Linux servers revenue still increase in first quarter

Marketwatch just released an article that will interest Linux users. According to this article, while overall global server revenues were down, Linux server revenues were increasing.

 According to the International Data Corporation (IDC), Linux dedicated servers generated $2.4 billion in revenue for vendors in the first quarter of 2012. That's a 16.0 percent growth rate, which is better than the 1.3 percent revenue growth rate for Windows servers. This could be due to the fact that Linux servers are cheaper to purchase and maintain and Linux administrators are more plentiful, especially in smaller cities Linux still has a lot of room to grow, as Linux servers now account for 20.7 percent of global server revenues.

While demands for Linux and Windows servers still increased in the first quarter, Unix servers experienced a revenue decline of 17.2% year over year to $2.2 billion representing 18.3% of quarterly server revenue for the quarter. IBM's Unix server revenue declined 3.7% year-over-year and gained 6.3 points of Unix server market share when compared with the first quarter of 2011. According to the report, Windows revenues account for 50.2 percent of global server revenues. Unix represents 18.3 percent.

Read the full article here

Start your Linux terminal with a running train

There are many cool stuffs for you to start the terminal with. I already have an article about how to use fortune and cowsay in the terminal:

Start the terminal with cowsay and fortune
You can also start the terminal with archey or screenfetch:

Start the terminal with archey
Today, I will show you another cool thing to start your Linux terminal with. This time, it is a running train. Take a look at the video to know what I am talking about:





The tool to do that trick is sl, a cool script written by a Japanese to correct users who accidentally enter sl instead of ls on the terminal. SL stands for Steam Locomotive.

It's simple to install sl. If you are using Ubuntu, Linux Mint or other Debian-based distros, just run the following command:
 sudp apt-get install sl  

If you are using Arch Linux, here is the aur package.

There are four additional options for the train:
sl -a : you got a running train with crying, screaming kids inside
sl -l :  you got a smaller but longer train
sl -F: wtf, a flying train !!!!
sl -e: you can interrupt the train with Ctrl + C

To start the terminal with a running train like what I did in the video, you just need to put "sl" into the bash config file ~/.bashrc ( if there isnt already a .bashrc file in your home folder, just use the text editor to create it).

How to: Display file size in Caja file manager

Today I decided to clean up my hard drive and have deleted many unused stuffs. One thing I found out is that it's very useful to display the size of files underneath the files. It helps you know which files are occupying more hard drive space. Here is how to make Caja file manager display the file size under each file.

Open the file manager, then click on Edit > Preferences:


You will have the File Manager Preferences window open, on which select the Display tab:


You can see that the first option of Icon Caption is None. Click on it and change it into Size :


And now you can see that Caja is displaying the file size under the each file:


10 things to do after installing Linux Mint 13

Linux Mint 13 just got released and I have been using it (MATE edition) on my laptop for nearly a week and from my experience, this is a very nice and stable release. However, depending on personal need and preference, users still need to tweak and customize a few things to make it more usable. Here are 10 things that I did after installing Linux Mint 13 - MATE edition.

Update System

As always on a freshly installed system, the first thing you need to do is to update the packages. To do so, you can click on the shield icon on the notification area, enter the password and the update manager will appear. Click on the Install Updates button to do the system updating. It will take a while depending on your network speed.

10 things to do after installing Linux Mint 13

You can also open the terminal and run the following command for system updating:
 sudo apt-get update && sudo apt-get upgrade  

Install proprietary driver for your graphic card

If your computer has a dedicated graphic card, you should consider installing the proprietary driver for it. When the open source driver does get the job done, it still cannot hold a candle to the proprietary one. To check for available proprietary drivers, open the Mint menu, go to control center then Additional Drivers then select the driver to install. If you are using an ATI card, I recommend you to pick the second driver in the additional drivers window since the first one had caused my system to crash.

 things to do after installing Linux Mint 13

After installing the driver, you need to reboot the system for the new driver to take effect.

Change the search engines of Firefox


In Linux Mint 13, Firefox uses two search engines, Yahoo search if you use the search box and DuckDuckGo if you search in the address box. I always prefer Google over these search engines so one of the first things I did after installing Linux Mint 13 was to change the Firefox search engine back to Google search.

To change the search engine in the search box of Firefox to Google, you just need to open Firefox then go to the following address:
 http://www.linuxmint.com/searchengine_google.php  

After that, click on the drop down list in the search box and select "Add Google"

change search engine firefox Linux mint

To change the search engine of the address bar from DuckDuckGo to Google, you open Firefox , type about:config on the address bar. You will see a warning, just click on the "I'll be careful" button to go to the config page. In this config page, scroll down until you find the line that begins with "keyword.URL":

change firefox Linux mint search engine

Right click on this line and select the Modify option. The box to edit the search engine will appear, in this box, you just need to replace the DuckDuckGo url with Google:
 http://www.google.com/search?q=  

change Linux mint firefox search engine

Click ok and everything is done.  Now both the address bar and the search box use Google as the default search engine.

Get more themes and icons

Linux Mint 13 comes with very few themes and icon sets so I think everybody would love to get more themes and icon to decorate the desktop. The best place to look for nice themes and icons in my opinion is Gnome-look. Just go there and search for the themes and icons you like. Also remember to read the installation instruction of each theme and icon set.

Here is my Linux Mint 13 desktop with Delorean Noir theme and ubo icons

beautiful Linux Mint desktop


Get a conky setup

Conky is an amazing linux application. A neat conky will make your desktop look amazing. I may be accused of being flamboyant but a conky setup was the first thing I got for my Linux Mint 13 desktop.

Take a look at the awesome Reloj Conky config:



If you are interested in conky like me, you can check my articles about beautiful conky configs.

Customize the Mint Menu

You can use the Mint Menu to search for and launch applications or access quickly to preferred folders. To customize the Mint Menu, right click on it and choose the Preferences option and the Menu preferences window will open. To add shortcut to your favorite folders, just go to the Places tab and click on the New button to add new folders to the Mint Menu:

customize linux mint menu

To customize the Favorites list on the Mint Menu, you can right click on each application to remove or add it into the Favorite list:

how to customize linux mint menu

You may find that after you remove some applications out of and add new ones into the Favorite List, the icons arent arranged into the order you want and you cannot drag these icons around on the menu. To change the order of the icons on the Favorites list, you need to edit the file ~/.linuxmint/mintMenu/applications.lst. Here is how this file looks to get the Mint Menu in the screenshot below. ( Note: after you edit the applications.list file, you need to right click on the Mint Menu and select Reload plugins to restart the Mint Menu)
 location:/usr/share/applications/firefox.desktop  
 location:/usr/share/applications/thunderbird.desktop  
 location:/usr/share/applications/pidgin.desktop  
 location:/usr/share/applications/xchat.desktop  
 separator  
 location:/usr/share/applications/mate-appearance-properties.desktop  
 location:/usr/share/applications/libreoffice-writer.desktop  
 location:/usr/share/applications/mate-terminal.desktop  
 location:/usr/share/applications/pluma.desktop  
 separator  
 location:/usr/share/applications/ccsm.desktop  
 location:/usr/share/applications/gimp.desktop  
 separator  
 location:/usr/share/applications/banshee.desktop  
 location:/usr/share/applications/vlc.desktop  

how to customize mint menu

Set auto mount for all the partitions

Besides the root partition, there are several other partitions in the hard drive of my laptop. These partitions are where I keep my important stuffs. And I hate it when I tried to access a file from an application, I realized that I forgot to mount these partitions. That's why I always prefer auto mounting all the partitions in my Linux box.

There are actually many ways to auto mount partitions in Linux, one of them is to use a tool called  "pysdm". First, you need to install it:
 sudo apt-get install pysdm  

Next, open the terminal and run pysdm as root:
 sudo pysdm  

The configuration window of pysdm will appear, on which you just need to select the partition to configure:


After that, click on the Assistant button on the right and you will have a menu to customize the behavior of each partition. The option to auto mount partition at booting is the second one.


Just do that to all the partitions you want to mount at booting up and next time, you dont need to manually mount these partition anymore.

Hide the partition icons on the desktop

By default, the desktop of Linux Mint 13 always displays the icons of mounted partitions and USB drives and I think that makes the desktop ugly. I always want my desktop to be nice and clean. To hide these icons, hit Alt+F2 and type mateconf-editor then hit enter:


The MATE configuration window will appear. On which, you go to apps > caja > desktop then uncheck the volumes_visible option like the image below:


And you wont see these partition and usb icons on your desktop anymore.

Install Compiz Config Settings Manager

Compiz is an awesome tool, you can do a lot of cool things with it so I recommend everybody to install Compiz. You can tweak a lot of things with CCSM and of course, it is always fun to show the cubic desktops to your friends :D

To install Compiz, you can search for it in the Software Manager or run the following command:
 sudo apt-get install compizconfig-settings-manager  

Install Wine

I myself at times need to run some Windows applications so Wine is always a must-have tool for me. To install Wine, you can search for it in the Software Manager or use this command:
 sudo apt-get install wine  

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

These are 10 things I did after installing Linux Mint 13 - MATE edition. If you are using Linux Mint 13 too and have any other ideas, please tell me by giving a comment.

Update: Here are my suggestions about things to do after installing Linux Mint 15

Hide partition icons on desktop in Linux Mint 13 - MATE edition

By default, when you insert a USB drive or mount a partition in Linux Mint, the partition and USB icons will appear on the desktop. In my opinion, it is redundant and makes the desktop ugly. Here is a quick tip about how to hide these icons in Linux Mint 13 - MATE edition.

Hit Alt + F2 and type mateconf-editor then click Run:


You then will have the Configuration Editor of Linux Mint open.  You choose apps > caja > desktop then uncheck the volumes_visible option like the image below:


That's this. Now there is no partition icon on my desktop when I mount all the partitions:

Linux Mint 13 Maya - MATE editon review

Linux Mint 13 Maya just got released and as expected, it has captured a lot of attention. Since Linux Mint is the biggest rival of Ubuntu to be the most popular Linux distro, I am very curious and excited to see what Linux Mint offers in this release to compete with the recent success of Ubuntu 12.04. In this release, Linux Mint comes with 2 desktop options, Cinnamon  and MATE. I chose the MATE edition to download and install since Linux Mint 11 Katya was my favorite distro and the MATE edition of Maya looks really like Katya. I want to know if this release of Linux Mint can gain my love once again.

Linux Mint 13 Maya Mate review

Linux Mint 13 - MATE Edition Review: First Impression

The ISO image of Linux Mint no longer fits a CD, the size is nearly 900MB so you need a USB or a DVD to boot and install it. Besides, if you are a Windows user and want to try Linux Mint inside Windows, you have to download the 64 bit ISO file because Wubi installer is not supported in the 32 bit version. There is no change in the live desktop, you have the installer icon in the desktop, just click it and follow the instruction to install Linux Mint 12. The installer is still the popular and well-explained Ubiquity so it just requires a basic understanding about Linux partitions to be able to install Linux Mint. The installation process was fast, took me around 15 minutes to finish.

review Linux Mint 13 MATE
The live desktop of Linux Mint 13 - MATE edition
 After finishing the installation and rebooting, I was greeted by  a new  login manager, MDM. I dont know much about MDM but according to the official site of Linux Mint, MDM has more features than any other login manager currently available.

Linux Mint 13 review
New login manager - MDM

The MATE Desktop

The first thing to see after logging in was the welcome menu of Linux Mint. I've seen it many times before so I closed it and unchecked the "Show this dialog at startup"  immediately.

Linux Mint 13 MATE review
The welcome menu of Linux Mint

The default Mate desktop of Linux Mint is nearly identical to that of Linux Mint 11. It looks clean with only 2 shortcut icons on the desktop and one gnome panel at the bottom. On left of the panel are the Mint menu and the show desktop icon, on the right are the notification indicator for volume, network, update, date and time, in the middle is the window list applet. You can add new applets into the panel by right-clicking on the panel and choose the option "Add to panel ..." and the Add to panel window will open for you to choose new applets to add. You can add as many applets as you want on the gnome panel and you can lock or drag these applets around on the panel. You can also drag applications into the panel to make a quick launcher as well.

Mint 13 Maya MATE review
The applets you can add to the gnome panel
Since MATE behaves just like Gnome2, when you right-clicking on the desktop to customize the desktop appearance, you will have the old Appearance Preferences instead of the Gnome-Tweak-Tool of Linux Mint 12. In the Appearance Preferences window, you can change the wallpaper, gtk theme, font and icons ... just like how you do it in Linux Mint 11 (Katya).

The old menu to customize desktop when right-clicking on the desktop
In comparison with Katya, Maya comes with many more beautiful wallpapers. However, there are only 2 gtk themes ( Mint X and Mint Z) pre-installed in Linux Mint 13 when there were 9 in Katya.

review Linux Mint 13 MATE
Maya comes with a lot of beautiful wallpapers ...
distro review Linux Mint 13 MATE
... but only 2 themes

Applications

In MATE, Nautilus file manager is called Caja and its look is also different from Nautilus of Ubuntu. By default, there are no shortcuts for the common folders of Music, Download ... on the side pane but you can create them by dragging the folder icons into there. One thing I really like about Caja in Linux Mint is that it still has the ability to do preview for audio files, which means when you hover the mouse on a music file the song will be played in the background. Nautilus in Ubuntu no longer supports this feature.

Caja file manager
Besides the file manager, everything is nearly the same as in Linux Mint 11. Gedit text editor is now called Pluma but the look and features are still the same.

Firefox is still the web browser in Linux Mint 13 and it already has Adobe Flash pre-installed. The default search engine in the search box is Yahoo now but if you use the address box to search, it will switch back to DuckDuckGo like in Linux Mint 12.

It is still DuckDuckGo if you use the address box to search
Over all, there seem to be no changes about the default applications in Linux Mint 13. For internet use, you have Firefox, Pidgin, Xchat, Thunderbird and Transmission. For office use, you have the bunch of LibreOffice and the online gnome dictionary. For multimedia, you have Banshee, VLC, Gnome Player and Movie player. If you chose to download the standard ISO file, all the necessary multimedia codecs are pre-installed by default. If you are a Ubuntu user looking to switch to Linux Mint, one thing to notice is that Banshee isnt integrated into the sound menu like in Ubuntu so you cannot control Banshee from the sound menu in Linux Mint 13.

Banshee is not integrated into the sound menu
If these default applications of Maya dont satisfy you, you can install new applications easily. Since Linux Mint 13 is based on Ubuntu 12.04, you can get everything that is offered in Ubuntu 12.04 into your Linux Mint box. The easiest way to install new packages is via the Software Center. The Software Center of Linux Mint looks cleaner and more simple than that of Ubuntu. You can search for new packages by names or categories ( although Ubuntu Software Center takes less time to search for applications by names). On each application page, you will see the rating of users and their reviews for this application.

Software Manager
Besides the applications in the Software Center, you can also get other applications from the Personal Package Archives (PPAs) of Ubuntu. These packages are usually software that are not included in the Ubuntu repository by default but still can be used without any problem.

Performance

The very first thing I did after installing Linux Mint 13 was to install the proprietary driver for my ATI graphic card.  When I opened the Additional Drivers configuration window, Linux Mint offered me two choices for the proprietary driver.

2 drivers for my card, one leads to hell, one to heaven
I picked the first option (the post release update driver) but it resulted to an error. I then picked the second option to install, it seemed to run well but after the reboot, everything turned to a catastrophe. It seemed the two drivers I just tried to install conflicted with each other and caused X to crash. The desktop turned into a blank blue screen and nothing was working:

Blue Screen of Death on Linux Mint 13 :D
Another screenshot of BSOD on Linux Mint 13
I then reinstalled Linux Mint 13, and this time, I chose only the second option for the additional driver and everything was fine afterward. In my opinion, this error is not a fault of Linux Mint but of AMD instead since ATI graphic cards are known to be the trouble makers in the Linux world. I personally have experienced a lot of problems with my ATI card in other distros before.

Another problem I faced in Linux Mint 13 was the sound. After I installed Maya, I tried to play a song with Banshee but there was no sound at all. It turned out that something was wrong with the sound output hardware. I found a solution to fix it myself but I hope the Linux Mint team will offer an official fix soon.

Except these above problems, everything has been working very well for me. All the laptop function keys work out of the box. There are absolutely no network nor temperature issues at all. All the applications run perfectly. Here is how Linux Mint 13 performs in my laptop at idle:


Conclusion

Although Linux Mint is based on Ubuntu, I always prefer Mint over Ubuntu. I love how the developers of Linux Mint do care about the opinion of the users and offer the what the users really want. All in all, Linux Mint 13 Maya MATE edition is a great distro. It meets the need of those who want the good things of Ubuntu and still prefer the look and feel of the good old Gnome2 desktop.

How to fix: No sound in Linux Mint 13 Maya

I just downloaded and installed Linux Mint 13 Maya ( the MATE edition) today and I think I really like it. However, one problem occured that when I tried to play some music with Banshee, there was no sound at all. ( Although the login sound still worked)

I check the sound preferences and found that due to some reason, Linux Mint picked the wrong sound output hardware in my laptop ( a Sony vaio E series). It should be the "Built-in Audio Analog Stereo" option ( the first one that got highlighted) instead of the HDMI option.

Linux mint no sound

To make the sound work again, you just need to select the first option then close the sound preferences.

However, this solution only works temporarily. After rebooting my laptop, the problem happened again. This time, I used another method that fixes the problem permanently. To get the sound to work after login without editing the sound preferences, you just need to restart pulseaudio when booting up. This can be done easily by adding some simple commands to the startup applications.

Go to the Linux Mint menu, search for " Startup Applications". When the Startup Applications Preferences window open, click on the "Add" button then add the following command into the command section:
 rm -r ~/.pulse && killall pulseaudio  

Give it a name then click the +Add button then close the Startup Applications Preferences window. It should look like this

no sound problem Linux Mint 13

And that's it. From now, the sound works like a champ in Linux Mint. If you have the same Linux Mint no sound problem, I hope this article can be helpful for you.

Make websites look more pleasant for the eyes on Firefox

If you dont notice, websites with a lot of white space ( such as my blog :P) are very likely to cause eye strain and headache, especially when you surf the internet at night. The most pleasant theme for the eyes should be like the classroom blackboard, with a dark background and light text. So if you get tired easily after staring at your glowing computer screen for a while, here are some methods on Firefox to make all websites become more pleasant for the eyes.

Method 1: Edit the color preferences of Firefox

On Firefox, you can edit the color preference settings to make the background of all websites become black and give light color to the text. Go to Preferences then choose the Content tab. On this tab, click on the Colors button:


On the color settings windows, you select a dark color for the background, a light color for the text and pick two other colors for the links. After that, uncheck the option " Allow pages to choose their own colors instead of my selections above". Then click OK and close the Preferences window.



After that, all websites will look like the BBC homepage in the screenshot below. And as you can feel, it looks very nice now:


Method 2: Use Blank Your Monitor

If you like this color settings and dont want to edit the preferences all the time, you can use an add-on named  Blank Your Monitor which offers the same feature but in a more convenient way. Whenever you want to blank out the websites, you just need to hit Ctrl+Alt+B instead of going through all the editing stuffs like above. The default color theme in Blank Your Monitor is a black background with white text, and all the links are in dark green color:

default color theme of Blank Your Monitor
If you want to change the color theme and hotkeys of Blank Your Monitor, you just need to go to the add-on page of Firefox and change the settings. The changed settings will be saved for future use.

Blank Your Monitor preferences

Method 3: Use Stylish with Firefox Black Style

With the above methods, all website will definitely become more pleasant for the eyes. However, there is one drawback is that Firefox also blanks out all the buttons when you use Blank Your Monitor or edit the color preferences. If you want to have the same style with visible buttons, you can use another method with the Stylish add-on and the Firefox Black style. With Firefox Black style, you will have a black background on all websites and the text will become white and the buttons on the websites are still visible:

Firefox Black Style in action

Malys-uniblack and Mono, two new icon themes on Gnome-look

Malys-Uniblue currently is one of the highest rated icon sets on Gnome-look (its score is 80%) and last week, a new version of this beautiful icon set has been released. This time, the color theme is black, hence the name is Malys-uniblack.

Linux icon theme

You can directly download Malys-uniblack here . To use this icon set, extract the zip file then move the icon folder to /usr/share/icons or /home/username/.icons then use the appearance setting tool to change the icons.

If you are using Ubuntu or other Ubuntu-based distros, you can install Malys-uniblack via ppa. Open the termnial and run this:
 sudo add-apt-repository ppa:noobslab/icons  
 sudo apt-get update  
 sudo apt-get install malys-black-icons  

Another beautiful icon set that just got submitted recently on Gnome-look is Mono. Mono has the squarish style of the popular Faenza icon set but it is simplified into black and white colors only. When Malys-uniblack will fit best in a light gtk theme, Mono will look good with a dark one.

Linux icon themes

Click here to download Mono icons. After that, extract the tar file then move the icon folder to /usr/share/icons or /home/username/.icons