Zhixian's Tech Blog


Development applications for Precise Pangolin

Just a short note on the other software that I installed to do development work.

Version control related applications:

  1. git
    Distributed version control system (DVCS) brought to fame by Linus Torvalds.
  2. gitg
    A graphical interface to interacting with git
  3. Mercurial
    A alternate DVCS written in Python.
  4. TortoiseHg
    A graphical interface for interacting with Mercurial
  5. Meld
    A directory and file comparing tool


  1. Chrome browser
    Popular browser from Google

Firefox plug-ins:

  1. Firebug for FireFox
    Web development tool for use with Firefox
  2. IcedTea Java Web Start
    Java plug-in to run Java applications on Firefox

Other helpful utilities:

  1. OpenJDK Java 7 Runtime
    A Java runtime to run Java applications on Ubuntu.
  2. Tomboy Notes
    A Mono application use for taking quick notes.


  1. MonoDevelop (with mono-xsp4 add-on)
    IDE for developing applications running on the Mono platform.

Web server:

  1. Apache2
    Web server to host web applications.

With the exception of the FireBug plug-in, all of these applications can be installed via Ubuntu Software Center.

Precise Pangolin missing utilities

Filed under: computing — Tags: , , , , , , , , — Zhixian @ 08:51:06 am

This is a continuation of of my Precise Pangolin (Precise for short) installation series.

The default installation of Precise comes with a variety of software but it does not have everything that I need.
Here are some of other “utility” software that I installed to supplement it.
The following list of applications can be found in the Ubuntu Software Center.

  1. Guake Terminal (search term: Guake Terminal)
    This nifty utility places a copy of your terminal in a dropdown window much like the console in the game Quake.
    This is useful when you need to do something quick in a terminal – just press F12 to call up the terminal, enter your commands and then press F12 again to keep the terminal until the next time you need.
  2. Shutter (search term: Shutter)
    A utility for taking screenshots.
    This is probably the best screenshot-taking utility on Linux.

    Sidenote: If you are using this application within VirtualBox, you need to disable the 3D Acceleration and 2D Video Acceleration options. If these are enabled, Shutter will not work correctly and you would only be able to take blank screen captures.

  3. Synaptic Package Manager (search term: Synaptic Package Manager)

    Utility for managing software packages.
    The Ubuntu Software Center might be great for exploring applications and providing a great interface for users to install and manage software. However, it is must be noted that the applications listed there are those registered with Canonical (Ubuntu’s company).
    This means that applications not registered with them cannot be install that way. Hence, the need for Synaptic.

The following list of applications are “missing” utilities not found in Ubuntu Software Center that I think are useful:

  1. BlogTK (Website http://blogtk.jayreding.com/)
    This is the blogging client I am most comfortable with most on Linux.
    Unfortunately, it is not as updated. The best stable 2.0 build is for Ubuntu Lucid Lynx (Ubuntu 10.04).
    As a result, it may be a bit quirky (especially during initial setup) but it generally works well.


Installing Ubuntu LTS 12.04 – Precise Pangolin

Filed under: computing — Tags: , , , — Zhixian @ 00:40:06 am

This blog entry is installing Ubuntu LTS 12.04 on VirtualBox.
This assumes you was installing Ubuntu to a new virtual machine.

To start with, this is the welcome screen you will get when you start the installation process.
Since we wanted to install Ubuntu rather than try it, clicked on the “Install Ubuntu” button to proceed to the installation process options dialog.



In this dialog, you get to choose whether you want to download updates during the operating system’s installation.
You also get to choose whether to download and install some 3rd party software use for displaying Flash, MP3 and other media.
For convenience, checked both options and click on the “Continue” button to proceed with the installation process.



The 3rd step is to partition the installation media for installing the operating system.
Since we are starting with a fresh VM and are not intending to use the installation media for any other special purpose, pick the first (default) option, “Erase disk and install Ubuntu” and proceed with the installation process by clicking on the “Continue” button.



After the installation media is partitioned, you need to select which partition you want to install Ubuntu on. 
Go with the default option, and click on “Install Now” to proceed with the installation.


The next step is decide your location (timezone).
You can click on the map or enter a location in the textbox.
The textbox will show a dropdown list of locations that matches your chosen location or entered location.
After selecting your location for your time, click on the “Continue” button to move to the next dialog.



Next you get to choose your keyboard.
I went with the default.


Finally you need to create your first account for use with Ubuntu.



At this point, the rest of installation process are automated.
So you just have to wait for the installation process to complete.



When the installation process is complete, you will get a “Installation Complete” dialog prompting you to start the VM.
Click on the “Restart Now” button to restart your VM and you should have a fully functional Ubuntu system for you to work with.



After the system bootup, you should get the following like the following screen. Enter the password that you keyed during the creation of the 1st user account to log into the system.



Congratulations. You now have a Ubuntu system at your disposal.



Changing hostname in Ubuntu

Filed under: computing — Tags: , — Zhixian @ 21:16:10 pm

To change the hostname of your Ubuntu installation, edit the file hostname located under the /etc directory.
That is to say run the following:

vi /etc/hostname

You most likely would need to have administrative privileges to save changes to this file.
After making changes to this file, reboot the system and you should have the new hostname in place.

Gnome system tools

Filed under: computing — Tags: , — Zhixian @ 15:51:10 pm

Some Linux distributions may not come with with the handy Users and Groups utility that allows you manage users and groups.
To install that, run the following command:

apt-get install gnome-system-tools

Installing Ubuntu Software Center

Filed under: computing — Tags: , — Zhixian @ 12:45:10 pm

Some Ubuntu Linux distributions may not have come with the very handy Ubuntu Software Center.
In which case, you can install it by running the following command (assuming you have apt-get command):

apt-get install software-center

Install Synaptics Package Manager

Filed under: computing — Tags: , , — Zhixian @ 12:39:10 pm

While exploring various Linux distributions, you may occasionally encounter a Linux distribution that does not come with the very handy Synaptics Package Manager. Assuming you have apt-get command, run the follow command:

apt-get install synaptic

This will install Synaptics Package Manager.


Virtual Box

Filed under: computing — Tags: , , , , , , — Zhixian @ 09:05:06 am

These days my PC virtualization software of choice these days is Virtual Box (or as VB for short). This is due to 4 key reasons.

  1. My current workplace current supports its usage.
  2. Its cross-platform (runs on Windows, Linux, Macintosh, and Solaris).
  3. It supports 64-bit operating systems (OSes)
  4. Its free

Having to use it on a daily basis in workplace means I would (or should) be quite familiar with most of its quirks (read limitations) after a few months of usage. But reasons 2 and 3 are the real key reasons Virtual Box is my choice over say, Microsoft’s PC virtualization software Virtual PC (or VPC for short).

Strictly speaking I don’t find anything seriously wrong with Virtual PC. I think it’s a fairly good product and it does offer better integration between the operating Windows host and the guest os in comparison to Virtual Box. Having said that, its not cross-platform (does not run on Linux) and as of this time of writing does not support 64-bit OSes.



Filed under: computing — Tags: , , , , , — Zhixian @ 21:26:06 pm

If you are looking for a file-archiver that is open-source, supports a wide variety of archiving formats and has a graphical interface in both Linux and Windows, look no further than PeaZip.


PeaZip is currently a free product. However, do take note that it does advertise other third party products during the installation process. A sample of this would be the below screen. The product mentioned PC Speed Up is a commercial product. The only redemption is that you can opt not to install the product.

There are no advertisements after the product is installed (the installation prompt for installing the third party product only appears during the installation process). But if you are the paranoid type, stay away from this product and stay with 7-Zip.



My first Ubuntu blog post

Filed under: computing — Tags: , , — Zhixian @ 20:55:06 pm

I just install Ubuntu 10.04 LTS (Lucid Lynx) onto my desktop. Installation was quite smooth 😀

And since I have not touch this blog for quite some time (since April), I decide to use this blog to post more of my experiences (read struggles) with Ubuntu on this blog. I feel that this is needed since I tend to forget what are the exact procedures to perform to do certain tasks in Linux (I’m a Windows user in my everyday working life).

I am writing this blog post using the latest version of BloGTK which currently seems to be one of the better offline blogging client available on Linux although I must admit, its still pretty painful to use as it is mainly a html editor not a WYSIWYG editor but I guess functionality-wise, its ok. At least it allows me to post blogs to Windows Live Spaces. Complains, complains…;-)

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