Linux Ubuntu

Getting Ubuntu Ready for “REAL” use…

I love Ubuntu…it’s undubitably the best free OS on the planet. However, there is one thing that I absolutely hate about Ubuntu.. My inability to SSH into the system from anywhere. I know it is this way by design and that it’s a “security” feature but it still annoys me. So the following commands are what I use to get the system ready for use after a fresh install.

apt-get install openssh-server openssh-client

That’s it. If you want to play around a little more you can configure Ubuntu’s firewall in just a few simple steps as well. In my example I will enable tcp/80, tcp/443, tcp/22 and udp/53 inbound.

ufw disable
ufw allow 80/tcp
ufw allow 443/tcp
ufw allow 22/tcp
ufw allow udp/53
ufw enable

And then you can validate what you have entered with:

ufw status

The output will be similar to this:

Firewall loaded

To Action From
— —— —-
80:tcp ALLOW Anywhere
443:tcp ALLOW Anywhere
22:tcp ALLOW Anywhere
53:udp ALLOW Anywhere

And that’s really all I do…it’s definately not much but it will be enough to get you started connecting remotely.

Ubuntu Windows

Windows / Linux Software Equivalents

Windows is definitely the big player in the game still, however Linux usage is gaining some steam. This post is going to concentrate on what programs you can use to make the switch to Linux. This process is not going to be entirely pain free if you are an avid user of all things computer related, however, if you are just a basic office user/worker or only need to check your email and play a few basic online games, Linux might be for you. There are literally thousands of choices for most applications out there so I’m only going to name the ones that I like or use and also only ones that work on Ubuntu. If you have any additions, please let me know.

Windows vs. Linux (Ubuntu)

Internet Browsing
W – Internet Explorer
U – Firefox

Email Clients
W – Outlook, Outlook Express
U – Thunderbird, Evolution

Chat Clients
W – MSN, Yahoo, Google Talk, AIM, mIRC
U- Gaim / Pigdin, xChat, BitchX

Com Port Communications
W – Hyperterminal
U – MiniCom

FTP Client
W – Filezilla FTP Client
U – Filezilla FTP Client

Remote Access Servers
W – Terminal Server, RealVNC, TightVNC, WinVNC
U – FreeNX, RealVNC, TightVNC

P2P Filesharing
W – Limewire, Bearshare, Bittorrent
U – Limewire, Azureus

VoIP Clients
W – Skype, X-Lite
U – Skype, Linphone, Twinkle

Drawing / Photo Editing
W –, Photoshop, MSPaint
3D Annimation / Rendering
W – 3D Studio MAX, Blender
U – Blender, Maya

DVD Players
W – Windows Media Player, PowerDVD
U – MPlayer, Kaffine, VLC

MP3 / Music Players
W – Winamp, iTunes
U – RhymeBox, K3b

Office Productivity
W – Microsoft Office
U –

Network / Relation Mapping
W – Microsoft Visio
U – Dia

Accounting / Financial
W – Quicken, Microsoft Money
U – GnuCash

Desktop Publishing
W – Microsoft Publisher, Quark
U – Scribus

PDF Editing
W – Adobe Acrobat Professional
U – PDFEdit, pdftk

W – Norton Ghost
U – G4u, dd

Partition Resizing
W – Norton Partition Magic
U – GParted

Backup Software
W – Symantec Backup Exec
U – BackupPC, Amanda

Web Servers
W – Microsoft IIS
U – Apache

File Servers
W – Microsoft File Services
U – Samba

Email Servers
W – Microsoft Exchange
U – Postfix, Sendmail

AntiVirus Software
W – Symantec AV, Mcafee
U – ClamAV, AVG

For more of these “like” software lists, please visit what I believe to be the most complete list on the internet, Table of Equivalents.

blog Linux pfSense Ubuntu

Everyday Free Tools – Tech Stuff

Each and every day I use a set of tools, mostly free or open source ones that help me get through the day. I though I would list of a few of them for you so that you can give them a shot as well.

Home Computer

I have a Panasonic Toughbook laptop running Ubuntu 7.04 that I really haven’t modified too awful much because I like the look and feel of the OS as it is. Here’s a list of things that I use everyday or every so often to accomplish a task without spending any money.

Operating SystemUbuntu 7.04 – Stable, clean, easy to install, based on GNOME and very well supported by the community. I would say that the forums for Ubuntu are better than most and for some reason, the users of Ubuntu are much nicer than that of Red Hat and others. attached to my Gmail account (I do my own hosting)

Firewall pfSense – I mentioned this a few post’s ago. I absolutely love this firewall.

Document ManagementGoogle Doc’s and Spreadsheets – This one is really neat, you can upload your Microsoft Office Word and Excel files as well as OpenOffice equivalent documents up to Google, edit them, and even save off as PDF documents if need be. – This site has been around for a little while now, It allows you to basically make your own radio station, and it dynamically learns what music you want to listen to. A side spawn of this project is Squeezebox which allows you to turn your music library into a radio station with streaming music.

Chat – Gaim – It’s easy to use, installed by default on Ubuntu, and supports multiple accounts. On Linux and Windows you can use Pidgin and for Mac OS X you can use Adium.

VoIPTwinkle – So far this is the best SIP capable client for Linux I have found. You can installed it through apt-get or Synaptic on Ubuntu or download it here. On Windows and Mac OS X I use X-Lite from CounterPath. I would say X-Lite is the best of the two but the Linux version sucks in my opinion.

PBXtrixbox – I just started using this because I’m trying to get my company or rather the company I work for into a new market so that we can make some more money as a company which personally helps me through profit sharing. Though, if I didn’t get that last bit, I would still peruse doing phone VoIP systems because I think they are interesting. I have it installed on an old PIII 500 with 256Mb of ram and it suits the needs of my wife an I just fine. A larger scale deployment would need a better server though.

EmailGmail and Evolution – I just started using Evolution about a month ago because Outlook Web Access on Microsoft Exchange 2003 sucks when viewed from Firefox. Damn Microsoft. 🙂 Kidding. Evolution seemed to be a logical choice for me because well, it was already installed on my computer and quite frankly I needed a way to check my mail. Sounds like a match made in heaven. Gmail, as you all probably know, is free and has cool features like web sharable calendars, documents and photos. You will probably see a trend here for me liking everything Google.

I think that’s enough for now. I’ll make a part 2 to this one pretty soon with quite a few more added programs and services that I use everyday for free. Compute free or die.

Linux Ubuntu

Broadcom BCM4306 on Ubuntu Feisty Fawn

Ubuntu DisksIn my last post I mentioned that I needed to install a non standard package to get my laptop wireless device working. Well, I decided that because it took me about 20-25 minutes to find the fix for this I would post it so I can save someone some unneeded grief.

To get the wireless hardware working with the OS most people recommend NDISWrappers but the easiest and most supported was is to use Synaptic (the package manager) to install bcm43xx-fwcutter which is nothing more than the firmware that the kernel needs to load during the boot process to make the Wireless NIC usable. After installation just reboot and the viola you have a working Broadcom wireless NIC which supports pretty much any encryption method available.

Linux Ubuntu

And then there was Ubuntu…

Ubuntu LogoQuite recently my eyes were opened to a Linux distribution called Ubuntu. The latest release from the open source company Canonical is called Feisty Fawn. How can you deny or refuse a name like that. 🙂

Well, I figured I would dedicate a post to how much I truely enjoy the OS vs it’s or Linux competitors as well as the big Microsoft. The installation disk is easily available via where you can either download it or have 1 or more copies sent to you via snailmail (I get 25 because I’m a consultant). On the install CD (not DVD) there are a few cool features that make the product stand out from the rest like a suite of open source Windows apps that can be installed directly from the CD to include Firefox, Thunderbird, Clam AV, and others. Truly unique. Then when you boot from the CD you actually boot to a live distribution where you can either use the live CD to see if you will actually like the or install it to your hard drive via a very intuitive wizard. The wizard asks you a few non technical questions and guides you through the install. You can dual boot with Windows or another OS or just wipe the drive and start fresh.

On a side note, because of how well setup the live CD is, you can actually read and write to the NTFS, FAT or other drive that you have in your computer as a quick and easy disk recovery tool. Still not impressed. Ok, I really haven’t told you very much but for the novice user these fundamental options make the OS very attractive. After you go through the install, you reboot and come up to a login window and then into the operating system. The only thing that my laptop needed done in addition to the OS install is the installation of the Broadcom WIFI card firmware for my specific hardware which was easily done in Ubuntu’s intuitive package manager, Synaptic. Synaptic is a front end for apt-get that makes installing and updating packages a synch.

I usually judge a product by it’s “Out of the Box” features. As for Ubuntu, the OS installs, Firefox, Evolution Mail, Gaim, OpenOffice, graphics rendering software, a photo viewer, a suite a games, and a terminal services client. So in my opinion, it’s already a step ahead of Microsoft. Accessing shares and other network resources is quite simple just like in XP and has a neat feature that saves the user name and password for a particular network resource in it’s password manager.

I plan to do a few more blog entires regarding the use and utilization of Ubuntu in the home, business and corporate environment on both the client and server end of the spectrum. As the OS is still a Linux derivative, it can run Postfix, Sendmail, Apache, MySQL, Spam assassin, and all of the server centric applications that we rely on everyday. Hope you all at least give the OS a try, I’ll have my first Ubuntu “how-to” on here soon for your enjoyment.