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Monthly Archives: August 2008

Talk of a return to the relative glory days of a decade ago is often hostage to the fortunes of the modern music business. But the re-formation of the Verve has its supporters dreaming big.

The reunited British modern rock quartet, fronted by Richard Ashcroft, releases its “Forth” album Aug. 25 on Parlophone/EMI in the United Kingdom and internationally. It’s the band’s first album since its most successful, “Urban Hymns,” appeared 11 years ago, and for the new album’s U.S. appearance Aug. 26, the Verve will fly solo.

That release is on the group’s On Your Own imprint via New York indie Megaforce, distributed by RED.

“There’s a real solid base for the band in America,” manager Jazz Summers of Big Life Management says, “and quite honestly, if you can sell a couple of hundred thousand records, you make a lot more money than when you sell a million records for the record company.”

“Forth” is a bracing blend of the experimentalism of the group’s early work and the more structured songwriting of its last two efforts. The album is highlighted by the dreamy “Judas,” arguably one of the most beautiful songs the band has yet penned, and the anthemic ballad “Valium Skies,” a sure-fire future concert staple that is reminiscent of the hit “Lucky Man” from “Urban Hymns.”


Elsewhere, the Verve stretches out in ways it hasn’t since the early ’90s, particularly on the eight-minute “Noise Jam,” a propulsive rocker with references to Mother Mary, Steve McQueen and the Rapture.

U.S. media interest and interview requests for the band have been “so overwhelming,” Megaforce president Missi Callazzo says. “There’s a grand mystique with the Verve, and it continues to this day.”

That’s supported by the extraordinary ongoing popularity of the band’s best-known song, 1997’s “Bitter Sweet Symphony.” The track, which rocketed the Verve to international fame only to become embroiled in a lawsuit over its sample of an orchestral version of the Rolling Stones’ “The Last Time,” has sold 207,000 U.S. downloads this year alone, according to Nielsen SoundScan, and 983,000 altogether.

U.S. sales of the Verve’s ’90s catalog show unbroken upward momentum, culminating in 1.4 million for “Urban Hymns.” Ashcroft’s three solo albums for Virgin, on the other hand, have traveled in the other direction, from 86,000 for 2000’s “Alone With Everybody” to 26,000 for “Human Conditions” (2003) to not quite 8,000 for “Keys to the World” (2006).

Ashcroft will continue to record solo alongside his work with the group and has also transferred from Virgin to Parlophone for those projects. Parlophone U.K.-based president of labels Miles Leonard, who signed the Verve as an A&R man for Hut/Virgin in 1991, says, “With the changes that happened at Virgin over the years, he felt he didn’t have a connection there any longer.

“Me and Richard go way back, so he called me one day and said, ‘Why don’t we go full circle?’ We made that swap and worked on [his last] solo album, then they re-formed the band and it still felt like the natural home for the same reasons.”

A CD and vinyl boxed edition of “Forth” will be available in the States, while the U.K. release also includes a deluxe CD/tour DVD package and a boxed “super deluxe” edition.

The Verve played its first reunion shows at U.K. arenas last November and December, before U.S. interest was warmed by a Coachella headliner slot and two April sellouts in New York at Madison Square Garden’s WaMu Theatre. The band then had the invaluable chance to trumpet its return, and an imminent album, by headlining the last night of the Glastonbury Festival in late June.

Further fest appearances followed at Scotland’s T in the Park and at Summer Sonic, on the Verve’s first dates in Japan (Aug 9-10), then England’s V Festival (Aug. 16-17). Summers says his team wants to “see how the record goes” before deciding on more U.S. dates.

The grand scale of such international events emphasizes the two-tier nature of the new campaign. Leonard says, “Like Oasis and the best of the bands from [the ’90s], the Verve still resonate with the people who grew up with them and are older now, in their late 20s or [early] 30s.

“But there’s a whole wealth of teens that are discovering them, heard those classics—whether it be ‘Lucky Man,’ ‘Bitter Sweet Symphony,’ ‘This Is Music’ or ‘History’—and probably thought they’d never get the chance to see this amazing band,” he continues. “Here’s their opportunity, and they’re lapping it up.”

Download torrent here

SQL injection is a security vulnerability that occurs in the database layer of an application. Its source is the incorrect escaping of dynamically-generated string literals embedded in SQL statements. It is in fact an instance of a more general class of vulnerabilities that can occur whenever one programming or scripting language is embedded inside another.

Assuming the following code is embedded in the application, and a parameter “userName” that contains the user’s name is given, SQL injection is possible:

statement := “SELECT * FROM users WHERE name = ‘” + userName + “‘;”

If supplied with “a’; DROP TABLE users; SELECT * FROM data WHERE name LIKE ‘%” as “userName”, the following SQL statement would be generated:

SELECT * FROM users WHERE name = ‘a’; DROP TABLE users; SELECT * FROM data WHERE name LIKE ‘%’;

The database would execute the statement in order, selecting data, dropping (deleting) the “users” table and selecting data that maybe was not meant to be displayed to web users. In essence, any data in the database available to the user connecting to the database could be read and/or modified.

[edit]

Examples

SQL injection is easy to work around with in most programming languages that target web applications or offer functionality. In Perl DBI, the DBI::quote method escapes special characters (assuming the variable $sql holds a reference to a DBI object):

$query = $sql->prepare

  (

        “select * from users where name = ”

    .

        $sql->quote($user_name)

   );

Or one may use the placeholder feature (with automatic quoting) as follows:

$query = $sql->prepare(“select * from users where name = ?”);

$query->execute($user_name);

In PHP, there are different built-in functions to use for different DBMSes. For MySQL, the equivalent is the built-in function mysql_real_escape_string:

$query_result = mysql_query

  (

        “select * from users where name = \””

    .

        mysql_real_escape_string($user_name)

    .

        “\””

   );

In the Java programming language, the equivalent is the PreparedStatement class.

Instead of

Connection con = (acquire Connection)

Statement stmt = con.createStatement();

ResultSet rset = stmt.executeQuery(“SELECT * FROM users WHERE name = ‘” + userName + “‘;”);

use the following

Connection con = (acquire Connection)

PreparedStatement pstmt = con.prepareStatement(“SELECT * FROM users WHERE name = ?”);

pstmt.setString(1, userName);

ResultSet rset = pstmt.executeQuery();

In the .NET (or Mono) programming language “C#”, the equivalent are the ADO.NET SqlCommand (for Microsoft SQL Server) or OracleCommand (for Oracle’s database server) objects. The example below shows how to prevent injection attacks using the SqlCommand object. The code for other ADO.NET providers is very similar, but may vary slightly depending on the specific implementation by that provider vendor.

Instead of

using( SqlConnection con = (acquire connection) ) {

    con.Open();

    using( SqlCommand cmd = new SqlCommand(“SELECT * FROM users WHERE name = ‘” + userName + “‘”, con) ) {

       using( SqlDataReader rdr = cmd.ExecuteReader() ){

           …

       }

    }      

}

use the following

using( SqlConnection con = (acquire connection) ) {

    con.Open();

    using( SqlCommand cmd = new SqlCommand(“SELECT * FROM users WHERE name = @userName”, con) ) {

   

       cmd.Parameters.Add(“@userName”, userName);

 

       using( SqlDataReader rdr = cmd.ExecuteReader() ){

           …

       }

    }      

}

[edit]

8.3. Evaluating the Tools

A typical assessment can start by using some form of information gathering tool. When assessing the entire network, map the layout first to find the hosts that are running. Once located, examine each host individually. Focusing on these hosts will require another set of tools. Knowing which tools to use may be the most crucial step in finding vulnerabilities.

Just as in any aspect of everyday life, there are many different tools that perform the same job. This concept applies to performing vulnerability assessments as well. There are tools specific to operating systems, applications, and even networks (based on protocols used). Some tools are free (in terms of cost) while others are not. Some tools are intuitive and easy to use, while others are cryptic and poorly documented but have features that other tools do not.

Finding the right tools may be a daunting task. In the end, experience counts. If possible, set up a test lab and try out as many tools as you can, noting the strengths and weaknesses of each. Review the README file or man page for the tool. In addition, look to the Internet for more information, such as articles, step-by-step guides, or even mailing lists specific to a tool.

The tools discussed below are just a small sampling of the available tools.

8.3.1. Scanning Hosts with Nmap

Nmap is a popular tool included in Red Hat Linux that can be used to determine the layout of a network. Nmap has been available for many years and is probably the most often used tool when gathering information. An excellent man page is included that provides a detailed description of its options and usage. Administrators can use Nmap on a network to find host systems and open ports on those systems.

Nmap is a competent first step in vulnerability assessment. You can map out all the hosts within your network, and even pass an option that will allow it to attempt to identify the operating system running on a particular host. Nmap is a good foundation for establishing a policy of using secure services and stopping unused services. 

8.3.1.1. Using Nmap

Nmap can be run from a shell prompt or using a graphical frontend. At a shell prompt, type the nmap command followed by the hostname or IP address of the machine you want to scan.

 

nmap foo.example.com  

The results of the scan (which could take up to a few minutes, depending on where the host is located) should look similar to the following:

 

Starting nmap V. 3.00 ( http://www.insecure.org/nmap/ )

Interesting ports on localhost.localdomain (127.0.0.1):

(The 1591 ports scanned but not shown below are in state: closed)

Port       State       Service

22/tcp     open        ssh

25/tcp     open        smtp

111/tcp    open        sunrpc

515/tcp    open        printer

950/tcp    open        oftep-rpc

6000/tcp   open        X11

 

Nmap run completed — 1 IP address (1 host up) scanned in 0 seconds  

If you were to use the graphical frontend (which can be run by typing /usr/bin/nmapfe at a shell prompt), the results will look similar to the following:

 

Figure 8-1. Scanning with Nmap

Nmap tests the most common network communication ports for listening or waiting services. This knowledge can be helpful to an administrator who wants to close down unnecessary services.

For more information about using Nmap, refer to the official homepage at the following URL:

http://www.insecure.org

8.3.2. Nessus

Nessus is a full-service security scanner. The plug-in architecture of Nessus allows users to customize it for their systems and networks. As with any scanner, Nessus is only as good as the signature database it relies upon. Fortunately, Nessus is frequently updated. It features full reporting, host scanning, and real-time vulnerability searches. Remember that there could be false positives and false negatives, even in a tool as powerful and as frequently updated as Nessus.

 

  Note   

  Nessus is not included with Red Hat Linux and is not supported. It has been included in this document as a reference to users who may be interested in using this popular application.  

For more information about Nessus, refer to the official website at the following URL: 

http://www.nessus.org

8.3.3. Whisker

Whisker is an excellent CGI scanner. Whisker has the capability to not only check for CGI vulnerabilities but do so in an evasive manner, so as to elude intrusion detection systems. It comes with excellent documentation which should be carefully reviewed prior to running the program. When you have found your Web servers serving up CGI scripts, Whisker can be an excellent resource for checking the security of these servers.

 

  Note   

  Whisker is not included with Red Hat Linux and is not supported. It has been included in this document as a reference to users who may be interested in using this popular application.  

More information about Whisker can be found at the following URL: 

http://www.wiretrip.net/rfp/p/doc.asp/i2/d21.htm

8.3.4. VLAD the Scanner

VLAD is a scanner developed by the RAZOR team at Bindview, Inc. that may be used to check for vulnerabilities. It checks for the SANS Top Ten list of common security issues (SNMP issues, file sharing issues, etc.). While not as full-featured as Nessus, VLAD is worth investigating.

 

  Note   

  VLAD is not included with Red Hat Linux and is not supported. It has been included in this document as a reference to users who may be interested in using this popular application.  

More information about VLAD can be found on the RAZOR team website at the following URL:

http://razor.bindview.com/tools/vlad/index.shtml

8.3.5. Anticipating Your Future Needs

Depending upon your target and resources, there are many tools available. There are tools for wireless networks, Novell networks, Windows systems, Linux systems, and more. Another essential part of performing assessments may include reviewing physical security, personnel screening, or voice/PBX network assessment. New concepts, such as war walking — scanning the perimeter of your enterprise’s physical structures for wireless network vulnerabilities — are some emerging concepts that you can investigate and, if needed, incorporate in your assessments. Imagination and exposure are the only limits of planning and conducting vulnerability assessments.

 

 

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Defining Assessment and Testing Up  

This guide will let you pimp you Ubuntu latest Gusty Gibbon i.e Ubuntu 7.10 . If you don’t know how to get Ubuntu the head towards Ubuntu download and download a copy today which suits best your system.. There you will will be prompted to choose location and system type. After downloading, burn the image and boot through it and Install Ubuntu in 6 easy steps…

“The themes icon set , wallpaper ,desklets, fonts ,sounds
used while customization the Operating System are ® to their
respective owner. Copying, editing and use of those
application are free and can be distributed without
the owner permission.”

Though I had used few Icon Links and themes , but this does not meant that your are confined to those only .. You can always use your own choice themes and icons from Gnome-Look.org..

Note: Though this guide has been made to customize Ubuntu Gusty Gibbon but this can be used to Customize other OS which comes with Gnome 2.20 installed/optional..Though installation of particular software can be different.
So hold your breath and go through the complex customization made easy..

Installation / How To

Installation of the themes, icons, cursors have totally changed. Now the previous theme/icon control panel, Cursor Control panel has been merged into a single CP i.e Appearance Wizard .. This is available with new Gnome 2.20 .. The Appearance wizard lets you configure your theme,icon , cursor, metacity/gtk windows border, color if supported by theme.. Apart from that you can add wallpaper, change fonts, change Menu/Tool bar Interface, and select the Visual Style i.e Desktop with 3d Effects or without it..
Installation in Gnome 2.20 is very easy as compared to previous version so lets take a look on how to install themes, icon cursor and other customization stuffs..

Installing Theme/Icons/Cursor:- To install theme,icon or cursor just follow the give steps..There are mainly 2 methods of installing a GTK2.x themes,icons and cursor ….So lets take a quick look on both of the process.

1’st Installation Process:-

  • Download the theme/icon/cursor from given Source.. and Save it to Desktop..
  • Note that the theme or other pack must have following extension .tar.gz or .tar.bz2 .
  • If the theme did not come with the following extension you have to convert it into it… To do this open the Theme Archive by double clicking it.
  • Now Unzip the the archive only if has other extension the the mentioned above and Unzip it.. Place the Unzipped Folder to Desktop..
  • Note in case the theme comes in .rar pack then you cannot unzip it since default Ubuntu Archiver did not support .rar extraction .. To make your archiver able to do this open Terminal and type the following commands , make sure all the options .Under Software Sources are checked else it will not install via following command..

    sudo apt-get install unrar

  • After you unzipped the non .tar.gz and .tar.bz2 archive.. Right click the Folder the is being Unzipped. and select Create Archive option.. Under this select .tar.gz or .tar.bz2 .

  • After you successfully created the desired archive Open Appearance by Right Clicking on empty Space and selecting Change Desktop background or navigate to System -> Preferences -> Appearance.
  • After that drag a Windows will open with several tabs.. navigate to Themes Tag. After the navigation drag the .tar.gz or .tar.bz2 archive in the Themes tab Windows.
  • The installation of themes/icons and Cursor will be finished and you willl be prompted to Apply the New Installed theme or Keep System with default/presently set theme.
  • You can always select and mix theme/icon and cursor by pressing Customize tab in the Themes option. Navigate to Controls, Windows Border , Icons and cursor to set your choice theme…

2′nd Installation Process:-

  • The second Installation process is simple too.. Download the Icon/Theme/Cursor from give source ..
  • The unzip the Archive … Save the folder to Desktop.
  • Now Paste the folder in these locations.
  1. Themes : – ~/.themes
  2. Icons : – ~/.icons
  3. Cursor :- ~/.icons
  • ~/ refers to /home/<User Name>.. You cannot view extra content of your Home Folder..
  • To view all the contents Point towards View option in the 1’st toolbar and select “Show Hidden Files” or press Ctrl+H.
  • The Icon/Theme and Cursor option now can be seen under Theme Tab of Appearances.

Miscellaneous Installation : – This Installation Guide is based on Installation of different customization packs like GDM theme, Splash themes , Sounds , Fonts etc….

Log In/ GDM Theme Installation : – Installation of GDM theme is very easy .. Just download the GDM theme from given location and save it to your desktop. Now click on Main Menu and point towards System then towards Administration and open LogIn Windows. Click on Local tab and drag you GDM theme to Local Window. your theme will be automatically gets installed and you can select it by clicking on the desired screen/theme. After next reboot you can see a new Log In Screen..

Download : Start Up Manager



Splash Image Installation : – There are 3 types of Splash Part that are used in Linux .. I’ll let you know how to install and change splash of all 3 kinds. So lets take a look about Splashes :-

  • Grub Splash : – The 1’st Splash Screen that appear .. Its is mainly the Grub menu from where you select booting into multiple OS if has else will load Linux only.. Grub Splash place an image at the grub screen that add’s eye candy to it …The grub splash comes with extension .xpm.gz . To install a Grub Splash copy the ~.xpm.gz file to /boot/grub/splashimages since only root user can copy/edit Root File system your need to gain root privileged.

To do this Open terminal from Main Menu -> Accessories -> Terminal. Type

sudo nautilus

and press enter. A new Window will open which will let you copy/edit modify files of root file system.. Copy the desired ~.xpm.gz to /boot/grub/splashimages . Now to change Grub Splash you need a software known as Startup Manager. To download click here . Download the latest .deb file so that you can easily install it.. After the download gets finished double click the .deb file and click install .. Note : You must be connected to net while installing it .. Few files will be downloaded to complete installation..

After the installation finished navigate to System -> Administartion -> Startup Manager. After it opens click on Boot Option and check “Show Boot Loader” & “Show Boot Splash” options under Misc..After you are done click on Appearance tab and check “Use Color In Boot Loader Menu” and “Use Background Image for BL” . Assuming you have already copied the ~.xpm.gz file select desired Grub Splash from drop down list under grub Splash Option.
Now Installation is finished you will see a Grub Splash after next reboot.

  • Boot Splash / Usplash : – Boot Splash or U Splash is boot screen.It is the 2′nd Splash Screen that appears. To change Usplash 1’st download the Usplash from give location. The Usplash themes comes with ~.so extension. To install it you need to copy the ~.so files to /usr/lib/usplash . Since only root user can paste and edit files under File system. gain root privileged.. To do this Open terminal from Main Menu -> Accessories -> Terminal. Type

    sudo nautilus

    and press enter. A new Window will open which will let you copy/edit modify files of root file system.. Copy the desired ~.so to /usr/lib/usplash ..


After the installation finished navigate to System -> Administartion -> Startup Manager. After it open click on Appearance tab . Assuming you have already copied the ~.so file, select desired USplash from drop down list under USplash Option.
Now Installation is finished you will see a new USplash after next reboot.

Note : – You can face few problem changing Usplash via Startup Manager. If you face problem that your Usplash did not change even after selecting different Usplash from Startup Manager.. To overcome this problem rename the Usplash you want to change to usplash-theme-ubuntu but this will replace default Ubuntu Splash so take backup before doing this step….

  • GTK Splash : – Gtk Splash is the last splash screen that comes after Log In Screen.GTK Splash are normal images thaT comes with ~.png extension .To Install download the GTK Splash images from give links and paste them under /usr/share/pixmaps/splash since its is under Root File System you need root privileged. To do this Open terminal from Main Menu -> Accessories -> Terminal. Type

    sudo nautilus

    and press enter. A new Window will open which will let you copy/edit modify files of root file system.. Copy the desired image to /usr/share/pixmaps/splash ..

To Install GTK Splash Open Terminal and type

sudo apt-get install gtweakui

This will install gtweakui which is a very handy tool.. Now after the installation gets finished open gtweak sessions from System -> Preferences -> gtweak sessions.. Check Show Splash Screen on Log-In click on big thumbnail and select desired image..
Installation is finished now you can view new GTK Splash after next Log-In..

Sounds Installation : – Sounds are beeps/music that are the reaction of computer towards user integration. You can install different sound to do this 1’st download the sound from given location. The unzip the folder to desktop.. Now Paste the Folder to /usr/share/sounds since its is under Root File System you need root privileged. To do this Open terminal from Main Menu -> Accessories -> Terminal. Type

sudo nautilus

And press enter. A new Window will open which will let you copy/edit modify files of root file system.. Copy the desired image to /usr/share/sounds . To change sound navigate to System -> Preferences -> Sound a new window will open Click on Sounds tab and change the cound you want to change.



Emerald Installation: Emerald provide windows border when 3d desktop manager is selected. Emerald provide huge set of beautiful windows border to match you wallpaper and themes.. To install Emerald Open Terminal and type

sudo apt-get install emerald

this will install emerald. You can access emerald from System -> Preferences -> Emerald Theme Manager.
Emerald themes comes with .emerald extensions.. To install themes download from give location and Open Emerald theme Manager.. Click on Import and navigate to ~.emerald file and click open your new Emerald theme is installed .. In order to use the Emerald theme your 3d Composite Manager should be running just select the theme you want to use from Emerald theme Manager…

Terminal Hack :- To make Terminal transparent with/without Berly follow the steps Open Terminal click on Edit tab. Then select Current Profile, a new window will open click on Effects tab. Under effects tab you will notice background option. Select Transparency and adjust the amount of transparent desktop you need. You now has a transparent Terminal.

Customization to OSX

Apple latest OS that is full of eye candy and beautiful sets of icon and themes. Customization of OSX is very easy and selective in terms of icons and themes as there are plethora of themes and icons sets present to pimp you Ubuntu to OSX…So lets start the customization .. The new version of Ubuntu hasn’t changed in terms of UI by default so it pretty same customization in the beginning ..Here is the default Ubuntu desktop which has 2 Taskbars or Panel..The upper Panel is for navigation of Menus while the lower panel has option for navigation of Active Widows and Workspace..
Since OSX comes with One dock and sigle panel we have to configure Ubuntu like it only .. So lets follow the steps to configure ubuntu into OSX..

  • The 1’st thing is we have to delete the lower panel ..Right Click on lower panel and select Delete. After that your lower panel will be deleted..
  • The lower panel has 3 main applications . i.e Windows List, Workspace Switcher & Trash Icon.Apart from these three only Windows List is important.
  • To get Windows List in Upper Panel Right Click upper panel and select Add to Panel..
  • A new Windows will appear under Desktop & Windows option click on Window List and select add..
  • Now you have successfully created a new panel…

Customization of the panels have been successfully done. Now we should head towards customization of Looks, Feel and Sound of OSX..
Since OSX has 2 flavor one is old OSX and other is new Leopard so I has selected themes so that you can choose a particular theme for OSX according to your taste.. There are lots of other themes too but I’ll recommend you to use this at most and after you know how to change theme you can select theme by your own choice..

Fos OSX Old : –

For OSX Leopard Customization : –



Misc. Customization Pack : –

Customization to Vista

Vista is the latest OS from Microsoft camp.. Promised a lots Vista fails to stands even a single..Finding Gnome 2.20 Vista theme is pretty difficult since developers are least bothered about it .. but still I find something that will match the taste of it … So lets start the customization of Ubuntu to Vista.
Since Vista comes with One dock and single panel we have to configure Ubuntu like it only .. So lets follow the steps to configure Ubuntu into Vista..

  • The 1’st thing is we have to delete the lower panel ..Right Click on lower panel and select Delete. After that your lower panel will be deleted..
  • The lower panel has 3 main applications . i.e Windows List, Workspace Switcher & Trash Icon.Apart from these three only Windows List is important.
  • To get Windows List in Upper Panel Right Click upper panel and select Add to Panel..
  • A new Windows will appear under Desktop & Windows option click on Window List and select add..
  • You can change the position of panel just click on empty space of panel and drag where you want to place it..But I will suggest you to place the tab in the upper side only..

Now you have successfully created a new panel…and customization of Panel has been done . So head towards configuring theme and other parts of Ubuntu to make it look like Vista…

For Vista Leopard Customization : –

Miscellaneous Customization

Since I have been customizing Ubuntu from a long time I thought of giving few other and nice Customization. I have added few new customization : –

  1. New Human Customization.
  2. Dark Ubuntu Customization..
  3. Peace Ubuntu Customization.

So let me start with my newly added customization ..

New Ubuntu Customization :- This Customization part will be focusing on providing new Human Theme, better icon and will provide with you new and better goodies..Panel customization will remains the same as you have done with Vista and OSX .. So head towards configuring theme and other parts of Ubuntu to make it look like new and improved Ubuntu…

For New Ubuntu Customization : –



Dark Ubuntu Customization :-
This customization will customization will customize your Ubuntu to Dark Ubuntu providing your Ubuntu a new dark look that you will like a lot.Panel customization will remains the same as you have done with Vista and OSX .. So head towards configuring theme and other parts of Ubuntu to make it look like dark Ubuntu…

For Dark Ubuntu Customization : –

Peace Ubuntu Customization : – This customization will change the look of you Ubuntu and will provide a serene white look that will provide you peace while your work.Panel customization will remains the same as you have done with Vista and OSX .. So head towards configuring theme and other parts of Ubuntu to make it look like dark Ubuntu…

For Peace Ubuntu Customization : –

Docks and Desklets

A cool desktop without Desklets and a cool Dock cannot be consider cool cause main eye candy if being provided by these Utils only.. In this part I’ll guide you Installing Dock and Desklets Manager.. The Dock I will install is the most stable and is frequently updated know as AWN or Avant Windows Navigator is the best dock available for Linux So lets take a look at the Installation Steps of AWN and Desklets manager I’ll use is Screenlets since Gusty comes with Compiz by default user will not face problem with transparency and all….

Note: Before you try to install any of them I’ll recommend you udate your system through Update Manager..

Installing Avant Windows Navigator in Gusty Gibbon: – AWN is a Fully customizable dock-like window navigator for GNOME. Awn is pretty stable and comes with some striking features so lets take a look on how to install AWN In Ubuntu Gusty Gibbon..To do this open Terminal and type the following codes..

gksudo gedit /etc/apt/sources.list

At the end of the text add these lines

deb http://download.tuxfamily.org/syzygy42/ gutsy avant-window-navigator
deb-src http://download.tuxfamily.org/syzygy42/ gutsy avant-window-navigator

Now copy and paste the following codes in Terminal ..

wget http://download.tuxfamily.org/syzygy42/reacocard.asc -O- | sudo apt-key add –
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get upgrade

For AWN BZR do:

sudo apt-get install avant-window-navigator-bzr

You can install more applets for AWN by doing:

sudo apt-get install awn-core-applets-bzr

Installation of AWN is finished you can Customize AWN from AWM Manager which you can Access from System -> Preferences -> AWN Manager

Here is a theme that you will need for AWM To install the theme open AWN Manager and under theme tab add the theme to AWN manager apply it and after next time you will open AWN theme will be activated..

Installing Screenlets in Gusty Gibbon: – Screenlets provide with some eyecatching desklets that pimp your desktop and give a much better look.. Screenlet provide a lot of desklets which work when 3d Composite Manager is turned On..So lets take a look how to install Screenlets :-

Open Terminal and type the following code :–

gksudo gedit /etc/apt/sources.list

Then add the following lines at the bottom : –

deb http://hendrik.kaju.pri.ee/ubuntu gutsy screenlets

Download Screenlets from http://www.screenlets.org/ .. Extract the archive and place the folder at desktop.. Now open Terminal and type following codes..

cd /path/of/the/folder

Then type this

sudo make install

Now you can access Screenlets from System ->Preferences -> Screenlets
Enjoy you have installed the best pimping utility
Adding Screenlets in database : – To add a screenlets 1’st download the screenlet from gnome-look.org or Screenlet home page and follow the steps mentioned ..
To do this Open terminal from Main Menu -> Accessories -> Terminal. Type sudo nautilus and press enter. A new Window will open which will let you copy/edit modify files of root file system.. Copy the desired image to /usr/local/share/screenlets ..

Now download the Screenlets from Gnome-look.org and unzip them .. Open /usr/local/share/screenlets under root privileged and paste the folder under it you can now access your added Screenlets from Screenlets Manager i.e under System ->Preferences -> Screenlets

Conclusion

Well I am ending my customization guide now hope you must have liked it and I am sure it will help you pimp your Ubuntu / Linux Mint Desktop… So here Ubuntu Gusty Customization Guide or Linux Mint Customization Guide comes to an end…

This guide is free to use. No part or whole of this guide should be reproduced without my permission.

Thats all for now. Hope you all will like the hard work.. Keep the reply and suggestions coming. Any queries ask.

Avant Window Navigator (abbreviated AWN or Awn) is a dock-like bar for Linux, which sits at the bottom of a user’s screen and tracks open windows. Instead of representing open windows as buttons or segments on a bar, it uses icons to minimize screen space and add visual appeal. Avant Window Navigator was created by Neil J. Patel and is currently in the beta stages of development.

Both the appearance and functionality of Avant Window Navigator may be customized, and plugins and applets are available, such as to display the progress of a download in Mozilla Firefox or to control a music player like Rhythmbox.[1] The plugins use the D-Bus IPC system, and applets can be written in C, Python, or Vala. There is a sister project, AWN Extras, which is a collection of community-contributed applets and plugins. Its releases are usually kept in sync with AWN.

One of the major requirements to run Avant Window Navigator is a composited environment. Therefore, the user is required to install a compositor[2], such as Compiz, which could tax performance on low-end systems. Support for non-composited environments is planned for a future release.

Switching to Linux can be very daunting, most seasoned Linux users experienced that first hand. After all, at some point they were also “noobs”. However, the Linux community has excelled in making the switch for beginners as easy as possible by providing guides, howtos, tweaks, and general advocacy articles. When I first made the switch 3 years ago, I found the community welcoming me with open hands on forums, IRC channels, and E-mail, I was surprised how helpful these penguins were!

For this, I feel obliged to give back to the community that has always been there for me. To pass down the torch to newer Linux generations. Over here I compiled a list of 7 habits that I wish someone told me when I started out. I believe that getting into these habits will make the Linux experience more secure, convenient, educational, and ultimately more enjoyable.

1-Never Login Using ‘root’ GUI

If there was one habit that one should strictly abide by, it’s probably this one. Most of us come from a Windows background, and we have the notion that more power is better, so we login using our administrator accounts. Well let me tell you my friend, that this is a major reason that Windows is plagued with viruses and insecurities, half the world is currently running ‘root’ accounts!

Suse on RootWith great power comes great responsibility, and with ‘root’ powers you should be aware of the consequences of EVERYTHING you’re doing, and even then, mistakes happen. I remember my beginnings with SUSE Linux, there were lot of administrative tasks I needed to do but had no idea how to go about them without the GUI, so I so innocently log out and login onto the ‘root‘ GUI. The default wallpaper of the ‘root‘ GUI on SUSE were lit fuse bombs tiled beside each other. Back then, the symbolism totally flew over my head, coming from a Windows background, I wasn’t really doing anything wrong.

But what are the dangers of logging in as root?

  1. Well imagine you’re on the trapeze without a safety net, frightening isn’t it? Well that’s effectively what you are doing when you login as root, you can inadvertently hose your whole system
  2. You are at the risk of running malware. Any program that is started under root mode will automatically be given root privileges
  3. If there is a common security hole that hasn’t been patched yet, you could be totally “pwned”
  4. It’s common Unix convention, never run anything in root mode unless absolutely necessary. If a non-admin program asks for root access, you should be suspicious

Generally, instead of logging onto your root GUI, use any of the following techniques:

  • Use “sudo” or “su” , and kill the session when your done
  • If you don’t know how to do it in the command line, use “gksu” or “kdesu”. For example, press alt+f2 and type “gksu nautilus“. Close the app as soon as you finish

2-Properly Name Your Files

In a Linux environment, you can name your files whatever you want except for, 1) the forward slash “/” which is reserved for the root directory, and 2) a null character. Anything else is technically acceptable, however there are some best practices that you should abide by in order to avoid any future complications:

  • As a rule of thumb, only use alphanumeric characters, hyphens, periods, and underscores
  • Avoid special symbols like dollar signs, brackets, and percentages. These symbols have special meanings to the shell, and could cause conflicts
  • Avoid using spaces, handling files with spaces in the terminal is kind of awkward. Replace spaces with either hyphens or underscores

I personally have grown into this habit, I find myself following these guidelines even in a Windows or Mac environment.

3-Place /home on a Different Partition

Doing this gives you extreme flexibility, a kind that you never imagined before. Having /home in a separate partition enables you to reinstall your system or even change your whole distro without losing your data and personal settings. Just keep the “/home” partition intact and reinstall whatever you want on your “/”. Now you can try out distros as much as you want, without worrying about your data and personal settings, they go with you on the go ;).

If you weren’t lucky enough to know this before installing your system, then do not despair! Carthik from Ubuntu Blog takes you in a step-by-step guide titled “Move /home to it’s own partition

4-Proper Crash Management

Learn how to avoid this!Linux is very robust and stable, however every system can come down to it’s knees every once in a while. Before you head to CTRL-ALT-DEL, the restart button, or the plug, you should know how to properly handle any crash. As opposed to another un-named operating system, you should be able to easily recover your system without actually restarting! I personally go through different levels, if one doesn’t work I elevate it to next step:

  1. I have the “force quit” applet on my taskbar, if any app starts to act up just click on the “force quit” icon and then kill the app
  2. If that doesn’t work, draw up a terminal and type “ps -A” , and take note of the Process ID (PID) of the culprit app, then kill it. “kill PID”
  3. Use the “killall” command, for example, “killall firefox-bin”
  4. If your whole GUI is frozen, and drawing up a terminal is impossible, then press CTRL-ALT-F1, this will take you to another terminal, and virtually a whole new session. From there kill the culprit app using step 2 and 3.
  5. If that doesn’t work, you might want to restart your GUI using the CTRL-ALT-Backspace combo. Beware, that this will kill all your GUI apps currently running
  6. Invoke CTRL-ALT-F1 and do CTRL+ALT+DEL from here. This will not instantly reset your system, merely perform a standard reboot, it’s safe. (Assuming you want to restart and CTLR-ALT-F1 works)
  7. Finally if nothing works, don’t rush to the hard reset button, try to Raise a Skinny Elephant

5-Play The Field

You were probably recruited to your current distro by a friend, it suited you, and stuck with it. That’s great, but there is probably something better for you out there. Why not harness the flexibility and richness of Linux and Open Source? Don’t be afraid to experiment around with different distros, apps, window managers, and desktops. Experiment until you find the best fit. Think of it this way, if you are currently living in the best place on earth for you, traveling around the world wouldn’t really harm right? In fact you might find a better place to live in, but if you didn’t, the time you spent traveling would not have gone to waste, you would have learned a lot about other countries, other people and traditions, different ways of thinking, and ultimately had fun!

Every new thing you try out will contribute to your incremental learning, in a year’s time you will have a good grasp on Linux and the Open Source world. I personally tried out at least 10 distros, 4 desktops, and 5 window managers. My recent article Etymology of A Distro got me interested in a couple more distros such as Zenwalk, Foresight, and Sabayon. Play the field, my friend, it will do you good.

But before you proceed, pay heed to these few hints:

  • Set up your perfect system that you feel comfortable with, you need a workable system 24/7 right? Then test around using one of the below points
  • Harness the power of virtualization! Install Vmware or Virtualbox. Use them to test out the distros
  • Alternatively, if you are not big on virtualization, you can set up a separate partition to test new distros. A partition that you couldn’t care less about
  • Ultimately, you can have a main PC and a test one. Wreak havoc on the test one
Anime image is licensed by Creative Commons BY-NC 3.0
Original Artwork by Juzo Kun, Modified by Wayne Richardson.

6-Nurture Your CLI Adoption

Now I am not going to advocate learning the command line, there are numerous articles that emphasise on it’s importance. What I am assuming here is that you already know it’s importance, and have a rudimentary understanding on how to do some simple administrative tasks. You are already hacking away, tweaking and configuring, following the different guides and howtos scattered all over the tubes, but don’t just copy and paste!! Meaning, instead of just headlessly executing commands some random guy half way across the world told you to execute, try to understand what every command does. Why did the guide ask you to do this, as opposed to something else? Understand the rationale of the steps you are asked to do. These commands are highly relevant to you, and will help you gain a better understanding than any 101 guide.

After a while you will notice that you have amassed a good deal of CLI lore.

At the end of the day it’s just a pseudo-language! Every command is probably just an acronym of something, or a cut down version of a real word. You expect your dog to understand “Spike fetch ball” so why don’t you expect to understand “sudo mv /file1 /file2″?

7-Always Be Ready to Unleash The Power Within

Personally, I had numerous occasions when a friend asked me to do something on his/her computer, but found myself crippled because of his/her choice of OS. At other times I wanted to do something urgently but the only computer had another crippled OS. Spare yourself the agony, have Linux with you all the time, whether it’s on a USB pendrive, a live CD, or even a live CD business card ! There are dozens of good Linuces out there that are perfect for on-the-go computing. Knoppix, DSL, and Puppy Linux are just a few examples.

I personally don’t apply this habit, which is a shame, I really need to get my act together! P </publishes and heads to pendrivelinux.com>

When it comes to Linux there are 3 4 kinds of people, those who never heard of it, those who love it, those who are afraid of it, and those who hate it and spread falsities about it. I don’t really care about the first, they probably aren’t really technologically literate anyways, as long as they have E-mail they are content. While the third  group is the result of the actions of the fourth. Let’s hit two birds with one stone shall we?
1-Linux is More Secure Because it Has A Smaller User Base

It is widely argued that Linux is more secure than Windows just because Windows is more popular, so hackers and virus coders tend to focus on the more popular platform. Actually, this is just one side of the story There are so many other things running for Linux security-wise that totally dispels this myth.

First of all, let’s face it, YOU are the weakest link in any OS. The user is the one that wreaks havoc to any OS, with ignorance or miscalculated decisions. Linux users are generally more savvy than the Windows or Mac users out there. We don’t just click on files promising us the latest Hollywood diva nude pictures. Besides, it’s normal practice that Linux users don’t run their systems as root, which is not the case with Windows, this drastically brings down the vulnerability of any system. The question now, will this be the case if Linux gains popularity and more adoption? I don’t really know, but if Linux commanded more than 90% of the market, I believe this argument would be totally false.

Linux with it’s Unix roots is built as a Network Operating System (NOS) and now advancing slowly as a Desktop OS (DOS? ironically). This simple fact helped Linux carry on the legacy of network security model of server/client-user with limited permissions. Whilst an OS like Windows was originally built as a single-user Desktop OS advancing into a NOS and adding security layers on the go.

Finally, just the fact that Linux is Open Source means that more eyeballs can see bugs and vulnerabilities making it easier to patch. Any coder in his/her mom’s basement could issue a fix for the community. It doesn’t need a big fat layer of corporate bureaucracy to issue a fix! Granted that the corporation gives the security flaw enough attention.
2-Installing Applications on Linux is Hard

Well this might have been true in the early days of Linux, but currently it can’t be farther from the truth. As a Linux user, what do I have to do to install an app? Let’s assume I want to this in a a GUI only environment (some get turned off by the mere mention of a command line, for some reason beyond me.) All I have to do is launch the graphical frontend of my package manager (think of it a big ass repository of applications stored on a server some where), then search for the app in mind. Hell if you don’t know the exact name of the application just search for the function! For example if you want to install a Gmail alerter, just type “google” or “gmail”, a plethora of apps will appear, then tick on the one you like and click ok. The package manager will automatically download the required files from the Internet and install it, and place it in your menu!

On the other hand, if you want to install an app on Windows what will you do? Generally you will head to Google and search for the required app or function, swim through hundreds if not thousands of results, randomly choose one which might or might not have what you want. If it does you will be probably asked for a valid email or enter a captcha, then download the file. The file might be huge and if you don’t have a download manager you might lose all what you downloaded because your wireless abruptly decided to disconnect. There are 101 scenarios! If all goes well you double click on the app, click next next, tick on “I Agree”, a couple more nexts and you have the app. Which turns out to be a stripped down trial version, that added a couple of more apps that you didn’t ask for on your desktop and changed a few of your system settings!

Which is easier again?
3-Linux is A Nightmare to Install

Back in 2005 when I first started my Linux adventure, I got my hand on 5 SUSE cd’s from a  Linux Format magazine. Back then I was on XP, I initially wanted to back up my files before I take the plunge just in case. When I looked at the huge amount of files, I got lazy and somewhat careless, and decided just to install SUSE without backing up. 2 hours later I had a magical dual boot system (the whole concept of dual boot was alien to me back then) and all my files were intact!

Why am I telling you this story? Because I think one part of the intimidation of installing Linux is the belief that it might destroy files and end up on an OS that might thats not appealing (hey we are humble to realize it’s not for everyone 😉 ) All I am saying it’s piss easy! If I was able to do it with no prior knowledge of Linux then you can too! It just needs some common sense. Trust me!

And if you don’t trust me (I understand you don’t really know me do you?) Why don’t you dabble with Linux using virtualization?

Anyways the whole installation process has been tuned over the years. Distros like SUSE, Ubuntu, and Fedora, are so easy to install it would literally take around 30 minutes to get it up and ready. With almost all the apps a default PC should have. Thing like an Office suite, media player, PDF reader, chat clients…etc Can you really say the same about YOUR system?
4-The Linux Interface is Ugly and Unattractive

Well it depends on the definition of “attractive” doesn’t it? A command line only OS might be a turn off for most people but bliss for some. An interface with wobbly windows, rotating cubes, spherical desktop, fireworks, rain, snow…etc is bliss to a lot and a resource hog to some.

Well Linux provides you both and everything in between! And in a million and one styles!

You can install Compiz, which gives you rotating cubes for different desktops, wobbly windows, animated window behavior just to name a few. You can install Enlightenment, which provides you a sleek looking desktop that you have never seen before. KDE4 is a scene to behold! Anyways I think a picture is worth a thousand words,  here judge by yourself:

Linux and the Compiz Cube It\’s Snowing in Linux Land enlightenment-e17

In fact you can actually make Linux like whatever you want, you can make it even look like Apple or Windows! The sky is the limit 😉
5-There Are No Games on Linux

Actually I am not really a PC gamer, I tend to keep my gaming activities on consoles, but I once installed Football Manager under Linux, worked perfectly.

Seriously, just yesterday I walked into my brother’s room, and  found a collection of PC games on the floor. Me knowing that he uses Linux exclusively, I raised an eyebrow and asked “under Linux?”. He replied positively, “without a hitch!”

Today, there are literally 100’s of games that work under Linux, true they haven’t been ported, but Wine (a program that allows Windows programs to run under Linux) has taken care of that. Just looking at the top 10 list of apps working under Wine, one finds quite a lot of them are games. And a lot of them are VERY popular! Wine could also help in a lot of other games too! You can also purchase Cedega which depends on Wine but makes the experience much more user-friendly. There is a lot of help out there, you just need to open your eyes a bit! And if all fails, virtualization could be a last resort!

Word of Worldcraft Running on Linux using Wine

One could still argue that there are no Linux games, as all that this means that there are no native Linux games. Right? Not really, there are loads of native Open Source Linux games, I can’t really vouch for them, but from the screen shots they do seem cool. Here have a glimpse.
6-Linux Doesn’t Come Preinstalled Like Windows

Whoa! You have been contaminated with a big dose of FUD! Actually Linux comes preinstalled from a lot of different vendors. Some are international brands like Dell and Lenovo. There are also some specialized Linux vendors like System76 or EmprorLinux.

Asus also have created a new trend. Fitting Linux in a new niche market, the Ultra Mobile PC market with the Eee PC. HP, Aspire, MSI, among others are fitting these UMPC’s with Linux.
7-There is No Support for Linux

If you purchased your Linux system from a vendor, then there will probably some kind of support. A quick check on System76 or EmprorLinux would verify that. Also if you bought a distribution from Red Hat or Novell then you will also get support as part of the package.

However in reality, a lot of Linux users are mavericks, they get their support from the Linux community. The Linux community is very supportive (at least that is my experience). The Internet is riddled with forums, guides, howtos, blogs, IRC rooms… etc that would offer anybody an extraordinary amount of help. I don’t think that any other operating system has this kind of community. I am sure when it comes to community other proprietary operating systems do envy us!
8-Linux Doesn’t Have Good Hardware Support

Sometime ago, I blogged about how I suffered to get an HP printer to work on Windows. Long story short, after around 2 hours of trying to get an HP printer to work on XP, I gave up and plugged into an Ubuntu Linux Eee PC, it got recognized in 30 seconds! There are thousands of stories similar to this, just a quick Google would confirm that. Here is an example.

What people fail to realize that in the case of their Windows preinstalled PC’s, they “just works” because the vendors have already done all the work for them. It would be a totally different ball game if these PC’s had no OS on them. Windows wouldn’t come out all that superior, I would even wager that Linux would probably do a better job.

Actually I think that we are at a point where I can say that Linux would work more than 90% of hardware out there! Could Windows or Apple claim that? I don’t know, I stopped being a Windows power user for quite sometime. But what I remember is that a webcam I purchased in 2004 wasn’t “digitally verified” (or something like that) by XP, despite the fact that XP has been around for years!
9-There is No Office Software, or Software At All for Linux

Huh? Under which rock have you been living under in the past decade? Actually there is more Office software for Linux than Windows and Apple combined. It does 95% of what Microsoft Office can do and you don’t need to loose an arm and a leg to get it, its FREE! And let’s face it, most of us don’t really use Microsoft Office to it’s full potential. So why should I pay 100% for only 10% features I need?

As for the rest of software, rest assured that there is replacement for everything you need. And in a lot of cases these apps get the job done in better ways than their propietary counterparts. And before you say: “Photoshop”, you won’t drag me into this conversation, if you are not content with Gimp, you still can get Photoshop on Linux, so please let’s not get into that.
Bonus: Linux is For Geeks!

Ahh, nevermind not really gonna try to refute this one, though I tried to convince people that Linux is sexy, didn’t really do a good job at it! But hey geek is good 😉