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Old 26. Apr 2012, 08:37 PM   #1 (permalink)
oblivion's Avatar
Join Date: May 2008
Location: UK, south coast
Posts: 55
Question Instant messaging

For a variety of unimportant reasons, I've spent a chunk of today trying to make a departmental instant messaging server out of an old computer and, er, nothing else.

I'm not much of a linux expert but I at least knew where to find ubuntu on the net; I also knew that a good, free IM server is Openfire.

So I spent today first installing ubuntu in server mode and then trying to install Openfire over the top.

The first bit... clearly you should know what you're doing if you plan to install ubuntu in server mode. Despite my best attempts, I didn't get a gui until I'd added unity to it by hand, and even then it may only have happened because I suddenly remembered that Gnome is no longer the preferred desktop...

The nice, full-featured system you get when you install the desktop form of ubuntu is, trust me, nowhere to be seen. I told it (on about the third attempt through the installer) just to use the "desktop-usb" set of packages but with unity running it's pretty clear that I've got next to nothing gui-ish without adding them myself -- no Firefox, no gui editor, I couldn't even find a terminal program. I don't think I'm cut out for a linux admin role...

Anyhoo. The installation process for Openfire is documented online but the one you'd expect to be appropriate (the .deb installation package) didn't work. It looked like it did, but the "openfire start" command that should have made something happen... didn't. Removed and reinstalled: nope.

(There are too many package managers. Knowing what to use when seems to be a black art.)

Finally, I removed it (with aptitude -- dpkg -r failed even though dpkg -i had installed it) and did it the "hard way" by unpacking the tarball that "works with most unixes" and, after the expected bit of text-editor config, it worked perfectly.

So it's running and working.


I can't lock the screen. unity's running and neither ctl-alt-L nor the "lock screen" commands from the menu achieve anything. I have a functioning login and I didn't bypass password creation (I even encrypted the whole drive at install time, which works nicely)...

I'd quite like to exit unity and drop back to the command prompt from which I launched it (I used startx and feel like I ought to be able to, but can't work out how) as I don't intend to do much more with this machine once it's settled...

All this feels far more complicated than it should have been. It's pretty certain that I've missed something important if I can't even lock the system! I don't particularly want to become a serious linux expert, this really is about doing something simple in a cash-strapped environment: can anyone see from what I've written what I should have done that I didn't?
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