.net and other musings

Ben Lovell, an agile developer living in the UK.

Category: Linux

Ubuntu Studio

Ubuntu studio, the Ubuntu edition for audio & video studios has been released, packaged with a real-time kernel for the low latency required for AV work, plus a bunch of other useful AV stuff I don’t really care much for. What I do care for however is the spangly new theme – wow! The core Ubuntu desktop people really need to take some advice from the Ubuntu Studio guys because this is the nicest theme I’ve ever laid eyes on. Take a look for yourselves:


The good news is you can also install this theme on a regular Ubuntu box which I imagine most Ubuntu users will be doing right now 🙂

Paste the following into a terminal to get the goodness:

sudo su -c 'echo deb http://archive.ubuntustudio.org/ubuntustudio feisty main >> /etc/apt/sources.list'
wget -q http://archive.ubuntustudio.org/ubuntustudio.gpg -O- | sudo apt-key add - && sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install ubuntustudio-artwork

Once you’ve installed the requisite packages, go to themes and look up the studio theme. Very nice indeed.

Wubi Ubuntu installer for the faint-hearted

If you’re a Windows user and haven’t tried a proper install of Ubuntu (not Live CD), shame on you! Especially now there’s no excuse not to thanks to Wubi. Wubi is a Windows based installer for Ubuntu which magically installs the OS as a folder on your regular Windows partition. Removing it is as simple as deleting a folder in Windows. Nice.

During installation Wubi will search for an ISO of the alternate Ubuntu 7.04 install disc, if you have it saved locally alongside the installer it will use the ISO, or else go to a default (read slow) mirror to download. I recommend you torrent the alternate install ISO first for obvious reasons.

Compatible with Windows XP currently. No Vista support!

HTTP headers and verbs are case-sensitive

Reminder to self: HTTP headers and verbs are case-sensitive. Oh yes, big gotcha.

I’ve been working on a .NET Windows Service which consumes a RESTful service hosted via Rails. During the development/test cycle I’ve been pointing my tests to a mocked service hosted locally under IIS. Upon testing against the real REST URIs I ran into a strange issue of a hanging System.Net.HttpWebRequest.

The issue was in sending the verbs in lowercase and not adhering to the HTTP RFC, which IIS rather unhelpfully doesn’t adhere to either. See, IIS will respond to verbs in lowercase, which I guess in some cases, if you don’t leave the wonderful Windows world of case-insensitivity perhaps, can be helpful? Apache (on Linux at least, haven’t tried on Windows) isn’t so flexible which is definitely a Good Thing… 🙂

The sad thing about this is that I’d ran into this same issue a few years back, but conveniently only remembered after I’d spent a couple of hours debugging this one!

Silverlight… Cross-platform?.

Wow! Looks like I missed this somehow… Silverlight, although being touted as “cross-platform” won’t ship with Linux compatible plug-ins. Wise move Microsoft.

I can’t see the YouTube’s (especially given how Google isn’t historically one of the great adopters of MS technology) of this world adopting  your  “cross-platform”  technology? I thought Microsoft were starting to move away from these lock-in encouraging business tactics…

At least drop the “cross-platform” misnomer!

Ubuntu experiences

I’ve been using Ubuntu as my main OS since Dapper Drake; having been my first venture into GNU/Linux. Since then Ubuntu has been through two other releases: Edgy Eft and now bringing us up-to-date Feisty Fawn or 7.04 (Ubuntu versioning being 7 signifying the release year and 04 the release month).

It’s needless to say i’m thoroughly impressed with Ubuntu… Admittedly i’m a little green as to the other distros’, having only dabbled with SUSE, DSL and PuppyLinux, but Ubuntu has fulfilled my needs so I haven’t really had to look elsewhere.

I upgraded to the early release of Feisty a while back now, and it has been rock-solid throughout. Not bad for pre-release software never mind an OS! Anyway the main improvements over the earlier version are a more stable and compatible network manager (wireless networking support primarily), a refocused control panelesque administration section, flashy 3d desktop effects via Compiz, and better binary/restricted or non-free driver support to name a few. The best feature in my eyes however, and the one which has made Ubuntu that bit easier to adopt, has to be the automatic codec installation support.

Due to the Ubuntu philosophy of only including free and non-proprietary packages, many codecs were not installed with the vanilla OS installation and required a bit of tweaking and cajoling to get configured… Now they’re installed automatically as and when you need them, making widescale adoption of the OS that bit easier.

The final version has been just as stable as the early builds for me, the only notable issue for me being that the 3d effects are a little buggy. I’ve turned those supplied by the OS off and installed Beryl (a fork of Compiz, more stable IME) and all my previous 3d desktop niceness is stable again.

Windows development (.NET, IIS, SQL), when necessary is facilitated by VMWare Player and a Windows VM with my stock VS environments. Mono, Rails, MySql and the little PHP i’ve been getting into recently has obviously been native via Linux, Apache and using several IDE’s including Eclipse and RadRails.

The usual day-to-day stuff such as browsing, email, media playing etc has been snag-free as usual with Firefox and Opera for browsing, Amarok for audio and iPod management and finally VLC, MPlayer and Xine for video.

I find myself only using Windows when necessity dictates now. I have briefly used Vista but not yet in anger so can’t really comment on that. The hardware requirement is a bit of a joke though and I don’t think i’ll be upgrading in the near future… But thats another post all together 🙂


As Miguel states… It just doesn’t feel right using a desktop without the effects provided by XGL/Compiz. If the experience provided by the desktop feels pleasing or perhaps even inviting then surely the experience can be deemed more productive? Well it certainly feels that way to me, especially when coming back to Windows — which incidentally I only use at work for .NET development now.

Compiz themes

If you’ve installed XGL/Compiz its probably worth trying out a few of the Compiz themes. I’ve installed this one:

Compiz Theme

From the Gnome-Look website. The dock at the bottom is the superb Akamaru dock. Give them a go.


I took the plunge and installed XGL/Compiz on my Ubuntu Dapper partition after messing around with it for a while via the Koroora XGL Live CD. Following this guide was simple enough (even for me) and within a few minutes everything was setup and running perfectly.

The one thing that i’m so impressed by is how this can run on (comparatively) lame hardware, especially compared to the requirements of Vista.

Learn the Linux Command Line and Shell Scripting

Via Digg:

You have Linux installed and running. The GUI is working fine, but you are getting tired of changing your desktop themes. You keep seeing this “terminal” thing. Don’t worry, we’ll show you what to do.

read more | digg story


More Ubuntu linkage, this time in the form of EasyUbuntu.

If like me you've just recently installed Ubuntu 6.06, you'll definitely be interested in this. EasyUbuntu is a script which automates the installation of several video/audio codecs, tweaks, drivers and applications which allow you to do some of the following, depending on your disposition: play MP3, stream Windows Media content, enable DMA, "play Tux Racer at more than 3 frames per second"… 😀

GParted Partition Manager

So, given that Ubuntu 6.06 has been out and about for a little while now – and that I like it muchly – I decided to install it on my main machine and dual boot with Windows XP. The only issue being that the existing hard disk was unpartitioned and I wasn't willing to shell out for PartitionMagic or another product of that ilk.

After having a little browse around I found the most excellent GParted LiveCD. This is a LiveCD version of the GParted partition management application weighing in at a measly 30mb download and is of course completely free. Creating partitions over existing disks has a fairly high PPS (potential pant staining) factor, one false move and you can pretty much hose the whole box… Thankfully my pants (and I) survived the incident and Ubuntu 6.06 is happily occupying a new partition on my main box at home.

I'm thinking about hosing the Windows partition soon and reclaiming the space for the Ubuntu partition. Especially now I've got VMWare Player up and running in Ubuntu…