Thursday, July 31, 2008

How to install Virtualbox & Windows XP / Office 2007 in Ubuntu

Virtualbox is a virtualisation package for Linux originally developed by Sun Microsystems. It’s an incredibly powerful and easy way of being able to run Windows XP or Vista from Ubuntu. This guide will talk you through the process of installing Virtualbox, after which we’ll look at installing Windows XP. Running XP inside Ubuntu has so many benefits, like file compatibility, using active-x in internet explorer and lots more.

Here’s a few shots of my PC running Ubuntu and Windows XP, BBC Iplayer and Microsoft Office 2007. Click the images for a full size view:

Ubuntu running Windows XP

virtualbox running Windows XP and BBC iplayer

Run Office 2007 from Ubuntu using Virtualbox

I took the screenshots while Compiz cube was in mid-rotate. Looks good doesn’t it? Performance wise, Windows XP starts up just as quickly if not slightly quicker than a standard installation if you have a powerful machine. Just goes to show what a great operating system Linux can be. :-)

How is it done?

Installing Virtualbox is quite straightforward. There’s a simple process to follow to get up and running with your XP virtual machine. That process looks like this:

1) Install Virtualbox using Synaptic package manager

2) Add your user profile to the vboxusrs group so Virtualbox will work

3) Create a virtual machine in Virtualbox

4) Install Windows XP (from CD in this post) on your new virtual machine

5) Booting your virtual machine from the Windows XP installation CD

How to install Virtualbox & Windows XP / Office 2007 in Ubuntu

Compiz Fusion : Unmatched 3D Environment in Linux

compiz fusion logo

Think Aqua interface in Mac OSX and 3D Flip in Windows Vista was the best looking Operating system? Ever thought that the 3D effects on hacker’s desktop shown in movies are not for real? No need to think again, just read on because the freedom and flexibility Compiz Fusion provides is beyond imagination.

Compiz fusion is the result of a merge between the well-known Beryl composite window manager and Compiz Extras, a community set of improvements to the Compiz composite window manager. You don’t even need a high performance hardware for this, it will work fine with 256MB RAM and a decent processor. Many distros such as Ubuntu , openSUSE, Mandriva, Fedora, Sabayon etc comes with out of the box Compiz Fusion and for others distros it can be added as an add-on. This article is aimed at encouraging users to try linux if they want the best rather than using Windows and refraining themself to try something new and better.

Here are screenshots of various effects that can be accomplished in Compiz Fusion and all for free, for which you would have to pay in Windows (even if someone develops them). Open Source is the way to go as it leads to faster development times and better than anything else.
development times and better than anything else.

3D Cube

3d cube

3D Cylinder

3d cylinder

3D Sphere

3d sphere

3D Windows

3d windows

3D Flip

3d flip

Alternate Alt+Tab Switch

alternate alt tab switch

Cover Stitcher

cover stitcher





Group Tabbing

group tabbing



Ring Switcher

ring switcher



Tabbed Windows

tabbed windows





Compiz Fusion is not limited to just these effects. Just install additional plugins for more effects. If you want to develop one for that effect in mind, then go for it and contribute to the community. Its all Open. Have your say in the comments and help in promoting linux by promoting this post.

SOURCE : A Big Thanks to Dark Star of Technenclave for spreading the word about it and letting me know.

Top 10 Command Linux Line Tools

When you need something done quickly, efficiently, and without any software overhead, the command line is where it's at. It was the first way humans told computers what to do, but as graphics became increasingly important, the command line, or terminal, became an insiders' secret weapon. But with the right commands and a little bit of know-how, anyone can get things done from a text-only interface. Let's take a look at 10 commands and tricks that make the terminal more accessible, and more powerful, on any system. Photo by blakepost.

Note: Mac OS X and Linux users have robust command line interfaces baked right into their systems. To get to them, head to Applications->Utilities->Terminal in Finder. It varies in Linux, depending on your distro and interface, but a "terminal" can usually be found in an "Accessories" or "Utilities" menu panel. Windows users are best served by installing and configuring Cygwin, a Unix emulator, which we've detailed in a three part series.

Lifehacker Top 10: Top 10 Command Line Tools

A crash course in Linux history and politics — Ubuntu Kung Fu

Linux is more than just software. It’s an entire community of users, and as such, there’s a detailed social history behind it. Below I take a look at the origins of Linux, both in terms of where it came from and the people who make it.

Your instinct might be to skip information like this. But it’s important that you understand it at some stage, because it’s what being a Linux user is all about. Linux is more than simply the sum of its parts. It’s far more than simply a set of computer programs.

If nothing else, what’s below explains the fundamental philosophies behind Linux and attempts to answer some of the often-baffling questions that arise when Linux is considered as a whole.

In the Beginning

Linux was created 17 years ago, in 1991. A period of 17 years is considered a lifetime in the world of computing, but the origin of Linux actually harks back even further, into the early days of modern computing in the mid-1970s.

Linux was created by a Finnish national named Linus Torvalds. At the time, he was studying in Helsinki and had bought a desktop PC. His new computer needed an operating system.

Torvalds’s operating system choices were limited: there were various versions of DOS and something called Minix. It was the latter that Torvalds decided to use. Minix was a clone of the popular Unix operating system. Unix was used on huge computers in businesses and universities, including those at Torvalds’s university.

Unix was created in the early 1970s and has evolved since then to become what many considered the cutting edge of computing. Unix brought to fruition a large number of computing concepts in use today and, many agree, got almost everything just right in terms of features and usability. Versions of Unix were available for smaller computers like Torvalds’s PC, but they were considered professional tools and were very expensive. This was in the early days of the home computer craze, and the only people who used IBM PCs were businesspeople and hobbyists.

Sidenote: Linux is a pretty faithful clone of Unix. If you were to travel back in time 20 or 30 years, you would find that using Unix on those old mainframe computers, complete with their teletype interfaces, would be similar to using Linux on your home PC. Many of the fundamental concepts of Linux, such as the file system hierarchy and user permissions, are taken directly from Unix.

Torvalds liked Unix because of its power, and he liked Minix because it ran on his computer. Minix was created by Andrew Tanenbaum, a professor of computing, to demonstrate the principles of operating system design to his students. Because Minix was also a learning tool, people could also view the source code of the program—the original listings that Tanenbaum had entered to create the software. But Torvalds had a number of issues with Minix. Although it’s now available free of charge, at the time Minix was only available for a fee, although in many universities it was possible to obtain copies free of charge from professors who paid a group licensing fee. Nevertheless, the copyright issue meant that using Minix in the wider world was difficult, and this, along with a handful of technical issues, inspired Torvalds to create from scratch his own version of Unix, just as Tanenbaum had done with Minix.

A crash course in Linux history and politics — Ubuntu Kung Fu

Access Your Favorite Sites with Firefox 3

Access Your Favorite Sites with Firefox 3

Now you can access all your StumbleUpon favorites simply by typing the topic into your search bar.

Firefox 3's Smart Location Bar allows you to import your SU favorites into Firefox bookmarks for easy reference! The process may take a few minutes, depending on the number of StumbleUpon favorites you've saved. After importing, just type the name of a topic into the search bar at the top of your browser window and you'll see all your SU favorites matching that topic.

Welcome to, home of the Auto-NDISwrapper project. Where we try to make Linux wifi a little bit more painless. Some hardware manufacturers do not provide linux drivers for their products nor provide the hardware specifications necessary for creating them.

A project called NDISwrapper was created so that these cards could be used in Linux using Windows drivers. Sometimes finding and installing these drivers can be difficult, and that's when Auto-NDISwrapper comes into play.

Auto-NDISwrapper 0.1 is out!

Google Gadgets for Linux -- almost there

Since version 2 came out in 2005, Google Desktop for Windows has included a sidebar that users can fill with screen gadgets, but the Linux version (version 1, from June 2007) provided only indexing and search functions, with no eye candy whatsoever. This has finally changed. Google recently released Google Gadgets for Linux (GGL), which closes the gap between the operating systems. With GGL, you can run as many gadgets as you wish on your screen -- or at least that's the idea. Some flaws still need to be fixed, and not everything works 100% correctly.

GGL resembles SuperKaramba, Screenlets, gDesklets, and KDE 4's Plasma. All produce similar results and offer similar gadgets, and the only reason to choose one over another is if it offers unique gadgets you're particularly interested in. Some programs are compatible with each other, allowing you to run gadgets from other programs; there's even talk that Plasma will be able to run GGL gadgets directly.

License and installation

GGL is licensed under the Apache License 2.0. It is currently in version 0.10.0 and qualifies as "development" software, so expect bugs. If you happen to find some quirky behavior or errors, you can help by posting about your issues on the Google Groups user forum. GGL developers visit this forum, so you should get an answer and get the ball rolling to fix some of the remaining bugs.

Installing GGL can be difficult. If you're up for solving lots of dependencies by hand (by installing many packages), try getting the source code and following the building instructions to build it from scratch. However, be prepared to work a while over it. Debian, Fedora, Mandriva, and Ubuntu users might be in luck, as the project provides specific instructions for those distributions. I am mainly an openSUSE 10.3 user, but after fruitlessly trying to get all the needed packages (I still don't know why the build process claimed I was lacking certain libraries, which I'm sure I already had), I opted to "1-click install" an already built package provided by the openSUSE Build Service. At first I installed google-gadgets-qt (for KDE), but later I revised my decision and opted for google-gadgets-gtk (for GNOME); more on this in a moment.

Mandriva users can also get an already built package from contrib/backports. I tried that, but GGL wouldn't connect to the server and download any gadgets. Some searching on the Internet provided the solution: although it isn't required, you must have the curl and openssl packages installed. Also, be sure to have the Flash plugin for Firefox, or you won't be able to use many gadgets that depend on it. Finally, check that your /etc/X11/xorg.conf file includes the following lines, or gadgets won't have transparent backgrounds: :: Google Gadgets for Linux -- almost there

Acer to push Linux

It’s being reported that Acer is going to start pushing Linux on it’s Laptops and netbooks. The choice for Acer is obviously a smart financial move. Linux is open source and much cheaper then the alternative Microsoft operating systems. Gianpiero Morbello, the vice president of marketing and brand at Acer, even stated “We have shifted towards Linux because of Microsoft,” he said. “Microsoft has a lot of power and it is going to be difficult, but we will be working hard to develop the Linux market.”

This is definitely a great push for Linux. Acer has a lot of influence in the hardware market, and taking a stand against Microsoft for Linux could make other major companies think twice about what operating system they develop hardware for. However, I’m reluctant to see how Acer will go about marketing the OS on their brand of laptops. I hope they don’t plan on just having a lower cost laptop sitting on the store shelf and waiting until the customer gets home to discover that the operating system looks “different”. If done correctly, Acer could help the Linux desktop spread to more homes.

Acer to push Linux

Mirror: 10 things I’ve overheard about my Linux laptop while on public transportation · Demotivatoional Posters and Funny Pics

I’ve been taking the train to work for 4 years now. It’s a 45 minute rambling ride in which I usually either read a book, sleep, or grab my laptop loaded up with Ubuntu and get some stuff done. Over time, I’ve collected a few funny remarks I’ve either over heard, or that people have said directly to me. Here are the 10 best.

  1. That’s not windows, it’s a Mac! (One teenager to another).
  2. Where’s the start button? (Asked directly to me on a train).
  3. Random middle manager 1: He must be in Marketing, he’s making a new picture! Random middle manager 2: I don’t know, look how he’s dressed. (While using gimp).
  4. Don’t turn your computer on Bill – that guy can look into it! (two business men).
  5. You’ve got to work in IT. (said directly to me).
  6. (Whispered)How did he get Vista early? (Two teens).
  7. Yeah, I’m surrounded by yuppies, kids, drones and two guys using Linux. (Someone on a cell phone).
  8. What the hell is that? (Pointing to my screen -followed by a 15 minute conversation about computers).
  9. Can you game on it? (Guy with a Sony VIAO running Vista. He wasn’t impressed by Moria).
  10. They stole that spinning cube thing from a Mac! (Two mac users sitting next to me).
Mirror: 10 things I’ve overheard about my Linux laptop while on public transportation

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Simple things Windows users can't do - Ubuntu Forums

Simple things Windows users can't do

I think we can make a nice list of simple things the average Windows user can't (or doesn't, see [7]) do, I'll keep track and add them here.

The list:
  1. Change the extension of a file _successfully_ F2
  2. Update the whole system with a few clicks Autoupdate, no clicks
  3. Resolve problems by logging out and then logging back in without a full restart (CTRL+Backspace). What problems?
  4. Do everythng with the command line. Average windows user? "Whats the command line"
  5. Ignore the threats of viruses Comes with being so popular
  6. Do a complete system install in under 20 min and be ready for word processing, spreadsheets, watch and listen to media, view pdf files, check email, surf the web (safely) and connect to your network without once trying to find those missing driver discs, install and download multiple programs that you need to do anything at must be lucky! Ubuntu was a multi part drama to get to that level
  7. Download free software legally Plenty of free software, starts with Perl and goes to a version of the flagship Visual Studio c#
  8. Customize the layout without extra software.I have seen plenty of skins on desktops, I don't use them though
  9. Keep the system running/up-to-date without notifying Redmond that the installation is legal/Have everything they ever need free [gratis] LEGALLY.Hey, its costs money, the price is on the box...if you steel it then tough
  10. Have a stable OS running and great support/Have their GUI look like they want.Skins, don't use them however have seen plenty in use
  11. XGL or AIGLX
  12. grep filesfind in files, from the GUI none the less
  13. Code highlighting in default text editorOnly amatures use a text editor to write code, see FREE Visual Studio development environment above
  14. Easy remote desktop-ing out of the box Remote Desktop, even easier than Ubunutu
  15. Their shoelaces.Windows users wear flip flops, there easy and they work
  16. Keep track of where they left their collection of hardware drivers.On the internet, only a google away
  17. Open a file with no extension.Yeah, you got me there, BIG down side that one
  18. Have paths more than 255 char long.And have the time too type those characters at the command thanks!
  19. Run their entire OS from a cd.Because....Ubuntu can? Ubuntu only does it so you can check that it will ACTUALL work with you computer, not a good sign
  20. Have a separate home partition so that ones settings stay the same from one install to the the other.More than one install? An average user?
  21. Play OGG files. Along with dozens of other multimedia formats.Ogg can be played with free decoder in Windows Media Player, why anyone would bother is another ?

Someone had to do it, the list was so poor, and the effort was not worth it...but someone had to do it.

Simple things Windows users can't do - Ubuntu Forums

Monday, July 28, 2008

Download Google Toolbar 3.1.20080605W for Firefox 3.0 Support » My Digital Life

Firefox 3, a new generation of web browser has been officially launched and available for public download on June 17th 2008. With the new Firefox version 3 release, security requirements for add-on and extensions have been tighten, breaking lots of the extensions, add-on, toolbar and others to be disabled due to incompatibility and not support FF3.

One of the affected add-on is Google Toolbar version 3.0.20070525L. Old version of Google Toolbar is automatically disabled when FF 3.0 is run due to incompatibility. And user cannot reinstall or re-enable the older version of Google Toolbar too with the following dialog message.

Google Toolbar for Firefox 3.0.20070525L could not be installed because it is not compatible with Firefox 3.0

Now, the Firefox 3.0 (FF3) supported Google Toolbar version 3.1.20080605W is now available for download and install, directly from Google Toolbar homepage. When browsing to the Google Toolbar site, it will automatically detects the type and version of web browser user used, and serve the corresponding version of Google Toolbar. Normally the detection will be correct, but if for some reason the Google website still trying to feed you with not compatible older version Google Toolbar for Firefox 2 (FF2), then using the following direct link to download and install Google Toolbar in Firefox 3.

Google Toolbar for Firefox 3

Mac OS X:

For information, the following is the version of Google Toolbar for Firefox 2 direct download and install link.

Mac OS X:

Download Google Toolbar 3.1.20080605W for Firefox 3.0 Support

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Remember The Milk

Just a few things you can do with Remember The Milk...

Manage tasks quickly and easily.
Manage tasks quickly and easily.
An intuitive interface makes managing tasks fun. Set due dates easily with next Friday or in 2 weeks. Extensive keyboard shortcuts make task management quicker than ever.
Get reminded, anywhere.
Get reminded, anywhere.
Receive reminders via email, SMS, and instant messenger (AIM, Gadu-Gadu, Google Talk, ICQ, Jabber, MSN, Skype and Yahoo! are all supported).
Organize the way you want to.
Organize the way you want to.
Are you a list lover? Create as many lists as you need. Into tagging? Use the task cloud to easily see what you have to do. Want to store notes along with your tasks? You can do that too.
Locate your tasks.
Locate your tasks.
Use the map to see where your tasks are located in the real world. See what's nearby or on your way, and plan the best way to get things done.
Work together to get things done.
Work together to get things done.
Share, send and publish tasks and lists with your contacts or the world. Remind your significant other to do their household chores.
Add tasks wherever you are.
Add tasks wherever you are.
Adding tasks is as simple as firing off an email (even from your phone). See an important date on the web? Add it to your list with Quick Add.
Take your tasks with you.
Take your tasks with you.
Access your tasks on your web-enabled mobile device. Print your entire list or a handy weekly planner which shows upcoming tasks. View your tasks on your calendar with Apple iCal or Google Calendar. Subscribe to feeds with Atom/RSS.
Plan your time.
Plan your time.
See what's due today and tomorrow, and the things you've missed. Prioritize, estimate your time, and postpone with ease. Set tasks to repeat every week or after 2 months.
Search your tasks the smart way.
Search your tasks the smart way.
Find the tasks you want with advanced searching. Save your searches as Smart Lists, and easily see tasks that match your desired criteria.
Enjoy getting organized.
Enjoy getting organized.
The helpful 'undo' feature means you never need to worry about making a mistake. So signup, start playing, and discover Remember The Milk.

Remember The Milk

Friday, July 18, 2008

How to Install Media Codecs for Flash, DVD, QuickTime (MOV), MP3, WMV, WMA, and ACC (MP4, M4A) Playback in Linux [Ubuntu Guide] : Zaphu

How to Install Media Codecs for Flash, DVD, QuickTime (MOV), MP3, WMV, WMA, and ACC (MP4, M4A) Playback in Linux [Ubuntu Guide]

ubuntu guide
Due to copyrights, Ubuntu (currently Hardy Heron 8.04) is distributed without codecs to play many of the most prevalent media formats including DVD video (unencrypted and encrypted), Flash (.swf and .flv extensions), QuickTime movies (.mov ), MP3s (.mp3), Windows Media Audio and Video (.wma and .wmv), and unencrypted ACC files (.acc, .mp4, and .m4a). Luckily, these codecs are easy to install. This guide shows you how.

How to Install Media Codecs for Flash, DVD, QuickTime (MOV), MP3, WMV, WMA, and ACC (MP4, M4A) Playback in Linux [Ubuntu Guide] : Zaphu

Monday, July 14, 2008

CustomizeGoogle: Improve Your Google Experience -- Firefox Extension

CustomizeGoogle is a Firefox extension that enhances Google search results by adding extra information (like links to Yahoo,, MSN etc) and removing unwanted information (like ads and spam).


CustomizeGoogle: Improve Your Google Experience -- Firefox Extension

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Operating Systems and Airlines

Different operating systems. Different styles. But what if the quirks and styles of the different operating systems were applied to AIRLINES?

What if airlines ran things the way operating systems do? This humorous analogy, applying operating system philosophies as if they were airlines, is a long-standing much-circulated amusing story, and we'd credit the author if we knew who wrote it!

If Operating Systems Ran The Airlines...

UNIX Airways

Everyone brings one piece of the plane along when they come to the airport. They all go out on the runway and put the plane together piece by piece, arguing non-stop about what kind of plane they are supposed to be building.


Everybody pushes the airplane until it glides, then they jump on and let the plane coast until it hits the ground again. Then they push again, jump on again, and so on...

Mac Airlines

All the stewards, captains, baggage handlers, and ticket agents look and act exactly the same. Every time you ask questions about details, you are gently but firmly told that you don't need to know, don't want to know, and everything will be done for you without your ever having to know, so just shut up.

Windows Air

The terminal is pretty and colourful, with friendly stewards, easy baggage check and boarding, and a smooth take-off. After about 10 minutes in the air, the plane explodes with no warning whatsoever.

Windows NT Air

Just like Windows Air, but costs more, uses much bigger planes, and takes out all the other aircraft within a 40-mile radius when it explodes.

Windows XP Air

You turn up at the airport,which is under contract to only allow XP Air planes. All the aircraft are identical, brightly coloured and three times as big as they need to be. The signs are huge and all point the same way. Whichever way you go, someone pops up dressed in a cloak and pointed hat insisting you follow him. Your luggage and clothes are taken off you and replaced with an XP Air suit and suitcase identical to everyone around you as this is included in the exorbitant ticket cost. The aircraft will not take off until you have signed a contract. The inflight entertainment promised turns out to be the same Mickey Mouse cartoon repeated over and over again. You have to phone your travel agent before you can have a meal or drink. You are searched regularly throughout the flight. If you go to the toilet twice or more you get charged for a new ticket. No matter what destination you booked you will always end up crash landing at Whistler in Canada.

OSX Air:

You enter a white terminal, and all you can see is a woman sitting in the corner behind a white desk, you walk up to get your ticket. She smiles and says "Welcome to OS X Air, please allow us to take your picture", at which point a camera in the wall you didn't notice before takes your picture. "Thank you, here is your ticket" You are handed a minimalistic ticket with your picture at the top, it already has all of your information. A door opens to your right and you walk through. You enter a wide open space with one seat in the middle, you sit, listen to music and watch movies until the end of the flight. You never see any of the other passengers. You land, get off, and you say to yourself "wow, that was really nice, but I feel like something was missing"

Windows Vista Airlines:

You enter a good looking terminal with the largest planes you have ever seen. Every 10 feet a security officer appears and asks you if you are "sure" you want to continue walking to your plane and if you would like to cancel. Not sure what cancel would do, you continue walking and ask the agent at the desk why the planes are so big. After the security officer making sure you want to ask the question and you want to hear the answer, the agent replies that they are bigger because it makes customers feel better, but the planes are designed to fly twice as slow. Adding the size helped achieve the slow fly goal.

Once on the plane, every passenger has to be asked individually by the flight attendants if they are sure they want to take this flight. Then it is company policy that the captain asks the passengers collectively the same thing. After answering yes to so many questions, you are punched in the face by some stranger who when he asked "Are you sure you want me to punch you in the face? Cancel or Allow?" you instinctively say "Allow".

After takeoff, the pilots realize that the landing gear driver wasn't updated to work with the new plane. Therefore it is always stuck in the down position. This forces the plane to fly even slower, but the pilots are used to it and continue to fly the planes, hoping that soon the landing gear manufacturer will give out a landing gear driver update.

You arrive at your destination wishing you had used your reward miles with XP airlines rather than trying out this new carrier. A close friend, after hearing your story, mentions that Linux Air is a much better alternative and helps.

Linux Air

Disgruntled employees of all the other OS airlines decide to start their own airline. They build the planes, ticket counters, and pave the runways themselves. They charge a small fee to cover the cost of printing the ticket, but you can also download and print the ticket yourself.

When you board the plane, you are given a seat, four bolts, a wrench and a copy of the seat-HOWTO.html. Once settled, the fully adjustable seat is very comfortable, the plane leaves and arrives on time without a single problem, the in-flight meal is wonderful. You try to tell customers of the other airlines about the great trip, but all they can say is, "You had to do what with the seat?

Operating Systems and Airlines