Linux For Cynics One user's experiences with Linux


How to Install the Most Recent Version of Firefox on Ubuntu

I've used Chromium for a while now, but on some of my machines it renders slowly and scrolling is slow and unresponsive. There isn't enough customization, either. So I'm switching to Firefox. The problem with that is that on Ubuntu, you don't always have the most recent version. Here's how to install the most recent version of Firefox (this works for Ubuntu 10.04 and later):

Open a terminal and type the following commands:

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:mozillateam/firefox-stable

sudo apt-get update

sudo apt-get upgrade




Stop Censorship


How to Share an External Harddrive in Ubuntu

If you have files you want to share on an external hard drive, and then you try to access them on another machine, you might get an error like this:

"Unable to mount location. Failed to mount windows share"

Here's what went wrong and how to fix it:

Is the external drive formatted in NTFS or FAT32? If so, and it automatically mounts when plugged in, then it will mount with you as owner and with permissions to allow only you to access it. The remote guest is not you so access is denied. The easiest way out of this is to add the following line to your smb.conf file (located in /etc/samba/) on the machine which is sharing:

 force user = yourusername 

Change yourusername to your own local login user name.

Where you put that line depends on what method you used to create the share - there are two:

If you used Nautilus (the file browser) to create the share then add the line to the [global] section of smb.conf. If you used the classical (shares-admin) method then add it to the share definition itself in smb.conf. The share definition is towards the end of the file and looks like this:

[My Book]
path = /media/My Book
available = yes
browsable = yes
public = yes
writable = yes
force user = yourusername

Then restart samba:

 sudo service smbd restart 

Still won't work? Try this.


Changing Desktop Environment in Ubuntu

I mostly write about Ubuntu because it is my distribution of choice, and one of the most popular. However, I think the default desktop environment (before it was GNOME, now it's Unity) is far from ideal on many machines, including netbooks and older laptops. So I set out to try another DE, and thankfully it is very easy to install them. There are also other distributions based on Ubuntu except they come with other default DEs. In order to try them out, I recommend to only install the DE, and not a whole distribution or worse, one of the "*buntu-desktop " packages (this is what recommends. Don't do that.).

Fair warning: installing multiple DEs means you'll have multiple applications that do the same thing, and many of them will be available from either DE, meaning cluttered menus full of redundant applications. Keep in mind that you are just experimenting. Do this in a VM or non-critical system.

The process is the same for each DE: Install the DE, log out, choose the new DE, log in.


sudo apt-get install kde-standard


sudo apt-get install xfce4


sudo apt-get install lxde