SCALE 11x Interview: Philip Ballew

I got the opportunity to do another Scale11x interview, this time with Philip Ballew. Philip was a real pleasure to talk to and I even got the opportunity to meet with him in person since he is a San Diegan. Philip is a great guy, very passionate about Open Source.  I am looking forward to catching his talks up in L.A. later this week at Scale.

Video Interview: Philip Ballew | SCALE 11x.

Scale11x Interview: Jorge Castro – Juju

I was asked if I would be interested in conducting some interviews of speakers who are going to speak at The Eleventh Annual Southern California Linux Expo (Scale11x) February 22-24, 2013 Hilton Los Angeles International Airport and needless to say I jumped at the opportunity.

This is my first interview with Jorge Castro of Canonical and we discuss Juju, MaaS, Ubuntu Cloud, and his upcoming presentations and workshop.

You can catch Jorge and learn more about Juju at the Eleventh Annual Southern California Linux Expo, February 22-24,

Getting some functionality back in the system tray on Ubuntu 11.04

Ubuntu 11.04 introduced a new, cleaner user interface called Unity. I'm not a huge desktop GUI guy, doing a large majority of my work in the command line, but I do like to try and stay current on the latest greatest interfaces.

I'm not overwhelmed with Unity. It's OK but not really earth shattering. You have the option to switch back to the "classic" Gnome interface if you wanted to but I haven't done that.

One huge annoyance I've noticed about the new Unity interface was a lack of a true "system tray". Many application in Ubuntu (or Linux in general) leverage a similar approach Windows machine do and allow applications to run in a System Tray, cleaning up any task bars you might have. In Unity, there were a couple applications that were visible, like Dropbox, the clock and Volume but several others were not such as Skype and Truecrypt.

This became a big problem for Truecrypt because once I closed the Truecrypt interface I couldn't figure out how to get back to it. If I tried to launch the application again the system would report that it the application was already running, which it was. In the past I would get back to the interface through the icon in the system tray but this icon would not display in Unity, at least not until I found a posting on Facebook

This simple command in a terminal window corrected my problem and life is good again

  1. gsettings set com.canonical.Unity.Panel systray-whitelist "['all']"

As you can see I got all my system tray icons back and I am now a little happier with Unity.




Posted via email from shocm

Nasty Bug – Ubuntu 10.04 on VMWare Fusion OSX

Came across a nasty little bug when I installed the latest Ubuntu 10.04 (LTS) into a virtual machine using VMWare Fusion 3.02 on my OSX box. This was a fresh install and the install itself went smooth, the problem occured when the initial login screen appeared. Although my mouse worked just fine and I was able to click on the user to log in, I wasn't able to type anything. My keyboard was completely unusable within the virtual machine. I was not able to type any input via the keyboard.

After doing some Googling I discovered that once you got past the login screen the keyboard would work fine. The only way to login was to initiate the on-screen keyboard and type in your password. You can bring up the on-screen keyboard by clicking on the Universal Access icon on the lower right hand side of the screen and choosing "Use on-screen keyboard". One side note here, when I first checked the box to use the on-screen keyboard, the keyboard would flash and disappear. What I needed to do was keep the box check and reboot the machine, when the login screen returned, the keyboard was there.

Once I logged in the physical keyboard worked fine. I was able to use it in all the applications and didn't notice any problems, but once I logged out and returned to the login screen, again no input from the physical keyboard. Now I needed to fix this.

What didn't work 🙁

At this point I go into basic trouble resolution mode and decided to start by reinstalling and upgrading the VMWare tools. Not going to get into a step by step here how to do that but the short of it is after reinstalling the VMWare tools and rebooting I was stuck in the same situation and needed to use the on-screen keyboard to log in. Next obvious step, apply all patches to the Ubuntu desktop, did this, rebooted, still no go.

What did work 🙂

Clearly, you are not reading this article to learn how not to fix it. Trust me after doing enough searches there are plenty discussion threads out there with "This doesn't work for me either, anyone fix this yet?" to keep you reading for hours. I found a couple good links that I will post at the end of this article that got things resolved. The short answer is I logged into the machine, fired up and console window, type in the command
sudo dpkg-reconfigure console-setup
For keyboard I selected "Apple" and then just selected the defaults for everything else. Once I exited the configuration wizard, I restarted the machine and all was right with the Ubuntu world again. Did a couple reboots to make sure and everything seems to be working fine now.

One more side note

This issue  occurred on a clean install of the current Ubuntu 10.04 LTS release. I had been previously running the beta version of the 10.04 release which worked fine and never had a problem with the keyboard input. However, after patching that box today, same issue occurred.

The Links

Two links basically lead me to my resolution

Dropbox Client for Linux

Recently I got my invite to try out the new Dropbox service. I am a long time Folder Share user and had heard some good things about Dropbox. I have to say, I am very happy with the performance of Dropbox and was even more pleased when I found out there was a Open Source Linux client. Figured I wouldn't be a good geek if I didn't do a quick install and see how it performed. Here is a video of that effort.

Dropbox has clients that run on Windows, Mac, and Linux

Running Adobe Air On Linux

I had made mention last week to a couple of friends how I got a few Adobe Air applications up and running on my Ubuntu install. I walked one person through how I did it and decided to also make a quick video tutorial on the process.

A couple disclaimers, first one is that I use my Ubuntu laptop on a daily basis and I have had it up and running for awhile so I am not sure if I installed some supporting packages that make this work. I haven't tried this on a fresh default install of Ubuntu. Second, I was trying to keep the video somewhat short so I didn't get into some of the corkyness that I see in the applications, like on Pownce you don't get the embedded video feeds. Remember, this is Alpha software and it seems like how well the applications are written also factors into how well they are going to run under Linux.

Hope you enjoy the video. Here are the links from the video encase you miss them.

Adobe Labs -
Tweet Deck -
Twhirl -
Pownce -

UPDATE: I mentioned in my video how you don't need to save the .air file but can instead just launch it with the "Open With" in the dialog box. This works fine on my Gutsy box but doesn't seem to work on my newer 8.04 Hardy box. Even though Hardy recognizes that the file should be launched using the "Adobe Air Application Installer", I still get the error that "the associated helper application does not exist" when I trying using it. You can however save the file to disk, right click, and select "Open With Adobe Air Application Installer" and it works fine. Not sure why I have this behavior.

UPDATE (2008-Sept-16): Adobe moved the Linux version of AIR to beta (link) and this has fixed a couple of things. First, the issue from my last update doesn't appear to be a problem anymore on Hardy. Second, now AIR Applications have their pretty icons. And finally, and most exciting, Pandora AIR client now works!! 🙂

Auto Login with Ubuntu

So typically I would not recommend auto login setting be set for your system but there are some exceptions. For example, when that system is a Virtual Machine running on your desktop.

I've been playing around a lot with my Ubuntu configuration on a virtual machine running under VMWare Fusion. I got tired of having to log into the machine every time I booted it when I was already logged onto my desktop of the host machine. So for the first time, I found myself trying to figure out how to auto login my Linux desktop. In my typical “learn the hard way” fashion, I over thought the problem and approach several times before discovering how simple it was. A couple of clicks to be exact.

Step 1: Fire up a terminal screen and type “ sudo gdmsetup ”

Step 2: This should bring up the “Login Window Preferences” dialog box. Click on the security tab, click the check box for “Enable Automatic Login”, select the user you want to Auto Login as and click close.

That's it, couldn't be simpler.