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Secure remote desktop using Ubuntu Linux

Remote desktop, or using a remote session, is a very important part of advanced computing. The ability to do this securely is important as well.

Using ssh, Xephyr and a light weight desktop manager, an encrypted, secure, fairly fast remote desktop setup is fairly easy to implement.

First, you'll need to install SSH on the remote machine:

$ sudo apt-get install openssh-server

Converting uif files to iso using Ubuntu

I had the need to convert a .uif file today. Most of the posts I saw mentioned using wine and a program called MagicISO. But, I finally found an easier and more *nix way of accomplishing this.

The brilliant Luigi Auriemma wrote and made freely available a small tool called uif2iso which is a small utility that, as it implies, converts a uif file to a usable iso image.

Fortune and xscreensavers

One of the coolest commands in Linux is fortune. =)

$ fortune

If you don't have fortune installed:

$ sudo apt-get install fortune-mod fortunes

The above command will output a random fortune, quote or saying. This command has been around forever and it's one of my favourites. The better email clients will allow you to use the command to append a random quote at the end of your emails.

Check and repair a file system using Linux

I ran into a situation recently where an external hard drive I have, a USB drive I use for backing up my data, continuously became read only after a period of time.

Any seasoned Linux user can tell you this isn't a good thing. If the kernel detects error in the file system, rather than letting you continue to write to the drive and risk further corruption, Linux will disallow writing to the drive.


One of the many things I love about Linux, and Ubuntu in particular is the ability to install pretty much everything you need from the package repositories, including all the development tools you could ever need.

With other operating systems, you have to purchase or download the software, then install it. Updates are made easy as the updater checks for updates for all software installed via the repositories, vs other operating systems who only update their own. Do you ever need to go outside the repositories? I rarely do (maybe once or twice out of hundreds of installs).

Sound not synchronized when creating a DVD using tovid

When creating a DVD using tovid/todisc, I have found that on one .avi movie I tried to convert, the sound was out of sync by more than a few seconds.

To fix this, I used the -ffmpeg switch when converting using tovid, which uses a different method of encoding. Strange that it's not the default as it was much faster and seemed to produce a better outcome.

Linux tips: bash history

One of the most powerful features of the bash shell is the command history . Using the up and down arrows, one can recall the commands typed previously into the shell, edit them, and execute them again, even after rebooting your computer or closing the shell window.

You can also dump the entire history file by typing in the command history. Much, much more can be done using the bash history. These functions can be explored by reading the manual page.

$ man history