Archive for the ‘Natty Narwhal’ Category

Amazon MP3 Downloader for Linux

6, August 2011

I’ve just come across a site called textbookstuff that does DRM free audiobooks in MP3 format, these are limited to out of copy write books and poems and they are new so only have a few available at the moment. The difference is the books are read by well known reader but are produced with sound effects and music which make them more like a BBC play. They provide their book through various download options but the prices vary quite widely, the one I looked at downloading cost between £4.99 and £9.99 dependant which option you chose, the cheapest being Amazon which immediately caused me a problem as I wanting to use a Linux solution however the Linux solutions provided by Amazon failed to work due to dependency issues and also no 64bit support. This was solved by a little program called pymazon found here this worked for me in both Ubuntu 11.04 and Linux Mint Debian Edition both running XFCE . To install it from a Terminal just run the following commands;

$ sudo apt-get install python-crypto
$ sudo apt-get install python-qt4
$ wget
$ tar -xzf Pymazon-0.9.tar.gz
$ cd Pymazon-0.9
$ sudo python install

and run from a Terminal with;

$ pymazom

Open the [Preferences] options and change the [Save Directory] to one of your choice.

Then buy your audiobook/music on Amazon, during the process it will ask you to download their Linux version of the software unfortunately it does not support 64 bit and even the 32 bit versions have dependencies missing. So just click on the link following the text which says “If you have already installed the Amazon MP3 downloader click here” and continue the purchase. Once complete a download should start of an .amz file e.g AmazonMP3-12345678.amz which you should direct to a folder of your choice. Next open python, select the [Load Files] optin and navigate to your previously stored .amz file and open it, pymazon will then display a list of your purchased tracks and these can then be downloaded using the [Download] button and once downloaded displayed with the [Show Downloads] button.

Transmission Remote GUI

15, March 2011

Transmission Remote GUI

Now I have my Transmission daemon up and running which I can access from a web browser [see here ]  I thought I would try out the Transmission Remote GUI as this give me a few more option on a per download basis. First I need to add the package with;

$ sudo apt-get install transgui

Once installed open tools options and add the details of your connection to your remote host

Remote Host: static ip address of Transmission Host

Port: 9091

User name & Password

Now you should be able to see your download queue and manage it from your remote client.

Edit: Just found out you can only sudo apt-get this app from Natty, Maverick and below do not have this in the repos. So visit Transmisson Remote gui Homepage and download the or, extract the files to a suitable folder on your system then create a shortcut to the transgui program file.

Move multiple files from command line

15, March 2011

Using find to copy or move multiple files

All the .txt files are located in directories and subdirectories of the ~/tmp folder and I want to copy them to ~/tmp2

To copy them, open a Terminal and use;

$ find ~/tmp -name ‘*.txt’ -exec cp ‘{}’ ~/tmp2 \;

This copies all the files in the original folders and sub folders and saves them to the ~/tmp2 folder.

or to move them,

$ find ~/tmp -name ‘*.txt’ -exec mv ‘{}’ ~/tmp2 \;

this deletes them from the original folders and sub folders and saves them to the ~/tmp2 folder.

Start up Sound

15, March 2011

Start up Sound:

This works on my Xubuntu Natty install. I found a .ogg sound file that I wanted to use as a start up sound so needed an command line ogg player to play it.

$ sudo apt-get install ogg123

Now create a script in /usr/bin as follows [replace mousepad with the text editor of your choice];

$ sudo mousepad /usr/bin/startup

Add the following to the file

#### play sound at startup ####
## reduce volume ##
sleep 5
/usr/bin/amixer -c 0 sset Master,0 60%
## play sound ##
/usr/bin/ogg123 /path_to_my/sartupsound.ogg
## increase volume again ##
/usr/bin/amixer -c 0 sset Master,0 85%

save the script and make it executable with.

$ sudo chmod +x /usr/bin/startup

Now add the script to the system start up, in Xubuntu open [Settings], [Settings Manager], [Session and Startup], [Application Autostart], and then the [Add] button. Add a name of your choice in the Name field, and the same in the Description field, then the path to your script in the Command field i.e /usr/bin/startup in this case the [ok] to finish. You will then get a startup sound next time you log on.

Shutdown Sound

15, March 2011

Shutdown Sound:

This works on my Xubuntu Natty install. I found a .ogg sound file that I wanted to use as a shutdown sound so needed an command line ogg player to play it.

$ sudo apt-get install ogg123

now add a script as follow script to /etc/init.d as follows

In a Terminal, create the file with, [change mousepad to your favourite text editor]

$ sudo mousepad /etc/init.d/

copy the following into the script

#### play sound at startup ####
## reduce volume ##
amixer -c 0 sset Master,0 50%
## play sound ##
/usr/bin/ogg123 /path_to my/shutdown.ogg

save the script and make it executable.

$ sudo chmod +x /etc/init.d/

now add a shortcut to /etc/rc0.d where shutdown scripts go and to /etc/rc6.d where reboot scripts go

$ sudo ln -s /etc/init.d/ /etc/rc0.d/

$ sudo ln -s /etc/init.d/ /etc/rc6.d/

Now I get a reboot and shutdown sound.

Sony Laptop, Special Function Buttons

15, March 2011

Sony Laptop VGN-NS11J

This laptop has 2 extra keys on the top panel next to the Power Button, AV Mode and Mute

These keys are detected by Natty Xubuntu as;

AV MODE = XF86AudioMedia
Mute = XF86Launch1

These keys can be activated by opening the [Settings], [Keyboard] option, selecting [Application Shortcuts] tab then the [Add] option.

Add amixer set Master toggle to the [command] box of the Mute key then press [ok] and in the next window press the Mute key to activate it.

Add a command of your choice i.e /usr/bin/exaile [this will launch the Exaile media player] to the [command] box of the AV MODE key then press [ok] and in the next window press the AV MODE key to activate it.

Xfce 4.8 comes to Xubuntu Natty

25, January 2011

Xfce 4.8 released, see

Xfce 4.8 seems to be fully implemented in Xubuntu Natty 11.04 now, I’ve been running Xubuntu since Alpha 1 having decided I don’t want either Unity, it’s fallback Gnome or Gnome shell and am loving it. I’m running it on my laptop as the main o/s doing safe upgrades every few days and [fingers crossed] not had any problems. I think Xubuntu is going to be my new main o/s and am looking forward to Alpha 2 in February when I’ll be testing it on my spare “testing” PC .

Natty Unity

5, January 2011

So I’ve been doing some ISO testing of the Natty Alpha 1 release and have had one or two problems [see previous post iso Testing Natty ] but my main problem with it has been the decision to replace the default Gnome desktop with Unity. Unity is a 3D replacement for the 2D Gnome desktop which Gnome are about to replace anyway with Gnome Shell. Ubuntu seem to have decided Gnome Shell is not the direction they want to go so are replacing the desktop with their own. Unity brings the notebook and desktop versions of Ubuntu together with only minor differences which will be detected and applied during install. The standard approach will therefore be a notebook type display on both desktop and notebook. The main difference will be the loss of the bottom panel, the replacement of the top panel with a more interactive menu and a Mac style icon dock down the left hand side.

When you install the Ubuntu default now you will need a 3D enabled graphics card to run Unity or you will be presented with a pop up message currently;

Sorry you don’t have 3D support, install it for
your graphic hardware to get Unity or please
reboot and select “Classic session” at startup.

Not a very helpful message in my opinion, basically you can go into [System], [Administration], [Login Screen] and change [Ubuntu desktop Edition] to [Ubuntu Classic Desktop] then log out and back in again to 2D Classic Mode but this is not obvious from the message. The other option would be to add the 3D driver [if your card supports 3D] and log out and back in again for Unity to display, Nvidia owners beware! The message is particularly unhelpful if you are running a Live CD version or USB stick with persistence not enabled because you will not be able to install the driver as a restart will wipe the changes, noobs will be confused.

Personally I don’t like Unity, it’s more Mac like styling, I don’t have 3D effects turned on and don’t want them, the dock on the left is unnecessary clutter but if I wanted one there are plenty of docks available without this being the default. We are told we can use the Classic 2D Gnome desktop if we don’t like Unity but that this will eventually disappear when Gnome Shell arrives and Gnome 2 is depreciated. My thoughts for Gnome Shell are much the same I just don’t want to go there so the hunt starts for an alternative. I’ve already tested Lubuntu with it’s LXDE desktop and although I like the styling it’s still a bit basic. So for now Xubuntu with it’s Xfce desktop is becoming my test o/s. I’m currently running Natty Xubuntu testing and loving it.

ISO Testing Natty

1, December 2010

ISO Testing Natty Alpha 1

Testing PC details: hardware

Downloaded the testing iso from using zsync

first install zsync

$ sudo apt-get install zsync

then I created a folder called iso-testing and copied my last Meerkat iso into it then created a script called as follows

## created by Martin Cooper ##
echo “open iso testing folder:…”
cd ~/iso-testing
echo “Now check local iso with current iso and update if out of date…”
## Alpa 1 iso location ##
zsync -i *.iso
echo “ok all done now..”

The -i *.iso makes zsync check any iso image in the folder to see if it is an up to date version of the version of ubuntu we have named in the download URL, in this case natty-desktop-i386.iso and if not use it as a base only downloading the files that have changed.

Once that was done and the iso was burned to a DVD [the current Alpha1 iso is too big to fit a CD] I booted it up in the test pc.

The iso booted ok but to a Live desktop with wallpaper, an examples folder and an install link but no gnome panels top and bottom. The graphics card I have will need a restricted driver adding before it [maybe] supports the new Unity desktop and there does not seem to be a fall-back option for unsupported graphics cards to give users the option to update the rivers yet. So for me the test was a fail!

I then decided to complete another of the Tests in the ISO Testing Tracker, the free software only install. I knew I would still have no Desktop but I wanted Natty on the testing PC and wanted the opportunity to continue testing up to Alpha2. The install was to the 1st of the 2 Hard Drives on the PC, the 2nd currently has the LinuxMint Debian rolling release on it.

The result was the same no Desktop panels, just the revolting purple wallpaper. I could however open a Terminal using Ctrl+Alt+T and confirm that there was no non free software installed on the PC using the command line tests given in the testing script.

Verify that neither the restricted nor multiverse archives have been enabled:

$ grep “restricted\|multiverse” /etc/apt/sources.list | grep -v “^#”

should return nothing

Verify that the linux-restricted-modules package has not been installed:

$ dpkg -l linux-restricted-* | grep -vE “^[a-z]n”

should return no packages

so that works but no usable desktop!

To fix this I found this post by lidex

Opened a Terminal using the keyboard shortcut Ctrl+Alt+T, then entered

$ gconf-editor

and once the gconf editor opened navigated to desktop/gnome/session/required_components/panel and changed “” to gnome-panel then rebooted.

The second major problem was that the install of Natty has wiped the LinuxMint boot options from Grub so to fix this I followed this thread by drs305 from 3. as I could get into Ubuntu and had a working Internet connection.

3. Purge Grub 2 packages. The next command will remove grub, grub-pc (Grub 2) and grub-common.

* Here is what you will do:

* Press ENTER to continue.

* Read the warning during the install about removing the bootloader. TAB to highlight “” and press ENTER.

* If you are sure you have never had Grub legacy on the current installation you may omit “grub” from the next command (apt-get purge grub-pc grub-common).


$ sudo apt-get purge grub grub-pc grub-common

4. Reinstall the grub packages. Here is what will happen:

* You will be given the opportunity to add extra kernel options to the kernel line. If you don’t know, you probably don’t need them ; TAB to highlight “” and press ENTER.
* Read the installation notes. TAB to “” to continue.
* When presented with the device option, use the UP/DN keys to select the correct drive (sdX).

Make sure the installation drive [*] /dev/sdX has an asterisk next to it ( example: [*] /dev/sda ). If it doesn’t, highlight it and press the SPACE bar to select it.
Do not select a partition ( example: [ ] /dev/sda5 , etc).

* TAB to “” and press ENTER. When it has finishing the installation, you should have Grub 2 installed.


$ sudo apt-get install grub-common grub-pc

5. Update the Grub 2 files . This command shouldn’t be necessary, but it won’t hurt to update Grub once more before exiting.

$ sudo update-grub

and rebooted to test, all is right with grub2 again.

Testing Alpha [Edit: ]

Just added the restricted nVidia driver [tried both v173 & 96] and both somehow removed the Gnome panels again, with the fix above not helping as the gnome-panel option is still in place. When I revert back to no restricted driver the panels return.