How to format your SD card to EXT4 for Dropbox compatibility in Ubuntu

How to format your SD card to EXT4 for Dropbox compatibility in Ubuntu

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I am using a low cost laptop for everyday work (browsing, productivity apps for office work and so forth). The main pro of this type of laptop is the low cost, as I already mentioned, whereas the basic con is speed and hard disk limitation. The solution for the latter cis to add a SD memory card that serves as a permanent external drive.

So I have set up my laptop with Ubuntu 18.04 LTS, improving the speed and memory management dramatically and I bought an SD 32GB memory card which I formatted as NTFS in order to be able to plug it both in my laptop that runs Linux and also, if needed, to Windows machines.

One of the top reasons I needed extra space was to be able to sync my Dropbox account with my laptop since I usually need to work on documents when I am away of office i.e. when traveling.

At some point I received an e-mail by Dropbox saying that I had to change my SD card format to EXT4 for Linux, otherwise my Dropbox folder would stop syncing. The e-mail was the following:

Hi Apostolos,

A few months ago, we let you know that the Dropbox desktop system requirements were changing. On at least one of your computers, your Dropbox folder will stop syncing because it’s on a file system or partition that no longer meets the requirements.

How to fix

So your files can start syncing again, choose a new location for your Dropbox folder:

  • Hagnes, Linux 4.13.0-46-generic
    Move Dropbox to an Ext4 drive

How to move Dropbox

Why this changed

Focusing on the most common configurations lets us bring you new features, better performance, and the security that your files are safe and synced in Dropbox.

I fail to understand why, since NTFS is the format of choice for Windows can still be allowed as an option for Linux installations but I’ll leave that for another post.

Below you can find the steps I followed to comply with the new guidelines of Dropbox and along with them, I couple of challenges I faced up doing so.

Step 1. You change the format of you SD card from whatever to EXT4 (and only EXT4)

This is an easy step. All you have to do is:

  1. Back up any files you need from your SD card since the format will erase everything.
  2. Format the SD card to EXT4 using gparted:
    1. Open gparted app (or install it if you don’t already have it).
    2. Select the SD card disc from the dropdown of disks.
    3. Unmount the SD card disc.
    4. Right click on the unmounted drive and select format to EXT4.
    5. Apply the changes.
    6. When the format is done, remove the SD card and plug it again.

Step 2. Open the Dropbox app and set as Dropbox folder the SD card

  1. Click on the Dropbox icon on the menu bar.
  2. Select “Preferences…”.
  3. Choose the tab “Sync”.
  4. Click “Move” to the “Dropbox folder location”.
  5. Choose the path of the newly formatted SD card (you don’t need to create the Dropbox folder).
  6. Click “Apply”.

You’ll see the Dropbox folder appearing automatically in your SD card.

Things that might go sideways

1. You might not have writing rights to your SD cards.

If you find yourself not being able to write things on your SD card after formatting it to EXT4 don’t sweat it! Follow the guidelines on this post and you’ll be all right 🙂

2. Right click on your touchpad is not working

How can the touchpad not working because of the SD card format? You might ask… Not really sure but if you stumble upon this issue, follow the guidelines on this post and your problem will be resolved 🙂

(Photo by Justin Veenema on Unsplash)

How to automatically set a random Unsplash photo as your Ubuntu wallpaper using bash script

How to automatically set a random Unsplash photo as your Ubuntu wallpaper using bash script

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Are you easily getting bored from using the same wallpaper to your Ubuntu machine? Here’s an easy way of enjoying a variety of easily interchangeable wallpapers with photos available as public domain, via Unsplash.com.

All you have to do is create an shell script file (i.e. unsplash.sh) using the following code and execute it every time you want a “fresh” wallpaper.

#/bin/bash

wget -O /tmp/wallpaper.jpg https://unsplash.it/2560/1440/?random
gsettings set org.gnome.desktop.background picture-uri file:///tmp/wallpaper.jpg

Enjoy!

(source code originally found at youness.net)

Presenting Open Source Software Resilience Framework at Open Source Systems 2018 (OSS2018)

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What does the work resilience means to you? What are the characteristics of a resilient system? How is resiliency affecting a software system? How can we design and built resilient systems?

During June we had the honor and delight to participate to the 14th International Conference on Open Source Systems (OSS 2018). We presented our work, “Open Source Software Resilience Framework”, a preliminary study that aims to adapt the famous City Resilience Framework, created by Arup with the support of the Rockefeller Foundation, to the Open Source Software Engineering Domain.

Joining the Mozilla Open Leaders Program

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(originally posted at Social Mind’s official blog)

A few days ago I received the great news that I was selected to participate to Mozilla Open Leaders program. The aim of the program is to train individuals or teams related to open projects, technology oriented or not. The training is about setting up an open project and help it evolve and, at the same time, curate an open community that will, hopefully, form around the project. The underlying goals of the program is, of course, working towards an open web and a healthy Internet.


(image available under CC BY 4.0 International by Mozilla)

The 5th round open Mozilla Open Leaders starts in approximately one week. There were 78 projects selected from 219 applications. They come from 25 different countries with more than 100 participants. Greece participates with 1 project.


Number of selected projects per country (in alphabetical order)

The proposal

WordPress platform has become a standard choice when it comes to Content Management Systems, published under Free/Libre Open Source Software (FLOSS) license. Moreover, a huge community built around it is responsible for more than 50.000 plugins, available also as FLOSS. Unfortunately not all WordPress plugins are “playing well” with each other, nor are properly maintained.

Our proposal aims in creating a platform which will crowd source experience on using or combining plug-ins in WordPress installations. In addition, with the application of state of the art software metrics, we will provide a preliminary study on the structure of the source code of the plug-ins. “WordPress Plugin Observatory” (WOPLOB) will be published as FLOSS  with the hope that, with the help of Mozilla Network, will evolve to a high quality community of WordPress users that will help to the development of the platform and the data collection.

At Social Mind we base most of our development in FLOSS, particularty in WordPress and Woocommerce. We would be delighted to manage and help the global FLOSS community with a successful platform that will, hopefully, make Internet more effective and safe.

Mozilla Foundation

With the motto “Internet must always remain a global, public resource open and available to everyone” Mozilla Foundation, a non profit organization, has for years supported FLOSS development, education with open tools and processes and has developed applications like the well known Firefox browser and Pocket. In addition, it has contributed to the study and education of Internet users in privacy related issues.

Software metrics’ tools and where to find them

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(last updated: February 4th, 2018)

There are several ways to analyze software. Depending on the scope we may be interested in the quality of the code, the documentation, the developer’s team and its activity and so forth. Here are some free software metric tools that can get you started with software analysis.

Tools for Static Program Analysis

Static program analysis refers to the analysis of the source code of a software rather than an analysis on an execution level.

  • PHPQA is a free, open source software project that supports a wide range of analyzers (e.g. phploc, pdeend, phpmetrics, etc.) for PHP. [demo]
  • Checkstyle, Findbugs and PMD  are free, open source software projects for Java, also available as plug-ins for the Eclipse and IntelliJIdea IDEs.

Didn’t find what you were looking for? You can try this exhaustive list of tools, grouped by programing language, maintained by Wikipedia.

Software Engineering Guidelines Compliance

  • Better Code Hub checks your code base for compliance against 10 software engineering guidelines – and gives you immediate feedback on where to focus for quality improvements. The tool can be used free for open source and non-commercial use.

Community Activity Analysis

Big software projects are usually built from several developers. Those teams or communities – for Open Source projects – are usually organized using a control versioning system (svn, git. etc.). Those control versioning systems are storing valuable data about the activity of those teams / communities the analysis of which can lead to very interesting findings.

  • GitsGtats – for projects using git-like environments (Github, Gitlab, etc.). [demo]
  • StatSVN – for projects using SVN. [demo]
  • Grimoire Lab – a very mature tool that can help with data gathering from several platforms (Github, Bugzilla, Slack channels, etc.), data analysis and visualization. [demo] NOTE: If you are interested in using Grimoire Lab for your own projects you can test the online service Cauldron.io (free for public projects on Github).