Posts Tagged ‘Ubuntu 8.04’

How to Create an Internet Radio Station

July 30, 2008 10 comments

This tutorial will help you set up an Internet Radio station on your server. You can create the content and then provide it for your listeners. The example uses an Ubuntu server for the set up.

Step #1: Download the Shoutcast Server (latest version):

Copy it to the /usr directory and create a folder called shout:

sudo cp sc_serv_1.9.8_Linux.tar.gz

sudo mkdir shout

cd /usr/shout

tar zxvf sc_serv_1.9.8_Linux.tar.gz

chmod 755 sc_serv

Edit the config File:
vim sc_serv.conf

Be sure you document your password for the furture.

Start the Server:


You should see that it is running.

Step #2: Create a way to feed Music Into the Server
This will use ices0.4 so you will be able to use mp3s.

Save the file to the /usr directory.

tar -zxvf ices-0.4.tar.gz

This will create a folder called ices-0.4. Move into this folder.

cd ices-0.4

Make sure your /etc/apt/sources.lst has these sources as you will need them to download the files you need. Use all of the usual sources but be sure these three are included so you can draw from them.

backports main restricted universe multiverse
free non-free

sudo apt-get update

sudo apt-get install libshout3 libshout3-dev liblame-dev libxml-dev

Make sure you have a compiler.

sudo apt-get install gcc g++ make

Compile ices
Move into the directory that you created.

cd /usr/ices-0.4

./configure –with-lame

If you do not have errors then continue, if you do have errors then download the needed dependencies.


sudo make install

Step #3: Create a mp3 Directory
You can create the directory anywhere but one good location might be /mp3.

sudo mkdir /mp3

Copy your mp3s into that location.

find /mp3 -type f -name “*.mp3” > /mp3/playlist.txt

Now edit your config file for ices.

sudo vim /usr/local/etc/ices.conf.dist

Change the Playlist to /mp3

Change the Hostname

Change the Password

Change Protocol to icy

ices -c /usr/local/etc/ices.conf.dist

Typically the port to connect to the radio station is port 8000 but you can change that in the config.

Desktop Virus Scanner for Ubuntu

July 22, 2008 3 comments

The first question you may ask is why a virus scanner for Linux? Well, the level of sharing that is done between Windows computers and Linux computers suggests that it may be a nice option to be able to scan files and directories to protect your Windows machines. In addition, if you are using Wine to run Windows computers you will need to verify that those files are not infected. Who knows, there may be a time when Linux is also dealing with virus activity as well, yes I know there are a few active Linux viruses now.

I found this easy to install and use graphical tool that many will like, called clamtk.

In order to install ClamTK in Ubuntu 8.04 open Synaptic Package Manager and search for clamav. Once you have a list install these programs:


Here are some quick ways to scan with various options.

Type of Scan Command
Scan a File Ctrl+F
Quick Home Scan Ctrl+Q
Full Home Scan Ctrl+Z
Scan a Directory Ctrl+D
Recursive Scan Ctrl+R

Your virus signatures automatically update every hour…nice feature.

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Window Maker: a Low Calorie Ubuntu

July 1, 2008 2 comments

Window Maker is an alternative to the Gnome Desktop. The real purpose of Window Maker is to explore an alternative to the heavy weight Gnome which uses a lot of resources from your machine. How much, well in a test we did with Window Maker we found that it used only 4.5% of the resources, RAM and CPU, that are typically used by Gnome, a very significant difference.

Here is a list of Resource Comparison with other window managers that you could use.

Gnome is a hog, it uses a lot of resources. If you would rather save your resources for a faster more efficient Desktop test out Window Maker. For directions on how to test out an alternative Desktop CLICK HERE.

Window Maker can run any of the applications you have installed on Ubuntu. It is highly configurable, lightweight and great looking.

A great source of information for Window Maker can be found at the site. Here is a project that has documentation that will help you use Window Maker efficiently.
Here is a link to the User Guide

Managing Resources in Ubuntu 8.04

When any Linux system is operating there hundreds of processes that could be running. A basic understanding of how these processes function is a great advantage to a Linux user. There are a number of ways to view these processes and the resources that they may use.

System Monitor on the Gnome desktop gives you excellent access to the workings of your computer. The graphical charts provide a quick glimpse of activity on the system and the process Listing allows you to switch between the processes that you are running, all processes and active processes. If you go to System/Administration and System Monitor you will find excellent tools to monitor your Ubuntu 8.04 system. The first tab will display you Linux Kernel, memory, CPU and available disk space.

The second tab describes the processes that are running on your system. These processes provide you with an excellent tool to see where the most memory or CPU time is going. This is great for trouble shooting.

The third tab is a easy way to glance at a graphical output showing your CPU usage, memory and network connections.

The last tab will show you how your system is partitioned.

A common method of viewing processes is by using the terminal. The ps command generates a snapshot of the currently running processes. In order to really see the whole picture three options are usually added to the command:

ps aux

a shows processes used by other users
u the user format showing user names ans start times
x includes processes not started from a terminal like a daemon such as ftp

The results show several important categories;the user, PID (Process ID), % of CPU usage, % of Memory and the start time. This is an easy way to locate a process that is taking too many resources or too large a percentage of CPU and Memory on the system that can cause all other processes to be very slow. This is a good way to review your system to look for problems.

The pstree command not only shows the processes but it also shows how each process is related to other processes, a tree if you will.
Use this command to see the tree with the process ID;
pstree -p

This is a very interesting way to view the system processes and helps you understand how it is all working together.

The final command that is often used to view processes is the top command:

The top command is just filled with information. The upper section of the screen gives you a summary of the whole system:
uptime – how long the system has been running
users – how many users are currently logged in
load average
tasks – the example shows 87 tasks with one running and 86 sleeping
zombie – programs that are running but are dead
CPU – user %, System %, idle % –all interesting stuff
Memory Usage
Swap Space usage

In addition, top gives you the PID, user, etc. that the other commands do. From this information you can get a feel for what is happening on the system as well as locate bottlenecks and programs that are misbehaving.

RAID, LVM and ACLs on Ubuntu 8.04

May 30, 2008 6 comments

Ubuntu is trying to break into the server market.  Indeed as I talk with companies moving to Linux on a weekly basis over 50% of them want to move to Ubuntu as the server of choice.  If Ubuntu 8.04 is the server of choice of so many and if Ubuntu wants so desperately to move into the server market then you would expect Ubuntu to have server quality options easily available on the Ubuntu install. What I cannot understand then is why RAID tools are not available, why Logical Volume Management version 2 is not installed and why Access Control Lists for the file system are also not installed on the server.  All of these can easily be installed and upgraded but my question is …why not default?

Note: With 8.04.1 some of these issues like LVM2 have been updated, the original install DID NOT have LVM2.

If you want to create RAID on Ubuntu you will need to install RAID tools before you can do so.  Now I am talking about software RAID.  You do have access to tools to install RAID during installation but the mdadm program is not installed by default.  So if you want to install RAID after the installation you need to add it so you have the tools.

sudo apt-get install mdadm

If you would like to see a tutorial on installing RAID on Ubuntu CLICK HERE.

Install LVM2 on Ubuntu

Ubuntu does not have LVM2 installed by default…why?  If Ubuntu wants to move to the server market why not have lvm2 intalled by default like RHEL 5 or CentOS 5? Now it can easily be upgraded with this command:

sudo apt-get install lvm2

If you want to see a tutorial on how to install and configure LVM2 on Ubuntu 8.04 CLICK HERE.

Access Control Lists
Access Control Lists (ACLs) allow you to provide different levels of access to files and folders for different users. The Red Hat Enterprise 5 / CentOS 5 have implemented ACLs in the file system by default. This new feature will allow you to set a file where one user can read, other users cannot read and yet other users are able to read and write to the same file. This was not possible previously.

sudo apt-get install acl
If you would like to see a tutorial on installing and configuring acls CLICK HERE.

If Ubuntu really wants to break into the server market, they will need to install by default features that the server market really wants to use, specifically RAID tools, LVM2 and acls.  Until they make this transition many will not take them seriously in the server arena.

Fixing the Dim Screen in Ubuntu 8.04

Dim Screen Issues on a Laptop

After installing Ubuntu 8.04 on my laptop, a Lenovo T-60, I notice the screen was very dim. In fact so dim it hurt my eyes to use it. So I started looking into the possible issues for the dim light on the screen. Of course the first place to look is power management. If you go to Preferences/Power Management you will see several options to dim the screen when the laptop moves to battery use. Of course dimming the screen is all about saving power, the less light that is used you can save power to keep the laptop running longer.

On AC Power

When you are running on AC Power you can dim the screen when the laptop is in idle. You can change this setting by using the slider for a time period.

On Battery Power

The options here include a time period for inactivity and they also include the ability to reduce the backlight brightness and dim the display when idle. All you have to do is click the box to make it happen.

After unchecking all of these options the screen was still unbearably dim. So I started looking at the hardware and recognized the Function Key on the keyboard was an option. You can tell the Function Key as it is labeled “Fn” on the keyboard. Many laptops have this feature to enable you to connect up to a monitor or projector. In addition, I found my keyboard has two keys that I can use to control the light on the screen. These are the “Home” Key (for brighter) and the “End” Key (for darker). Using these in conjunction with the Function key(Fn) worked great! Smooth even changes to the light issues.

Selecting Ubuntu as a Linux Server

April 27, 2008 3 comments

The interest in the Ubuntu Server is directly related to the interest in the Ubuntu Desktop.

As a Linux Trainer, I have access to as many as 75 different students each week. These students are typically IT people from small organizations who have a Windows administration background and now since their company sees the cost savings of Linux are moving to Linux Servers. A typical pattern that I see is people who have a GUI preference, little understanding of the Linux OS in general and want a fast easy path to managing a Linux Server. The other typical aspect of these users is that they have a Linux laptop loaded with, yep you guessed it, Ubuntu. Easily 75% use Ubuntu as a Desktop experiment.

No one argues too much that Ubuntu dominates the Linux Desktop. That is clearly seen in all of my contact with people that I train. So how does the experience with the Ubuntu Desktop impact a choice for a Server OS and should it?

Server Training and Desktop Training

Ubuntu Live Server Training and Self-Taught Packages

The impact that the Desktop has on the Server choice is in the following:

1. Easy Administration
Sure everyone likes easy, no one but an idiot wants hard. But, can you label a text based only server as easy. Yes installation is fast, slick and one click options for things like the LAMP Install, but is that easy administration? No, it may be easy install but in reality CentOS is just as easy to install. I don’t know how many people have told me that they selected Ubuntu because the LAMP install was so easy. Well with CentOS it is simply:

yum install PHP mysql-server

One command, but the perception is that CentOS is more difficult. Just not so. My point is, there is no such thing as “Easy Administration”, Linux servers, especially from the command line, will take Windows based administrators some time to come up to speed on administration.

2. Community Based Support
Now this is really an interesting aspect. Red Hat probably has the largest most fully developed Pay for Support available for any Linux distro. Ubuntu’s Pay for Support is not well known, in fact many users had no idea that it was an option. But Pay for Support is not what Ubuntu Server admins are looking for. They are looking for the FREE Community based support. This is where Ubuntu shines. Their community based support both at the site and across the Internet is much better known than any other distro. This is the support that Ubuntu users are used to and what they think will be the answer for the server as well.

3. Cutting Edge Technology
Here is one of the major differences of philosophy between Red Hat/CentOS based servers and Ubuntu Servers. Red Hat/CentOS focus very thorough testing of drivers and applications. Whereas Ubuntu, because they pride themselves on being on the cutting edge, focus on drivers and application versions that, well…they have not been as completely tested. Again, much of this acceptance is driven by Ubuntu Desktop users who choose Ubuntu based on the ability to better detect wireless drivers for their laptop and this cutting edge thinking has carried over to the Server choice. Cutting edge is great, but you will certainly be exposing your server to greater risk in bugs and security issues with this type of focus.

4. Simple Security
Here again, Ubuntu’s lack of security focus is what draws users and what will eventually create serious issues for Ubuntu users. The “Uncomplicated Firewall” by Ubuntu is a good example. The attempt to create a firewall that is easy to manage is a misnomer. You just cannot do it …simple firewalls on a server are bad firewalls. What I mean is, you cannot just boil security for an Ubuntu server down into a few basic commands. One of the reasons administrators look at Ubuntu as an option is that it is not using the dreaded SELinux that Red Hat/CentOS uses by default. The fact that 90% of all Red Hat/CentOS servers have turned off SELinux seems to be lost on Red Hat people. The point is, users came to the Ubuntu Desktop because of it’s simple security, and now that carries over to the Server.

So what’s my point?
I believe there is trouble on the horizon for Ubuntu administrators in general. Organizations that choose a server OS based on Simple Administration, Community Based Support, Cutting Edge Technology and Simple Security are likely to regret it. That is not to say that the Ubuntu Server is a bad choice. Organizations need to choose Ubuntu Server with a focus on training their administrators in the difficult aspects of server administration. They need to evaluate fee based support and reject the temptation to just “google” all of their solutions. Organizations must carefully evaluate if they need cutting edge drivers and if not, carefully eliminate applications that could be potential risks. And finally, business must get serious, very serious about security. Security is not simple…it is hard work. If an organization will carefully evaluate these issues their Ubuntu Server experience will be much more rewarding.


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