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Thursday, June 30, 2011

Install EncFS in Ubuntu 10.10

If you use BoxCryptor to encrypt (parts of) your Dropbox folder, an USB stick or an external harddisk and want to share the encrypted data with a computer running Linux or Mac OS X, a great feature of BoxCryptor is the compatibility with EncFS, an open-source cryptographic filesystem. As EncFS had some security issues in previous version, a prerequisite is to have EncFS version >= 1.7 installed. Unfortunatly Ubuntu and other Linux distributions still use older version of EncFS (e.g. 1.6) which can not be used to read files encrypted with BoxCryptor. This blog post will show you how to install and use the latest EncFS version 1.7.4 in Ubuntu Maverick. It will NOT work in Lucid Lynx, 10.04!

download it here or follow these instructions:

1. Start the Synaptic Package Manager

Click "System > Administration > Synaptic Package Manager"

2. Add the repository for the upcoming Ubuntu Natty

Natty, the next version of Ubuntu, supports the latest version of EncFS and we can use its repository to install it.
Click"Settings > Repositories"
Click"Other Software > Add"
APT line: "deb natty main universe"
Close the dialog and reload the package information by clicking the "Reload" button

3. Install EncFS

Search for "encfs" and mark the encfs package all additional required packages for installation
Install the packages by clicking the "Apply" button
Tip: Also install cryptkeeper for a graphical interface to manage EncFS

4. Remove Ubuntu Natty repository

Choose "Settings > Repositories > Other Software"
Uncheck the Ubuntu Natty repositories

5. Start Cryptkeeper

Click "Applications > System Tools > Cryptkeeper"

6. Import the encrypted directory

Choose "Cryptkeeper > Import EncFS folder" in the notification area
Select the encrypted directory (the source directory for BoxCryptor)
Select a desired mount point where you want the unencrypted data to appear

7. Mount the encrypted directory

Choose "Cryptkeeper > [Mount point]" in the notification area
E.g, "Cryptkeeper > /home/robert/Documents/Safe"

Tip: If you prefer working on the command line, here are the necessary instructions to install and use EncFS 1.7.4 in Ubuntu Maverick:

Open a terminal
Add "deb natty main universe" to /etc/apt/sources.list
Enter "sudo apt-get update"
Enter "sudo apt-get install encfs"
Remove the Natty repository from /etc/apt/sources.list again
Enter "sudo apt-get update"
Enter "encfs [source dir] [destination mount point]"
E.g. "encfs ~/Dropbox/BoxCryptor/ ~/Safe"

Tuesday, June 28, 2011


Autokey is my favorite keyboard shortcut manager in Ubuntu. It is a desktop automation utility for Linux and X11 and it allows you to create scripts and assign hotkeys to these scripts, allowing you to execute them on demand in whatever program you are using.
Now, if you have upgraded your Ubuntu to the latest version – 11.04 Natty, you will find that Autokey no longer works. There is either no icon at the system tray or that you can’t create your own shortcut key. In fact, if you check out the Autokey PPA, you will also find that there is no package for Natty. Luckily, there is a simple way to make it work in Ubuntu Natty.

1. In Ubuntu Natty, assuming you are using the Ubuntu Classic (without Unity) desktop, first add the “maverick” version of the autokey PPA.
gksu gedit /etc/apt/sources.list
2. Add the following lines to the end of the file.
deb maverick main 
deb-src maverick main
3. Save and close the file. Next, in the terminal,
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install autokey-gtk
4. Run Autokey (Applications -> Accessories -> Autokey (GTK)). You should see the Autokey applet in your system tray. Click on it to load the configuration window.
Go to “Edit -> Preferences” and click the “Interface” tab. Select the first choice “X Record – for server v1.5 or v1.7.6 and above”.
5. Restart your computer. It should work correctly the next time you login.

Make Autokey works in Ubuntu Unity

If you are using the Unity desktop, Autokey will work but the icon won’t appear in the system tray.
Here’s what you need to do:
Open a terminal and type:
gsettings set com.canonical.Unity.Panel systray-whitelist "['Autokey']"
setsid unity
That’s it. The icon should appear. You can then follow the above steps to change the interface to “X Record – for server v1.5 or v1.7.6 and above“. Restart the computer and it should work

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Encrypt your files in Dropbox

Dropbox is indeed a great application. It gives you a free 2GB of storage space to store your files and allows you to access to them and sync them between different computers, regardless you are running Windows, Mac, Linux or any other smart mobile device. However, as good as it gets, there is one major issue. All the files that you have stored in the cloud are not encrypted. Whoever hack into your account can view and access all the files in your account, including those confidential documents that you have synced over the cloud.
Why is this important to you? A mistake made by the Dropbox team few days back had left the Dropbox’s main door open for 4 hours. During this period, anyone can log into any account and access all the files in that account without any passwords. While this affects only 1% of its users (which amounts to about 250,000, and that is not a small number), if you are one of those whose accounts have been compromised and you have confidential files in your Dropbox, you better watch out for the bad things that might happen to you.

Since you never know when such incident will happen again, it is best to encrypt your files before you sync them to the cloud so there is a second level of defense when your account has been compromised.

1. SecretSync

SecretSync is a file-by-file encryption solution for Windows and Linux. Once installed, you will find a new “SecretSync” folder in your user directory. Any files that you place in this folder will be encrypted and sync to Dropox.
The installation and usage of SecretSync for Windows is pretty straightforward. You simply download, install and run it. it will then guide you through the encryption process.

For Linux, the usage is purely command-line based.
1. You have to first download the deb file and install it in your system.
2. Open a terminal and type
This will run the installer and download the necessary files from SecretSync site. It will also run you through the setting up process.

After the installation, type
secretsync start
to start the SecretSync service. You should see a new SecretSync folder in your Home directory. Any files you place in this folder will be encrypted and synced to Dropbox.
To get SecretSync to autostart everytime you login, go to “System -> Preferences -> Startup Applications” and create a new startup item.

2. Encfs

Encfs is a better solution than SecretSync because it stores the encryption keys on your local machine and it can work in Linux (natively), Windows (via BoxCryptor) and Mac (via MacFuse), which is great if you use Dropbox on more than one operating system.
In Ubuntu, open a terminal and type:
sudo apt-get install encfs
sudo addgroup <your username> fuse
To create an encrypted folder, type the command:
encfs ~/Dropbox/.encrypted ~/Private
The above command instructs encfs to create an encrypted hidden folder (with name .encrypted) in Dropbox and mount it in the Private Folder in your Home directory.
When it prompts you for the configuration option, press “p” follow by Enter.
Next, it will ask you to enter your password. Be very careful with what you type since it won’t appear in the screen.
That’s it. Whatever files you place in the Private folder will be encrypted and synced with Dropbox.
To get the encrypted folder to automount everytime you log in, you can use gnome-encfs.
1. Download gnome-encfs here (or grab the source here) to your Home folder.
2. Type the following command:
sudo install ~/gnome-encfs /usr/local/bin
gnome-encfs -a ~/Dropbox/.encrypted ~/Private
GUI for Encfs
In Linux, Cryptkeeper is an application that provides a graphical interface for encfs. It doesn’t come with the full configuration option for encfs, but if you need an easy way to get started quickly, this will be very useful.
In Ubuntu,
sudo apt-get install cryptkeeper
Cryptkeeper works as a system tray applet. If you are using Unity, use the following command to get it to work:
gsettings set com.canonical.Unity.Panel systray-whitelist "['Cryptkeeper']"
setsid unity
BoxCryptor is not really a GUI for encfs, but its encryption method is compatible with encfs. If you have created an encrypted folder in Linux, you can use BoxCryptor in Windows to mount the same encrypted folder.

3. TrueCrypt

TrueCrypt is another powerful and cross-platform compatible encryption tool that you can use. We have mentioned it here and here, so we won’t go through it again.
One disadvantage of TrueCrypt is that you have to create a fixed size virtual container before you can use it. In addition, you can only get it to sync after you have unmounted it. This means that you won’t be able to sync your files in real time. Other than that, if you need a true cross-platform solution, then TrueCrypt is definitely the one for you.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Ways to enable DVD playback in Ubuntu


Enabling DVD playback in Ubuntu is simple enough, and there are various ways to do it. Some might say the easiest – as well as the most legally unquestionable- is to purchase the Fluendo DVD Playback software from the Ubuntu Software Centre.


If you’d prefer to spend the Fluendo costs on physical DVDs rather than DVD software, you can enable DVD playback in your faovurite application by installing a package called ‘libdvdcss’.
‘libdvdcss’ is a small library file that accesses DVDs “…like a block device, without having to bother about the decryption.”
Hit the buttons below to download a .DEB package of libdvdcss from the medibuntu repositories.
Download libdvdcss for Ubuntu 11.04
Download libdvdcss for Ubuntu 11.04 64bit
Once the .deb file has downloaded just double-click on it to begin installation.
After installation has finished you can open your favourite media player and DVD playback will be supported.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Usefull commandline commands for Ubuntu

1. Making a Temporary Filesystem (Ramdisk)

There are several reasons to make a temporary RAM-based filesystem such as fast read/write times or to guarantee that the files will not persist after reboot. Making such a “fake” filesystem is easy, and just requires one command.
mount -t tmpfs tmpfs /mytemppartition -o size=1024m
Where /mytemppartion is the location you wish to mount (it must already exist) and 1024m is the desired size of the ramdisk.

2. Quickly Scheduling Commands

Linux pros almost certainly know the at command, it lets you set a specific time for a job to be run. You simply say what to do and when to do it, and at takes care of the rest. Its usage can be confusing for some, so here’s one common way of scheduling a task with at.
at 12:30 #Enter key
If you want to verify that it worked, you can easily list the sceduled jobs with
at -l

3. Re-run Previous Commands

Perhaps you ran a long complicated command, but forgot to preface it with sudo, or maybe you didn’t add some necessary options to the end. Instead of retyping the whole thing or going back through your shell history, you can use “double bangs” to represent your last command.
mkdir /etc/myDir
#Permission denied
sudo !!
If you’re the type who tracks your command history numbers, you can use the same approach to recall any previous command by referencing its number:

4. Find the PID of a Process

If you need to kill a particular process but don’t have its PID, there’s a simple shortcut to find it – the pgrep command. It doesn’t do anything that can’t be done with a combination of ps and grep, but every little bit helps.

5.  Show Listening Ports and their Processes

If you need to see what’s listening for connections on your system, and the processes handling those connections, the old trusty netstat tool is up to the job. Try
netstat -tlnp
to see just such a list.

6. SSH Without Passwords

Many people, such as this author, use SSH on a nearly constant basis. It’s a great tool, there’s no denying that, but having to constantly retype your passwords can get annoying. Instead, you can simply copy your (public) SSH information to the remote machine, allowing it to authenticate you without requiring your password, and all you need is a single command.
ssh-copy-id username@remote-machine

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Angry birds clone for linux

Are you using Linux, and badly want to play a version of the famous game Angry Birds on your computer?
But for Linux users, you’ll have to settle for a clone rather than the actual game which is very close to the orginal game and its spirit. It does not really have those small birds, but all kinds of animals (sheep, pigs … etc).
Since the game is very similar to Angry Birds, you should not be hurt! This is a SWF which a developer has created using a small script that will run in the SWF flash player. If everything goes well, a directory will be created (and normally a shortcut, which i did not find) to make a game a little more accessible from the “desktop”.

First go to System–>Admin–>Synaptic Package Manager and install imagemagick. You can simply search for “imagemagick” then Mark it for Installation and Apply to install. Then open a console and type:
chmod +x
Then let the script work … Then click on the shortcut if you’re lucky to have it, go to the directory. Angryanimals which contains everything required to complete the game. Use your browser to launch the SWF or type in console
cd .angryanimals/
./flashplayer angryanimals.swf
OR simply double click on the angryanimals.swf

Nothing could be easier … You can create your own shortcut to get playing in a single click the next time. And for those who would really want the original version of Angry Birds, until it is ported to Linux, simply install the latest version of Wine and then install the Windows version of Angry Birds. It works should work.

Lives: a video edit tool for Linux

GNU/Linux systems come with quite a lot of video editing tools. We will tell you more about such tools. One of such tools is LiVES, a simple to use, yet powerful video editor and VJ tool.
It allows you to combine realtime and rendered effects, streams and multiple video/audio files, and then encode to over 50 formats. It is small in size, yet it has many advanced features.
LiVES is part editor, part VJ tool. It is fully extendable through open standard RFX plugin scripts.
LiVES lets you start editing and making video right away, without having to worry about formats, frame sizes, or framerates. LiVES will let you start creating your own tools, utilities and effects via the built in RFX builder.
LiVES is aimed at the digital video artist who wants to create their own content, the video editor who wants to create professional looking video, and the VJ who wants to captivate with spectacular images.

* Loading and editing of most video formats (via mplayer decoder).
* Smooth playback at variable frame rates, forward and in reverse. Display framerate can be controlled independantly of playback framerate.
* Cut and paste of frames within and between clips.
* Saving/re-encoding of clips, selections, and individual frames.
* Lossless backup/restore.
* Streaming input and output.
* Real time blending of clips (chroma and luma blends).
* Live inputs for firewire and TV cards
* Ability to edit many filetypes and sources including remotely located files (with mplayer/ffmpeg libraries), and directories of images.
* Real time capture/recording of interactive (via mouseclicks) external windows.
* Encode to any of the 50+ output formats which are now supported (e.g. mjpeg, mpeg4, mpeg1/2, VCD, SVCD, DVD, ogg/mp4 ogm, Matroska mkv, dv, swf, Ogg Theora, Dirac, MNG, Snow, xvid, and even animated GIF and PDF!)
* Ability to instantly alter the playback speed of video and audio independently.
* Rotation, resizing and trimming of video clips.
* Deinterlacing, subtitle removal.
* Instant saving/loading of clips for performances/presentations.

To install Lives just type

sudo apt-get install lives

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Install a web development environment in Ubuntu

Did you know how easy it is to get a basic web development environment on your Ubuntu-based Linux distribution?
Guess what, it just takes 2 commands on the Terminal:
sudo apt-get install tasksel
This will install a small utility which lets you install a lot packages grouped together as software collections.
sudo tasksel

Launch tasksel and select ‘LAMP server‘ by pressing the SPACE key, press ENTER when you are done (see attached screenshot). It will take some time for the required packages to download and install. Near the end of setup, the installer will ask you to create a password for MySQL‘s root user.
Select LAMP Server among the choices in Tasksel
Select LAMP Server among the choices in Taskse
After the installer finishes, you have the environment ready. Head over to your favorite browser and open http://localhost If everything went fine, the page will say It works!
It works

Now you can start creating websites by putting your html, php, etc. files under /var/www directory or just choose to go with CMS solutions like Drupal, WordPress or Joomla.
The author also recommends to install phpmyadmin package if you happen to work with MySQL databases.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Remove obsolete ubuntu kernels

Each time Ubuntu installs a new Linux kernel (upgrade), it leaves the old one installed. It means if you update/upgrade regularly, the Grub boot menu will be filled with all the Linux kernels you installed on your system, even those you no longer need. Btw, this is done purposely to make sure that you can boot to a previous kernel in case you have problems with the new installed kernel. However, if the new kernel works for you, you can uninstall and remove the older kernels to clean up the Grub boot menu. Today, I’m gonna show you how to remove old Ubuntu kernels.
In older versions of Ubuntu you can just open a terminal or hit Alt+F2 and type in this command: gksu gedit /boot/grub/menu.lst. The thing is, in newer versions of Ubuntu (9.4+) the menu.lst file was replaced by /boot/grub/grub.cfg which is a read-only file and is not supposed to be edited, making that solution obsolete.
The best and safest way to clean up the Grub boot menu is to use the Synaptic Package Manager. Here’s how to do it:
1. First thing to do is find out the current version of the Linux kernel you’re using. Open a terminal and type in the following command uname -r
2. It will display the Linux kernel version you are using which should look something like this: 2.6.31-20-generic. (Take note of that number, you’ll need it for later)
3. Open the Synaptic Package Manager. Click on System > Administation > Synaptic Package Manager
Synaptic Package Manager
4. On the “Quick search” box, type in linux-image.
Synaptic Package Manager
5. It will list all available and installed Linux kernels. Look for those that have a green box on it (A green box indicates an installed package). To make it easier to find the packages, click on the column above the boxes to sort them and group them together.
Synaptic Package Manager
6. Remember the Linux kernel version you got from Step #2? Find that package and make sure you don’t remove/uninstall it. Also, don’t remove the “linux-image-generic” package.
7. Now, find the other older versions of Linux kernels that you want to remove (Packages that have “linux-image-2.6.*”) and uninstall them. Do that by clicking on the box and select “Mark for Removal“.
Synaptic Package Manager
Marked packages will be highlighted in red and the boxes will have an X on it.
Synaptic Package Manager
IMPORTANT: Make sure that you don’t remove the Linux kernel package that you’re currently using (Step #2). Doing so can break your Ubuntu installation.
8. Click on the “Apply” button to complete the process.
Synaptic Package Manager
That’s it. Reboot your computer and check the Grub boot menu. It should be shorter and clean from old Linux kernels that you no longer need.
Hope you like this tutorial on how to remove old Ubuntu kernels. If you find it helpful and useful, please don’t forget to bookmark and share it. Thank you!

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Turpial, twitter client

Read the original article here

It’s been a wee while since we last heard a peep from desktop Twitter application ‘Turpial’, but a new release with some notable new changes has finally arrived.

Turpial - d0od_008-r93

Turpial 1.5

The first thing one notices after upgrading to Turpial 1.5 is the use of Faenza-style icons. Whilst this ‘change’ may annoy those who prefer their applications  to ‘blend’ in with their native theme there’s no denying that Turpial looks all the better for it.


Turpial runs in single column mode by default but a ‘wide’, tweet-deck style mode can be enabled via the ‘Preferences’ dialog.

Whilst this isn’t a new feature per se, the Direct Messages pane/tab now displays ‘sent’ messages as well as messages received. A minor, but welcome touch.

Image uploading

Also present is a neat ‘wizard’ for uploading images to Twitpic, Twitgoo, YFrog, Plixi and others.


Other changes notable in Turpial 1.5 include:

  • Support for lists and personalized columns
  • Colored tweets according to their status (yellow when read. blue when unread, etc)
  • support
  • Enhanced Notifications (with further options)
  • Autoscrolling


As polished a release as this is there are still flaws to using it over Gwibber in Ubuntu.

Firstly there is no Unity integration. That’s a shame as a quicklist with a link to the ‘tweetbox’ would be an awesome and relatively simple feature to include.

Running the application in Unity is also a confusing affair: once Turpial is closed you’re unable to tell if it’s still running. It displays no indicator, isn’t listed in the Messaging Menu and the Unity launcher will disappear/not signal it’s running.

So you’d be forgiven for thinking that it is, in fact, closed. Well, until you hear chirping and see notification bubbles popping up every few minutes, that is.


Further information on Turpial can be found on the new-look official website @ (Spanish).

To install Turpial 1.5 in Ubuntu add the official Turpial PPA – ‘effie-jayx/turpial’ – to your Software Sources.

Alternatively run the following commands in a Terminal session: -

  • sudo add-apt-repository ppa:effie-jayx/turpial 
  • sudo apt-get update && sudo apt-get install turpial

As with all non-Canonical supported applications installed form third-party PPAs