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.


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 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:


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!


The Blog becomes officially defunct

For quite some time now, the trials of a Linux Newbie have ceased and the blog has therefore ceased. After much time (and pleasure) getting the system working, I started a new project with m Partner – the Celtic Myth Podshow. Now whilst it’s true that many podcasts are produced on the Linux platform, it is also true that the most rofessiona software is proprietary and I have had to return to Windows.

So it is with some sadness that this blog has reached the end of its useful life but I shall leave it here so that others may start their own experiments. I will continue to monitor and approve comments so that you guys can respond to each other and what I have said in the hope that it can still grow to be useful considering that Ubuntu has gone through several generational changes since I wrote the blog.

I did have a minor flirtation setting up Ubuntu as a Media Centre using XBMC and Boxee with some success only to find that when I transferred the machine to my analog television Ubuntu would not display a picture – so that was that. Back to XP 😦

With thanks and respect to those who continue the project…

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.

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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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 😦


What to do if an installation fails in Ubuntu

If you stop an installation half-way through, a lock file is created that prevents you from installing anything else. Before you can try again you need to manually unlock the download cache.

1. Open a root terminal and type nautilus /var/cache/apt/archives

2. Right click on the file called lock and delete it

That should sort the problem out.