Thursday, October 25, 2012

Setting up Ubuntu 12.04

My Linux distribution of preference is Ubuntu. Debian did a nice job on the package manger and Canonical did a nice job making it user-friendly. But some things in 12.04 desktop version, I don't need, like the Unity interface. So here's what I like to do to make 12.04 a little friendlier. This is particularly worthwhile when running in VirtualBox, a necessity because my employer is a Fedora shop, and it's a big hassle to run Node.js on Fedora, which I need to run JSHint to sanity-check our Javascript code.

I'm starting with a 40 gig disk image and for networking, a bridged adapter, so that when I run the server on the Ubuntu instance it will be accessible on the rest of the subnet. So first let's get rid of that silly Unity interface. Open a terminal window and run:

$ sudo apt-get install gnome-panel

Close the terminal window and log out. On the login screen, to the right of your name, you'll see a circular logo. Click on that to get a menu and select "GNOME Classic". Type in your password, and notice your blood pressure gently lowering as the familiar old Ubuntu desktop appears before you.

Assuming you're on a virtual machine, you'll really want to stop the screen locking up and requiring your password. So click on the gear in the upper right and select "System Settings", then select "Brightness and Lock". Toggle the "Lock" switch to "OFF" and uncheck the box "Require my password when waking from suspend". Dismiss that window.

Now install Node.js, JSHint, and a few other conveniences.

$ sudo su -
# apt-get install python-software-properties
# add-apt-repository ppa:chris-lea/node.js
# # You'll need to hit the Enter key to continue...
# apt-get update
# apt-get install nodejs npm
# npm install jshint -g
# apt-get install vim git gitk emacs subversion meld
# apt-get install apache2 mysql-server mysql-client pphp5 libapache2-mod-php5
# ^D

I like to package up my .ssh directory into a tarball and bring it to new machines when I set them up. Having stored my key in the .ssh/authorized_keys file on the Subversion server, I don't get constantly bothered to supply a password for every Subversion operation.

By all means set up a shared folder with your host machine. I map the host machine's /home/wware directory to a directory in /media. I need to be root to access it but it's still the easiest way to move things back and forth.

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