gufw - firewall configuration tool

Firewall for Ubuntu 11.10

Due to increased ‘online security risks’ in past few years, Firewall is a mandatory application/software these days, for everybody. When you’re using Ubuntu 11.10 (or any other Linux based operating system such as Debian, Linux Mint, openSUSE, Fedora etc) then you shouldn’t worry much about security because a packet filtering system called – ‘netfilter‘ is already there (shipped with Linux kernel) by default. iptables provides a complete suite of commands to configure/control each incoming/outgoing packets – thus it provides a highly flexible and powerful firewall solution.

iptables has only command line interface (and it’s not so easy to become a Guru of iptables), which creates some difficulties for newbies who just want to use some basic features of it’s underlying packet filtering system (I mean – netfilter). That’s why there are lot of front end applications available with graphical user interface (GUI) for iptables, and it’s really very helpful for absolute beginners. So this post is written for beginner users – who want to get started with Firewall on Ubuntu. Firewall configuration allows you to configure individual ports, common p2p, allow/block default ports for programs etc.

gufw - firewall configuration tool

In Ubuntu, one such application is installed by default – named as – Uncomplicated Firewall (ufw). So all you need to do is to install its front end. gufw is the front end for ufw, it has very simple GUI with a lot of powerful features and it’s available in official package repository – you can install it in a click – from Ubuntu Software Center or by using a simple command.

installing-firewall

Install firewall in Ubuntu (11.10 – Oneiric Ocelot)

To install gui for uncomplicated firewall – fire up a terminal (Ctrl+Alt+t) and execute the command –

sudo apt-get install gufw

That’s all.. now you’re ready to play with the firewall. have Fun!

Warning!  The above application is intended for common users, so if you’re looking for a complete firewall solution for a server (running Ubuntu server edition or some other Linux distro such as CentOS or RedHat or…) then you should consider using iptables instead of ufw.

firefox-logo

Firefox 7 released! and available for download

Firefox version 7.0 final/stable has released! …and available for download (of course, for all commonly used operating systems such as Mac OS X, Windows 7or Linux based OS – Ubuntu, OpenSuse, Fedora etc, ). Mozilla Firefox is one of the most popular web browser. it’s open source and available free of cost, for all.

What’s new in Firefox 7.0 ?

Due to frequent released cycle – sometimes it’s difficult to get surprise (Google Chrome also uses rapid release cycle) ..but the purpose is to provide the latest – cutting edge feature/experience while browsing web. some of the new features implemented in Firefox 7 includes –

  • improvements in Canvas elements
  • drastic improvements in memory handling in certain cases
  • websocket protocol has been updated (to version 8 )
  • instant bookmark sync
  • hidden HTTP:// in URL (just like Google Chrome)
  • new CSS 3 animation effects (e.g text overflow is supported now)
  • webGL related new features (e.g support of cross domain texture)
  • a lot of bug fixes related to security and stability

firefox-logo

Download Firefox 7.0 for Linux/Windows/Mac

GNU/Linux (such as Ubuntu 11.04/10.10/10.04.. Debian, Linux Mint etc) users can download tar.bz2 file .

other users can download it from the official website.

Install Firefox 7 on Ubuntu 11.04/10.10/10.04

Fire up a terminal (Ctrl+Alt+t) and extract the file to any desired location (lets say ‘Downloads’) and install it by running the command –

tar -xf file_name.bz2
cd firefox
sudo ./firefox

That’s all … Have Fun! :)

MySQL

how to install MySQL server on Ubuntu 11.10

MySQL is one of the most popular open source Relation Database Management System (RDBMS), used very widely developing database based Applications – it’s specifically very popular in web development (The blog – you’re reading right now, is based on wordpress, which also uses MySQL databases for storing contents such as post, category, comments, and other meta data). Since Ubuntu (11.10 beta 2 – latest version, final is coming within few weeks) has now become the most popular choice for application development, LAMP (Linux, Apache, MySQL and PHP).

MySQL
most popular open source RDBMS

In Ubuntu 11.10 (based on Gnome 3), synaptic package manager has been removed so you can use Ubuntu Software Center or terminal (or install synaptic package manager in Ubuntu 11.10 (Oneiric Ocelot) if it’s you favorite application for managing application – although due to some major improvements in Ubuntu Software Center you might not need it anymore).

In Ubuntu or any other Linux based systems there are lot of other database programs are also available such as SQLite, mongoDB, H2, CouchDB, etc but MySQL is probably the most reliable, fast and powerful database – although it depends on the type of application or your interest.

 Installing MySQL in Ubuntu 11.10 – Oneiric Ocelot

I prefer Terminal for managing applications, as I think it’s very handy, although installing new softwares/Apps from Software center is also very simple – just search for the mysql server meta package (if you don’t know the actual name of the package then search using name of equivalent proprietary software, e.g if you search for Photoshop then you will get GIMP) which will automatically select the latest version and click on Install button….and wait for the download/installation procedure to finish and you’re done!

1. Open a terminal (Ctrl+Alt+t) and execute the following command(s)

sudo apt-get install mysql-server

2. During the installation process – you will be prompted to set the password for root user (for MySQL server).

installing-mysql-server

Then, enter the password again (for confirmation) and the installation process will complete within a minute.

mysql-server-root

3. That’s All..you’re successfully installed the mysql server, client and other dependent packages successfully.

Login to MySQL Server in Ubuntu @localhost

using mysql-server in localhost

Now, you’ve mysql program installed on your computer, you can start creating databases, tables, users ..whatever you want! Login using terminal or install a query browser tool (search in Software Center). In terminal execute the command –

mysql -u root -h localhost -p

Then enter your root password (you entered during installation – step#2 ) and you will get the mysql prompt.

mysql>

Just for testing purpose, lets create a database. Execute the following commands –

create database forfun;
show databases;

Have Fun!

Dell XPS 15 : best laptop for Ubuntu

Best laptop for Ubuntu

Ubuntu (Latest Stable Version : Ubuntu 11.04 (Maverick Meerkat), upcoming version – 11.10 (Natty Narwhal) – set to release on Oct 13, 2011) is now dominating the market share of Linux desktop (or would dominate the total desktop share in few upcoming years). So the numbers of laptop users running Ubuntu (or other flavors of GNU/Linux) has also increased but it’s still not in the resonance with the growth of Ubuntu, probably due to hardware compatibility problems.

Therefore in this post some of the best laptops are described – which is known for good compatibility with Ubuntu, although any (laptop) model, from a recognizable brand such as Dell, ThinkPad, ASUS, Acer, HP, Lenovo etc, released in past few years, are capable of running Ubuntu smoothly. Anyway – if you’re willing to run Ubuntu on a new laptop – then better choose any of these.

What is the best laptop for using/running Ubuntu ?

1. Dell XPS 15

Dell XPS 15 series Laptops are well suitable for Running Ubuntu 11.10 or other versions (if you want to enjoy 3d effects in ubuntu then better choose one with dedicated graphics memory, in later versions of Ubuntu – Gnome 3 and Unity both needs better graphics performance otherwise you will be running in fallback mode). Ubuntu works smoothly without any problems and so you’re good to go with any Dell XPS 15 series laptop. Therefore if you’re going to purchase a laptop for running Ubuntu (version 10.04 LTS/11.04/11.10 ..) then you are recommended to choose any of these to ensure better compatibility, Although it’s a different fact that most of the dell laptop(new version) works well with Ubuntu. Here is a laptop from this series – with latest processor (Intel Core i7) and overall configuration is pretty good! so it would be suitable for most of the needs.

Dell XPS 15 X15L-1024ELS  @ $949

Dell XPS 15 : best laptop for Ubuntu
Model Number : X15L-1024ELS

Technical Specifications : 

  • Intel Core i7-2630QM
  • 6GB, DDR3, 1333MHz
  • 15.6″ HD WLED (1366×768) display
  • 640GB 7200RPM SATA Hard Drive
  • 6 cell Lithium Ion Battery (56 WHr)
  • Built in  2.0 MP Webcam, HDMI Port (click on Image to know more)

Buy Dell XPS 15 X51L-1024ELS from Amazon (Price : $949)

Or Check out the newer model of that Laptop here.

Update! Dell XPS 13 Developer Edition may be a better choice for you. Check out this one.

2. Lenovo X201

Lenovo has always been a good laptop brand for Ubuntu – because most of the Linux based distributions works great on Lenovo without much hassle. Lenovo x201 series laptops are also good for running Ubuntu.

Lenovo ThinkPad X201i 3249MDU 12.1-Inch @ $1099

lenovo-thinkpad-x201i - for Ubuntu users
Lenevo ThinkPad X201i

Technical Specifications :

  • Intel Core i3-370M 2.40 GHz Processor
  • 2GB PC3-8500 1066MHz DDR3 RAM
  • 160 GB Hard Drive (Serial ATA)
  • Li-on Battery (6.7 Hours)
  • 3MB L3 Cache

Buy Lenovo ThinkPad X201i 3249MDU from Amazon (Price : $1099)

Update! Also check out ThinkPad X230.

How is your experience with Laptop, running Ubuntu or any Linux distribution ? Consider sharing it (comment below).

Possibly relevant : Gaming Laptops in India

Update – You should also check out System 76 Laptops built specifically for running Ubuntu. Also check out this discussion thread on Hacker News.

cheese-snapshot

webcam software/driver for Ubuntu 11.10

After installing some must have apps on Ubuntu 11.10, you might have missed few things e.g if you’re using webcam either on Desktop/PC using USB (or other port) or in laptop or netbook, you need to install the driver software for your webcam, because it is very likely that your webcam manufacturer doesn’t supply driver software for Linux based OS such as Ubuntu (e.g I’m using Logitech Webcam, and there is no official software for GNU/Linux platform, although it’s available for Microsoft Windows – with advanced features and configure options to use/control webcam more effectively, e.g there is no option for controlling the LED indicator attached near the camera lens, in Linux based software. Similarly zoom in/out ..and a lot of other features are not available in any open source alternative).

Here is a snapshot (outside view from my Logitech webcam) – running cheese on Ubuntu 11.10, with Gnome Shell

cheese-snapshot

Cheese Webcam Booth – best Webcam Software

On Ubuntu 11.10 (Oneiric Ocelot) – there are many webcam softwares are available but unfortunately, none of them have features – equivalent to that we get with native drivers available for Windows. Anyway, it does have the basic features such as capturing pictures/photos (in normal and burst mode, count down timers are also available), recording videos (with different resolutions options are also available) and some funky graphical effects (it’s cool). The application name is ‘Cheese’ – the version 3.0 has arrived earlier this year, with a lot of extra features, cheese is (probably) the best application for webcam, on Gnome based Linux distributions. Cheese 3.0 requires Gnome 3 (although older versions run smoothly on Gnome 2.*).

Cheese : Webcam Software for Ubuntu
Cheese - Webcam Software

How to install Cheese Webcam Booth in Ubuntu 11.10

You can either install it from Ubuntu Software Center (search for ‘cheese’  and click on install) or Command Line interface – terminal.

cheese-webcam-driver

Open a terminal (search or hit Ctrl+Alt+t) and execute the following command(s) –

sudo apt-get install cheese

Have Fun! check out the preferences and effects – for other features/options.