Linux Mint 14 Nadia

I quite liked Ubuntu Quantal Quetzal. However, I found it very buggy, with apps and the compiz thing crashing and asking me to relauch. The other problem was the inability to relocate the Unity panel to the bottom or top. So, sadly, I had to move over to Linux Mint. The latest version is called Nadia and it is Mint 14. I prefer to use the Cinnamon desktop although Linux Mate (Gnome2 fork) is also available. I will be posting a screencast in the video page of this web site.

Linux on Pendrive

I have tried installing several flavors of Linux on a 16GB USB stick. The following distros were tried.

  • Lubuntu 11.10
    Mandriva 2011
    Fedora 15
    Fedora 16
    Archbang Linux Live CD on Multi-boot
    LPS Live CD on Multi-boot
    OPenSuSe 12.1
  • This blog describes my trials and tribulations in installing Linux on a pen-drive. Initially all the above were downloaded as live cds (ISO files)on my Ubuntu 11.10 desktop. I downloaded the multi-boot system application and put all the live cds on a 4gb pen-drive. My PCs BIOS was altered to boot from USB. This gave me the boot menu on booting my PC, from which I could choose the distro I wanted to test drive. The 4gb pen-drive still has LPS and Archbang on it. I use it where security is important.

    Next, I tried all the above(except LPS and Archbang) on Ubuntu’s UNETBOOTIN. While Lubuntu worked like a charm, unfortunately, the USB failed to boot with others.The best option was to have the full-blown distro installed on a16gb pen-drive. I have now got both Fedora 15 and Fedora 16 as well as PCLINUX burned on cds.I have yet to try out Mandriva and openSuSe. At this point you might ask why not install in Oracle’s virtual box? Well, I do have Peppermint 2011 installed in virtual box and it is lightning-fast. However, my dual-core Medion Athalon 64-bit PC has only 2gigs of RAM. So a modern Gnome or/ KDE desktop runs rather slowly in virtual box. Hence the wish to try running an operating system from USB. The next section describes how Fedora and PCLINUX were installed on USB pen-drives and how they performed from the pen-drives.


    The downloaded ISO was burned onto a CD with k3b(Brasero will also do the job if you are on Linux; from windows OS you might use Nero or any other CD-burning software; remember that you need to burn the image not a data CD). Inserted a 16gb pen-drive in the usb port and rebooted with the CD in the CD-ROM. The entire live Cd runs off your PC’s RAM, so you need more than a gig of RAM. Every Linux live CD offers the option of installing the OS on to your hard drive. Just click on the icon and follow the on-screen instructions. After selecting the language and region, the instructions will ask you, where you want to install the OS. Both the internal hard-drive and the pen-drive will appear in the window. I chose the pen-drive as the option and also selected the pen-drive for loading the grub boot loader. It took about 10 minutes to install. Rebooted and voila a full PCLINUX XFCE desktop on a USB stick. I even managed to update the packages in no time. It boots in a minute and is quite fast. I wonder what it will be like in performance with USB 3 and DDR3 RAM? The obvious advantage is that it is portable. The disadvantage is that unlike Virtual Box, there is no seamless integration with host OS.


    Upgrade to Ubuntu Oneiric Ocelot aka Ubuntu 11.10

    On Friday, 14th October, On booting Ubuntu 11.04, I was presented with the option of upgrading to Oneiric Ocelot.
    However, the upgrade did not work, presumably because the Ubuntu servers must have been busy. I was again presented with the upgrade option on Monday the 17th. This time the upgrade worked. It took an hour and a half to upgrade. It all went smoothly. I changed the appearance (from system settings in the shut down wheel icon) to “high contrast”. The shut down wheel and the volume icons disappeared from the right-hand corner of the top panel. I thought that was a bug in Ocelot. Trawled the Google search for a solution to no avail. Today on 19th October, changed the appearance to “Ambiance” . Low and behold the two missing icons reappeared. I am quite pleased with the upgrade.
    Ocelot looks great. The Ubuntu Dash Home icon has been moved from the top panel to the unity launcher. The application and files and folders lenses have been removed from Ocelot.
    The only other application that doesn’t work is Gwibber. It refuses to refresh. I have installed Hotot for now, to look at tweets. The rest is fine. I think I will get used to Oneiric Ocelot.

    Ubuntu 11.10 Logo
    Ubuntu Oneiric Ocelot

    How to delete recent history in Natty

    Recent history shows up in the files and folders lens in the Unity Launcher. To delete
    the recent history, open the terminal and type:
    sudo rm ~/.local/share/zeitgeist/activity.sqlite
    sudo zeitgeist-daemon –replace
    After that close terminal, log out and log in again.
    Alternatively, you can install activity log manager, as detailed below:
    sudo add-apt-repository ppa:zeitgeist/ppa
    sudo apt-get update
    sudo apt-get upgrade
    zeitgeist-daemon –replace
    sudo apt-get install activity-log-manager
    Then look for the application in the applications lens.

    How to Change Icon size in the Unity Launcher

    Either install compiz-settings-manager from Ubuntu Software Center or open terminal and paste the following two lines.
    $ sudo apt-get update
    $ sudo apt-get install compizconfig-settings-manager
    After installing compizconfig-settings-manager, click on the shut down icon at the far right-hand of the top panel and then click on the “system settings”. In system settings in the Personal group, look for compiz-settings-manager and click on it.
    In the resulting window look for Desktop and then unity plugin. Click on it. Next click on “Experimental”. In Experimental look for Launcher icon size. It is a slider. The icon size is set at 48 but can be reduced to 32. There are other things such as panel transparency which can be altered.

    The Unity Desktop

    With Ubuntu 11.04 aka Natty Narwhal, Mark Shuttleworth’s team parted with the Gnome Desktop and decided to go with the Unity Desktop. I was quite happy with Gnome and I am also happy with Unity; for that matter I also like Kubuntu’s KDE. Its a matter of getting used to the way applications are organized on the desktop.
    The Unity Desktop:
    1 All icons, the tray at the bottom right-hand, the start button and the applications, places and system on the top panel of Gnome Desktop are missing.
    2 Shortcut Icons for all applications, files and folder are called lenses and are ported to the left-hand panel; thus leaving the desktop completely bare.
    3 The left-hand panel is now called The Launcher.
    4 On my Desktop, The Launcher contains:
    a) The Ubuntu Icon at the very top, which when clicked opens a dashboard with various shortcuts for applications for documents, music, shotwell photo manager, video( totem movie player by default), Internet applications, browser and email client and Banshee music player. It also has a search-bar to type in anything or any application you might want to look for.
    b) This is followed by the Home folder lens which is self explanatory. Right click of the mouse reveals sub-folders for Downloads, Documents, Music, Video, etc. It is the same home folder as in Gnome.
    c) The next lens is for Libre Office. Clicking it opens LibreOffice writer. Right clicking it
    reveals, writer, calc or spreadsheet, math, draw and Impress the presentation software.
    d) The Ubuntu software center allows one-click installation of any software from the Ubuntu repository.
    e) Ubuntu One: Ubuntu provides free 5 gigabyte storage in the cloud. Useful for backing up important documents. If you need more storage space, you can purchase it from Ubuntu.
    f) I have also moved shortcut icons for Opera, Chrome and Skype to the Launcher. You can drag shortcuts for any application to the Launcher. For this you will have to reduce the size of the shortcut icons from 48 to something like 32. The next blog will describe how to do this.
    g) Desktop Recorder: I quite like this application. You can make a video clip of the desktop with it. You can see it in action below:
    h) CheckGMail: This one informs me if there is new mail in my gmail account.
    i) I downloaded this application to keep a diary of my daily activity. Every application installed via the software centre offers the option to add it to the launcher.
    j) This is a work place switcher which permits use of 4 workplaces to work on different applications in each work space.
    k) Applications: Double clicking it opens a dashboard with all the installed applications a searchbar. If the applications not installed, the dashboard gives the option of downloading it from Software Centre. Right clicking shows the various groups of applications.
    l) The last one is for files and folders. It also shows recently used files and folders. If you want to remove recent files and folders there is a way of doing this. Watch this space for the method.

    Ububtu Natty Narwhal (11.04)

    I was trying to change the header in the WordPress theme. I some how managed to mess up the permissions on the var folder. Tried all sorts of things but Natty won’t boot. So had to do a reinstall. Everything’s fine now.