xine is a free (gpl-licensed) high-performance, portable and reusable multimedia playback engine. xine itself is a shared library with an easy to use, yet powerful API which is used by many applications for smooth video playback and video processing purposes.

xine is capable of playing CD, DVB, DVD, VCD and VCD0 formats. gxine also handles formats such as AVI, MOV, ASF, DivX4 video and MP3 audio, MPEG2 video and AC3 audio, etc. xine is fast, extensible and reusable.

gxine in the other hand, is a xine video player with a GTK+/Gnome user interface. gxine works with DVD menus, a feature lacking in Totem’s movie player.

gxine is available in Ubuntu in a repository called Universe. To install gxine in your latest Ubuntu release (Hardy Heron), just open your Terminal and type:

sudo apt-get install gxine

Access the gxine player from the Menu (Applications – Sound & Video – gxine).

It’s also available as a Mozilla plugin for Firefox users. To install:

sudo apt-get install gxineplugin


Gnome is a desktop environment for GNU/Linux or UNIX computers. Gnome comes standard with a handy text editor called Gedit. The Gedit text editor is simple and easy to use, but it lacks the features essential to be a programming editor. Introducing gPHPEdit, a PHP, CSS and HTML development editor. It comes with syntax highlighting, coding assistance, syntax checking, code navigation and integrated help.

gPHPEdit will recognize PHP and HTML files and will color highlight the file during editing. It recognizes all PHP functions up to and including PHP 4.3.0. gPHPEdit will also recognize CSS files and will color highlight the file during editing. It highlights valid CSS classes and descriptors. gPHPEdit also recognizes SQL files and will color highlight the file during editing.

You can learn more about the features of gPHPEdit from its website.

To install gPHPEdit, simply run this command from the terminal:

# sudo apt-get install gphpedit

The only thing I found annoying at the outset was the right hand edge guide, but I was able to remove it by editing Preferences. I also activated WordWrap as a matter of preference since I don’t like using horizontal scroll bars.

Running Linux on Playstation 3

Anyone brave enough to install Linux on a Playstation 3? Popular Mechanics has an article detailing the installation of Ubuntu Linux on a PS3 and making it a dual boot system; one for gaming with the PS3 game console and the other for computing using Ubuntu Linux. The article highly recommends backing up your data first, then swapping out the standard 40/80 GB hard drive with a high capacity 250GB drive. Interestingly enough, you can run Linux legally, but not Windows and OS X.

PS3 can’t run Microsoft Windows or Apple’s OS X but it can run Linux operating systems. There are many Linux varieties, but our favorite is Ubuntu. And it turns out that the open-source community has created a program called kboot that helps load Ubuntu onto the PS3.

Ultimately, it really means you can run Blu-Ray movies on Ubuntu Linux.


gTwitter is a simple GTK+ based application for Linux, designed to interact with the Twitter web service. It’s under the GNU General Public License v2 and can be downloaded at Google Code.

To install gTwitter in Ubuntu 8.10 Hardy Heron or any previous Ubuntu versions for that matter, just go to the Linux Terminal and type in the following:

# sudo apt-get install gtwitter

You can also use the Synaptic Package Manager if prefer to work with a GUI. Open the Synaptic Package Manager from the main menu: Systems – Administration – Synaptic Package Manager. Perform a search for ‘gTwitter.’ Once found, right click and select ‘Mark for Installation’ and click Apply.

After the installation is completed, you can now access the gTwitter application from the main menu: Applications – Internet – gTwitter.

Just enter your username and password if you already have an account with Twitter. If not, you can sign up for free. You may have to refresh the application every now and then to see the latest tweets. Look for the gTwitter icon from the top panel. Right click on the icon and choose Refresh.

That’s it. Enjoy gTwitter.

Ubuntu 1050×1680 Portrait Mode

About a month ago, I had a little computer glitch. I ended up reinstalling Windows XP, but I ran into some more problems when Windows updates began to trickle in. I just couldn’t get past Windows Authentication since I didn’t have a valid license.

I was literally stuck with Windows XP SP1. There were some programs that refuse to install unless I had SP2. So much for that idea.

Then, Solaris came out a few weeks ago, I tried to install it by overwriting my Ubuntu partition. The Solaris installation was smooth. There were no issues. However, running it is another story.

There were two major problems:

  1. Xorg wasn’t working quite well. I was only seeing 3/4 of the screen. I tried rebooting. I also  reconfigured Xorg. It worked for the lower resolutions, but not the 1680×1050 widescreen my monitor supported. So, I gave up Solaris and went back to Ubuntu.
  2. I learned after the install of Ubuntu that the MBR (Master Boot Record) aka PBR was destroyed. I could no longer boot to Windows or Ubuntu. Nice job, Solaris.

I wiped out the entire disk and removed the two partitions. I installed Ubuntu as the only OS on my computer. C’est la vie, Windows.

The only thing I missed in Windows is viewing in portrait mode which is great for browsing websites and documents, while landscape mode is perfect for viewing spreadsheets.

So, did I get portrait mode working in Ubuntu?

I had an old ATI graphics card which I learned later that it had issues with rotating views. I ended up buying an older Nvidia FX-5200 from Ebay for a fairly good price.

So, here’s my setup.

  • Monitor: HP w2207h 1680×1050 60 Hz
  • Video Card: Nvidia GeForce FX-5200
  • Ubuntu Hardy Heron 8.04.

I set the device section of my Xorg.conf to:

Section "Screen"
 Identifier "Default Screen"
 DefaultDepth 24
Section "Module"
 Load	"glx"
Section "Device"
 Identifier "Default Device"
 Driver	"nvidia"
 Option	"NoLogo" "True"
 Option "RandRRotation"


To view in portrait mode, just go to Systems – Preferences – Screen Resolution – Monitor Resolution Settings and choose either Normal or Left rotation.

Landscape Mode (Normal) Setting: 1680×1050 pixels.

Portrait Mode (Rotated Left) Setting: 1050×1680 pixels.

So, this is how I setup my Ubuntu in Portrait mode with my HP w2207h monitor and my Nvidia FX-5200 video card. I will note however, that are currently issues with running Xrandr with Compiz at the same. Unfortunately, you can’t have both. Other than, I’m a happy camper.

Filezilla in Ubuntu 8.04 Linux

If you are looking for an excellent Gnome-based FTP client for Ubuntu, take a close look at the Filezilla, a free, open-source, GNU General Public License FTP client software.

FileZilla is a fast and reliable cross-platform FTP, FTPS and SFTP client, with lots of useful features and an intuitive interface.

Filezilla has both client and server software. The Filezilla Client runs on multiple platforms like Windows, Linux and the Mac OS, while the Filezilla Server runs on Windows only.


Some of its the client’s prominent features are:

  • Easy to use
  • Supports FTP, FTP over SSL/TLS (FTPS) and SSH File Transfer Protocol (SFTP)
  • Cross-platform. Runs on Windows, Linux, *BSD, OSX and more
  • Available in many languages
  • Supports resume and transfer of large files >4GB
  • Powerful Site Manager and transfer queue
  • Drag & drop support
  • Configurable Speed limits
  • Filename filters
  • Network configuration wizard
  • Remote file editing
  • Keep-alive
  • FTP-Proxy support



Download here.


Installing Filezilla in Ubuntu 8.04 (Hardy Heron)

sudo apt-get install filezilla


Forum, Project Page, Wiki

More Info

Finally, here’s an interview with Tim Kosse, the lead developer of the Filezilla project.

Ubuntu 8.04 Hardy Heron

Ubuntu is a community developed, Linux-based operating system that is perfect for laptops, desktops and servers. It contains all the applications you need – a web browser, document, spreadsheet and presentation software, instant messaging and much more.

The latest Ubuntu version is Hardy Heron 8.04. There are two more days before Hardy Heron is released to the general public. If you want to know more about Ubuntu and its latest release, you can read more about it from the Ubuntu website.

For those not familiar with Ubuntu releases, you are probably wondering why Ubuntu jumped from 7.10 to 8.04. There is an easy explanation. Ubuntu releases are based on dates instead of incremental versioning format.

The Ubuntu community is committed to release a new version every six months. The latest version, Hardy Heron falls on April 2008, hence version 8.04. The previous release was 7.10 on October 2007.

3 Ways To Get Ubuntu

  1. Download the CD installer – this is the easiest and fastest way to get Ubuntu. The download size is about 700 MB. There are dozens of mirror sites around the world to serve you. Choose a site near you.
  2. Purchase CD – Canonical sells a pack of 20 CDs for €16.50. You can also try Amazon. Some sellers charge a bare minimum charging only for shipping rates.
  3. Request a free CD – Or you can get Ubuntu for free. The only downside, delivery can take up to 10 weeks.

What’s new?

There are many changes since version 7.10. Here’s a quick rundown of the latest additions to Hardy Heron:

  • Linux Kernel 2.6.24
  • Gnome 2.22
  • Firefox 3 Beta 5
  • Brasero – a CD/DVD burning application
  • Vinagre – a VNC client
  • Totem – a movie player
  • and much more

Say Cheese

Speaking of Gnome 2.22, there is a cheesy program called Cheese giving you the ability to take pictures and videos from your web cam. It includes graphical effects like mauve, black and white, hulk, saturation, vertical and horizontal flips, vertigo, dice and warp. Here’s a sample photo with vertigo and dice effects.

To install the Cheese program, just type from the terminal:

sudo apt-get install cheese

Enjoy the latest Ubuntu release.

Installing VMWare Server in Ubuntu 7.10

Installing VMWare in Ubuntu 7.10 was much simpler than I thought.


Open Terminal from the Applications – Accessories menu.

  1. Update the sources.list file. Enter password when prompted.
  2. sudo vi /etc/apt/sources.list

    Add this line with “gutsy partner” to the end of file:

    deb http://archive.canonical.com/ubuntu gutsy partner

    Save or :wq

  3. Run an update.
  4. sudo apt-get update
  5. Now install VMWare.
  6. sudo apt-get install vmware-server

    Wait for a little bit for installation to complete.

  7. After the install, access the VMWare Server from the Applications – System Tools menu and select VMWare Server Console.
  8. Just select Localhost and Connect.

Please refer to the VMWare documentation how to use VMWare.


sudo apt-get remove --purge vmware-server
sudo rm -r /etc/vmware

How to Setup a DNS Server in Ubuntu

Would you like to setup a DNS Server in Ubuntu? How about setting up a private internal domain name at home? Well, you’ve come to the right place. There are number of tutorials on the internet showing you how to setup a DNS Server with Ubuntu using Bind 9. So, why another how-to document? That’s a good question. I’ve decided I needed to write a simple tutorial that anyone with a little bit of Linux knowledge would be able to follow. In the process, I hope readers are also able to learn how DNS works. Ok, let’s jump right to it!

What is DNS?

First of all, let’s cover the basics. What is DNS? DNS stands for Domain Name Server. It’s a service that runs on a server that translates humanly recognizable domain names such as www.yahoo.com or www.google.com into its assigned IP addresses. If the DNS server does not recognize the domain name being requested, it will forward the domain name request to another DNS server and so on until the name is resolved.

A typical DNS request is when someone is accessing a website. Let’s use the www.yahoo.com domain as an example. When a user clicks a Yahoo link or types the Yahoo URL on the address bar of the browser, the DNS server processes the domain request. If it doesn’t find www.yahoo.com on its DNS table, it will forward the request to another DNS server with a higher authority and so on until it finds a server with the URL entry. The IP address information is then sent back to the user’s browser. If the domain name is not found, a “server not found” message is displayed on the browser.


Enough with the DNS background. Let’s now start configuring our own DNS server. Let’s assume that we have the following: we want to create a private internal domain name called mydomain.com, our private internal network is 192.168.0.x and our router and gateway is set at Let’s assume all devices are going to be configured with static IP addresses. Normally, most computer systems nowadays are configured to automatically obtain IP addresses from the DHCP server/router. In this example, we will use static IP addresses to show how DNS works. Finally, we have 3 computers connected to our network:

  • Ubuntu Server, the DNS server –
  • Ubuntu Desktop –
  • PC –


1. To install the DNS server, we need to install Bind 9.

sudo apt-get install bind9

2. Let’s configure Bind. We need to touch 5 files.

We will edit 3 files.

  • /etc/bind/named.conf.local
  • /etc/bind/named.conf.options
  • /etc/resolv.conf

We will create 2 files.

  • /etc/bind/zones/mydomain.com.db
  • /etc/bind/zones/rev.0.168.192.in-addr.arpa

A. First step. Lets add our domain zone – mydomain.com.

sudo vi /etc/bind/named.conf.local
# Our domain zone
zone "mydomain.com" {
   type master;
   file "/etc/bind/zones/mydomain.com.db";
# For reverse DNS 
zone "0.168.192.in-addr.arpa" {
   type master;
   file "/etc/bind/zones/rev.0.168.192.in-addr.arpa";

Save file. Exit.

We just created a new domain. Please note: later we will create two files named mydomain.com.db and rev.0.168.192.in-addr.arpa files. Also, notice the reverse IP address sequence in the reverse DNS section.

B. Let’s add the DNS servers from your ISP. In my case, I’m using Comcast DNS servers. You can place the primary and secondary DNS servers here separated by semicolons.

sudo vi /etc/bind/named.conf.options
forwarders {;

Save file. Exit.

C. Now, let’s modify the resolv.conf file found in /etc and place the IP address of our DNS server which is set to

$ sudo vi /etc/resolv.conf
search mydomain.com.

D. Now, let’s define the zones.

sudo mkdir /etc/bind/zones
sudo vi /etc/bind/zones/mydomain.com.db
@ IN SOA ns.mydomain.com. admin.mydomain.com. (
mydomain.com.  IN      NS         ns.mydomain.com.
ubuntudesktop  IN      A
www            IN      CNAME      ubuntudesktop
pc             IN      A
gw             IN      A
                       TXT        "Network Gateway"

The TTL or time to live is set for 3 days
The ns.mydomain.com nameserver is defined
ubuntudesktop, pc and gateway are entered as an A record
An alias of www is assigned to ubuntudesktop using CNAME

E. Let’s create a “rev.0.168.192.in-addr.arpa” file for reverse lookup.

sudo vi /etc/bind/zones/rev.0.168.192.in-addr.arpa
@       IN      SOA     ns.mydomain.com. admin.mydomain.com. (
        IN      NS      ns.mydomain.com.
1       IN      PTR     gw.mydomain.com.
10      IN      PTR     ubuntudesktop.mydomain.com.
11      IN      PTR     pc.mydomain.com.

3. Let’s restart Bind to activate our latest changes.

sudo /etc/init.d/bind9 restart

4. Finally, let’s test our new domain and DNS entries.


$ dig mydomain.com


nslookup gw

5. That’s it.

Driving My Ubuntu Desktop

Pictured above is how I drive my Ubuntu Desktop. It’s clean, fast and it’s brown all over. That’s Ubuntu for sure. Some people don’t really care for the earthy tones, but I don’t mind. My screen resolution is set to 1280 x 1024 pixels. I’ve decided to use this background for a bit of a change. By the way, the Compiz Fusion Desktop Effects are super. I love the applications: OpenOffice, Gimp, MoviePlayer, Rythymbox Music Player and the Bluefish Editor are just a few. The only thing I miss in Windows are the games. It may be time for some virtualization using VMWare. That’s my next project.