Geek Project: Installing Linux on Your Chromebook with Crostini!

New Chromebook FlipHere’s Geek Project for you, if you have the right version of Chromebook! Our buddy, Stephen J. Vaughn-Nichols has some fun! (By the way, it works on my newer version Chromebook Flip.)

How to add Linux to your Chromebook

ZDNet – By: Stephen J. Vaughn-Nichols – “It’s long been possible to run Linux on a Chromebook. That’s no surprise. After all, Chrome OS is a Linux variant. But, doing it by using either Crouton in a chroot container or Gallium OS, a Xubuntu Chromebook-specific Linux variant, wasn’t easy. Then, Google announced it was bringing a completely integrated Linux desktop to the Chromebook.

Today, with a properly-equipped Chromebook and the bravery to run canary code, you can run Debian Linux on your Chromebook. Here’s how to do it.

This new Chromebook Linux feature is Crostini, the umbrella technology for getting Linux running with Chrome OS. Crostini gets enough Linux running to run KVM, Linux’s built-in virtual machine (VM). On top of this, Crostini starts and runs LXC containers. You won’t see it, unless you look closely, but it’s in those containers that your Debian Linux instances are running.

Eventually, anyone with a newer Chromebook will be able to run Linux. Specifically, if your Chromebook’s operating system is based on the Linux 4.4 kernel, you’ll be supported. But we’re not there yet. It’s also possible that older Chromebooks, running Linux 4.14, will be retrofitted with Crostini support.

Officially, you need a Pixelbook, Google’s top-of-the-line Chromebook, to run Linux. But, users have found a dozen other models can run Crostini with half-a-dozen others expected to be supported soon. Chromebooks that can already use Crostini include newer Intel-powered Chromebooks from Acer, Asus, HP, Lenovo, and Samsung. Dell models will start getting supported later this year.

I used my best-of-breed Pixelbook with its 1.3GHz quad-core Intel Core i7-7Y75 processor, 512GB SSD, with 16GBs of RAM for my tests. This is the fastest Chromebook on the market. It’s not cheap, at a list price of $1,399, but it’s worth it if you want to push Linux on the Chromebook’s limits.

Once you have the hardware you need, you must switch your Chromebook from the stable update channel to the dev channel. This is alpha software and it updates about once a week. Let me make this absolutely clear: This is not stable software. It will blow up at times. But, faint heart never won fair technology discoveries.

This is a bigger decision than it looks at first. You’ll lose all your local data if you try to go back to the stable, or even beta, channels. With a Chromebook that’s not much of a problem since most of your data and settings are kept on the Google Cloud, it’s still worth keeping in mind.

If you want to wait and be safe, Crostini support is expected to enter the stable channel with Chrome OS 69 in mid-September.

To make the switch to dev, take the following steps:

1) Sign in to your Chromebook with the owner account.

2) Click your account photo.

3) Click Settings.

4) At the top left, click Menu.

5) Scroll down and click About Chrome OS.

6) Click Detailed build information.

7) Next to “Channel” click Change channel.

8) Pick a channel.

9) Click Change Channel.

10) Your Chromebook will download the dev channel update. It will then ask you to restart your Chromebook.

Once that’s done, if you’re not using a Pixelbook you may need to set a Chrome flag to access Linux. You do this by entering: chrome://flags on the Chrome browser’s address line. This command displays all of Chrome’s experimental features. Scroll down the list until you find:

#enable-experimental-crostini-ui

Activate this, and your system may be ready to go. I say ‘may’ because to run Crostini your Chromebook must not only be on the dev channel, but Google must also have enabled the Linux VM for your hardware.

The easiest way to confirm that a particular Chromebook works with Linux is to follow the above steps and then open Chrome OS’s built-in shell, crosh, and run the shell command:

vmc start termina

If you get a message such as ‘ERROR: command ‘vmc’ is not available’, you’re out of luck. But, if you see a terminal, congrats, you’ve just found a new Chromebook that’s Linux-ready.

Next, head to Chrome OS settings (chrome://settings), scroll down to to ‘Linux (Beta)’ and activate it.

Now, open the app switcher by pressing the Search/Launcher key and type ‘Terminal’. This launches the Termina VM, which will start running a Debian 9.0 Stretch Linux container.

Congratulations! You’re now running Debian Linux on your Chromebook.

From here you can install and run programs using Debian’s normal software commands. For example, to update my new Linux system and install the lynx web browser, I’d run:

$ sudo apt-get update

$ sudo apt-get upgrade

$ sudo apt install lynx

While you could install pretty much any program on your new Linux instance, I gave a shell-based program example because accelerated graphics and audio aren’t working yet. So, while you could install Cinnamon, my favorite Linux interface, or Steam for games, it’s not fast enough even on a maxed out Pixelbook to be that enjoyable. Not yet anyway.

In addition, many graphics-based programs, such as the photo-editor Gimp, won’t run yet on Crostini. Give it time to mature before trying to get too fancy with heavy graphics software.

Soon, though, Linux and Chrome will be a matched pair. Come that day, I see high-end Chromebooks becoming the laptops of choice for developers.

In the meantime, if you want to do more with Linux and Chromebook, check out the excellent Reddit Crostini Wiki. For up-to-the-minute hands-on information about Crostini, its parent Reddit forum is the best resource on the web.

Enjoy!”

Geek Project: How to Derive the Actual RSS Feed from iTunes

To find an iTunes core RSS feed URL for a podcast in iTunes, go into iTunes and locate the iTunes screen for the podcast, for instance, if you search in iTunes podcasts for: “Dr. Bill.TV” you will see my podcast screen, then click on the “down arrow” to the right of the “Subscribe” button, and select “Copy link“, this will copy the iTunes URL to your clipboard.

As shown below:

iTunes URL

You can then use this link:

https://itunes.apple.com/lookup?id={podcast_id_number}&entity=podcast

Where “{podcast_id_number}” is the number in the URL for the iTunes entry, as in this example:
https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/dr-bill-tv-video-netcasts/id212215323?mt=2

The “{podcast_id_number}” is the number after “id” in the URL and before the “?“, as in this example: 212215323

So, you would enter: https://itunes.apple.com/lookup?id=212215323&entity=podcast
in your browser. You will get a downloded file called “1.txt“, it is a json code file, in it you will see, among the code:

“feedUrl”:”http://www.drbill.cc/category/dr-bill-netcasts/feed/”,

The actual RSS feed URL for the podcast is:
http://www.drbill.cc/category/dr-bill-netcasts/feed/

You can now use the actual RSS feed URL in any “podcatcher” software, like “BeyondPod”, available here:

https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=mobi.beyondpod&hl=en

or, in “Podcast Republic”, available here:

https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.itunestoppodcastplayer.app&hl=en

Geek Project: Save A Friend’s Computer!

So, you would NEVER get a massive virus, or trojan, infection, but your clueless friend would! So, be the hero! Clean their PC once it has been eaten!

Here are the things that you need:

Bleepingcomputer.com – Combofix
http://www.bleepingcomputer.com/combofix/how-to-use-combofix

Kaspersky TDSSKiller
http://support.kaspersky.com/faq/?qid=208283363

Malwarebytes Anti-Malware
http://www.malwarebytes.org/

You will probably want to boot into Safe Mode before installing and running these tools, but by doing all these, chances are very good that you WILL save the day… unless you have a trojan that has written a “re-infecter” into the boot record of your hard drive in a hidden partition, then… sigh. Just go ahead and do a deep hard drive wipe and re-format, and re-install, Windows.

Of course, ALL this assumes Windows, because if they were running Linux… well, you wouldn’t HAVE to rescue them!

If you DO need to do a complete drive format and wipe, use Active KillDisk, available here:
http://www.killdisk.com/

Geek Project: Make Your Ubuntu System Look Like a Mac!

MacbuntuHere’s a cool project if you use Ubuntu and have always wanted a Mac look and feel!

Macbuntu

“Mac OS X Transformation Pack. Macbuntu is an open-source program, designed to transform Linux’s appearance and layout into a Mac OS X environment. Although Macbuntu is dedicated to Ubuntu Linux OS, it could be used in other OS based on Debian/GTK.

Features

  • Attention: Script significantly changes the desktop
  • Attention: Not compatible with Ubuntu Netbook Edition
  • Attention: The Global Menu does not current work correctly for all applications. This is a known issue.
  • Paw-OSX and Paw-Ubuntu Plymouth themes
  • Macbuntu sound theme
  • Macbuntu GTK theme based on GTK Leopard
  • Macbuntu-Icons based on Mac4Lin and Faenza Icons
  • Macbuntu-Cursors based on Shere Khan X
  • Mac OS X backgrounds and fonts
  • Compiz Extras, Global Menu, Docky, Ubuntu-Tweak
  • Preconf for login screen, metacity, compiz, window theme, backgrounds, cursors, icons, docky and top panel”

Experimenting with HTML5 and WebM Video Format

Interesting! I read an article in Streaming Media magazine about methods of transcoding video to WebM format. Two seemed interesting, both free, one was Miro’s Video Converter:

http://www.mirovideoconverter.com/

The other was nice in that besides being free, it also allowed a lot more granular control of the transcoding process. It is a Firefox Plug-in called “FireFogg“:

http://firefogg.org/

It requires Firefox 3.5 or later. I tried it on my last Netcast video file, and the results were pretty impressive, here’s the HTML5 code used to stream it once the file was transcoded to WebM format:


<!DOCTYPE HTML>
<html>
<body>

<center>
<video controls width=”640″ height=”420″>
<source src=”DrBillTV021911V-176.webm”>
Your browser does not support the video tag.
</video>
</center>

</body>
</html>


View it at this link: Dr. Bill.TV Netcast #176

Also, try this… “click” along the timeline that appears as you “float” your mouse over it. Notice that you can “jump around” in the streamed video timeline to “pick up” anywhere along the timeline. Pretty nice! There are “high end” video streaming software that allows this, but this is VERY simple and totally free!

Pretty cool! Of course, you’ll have to use either Firefox or Chrome, or another browser that supports HTML5 to view it. For now, IE is right out! However, this may, indeed, be the future of webcasting! It sure is simple!

It was a fun Geek Project! Try it yourself if you have a need to!

“Installing Ubuntu – Netbook Edition 10.10” A Special Edition of the Dr. Bill Netcast #160!

Dr. Bill Netcast – 160 – (10/23/10)

A SPECIAL EDITION Netcast showing how to install Ubuntu – Netbook Edition 10.10! Dr. Bill uses VMware Workstation 7.1 to allow us to install Ubuntu 10.10 Netbook Edition – and uses BB Flashback Express to record the process for the Netcast. BE SURE TO STAY TUNED for our REGULAR Netcast, which will be released tomorrow! (LATE ADDDITION: Due to scheduling issues over the weekend…. looks like it will be Monday evening before I can get the next (regular) show out… but, hey, only late by a day!)

Links that pertain to this Geek Project:

Ubuntu 10.10 Netbook Edition

VMware Workstation 7.1

BB Flashback Express


Start the Video Netcast in the Blubrry Video Player above by
clicking on the “Play” Button in the center of the screen.

(Click on the buttons below to Stream the Netcast in your “format of choice”)
Streaming M4V Audio
 Download M4V


 Download WebM
Streaming MP3 Audio
 Download MP3
Streaming Ogg Audio
 Download Ogg

Geek Project: Using the JW Player for the Dr. Bill Show!

JW PlayerI have highlighted the awesome JW Player for flash as a “Geek Software of the Week” before, and it rocks! But, with the re-launch of the “Dr. Bill – The Computer Curmudgeon” show, I decided to “go all out” and purchase a full copy of the player from Longtail Video (Jeroen “JW” Wijering’s brainchild) and go for it! I had used the “freebie” player before, and was very impressed, but, since one day, if the stars align, I hope to make a little spending money from the show (we can only hope!) … legally (and you guys know, the Doctor is all about the legal!) I had to purchase the full version.

I must say, it rocks! Since I am using WordPress to power the web site (on my server) and since I am using Viper’s Video Quicktags plugin for WordPress, it was a simple matter to download the full player after my purchase, and replace the files (after renaming the old ones) in the correct sub-directory. In this case:

../wp-content/plugins/vipers-video-quicktags/resources/jw-flv-player/

Replace the two files:

player.swf and yt.swf

with the ones from the paid-for full version of the JW Player. Then, go into the WordPress Plugin control panel for Viper’s Video Quicktags and add your cool options, to the line:

Advanced Parameters” (at the bottom of the control panel screen)

Add this string (with your appropriate information, of course) in this format:
image=http://www.drbill.tv/images/DrBillTV-Screen-Image.png&logo=http://www.drbill.tv/images/drbilltv-logo.png

And, bazinga! You have the cool feature of briefly flashing your own logo, rather than the JW Player logo! Of course, the new latest version of the JW Player does much more than this… in fact, it now supports Flash, HTML5, and many, many other formats! By the way, you can create your own transparent logo, by using The GIMP, setting your background to “transparency” then saving in as a PNG file (Portable Network Graphic). PNG is an open source image format that supports transparency, so I use it for everything! And, it is quite compact! Here are some neat links used in this project:

The JW Player from Longtail Video
The GIMP for Windows
WordPress
Viper’s Video Quicktags
Information on the PNG Image Format

Geek Project: Flash Video Streaming!

If you have ever looked into adding flash video streaming to your own web site, you know that it can be an expensive proposition! Streaming Video Server software can run as high as $1000.00 per server! I figured that there HAD to be a cheaper, or Open Source, solution. Surely SOMEBODY had come up with a way. Well, they did. It is called PHP Flash Streaming. PHP, of course, is a server side scripting language that is free (Open Source) and works well with either Apache, or Internet Information Server. PHP Streaming is great, and, best of all, it is FREE! I like free, it is in my price range.

For an actual example of PHP Video Streaming of my Spirit of Faith Netcast, click HERE. Notice, when you do, that you can click on the Flash Player’s “time line” at the bottom of the player at any point, and the video will “pick up” at that point immediately. Very cool!

So, how does it work? Well, the “trick” is that there is a tool that can inject metadata into the FLV flash video file that works like a “time mark” for video frames within the file. Then, the PHP code “dribbles out” the video while “keeping up” with the location of the frame “markers” in the file as it does. Neat, huh? So, what you have to do is download the free flvmdi tool to “tag” your FLV file with these internal metatags… that is available here:

http://www.buraks.com/flvmdi/

Also, there is a GUI for this package as well (flvmdi is a command line tool for Windows.) The GUI for flvmdi is available at the same web site as above.

Just download and follow the instructions for encoding! Here’s a shot of my settings in the GUI:

flvmdi gui

Then, set up your web page. Download the “PHPstreamer.zip” Zip file of the code, available here:

http://www.dircaster.org/PHPstreamer.zip

Then, read the ReadMe.1st file, and look at my “netcast.html” code for an example for your site. (You can change the HTML to your taste, as I did.) Just be sure that all the accompanying “support files” are in the same directory as the “netcast.html” file. Obviously, the more bandwidth that you can throw at your web site is good! Good luck with that!

Thanks to the FlashComGuru for his article:

http://www.flashcomguru.com/index.cfm/2005/11/2/Streaming-flv-video-via-PHP-take-two

So, look over the examples, read the “ReadMe.1st” files in a text editor, and happy Flash Video Streaming!

Geek Project: Run Linux Apps on Windows!

You read that right! Run Linux applications on Windows! How cool is that?!

Seamlessly Run Linux Apps on Your Windows Desktop

“There’s no doubt that Linux—particularly Ubuntu—is a killer operating system full of excellent apps, but for about a million reasons, you’re stuck running Windows as your main operating system. We understand, these things happen. But what about all those killer Linux apps you’ve left behind when you decided to live the Windows life? Sure you could dual-boot or run Linux in the confines of a virtual machine window, but wouldn’t it be great if you could run those apps side-by-side with your Windows apps—like Linux users can do with WINE or OS X can do with Parallels or VMWare? You can, and today I’ll show you how to seamlessly run your favorite Linux applications directly in Windows with a free software called andLinux.”

Check out the article link above for instructions on getting and using andLinux and do it as a Geek Project! Rock on!

andLinux Web Site

andLinux uses the coLinux Project code to operate: “Cooperative Linux is the first working free and open source method for optimally running Linux on Microsoft Windows natively. More generally, Cooperative Linux (short-named coLinux) is a port of the Linux kernel that allows it to run cooperatively alongside another operating system on a single machine. For instance, it allows one to freely run Linux on Windows 2000/XP, without using a commercial PC virtualization software such as VMware, in a way which is much more optimal than using any general purpose PC virtualization software.”

coLinux Web Site

1 2