Note: This post is divided into two sections, one specific to Macbooks and the other for any PC running Ubuntu. I hope it’s helpful to you. It reflects my own preferences and serves as a reference guide for setting up my own machines.


I’ve had the longest running install of Mac OS X Tiger ever–I resist the urge the reformat daily–AND my Boot Camp setup of Edubuntu was working very nicely, having upgraded successfully to Intrepid Ibex, the latest version of Ubuntu.

Unfortunately, I was tinkering and messed up my sound. I tried all the fixes I could find but none worked so I decided it would take less time to reformat the Ubuntu side of my dual-boot Macbook…of course, holding the OPTION key down at startup should have brought up another option for startup…it did not. In fact, it was as if the Ubuntu Intrepid just wasn’t there…in short, only the Mac option appeared, not both as appears below.

When I ran BootCamp Assistant, it shared that it was expired. I reset the date back to before September 30, 2007–which is what the instructions say you’re supposed to do–and I kept getting a lousy error message. BootCamp Assistant just didn’t work, no surprise there since Leopard was supposed to have taken care of it (I don’t want to upgrade to Leopard).

So, in my travels–about 30 minutes–I stumbled across rEFIT. And, what an easy to work program. I installed it on the Mac OS X Tiger side and rebooted and was presented with this beautiful screen:

So, now I’m back on UbuntuLinux on my dual-boot Macbook doing all the things one has to do to make Ubuntu on a Mac worth working on. Here’s a list:

  1. sudo apt-get install update
  2. sudo apt-get install upgrade
  3. Remap my Apple key as Control key…First, create a file in your home directory. Browse to /home/yourusername/ and create a file called .xmodmap. Open the file and paste in the following:
    remove control = Control_L Control_R
    keycode 115 = Super_L Super_L
    add control = Super_L Super_R

    Now, open up terminal and type the following:

    xmodmap ~/.xmodmap

    Finally, set this up as a Session. To do that, go to SYSTEM, PREFERENCES, SESSIONS. Create a new session and paste in the xmod map ~/.xmodmap as the command. This should load your changes at start-up.

  4. Disable the Trackpad while typing
    make this script (copy-n-paste and save it with an “sh” extension…the filename could be “” without quotes) and have it run at login:


    # Disable touchpad for 2 seconds after last key press
    # to prevent accidental touchpad activation while typing.

    /usr/bin/syndaemon -d -t -i 2

    the -d flag tells syndaemon to run all the time and monitor the keyboard presses
    the -t flag tells it to only disable tapping and scrolling, not pointer movement
    the -i flag is how long (in seconds) to disable the touchpad *after* the last keypress
    Then type this in at the command line: sh ./

  5. Get sound setup properly (headphones working)


Many of my favorite applications are installed via Medibuntu. However, you can easily install other neat software programs. I’ve included the title of the software and, if a command to install it is necessary, the command to use from the command line/Terminal. Commands usually look like this:

sudo apt-get install nameofprogram

After installing Ubuntu 8.10, my first step after running all the updates is to setup Medibuntu (following this awesome tutorial).

Step 1- Enable Medibuntu Repository

sudo wget -O /etc/apt/sources.list.d/medibuntu.list


sudo apt-get update && sudo apt-get install medibuntu-keyring && sudo apt-get update

You’re now ready to install a ton of software…here’s the quick way to do it. Copy-n-paste this to the command line (Applications: Accessories: Terminal).

sudo apt-get install grip amarok flashplugin-nonfree audacity dvdrip filezilla msttcorefonts gtkpod-aac sun-java6-bin sun-java6-javadb sun-java6-jdk sun-java6-jre sun-java6-plugin k3b kino mplayer mozilla-mplayer sound-juicer helix-player mozilla-helix-player acroread mozilla-acroread non-free-codecs ubuntu-restricted-extras libdvdcss2 opera xine-ui xine-plugin xmms2 xmms2tray xmms2-plugin-airplay xmms2-plugin-alsa xmms2-plugin-ao xmms2-plugin-asf xmms2-plugin-asx xmms2-plugin-avcodec xmms2-plugin-cdda xmms2-plugin-cue xmms2-plugin-curl xmms2-plugin-daap xmms2-plugin-faad xmms2-plugin-flac xmms2-plugin-gme xmms2-plugin-gvfs xmms2-plugin-ices xmms2-plugin-icymetaint xmms2-plugin-id3v2 xmms2-plugin-jack xmms2-plugin-karaoke xmms2-plugin-lastfm xmms2-plugin-m3u xmms2-plugin-mad xmms2-plugin-mms xmms2-plugin-modplug xmms2-plugin-mp4 xmms2-plugin-musepack xmms2-plugin-normalize xmms2-plugin-ofa xmms2-plugin-oss xmms2-plugin-pls xmms2-plugin-pulse xmms2-plugin-rss xmms2-plugin-sid xmms2-plugin-smb xmms2-plugin-speex xmms2-plugin-vocoder xmms2-plugin-vorbis xmms2-plugin-wma xmms2-plugin-xml xmms2-plugin-xspf vlc vlc-data vlc-dbg vlc-nox vlc-plugin-arts vlc-plugin-esd vlc-plugin-ggi vlc-plugin-jack vlc-plugin-pulse vlc-plugin-sdl vlc-plugin-svgalib thunderbird skype pure-ftpd krusader kgpg ksnapshot soundconverter p7zip

Then, install Ubucleaner script to periodically clean out installation stuff you don’t need…usually a lot of left-over install packages that just take up space.

A few other fun applications to install include the following:

  1. Enable 7zip compression GUI support with PeaZip. This is a great tool to use…I explore it in more detail here.
  2. Install OpenOffice 3.0 instead of 2.4 version that is default on ubuntu intrepid
  3. Get rid of Evolution – sudo apt-get remove evolution
  4. Try installing Turkey Fonts (for thanksgiving, of course)
  5. Install Songbird – Songbird is a desktop Web player, a digital jukebox and Web browser mash-up. Like Winamp, it supports extensions and skins feathers. Like Firefox, it is built from Mozilla, cross-platform and open source.
  6. Install TweetDeck
  7. Protect your data privacy by setting up TrueCrypt (download the deb file and then double-click to install it) on your computer. What’s neat is that TrueCrypt works cross-platform, so you could store your encrypted container file on a partition or external drive and open it whether you are on Windows, Mac or UbuntuLinux!

I followed this tutorial…worked very well! The purpose of this is to be able to right-click files or folders and WIPE them from your storage media. This is important when you’re dealing with confidential data that you want to ensure isn’t accessible if someone tries to recover data from your hard drive without your knowledge.

  1. Install Nautilus Actions – sudo apt-get install nautilus-actions
  2. Install Wipe – sudo apt-get install wipe
  3. Go to System:Preferences, then Nautilus Actions.
  4. Click ADD
  5. Follow the screenshots below….

Step 1 – Open Nautilus Action

Step 2 -Add a New Action and Customize it to Match the following two screenshots:

Click OK, then CLOSE out of Nautilus-Actions.

Right click on a file or folder that you want to WIPE, and you’ll see the WIPE option. Some suggest you do this after setting up WIPE at the command line.

nautilus -q
press enter twice

I believe this quits, then restarts Nautilus so that changes take effect. Be warned that if you quit, the files on your Desktop will stop showing up until you reboot your computer.

More privacy:

  • sudo apt-get install secure-delete
  • Options:
    srm confidential.txt (securely deletes files and directories)
    smem (wipes data from memory to combat data remanence)
    sfill mountpoint/ (wipes the free space on a disk) Use with a live CD, possibly as root
    sswap (wipes swap partitions used when RAM is full. Use in conjunction with smem)

In the article cited above (well-worth reading!), it is recommended you switch from Ext3 to Ext2 file system to ensure greater security. To accomplish that, follow these steps:

  1. sudo tune2fs -O ^has_journal /dev/hda1
  2. sudo e2fsck /dev/hda1
  3. sudo gedit /etc/fstab
    and then change ext3 to ext2
  4. If you decide to switch back to ext3 after shredding, use this command:
    sudo tune2fs -j /dev/hda1

I’m still trying to decide if I want to do this…thoughts?

Finally, you can also use this script by Robert Pectol (more scripts he’s written here):

  1. Get script and save it to your ~/.gnome2/nautilus-scripts directory as secure-file-delete
  2. Give it rights – sudo chmod 755 ~/.gnome2/nautilus-scripts/secure-delete
  3. Here are Robert’s notes:
    Simply download it to your ~/.gnome2/nautilus-scripts/ directory, change the name to something like, “secure-delete” and make sure it’s executable (chmod 755 secure-delete). Then you can right-click a file or directory and choose, “secure-delete” from the pop-up menu to securely delete it!

    You can open the script in a text editor to alter the number of passes under the, “user configurable options” near the top. The default is 10 passes. For quicker file deletion, but less secure, decrease the number of passes. Alternatively, increase the number for more security. It probably shouldn’t be set to anything less than, ‘2’ for any kind of decent secure deletion. Enjoy

Note that the first time you run the script, it will flash a warning but nothing happens. The second time you run it, it will actually work…well, I think it will. I set it to 25 passes and it didn’t. Hmm…when I changed it back to 10 passes, it worked fine.

BTW, if you really want to wipe a hard drive, try Darik’s Boot-n-Nuke.

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