Tag: ubuntu

Ubuntu: Activate multi-touch on Elantech touchpad

Acer Aspire S7-392-9890

Acer Aspire S7-392-9890 13.3-Inch Touchscreen Ultrabook (Intel Core i7-4500U Processor, 8GB DDR3L, 256GB SSD)

If like me you recently bought a new computer with an Elantech touchpad, and installed Ubuntu on it, chances are your touchpad lacks the multitouch features, and therefore, you can’t scroll with it. This is extremely annoying to most of us. Tonight, I went back to Ubuntu bug page to realize someone has submitted a fix, and it seems to be working for many users. Just tried it on my Acer Aspire S7, and it worked perfectly for me too. So let me share it with you…

Make sure you have an Elantech touchpad

First, if you aren’t sure your computer was built with an Elantech touchpad, open a terminal, and type the following:

cat /proc/bus/input/devices

You should find a block containing a line looking like this one, which confirms you are on an Elantech touchpad:

N: Name="ETPS/2 Elantech Touchpad"

Fix the bug

Download this archive (from Ubuntu’s bug reporting page).

Open a terminal, and follow these steps (after step 4, you will have no mouse at all):

cd ~/Downloads
sudo dkms ldtarball psmouse-elantech-x551c.tar.gz
sudo dkms install -m psmouse -v elantech-x551c
sudo rmmod psmouse
sudo modprobe psmouse

Enjoy multitouch!

Source: Original bug discussion on Launchpad

Installing a Transmission Daemon on Ubuntu

TransmissionLet’s say you have a computer (could be your home file server) on which you want to install a torrent client as daemon (command line), and manage it through a Web interface. Would be great, right? It’s pretty easy to achieve but there are a couple of details you need to pay attention to.

Note: This tutorial was written for Ubuntu Server 12.04 but it doesn’t mean it can’t be useful for other versions or distros.

Required packages

It’s pretty simple as only a couple of packages need to be installed, and they are already in the repositories. For readability, I’m putting each of them on a different line, but they should all go on the same.

sudo apt-get install transmission-cli

Create folders for Transmission

Even if you could always use the default folders, I like keeping track of everything, the way I want it. So here’s what I’ve done. I think the folder names talk by themselves.

sudo mkdir ~/transmission
sudo mkdir ~/transmission/complete
sudo mkdir ~/transmission/downloading
sudo mkdir ~/transmission/torrents


This step isn’t crucial, but it will save you lots of “sudo” commands in the future. By default, Transmission always gives downloaded files permissions to the transmission group (debian-transmission to be more precise). This is why adding your user to this group could be a good idea. Make sure your replace your_user in the following commands:

sudo usermod -a -G debian-transmission your_user

Now you need to set the correct ownership and permissions:

sudo chown -R your_user:debian-transmission ~/transmission
sudo chmod -R 755 ~/transmission

A good configuration file

Now this part is very important. The configuration file must be filled correctly or else you might not be able to access Transmission’s web interface. Many other things could also “go wrong”. But don’t worry, you can edit this file anytime in the future to fix any problem you might encounter.

First thing to do is to stop the daemon. If you don’t, the configuration file will be overridden when Transmission closes the next time.

sudo /etc/init.d/transmission-daemon stop

Use any text editor (I use Nano here) to edit the configuration file.

sudo nano /etc/transmission-daemon/settings.json

You will find all possible settings here: official Transmission wiki.

When you’re done, restart the daemon.

sudo /etc/init.d/transmission-daemon start

Configuration file example

Here’s an example of what I have added or changed from the default configuration file. Don’t forget to change your_favorite_list_url and your_user in the following example.

"blocklist-enabled": true,
"blocklist-updates-enabled": true,
"blocklist-url": "your_favorite_list_url",

"download-dir": "/home/your_user/transmission/complete",

"incomplete-dir-enabled": true,
"incomplete-dir": "/home/your_user/transmission/downloading",

"rpc-authentication-required": false,
"rpc-whitelist-enabled": false,

"watch-dir-enabled": true,
"watch-dir": "/home/your_user/transmission/torrents"

Make sure there’s a comma at the end of each line, except for the last one. The last entry (watch-dir), means every torrent file your copy in that folder will be automatically added by Transmission. Download should start only seconds after that.

Port forwarding

For optimal performance in both download and upload, it is recommended to open/forward Transmission’s default port, 51413. To do that, you will need to access your router’s from your favorite Web browser (usually at or If you need help passed that point, I suggest googling for something like “your_router_model port forwarding”. You should find plenty of information.

Access Transmission WebUI

Now that you have stopped the daemon, edited settings.json, and restarted the daemon, you should be able to access the Web interface. Simply navigate to your server/computer’s IP and port 9091 (can be changed in settings.json if it doesn’t suit your needs), which should look something like:

Last step: show your girlfriend how to add new torrents using WebUI. 😉

Playing Diablo 3 on Ubuntu Made Very Easy!

After trying to install Diablo 3 on my Hackintosh from and original DVD an failing (it installed fine but the game won’t start), I decided to look for an Ubuntu solution. This is when I learned about PlayOnLinux, a Wine graphic user interface that makes installation of Windows programs very easy. So here’s a VERY EASY guide to install Diablo 3 on Ubuntu with online installation files.

  1. Make sure your game is correctly registered in your Battle.net account
  2. Download the Diable 3 Game Client (for Windows) from that same account
  3. Open the Ubuntu Software Center
  4. Search for PlayOnLinux and install it (this might take a while)
  5. Start PlayOnLinux, and complete the basic configuration steps (mostly automatic)
  6. Click on the Install button, and select the Testing category in the menu on the left
  7. Select Diablo 3, click install, and follow the instructions
  8. Complete the download/install process
  9. You’re done! Enjoy Diablo 3 on Ubuntu!

Note: I had a little resolution glitch when first started the game. Changing the resolution from the login screen inside the game fixed it.

Other note: the guys at PlayOnLinux say they will support the DVD install method soon.


If you’re using Ubuntu 12.04, and experience the connection error #3007 over and over, here’s a solution that seems to work. Before connection, open a terminal and type this command:

echo 0|sudo tee /proc/sys/kernel/yama/ptrace_scope

This solution comes from that thread in PlayOnLinux forums. Please let us know if it works for you or not.

Installing Dictionaries in LibreOffice – Ubuntu 12.04

Dictionary-ThesaurusYou just installed or updated to Ubuntu 12.04 (Precise Pangolin), and now you realize you need correction tools for a language that didn’t come by default? Follow these very simple steps, and you’ll be ready to go in a matter of minutes.

Make sure you have sudo access

First, you need to make sure you have administrator (sudo) rights on your system (which you most probably have if you installed it yourself). If you are not sure you have sudo access on your system, try the following:

  • Open a terminal (can be done from the Dash Home menu)
  • Type the command written below (it updates APT’s local package index and is totally inoffensive)
  • The command will ask for the sudo password, enter your usual password
  • If you have sudo access,  you should see a list of package update URLs go through the terminal window
  • If you don’t have access, find who does! (sorry, we can’t really help you here)
sudo apt-get update

Install dictionary packages

Two packages must be installed. The first is the dictionary itself, the second will add correct hyphenation patterns to LibreOffice’s corrector. Examples here are for French, but you only need to change the last part (fr) for the language of your choice. For example: sp for Spanish, or de for German.

sudo apt-get install myspell-fr
sudo apt-get install hyphen-fr

Thesaurus (synonyms and antonyms) for your language

If you are interested in having thesaurus features for your newly installed language, you only need to install one package:

sudo apt-get install mythes-fr

The shortcut to access thesaurus in LibreOffice is CTRL+F7.

Change the default language for all documents

Now that you have installed a new dictionary (and maybe more correction tools), you probably want to change the default language/dictionary for new documents you will create. Here’s how to do that:

  1. Open Writer
  2. From the top menu go to: Tools / Options. A new windows will open
  3. In the left menu of this new window, go to: Language Settings / Languages
  4. Look for Default languages for documents, and just under it, choose your preferred language
  5. Take a look at the other options above if you want to
  6. Close the Options windows
  7. You should see the language you have just selected at the center-left of Writer’s bottom toolbar

2012: The Year I Stopped Using Microsoft Products

First, this post is about a personal crusade during which I intend to stop using ALL Microsoft products that I am currently using. My reasons to do such a thing are mostly philosophical, and I won’t start hating Microsoft fans/lovers, and I truly don’t want to start a fight with anyone. But feel free to add your thoughts and ideas to this post.

I work in a company where Microsoft products are too often presented as the only answer to a problem, even if nobody has taken the time to analyze other possible solutions. My team though works very hard to promote open source solutions inside the company, and among our clients. So this whole idea (dropping Microsoft products) came to me at work about 2 weeks ago. I was telling everyone in my team we should stop using MS products just to prove to “the world” that it can be done, and you can still live a happy life. Hehe! To make a long story short, I accepted my own idea/challenge! So here’s what I plan to do over the following months.

Close my Hotmail account

I’ve had a Hotmail account for something like 15 years now, and most accounts I have opened on other websites are linked to it. This is why I’m giving me a couple of months to switch all of them to my Gmail account.

Wipe my home PC… for a Hackintosh!

I have a recent PC at home I use for music recording. My band’s first album (available for free here) was partly recorded with it. Our sound engineer works with a software called Cubase, which is sold for Windows and Mac. Because everyone around me works with Cubase, I need to stick to it. This is why I passed the last few days working on building my own Hackintosh. It’s been kind of an easy operation with the great help of iBoot and Multibeast found on this website. My new Hackintosh with Snow Leopard is up and running, and Cubase 6 works like a charm on it.

I’m not much of a gamer, but I do enjoy a game of Star Craft 2 once in a while. I believe I can download the Mac version of the game directly from my Battle.net account. That’s good news!

Flex development

Currently working on a mobile Flex (iOS and Android) project at work, I use the Flash Builder IDE everyday, and it’s Windows only. In the following weeks, I will analyze a couple of possibilities I have in front of me, and I should be able to do all my work with Ubuntu. Those are the possible solutions I have found so far:

  • fb4linux, an unofficial port of Adobe Flash Builder
  • Standard Eclipse IDE with a couple of Ant scripts
  • FlashDevelop, offering a Mac/Linux virtualization, what ever that means

Wine for Adobe Photoshop

For most of my needs, I can live with GIMP instead of Photoshop. But for more complex tasks, I prefer Photoshop. After some short research, it seems that Wine is the answer as WineHQ reports gold rating for Adobe Photoshop CS5.

Use Pidgin instead of MSN Messenger (or whatever the new name is)

Pidgin is a great chat client which works over many protocols, including gTalk. This is where I am heading.

Ubuntu as main OS

For all my computers, including my corporate notebook, I will be using Ubuntu as the only or main OS. I have tried a couple of other distros like Linux Mint, but I keep getting back at Ubuntu. My girlfriend will also switch to Ubuntu. No more Windows in the house! This means no more MS Office which will get replaced by LibreOffice and Google Docs.

Replace MS Outlook for corporate emails and meetings

My employer uses Exchange servers worldwide. My own corporate account is configured/hosted on a Microsoft Exchange Server 2010. I’m anxious to see if Thunderbird 11 will offer some level of connectivity, and if not, I will need to explore different avenues. I haven’t thought a lot about this last point yet.

That’s it!

After realizing all those steps, I think my “life” will be Microsoft-free. At least, I will feel like it is. OK, I will probably still be using some services that have Microsoft written somewhere under the hood, such as self-service grocery checkouts. But I think I will still prove that life without buying or owning Microsoft products is possible. This also means no Ford vehicles for me as long as they’ll be equipped with MyFord Touch/Ford Sync, and XBox game nights at friends’ are over. Hahaha!

Install LibreOffice Dictionaries Under Ubuntu


UPDATE: read this article if you’re using Ubuntu 12.04 (Precise Pangolin)


Since the arrival of Natty Narwhal (11.04), LibreOffice LogoLibreOffice has become the default productivity suite under Ubuntu. Being a French speaking person, installing the French dictionary turns out be really useful. It may sound stupid, but it took me about an hour of googling before finally finding this page: LibreOffice – Ubuntu Wiki.

Installing the good package

It turns out the only thing you have to do is install the right package for every language you need. For example:

  • French: language-support-writing-fr
  • Spanish: language-support-writing-es
  • Italian: language-support-writing-it

Open Synaptic Package Manager, install the package of your choice, and you’re done!

Installing an OpenOffice extension

For some reason, you might want to install a dictionary as an OpenOffice extension (also works with LibreOffice). In this case, visit this page, and download the extensions (one extension per language) you need. Double click on each downloaded extension file (.oxt) and LibreOffice will do the rest. For most users, I suggest installing the package instead of the extension though.

eMusic Download Manager for Ubuntu

eMusic LogoI recently realized I didn’t want to buy CDs anymore but being an artist myself, I really feel I should encourage my favorite bands in a way or another. Sure, I could buy their merch, but buying $55 t-shirts from all the bands I like would be rough on my budget. This is why I am now BUYING music online (almost sounds weird) for the first time of my life. After looking at many online stores, I decided to go with eMusic. All songs cost $.59 each and are DRM-free.

Looking for a download manager

As all eMusic members, I need to use a download manager to get the music I buy. One problem though: they no longer support their own Linux DLM. After a quick research, I found eMusic/J, a Java download manager for eMusic. Here’s the official description: eMusic/J is a Java-based download manager aimed at Linux users. It takes the .emp file that you get from the eMusic.com Web site and downloads the music and artwork specified in it.

Download and run

First, access the official download page and carefully select the correct version for your system (32 or 64-bits). Then extract the downloaded file where you want it (in your home folder for example). From the newly extracted folder (should be named “emusicj-linux”), run the file named “emusicj”. If you are not familiar with how to do that, open a terminal, navigate to the emusicj-linux folder and then execute the following:


The first time you run the program, the preferences window will pop up. You may read the user manual if you need more help at this point. The only thing you need to do now is open .emp file from eMusic/J’s File / Open… menu.

Enjoy your music!

Best and Easiest Flash Player Setup for Ubuntu

Flash-Aid LogoLike many Ubuntu users out there, you have probably had problems with Flash Player in the past. I’ve had a lot myself, mostly related to poor performance, and sometimes with strange behavior such as videos playing too fast. People at Ubuntu have done a good job at adding better Flash support in the last year or two but I often feel it’s still not enough. This is why I have been using the Flash-Aid plugin for Firefox for many months now.

Helping Firefox, but also Chromium

According to the official page, this Firefox add-on removes conflicting flash plugins from Ubuntu Linux systems, installs the appropriate version according to system architecture and applies some tweaks to improve performance and fixes common issues. All that in a single click! And because Chromium (and I suppose other browsers you may like) uses the same Flash packages, Flash-Aid will also “help” them.

How to install and use in Firefox 4

  1. Open Firefox
  2. Go to Tools / Add-ons menu
  3. In the Add-ons Manage, type “flash-aid” (without the quotes) in the search box located  in the top right corner
  4. In the result list, locate Flash-Aid and click its install button located on the same row
  5. Restart Firefox, you should now have the Flash-Aid icon in the top right corner of your browser
  6. Click the icon and follow instructions
  7. You now have one of the best Flash installations possible


If you are also a Windows user, you will notice performance downgrade compared to Windows. At this point, you should mostly blame Adobe who won’t put more effort in their Linux support.

If you have any other tip or trick to Flash tweaking, don’t hesitate to post them.

Setting Up Eclipse for Android Under Ubuntu

Android using Eclipse under UbuntuI know, tutorials such as this one can be found all around the Web. But I feel this might be helpful for many people reading this blog. I will try to cover everything from JDK installation to deploying applications directly to your phone using the “run” button in Eclipse.

Used for this tutorial

  • Ubuntu 11.04 (Natty Narwhal)
  • Acer TimelineX 1830T netbook
  • Samsung Galaxy S Fascinate
  • USB cable

Before you continue

Before you continue, please note that I rarely use the Ubuntu Software Center to install packages and applications so I will mostly use command line in this article. If this causes you any problem, feel free to post your questions in the comments section.

Installing Eclipse

If you don’t already know, Eclipse is a free and open source IDE (integrated development environment) that can be used to develop in Java, C++, PHP, Ruby, and many more. To install Eclipse, open a Bash shell and execute the following:

sudo apt-get install eclipse

By installing the Eclipse package, many other packages such as Java JRE and JDK will be installed. This will save you a lot of configuration time.

Installing the Android SDK

Call it a personal preference. but I like to install SDK’s in the /usr/lib folder. If you prefer to install it somewhere else, in your home folder for example, feel free to do so. Note: replace your_user by your Ubuntu user name.

cd /usr/lib
sudo mkdir android
sudo chown -R your_user:your_user android
cd android

Now navigate to the Android SDK Download Page and copy the link to the Linux (i386) SDK. At the time of writing this article, the URL is: http://dl.google.com/android/android-sdk_r10-linux_x86.tgz. Now back to your shell:

wget http://dl.google.com/android/android-sdk_r10-linux_x86.tgz
tar -xvzf android-sdk_r10-linux_x86.tgz

Installing the ADT Plugin for Eclipse

The Android Development Tools (ADT) Plugin is required for any Android development. Follow these instructions to install it:

  1. Open Eclipse (confirm workspace location if prompted, default location is good)
  2. In Eclipse’s top menu, select Help / Install New Software…
  3. Click on the “Add…” button
  4. Enter “ADT Plugin” for the name, the following for the URL and click the OK button: https://dl-ssl.google.com/android/eclipse/
  5. Check “Developer Tools” (to download everything offered) and click the Next button twice
  6. Accept terms and conditions and click “Finish”
  7. If security warning pops, click “OK” to continue
  8. When asked, click “Yes” to restart Eclipse

Configuring Eclipse with the Android SDK

Eclipse needs to know where the Android SDK was installed:

  1. In Eclipse’s top menu, select Window / Preferences
  2. In the window’s left menu, click on “Android”
  3. Click “Browse…” and locate the place where the Android SDK was previously installed (in my case: /usr/lib/android/android-sdk-linux_x86)
  4. Click “OK” but not “Apply”

Other essential SDK components

Before you are ready to start developing, some essential components must be downloaded and installed using the Android SDK and AVD Manager. To open the manager, you can use the download-like arrow icon located in left part of Eclipse’s icon bar, or you can select Window / Android SDK and AVD Manager from the top menu.

Click on “Available Packages” on the left, and under “Android Repositories” select the following packages:

  • Android SDK Platform-tools
  • Android SDK Tools (if in the list, but it shouldn’t at this point)
  • Documentation for Android SDK
  • One or several SDK Platforms (I chose Android 2.1 and 2.2 because that’s the API’s I’m developing for)
  • Click “Install Selected”
  • Select “Accept All” and click “Install”
  • When asked, click “Yes” to restart the ADB

Note 1: it is recommended you choose an Android API as low as possible to reach as many users as possible. Click here for the latest usage share.

Note 2: if you need more help selecting components, please read this.

Adding the Platform Tools to your environment

To make the Android SDK Platform-tools available from everywhere, you need to add the platform-tools directory to the PATH environment variable. To do so, use your favorite text editor (I use nano) and do the following:

nano ~/.bashrc

Scroll to the end of the file and add this line:


Logout from your Ubuntu session and log back in. Now the “adb” command should be available from anywhere in your Bash shell.

Setting your phone

To be able to deploy your applications directly from Eclipse to your phone, you need to do two things:

  1. Set USB Debugging on (on my phone, with Android 2.2, it’s located under Settings / Applications / Development)
  2. Allow install of non-market applications (again, on my phone, under Settings / Applications)

Connect your phone to ADB

Using your USB cable, connect your phone to your computer. Your phone should “say” it is now under USB debugging. On your computer, open a shell and type:

adb devices

You should get an output like this one:

List of devices attached
1000ed430c4c    device

If you can’t see your device, try:

adb kill-server
adb start-server

Finally, deploy to your phone

Now start Eclipse. Open your Android project or create a new one (not covered in this tutorial).

You will need to create a run configuration at this point if not done already. What is important here is to set your configuration’s target to “Manual”. When finished, press “run” (the green play button). A window entitled “Android Device Chooser” should now open and your phone should be there. Select it and press the OK button. It should then deploy to your phone and the application will start by itself.

If you get a timeout error

When deploying to your phone, you may someday get:

Android error: Failed to install *.apk on device *: timeout.

It can be solved easily by going into Eclipse’s top menu in Window / Preferences / Android / DDMS, and changing the ADB connection timeout.

Why not use the emulator?

The emulator may be a good tool in some situations (you can’t own/test all different devices). But I prefer to develop directly on my phone. This is why this tutorial won’t cover the use of the emulator. At this point, I’m almost sure you will figure it out by yourself as all the required tools have now been installed.

Need more help?

I really hope this will help you getting started with your Android development projects. If this tutorial doesn’t answer all your questions, here are some sites/pages you may want to visit:

As always, feel free to post your questions or comments!

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