One of the most common complaints about Ubuntu since the launch of version 11.04 (Natty Narwhal) is the inclusion of Unity as the default user desktop. Although version 12.10/13.04 has come a long way since then in terms of stability and useability, many people miss some of the ‘eye candy’ that was so easy to set up in previous versions. Today we are going to talk about how to set up Compiz for composite desktop effects like the 3D Desktop Cube, Window Wobble and many others.
As I get more and more involved in evangelizing open source and the options and freedom it provides, I have found that I need to be able to take detailed video of my desktop as I go through various topics. That used to mean running your Linux flavor in a virtual machine and using Windows and any number of (expensive) solutions for recording your desktop (and then hoping it had the options and codecs you needed to succeed). Not anymore, there are a number of high quality screencasting solutions that work perfectly fine in Linux – from VLC Media Player (stream and encode option), Istanbul and RecordMyDesktop to a relatively new (at least in terms of stability) entry and today’s candidate – Kazam!
With the recent release of VMWare ESXi 5.1 and the associated fully featured web client management (which we may cover in a later article), Linux in general is getting closer and closer to the ‘do anything’ desktop operating system we have all wanted it to be for some time. Maturity breeds integration and although we have always had any number of tools to manage our command line servers, our Windows desktops and Mac OSX or other Linux graphical environments separately, we were lacking in a tool that put all the pieces together and managed our connections for us. There are several tools that are attempting to integrate system management, today we are going to talk about one, the “Remmina Remote Desktop Client”.
Today’s topic is going to cover the Samba client setup and your ability to mount your Windows shares (Windows 8 included) on your Ubuntu desktop. Although you will get the basic information you need to install and configure your Ubuntu system for accessing Windows shares, if you want to see it in action (including those pieces on the Windows side) in more detail, please visit our sister site Linux Academy. There you can see not only how to configure your Ubuntu system for accessing Windows shares, but how to set up you Ubuntu server as a file server. Linux Academy offers a large number of certification level courses across a wide range of Linux topics. In addition to the demonstration videos, you have access to your very own dedicated Amazon Web Services Linux Server to follow along with each class!
So as we have all heard by now (at least those of us who use Ubuntu Linux every day), Ubuntu 13.04, otherwise known as Raring Ringtail, may be the last ‘named’ release in the Ubuntu family. Canonical is (still) debating on moving to the ‘rolling release’ lifecycle for their desktop distribution outside of their ‘LTS’ offerings. What this means is that they are tightening up support for upcoming releases (shorter support windows) and will not release new LTS version as often. Let’s take a quick look at a late Alpha of Ubuntu 13.04.
We have talked about security in this space before, in more abstract terms. More specifically, we are going to review the basic setup and some simple access rules using the venerable and ever popular ‘iptables’ firewall available for every Linux distribution around.
Firewall Service Management
Depending on the distribution, you are able to manage your firewall service a number of ways. With the RPM based distributions (Red Hat, CentOS, Fedora), you can start the firewall as follows:
sudo service iptables start
and you can set it to autostart thereafter by executing:
sudo chkconfig iptables on
With Debian based distributions (Debian, Ubuntu and its variants and Mint), you manage both the start and autostart using a script called ‘ufw’ as follows:
sudo ufw enable
This will both start the firewall with default chain rulesets in place as well as configure the firewall to autostart on system boot. The valid states for ‘ufw’ are [enable/disable/status], status will let you know whether the firewall is started and configured to start on boot.
Most of us are storing some of our files (pictures, music, documents, etc) in the cloud in one way or another. What we are going to talk about today is some of the cloud storage providers that support Linux integration – some directly with an install-able client, some by implementing access through standard technologies. Finally, we will point out those who (at least at this point) do not seem to want the Linux crowd to soil their premises with our footprints.
Accessing your desktop remotely is a convenience that we all appreciate. Many people set up VNC Server and an associated client in order to have their full ‘X’ capable desktop with them wherever they have a network connection. What some do not realize is that VNC as a protocol is extremely insecure and very susceptible to MitM snooping (Man in the Middle) since much of the text back and forth between client and server is transmitted as clear text. Today we are going to install and configure a simple VNC Server, access it with a VNC client and then add some security by using it over SSH.
Richard Garriott thinks we are heading into a new golden age of human space flight. One of the first things he mentioned in his SXSW talk was that just over 500 people have left the planet in 50 years of space flight. While he’s happy to be one of those people he agrees that number is dismal. When you factor the costs involved of sending those 500 people to space, the number is especially bleak. Just look at the overview of the International Space Station (ISS) it cost tens of billions to develop and a couple billion to maintain each year. The Shuttle was a couple hundred million per seat and the Souyoz, while cheaper, is about $50 million per seat. These enormous costs are one of the barriers to advancing human space exploration.
Space Exploration is a new theme to South by Southwest (SXSW) Interactive. One of the courses that caught my attention was Crowd-Sourcing the Space Frontier. The session shed light on several hands-on opportunities for space enthusiasts.
Edward Wright, of the United States Rocket Academy, thinks we are entering a third age of space. The first age being government driven and the second age provided wealthy individuals opportunity to travel to space. The third age is do-it-yourself transportation, technology, and research. Wright compares what’s happening with space right now to what we experienced with personal computing. When parts to build computers became readily accessible, there was a great increase in computing innovation.