The Podcaster’s Studio in Linux

After yet another frustrating and disappointing experience with Windows, I’m making a fresh, updated and serious attempt to use Ubuntu Studio as a platform for our Podcast.

Audio_mixer_fadersAfter yet another frustrating and disappointing experience with Windows, (which I spoke about elsewhere), I’m making a fresh, updated and serious attempt to use Ubuntu Studio as a platform for our Podcast. As I make a change to the configuration of Studio fresh from its shiny wrapper, I shall update this blog to document my steps. So that I shall be able to see, if/when it all goes horribly pear-shaped, what I have to do to get back to the last known fully-working state. For that reason, it is just as important to record failures as it is successes. For my own benefit, as well as anyone else that may/may not be following my procedures, it is vitally important that I record the successes or failures as I progress.

To summarise my needs, I’ll briefly explain that I need a computer as a Digital Audio Workstation (DAW), a graphical design environment, a place to write and compose and finally, to provide me with the tools to maintain our website(s). I also use my PC for web browsing (the inevitable Book of Face) and for playing games as R&R. By switching to Studio as my primary OS, I will lose access to the majority of my Steam library which is a serious Pain. I have to ask myself whether working or playing is more important – and, for me, there is no contest.

So…

Installing Ubuntu Studio for the first time

I used my laptop to download the latest Studio ISO (version 16.10) and made a bootable USB Flash Drive from it. Next, started my PC from a cold boot, pressing F8 for the Boot selection menu. I chose the USB DISK as the boot device and, once loaded, chose to install Studio. I chose not to install any 3rd party proprietary drivers of META packages at this time as I could always do that later, and I just wanted a clean install to start with. So, I entered the installation details as normal, i.e., location, user account, timezone etc. – and away she went!

A little while later, 1 nice fresh little dual monitor, blue XFCE mouse displaying an installation of Studio that was ready to use. Interestingly enough, Studio did not find any USB drivers to power the interface to my 3rd Monitor so I’m still down to just the two monitors. A problem to try and fix later, I feel! πŸ™‚

Filebot for renaming Video files

I wanted my first task to be a simple one. Having experienced a superb application in Windows called Filebot that will happily rename and organise Video files, I was overjoyed to see that a Linux version of this program was available. So.. onto the task with gusto!

I headed on over to the Filebot website at http://www.filebot.net/ and chose to download what I thought was the most likely installation choice for my 32-bit installation of Studio – “filebot_4.7.2_i386.deb“. I selected ‘Open in Software Manager’, entered the root p/w and clicked Install when it came up.

I found it had added a menu entry for filebot under Video Production, but when I clicked it – nothing happened. A bit confused. So, I opened a Terminal window and

So, I opened a Terminal window and just typed:

filebot

at my user command prompt. Head-desk! An error message that politely informed me that I didn’t have Java installed. Now I knew that Filebot required Java, but for some reason I completely forgot at the critical moment – d’oh! So where to find an installation of Java?

Well, I found the following Q&A on the Ubuntu forums and it looked both recent enough and simple enough for an eedjit like me, so:

sudo apt-add-repository ppa:webupd8team/java
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install oracle-java8-installer

to add the Oracle repository, refresh and install Java. Everything proceeded without a hitch. The tutorial then asked me to set an envirnment varibale with:

Β export JAVA_HOME=/usr/lib/jvm/java-8-oracle

Worked like a charm. Now to test the program. I clicked on the menu entry, and Bingo! the app launched beautifully! Happy Gary!

Success.

Installing Squid proxy server in Ubuntu

Squid is a proxy http server that speeds up getting pages from the internet by keeping copies of commonly accessed pages or graphics instead of downloading them each time. To install it:-

1. From a root terminal type apt-get install squid

2. Open gedit /etc/squid/squid.conf

3. Find the TAG: visible_hostname and after the comments section add visible_hostname <hostname> where <hostname> is your machine’s hostname.

4. Check http_port is either set to 3128 or a port number that you can remember for configuring your browser.

5. Close and save

6. Type adduser squid and specify a password

7. Restart squid by typing: /etc/init.d/squid restart

8. Stop the service by typing /etc/init.d/squid stop

9. Test it in debug mode by typing squid -z (which creates the cache files)

10. Type squid -NCd10 to test squid in debug mode and leave it running.

11. Open Firefox and type the URL localhost:3128 or whatever port you chose. It will fail to retrieve a page, but at the bottom it will confirm that the error is generated by squid.

12. Back at the Terminal type CTRL-C to cancel the debug mode

13. Start squid for real with /etc/init.d/squid start. It will start automatically from now on.

14. To configure Firefox to use squid, go to Edit>Preferences and click Advanced.

15. Click Network>Settings and then Manual Proxy Configuration. For http proxy, enter localhost and for port 3128 (or whichever port you chose).

16. Then click OK and close the Preferences dialogue.

17. Now go to any webpage. If you get the page, it’s working!

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Partitioning, Mount Points and other Gems in Ubuntu 7.10

Power Cuts

Two days ago we had several power cuts that completely managed to scrag my hard drives in logan and cerebro (the Fileserver), Ho hum… Time for a re-install, I guess. Good job the data on the file server was on a separate hard drive. Having done some research since the first install, now might be the time to add some security to the systems by utilizing several partitions to protect the data. The idea being that if the system goes down I can work on that and configuration as well as user data remains safe.

Partitions? Why bother?

When Ubuntu installs, it sets itself up in one large partition and up to this point I have used the Guided – Use Entire Disk option. So why use separate partitions for some of the installation? Well, I figure there are several advantages. It goes like this:

Partition Use

/ The root (/) partition stores the core system files and apart from some small additions and re-compiles will remain relatively fixed. Being separate from everything else should give it extra security.

/usr This directory holds user tools, compilers and other stuff. This will surely grow as I add stuff and being separate will allow easier and more secure re-installs.

/var This directory holds the log files, spool files and other stuff that changes a lot. Giving it a partition all to itself, it means that a runaway system generating loads of data will fill this small partition up rather than taking over the whole system. There is a type of system attack that generates millions of log entries with the aim of toileting free space so a separate storage space for these files seems a really good idea.

/tmp Temporary files could also possibly grow beyond belief, so that same logic applies here.

/home
Placing the home directories on their own partition prevents users from filling up the hard drive and enforces a primitive form of quota management. This will have to do until I can figure out how to get home directories on the server.

The Plan

Logan has a 250 Gb hard drive and that gives 236 Gb to Linux. During the installation process, I choose Manual rather than either of the Guided partitioning systems. The first step is to delete the suggested partitions before setting up my own plan.

/ 25 Gb
swap 3 Gb
/usr 50 Gb
/home 50 Gb
/var 50 Gb
/tmp 72 Gb

On reflection I might change the home directory to 72Gb and reduce /tmp to 50Gb.

Mount Points

As you set the size of a partition (25000 for 25 Gb, for example) the dialog asks for a mount point and doesn’t offer me any choices. A Mount Point is a directory in the file system where the new partition is going to live, so all I’ve got to do here is type in the directory names listed above for each partition.

All have been set up and I click the go button, the rest of the system install flawlessly. Brilliant!

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Installing the ePSXe Playstation 1 emulator in Ubuntu

Legal Note

Based on a tutorial I found here, I had the following results. This is the legal note that accompanies the tutorial:

Legal note: The installation and use of this emulator requires a Sony Playstation BIOS file. You may not use such a file to play games in a PSX emulator if you do not own a Sony Playstation, Sony PSOne or Sony Playstation 2 console. Owning the BIOS image without owning the actual console is a violation of copyright law. You have been warned. Do NOT ask in this thread, or message me, where to find the BIOS file or game images. Any such messages will be ignored and possibly reported.

This procedure will not work without a copy of the Playstation BIOS. The normal way to get one is to use the Action Replay cartridge and a cable to copy the ROM onto your PC.

Download Files

1. Open a root terminal and type:

2. aptitude install unzip

3. cd ~

4. mkdir ePSXe_install

5. cd mkdir ePSXe_install

6. wget http://www.epsxe.com/files/epsxe160lin.zip

7. wget http://www.pbernert.com/gpupetemesagl176.tar.gz

8. wget http://www.pbernert.com/gpupetexgl208.tar.gz

9. wget http://www.pbernert.com/gpupeopssoftx117.tar.gz

10. wget http://www.pbernert.com/spupeopsoss109.tar.gz

11. wget http://www.pbernert.com/spupetenull101.tar.gz

12. wget http://www.pbernert.com/gpupeopssoftsdl116.tar.gz

12. wget ‘http://www.ngemu.com/download.php?action=plugin&id=99&#8217;

13. wget http://members.chello.at/erich.kitzmueller/ammoq/down/padJoy082.tgz

Install the Software

1. export EPSXE=’/usr/local/games/epsxe’

2. mkdir $EPSXE

3. unzip -d $EPSXE ~/ePSXe_install/epsxe160lin.zip

I had a problem with this line. Until I realised that my root terminal set the home directory (~) to be /root and not /home/, so I changed it to /home/gary and it worked.

4. aptitude install libgtk1.2-common libgtk1.2

5. Apparently that should do it for 32-bit Ubuntu, but for 64-bit users the rest of the instructions can be found here in the original article.

Configuration

1. cd $EPSXE

2. chmod 777 cfg sstates snap memcards

3. touch memcards/epsxe000.mcr memcards/epsxe001.mcr .epsxerc

4. chmod 666 memcards/*

5. chmod 666 .epsxerc

6. tar xfz /home/gary/ePSXe_install/gpupetemesagl176.tar.gz -C $EPSXE/plugins/

7. tar xfz /home/gary/ePSXe_install/gpupetexgl208.tar.gz -C $EPSXE/plugins/

8. tar xfz /home/gary/ePSXe_install/gpupeopssoftx117.tar.gz -C $EPSXE/plugins/

9. tar xfz /home/gary/ePSXe_install/gpupeopssoftsdl116.tar.gz -C $EPSXE/plugins/

10. tar xfz /home/gary/ePSXe_install/spupeopsoss109.tar.gz -C $EPSXE/plugins/

11. tar xfz /home/gary/ePSXe_install/spupetenull101.tar.gz -C $EPSXE/plugins/

12. tar xfj /home/gary/ePSXe_install/omnijoy-1.0.0-beta2.tar.bz2 -C $EPSXE/plugins/

13. tar xfz /home/gary/ePSXe_install/padJoy082.tgz -C $EPSXE/plugins/

14. cd $EPSXE/plugins/

15. mv cfg* ../cfg/

16. mv *.cfg ../cfg/

17. chmod 666 ../cfg/*.cfg

18. cd /home/gary

19. rm -rf ePSXe_install

Remember to always change to gary to your username πŸ™‚

Create a Startup Script

1. gedit /usr/local/bin/epsxe

2. Add the following code:

#!/bin/bash

export EPSXE=’/usr/local/games/epsxe’
export LD_LIBRARY_PATH=$EPSXE
cd $EPSXE
./epsxe
chmod 666 $EPSXE/cfg/*.cfg $EPSXE/sstates/* $EPSXE/memcards/*.mcr $EPSXE/snap/* 2>/dev/null

3. Save and close

4. Type: chmod 755 /usr/local/bin/epsxe

5. You should now be able to start the emulator by typing epsxe

Setting up the Emulator

The author then says:

  • In the menu, open “Config -> BIOS”, and set it to
    /usr/local/games/epsxe/bios/SCPH1001.BIN, click OK. (You must find and
    obtain ths file yourself. Once you have a copy of it, put it in
    /usr/local/games/epsxe/bios/)
  • Open “Config -> Video”, and select either “Pete’s MesaGL Driver
    1.76”, “Pete’s XGL2 Driver 2.8” or “P.E.Op.S. Softx Driver 1.17”. Click
    configure, then OK to write a config file. Verify that it is working by
    clicking the Test button, then OK. (Which one you use depends on your
    computer.)
  • In “Config -> Sound” select “P.E.Op.S. OSS Audio Driver”,
    Configure, then OK. Verify that it is working by clicking the Test
    button, then OK. (The “NULL” driver are for those few games that just
    don’t seem to work with sound. Or if you have a slow computer, and
    figure you don’t care for the sound.)
  • In Config -> CDROM, set the path to your CD/DVD-ROM. In most
    cases it should be /dev/cdrom but in my case /dev/hdc. You can check
    your path by typing “mount |grep cd” in a console.
  • In Config -> Game Pad -> Pad 1 menu, you can set up the
    controls with the keyboard. If you have a real controller, use the
    “Config -> Ext. Game Pad” option, and pick either omnipad or padjoy,
    click configre, and set your buttons where you want them.

Failure

Well, it didn’t work for me. Another project then – try and find out why not….

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Cleaning up unwanted files in Ubuntu

This is based on a tutorial found on the Ubuntu forums here and is a summary of the steps needed. For more explanation see the origina; πŸ™‚

1. Go to System>Administation>Synaptic Package Manager

2. Click the Status button (bottom left) then click Residual config.

3. If anything comes up in the right hand window, select it and Mark for Complete Removal, then click Apply.

4. Click on All, then on any name on the right hand side. Type localepurge and check whether it is installed or not. If not, install it. When it install it asks you for your locale. I selected en-uk – this is the locale that it will leave on my system, getting rid of anything else.

5. Do the same for the deborphan package.

6. Open a Terminal and type: sudo apt-get autoclean

7. Type: sudo deborphan | xargs sudo apt-get -y remove –purge

How to get all those missing codecs and DVDs working, pt 1

[Don’t try this a home – not working at the moment]

I found this great little script called EasyUbuntu here. From their site, it says:

EasyUbuntu is an easy to use (duh!) script that gives the Ubuntu
 user the most commonly requested apps, codecs, and tweaks that are not
 found in the base distribution - all with a few clicks of your mouse.
EasyUbuntu is so easy to use in fact, that even your grandma could
 be playing encrypted dvds, streaming Windows Media, and sporting the
 latest Nvidia or Ati drivers in minutes! And yes, EasyUbuntu is GPL.
EasyUbuntu works on (X/K)ubuntu and on all the three architectures (x86, AMD64 and PPC).

Installation is as simple as downloading the deb file from here and following these steps:

1. Add the Medibuntu repository as shown in an earlier post here

2. Click on the download link and when you are given the choice, open the download with gdebi package handler. This will install the software easily.

3. Go to Applications>System Tools>Easyubuntu to run it.

And it doesn’t work 😦