Category: Tutorial

Clean up Ubuntu with Ubuntu Tweak

I was trying to do an update in Ubuntu and got a message that said I didn’t have enough free space on disk /boot.  I started messing with command line stuff but thankfully I found Ubuntu Tweak which did it all in a few safe-feeling clicks.

Why Ubuntu-Tweak is not in the Ubuntu Software Center is a mystery that I would like solved too. Or why it’s not installed somewhere in the ‘system’ part of the main OS install as a tool…  but that’s for another rainy day.

The exact message I got looked like this:

The upgrade needs a total of ____ M free space on disk `/boot`. Please free at least an additional ____ M of disk space on `/boot`. Empty your trash and remove temporary packages of former installations using `sudo apt-get clean`

Like many others online, I tried the last suggested command line to no avail.

Thankfully I found this tutorial (read it if you want to see lots of options that are harder and some that don’t work) wherein I found this posted solution from a user.  And thanks to you “Kasiya”! Here is a copy and paste of the commands since you need a couple to allow it to install the software on the system:


You can install Ubuntu-Tweak.To install follow the following steps:

Open the terminal. Add the required repository with the command:

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:tualatrix/ppa

Update the software list with the command:

sudo apt-get update

Finally, install Ubuntu Teak with the command:

sudo apt-get install ubuntu-tweak

After that, open dash and type “ubuntu tweak”.


And then go to janitor tab and select Apps , Personal and System check boxes and click clean button at bottom right.


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A Better Brainless Way To Rip CDs with Ubuntu

Want a simple, automated and graphical way to rip cds and create FLAC, Ogg, Mp3s and other formats?  Read on.  Of course, we assume that you are using Ubuntu for this tutorial because heck – is there anything else?

I was reprimanded and dragged through the coals and beaten like a rented mule the other day by a blond Ubuntu fanatic for publishing a post which is essentially a complicated command line way of doing exactly what I was trying to do. I submitted and agreed that this post would probably scare people away from Ubuntu rather than attract them.  It was kind of a eureka moment as well about how it is probably better to keep command lines as a last resort tool for ‘regular people’.  Fair enough. It’s kind of like a scientist who over explains photosynthesis to a child when he could have just said ‘the sun makes it grow’.  If the child wants to know about photosynthesis and the related vocabulary, they’ll probably indicate that.

But I digress.

To rip your old-skool CDs into a format that you can actually use (and I’m not talking cassette tapes, here, kids) just do this (warning – contains one optional command line!):

1. Go to Ubuntu Software Center, search, and install Asunder


2. Type ‘Asunder’ into the dash and open it, or, click it from the launcher




3. Insert CD

chuh-chunk. Boo-yah!

4.  Click ‘preferences’ and then ‘encode’ and choose the formats to which you would like to encode.

Note my screenshot below shows ‘wav’ but I meant to click ‘MP3’ so you don’t likely need two uncompressed formats like FLAC and Wav…. sorry bout that.


5. Optional Step: Install Lame to encode MP3s

If you got a message that you need to install ‘lame’ then read on.  If you didn’t skip this step and move to step 4.

MP3 is a dying format.  It’s restrictive and it’s not the best sound. It will die so it’s best to make sure that you aren’t relying on it.  FLAC is much better.  And Ogg.  But if you have a device that will only play MP3 than you might want to encode BOTH formats.  Asunder can do it automatically.   But to do MP3s, open a terminal window and type ‘sudo apt-get install lame’ as follows, then press enter, your password, and it’s done.




6. Click ‘ok’ and then in the lower right side ‘RIP’


7. Wait and watch exciting progress


Done.  Smiley.

The files will be waiting for you in your Home directory if you didn’t change the defaults.  You can also, somewhere in the settings, click a box that tells it to spit the CD out when it’s done.  You might like to do that.  It also seems like it dumps all formats into the same folder at the end so maybe there is a way to sort that out so that it rips, encodes and dumps into folders separated by format…


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Brainless CD Ripping With Ubuntu

IMPORTANT: This post has been replaced by this post:

This post now remains just a flicker in the memories of those who read it, a historical treasure of things that were, if you will.   If you like doing things the harder way, please feel free!


Easy audio CD Ripping in Ubuntu? How about: 1) Open CD Tray 2) Type ‘abcde’ in terminal 3) Wait for CD to eject 4) Repeat steps 1-4.  Yes, it’s that easy… once you set it up (which isn’t ultra easy).

I look at this kind of thing like this: Invest 20 minutes in set up and save countless HOURS of monitoring it later.  Sharpen the axe for 20 minutes, cut the tree faster.  If you agree, read on.  If you aren’t willing to take a small risk of time and technological button clicking, read off.

This tutorial here was nearly perfect for me and did everything it talked about except for a few small changes.  Here is my simplified version of the tutorial so you can just ‘do’ instead of reading the comments.

—Please also read ‘FINAL COMMENTS’ at the bottom, as well before starting.

This is all done in the Ubuntu terminal which you can open through the HUD or by pressing control/alt/T.

1. Install the software

*note: I had to add one extra “eyeD3′ to make it work…

sudo apt-get install abcde cd-discid lame cdparanoia id3 id3v2 eyeD3

2. Backup config file?

*Note: I did just cuz…

cp /etc/abcde.conf /home/myusername (change ‘myusername’ to your computer name)

3. Open the Config file for the main software ABCDE to edit it

*note, I used ‘gedit’ editor because it’s way easier..

sudo gedit /etc/abcde.conf

4. Select all the text in this file and delete it.

5. Go to the config code and paste it into this file.

*note: I’m adding the ‘interactive’ part into the code for you so you can just copy and paste


# -----------------$HOME/.abcde.conf----------------- #
# A sample configuration file to convert music cds to 
#       MP3 format using abcde version
# -------------------------------------------------- #

# Specify the encoder to use for MP3. In this case
# the alternatives are gogo, bladeenc, l3enc, xingmp3enc, mp3enc.

# Specify the path to the selected encoder. In most cases the encoder
# should be in your $PATH as I illustrate below, otherwise you will 
# need to specify the full path. For example: /usr/bin/lame

# Specify your required encoding options here. Multiple options can
# be selected as '--preset standard --another-option' etc.
LAMEOPTS='--preset extreme' 

# Output type for MP3.

# The cd ripping program to use. There are a few choices here: cdda2wav,
# dagrab, cddafs (Mac OS X only) and flac.

# Give the location of the ripping program and pass any extra options:

# Give the location of the CD identification program:       

# Give the base location here for the encoded music files.

# Decide here how you want the tracks labelled for a standard 'single-artist',
# multi-track encode and also for a multi-track, 'various-artist' encode:

# Decide here how you want the tracks labelled for a standard 'single-artist',
# single-track encode and also for a single-track 'various-artist' encode.
# (Create a single-track encode with 'abcde -1' from the commandline.)

# Put spaces in the filenames instead of the more correct underscores:
mungefilename ()
  echo "$@" | sed s,:,-,g | tr / _ | tr -d \'\"\?\[:cntrl:\]

# What extra options?
MAXPROCS=2                              # Run a few encoders simultaneously
PADTRACKS=y                             # Makes tracks 01 02 not 1 2
EXTRAVERBOSE=y                          # Useful for debugging
EJECTCD=y                               # Please eject cd when finished :-)

6. Save the file you just changed in gedit



Now all you have to do are the following brainless steps it spits out MP3s into your home directory into a folder called ‘music’ .

1) Open CD Tray

2) Type ‘abcde’ in terminal

3) Wait for CD to eject

4) Repeat steps 1-4.



I would LOVE to know why it does *not* create FLAC files at the same time.  The original tutorial said that it would create *both* MP3s and FLAC files but I only found the MP3 files in.  Also, for some reason it is not creating the tagged data for the trags (meta data?) which I think is pretty important.

It would be awesome if someone who knew what they were doing could adjust the config file and add it in the comments here so that this tutorial would a) add the meta data and b) create FLAC files for people who don’t want to support MP3 (like me).

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How to Change “My Location” in Kijiji

“My location” setting wrong on Kijiji?  Trying to post in an area but you can’t find how to change to that area?  The solution is so hard, yet so easy at the same time! 🙁

1. Confirm you’re logged into the correct account (lol?) and your ‘my location’ is wrong.


2. Click the big fat Kijiji icon top left


3. click the ‘my location’ drop down and choose your sub-location as detailed as possible for post


4. You will note your location updated


5. Click ‘post a classified ad’ and finish off your post as usual and Bob will quickly become your uncle.


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How to Privatize Your Calendar with Owncloud, Thunderbird, and Lightning

Edit 151224: I had accidentally selected ‘ics’ format instead of caldav.  Sorry about that. Now it works!

Getting your calendar off other  people’s servers should be a priority.  It’s bad enough that you’re being tracked unwillingly but throwing your daily calendar out there to be viewed is borderline twisted.

I needed a solution where the sync was happening on a machine in my house, not outside.  This tutorial got it done for me.  I refuse to say anything good about fruit phones or the fruit company, but I will say that if you are temporarily stuck with one that oddly it quite easily syncs with this tutorial as well giving you the very useful access on your mobile complete with alerts.  I have not yet figured out Android and rest assured I’ve spent many, many hours trying.  My main goal is to focus all my attention on Ubuntu for Devices (Ubuntu Touch/Mobile) but sometimes you just have to survive today…

Before beginning, you will need:

1. an Ubuntu server in your house with owncloud installed on it (that’s a separate tutorial)

2. a static IP address for that server, or at least a dyn dns service (some domain hosts offer it for free) so that when you are outside of your house you can tunnel back in.

*note: you only need one person running the items above if you trust them dearly because you could just set your calendar up on their server.  You could put countless thousands on one machine I bet.  I’m going to set up my family on mine, for example

3. A computer (preferably Ubuntu) running Thunderbird as your email client.

4. The plugin Lightning installed into Thunderbird.

5. a valid and functional email working in Thunderbird (you could use a free webmail email here but that kind of defeats our purpose of freeing ourselves from these gaffers)

Assuming all of the above is set up and ready, here is what you do:

In Thunderbird/Lightning

1. create a new calendar in Thunderbird/Lightning by going to file/new/calendar in the menu options at the top.  Don’t worry about too much and at this point we’ll choose ‘on our computer’ when you get to that point.  We will delete this calendar later anyways so don’t get too attached


2. from the left pane, export the calendar as .ics file to somewhere you will remember it.  We will come back to this file in a bit


Inside Owncloud logged in as Admin User

1. Make sure that the calendar app is showing up in the list of icons when you hit the top left part of the screen.  If it’s not, click the plus sign and search for it and ‘enable’ it.


2. Click the home button top left and make sure the calendar icon is showing in the drop down as per the screenshot below


3. Go to ‘user’ under the option list on top right and add a new ‘user’ for yourself.


Note: if you are like me and want a very secure password for the storage of files on your owncloud server, than what I have done is created another user *just* for my calendar.  I won’t be using this ID to sync files or store them. The reason is that I found having a super strong password with lots of randomness is very difficult to deal with on a daily basis as you’ll be using it on a variety of different devices and possibly viewing it on a variety of different computers.  It’s up to you.


4. Log in as your new ‘calendar user’ account and you will see an upload icon at the top.  Upload your .ics file that you made above (the one I said you’d be coming back to in a bit..)


5. You will see your .ics file appear with a nifty little calendar icon as well


6. Click the name part (not icon) of your .ics file as per screenshot above and an import dialogue will start


7. Go ahead and click that bad boy called ‘import’.  Something will start.  Or does it? Or does it not? I keep getting this long pause while it seems like it’s frozen and hooped like this:


8. Joy o’ Rapture!  It eventually ends and things resume normally and give a message of success and victory


9. Close that bad boy.  Now you will be able to go to the top left again to your new calendar.  If it was blank, don’t be surprised it’s blank… duh.



10. Now you will get to see a share link associated with this on the left.  Click that, highlight it, and copy it to your clipboard.


Back in Thunderbird/Lightning

1. Go and create a new calendar yet again.  There may be a way to avoid this but I find it faster just to create a new one and delete the old one.



2. As the dialogue starts, choose ‘on the network’ as the option


3. Next. Now you’ll be given a place to paste in your owncloud shared link that you copied into your clipboard above.  Paste that in there.  Change the radio dial from iCalendar to CalDav


4. Name your precious new calendar.


5. You’re done!



Now you have a calendar based on your owncloud server which syncs up with your Lightning running on Thunderbird.  I’ve found it to work perfectly so far.

I hope this helps you.

Perhaps if someone chides me I’ll write a blog about whether I ever find an Android option.  So far so bad. 🙁

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Why Setup and How to Setup PGP Encryption on Your Email


If you don’t have encryption on at least your email, you might as well send the information on a postcard for the world to see.  If you don’t like the idea of the content of your email being put onto a postcard then you need to set up PGP as today’s best solution.  Is it amazingly easy?  No.  Like anything it takes a little time to get started.  Is it worth it?  How do you feel when you wear a seat belt in a car versus when you don’t?  PGP is a seat belt for your privacy and I love the feeling of knowing that even if I accidentally send the email to the wrong person, only my intended PGP-enabled recipient can read it, not the whole world.  All lawyers, real estate agents, doctors, and such professions should honour their duty of privacy by using it immediately, or at least strongly recommending it to their clients/recipients.  But don’t wait for them to do the right thing when you can start right now for free.

Video how PGP works

Good video showing how PGP encryption works to secure your email data

Tutorial about how to set up your computer:

For more detailed information and original set up tutorial, click original source

Tutorial for desktop (Ubuntu comes with Thunderbird by default):

Tutorial for Webmail

Mobile PGP Solutions

Coming soon!

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How to Migrate Thunderbird Lightning Calendar to Owncloud

I will expand this tutorial soon but I was able to figure it out from this.  Bug me if I haven’t updated this and clarified the details since this tutorial is not clear in a few ways

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detailed ubuntu ddclient and namecheap tutorial

I just wanted to log this great website that I found which offers a great copy and paste ddclient setup.  It’s much better than the out-of-the-box setup that comes with the software.  Thanks very much for this tutorial!

detailed ubuntu ddclient and namecheap tutorial

It was also interesting to learn that Namecheap simply uses a service called ‘freedns’ apparently…. good to know in case you need to change domain registrars and keep a free dynamic dns service going….

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Getting an Ubuntu Server Up and Running from Start to Finish: 14.04

All I wanted to do was turn an unused computer into a web host in my house so I could run wordpress on my own domain/website.  I knew Ubuntu is the best so that was my plan.  There are a lot of tutorials out there but I found it to be fragmented all over the world wide webs.

This post is to bring it all together in the steps needed so you can come back to it if you forget pieces (which I did shortly after successfully doing it). Here we go!

1. Prepare a USB drive for getting Ubuntu Server put on

This link will give you everything you need to prepare the drive. The only thing you have to change is the .iso file which can be downloaded from  For this tutorial you want to download the appropriate 14.04 server version (32 bit or 64 bit).  But the method of doing this is the same:

2. Install Ubuntu Server

This step-by-step tutorial is a good one to get your base server install going on the machine.  Once you’ve done it a few times this part, by the way, is fast and easy.  A bit intimidating the first time but rest assured most of the default settings are pretty not scary

3. Configure static IP

I had a bit of an issue in that during one install it gave me the name of the hard-wired connection as the normal ‘eth0’ but then after reinstalling it on another computer it was called ‘p1p1’.  I still don’t know the reason for this but it turns out that p1p1 and eth0 seem to act and operate and configure the same way.  Just a heads up in case you encounter it.  In this tutorial it explains how to set up the

4. Setting up the DNS servers with ddclient so the world can find your machine and domain

Now, before you begin this part, make sure you have your Dynamic DNS service details in front of you as you probably have to do some stuff in the back end where you registered your domain before you do the next stuff.  I did all this next stuff and then couldn’t figure out why it wasn’t working and the reason was that I had to do stuff in my domain registrar (Namecheap in this case) first.  For the sake of a quick namecheap tutorial and to maybe trigger some help for your own registrar, I’ll just explain what I did:

a) log into namecheap admin

b) manage my domain

c) find my domain and click ‘all hosts”

d) type ‘what’s my ip’ in your favourite web search.  It’ll spit out your public facing ip address.

e) manually enter that into the ‘all hosts’ area in the @ record space and the www record space.

f) save those changes.

Now move on to do the ddclient stuff in Ubuntu and it should work…

This link should be your defacto starting point.  It may be all you need but I, of course, did other stuff and didn’t have patience…

This one is good, too.

Before even reading any of that I just did:

sudo apt-get install ddclient

And that seemed to get it on my system.  As soon as it was installed a GUI showed up to help with the install of the ddclient update stuff which was cool…. except that it didn’t work for Namcheap… so I just hit ‘esc’ a bunch of times and it got me out and finished the install eventually.  Then I did a:

sudo nano /etc/ddclient.conf (it seems some may need sudo nano /etc/ddclient/ddclient.conf)

I’m using Namecheap (I try not to plug too much but these guys have nailed it so many times) and they have a dynamic dns service for free with the domain you buy (big plus).  This is the tutorial I’m using but you can buy (or search free?) a dynamic name service that updates itself so you don’t have to buy a static IP from your ISP (internet service provider).

… just plug in the data, control ‘x’, and enter key.

This blog post is a super nice exhaustive post showing perhaps more stuff you’ll need for a namecheap / ubuntu server setup:

I’m not sure if I had to but I ran

sudo ddclient

.. and it seemed to ‘start’. I’m not sure if this will run on startup or not…

5. Ping it! Just Ping it, yeah!

go to another computer ideally outside of the local network you are on (ie. call your mom and ask her to open a terminal) and enter:

ping (but make sure you tell her to replace that with your domain, lol?)

You should get a reply eventually showing your public IP address from your ISP followed by regular packets coming back at you.  If no reply, the update client may still be propagating the changes through the internet.  I’ve been told propagation can take 24 to 48 hours although I”ve never experienced more than about 5 hours wait.


6.  Administrate me, baby.  I love it.

Now you’ve got a server running and doing stuff. You’ve seen Great Eagle, Moose Jaw and Apache before your eyes.  Now it’s time to turn words into dreams…?? or something like that.
This tutorial was the most simple and Ubuntu friendly tutorial I could find for getting webmin set up.  I’m converted back after a failed attempt with EHCP… if you figure it out please send me a nice simple tutorial and I’ll try again.

Here is the link to the tutorial

Note that I had to adjust the wget URL to the correct one for ubuntu by first going here:

then choosing the .deb file name and replacing it in the wget command in the tutorial above.  So, as of February 2, 2015, your wget command would look like this until the next release:


I also had issues with the last item in the tutorial where you change the webmin admin…. didn’t work.  skip it and when the login page comes up, just use your main root user/password and it works fine.  Maybe someone could write a comment below how to change password because it would be nice not to use root…

7. Install WordPress

Why? Because that’s what every wimp does when he thinks he’s a server rock star and gets his first false sense of pride.  That’s why.

maybe this one?

and then this one maybe if you need to ssh and wget it on the remote machine?–wp-24403


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How to Completely Remove Unsafe Microsoft Windows and Replace with Safe Ubuntu

So you have a Microsoft Windows computer.  You finally realize that the reason you have no hair on your head is because you pulled it all out at your computer.  It is full of viruses, malware, and a host of other programs attempting in vain to stop these from making their home on your machine.  Also, you heard the news that Windows is fully compromised and that none of your data is safe so long as you are using a Windows machine.

You are ready for a change, but you don’t know what to do, or the person who suggested this to you is far away from you and unable to drop by your place to make it happen.

Don’t worry.  That’s what this blog post is about.

Since you may need to be completely offline, or without a second computer to read this tutorial on, you may want to print this guide.  The only part not available currently is the video in step 6.


1. Back up the files you don’t want to lose on an external drive

Before you begin, you will need to back up all your photos and other documents from the machine you are about to wipe.  This process takes time so it is a good idea to start right away.  It is strongly recommended that you purchase a USB drive of however many gigabytes you need to save all your documents.  You will be surprised at how small your files are unless you have a lot of videos.  For the average ‘simple user’ you can probably survive with an 8 gigabyte drive, but for people with a bunch of videos you will probably need to consider buying a huge external drive of a Terabyte or so.  This is a great tool to have regardless because you will use it in the future to do back ups of your computer on.  Also, the amount of money you are going to save on virus software when you switch to Ubuntu will pay for your drive many times over over the years!  A quick checklist of files you might want to keep:

  • emails (if you use an email client like Outlook or Thunderbird): if you have a scary webmail account like hotmail your emails will be sitting unsafely there so you won’t need to back them up
  • photos
  • word processing documents (resumes, letters, legal docs, etc)
  • PDFs (ie. invoices, e-bills, etc)
  • videos (ie. videos from your phone you dumped there, movies, etc)

2. Obtain a 2 gig+ usb drive

Great! All your files are saved safely on your external drive.  Now you need a *second* and *dedicated* drive which will be used for the installation of Ubuntu.  Yes, it’s possible also to use a DVD or CD rom but since you may need to adjust things after installing, we have found the USB drive to be the cheapest and most flexible tool over the long term.  Plus, you end up with a second USB drive which you can use for transporting files around (one for you, one for the spouse, for example).  So, stick with our suggestion ok? The great news is that as of today’s date, you can do this with a 2gig USB drive or less which is either free or *extremely* cheap.  In fact, most people you know will have one lying around on their desk they will lend you.  Advise them to wipe sensitive data off the drive before giving it to you, of course!

3. Download and install the program called Unetbootin

Go to this website ( and download the appropriate (in the case of this tutorial Windows) version of the software.  This software will be used to change your dedicated install drive into one that will boot when you turn your computer on (like a bootable CD rom).  Here are two screenshots to make it more simple:




4. Install Unetbootin

Go find that file you just downloaded to your computer.  Double click it.  Follow all the instructions and give it all the power it needs to get installed.  Windows may fight.  You fight back!

5. Download the latest Ubuntu from the official website

Here is an illustrated step-by-step.  Of course if you have money, I encourage you to give some money but it is not mandatory whatsoever.  In this example I’m showing skipping straight to the download.











6. Create the Bootable USB Drive Using Unetbootin

So you have your 2gigabyte (or bigger) dedicated USB drive as described in step 2.

You’ve downloaded and installed Unetbootin in step 3 and 4

You’ve now got the ISO file on your harddrive from steps 5

Now you need to make your USB drive think that it is a bootable CD ROM (essentially).  Instead of me sending you a bunch of screenshots, just watch this video that Lecture Snippets created because the flow is still exactly the same even though the numbers have changed.  Just follow his instructions as he puts his own downloaded ISO image onto his USB drive.


7. Reboot and make sure your computer BIOS is set to boot first from the USB drive

When Unetbootin is finished, it will give you the option of rebooting now.  Likely you did it and didn’t know that you had to go in and change some BIOS settings.  No problem.  All you have to do is reboot your computer (again) and press the correct keyboard key for your particular computer.  In many cases its F12 or F10, etc.  Usually you can find this key displayed on the black screen right before your computer boots into your operating system.  It only shows up for a few seconds so it may take you several reboots to read the keyboard key you need.  What you are looking for is ‘Bios settings’ or ‘Change boot order’ or something like that.  It might take you a few tries but you’ll get it.  Online search engines will also likely have it if you know your computer mother board model number.

8. Choose the ‘Install Ubuntu’ option when you see the Unetbootin blue screen.

When you end up on the Unetbootin blue screen, this means ‘success’!  This means you are so close to finished you can taste it.  Great work so far!  In this case we are going to wipe away that pesky Windows operating system forever so choose the ‘install Ubuntu’ option.  It will start the installation process which is amazingly easy and clean.  Just answer all the questions and make sure you have a hard-wired internet connection.  If you don’t, you may have to find one.  At some point you are going to need to update the operating system so you might as well do it at the same time as your install so you are starting on the right foot.

9. Watch this quick familiarization video

This is a nice quick familiarization tour of your new found joy.  Give it a quick watch so you  know some basic stuff to get around.

10. Get connected to a local Ubuntu Community!

In the Vancouver area here, there is a big Ubuntu Vancouver meetup group as well as an Ubuntu Delta group.  This connection will help you greatly realize the full potential of the Ubuntu Project which is, please note, much more than just an operating system.

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