Category Archives: Ubuntu tips

Test your VPN through Terminal – Linux Tips

computer-VPN

Do you use a VPN to connect to Internet and increase your privacy? If you are one of the many you would be sure that the VPN you are paying is really working properly.

You can always use, via browser, one of those dedicated websites that check your Ip and, in some cases, test the real effectiveness of VPN and/or use Terminal.

But, for my experience, if you prefer to test your public IP without using the Terminal, the best tutorial for this specific task has been published by http://www.tecadmin.net.

Get Public IP using Linux Terminal

Recommended!… if you are looking for an extra test that you can manage directly from Terminal.

3 steps to install DNScrypt to improve your privacy – Ubuntu version

Also if you use OpenDNS to improve your standard of privacy, you are not protected by “last mile” dangers but you can boost your security installing DNScrypt on your digital device. DNScrypt “works by encrypting all DNS traffic between the user and OpenDNS, preventing any spying, spoofing or man-in-the-middle attacks”.

DNScrypt “is a protocol that authenticates communications between a DNS client and a DNS resolver” and it “is not a replacement for a VPN, as it only authenticates DNS traffic, and doesn’t prevent “DNS leaks”, or third-party DNS resolvers from logging your activity”.

For this reason you have to be conscious that DNScrpt is just a -very good- improvement of your privacy but not the definitive solution to all your privacy concerns.

DNScrypt is so versatile that you can install it on every kind of device you prefer. In fact it is possible to download DNScrypt for servers, IOS, OSX, Android, Windows and Linux computers (DNScrypt-proxy version). Obviously the installation and setup will vary a little depending the OS you installed on your device.

Concept-Skyscraper-Feeds-on-Air-Pollution-Uses-It-to-Grow-433607-2

Image from softpedia.com

Here we are talking about DNScrypt installation on Ubuntu.

For this purpose I suggest to use the Terminal that allows you to install DNScrypt i just 3 steps:

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:anton+/dnscrypt
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install dnscrypt-proxy

Last but not least, you need to interface the Internet traffic of your computer through the DNScrypt-proxy. For this reason you have to Edit your Network Configuration and add the address 127.0.0.2 to the “DNS Servers” line as for the below screenshot:

DNSCrypt

Now you can start DNScrypt just typing:

sudo dnscrypt-proxy -R opendns -a 127.0.0.2:53 -u okturtles

Where, in my specific case, okturtles is the name of the remote DNS resolver I decided to use. I chose that specific risolver from the list I found into into my computer after DNScrypt-proxy installation:

/usr/share/dnscrypt-proxy/dnscrypt-resolvers.csv

As usual in similar situations, you may want to spend another couple of minutes to configure your computer to start DNScrypt at the computer boot. Open the Session and Startup manager through the desktop Dash and Add this specific command to the Application Autostart menu:

sudo dnscrypt-proxy -R opendns -a 127.0.0.2:53 -u dnscrypt

Link

ubuntugnomea

Image: Jack Wallen

 

Ubuntu GNOME 15.10: The perfect Linux desktop distribution

 

How to manually mount USB drives on Ubuntu

The first time I had this kind of problem was when I was trying to create a bootable USB drive and a pop-up windows appeared informing me that “you must first mount USB drive /dev/sdc1 to a mount-point. Most distributions will do this automatically after you remove and reinsert the USB drive”. I had never had this matter on Linux because, normally, all the USB drives are immediately recognized and mounted but there is always a first time….

After some googling I discovered that a specific program dconf-editor could help me to check the Linux settings and to consequentlyresolve the situation.

First of all you need to install dconf-editor on your Linux so you have to open a Terminal and type:

sudo apt-get install dconf-tools

After the installation you launch dconf-editor (for MATE environment it’s into the System Tool menu) and navigate it to media-handling:

org –> gnome –> desktop –> media-handling

Now you have to be sure that commands automount and automount-open are both flagged.

If you discover that they are already flagged, its necessary to manually create a mount point using the Terminal.

Open a Terminal and type:

df -H

to see the mounted disks. If you are not able to find the USB drive that you want to mount then type:

sudo fdisk -l

and you’ll see all disks (mounted/unmounted).

Now you are able to know the right drive identity (e.g. sdb1, sdc1, sdd1) that your OS assigned to that specific drive. Memorize it and start to create the mount point:

sudo mkdir /media/newusb

where “newusb” is the mount point name you want to assign to your USB drive.

Then type:

sudo mount /dev/sdb1 /media/newusb

where “sdb1” is the drive identity we found before and “newusb” the mount-point name you choose.

That’s it, now your USB drive has a mounting point and you can use it (in my case I was able to create a bootable USB drive usiing Unetbootin)

You can find some extra useful tips about mounting USB drives at the Ubuntu community.  AddThis

Remastersys: the easy tool to backup your PC or to create a personalized Linux (Debian – Ubuntu) distribution

Everyday we improve the OS we usually use adapting it to our specific needs. Consequently, we are worried about major OS upgrades between one version to another because we know that bugs could affect our installation and indirectly corrupt our saved data. Usually backup software are the right solution for data but, if something goes wrong, we have to reinstall all our OS and reconfigure it. Better, we have to spend many hours to download and configure all the single software we had installed into our original OS.

This is always but annoying and time-wasting. To avoid this specific problem we can decide to install Remastersys on our Linux distribution and use it regularly. Remastersys is very simple to install. For example, if you use Ubuntu, you have just to download its pgp key and save it into the Home folder then you can go to Synaptic Package Manager –> Other Software –> Add and enter the apt line specific for your Ubuntu version:

deb http://www.remastersys.com/ubuntu precise main

or

deb http://www.remastersys.com/ubuntu quantal main

if you use quantal.

On Synaptic Package Manger go to Edit and click on Reload Package Information then look for remastersys. Now you have Remastersys launcher under System –> Administration.

Remastersys has a very intuitive menu and you will be able to powerfully use it after just few tests. Please, remember to set-up Remastersys using its Customize –> Configure menu and you avoid any beginner mistake. If your iso will be bigger than 4GB, and you want to save it in to a FAT disk, you have to back-up documents, pictures, videos, etc.. separately because FAT formatted disks don’t allow files bigger than 4GB.

Important, if you are creating a ISO to distribute it to friends, don’t forget to not include personal folders, documents or your sensible data. Enjoy it and, if you want to share with us your personal Debian – Ubuntu distribution, add the specific download link into a comment to this post!  AddThis

How to configure Firestarter to use VPN services on Linux

VPN LinuxIn my experience Firestarter is a effective firewall and, on Linux, it starts automatically every time we boot up Ubuntu. But, when I decided to use a VPN tunnel through openvpn, I had some connection problems. In fact I was able to initialize my VPN services but, after a while, all the internet connections were mysteriously shut down.

The “problem” was Firestarter which cut off the connection as forbidden considering my inbound/outbound Policy.

To solve this matter you have to open a tunnel on Firestarter to allow VPN working:

1- open the configuration file my VPN provider gives to its users (generally its a text file containing all the configuration info used, in my case, by openvpn) and I searched for the IP address of the default starting connection used to authenticate the VPN services (e.g. 177.458.563.25). Save somewhere or memorize this VPN IP address.

2- open a Terminal and type:

sudo nautilus

3- using nautilus go to File System (it’s before home folder) and open etc–>firestarter and open the file user-pre using Gedit (or your preferred text editor)

4- the user-pre file is usually empty so don’t panic and write these lines into it:

iptables -A INPUT -j ACCEPT -s xxx.xxx.xxx.xxx -p esp
iptables -A INPUT -j ACCEPT -s xxx.xxx.xxx.xxx -p udp -m multiport -sports isakmp,10000
iptables -A INPUT -j ACCEPT -i tun+
iptables -A OUTPUT -j ACCEPT -d xxx.xxx.xxx.xxx -p esp
iptables -A OUTPUT -j ACCEPT -d xxx.xxx.xxx.xxx -p udp -m multiport -dports isakmp,10000
iptables -A OUTPUT -j ACCEPT -o tun+

Now you have to substitute the xxx.xxx.xxx.xxx with the VPN IP address you have found at step 1 (in my example was 177.458.563.25).

5- Save the user-pre file and close Gedit and Nautilus

6- open a new Terminal and restart Firestarter typing:

sudo /etc/init.d/firestarter restart

That’all! Now your VPN works on your Linux computer and Firestarter has accepted a new Routed IP Tunnel into its allowed policies configuration.  AddThis

Solve audio troubleshooting on Ubuntu and start planning to migrate to another Linux OS

It was just a simple system update which dropped off audio on my Ubuntu 12.04. It was really strange to admit that I had experienced a crash (better: an audio crash) on a Linux but the 12.04 Ubuntu actually caused similar problems to a numerous bunch of long-term aficionados around the world.

The real problem with the last Ubuntu versions is that this OS is not supporting properly “old” hardware as it did previously during so many years. Reading some other bug reports on the web I discovered that these audio troubleshooting crashes happen principally to “old” IBM ThinkPad and Dell. I hope Ubuntu developers will consider to solve immediately these kind of issues or many users certainly migrate to other Linux version.

In any case the best and complete guide to solve audio troubleshooting has been developed by Ubuntu itself. The guide is very detailed but, if you want to definitively solve this bug, you have to spend more or less 40 (forty…. sic!) minutes and follow all the 17 (seventeen… sic!) steps.

In my case the audio was back after the first step and I decided not to follow the other instructions but the audio troubleshooting comes back, more or less, every two months. Just to you if you want to spend 40 minutes only one time or a couple of minutes every two/three months.

When I consider all the problems I had with Ubuntu on “old” hardware starting from the 12.04 version, my advice is to start thinking about a migration to another Linux OS. I am testing some Ubuntu alternatives and in the next weeks I will post something about the tests I’m doing on old laptops. Stay connected!   AddThis