Ubuntu 9.10 Karmic Koala

If you’ve not already read the news (I’ve been too busy to post this lately)…it’s time again to update your computer now that Ubuntu 9.10 has been released! With the release of Ubuntu 9.10 you’ll find a wealthy list of new features!

Upstart
Upstart gets you to your desktop to start using Ubuntu even faster than before.

Software Center
The Software Center has replaced the Add/Remove option in the Applications menu and provides an easier to use experience for anyone when looking for an application that you don’t already have installed.

GNOME
With GNOME 2.28, Empathy is the default instant messenger, a new login screen has been added, and you’re now protected more than ever when viewing documents with Evince thanks to AppArmor!

Ubuntu 9.10 translation status
Ubuntu is available in the following 25 languages: Spanish, Brazilian Portuguese, French, Italian, Swedish, German, Hungarian, Simplified Chinese, English, Russian, Dutch, Japanese, Portuguese, Finnish, Danish, Catalan, Czech, Polish, Korean, Bulgarian, Greek, Slovenian, Traditional Chinese, Basque and Galician.

Application development with Quickly
Quickly is a new tool that makes it quick and easy to create and share applications in Ubuntu via deb packages!

Kubuntu
Kubuntu 9.10 includes the first Kubuntu Netbook release!

Ubuntu Enterprise Cloud Images
Ubuntu 9.10 includes images for common use on Ubuntu Enterprise Cloud (UEC) and Amazon’s EC2.

Ubuntu One
Ubuntu One is a tool that allows you to drag and drop files to a folder on your computer that are uploaded and synchronized with your existing files in the clouds! You can work on a document on one of your Ubuntu computers and it will be automatically updated on your other Ubuntu computer! This is similar to DropBox.

Linux kernel 2.6.31
Ubuntu 9.10 includes the 2.6.31-14.48 kernel based on 2.6.31.1. The kernel ships with Kernel Mode Setting enabled for Intel graphics (see below). linux-restricted-modules is deprecated in favour of DKMS packages.

hal deprecation
Ubuntu 9.10’s underlying technology for power management, laptop hotkeys, and handling of storage devices and cameras maps has moved from “hal” (which is in the process of being deprecated) to “DeviceKit-power”, “DeviceKit-disks” and “udev”.

New Intel video driver architecture
The Intel video driver has switched from the “EXA” acceleration method to the new “UXA”, solving major performance problems of Ubuntu 9.04.

ext4 by default
The new ext4 filesystem is used by default for new installations with Ubuntu 9.10.

GRUB 2 by default
GRUB 2 is the default boot loader for new installations with Ubuntu 9.10, replacing the previous GRUB “Legacy” boot loader.

iSCSI installation
The iSCSI installation process has been improved, and no longer requires iscsi=true as a boot parameter; the installer will offer you the option of logging into iSCSI targets if there are no local disks, or you can select “Configure iSCSI” in the manual partitioner.

Putting the root filesystem on iSCSI is now supported.

AppArmor
AppArmor in Ubuntu 9.10 features an improved parser that uses cache files, greatly speeding up AppArmor initialisation on boot. AppArmor also now supports ‘pux’ which, when specified, means a process can transition to an existing profile if one exists or simply run unconfined if one does not.

Source: New features since Ubuntu 9.04

Download Ubuntu 9.10
If you’re looking for a place to download Ubuntu 9.10, you can find the direct download from Ubuntu’s official download page here. If you prefer downloading via BitTorrent then you may want the Desktop i386, Desktop amd64, or NetBook Remix i386 torrents!

Upgrade to Ubuntu 9.10
If you just want to upgrade from Ubuntu 9.04, just press Alt+F2 and type update-manager -d then press enter. After you continue through the upgrade you’ll be running Ubuntu 9.10…in no time!

Either way, enjoy Ubuntu 9.10!

Finally updated to phpBB 3.0.5

After weeks of postponing the phpBB 3.0.5 update, I’ve finally gotten around to installing it on my BimmerMania.com forums.

I’ve not been very impressed with phpBB since I first started using in way back when the 2.x branch was the latest stable.

Now that phpBB3 has been bombarded with spam, I’ve been forced to try new anti-spam measures.

I’m very disappointed in their community support for this issue, but I was able to find a great post that covers several options. It’s entitled Preventing Spam in 3.0 and it’s been the best sort of spam solutions I’ve found for phpBB3.

If you’re having problems with spam bots on your phpBB forums, then I would highly suggest that you look into these solutions and pick one that works for you.

In the meantime, I’ll be waiting for phpBB to release some sort of solution to all of this and become as reliable and stable as WordPress has been.

Easy theme and plugin (a.k.a. mod) installs, updates and uninstalls would also be highly appreciated. As well as a one click automatic update system for phpBB itself.

phpBB still has a long way to go before it will be as friendly as the current WordPress admin panel, but all of this manual work isn’t enough to convince me that a better solution is available…so I guess I’ll be sticking with phpBB3 for a while.

Ubuntu 8.10 Intrepid Ibex Released

Ubuntu is releasing the latest version of their Ubuntu operating system today! Go download it now!

Here’s what’s new in Ubuntu 8.10:

  1. GNOME 2.24
  2. X.Org 7.4
  3. Linux kernel 2.6.27
  4. Encrypted private directory
  5. Guest session
  6. Network Manager 0.7
  7. DKMS
  8. Samba 3.2
  9. PAM authentication framework
  10. Totem BBC plugin
  11. Server Virtualization
  12. Notable inclusion in the main repository
  13. Boot degraded raid setting
  14. Service command now supported
  15. OpenLDAP using ”cn=config”
  16. Service-aware Uncomplicated Firewall (ufw)

GNOME 2.24

Ubuntu brings you the newest GNOME 2.24 desktop environment with tons of bug-fixes and new features, some of which include:

  • Nautilus file manager has tab support (by Christian Neumair) and Eject icons for removable drives in Places sidebar (by Stefano Teso, Cosimo Cecchi, Christian Neumair, and others).
  • File Roller archive manager now supports ALZ, RZIP, CAB, TAR.7Z file types also (by Paolo Bacchilega and Changwoo Ryu).

X.Org 7.4

X.Org 7.4, the latest stable version of X.Org, is available in Intrepid. This release brings much better support for hot-pluggable input devices such as tablets, keyboards, and mice. At the same time this will allow the great majority of users to run without a /etc/X11/xorg.conf file. A new failsafe X is introduced, to give better tools for troubleshooting X startup failures.

Two of the older nvidia binary drivers are not available for X.Org 7.4 yet, so users of these drivers will be automatically switched to the corresponding open source drivers.

Linux kernel 2.6.27

Ubuntu 8.10 RC includes Linux kernel 2.6.27, a significant release with better hardware support and numerous bug-fixes.

Encrypted private directory

The ecryptfs-utils package was recently promoted to Ubuntu main, with support for a secret encrypted folder in your Home Folder (by Michael Halcrow, Dustin Kirkland, and Daniel Baumann).

You can help test this new feature by going to Applications → Accessories → Terminal and typing:

  • sudo aptitude install ecryptfs-utils
  • ecryptfs-setup-private

Guest session

The User Switcher panel applet (package fast-user-switch-applet) now provides an extra entry for starting a Guest session (by Martin Pitt). This creates a temporary password-less user account with restricted privileges: the account cannot access any users’ home directories, nor permanently store data. This is sufficiently safe to lend your laptop to someone else for a quick email check.
Network Manager 0.7

Ubuntu 8.10 RC ships Network Manager 0.7 (by Dan Williams and others), which comes with long-expected features, such as:

  • system wide settings (i.e., no need to log in in order to get a connection)
  • management of 3G connections (GSM/CDMA)
  • management of multiple active devices at once
  • management of PPP and PPPOE connections
  • management of devices with static IP configurations
  • route management for devices

More information can be found on the Network Manager wiki.

DKMS

DKMS (by Dell) is included in Ubuntu 8.10, allowing kernel drivers to be automatically rebuilt when new kernels are released. This makes it possible for kernel package updates to be made available immediately without waiting for rebuilds of driver packages, and without third-party driver packages becoming out of date when installing these kernel updates.

Samba 3.2

A lot of new features have been added in Samba 3.2 amongst them:

  • clustered file server support
  • encrypted network transport
  • ipv6 support
  • better integration with the latest version of Microsoft Windows™ clients and servers.

PAM authentication framework

Ubuntu 8.10 RC features a new pam-auth-update tool, which allows simple management of PAM authentication configuration for both desktops and servers (by Steve Langasek). Packages providing PAM modules will be configured automatically, and users can adjust their authentication preferences by running sudo pam-auth-update.

More information can be found in the Ubuntu wiki.

Totem BBC plugin

Ubuntu 8.10 RC features a new plugin for the Totem movie player that fetches free digital content from the BBC. To enable it, start Totem (Applications -> Sound & Video -> Movie Player), enable the plugin (Edit -> Plugins -> BBC content viewer) and select “BBC” from the drop-down labelled “Playlist”.

Thanks to the BBC and Collabora for their work developing this feature.

Server Virtualization

python-vm-builder

This is a complete rewrite of ubuntu-vm-builder featuring a better template system, a plugin architecture allowing support for other distributions, front-ends and additional functionalities such as post install task (–exec, –copy) or first boot (–first-boot, –first-login). It provides a compatibility mode with the previous command-line syntax and adds better reporting.

Python-vm-builder allows you to create a new virtual machine in a few minutes without going through the interactive installation process. It can be very useful for developers, software vendors or system administrators. A tutorial is available at https://help.ubuntu.com/community/JeOSVMBuilder

Ubuntu as a Xen guest

Using Ubuntu as a Xen guest is now a supported option included in the standard server kernel and is a choice when building virtual machines with python-vm-builder.

JeOS is now an option in the server installer

In an effort to simplify our build process and avoid confusion when trying to install JeOS on real hardware, JeOS is no longer provided as a separate ISO. Instead, it is an option that is activated on the server installer by pressing F4 on the first screen and selecting the “Install a minimal virtual machine” option.

Notable inclusion in the main repository

The following packages have been included in the main repository and are now supported options that can be of particular interest for server administrators:

  • Sun’s Java OpenJDK 1.6 – an open source implementation of the Java development kit
  • Apache’s Tomcat 6 – A Java servlet container
  • ClamAV – a virus detection engine that can be coupled to mail servers
  • SpamAssassin – A spam detection engine that can be coupled to mail servers

Boot degraded raid setting

Traditionally, booting an Ubuntu installation with the root filesystem on a degraded RAID drops the system into a busybox prompt in the initramfs. This is the safest choice as it will prevent any further possible harm to data and let administrator pick what to do, but was causing issues with server hosted in remote locations. A system administrator can now statically configure their machines to continue on booting even if a disk is bad in the array by issuing the following command:

echo "BOOT_DEGRADED=true" | sudo tee -a /etc/initramfs-tools/conf.d/mdadm

Additionally, this can be specified on the kernel boot line with the bootdegraded=[true|false] parameter.

Service command now supported

Fedora or Red-Hat administrators will now feel a bit more comfortable using Ubuntu as the service command they had been using to manage daemons is now standard on Ubuntu. In addition to the traditional sudo /etc/init.d/<service> [start|stop|restart] way of managing a process, it is now also possible to use sudo service <service> [start|stop|restart].

In addition, numerous standard services now support the status option so that, e.g., sudo service postfix status will now report if the service is running or not.

OpenLDAP using ”cn=config”

The default installation of the OpenLDAP server now uses the cn=config extension, which allows automatic synchronization between LDAP replicas of configuration changes made.

Service-aware Uncomplicated Firewall (ufw)

Common services now inform ufw of the ports that are recommended for their proper enabling, so the administrator can open them in a single simple command ufw allow <service>.

Opera 9.62: To be released soon, try it now

It looks like Opera is about to do a follow-up release of 9.62 to fix a zero-day flaw that made it into 9.61. The International install file is dated 10/29/2008 02:47:00 PM on the ftp server.

I’ve uploaded Windows and Macintosh builds of Opera 9.62 to my “Old Versions” of Opera download page.

While Opera 9.62 is not official until it has been published on the front page and the official Opera download page, it’s usually a good sign when builds for Windows, Macintosh and Unix have all been built and are waiting on the servers. :D

So you can either go to my download page or you can browse through the files on Opera’s ftp server (if you don’t trust my files :P ).

Or if you’re not ready to install it yet and would prefer to wait until it’s officially released then you should expect to see an update notification possibly within the next couple of days.

I do not have a definite list of the changes since 9.61 (yet). However, I think there will be a fix for the zero-day flaw as mentioned above and explained by ZD Net as:

On the same day Opera shipped a browser update with patches for three separate security vulnerabilities, hackers are openly discussion a new zero-day flaw that exposes Windows users to remote code execution attacks.

With Opera 9.61, the Norwegian browser maker corrects an issue where History Search could be used to reveal browser history (rated extremely severe); a Fast Forward bug that allows cross-site scripting (highly severe); and an information disclosure flaw in news feeds (also highly severe).

Source: On Opera patch day, a new zero-day flaw

Opera skin updates and Torrent stats

screenshot-3

I’ve updated the Opera 9.5 Standard – Lite Compact skin as I mentioned that I would in my last post. You can find the changelog on the download page. Most of the changes were just to bring the skin up-to-date with the latest standard Opera skin and a couple tweaks to improve the appearance.

Also, I’ve been seeding the Opera torrent files for a few days now. I’m not using the them at all, because the torrent download page only offers Opera for Windows in English and International versions and then a Mac install. I’m not sure why the Linux/Unix installs are not seeded.

Anyhoo, I’ve been seeding these three torrents just to help make sure that people are getting good speeds and doing my part. ;)

Here is a screenshot of the stats so far:

That’s 908.5 MB’s that I’ve uploaded in nearly four days. I think I’ll leave it running for as long as possible and see if I can hit a Terabyte (TB), haha. :D

I might setup my own tracker and start seeding the Unix versions from here, so if you think that’s a good idea just let me know in the comments. If I can get a couple people thinking it’s a good idea to seed those then I’ll set it up. ;)

Digsby Performance Update

digsby-logo

Digsby released a much intended performance update to the now very popular instant messaging client today.

Overall performance of the instant messenger has dramatically improved cutting CPU and Ram usage down up to by up to 75%!

There have been a number of stability fixes and general messenger improvements as well.

Major changes in this release include:

  • RAM Usage: We optimized from the ground up and fixed memory leaks to lower RAM usage by almost 75%. This has been the number one complaint since our launch and we are proud to introduce this massive improvement.
  • Performance: User interface elements draw twice as fast for better performance. We have made changes to the architecture that will improve GUI responsiveness and CPU utilization across the board.
  • Connectivity: Every IM protocol automatically tries multiple connection methods and ports to improve the odds of getting through restrictive firewalls and proxy servers.
  • LinkedIn: Digsby now supports LinkedIn in addition to the other social networks. Functionality includes a full newsfeed, alerts when new messages arrive, and the ability to set status right from Digsby.
  • Bug Fixes: We have fixed hundreds of bugs, making Digsby more stable than ever. There have been almost 3,000 revisions in our codebase since the last release so there are too many fixes to list in our changelog.

If you haven’t noticed the update yet and would like to update Digsby now then the easiest way is to close Digsby and reopen it. Upon reopening, Digsby will search for updates and apply them automatically. :D

If you noticed major improvements and didn’t know why, then now you know! ;)

UPDATE:

Apparently the update is only automatically pushed to people using the test builds. All others will need to manually download and install the update. Thanks Jeffrey for clarifying that in the comments.

Just to clarify: digsby will automatically update for those users who were on the test builds. Everyone else must actually download and reinstall to get the latest version. The easiest way to find out is by checking your Digsby version by going to “About -> Digsby”. If the build is 15142 or lower then you must download and reinstall manually.

Related Posts:
How-To: Digsby+Wine

Upgrading Ubuntu 8.04 to 8.10

upgrade

I’m seeing a lot of search results coming in for this topic and while I have answered this in the past, it was for a different version update and will lose relevance.

Also note that Ubuntu 8.10 Intrepid Ibex is not scheduled to be released automatically until October 30, 2008. Upgrading at this point will update your system to Ubuntu 8.10 Alpha 6. If you wait until October 2nd you will upgrade to the Beta Release and waiting until October 23rd will upgrade you to the Release Candidate.

I’ve been using Ubuntu 8.10 since Alpha 1 and it has been stable and amazing the entire time!

Upgrading from Ubuntu 8.04 to 8.10

To upgrade from Ubuntu 8.04, run “update-manager -d” using the update-manager package from hardy. You can do this quickly by pressing Alt+F2 to launch the Run Application dialog and paste and press enter.

This will launch the Update Manager, but it will also at the same time search for release updates.

After the Update manager has launched you should see a button above the updates list box that says:

New distribution release ‘8.10’ is available

There should be an “Upgrade” button to the right of it. Clicking this button will guide you through upgrading to the latest release.

Below is an image similar to what you should see:

So here’s a really quick overview:

  1. Press Alt+F2 to launch the Run Application dialog.
  2. Copy and paste “update-manager -d” and press enter.
  3. Click the “Upgrade” button in the Update Manager window.
  4. Follow the steps and make sure to reboot when you’re told to.
  5. Finished!

WordPress 2.6.2 Released

WordPress 2.6.2 was just released. It’s a stability and security update mainly, so if you feel the urge to update (as I did) then you should go for it.

This release is in response to a recent warning to developers from Stefan Esser about the dangers of SQL Column Truncation and weaknesses of mt_rand(). The issue at hand that forced the release is discussed in detail on the WordPress.org blog post linked above. Basically the attack is complex, is dependent on open registration being turned on in your blog, but can be executed in theory and turns out to be more of an annoyance than an actual exploit.

If you have open registration on your blog, the WordPress.org team recommends that you upgrade your install to WordPress 2.6.2 A handful of other fixes are also included in this upgrade. Here is a list of changed files.

Source: http://weblogtoolscollection.com/archives/2008/09/09/wordpress-262-released/

Update away and use the Automatic Upgrade Plugin to make your life easier!

Cheers! :D

phpBB 3.0.2 released

Only an hour ago phpBB 3.0.2 was released to the public! If you’re like me and always decide to upgrade your blogs and forums to the latest stable versions immediately when they are released, then you may enjoy a post I will be putting together on the update process from phpBB 3.0.1 to 3.0.2.

Since many of us, including myself, tend to search around from time to time online for simplified and quick guides for these tedious little tasks…I will be writing a simplified list of steps or at least explainations to the steps that are already provided with the upgrading packages.

Maybe my explanations to some of the steps will help you understand just a little bit better what is going on when you are updating phpBB.

Well, I’ll keep you posted here with a link to the guide when I complete it. Until then, don’t break your phpBB 3.0.1 forums. :P