Linux Blog

Free DVD Ripper Software

Filed under: General Linux — at 12:37 am on Wednesday, October 6, 2010

free dvd ripper software

So, you have a pesky DVD that you’d like to backup? The broader question is, do you have DVD ripper software? Well what is better than DVD ripping software? That’s right you guessed it FREE DVD ripper software!

(Read on …)

Impressed with the PostgreSQL Installer

Filed under: General Linux,Linux Software — at 10:48 am on Monday, April 27, 2009

Until today I had never installed PostgreSQL from the Binary provided at since it’s pretty much always in some form of repository provided by most distributions. Today, for the first time ever I installed it and have to say I’m very impressed with the installer. I some what shuddered as I saw a “install shield” type installer interface, as my past encounters with these have generally tended to not work out so well. What I noticed about the PostgreSQL installer though was different from the “install shield”, it was BitRock. BitRock is a cross platform installer for “Windows, Linux, OS X and more…” as this was my first experience with BitRock with a Linux machine I have to say it was a positive one. It allowed me to install PostgreSQL with some custom components pretty effortlessly. While most won’t need to do a custom installation as PostgreSQL will probably be in a repository, its handy to know that the installer works.

BitRock does not appear to have a completely free license but they do seem to give open source projects a “free copy.” Not sure how I feel about this, but I guess if they’re out to make money then it could work for them. Apparentely it doesn’t take much to please me on a mundane Monday morning, I’d have been perfectly fine with a tarball and manual configuration but the GUI has brightened up my day. Thanks BitRock! Does any one else have any encounters or shocking experience with installers? What about BitRock in general?

Linux CD Ripping Utilities

Filed under: Linux Software — at 12:33 am on Wednesday, January 21, 2009

CD Ripping with Linux doesn’t have to be the labor intensive task that it once was. No longer do we have the days of writing a hundred character command to rip a CD with the perfect options. Here are some utilities aimed at making your life of ripping your collection of CD’s to a digital format you can actually use.

First up for review is Grip. Grip is an gtk application that can play, rip and encode CD’s. It is really easy to use and is my CD ripping utility choice.

While the interface is not as pretty as it could be I guess its not hard to fool you that grip means business.

All you have to do to rip an entire CD is put it in, wait a couple of seconds and Bobs your uncle it found your track information from Next hop on over to the “Rip” tab and hit “Rip+Encode”. Since we didn’t select any tracks it should squawk and ask if you really wanted to try and rip no tracks, or if you just want to go ahead and rip the entire CD. I always hit entire CD and move along.

Before you get too excited and to a yum install grip and start ripping your entire collection keep in mind that you will have to install the dependencies (usually lame) and change the format under the “Config->Encode->Encoder” tab. This is not really a big deal and for your convenience grip will remember your settings. There are no sounds when a rip is finished (which can be frustrating either way,) but there it does eject your CDROM for you.

Goobox is next. Just as easy to install, just as easy to use and it’s also another gtk application. Goobox has a slightly more boring interface with less options. If your looking for a Gnome based CD ripper with a minimal interface this is the one to choose.

I think its about time for a KDE utility. KAudioCreator has an interface very similar to Goobox. You will first have to select an encoder from the “settings->encoder” tab. You can then pop a CD in and it works its magic just like the other CD rippers, well that is right after you hit the “Rip Selection” button which is the KDE gear.

Try them and let me know which one you like the best. GUI’s are nice but nothing can compare to a command line utility and this CD changing robot

Dealing with the HTML file input limitation of uploading multiple files

Filed under: General Linux — at 8:59 am on Thursday, August 28, 2008

Everybody knows how annoying the <input type=”file”> HTML tag is right? Does it make you mad when you have to browse and upload each file individually? Sure you can use JavaScript to add / remove the input boxes, but you still need to browse for each file individually, which if you’re uploading lots of files doesn’t make sense.

Would you like a multiple file uploader like Facebook has? Perhaps more of a simple explorer like interface that will allow you to select multiple files? Possibly previewing them, and perhaps processing them on the client side?

Well, I wouldn’t say it was the easiest thing in the world to implement but there is an open source multiple file uploader that might suit your needs. Since its written in Java, its highly expandable (if you know how or pay a development company or freelancer) and can also be partially configured with JavaScript.

What is this fantastic sounding multiple file uploader you speak of?

Its called jupload and can be downloaded from Don’t let the website fool you because this tool is actually pretty neat.

If any one would like examples on how to use it, just write a blog post linking to me saying how cool it is and how much you need it, offer me cash, comment or participate in this blog, offer me goods / services, give me links from your website or just e-mail me politely asking for help and I’ll see what I can do.

If you don’t like it: start reading the documentation like I did, seriously its not that hard.

Logging Sessions to Twitter

Filed under: Linux Software — at 12:01 am on Wednesday, August 20, 2008

If you follow me on Twitter you would know I asked everyone if there was anything that they wanted me to write about. @Ben_Marvin responded and asked about logging the commands you type to Twitter.At first, I thought that this could be done with history, which it probably can be, but does everything you type really have to be echo’ed to Twitter? I don’t think that you’d have many friends, Twitter would probably hate you and you’d most likely hit your maximum requests per hour pretty quickly.The Script command is another option, and this works quite well for this purpose. Read the script man page to find out more about this program. It basically (when ran) takes the I/O from your terminal and logs it to a file. Its a very handy utility.So, how do we get this data into Twitter? First of all, Twitter doesn’t allow very long posts so echoing out the data that the commands you type is not really practical. The best way to do it is to use script to log the session, exit the session and grep for the “]0\;” string for stuff you typed & not the responses.Here is the code:

script; grep ]0\; typescript 

You can then copy and paste it to your favorite Twitter application or pipe it to a scrubbing script to remove the formatting and do the correct HTML stuff, then post it via the http interface. Either way, it can be done even though I don’t think it really should.

Changing Window Manager on Fedora

Filed under: General Linux,Linux Software,Quick Linux Tutorials — at 8:34 am on Monday, August 18, 2008 was intended to be a blog where I could log my thoughts, findings and generally keep track of how to do stuff. Since it was started this is still the goal. Ultimately I’d like to refer to TheLinuxBlog on how to do something just as much as I refer to google for everything else. That being said, one thing that recently came up for me was “How do I change my desktop on Fedora”.

I had done this before but I couldn’t remember the command to do so. Well, since this blog is as much for me as it is for the reader I figure I can post the how to here and kill two birds out with one blog post, I mean stone.

The program I use to change my window manager on Fedora is: switchdesk.

Switchdesk can be installed by Yum or if you installed Fedora from DVD or CD and didn’t fine tune your packages then you probably have it already. All you have to do to run it is type:


Now, if you are in an X session you will get a nice graphical dialog that will help you change your desktop manager. If your at the terminal it will exit and ask you nicely to type either gnome, kde, xfce or any other window manager you may have installed.

Don’t ask me why every distribution has a different named command and interface to achieve the same thing thats just the way it is. Maybe one day I’ll get a list of all of the commands and post them. Alternatively if anyone wants to start a list feel free to post them in comments or by e-mail.

Whats your take on proprietary software?

Filed under: General Linux,Linux Software — at 11:57 am on Monday, August 4, 2008

Using proprietary software to some Linux users is considered a sin, right up there with not reading the manual. Not everyone that runs Linux feels this way. I for one don’t mind using a commercial / propriety product if the product serves the purpose well, and perhaps better than an open source implementation.

Take VMWare server for example. Although it does have its problems, it works very well for virtualization. Its pretty stable, has a good interface, works well and most of all is free. I have no problem installing and using this as long as it works.  I’ve been using it for a while, its what I’m used to and I have no problems with it. The moment VMWare Server stops working, I’ll try to find another alternative. Be it open source or not.

I don’t get why some people are so into the open source movement. Not tainting a system to me has no clear advantages. If I were to not install any proprietary software I would hardly be able to use my Linux box. Think about it, no Java (ok, I’d have the IcedTea runtime and GCJ), but no supported Java for Tomcat / Eclipse, I’d have no Flash, hardly any video codecs and no 3D accelerated graphics. My virtualization, may or may not work depending on what day of the week it was or if I had supported hardware. There is probably a whole lot more that I am missing that I don’t even know about.

So, I’m just interested to know what is every one else’s take on using proprietary software? Am I alone in being “fine” with installing closed source / proprietary software? Is my computer going to go to robot hell and sing with Bender for eternity? Please let me know your thoughts.

General Linux Kill Process

Filed under: General Linux,Linux Software,Quick Linux Tutorials — at 6:38 am on Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Killing a process with Linux is an easy task. As always there is more than one way to do it. There are graphical process managers that can be used to aid in killing a process on Linux. The first method I’ll demonstrate may work depending on your window manager. Either way you can set it up to work the same way if you like it.

The name of the program is xkill. My XFCE has a shortcut of CTRL+ALT+ESC but this may not be the case for every version of XFCE. Basically you press this keyboard shortcut and you get a skull and crossbones. Once you get that you can click on the window of the process you’d like to kill and it kills it.

To use Linux to kill a process from the command line, you can use one of two commands that are pretty standard throughout all Linux Distros the kill, and killall commands. The only real hard part is figuring out what process to kill. To figure out what process I want to kill I use the following command:

owen@linux-blog:~$ ps ax

then to use kill and killall on Linux I use:

owen@linux-blog:~$ kill <processid>

owen@linux-blog:~$ killall <processname>

This is pretty straight forward but if you have say multiple FireFoxes open, you may want to just kill the process by using the kill <processid> command, otherwise all of your FireFox windows will probably close since killall kills all processes that match the name, regardless of if they actually are crashed or not.

If the process won’t die, you can use the following to kill it. Be aware that this is not the best thing to do but it will kill the process.

owen@linux-blog:~$ kill -9 <processid>

owen@linux-blog:~$killall -9 <processname>

Basically instead of killing gracefully you send a SIGKILL to the process which is basically tells it to commit suicide no matter what its currently doing. I’ve listed all of the signals you can send to kill a process at the end of this post.

Another method to kill a process is by using top. Top is an interface that shows you what processes are doing what. You can kill a process (once your in top) by pressing the k key. It then asks you what PID (Process ID) you want to kill. You can figure this out from the list. It then asks what type of signal you want to use. You can use the default first, and then if the process just wont die, you can use 9. Top is useful for killing a bunch of processes in a small amount of time.

List of all signals that you can send:

owen@linux-blog:~$ kill -l

Slackware 12 HAL fix

Filed under: General Linux — at 9:15 am on Wednesday, September 5, 2007

HAL is short for Hardware Abstraction Layer. Its job is to make hardware work with minimal user interaction.
Unfortunately HAL on Slackware 12 does not work right out of the box.
While playing around trying to get HAL to work I was getting weired error messages such as:

File “/usr/bin/hal-device-manager”, line 7, in
import pygtk
ImportError: No module named pygtk


A security policy in place prevent this sender from sending this message to this recipient, see message bus configuration file (rejected message had interface “org.freedesktop.Hal.Device.Volume” member “Mount error name “(unset” destination “org.freedesktop.Hal”)

After doing some research I found that all that is needed to fix this to add your user name to the plugdev group in /etc/group
If you have multiple users that need access to HAL then add all of those user names to the /etc/group file while your at it. Seperate them with commas as followed:
For more information on the HAL project check out the HAL project page.