MP3s On Ubuntu - The OGG Alternative

Have a CD collection sitting around waiting to find its place in your new Ubuntu lifestyle? Maybe you have existing non-DRM protected MP3s on Ubuntu and are looking for way to listen to them on Ubuntu without resorting to using MP3 considering its gray area of use.

Block SSH Login Attempts On Ubuntu

If you run an ssh server on your Ubuntu system, and allow password based authentication, then you’ll want to install DenyHosts. It watches the log files and blocks the IP address of those who fail to authenticate too many time. As always, while this article is Ubuntu oriented, the same basic procedure works on other distros.

Google Custom Search Engine for Ubuntu

Ubuntu Search Engine Logo - based on Google

I've set-up a new Google Custom Search Engine for Ubuntu. So far it provides results from a list of 169 separate Ubuntu related domains. The usual suspects are included in the list i.e.,,, etc. The list also includes blogs listed on and various other Ubuntu related sites.

Thoughts about UDS Boston

I’m home from the Ubuntu Developer Summit (Boston 2007) and wanted to get a few of my thoughts out on virtual paper while they are still fresh. We have gone over so much information this week that I feel a bit of information overload, but it has been well worth it and a *lot* has been done. Just a few of the things that I’ve been able to accomplish while I’ve been here:

Google to unveil 'Android' phone software

Google is ready to unveil a suite of software for mobile phones based on open-source technology, backed by some of the largest wireless industry companies in the world.

Ubuntu to get visual refresh with Hardy Heron

Artists and developers participated in a desktop theming specification meeting at the Ubuntu Developer Summit earlier this week. During the meeting, participants made plans for the visual refresh of Hardy Heron, the next major release of the Ubuntu Linux distribution. The meeting was led by Ubuntu art director Kenneth Wimer, who explained that the goal for Hardy is to "radically change the artwork and the theming behind the entire desktop from boot all the way through to logout."

Torus-trooper: a shoot-’em-up in a tunnel

Torus-trooper is a pretty nice abstract shoot-’em-up taking place in what could be called a space tunnel. You drive some kind of ship or car who has to stay on the sides of the tunnel, and shoot bad enemies. This game is pretty neat and original in several ways:

Ubuntu: Just how popular is it?

There is no doubt that Ubuntu’s popularity has grown dramatically over the past few years, but just how popular is Ubuntu? How many people have ever heard of Ubuntu? How many people visit the Ubuntu site each month? How many people have tried Ubuntu, and more importantly, how many people are actually using it?

A Visual Critique of Ubuntu

Recently, I stumbled cross a rather stinging, yet even even-handed, critique of Ubuntu's Gnome-based UI implementation. In a series of blog posts, Farhad Shakiba - a self-described "unemployed software engineer, hardware engineer, artist, writer and body sculptor" - proceeds to pick-apart the Ubuntu desktop, providing copious real-world examples of where the distro falls short of delivering a commercial-grade user experience.

Boston 2007 Developer Summit Day 5: Final day and wrapup

Today was the last day of the Developer Summit and as such, it was a much lighter schedule.
After the spec sessions ended, Matt Zimmerman and Jono Bacon led a wrapup. However, a light schedule does not mean nothing was discussed:

What The Google Phone Could Do For Linux

Even the best technology needs a sugar daddy. Seven years ago, Linux got just that when IBM said it would put $1 billion on the then-nascent open-source operating system, pushing the software into the corporate mainstream. Now the same could be about to happen for Linux with the mobile phone, with Google set to give Linux a major endorsement this November.

How To Install Miro Public Preview 3 ( on Ubuntu

Miro is a free and open-source application. With Miro, you can watch free internet video channels and play any video file. The latest version of Miro is This tutorial shows how you can install it on Ubuntu.

Why you should care about PulseAudio (and how to start doing it)

The sound server PulseAudio is a relative newcomer to the Linux audio arena, but since it has been selected as the default setup in the next releases of at least two major distributions (Fedora and Ubuntu), it's probably time to start looking into it.

Book review: The Essential Blender

The Essential Blender from No Starch Press is both a reference and instructional guide to Blender, the open source 3-D modeling, rendering, and animation tool. It walks readers through Blender's capabilities by alternating hands-on tutorials with broader, topical chapters that discuss the key concepts and how Blender implements them. Despite a few flaws, it's a good resource for those struggling with the software.

How to Secure Ubuntu With AppArmor

AppArmor attempts to protect processes on the server or desktop from security threats. AppArmor enforces limits on what processes can access on the system. It attempts to restrict processes to those resources that the process requires to function only. AppArmor will not only define the system resources a program can access , it will also determine the privileges with which it can access those resources. To protect applications you will need to set up a security profile for each application that you want to protect.

Ubuntu Hardy Heron to limit new features, boost existing ones

As far as the desktop side of things are concerned, the next Ubuntu update, code named Hardy Huron, will forgo major functionality additions and instead focus on boosting what’s already in the operating system.

Simplify backups with Synbak

Making periodic backups is a common task. Synbak can help to simplify it. Synbak brings together several different backup methods and provides a powerful reports system that provides details about all the work it does.

How To Upgrade Your Desktop From Ubuntu Studio 7.04 To 7.10

This guide shows how you can upgrade your desktop from Ubuntu Studio 7.04 to Ubuntu Studio 7.10.

Ubuntu Web Banners

Here is my first batch of Ubuntu advocacy banners. I've got more in various formats/stages of production and I'll post them as and when I complete the sets.

I enjoyed making these — playing with GIMP provides a nice break from coding. Anyhow, this first batch contains two sets of standard 468x60px banners. Each image is supposed to encourage the viewer to explore the possibilities of Ubuntu by advertising one of Ubuntu's default applications.

I'd love to know what you think of these so please feel free to leave a comment with ideas for improvements etc.

Listening to and recording audio and video streams with MPlayer

Most streaming audio and video on the Internet is disseminated in proprietary formats such as RM, RAM, WMV, and ASF. Fortunately, the open source application MPlayer can play and even record streams in almost any format.

In-Depth Roadmap Analysis For Ubuntu Hardy Heron 8.04

The Hardy Heron Roadmap has over 130 new ideas that have been proposed thus far.  I’ve examined each one of these ideas in detail, threw out the ones that weren’t interesting to me, wrote an explanation for each, and sorted the list into three categories:

Monitoring Tomcat 5.0 on Ubuntu

This document describes how to set up and enable Hyperic HQ for monitoring on Ubuntu and Tomcat. The resulting system provides a comprehensive, web-based Systems Management Software. It's the next stage of classical monitoring and able to manage all kinds of operating systems, web servers, application servers and database servers. The install comes prepared to monitor almost 70 different technologies natively and provides many detailed features. For brevity sake, I won't list all of them here. Hyperic HQ is available as an open source distribution licensed under the GPL v2.

Ubuntu Developer Summit lays out vision for strong Hardy Heron release

The first day of the Ubuntu Developer Summit began with roundtable sessions which focused on high-level planning for Hardy Heron, the next major release of the Ubuntu Linux distribution. I attended the Hardy Heron desktop roundtable to get the inside scoop about the future of Ubuntu on the desktop.

Back up and print your blog with Base

If you are running a blog (or any Web publishing system, for that matter) that relies on a database back end, you will sooner or later face the problem of backing up the content stored in the database. One way to go about it is to build a backup tool using Base. Since Base can pull data from a MySQL or any ODBC-compliant data source, you can create a simple database that connects to the blog's back end and extracts content from it, which you can then export in different formats.

Installing Songbird 0.3 Developer Pre-Release On Ubuntu 7.10

This guide shows how to install the Songbird media player (0.3 Developer Pre-Release) on an Ubuntu 7.10 (Gutsy Gibbon) desktop. Songbird is a free software audio player with media database capabilities written using XUL and VLC, with an interface similar to Apple's iTunes. From the Songbird web site: "Songbird is a desktop media player mashed-up with the Web. Songbird is committed to playing the music you want, from the sites you want, on the devices you want, challenging the conventions of discovery, purchase, consumption and organization of music on the Internet."

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