Community Blogs

To Tile or Not to Tile

I'm a generally average Linux user. I'm not a coder/designer, nor do I run any huge servers. I'm an IT major in college, and surely know my way around computers, but I'm not anything particularly special. The way I've always experienced Linux was with a classic Desktop Environment (DE), where basically everything I need is included. I used mostly GUI applications, and used command line sparingly.

 As I've become more and more comfortable with Linux, I've learned of the power the command line holds, and I've learned that the thing I love most about Linux is making it my own. I can make it look, act, and feel however I want. I can have a bloated system with all the fancy UI effects that has everything any user could need, or I can customize it to the point that others barely know how to use my computer, let alone do any harm.

As of late, my old habits changed, and I'm making the shift towards the sleek, customized feel. I've been playing around with Window Managers (WM) which mimic Desktop Environments in many ways, but don't include all those unnecessary programs that I found myself cursing after some time. No, I don't need KAlarm, Koffice, and Kate; in fact, they just get in the way of the programs I want to use.

 At first I tried e17, the Enlightenment window manager, which boasts customizability and minimalistic design. It sounded perfect for my transition from full fledged KDE or Gnome desktop environment to sleek, customized window manager. I have to admit, compared to KDE or Gnome, I really liked e17. I customized it to fit my look, and never have I used multiple desktops so efficiently. I had a black theme installed that I loved, and none of the crazy bloat that comes with most desktop environments. 

With my Linux palate sufficiently wet, I decided to start trying more and more window managers. I went through the basics with openbox and fluxbox, but nothing surpassed e17. I then heard about 'Tiling Window Managers' which organize your applications into many desktops, and tile themselves on your screen. At first I was reluctant because it sounded like something necessary for those hardcore 'power users', but after hearing of some tiling window managers I decided to give 'awesome' a try.

Boy am I happy I did. There are plenty of tiling window managers out there, but I decided on awesome after hearing some good things. I've now got 7 dedicated desktops (main, www, irc, office, im, media, and files), and two miscellaneous desktops, which keep me organized. After a quick overview of the keyboard shortcuts to switch between windows and screens, you quickly become accustomed to the shortcuts and stop needing your mouse for much outside of web browsing. I've also begun using more CLI programs, which use less resources and often times prove to be more efficient. Where I once used xchat, I now use irssi, and where I once used Amarok, I now use mp3blaster. Of course, I can still use the GUI programs like any other window manager, but I've learned to love the command line.

I think when people first hear about tiling window mangers, they worry that their screen isn't big enough (I'm on a  16in laptop by the way, 1366x768), or that they're made for true coders and Linux power users. If you get over your fears and try a tiling window manager, and take the time to customize it for yourself, you'll learn to love it. My small screen works just fine, and I can use multiple desktops to have everything I need running.

To tile or not to tile? I say give it a try, and see what you think. You may just be surprised with how easy to use and efficient they can be.


Fedora 14 Linux and ATI Radeon drivers installation [how to]

Okay guys, this is my first blog post in English, only because I had problems with this and found no solution on the web, so I decided to share this to all of yu.

As you know, Fedora Linux is a lil’ bit tricky when it goes to ATI graphics drivers, so you can use this easy steps to go trough ATI’s official non-free proprietor drivers on Fedora Linux 14 (i686).

catalyst control center linux 587x480 Fedora 14 Linux and ATI Radeon drivers installation [how to]


ATI driver installation

Step 1: Open Konsole: Alt+F2 and type: “konsole” [enter]

Step 2: Login as “root”

  1. su  

and enter your root passwd.

Step 3: Update the system

  1. yum update  

…or update just kernel

  1. yum update kernel  

Step 4: Install required tools

  1. yum install kernel-devel gcc wget  

Step 5: Reboot (and login to a new kernel, if any)

  1. reboot  

Open Konsole again, and login as root (step 1 && step 2)

Step 6: Download ATI Catalyst driver (download this version because you’ll have problems with newest)

  1. wget  

Step 7: Start the installation

  1. bash ./  

…and go with standard next-next-finish yada-yada… everything by default

Step 8: Navigate to proper module build directory

  1. cd /lib/modules/fglrx/build_mod  

Step 9: Compile the driver’s module

  1. sh  

Step 10: Navigate to the proper module directory

  1. cd /lib/modules/fglrx  

Step 11: Install the compiled driver’s module

  1. sh  

Step 12: Add nomodeset as kernel option to grub.conf

  1. sed -i '/root=/s|$| nomodeset|' /boot/grub/grub.conf  

Step 13: Reboot to a new driver

  1. reboot  

If you get your GUI working, you should find “ATI Catalyst Control Center” in:
Main menu > Applications > Settings > ATI Catalyst Control Center

EDIT: For Compiz Fusion install this:
If you’re using Gnome:

  1. yum install ccsm emerald-themes compizconfig-backend-gconf fusion-icon-gtk emerald compiz-fusion compiz-fusion-gnome libcompizconfig compiz-gnome compiz-bcop compiz compizconfig-python compiz-fusion-extras compiz-fusion-extras-gnome  

If you’re using KDE:

  1. yum install ccsm emerald-themes compizconfig-backend-kconfig fusion-icon-qt  emerald compiz-fusion  libcompizconfig compiz-bcop compiz compizconfig-python compiz-fusion-extras  compiz-kde compiz-manager  

Original article on my blog: Fedora 14 Linux and ATI Radeon drivers installation [how to]


ZORIN for the New and Upcoming Linux Converts

I love linux, and wished I'd used it years ago when I was learning computers. There is an unkown adventure when using opensource. You like creativity and innovation, you will like linux. Plus, it will teach you areas about computers and technology that some of the other popular OSs left out. I am sure you have heard the term, "one size does not fit all". Well in the linux realm, that's exactly true. There are plenty of linux distros customized to fit anybody's need. Don't think one is all you can get. 

Speaking of "one size does not fit all", I have been using a particular distro for a while, and it has great potential--Ubuntu. Ubuntu does pretty much what you expect in an OS and will recommend it to everyone. It is, however, not the only one. 

I like to explore, keeping my mind open to new things and experiences. That being said, I've looked at all the other available distro flavors exploring their uniqueness. There was one that really stood out- Zorin OS 4. 

The reviews mentioned that this distro was a faster alternative to windows and actually utilizes the same theme from windows vista and windows 7, cool. After running the liveCD, the OS booted fast, which was good for a liveCD. First thing I noticed was the theme. It was exactly like vista, more or less. Not bad, especially for users who are coming directly from windows. You will feel right at home. Zorin uses the KDE desktop environment, meaning it is very configurable. 

The task bar lets you pin programs for ease of launch. Very similar to Windows 7. And for those who became accustom to the windows themes, Zorin has desktop options to change the themes to either vista or 7. Like that? 

Zorin gives you the ability to install new opensource programs as like the rest of the linux OSs, yet with a little spice to it. Zorin is a spine off of ubuntu, so you will notice some similarities. In addition, wine is installed by default with an app called "playonlinux" that allows you to run windows apps. So wherever you go, your trusted windows apps follow. And, the programs run better on Zorin.  Wine also gives you a huge list of game you can play one Zorin. GAMES!!! One of the games sold me completely, Call of Duty: Black OPs, NO WAY. And, there are many more, Devil may cry 4, halo, etc. 

Zorin supports a wide range of hardware as well. Which I think is very critical to a successful linux OS. I am running Zorin on an old Dell WHL with a Xeon processor inside and a 1Gb of memory. This machine is loving it. 

Ok for you security gurus, Zorin has an app that allows you to configure your firewall. Thats right, a gui app to configure your firewall. I am not saying it can replace iptables, however, you are fresh to linux, so why not do something you are used to, savvy?  

Now for the online media content viewers. Zorin comes with all the video and audio codecs pre-installed. It supports the opensource and proprietary codec software so you are kept adaptive. The codecs that are support, flash, java and windows media codecs.

Did I mention, that Zorin is blazing fast? Oh yeah, it is. I was opening up multiple programs and windows and everything worked seamlessly. And, it is only 32bit. 

In my opinion, Zorin is the windows equivalent of linux. This is a good distros to use to promote linux and help new users get familiar with the system as they make their way to becoming linux gurus. 


Explanation of Firewalls



Thanks to the rise of computer networking and the internet it is now more important than ever to have a firewall installed an running on your system. This entry is intended to give you a basic understanding of what a firewall is so you can choose the best firewall for your needs.

Read more... Comment (0)

Convert 3GP to AVI (from smartphone to PC or YouTube)

Now after my post on how to create a video and sending it to YouTube I'd like to show basic steps when dealing with videos generated from a Smartphone.

As you may already know nowadays smartphones are able to create .3GP files, don't matter about the platform (Android, iOS, BlackBerry OS, Symbian). And even better, if you need to upload your videos directly to YouTube you don't even need to worry about them or convert from .3GP to something else, YouTube converts your videos for you, you just need to wait a while before their processing queue takes your video off and translate it to the .ogv file.

But if you don't want to wait and you'd like to have your videos publicly available instantly you'd better upload an AVI file to YouTube, because when you upload an AVI to YouTube they'll process your video immediately. You can apply the same procedure if you'd like to download a video from your smartphone to your computer and play it with a common media player program (or send it by email, etc...)

If you've read my previous post you may notice the same conversion method, in fact here it is:

ffmpeg -threads 2 -i
filefromyourphone.3gp -f avi -r 29.97 -vcodec libxvid -vtag XVID -s
1024x768 -aspect 4:3 -maxrate 1800kb -b 1500kb -qmin 3 -qmax 5
-bufsize 4096 -mbd 2 -bf 2 -flags +4mv -trellis -aic -cmp 2 -subcmp 2
-g 300 -acodec libmp3lame -ar 48000 -ab 128kb -ac 2

Just change output resolution (1024x768 in my case) to whatever you want and you'll have your new AVI (or free format) file on PC, just change filename and extension to convert it to whatever you like (OGV, MPG, …)


In the beginning I was against ffmpeg due to its surreal parameters and complexity but now I'm using it for everything


Hope it helps




Installing Adobe Flashplayer 10.2 for 32bit/64bit Maveric Meerkat 10.10

Ok, as 10.10 officially made its way to the public, excitement is high in anticipation to see what the gurus at canonical have cooked up this time. 10.10, delivers improvement to 10.04. However we don't know what did 10.10 improve. Could it be that they did mention it and we missed the intell, or canonical letf it up to us to find out. Questions, assumptions, my conclusion, lets just see what it can do.

First off I am anxious  to how well 10.10 plays online media and its ability to decode media files, like .wma and .mp3. My first attempt, install adobe 10.2.

I did some google search( should try to use bing more often ), and quickly found some information on adobe flashplayer installation. It was quit easy.

In the CLI type:

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:sevenmachines/flash

after that repository addition, which completed rather quickly, type

sudo apt-get update

Once that is complete, type

sudo apt-get install flashplugin64-nonfree

Once this is completed, flash should be installed. However, I ran into a problem, Flashplugin64-nonfree could not be found. A few hacks were performed, and I realized flash had been install after the update. This was brought to my attention after the system recommended I install flashplugin-installer.

sudo apt-get install flashplugin-installer

The procedure was attempted, and that's when I noticed ubuntu already installed flash. Next, went to youtube and played one of my favorite songs. Everything worked like a charm.

Reference link:



Acer Aspire 4745 is not getting configured with Ubuntu 10.04

Acer Aspire 4745        AcerDear friends,

I did a grave mistake, by purchasing Acer Aspire 4745 with out primary investigation. I am Linux user especially with Ubuntu. I have been using this for the past 4 years. I installed it many laptops like Compaq, Dell, Acer, and etc. I was having Acer Aspire 5920Ubuntu was configured excellently and there was no problem at anytime. In fact, it was my Linux laboratory. But I am suffering a lot with the present model. The problems are;

  • the battery is not properly configured, the applet at top-panel is missing, even if I add it from 'add to panel' option it appears but not responding to the battery changes.
  •  the gnome-sound-recorder is not working, I could not record any thing with the help of default sound recorder. But I could record sound with the help of microphone in Windows 7 (which came factory loaded) with my laptop.

other than above two all remaining things are good. But you know these two are very much important, and very most is the batter, I don't know when my laptop shutdown, this is the highest insult to me.

You know it is not Acer mistake, it is purely my mistake, I must have done little research before purchasing it.


Howto create a video with Linux and publish it on YouTube


This time I'd like to share with you a simple method for creating a screen cast, adapt it to a common format and finally publish your job to YouTube or another web video sharing service. In my everyday job I need to create documentation and a video is something simple, direct and easy to understand for everyone.

Publishing some videos has never been so easy if you work with a Linux workstation, this is a step by step guide for the average Linux user.

One of the simplest program around for recording screen casts is “RecordMyDesktop”, if you use Gnome you've gtkrecordmydesktop, on KDE there are qt-recordmydesktop and recordmydesktop-kde, by the way, it doesn't matter which version you're using, when you start it you'll have a tiny window like this:



Basic Settings

In my example I'll record a GEDIT session, but before selecting the full screen or the targeted window let's check the advanced settings to see my changes, just press “Advanced” button to see something, here's what I've changed:


in the “Performance” tab I've setup a low frame rate because I'm recording just desktop applications, I've disabled “Encode on the fly” and enabled “Zero Compression”.

With these settings even if you've a low end computer you'll have a quite decent video and audio, my first big problem with RecordMyDesktop was related to audio or video out of sync, with a setting like that you'll waste a lot of space but at least you've a well formed audio/video stream; you'll process your video later to adjust size and various optimizations.

Let's record something...

Resize your window to meet your needs and press the “Record” button and do something with your app, when you're done just press “Stop” in the top right corner where RecordMyDesktop resides (Gnome App for me...).

If you're a command line guru and you prefer to use a script or something like that you can run a command like this:

recordmydesktop --width=1024 --height=768 -x=10 -y=50 --overwrite -o out.ogv

This starts RecordMyDesktop with a 1024x768 window located starting from X=10, Y=50 from the top left, so I can place my app in that position and cut my Gnome menu bar, this is what I do for recording web screen casts, “overwrite” wipes existing out.ogv (default output file) if any. Take a look at the man page for further details. If you're using the command line directly you need to hit Ctrl-C to stop the recording.

Process your video

Now it's time to process your video and encode it in a well common format, if you upload videos on YouTube you can upload basically everything you want, from open formats like OGV, 3GP files from cellular phones, AVI files and so on. I've decided to convert my videos to AVI files and then upload them to YouTube, I just need to shrink my uncompressed video, resize it and convert into an AVI container. To achieve this task you can use one of these tools:


mencoder your.recorded.file.ogv -ovc xvid -oac mp3lame -xvidencopts
-vf scale=1024:768 -o your.recorded.file.avi


ffmpeg2theora --videoquality 10 --audioquality 10 -optimize -x 1024 -y 768
your.recorded.file.ogv -o your.recorded.file.avi


ffmpeg -threads 2 -i
your.recorded.file.ogv -f avi -r 29.97 -vcodec libxvid -vtag XVID -s
1024x768 -aspect 4:3 -maxrate 1800kb -b 1500kb -qmin 3 -qmax 5
-bufsize 4096 -mbd 2 -bf 2 -flags +4mv -trellis -aic -cmp 2 -subcmp 2
-g 300 -acodec libmp3lame -ar 48000 -ab 128kb -ac 2

All these commands resize an input video to a 1024x768 (HD) AVI file suitable for a YouTube upload. I personally prefer the third option and I always use ffmpeg heavily, command line options were taken from WinFF (ffmpeg GUI), I suggest to use it to avoid audio/video sync problems.

Adjust size to proper values if you need a different resolution, in my example I'm using 1024x768.


Now with your new AVI file you'll be able to upload it directly to YouTube without worries and having it quickly available without heavy post processing jobs from Google

Here's a sample.


News Update: Do you want to convert smartphone .3GP files to an AVI in the same way ? Read my "Convert 3GP to AVI (from smartphone to PC or YouTube)" blog []


Glad to receive your comments and add your tips to the command list as well




KOffice 2.3 beta 3 is out!

KOffice team have released the third beta of the upcoming 2.3 version KOffice suite. According to information on the oproject`s official site,

"Between 2.3 beta 2 and 2.3 beta 3 there have been 443 commits by 29 different authors.


All applications have received bug fixes and improvements. Krita is the application with the biggest team behind it and therefore also the most active one."

The KOffice project is clearly getting more and more usable and with 2.3 release more users will be ready to use it in real-life applications. While 2.2 release was clearly for early adopters this next one will be interesting for much wider audience.

This release provides some important improvements, such as:


  • improved support for reading MS Office documents
  • much-waited KPresenter slide-sorter mode
  • decent track changes support in KWord
Although KOffice lacks some of the functionality (for example, a proper support for tables in word processor) it advances quickly and expands in some areas that are quite new for open-source office tools (for example supporting google docs).



Installing adobe flashplayer for ubuntu 64-bit


Ubuntu is a great linux OS, if not the best, that offers so much in the opensource world. I’ve used it for almost a year, fully, and up to this point, have not had one major complaint. Now it is my primary desktop system, yeeha!!!


One of the reasons why ubuntu has been so successful is its ability to support different file formats, like mp3, wma, MPEG-4, .doc. PDF and others. This support codecs are not enabled by default, however ubuntu developers will be porting default codecs that will read these files.


One of the codecs I like is the adobe flashplayer. This allows my PCs the ability to watch online movies. To do that, you need the media file that can view online media content, that being adobe flash.


In Windows you have to install flash from the adobe website and off you go. The same is true in ubuntu, huge points given for this. The difference is you have to download the .deb or .tar.gz compressed file package. I rather use .deb because it allows the system to install the file automatically. This is done for the 32bit version of ubuntu, however, it is more trickier for the 64bit version.


I started out with the 32bit version of ubuntu, which, for lack of a better phrase, “just works”.Now I am using an AMD64 dual core architecture and want to take full advantage of its power, so 64bit ubuntu was installed. As you can imagine, what I did in the 32bit I wanted to do in the 64bit.


The first thing to do was enable adobe flashplayer. Unfortunately, there are no .deb package files to install, it has to be done manually. This is when you start to get into the nuts and bolts of the command line.


Adobe flash for 64bit ubuntu is still in the alpha mode and adobe plans to release the stable version for linux 64-bit sometime in the year of 2010. Goods news though, the alpha release is stable for the most part and works fine on my system.


To get things started, you will need to download “”.

You can download it directly from this site:


I prefer to download the file to your preferred folder through the terminal using the wget command.


cd <to you preferred folder>

wget <download link>


Once the file is downloaded, it will be in a .tar zip file. Unzip the file.


Within the folder thar flash file was downloaded to:


tar xvzf


Now you are going to create a plugin folder in your home directory instead a system directory. Flashplayer is a browser plugin that allows internet browsers to decode media content. The plugin is accessed by the browser from an application plugin folder located on your system.


To create the plugin folder, change to your home folder:


cd <home folder.

sudo mkdir –p .mozilla/plugins


Then you are going to move the decompressed file to the plugin folder.


mv <location of the decompressed file>/ .mozilla/plugins


If you can’t move the file into the plugin folder form the terminal, as I had that problem, you can do it manually by dragging and dropping.


Go to places>home folder>


Type, ctrl+h, this will reveal all hidden folders and files.


Move the file to the .mozilla/plugins folder.


Restart firefox and go to the about:plugins to see if is visible.


In the address bar, type, about:plugins


Under shockwave flash, you should see the file. This mean flash is enabled.


You are all done. Now you can listen to you favorite online music sites or watch your favorite online movies and videos.



Flashplayer only works for the user account it was installed under. To use it for any other accounts on your system, you will have to repeat the process.


To view the site where I got this information visit,


system76 Pangolin Performance part 2 : First Contact

After getting the laptop out of the box and removing all the protective stickers out of it, I plugged the power cord and fired the thing up.

Read more... Comment (0)
Page 8 of 14

Upcoming Linux Foundation Courses

  1. LFS101 Introduction to Linux
    01 Jan » 31 Dec - Online Self-Paced
  2. LFS201 Essentials of System Administration
    01 Jan » 31 Dec - Online Self-Paced
  3. LFS201-Esp Fundamentos de Administración de Sistemas Linux
    01 Jan » 31 Aug - Online Self-Paced

View All Upcoming Courses

Who we are ?

The Linux Foundation is a non-profit consortium dedicated to the growth of Linux.

More About the foundation...

Frequent Questions

Join / Linux Training / Board