Posts Tagged Gnome

PGP/GPG Keys in Ubuntu Gnome the easy way

For the security-minded, or anyone who simply wants to be able to exchange secure, encrypted email quickly and easily, GNOME offers a really user-friendly way to generate and manage PGP/GPG keys. This program is located at System > Preferences > Passwords and Encryption Keys. [Natty/Unity: System Settings > Passwords and Encryption Keys]

You can make a new key by going to File > New… > PGP Key. This guide explains some of the basic key management functions in this application.

Fill in the name, email, and an optional comment. PGP is considered a network of trust, so etiquette states you should use your common legal name (shortened versions are ok) and your primary email address (unless you have a reason to do otherwise). If you frequently go by a nickname, enter that in the comment field.

If you’re interested in the advanced options, you can change them by dropping down “Advanced Key Options.” I’m not going to go too much in to what the various options are, but here’s a quick run-down:

Encryption Type: RSA is generally considered stronger and overall a better choice than DSA. Choose “sign only” if you’re using this as a signing key, and not an encryption key. Only select that option if you know what you’re doing.

Key Strength (bits): The higher the number, the stronger the encryption, but the longer it takes.

Expiration Date: Set this if you want your key to expire at a predefined date/time, or set to never expire. Expiration keys can still decrypt messages, but no new messages can be encrypted to them.

After choosing your options, you’ll be prompted to enter your key pass phrase. DO NOT FORGET IT! Your key will be completely unusable (and you will be unable to revoke it) if you forget the pass phrase. On the same token, avoid making it too easy or guessable.

Next, the key will be generated. This could take a while depending on the key size and the speed of your computer.

Once your key is generated, your public keyring and private keyring will be stored in ~/.gnupgNEVER distribute your private keyring (secring.pgp). This is the decryption segment of your keyring.

Next, some more exploration through the Passwords and Encryption Keys application.

Right-clicking on a key gives you the following options, which I’ll explain briefly.

Properties: Here is where you can change your passphrase, add a photo, view your key’s fingerprint, and edit the expiration date and trust level.

Export: This is where you can export your public key for distribution to others (this is the portion of the key that you DO share). By selecting export, you will export an “ASCII-armored” file that can be pasted in email, etc.

Copy: Similiar to export, Copy copies your “ASCII-armored” public key to the clipboard. Makes it easier to post in email, web page, etc.

Delete: This deletes the key. Make sure this is what you want to do!

Sign Key: This is a core part of the key-sharing portion of PGP/GPG. This “signs” the key, using your key. This applies your signature to the key, explicitly stating that you trust the key to some degree. Once you’ve signed the key, you should export the key and send it back to the originator so they can begin distributing it with your signature attached.

So how do you sign a friend’s key?

First, have them export it and send it to you. Next, drag-and-drop the file into the Passwords and Encryption Keys window. It will appear under the Other Keys tab. Once the key has appeared, just right-click on it and click ‘Sign…’ Follow the prompts. Don’t forget to export the key and return it to the sender after you’ve signed it! Work this process in reverse for getting a friend to sign your key. Drag/drop the updated keys back into your key manager to add the new signatures. To verify signatures are present, double-click on the key and look at the Names and Signatures tab.

That’s a quick run-down of the key management functions.

Questions, comments, and feedback about key management are welcome and appreciated. Note that key management may be different in the Unity interface, which is shipped with Ubuntu Natty.

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Ubuntu OpenOffice Quickstarter prevents Gnome shutdown

I ran into an issue where, after clicking “Shut Down” in Gnome, the dialog box would simply close and shutdown would never happen. To get my system to shut down, I would have to open a terminal and shutdown using the command shutdown -h now.

As it turns out, if you have the quickstarter open and open an office document, it will somehow block shutdown. This is a known issue OpenOffice 3.2, and has been reported in Lanchpad as bug #542002 and bug #562027.

To reproduce:

Enable the quickstarter in Tools > Options > OpenOffice.org > Memory > Enable Systray Quickstarter

Now open an office document.

Try to shut down using the Gnome power button.

The dialog box closes and nothing happens.

In order to fix this, simply disable the systray quickstarter:

Right-click on the Quickstarter icon and choose “Disable Systray Quickstarter”

The quickstarter loads portions of OpenOffice into memory, which seems to save 2-3 seconds of load time. In my opinion the 2-3 seconds gained loading OpenOffice is not worth the hassle of having to shut down using a terminal command. I’ve since disabled the quickstarter and have left it that way.

Questions, comments, and feedback on this are welcome, as always.

 

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Installing Skype on Ubuntu (or Debian) with updates for Skype URLs

This how to will show you how to install a Skype client in Ubuntu & Debian base operating system.

1. First of all you need to start up Synaptic Package manager. Go to System->Administration->Synaptic Package Manager

2. From Synaptic, go to Settings->Repositories. Click on Other  Software Tab. Check the box next to Canonical Partners.

3. Click Close, and Click ‘Reload’ at the top of Synaptic. Now you can locate Skype and install it from Synaptic or Ubuntu Software Center.

Now to install skype-action-handler to handle skype: URLs:

Download and install the Skype Action Handler
http://search.cpan.org/~ecarroll/Net-DBus-Skype-0.02/script/skype-action-handler (direct download link) and extract.

In a console, navigate to extracted files directory and run these as root:

perl Makefile.PL
make
make test
make install

For Mozilla (Firefox)
* Open Mozilla (Firefox)
* Type about:config in the address-bar to open the configuration editor.
* Use the scroll bar to navigate to the network.protocol… section.
* Check if the network protocol section includes a network.protocol-handler.app.skype key.
* If a key exists, edit it. If no key exists, create a key by right-clicking on any key and selecting New -> String from the pull-down menu.
* Enter network.protocol-handler.app.skype as the key name.
* Enter /usr/local/bin/skype-action-handler as the key value.

### For GNOME-aware browsers (Epiphany, Firefox 1.5)
Run the following two commands:

/usr/bin/gconftool-2 -s -t string /desktop/gnome/url-handlers/skype/command '/usr/local/bin/skype-action-handler "%s"'
/usr/bin/gconftool-2 -s -t bool /desktop/gnome/url-handlers/skype/enabled true

Thats it – Test Call should work in Firefox. UPDATE: Except, it doesn’t work here. I can’t give you a valid link because WordPress keeps eating it. :\ But, try this yourself in an html file:

skype:echo123?call

To undo the above gconftool key changes, you may run the following:

gconftool-2 --recursive-unset /desktop/gnome/url-handlers/skype

Original post by thestudio53 at http://blogs.skype.com/linux/2006/08/making_skype_links_work.html. Rewritten with updates for Ubuntu 10.04 and information from http://ubuntuforums.org/showthread.php?t=449543

Questions, comments, and feedback are welcome. Please share your experience with this so I can improve the guide. Thank you.

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Restoring Ubuntu Gnome Panels

If you’ve mangled, deleted, or otherwise borked your Ubuntu Gnome panels, here’s a way to revert them back to the default appearance and positioning.

You’ll want to open the ‘run’ dialog via ALT-F2 and enter each of the commands one at a time, followed by enter.

gconftool --recursive-unset /apps/panel
rm -rf ~/.gconf/apps/panel
pkill gnome-panel
gksu reboot

That should do it. When the system comes back up, all should be back the way it was.

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Getting junglediskdesktop to run correctly on startup with Gnome

If you’re a jungledisk user on linux, and you put junglediskdesktop in your Startup Applications you may receive unusual errors when you log in.

Such errors are:

  • The jungledisk tray icon does not appear
  • The jungledisk window floats and cannot be closed
  • The jungledisk app gives unusual errors

The problem appears to be that there’s a race condition where junglediskdesktop starts before Gnome is ready to handle it as a tray app.

Workaround:

  • Create a text file with gedit (or your editor of choice)
  • In the file, enter these two lines:
#!/bin/bash
sleep 3 && /usr/local/bin/junglediskdesktop

You’ll need to make your new script executable, so at a terminal do:

chmod +x filename

Now, in startup applications, use your new script instead of junglediskdesktop.

What this script does:

It ‘sleeps’ for 3 seconds before starting the junglediskdesktop application.

Doing that allows Gnome to be ready to handle junglediskdesktop correctly.

Note:

It’s my opinion that this is an issue with junglediskdesktop itself (not waiting for Gnome to be ready) rather than an issue with the Gnome itself.

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How to : Configuring remote desktop in Ubuntu / Gnome

On the computer that will be sharing the desktop, go to System > Preferences > Remote Desktop

If you want others to just see your desktop, but not be able to make changes, enable Allow other users to view your desktop only. If they should be able to change settings (e.g. repair your system if there are problems), enable Allow other users to control your desktop as well.

If someone connects to your desktop and you want to be prompted to block or allow that connection, enable Ask you for confirmation. This makes sense only if someone is actually sitting in front of the system. If you want to connect to your office desktop or any other system that only you have access to, then don’t enable this option

However, with Ask you for confirmation off, what you certainly want to do is set a password for your remote desktop (without a password anyone who happens to find out your system’s address – e.g. by scanning the network – can access your desktop)

If you’re behind a router or firewall, you may need to allow or forward port 5900 to that computer.

Sourced from http://www.howtoforge.com/configure-remote-access-to-your-ubuntu-desktop March 28th 2010

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Disabling the “Recent Documents” menu in Ubuntu / Gnome

Originally retrieved from this thread March 27th 2010.

Gnome stores your “recent documents” in a file called .recently-used.xbel. To disable the menu, we simply delete the file and then create a directory with the same name, effectively breaking Gnome’s ability to store anything in the file.

The fix is performed by executing the following commands at a terminal:

rm ~/.recently-used.xbel
mkdir ~/.recently-used.xbel

Then go to Places > Recent Documents and select Clear Recent Documents.

The menu item should now grey out.

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Getting all the “extra” screensavers in Fedora Linux

Fedora (and Ubuntu) Linux users looking for more screensavers should install the package xscreensaver-gl-extra via their favorite package manager:

Fedora

Use yumex, or via command line:
sudo yum install xscreensaver-gl-extra

Ubuntu

Use Synaptic, or via command line:
sudo apt-get install xscreensaver-gl-extra

Here’s the package description:

This package contains the rest of the 3D (OpenGL) screen saver
modules from the xscreensaver collection. This package is used
by both xscreensaver and gnome-screensaver.

This is the set of GL screensavers not shipped by default with
xscreensaver-gl: antinspect, gleidescope, glknots, atunnel, blinkbox,
bubble3d, circuit, cubestorm, glsnake, jigglypuff, lavalite, lockward,
mirrorblog, moebius, boebiusgears, molecule, morph3d, pipes, polyhedra,
polytopes, pulsar, queens, sierpinski3d, spheremonics, stonerview,
superquadrics, topblock, voronoi endgame, engine, flipflop, flipscreen3d,
flurry, flyingtoasters, gears, gflux, antmaze, atlantis, blocktube, boing,
bouncingcow, boxed, cage, carousel, crackberg, cube21, cubenetic, dangerball,
extrusion, fliptext, glforestfire, glhanoi, glplanet, juggler3d, klein, lament,
menger, noof, pinion, providence, rubik, sballs, sproingies, staris, starwars,
tangram, timetunnel.

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Ubuntu Karmic post-install Guide

Ubuntu Post-Installation Guide v9.10

Note: Unless otherwise specified, packages are installed/uninstalled using
System > Administration > Synaptic Package Manager.
Repositories are updated in
(System > Administration > Synaptic Package Manager > Settings > Repositories)
or
(System > Administration > Software Sources)

> Third Party Software (for Jaunty) or
> Other Software (karmic).

Java, Flash Player

By default, openjdk-6-jre is the Java VM used on Ubuntu. This is because OpenJRE is actively developed, while Sun’s Java VM is not. Also, by default, Flash is not installed. To install Sun’s Java VM (which can be successfully installed alongside OpenJRE) as well as Flash Player, install: ubuntu-restricted-extras

Medibuntu (DVD, MP3 and WMA support, etc)

Additional codec support (MP3, WMA, etc) is provided by the non-free-codec in the Medibuntu repository. (See for information) Running the following lines in a terminal will install the correct Medibuntu repository as well as the required keyring to authenticate packages:

sudo wget  -cs).list
--output-document=/etc/apt/sources.list.d/medibuntu.list &&
sudo apt-get -q update &&
sudo apt-get --yes -q --allow-unauthenticated install medibuntu-keyring &&
sudo apt-get -q update

(Reference https://help.ubuntu.com/community/Medibuntu)

Following that, install the following packages:
libdvdcss2 (Allows to read encrypted DVDs)
non-free-codecs (Additional codecs)

Compiz

On supported video chipsets and with the correct video drivers, Compiz can enable a variety of visual effects. If Compiz is supported on your system, it can be enabled via System > Preferences > Appearances > Visual Effects and settings the level to Normal or higher. If compiz is enabled, it is recommended to install compizconfig-settings-manager

Other Useful Programs

The following packages are useful, and installation is encouraged:

APPLICATIONS MENU
–sound and video:
amarok
(music management application which also supports a wide range of MP3 players)

–internet:
While empathy is the new default IM client, pidgin is recommended for facebook users. Empathy, at the present time, does not have the same level of facebook
support that pidgin has). install:
pidgin and pidgin-facebookchat

–system tools:
gnome-format (a tool to easily format removable memory cards)

–other
fglrx-amdcccle – Catalyst Control Center for ATI graphics cards
nvidia-settings – Tool for configuring the NVIDIA graphics driver
nautilus-wallpaper – Adds ‘Set as wallpaper’ to right-click menu
nautilus-image-converter – Adds ‘Rotate’ and ‘Scale’ image commands
to right-click menu

VirtualBox

A free Virtual Machine system.

virtualbox-ose is available directly from Synaptic, but does not support USB device pass-through (allows the VM to communicate with USB devices). Sun’s VirtualBox 3.0 does support USB device pass-through easily.

See http://www.virtualbox.org/wiki/Linux_Downloads for instructions on how to add the VirtualBox repository to your system. After adding that repository, you can install the virtualbox-3.0 package.

Be sure to give yourself access to VirtualBox using System > Administration > Users and Groups
and give yourself User Privileges to ‘Use VirtualBox’

Intel microcode update

Systems with Intel CPUs should install the intel-microcode package. This provides an updated microcode to the processor at boot-time which can address processor errors and lock-ups.

Broadcom wireless issues

Systems with broadcom wireless cards which are detected but do not show any wireless networks should install the b43-fwcutter package. This provides an updated firmware for the card which fixes numerous issues. This would have to be installed using a wired network.

Dropbox on Ubuntu

Add the repository line for your Ubuntu distribution and install the nautilus-dropbox package (Reference: http://www.getdropbox.com/downloading)

Other Software

It is strongly recommended to use software that is distributed in the repositories. If you need to install a program from another source, the .DEB format is the best choice. This installs the program and adds a listing in Synaptic for easily unisntalling the program when you want to.

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