Ubuntu Server remote administration – Monit

Monit logoI have recently tested some remote administration tools for Ubuntu server (or any other Linux-based server). I have recorded here my findings and installation steps.

Today I present Monit, a monitoring and control tool for Unix and Unix-like systems.

This article will be followed by others with different tools. Stay tune, and you can find them all using the following tag remote-server-admin.

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Surfing the web in 64 bit

Adobe Flash plug-in 64bit
Adobe Flash plug-in 64bit

The major problem faced by 64-bit Linux users is getting Flash Player to work properly on the platform. With the latest version of Ubuntu, it installs the 32-bit release of Adobe Flash Player along with the necessary 32-bit libraries so it can work.

However, using 32-bit Flash is sometimes buggy (when it is working). What about a 64-bit version of Flash Player?

Gnash, the free (libre) alternative is not enough mature to work on all web sites. But Adobe is currently working on a 64-bit version of its player. It is now available in the labs for download. This is still a beta, so using this plug-in could make your browser unstable (also see warning at the end of this post).

Before installing it, you should remove any previous installation of Adobe Flash Player, you can use Synaptic (System -> Administration) for this purpose.

The downloaded file has the extension .tar.gz, it is a compression format like ZIP. You can double-click on it and extract the file (libflashplayer.so) to your home directory, or use the command line: “$ tar zxf flashplayer11_rc1_install_lin_64_090611.tar.gz“. Now, you need to copy the extracted file to a system directory, close all internet browsers before doing so. It is assumed that the extracted file is in your home directory.

$ sudo cp $HOME/libflashplayer.so /usr/lib/mozilla/plugins/

You can now launch Firefox or Chromium on your 64-bit system and watch Flash media content. My own experience is a more stable system! But do not forget, Flash is not a free software.

Updated 2010-06-08: Adobe issued a security warning for all Flash players (all platforms) covering 10.0.45.2 and earlier release. Which most probably means that it includes the 64bit version as well (this is not confirmed). The only safe version (recommended by Adobe itself) at the time of writing is Flash 10.1 RC which is sadly 32bit-only.

Updated 2010-09-16: Adobe released yesterday a new preview of its 64bit capable Flash Player. Links in this article have subsequently been updated.

Updated 2011-08-13: Adobe released a second beta of Flash Player 11 which as 32bit and 64bit implementation. This release includes also an Adobe Flash system preference. Just uncompress the .tar.gz file in a temporary directory and copy the uncompressed usr folder to your root ‘/’ directory.

Updated 2011-10-01: Updated for the first release candidate of Flash Player 11.

Making Chrome shine on Ubuntu

Chromium
Chromium

Google Chrome is an internet browser (or navigator) based on the free software project Chromium. Chrome is long available on Windows, but only really recently is it available on Mac OS X and Linux, though still under “beta” (meaning testing/experimental) stage.

I have been using Chrome or Chromium without any obvious differences (at least on Linux).

So why Chrome/Chromium when there is already Firefox? First it is a matter of choice, I could answer you why so many different vehicles? Second, I like the look and feel of Chrome, it optimises the use of screen real estate, it is not cluttered with many menus or actions on the toolbar and it seems to always know where I want a new tab to be opened. Third, it launches really fast.

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Déjà Dup, an easy backup tool! Déjà vu?

Déjà Dup
Déjà Dup

Déjà Dup is a Gnome-based backup tool that aim for easiness. It provides transparent encryption of your data, can store to an external hard disk or a remote storage (SSH server or Amazon S3) and offers schedule backup.

The tool is extremely simple to use. It offers two big buttons, one for manual backup and one for restoring. Those two functions are accessible in the menu too, as well as preferences and help. That is all.

So how does it work?
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Re: Why I love Windows 7, hate Linux, and think the Mac is lame

Source: ZDNet.com | IT Project Failures

The article on ZDNet is about why Michael Krigsman (CEO of a IT consulting company) loves Windows 7, hates Linux and thinks the Mac is lame. The article is pretty short and gives 3 reasons to be satisfied by Windows 7, by presenting an old screenshot of Linux to present it in a miserable way and displaying a fake version of Apple Mac vs. PC advertisement. All a good laugh if it was not serious.

After reading Michael’s post, I cannot help but remember this: “It is better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak and remove all doubt.”

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Avahi – discovering services a network offers

Avahi - LemurAvahi is a protocol implementation that is using the Zeroconf protocol specification to discover services available (and advertised) on the network. Avahi really does simplifying the configuration and use of certain services that are supporting it.

The number of application integrating support for Avahi is everyday growing and you can even interoperate with client of other protocol implementation like Bonjour from Apple.

Of course, Avahi is integrated with Ubuntu and it is pretty easy to activate it.

In the Gnome main menu “System” -> “Administration”, there is an item called “Services”. Simply launch it and scroll down the list of services until you find Multicast DNS service discovery (avahi-daemon). Select it and close the application.

Application like Rhythmbox, Gaim/Pidgin, etc. will now be able to use this service. You can for example share your music on the local network. So, your siblings can access your music library and listen to it too. I will write a short article on it soon.

On some of my Ubuntu systems, I had to tweak a system file before it was working. Continue reading if you are in this case.

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What about a Pretty Pidgin on your Feisty Fawn?

Pidgin 2.0 logoRecently, I have been configuring Avahi on my laptop and desktop computers and I wanted to evaluate its possibilities. The first obvious choice was using Rhythmbox to share music within the two computers. But that was too easy, basically once Avahi was configured, I had nothing else to do, it just worked…

Thus, I wanted another challenge and I was remembering that Gaim (now Pidgin) should support the Bonjour protocol. Bonjour is an implementation of Zeroconf made by Apple and release as open source. Avahi is another implementation of Zeroconf and is readily installed on Ubuntu by default, though not activated. However, the installed Gaim on Ubuntu 7.04 cannot create a Bonjour account. That was just the excuse I needed to take some times getting Pidgin and installing it.

The installation will describes how to install Pidgin with support for Bonjour and Avahi on Ubuntu 7.04, and I will try to keep it the easiest possible. However, you will have to use the command line. No worries, though, as I will try to make it easy! :-) A second little chapter will explain how to activate Avahi. This guide has been validated on both the 32bit and 64bit versions of Ubuntu.

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Le Nouveau Littré 2007 aussi pour Linux (French)

As this is a French related software (a dictionary of French words), it will only interest people with a good level of speech in French. Therefore, this article will be one of the few written in French.

Si j’ai toujours mon Petit Larousse de 1988 en format papier, j’ai parfois besoin d’avoir accès à un dictionnaire directement depuis mon ordinateur, ne serait-ce que lors de déplacement. Depuis maintenant deux ans, j’achète le Nouveau Littré électronique. Le Littré est un célèbre dictionnaire de la langue française qui fut écrit à l’origine par Émile Littré. Les dictionnaires plus populaires, que sont le Larousse et le Robert, ont suivi la voie ouverte par le Littré.

La bonne nouvelle pour nous amis libristes (mot inconnu du Littré au passage ;-) ) est la déclinaison multi-plateforme du Littré électronique. L’édition 2007, comme la précédente, est disponible sur les plateformes Windows, Mac OS X et celle de notre cher pingouin Linux.

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Increasing laptop battery life in Ubuntu

Gnome Power Management logoThe nature is getting greener everyday, so why can’t we? I decided to invest a bit of my time solving a problem with Dell laptops running Ubuntu and the LCD brightness. The root of this problem is detailed in the Dell Latitude D600 laptop page on the Ubuntu Wiki. To shortly summarise the current release (7.04) of Ubuntu does not manage to talk with the Dell hardware properly to get the brightness state and to modify it. Therefore, Ubuntu cannot dim the LCD brightness to save energy on such laptop.

This post briefly offers some technical background before pointing to a guide in wikishelf, which will explain how to activate the control of the LCD brightness and take advantage of the Gnome Power Manager facilities to save some more battery life.

For other tips and tricks to lower your power consumption on Linux in general, try this article about Linux power management, how to optimise power consumption, most of these information are not specific to Dell laptops or Ubuntu, they can even be applied on desktop computers to save energy.
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Linux is going to be super green

Gnome Power Management logoEcology, this is a kind of marketing and political buzz word now-a-day. When someone says “I am an ecologist”, what does he really want to say? Thus, I will not use it but rather say that I love hiking and cycling, and the best place to do so is Nature, especially far from any road or city. Therefore, I love Nature (at large) and I am doing my bit and my best to protect it and today I was quite happy to read an article on future improvements on the power management of Linux.

To shortly summarise (I heavily advise you to read the above linked article): the new kernel (2.6.21 with the tickless timer) and Intel involvement will mainly help reducing power consumption. Also, it seems that KDE (another Linux desktop environment) has some nice improvements in sleep states area.

Now linking the article conclusion about AMD/ATI drivers and the dream that perhaps AMD/ATI will help the open source community creating new drivers. There are hopes to save even more energy.