Install LAMP on *Ubuntu within few terminal commands

There is many guides how to properly install LAMP on Ubuntu and other Debian-based Linux distros and here I come with the most simple one as possible. With few commands you will be able to install all needed components, have all required services running and things configured to your preferences.

Start with adding one source to list of your software sources, this will give you access to phpmyadmin:
sudo add-apt-repository ppa:nijel/phpmyadmin
Now update list of available software with this:
sudo apt-get update

Next step is to install all basic LAMP components, this is fairly long command because it contains names of many libraries and programs:
sudo apt-get install apache2 php5 libapache2-mod-php5 mysql-server libapache2-mod-auth-mysql php5-mysql phpmyadmin php5-mcrypt php5-gd php5-xdebug php5-curl php5-sqlite
Installing this will take a while and during installation you will be prompt to set up your password for accessing mysql and phpmyadmin.

To (re)start apache server paste this into terminal:
sudo /etc/init.d/apache2 restart

Now we need to access phpmyadmin, right? If you can’t access this tool by simple pasting http://localhost/phpmyadmin into webbrowser you need to insert and run these two commands:
cd /var/www/
sudo ln -s /usr/share/phpmyadmin/ phpmyadmin
Since now you can access phpmyadmin from your webbrowser without problems.

During your webdevelopment journey you may face some problems like inaccessible files of your project. Since all your project files are stored (at least you should to) in /var/www/ location it is required to give to all of subfolders and files in it to bind special permission. To change permissions for this folder you need to paste and run this command in terminal:
sudo chmod -R 777 /var/www/

Since now you are fully ready to develop anything you want, have fun ;-)

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3 steps to install latest kernel version on Ubuntu and other Debian-based systems

For many reasons you might want to install latest version of kernel on your favourite Linux distro and you have no idea how to do this so i come with this little guide. This is really easy and can be done within just 3 simple steps.

1. Go to http://kernel.ubuntu.com/~kernel-ppa/mainline/ and download packages for latest kernel available out there. To make things totally simple download packages to your /home directory.

2. Run terminal and type: sudo dpkg -i *.deb          this will install kernel from downloaded packages.

3. Type: sudo reboot

This will reboot your PC and since your OS is rebooted you can enjoy benefits of latest kernel. Method applies to most Debian-based Linux distros, for example: Ubuntu, *buntu, Mint, Debian, Pear OS, Elementary OS.

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Basic WinCUT

Almost every day some of my friends are asking me for help with their PCs, to boost them a bit. I became a bit bored of repeating all the time the same things over and over again so decided to create a simple utility to automate one of the most important things I always do to them.

I’ve created a little and simple batch file to remove unneeded files from Temp and Prefetch folders, this operation boosts startup time of Windows OS and doesn’t affect to stability of OS or installed programs. Tool is effective, safe and gives no unwanted or even terrible side-effects unlike many optimizers, boosters, etc. Script is compatible with Windows Vista, Windows 7, Windows 8, Windows 8.1 x32 and x64 flavors as well.

How does it work?
Script removes files from prefetch and temp folders, after clean up restarts PC and that’s all.

How to use it?
1. Close all running programs and if you need save all programs done with these programs
2. Right-click on .bat file and select an option “Run as an administrator”
3. The tool will erase all useless files from folders mentioned above
4. After clean up it will remind you to close working programs, do so if you didn’t yet
5. After your action (pressing any key on keyboard) program will reboot your PC.

How to get it?
Basic Windows CleanUp Tool – Basic WinCUT you can download from this link:
v1.0:

http://speedy.sh/rUmyz/Basic-WinCUT-v1.0.zip

It is zipped without compression, any OS should open it without issues so just unpack it using OS’ default unpacker or 7-zip/WinRAR/WinZip/etc.

Support.
I can’t provide support to effects of this tool. If you found out any bugs or problems with starting or working of the tool post them in comment under this post or send via email: themaningrayhat / a t / gmail.com.

Before using it read readme.txt file for more detailed notes.

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Fix to problems with graphics after upgrade from Windows 8 to 8.1

Microsoft released not so long ago huge update to their latest OS Windows 8 which update brings a lot of new features, security updates and GUI changes. For some gamers not all changes might be so optimistic. All these who had Windows 8 and decided to upgrade to Windows 8.1 may have some problems with graphics in games (pink filter, missing elements of environment, missing lights, shadows, etc), slowly working or not working at all games. Windows 8.1 update/upgrade is huge thing and installs a lot of new files and replaces some already existing files and this is the reason why games are not working the way they were before upgrade. 8.1 installer could replace some files of gpu drivers so to fix your problem with games you just need to reinstall or update gpu drivers, if this still will not help uninstall drivers and install them again.

The same goes for problems with other devices after Windows 8 to 8.1 upgrade, mice, printers, keyboards, scanners, soundcards and so on. 

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Windows 8.1 – possible issues with mice support

Windows 8.1, the big unknown which was awaited by millions of disappointed Windows 8 users. 8.1 brings a lot of changes the same to interface as to functionality of new Microsoft’s OS as well. For gamers it brought DirectX 11.2 which is not supported by many games in this moment but with these which support it it gives a lot of improvement. Windows 8.1 from gamers’ point of view is not only positives but it also gives new problems with games, one of the most irritating is weird mouse support. With some games your mouse can be  undetected and as you may figure out mouse will not work with some games. If you are user of Windows 8.1 and you are facing any problems with mice in any game there is few possible solutions to it.

1. Await for mouse driver update, but this “solution” works only if you have a good mouse from decent manufacturers like Razer, MadCatz, etc because they are providing any drivers for mice.

2. If you have mouse from decent manufacturer, you had Windows 8 with installed driver for your mouse and performed OS upgrade from 8 to 8.1 you should reinstall your mouse drivers.

3. If previous two solutions doesn’t apply to you or they didn’t work there is only last chance to make mouse work in the game. Go into game’s folder, find its main .exe file, right-click on it, select “Properties”, go to tab “Compatibility” and… set compatibility to Windows 8 or Windows 7, also not bad idea would be to check boxes “Disable display scaling on high DPI settings” and “Run this program as an administrator”. Click also button “Change settings for all users” and repeat all these checks in there as well.

Now game should work fine and you should be able to control it with mouse.

Some of you may experience mouse input lag after upgrading to windows 8.1, here is an update adressing this issue, download and install:
http://support.microsoft.com/kb/2908279

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Need for Speed Most Wanted by Criterion Games

It is almost a year since its release, just few weeks before release of another game of series: Need for Speed Rivals, you could ask “WHY?!” and i can answer only one way: Because i can! I adored the game on its release but now, when its price is fairly reasonable i decided to go legit with it and bought the game plus all DLCs.

Need for Speed is controversial series of racing games. Some people love it, others hate it because of various reasons. This time, EA decided to give NFS to Criterion Games studio which done wonderful Hot Pursuit. What is the new Most Wanted? It is city named Fairheaven and in this city Burnout Paradise meets old Most Wanted. A lot of licensed cars, even some less known (Tesla Roadster Sport) and classics which were in previous NFS games (Porsche 911), billboards to smash, open world races, mile stones, car upgrades and much, much more.

Fairheaven is incredibly huge city with very diversified architecture. We can drive through wide and long highways, ride into buildings to jump off roofs, industrial districts, airports, railways, offroad and more. It is really pleasure to just drive a car in Fairheaven.

AI enemies in races are somewhat easy but it is satisfying to race against them. Racing also is very varied, we have different modes of races where we need to achieve proper amount of points to win, there are also speedtrials where you have to not arrive on time to finish but keep good average speed. Of course there are classic single round sprints and circuits with 2 rounds. I’m playing the game since some time and still didn’t check all kinds of races available here. I miss drift competitions known from elder NFS games.

Fairheaven would be a bit boring with just races available in game. In many places you can find billboards to smash through them, speed cameras to compete with your online friends, about 60 cars hidden in 200 spots to find. To complete freedom game lacks only free racing against random drivers the way it was done in Need for Speed Underground 2.

DLCs add new cars, new billboards, new part of town: airport, which is crazy stunt action party. It is so fun to ride there.

Police is all we know from original Most Wanted game: 6 levels, Rhinos, Corvettas with spikestripes and there is something new: SWAT. It is so crazy when you see roadblock made of these armored vehicles or one of them charging on you. Fooling police is not that easy and when you do that with high level cops (4-6) it is very satisfying.

Graphics in game are decent, i like sunshafts effects and changing night and day system. Sounds like in most NFS games are really high quality and every car sounds good, the same goes with environmental sounds, with 5.1 speakers setup it is nice to hear cops behind you and horning civilians in front.

When the game was released it was a bit unoptimized many has changed on this matter. I decided to perform comparison of version 1.0 and final which is 1.5. Launch version didn’t have in-game support for AA, later with patches was added up to 4 samples SSAA method. As AA wasn’t present in mint version of the game so comparison i did only with AA disabled. Game doesn’t have built-in benchmark so I decided to perform just short and IMO good for testing ride through one of available highways, in this video you can see the route:

And here comes output of my benchmark:
nfsmw2012comparison

You can see significant improvement in performance of game since its release to final version. Just to note, testing hardware was: AMD Phenom II x4 B35 2,9@3,4GHz, 4GB DDR2, Radeon HD7790 1GB, Creative X-Fi Titanium, OCZ ZS550.

Need for Speed Most Wanted redesigned by Criterion Games is pure fun for hundreds of hours, if you do not take racing games too seriously buy it asap, if you are looking for sim, this is not a game for you.

P.S.

Be aware some tools displaying OSD, for example MSI Afterburner, may conflict with Origin overlay what can make DLC content unavailable in game, before launching the game quit this kind of applications.

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Introduction into Linux gaming – part 4: Troubleshooting

Sometimes it may happen you can not start game even if you are doing everything fine and there is no error message showing up, steam’s verify game cache option reports all file as correct, what to do in this kind of situation? Here Linux shows its superiority over Windows, with Windows you have no option to check what is going on but with Linux you can easily read error message, it is just needed to run failing game in special way.

Run Terminal, open with it Midnight Commander (reminder: sudo mc), navigate to game’s folder and start the game. Program executables under Linux can have various extensions or may have no extension at all. The most common extensions are: .bin, .x86, .x86_64. You will recognize them easily, as you should already know from previous posts Midnight Commander highlights executable files with green color of their name. If you tried now to run the game using Midnight Commander you can quit it by pressing key combination Alt+0. Now you can see in Terminal message with error, you can use it to find or receive solution.

First try to paste message into Google, if you will find nothing so post thread on game’s forums and contact with developer’s support. In report add also name of distro and its version (for example: Ubuntu 13.10), cpu, gpu, amount of ram and version of video driver. To post even more precise info about hardware open Ubuntu Software Center and install program “Hardinfo”. After installation run it, click button “Generate report” and select all available checkboxes, save it as .txt file and add its contents to your tech support report or post on forum. All these data will help in providing solution quickly.

Following this instruction will lead you to fix your game, have fun with your games, you Linux gamer ;-)

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Introduction into Linux gaming – part 3: Installing games

When we already have system prepared and some basic knowledge about Linux we can install games. Just as reminder: i’m creating this guide on example of Ubuntu, many of tips mentioned here are universal to all distros but some are Ubuntu specific.

Installing games from Steam is too easy, it is just “click Install button, wait until download end and click Play”, that’s really it. I do not know how anyone could complicate it more.

Installing from .deb files is not much more complicated. Just download .deb file from your legitimate source, for example many Humble Bundle games are .deb, double-click on downloaded file. This will open Ubuntu Software Center with some description of package and button “Install”. Click on “Install” button, enter root password when prompted and await to end of installation. Now you can play your game, it should be available at your Dash.

.bin files are one step more complicated. Download file, go to file and… double-clicking on it will do nothing (with 99% of files). Click with right mouse button file, from context menu select “Properties”, in Properties window click on tab “Permissions” and check checkbox “Allow executing file as program” and click “Close” button in right-bottom corner of actual window. If double-click on still does not show up installer open terminal and now i will give you a lesson of Midnight Commander. Type in terminal:
sudo mc
This command means: SuperUserDO MC. To be more specific, it tells to terminal to start Midnight Commander as root user. When you entered command hit enter and, if needed type-in root password and hit enter again to confirm password. Now you are looking at Midnight Commander, one of the most powerful files managers, at least one of the easiest for beginners, imo. With arrow keys navigate up and down, with enter open folders and files. Navigate to your .bin file, as you made it exacutable it will be in mc highlighted with green color. Just hit enter on the file and installer will show up. Follow instructions of installer (usually just click “next” button) and your game will become installed. Now your game should be available in Dash, ready to play.

.sh files are script files and by default they open with gedit text editor which is not what we want. We have to do exactly the same as we are doing with .bin files.

Exactly the same goes with .run files, there is really not much differences.

There are also available games at Ubuntu Software Center which you can install directly from this program., very similar way you do with Steam games.

 

Now you know how to install your games on Linux, congratulations!

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Introduction into Linux gaming – part 2: initial installations and configurations

This series of my posts I will be creating on example of Ubuntu. Over internet and at official website is plenty of instructions where and how to download and install this Linux distribution. By myself I can add only one thing, during installation you should check these two checkboxes:
install1

In previous post i mentioned Root user who is “master admin” of your OS and it is needed from time to time do some things as root user. In this screen of installation you are setting password for this account:
install2
When you have Ubuntu installed first thing you should do is to update it, after fresh installation there should be few MB of updates to install available. With Windows you have start menu or with Windows 8, what will be better comparison, start screen, Ubuntu has similar thing, the thing is called “Dash”. Personally I find dash done better than start screen, you may not agree, that’s just my opinion. Just click on Dash icon and it will give you access to installed software, available files and proposed buys which are of course optional. To find system updates application just type in Dash “update”, the way it is shown on this screen:
update
and click on icon which is highlighted on screen with red circle. This will open software updates application which will check and list updates available for your installed OS and software. I said “OS and software” because this application, unlike “Windows Update”, updates all installed software, not only this coming from Canonical (or Microsoft in case of Windows Update). Installation of any software, updates and operations on fragile files of system require to do this as root so there will pop-up ask about password, remember, the same password which you did set on installing OS.
Once per six months Canonical releases new big version of Ubuntu. New version of OS is free the same as previous you are using so you do not need to pay for updating from, for example, 13.04 to 13.10. When new release is available there are two ways of upgrading your OS: GUI and terminal. Both should work just fine and do their job. With GUI, on new version launch day you will see window popped-up with proper information and question about install or not to install. If you choose to upgrade it will do this. Sometimes there may happen some problem with GUI upgrade and for example upgrade application may crash or show some errors and then you should perform distro upgrade with terminal way. To do so click Dash and type “terminal”, click on its icon to start it. In opened black-white window put this command:
sudo do-release-upgrade
and hit enter. It will ask you for root password, type it and hit enter. If any more questions will show up just answer them and upgrade will start. Upgrading system to newer version is huge thing and depending on internet connection (downloading packages to install) and performance of computer (installation) will take some time.

Next step in your setting up Ubuntu as gaming platform should be installing few very important programs. Open “Ubuntu Software Center”. In its top right corner you can see search, use it to find and install these programs: Midnight Commander, Open JDK Java 7 Runtime, ubuntu-restricted-extras and 7zip. This set of tools will be very useful very soon. Midnight Commander is terminal tool with simple GUI, it is files manager allowing also to execute commands. In my opinion mc is perfect tool for beginners who are afraid of terminal. Open JDK is open source implementation of Oracle’s Java runtimes, Java Runtime Environment is required to run some games, for example Minecraft. ubuntu-restricted-extras is package of little apps allowing you to play mp3 files, open flash elements in browsers, unpack .rar archives and many more. 7zip is to unpack and manage .7zip archives.

When you done with these it is time to install GPU drivers. I recommend for gamers to use proprietary drivers. What are proprietary drivers? In Linux we have few kinds of GPU drivers, the most important are open-source and proprietary. Open-source are created by volunteers  and may lack some features, proprietary drivers are made by AMD and nVidia, in some cases can be slower than open-source drivers. I’m very much AMD user so you can find instruction how to install AMD Catalyst drivers in one of my previous posts. I do not remember when last time owned nVidia’s GPU so for instruction how to install nVidia drivers you have to google it or check nVidia’s website.

We are almost there, soon your Linux PC will be ready for playing games. It is time to install Steam client. With Ubuntu 13.04 Ubuntu Software Center was glitched, it was showing Steam as available to buy but this program is free so you were unable to get it via USC. In 13.10 Steam is not available in USC so you have to download your first .deb installer from Steam’s website:

http://store.steampowered.com/

When it will be downloaded just double-click  on downloaded .deb file, it will open up Ubuntu Software Center with informations about Steam installation package. In this window click “Install” to install. This will take just a moment. Now start Steam, it is available to find in Dash or just click an icon on desktop. On first run it may display terminal window asking you to install required libraries, do this. Now you have Steam installed and fully functional. Use it exactly the same way as on Windows or Mac. You already achieved two thing in one step: installed Steam and learned how to install programs from .deb packages, congratulations!

How to change default OS in GRUB 2 loader?
If you installed Ubuntu and Windows on the same machine it means you are running them in so-called “Dual Boot” and on starting up computer you have selection menu which allows you to start Windows or Ubuntu. By default Ubuntu is set as OS to boot but if you so desire you can change it to make Windows default OS selected on this list. Selection screen is called GRUB2 and now we are going to edit its config to achieve what we need. Run terminal and paste into terminal (terminal copy and paste key combinations are one key longer, to paste anything into terminal use “ctrl+shift+V”) this command:
fgrep menuentry /boot/grub/grub.cfg
as output of this you will receive list of entries available in your GRUB2. Highlight entry with Windows and copy it (ctrl+shift+c). Now type this into terminal and hit enter:
sudo gedit /etc/default/grub
This will open GRUB2 configuration file in GEdit, simple text editor. Find line:
GRUB_DEFAULT=0
and replace ’0′ with GRUB2 entry you copied before, for example fixed line in my case looks like this:
GRUB_DEFAULT=’Windows 7 (loader) (on /dev/sda1)’
Save changes and quit GEdit. There is only one more thing to do. To make GRUB2 use new configuration execute this command:
sudo update-grub
When you will start your computer again on your bootscreen selected default system will be Windows and it will be starting by default.

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Introduction into Linux gaming – part 1: a bit of necessary theory

I decided to write as complex as possible and easy in understanding introduction into Linux gaming for all players who were using so far mainly Windows and didn’t have much touch with Linux operating systems.
Linux has a lot of attention from gamers who are begging developers for Linux versions of their games, i can see on forums of almost all games threads like “Linux?”, “We want Linux version!”, etc.
Since Valve started to support Linux more than ever more developers started or to already release games for this OS or announced works on ports.
I think this is perfect time to test Linux as gaming platform and decide what to do: keep with Windows and throw penguin away or maybe keep Linux and remove Windows or maybe keep them both. Try system yourself and do what you are willing to. It costs you nothing but a bit of time to satisfy your curiosity.

When you were starting with Windows or Mac you had to learn some basic things like “What is disk C:?”, “How to install program?”, “What is .dmg file and what should i do with it?” “Why my mouse has only one main button instead of two?” etc. The same will be with Linux, you have to first to learn some new things about this system to find yourself into it.

There is a lot of “types” of Linux-based operating systems, they are called distro. Distros are based on kernel called Linux and groups creating distros chose specific software sets to create operating system. This is very, very, very simplified definition but i think it is enough for you to understand what is distro and what are differences between particular distributions.

Valve for this moments suggests Ubuntu. They are also working on their own distro called Steam OS but for now there is not much info about it so i will introduce you into gaming on Ubuntu.

Now I will go more technical and specific with things. Under Windows you have .exe and .msi as installer files, under MacOS it is .dmg file with Linux distributions is more options. You can install programs from various kinds of files: packets, sources, installers and just archives with content to unpack.
We can name two most popular packets: .deb and .rpm. .deb files are installers of programs for Debian-based distros (Ubuntu is one of them). .rpm are usually on Red Hat-based distros (for example Suse or Fedora). Also you can meet with some distro specific packages like tar.gx which is for Arch Linux distro. Also Canonical, foundation responsible for Ubuntu announced they are working on new kind of packets specific to Ubuntu: .click.
Sources are archives containing source code of program, usually distributed in archives with extensions .tar.gz or .tar.gz2. Usually it is described in their “readme” file how to process with them to install program.
Linux also has available executable installers distributed as .bin, .sh or .run files. Files with .bin extension are executables like .exe under Windows, .sh files are shell scripts and .run files can be one of both, script or executable, but… overall this will not make huge difference to you, you just have to know they are executable files which will allow you to install game/program/driver.
By archives to unpack i mean .zip or other formats which contain files just to unpack and run immediately after unpack.

If i’m saying about files and their extensions so now i should also say about libraries. Libraries are files containing important instructions sets used by programs. Under Windows we have .dll files. For sure you had situation when you tried to run game and you saw message like this: “Program can’t start because can’t find file d3d_29.dll”. Missing .dll file had to be downloaded from trusted source and placed into proper folder. Similar might happen under Linux, but with my introduction you shouldn’t have problems like this :D Under Linux distributions you do not have .dll files but .so files.

Linux distributions, like every operating system can have multiple users at one machine: guests, admins, some users created by admins and the most important user: root. Root is master admin, boss of the bosses…. call it whatever you want, root is user with all privileges possible. It exists in every installed or run Linux distro. As root you can install software, operate on system fragile files and folders and many more things unavailable to default user.

Users were always complaining “Linux is so difficult, it requires to do everything in terminal, i do know nothing about terminal”, it was close to truth back days but nowadays it is almost untruth. Terminal remains more ergonomic and useful in some cases but most things you are able to do with GUI of OS. Anyway, you should be familiar with some commands to make your life easier.
sudo apt-get install program_name
sudo stands for SuperUserDO, it means you are running this command as Root. apt-get is Ubuntu packages manager. install tell to packages manager to install program o which name you typed after it.
sudo apt-get update – not much difference, only new thing is “update”, it tells to packet manager to check software sources for available updates.
sudo reboot – to quickly reboot your pc.
sudo program_name – to start specified by you program.
lspci – to list your devices in your pc (gpus, soundcards, etc).
lsusb – to list devices plugged to your PC with USB port.

I think this is all basic theory which is required to use Linux distros, if i will change my mind for sure i will add more content in this post.

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