Ubuntu Intrepid Ibex Release Party on 1st of November at c-base (Berlin)

So, half a year has passed and it’s time again to celebrate a new Ubuntu release. This is an invitation for you, your friends and any other human being around to join our „Ubuntu Intrepid Ibex Release Party“ on Saturday, the 1st of November, at the sunken starship c-base (Rungestraße 20), starting at 4pm.

Again, a couple of lectures will be held – ranging from new features in Intrepid (that’s my part, I’ll give the lecture at the same day also at the BLIT), over Gnome eyecandy stuff to presentations of Freifunk project and the DeepaMehta semantic desktop (don’t miss!) directly from it’s lead developer. So either if you are new to Ubuntu and want to make first steps and contact other Ubuntu users or you are a Linux guru – you’ll find somebody to have a chat with, I promise. There’ll even be a „tux tinker corner“ where you or your girl friend have the possibility to try out some Tux Origami.

The event’ll mainly be in German, but a lot of people are speaking English, so don’t hesitate asking for help/translations.

Entrance is free, there is a free wifi, so feel free to bring your notebook in. You can also „buy“ a freshly burned Ubuntu/Kubuntu/Xubuntu cd for a service charge of 1 Euro or check the Ubuntu merchandising table.

See you there?

Official Party Announcement Page
how to get to c-base?
Ubuntu Berlin

And your favorite new feature in Ubuntu Intrepid Ibex is … ?

Hey. As I am giving a little interview tomorrow about new features in Ubuntu Intrepid and’ll held two small lectures about the same topic my question to you is: What is your favorite new feature in Ubuntu Intrepid Ibex? Think, I like the new userland encrypted Private directory a lot, but also the new OpenSSH 5.1 version. But that’s just my taste – and yours? Are there – besides the widely known new features – things you’ve long been waiting for? Let my know by dropping a line in the comment field.

Having fun with OpenSSH on Ubuntu Intrepid Ibex – visual host keys

After having a quite uneventful upgrade to Ubuntu Intrepid Ibex (time for a change), I’s happy to notice, that Intrepid Ibex ships the new OpenSSH version 5.1 which has one little feature, I really fell in love with: visual host keys. You might already have read about it on Planet Ubuntu. In case you don’t: „visual host keys“ is a way presenting the ssh client user a 2d ascii art visualation of the host key fingerprint. It shall help you to recognize a ssh server by remembering a figure rather than the host key.

If you want to give this a try, call the ssh client this way:

$ ssh -o VisualHostKey=yes your.host.name
Host key fingerprint is ff:aa:a8:dc:0b:5e:e3:9f:96:f1:75:d4:24
+--[ RSA 1024]----+
|            +o   |
|             o. .|
|            E  + |
|       .   . .. .|
|      . S   ..   |
|   . o o..  . .  |
|    + + .+.. .   |
|   . + ooo.      |
|    . ooo        |

Nice, isn’t it? Now try your different ssh hosts and compare the figures. Hope you don’t start generating ssh host keys for getting a special figure, do you? :) Actually I don’t know if I’ll really remember figures of dozens of machines, but hey: it’s just additional fun.

In case you want to make this behavior default, add „VisualHostKey yes“ to your „~/.ssh/config“. In case you don’t have this file, make a new one with the following content (and find out that this file makes ssh really poweful in combination with command line completion, but that is another topic):

Host *
	VisualHostKey		yes

Please note: This might break applications that rely on the ssh console client as they don’t expect graphical art popping up. So if some other clients don’t work anymore, play around with aliases or your ~/ssh/config file.

Thank you, OpenSSH guys, I really appreciate your work.

10 hints for having a nice time with an upgrade to Ubuntu Intrepid Ibex

A couple of months ago, just before the Hardy release, I posted some hints for having a smooth upgrade. As the Intrepid Ibex release is three weeks ahead and beta is flying around, I’d like to remember on the hints with some minor updates:

  1. Remove all applications you installed for testing purposes but don’t use them. It’s a nice feeling to have a mostly cleaned machine. Removing applications before an update reduces download time, the space needed and dependency calculations as well as the risk of a dependency failure. So just drop all those only once clicked applications, games and even libraries. Take some time for this, it will save you time later (downloading, unpacking, dependency management). Trust me.
  2. Check that you have enough space left on your device. Hundreds of packages are being downloaded in one step, therefore you should have enough disk space for this. Keep this in mind.
  3. Compiled software by your own? Installed external .deb-files? If possible: Uninstall them, you can later reinstall them if they are not provided by Ubuntu+1.
  4. Added software repositories to /etc/apt/sources.list (or Synaptec?). Disable them for now.
  5. Of course: Back up, back up, back up. Decide, if a backup of your home directory fits your needs or you also want the rest of your partitions.
  6. Bring enough time: A full upgrade might take two hours and more, depending on your ram, cpu power, network speed and amount of installed applications. Don’t think an upgrade runs automatically – it will ask you several questions during package upgrades and therefore awaits your attention. Make the day your upgrade day or at least the afternoon your upgrade afternoon. A cup of tea might help.
  7. Check for already known caveats that you might take care of. Normally the most important ones are collected on the wiki page to the current beta release like this one. Really do this! There has just been a severe bug in the alpha release that could even damage hardware. So reading this can save you a lot of time.
  8. Make yourself clear what „alpha“ an „beta“ mean: Take them as warnings and only take the risk of an upgrade if you are not under time pressure for a project (like writing an essay, developing an application or anything with a deadline close to your upgrade day)… and don’t moan when something doesn’t work. You are going to use free software in a testing period. It is probably your bug report that improves it.
  9. Check if you have the possibility to have a second computer around enabling you for checking against discussion boards, wikis and other ressources of useful information. In case of an emergency it is crucial to be online in way because often really simple tricks can save your day.
  10. If you are going to install more than one system, try setting up an apt-cache, apt-proxy or similar which will save you a lot of download time.

After these steps, feel free to give „update-manager -d“ a try. Take notes of things that look strange and check launchpad bug tracker if they are already reported. Now it is up to you to help making Ubuntu a better distribution and Intrepid a really success.


There is a Spanish translation of this blog entry on UbuntuWay. Thank you.

First BBJ – Berlin Bug Jam – with MOTU Daniel Holbach on Monday, 16th of June at c-base Berlin

Ubuntu Berlin ist proud to present you the first BBJ: A „Berlin Bug Jam“ with Ubuntu MOTU Daniel Holbach, who will rock the place, for sure. Don’t know what a „Bug Jam“ is? Well, imagine it as a gettogether for working on bugs in a team. That does not mean, you have to be a developer: Everybody is welcome, who can do things from testing bug reports, triaging, patching or just wants to see how it all works. So this will rather be an „event“ than a lecture/workshop and provide you with a lot of fun and knowledge. If you want to see a detailed description of a bug jam, check the wiki page.On the BBJ, we will try to persuade to join the 5-A-Day project, motivating people to continuously enhance the Ubuntu Distribution and helping you to spread the word (and yes, to compete if you like) by trying to work on five bugs every day. Let’s see, if we succeed…

Feel free to bring your notebook along. We have power and free wifi, of course.

Event: 1. Berlin Bug Jam (BBJ) with Daniel Holbach
Location: c-base Berlin, Rungestr. 20
Date: 16th of June
Time: 18:00

Please note: If you want to support the Global Ubuntu Bug Jam, which is taking place from 8th to 10th of August,
this is a perfect possibility for you to gather some hands on
experiences. Of course, Ubuntu Berlin, will bring up a great lineup and
event for the Global Bug Jam. We are already working on it.

libapache2-mod-xsendfile – processes X-SENDFILE headers with apache2

For some projects I had to figure out a way to deliver a file via Apache2 but still being able to put some business logic before the download. Imagine you have a php, perl, rails, ruby or whatever project and want to check credentials before delivering a file while not blocking your application with submitting large amounts of data. Lighttpd has a mechanism called „xsendfile“ for this. To make it short, this looks for a X-Sendfile header sent by the application. If this header is set and directs to a file the web server stops processing its script and starts delivering a file.

Fortunately there is a promising Apache2 port for this: mod-xsendfile. As I had to compile this serveral times and did not find it in Debian unstable or Ubuntu I made it my first packaging attempt (after having attended the first German Packaging Jam held by Daniel Holbach – thank you!).

If you like, you can test the module for hardy by enabling my ppa archive:

deb http://ppa.launchpad.net/damokles/ubuntu hardy main
deb-src http://ppa.launchpad.net/damokles/ubuntu hardy main

and „aptitude install libapache2-mod-xsendfile“ afterwards. See the website for reference. I will also upload this to my ppa for stable releases within the next days.

There is a launchpad bug I created for this. Feel free to test the module and the package and add comments there or directly here. Sadfully this package is to late to be integrated into hardy, so maybe the Intrepid Ibex (what a name…) will be a good milestone.