A little while back, Ubuntu made a subtle change that broke Desktop Sharing to Mac computers. I keep a headless server upstairs to serve media files across my network, so screen sharing is essential to manage the server. However, when Ubuntu made their change – requiring encryption on the VNC connection – Macs lost the ability to connect.

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Ubuntu LogoI’ve been struggling this morning with a compressed SQL file – it had been given a .gz file extension, and I was trying to use the tar command to decompress it. Apparently this is stupid – there’s a dedicated utility to decompress a .gz file – gunzip.

It’s as simple as this:

$ gunzip big-database-dump.sql.gz
$ ls big-database-dump.sql

(The ls command simply lists the extracted file, by the way)

If you’re using Ubuntu, there’s a very easy way to extract the file using the GUI – simply browse to the .gz file you want, right click on it and choose the Extract here command.

However, the time to use the tar command is when you’re opening up a file like drupal-6.15.tar.gz

tar -zxvf Drupal-6.15.tar.gz

Hope this helps out other Ubuntu/Linux newbies who’ve struggled with file decompression!

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Ubuntu LogoBy default, Ubuntu 13.04 has a usable guest account. I discovered this yesterday evening when I noticed my daughter had logged on as a guest.

Obviously some of you won’t be comfortable having an accessible guest account on your computer. You’ll be pleased to know there’s an easy way to disable the guest account (and toggle it back on again if you need to).


Fire up a terminal session on your Ubuntu machine, then type in the following command and hit Enter.

sudo /usr/lib/lightdm/lightdm-set-defaults -l false

Reversing this process is as simple as changing the false at the end to a true.

sudo /usr/lib/lightdm/lightdm-set-defaults -l true

What this changes

What’s happening in the background when you execute this command? Quite simply, it inserts a line in the /etc/lightdm/lightdm.conf file that says allow-guest=false.

So, the alternative way to make this edit – if you like doing things the long way – is to use gedit or nano to edit the lightdm.conf file and add that line yourself. And obviously switch false to true to re-enable guest access.

Now, once you’ve made the changes, you’ll need to reboot your computer for the guest account to be fully disabled.

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Ubuntu LogoCanonical’s decision to add an Amazon shopping lens to the latest version of Ubuntu 12.10, Quantal Quetzal has been hugely controversial. On one hand it brings an additional (and possibly very lucrative) revenue stream to the maker of the largest Linux distribution (which I support), but on the other, users are concerned for their privacy. Me, I just find the Amazon Shopping Lens a massive pain in the rear end.

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Looking for a quick way to delete old files in Linux? For example, log files can build up over a long period of time.

Usage case: The default WordPress backup tool doesn’t delete old backup files. So, over time, these files can accumulate and take up valuable disk space. If you run a large and busy site, this can become a problem. So, in order to maintain a healthy file system, we’ll want to keep say the last 30 days’ worth of backups and discard anything older than that.

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