Ubuntu - Install Tata Photon + on Natty Narwhal 11.04

Tata Photon Plus

This article will explain how to fully setup and configure a CDMA USB key Huwei EC156 provided with a Tata Photon + subscription on a Ubuntu 11.04 laptop.

Just imagine : You are staying or travelling in India, you are checking your mails or surfing the web while in a taxi, in the train or waiting in an airport ... That is nowadays quite easy, you just need a nation wide wireless internet access.

Tata Photon + is there to suit your needs. For a reasonible amount (1500 INR, equivalent to 20 €, at the time of this article) you will get a Huwei EC156 USB key and a 3 Gb limit, valid for one month.

But the only trouble is that the Huwei EC156 is too new to be handled directly by your Ubuntu 11.04 laptop.

As most of the time with Linux, every problem is having a solution. So here are the steps to :

  • recognize the Photon + USB key
  • configure network manager for the Photon + access

So, lets start ...

Read more: Ubuntu - Install Tata Photon + on Natty Narwhal 11.04

Ubuntu - HP Laserjet Multifunction Scan-to-Folder

Ubuntu

hp-cm1312-mfpHP Multi-Function Network Printers support is very good under Linux thanks to HP Linux Imaging and Printing (HPLIP).

But one important functionality is still missing : Scan-to-folder.

In fact, under Linux, you can scan documents easily, but you need to do it thru a graphical interface like XSane or Simple Scan.

Natively, there is no possibility to control the scanning in a scan-to-folder way.

This article will analyse the HP interfaces available and will explain how to setup a shell script to do :

  • a one-click scan interface, that will immediately scan current document straight in a default folder
  • a scan server, that will wait for you to press the Start Scan button from the scanner to scan current document in a default folder

This script will allow you to setup default document folder & format (jpg, png, pdf, ...). It will handle documents from the scanner Glass Window and from Auto Document Feed tray.

It has been tested on an HP MFP 1312, but it should be compatible with many modern HP multi-function network printer.

Read more: Ubuntu - HP Laserjet Multifunction Scan-to-Folder

Ubuntu - Configure Wifi connexion thru Command line Tools

dropcap-ubuntu-wifi

Nowaday, interface like Network manager makes wifi connexion setup a very simple task.

But in some specific cases (ubuntu server, ubuntu minimal media center, ...), you may need to setup you WEP or WPA wifi connexion directly from command line, without using network manager.

This article explains how to fully configure a WEP or WPA encrypted wifi network from a console terminal, using only command line tools.

It has been tested on Ubuntu Precise 12.04, but it should work on any modern Ubuntu or Debian flavored distro.

Read more: Ubuntu - Configure Wifi connexion thru Command line Tools

Ubuntu - Boot failure ending with initramfs prompt

Ubuntu

Yesterday was a fearful day ... when I switched on my laptop, it was totally stuck during the boot process, leaving me with a scary initramfs prompt.

Obviously, this has happened just after I had finished mounting 3 hours of video with OpenShot Video Editor and unloaded almost 100 pix from my digital camera !

I was able to get the grub menu, but whatever kernel version I was selecting, I was always ending up with the following screen :

mount: mounting /dev on /root/dev failed: No such file or directory
mount: mounting /proc on /root/proc failed: No such file or directory
Target filesystem doesn't have /sbin/init.
No init found. Try passing init=bootarg.

BusyBox v1.18.5 (Ubuntu 1:1.18.5-1ubuntu4) built-in shell (ash)
Enter 'help' for a list of built-in commands.
(initramfs)

I first though that my hard disk had died. But after a second though, as I was getting grub menu and ending on a initramfs prompt, the boot sector has been read properly. So hard disk was not in a completely pathetic condition.

In fact, the problem was coming from a corruption of my root filesystem. Because of that corruption, the root filesystem couldn't be mounted at boot.

This short article explains how to recover from such a scary situation and how to get your computer back to a working condition.

Even if tested on Ubuntu, it should be applicable to any Linux based computer with a ext3 or ext4 root filesystem.

Read more: Ubuntu - Boot failure ending with initramfs prompt

Ubuntu - Automount Nexus 7 in MTP mode

dropcap-ubuntu-android

Latest Android devices, like Nexus 7, are using 2 different USB connexion modes : PTP and MTP.

With PTP mode, the tablet is seen as a digital camera. This is working Out Of The Box under Ubuntu 12.04. But, you can only access DCIM directory of your device.

With MTP mode, the tablet is seen as a multimedia device where you can access the complete exported filesystem. But it doesn't work Out Of The Box under Ubuntu 12.04. It needs some setup and configuration to work.

Even if you can access easily a MTP device thru a program called gmtp, it is not as convenient as a conventional USB mass storage, accessible directly from Nautilus.

This guide explains how to configure your Ubuntu computer to directly access your Nexus 7 exported filesystem in MTP mode as soon as you plug it to a USB port.

Thanks to some udev rules, your Nexus 7 will automatically mount when device is plugged in & unmount when device is unplugged.

This guide has been done for Google Nexus 7, but it should work with any other MTP device (Android phone or tablet, MP4 player, ...) if you adapt the Udev rules according to your device.
I've got some feedback that it has already been adapted succesfully to Samsung Galaxy S2, Galaxy S3, Motorola Atrix HD & Google Nexus 4.

It has been done under Ubuntu 12.04, but has also been tested succesfully under Ubuntu 12.10.

Read more: Ubuntu - Automount Nexus 7 in MTP mode

Ubuntu - Automount network share with autofs

Ubuntu

It is more & more common to have a NAS or server at home, where you keep all the files that you need to share between your home computers or appliances. For example, if you want to share your music or video library across different computers, you will mostly need to share them thru a cifs (samba) share.

This article will explain how to setup a Ubuntu workstation to automount a list of network shares. These network shares won't be mounted all the time, they will be mounted "on demand", when you need them. They will be available thru a desktop icon.

The main advantage of automount approach is to have these network shares accessible thru the normal filesystem. This way, even applications which are not able to use gnomefs will be able to access files on the network shares.

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

Read more: Ubuntu - Automount network share with autofs

Debian 7 - Installation on Sony VAIO VGN-TX2XP

dropcap-vaio-tx2xp

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 - Very fast backup server for your Windows PC

Debian

Till today, a lot of personal computers are still running Windows OS (XP, Visat, Seven, ...) and many people are still keeping a lot of valuable datas directly on their workstation or laptop hard disk. Most people do so because of ignorance of the risks  or because they are always on the move and they need their files available anytime, even not connected to any server.

The side effect of this behaviour is that everything can be lost in case of a hard disk crash, as all the datas are stored locally on the PC.

So, to avoid that type of loss, it is very important to save all your personal valuable files on a secure server.

RSync may be the clue to this problem. In fact, RSync is widely used to do data backup in the Unix/Linux world and it is having a lot of advantages :

  • it is multi-os (unix, linux, windows, ...)
  • it is using differential backup mecanism (only modifications are sent across the network)
  • it is command line base
  • some GUI are available, even on Windows (DeltaCopy)

This article will explain how to provide a very simple and very efficient way to backup your Windows PC local files on a Debian server with the help of RSync and DeltaCopy.

It has been succesfully tested on Windows XP and Windows Seven clients and on Debian Squeeze server.

By following these steps, you will be able to save all your local datas from your Windows PC to your Debian server in a very optimised and lightning fast way. Whatever happens to your PC, your personnal data will be safe !

Read more: Debian - Very fast backup server for your Windows PC

Debian - Tune Apache/PHP/MySQL for a Compact Flash disk

Debian

After having tuned your Debian server according to the article Install Debian on a server with a Compact Flash main disk, you plan to use it as a LAMP web server.

Once you have installed all the Apache, Php & MySQL packages with aptitude, you then need to do some specific tuning on these packages configuration as your server is running on Compact Flash.

This article describes all the ajustments I've done on my server to setup :

  • Apache to deal with /var/log on tmpfs
  • PHP to save sessions on tmpfs
  • MySQL to fully load the database in memory (small one)

This setup is specific to my needs and has been done to minimize the disk access to the CF.

Read more: Debian - Tune Apache/PHP/MySQL for a Compact Flash disk

Debian - Share same port for HTTPS, SSH and OpenVPN

Debian

If you need to administrate your home network while on the move, you will soon realize that you need different type of accesses.

The standard accesses you may need are :

  • Https to access your secured pages or webdav shares
  • SSH to administrate your main server
  • OpenVPN to get a full unrestricted access to your LAN

The only problem is that many Internet providers are blocking most of the ports used by these protocols. With some very restrictive providers (or with some corporate proxy) the only available ports may be 80 & 443.

So the solution to that problem is to allow Https, SSH & OpenVPN to share the same 443 port. With such setting, all your connexions needs can be handled from any type of network.

To help us to reach that goal, a fantastic little tool is available under Linux : sslh.

This tool listens on one specific port, analyse the stream & forward it to a specific local port according to thits type. To be able to handle any type of SSH client and OpenVPN connection, we need to install and configure the latest version of SSLH (1.9 minimum).

This guide will explain how to install the latest version of sslh, which is not available in the distribution repository, on a Debian Squeeze. It should also work on Debian Lenny and on some flavours of Ubuntu also.

Read more: Debian - Share same port for HTTPS, SSH and OpenVPN

Debian - Setup Scan-to-folder server for HP AIO scanner

Debian

HP Multi-Function Network Printers support is very good under Linux thanks to HP Linux Imaging and Printing (HPLIP).

But one important functionality is still missing : Scan-to-folder. You can not make your scanned documents easily available from a public network share.

This article explains how to setup a Debian server daemon to become a Scan-to-folder server for HP Multi-Function Network Printer/Scanner.

If this destination folder is shared ... you will have a direct access to your scanned documents from any PC.

debian-scan-to-folder-server

This Scan-to-folder service has been tested on a Debian Squeeze server and with a HP CM1312nfi All-In-One printer/scanner.

It should be compatible with many Linux flavours and with many modern HP multi-function network printers.

Read more: Debian - Setup Scan-to-folder server for HP AIO scanner

Debian - Setup HTTPS WebDav share and client configuration

Debian

For some reasons, I need to access some of my home server files from outside when I am on the move.

That access can be done from various places :

  • some friends or relatives ADSL boxes,
  • a public Wifi access
  • my 3G connection with unlimited data plan.

Some of these accesses can be very restrictive, allowing only web access (port 80 and 443 only) and some can also even check your user agent (my 3G data plan).

So to be sure to be able to access my files from anywhere & anytime, I decided to setup a secured WebDav share. This share will be accessed by using the HTTPS protocol on port 443. As a matter of fact, it should be allowed with no restriction by any access type.

This article will explain how to setup such WebDav share on an existing Apache2 server. It will also explain how to setup a Windows and a Ubuntu client to be able to use that access.

This setup has been done on Debian Squeeze, but it should be compatible with any following version.

Read more: Debian - Setup HTTPS WebDav share and client configuration

Debian - Realtek RTL8111/8168 on Intel D945GCLF2

Debian

Having upgraded a D945GCLF2 motherboard to Debian Squeeze, I started to have lot of troubles & serious problems with the integrated network interface Realtek RTL 8111/8168.

For example, the mt-daapd music server was totally unstable, having difficulty to serve more than one Roku music player. The multicast functionality was totally broken.

After some search, it appears that the driver used by the 2.6.26 kernel for that NIC was the wrong one. Instead of using a proper r8168.ko module, the 2.6.26 kernel was using the r8169.ko module.

If your kernel is 2.6.30+, you don't need to follow this guide anymore as the kernel includes a proper driver.

If you update your kernel to 2.6.30+ and you had followed this guide before, be careful to remove the blacklist of r8169 module in /etc/modprobe.d/blacklist.conf before reboot, or you won't get any network support ...

Read more: Debian - Realtek RTL8111/8168 on Intel D945GCLF2

Debian - Install a server on a Compact Flash memory

Debian

This article will explain how to install Debian on a server using a Compact Flash memory card as a primary drive. All the above procedures are based on the Lenny distribution, but they should work on other Debian flavours and even for Ubuntu.

The first question to ask is : Why to do that ?

When you install such a server, after sometimes you realize that it has become a backbone in your house as it hosts :

  • a family web site
  • a music server for appliances like Roku Soundbridge
  • a file server for other PCs
  • a web based torrent manager & amule manager
  • an access filter proxy for the kids surf
  • an asterisk telephony exchange
  • ...

Then, you start to have nightmares about the fact that your server's hard disk may fail and that you will need to reinstall everything.

One simple, efficient & cheap solution is to replace your hard disk by a Compact Flash memory in association with an IDE to CF adapter. As CF memory have no mecanical parts, they are known to be much more reliable.

But, on the other side, they are known to have limited write cycles (between 100 000 and 1 million times).

Read more: Debian - Install a server on a Compact Flash memory

Debian - Convert a EEE 701 as a server with embeded UPS

EEE 701 & Debian

Having a spare Asus EEE 701 netbook, I've converted it as a home server for music streaming, DVB-T streaming, web server, ...
This netbook is consuming very little power and is running under Debian in console mode without any graphical interface.

As every netbook, the EEE 701 is having an inbuilt battery, which can be used a very KISS (Keep It Simple and Stupid) Uninterrupted Power Supply system.


With proper scripts, it is possible to detect power failure and to follow the battery level &  to initiate a clean shutdown process when battery level is too low after a long power failure.

This article will explain how to :

  • detect power failure
  • check battery level
  • start a shutdown process when battery level is reaching predefined low level

With that, your server will shutdown properly whatever happens with its power supply.

Read more: Debian - Convert a EEE 701 as a server with embeded UPS

Debian - Automatic backup with USB disk

Debian

You are hosting a server (or a workstation) with some important files that sould be backed-up regularly on some external storage ?

This article will explain how to use the fantastic possibilities of UDEV & RSync to automatise some files backup on an external USB hard disk.

The concept is as follow :

  1. You insert an external USB disk on one of your server USB port
  2. Your server recognise the inserted disk & mount it
  3. According to some backup rules associated with that specific disk, your server starts a differential backup
  4. When backup is over the disk is unmounted & the server beeps you the indicate that the backup is over

And, with this approach, you can use as many backup disks as you want, as the backup is done according to rules associated with a specific disk.

We will use :

  • UDEV to recognize the disk and start the associated backup script
  • RSync to do a very fast differential backup

This setup has been done on Debian Squeeze, but it should be compatible with any following version.

Read more: Debian - Automatic backup with USB disk

Thunderbird - Fully sync with Gmail services (Email, Calendar and Contacts)

Thunderbird for Gmail

Nowadays, more and more smartphones and tablets are running Android OS, which is tightly linked to google Gmail services.

These devices are designed to be fully synchronised with main Gmail services :

  • email
  • calendar
  • address book

On the other end, you are having a computer at home were you are also handling emails, calendar and personal address & phone book.

This guide will explain how to fully setup your Thunderbird client to get it fully synchronised with your Gmail account for all associated services.

With this setup, you will be able to handle your emails, calendar events and personal address book entries from any of your Android device (smartphone and/or tablet) and your personal computer.

And ... all of them will always be fully synchronised. Whatever you do on one side will be forwarded to all others.

All this guide has been tested on a Ubuntu desktop, but it should work on any Linux or Windows Thunderbird client.

Read more: Thunderbird - Fully sync with Gmail services (Email, Calendar and Contacts)

Joomla - Cross-Browser Personalised Web Fonts

Joomla

Nowadays, site design is taking more and more importance. Before, sites were expected to provide information ... now they also have to be sexy. They can't hold that 90s look anymore. They need fancy design.

When you analyse what people like about a site page, one of the main thing is … nice fonts. Till date, web fonts were always on the dark side of the design, belonging to the same team : arial, times new roman, …

But one revolution has come few years back and is starting to spread all over the web : personalized web fonts.

With their help, your visitor will be able to display your site pages with the fonts displayed as you expect them to be displayed, whatever fonts are installed on their computer !

This guide will explain breafly how to setup your web site to use a font provided by a standard True Type Font (.ttf). This sentence is displayed using this technic.

Let's start.

Read more: Joomla - Cross-Browser Personalised Web Fonts

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