Monday, December 22, 2014

Ubuntu Photo and Xubuntu Photo - New Versions based on 14.04 LTS

Its time for some updates to my Ubuntu Photo and Xubuntu Photo customization of the respective Ubuntu versions. And they are not insignificant. The new versions (that can be downloaded here and here) are now based on the 14.04 LTS code branch.

These are completely new/fresh installs with all applicable updates and a few core applications installed from PPAs to ensure being up to date beyond the official repositories.

New for the Xubuntu Photo includes an XFCE Ambiance theme set as default that brings about a look more similar to the mainline Ubuntu release. There are also additional plug-ins and scripts loaded into The Gimp program (which also loads into single window mode by default). These changes to the base systems my customizations are based on are detailed in the short README file I have created. This can be seen when viewing the file lists on my Sourceforge page or via direct download link here.

Going forward, this is likely my last update to Ubuntu Photo based on the mainline Ubuntu LTS. I have switched to the XFCE based Xubuntu on my own laptop and while I really like the five year support cycle and with the mainline Ubuntu, I don't like all the feature removal and elimination of the ability to configure that seems to be coming more and more to the GNOME core.

I plan on continuing to update the Xubuntu Photo with each new LTS release of Xubuntu. While the five years of support would be nice, some of the core applications I use the most typically only support the current LTS, so getting 2-3 years without having to upgrade the OS version and have everything else current is plenty tolerable.



Thursday, September 11, 2014

Upgrading Shotwell to 0.18.1 in Ubuntu 12.04

Officially, Shotwell 0.18 is not supported on Ubuntu 12.04 and at first I was a little disappointed that the folks over at Yorba would drop support of an LTS that still has about three years of support to go before being end of life. But, looking at how the newer versions are built, I understand the reason: the newest version of Shotwell depends on packages that the Ubuntu team will not be making available for 12.04, meaning for those of us who aren't ready to jump into the next release (LTS or otherwise) are effectively "stuck" on older versions of many software packages.

With many applications, this is really not that big of a deal. In the case of Shotwell though, Flickr made a change that broke uploading with older versions of Shotwell. This was fixed in 0.18.1, meaning officially its either upgrade your 12.04 LTS release or deal with no Flickr uploading. Alternatively, you can install from source with my instructions below to get the current version of Shotwell running on Ubuntu 12.04 LTS.

For this to work, we will need four PPA's setup in order to install all the prerequisite packages that Shotwell will need when we compile it from source. All of the steps below (save downloading the source archive and uncompressing it) will be run from a terminal session (CTRL + ALT + T will bring up a terminal). First we will need to add the following four PPA's to your system:

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:ricotz/testing
sudo add-apt-repository ppa:gnome3-team/gnome3
sudo add-apt-repository ppa:vala-team/ppa
sudo add-apt-repository ppa:yorba/ppa

After the four PPAs have been added, run sudo apt-get update and then install the following packages:

sudo apt-get install valac gee-0.8 webkitgtk-3.0 desktop-file-utils libgconf2-dev libgexiv2-dev libglib2.0-dev libgstreamer1.0-dev libgstreamer-plugins-base1.0-dev libgudev-1.0-dev libexif-dev libgphoto2-2-dev libraw-dev librest-dev libsoup2.4-dev libxml2-dev libsqlite3-dev m4 libjson-glib-dev gnome-doc-utils

Many other packages will get upgraded at the same time from the PPAs we installed, let them update as well (we'll need them to compile Shotwell). The webkitgtk-3.0 package is quite large (close to 500MB) so this part will take a bit to download and install.

At his point, if you haven't done so already - download the source tarball and extract it. For me, I simply saved it in Downloads to make it easy. From our terminal change into the recently extracted folder: cd Downloads/shotwell-0.18.1

Next we will run the following commands in sequence, letting each previous command finish before entering the next one:
sudo ./configure
sudo make
sudo make install

Once this is done you will have Shotwell 0.18.1 on Ubuntu 12.04LTS. I have noticed this may cause some issues with the Ambiance Theme (it did for me), this was solved by upgrading the light-themes package. I used the Synaptic Package Manager to do the update (which showed that the light-themes package had an upgrade available) and after a reboot, things were back in place looking they way I would expect.

 Keep in mind, that this is an unsupported (by either the Shotwell developers or the Ubuntu developers) way to upgrade and may cause system instability.



Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Xubuntu Photo Listed on Softpedia

My customized version of Xubuntu that mirrors my mainline Ubuntu customization has now also been included on Softpedia. You can check out the write up and download link here.

Their editor's even gave it a 4 Star rating, not bad I say! The Xubuntu version doesn't have as many downloads, but its nice to have a second option. The plethora of choices is one of the best parts of Linux land - just doing my part!



Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Updates to Ubuntu Photo

I have uploaded updated ISO images of my 64bit version of Ubuntu Photo and the 64bit version of Xubuntu Photo. You can get the new ISO images at my SourceForge page.

New updates include: A Calendar Maker script for the GIMP, RawTherapee PPA for those who wish to install the latest version, UF Raw Gimp Plugin, all Ubuntu Updates as of 2/24/2014 and for Xubuntu an Ambiance Theme is available (but not default).



Saturday, November 23, 2013

Customizing Xubuntu with Remastersys

As I did with the base Ubuntu 12.04, I wanted to create a customized version of Xubuntu 12.04. The first step was similar to my Ubuntu customization with a removal of unwanted default software and installation of my custom set.

While Xubuntu by default comes with some lighter weight programs such as Abiword and Gnumeric, I am more interested in the more feature rich LibreOffice Suite. Along with Abiword and Gnumeric: Pidgin, Transmission, Xchat, Gmusicbrowser and Parole get the ax for my application set.

The new applications include the aforementioned LibreOffice as well as Quadrapassel,  GIMP 2.8 (From PPA), Hugin, Darktable (From PPA), Openshot Video Editor (From PPA), Banshee, RipperX, DVD Styler, gLabels, Audacity, Lucky Backup, WinFF and Shotwell. This rounds out the same software set installed on the Ubuntu Photo customization.

After customizing the XFCE environment, I had run the Remastersys program (as detailed in previous posts on Customizing Ubuntu) and when I went to test the ISO none of my customizations stuck - the default Xubuntu desktop and panel structure was back. After some research and trial and error I did the following to get my configurations to stick:

I copied my user configuration files located at ~./config/xfce4/ to /etc/xdg/xfce4/ & /etc/xdg/xdg-xubuntu/xfce4.  After a reboot of the VM I created everything, I lost some the color theme and icon set settings. Changed those back and all was good. Next I copied  ~./config/xfce4/xfconf/xfce4-panel.xml to /etc/xdg/xdg-xubuntu/xfce4/panel/default.xml (overwriting the existing default.xml file). Lastly I copied the contents of ~./config/ to /etc/skel and the final ISO tested and booted as expected with all customizations in place. Below is a screen shot of my customized setup.

Customized Xubuntu 12.04
Customized Xubuntu 12.04 LTS
I have uploaded my custom Xubuntu ISO to my Sourceforge project page (link)  to go with my Ubuntu customizations. This version includes all Ubuntu system updates as of 11/22/13 and is 64Bit only.

Next steps for my photography geared Ubuntu/Xubuntu customizations include custom wallpapers, splash screens and maybe even a few icons. Don't know when that will be a reality at this point though, but that is what I would like to do next.



Thursday, November 14, 2013

Transferring a Virtual Machine From Xenserver to Hyper-V

Exporting a Virtual Machine from Xenserver and then importing it into Hyper-V is not officially supported from any documentation I can find on-line. If you have need for this conversion, and your Virtual Disks are in VHD format, this is really quite simple. The below tutorial will walk you through the steps I took to move a VM from Xenserver to Hyper-V. I have not tested this with virtual disk formats other than the VHD format, so other scenarios are untested and unknown to work or not.

First step: In XenCenter, export the target VM (VM must be shutdown to export) with the OVF/OVA option and be sure to not choose the option to create a single OVA file. Importing to Hyper-V will not work with the single OVA file export. All the remaining default options are fine, choose to verify the export if you desire.

Second step: On the Hyper-V host, create a folder on the hard drive where you will want your VM's files to live. Once the folder is created, copy the VHD and OVF file from the first step to this folder (The VHD file will be named with a large string of letters and numbers).

Third step: In your Hyper-V manager, create a new Virtual Machine and name it as desired. For the VM destination, select the folder created in the second step that contains the VHD and OVF files. Assign the memory and network options and for the virtual disk, select the exported VHD from the above step.

Fourth step: Adjust and fine tune the remaining settings (virtual processors etc...) and then power it up, your all done!

I have tested this by exporting VM's from Xenserver 6.0.2 and 6.1 and importing them to Hyper-V 2012 running in full Server 2012 hosts.



Thursday, October 17, 2013

My Customized Ubuntu Listed on Softpedia

My Photography geared customization of Ubuntu, which I so creatively called Ubuntu Photo, has been listed on Softpedia.  A bit of an unexpected, albeit pleasant surprise! You can find the link here and see their brief write up.

I originally had a base system geared toward general users, but have since decided to scrap that and focus solely on my photography geared version. Long term I would like to further my customization beyond the default fall-back mode and extra set of applications.

I would also like to do a customized Xubuntu version, but it will take a bit more research on the customizations with XFCE as Remastersys does not keep all the user customizations and the desktop stays the same as the default Xubuntu (that I am not wild about).