Ubuntu- Quickly opening a shell terminal in any given place

I have been always wondering why this feature is not pre-loaded into Ubuntu. Often times, one is in a particular location (path) within the file system (while using GUI file browser)  and would like to open a terminal with the path defaulted to that particular location. I have been always thinking that this should have been as easy as right clicking and opting to open a terminal. Unlike some other Linux distros, it is not the case in ubuntu. But there is a work around for this problem. Just type:

sudo aptitude install nautilus-open-terminal

and the reuiqred package will be downloaded and installed. You probably would need to restart your computer before you can see the option. After restarting, open a GUI file browser and right-click. You should be able to see the option of opening a terminal in that particular path.


The challenge of bringing Open Source to the masses

One of the most important aims of the Open Source movement has always been to involve the masses in the movement. Until very recently, this aim has been too much like wishful-thinking. These days, however, there are some reasons to believe that we are close to reach, at least partially, this aim. In this post, I am trying to answer the important question that ‘how can we get closer to involve the big masses in the Open Source movement?’

I think the practical ways to popularization of Open Source can be categorized as either ‘positive push’ or ‘negative push’. The positive push ways are the ways of promoting the Open Source stuff by enhancing the products or the ways they interact with the masses. The negative push ways are the ways of demoting the most important trend rivaling the Open Source movement: proprietary/non-free softwares. I discuss either way in a separate section.

Positive push
There are three different things which can positively influence the impact of the Open Source movement. It appears to me that the Open Source community must concentrate on these three issues while trying to bring the Open Source stuff to the masses.

The first thing is “Plug and Play“. I don’t have any doubt that one of the features that has made the Windows XP overwhelmingly dominant OS is its rather good plug and play features. Many drivers are automatically installed at the very moment you connect a new device to your computer while a number of other hardwares are just a few clicks away from being installed. Most importantly, you can (still) find the XP drivers for virtually any single hardware in the market. That is one of the things that makes XP ‘The Standard’. I don’t like it just like (many of) you guys do, but it is true. Therefore, FOSS guys must invest a lot on Plug and Play feature. It is not sufficient that the things CAN be got done at the end; a non-tech-savy grandpa should be just as positive as you geeky guys are.

The second thing is Wine. Being able to run your favorite application seamlessly from within your Linux distro is what that eliminates the huge advantage of Windows that many applications are designed for it and are not available for Linux. Currently, Wine is not working as well as it must. Many applications fail to run with Wine at all let alone run easily and seamlessly . I believe that as many developers as possible should heavily work on Wine to make it as powerful as possible. What we really need is a plug and play Wine: grab a disk containing a native Windows application and you are just a few clicks aways from running it from within your Linux distro.

The third trick is monetizing the Open Source projects. Any Open Source project can sustain only if it can be somehow monetized by the developers. Of course, the worst thing is trying to sell the program just like the proprietary ones. The best way is to monetize the program while keeping it free for the consumers. Google’s model is an excellent one. If you prefer a more tangible example, take FireFox. It is Open Source. It is free. It is lovely. It generates revenue and simply gets the work done. Remember! they would let you play only if you are big enough to be seen while sitting around the table.

Negative push
Aside from making the FOSS products appealing, it is important to make the rival look just as ugly as they really are. Most important thing in this regard is to push for kind of legislation against bundling the softwares with the new computers. Most of the computers sold these days have so many proprietary softwares, including the OS, preloaded. The customers have little chance of selecting the OS they want and are in most cases forced to pay the software companies for the software they might finally through away. The Open Source community must push for such legislation. That is, in my opinion, one of the key points in bringing the Open Source to the masses.

Open Source and Linux events in 2008

This is meant to be a reference post. You can always find this post in the left sidebar under the title “Reference Posts”. I will keep updating this post to cover as many Open Source events as possible. An RSS feed with possibility of importing the events as ICAL and VCAL is available. But, please check the calender as it is still in its alpha state.

Open Source Meets Business, January 22-24, Nuremberg, Germany
Australia’s Annual Linux Conference (linux.conf.au), January 28 to February 2, Melbourne, Australia

Australia’s Annual Linux Conference (linux.conf.au), January 28 to February 2, Melbourne, Australia
Southern California Linux Expo (SCALE), February 8-10, Los Angeles, California, United States
Florida Linux Show 2008, February 11, Jacksonville, Florida, United States
LinuxDays 2008, February 19-20, Luxembourg
Free and Open Source Software Developers’ European Meeting (FOSDEM 08), February 23-24, Brussels, Belgium
The 6th Linux Audio Conference 2008, Feb 28 to March 2, Cologne, Germany

The 6th Linux Audio Conference 2008, Feb 28 to March 2, Cologne, Germany
Eclipse Technical and User Conference (EclipseCon), March 17-20, Santa Clara, California
Open Source Business Conference (OSBC)-InfoWorld Events, March 25-26, Palace Hotel, San Francisco, California, United States
The UK’s Unix & Open Systems User Group (UKUUG) Spring Conference, March 31 to April 2, Birmingham, United Kingdom

The UK’s Unix & Open Systems User Group (UKUUG) Spring Conference, March 31 to April 2, Birmingham, United Kingdom
ApacheCon Europe 2008
, April 7-11, Amsterdam, The Netherlands
MySQL Conference and Expo 2008, April 15-18, Santa Clara, California, United States

The Open Source Strategy Conference, May 20-22, Sydney, Australia
LinuxTag, May 28-31, Berlin, Germany

Ubuntu Live, July 20-22, Portland, Oregon, United States
O’Reilly Open Source Convention (OSCON), July 21-25, Portland, Oregon, United States

LinuxWorld Conference and Expo, August 4(5)-7, San Francisco, California, United States
DebConf8, August 10-16, Mar del Plata, Argentina

The 4th International Conference on Open Source Systems, September 7-10, Milan, Italy
The Linux Plumbers Conference, September 17-19, Portland, Oregon, United States

Ubuntu Muslim Edition ver 7.04

The final version of Ubuntu Muslim Edition (UbuntuME) ver 7.04 is released. This version is composed of a LiveCD/installation CD, a script to convert the original version to Islamic version, a second CD for additional softwares (OpenOffice, Arabic language packages, and Quran recitations), and a DVD with even more Islamic softwares.

Among the other features of this Ubuntu edition are parental Internet control tool (WCC), prayer time apps, Quran study tool (Zekr), Islamic calender, Islamic wall-papers and themes, special login screen.

For screen-shots of this distro see here. It can be downloaded from here. For a review of the contents check this link.

Just Released: Mandriva Linux 2008

The latest version of Mandriva linux called Mnadriva Linux 2008 is just released. The new version is available both as combined LiveCD/installation CD and traditional installation DVD. The newest version uses Linux kernel The other important updates are improved hardware detection and integration of new version of default packages. Some of the default packages used in the new release are:
GNOME 2.20 , Mozilla Firefox 2.0, Mozilla Thunderbird 2.0., KDE 3.5.7, OpenOffice.org 2.2.1, Compiz Fusion 0.5.2
For the detailed description of the new features see the release announcement and Release Tour
To download Mandriva Linux 2008 check this link.

Logging as “root” in Ubuntu

Have you ever wanted to Login as “root” in Ubuntu and have gotten the message that the “root” is not allowed to login? Actually, that is because loggin as “root” in Ubuntu is neither recommended nor necessary. Doing so can leave your computer more intrusion-prone and, besides that, it could be that you can mess up some files or make another accidental mistake. Most of times, any administrative command can be issued just by using “sudo” in front of the command. However, in very exceptional cases it is really more convenient or even necessary to login as “root”. Then what? It is actually possible to login as root in Ubuntu. But, again, I do not recommend you to do so. As I said, it is almost always unnecessary and dangerous.

Well! if you are still here and really want to know how to login as “root” in Ubuntu (at your own risk), you need to know that two steps are necessary to enable GUI “root” login. First, a password has to be assigned to the “root” account which can be done by issuing the following command in a terminal:

sudo passwd root

Then, if one really wants to enable the GUI “root” login (not recommended, think again!), following command can be used:

gksu gdmsetup

A GUI opens. In the security tab, there is an option which can be used to allow local system administrator login. The option needs to be checked in order to allow the “root” login. I highly recommend you not to do so and if you are keen to do so, do not let it to remain that way and bring the system to its default state AS SOON AS POSSIBLE.

Make a virtual computer by VirtualBox

VirtualBox (VB) is an Open Source project for virtual machine simulation of x86 computers. By VB you can make one or several virtual computers and run them just as if they were real computers. The package is totally free and binaries are available for Linux, Windows, and OS X. The Source codes are also available free of charge. A very important point about VB is its awesome documentation although the package is so user friendly that a slightly above-average user hardly ever needs the documentation.

So why VB? For me it was quite clear when I first came across it. I wanted to install Ubuntu on my university laptop which already had Windows XP installed and was almost running out of space. Partitioning the hard disk or dual boot were obviously not an option because not only the space was limited, risking my hard disk contents was the last thing I ever wanted and I could not even run only my Ubuntu and get rid of XP because all my university programs are for Windows. First I tried a couple of USB-portable Linux scenarios but finally decided that those things are not gonna work well for my need. What I really needed was VB which I found one day by accident.

After downloading the VB binary for Windows, it took me a few minutes to install it and make my first virtual system. There is a fantastic wizard for creation of a new virtual machine. There are only a couple of things to decide about, like:
1. What is the name of your new computer?
2. How much RAM do you want to dedicate to this new computer?
3. What about Graphics card RAM?
4. Where do you want to create your new virtual hard disk? (Your virtual hard drive will simply be a file in a folder in one of your drives or an external hard drive or even an external USB flash)

And your computer is ready to boot. You can activate or deactivate other accessories like USB port, serial port, CD/DVD drive, etc. In my case I simply wanted my first virtual computer to have access to Ubuntu 7.04 LiveCD. So what did I do? I simply pointed the VB to the folder where I had the ISO file of Ubuntu CD and that was it.

Now the real fun was about to start. I simply powered on my new computer. The computer was easily booted by Ubuntu LiveCD and was running Live Ubuntu in virtually few minutes after downloading the VB. The remaining was straightforward. I just installed the Ubuntu on my virtual hard drive and started using it just like normal installations I had done before on real computers. Not to mention that the every piece of hardware was already detected and ready to use. Since then I am using my Ubuntu just there in one of my virtual computers. Yes! one of my virtual computers. I normally add a few mores when I want to try a new Linux distro or something. My virtual hard drive is on my external drives and I have my Ubuntu (as well as VB binaries) wherever I go. It is definitely more convenient that having my Linux on my USB flash unless you are really mobile and work with numerous computers.

A few more things:
1. The virtual hard disk can be defined as dynamically expanding and by doing so you save space on your disk by allowing the virtual hard disk to grow only when you need more things on it. You do not have to reserve a mutliGB place on your drive for your virtual disk.
2. It is really fun to run a couple of OSs at the same time on the same machine. But, to do so you need a good computer with a lot of memory.
3. By installing a set of plugins, you can get much more functionality like shared folders between the host and the guest operating systems. What more do you need?


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