Ubuntu FAQs

This is a list of common Ubuntu questions I field using Qunu and via IRC.

If you strike out here you have more immediate options:

How do I export/set Vars in GDM?

When you start GDM, /etc/gdm/Xsession sources $HOME/.profile and $HOME/.xprofile so just add your export statement to one of those and it should be available to all programs launched via your window manager.

How do I add/fix Flash or add other Restricted Formats?

Follow the info on the Restricted Formats page. If you want to trick your system out, http://www.ehomeupgrade.com/entry/2663/how-to_get_full might be worth a look but keep in mind it deviates from Ubuntu's libraries. Mileage may vary.

I try to install Program X but I can't find it using Apt-Get/Synaptic/etc.

You probably need to enable the other repositories.

[howto] General 5.10 - HOW-TO Secure Remote Access - Hamachi+VNC

A good how-to because it shows the best way to setup Hamachi as a service which is not done adequately on the Hamachi forums.

Do not use on Feisty or later as they contain DT_GNU_HASH.

This enables prelinking and work just like Mac OS X. To uninstall, run sudo prelink -ua and then reverse the steps in the forum post.

For desktop systems you might also want to

sudo apt-get install preload

Is it possible to for us to work on a document together?

Yes! We have Gobby! sudo apt-get install gobby

How do I share code with you on IRC or Jabber so that it formats/highlights correctly?

Use paste.ubuntu.com. If you are using Ubuntu, you can use the webboard applet to make that much easier. sudo apt-get install webboard then add applet to panel.

How can I see my window's computers and/or share things with them?

You have to set up Samba first then explore whether you want to [MountWindowsSharesPermanently Mount windows shares permanently]. The easy way to set all of this up is to use the "System -> Administration -> Shared Folders" menu item as well as to install sudo apt-get install gnome-user-share

How do I forward my mail from user@localhost to my email account?

In your home directory, create a .forward file and put your email address in it.

How do I listen to my shared iTunes Music?

You have to enable zeroconf in Ubuntu. To do this, you need to install the Avahi programs. I recommend you

sudo apt-get install avahi-daemon avahi-discover avahi-utils service-discovery-applet

How do I fix the "The X system keyboard settings differ from your currentGNOME keyboard settings." error?

I posted the answer to this on here on the Ubuntu Forums.

How do I import high quality DVI over Firewire from my Digital Video Camera?

There are a few ways to do this however I usually tell people how to do it the non-GUI way.

sudo apt-get install gscanbus dvbgrab

then run

sudo gscanbus

and see if it detects your firewire camera. If it does, you're ready to go.

sudo dvgrab --opendml --buffers 500

will allow you to import raw DVI in blocks of 999mb files. This works out to be 200mb per minute or 12gig per hour. If you want make the video into one big DVI file you can play with options.

man dvgrab

How do I turn on the Avahi-Daemon in Edgy?

Open a terminal and type {sudo nano /etc/default/avahi-daemon then change the 0 to 1 ala

# 0 = don't start, 1 = start

Then issue sudo /etc/init.d/avahi-daemon start. Avahi will startup normally at boot time.

How do I do a distribution upgrade? e.g. Dapper to Edgy

A distribution upgrade, even in Ubuntu, is not yet a simple thing. In fact, it's quite complex. Thankfully the update-manager program is smart enough to handle the brunt of the work. This makes a distribution upgrade something than a non-technical person can accomplish with some patience. There are a few ways to do this. I'm going to provide what I believe is the easiest way. From my point of view, you need to do this on high speed broadband, not dialup.

  • Backup your home directory (e.g. /home/joey) to a separate disk. If my disk is "/media/sdc1" I would this command: sudo cp -ar /home/joey /media/sdc1

  • Backup your etc directory to a separate disk. As above, I use this command: sudo cp -ar /etc /media/sdc1

  • sudo gedit /etc/apt/sources.list and comment out all non-Ubuntu items (skype, wine, Compiz, etc.) and then issue sudo apt-get update.

  • Launch Synaptic (yes, even for you KDE folks). Push the "Status" button in the bottom left hand corner. Click on "Installed (obsolete)". You'll want to "remove" all of these. If you have something like Realplayer or Skype make sure you write that down on a sticky note for later. These obsolete (and sometimes orphaned) programs can cause issues so it's best to get rid of them before.
  • Issue sudo update-manager -c -d and follow the prompts. If all goes well, in 40 minutes you'll be upgrading. If update-manager detects a problem, it'll reset your system to the way you had it so there is no worry about causing problems.

  • Upon successful completion, update-manager will prompt you to reboot. Do it and reboot into your new system. Login but don't touch anything. Smile :-)

  • Once logged, open a terminal window and run sudo apt-get update then sudo update-manager -c -d. Yes, that's right, another round of dist-upgrades. Keep repeating this step, rebooting, and repeating until one of two things happen:

    • 1) you have no more updates
    • 2) you have an update but it won't install

If you reach this point, congratulations. If you have no more updates to install, skip this paragraph to the next one. If you have a "held" update, something that won't install, then read on. Your update is stuck because of a dependency issue. This part will get hairy but stay with me.

  • Launch synpatic and head over to the obsolete programs again. You'll find some. Remove them (not Remove completely). You will undoubtedly get prompted to remove Ubuntu-Base, Ubuntu-Desktop, and perhaps a massive list of stuff. Believe it or not, that's ok as long as you do NOT reboot until we finish. If you reboot, you will be hosed and you will be looking at a reinstall.

  • Once removed and applied, you next need hit the Search button in Synaptic and search on the Name "Ubuntu" without quotes. In the resulting list make certain that ubuntu-desktop, ubuntu-minimal, ubuntu-standard are all installed (solid green). If not, install them now unless you are using Kubuntu. Then you want ubuntu-minimal, ubuntu-standard, kubuntu-desktop, kubuntu-default-settings. (We're doing this in synpatic because you already have it running. I don't want to chance you trying to issue apt-get in a terminal window because you may have removed that in the previous step. Sure we could open a terminal before this step but I wanted to keep it simple.)

  • In synaptic, hit the button labeled "Mark All Upgrades" and then hit the apply button if it's highlighted.

Congratulations. At this point you have completed the hard part of the upgrade. There are still two things left to do before you are finished.

  • Mount that backup disk and copy your home directory back (do not use SUDO). e.g. cp -r /media/sdc1/joey /home. This restores all of your preferences and files. That's right, you don't have to reconfigure thunderbird or firefox (as an example).

  • Using Synaptic, Add/Remove, or Adept, reinstall any of your favourite applications that might not have made it along the journey.

If you have been paying attention you will have realized that we didn't use /etc. Correct. Did you customize /etc/asound.conf? Did you setup a /etc/hamachi directory? Did you have a special apache2 configuration? If you made any special changes, now is the time to copy them over. If you did not, then you should not copy anything. Do not blindly copy /etc from your backup and overwrite /etc. It probably would work but it does more harm in the long run.

When I boot, nautilus (the file manager) shows my home directory as being empty and consume 100% of the cpu.

This is a classic yet unintuitive problem with thumbnails. Simply open up a terminal window, change to your home directory, and issue rm -rf .thumbnails/ and then restart.

JoeyStanford/UbuntuFAQs (last edited 2008-08-06 17:00:10 by localhost)