Compiling ghostscript 8.71 from sources

In a recent project, where we are working on converting PDF based newspapers to interactive image slideshows, we came across an issue with ghostscript version 9.05. This version was breaking rendering of some Marathi fonts present in PDF.

When tested on ghostscript version 8.71, conversion was working properly. So we decided to downgrade ghostscript from version 9.05 to 8.71 on our server running Ubuntu 12.04 LS. Below are steps we followed.

Compiling ghostscript 8.71 from sources

Download sources from http://downloads.ghostscript.com/public/

wget http://downloads.ghostscript.com/public/ghostscript-8.71.tar.gz

Uncompress downloaded source code & change to directory.

tar xvf ghostscript-8.71.tar.gz
cd ghostscript-8.71

Configure it (I used all defaults)

./configure

Start compilation with

make

If you encounter following error:

./base/gp_unix.c:148:2: warning: implicit declaration of function ‘gettimeofday’ [-Wimplicit-function-declaration]
make: *** [obj/gp_unix.o] Error 1

Compile using

make XCFLAGS=-DHAVE_SYS_TIME_H=1

Finally install compiled binaries using

make install

At this point you will ghostscript will be installed at /usr/local/bin/gs

There are other methods to install old versions also, but compilation is safer alternative IMHO.

About the project:

rtCamp is working on an exciting project to connect WordPress with conventional newspaper publishing. The project is in early stages and a sample can be seen at http://anandnagri.com/e-paper/22-aug-2012-3/ (Note: you may see some text in images broken if you visit this on Aug 24 or Aug 25 as all images are recreated using ghostscript 8.71 right now)

 

Change Ubuntu Server Timezone

If you are using a Ubuntu VPS or dedicated server, then you may have noticed emails coming from server doesn’t match your local timezone.

Below are 2 methods to quickly fix this issue…

Method#1 – Interactive Mode

Just run following command…

dpkg-reconfigure tzdata

and it will show a list of timezone from where you can select your timezone

Method#2 – Non-Interactive mode

In this method you need to provide value of timezone manually.You can find timezone values here.

sudo echo "Asia/Calcutta" > /etc/timezone
sudo dpkg-reconfigure --frontend noninteractive tzdata

After running above command I got following output:

Current default time zone: 'Asia/Kolkata'
Local time is now: Thu Jul 12 18:56:32 IST 2012.
Universal Time is now: Thu Jul 12 13:26:32 UTC 2012.

Why 2 methods?

Non-interactive way comes handy if you want to change timezone programatically. ;-)

Ubuntu Server + CrashPlan + Backup + Remote Management using Mac

We already use rsanpshot for backups. But its always feel safe to have more than one kind of backup.

For other type of backup, we use Crashplan. They support all major platforms, provides many options and have their service decently priced. It will take a separate post to list down all things I like about Crashplan so lets get back to work here!

What I wanted to do:

  1. Run Crashplan on Ubuntu Headless Server.
  2. Manage it using Crashplan desktop software on my Mac.
I guess you can start remote X session or something like that on a Ubuntu server but that will be overkill for server. Specially when you can achieve above tasks in just 2 minutes using following commands.

Preparation

Crashplan on Ubuntu will need Java Runtime (JRE). Crashplan can install it itself but I prefer to have more control over which JRE I end up putting on our server. They have almost 5 version of JAVA for Ubuntu!

Anyway, just run following command as root user or with sudo access:

apt-get install openjdk-7-jre-headless

Install Crashplan

Next, we will install Crashplan directly.

Go to Crashplan site, select Linux version and copy-download link to grab latest Crashplan version. Crashplan 3.2.1 is latest as of July 2012.

Run following commands to download, uncompress and install CrashPlan or CrashPlan+

wget http://download.crashplan.com/installs/linux/install/CrashPlan/CrashPlan_3.2.1_Linux.tgz
tar -zxvf CrashPlan_3.2.1_Linux.tgz
cd CrashPlan-install
./install.sh

If you are using CrashPlan PRO, use following…

wget http://download.crashplan.com/installs/linux/install/CrashPlanPRO/CrashPlanPRO_3.5.3_Linux.tgz
tar -zxvf CrashPlanPRO_3.5.3_Linux.tgz
cd CrashPlanPRO-install
./install.sh

Installer will ask you for many questions. Just keep hitting enter keys. Defaults options are all good to go ahead!

At this point Crashplan is running on your Ubuntu Server but it’s not backing anything yet! We will use Crashplan’s Desktop edition for Mac to start backup.

Troubleshooting

If your installation ends with warning:

Your Linux system is currently configured to watch 8192 files in real time.
We recommend using a larger value; see the CrashPlan support site for details

Then you need to tweak sysctl file:

/etc/sysctl.d/custom.conf

Add…

fs.inotify.max_user_watches=1048576

Save changes…

sysctl -p

Remote Management UI (using Mac)

Go to Crashplan’s site. This time download Crashplan for Mac & Install it.

If you have started Crashplan after installation, quit it.

Open terminal to edit Crashplan config file…

vim /Applications/CrashPlan.app/Contents/Resources/Java/conf/ui.properties

You can use any text-editor in case you don’e like Vim.

Find a line like below:

#servicePort=4243

Change it to:

servicePort=4200

Note that we have changed port number from 4243 to 4200 (in case you thought we just uncomment it!).

Save file. Exit vim.

Create SSH Tunnel from your mac to remote Ubuntu server using a command-like below:

ssh -L 4200:localhost:4243 username@hostname

Replace username and hostname with your a real username on your hostname. You can put your server IP address also.

After you run above command, you will be logged into a shell on your server. Keep it running as its connecting your desktop crashplan to your server crashplan!

Finally, you can start your Crashplan on Mac and configure backup for your Ubuntu Server!

In case you are already using Crashplan to manage your Mac’s local backup:

  • You will need to exit from shell (to break connection)
  • comment-out “servicePort” line in Crashplan config
  • Restrat Crashplan so it will work with Mac’s local config

There is no easy-way to switch between local & remote machines. (Atleast at the time of writing this…)

[How To] Create a Live USB of your Favorite Linux Distro

Well, after enjoying the power of Windows 7, I decided to go back to some of my favorite Linux flavors. I like testing out different flavors of Linux and my favorite is Ubuntu. I like it because it’s robust, the community is large enough to provide you with help and the software is easily available.

With the new release of Fedora 14, came many online debates about which one is better- Ubuntu or Fedora? So I decided to try out Fedora.

If you have never tried any Linux, I would recommend you to do so now! Here is a quick tutorial which will help you run or install a linux distro using a Flash/Pen Drive.

Things You Need

  1. A good computer with a fast internet connection to download the disk image of the Linux you want to try. Distros are usually 600-700 Mb
  2. A Pen Drive(1GB minimum)
  3. A Brain! (just kidding, it’s as simple as 1-2-3)

NOTE: The USB key will be formatted, so don’t forget to backup the data in the USB you’re going to use.

Install Linux Live USB Creator

There are many ways to make a USB drive bootable, but the simplest way to do so is using a tool called Linux Live USB Creator which will not only make your Flash Drive bootable, but will also help you extract ISO image and make the Flash Drive ready for Linux Installation. Download Linux Live USB Creator from here and open the software

liliusb

Follow the Steps below:

  1. Choose your Flash Drive/ Pen Drive – If it’s not listed, make sure that your Pen/Flash Drive is connected to your computer and then click on the Refresh button on the side).
  2. Choose a Source - If you’ve downloaded the ISO Image, then click on ISO/IMG/ZIP and browse to select your ISO Image(example- Fedora.ISO). If you have the CD of the Linux Distro then click on CD. If you want to download the distro, then click on Download and choose the Linux Distro you want to download and then choose between Manual and Automatic Download.
  3. Persistence mode is used to store the application, log files, information on the USB so that you don’t have to install applications every time you insert the USB in a new computer. This mode can be used by few of the Linux Distros. If you want to install the Distro in your computer then there is no need to use persistence mode.
  4. If you want to Hide the Linux files on the USB then check on the Hide Created Files on Key Option. Check the Format the key in FAT32 format option. If you want to try the Linux without rebooting your computer, check the third option, this will download some files from it’s server and will run the Linux distro in a Virtual Box.
  5. Click on The lightning icon to start the installation process. Now, LiLi will extract the files from the ISO image and then your USB will be ready to use.
  6. After this, shut down the computer and then start it with USB Key connected to the drive. As soon as the Splash Screen of your motherboard appears, press F2 ( Or the key used to access BIOS settings).
  7. Now, go to BOOT Option and then Enable Boot From USB First or anything similar to this term. After enabling it, Save and Exit from the BIOS and now, you’re done! You will now see the booting screen of your Linux Distro and then run the install (if you want to install), and if you don’t want to install it, then start exploring it using the live mode. After you install, don’t forget to revert back the changes you did with the BIOS.

NOTE: Many Linux Flavors allow you to install the Linux side by side of Windows. If you want to use Ubuntu, then try Wubi. Wubi is a free application which lets you install Ubuntu side by side of Windows without the hassle of booting from a CD or USB Key.

Link: Linux Live USB Creator

How to hide a file or folder in Linux?

Hiding a folder is a simple way of keeping prying eyes away from your private documents. From a human point of view it’s a good solution; what you can’t see, you don’t know you want. Encrypting a folder can have the opposite effect. The folder is visible and if access is attempted, the need to enter a password positively shouts the message that someone is trying to hide something. This probably explains why there are so many commercial utilities that claim they can securely hide folders.

Hiding a file is pretty simple in Linux ! Its just one step away :)

Steps to hide a folder :

  1. Select the folder you wish to hide and rename it by either clicking F2 in keyboard or by a right click -> Rename..

  2. Add a ‘. ‘ (dot) in front of the name of the folder and press Enter
  3. Press F5 and now you cannot view that folder!

You are done !

Steps to view Hidden Folder :

The following step is used to Show/View the Hidden files.

  1. Just Open the desired directory and press Ctrl+H or Click View->Show Hidden files to view all the hidden files :)


  2. You can test to see if hidden files are being displayed by navigating to other folders
  3. You can Rename the folder anytime by removing ‘.’ from the folder name to revert it back to a normal one !

Now you know how to see all hidden folders on your computer in just a click away.The same Steps can be applied for files too !

If you liked reading this post you might want to check out

Will post more articles for newbies to Linux.:-) What are you views on Linux? Do you use Linux? Drop in your comments.

How to Login as a root user in Ubuntu 10.04

The following steps are very simple and especially for newbies who are completely new to Linux. :-) By logging in as root user, you are making your operating system more vulnerable. Root user has all the administrator privileges so whenever you need to edit system files or configuration from within Gnome, you will feel the need to login to Ubuntu as a root user. There are 2 methods to login as a root user

  • Graphical Method (GUI Method)
  • Command Line Method (CLI Method)

Method 1: GUI Method

Following are the steps to be followed to login as a root user in GUI Mode,

  1. Go to Applications -> Accessories -> Terminal
  2. Type: sudo passwd root
  3. Enter your password of the current user
  4. When you see the prompt that says “Enter new UNIX password”, enter the password you want for the root userand confirm it. [My suggestion is to assign its pswd as “root”]
  5. Type exit to exit the terminal
  6. Restart Ubuntu and wait for the login screen to appear
  7. Click other.. and type User name : root and Password : root

This should work fine and you are done.!

Method 2: CLI Mode

Following are the steps to be followed to login as a root user in CLI Mode,

  1. Go to Applications -> Accessories -> Terminal
  2. Type sudo su (Meaning: superuserdo superuser)
  3. Now you are into root dircetory, You may modify whatever you wish from here if you are familiar with commands.
  4. NOTE: You can also login into other Users from root directory via terminal window by typing the following command login username and Password of the corresponding User you wish to login.
  5. Use the above method with Caution.Read this post for assistance https://help.ubuntu.com/community/RootSudo

Note: Always take a backup of the file  that you wish to alter, so that you may set them back if anything went wrong.

How to configure Microphone in Ubuntu 10.04 and Skype

Lately I have formatted my PC and revamped with the latest Ubuntu 10.04 and it took some time anda effort to make sure my Microphone was working in Ubuntu. Here’s how I did it, based on referring several sources and forums on the internet.

Almost all users must have had problems in setting up microphone initially after successful installation of Linux hence in this article, lets see how to configure microphone in Linux (Ubuntu flavour).

Getting Microphone working in this method is really a child’s play.

Just follow these steps:

Step 1:

Go to System -> Preferences -> Sound.

Step 2:

Click the Hardware tab and you will find the Sound driver to be installed and the selected to the default profile !

Now, we are going to change it to our needs.

Step 3:

Now, Go to Input tab and click Microphone 1 (if mic is connected to the jack 1 – Possibly at the back of CPU) or Microphone 2 (if mic is connected to the jack 2 – Possibly in front of CPU)

Ah, that’s simple and now your Microphone should work fine! Later, I found my mic to be automatically adjusting its volume level and goes down to Zero. :-(

The fourth step is will resolve that problem.

Step 4:

Open Skype (Linux version 2.1 Beta) and follow the screen-shots below.

You must Unselect “Allow Skype to automatically adjust my mixer levels” by removing the tick mark option as below and click Apply followed by Exit.

Fortunately, the above method worked for me, hope it works great for you too. This is not only for Skype, but also for all the other IM Clients like Empathy, etc which needs a microphone.

Have you had this issue and did it work out for you? Have any alternatives? Do drop in your views through your comments.

Order Free Ubuntu Desktop Edition 10.04 Lucid Lynx CD

Ubuntu shipit is back with the new version of Ubuntu 10.04 Lucid Lynx,this time with more new features.

Visit ubuntu shipit and place an order for  latest version CD, shipping might take more then 1 or 2 months so if you have decent fast Internet Connection  you can either download the Ubuntu Desktop Edition Online .

For free order of CD you need to register on shipit.ubuntu and provide your Shipping details including your name,address contact no.after registration you need to verify you account By email notification, if you are existing user you can log in with your details and  place new order for Ubuntu 10.04 CD.

Features of Ubuntu Desktop Edition 10.04

  • Free apps, safe and fast web browsing, a dedicated music store and much more. Ubuntu brings the very best technologies straight to your desktop.
  • Browse the web fast and more safe with Mozilla Firefox.
  • Create professional documents and presentation with Open office.
  • Free software’s,Ubuntu software repository gives to access to download thousands of open source applications.
  • Access to hundred of games.
  • Play edit videos easily with Ubuntu 10.04.
  • Store,view edit photos easily.
  • Mobilize your digital life.
  • Email messaging,social networking, chat made easy.

If you like reading this you might like reading about Linux Get Windows feel with a linux distro and Solution:Accessing Linux files ( partitions) from windows.

Link : Order Free CD | Download | Features

· Browse the web fast and more safe with mozilla firefox.

Ubuntu opportunistic Developer Week

For all the Geeks out there who swear by open source technology , you have a friend in Ubuntu ! Yep , thats right ! Ubuntu , famous for being the most user friendly Linux based operating system , is compiling their second round of developer week ! The  Ubuntu Opportunistic developer conference has been slated to be held from 1st-6th March 2010 , the details for which can be found on Ubuntu`s Home page .

What is the Developer Week ?

Ubuntu
Ubuntu

The Ubuntu Opportunistic Developer week is an Online meeting of aspiring developers and professionals , to help
inexperienced developers develop applications that suits their needs on the Open source framework. The agenda for the developer week this timearound, is to give the  developers  a head start on the various technologies that they will use to build     applications ,  like python tools and frameworks , Bazaar , Launchpad and infrastructure etc.The previous developer week was held from Jan 25th  2010 toJan 29th 2010 .

If you want to be a part of the Developer week you need to register  here .  All the Developer sessions are conducted online.  And if you think you can contribute to any one of the sessions you can drop an email at : jono@ubuntu.com .

The growth of Open source technology has indeed been phenomenal , from web servers to operating systems ! Linux has proven to be a robust operating system and is now barely trailing their competitors Microsoft. So , all you techies out there , pull up your socks and make the most of this Technovanza ! For any other information you can check Ubuntu`s website !

There are empty slots in the upcoming conference . The rough schedule is as follows :

Mon 1st March Tue 2nd March Web 3rd March Thu 4th March Fri 5th March
16.00 UTC
(9:30 PM IST)
Welcome ! Ubuntu for opportunistic developers – Jono Bacon Getting your app in launchpad with Bazaar
– David Futcher
17.00 UTC
(10:30 PM IST )
CouchDB support in you app with DesktopCouch – Stuart Langridge SHOWCASE: Gwibber- Ken Vandine Creating stunning interfaces with Cairo- Lazslo Pandy SHOWCASE: Lernid: Jono Bacon Creating a PyKDE app-Rich Jonson
18:00 UTC
(11:30 PM IST)
Creating an application from scratch from Quickly
-Rick spencer
Microblog from you app with the Gwibber API -Ken VanDine Whats new in Quickly 0.4 – Didier Roche
19.00 UTC
(12:30 PM IST)
Building in Application indicator support -Sense Hofstede Writing a RhytmBox plugin – Stuart Langridge
20.00 UTC
( 1:30 AM IST)
Integrated development workflow with Ground Control – Martin Owens Building multimedia into your app with GStreamer – Laszlo Pandy Web browsing and rapid UI with WebKit – Ryan Paul

If you would like to confirm what your local time is as compared to the UTC time : just run date -u in a terminal to find out what the current UTC time is.

Are you  going to participate on this Open source frenzy? Do let me know via your comments.

Multi-touch gestures in Ubuntu (least some of em…)

multitouch-in-linuxWell when used my friend’s Rahul Macbook pro i found the multi-touch gestures . Though might look very minor as feature but it’s overall usability is quite nice. so being a ubuntu fresher. I googled up and few links having tweaking to accept few gestures. I was able find out two of the multitouch gestures specifically two finger horizontal and vertical scrolling . more gestures are available in the code bit I am yet to find em. Happy Tweaking ;-) I am using Dell 1525

Create new file

gksudo gedit /etc/hal/fdi/policy/11-x11-synaptics.fdi

Paste the following code into the file and save it.

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="ISO-8859-1"?>
<deviceinfo version="0.2">
 <device>
   <match key="info.capabilities" contains="input.touchpad">
       <merge key="input.x11_driver" type="string">synaptics</merge>
       <merge key="input.x11_options.SHMConfig" type="string">On</merge>
       <merge key="input.x11_options.EmulateTwoFingerMinZ" type="string">90</merge>
       <merge key="input.x11_options.VertTwoFingerScroll" type="string">1</merge>
       <merge key="input.x11_options.HorizTwoFingerScroll" type="string">1</merge>
       <merge key="input.x11_options.TapButton1" type="string">1</merge>
       <merge key="input.x11_options.TapButton2" type="string">3</merge>  <!--two finger tap -> middle clieck(3) -->
       <merge key="input.x11_options.TapButton3" type="string">2</merge>  <!--three finger tap -> right click(2). almost impossible to click -->
   </match>
 </device>

</deviceinfo>

Restart hal and enjoy multitouch touchpad.

sudo /etc/init.d/hal restart

Update: Diagnosing your touchpad for multi-finger-sensing-capability

Few people have problem with this not working, while it works for few others. This is posted in ubuntu forums

synclient -m 100
Fifth column in the output f is number of fingers on your touchpad. Put two or more fingers on your touchpad and watch the column. If you see it more than one, this should work for you.

Source: Ubuntu Snippets