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Configuring the ultimate classic Gnome desktop using Ubuntu 14.10

January 1, 2015 Leave a comment

Here I’ll outline how to install and configure the ultimate classic Gnome desktop using Ubuntu 1410. We’ll assume that you have Ubuntu 14.10 up and running and connected to the internet. Gnome Flashback – this provides the classic Gnome look: Install the Gnome Flashback environment from a Terminal window:

sudo apt-get install gnome-session-flashback

Log out and click on the settings (cog) icon by your username. Choose GNOME Flashback (Compiz) and log back in again. Your desktop environment settings will be remembered for future logins.

Useful apps from the Software Centre:

AcetoneISO – Cd/DVD image management

Arista Transcoder – a media conversion tool like Format Factory

DeVeDe – DVD/VCD Video Creator

DVD Styler – DVD Video Creator

FileZilla – FTP Client

GIMP – image editor

mhWaveEdit – Audio editor

OpenShot – Video Editor

SMPlayer – A Youtube browser/downloader

VLC – Media Player

WinFF – a media conversion tool like Format Factory

Install plugins and codecs: Archive Management:

sudo apt-get install unace unrar zip unzip p7zip-full p7zip-rar sharutils rar uudeview mpack arj cabextract file-roller

Codecs:

sudo apt-get install gstreamer0.10-plugins-ugly gxine libdvdread4 totem-mozilla icedax tagtool easytag id3tool lame nautilus-script-audio-convert libmad0 mpg321 gstreamer1.0-libav

DVD:

sudo /usr/share/doc/libdvdread4/./install-css.sh

Flash:

sudo apt-get install flashplugin-installer

Oracle Java:

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:webupd8team/java
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install oracle-java7-installer

Connecting to shares on a Windows PC: Modify the registry as follows on the Windows PC you are connecting to: HKLM\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\Session Manager\Memory Management\LargeSystemCache – set it to 1 HKLM\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Services\LanmanServer\Parameters\Size – set it to 3 Restart the Server service on the Windows P

net stop server
net start server

In order to be able to connect to a Windows share which has no password access from Linux, you’ll need to do the following: Go to Start – Control Panel. Under the Network and Internet section, click on Choose homegroup and sharing options. Then click on Change advanced sharing settings Ensure the following:

  • Network Discovery – set to on
  • File and printer sharing – set to on
  • Public folder sharing – set to off
  • Enabling file sharing for devices that use 40 or 56-bit encryption – enabled
  • Use user accounts and passwords to connect to other computers – enabled

Set up any shared drives and folders. Give everyone full control on both the share and NTFS-level permissions. Reboot Windows.

On the Ubuntu PC, follow the tutorial here on how to mount a Windows share.

Connecting to shares on a Linux PC from Windows:

Check that Samba is set up for anonymous access to shares. Open a terminal and type:

sudo gedit /etc/samba/smb.conf

Under the [global] section, add the line:

usershare owner only = false"

To created the share, bring up the Gnome file browser and locate the folder you wish to share. Right-click on it and choose Local Network Share. Tick Share this folder. Give the share a name. Then tick the following:

  • Allow others to create and delete files in this folder
  • Guest Access

Map the share from your Windows PC as per normal. Setting up VNC remote desktop access to Ubuntu Click Applications – Internet – Desktop Sharing Tick the following:

  • Allow other users to view
  • Allow other uses to control
  • Automatically configure UPnP

Set the notification for only when someone is connected.

Open a terminal window and type:

gsettings set org.gnome.Vino require-encryption false

Accessing a Windows PC via Remote Desktop

Configure remote desktop on your Windows PC as per normal.

if your using a Windows account with no password and wish to continue this, then you’ll need to do the following:

Go to Start and type gpedit.msc and press enter.

Next, in the  Local Group Policy Editor, under Computer Configuration, navigator to Security Settings – Local Policies – Security Options, look for Acccounts: Limit local account use of blank passwords to console logon only. Double click this and set the option to Disabled.

Reboot Windows.

Next, on the Ubuntu PC, open a terminal and type:

sudo apt-get install rdesktop

This installs the rdesktop package.

Launch rdesktop from a terminal:

rdesktop core2duo -u neil -r sound:local -g 1280x960

core2duo being the name of the Windows PC

-u username – the Windows username

-r sound:local  – redirects the audio to the soundcard on the Ubuntu PC

-g 1280×960 – sets a resolution of 1280×960.

You can create a shortcut on the desktop or Applications menu as per my example rdesktop command above.

Windows 8 Developer Preview

September 17, 2011 Leave a comment

Back on Thursday, I posted a link on Facebook to the download site for the Windows 8 Developer Preview, which is available from: http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/windows/apps/br229516. After pulling odwn the ISO on Thursday night, I decided to give it a try last night.

One thing I noticed when downloading the ISO was that there was a 32-bit option. I thought Microsoft were planning to drop 32-bit operating systems from Windows 8. It would make sense, as the number of 16-bit apps by then would likely be few and far between, plus many systems now have at least 4GB of RAM – of which a 32-bit OS cannot take full advantage of! Back on topic – I went for the 64-bit option.

The first job was to upgrade my HyperVisor (how I love that word) to VMware Workstatopn version 8. When I built corei7, my current workhorse back in April, the main emphasis was a fast box for running VMs. After a couple of reboots (removing the old/installing the new version), I created a new VM, allocating 2GB of RAM and 60GB of HD space. For good measure, I allocated two cores and told it to use bridged networking – i.e. so it would appear as one of my computers on my network. Install media was the downloaded ISO.

Installation was quick and easy whilst being very similar to Windows 7’s routine. A few questions about creating a user account etc. and I was good to go.

Whwn Windows 8 first boots, you get presented with a tablet’style dashboard, with links to Internet Explorer, Control Panel etc. There is also an option to show the desktop and Start Menu/ although the Start Menu does not enable you to select applications. I thought the removal of the Classsic Start Menu from Windows 7 was bad – this is even worse!

In order to find apps, you have to click on the Desktop link and then click the Start Menu, choose Search amd then select Apps. Links to WordPad etc. exist off that dashboard. Very cumbersome and for a desktop OS, I’m not convienced it is the slickest or most user-friendly way to go. With a few less steps, it may make sense on a tablet.

There are widgets for social networking etc. but once you open them, it is difficult to know how to close them or how to switch between apps. Thankfully, the old ALT-TAB shortcut works for task switching.

Performance-wise, Windows 8 appeared to boot at a decent turn of speed and didn’t feel sluggish when in use.

For those interested in seeing what Windows 8 Developer Preview looks like, Paul Thorrott’s excellent Super Site has some here: http://www.winsupersite.com/article/windows8/windows-8-developer-preview-screenshot-gallery-140545#/0