Monday, May 17, 2010

Installing SopCast Live-TV Streaming (P2PTV) on Ubuntu 10.04

Many channels provide near-instant downloads of their content, but it isn't quite the same as having a fully-functioning live version of the programming. Enter P2PTV. While somewhat shady in legal terms (try at your own risk), it might prove useful for some wishing to experiment in this area. Here are the steps for installing SopCast (one of the more popular versions) on Ubuntu 10.04:

echo "deb `lsb_release -cs` main" | sudo tee -a /etc/apt/sources.list && sudo apt-key adv --keyserver --recv-keys CD30EE56

Now install SopCast with

sudo apt-get update && sudo apt-get install sopcast-player sp-auth

Run with Alt+F2 -> sopcast-player or get it at Applications -> Sound & Video -> SopCast Player.

For more US based channels, try Justin.TV instead. It even has the option of pausing a show and coming back to it later.


First Impressions: Gnome-Shell

While still in active development with many features not yet ready for everyday use, Gnome-Shell is showing a lot of potential. I recently installed the current version available through the Ubuntu 10.04 repositories to give it a test drive. It's not ready for primetime, that's for sure, but it does have some features that I find compelling.

Overview Mode

I use Compiz' multiple desktops using the rotating desktop on all my machines that support 3D acceleration. I typically mentally map where all my apps are in relation to each other so that I can quickly switch to the workspace I need to perform a task. However, I sometimes find myself wondering where I left Firefox open, for instance. Having the option to blow up the whole cube on the desktop is nice, but I found the Overview display of Gnome-Shell to be even better.

Simpler Navigation

For me, anything that reduces clicks is a good thing. The overall interaction with Gnome-Shell as compared to Gnome is just that; simpler. I don't know how to explain this other than to say I was making fewer clicks and finding things much faster than before. I don't understand why people bash this as much as they do. It really did make me work more efficiently than before.


If you have a test system you can do it on, I recommend giving it a try. I have a feeling it will be integrated more fully at some point in the future for Ubuntu, but for now, I only recommend it for testing or messing around with. I'm sure the community would love to hear your feedback as well, so please feel free to post in the comments!

You can read another user's post here.

Friday, May 14, 2010

The Ultimate Python IDE: Eclipse + pyDev

I posted awhile ago about my recommendation for an IDE (Wingware's IDE). I'd like to retract that recommendation in favor of one I've been experimenting with lately: Eclipse + pyDev. First off, the IDE is open source and is one of the most popular IDEs on the market today. I wasn't aware of how Aptana had fully integrated Python as a plugin until yesterday. I can only say that I am extremely pleased with the result. They did it right, no doubt about it. Check it out on your favorite OS today. For Ubuntu 10.04 users, simply add Eclipse to your system through the Software Center and then follow the instructions on to add it as a plugin. Make sure you follow the instructions for adding it as a plugin.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Compiz: Plugin "Grid" Gone in 10.04 and Rotating Cube With Mouse Wheel

Well, not really gone, just not installed by default. You can get it again by installing the package "compiz-fusion-plugins-extra".

See more information on this here.

Also, to enable rotating the desktop cube with the mouse wheel, set rotate left to button 4 and rotate right to button 5 in the bindings for the mouse.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Top 10 Things *I* Do After Installing Ubuntu 10.04

There are a lot of these lists out there. Rather than reinventing the wheel, I'll just link to some of my favorites and add the pieces that might be missing:

Before I do anything:
*Update the system! I use a mirror close to me, such as UC Davis' math dept.
*Install the proprietary drivers for my system (for my Dell D630, it's the Wireless STA driver and the latest Nvidia driver).
*Run this script and install the pieces I want (adds repos automatically - nice!).

Some others suggestions:
Install ubuntu-restricted-extras. Should give you the default Sun Java stuff as well as Flash (though, if you're using the 64bit distro, you'll end up reinstalling it using the proper build. See my earlier post on this).
Need games? Try PlayDeb.
To play encrypted DVDs, the libdvdcss2 package is essential. libdvdcss is a simple library designed for accessing DVDs like a block device without having to bother about the decryption. Once you have Medibuntu repo available, just install it from there.
Use Google? Try googsystray - an all-in-one notifier and useful app.

Ubuntu 10.04 64bit Flash Plugin Issues


I've found that the Flash plugin for 10.04 is less than spectacular out of the box. I suspect it has something to do with the 64bit OS and found this article explaining how to fix things up.

Basically, here are the steps:
  1. Download 64bit installer.
  2. Close browsers
  3. Make installer executable, run it.
  4. "Remove Flash"
  5. Add 64bit Flash
That's it.


With the release of 10.2, we're basically back to square one again. However, I found a slightly better method of getting the latest version installed this time around. Since it relies on someone's PPA, it may or may not work for forever, but here's what I did *this time*.

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:sevenmachines/flash && sudo apt-get update && sudo apt-get install flashplugin64-installer

After that, if you want 10.3 or later, you need to download the .tar.gz from Adobe Labs (64bit version, that is), extract the .so and replace every same-named .so on your system.

Medibuntu Servers Down

After upgrading to 10.04, I discovered that the medibuntu (extra storage for things like ffmpeg, restricted extras, etc.) is down. I don't know how long it will be this way, but here's the workaround for connecting to the mirror:

Add these lines to the end of /etc/apt/sources.list

deb hardy free non-free
deb-src hardy free non-free

run the following:

wget -q -O- | sudo apt-key add

then run the following:

sudo apt-get update

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Connecting to Juniper VPN with Ubuntu 10.04 64bit

Ran into my first snag. Apparently the Juniper Network Connect client for Linux doesn't like 2 things about the defaults installed on Ubuntu 10.04 64bit:
  1. Requires the Sun JRE/JDK, not the OpenJRE/OpenJDK installed by default.
  2. Requires the 32bit JRE, not the 64bit JRE
Obviously frustrating. I found the following resources to overcome this problem:

Switching from OpenJRE/JDK to Sun's version (without uninstalling, due to dependency issues).
Setup the 32bit JRE to run alongside the 64bit, and Download and modify the junipernc script by pointing it to the 32bit version. To do this, add this line after the # lines at the beginning:
export JDK_HOME=/usr/lib/jvm/ia32-java-6-sun

Test your setup here when you're done.

To reconnect after disconnecting, you might need to relogin to the vpn website and then run the connection script again. The session doesn't always exit nicely.

The big downside to all this is that you'll now have 3 different Java environments installed on your machine. Figuring out which one is running for what can be a bit tricky. It would be ideal for Ubuntu to allow either environ to begin with, but I understand why they can't do that.

New to Ubuntu 10.04? Here's My Favorites So Far

A lot of these were supported in 9.10 but I skipped that update in anticipation of 10.04. Here are some of the big wins I've encountered so far:

  • Eclipse 3.5.2 is finally in the repo! Finally, we're getting some love from the guys at Ubuntu on this. No need to install from source any more.
  • Boot time/Login time. MUCH faster than my ext3 based 9.04 was.
  • Nvidia driver support. Multi-monitor setup is much more stable than before. Seems to even remember that I have 2 monitors attached to the laptop. Very slick compared to 9.04.
  • Software center. I didn't think I'd like this because they tossed out the ratings system for now, but actually, I really like it. It displays any newly added repos I grab from Launchpad in the same area as the defaults. I can even view apps available in one repo vs. the others.
  • Stability. I can't emphasize this enough - bells and whistles are nice and all, but this version is just rock-solid so far. Love it on my laptop.
I've only had it installed a couple of days now, but I'm loving every minute of it so far. I'll post more when I get a chance.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Unable to Install Eclipse Plugins in Ubuntu 10.04

I wanted to give pyDev a spin after installing a new copy of Ubuntu 10.04 with Eclipse. Turns out it needs one additional package to install Eclipse plugins correctly.

I kept getting this error:
The artifact file for osgi.bundle,org.eclipse.cvs,1.0.400.v201002111343 was not found.

Here's the fix:

sudo apt-get install eclipse-pde