Posts Tagged ‘files’

If you’ve upgraded to Ubuntu 11.10, you may have noticed your movie files not looking as they should in the default Movie Player (Totem), and probably others like SMPlayer and MPlayer. For me, the clips actually looked fine first off, but only in Totem, as SMPlayer kept crashing. Then, after getting some updates, Totem started displaying the colours all mixed up (as did SMPlayer, which wasn’t crashing any more). I tested GNOME MPlayer, and that was fine, but all my other players were affected.

From the looks of comments I’ve seen around, updating/installing Medibuntu is a likely suspect, but whatever the cause, it should actually be quite easy to fix. Simply go to Edit > Preferences > Display in Totem, and adjust the Hue from the default 50% mark all the way up to 100%. If yours is all the way down at 0%, as some have reported, then you definitely need to do the same. You may need to do this with each player, but in my case changing the setting in Totem immediately rectified the problem in SMPlayer. If it doesn’t for you, however, then you know how to fix this easily.

Lastly, don’t be surprised if later on you go to play a vid and your colours are all mucked up again. This time, you’ll probably find the Hue is still at 100%, so you’ll need to drop it back to the default of 50%. It might be a bit of a hassle, but this should be fixed up at the development end soon enough, and at least it only takes a few seconds to get your movies looking as they should.


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If you upgraded to Ubuntu 11.04 (or installed a fresh Natty Narwhal system) and are running the Classic desktop, you may find something amiss with the ability to bring folder windows or programs to the foreground by holding an item over its taskbar button until it appears.

For example, you’re looking in a folder at a sound file you downloaded, and wish to play it in Banshee, which is already open but hidden from view. Normally, you would drag the file over the Banshee taskbar button in the bottom panel, wait till Banshee appears, then drop the file onto it.

A more common use is perhaps file management, when you’re dragging files and folders from one Nautilus window to another which is hidden from view. This is most handy, as it means you don’t need to carefully line up both source and destination folders before doing the drag-and-dropping.

But you may find something is preventing you from doing this, with the only thing happening is a + sign appearing, and if you finally let go on the panel instead of press the Esc key, a launcher will be created there, which you then have to remove. This is not some new setting you can change in Nautilus‘s preferences (which is evident if you try with another file manager like Thunar), but a Compiz bug. While that obviously needs to be ironed out, there is a way around this, which is to run the following command in a terminal:

compiz --replace

Note that the next time you restart, things will be back as before, but at least you can just run that command again (which you can easily do by hitting the up arrow when in the terminal, or pick from the menu in the Run dialogue via Alt+F2).

Also note that if you try adding that command to your startup programs, it will likely do nothing, but you can always make a launcher for your panel, which you can then click once everything has loaded, or when you go to drag stuff via the taskbar and remember you need to.

This bug will likely be fixed soon enough, but at least there is a way around it for now. If you’d like to add your voice to the bug report (since more voices mean quicker action), click here (note that if you haven’t already got a Launchpad account, it only takes a couple of minutes to join, and is worth the small effort, since you can then report your own bugs).


Can’t get the Run Application dialog to appear when you hit Alt+F2?


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A Quick Intro to End-Of-Line

Most people don’t realise that when they hit the Enter key to create a new paragraph in a text file, something very different is going on behind the scenes in the three major operating systems: Windows, Macintosh and Linux. The “end-of-line delimiter” (often expressed as “End-Of-Line“, “End of Line“, or just “EOL“) – which some of you know as the “line break” or “newline” – is a special character used to designate the end of a line within a text file.

UNIX-based operating systems (like all Linux distros and BSD derivatives) use the line feed character (\n or <LF>), “classic” Mac OS uses a carriage return (\r or <CR>), while DOS/Windows uses a carriage return followed by a line feed (\r\n or <CR><LF>). Now that Mac OS X is based on FreeBSD‘s file system, it follows the UNIX convention.

Now, the reason most people don’t know about all this is because nobody really should have to. But while users of Linux distros and Mac OS can open Windows text files in basically any available editor and not even know the difference, the same can’t be said for Windows users opening files created in one of the other operating systems.

If you type up a simple text file in Ubuntu and save it in the default “Unix/Linux” format, in Windows it will appear as one continuous paragraph, with black squares where the line breaks (or new paragraphs) should be. While you can open the file in a more advanced text editor (or proper word processor) to view it as it should look, others you’ve sent it to are just likely to double-click it and let it open in Notepad (which can only handle MS-DOS EOL).

But you can save text files as Windows EOL easily with Gedit, as well as convert to that from UNIX via the terminal, so hopefully the following guide will be of use.

For more detailed info on End-Of-Line, go to the Wikipedia page.

If you’d like a more WYSIWYG approach, check out how to save and convert via Gedit.

And if you find the editor you’re using to display Windows files in Ubuntu shows ^M instead of a line break (not very likely with even the most lightweight text editors, but something you’ll probably come across if you display the text in a terminal), check out how to convert to Unix/Linux.

Converting Linux EOL to Windows via the Terminal

It’s easy enough to create new text files with Windows EOL in Ubuntu using the default Text Editor (Gedit), but what if you’ve created a whole bunch with the default Unix/Linux EOL and need to convert them for Windows users? Well, you can actually open them in Gedit and use Save As… to save over them (or to create copies), but for more than a couple of files this would be the long, complicated solution.

By far the quickest and easiest approach is to convert the offending files via the command-line. This way, you could batch-convert hundreds of such files at once, not have to do them individually.
There are actually quite a few ways to do this, but we’ll look at a couple of tiny packages you can install, and the related commands to use.

The first – the tofrodos package – is undoubtedly the most widely-used, so we’ll look at that in detail – especially since many of the guides out there are outdated, since the commands it contains have been renamed.

The second is a little package called flip, and since it’s tiny and won’t cause any issues, it’s worth installing as a backup (just in case. I found it useful after trying to get tofrodos going on a new system, before I found out the commands were changed).

There is no actual command tofrodos, as it is just the package that contains the commands todos and fromdos. Currently, the vast majority of online guides will list the commands as unix2dos and dos2unix, but as the developer states:

With this release the symlinks “unix2dos” and “dos2unix” are dropped from the package. This will allow the introduction of the original dos2unix package, which also supports conversion to MacOS style files.

So now you can choose to use either todos (to convert to Windows) and fromdos (to convert to Linux), or just fromdos with options (fromdos -u to convert to DOS, and fromdos -d to convert to UNIX, though obviously the -d option really isn’t needed, as it is the default behaviour for the fromdos command).

We’ll use todos, as it is easier to remember, and show how to alter a single file, or all text files in a given folder. When you’re ready to proceed, open a terminal in the folder containing the text file(s) and use one of the following commands (note that for the purpose of illustration, the .txt suffix is used, but you can specify any other extension for your text files).

To convert to DOS/Windows format:

Single file (remember to replace filename.txt with the actual name of the file)

todos filename.txt

All text files in a folder (if the extension differs to .txt, simply replace it in the command)

todos *.txt

Similarly, flip is easy to use:

flip -m filename.txt (or flip -m *.txt for multiple files).


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Here is a Wine “error” that appears to be fairly new, and if you’ve been upgrading your system (and Wine along with it), you probably haven’t encountered it yet. However, if you’ve recently installed Ubuntu (10.04 – not sure if this affects any earlier versions), you would have noticed it won’t let you run any Windows .exe files:

Blocked: wine start /unix
The file ‘/home/user/Downloads/program_name.exe’ is not marked as executable. If this was downloaded or copied form an untrusted source, it may be dangerous to run. For more details, read about the executable bit.

If, like me, you decided to do a fresh install, but copied your old .wine folder over so all your Windows programs work as they had in the old system you’ve migrated from, you probably have no problems opening those previously installed, only new .exe files that Wine hasn’t dealt with before.

But this isn’t a bug or an error, just an overly-cautious default setting, and it is actually really easy to disable. Open a terminal and enter the following command:

gksu gedit /usr/share/applications/wine.desktop

Located the line Exec=cautious-launcher %f wine start /unix and change it to Exec=wine start /unix %f

Save and exit the file, and Wine will now behave as you want when it comes across new Windows programs.


If you prefer to leave this cautious setting as the default, you can always exclude individual Windows programs or, rather, bypass this security measure for individual .exe files. Simply right-click the .exe file in question, select Properties, and in the Permissions tab check “Allow executing file as program“. Click Close and that particular .exe will open as normal when you double-click it.



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When you uninstall a program in Ubuntu, sometimes bits and pieces like configuration files are left behind. Occasionally this is a good thing, like when you remove a program due to some issues you’re having with it and then reinstall it again, since your old settings are usually restored.

But more often than not, when a program is uninstalled it is because the user doesn’t want it, so any remaining configuration files are just wasting space. And often in the case of trying to reinstall a program to get it to work properly, a configuration setting is what is causing the issue, so a complete removal is needed.

There are 2 ways to go about this: via the user-friendly GUI of Synaptic (or your preferred package manager), or the much faster way of command-line in a terminal.

Either way, you’ll of course need to know the name of the program, and if possible the actual package name. While often the package name is the same as the program’s displayed name, but in lowercase, this isn’t always the case, so if unsure check out these ways of finding out.

If you want to use Synaptic, open it and enter the name of the program or package in the Quick search bar. When it and related packages appear, right-click the main package and choose “Mark for Complete Removal“.

It is usually fairly easy to tell which is the main base package; if the name isn’t a give-away, the information after it should clear things up. For example, AbiWord is actually abiword, so is instantly recognisable from the other packages that install with it.

When you “Mark for Complete Removal“, you will be informed if other packages also need to be removed, meaning you don’t have to do this manually.

When you accept the proposed changes, you will see that the program and additional packages will be removed. If there are other related packages that haven’t been automatically selected, you can do so manually before proceeding.

When ready, simply click the Apply button in the Synaptic toolbar. You will receive a final request for confirmation, after which the program will be removed, along with the extra packages and any configuration files.

As in the case of the AbiWord example, not everything is always automatically selected for removal, so it pays to look through the search results and see if anything needs to be removed manually (abiword-common is actually larger than the other packages combined at nearly 9Mb). Doing this before proceeding with the last step will save you coming back later.

If you prefer the quicker command-line method, open a terminal and enter:

sudo apt-get purge packagename (replacing “packagename” with the actual name of the package in question).

If you’re familiar with apt-get remove and wondering what is the difference, especially since additional packages are also marked for removal, the answer is that configuration files are often left behind if you simply “remove” the app. To get that command to work, the --purge option needs to be added (eg: sudo apt-get remove --purge packagename). You will still see much mention online that this is the way to do it, but since then the purge command has been added to apt-get, so this is no longer needed (though for backwards compatibility, remove --purge will continue to work).

Either way you choose to do it, you should be able to get rid of all the junk that programs can leave behind when simply removed. Just keep in mind that if you ever saved any settings or user profiles etc, occasionally these can still be left behind, but they will be in config folders within your home folder (you might need to enable displaying of hidden files and folders). If you ever get a message that a certain folder could not be removed, or a certain file, just go in there later and remove it.


Leave some unwanted packages behind? It’s actually pretty easy to get rid of the vast majority of packages that weren’t automatically selected for removal. When you install via the terminal, you will notice that a list of orphaned packages is presented along with the simple command to remove them all in one go.

As you can see in the example, after uninstalling AbiWord the abiword-common package was left behind (not to mention a few libraries), but you can easily remove it and others taking up space with the following command:

sudo apt-get autoremove


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A new little extension for Ubuntu‘s file manager is nautilus-pastebin, which is a script written in Python that allows users to upload text-only files to an online pastebin service by simply right-clicking them. Each scrap of text has its own unique URL, which is placed in the clipboard ready for pasting into your web browser (or email if wanting to share the text with the recipient).

Once installed, all you have to do is right-click a text file, choose Pastebin from the context menu, and your text clip is uploaded. A notification should pop up under your system tray informing you where it has been saved to (as mentioned, the address will now be in memory ready for pasting).

To view it, simply paste the URL into your browser’s address bar.

If this seems like something you can do with, install the forementioned package via Synaptic, or enter the following into a terminal:

sudo apt-get install nautilus-pastebin

Users can also customise the extension’s behaviour by using nautilus-pastebin-configurator, an easy-to-use configuration tool that is also installed (just paste the command into a terminal or Alt+F2).

With it you can make the URL automatically open in your web browser, turn the notification on or off, force a confirmation message to appear before uploading the text, and change the pastebin service to another in the list.


Click here for more Nautilus Extensions!


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