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Archive for September 7th, 2010

Installing iTunes on Ubuntu Linux

If you have an iPod, and have installed Ubuntu Linux, you may have gotten used to manging your audio library with iTunes. When you go to reach for iTunes on Ubuntu, you may have a moment of panic when you realize there’s no Linux client. Don’t worry, there’s alternatives.

Linux-native applications

First, try a Linux-native application, such as Rhythmbox, banshee, or Amarok for music and tripod for photos. These apps all have some support for iPod devices, and can help you manage your already-existing music library. If you’re using iTunes for music downloads, you may find the music store section of Rhythmbox helpful.

iTunes in Wine via PlayOnLinux

Second, you can try installing iTunes 7 using PlayOnLinux. PlayOnLinux is an application that helps you install programs using wine and gives each program it’s own configuration environment. Programs are installed using configurations that usually give the best results, so there’s little if any manual configuration required after the fact.

Remember, wine is an interpretive layer between the Windows-native application and the Linux environment, and therefore there’s a good chance that iTunes will run slowly and some features may simply not work.

You can find PlayOnLinux in Software Center, Synaptic, or install it using the command line:

sudo apt-get install playonlinux

iTunes in Wine via manual install

Lastly, if none of the above options pan out for you, or you want to try the latest version, you can try installing iTunes manually using wine.

Start by making sure you have wine and ubuntu-restricted-extras installed. You can install these using Synaptic or the following command at the command line:

sudo apt-get install wine ubuntu-restricted-extras

With those installed, it’s time to get iTunes installed. WineHQ gives very mixed ratings for iTunes under wine, so your mileage may vary. In addition, you may find the WineHQ Forum on iTunes and wine helpful.

You can find older versions of iTunes at OldApps.com iTunes page.

Virtualization

Lastly, if you find you simply can’t live without iTunes in a Windows environment, you may try running a Windows virtual machine in a hypervisor like VMware (my personal favorite) or VirtualBox. I prefer VMware because it seems to have better hardware pass-through support than even the closed-source versions of VirtualBox

Have you been able to get iTunes running on Ubuntu? Have any experience or tips to share? Please do so in the comments below.

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Move Ubuntu window buttons from left to right (and make it permanent)

I thought I had posted this before, but my mistake.

Starting with Ubuntu 10.04, two new themes were introduced: Ambiance and Radiance. These two themes both feature the window buttons (minimize, maximize, close) on the left side instead of the right. Ambiance is the default theme on a new install, but if you do a dist-upgrade to 10.04, you will still get the buttons on the right.

If you were not used to it (as I wasn’t), these can be a pain. You can always switch themes, but if you really like the color scheme, you might just want to fix the button position.

Fortunately, there’s a simple command that, when run from the command line, can reset the buttons to the more-typical right-side position.

Simply run Applications > Accessories > Terminal and paste in this command:

gconftool-2 --set /apps/metacity/general/button_layout --type string menu:minimize,maximize,close

That will stay in effect as long as you don’t change themes. If you do change themes, you can run it again, no big deal.

UPDATE: At some point the themes were changed and the following no longer works because the gconf-settings.sh file doesn’t exist. I may look into this at some point in the future, but I would appreciate feedback from readers on how to change the setting on a permanent basis.

If you’re looking to make the change permanent, edit the file /usr/share/themes/Ambiance/metacity-1/gconf-settings.sh (note: you need to be root) and change the line

gconftool -s --type string /apps/metacity/general/button_layout "maximize,minimize,close:"

to

gconftool -s --type string /apps/metacity/general/button_layout "menu:minimize,maximize,close"

Of course, substitute Radiance for Ambiance as necessary.

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