Getting Started in Linux

After much nagging from some of my friends, I’ve finally made the switch to Linux. I am starting to realize that the skill set I’m developing is rather substantial and worth documenting. I’ll be taking the time over the next weeks and months to document the software and operation skills that and I am learning. My goal is to provide a list of tasks I can accomplish in Linux and to keep a record of my actions so that I can quickly set up new machines with my preferences. I am not intending this to be a “how to” guide for anyone else, although it may provide some usefulness to someone starting out with Linux.

To start off, I have installed Ubuntu 8.10 on both of my home machines. Each new Ubuntu release is given a name and 8.10 is called Intrepid Ibex. I preformed both installs from a Live CD which allows me to run the OS from the CD-ROM without installing anything. I knew that I would enjoy it immediately so I chose to simply reformat both computers.

Remap Keyboard
I’ve found that when looking for help on the Ubuntu help forums, most people’s solutions to problems involved using the command line. One of the first things that I did was to remap my Windows key to auto run a terminal window

In the GUI click, System -> Preferences -> Keyboard Shortcuts. Scroll down to "Run a terminal". Click "Disabled" and it will switch to "New Shortcut...". Then simply press the Windows key on the keyboard. Click "Close" and the changes will be saved.

It will only assign the left or right windows key, not both.

Installing Lexmark Z11 Print Drivers
I had to download the drivers from here and “Extract Here” to the desktop. Then in the terminal:

<ddet click="" to="" expand="" hide=""></ddet>

jason@moon-unit:~$ cd Desktop
jason@moon-unit:~/Desktop$ cd lz11-V2-1.2
jason@moon-unit:~/Desktop/lz11-V2-1.2$ sudo make install
[sudo] password for jason: type pw here
gcc -O3 -DDEBUG= cZ11-V2.c -o cZ11-V2
cZ11-V2.c: In function 'filewrite':
cZ11-V2.c:510: warning: ignoring return value of 'fwrite', declared with attribute warn_unused_result
cZ11-V2.c: In function 'PrintHelp':
cZ11-V2.c:2395: warning: format not a string literal and no format arguments
cZ11-V2.c:2397: warning: format not a string literal and no format arguments

********* Installation of the executable *********

NOTE: only the binaries are installed !
if you want to update the whole
printing environment you must call

> ./lz11.install

****** Installation successfully finished ********

jason@moon-unit:~/Desktop/lz11-V2-1.2$ sudo ./lz11.install

The following program will set up the
Lexmark Z11 / Compaq IJ300 printer driver.

Pick one of the following available options:
2 ) Install (Foomatic/
8 ) Show README file ( to return )
0 ) Quit

J-> 2

I will now try to compile the cZ11-V2 driver for your system ..........
The program compiled ok; I will now try to install the files ...

removing /usr/bin/cZ11-V2
removing /usr/bin/cZ11
examining CUPS
installing Lexmark-Z11-lz11-V2.ppd
installing Compaq-IJ300-lz11-V2.ppd


Your CUPS environment is now updated!

Please restart the CUPS daemon and let it time (approx. 1 min)
to register the new PPD file.

The actual command to restart the CUPS daemon dependends on your distro
and can be one of these

- killall -HUP cupsd
- /etc/init.d/cups restart
- /etc/init.d/cupsd restart
- /etc/init.d/cupsys restart
- /etc/software/init.d/cups restart

I would suggest: /etc/init.d/cups restart

Do you want me to do this for you now? (y/n) [y] y

Your Z11 / IJ300 will not work properly before you have set it up.
You can do this via the CUPS webinterface on http://localhost:631
or via the lpadmin command.

Do not forget to wait for the CUPS daemon to be ready.
* Restarting Common Unix Printing System: cupsd [ OK ]
This wait period here may probably suffice! .......

updating Foomatic xml files ......... done!

Please quit the installation program now to do the CUPS setup!
Installation complete !!!

Pick one of the following available options:

4) Print test page
5 ) Uninstall (needed before a new installation can be done)
7 ) Print Skew Adjustment test page for the Black Cartridge
8 ) Show README file ( to return )
0 ) Quit

Now go to the web browser and enter http://localhost:631 in the URL
Proceed through the CUPS “Add printer” wizard. After everything is setup, print a test page.

Install an FTP Client
I didn’t do much research into what programs were available. All I wanted was an easy-to-use, GUI based program and i chose gFTP. The install is a single line of code. Its all explained here.

Install VLC and configuring for DVD playback
I don’t really like Totem. I’m already using Anarok for music and I’ve loved VLC on my windows box so I decided to get it for videos. Install VLC and then get the necessary software to allow for DVD playback. I also grabbed the codecs to play Windows Media and Apple Quicktime format videos while I was at it.

Host Discovery On My Home Network
I need to see all of the computers on my home network so I installed nmap and ran a simple IP scan of my entire private network range:

sudo apt-get install nmap
nmap -sP 192.168.0-255.0-255

Remote Desktop Between Ubuntu Machines
I wanted to access one of my computers from the other and setup Ubuntu’s Remote Desktop. I didn’t have to install anything since Intrepid Ibex comes with vinagre virtual network computing client. After setting up the host computer, all I had to do was


because vinagre was unable to resolve the host name (i.e. I couldn’t vinagre computer-name:0). I found that I also needed to uncheck the box for allowing only local connections, even though the two computers are on the same house network. I was not worried about outside security issues since my router still has port 5900 (the default vnc port) blocked.

update: I have since switched to the much-faster xvnc4viewer.

Setting up a static local IP address
I was continually having to guess which of the ip addresses on my local network belonged to the machine I routinely remotely log into. So, to fix the problem, I just fixed the machine’s local IP address. I’ve done this before in winXP and in Ubuntu its a bit more difficult. It involves removing the Network Manager and modifying the ‘interfaces’ system file, as explained here.

Installing Adobe Flash 10.0.32, correctly
Painless. Works for Firefox; should work for Chrome.

Installing Amarok 1.4 in Ubuntu 9.04
Seven lines of code. Works the same for downgrading from Amarok 2 or installing Amarok for the first time.

Backing up Home Directory
These are the folders that I’ve chosen to exclude. All explained here.
sudo tar -cvppzf --exclude=/ --exclude=/proc --exclude=/lost+found --exclude=/sys --exclude=/mnt --exclude=/media --exclude=/dev --exclude=/lib --exclude=/bin --exclude=/sbin --exclude=/srv --exclude=/tmp /

Everything you wanted to know about FSTAB
Great for mounting external harddrives and external USB thumbdrives
All well organized

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