Emerge clone for Debian-based distributions like Ubuntu, or: Compile your own, dude!

There is a nice overview about apt-build, the package I’m talking about here. So I will not say much. Only so far as what to do to try it out. On my system gnomes system manager is fairly slow. So I gave it a try:

  1. install the bundle:
    sudo aptitude --reinstall install apt-build
  2. configure your processor (dpkg-configure asks you about it)
  3. add deb-src to sources.list if you haven’t already
  4. run it on gnome-system-manager:
    sudo apt-build install gnome-system-manager

And there you have it. You might want to copy the list of packages that apt-build installs via apt-get build-dep so you can mark them as auto installed using aptitude when done:

sudo aptitude markauto list_of_packages_you_copied_before

or, even easier, use apt-builds –remove-builddep option.

It really does make a difference!

If you’re really keen or you happen to have an older system just wasting away try this:

sudo apt-build world

and see what happens 😉

How to find out what occupies space on your Linux hard drive

The other day I noticed that my settings directory (/etc) uses over 13 MB of my hard drive. So I wandered which package (I’m using a Debian based package managed system) makes the settings directory grow so large. After a couple of trails and errors I came up with the following sequence of commands:

$ du -h --max-depth=1 /etc 2> /dev/null | egrep '(^[5-9][0-9]{2}K)|M'
692K    /etc/X11
672K    /etc/acpi
712K    /etc/xdg
2.1M    /etc/brltty
500K    /etc/ssl
528K    /etc/mono
20K     /etc/NetworkManager
13M     /etc
$ dpkg -S '/etc/brltty'
brltty-x11, brltty: /etc/brltty
$ apt-cache show brltty | grep -A5 'Description'
Description: Access software for a blind person using a soft braille terminal
BRLTTY is a daemon which provides access to the Linux console (text mode)
for a blind person using a soft braille display.  It drives the braille
terminal and provides complete screen review functionality.
The following display models are supported:
* Alva (ABT3xx/Delphi)

Fortunatelly, I’m not blind so I could remove brltty with aptitude which then suggested to remove dependencies, too.


  • Regex reference
  • Resources for advanced Ubuntu topics, eg. how to remove …-desktop meta packages with apt-get (instead of aptitude), secure networking setup, etc.

Ubuntu: Installing the Opera Browser via repository

It really is very simple, especially if you are familiar (like I was) with the Debian apt system. All you have to do for the 7.04 “Feisty Fawn” release as suggested by Ubuntu Community:

  1. Add the repository line to your sources.list by hand (sudo vi /etc/apt/sources.list && sudo aptitude update) or via the GUI (Applications -> Add/Remove… -> Preferences -> Third-Party Software -> Add… and don’t mistakenly hit “Revert” afterwards; hit Close!):
    deb http://archive.canonical.com/ubuntu feisty-commercial main
  2. Even though they suggest to search for “Opera” with the graphical user end (it’s called Synaptic Package Manager) it wouldn’t list it for me. So I went:
    sudo aptitude install opera
  3. Hit Enter for aptitudes question to install additional packages.

After the install run you find Opera listed in the Applications menu (in your Gnome desktop panel menu bar, i.e. upper left corner) sorted in as Internet Application. By the way, the standard keyboard shortcut for that menu is Alt+F1.

Edit: The code line above starting with “deb” is to be one single line!