multiple devices (PC, tablet, smartphone, ...) on the net in almost real time.

Some examples of the possibilities opened by BTSync are described in the article BTSync - How peer-to-peer may Simplify your Life .

Like with any p2p network, BTSync needs to get some accessible peers to start synchronisation.

So, to allow synchronisation to be done at any time, you can setup a permanent peer on a Debian server by installing BTSync on it. As your server is always connected, it will handle all your devices connexions whenever they need it.

This article explains how to install a BTSync client on a Debian server to make it a permanent BTSync network peer. Any device (PC, smartphone, tablet, ...) will then be able to synchronize any time. You've then created your self hosted Dropbox or Google Drive replacement.

It has been tested on a Debian 7 Amd64 server.

Read more: Debian - Setup your Server as a Permanent BTSync Peer

Ubuntu 12.04 - Graphviz Viewer & Thumbnailer for Nautilus

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This article is outdated.
Please follow Ubuntu - Graphviz Previewer & Thumbnailer for Nautilus instead.

Graphviz (Graph Visualization Software) is a package of open-source tools initiated by AT&T Labs Research for drawing graphs specified in DOT language scripts. It consists of a graph description language named the DOT language and a set of tools that can generate and/or process DOT files.

Under Ubuntu and Debian, you get a set of command line tools but no GUI (Graphical User Interface) for Gnome Shell.

Hopefully, a graph visualizer implemented in Java is available with ZGRViewer project. It is based upon the Zoomable Visual Transformation Machine. It is specifically aimed at displaying graphs expressed using the DOT language by using GraphViz binaries.

ZGRViewer is designed to handle large graphs, and offers a Zoomable User Interface, which enables smooth zooming and easy navigation in the visualized structure.

This article explains how to install Graphwiz & ZGRViewer and to declare interaction with Gnome Shell. You'll then be able to :

  • launch ZGRViewer from the Graphics menu
  • double-click on a DOT file to launch ZGRViewer
  • see your graphviz DOT files thumbnails inside Nautilus

This has been tested on Ubuntu Precise 12.04 LTS Amd64 and Gnome Shell 3.4. It should work on any distribution running Gnome Shell.

Read more: Ubuntu 12.04 - Graphviz Viewer & Thumbnailer for Nautilus

Nautilus - Thumbnailer for LibreOffice documents

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When you use Gnome Shell under Ubuntu or Debian, all LibreOffice files are displayed thru some generic icons in Nautilus.

openoffice-iconAs each LibreOffice file is a ZIP archives and is embedding by default a thumbnail of the first document page, it becomes possible to use this first page thumbnail as a Nautilus thumbnail.

To make it even more visual, the thumbnail can be outdrawn by the document type official icon. You will then get a display much more visual.

This article explains all the steps needed to configure Nautilus to display thumbnails of LibreOffice documents including document type icon and first page content, providing a simple and efficient LibreOffice documents preview. It is using some very basic tools.

This procedure has been tested under Ubuntu Precise 12.04 LTS and Ubuntu Gnome 14.04 LTS. It should be applicable to many Gnome based distributions.
It has also been tested under Lubuntu 14.04 LTS with PCManFM.

Read more: Nautilus - Thumbnailer for LibreOffice documents

Nautilus - Thumbnailer for APK files

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On Android devices, all programs are installed thru some APK archives. Under Gnome Nautilus, these APK archives are recognised as a specific mime types and are displayed with some generic text file icon.

As most of the time the name of these APK archives is not very friendly, it is difficult to associate an APK file with the Android application it contains. To help you with this association, it could be very helpful to display the application icon as it is done under Android instead of the generic icon.

Thanksfully, under Gnome Shell, Nautilus allows to generate a specific thumbnail according to the APK mime type application/vnd.android.package-archive. As APK archive are supposed to contain their Android application icon, it becomes possible to display the application icon as the Nautilus thumbnail. You can also add APK version provided by the embedded manifest.xml.

nautilus-apk-thumbnail

This article explains all the steps needed to configure Nautilus to display the APK embedded application icon as thumbnail. This allows you to handle your APK files from Nautilus as they appear on your Android device.

This procedure has been tested under Ubuntu Precise 12.04 LTS, Ubuntu Gnome 14.04 LTS and even LUbuntu 14.04 with PCManFM.
It should be applicable to many other distributions.

Read more: Nautilus - Thumbnailer for APK files

Gnome Shell - Command line Installation of Extensions from http://extensions.gnome.org

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This article is obsolete and been completly rewritten.
It is available at Gnome Shell - Management of Extensions from console

Under Debian or Ubuntu, Gnome Shell comes with very few extensions provided by the default installation.

Some extensions are provided by some extra packages, but the main collection of extensions is available from Gnome Shell Extensions repository website.

But at the time of this article, you need to install them one by one from the extension pages of the site. There is no way to install them in console mode.

This is quite annoying if you are a sysadmin and you are handling quite a big amount of workstations. You then need to script all these installation and configuration procedures.

This article explains how to retrieve, install & enable Gnome Shell extensions from https://extensions.gnome.org/ via some console commands.

It also provides a script that does all the installation steps in one go. With this script, you'll be able to fully automate the installation of your favorite Gnome Shell extensions from https://extensions.gnome.org/.

It has been tested under Ubuntu Precise 12.04 & Gnome Shell 3.4, but it should work on any Ubuntu or Debian flavour and with latest Gnome Shell versions.

Read more: Gnome Shell - Command line Installation of Extensions from http://extensions.gnome.org

Ubuntu - Handle winmail.dat with Thunderbird and Nautilus

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ubuntu-winmail-datWhen you receive mails from some misconfigured Microsoft Outlook email clients, a file attachment called winmail.dat may be added as an attachment to the message. This file contains formatting information and any attachments sent with the original message. As the file is not recognized by Thunderbird (and many other email clients), you can't see any of the attachments sent with the original message in Thunderbird's message view.

These winmail.dat files are encoded following the Transport Neutral Encapsulation Format (TNEF) and are sent using the application/ms-tnef mime type.

This article explains how to setup your system to :

  • extract files from a winmail.dat attachment
  • declare the application/ms-tnef mime type
  • create a complete interaction with Nautilus and Thunderbird

With this setup, you won't need any specific plugin (like Lookout) and you will be able to simply select a winmail.dat attachment in Thunderbird or Nautilus and it will open a window with all the files embedded within this attachment.

It has been tested under Ubuntu Precise 12.04, Gnome Shell 3.4 and Thunderbird 17, but it should be applicable to any other Linux distribution using Gnome Shell.

Read more: Ubuntu - Handle winmail.dat with Thunderbird and Nautilus

Debian 7 - Installation on Sony VAIO VGN-TX2XP

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Sony Vaio VGN-TX2XP is a 7 years old, 1.25kg and 11.1'' screen notebook. When it has hit the market, it was a very high end laptop. It has been designed by Sony for durability as it is fully made of carbon, based on a multi-layered carbon fiber and carbon composite.

With an Intel Pentium M 1.2GHz CPU, 1 Gb RAM, an Intel 915GM chipset and a 16:9 1366×768 screen, it was originally delivered with Windows XP. Even if it was quite responsive in its childhood, it has become incredibly slugish years after years.

This laptop being very robust, very light weight and having a heavy duty battery, it was worth giving it a new life.

As it integrates some very standard components, I decided to install latest stable Debian 7.

This article explains the few steps needed to get a fully operational Vaio VGN-TX2XP running Debian Wheezy 7.0.

Thanks to Debian 7, you'll get a brand new Vaio VGN-TX2XP, giving back its full speed and reactivity under latest Gnome 3.4 environment.

Read more: Debian 7 - Installation on Sony VAIO VGN-TX2XP

Debian 7 - Install Android Tools (ADB, Fastboot, ... & QtADB)

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If you own an Android Smartphone and you want to manage it from your computer, you will need sooner or later to use some specific Android tools like adb or fastboot.

Under Debian, two options are available :

  • Install the whole Android SDK which bring these tools among many other things
  • Install some specific android-tools packages that bring only these tools

For some basic needs, to install the whole Android SDK is not needed, the android-tools packages are more than enough.

But these packages are only available for sid, they are not in the wheezy repository. So we'll need to backport them.

This article explains the simple steps needed to install the main Android tools (ADB, Fastboot, ... & QtADB) on a Debian 7 Wheezy workstation.

For example, after these steps, you should be able to Root a Google Nexus S or to Root a Google Nexus 7.

Read more: Debian 7 - Install Android Tools (ADB, Fastboot,... & QtADB)

Debian 7 - Setup ZFS with RAIDZ pool on your Linux Server

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Few days after the release of Debian Wheezy, I decided to install a brand new HP N54L micro server to use it as a small company NAS cum Server and to use ZFS filesystem for the data storage. As I wanted to fully manage my system, I decided not to go for a NAS distribution, but to use a plain Debian install and to setup a ZFS filesystem.

ZFS is a filesystem originally developed by Sun for Solaris OS. It has been ported to Linux by the zfs on linux project.

Its most interesting functionnalities are :

  • convergence of filesystem and volume manager
  • software raidz (software raid5 equivalent)
  • online data compression
  • snapshots

This filesystem is so simple, efficient and advanced, that I'm sure it will become a Linux standard very, very soon. Other FS may become part of the past sooner than expected ...

This guide explains how to install and configure a ZFS RAIDZ pool, how to setup snapshots and how to handle its day to day maintenance. A pre-requisite is to run Debian Wheezy server with a separate system disk (ZFS won't be on the boot device).

It doesn't explain in detail all ZFS options and possibilities, but it explains all the steps to get a fully running zfs raidz pool that will give you the flexibility of a professional grade NAS at the cost of a geek tool box :-)

Read more: Debian 7 - Setup ZFS with RAIDZ pool on your Linux Server

Debian - Configure Sendmail to use your Gmail account

Debian

If you are running a Debian server, you must be running some automated processes like database dump, log cleaning, data backup, …

When processing these batch treatments, it can be very convenient to get some completion reports sent by email.

Under debian, you can send mails thru command line with the help of sendmail and exim4 as a mail transfert agent. But you previously need to configure them to use an official smtp server.

This article will explain how to configure your Debian Wheezy server to be able to send emails from command line by using the smtp server provided with your Gmail account.

Configuration is given for a Gmail account, but it can obviously be adapted to any other smtp provider.

This article has been tested on a freshly installed Amd64 Debian Wheezy.

Read more: Debian - Configure Sendmail to use your Gmail account

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