Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Ubuntu Pocket Guide and Reference

The Ubuntu Pocket Guide and Reference is a excellent resource for Ubuntu users and is now available for download at www.ubuntupocketguide.com. The book focuses on teaching new users how to navigate Linux and the skills needed to become an expert Ubuntu user. Offering support for both Ubuntu 8.04 and 8.10. I find the pocketbook to be accessible and easy to understand. I am currently making my way through the 150+ pages on solid Ubuntu knowledge.

© Copyright 2008 Keir Thomas.
Ubuntu is a trademark of Canonical Ltd.
Ubuntu Pocket Guide and Reference is not affiliated to Canonical Ltd.

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Sunday, January 25, 2009

The Linux Alternative Project

The Linux Alternative Project provides a database with the Linux equivalent of many Windows programs.

The Linux Alternative Project - linuxalt.com - Mozilla Firefox

Whether you recently made the switch or are an old Linux user, the site contains a lot of information and links for software that being actively developed and comparable to some of the Windows applications you are used to using.

Check out The Linux Alternative Project site at http://www.linuxalt.com/
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Sunday, January 11, 2009

Skype On The Dell Mini 9

Get Skype
You can download Skype for Linux directly from the Skype website or install it from the Medibuntu repository. I prefer, and recommend, downloading it from Medibuntu. They have packaged Skype specifically for Ubuntu 8.10 in both i386 and lpia architectures. You can install the Medibuntu repository by following these steps.

To install Skype after setting up the Medibuntu Repository,
In a terminal type:
sudo apt-get install skype

Configuring The Mini's Audio
Double click the volume control icon on the gnome panel and select Preferences.
Make sure the Master, Internal Mic Boost, Capture & Input Boxes are checked, close the dialogue box.
Screenshot-Volume Control Preferences

Then increase the Internal Mic Boost volume.
Screenshot-Volume Control: HDA Intel (Alsa mixer)-2

Select the Recording Tab and turn your capture settings up. Make sure the mic icon on the bottom of the dialog box is not X'ed out.
Screenshot-Volume Control: HDA Intel (Alsa mixer)-4

Go to the Options tab and select Front Mic.
Screenshot-Volume Control: HDA Intel (Alsa mixer)-3

Configuring Skype
Go to the Options menu, under Sound Devices
Sound In - HDA Intel (hw:Intel,0)
Sound Out - HDA Intel (hw:Intel,0)
Ringing - HDA Intel (hw:Intel,0)
Uncheck the box that says "Allow Skype" to automatically adjust your mixer levels.
Apply the settings.

Go to the Options menu, under Video Drivers
Check the Enable Skype Video
and also check the Start my video automatically when I am in a call box.
Select Integrated Webcam (/dev/video0)
Apply the settings.

Skype will now work with the Mini's internal mic and speakers. Configuring other devices to work with Skype is up to you. I haven't had much luck with my PS3 Bluetooth headset.

Have a question or problem that this article doesn't cover? Ask our Ubuntu Mini 9 Google Group for help.

edited by pHreaksYcle

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Run Compiz Fusion on Your Mini 9

Compiz is a compositing window managers for the X Window System that uses 3D graphics hardware to create desktop effects. Compiz Fusion is the result of the re-unification of the Beryl project and the community around the Compiz Window Manager. It seeks to provide an easy and fun-to-use windowing environment, allowing use of the graphics hardware to provide impressive effects, amazing speed and unrivaled usefulness.

Compiz Fusion is the default desktop manager in Ubuntu. After installing Ubuntu on the Dell Mini 9 you will notice some of it's basic features are enabled and running. The degree to which the Mini 9 handles these effects is all subject to opinion. I think it does a nice job but is not as impressive as using a dedicated graphics card or some of the newer intrgrated chipsets. Compiz Fusion is not stable, errors, glitches and crashes are common. The integrated Intel 950 chipset is not designed for high-end graphical effects.

Readers who run Compiz Fusion will find a wonderful windowing environment, but you should go in without the rose colored glasses. You may not be able to get the performance you want when running Compiz's high-end effects.

For those of you who are running Ubuntu Netbook Remix, you will first need to stop maximus and ume-launcher/netbook-launcher from launching at startup and reset the GNOME Display Manager (gdm).

Go to System>Preferences>Sessions
Screenshot-Sessions Preferences
Uncheck maximus and ume-launcher/netbook-launcher

Next you will need to restart the Gnome display manager
My prefered method is to log out by presisng Ctrl+Alt+Backspace

If you removed the Ubuntu menu from your panels when configuring Netbook Remix, you might have problems finding a way to run programs. When you log back in you may have to reconfigure/add the Ubuntu menu to your panel or use Run Application, Alt+F2, to run programs.
Screenshot-Run Application

If you were not running Ubuntu Netbook Remix you can ignore the previous directions. There is not a lot of setup needed to get Compiz-Fusion running on your Mini 9, many of you will have it running by default. If not, you can use one of the follow three methods for starting Compiz and some of these tools for configuring it's settings.

There are some default settings for Compiz, that can be accessed by going to
and selecting the Visual Effects tab.
Screenshot-Appearance Preferences

I use fusion-icon for managing Compiz Fusion.
It is a tray icon that allows me to reload the window manager, switch window managers, select windows decorator, bindings and access the Setting Manager.

To install fusion-icon
In a terminal type:
sudo apt-get install fusion-icon
You can find it under System>Preferences>Compiz Fusion Icon

I use CompizConfig Settings Manager to configure the desktop effects.
Screenshot-CompizConfig Settings Manager
This gives you complete control over Compiz Fusion's settings.

To install CompizConfig Settings Manager
In a terminal type:
sudo apt-get install compizconfig-settings-manager
Once installed you can access it through fusion-icon or by going to System>Preferences>CompizConfig Settings Manager

Or you can use the command:
compiz --replace
in Run Appliction (Alt+F2)
to start compiz, use it as your window manager

And can use the command:
metacity --replace
in Run Appliction (Alt+F2)
to switch back to Metacity, the default Gnome window manager

Have a question or problem that this article doesn't cover?
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