Synergy in OpenSolaris and Ubuntu

I have been tinkering with linux distros for a while now, my favourite (generally) would have to be Ubuntu. It is one of the few that installs quickly and simply on most of my systems here.

A package I also use is Synergy. This is one of the best pieces of software ever developed for multi-desktop computing. Much better than VNC and Remote Desktop, although they each serve their purpose and offer different functionality.

To learn more about Synergy, visit

To learn how to install it in OpenSolaris (I am using preview 2) it is simply a matter of:
gunzip libgcc-3.4.6-sol10-x86-local.gz
pkgadd -G -d libgcc-3.4.6-sol10-x86-local
gunzip synergy-1.3.1-sol10-x86-local.gz
pkgadd -G -d synergy-1.3.1-sol10-x86-local

You have to make sure that /usr/local/bin is in your path.

tip: I use/prefer BASH, to edit the user path for BASH in OpenSolaris you HAVE to edit the file .bashrc located in your home directory. Editing it anywhere else will have no effect since (in Preview 2) this file explicitly defines the path WITHOUT inheriting the original path. You have been warned (it took me a few hours to find this!)

for ubuntu there is an excellent walkthru here:

note: for the ubuntu install, make sure you have added the universe repositories

Adding Ubuntu Repositories

In a nutshell
edit the file /etc/apt/sources.list

You can edit it from the command line ( ) or use the GUI from the Ubuntu desktop: System –> Administration –> Software Properties and add to the repositories by adding a channel (the add button). You can also add new repositories there as well.

For a very well documented HOWTO: visit

SSH Server in Ubuntu

To securely administer your Ubuntu Server remotely, you need to install SSH server. SSH provides you with a secure connection to your server and allows you to run commands all as if you were logged in at the terminal itself.

To install SSH server in Ubuntu
$ sudo apt-get install openssh-server

All going well, your install is complete. your RSA and DSA keys have been created and you have a default config file.

Connecting to the server
To connect to the server from other machines use ssh (on *nix computers or putty on windows systems). You log into the machine by typing:

$ ssh or c:\>putty
(this is an example IP address, use whatever IP address is assigned to the server)

Configuring SSH
There is a default config already with the SSH Server, you can chop and change it to suit your needs. For security you may want to disable root logins and X11Forwarding. If you don’t know what they are, then you probably do want to disable them anyway. The configuration file you want to edit is /etc/ssh/sshd_config

Disable remorte root logins
Search for and edit the following line in the /etc/ssh/sshd_config file:

PermitRootLogin yes
and change it to:
PermitRootLogin no

Disable X11 forwarding
Same file as above, search for and change the following line:

X11Forwarding yes
X11Forwarding no

Restart the SSH Server
After you have made these changes, you will need to restart the SSH server. At the command prompt type:
$ sudo /etc/init.d/ssh restart

More on X11 Forwarding
If you want to use X11 Forwarding option so that you can connect your remote machine desktop using Xterm if you want to connect the X11 session you need to use the following command

ssh -X serveripaddress

Copy Files Securely using SCP
Another common need is to be able to copy files between servers you are administering. While you could set up FTP on all of the servers, this is a less-than-ideal and potentially insecure solution. SSH includes within it the capability to copy files using the scp command. This has the added benefit of copying the files over a secure channel along with taking advantage of any key-based authentication you might have already set up.

To copy a file to a remote machine use the following command

scp /path/to/file user@remotehost:/path/to/destination

If you need to copy from the remote host to the local host, reverse the above command

scp user@remotehost:/path/to/file /path/to/destination

if you need to copy an entire directory full of files to a remote location, use the -r argument

scp -r /path/to/directory/ user@remotehost:/path/to/destination/

If you are transferring logfiles or other highly compressible files, you might benefit from the -C argument. This turns on compression, which, while it will increase the CPU usage during the copy, should also increase the speed in which the file transfers.

Use the -l argument to limit how much bandwidth is used. Follow -l with the bandwidth you want to use in kilobits per second. So, to transfer a file and limit it to 256 Kbps use the following command

scp -l 256 /path/to/file user@remotehost:/path/to/destination

Day 65-77

So, as I just mentioned a couple of posts ago, I have been very bad the last couple of weeks. As can be evidenced by the graph on the front page. I went to Adelaide to visit my brother (photos are a click away on the left if you are interested), and my weight did jump up a bit while I was there, but I’m almost back to where I was before I left.

He and his wife just had a new baby boy, Tanner. Good looking kid, takes after his uncle.

Things got in a tither pretty much from the moment I got there. I was suppose to be there for 6 days (which I was – and was nearly extended, but it was planned that baby Tanner would arrive around the day before I left. In the end, he arrived the day after I got there! Well, less than 36 hours anyway.

[iframe,151.204576&spn=0.039194,0.027895&z=14&output=embed 325 550]

As a result, the walks and exercise I had planned while I was down there pretty much got thrown out the window. But I didn’t mind LOL!!

A week in Adelaide in the height of their longest heatwave on record. No day I was there reach a high of below about 35. And in the suburbs, it got to 40 a few times. At night, it rarely got below the low 20s.

Day 72 – a good day, amongst the bad

Since being back I have only done 1 day of moderate exercise and that was on DAY 72, the day after I got back. Actually it was pretty good, and if I could do this once or twice a fortnight, it would make all the difference.

I caught the bus down to Circular Quay, then took the “nurses walk” which is around 100 stairs up towards the Harbour Bridge.

At the bridge, I climbed the stairs at Cumberland Street twice (~108 stairs from memory). The first time, I got to the top and walked down to the next set of stairs, which comes out just south of the sports center there. I then walked back up Cumberland Street and did the climb again. Rested briefly and walked back down.

Across and under the bridge and off to High Street to Hickson Road, to the Great Stairs I found there. I only did those ones 4 times (105 steps each). I like doing all stairs 2 at a time, but on the last two runs up them I had to take them one at a time. My legs were burning so hard. Not as hard as the first time I did them though.

From there across to Darling Harbour where I found one more set of stairs up to the old Glebe Bridge (~50 stairs). Walked to a shop at Ultimo where I bought some computer equipment and walked back home again.

The entire walk was about 8km. The walk wasn’t hard, but the stairs were. I am finding this is the thing hurting me the most at the moment. So I will harness that pain

Day 64

The Giant Staircase

[iframe,150.308847&spn=0.032124,0.025749&z=14&output=embed 300 450]

This was a pretty good day. I actually started off with a train trip to Bondi to have some breakfast, then back home to get changed and then met 2 friends at Central railway Station.

We caught the 9.55am train to Katoomba and another mate jumped on at Strathfield. The only thing wrong with the whole day was the fact the train trip was 2 hours each way. The pain of the train strip was removed with the quality of company on the day.

When we got to Katoomba we decided to have lunch at a Coffee shop we found on the way to Scenic World. We downed that and we were on our way.

Once there, although the board only lists full return prices, we found that if you ask, you can by one-way train tickets to get down the mountain. This cost us $10 neat. A bottle of water for the trip and we were on our way.

The whole walk itself wasn’t too bad, quite easy and recommended for anyone. However the stairs at the end were a killer. I had to stop a few times, but once I finally got to the top it was really easy. I recovered well and started jogging to the end point (echo point). I think the stairs took about 30 minutes (for me) and the whole walk was not much more than an hour. An hour and a half tops.

The walk back to the station wasn’t that hard, but it was all uphill. We didn’t have long to wait for the train, and before we knew it, we were all back home.

There’s another group of us planning to do a similar walk in a few weeks. This one is going to involve an area known as the ruined castle. It’s visible from echo point and pretty much just involves walking in the other direction. This walk will also finish off with the Gian Staircase.

Day 63

[iframe,151.201873&spn=0.01425,0.012016&z=15&output=embed 280 400]

Only a short walk today, warming up for tomorrow and getting some computer parts to build a new PC.

I walked all the way to the shop (<2km) and had originally planned to grab a cab home since I had bought a whole tower in the process. But it was a nice day, the gear wasn't that heavy and so I walked back too.

The Great Australian Stair Case

is this a stair case, or what?

Can you even SEE the staircase in this picture? If you see it (and it excites you)… CONTACT ME :-P

I have been trying to find the largest publicly accessible stair case available (in Sydney) for a couple of weeks now, and other than what I found on my walk a week or so ago (on Hickson Street – refer Day 052 (link)), this has to be the master of all masters!!!!

800 steps… 1000 feet to climb.

If you can see the stairs, and you’re interested…. Tuesday the 4th March 2008 is the day!

Otherwise I have to assume you are chicken!

If you haven’t noticed, I am not the most physical guy in the world, in fact I still have a long way to go… But in an effort to find new and unusual things to make me get fit… I have found this… This is Tuesdays project.

Day 54

[iframe,151.238136&spn=0.049866,0.094242&z=13&output=embed 450 350]

I was to have lunch/coffee with a friend today, but unfortunately they had had a rather big night the night before and I only found out once I had started my route out today (hence the awkward shape of the altered route mid-stream), which assisted in making this walk totaling almost 20km!

Everything still worked out well though, I did the Bondi stretch (an extended 10km jaunt) in exactly 90 minutes. The first and last 30minutes were running/jogging/shuffling, with half hour of walking in the guts. As you can calculate, I do not run very fast. In fact the Ho Chi Minh shuffle (as I call it) is marginally faster than walking. I do find it much easier than running which just seems to hurt too much.

That accounts for the red part of the journey. The green was very much a slow walk and enjoying the sites. I have never done this walk before so I was just cruising having a good ole gander as I wandered the shoreline. A very pleasant walk and a beautiful day for it too.

Bondi Beach (left)
clicking this photo takes you to a flickr photo-set of the day

The day went well, I still caught up with my friend who gave me several glasses of water – much needed. I was pretty much going to walk from there and go on home, but once I realised how close I was to Cogee and decided that if I was this close, I had to finish the walk off there. Once there, I decided my feet had certainly had enough. So I caught the bus back towards home and then did a little shopping on the last little bit of green you see in the map.

Day 52


[iframe,151.212387&spn=0.049884,0.05579&z=13&output=embed 325 350]

Had Subway for lunch with two mates, and decided to go for a short walk to the Chinese Gardens at Tumbalong Park. After devouring a full foot-long sub I decided a longer walk was necessary. As you can see by the map, it was no short walk. All told it was over 15km, although the last few were a very slow walk – my feet were killing me.

No running today, just a walk. Although I did find a VERY good workout at a set of stairs I found along the route (picture below – click to make full size). These things nearly killed me…

109 steps from top to bottom (or since I was at the bottom, we’ll say from bottom to top). And I did them, not only once, not twice… Not even three or four times. I did these stupid things FIVE times. It did near kill me and on the last lap up to the top I honestly thought my legs were about to fall off. It was VERY hard.

Every time I got to the top I said to myself, “Man, that was good, I should do it again… but I won’t.” And then when i got to the bottom I thought, “that wasn’t so bad, let’s go!” and off I’d go again.

pic of a huge staircase in sydney
The Stairs from HELL

On the 4th set, at the top I said to myself there was no way, let’s continue the walk. But once again, at the bottom I thought stuff it, let’s go again! When I got to the top of the 5th set, I couldn’t believe the burning in my thighs. At the bottom I looked up again and almost went for another round, but some little spark in the back of my mind kept my senses alert and I decided to carry on to Darling HarbourOther than that, the walk was uneventful, but this takes the yearly total of kilometres walked to around 100… That’s a fair effort, almost 2km a day!

eeePC and what I don’t like

I am sitting here (at home) adding to this blog on my eeePC. I have been struggling for the last few hours since I mashed up the startup script and effectively rendered my eeePC (here-in after called “the e” or just “e” for short) a brick… It kept just rebooting endlessly…

Eventually I got a usb key running eeeXubuntu… (now I’m not sure if it was in fact eeeXubuntu, or just a ubuntu release for the e? I’ll get back on that). To say it is VERY slow is an understatement. It has to be the USB effect since the distro of Xandros on the internal drive simply screams along.

So, what don’t I like so far? The list is surprisingly short:

  • The keys, they do take some getting use to and they do rattle
  • The screen resolution is simply too shallow, most applications OK or APPLY buttons are off the page. There are several hacks for this, but as yet, I have not tried any UPDATE: the OS naturally handles it, you just have to know where to look!
  • The sound is amazing, but it is lost very quickly in areas of moderate noise… ie, don’t try using skype in a public place. The other party can hear you, but you can’t hear them!
  • The network socket is on the side, I have NEVER lliked network cables coming out of the side of laptop, but that’s just me. The power cable comes out the back
  • The integrated webcam doesn’t seem to function with skype UPDATE: the eeePC will run Skybe 2.0beta, with video support!

And to be honest, that’s about it. I’ll maybe edit this page later and add some more grievances…