Category Archives: Ubuntu

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

 

Hibernate for Ubuntu

Since the Ubuntu 12.04 LTS the hibernate icon disappeared as possible option at the shutdown. It is not a big loss if you are not used to use (or overuse) it as I often do. Personally I think that the hibernate feature is really useful when you want to freeze your computer maintaining all the windows -and the work- you are working on at a precise moment. 

Ubuntu decided to “cut” this particular command from its GUI because it registered a remarkable number of problems caused by hardware conflicts in modern computers. 

If you use Ubuntu and you think that hibernate could till be useful for you (especially during busy working days), it is possible to insert again this specific feature as GUI on your Desktop.

First of all you have to test if your computer contains the right hardware for “hibernate” so open Terminal and type:

sudo pm-hibernate

The computer will hibernate itself but you have to reboot it to understand if hibernate worked properly in your case.

I hope (as it was for my PC) that all has gone well. In this case you can start to create the dedicated icon on your upper bar.

Before of starting it’s necessary to understand that the hibernate command will use the SWAP partition to save your temporarily data. Usually it is recommended to have a SWAP partition with, at least, the double of space of your RAM.

So I suggest to install Gparted to check the SWAP space and, only if necessary, increase your SWAP partition reducing the primary partition. Please, do this only after you safely backup all the data in your computer because this procedure could be risky if you are doing it for the first time and you have not enough experience:

sudo apt-get install gparted

Open a Terminal and install gedit and gksu (if you don’t have them already installed on your machine) typing:

sudo apt-get install gksu && sudo apt-get install gedit
Then type:
sudo gksu gedit /etc/polkit-1/localauthority/50-local.d/com.ubuntu.enable-hibernate.pkla
Now a blank gedit document, named enable-hibernate.pkla will appear on your screen.

Copy and paste the following text to “compile” it:

[Enable Hibernate]

Identity=unix-user:*

Action=org.freedesktop.upower.hibernate

ResultActive=yes

Save it and reboot your computer.

A new icon will appear on the right corner of the upper bar. When you click on it, a Terminal window will appear asking for the system password. Type it and click on Return and your PC will immediately hibernate. 

Good busy working days!

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

The good third choice: MATE desktop environment. The traditional but rock solid solution for the Unity unhappy users (when also Gnome fails)…

My first Linux OS was a Knoppix but I had so many problems with the hardware drivers, the LAN configuration and the monitor settings that I was really discouraged. After many tests I decided that Ubuntu was the right OS for my notebooks and I continued to use it without any particularly matters till Unity.

Unity is nice to see, intuitive but if you use your OS in a stressful way (I mean doing three or four different tasks all together: reading emails, talking with Skype and writing on LibreOffice), you spend too much time looking for the icon you need to launch the right program. The vertical monitor space has not enough room to visually show all the icons related to programs I use everyday. Surely this is my personal matter but I actually prefer the “old” graphic interface. For this reason I decided to install Gnome 3 but my vetust IBM Thinkpad crashed a couple of time in a week.

To my surprise also the Gnome Classic option encountered some crashes due to the amount and diversity of the software I installed on my laptop during the last years.

As usual, after some web searches I found a solution: MATE. This particular desktop environment is a fork of Gnome 2 and it really looks very intuitive and easy to use. If some software conflicts with the MATE environment, a pop-up message will appear on your sceeen and, if you have the patience to read the Details contained in it, you will able to solve your problems. In my particular case (don’t ask me why) it helped me to focus my attention on Conduit which caused the crashes on Gnome.

To easily install MATE, on almost every Linux distribution, you can read its wiki dedicated page or directly follow the below instruction if you use Ubuntu 12.04.

– open Terminal and type these command lines:

sudo add-apt-repository "deb http://repo.mate-desktop.org/ubuntu oneiric main"
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-getinstall mate-archive-keyring
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install mate-core
sudo apt-get install mate-desktop-environment

When the Terminal finishes all the upgrade stuff, reboot your Ubuntu 12.04 and select MATE on the login screen (click on the upper right “gear” and choose MATE).

That’s all! Have a good week! AddThis

How to launch Pogoplug online services (as local disk) on Ubuntu 12.04 LTS

I confess that  I use Pogoplug as cloud server for my external hard disks because it is really simple to configure and  trustful.  Unfortunately the Linux version of the Pogoplug management software  is not so simple to configure and  has fewer features than the Windows and MAC versions.

Running Ubuntu 12.04 LTS I can manually mount the drives I connected to my Pogoplug device, following the path Network –> Windows –> etc.., but sometimes this way is not so fast and moreover I cannot access to Pogoplug Cloud.

Waiting for an updated software from the producer I decided to use the current version to automatize  the process and mount the drives connected to the Pogoplug and its cloud as if they were physically attached to my Ubuntu 12.04 LTS.

After a “classic” Google search on this topics I found different suggestions. Unfortunately I also had more than few problems to configure the software provided by Pogoplug because some tips were not so clear or easy as I desired.

By my experience, the fastest and reliable way to configure Pogoplug drives on Ubuntu 12.04 is the following:

– open Terminal and type sudo apt-get install fuse-utils

– open Synaptic Package Manager and be double sure you have yet installed these packages: fusesmb, fusedav, fuseext2, fusefat

– download the Linux software provided into the Downloads section of Plogoplug website, unzip it and save the file in your Home folder

– open Terminal and type: sudo usermod -a -G fuse $(id -u -n)

– log out and then log in again on your Ubuntu account to be sure that Fuse is correctly running

– open Terminal again and create a directory (in Media) to be used as mount point: sudo mkdir /media/pogoplug

– then type: sudo chown root:fuse /media/pogoplug

– and: sudo chmod 0775 /media/pogoplug

– in Terminal launch this command:

/home/yourusernameonubuntu/pogoplugfs --password yourpassword 
--mountpoint /media/pogoplug --user yourusername

where:

1. yourusernameonubuntu means you have to insert the name of User profile you use when you log in Ubuntu on your computer

2. yourusername and yourpassword are the username and password you use on the Plogoplug Website

Now, after some seconds an many automatic text lines, an icon named Pogoplug will appear on your desktop and you will be able to manage the online Pogoplug features as a local disk.

Don’t forget that you have to use keys -control+c-  in Terminal if you want to disconnect from  Pogoplug.

At this point the work is done but you might create a launcher icon in your (e.g.) Applications menu  following this instructions:

–  go to: System Tools –> Preferences –> Main Menu  and click on the group (menu) where you want to create your new launcher (in my case simply was  Applications)

New Item –> Create Launcher

Then fill the required fields with:

Type = Application in Terminal

Name = Pogoplug

Command =

/home/yourusernameonubuntu/pogoplugfs --password yourpassword 
--mountpoint /media/pogoplug --user yourusername

(as for the example above)

If you want to personalize the button you can also choose your favorite icon clicking on the picture on the left high corner.

On my side I also preferred to automatize the launch of Pogoplug command at each boot up in this way:

– go to: System Tools –> Preferences –> Startup Applications
– click on Add

– fill the fields:

Name = Pogoplug

Command = Same command line you used to start Pogoplug drive:

/home/yourusernameonubuntu/pogoplugfs --password yourpassword 
--mountpoint /media/pogoplug --user yourusername

(as for the example above)

So, starting now, you will have your Pogoplug drive connected each time you boot Ubuntu. You will not have any annoying Terminal lines.

Security  Warnings: don’t forget that the data you move to and back Pogoplug, are directed  through the web. This means that they could potentially be  intercepted (and read) by third parties but it’s also necessary to  specify that, if you configure it on the website Settings area,   Pogoplug uses SSL (HTTPS)  to encrypt the connection with its servers.

Anyway, don’t forget that  the data you store into Pogoplug are not encrypted. If you want to join a  better level of security you can encrypt previously your data or  your disks using different softwares as TrueCrypt or the command  dm-crypt (for more details on this topic also visit http://archlinuxarm.org/forum/viewtopic.php?t=1761&p=9723).  AddThis