Some useful stuff to install on a Linux machine

Last year, I decided to take my netbook out of hibernation and install Ubuntu Linux (11.04) on it. It still doesn’t get used much (the iPad is just so much easier than a netbook – except perhaps for typing) but before I blow it away and install something else… like Windows 8, or Android perhaps… I wanted to capture a few notes from the bits and pieces I installed.

Apologies if these notes are not much use to anyone else but, then again, they might be handy for someone…

Command Line Twitter client (Twidge)

I’ve previously highlighted the existence of Twidge and it’s a useful tool to install on a Linux box. Ubuntu Manual has outlined the steps for installing Twidge on Linux (specifically Ubuntu) but the basic steps are:

Update the sources list:

sudo gedit /etc/apt/sources.list

and add the following lines:

deb http://ftp.de.debian.org/debian squeeze main
deb-src http://ftp.de.debian.org/debian squeeze main

then install the package:

sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install twidge

From this point on, twidge --help and twidge lscommands should tell you all you need to know.

Password manager (LastPass)

LastPass works with a variety of Linux browsers so just head on over to the download page and follow the instructions.

File sync (Dropbox)

Dropbox has Linux packages for a variety of Linux distros (download and then double-click on the installer) and of course there’s the option to compile from source too.  The download page also includes command line instructions and a script for controlling Dropbox from the command line but I haven’t tried that yet…

Music (Spotify)

There isn’t a fully-supported Spotify client for Linux but, because so many of their devs use it, there is a “preview version” available. More details are available on Spotify’s previews page but the basic steps are:

Update the sources list:

sudo gedit /etc/apt/sources.list

and add the following lines:

deb http://repository.spotify.com stable non-free
deb-src http://repository.spotify.com stable non-free

Optionally, verify the package with

sudo apt-key adv --keyserver keyserver.ubuntu.com --recv-keys 4E9CFF4E

Either way, install the package with:

sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install spotify-client-qt

I’ve not had any problems, but I did spot Ross Warren’s post about Spotify on Linux crashing at startup.  If this happens, then you might need to clear the cache:

rm -r ~/.cache/spotify

Mobile communications

The last items is probably not that useful to other people but I managed to get an O2 3G dongle working (Sierra Wireless Compass 889). Unfortunately, Sierra Wireless have updated their website and the Linux support has gone AWOL… but I found some information on a third party website suggesting that Sierra Wireless submits driver updates and patches to the public Linux distribution found at www.kernel.org. Using Network Connections, I was able to create a mobile broadband connection with the following settings:

  • Number: *99#
  • Username: o2web
  • Password: password
  • APN: mobile.o2.co.uk

Obviously, these settings will vary according to the carrier but many providers are included in the New Mobile Broadband Connection “wizard” (is it called a wizard on Linux?), so it may just be a case of picking the appropriate carrier, billing plan and APN.

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