Monday, June 19, 2006

vpnc - Cisco VPN Client

I needed a client to access work's Cisco VPN client. Apparently, the official client from Cisco (version 4.8 or later) can be built to run on Dapper Drake. However, there is an open source alternative vpnc, for which there is an apt package.

I installed the vpnc package and it ran (sudo) without any problems. As an added bonus (unlike the official client) vpnc doesn't disable LAN traffic, is not a kernel module and doesn't require recompilation with each kernel upgrade.

Installing Sun's Java - Problem Solved

A recent problem I had installing Sun's Java5 package for Ubuntu turned out to be due to me having misconfigured Synaptic's repositories; I hadn't properly referenced the multiverse repository. Once I had corrected this as described in this guide, I was able to install the sun-java5 packages using Synaptic.

After installation I ran sudo update-alternatives --config java and selected /usr/lib/jvm/java-1.5.0-sun/jre/bin/java as the default java.

Friday, June 16, 2006

Monday, June 12, 2006

Installing Sun's Java

[ Update: problem solved ]

It appears that at one time Sun's Java 5 was available for installation via apt-get/Synaptic (sun-java5-* packages). This no longer appears to be the case and I suspect it's related to recent problems with the terms of Sun's Java license.

Therefore, to install the JRE/JDK one must resort to the standard download and installation process from Sun's web-site. For example, to install the Sun's Java runtime environment (JRE 5.0 Update 7) do the following:
  1. download the self-extracting bin file
  2. make executable
    chmod +x jre-1_5_0_07-linux-i586.bin
  3. run the executable (requires acceptance of the terms of the license)
    sudo ./jre-1_5_0_07-linux-i586.bin
  4. move the extracted file-tree to a suitable location
    sudo mv jre1.5.0_07/ /opt
  5. configure the browser plug-in, e.g. for Firefox:
    cd /usr/lib/firefox/plugins/
    sudo ln -s /opt/jre1.5.0_07/plugin/i386/ns7/
  6. set your JAVA_HOME environment variable and put it into your PATH variable e.g. in $HOME/.bash_profile add
  7. To run the Control Panel

Saturday, June 10, 2006

Perl CPAN depends on make and libc6-dev packages

I tried running a Perl script I'd written and found that while Perl is installed, a couple of modules, namely HTML::Entities and Text::CSV, are not.

I ran CPAN (using sudo cpan and automatic config) but it failed to build any modules because make is not installed and nor are many C header files. The fix is to make sure the make and libc6-dev packages are installed.

Friday, June 09, 2006

Real and Windows media playback

In addition to restricted video formats such as MPEG, playback of other non-free formats such as Real media and Windows media, also requires manual installation. This comprehensive guide provides details. In my case I installed totem-xine (and its firefox-plugin), RealPlayer 10 and the win32 codecs.

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

MPEG/MPG movie player

By default Ubuntu Dapper Drake supports various free video formats (ogg vorbis/theora) but not restricted formats such as MPEG. Therefore, following this informative guide, it is necessary to install the gstreamer0.10-plugins-ugly (and optionally mpg321 & vorbis-tools) package in order to view MPEGs in the Totem movie player. These packages are available from the "Universe" and "Multiverse" repositories.

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

WiFi requires restricted modules

As a side-effect of installing the latest nVidia graphics drivers I installed the restricted modules package linux-restricted-modules-2.6.15-23-686. It turns out this was all that was needed to get WiFi working with the 686 kernel.

I already had it working with my non-SMP 386 kernel because the linux-restricted-modules-2.6.15-23-386 was already installed.

Monday, June 05, 2006

Install latest nVidia GeForce drivers

The Dell Inspiron 9400 I have comes with the nVidia GeForce Go 7900 GS graphics card. There are "restricted" (closed source) drivers for this card with superior support for hardware graphics acceleration compared with the default open-source "nv" drivers.

To install the nvidia drivers I used "Method 1" from this excellent guide
  1. installed the nvidia-glx and linux-restricted-modules-2.6.15-23-686 packages
  2. enabled the driver using sudo nvidia-xconfig
  3. added the nvidia-settings dialog to the Application > System menu
  4. Restarted xserver (Ctrl-Alt-Backspace)
It worked flawlessly.

WiFi Only Works with 386 Kernel

First problem: the wireless network card only appears to work when Ubuntu is booted using the 386 kernel. When booting with the 686 kernel (needed for SMP support of the Core Duo) WiFi support is not available.

Update: all that's need to get WiFi working with the 686 kernel is installation of the "restricted" modules.

Install linux-kernel-2.6.15-23-686 for SMP support

The Inspiron 9400 has an Intel Core Duo processor. However, the default Ubuntu Dapper Drake 6.06 installs the 386 kernel for which there is no multiprocessor (SMP) support.

Therefore, I had to install the 686 kernel, specifically linux-image-2.6.15-23-686 (use either sudo apt-get install linux-686 or the graphical Synaptic Package Manager).

After installing this package and rebooting I was able to see both processors in the System Monitor tool, and both were listed in /proc/cpuinfo.

Superuser (root) password and sudo

If, like me, you're coming to Ubuntu from a different distribution (Red Hat v9 in my case) then you might stumble in attempting to gain superuser privileges.

You don't need them; when prompted for the superuser password (by sudo or a graphical administration tool) simply provide the password of the user account created during the installation process.

Detailed information.

First boot and update

The first boot proceeded without incident.

After logging in the Software Updates tool notified me that three updates were available:
  1. GNOME Application Installer (data files) - app-install-data: new version 0.1.33
  2. GNOME Application Installer - gnome-app-install: new version 0.1.33
  3. PCMCIA Card Services - pcmcia-cs: new version 3.2.8-5.2ubuntu6
These installed without incident.

Dapper Drake 6.06 First Installation

Ran the graphical installer from the Dapper Drake LiveCD.

Several basic settings questions (keyboard, language, timezone, hostname) are asked.

I added a single user account when prompted.

I created the following partitions:
  • /boot (94MB; ext3)
  • /swap (2GB; linux-swap)
  • / (16GB; ext3)
  • /home (31GB; ext3)
The installation itself ran in only a few minutes without any problems.

Upon reboot, I selected Windows XP to ensure that it was unaffected. It ran a chkdsk and after an automatic reboot it ran as normal.

I then booted Ubuntu for the first time...

Sunday, June 04, 2006

Ubuntu 6.06 (Dapper Drake)

Downloaded the Ubuntu 6.06 Dapper Drake ISO and burned it to CD-ROM.

Ran the memory test and checked the CD for defects. Both passed.

Ubuntu boots without any problems in LiveCD mode.

Dell Inspiron 9400 Specifications

Received my Dell Inspiron 9400 - it has the following technical specifications:
  • Intel 945 Chipset Family
  • Intel Core Duo Processor T2600 2.16 GHz, 2MB Cache, 667 MHz FSB
  • 17" UltraSharp Wide Screen UXGA Display with Truelife: 1920x1200
  • 1024MB (1 X 1024MB) DDR2 SDRAM
  • 256MB NVIDIA GeForce Go 7900 GS
  • 100GB SATA 7200RPM Performance Hard Drive
  • Internal 8X DVD+/-RW Combination Drive with dual layer write capabilities
  • Integrated 10/100 Fast Ethernet
  • Intel PRO/Wireless 3945 Dual Band 802.11a/g 54Mbps Wireless Mini Card
  • Internal 56K Modem
  • ExpressCard Slot
  • Windows XP Professional SP2 Edition (English)