Well I’m almost a week into my return to Ubuntu and there are a few more tweaks that I’ve discovered I like to make. One of these is auto-hiding the Unity Launcher bar along the left side of the display. Perhaps it’s based on doing the same thing with my OS X installation on my MacBook. Whatever the reason, this article will outline how to auto-hide the Unity Launcher in Ubuntu 12.04 “Precise Pangolin”.
System Settings > Appearance > Behavior
To customize the behavior of your Unity Launcher, navigate your way to the System Settings application and select “Appearance“. From there select the “Behavior” tab, and toggle the button on the right for the option “Auto-hide the Launcher“. You’re then able to customize the reveal location and reveal sensitivity.
To customize the reveal location you’re able to decide between the left-side of the screen or the top-left corner of the screen. I prefer the left-side personally. I’ve also left the reveal sensitivity at the default, but you may prefer to tune that to your preference.
You can always return the behavior to the default settings by selecting the “Restore Default Behavior” button.
As a system administrator I’m always on the lookout for new systems and tools to make my life easier. As the saying goes, “a good admin is a lazy admin.” Any day I can find a new tool to improve the efficiency in which I’m able to manage my machines is a good day. To date, my favorite tool for this is Salt Stack. Remote execution. Configuration management. Easy syntax. Salt Stack is a great tool for managing any number of machines. In this post I wanted to outline how to install Salt Stack on Ubuntu LTS.
The latest Salt Stack packages are available in a PPA. The steps below demonstrate how to add the PPA and install the Salt Stack packages.
sudo apt-get install python-software-properties
sudo add-apt-repository -y ppa:saltstack/salt
Once the repository has been configured you’ll need to refresh your package cache.
sudo apt-get update
Now you should be ready to install the Salt Stack packages. Salt Stack is broken up into three different packages: salt-master, salt-minion and salt-syndic.
sudo apt-get install salt-master
sudo apt-get install salt-minion
sudo apt-get install salt-syndic
It’s likely that you’ll want one Salt Master and a number of Salt Minions. Salt Syndics are for slightly more advanced configurations.
For more information on using Salt Stack, you might be interested in following the Into The Salt Mine blog.
I installed Ubuntu 12.10 on my Lenovo T510 this evening after a very long hiatus. It’s only been a couple of hours but I am impressed with how polished everything seems to be. I have run into one little annoyance though, and that inspired the first post in quite a long time: How to enable two-finger scrolling on Ubuntu 12.10?
When I first installed Ubuntu 12.10 on my Thinkpad I noticed that the touchpad wouldn’t scroll. Being very used to my MacBook at the office, this was initially very frustrating. Not being able to scroll was definitely going to be a pain. I was sure Ubuntu would support this, but how to activate it? I did a little bit of digging and found it was quite easy to toggle on within the System Settings.
It turns out it’s simply a setting to be toggled on or off within the System Settings.
First, navigate to the “Ubuntu System Settings” application. You should be able to find this in the Launcher along the left-side of the screen.
Second, select “Mouse and Touchpad” and select the options “Two-finger scrolling” and, optionally, “Enable horizontal scrolling”. Just like that your touchpad should now support two-finger scrolling!
Mouse and Touchpad
Sponsored by the GNOME Foundation
We’ve been working hard on the list we’ve assigned ourselves in the GNOME Sysadmin Hackfest. So far we’ve made a large number of commits to our puppet configuration tree, as well as got two new servers installed. A large number of our web services are now migrated to a new RHEL6 based web server, which is running smoothly. This is a great step toward being able to migrate everything onto supported, high performance hardware.
While Olav Vitters wasn’t able to physically attend the Hackfest he has been making some impressive contributions to the project and the TODO list we’ve compiled. I want to put out a big thank you to him for all his contribution!
I’ve made a number of improvements to the Nagios monitoring solution, expanding it to include the new virtual machines and tweaking the sensitivity of some of the checks. In addition, I’ve written a new nfs client and nfs server puppet class, which should allow us to more easily configure our NFS shares, which we use quite a bit of.
We’ll have more to report as the conference continues. I think we’re going to have a very impressive overall report by the time this is all over.
Sponsored by the GNOME Foundation
Today I’m at SCALE in Las Angeles. I’m here for a few reasons, including as a Speaker on Sunday morning, to help manage the GNOME Foundation exhibition booth, and to participate in the GNOME Sysadmin Hackfest.
As the staff GNOME Sysadmin I proposed and planned a Sysadmin Hackfest that would allow us to work on some of the core infrastructure improvements that would benefit from face-to-face collaboration.
A lot of the things that we’ll be working on are behind the scenes, but they’ll have a long-term positive effect for the Foundation and the development teams.
Unfortunately, a lot of the hardware that the GNOME Foundation has been working with is now outdated and out of warranty. This leaves us in a difficult situation in the event of an outage or hardware failure. This will be remedied during this hackfest! The GNOME Foundation has approved and ordered two new nice Dell servers. The new Dell R610 is now setup and ready to buildout. This machine will be the new NFS server as well as a container for new RHEL6 virtual machines. We’ll be able to migrate a large majority of the dated hardware into up to date virtual machines. We’re all very excited about this!
We’re also dedicating time to address a number of the long standing bugzilla issues. This includes a number of improvements to the user management system. We use this system to track and manage access controls, foundation membership, email and SSH key configuration and deployment and other related tasks.
I’ll post updates throughout the weekend on our progress and maybe, if you ask nice enough, we might just have a look at one of your bugs!
This morning I had a little bit of free time so I thought I’d (finally) check out the Firefox extension Firesheep. The main website mentions that it isn’t supported for Linux, but the source code is available and as it turns out very easy to compile. Below are instructions for downloading, compiling and installing the Firesheep security plugin for Firefox.
Get the Source
You’ll need to download the source code from github, which can be done using the following two commands:
git clone https://github.com/codebutler/firesheep.git
git submodule update --init
These two commands will download the code required to compile Firesheep, putting the source into a new directory called “firesheep”.
To compile Firesheep on Ubuntu 10.04 or 10.10 you’ll need the following development packages installed. Simply copy-paste the following list of packages into your terminal:
sudo apt-get install autoconf libtool libpcap-dev libboost-all-dev libhal-dev xulrunner-1.9.2-dev
On my machine this installed quite a few packages, and while the main Firesheep website lists 10.10 specifically, I had no problems on my 10.04 installation.
You’re now ready to compile Firesheep. Run the following command and hopefully you’ll be able to build it without error:
./autogen.sh && make
Install the Plugin
If all is well you should find a new file called ‘firesheep.xpi’ in a subdirectory called build (ie; firesheep/build/). Simply drag-and-drop that file into your Addons dialog box, restart Firefox and you should be set.
I’ve been having some issues in actually capturing data on my Dell D630 with an Intel Pro/Wireless 3945ABG card. It looks like this tool is often hardware specific, so your mileage may vary. I’d be interested in anyone offering suggestions on getting it to capture properly on OS X 10.6 (macbook) or Ubuntu 10.04+.
I am happy to announce that GNOME 2.32 has now officially been released! This release is a bit smaller than what you’ve come to expect, but that is simply because most of the focus is on the upcoming GNOME 3.x series! I want to congratulate the entire GNOME team for all of their hard work and for yet another improved and polished release.
Be sure to check out the GNOME 2.32 Release Notes for more details.
I mentioned a week or so ago that I would be having another article published in the near future. I’m happy to announce that the article is now available. I hope you’ll take a few minutes and head over to have a read. If you have any comments, or suggestions on accuracy or improvements please do let me know and I’ll update where necessary.
Ubuntu Server and WordPress in 15 Minutes Flat
This evening I got to thinking about web browsers and privacy. Privacy is, of course, a regular concern for many of us and there are many different “solutions” out there. Recently web browsers have been adding privacy modes, which allow us to browse the web without storing a lot of cookies, history, etc. Google Chrome (or Chromium) provide the “Incognito” mode, which allows for private browsing. This mode can be launched using the key combination “shift-ctrl-n” or selecting “New Incognito Window” from the menu. The only missing piece is until recently there hasn’t been a way to launch this mode by default.
In this article I will outline how to update your system to launch Google Chrome’s Incognito mode by default. This includes launching it from the Applications menu as well as making it the default when opening new links.
Edit your Application menu entry for Google Chrome (or Chromium) using the ‘alacarte’ application. You can launch this command directly or right-click on the Applications menu and “Edit Menu”. Navigate to “Internet” section and select the Google Chrome (or Chromium) entry.
Once selected, simply double-click the item to open its properties and update the command, description or title.
As you can see from the screenshot above, the addition you’ll want to make is the “
--incognito” between the existing
%U. This will update the Applications menu, essentially setting Incognito mode as the default when launching this application new.
In addition, if you want links to be opened in Incognito mode you’ll also need to update your Preferred Applications configuration. This is done in the Preferences > Preferred Applications. This is assuming that Google Chrome (or Chromium) is set as your default. In the screenshot below, you’ll see that we’ll essentially make the same change as we did above.
These two simple steps will configure your browser to perpetual private mode. From my searching, I couldn’t find any documentation specific to Linux, so here it is. I hope you find it helpful!
I took some time today to check out Ubuntu 10.10 Beta. So far I’m impressed with some of the improvements, and I’ll blog about those later, but in the meantime I thought I’d share a workaround I came across in getting Guest Additions working when running Ubuntu 10.10 inside VirtualBox.
My first attempt at getting Guest Additions installed was by mounting the CD and running the command:
While this attempted to compile the drivers necessary for Guest Additions, it never seemed to work. After repeated reboots and rebuilds, I could never get a better resolution. After a little searching I came across a solution that seems to take care of the problem.
To install Guest Additions in Ubuntu 10.10 Beta, you’ll need to install a pre-packaged version available through the repositories. You can run the command below, or click on the URL:
sudo apt-get install virtualbox-ose-guest-x11
After a quick reboot you should be set.
I hope you enjoy Ubuntu 10.10 Beta (and forward). It’s the little things like this that make testing it in a virtual machine worthwhile.