Tag Archive for: Ubuntu-Netbook-Edition

Looking for Exchange 2007 Linux Client

14 May 2011
May 14, 2011

So here’s a gap in the “Linux in the corporate world” thing…

exchange-boxI’ve been looking for a convenient way to access our Exchange 2007 server when not at my desk. Sure, I have a rather nice laptop… but it isn’t svelte and while at the office it is docked with a bunch of USB stuff and a pair of 24” monitors attached. I figure a smaller laptop that could just get me to my mail and tasks would be ideal, especially when out of the office.

To minimize licensing costs (OS and Outlook) I thought I’d start with Linux. I have Ubuntu on an older IBM ThinkPad and Ubuntu 10.04 NBR on my little 7” Eee netbook. Both are light, very portable and boot quickly.

Damned if I can figure out a way to conveniently connect to our Exchange server though!

Here’s the wrinkle: We don’t open a lot of ports on our Exchange server. No IMAP or POP3. We just use the HTTP connection options when out of the office.

First I tried Evolution. Turns out it doesn’t have the ability to access Exchange servers newer than 2003. Via Twitter, it was suggested that I try the Evolution-MAPI provider. This works pretty well when at the office but doesn’t make it through the firewall. Close, but no cigar.

Thunderbird? I didn’t find anything useful there either.

Outlook Web Access? Tolerable in a pinch, but the non-Internet Explorer experience is lacking. Good enough to check the inbox and send off a quick mail, but for longer term use – I use lots of rules that move mail to lots of folders – it gets a bit tedious.

Anyone cracked this nut yet? I really don’t want to have to fallback to opening up IMAP… surely someone has figured out “native” Exchange ‘07 from Linux?

Ubuntu 10.04 Netbook Setup

20 Nov 2010
November 20, 2010

Ubuntu 10.04 NetbookOver the past year I have developed quite a fondness for Ubuntu 10.04 Netbook edition. Most of my laptops dual-boot it and my wife runs it full time on her little IBM Thinkpad X40. The Netbook edition works great on the 12” or smaller monitors.

Thinkpad x40I briefly tried Ubuntu 10.10. Netbook but very quickly removed it. Let’s just say that I really really didn’t like it and leave it at that.

When I setup a 10.04 Netbook edition there are a few steps I do each and every time. Figured I could take a moment and jot down some of the steps to save me some time next time around.

Firstly, the 10.04 download link can be found here: http://releases.ubuntu.com/10.04/ (courtesy of jacevesl via Twitter). Grab the Netbook live CD iso and burn it to PC or USB – the Universal USB Installer makes creating a bootable USB stick very simple.

I’m not going to cover the install here. Just boot it and run the installer directly or boot in “Live CD” mode, play around a bit and then run the installer application. If dual-booting be sure to pay attention to some of the early steps and don’t smoke your other installed OS!

Once installed, connect to your network and run the Update Manager to get current. Reboot while making the obligatory “this is just like MS Windows” comment… sorry, couldn’t resist.

The default screensaver time is at 5 minutes. This drives me batty. So the next stop is to System (left menu) and then Screensaver. I usually slide the idle timer up to around 60 minutes. Up to you if you want to keep the “Lock screen when screensaver is active” or not.

Now I head back to the Favorites menu and clear out everything except Firefox and Ubuntu Software Center. Just right-click and “remove” to get rid of the others.

For a terminal I like to install Guake Terminal. I just fire up the afore-mentioned Ubuntu Software Center and type it into the search field and then click Install. Once that finishes, head to Accessories and start it up. That’ll put the guake icon up in the top bar. Click to get your terminal and then right-click for Preferences.  In the General tab I like to click “Hide on lose Focus.” Instant F12 access to a nifty little tabbed window terminal. Head to System -> Preferences -> Startup applications and check the box by Guake. Now it’ll autostart as well.

Now I have to clean up a bit. I don’t use the built-in IM and email stuff so the “indicator applet” isn’t necessary and just takes space. Fire up the Ubuntu Software Center again. Click on “installed software” in the left pane and search for indicator-me and indicator-messages (for some reason, sometimes that latter search just has to be “messages”). Lose ‘em both, log out and back in and admire the much more svelt toolbar.

And there we go, the initial steps I do almost every time. The rest depends on how the machine will be used – alternate browsers, Dropbox, etc.

ThinkPad X40 and Ubuntu Netbook 10.04

06 Sep 2010
September 6, 2010

ThinkPadX40When the ThinkPad X40 first came out, 5 or 6 years ago, I had much lust in my heart. I wanted one so badly but it was just priced out of my reach.  A 12” screen and weighing in around 3 lbs. made it seem to be the ultimate portable rig – the keyboard is quite wonderful too.

Yesterday I had the opportunity to grab one on a “trial basis” (I’m quite sure I’ll be purchasing it) and quickly snapped it up. It was running XP Pro well enough but after I did some updating I ran into a series of BSOD issues. Since I have recently been using Ubuntu Netbook Edition I decided that would be a great OS for this little rig.

Installing it, however, gave me some difficulties.

First I tried booting from the USB stick that I had used when I installed Ubuntu Netbook on my Eee. The X40 just wouldn’t do it. After some research I found some anecdotal notes that seem to indicate that the X40 has issues booting from large USB sticks. Unfortunately, I don’t have any 512 MB sticks laying around to test with – and I don’t think the Netbook Edition install would fit on one.

Fortunately, the unit I have came with the UltraBase dock so I was able to try a CD install. I grabbed the image from the Ubuntu downloads page (scroll down to the Netbook Live CD). The boot process would start OK but then the screen would go black. A quick search turned up a blog post that pointed me to a Bugs page with details about the issue and work-arounds. “Workaround A” worked for me, both to boot from the Live CD but also to permanently resolve the issue once I had it installed.

With the video issue solved, I’m pleased to say that Ubuntu Netbook Edition runs great on this little box. All the more impressive as it currently has just 768 MB of RAM – something I hope to address later today once I dig through the old box ‘o ram in the garage…

Battery life is good. With the included extended battery we seem to be headed for the 4 – 5 hour range.

The wife acceptance factor is huge. She loves the idea of having a little and light portable to float around the house with. This morning I found her curled up on the couch with it running through email and Facebook. Later I found it on the kitchen island with some recipes up as she was preparing for this afternoon’s festivities. The12” panel is small but not too small and the native 1024×768 resolution works well for the majority of the main stream web sites we use.

I think I’ll hold off on buying a netbook for home now Smile

Hamachi2 and Linux and Haguichi

02 Sep 2010
September 2, 2010

LogMeIn Hamachi2 imageI just realized that I haven’t written anything about LogMeIn Hamachi² here. Just like the predecessor Hamachi, Hamachi² is a peer-to-peer VPN service. Free version for non-commercial use and reasonably priced for commercial. I’ve been a fan for years – great way to link my various computers together.

Hamachi² changed things a bit by moving all the network management to a central web site and giving some more options to configuration. For instance, you can now configure “Hub-and-spoke” networks in which the clients can only see the servers (or the “hub”). Not quite as simple to configure as the prior version but I do like the additional security and configuration options so I upgraded last year. Always meant to mention it here, just never got the round ‘tuit…

When V2 was initially released it was only for Windows. Very disappointing. Happily, I recently noticed Linux and Mac beta versions on the LogMeIn Labs page – command line only, but better than nothing (and no, I have no clue when they appeared. Been a long time since I had checked the labs page!).

I installed it on my little Ubuntu Netbook Eee last month and have had no issues running it. Just pop to a terminal window and type hamachi –? to see your various options. It wasn’t too tough to sort out.

haguichi-64x64Today I discovered Haguichi. [hat tip to Web Upd8] A slick little graphical user interface for Hamachi2 on Linux that runs a lot like the original Hamachi for Windows UI but also supports Hamachi2 (as beta). I love it!

Start it up and it runs up in the notification area just like you’d expect. Single click and you get an easy to use interface to see your networks and their contents. Right click a machine and you’ll get some options. All very friendly.

I haven’t analyzed exactly how much space it uses… as a C# app built on the Mono framework there is bit of a footprint here. All I know for sure is I still have space left on the little 4GB SSD drive so I’m happy.

If you’re using this with Ubuntu Netbook Edition you’ll want to make one small change. By default, all apps are maximized when ran – that makes haguichi rather ugly… In a terminal window run gconf-editor In the resulting application, navigate to Apps and then click on maximus. On the right pane, right-click on “exclude_class” and click “edit key.” Now click the add button and type in “Haguichi” (this is case-sensitive, be sure that’s a capital H). Log out and back in and no more maximizing.