A real reason to hate The Friend Zone

You know, besides it being generally sucky for whoever's stuck in it. A friend of mine who shall remain anonymous wrote this and i'm sharing it not because i agree wholeheartedly with it, but because although i am familiar with the concept of The Friend Zone, just as i'm sure all of you are as well, i'd never considered this before. My friend would like to note that this was written from discussions with their female friends, not experience or large, detailed research. I'm reminded of a somewhat-related XKCD.

TL;DR: Skip to the last paragraph.

Guest writers and anonymous contributions are always welcome! Please feel free to contact me if you have something you'd like to share here.

Although I knew this in the past, it was truly solidified for me today. While I have long heard of "The Friend Zone," a proverbial place a man finds himself in after befriending a lady, I did not truly believe that real, decent womenfolk participated in this kind of -- friendly castration. Essentially, it works like this. You are a nice guy, perhaps a bit low on confidence, and you meet someone. A girl, in fact. She's quite pretty, but you didn't notice that -- the first thing you truly noticed about her was that she was talking about XKCD. Math. Your favorite band. Really, whatever floats your boat. Love at first... overheard conversation? Yes. Anyhow, you summon up your courage and approach her. You understand her. She understands you. Before long, you're confiding in each other, letting each other in on your deepest secrets... you realize that whenever you think about her, your heart skips a beat... you go out of your way to run into her... and when you look into your heart, you realize that truly, this must be love.
The problem here is that by waiting long enough after meeting her to truly fall in love with her... you have sealed your fate. By initiating your interaction with the thought of friendship rather than the subtext of seduction, you've forever locked yourself in a part of her heart known as... the Friend Zone. The Friend Zone is a place that is all well and good, if you really just want to be friends. However, once in, you can't back out. The closer you become to her, paradoxically, the less room you have to maneuver the relationship into something Bigger.
Recently, after having a philosophical conversation with a certain female confidante who I believed to be, well, rather sane, I discovered that she too suffers from this strange disorder. I started realizing that every female friend I had was one less fish in the sea -- one more person I could never hope to date. By being the man that I am, I've found myself the subject of the adoration of many people I might, at some point, be interested in dating. But, alas, this adoration is the wrong kind... I have become, perhaps not "just" a friend, as that would dilute the value of friendship, but, well, solely a friend. No longer am I a "man," possessed of the equipment and accessories that make me a suitable suitor, but some sort of psychological eunuch. A creature not quite capable of sex. Not a man, but a sexless companion.
I truly do not understand how the female mind can possibly justify this. It encourages the kind of behavior that women claim to despise -- approaching them with the intent to get to know them better, but only in the biblical sense. If a man truly wants to get to know a woman for who she is -- there is no chance for him. He shall be a Friend, nothing more. If in the course of friendship, he realizes that he has met someone he finds truly special, it's too late. The very fact that he's discovered who she is, at her core, makes him unsuitable. In my experience, getting to discover a personality can only make me feel more strongly -- however, in the fairer sex, this process works backwards. It goes beyond rational desire to maintain a friendship without complications. If it were only that, the feelings would still be there. But it is beyond that -- not only is there no logical desire for a relationship, there is no capacity for romantic love when companionate love already exists. The sum is not commutative -- in order for a man to be successful, he has to enter a situation first with his penis, then with his heart.
What. The. Fuck?

Can Ubuntu reach over 16,000 anime lovers in April?

Can Ubuntu reach over 16,000 anime lovers in April? Of course it can, with the support of the rapidly expanding super mega-awesome community (that's you all)!

Anime Boston returns for 2010 on April 2-4 and the Ubuntu Massachusetts Local Community Team has some ambitious plans. Last year, I went in on behalf of the team and dropped off 50 copies of the Ubunchu Manga with Jaunty CDs attached, and they were all gone within the first couple of hours of the first day of the convention. It seemed to be the only thing on the flyer table that people actually wanted! The event was amazing. There were people there from all over the country, even across the world. Over 15,000 people attended and that number has risen from little over 4,000 since the first convention in 2003. For 2010, we're going to be reaching out to this huge potential user base. While we're at it, we'll also be creating a new model for Linux groups to raise funds for projects without the having to go through registering as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization or being legally recognized in any way.

Ubuntu really is a perfect candidate for the new operating system of choice for all anime lovers, and that is exactly what we aim to make it. Is there a more passionate and tight-knit, yet diverse and open minded cultural phenomenon that we could target than the widespread anime fandom? Convention goers are a great target audience. They tend to be slightly on the geeky side but still cool of course and very receptive to Ubuntu. An OS that is beautiful yet still highly customizable, Free and Open Source with a supportive enthusiastic community that very much mirrors their own couldn't be a better match! With the right planning along with support from the community and maybe a couple of the big dogs, our goals are very attainable.

So, what exactly will we be doing? We can approach this on several levels, starting with setting up a booth in the Dealers' Room of the convention. From here, we can distribute free copies of the Ubunchu Manga, Ubuntu LiveCDs, and materials on FOSS, Ubuntu, and our team. Most importantly, we'll be out there talking and connecting with people and generally just making a big impression on them. We will also offer live installs and do some cool demonstrations, the basic stuff that should be expected. If we gain enough resources, another great opportunity is distributing our materials in the Anime Boston registration bags. This would put our materials in the hands of almost every single convention attendee. That's expected to be over 16,000 people!

It's important that we are smart about how we spread Ubuntu since buying a computer with Ubuntu pre-installed is the most effective way to get people to switch. We are hoping companies who are committed to FOSS and GNU/Linux will be willing to partner with us for the event. We have already contacted some manufacturers such as System76 and ZaReason and would happy to hear from any others. With additional funding we may be able to sell Ubuntu merchandise like bootable USB drives and display some machines from our partner(s) with anime themes (some good wallpapers from here and here). If possible, we'd like to auction or raffle off a customized laptop with anime themes and an Anime Boston design laser-etched into it. How cool would that be!

I might also be signing up for a tech staff or volunteer position at the event so I can be an inside man solving problems and being a computer hero all the while spreading Ubuntu to everyone running the convention. If you thinks you might be interested in doing this, you're encouraged to apply at the Anime Boston website. During one of the main events at the 2009 convention, I remember hearing Windows error sounds!

On top of all of this, we have a digital camcorder which will capture everything every step of the way. The video camera records in full HD and everything (Sony HDR-XR520V if you're curious). So not only would we have an immediate impact on everyone at the convention, but we can extend our reach to YouTube and continue to have a lasting impact long after the convention closes its doors for the year.

As mentioned before, we will be setting a precedent with this project. To the best of our knowledge this has never been done before or at the very least not on this scale. Thanks to Linux Fund, we will be able to accept tax-deductible donations to cover the costs of this event. Linux Fund is currently in the process of setting up a system that will allow them to provide this service to other FOSS community groups at a competitive rate. Such a valuable resource has not been readily available to unincorporated FOSS groups in the past. This is a real game-changer: the possibilities are endless. This relationship reflects the growing trend of FOSS groups building relationships with the nonprofit community. Once this infrastructure has been implemented, we can expect to see many more projects of this magnitude and greater spring up.

This is where all of you, the community, come in. We cannot depend so much on big sponsors to jump on board just yet, so we are going to start with a community fundraiser to raise money for the essential elements of our campaign and show our potential sponsors that this is a worthwhile endeavor. The most important element of this campaign is our physical presence at the Anime Boston conventions so our first fundraising goal will be $700; that's just 70 people willing to give ten dollars! Help us blow this goal out of the water so that we can move on to the good stuff. Please repost this everywhere you can: (micro)blogs, YouTube, etc. Also pitch us your ideas in the comments of this post and please subscribe to keep up with our fundraising. Thank you all!

For more donation options, please visit our project page at Linux Fund: 


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No Flyers Go Farther

URL: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yamNKwoYvps
From my YouTube channel (please subscribe!): http://www.youtube.com/user/TheSilentNumber


8 Free Google Wave Invites (first come, first serve)!

To continue my selfless giving out of sheer love for my readers, i'm going to follow up those ten free Google Voice invites with eight free invites to a service in much higher demand and much lower supply. I'm still going to direct people to that YouTube contest i started since it's never going to end at this rate, but anyways, enjoy these:

  1. https://wave.google.com/wave/invite?a=pre&wtok=d1eaff123141a470&wsig=ABk8uhRfgeqNKbhYWaO9AYqGMox7a4HPrA
  2. https://wave.google.com/wave/invite?a=pre&wtok=54089d973a03eece&wsig=ABk8uhRDM4GWhzk2x4QqM66PhBSK_xzQMg
  3. https://wave.google.com/wave/invite?a=pre&wtok=1368047731672bc6&wsig=ABk8uhR0se3lfseNCFBNLMkpB9N1LdLGrw
  4. https://wave.google.com/wave/invite?a=pre&wtok=c5776ddff23a0416&wsig=ABk8uhTR3YXgHQ7cBqgRxJDfdPAX2Wt5CA
  5. https://wave.google.com/wave/invite?a=pre&wtok=c1e797af6424b043&wsig=ABk8uhSR72gy7_SpRuxM593_K-vX3RaL8A
  6. https://wave.google.com/wave/invite?a=pre&wtok=6df4ef2ec01b1cc7&wsig=ABk8uhSNxL0bmz-aqKq_QwHA_QA3uawFHQ
  7. https://wave.google.com/wave/invite?a=pre&wtok=8ba3045df2eb8cd9&wsig=ABk8uhRVHtrykC9OhnzAZVseBRuPR97WJw
  8. https://wave.google.com/wave/invite?a=pre&wtok=ea628f9eac2dfc9d&wsig=ABk8uhRY-3E8McR-Ymtlgzh2VuU7kWlL6w

Top things to do after installing Ubuntu Linux 9.10 Karmic Koala

See the new version: Ubuntu 10.04 Post-Install Guide: What to do and try after installing Lucid Lynx!

So you've just installed Ubuntu 9.10, the cute and cuddly Karmic Koala, but now you're confronted with a most pertinent question, "What do i do now?" Ubuntu is a very complete and full-featured Linux distribution, but no operating system can come with everything you want. There's much more fun to be had in what comes after installing the OS on your machine: now you get to set it up with all the best software it didn't already come with! This list of the top things to do immediately after installing your newly acquired copy of Ubuntu doubles as a general list of great software to try out and use, complete with links to any special instructions on how to set them up, Terminal commands for those who prefer a command-line interface (CLI), and when available, personal package archives (PPA), repositories to keep the applications at their newest version, not just the security updates provided for you by default. Repositories can be added easily by clicking the "Add..." button in the "Other Software" tab of Software Sources and entering the provided APT Line. Feel free to pick and choose; enjoy!

Basic Stuff

Download Mirror & Updates

After every major Ubuntu release (beta, release candidate, and especially the final), the official servers will be unbearably sluggish. To select an alternative server, just launch Software Sources (System ⟶ Administration ⟶ Software Sources) and click the drop-down menu next to "Download from:" and select "Other..." at which point the Choose a Download Server window should pop up. If you know of a fast local server you may select it from the list, or you can try clicking the "Select Best Server" button to launch a tool that will test all the servers for the fastest connection and choose the best result.

Optionally, jump to the "Updates" tab. If you'll always be running the newest version of Ubuntu and are using third-party repos, which we will be, then leaving the defaults should be fine. "Unsupported Updates (karmic-backports)" gives you, as the name implies, unsupported versions of future packages which are still in development which you probably don't need or even want except in certain situations like having a newer-model Apple machine that requires bleeding edge updates. Packages may contain new features, introduce new interfaces, and not be sufficiently tested for inclusion in the 'proposed' repository. "Pre-released Updates (karmic-proposed)" is just the testing area for updates, recommended only to those interested in helping to test updates and provide feedback. Check that Ubuntu is scheduled to automatically find availably updates daily and to download all updates in the background to save yourself some time when it comes time to install them.

Before you go, head over to the "Statistics" tab and check it if it isn't already. This anonymously sends the list of software you have installed and how often you use them to help collect statistics on which apps are the most popular.

When you click close, you will likely be prompted to reload the list of available software. Click reload. If you're prompted with available updates when it finished reloading, follow the instructions to install them. If not, you can always manually check for and install updates via Update Manager (System ⟶ Administration ⟶ Update Manager). You should always keep your computer up-to-date.

Folder and Printer Sharing

If you want to be able to share files, folders, and printers with Windows machines, you'll need the samba package. You can set this up graphically by right clicking on any folder and selecting "Properties" and going straight to the "Share" tab. Check off "Share this folder" and you should be prompted to install the Windows networks sharing service. After that's installed, you'll need to restart and you can click "Create Share" to be able to view the folder and it's contents from other machines through the network.

Like any package, you may also install samba via Synaptic Package Manager (System ⟶ Administration ⟶ Synaptic Package Manager) or command-line (Applications ⟶ Accessories ⟶ Terminal).

Click here to install or use the following command:

sudo apt-get install samba

Time Synchronization

Ubuntu can keep your computer's time accurate by syncing up with atomic clocks through tiers of servers while factoring out communication delays, and adjusting the time in a way that does not upset all the other processes that are running. The protocol for this is called Network Time Protocol (NTP). To set up NTP time synchronization graphically, launch Time & Date, also available through (System ⟶ Administration ⟶ Time & Date). Click the keys to unlock settings. Now, you can select your time zone, and configure it to "Keep synchronized with Internet servers", at which point it will prompt you to Install NTP support. After that, click "Select Servers" and check off the server closest to you.

Click here to install or use the following command:
sudo apt-get install ntp

Restricted Essentials

DVD Playback

Most commercial DVDs are encrypted with Content Scrambling System (CSS), which attempts to restrict the software that can play a DVD. You'll need to install libdvdcss if you want to play them. You can do so by first installing the libdvdread4 package via Synaptic Package Manager or Terminal.

Click here to install or use the following command:
sudo apt-get install libdvdread4

Then, within a Terminal window, enter:
sudo /usr/share/doc/libdvdread4/install-css.sh

Restricted Extras

The ubuntu-restricted-extras package includes a bunch of things Ubuntu isn't legally allowed to ship with, namely unrar for unarchiving .rar files, Microsoft TrueType core fonts, Sun Java Runtime Environment (JRE), restricted codecs, and finally Adobe Flash Player. Like the rest of the packages and applications in this list unless noted otherwise, it's available in the new Ubuntu Software Center (Applications ⟶ Ubuntu Software Center).

Click here to install or use the following command:
sudo apt-get install ubuntu-restricted-extras

I also recommend you at least give a fair chance to Gnash, an open source flash player on the list of high priority Free software projects. To install, you'll first have to make sure you don't have Adobe's flash player installed via Synaptic or Terminal.

sudo apt-get purge flashplugin-installer nspluginwrapper

Finally, you can install the Gnash plugin via Synaptic of Terminal.

APT Line: ppa:gnash/ppa
Click here to install or use the following command:
sudo apt-get install mozilla-plugin-gnash

Eye Candy


The upcoming version 3.0 of the GNOME desktop environment which i can't describe concisely other than that it is a new interface for interacting with your desktop. Some people think it looks pretty slick, but i won't weigh in on the issue. If you'd like to try it, there is a version in the Ubuntu repos, but you'll probably want something more up to date. You can build it yourself without too much difficulty, but hopefully there will be a PPA available soon.

Click here to install or use the following command:
sudo apt-get install gnome-shell

Advanced Desktop Effects Settings

If you want a Custom option in Visual Effects settings in Appearance (System ⟶ Preferences ⟶ Appearance) for some fancier features to play around with and show off, you'll need Simple CompizConfig Settings Manager, or if you're feeling more ambitious, Advanced Desktop Effects Settings.

APT Line: ppa:compiz/ppa
Click here to install or use the following command:
sudo apt-get install simple-ccsm

Replace "simple-ccsm" with "compizconfig-settings-manager" for the Advanced Desktop Effects Settings Manager.

Basic Compositing

Some of you may not need or want such superfluous visual effects; perhaps you lack the hardware or restricted drivers for accelerated graphics necessary for Compiz; maybe you just don't want to use something that isn't standards compliant, but still want basic compositing which some applications depend on. In that case, Metacity, the default window manager for GNOME, works great! You can enable it graphically, or with a simple command, but make sure to disable Compiz effects in Appearance.

For GUI lovers, hit Alt+F2 to open the Run Applicatoin dialog and enter gconf-editor to launch the GNOME Configuration Editor. In the left-hand sidebar, navigate to Apps ⟶ metacity ⟶ general and back in the main box check off compositing_manager, and Metacity will immediately start compositing, a much smoother transition than to Compiz. If you're a CLI guy (relax ladies, i did it for the rhyme), you can run a quick command in Terminal.

Command: gconftool-2 -s '/apps/metacity/general/compositing_manager' --type bool true

Extra Themes

There aren't a whole lot of themes that come with Ubuntu, so if you crave more, there are several packages containing additional themes. Hopefully many of these packages can be merged in the future and have a more refined selection. They all must be installed via Synaptic or the terminal but only the themes from the Bisigi Project provided by the zgegblob-themes package requires the PPA. You can download individual themes from various websites like GNOME-Look.

APT Line: ppa:bisigi/ppaClick here to install or use the following command:
sudo apt-get install arc-colors community-themes gdm-themes gnome-backgrounds gnome-colors gnome-themes gnome-themes-extras gnome-themes-more metacity-themes shiki-colors zgegblog-themes

Electric Sheep Screensaver

Fractal frames can look pretty sweet. Electric Sheep does a number of cool things with them. Primarily, it displays them as a screensaver, but on top of that and arguably just as cool, it downloads new popular ones through a distributed computing network so that the "gene pool" of animations, or "sheep" as they're called, is constantly evolving. You can download a starter pack from http://www.archive.org/details/electricsheep-packs-244 and just extract them into ~/.electricsheep

Click here to install or use the following command:
sudo apt-get install electricsheep

Desktop Functionality

Application Launcher

For a beautiful application launcher, complete with plugins and a dock, you can try GNOME + Do.

APT Line: ppa:do-core/ppa
Click here to install or use the following command:
sudo apt-get install gnome-do

Universal Applets

After the death of Screenlets and gDesklets, a new widget framework called Universal Applets is being developed with the goal of producing applets that can be dynamically "plugged" into any application. While GNOME Do is definitely superior at the moment, Universal Applets is a promising concept for the future. It's only available in a third party repository since it isn't yet included in the Ubuntu repos and as such isn't listed in the Software Center. It hasn't even been packaged for karmic, but the Jaunty packages, though bug-ridden, work for me.

APT line: deb http://download.opensuse.org/repositories/home:/some-guy:/screenlets/xUbuntu_9.04/ ./
Click here to install or use the following command:
sudo apt-get install universal-applets

Clipboard Manager

There is an annoying bug from 2004 in which copy/paste doesn't work if the source is closed before the paste. Parcellite is a clipboard manager that works around that problem along with providing some other useful features.

Click here to install or use the following command:
sudo apt-get install parcellite

Audio/Video Creation & Editing

Video Editing

PiTiVi is an intuitive and featureful movie editor that was actually designed with the user interface in mind instead of just slopping on one feature after another. It is able to import and export video files in any format supported by the powerful GStreamer framework.

APT Line: ppa:gstreamer-developers/ppa
Click here to install or use the following command:
sudo apt-get install pitivi

Video Screen Capture

If you want to make screencasts to show off your awesome desktop, Instanbul is a great desktop recording tool which, unlike gtk-recordMyDesktop, uses GStreamer. You can install it through Synaptic or Terminal.

Click here to install or use the following command:
sudo apt-get install istanbul

Audio Recording & Editing

Jokosher is a simple yet powerful non-linear, multi-track audio editor. The interface, which was designed from the ground up, provides an integrated environment to create and record music, podcasts and more.

Click here to install or use the following command:
sudo apt-get install jokosher


If you have a webcam, you need Cheese. It's a Photobooth-inspired application for taking pictures and videos from a webcam also based on the GStreamer back-end.

Click here to install or use the following command:
sudo apt-get install cheese

Multimedia Playback

Media Center

Moovida, formerly Elisa, is a beautiful media center which is perfect for setting up a Home Theater PC (HTPC) or TVPC like the Neuros Link and it uses the GStreamer multimedia framework to support playing almost any kind of file.

APT Line: ppa:moovida-packagers/ppa
Click here to install or use the following command:
sudo apt-get install moovida

Video Feeds

Miro, previously known as Democracy Player, is an Internet television application developed by a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization called the Participatory Culture Foundation whose mission is to "enable and support independent, non-corporate creativity and political engagement."

APT Line: deb http://ftp.osuosl.org/pub/pculture.org/miro/linux/repositories/ubuntu karmic/
Click here to install or use the following command:
sudo apt-get install miro

Media Player

I don't feel strongly about this, but for those of you who are unsatisfied by Rythmbox, the default music manager for Ubuntu, you may want to try Banshee. It's a media player and library for music and videos which has a number of cool features.

APT Line: ppa:banshee-team/ppa
Click here to install or use the following command:
sudo apt-get install banshee

Web Browsing

Google Chrome

Mozilla Firefox 3.5 brings some major improvements like HTML 5 support, but we all hate how bloated it is. If you want something faster and more standards-compliant, WebKit browsers are the way to go. Webkit is the layout engine that Epiphany and Google Chrome use to render pages faster than Gecko which is used by Firefox. Chromium is only available through the a PPA and must be installed through Synaptic or Terminal.

APT Line: ppa:chromium-daily/ppa
Click here to install or use the following command:
sudo apt-get install chromium-browser


If you prefer something that integrates more with GNOME, and is in fact the default web browser for it, try Epiphany. You may also add the Epiphany and WebKit PPAs to keep them up-to-date.

APT Line: ppa:webkit-team/epiphany
APT Line: ppa:webkit-team/ppa
Click here to install or use the following command:
sudo apt-get install epiphany-browser


Flash Cards

Digital flash cards are even more effective because they can accurately use spaced repetition to help you more efficiently retain information. There are actually two great programs i recommend you try and choose for yourself, Mnemosyne and Anki.

Click here to install or use the following command:
sudo apt-get install mnemosyne anki

Brainwave Entrainment

You read that correctly. You can synchronize your brainwaves to that of an external stimulus like sound, light, and even electromagnetic radiation in order to easily induce brain states like sleep for example. Think of it as assisted meditation which is effective at treating conditions like ADD, insomnia, and much more. Gnaural is brainwave entrainment software which generates binaural beats. It is no longer in the repositories and it doesn't have a PPA, but 32-bit users can download and install the .deb from the website while 64-bit users like myself are forced to compile.


Brain Training

If you like puzzles, logic, and brain teasers, you'll enjoy keeping your mind in shape with gbrainy.

Click here to install or use the following command:
sudo apt-get install gbrainy



What good are games when you're stuck with the same versions for 6 months? PlayDeb is a repository of games which provides you with the latest and greatest that are either not at their newest version in the Ubuntu repos, or not included at all! Installing games is extremely convenient by searching through the PlayDeb.net website and installing games with just a click. You can add it to your sources automatically by installing the playdeb package, or manually.

APT Line: deb http://archive.getdeb.net/ubuntu karmic-getdeb games
wget -O- http://archive.getdeb.net/getdeb-archive.key | sudo apt-key add -

Yo Frankie!

This is a beautiful and important Free game— that is, Free software and Free content— which was created to show off what can be produced using Free software. It was made using Blender, mentioned above, as part of the Blender Institute's first Open Game Project, and based off of the film, Big Buck Bunny, which was the foundation's second Open Movie Project. Sadly, it isn't included in the Ubuntu repos, but you can get it with PlayDeb.

Click here to install or use the following command:
sudo apt-get install yofrankie


For those of you who prefer fast-paced first-person shooters, Nexuiz is a very decent Free game every Linux gamer should try at least once. GameStop even held a Nexuiz "PC gaming challenge" in which interactive kiosks were set up in 10 different stores in 8 US cities and users were given 2 minutes to earn the high score for a $100 gift card by doing the most damage possible to their AI opponents.

Click here to install or use the following command:
sudo apt-get install nexuiz

Donating CPU Power

Distributed Computing

You can volunteer to participate in grid computing to donate your computer's spare CPU power to charitable projects like protein folding. Berkeley Open Infrastructure for Network Computing (BOINC) is a great way to use your computer to give.

Click here to install or use the following command:
sudo apt-get install boinc-manager

Images and Publishing

Photo Management

Although Ubuntu does come with F-Spot, it does leave many users unsatisfied. If you find yourself among them, you may want to try a young competitor named Solang, which gained popularity during the mono wars (hopefully mostly over?) as being a mono-free alternative.

Click here to install or use the following command:
sudo apt-get install solang

Vector Graphics

Inkscape is a vector graphics editor, with capabilities similar to Illustrator, CorelDraw, or Xara X. It's an excellent tool for publishing materials in the W3C standard Scalable Vector Graphics (SVG) file format.

APT Line: ppa:inkscape.testers/ppa
Click here to install or use the following command:
sudo apt-get install inkscape

3D Graphics

Not exclusive to still imagery, Blender is an amazing 3D imagery creation suite that has already been used to create films as part of the Open Movie Project.

Click here to install or use the following command:
sudo apt-get install blender

Desktop Publishing

Scribus is a desktop publishing (DTP) application designed for flexible layout and typesetting and the ability to prepare files for professional quality image setting equipment like writing small newspapers, brochures, newsletters, posters and books.

APT Line: ppa:scribus/ppa
Click here to install or use the following command:
sudo apt-get install scribus


Secured P2P

Gnunet framework for decentralized, secure, peer-to-peer networking for anonymous, censorship-resistant file-sharing. You may have heard of Freenet, but you probably haven't seen how they compare.

APT Line: ppa:teamgnunet/ppa
Click here to install or use the following command:
sudo apt-get install gnunet-gtk

Direct Connect

A great way to share files for students in college networks is using direct connect; sadly, there is no DC client designed for GNOME, nor is there an available port of Shakespeer from Mac, so it seems like the best option is DC++

Click here to install or use the following command:
sudo apt-get install linuxdcpp


Although it isn't free, Usenet downloads are crazy-fast and files show up there first. Possibly even more noteworthy, however, is that for whatever reason it remains unregulated by pirate hunters. Read this guide for more info, but install LottaNZB for your client instead— they're working to replace HellaNZB with SABnzbd for their back-end.

APT Line: ppa:lottanzb/ppa
Click here to install or use the following command:
sudo apt-get install lottanzb

Although Miro can already handle torrent files, you probably want a dedicated BitTorrent client, and although Transmission can do the job, you might want something a little more comprehensive. I'm sure you'll find that Deluge is a feature complete yet lightweight application.
APT Line: ppa:deluge-team/ppaClick here to install or use the following command:
sudo apt-get install deluge

Time Managment

Alarm Clock

If you keep your computer on at all times and want to toss out your boring alarm clock, or even if not, Alarm Clock provides a lot of nifty scheduling and alert options.

Click here to install or use the following command:
sudo apt-get install alarm-clock

Time Tracking

The Hamster Time Tracker applet helps you track and analyze how much time you spend on different tasks and activities with a graphical overview to make you feel bad for all that time you waste. It can only be installed through Synaptic or Terminal.

Click here to install or use the following command:
sudo apt-get install hamster-applet


Empathy Instant Messenger

Horray! Empathy is now included with Ubuntu, but if you want the latest version with additional features like geolocation and audio/video chat for MSN, you'll need to add the Telepathy PPA to your software sources.

APT Line: ppa:telepathy/ppa


Gwibber is a cute little microblogging client for those of you who frequently use sites like Twitter, Identi.ca, Jaiku, Facebook, Digg, and more.

APT Line: ppa:gwibber-team/ppa
Click here to install or use the following command:
sudo apt-get install gwibber

Security & Privacy

On-The-Fly Encryption

Many people use TrueCrypt believing that it's FOSS, but although the source code is available, it's development is kept secret and it isn't considered Free Software by the FSF nor Open Source by the OSI. ScramDisk for Linux (SD4L) is a great OTFE alternative that also supports TrueCrypt containers. Unfortunately, it is not yet included in the default repos, and there isn't a PPA either, but you can download a .deb to install from their website.


VPN Access

If you'd like to make sure all of your internet traffic is encrypted and anonymous, you can pass it through a proxy by using a Virtual Private Network service like IPREDator. We can't kill the music and movie industries if they can make money just by suing all of us!

Click here to install or use the following command:
sudo apt-get install network-manager-pptp

Onion Routing

If you don't wan't to pay $5 a month for a VPN like IPREDator but still want to be able to use the web anonymously, you can try The Onion Router, more commonly referred to as TOR, but it is significantly slower and requires additional setup. Although it was in the Ubuntu repos, the version in there was dangerously out-of-date it's just been removed, so you need to use their repository.

APT Line: deb     http://deb.torproject.org/torproject.org karmic main
Click here to install or use the following command:
sudo apt-get install tor tor-geoipdb


If you feel the need to have a firewall, Firewall configuration is a graphical front-end for Uncomplicated firewall (ufw).

Click here to install or use the following command:
sudo apt-get install gufw


You generally don't need antivirus with Linux, but if you'd like to play it safe, you can install the ClamTK Virus Scanner, a graphical front-end to ClamAV.

Click here to install or use the following command:
sudo apt-get install clamtk

System Utilities

LiveUSB Creator

Optical storage disks like CD's are inconvenient and get scratched up, so why put your installer on a USB instead? UNetbootin allows you to do just that, using any Linux or BSD distribution.

Click here to install or use the following command:
sudo apt-get install unetbootin


I don't have any strong feelings as to which backup utility you should use, but i have learned the hard way that you should always have a backup. Back In Time should do everything you need.

Click here to install or use the following command:
sudo apt-get install backintime-gnome

Partition Editor

You can partition you other storage drives, your external hard drive, you USB drive, your iPod, and basically any other writable storage drive you can plug into your computer using the GNOME Partition Editor. It does the trick on Ubuntu installation disks, and it can sure do the trick elsewhere.

Click here to install or use the following command:
sudo apt-get install gparted

Virtual Machine

If you want to be a good user and get testing on the next version of Ubuntu, that's 10.04 LTS, the Lucid Lynx, but you want to do it safely, get VirtualBox. There's version that is fully open source (vboxgtk), but you'll likely want the proprietary features too. It's installable via Synaptic or Terminal.

APT Line: deb http://download.virtualbox.org/virtualbox/debian karmic non-free
Click here to install or use the following command:
sudo apt-get install virtualbox-3.0

64-bit Specific

Flash Player

The 32-bit flash player runs terribly on 64-bit systems, and if you don't want to use Gnash, Adobe has released the only 64-bit version of Flash Player 10 for Linux! It currently isn't in the repositories because it's still in alpha, but it's so much more stable than even the final 32-bit version. To install it, download the .tar.gz file at the bottom of this page:


Next, extract the file to your home folder; then just enter this into a terminal window:

sudo cp libflashplayer.so /usr/lib/mozilla/plugins/

Windows Media Audio 9

I've looked and looked, and without the Fluendo GStreamer plugin there is no way for 64-bit Ubuntu to play WMA 9 files, and video files that use it will have no sound. You can purchase a copy from the Canonical Store, or download it illegally from The Pirate Bay:


Explore, Customize, Personalize!

Now it's time to play around with all the new apps you have and make your desktop, well, yours. You can try experimenting with a cool panel-less desktop; you can experiment with all your new apps; you can try different themes and modify them in Appearance; you can set your preferred applications and explore all your system preferences. My desktop background comes is by David Revoy of Durian, now called Sintel, the Blender Foundation's latest Open Movie Project.

Don't for get to show off your shiny new Ubuntu installation to your friends, spread Ubuntu, and donate to your favorite projects!

How To: 64-bit Google Gears for Ubuntu Linux!

All the guides which dominate the top Google search results are now, as i recently discovered, completely obsolete! As you probably know, Google Gears is not officially supported for 64-bit Linux, but being Free and open source software, somebody else can port it for them. The other guides out there describe how to download a .xpi Firefox browser addon from whoever, but they're old versions of Gears. If you've installed from those guides, i'm sure you've gotten the available update notification over and over but trying to update fails because although there's a new version of the official Google Gears, there isn't for the 64-bit copy you have.

With the latest version of Ubuntu, Karmic Koala, installing gears for 64-bit Linux just got a whole lot easier. Would you like to know how already? Are you sure you're ready for this? here it is:

sudo apt-get install gears
or just click here to install it. Yes, that's it! It's already conveniently packaged for you. You can even download the .deb from http://packages.ubuntu.com/karmic/gears but due to dependencies, it won't likely be useful to you unless you're running Ubuntu 9.10 anyways.

It's useless to me, though, since this will only benefit Firefox 3.5 (and above) users. I've switched to WebKit browsers for the sake of speed and standard, but even Chromium still doesn't support gears yet, so i'm pressing on without precious offline mode for now.

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