Archive for May, 2009

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HowTo: MicroTouch Touch Screen Setup and Calibration

Below is a step by step process from ground up of what I followed. No other poor sucker need suffer. I setup a MicroTouch Touch Screen Controller with the Excalibre Chipset. Ubuntu 5.10 comes ready to go with a the driver ‘mutouch’ that works with Xorg

1. Install Ubuntu
2. Figure out where your touch screen is plugged in.
— For my case I had a serial interface so I plugged it into the serial port on the tower. To test, at the command prompt I typed:

cat /dev/ttyS0

I then touched the touch screen. If a bunch of garbage is displayed then you have found the right device. You may also want to try cat /dev/ttyS1
— If you have a USB interface then a nice litle trick I learned is

tail -f /var/log/dmesg

now unplug the connector from the tower and plug it back in. The tail program should display new entires in the log and display which device was unplugged and plugged. For example /dev/ttyUSB0
— If none of this works, it is possible you havea a hardware problem and need to change setting at bootup to enable USB and Serial ports or maybe you need a new computer!
3. Once you figure out how the screen is connected we need to edit the /etc/X11/xorg.conf file so the that the touch screen driver is loaded when you load GDM (Windows Manger). You need to have root privelages to edit and save this file.

sudo pico /etc/X11/xorg.conf

You need to make two entries. One for the settings and one so the setting will be executed.
Below is a configuration that works for me taken and slighty modified from a famous touchscreen how-to. If you have the same setup as I this should work fine but if not look at the FAQ for setting for your specific device. (…een-HOWTO.html)

I added this under the similar block of settings for the mouse InputDevice block.
Section “InputDevice”

Identifier “TouchScreen”
Driver “mutouch”
Option “Type” “finger”
Option “Device” “/dev/ttyS0”
Option “ScreenNo” “0”
Option “MinX” “0”
Option “MaxX” “16383”
Option “MinY” “0”
Option “MaxY” “16383”
Option “SendCoreEvents” “yes”


I then added one line to the Server Layout block (in bold)
Section “ServerLayout”

Identifier “Default Layout”
Screen “Default Screen”
InputDevice “Generic Keyboard”

InputDevice “TouchScreen”


Now reboot GDM. This can be achieved by Ctrl+Alt+Backspace. If GDM does not come back up then you may need to recheck the xorg.conf or restart GDM.

–To check to see if there is a configuration issue Alt+Left Arrow one or more times to find a warning in a different console
–To edit the xorg.conf – sudo pico /etc/X11/xorg.conf
–To restart GDM

sudo killall gdm
sudo gdm

Once GDM is running again try out the touch screen. It will most likely not be very accurate but it should work. If not do a little  and double check everything. The next step is calibration.

1. Download the calibration tool. I used touchcal-0.23 which I found here:
Unpack the file to your /tmp folder.
2. Prepare your system to compile the calibration tool. Ubuntu comes with all the tools you need to unpackage this file but not to compile the program.
If you installed Ubuntu off a CD-ROM then you need to update the /etc/apt/sources.list file to look for packages from the internet.

sudo pico /etc/apt/sources.list

Uncomment the lines that collect packages from the network. Save the file and exit.
To get the packages you need to compile touchcal run the following lines

sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install gcc make libncurses5-dev

3. Compile touchcal
Now run the configure script

cd /tmp/touchcal-0.23

Then run make


If either of these steps fail it is most likely because you are still missing some required packages. I may have missed some so do a little  and try and figure out which packages are missing.
4. Run touchcal
–touchcal comes with a good README file. I highly recommend reading it.

pico /tmp/touchcal-0.23/README

–Go to console Ctrl+Alt+F1
–shutdown gdm (Xserver)

sudo killall gdm

–run touchcal program

cd /tmp/touchcal-0.23
./touchcal m /dev/ttyS0
(m stands for mutouch, /dev/ttyS0 is where the touch screen is connected to. (see above)

–follow the onscreen instructions
When finished running, touchcal should output your new calibration coordinates (MinX, MaxY etc). Copy these values and use them to replace the preset values in the /etc/X11/xorg.conf for the touchscreen device.

Option “MinX” “0”
Changes to
Option “MinX” “2254”

5. Restart GDM

sudo gdm

Once GDM has loaded try it out! If you are still unhappy try going through step 4. again.

Hopefully this has helped at least one person save time

DISCLAIMER: These instructions are by no means 100% complete or correct. Please let me know if I have any errors. Good luck!

Voice over IP (VoIP) software enables telephone-like voice conversations across IP based networks. A VoIP phone service is often cheaper than a traditional Public Switched Telephone Network (PSTN) phone service and removes geographic restrictions to telephone numbers.

SIP is the most popular VoIP protocol. This protocol enables two or more people to make phone calls to each other using the Internet to carry the call. SIP to SIP calls on a broadband internet connection are high quality, always free regardless of distance, and offer additional functionality such as free voicemail to email and phone numbers, caller ID, 3-way conference, speed dialing, call forwarding, simultaneous ring, call waiting, call return, caller ID block, and anonymous call rejection.

Softphones are user based clients for making and receiving voice and video communication over the IP network, usually permitting integration with USB and IP Phones instead of a computer’s microphone and speakers (or headset). This article selects the best softphones available for Linux.

We have included Skype in the list. Whilst the Skype client is available for no-charge, it runs on a closed proprietary network, and is therefore not ‘free’ software. However, given the importance of Skype in promoting VoIP, we believe it warrants a place.

For enterprise or business markets, VoIP enables the enterprise to manage a single network (the IP network) instead of separate voice and data networks, while enabling advanced and flexible capabilities to the end user. With the credit crunch still to take full effect, it’s even more important for small businesses to minimise their costs. One way to reduce expenditure is to switch from a normal telephone contract to using VoIP. Calls made using VoIP work and sound like normal telephone calls, but cost significantly less. Public Branch Exchange (PBX) is a private telephone exchange which routes calls internally and provides call queuing, hunt groups, conference calling, voicemail and more. The PBX enables many phones to use a single VoIP connection.

So, let’s explore the eleven VoIP software at hand. For each application we have compiled its own portal page, a full description with an in-depth analysis of its features, screenshots (where relevant), together with links to relevant resources and reviews. Start making free calls today.

VoIP Softphone clients
QuteCom VoIP softphone originally known as WengoPhone
Ekiga VoIP and video conferencing application for GNOME
Linphone SIP video-phone
Twinkle Qt-based VoIP phone
Kiax Simple user interface for making VoIP calls to Asterisk PBX
Skype Skype peer-to-peer Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) software
KPhone Supports Presence and Instant Messaging
Server Software
Asterisk Open Source VoIP PBX
FreeSWITCH Telephony platform to facilitate the creation of voice and chat driven products
GNU Gatekeeper VOIP gatekeeper for H.323
sipXecs IP based communications system (IP PBX)

This Tutorial provides instructions and notes on upgrading Ubuntu 8.10 (Intrepid) server to Ubuntu 9.04 (Jaunty), released on the 23rd April 2009.

Before Upgrading

  • Make sure you have complete backup of your server

Procedure to follow

Update the server package list using the following command

sudo apt-get update

Install update-manager-core if it is not already installed using the following command

sudo aptitude install update-manager-core

Edit /etc/update-manager/release-upgrades

sudo vi /etc/update-manager/release-upgrades

and set


Launch the upgrade tool using the following command

sudo do-release-upgrade

Follow the on-screen instructions.

Symbolic links really shine when it comes to a dual boot system. This is especially so in the case of linking your /home/Music folder in Ubuntu, to your Windows iTunes folder. Doing this means only one folder needs to be maintained and any music program you installed on Ubuntu will load your Windows music library.

To do this you will need to have your Windows partition mounted. Next open up terminal and do the following.

> cd /home

> rm -r Music

> ln -s /media/WINDOWSDRIVENAME/Users/USERNAME/Music/iTunes/iTunes\ Music/ Music

Now when you install Songbird or open Rhythmbox, you will have instant access to your main music library.

As a new user, there comes a time (or there will come a time) when you are playing around with Ubuntu/Gnome, trying different themes, different engines, different window managers, etc, and all of a sudden you run into a problem that you can’t seem to find a way to fix it.

Computer FrustrationMaybe some of your customized settings are causing your gnome-panel to crash all the time or causing your windows and applications to look ugly, even having window buttons (close, minimize) disappear. You start Googling and spending a lot of time – sometimes days – trying to find how you can fix it.

You are frustrated (sometimes hitting your monitor/tower yelling some vulgarities at it as if it understands and you will kill it if it doesn’t fix it… there’s no Valentine’s love there, that’s for sure) and are ready to go back to Microsoft Windows.

But wait!

You keep thinking, “I wish I could just reset it back to its defaults, like a clean install, without losing all my applications and data.”

Well, you’re in luck. There is a way to reset your Desktop settings back to their defaults. If you keep in mind that everything in Linux is a file, all of its settings are files. All of Gnome’s customizations are located in their own specific folders. And these settings are user specific; they are in your Home folder. If you would create another user and log in with that user, you wouldn’t have any of the problems you are having in your own account. If you remove all these folders, you essentially remove all the settings. Therefore, we will remove the folders needed to reset Ubuntu/Gnome back to its defaults.

UPDATE (2008.01.30): Keep in mind that this will only reset your Gnome-specific settings. If you are having problems with your video card, display, x-server, etc., this WILL NOT fix your problems.

If you don’t have access to your graphical (GUI) desktop to delete these folders in Nautilus or you’re stuck at the login screen, drop to a terminal by hitting CTRL + ALT + F1, login to your account, and run this command:

rm -rf .gnome .gnome2 .gconf .gconfd .metacity

Get back to your GUI desktop by hitting CTRL + ALT + F7.

Login and VOILÀ! Just like the first time you ever logged into your Gnome desktop.

Time and date are important parameters in computer’s world, if they are not accurately set, you will have problems. Some of problems are not too much importnnt, like the time on your emails, but others…. If time and date are not properly set in Linux, can lead you to a mess, like: * Your cron jobs, will not run when they are suppose to run * You may loose your appointments if you are using your computer calendar We need to accurately set time and date in our Linux, here is how to do it, from the command line.

date +%Y%m%d -s “20090502” To set the time in Linux, enter date +%T -s “11:14:00” There are simple ways to set the date and time, here is one. date -s “2 MAY 2009 11:14:00” or date 05021118 The format is date MMDDhhmm

It is very important to use good passwords that at least make it harder for a hacker to crack.

In general it dosent matter how strong your security passwords are it just take longer for a hacker.

Pam_cracklib can help cure the problem