Using fstab to mount your devices/drives at boot (HP Microserver build)

All files accessible in a *nix system are arranged in one big tree, the file hierarchy, rooted at /. These files can be spread out over several devices. The mount command serves to attach the file system found on some device to the big file tree. 

The configuration file /etc/fstab contains the necessary information to automate the process of mounting partitions. In a nutshell, mounting is the process where a raw (physical) partition is prepared for access and assigned a location on the file system tree (or mount point). Here's how to manually set up fstab to automatically mount your devices and partitions at boot:

Ubuntu simple firewall setup ufw with GUI (gufw)

The Linux kernel in Ubuntu provides a packet filtering system called netfilter, and the traditional interface for manipulating netfilter are the iptables suite of commands. iptables provide a complete firewall solution that is both highly configurable and highly flexible.

Becoming proficient in iptables takes time, and getting started with netfilter firewalling using only iptables can be a daunting task. As a result, many frontends for iptables have been created over the years, the Uncomplicated Firewall (ufw) is a command line based frontend for iptables and is particularly well-suited for host-based firewalls; gufw adds a graphical user interface to ufw. Here's how to setup Ubuntu's firewall with ufw and gufw:

Share your Ubuntu media with AppleTV 2 : Ubuntu + iTunes (WINE) + ATV2

The Apple TV 2 (ATV2) seems like a good bit of kit for the price certainly better value than the iPad HDMI connection kit. I picked up an ATV2 primarily to wirelessly share my iPad stowed photos (from the Apple Camera Connection kit) on a large LCD TV. Furthermore, I was also intending to share photos and music from my home server running Ubuntu to the ATV2. Not wanting to jail break the ATV2 I was thus sad to see a lack of either native uPnP or DLNA support on the ATV2 out of the box rendering my home server useless with respect to the ATV2... the solution was to install iTunes to my home server and use Apple HomeSharing feature to get access to my server based media. Here's how to do it:

Enable location / address / filepath bar on Nautilus under Ubuntu

By default, Nautilus displays the pathbar, a series of buttons with directory names, to display the current location. Some users prefer to use a location bar, with the full path displayed. Here's  how to configure Nautilus to display locations using the location bar:

Ubuntu remote desktop does not refresh issue (Nvidia + Vino VNC)

This seems to be a common issue for people using the built-in Ubuntu remote desktop server, vino, and the proprietary Nvidia drivers along with compiz visual effects; whereby the remote desktop screen on the VNC client fails to update unless you reconnect to the server. There seem to be plenty of bugs lying around open for this issue and it seems to affect a range of VNC servers (it doesn't impact TightVNC from my experience) a work around is as follows:

Running Rsync as a daemon on Ubuntu (HP Microserver build)

Rsync is a fast and extraordinarily versatile file copying tool. It can copy locally, to/from another host over any remote shell, or to/from a remote rsync daemon. It is famous for its delta-transfer algorithm, which reduces the amount of data sent over the network by sending only the differences between the source files and the existing files in the destination. Rsync is widely used for backups and mirroring and as an improved copy command for everyday use.

NeoRouter client zero-config VPN on Ubuntu (HP Microserver build)

As part of the HP Microserver build: seeking to add the Microserver to my NeoRouter zero-configuration VPN I installed the Linux NeoRouter client. NeoRouter is a cross-platform zero-configuration VPN solution that securely connects Windows, Mac, Linux and FreeBSD computers at any locations into a virtual LAN and provides a networking platform for various applications like remote desktop, shared folders and printers, offsite backup, voice & video chat, etc. NeoRouter Free features bleeding-edge technologies and is released frequently. It is 100% free for both commercial and non-commercial usage. Read on...

Adobe Flash install under Ubuntu from Synaptic package manager

Adobe Flash at the moment is constantly under fire with security exploits and hence fixes to keep it patched. With the constant stream of security updates I'm keen to ensure my Ubuntu boxes run with the most recent stable. Adobe Flash builds. The easiest way to install Flash is via the Debian package however, this has the disadvantage that Adobe won't be managed under the Synaptic package maanger and updates will not be automatically downloaded and installed. With this in mind I opted to install Adobe through the Synpatic package manager in Ubunutu. Here's how to do it, read on...

XBMC on Ubuntu (HP Microserver build)

As part of the HP Microserver build: seeking to possibly set the server up as a Media Centre I installed XBMC. XBMC is an open source software media player and entertainment hub for digital media that's available for Linux, OSX, and Windows. XBMC functions as a standard media player application that can be used to play almost all popular audio and video formats around. It was designed for network playback, so you can stream your multimedia from anywhere in the house or directly from the internet using practically any protocol available. It can also scan your media and automatically create a personalized library complete with box covers, descriptions, and fanart. There are playlist and slideshow functions, a weather forecast feature and many audio visualizations. Once installed, your computer will become a fully functional multimedia jukebox. Read on...

Enable WOL on Ubuntu (HP Microserver build)

Out of the box I tend to find WOL under Ubuntu will not work, despite WOL being enabled in a PC's BIOS. The way I've often resolved this is to install ethtool which allows the querying settings of an ethernet device and the changing of settings. Read on...

uShare on Ubuntu (HP Microserver build)


As part of the HP Microserver build: seeking to enable media sharing/streaming across the networked devices on the local area network i.e. TV's, Xbox360, iPad, Apple TV and smart phones I installed uShare. uShare is a free UPnP Audio Visual & DLNA Media Server. It implements the server component that provides UPnP media devices with information on available multimedia files. uShare uses the built-in http server of libupnp to stream the files to clients. It does not act as an UPnP Media Adaptor and thus, can't transcode streams to fit the client requirements. Read on...

TightVNCServer on Ubuntu (HP Microserver build)

As part of the HP Microserver build: seeking to have a backup remote administration (VNC) service I opted to install TightVNCServer. TightVNC is a free remote control software package which allows you to see the desktop of a remote machine and control it with your local mouse and keyboard, just like you would do it sitting in the front of that computer. TightVNC is free for both personal and commercial usage, and compatible with standard VNC software. The main reasons for installing TightVNC are that I often find it to be faster and more responsive than the Ubuntu built-in Remote Desktop VNC server, vino, and also I find that vino can often be unreliable with the screen not updating. Read on...

Webmin on Ubuntu (HP Microserver build)

As part of the HP Microserver build: seeking to have a web based GUI remote administration tool to allow the box to be easily administered without having to result to a remote shell  / command line interface I opted to install Webmin. Webmin is a web-based interface for system administration for Unix. Using any modern web browser, you can setup user accounts, Apache, DNS, file sharing and much more. Webmin removes the need to manually edit Unix configuration files and lets you manage a system from the console or remotely. Read on...