Mark Snell . com


Proxies in Ubuntu Software Centre

In order to be able to use Ubuntu Software Centre from behind a proxy, you need to jump through a few hoops:

Click the search button (top button on the left side), and in the search box at the top type


In the Terminal type:

sudo pico /etc/apt/apt.conf

when prompted, type your password

add the following 3 lines:

Acquire::http::Proxy "";
Acquire::https::Proxy "";
Acquire::socks::Proxy "socks://";

and now you can run the Ubuntu Software Centre


and what does it all mean?

Terminal is the Program that gives you command line access to the computer.

Sudo gives you root (superuser) access to the machine.

Pico is a text editor

/etc/apt/apt.conf is the configuration file for APT, the Advanced Packaging Tool

the 3 lines in that file are of the format: Acquire::http::Proxy”http://user:password@proxy:port”

for the 3 types of proxy: http, https & socks

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Linux on the Desktop Part 2

Well, it\’s been a couple of weeks, and to be honest I\’m really not sure….

Here is my list of things that bug me:

I still can\’t find a good twitter client
Audio is patchy at best
I can\’t find a good program to open and edit files over scp/sftp
Searching for files is weird
My podcatching software gives random names to the files
Applications don\’t always remember where they are supposed to be (screen location)
Lots of software isn\’t available to do what I want. Even Firefox extension are not cross platform. Adobe air is supposed to be cross platform, but that means Windows &amp:: Mac. Ditto Silverlight, not that I\’ve found any great use for it (yet)
My scanner doesn\’t work (HP Scanjet 3500)
I can\’t even be bothered setting trying to set up my Brother Label Printer (P-touch QL500)
None of the free virtual machine apps seem to work properly
Help is patchy at best.
Can\’t see network shares via name (e.g. \\\\techdr\\patches)
Hibernation/sleep doesn\’t work properly

Ubuntu is free, and that\’s great, but to be honest, it\’s probably cost me hundreds of dollars in the time it took to setup and get it even close to right. Windows is not that expensive, especially if you buy it with a system.

The other problem is that most of job is supporting windows, so I need to spend time in it. I cant really afford to waste any more time, so it is quite likely that this blog post will be one of the last things this ubuntu machine ever does. Goodbye cruel world..

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Linux on the Desktop

I\’ve tried running Linux on my laptop before, with great success, but I ended up renting that laptop to a customer to take overseas for 3 months, and buying myself a beautiful black Macbook. So the next step was my desktop, and I\’ve done it. This time it was Ubuntu 7.10 which was replaced a few days later by 8.04LTS.

The transition was basically pretty smooth, I got rid of a few Windows only applications (I put Bernie in Charge of Quickbooks, so it is on her machine). Pretty much everything else I\’ve found a linux equivalent of.

I bought a new machine to start with, so it means my old box is still there for the moment in case I need it, and I will probably package it up as a virtual machine in case I need anything later, as Bern is supposed to get the previous machine to replace her aging box. Building a new Windows box would have been a 2 day exercise (finding and installing &amp:: configuring all the right software) , and this took about the same length of time.

Outstanding issues:
* The digital 5.1 output that I think the sound card has doesn\’t work, had to resort to 2 front/rear cables.
* gTwitter sucks for using Twitter
* I haven\’t set up my podcatching software yet
* sound is not working in skype
* I haven\’t imported my address book from the old machine
* cant access the fines on the server&lt::/ul&gt::

More updates to follow.

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Linux on the Laptop

I’ve tried a couple of times to run Linux as my main OS, but always ended up crawling reluctantly back to Microsoft Windows.

I’ve run a couple of machines as dual-boot, and while at DE&amp::T I actually had one of each on my desk and swapped between them with a KVM

This time I think I’ve cracked it. I’ve been 3 weeks on my laptop (which I take out with me to clients and basically use everyday) without rebooting into Windows.

The Solution: Ubuntu Linux 6.06. Code named: Dapper Drake

It hasn’t been a perfect transition, but it’s one I’m happy with. There was trouble with WPA secured wireless networks, which I fixed by installing network-manager, and there were a couple of other teething problems I cant remember.

Outstanding issues:
Hibernation: doesn’t work but I’m usually relying on my laptop when I’m using it, so messing around shutting it down is counter-productive.
Printing to the Xerox Colour Photocopier at CCCW: requires me to enter a dept number, which seems to only work from the Windows driver.

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Asterisk Install

install ubuntu 5.10 as &quot::server&quot::

sudo pico /etc/network/interfaces 
iface eth0 inet static
address 192.168.1.x

sudo /etc/init.d/networking restart
sudo apt-get install ssh
from other machine ssh to ip address
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get upgrade

sudo pico /etc/apt/sources.list
uncomment the universe repository lines so you have access to more sofware.

sudo apt-get install asterisk

  • sudo apt-get install zaptel-source
  • sudo apt-get install linux-headers-‘uname -r’
  • sudo apt-get build-dep asterisk
  • sudo apt-get install gcc3.4
  • m-a a-i zaptel
  • you need to set an opermode if you live outside of the us so edit /etc/modprobe.d/zaptel (Australia used as example)
install wcfxo /sbin/modprobe –ignore-install wcfxo opermode=AUSTRALIA &amp::&amp:: /sbin/ztcfg
install wcfxs /sbin/modprobe –ignore-install wcfxs opermode=AUSTRALIA &amp::&amp:: /sbin/ztcfg

  • and edit /etc/zaptel.conf (Australia with Module 1-2 FXO and 3-4 FXS used as example)
loadzone = au

  • modprobe zaptel
  • modprobe wcfxs (to support the FXO modules)
  • modprobe wcfxo (to support the FXS modules)

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I’m in the process of building myself an IP PABX at home, but in order to do that I needed a machine to build it on, so I searched around, and found myself all the bits I needed, well, almost all, because it turns out I need a motherboard with PCI 2.2 slots in it, so I ordered a board off ebay.
It was a Compaq board, but it looked fairly standard, till I went to plug the power supply in and found the socket was 24 pins, where standard ATX is only 20. So I emailed the guy, and he sent me a power supply for it, couriered, no charge!
So I have no hesitation whatsoever in recommending dinosaur_pc

I’ve too much other stuff to do at the moment to build it, but at least I think I have all the bits now!

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Kernel compiling

Today I decided to recompile the kernel on my home server, seeing as I am no longer relying on it for dial-up. Hopefully this time I can get it right. Last time there were no new modules, but this time I’ve gone from the top with: make menuconfig, make dep, make clean, make bzImage, make modules, make modules_install that I got from It takes rather a long time on the P66 with 24MB RAM that I use as a server, but basically that was enough hardware to route my old dialup and act as a file server.

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