Archive for April, 2009

From 8.04 LTS to Jaunty Jackalone (Ubuntu 9.04): Software

2009/04/28 4 comments

The upgrade from the Ubuntu 8.04 LTS version to 9.04 (codename “Jaunty Jackalone” = JJ) was very smooth. It did NOT screw up the X-Server, SMB, Cups, NFS, SSH, USB, etc.  For me it was about a 3GB download.

The first thing I noticed was that a nasty gdm-login-screen-resolution bug was fixed by upgrading from 8.04 to 8.10.

Since each upgrade changes the default version of ones most used/favorite software, I will list those products I was concerned about most:

Sun Java (

  • OK: JJ comes with the current Java JRE and SDK version (1.6_13)

Eclipse (

  • Out-of-date: JJ comes with version 3.2 (2 years old). The current version is 3.4 (Ganymede). But since you can run Eclipse directly without compiling, this is no big deal.

GNU Emacs (

  • GNU Emacs snapshot (=bleeding edge/developer version): OK: installing emacs-snapshot-gtk gives a current developer version  (build from 2009-04-05)
  • Emacs stable: Out-of-date: The current Emacs version is 22.3. JJ has Emacs version 22.2, although Emacs 22.3 was released 2008/09.


  • Out-of-date: JJ comes with AUCTeX version 11.84. Version 11.85 was released 2008/02. I’ll have to install this manually.

R (

  • OK: JJ has 2.9.0. The current version is 2.9.0.

TexLive (

  • Out-of-date: JJ comes with texlive-2007… Just download the current texlive-2008 from the texlive homepage and install it beside the Ubuntu texlive version.

Skype-Plugin for Pidgin’s Instant Messenger

  • I’ve already written a blog on some of the nice Pidgin features. After upgrading to JJ and seeing that Pidgin is used for internal messaging within Ubuntu, I am even more convinced that this is currently THE multi-protocol multi-plattform instant messenger to go with. Get the skype-plugin from and install the Debian/Ubuntu skype4pidgin.deb file by executing “sudo dpkg -i skype4pidgin.deb”

GTKtalog (

  • Not present in JJ’s repositories. I’m very sad about this, because to my knowledge this is the only software for managing a CD/DVD collection which does not require a database. Although its user interface (Tck/Tk) is not-so-stylish-up-to-date, it has many features which I have grown accostumed to and which are lacking even in current high-end Disk-Manager programs.

Accessing further (Windows) Partitions with Portable Ubuntu

2009/04/19 7 comments

If you’ve followed my blog on how to install Portable Ubuntu to your USB Stick, you might have noticed people asking “how do I access my other Windows partitions by default” or “How do I access partition X?”.

I’ve already answered this question in a reply to a post, but I will describe it here in detail.

Let us assume you have two partitions on your Windows machine: “C:” and “E:”. And you want to have access to both partitions once plugging in your Portable Ubuntu USB Stick.

  1. Add your changes to config\portable_ubuntu.conf by adding a line
  2. Add your changes to the /etc/fstab file by adding a line which almost duplicates the line containing cofs1:
    cofs2 /mnt/E cofs user,dmask=0777,fmask=0666 0 0

The order in which you do 1. and 2. does not matter: you have to restart your Portable Ubuntu again for it to work.

First experiences with Portable Ubuntu and Upgrading from 8.04 to 8.10

2009/04/13 28 comments

There is a new thing called “Portable Ubuntu”. Get it here:

It’s about 450MB download and its default size after unpacking is about 2GB.

It promises to be a Linux installation which runs side by side with your MS-Windows desktop. After you downloaded and unzipped the file to a location of your choice you can start Ubuntu from within your active Windows session by double-clicking the file run_portable_ubuntu.bat. That was easy, wasn’t it? You now have GNU/Linux!

Let’s do an update…

  1. Get a current version: System -> Administration -> Software Sources
  2. Choose a good location for “Download from” an the first tab
  3. Update everything. This will be a large download (in my case: ~200MB) and take some time
  4. Shutdown (click on the ‘red-arrow-exit-door-symbol’ on the right of the toolbar which appeared at the top) and Start the Portable Ubuntu application (double-click the run_portable_ubuntu.bat file).
  5. Everything should be fine at this state. Do not continue if something went wrong….

You now have a minimal up-to-date Ubuntu on your Windows box.

The following text will explain how to upgrade your minimal Ubuntu (version: 8.04 LTS) to the current version (8.10 and in a couple of days it will be 9.04).

First let’s setup usage for the current version, not the LTS=long term support version.  System -> Administration -> Software Sources. Select the third tab labelled “Updates”. At the bottom, select “Normal releases”; Then close the Software Sources GUI.

Now I will explain the approach I tried which will fail.

  1. System -> Administration -> Update Manager : It shows you that version 8.10 (or newer) is available -> click upgrade
  2. Again, click “Upgrade” after reading the release notice.
  3. This will fail !!

You will get an error message telling you that there is not enough disk space available. The reason being that the minimal Ubuntu installation only reserved appr.  2GB of space. And since this installation should not mess with your precious disk space, this is fine. Unless you want more GNU/Linux 😉

Increasing the disk space is not as difficult as you might imagine.

(The official doc is here: -> Documentation -> How to change the file system size)

But before we go on:

Files to edit:


Files to move/rename:


Step-by-Step Instructions:

  1. Goto the image folder (cd image)
  2. Create a new image file (fsutil file createnew rootfs_.img 3758096384). The number at the end is a multiple of 1024.  An installation of  2GB is calculated as follows: 1024*2*1024*1024=2147483648. If you want  4GB space that would be 1024*4*1024*1024=4294967296.  This process is very fast.
  3. Now you must edit the file config\portable_ubuntu.conf.      Change the line “cobd3="D:\Documents and Settings\czw5hv\Application Data\Windux\images\root.img” to “cobd3=images\rootfs_.img
  4. Execute the script run_portable_ubuntu.bat (double-click the run_portable_ubuntu.bat file) NOTE: THIS CAN TAKE UP TO 5MIN!! If everything is OK, you will see the GNOME task bar at the top of your screen.
  5. Open a terminal:  Applications -> Accessories -> Terminal
  6. Switch to root user by typing: “sudo su” (your default password is 123456)
  7. Issue the dd command. This is the crucial part, because the command dd
    will copy byte-per-byte, no-matter-what, from if (input folder =
    /dev/cobd0) to the of (output folder = /dev/cobd3)
  8. dd if=/dev/cobd0 of=/dev/cobd3

If a simple restart of Portable Ubuntu works now, you can start upgrading from 8.04 to 8.10 without any disk space problems. Just repeat the 2 steps I mentioned above that failed because you did not have enough disk space.

You can now copy the folder to your USB stick.

Have fun!

Setting the correct time zone in Portable Ubuntu

For some reason I could not set the correct time zone using the GUI (System -> Administration -> Time and Date). Everything is grayed out (even though I had to enter the root password to open the Time&Date application).  I had to manually run

sudo dpkg-reconfigure tzdata

to set the correct time zone.

Categories: IT, linux, windows Tags: , , ,

Hiking routes in the “Fränkische Schweiz”

2009/04/11 Comments off
Categories: hiking Tags: ,

Pidgin, the multi-plattform, multi-protocol instant messenger

2009/04/09 1 comment

Pidgin is one of the many multi-protocol instant messengers. And its available for many plattforms (Windows, GNU/Linux, Mac OS X, etc). Although pidgin supports many protocols out-of-the-box (f. ex. ICQ, AIM, IRC, XMPP/Jabber, Groupwise), new plugins are constantly emerging. The Pidgin-Plugin page gives a nice summary.

Some additional plugins I’ve come across are:

Fixing Cygwin’s GNU Screen program

2009/04/09 1 comment

After years of ignorance I discovered the wonderful GNU screen program on my GNU/Linux system. Basically screen is a window manager for terminals or terminal sessions. But after installing the Cygwin package on my Windows box I ended up with this error message after trying to invoke screen:

Cannot find terminfo entry for 'cygwin'.

This is unlikely to help others, but I’ll keep it as a reference… The culprit was a messed up installation. I had the following directories:

/usr/share/tabset # <- this folder was empty
/usr/share/terminfo # <- this folder was empty

I just had to delete the empty directories and rename tabset(2) and terminfo(2)

$ rmdir /usr/share/tabset /usr/share/terminfo
$ mv /usr/share/tabset\(2\) /usr/share/tabset
$ mv /usr/share/terminfo\(2\) /usr/share/terminfo

and now screen works just fine with Cygwin.

Categories: IT, linux, windows Tags: , ,