30 days with Ubuntu 7.04 (feisty fawn) Part 2

Part 2 of a excellent article on a 30 day experience with Ubuntu 7.04

Printing

I’ve setup printing using the System/administration/printing tool. It
wasn’t difficult, however no linux driver was listed for my printer
(Dell Color Laser 3100cn) so I chose Generic postscript, and that
worked fine, but to get it to print over the network I had to configure
it as Unix Printer (LPD).


The printing itself, works fine and is fast so no complaints even with the generic driver.

Networking with Windows

I clicked on Places/Network and I could see a Windows network icon,
clicking on that showed me two workgroups, and clicking on one of them
showed what computers were in that workgroup. I then logged on to one
of them using my Windows XP username/password and that was it, I was
able to browse the files easily, so much so that I decided to watch a
music video (to test the network speed over wireless connection
11mb/s). Unfortunately Totem came back to haunt me except this time
with the following error:-i

"Totem could not play ‘smb://home-0ca963252f/C$/music/lalala.avi’. There is no input plugin to handle the location of the movie.

So, google seems to be aware of that error
and while I look around, I decided to copy the file locally from the
networked windows box, to my desktop. That worked nice and fast. Once
the file was on my desktop, I noticed that gnome showed a
representation of what the video was (thumbnail) so I double clicked on
it and guess what ? Totem played the file with no problem. I dunno
sometimes. To double check, I tried another file (this time mpg) and it
too failed with the odd error, so this was obviously a networking error
rather than a Totem one.

Firefox crashed

I had two Firefoxs’ open, one with 6 tabs, the other with 3. In
addition I had nautilus open still browsing the network shares from
yesterday (it did copy the files over nicely) and had started to play
one of the music videos in Totem when I remembered that I wasn’t
pleased with the video quality of Totem’s rendering of the videos.
Basically there was little black spots everywhere on the video (worked
fine in fedora with mplayer) so I ‘ll try to see if I can get mplayer
working later. Anyway, while I started a new video and multitasked back
to Firefox I noticed the desktop going black (except for my terminal).
I also noticed the system was going slow (lots of hdd activity) so I
guessed I was low on ram and that it was reading from the swap file.
While attempting to type free in the terminal firefox disappeared. I’ve
seen this behaviour before with Firefox in linux on this laptop so it
was no surprise, usually happens after a few days of use but all the
same it’s annoying. I blame the Firefox crash on Shockwave flash
player, typing about:plugins in Firefox shows me this:-

Shockwave Flash

File name: libflashplayer.so

Shockwave Flash 9.0 r31

MIME Type Description Suffixes Enabled

application/x-shockwave-flash Shockwave Flash swf Yes

application/futuresplash FutureSplash Player spl Yes

To get Firefox to act weird, all I have to do is view a video on youtube
then right-click within the video window, scroll up and down through
the available Shockwave options and then move my mouse outside the
video window (but still within the Firefox window) and click. Once I do
that, the hdd’s goes into meltdown and I lose control of my box (not
totally, but it becomes as slow as a snail and even local ssh
connections time-out). NOTE: I had this exact same issue in Fedora on
this machine.

getting mplayer to work

I had mplayer installed previously but when I clicked on a video with it, I got an error:-


‘Fatal Error! Error opening/initializing the selected video_out (-vo) device).’

Google gives me results that apply to Suse, Linspire, Xandros, but not
Ubuntu (doesn’t anyone using Ubuntu also use mplayer ?). While reading
google’s results I start mplayer in cli mode and point it to the file
in question, this time it starts up and plays the video !. Strange.
Even more strange is I can see the same black dots every 20 millimetres
or so in horizontal/vertical alignment, so it’s not just a Totem issue,
something is borked with the video codecs or I have some other issue
here.

I’d show you a screenshot of the dots in question but when I
take a screenshot of any video all I get is a green background within
the video player, probably something to do with rendering of the video
itself. After trying out lots of options within mplayer (preferences),
nothing I tried made any difference to the dots. Finally I thought that
maybe Beryl was causing the issue, so I turned it off by re-enabling
Gnome (metacity) and low and behold, the video that was still playing
with dots, now had no dots ! (to re-enable Gnome metacity, right click
on beryl manager, choose ‘select window manager’ and then choose ‘Gnome
(metacity)’.

However, I still get the fatal error when opening a video with
mplayer via it’s internal browser or by right-clicking in nautilus and
selecting open with ‘Mplayer Movie Player’, So I can only play video’s
with mplayer via cli. It seems that the mplayer issue above (error when
trying to open a video via a right click and choose ‘Open with Mplayer
movie player’ is weirder than I thought. If i double click on the same
video it opens in Totem and plays fine. Changing the video prefs in
Mplayer didn’t help either, so I decided to try changing how
it opens content. I right clicked a video, and chose ‘open with other
application’, I then clicked on the ‘use a custom command’ triangle and
typed ‘mplayer’ with no quotes. Guess what ?, now when I right click on
a video, I get the option to open with the following choices (text in
parenthesis added by me):-

Open with Movie Player (totem)

Open with mplayer (the one i just added)

Open with Mplayer Movie Player (the one that doesnt work)

Open with other application

If i select mplayer from the list above, the video opens with no problems. Strange…
After some more troubleshooting, I’ve now figured out that the mplayer issue isn’t with mplayer but gmplayer. If i start a video via mplayer in CLI it works fine, if I try to open the same video using gmplayer in CLI I get the error:-


with mplayer=plays the video

with gmplayer=error > Error opening/initializing the selected video_out (-vo) device.

reading (g)mail with evolution

Ok, that’s enough video stuff for now, time to access my gmail via Evolution.
But first I sign in to the gmail account and click on ‘settings’ and
then ‘Forwarding and pop’. I set it to Enabled (Enable POP for all mail
(even mail that’s already been downloaded)). Once done, I fire up
Evolution. And configure pop and smtp with the settings in the
screenshots below (most choices are optional, so look at them
carefully.) Cool stuff really !

bittorrent and no firewall

For a change, I decided to take it easy and not configure/fix/install
anything, so I tested bittorent in Ubuntu, and guess what, it worked,
first time, with no questions. But, that did lead me to check the
firewall status which apparently is non-existant (and yes I’m aware of
the Firestarter application):-


root@anyweb-laptop:~# iptables -L

Chain INPUT (policy ACCEPT)

target prot opt source destination

Chain FORWARD (policy ACCEPT)

target prot opt source destination

Chain OUTPUT (policy ACCEPT)

target prot opt source destination



Why are there no iptables rules defined at all?, seems strange in a
modern day linux distro (much like the lack of default screensaver
password) described earlier. On another note, here’s a screenshot of my
current Ubuntu desktop:-

Can I watch TV ?

I tested an Avermedia USB 2.0 TV box today with ubuntu. It wasn’t recognised by the OS as far as I could tell via lsusb so I tried some guides on http://linuxtv.org but it seems that my particular model of USB tv tuner is not supported (not listed on their Hardware compatibility list).
I may look into this later, but either way I’m not too fussed as I also
had the same issue with it via FCR6, I plugged it into the Ubuntu
laptop to see if anything had changed, and well, nope, nothing has
changed. And yes I did try the System/Administration/Restricted Drivers
Manager but it just told me nothing was found (more or less).

Docking the laptop

I am lucky enough to have a docking station for my laptop, complete
with external LCD, speakers and so on, so I wanted to test docking the
laptop and I presume the correct way of doing that would be to boot the
laptop while docked, but for the laugh I’m going to dock it while still
powered on and with some uptime since my last reboot:-

anyweb@anyweb-laptop:~$ uptime

00:01:01 up 7 days, 9:20, 2 users, load average: 0.16, 0.29, 0.16

The docking didn’t go too well, when I connected it
(powered on) to the docking station there was no video on the external
lcd so I cycled through the FN F8 keystrokes and still nada. Finally I
restarted X with ctrl_alt_backspace and then, when I pressed FN F8 the
laptops lcd went black and that was it, no video externally either. I
tried those keystrokes some more times and nothing was happening.
Finally I pressed the power button on the laptop with the hope that it
would gracefully shutdown (seeing as I could not SEE anything). That
didn’t work however so I had to do a dirty shutdown by holding in the
power button.

However, once I powered it back on, I had video on the
external LCD while docked, so that was cool, however, no audio, so I
check all settings in Volume Control 2.18.0 and nothing makes a
difference until I connect my speaker cable direct to the laptop.

The Ubuntu update icon informed me that I have new updates
available so I chose to install them. The updates look interesting and
are related to HAL (hardware abstraction layer) so this could be
exciting. While I’m waiting for the updates to install I move a window
around (as xgl is now re-enabled after the reboot) and really enjoy the
wobbly effects that it offers especially seeing it on a 19 inch LCD.
The spinning cube desktop effect is also very nicely done even on this
lowly laptop.

Thanks to Source Web Site: linux-noob.com

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