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How to install Cinnamon on Ubuntu 12.04

To me Ubuntu 12.04 is the best version of the distro so far.  It is stable, fast and very easy to use and before anyone asks yes I do like Unity.  Even though I like Unity I prefer Cinnamon which is one of the reasons I have been using Linux Mint recently.  Then I came up with an idea why not install my favourite desktop on the parent distro instead of its offspring?  This is how to do it.


The first thing we need to do is add a repository as Cinnamon isn’t in the default ones which come with Ubuntu. Open up a terminal and type the following:

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:gwendal-lebihan-dev/cinnamon-stable

Now type the following one line at a time:

sudo apt-get update

sudo apt-get install cinnamon

Now all you need to do is log out and choose Cinnamon from the logout screen and voila Ubuntu will load your new desktop.

ubuntu_cinnamon

 

About the Author

P1020114

Hi I am Chris Wakefield the owner of ComTech IT Support. I provide Windows and Linux based IT Support, laptop repairs and computer repairs to both business and personal clients in and around Stirling.

For a list of what I can offer you why not visit my website www.comtech247.net where you will find a list of my services, testimonials, blog and much more!!

How to set up software RAID on Ubuntu 12.04


Today I will show you how to set up software RAID on Ubuntu 12.04.  It is always better to use hardware RAID over software RAID as this minimizes system resources but if you are installing Ubuntu 12.04 on a system where there is no hardware RAID available (ie older hardware) then this is the method you need.  This tutorial uses Ubuntu 12.04 but should work on all the major distributions.

For the purpose of this tutorial I will be using 2*500 Gb hard drives and setting up a RAID 1 array.

Boot the system from the Live CD.  Once booted up open up the terminal as we need to check what our two disks are called so type:

sudo fdisk -l

Write down the designations of the two disks (e.g /dev/sda) as we are going to need these later.

Now we need to install a couple of packages.  The first we need to install is gparted so type:

sudo apt-get install gparted

The next is mdadm so type:

sudo apt-get install mdadm

Ok now we need to create partition tables and filesystems on our disks and we do this by using gparted.  In the terminal type:

sudo gparted

which will open up gparted as root allowing you to modify the partitions on the disks.  On both disks create a whole disk partition with ext4 as the filesystem.  This tutorial will show you how.

Once that is done you can close down gparted and we can go about setting up the array.

In your terminal type the following:

sudo mdadm –create –verbose /dev/md0 –level=1 –raid-devices=2 /dev/sda /dev/sdb

NOTE: There are two dashes infront of create, verbose, level and raid

In the above command:

level=1 is the raid level (in this case Mirror)

raid-devices=2 is the number of hard disks in the array

/dev/sda and /dev/sdb are the disks to be used (obtained earlier using fdisk)

If successful then you should get mdadm: array /dev/md0 started

Now we just to check the array so in your terminal type:

mdadm –detail –scan (again using two dashes)

This command should return details of the array we have just set up.

Now on to the install.  You need to install Ubuntu 12.04 the usual way from the CD until you get to the disk partitioning section where instead of using the default “Use entire disk” choose Manual.

When you choose Manual you should see /dev/md0 as one of the available disks.  You will need to specify a mount point (/) and a swap file onto it and then choose it to install Ubuntu 12.04 onto.  Follow the wizard for the rest of the install.

Once Ubuntu 12.04 has been installed reboot the system and you should now have a RAID 1 array set up.

About the Author

P1020114

Hi I am Chris Wakefield the owner of ComTech IT Support. I provide Windows and Linux based IT Support, laptop repairs and computer repairs to both business and personal clients throughout Stirling, Falkirk and Clackmannanshire.

For a list of what I can offer you why not visit my website www.comtech247.net where you will find a list of my services, testimonials, blog and much more!!

 

 

How open source software is helping to run my business


Today I will show you the virtues of opensource software and how I am using it to run my business.

So what is Opensource software?

Opensource software is software that is written by developers (either individuals or companies) and then distributed freely to anyone who wants it (i.e no license fees).  You are then able to modify the software to your hearts content so that it does exactly what you want.  The developers get paid by providing support to companies that want it.

So what software do I use?

My main server

The bulk of the processing power behind ComTech is my main server running Ubuntu Server 12.04 with 8Gb of RAM.  Ubuntu is a Linux distribution (think Windows but free) that is easy to use and has virtually no virus problems (very handy that).  It is also very versatile in that it can be fine tuned to provide any service you want without having to pay extra license fees.

Desktops

I run various desktops but not in the traditional sense.  I run them as virtual machines using Oracle Virtualbox.  Virtualbox allows me to run multiple operating systems at the same time on the same machine.  For example I do the bulk of my work on a Linux Mint 13 desktop (another Linux distribution which is very easy to use) but I also have Windows 7, Windows XP and Windows Vista virtual desktops ready to be fired up when the need arises.  If I need to test a piece of software on Windows 7 I would fire up the Windows 7 virtual machine, test the software and then shut it back down again.  All of this is done on one machine which in this case is my main server.  Virtualbox is a very handy piece of software and guess what it is also free!!

Word Processing (productivity in general)

I use a piece of software called Libreoffice (think Microsoft Office but without the license fee).  It looks and feels (for the most part) like you are using Office and is fully compatible with Office so any document you create in Libreoffice can be opened up and edited in Office itself.

Printing

I have an Edimax MFN print server set up which allows my HP Deskjet F380 printer (old but still going strong) to be shared across the network to any system without the need to be attached to a computer (attaches to the router instead).  It works flawlessly with my Linux operating systems but still has issues with Windows 7 (which I haven’t ironed out yet!!).

Netbook 

I have an Asus Eeepc 701 SD netbook which I bought back in 2008 to use when solving IT issues at clients premises.  The specs on the netbook aren’t great however it runs Lubuntu 12.04 (another Linux distribution – see a pattern?) and has bombproof build quality (it has been dropped multiple times and is kid proof!!).  It is perfect for configuring routers, checking wireless connectivity or browsing the internet.  I am even writing this blog on it while sitting in a coffee shop in Stirling.

Internet

I don’t like Internet Explorer – fact.  I find it has too many configurable items which if configured incorrectly can really bugger up a system.  Don’t like the interface either so instead I use either Mozilla Firefox or Google Chrome.  Now Firefox is fully opensource while Chrome is classed as freeware which is slightly different.  Either way both are superior to Internet Explorer in  my experience.

Backups

I am anal when it comes to backups (it is my job so I have to).  I have an onsite backup server running FreeNAS and also employ online strorage using Dropbox.  FreeNAS is fully opensource and is an operating system specifically designed for backing up data and runs on pretty much any piece of hardware ever made.  I have it running on a Pentium 4 machine with 512 Mb of RAM and it has quite happily been supping electric in the corner for the last two years with no issues.  Dropbox on the other hand is proprietary software where you pay a monthly subscription.  While it is not opensource I have yet to find a product which comes close to it.

Firewall

Every computer needs a firewall and my systems are no different.  I have chosen to go down the Linux Firewall distribution route which basically installs an operating system onto a spare computer and in effect turns it into a hardware firewall.  My firewall of choice at the moment is Smoothwall Express 3.0 which I run in a virtual machine (don’t have any spare computers lying around).  It is even configured to boot whenever the server restarts thereby not leaving my systems unprotected.  By using a Firewall distribution I can protect my entire network rather than only individual systems.

About the Author

Hi I am Chris Wakefield the owner of ComTech IT Support. I provide Windows and Linux based IT Support, laptop repairs and computer repairs to both business and personal clients in and around Stirling.

For a list of what I can offer you why not visit my website www.comtech247.net where you will find a list of my services, testimonials, blog and much more.

How to recover deleted files on a Linux system


Last week we had a look at recovering lost files on a Windows system so this week we shall have a look at recovering deleted files on a Linux system instead.  For the purpose of this tutorial I will be using a Linux Mint 13 live CD to recover files from a Ubuntu 12.04 system but the steps are the same for all the major distributions.

NOTE:

The partition from which you are attempting to recover files MUST BE UNMOUNTED hence why I am using a live CD.

Boot the system from the live CD. When the desktop environment is reached you will need to install a package called extundelete (you can install a limited number of packages when using a live CD) so open up a terminal and type:

sudo apt-get install extundelete

Once installed we need to check the designations of the partitions on the hard drive so type:

sudo fdisk -l

For the purpose of this tutorial I will attempt to recover deleted files from the /dev/sda1 partition so in your terminal type:

sudo extundelete /dev/sda1 –restore-all

This will locate any deleted files on the /dev/sda1 partition and restore them to a directory called ‘Recovered Files‘.

About the Author

P1020114

Hi I’m Chris Wakefield the owner of ComTech IT Support. I provide Windows, Mac and Linux based IT Support to small businesses in Stirling, Alloa and Falkirk.

Follow @Comtech247 on Twitter

 

How to format a hard drive using GParted


Yesterday I showed you how to format a hard drive using FDisk but a lot of people are not comfortable using the command line so today I will show you how to use GParted – which uses a GUI.

For the purpose of this tutorial I will be using GParted on Ubuntu 12.04 and formatting a 131Mb USB penstick (remember those!!) with ntfs.  GParted is not installed by default on most Linux distributions so either download and install it using your package manager or open up a terminal and type:

sudo apt-get install gparted

Type your password when prompted.  When you open up GParted you should get a screenshot similar to the one below.

First thing we need to check is that the hard drive is not mounted so highlight it, right click and go to unmount.

Now we need to clear any existing partitions on the hard drive so again highlight the drive and click on Delete the selected partition (shown below).

Now it is time to make a new partition so click on Partition and then New.

For the purpose of this tutorial I will be using the whole device and changing File System to ntfs.  When you are happy click Add.  You will then be asked to confirm your selection.

All that is left to do is apply the operation so click on Apply All Operations (shown below)

GParted will now format the hard drive and install the ntfs file system on it.

About the Author

P1020114

Hi I’m Chris Wakefield the owner of ComTech IT Support. I provide Windows, Mac and Linux based IT Support to small businesses in Stirling, Alloa and Falkirk.

Follow @Comtech247 on Twitter

 

How to set up a basic Web Server on Ubuntu 12.04


This tutorial will show you how to set up a basic web server. For this tutorial I have used Ubuntu 12.04 LTS but the steps work the same on any Linux distribution.

Ok first thing to do is give your server a static ip address.  This tutorial will show you how.  Once done it is time to download the software you will need so open up a terminal and install the following packages:

apache2 php5-mysql libapache2-mod-php5 mysql-server

During the install process MySQL will ask you for a root password.  Make this something complex but do not forget it!!!

Once installed open up a web browser and type http://your-server-address (e.g http://192.168.1.3) and you will see the message IT WORKS! This means that you have a working web server.

Now it is time to add some content to your server.  All apache servers store their web data at /var/www but as default you can not write to this folder.  Open up a terminal and type:

sudo nautilus

Enter your password when prompted.  Navigate to /var and right click on www.  Then go to properties.  Add yourself as either the owner or group and give yourself “create and delete files folder access“.

Next thing to do is to download some ftp software.  Personally I recommend Filezilla. Open up a terminal and type:

sudo apt-get install filezilla

Once installed connect to your existing web server and transfer your files into /var/www.

Congratulations!! Your website is now hosted on your new server but it will not yet be visible from the internet.  Most networks sit behind a router which acts as a firewall, so to make your website visible you will need to forward http packets from your router to your server by opening up port 80 and redirecting it to your servers new ip address. Portforward.com is a good starting point to understand port forwarding.

You will also need to speak to your ISP about getting a static ip address for your router. Without this you will not be able to access your site everytime your ip address changes.

And that is it!! You now have a basic web server from which to host your own website.

About the Author

Hi I am Chris Wakefield the owner of ComTech IT Support. I provide Windows and Linux based IT Support, laptop repairs and computer repairs to both business and personal clients in and around Stirling.

For a list of what I can offer you why not visit my website www.comtech247.net where you will find a list of my services, testimonials, blog and much more.

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