Setup Remote Desktop Sharing in Ubuntu with VNC

Video Tutorial – VNC

In this tutorial, I set up remote desktop sharing in Ubuntu and then
connect to Ubuntu from a Windows 7 computer using the Real VNC Client

Video Tutorial – TeamViewer

In this tutorial, I setup a remote desktop connection from Windows 7 to Ubuntu 11.10 using TeamViewer

Installing Linux in a Virtual Machine


A great way to learn the Linux operating system is to install it in a virtual machine. A virtual machine is a virtual computer that runs simultaneously and in parallel with the computer that is hosting it. In other words, you can run a Linux computer in a window on your Windows or OSX computer. Computer virtualization is a very important topic right now and many networks are going virtual. Networks are converting their servers and even their host computer infrastructure to virtual machines. A great way to begin learning about virtualization is run a virtual machine from your desktop. To do this you will need to install a virtualization software program to your computer, I recommend VMware and Virtualbox.

Virtualize or Partition?

Today, one of the main advantages I have found in using virtualization is speed, ease of access, and the ability to multi-task. In the old days, I used to spend a lot of time creating hard drive partitions to create dual boot computers, so I could boot to either Windows or Linux. The problem with a dual boot computer is that I would end up booting to one machine only, and never really take advantage of the other operating system. In other words, in a dual boot system you can only run one system at a time, and I would invariably just favor one over the other. By contrast, with a virtual machine, I can run another operating system virtually without having to shut down my current system. I have found this to be very handy, much like running multiple programs on my desktop. This allows me greater productivity and easy access. So which virtualization software platform should you use?

VMwareVMware has a huge selection of enterprise level professional products for deploying virtual machines across an entire network, and they also have free products as well. I recommend trying the free VMware Player to run virtual machines right from your desktop. In order to download and install the VMware player you will need to create a free user account with VMware. Once you have VMware player installed you can create and run virtual machines of almost any type of operating system available. Once you have created your first virtual machine you will be prompted to install VMware tools which will give you additional functionality.

Virtualbox – Oracle’s Virtualbox is another great virtualization software platform. It is free to download and is available for Windows, OS X, Linux, and Solaris. Once you have Virtualbox installed you can also create and run virtual machines of almost any type of operating system available. When you run Virtualbox you will be prompted to download and install the Virtualbox Extension Pack which will give you additional functionality.

Video Tutorial

In this tutorial, from within Windows 7, I install Linux Mint 14.1 in a VMware virtual machine

In this video, I create a custom VMware virtual machine and then install Ubuntu 11.10 

In this video, I create a custom Virtualbox virtual machine and then install Ubuntu 11.10

Upgrade & Personalize Ubuntu 10


I recently purchased the magazine Linux Identity Office Ubuntu 10.10 Maverick Meercat. It came with 2 dvds: one a 2-sided bootable Ubuntu install dvd with 32 bit on one side and 64 bit on the other. The other dvd is a Bootable Live CD. You can order the magazine by going to the website here:

See that specific issue’s table of contents and one viewable article here:

Since I have a new install of Ubuntu 10.10 on a laptop I decided to follow their article on things a user can do after a fresh install of Ubuntu. Here are some of the things they recommend doing:

Enable all of the available repositories so you can have access to installing a larger variety of applications, drivers and utilities

  1. Under System select Administration
  2. Checkmark “Software Sources” and press Close
  3. Now open System > Administration > Software Sources
  4. If they aren’t already check-marked you can check off “Proprietary drivers … (restricted)” and “Software restricted … (multiverse)”
  5. Click on the Other Software Tab and if they aren’t already check-marked check off the “Canonical Partners” and “Third-Party Software Developers” packages as well.
  6. Now you will have access to more installable applications and drivers!

Run the best drivers for your graphics card and wireless card

  1. System > Administration > Additional Drivers
  2. Ubuntu now searches to see if there are better drivers for your computer and lets you know if you are running proprietary drivers.
  3. On my laptop I discovered I am running a Broadcom proprietary driver for my wireless card. In the past, getting a wireless driver so easily installed on Linux was not always possible.

Enable desktop effects and Compiz

  1. System > Preferences > Appearance
  2. Click on “Visual Effects” and you will see three levels of desktop effects. Choose which one is right for you based on the power of your graphics card.
  3. My laptop since it is a little older is set to the “Normal” setting
  4. If you want some really cool desktop effects and your computer has a decent graphics card you may want to install the “CompizConfig Settings Manager”.
  5. To install Compiz open a Terminal (Applications > Accessories > Teminal) and type
    sudo apt-get install compizconfig-settings-manager
    (You will need to give your admin password and key in “y” + enter when prompted to execute the install)
  6. Now go to System > Preferences > CompizConfig Settings Manager and have FUN! Make sure you try “Wobbly Windows” under “Effects”and also try the “Desktop Cube”. In the CompizConfig Settings Manager Click on the “Desktop” section and then checkmark “Desktop Cube” and “Rotate Cube.” Now holding down the Ctrl + Alt keys and press the “Right Arrow” and “Left Arrow” keys … or holding down the Ctrl + Alt keys click and drag …. Oooooo!

Install a Docking Application

  1. Three docking applications are recommended: Avant Window Navigator, GNOME Do, and Cairo.
  2. To install AWN Avant Window Navigator. Open a terminal and type:
    sudo apt-get install avant-window-navigator
  3. Once the install is complete you can start the program by going to:Applications > Accessories > Avant Window Navigator
  4. You can Right+Click on the dock to change the preferences

Upgrade & Personalize Ubuntu 11


Ubuntu 11.10 codename Oneiric Ocelot has a completely different look and feel compared earlier releases off Ubuntu. Once you have installed this latest version of Ubuntu you may find yourself lost and fumbling around in the dark with the new Unity desktop. Well it is normal for “the new,” to feel a little uncomfortable, but that doesn’t mean that is necessarily bad.

Once you have your new install of Ubuntu 11.10 up and running, you will want to run updates especiall security updates, as well as upgrade and customize your system, like changing the desktop, customizing your menus, installing media players and codecs, etc..


Here are three websites that will help you with this process: , ,


New Install “To Do List!”
Open a Terminal shell and type in the following commands:
Command Explanation
sudo apt-get update Download a list of updated program packages
sudo apt-get upgrade Download upgraded program packages
sudo apt-get install ubuntu-restricted-extras Install support for media formats mp3, avi, Flash
sudo apt-get install compizconfig-settings-manager Install a graphical desktop settings manager
sudo apt-get install gnome Install the Gnome desktop



Install Fedora 16


Fedora is a Linux based operating system freely distributed and supported by a community of volunteer programmers and developers known as the Fedora Project. The Fedora Project is sponsored by Red Hat Linux and was started when Red Hat stopped releasing the free, developers edition of Red Hat, releasing only the commercial version, Red Hat Enterprise Linux. Fedora is a popular Linux distribution right behind Linux Mint and Ubuntu and there are many derivative Linux distributions.

{loadposition adposition6}Fedora is characterized by the GNOME 3 desktop, the Yum update utility, and the RPM Package Manager.

Installing Fedora

The current version of Fedora is Fedora 16, nicknamed “Verne,” it is the 16th version of Fedora released in 9 years which highlights Fedora’s extremely quick release schedule. You can download Fedora for free at the Fedora website: .

In the video tutorial below, I install the Fedora 16 Desktop Edition – Installable Live Media in a VMware virtual machine on a Windows 7 laptop.



Install Ubuntu 11.10


Ubuntu is one of the most popular distributions of Linux today. Based on the Debian Linux distribution, Ubuntu is designed for the desktop, home user although there are other Ubuntu variations, like Ubuntu Server that does not install a graphical user interface, Edubuntu designed for educational applications, Kubuntu designed for the KDE desktop, Ubuntu Studio designed as a professional video and audio editing workstation, and Mythbuntu designed as a MythTV home theater PC.

The Ubuntu operating system is freely distributed and is supported by Canonical LTD. which also sells technical support and services.

Installing Ubuntu

As of now, the current version of Ubuntu is 11.10, named “Oneiric Ocelot,” it is the second release of Ubuntu to use the Unity desktop written on top of the GNOME 3.x desktop. You can download Ubuntu for free at the Ubuntu website: . The download page offers different options for installing Ubuntu including downloading a burnable iso bootable image, installing Ubuntu alongside Windows in a dual boot system, or creating a USB bootable thumb drive.

In the following tutorial, I download the Ubuntu 32bit iso file and install it in a VMware virtual machine on my Windows 7 laptop.


Intro to the Linux Shell

Shell Overview

What is the shell? Shell is actually a generic term for any interface to your computer. When talking about linux (or any other unix-like system), usually the shell refers to the command line interface (CLI). The command line interface most people are familliar with is DOS. There are actually several CLI shells that are common, however the most common default shell for the majority of the modern unix-like systems is BASH the Bourne Again Shell. The shell is sometimes referred to by several names, terminal, CLI, console, etc..

BASH Commands

Some of the most commonly used BASH commands are: cd, cat, man, ls, pwd, mkdir, touch, file, grep, help, less

Commands that give Help – One of the first things to learn how to do on any unfamiliar system is to get it to tell you how to use it. Within Linux there are a plethora of commands that provide great information on how to use the system.

help – the help command is useful in that it shows you information on what your shell can do for you. Most of this information is very specific to the shell you are using, but it will also list all of the commands built-in to your shell. It will display more information than you will be able to use right now, but it is good to know that it is there, it will help you later. Its also important to note, that if you see a command listed after help, such as cd, you can use that as an argument to help, by typing help cd.

man – the next useful command to know is man. Man is short for manual. When a program is installed, most of the time it also comes with a man page. The man pages are specific to each program. For example to access the man page for the ls command you would type man ls. You’ll notice that man pages are layed out really nice, and you can scroll up and down by using the arrow keys.

After that there is one more useful trick for getting help about commands. Almost every command in linux provides basic usage information by passing it –help. For example if you type grep –help, it will tell you how to use grep. Its usually more technical and specific than man pages so its a good resource to have in addition to man pages. In the process of learning linux there is one help source that is better than anything else: Google. If you dont know how to use something, type it into Google, it has been a personal lifesaver many times.

Commands that Navigate Files & Directories – Now that we know how to get some basic help about our system, lets see if we can start navigating.

ls – the ls command stands for list. If you type ls into your terminal, you will get a list of the files of the directory you are currently in. By default, when you open up a shell it’s current path with be your home directory. This is a place for you to store all of your files where nobody else but the root user can access them on your computer. You may notice that there are a lot of files in this directory, they are not actually files, The blue color indicates that they are directories. Directories are also sometimes referred to as folders, these terms are interchangeable.

So looking at the list of files and directories from the output of the ls command, you may want to enter a directory like the Downloads directory. In order to do this you need the change directory or CD command.

cd – the change directory command allows you to navigate into different directories. From the default home directory if you type: cd Downloads, you will enter the Downloads directory. You may notice that not much visibly changes, other than the ~, signifying the Home directory is replaced with Downloads. This means that the current working directory has changed to Downloads. This shows you the relative current directory, but how do you find out where you are in relation to anything else?

pwd – the pwd command will print the current working directory. This tells you where you are in relation to the root of the filesystem / . The single forward slash represents the root of the filesystem. The command pictured above reveals that the current directory Downloads is three directories from root. The current directory is underneath Downloads, which is underneath dan, which is underneath home, which is on the root of the filesystem /. Now that you know where you’re at, how do you get back to the home directory?

{loadposition adposition6}There are many ways to navigate a filesystem using cd. Understanding relative vs absolute paths is important. There is no right or wrong way to get to different directories. There are a few important things to note:

./  = indicates the current directory

../ = indicates one directory higher up in the filesystem

/ = indicates the root of the filesystem

~ = current user’s home directory

cd /home/dan/Downloads is an example of an absolute path – cd’ing to that will always yield the same results

cd ./Downloads or just cd Downloads, is an example of a relative path, cd’ing to that will yield different results depending on the current working directory.

Within the current example, if i wanted to get back to my home folder named “dan”, there are four basic ways of doing it.

cd ../ = going up one directory

cd /home/dan = passing the absolute path to my home directory “dan”

cd ~ = passing tilde which stands for your home directory

cd = simply issuing the cd command takes you back to your home directory

They all do the same thing, they take me back to my home directory.

Commands that find files – how do you find or search for files and directories in Linux? There are two very common commands to find files, and they work off of two different principles.

find – find is a very power program it operates by iterating through every file/folder on the entire filesystem. It has many options, and I recommend referencing the man page to master it.

find / -name bash = find a file named bash located somehwere under /

locate – locate works much more like a search engine, in that it requires indexing to occur before it returns any results. As a result, locate can find files/directories much faster, however indexing can take some time, although indexing only has to be performed after the file system changes.

updatedb – indexes the file system, updating the locate database

locate bash = find bash somewhere underneath root (/)

Video Tutorials

Linux terminal commands for Beginners –  In this series of tutorials, I cover basic, Bash shell commands for navigating, searching, getting help, creating files and directories, editing text and more. Commands that are covered are: pwd, ls, cd, mkdir, touch, rm, rmdir, man, less, more, mv, cp, cat, updatedb, sudo, locate, file.

Part 1 – Navigating and viewing directories, absolute and relative paths (pwd, cd, ls)

Part 2 – Command arguments, long format, hidden files (ls -l, ls -a)

Part 3 – Piping, viewing output, and getting help (ls, | , more, less, man, –help)

Part 4 – Making and removing files and directories (mkdir, touch, rm, rmdir)

Part 5 – Moving, copying, renaming, editing and viewing files (mv, cp, nano, cat)

Part 6 – Searching for files, elevating permissions (locate, updatedb, sudo, file)

Install Cacti in Ubuntu


The ability to monitor your network over time is very important tool for a network administrator. It will help you to identify normal traffic flows and patterns and establish a benchmark for normal performance. There are many tools for monitoring networks and workstations in a network. Using Linux you can setup a network monitoring server that monitors your network using free open source tools. Cactii is a rrdtool  a round robin database tool that polls the network, gathers information, and charting and graphs that information over time.

Video Tutorials