Archives for category: Debian

I recieved my new laptop from work yesterday. I did not have time to install Linux the first day. This was basically because I wanted to resize the pre-installed Vista partition, but the built in limitations in Vista prevented me from shrinking it to a wanted size.

I ended up reinstalling Vista and learn to find may way around. To the best of my knowledge, being a full-time Linux convert for two years, I must say that Vista suprised me. It is actually quite nice. The Sleep functionality is very good. The GUI is a big leap from XP, but the seeing the old icons from the Win95 days in the administrative windows was a real turn-off. All in all – I might just keep my Vista for connecting via Citrix to work. I have been able to do this on my Debian installation, but some keys are not functioning correctly.

Mint 7

SO – Linux – which distro to choose from… Mint 7 was on the dvd from LXF127 with the VERY COOL ECO-DISC. You can actually bend the dvd 180 degrees! Awesome! So I ended up installing Mint for the first time. I have noticed the increased popularity on Distrowatch for the last year, but I have ignored it. Mostly because I did not understand how a spinoff of the most popular linux distro of all time (Debian) could result in the currently most populare distro (Ubuntu) which again has resulted in the currently fifth most populare distro (Mint).

But to my surprise – it is actually quite nice! It is basically Ubuntu in a new look. The webpage is different too, with is glowing green color. But a second look inspired me – this may actually become the best alternative to future Windows converts!

On my new Dell Latitude E5400 everything worked out of the box. I had some flickering with X when loging out, but that’s not a big deal. Kudos to the team behind Mint!

I don’t know if it’ll remain my default distro, but maybe the GTD distro. I really like Slitaz and I’m beginning to fall in love with Arch. So time will show.


Slitaz using Xorg, Openbox – GNU/Debian uses Xorg, LXDE/Openbox. So, PCManfm running desktop, LXpanel and Conky – identical setups with no services running.

Slitaz memory usage: 36.88 MB

Debian memory usage: 39.98 MB (post)

Well, it’s close. In fact it’s so close, I don’t know if it’s even enough to call a winner; ~3 MB is what it is, so my “clean system”, Debian setup uses roughly 8 % more memory compared to Slitaz.

If e.g. Firefox or Opera had a decrease of 8% memory usage, this would be significant.

Of course, this is very subjective – I may be wrong 😉

encfs – is a tool for encrypting a filesystem, i.e. a folder. It is very easy to use.

The debian package should be available in Debian and Ubuntu. Simply

$ sudo aptitude install encfs

encfs uses FUSE works perfectly for this kind of task. If you don’t have it installed, it should be installed with encfs. Remember to add yourself to the FUSE group.

$ sudo usermod -a -G fuse username

Now, there is mainly two commands you need to focus on. The one which mounts and creates the encrypted folder, and the one that unmounts it.

Create and mount

$ encfs /fullpath/.cryptic /fullpath/readable

You now answer a few question, and voila – good to go! Next time you simply issue the same command to mount an existing encrypted folder.


$ fusermount -u /fullpath/readable

How hard can that be, right!

Applications of encfs

You may use this in several ways. One and maybe the obvious, is to have your own personal folder with encrypted data – just for fun, or to avoid your girlfriend/boyfriend finding out about your deepest secrets! It sure is an easy way of keeping a diary.

You may also use this to make your home-folder encrypted. I have read somewhere that Ubuntu is planning to make encrypted-home as an option sometime. And I believe encfs is the candidate to use. There exists another package which uses the PAM for authorizing. This way, you may automount your folder when you login, making it ideal for home-folder encryption. Follow the links below for further information.

A howto is located at ubuntu’s help.


Updated 12th May 2010

Ubuntu 10.04 ships with Ubuntu One pre installed. It does not take much effort to sync your files to the cloud. It’s even more easy to share your files on the cloud. You right click on a file that you have on your cloud ( read Ubuntu One folder ), and publish it. Then you may send the link to this published file via email.

Security on the other hand is somewhat sparse. Yes, they do use SSL to sync the files from your computer to your storage place in the cloud. But your data is not encrypted on the server – anyone with access may read it. This is not so good!

This old post is now more valid than ever. Use encFS and sync your encrypted folder – keep the decrypted folder on your local machine. Trying to sync the actual encrypted folder did not work for me – Nautilus simply closed down. I believe this is an implementation issue with encFS as it uses fuse. The solution is to have one extra layer – sync the folder of which the encrypted folder resides.

I created a folder ~/cloud which I’d like to keep synced. The idea is as follows; you store the files you’d like on the cloud in this folder. But these files themselves are not encrypted, so this folder will not be synced. The paralleled encrypted folder, you should store on the existing Ubuntu One folder or in some other folder were you keep encrypted stuff.

Suggested setup:

$ mkdir ~/cloud
$ mkdir ~/Ubuntu One/clouded

Thus my mount command:

$ encfs ~/Ubuntu One/clouded ~/cloud

First time you execute this command, you must provide a password. Note the folders must exist. Now, I save all the files I am working on inside the non-encrypted ~/cloud folder. The encrypted folder ~/Ubuntu One/clouded is synced.

I just installed Debian Lenny with LXDE on a Dell Inspiron 8600. Iceweasel is now default in LXDE, but there seems to be some kind of permission problem. I was not able to start Iceweasel as a normal user – It only ran as root!

The problem was that ~/.mozilla did not belong to the user, but rather to root! So I changed ownership, and everything worked just fine!

cd ~
sudo chown <myusername>:<mygroup> .mozilla

Google Gadget is out. For Linux – apparently it has for some time now, but I recently picked it up. I have never had the urge for desktop gadgets, but I suspect many find them useful.

Came across this article at debianhelp today. And I think the author pretty much nails it! For everyone concerned about security – have a read ( if you’re using or thinking about installing google gadgets ).

Article at debianhelp.

I have installed my Canon LBP2900 I-SENSYS on my girlfriends Windows laptop, and shared the printer. I have previously showed howto setup the printer via USB.

What you need is the ppd-file – which is available at Canon’s official site:

Download and extract, and install the two debian packages with

$ sudo dpkg -i cndrvcups-common_1.60-1_i386.deb cndrvcups-capt_1.60-1_i386.deb

Now, install printer via samba in cups or via your DE – Gnome has a GUI way of doing this, but cups works like a charm.


Add new printer -> Device: Windows printer via Samba

Device URI: smb://administrator/

This of course points to the Canon LBP2900 with shared name “canon” on administrator@ with no password. Worked from the word GO!

Making this Belkin Wireless Notebook G pcmcia card working on my debian system was as easy as a walk in the park. The debian forum had a how-to which used the t2x00 Project. However, the source is now available in the latest kernel – actually from 2.6.24+. It may be somewhat “buggy”, but when I found the firmware source in the debian repository, everything worked smoothly for me.

sudo apt-get install firmware-ralink

A new interface should now be availabe in

ifconfig -a

The “buggy”-feature which I experienced is not a big deal. I did not get any results with pccardctl ident, but this is not a bid deal as long as pccardctl eject works fine.

I have struggled for a long time with the correct papersize. CUPS printer settings is set to default value A4, and /etc/papersize also is ‘a4’. However, when printing in Evince, the papersize is set to letter. Of course, I could change this manually, but why on earth was this option set as my default setting already?

Then I came over a question regarding the same issue in Is says that applications tend to get their settings from your local settings – the language settings – more specific the LC_paper. Below is the star-comment from launchpad, posted by Pascal De Vuyst:

This is because evince uses the value of the LC_PAPER locale setting, for en_US.UTF-8 this defaults to letter. You can override this setting by using an LC_PAPER environment variable, if you want to do the change system wide you can add LC_PAPER=”en_GB.UTF-8″ (defaults to A4) to /etc/environment and log out and back into GNOME.

Now – of course you’ll need the the selected language in your locale settings – you may need to run

sudo dpkg-reconfigure locales

and add “en_GB.UTF-8” and any other language you would like support for.

Using SSH is somewhat not easy for a newbie. To copy files over SSH, you need long commands. So, why not just mount the remote filesystem on your local computer!

Fuse is a part of the latest kernel, so you don’t need to install fuse-utils (if you’re not sure if you have fuse, run lsmod | grep fuse.) So – install sshfs:

sudo aptitude install sshfs

You need permission to use the fuse function – so add yourself to the groups:

sudo usermod -a -G fuse username

Now – create a directory where you want the remote filesystem (make sure you are the owner of the directory). I choose /media/directory

cd /media
sudo mkdir ext_sys
sudo chown myusername:myusergroup ext_sys

Now – you mount the system (I use /media/ext_sys as mount point)

sshfs remote_username@remote_ip: /media/ext_sys

To unmount, run

fusermount -u /media/ext_sys

Got to love Linux! I had a problem with my usb-stick – but ssh popped into my head – and voila! You learn something everyday 🙂


You can allow the option to follow symlinks by adding ‘ -o follow-symlinks’

sshfs -o follow-symlinks user@server: /mnt/point

Getting a printer to work on Linux is pretty straight forward as long as you got the correct .ppd file for the printer. I struggled a couple of days with the PostScript ppd file – when infact it was the pxlmono ppd file that did the trick for me.

First, I installed cups

sudo aptitude install cupsys cupsys-driver-gutenprint foomatic-db-gutenprint foomatic-filters fontconfig libtiff4 libfreetype6

I also added Allow localhost in /etc/cups/cups.conf on certain places – to restrict access to cups-admin from other machines. Then I added myself to the group lpadmin to gain admin rights

sudo usermod -a -G lpadmin myusername

Remember the -a option which adds the user to groups rather than setting the primary group. Then restart cups

sudo /etc/init.d/cups restart

and add the printer via


My Ricoh Aficio MP C2500 is connected to my local network with a fixed ip. CUPS located the driver, I provided the ppd file – pxlmono located here: pxlmono pdd file.