Posted in Linux, Ubuntu

Install Flash Player on Ubuntu 11.04 x64

I was under the impression that Ubuntu 11.04 installed a flash player during initial setup.

Well, I was wrong. After installing Ubuntu on my system and heading to Pandora, I discovered that flash was not installed. I installed the version from Adobe’s site, but that one still didn’t work.

Here’s a quick way to install it from the command line:

$  sudo apt-get install flashplugin-nonfree

Restart your browser, and give it a try. YouTube and Pandora should work now.

Posted in Computers, Fedora, Linux, Software, Ubuntu

Setup and Configure NFS Server/Client in Linux

Up until now, I had been accessing my Ubuntu server via Samba, from my Fedora 12 box. Until I discovered what NFS really is and how it works.

The actual guide which I followed can be found on the Ubuntu forums here.

I was able to successfully install the server portion of it on my Ubuntu 9.10 server, and access it from Fedora 12.

BUT! In order to get it to mount automatically when booting, instead of editing /etc/fstab, I had to edit /etc/mtab. The rest was fine. Keep this in mind if you get an error when adding it to your “fstab.”

Now that I better understanding of what NFS is, it’s time to do some good reading and research on it for future reference.

Posted in Linux, Ubuntu

Race With Time – Server Uptime

How long can your system do in “uptime”?
We’ll see…

03-09-10 status update: After almost 27 days of solid uptime, the server unexpectedly crashed. I’ve been reviewing the logs, but unable to find any information leading me to the cause of the crash. So far, the only thing I’ve found that seems suspicious is the avahi-daemon – there is an error right about the time when the server stopped responding.

The network shares (mounted via AFP with Netatalk) suddenly disappeared on my Mac. This lead me to believe that I may had lost network connection from the Mac – but that wasn’t the case. Pinging and attempts to ssh to the server were unsuccessful, as they both timed out. All vital signs on the server seemed to be okay – the power was on, fans were spinning, hard drives were spinning…etc., but there was no response from the keyboard – just a black screen on my monitor, as if the screensaver was on.

Unplugging and plugging the keyboard didn’t help, there was still no way to get anything to come out on the screen – trying another keyboard still didn’t do the trick. The NIC LEDs were on, but solid, which was a bit uncommon. There was no visible hard drive activity… Not really sure what happened.

After 15 – 20 minutes of troubleshooting before powering the server off, I realized that the system may have just locked up or crashed, and it seems that this is what happened.

A few minutes later after a hard shut-down, everything seemed normal. I took advantage of the time to install the latest kernel, which had been sitting in my “pending” updates for quite a few days now.

So, the race against time starts again.

Current server uptime? 1:12

Posted in Computers, Linux, Ubuntu

Help! Deleted /var folder contents

How did it happen?

Thinking that it would help me free up space on my /var partition, I logged on as root and did: rm -R *
It took a few seconds, and gave me an error about being unable to delete the “lock” and another folder.

Shortly after that, I tried to do an update using aptitude and apt-get, but get this error:

What am I to do?
Well, for starters – learn my lesson: Never, EVER delete anything from those system partitions without knowing what I’m deleting. Next time, a quick Google search should help me clean out my /var folder.

Next thing that I’ll do is run the Ubuntu Live CD and try to recover the system from there. I’ll add results later.


After searching the Internet and browsing the Ubuntu forums without much luck, I found a post which helped me get apt-get and aptitude working.

What I did: Create each folder that apt-get and aptitude were asking for.
For the /var/lib/dpkg/status (status) file, I had to “touch” a new file. It was then that sudo aptitude update worked.
# sudo touch /var/lib/dpkg/status

Now – the only problem so far is that the system no longer “remembers” the programs that are installed, but at least apt-get and aptitude are operational once again. From further readings, it seems that after deleting the contents of /var, a reinstall of the operating system may be necessary. This doesn’t cause much of an inconvenience for me, since I’ve been thinking of doing so for quite a few days now.

Posted in Computers, Linux, Networking, Ubuntu, Unix

Setting Up Ubuntu Server

I’ve chosen to bring back to life an old PC that I had sitting in storage, install Ubuntu Server, and use it as a file server at home.
One of the things I’ve always taken for granted when setting up an OS  installation (PC & Mac),  is partitioning. Rarely questioning my decision, I’ve always used a single partition and dumped the OS, programs, and data files in it. If the OS needed a reinstall, I’d just back-up the data to an external USB drive, wipe the drive clean and start all over, and restore the data.

Now, this doesn’t seem so easy to do or accepting when setting up this Ubuntu-based server. Numerous online readings, articles and forum posts suggest using a partitioned drive to separate the OS from the data and the rest of the system, and this is where I seem to be stuck – making a decision on whether I should do this or not, understanding how it works and WHY.

Before I continue, I’ll add that I’m a total beginner to the Unix/Linux world; previous terminal exposure has been very, very little on the Mac, so I’m not very fluent using Ubuntu, much less without a graphical interface. I have to “Google” every other command or task I want to complete.

Returning to the partitioning and setup, I’ve noticed that I have quite a few choices:

  • Separate partitions for /, root, boot
  • Separate partitions for /, root, boot, /home, /srv, /usr
  • Formatting as ext3, ext4, vfat (FAT32), LVM, NTFS…

So, needless to say, that given the fact that I have so many options, I am quite confused as to which one is the correct one for my needs. I want to select one that will allow me to keep my data safe, and keep the OS separate from the data, so I can do repairs and reinstalls without the need to move hundreds of GBs to an external device, and then transfer it back to the main server drive.

After much thinking, reading and debating, I think I have settled with the following, for now:

  • 100 MB /boot partition
  • 512 MB /swap partition
  • 10 GB / partition, formatted as LVM2
  • Remaining disk space is not formatted and still debating how to format it and partition it.

For now, all that remains is that I continue to do some research and reading, ask questions on the Ubuntu forum, evaluate my needs and go from there. I’d hate to format it one way because ‘everyone else says so’, only then to realize that it’s difficult for me to maintain, given that my knowledge on the system is so limited. I plan to have a final decision within a few weeks so the server can be finally ready to go online and starts to serve data to my internal network.

Let’s see what the future holds…