Category: My Inspiron 17R

Ubuntu 16.04 — Utilities and Configuration

Continuing on with outfitting my new Ubuntu 16.04 install, this post contains my notes for installing the utilities that didn’t really fit into another post. I have some configuration changes that I like to make it my own.

Series Navigation:

MenuLibre

The MenuLibre tool makes it easy to add shortcuts that allow you to launch programs from the Unity menu. It is a must have if you install anything manually without using a deb pacakge.

Install:

sudo apt-get install menulibre

Note: If you have shortcuts from an old installation, those would be located in the ~/.local/share/applications directory. (That helped me with shortcuts for which I forgot all of the command line parameters)

Compression

I use the File Roller application usually. But, I wanted the 7zip and rar libraries available:

sudo apt-get install p7zip-full p7zip-rar

Monitor Settings

For my dual screen setup at my desk, I have a few tweaks that I like to make. I can open the “Displays” settings app to make these changes:

  • Sticky edges: off
  • Launcher placement: only 1 screen

Package Managing Tools

With as much trouble as I am having with the Ubuntu Software app, I want the power of Synaptic.

sudo apt-get install synaptic

Another tool is the Y PPA Manager from Web Upd8:

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:webupd8team/y-ppa-manager
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install y-ppa-manager

Compiz Settings Manager

The Compiz Settings Manager is a handy tool to tweak the compiz settings. I installed the compizconfig-settings-manager package from the Software Center.

sudo apt-get install compizconfig-settings-manager
sudo apt-get install compiz-plugins

If you search for “compiz” in the Unity menu, you can easily open it.

I like the Wobbly Windows, so I enabled that. It requires disabling Snappy Windows, which it will do for you.

Unity Tweak Tool

I installed the Unity Tweak Tool for a few more changes:

sudo apt-get install unity-tweak-tool

Then, under “Panel”, I added the seconds, date, and weekday to the clock.  And, I checked “Display remaining battery life”.  Under scrolling, I changed the scrollbars to legacy.  I don’t like the Overlay ones that hide.

Settings

In the Appearance Settings app, I made 2 changes:

  • Show the menus for a window: In the window’s title bar
  • Menus visibility: Always displayed

Caffeine

There are times that I don’t want my computer to lock. I am finally installing the caffeine indicator to make that easy.

Previously, you had to add a repository.  I found in this bug report, that caffeine has been brought into the main Ubuntu repositories.

sudo apt-get install caffeine

After installing, I added the indicator to the startup applications. I opened “Startup Applications” from the dash. “Caffeine” was already in the list. The indicator was not. I added “caffeine-indicator” to the list.

Resources

Ubuntu 16.04 — Restore

This is my first post in the series for installing Ubuntu 16.04 on my Inspiron 17R laptop. In this step, I am mainly just restoring files and putting the data back after formatting the drive.

Series Navigation:

I didn’t take screenshots of the install process. I just basically accepted the defaults.

Restoring files

These are the directories that I restored.  Maybe it will give you an idea of things you may want to restore if you do the same thing.

  • ~/.ssh: The keys for my remote ssh connections — most important because of backuppc restoring
  • ~/Documents: This is where I put all my document files
  • ~/Pictures: I have Shotwell pointed at this directory, so it contains all the pictures from my cell phone and digital camera
  • ~/GideonTaylor: I keep my work files in a different directory
  • ~/.config/google-chrome: The settings for Chrome (extensions, bookmarks, etc)  (or, ~/.config/google-chrome-beta)
  • ~/.local/share/keyrings: My saved passwords
  • ~/.Skype: Skype history
  • ~/.remmina: The settings for my remote connections
  • ~/.local/share/shotwell: The settings and thumbnails for my photos
  • ~/.sword: The downloaded Bible files for Xiphos (and the underlying Sword library)
  • ~/.filezilla: The settings for my FTP connections
  • ~/.sqldeveloper: The connection settings for SQL developer
  • ~/.vim: stores the plugins installed in Gvim
  • ~/.vimrc: preferences for Gvim
  • /etc/NetworkManager/system-connections: this saves all of my wireless connections and VPN connections

My backup this time was located on an external USB drive.  I also had a BackupPC installation, but I didn’t restore a lot from it.  For smaller directories/files, just copy and paste works fine.  For larger directories, it was better to use grsync, which I installed from Ubuntu Software.

Shortcuts / Menu Entries

I had a couple of items that I had added to help me get to Vmware View machines.  Unfortunately, I didn’t remember the exact commandline.  Instead of looking it up again, I found that I could copy the .desktop files from the directory:

  • ~/.local/share/applications

BackupPC

I’m not going through the whole configuration of the server.  In this case, I just need it to connect and begin to back up the laptop after my install.

I checked the version of my apps:

$rsync --version
rsync version 3.1.1 protocol version 31

First, SSH is not enabled on Ubuntu 16.04 by default.  I had to install it:

sudo apt-get install openssh-server

Then, I generated the keys with this command (left the passphrase blank)

sudo ssh-keygen -t rsa

On my backup server, the backuppc user’s home directory is /var/lib/backuppc (you can confirm in the /etc/passwd file).  Using vi, I copied the contents of  /root/.ssh/id_rsa.pub on the client to /var/lib/backuppc/.ssh/known_hosts.  I’m not sure this step worked … on my test I had to remove the pistachio key (maybe I should have done that first):

ssh-keygen -f "/var/lib/backuppc/.ssh/known_hosts" -R pistachio

Then, I opened up /root/.ssh/authorized_keys2 on my laptop (client) and pasted the contents of /var/lib/backuppc/.ssh/id_rsa.pub from the server. In the end, Copy and Paste in a text editor wasn’t good enough. I had to scp the file across between the computers.

I verified security on the directory:

sudo chmod -R go-rwx /root/.ssh

Finally, I tested as the backuppc user on the backup server:

sudo su backuppc
ssh -l root pistachio whoami

To troubleshoot, I ran the server with debugging messages as root:

service ssh stop
/usr/sbin/sshd -d

Next time, I will configure Backup PC to backup the root .ssh directory to avoid having to reconfigure all of this.

Next Steps

If you want to follow along with my install process, you can check out the next post: Ubuntu 16.04 — Internet.

 

Resources

Installing Ubuntu 15.04

Labor Day Weekend made for the perfect time to get my laptop updated.  I know Ubuntu 15.04 (Vivid Vervet) has been out for a while, but I am just now getting it installed.  Here are my notes.

Installation

I didn’t take screenshots of all of the steps.  They were pretty straight forward.  The one thing that I did change was the partitioning.  I read that having the Swap partition on the SSD drive will wear it out, so I went ahead and moved it onto the regular drive.

So, here’s what it looked like:

Install_003

BackupPC

In previous installs, I was using Duplicity/Deja Dup.  This time, I have been using BackupPC for backups.  It is a nice centralized solution that de-dups and compresses nicely.

Now, to restore… The BackupPC FAQ: SSH Setup is a good place to start.

To troubleshoot, I went to the backuppc server, and ran:

$ ssh pistachio
ssh: connect to host pistachio port 22: Connection refused

That tells me that the ssh server is not installed. So, I ran:

sudo apt-get install ssh

On the BackupPC server, I had already run the keygen. So, I just had to open the id_rsa.pub file and copy it’s contents.

sudo vi /var/lib/backuppc/.ssh/id_rsa.pub

Then, on my laptop, I pasted it onto the end of the authorized_keys2 files (which, in my case I had to create):

$ sudo mkdir /root/.ssh
$ sudo vi /root/.ssh/authorized_keys2

Next, I tried to connect to my laptop of the backuppc user on the server:

sudo su - backuppc
sudo ssh root@pistachio

I had to run:

ssh-keygen -f "/var/lib/backuppc/.ssh/known_hosts" -R pistachio

List of Restores

These are the directories that I restored from my backup:

  • ~/Documents: This is where I put all my document files
  • ~/Pictures: I have Shotwell pointed at this directory, so it contains all the pictures from my cell phone and digital camera
  • ~/GideonTaylor: I keep my work files in a different directory
  • ~/app: This has all of my programming stuff (“application development”)
  • ~/.config/google-chrome-beta: The settings for Chrome (extensions, bookmarks, etc)
  • ~/.local/share/keyrings: My saved passwords, see below for more information
  • ~/.Skype: Skype history
  • ~/.remmina: The settings for my remote connections
  • ~/.ssh: The keys for my remote ssh connections
  • ~/.local/share/shotwell: The settings and thumbnails for my photos
  • ~/.sword: The downloaded Bible files for Xiphos (and the underlying Sword library)
  • ~/.filezilla: The settings for my FTP connections
  • ~/.sqldeveloper: The connection settings for SQL developer
  • ~/.vim: stores the plugins installed in Gvim
  • ~/.vimrc: preferences for Gvim  (for my settings, I also had to create the ~/.vimtmp directory)
  • /etc/NetworkManager/system-connections: this saves all of my wireless connections and VPN connections
  • ~/.VirtualBox: The settings for my virtual machines

Next

From here, you can see all the steps that I took in this series, or the next step is the Utilities and Configuration.

Resources

Ubuntu 14.04: Hybrid Graphics

This is part of my series on installing Ubuntu 14.04 on my laptop.  In the previous post, I worked through installing Virtualbox for VMs.  In this post, I am working through installing the video drivers for optimal use of the video cards.  My laptop has a hybrid graphics card, so I attempted to use Nvidia Prime.  When that didn’t work, I dropped back to Bumblebee.

Just so you can see what I have, I looked in lspci.  Here’s the Nvidia controller:

01:00.0 VGA compatible controller: NVIDIA Corporation GK107M [GeForce GT 650M] (rev a1)

Here’s the Intel controller:

00:02.0 VGA compatible controller: Intel Corporation 3rd Gen Core processor Graphics Controller (rev 09)

 

Here’s what I did…

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