Ubuntu - Graphviz Previewer & Thumbnailer for Nautilus

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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.

DOT files are text files with .dot extension. They use a graph description language named DOT language. These files can be processed by some tools like dot  to generate a graphical view.

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

If you want to have a complete desktop integration for your graphviz DOT files, you need to add a proper thumbnailer and a previewer.

This article explains how to setup a complete desktop integration for Graphviz .dot files with Gnome Shell. You'll then be able to :

  • see your graphviz .dot files thumbnails inside Nautilus
  • see your graphviz .dot file preview straight from Eye of Gnome

This has been tested on Ubuntu Gnome 14.04 LTS Amd64 and LUbuntu 14.04 LTS. It should work on many Linux distribution with little adjustment.

Read more: Ubuntu - Graphviz Previewer & Thumbnailer for Nautilus

Ubuntu - How to browse your Windows Mobile phone

Ubuntu

Smartphone and Pocket PC under Windows Mobile are becoming more and more popular. Since WM5, these phone are using a new RDNIS protocol to synchronise with computers. This is good news for Linux users, as this protocol is much more simple and robust than the previous one. As a result, the synchronisation between a Linux PC and one of these phones is more simple to setup.

This article will explain how to install and configure SynCE to setup a synchronisation between a WM Phone and a Ubuntu workstation to be able to browse the mobile phone filesystem. You will then be able to get some infos about your phone and, more interesting, to browse your phone filesystem thru Nautilus

It won't explain how to synchronise your contacts or calendar with Evolution or Thunderbird. This can be acheived with some additionnal steps, but as I'm not needing it, I haven't tried.

This setup has been done on a Ubuntu Jaunty 9.04 workstation, but it should work on any later version.

Read more: Ubuntu - How to browse your Windows Mobile phone

Ubuntu - Install HP Laserjet Multifunction (Print and Scan)

Ubuntu

hp-cm1312-mfpHP provides a very good driver support on the Linux platform for its multifunction Laser printers.

But for the network scanner capabilities, you need to install some HP extension plugin, downloaded during the driver installation process ... and for me the plugin download failed most of the time.

This article explains the different steps needed to install a HP Multi function printer & scanner under Ubuntu, including scanner capabilities, even when you encounter a download error for the plugin extension.

Even if this procedure has been tested on Laserjet CM1312nfi, it should be operationnal for most of the HP multifunction printers.

It has been tested on Ubuntu Precise 12.04 LTS &  Trusty 14.04 LTS and Debian Jessie & Stretch .

Read more: Ubuntu - Install HP Laserjet Multifunction (Print and Scan)

Gnome Shell - Customise your SSH terminal per Host basis

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If you are a sysadmin, your desktop must be filled with SSH consoles, allowing you to supervise and administrate a lot of different servers. And there is nothing more similar to a console than another console.

As all these console are the same, there is a real risk of error, typing some commands on the wrong server ...

Nowadays, the standard Gnome Shell terminal is providing a begining of solutions with the support of profiles. So, with the help of these profiles, you can easily change the title bar, background color, background image or text color of your consoles. Your consoles can be customised for every host, but you have to select the profile once the console is opened.

Why not to automatised the process ?

This article explains a solution to select automatically a profile according to the SSH host. The main principle of the proposed solution is to :

  • create one SSH configuration for each host
  • create one Gnome Terminal profile per host
  • use a helper script to detect the host and to launch the terminal with the right profile

To make it simple, when you will type custom-ssh -e "ssh server1"  you will launch gnome-terminal SSH console to server1 host using server1 profile.

The strengh of this solution is that it will be integrated with SSH Search Shell Extension, which is a fantastic productivity tool available under Gnome Shell. It allows you to launch your SSH console by just typing the first letters of the host to administrate.

It has been tested under Ubuntu Precise 12.04, but it should work with any Linux distribution using Gnome Shell 3.x.

Read more: Gnome Shell - Customise your SSH terminal per Host basis

Ubuntu 12.04 - Graphviz Viewer & Thumbnailer for Nautilus

dropcap-ubuntu-graphviz

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

Ubuntu 14.04 - Fix Intel Centrino 6235 freeze & dramatically slow speed

dropcap-ubuntu-wifi

I've been using a combo Wifi/Bluetooth Intel Centrino 6235 mini-pci wireless adapter on my laptop with Ubuntu 12.04 for many months without problem.

But since I've upgraded to Ubuntu Trusty 14.04 LTS and I've started to use Bluetooth audio, my wifi speed has dramatically dropped.

Wireless performances have become so bad that system seems to freeze for few seconds, web surfing is sluggish and file transfer can go down to 20 kB/s !

This problem seems to come from some kernel evolutions where default parameters for iwlwifi module have changed and are not suiting Intel Centrino 6235 wireless adapters.

This article explains how to get back normal performance on a Intel Centrino 6235 mini-pci wireless adapter under Ubuntu 14.04 LTS.

It has been tested on a Ubuntu Gnome 14.04 LTS Amb64 installation but should be applicable to any other 14.04 flavor.

Read more: Ubuntu 14.04 - Fix Intel Centrino 6235 freeze & dramatically slow speed

LUbuntu 14.04 LTS - Add right click menu to Empty Trash

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As a regular Lubuntu user, I really miss one simple thing that Gnome desktop provides out-of-the-box : a right menu on the desktop Trash to allow to directly empty it. Instead, you need to go to PcManFm and then you get a proper menu to empty the Trash !

Hopefully, thanks to latest version of PcManFm, it is now possible to customize some context-menu with your own actions. This means that we are now entitled to create a custom menu specific to the Trash object. This menu will do a simple thing : empty your trash with a dialog confirmation.

This article explains how to add this Empty trash menu to your desktop Trash icon under Lubuntu 14.04 LTS.

Read more: LUbuntu 14.04 LTS - Add right click menu to Empty Trash

Ubuntu - Activate your brand new iPAD without iTunes

Ubuntu

This article will explain how to activate a brand new iPad without the help of iTunes.

First question : why do you want to do such weird thing ?

Just because nowadays some places do not get any proprietary operating system anymore ... neither Windows, nor OSX. So no iTunes.

And, when you get an iPad in hand, you can not get anything out of it before it has been activated. This process is supposed to be done thru iTunes.

So here is the process to be able to use your iPad with the help of a Ubuntu workstation and of fantastic pieces of software called libimobiledevice & ideviceactivate.

Following this procedure, you will get a working iPad, not even knowing what iTunes means  :-)

As iDevices protocols are changing fast with hardware and iOS version, this guide will compile all the iDevice specific tools from git repositories.
This will maximimize the chances for this procedure to work with your brand new device.

This activation process has been tested on an iPad 1 under iOS 3.2.1 and iOS 4.3.1. I've been told that this activation procedure has been followed with sucess on an iPad 2. Even if I've not tested it, it should also work on an iPhone ...

Read more: Ubuntu - Activate your brand new iPAD without iTunes

Ubuntu - Paint Tool Sai Integration including Wacom Tablet Pen Pressure

dropcap-ubuntu-sai

Paint Tool SAI has been running for a long time under linux with the help of Wine. But till date, Wacom tablet pressure is not handled properly. This problem is referenced as bug11846, opened in 2008 in WineHQ Bugzilla and still open.

Hopefully, the PlayOnLinux team has issued a patch for Wine version 1.5.5 that allows Paint Tool SAI to handle tablet pen pressure. But this patch doesn't seem to work with latest Wine versions.

So, this specific wine version has been added into PlayOnLinux database under 1.5.5-SAI name.

This guide explains all the steps to :

  • check if your Wacom tablet is recognised on your system
  • install PlayOnLinux and the patched Wine 1.5.5-SAI
  • install Paint Tool SAI
  • declare SAI files interaction for Gnome desktop

It has been tested with a Bamboo Fun CTH-661 tablet under Ubuntu Precise 12.04 Amd64 (Gnome 3.4) and Ubuntu Gnome 13.10 Amd64 (Gnome 3.8).

It should be applicable to many other Wacom tablet models and other Linux flavours.

Read more: Ubuntu - Paint Tool Sai Integration including Wacom Tablet Pen Pressure

Ubuntu - Resume your computer from any USB device (keyboard, mouse, remote, ...)

Ubuntu

With the arrival of Gnome Shell, one major step has been taken : by default you can't switch-off your computer !

In fact, the only menu available is Suspend. You have to press ALT at the same time to see the Switch-off menu. You will find lots of topics about this strange evolution on the net, with lots of furious people who still want to keep the power of switching off their computer.

But, if you think twice about it, suspend / resume is one of the revolution of modern appliances : who is still switching-off a TV set, a video player or an ADSL box ?
Almost nobody ! Now, you suspend it from your remote. So why not to handle your favorite computer the same way ?

usb-symbol Even if it is consuming a little bit of power, suspend state is having a very strong advantage : it takes almost no time to resume to working condition.

Who is ready to wait for 1 minute or more to check his mails, when 5 seconds are enough to resume a computer with thunderbird already open ?

Under Ubuntu, the only trouble is that your USB input devices (keyboard, mouse, MCE remote, …) are not fully configured by default to be used to resume from a suspend mode.

This guide will explain how to configure your USB input devices to be able to wake-up your suspended computer. As a result, you will be able to wake-up your Ubuntu computer with :

  • a simple key press on your keyboard
  • a click on your mouse center button
  • the power button of your MCE remote

It has been written on a Ubuntu Precise 12.04, but should be applicable with any Linux flavor using a kernel version prior to 3.10.
As USB power management has changed drastically in kernel 3.10 +, this article is not applicable for kernel 3.10+.

Read more: Ubuntu - Resume your computer from any USB device (keyboard, mouse, remote,...)

Gnome Shell - Tips to help migration from Gnome 3.4 to Gnome 3.8+

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For the last two years, I've become a big fan of Gnome Shell. This desktop environment is becoming really robust and very well polished. Its simplicity is its strength.

But when upgrading from Gnome Shell 3.4 to 3.8+, you'll notice few differences in term of interface and behaviour. As a normal or power user you may be a little bit lost because of some evolutions. Some of the most noticeable differences are :

  • placement of Nautilus main menu
  • location of Nautilus scripts
  • location of Bookmarks file
  • behaviour of right menu to create new documents

This article focuses on some of these differences between Gnome Shell 3.4 and Gnome SHell 3.8 / 3.10. It gives some tips and clues to simplify your migration from version 3.4 to 3.8+.

It has been tested on a migration from Ubuntu 12.04 LTS to Ubuntu Gnome 13.10 & Ubuntu Gnome 14.04 LTS. But it should be applicable to any Linux distribution based on Gnome shell.

Read more: Gnome Shell - Tips to help migration from Gnome 3.4 to Gnome 3.8+

Ubuntu - Remote assistance, the very simple way with Gitso

Ubuntu

If you are part of the Ubuntu herd, you may have already converted some friends or relatives to the joy of linux freedom.

Then comes the time of remote assistance, where you have to understand over the phone what is happening on a remote screen with the person seeking for help giving you these very detailled explainations "It is not working any more. Yesterday it was ok. What to do ?".

A remote desktop like VNC can be a very effective answer to that need, but it has 2 main drawbacks :

  • it is complicated to configure and setup for a non technician
  • is does not go thru NAT firewall that easily, needing some port forwarding

ubuntu-gitso-logoA very simple tool called Gitso can be a very good answer to these 2 problems, as it is a multi-platform reverse VNC remote desktop and it is extremely easy to setup.

As it is a reverse VNC server, the person who needs support (who is not a computer person and most of the time doesn't even know what a firewall is) will initiate the connexion. So the firewall configuration will be fully on your side.

This article explains how to install Gitso on both computers so that starting a remote assistance between 2 Ubuntu desktop becomes as easy as possible. It has been tested under Ubuntu 11.04 & 12.04, but it should work with and type of Debian or Ubuntu flavoured distribution.

Read more: Ubuntu - Remote assistance, the very simple way with Gitso

Ubuntu - Tweaks for SSD drive

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Nowadays, SSD disks are more and more common, especially for laptops, as they are by nature shock proof.

Even if they don't offer the same price per Gb than standard hard disk, they provide a fantastic performance boost and are more and more affordable.

But, even if it gives a huge boost, a SSD disk is not behaving like a normal hard disk with rotating platters. Their main characteristics are :

  • their very fast read and write speed
  • their neutrality to random access
  • their limited write cycles

This article explains how to tweak a Ubuntu computer to take the full benefit of a SSD drive and to preserve it at the maximum against unneeded write accesses.

This has been tested on Ubuntu Precise 12.04 AMD64, but it should be applicable to any debian derived flavour and even to any Linux distribution for most of it.

Read more: Ubuntu - Tweaks for SSD drive

Linux - Disable ByteMobile Web Pages Alteration

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If you are using connexion sharing on a 3G mobile network, you may have noticed that your web pages are sometime looking different when browsing from your home ADSL connexion or from your 3G mobile data connexion.

On 3G mobile network, some pictures may look ugly and some pages may even be completly broken. This happened to me when connected on Bouygues Telecom 3G mobile connexion to administrate some Joomla site. Administration was completly impossible, most of the pages giving unexpected errors or even remaining blank.

This comes from the fact that some ISP are using some stream compression technics to save some bandwidth on their mobile network. Not all ISP are doing so, but it is quite common nowadays, especially in the area where 3G networks are saturated.

The most widepread is developped by ByteMobile and it can aggregate all CSS code, recompress all images (making them look worse) and even inject some javascript code. In short, it may create a big mess out of your pages !

This article explains how to get rid of these alterations and get back the unaltered web pages you are expecting from any neutral internet service provider. It deals with a client side approach (as a user) and a web site approach (as a webmaster).

With this setup, pages served from your home or office connexion and from your mobile data connexion should remain exactly the same.

Read more: Linux - Disable ByteMobile Web Pages Alteration

Joomla - Minimize Display of Article's Authoring Details

JoomlaIf you run a Joomla site with a blog layout and you need to display authoring details (creation date, writer, ...) of your articles, you may have noticed these details are taking quite a huge display space.

By default they are displayed with this setup :

  • one line per item (creation date, update date, writer, ...)
  • Label Detail at the beginning of the first item
  • default date format very long (like Wednesday, 01 January 2014 10:00)

This article explains the simple steps needed to minimize article's authoring details to a single line on a typical Joomla site.

joomla-authoring-before

will become

joomla-authoring-result

This setup has been tested on a Joomla 2.5 installation.

Read more: Joomla - Minimize Display of Article's Authoring Details

Ubuntu 12.04 - Rhythmbox and Totem as UPnP/DLNA clients

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Nowadays, uPnP/DLNA home servers are becoming very popular. These servers now come embedded with Windows clients, with network appliances like NAS, ... So you can today easily centralize and serve all your audio/video files.

But, on the other end, under Ubuntu Precise, it is still no so easy to get a media player (renderer) compatible with uPnP/DLNA servers.

upnp-dlna-symbol

Two very common media players, Rhythmbox (audio) and Totem (audio & video), provide some uPnP/DLNA playback support in their latest version, with the help of a new Gnome projet named Grilo.

But unluckily, this uPnP/DLNA support has not been packaged under Ubuntu Precise.

This article explains how to enable uPnP/DLNA playback on Rhythmbox and Totem (also known as Movie Player) under Ubuntu Precise 12.04.

The following configurations have been tested with TwonkyMedia 7 as a uPnp/DLNA server running on a NAS device.

Read more: Ubuntu 12.04 - Rhythmbox and Totem as UPnP/DLNA clients

Ubuntu 12.04 - Post-Installation Script for codecs, multimedia, ...

Ubuntu

When you run a standard Ubuntu desktop installation, you most of the time need to add some additional tools, compression format handlers, multimedia codecs, multimedia tools and latest software updates.

If like me you end-up installing Ubuntu systems quite often, you may have to repeat all these post-installation steps on and on ... Here comes this page, which is more of a reminder than of a technical article.

You'll find below the post-installation script that I use for almost all the Ubuntu installation I'm handling. It adds some very generic extensions that are useful (or not) for most of the people.

Just take it as it is : my knot in a handkerchief and a base that you can use and adapt for your own purpose. Idea of this page has come from a friend ... thanks Alain  :-)

This post-installation script is based on a standard Ubuntu 12.04 LTS installation as in general I always prefer to install a LTS. It is using some PPA, but these PPA are known to be quite stable. In a way, I've considered that the benefit provided by these PPA is worth the unstability risk it involves.

Please note that before running this post-installation script, you are supposed to have finalised your language localisation.

Read more: Ubuntu 12.04 - Post-Installation Script for codecs, multimedia,...

Joomla - Cross-browser mp3 playback with audio.js library

Joomla

If you need to publish some music on your site, you know how difficult it is to provide a cross-browser solution. Either your audio files will be embedded in a Flash stream and it won't be compatible with all IOS devices (iPhone, iPad, ...) or it will be compatible with HTML5 format and it won't be compatible with older browsers (IE8, Firefox 3, ...).

Hopefully, audio.js is there to fulfill all these needs. It is a fork of video.js, targeted on audio content in mp3 format. In fact, it's a drop-in javascript library that allows HTML5's tag to be used anywhere, with a Flash fallback for browsers not understanding HTML5. It is focused on mp3 format, due to its universality.

As a result, it is compatible with about 99% of the world browsers ! This seems to be the ultimate solution to publish audio content.

This article will explain how to allow you to easily publish some mp3 audio files on your Joomla site thru the audio.js library. It is using the standard <audio> tag and it has been tested on iPhone, iPad, Firefox, Android, ...

It has been designed on a Debian server with a Joomla 1.5 site, but it should be compatible with any Joomla 2.5 site as well.

Read more: Joomla - Cross-browser mp3 playback with audio.js library

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

Ubuntu Amd64 - Convert HTML web pages to PDF with Firefox

Ubuntu

ubuntu-firefox-web2pdfFirefox provides a very nice add-on Print pages to Pdf to convert Web pages straight to PDF files.

This add-on is quite special as it is not using any online service for the conversion job.

It is using wkhtmltopdf library which convert html to pdf using the webkit rendering engine.

This Firefox add-on works Out Of The Box under any Ubuntu i386 distribution.

It was broken under Ubuntu Amd64 for version 0.1.8.5, but has been corrected on version 0.1.9.0.

This article explains how to solve this issue and to get a fully working one click solution to convert any HTML web page to a PDF document on a Ubuntu 64 computer.

It has been tested under Ubuntu Amd64 12.04 LTS, with Firefox 20 and Print pages to Pdf 0.1.9.0.

Read more: Ubuntu Amd64 - Convert HTML web pages to PDF with Firefox

Ubuntu 12.04 - Setup wifi key based on Ralink RT2572T

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Few days back, I was needing a wifi 54G key. Having an old OvisLink Wifi 54G 802.11b/g USB key, I tried to use it under Ubuntu Precise 12.04.

This key is using a Ralink RT2572T which is recognised out-of-the-box by Ubuntu 12.04. But it doesn't work as expected.

Wifi connection takes place, but sometimes the card doesn't get DHCP address and most of the time data stream stops for few seconds, and then restart.

Also, under encrypted networks, the data can't succeed to get thru. In fact, these troubles come from 2 functionnalities :

  • power management, which needs to be disabled
  • hardware encryption, which also needs to be disabled

This article explains how to setup these 2 tweaks to get a fully working Ralink RT2572T wifi adapter under Ubuntu Precise 12.04.

It has been tested successfully on Ubuntu 12.04 i386 version with original 3.2.0-23 and latest 3.8.10 kernels.

Read more: Ubuntu 12.04 - Setup wifi key based on Ralink RT2572T

Ubuntu 12.04 - Revo 3610 as a XBMC Media Center with TV and Remote

 dropcap-xbmcNowadays, Linux can be a fantastic welcoming OS for a very complete Media Center. In term of functionnalities, here is what you can expect :

  • silent & low consumption system
  • possibility to use a MCE Remote
  • suspend/resume from the remote only
  • ability to play HD movies (720 & 1080)
  • DVB-T functionnality, including HD channels
  • recording possibility for DVB-T
  • access to all video, photo & music from a network share
  • access to any type of media on USB key or APN

After reading this list, you can say : Ok, very well, but why not to use a distribution like Openelec ?

Answer is simple : geekitude ... is an attitude ! Why let others handle things that you can handle directly by yourself.

So, here are the installation steps to convert a very small & silent nettop into a full featured digital Media Center using a standard Ubuntu Precise 12.04 platform.

Read more: Ubuntu 12.04 - Revo 3610 as a XBMC Media Center with TV and Remote

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