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Downloading repo keys from behind a corporate firewall

October 2, 2010 19 comments

Corporate firewalls commonly block port 11371 which launchpad PPA’s use for their keys.

It is possible though to get these through the normal port 80 for web traffic using the format below (replace the last reference to reflect the key you want to download)…
gpg --keyserver hkp://keyserver.ubuntu.com:80 %%recv-keys 0A5174AF

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Using a USB modem for wireless 3G internet with Ubuntu 10.04 “Lucid Lynx”

October 2, 2010 Leave a comment

Many of these devices contain their own software to work with Windows.
If you use them with a Windows machine, they act like a USB flash key containing the software and will install the necessary drivers.
Once this is done, they switch into a different mode of operation and act like a modem from then on.
This is not required in Ubuntu so we just need to make sure the modem skips that first stage. It’s a very simple fix actually but will involve getting an internet connection through another means first i.e. home internet, wifi at a cafe, a friend’s place etc

Open a Terminal window (under the Applications menu, Accessories).
Type the following to install what you need

sudo apt-get install usb-modeswitch

This will ask you for your password in order to install the software.
Once it is completed, you can just insert the USB modem again and connect using the Network Manager applet near the top right hand corner of the screen.
From here it depends on the internet provider that the USB modem relates to but it should get you a good deal closer to getting it working.

Webmin on a server running Ubuntu 10.04 “Lucid Lynx”

August 15, 2010 Leave a comment

If you have an old PC lying around, why not put it to good use as a server?

Download Ubuntu 10.04 Server edition in 64-bit or 32-bit versions depending on how old your server is.  64-bit is recommended if the PC will accept it.

Once downloaded, you use .iso file to burn a CD.  Then boot from the CD to install Ubuntu Server on your machine.

This is an install that does not have the usual graphical user interface which can scare people off but it has its benefits.  You use the power of the machine only for its intended purpose e.g. acting as a file server, a DHCP or a DNS server.

Once it has been installed successfully and the network connection is verified to be working, it is quite feasible to remove the display monitor and to deal with the server across your network from now on.  A key tool in this approach is Webmin.

To install run the following command line

sudo apt-get install webmin

Once that completes, you will be able to install updates, configure the machine, add extra server components, get alerts when things are going awry on the server etc

To harness all this incredible power, point your browser (Firefox, Chrome etc) at …

https://yourservername:10000

As an example, once you have installed it, go to the menu on the left hand side, choose “Webmin Configuration” and then the “Upgrade Webmin” icon.

This will upgrade you up to the latest version available from the webmin site.

Then try this to keep track of all software updates that are available for your server…

On the same “Webmin Configuration” Screen, choose “Webmin Modules” icon and then the button to the right of “www.webmin.com“.

Select “package-updates” from the list and follow the instruction to install it. (It may be already installed but this shows you how to get other modules should you be interested in adding new functionality to webmin).

It is also necessary to install another package which is not installed by default in order for the list of packages to work as expected.  Run this command line.

sudo apt-get install apt-show-versions

Now, you can have Webmin check for updates every hour and let you know via email if your server has important updates ready to be applied.  This is better than automatically configuring the server to apply updates blindly in case something breaks. You can then choose a suitable occasion to perform the updates when you have time to rectify any issues that may occur.

Click on the System menu on left-hand-side of Webmin screen and choose “Software Package Updates”. In there you can set your schedule for checking updates and where to send the email.

I recommend to check every hour and “Just notify” of available updates.  This screen is fairly self-explanatory.

Webmin has everything you need to remotely control your server and circumvents the need to run a graphical user desktop environment on that machine saving precious processing time particularly on older machines. It also makes the configuration,  monitoring and management of that server easier to perform remotely so it can be hidden away in some dark recess of your home or office.  This is a good thing if the machine is an ugly beast from the last century with a noisy fan and a hideous disfigurement like my server, “quasimodo”.

Inexpensive 802.11n Wifi USB with Ubuntu 10.04 Lucid Lynx

June 18, 2010 6 comments

UPDATE: it may be possible to get this working with two simple lines. Tested as working under Ubuntu 10.10 “Maverick Meerkat”.

In a terminal window try the following and then reinsert the USB wireless N adapter.

cd /lib/firmware
ln -s RTL8192SE RTL8192SU

END UPDATE

 

I bought this relatively cheap USB wireless N adapter online but it did not work when initially inserted using Ubuntu 10.04 Lucid Lynx.

Now I cannot determine the speed as my Wireless Access point is actually on Wireless g (54Mbps) but this is what I did to get it working.

From the CD that came with the adapter, I copied off the file containing the Linux driver and then copied only the firmware to the appropriate location for Ubuntu to be able to utilise it.

(Assuming the CD is visible at /media/WLAN_6.58/)

Open a terminal window (from the Applications menu, Accessories), then type each line as shown below followed by Enter key each time.

mkdir ~/tmpwifidriver

cd ~/tmpwifidriver

cp /media/WLAN_6.58/USB-11N_RTL8191\&8188/Linux/rtl8192su_linux_2.6.0002.0708.2009.tar.gz ~/tmpwifidriver/

tar xvf rtl8192su_linux_2.6.0002.0708.2009.tar.gz

sudo cp -r ./rtl8192su_linux_2.6.0002.0708.2009/firmware/RTL8192SU/ /lib/firmware/

Just delete the temporary folder now to cleanup

rm -rf /home/tony/tmpwifidriver/

Then just insert the wifi USB adapter and click on the icon for Network Manager in the top right of the screen.  You should be able to see any nearby wireless hotspots.

For the record, my wifi adapter looks like this when queried with lsusb

Bus 001 Device 010: ID 0bda:8172 Realtek Semiconductor Corp.

A bargain for only $16!!