How to block ads and malware websites using /etc/hosts files in Ubuntu

Here’s an easy way to block annoying advertisement and malware sites using ‘/etc/hosts’ file.

First edit the /etc/hosts files using your favorite text editor :

sudo gedit /etc/hosts

Then, paste the list of ads/malware servers in the ‘hosts’ file. You can get the list from or by searching through Google.

Close the file, and Save. The change will take effect immediately after that. One of the side-effect from this modfication is that your web surfing experience would be significantly faster because your browser does not have to wait for the annoying advertisement to load.

Firefox 3.0 too slow for my desktop pc or is it just me?

This is the first day that I have the mood to blog since Eidul Fitr (Hari Raya).

What really caught my attention since the last few days I was away-from-keyboard is the startup time of Mozilla Firefox 3.0 browser on my 7 years old pc (Pentium 4 1.8 GHz) running Ubuntu 7.10, it was noticeably slow, giving me the impression it’s bloated. Was it only me? or does anybody else notice it too?

Currently I use Epiphany to write this post…

Ubuntu Hardy Heron 8.04.1 LTS Bugfix release

The Ubuntu project has released Hardy Heron 8.04.1, as the release number implies, it is a bugfix release which contains all the security updates and bug fixes for the last 2 months since the first release of 8.04. The release can be downloaded from Ubunty Hardy download page in the form of ISO files.

Current users need not to download the new CD as they are most likely have all the security patches applied via the built-in Automatic Update feature in Ubuntu.

As a bonus, the CD also includes the production release of Mozilla Firefox 3.0 compared to 3.0 Beta in 8.04.

Awesome Web apps integration with Mozilla Prism (Google, Facebook)

Being a relatively newcomer with Desktop + Web apps application, I tried to experiment with Mozilla Prism in a newly installed Ubuntu Hardy on my sister’s laptop.

At first glance, Mozilla Prism really hits the spot. as it allows seamless integration of various web application within your computer. Prism made it easier for me to access various web application from my desktop with relative ease, as if they were local applications.

Screenshots of Prism in action

Google Reader

Google Prism

Google Docs

Google Docs in Prism

Google Facebook

Google Docs in Prism

Prism enhances web experience greatly by integrating web application into desktop environment.

How to Install Prism
From desktop, go to System->Administration->Synaptic Package Manager, and search prism. Install “prism” package together with its associated web application (called “bundles”)

Installing Mozilla Prism

Facebook and Google Groups Integrated inside Applications Menu

Installing Mozilla Prism

Bloat alarm : We need a another “Firefox” to Mozilla Firefox

Back few years ago, there are a bunch of dude released a lightweight browser named Phoenix (way back in 2001-2002) as an alternative to the current Mozilla browser release.

This lightweight browser which contains no more than bare component (Gecko) to enable web browsing was a major attraction by itself. Then they changed the name to Firebird and finally to Mozilla Firefox because of legal issues. Its not about the naming problem though, a rose by another name is still a rose.

Mozilla Firefox

Mozilla Firefox gain the fame of being a lean and mean web browser, as in its original vision. But then things started to change. As the user grew, they started to add features that make the browser become more complicated. Bugs and usability problem begins to rear its ugly head. One of the things people might notice is it began to eat up much of valueable resources. CPU usage starts to shoot up, memory leaks being the norm since 1.5.x release. It does not feel like a “lean and mean” browser anymore.

What matter most is not the bell and whistle, if people want that, they would just download Seamonkey, because why else it is being offered in the first place? Fix memory and CPU resource problem because it is so damn obvious it failed to act as lightweight browser there. We dont need all the bell and whistle, a “simple lightweight” browser would suffice.

Perhaps we need another “Firefox” to Mozilla Firefox, this time for real…

New features in Ubuntu Hardy Heron (due in 20 days)

Though the main focus of the upcoming release of Ubuntu 8.04 LTS (Hardy Heron) is for long term support and bug fixes of existing features, Hardy Heron still packs quite a few notable features to look forward to :

Wubi and umenu

Installation without creating a separate partition for Ubuntu Linux is made easier with Wubi! Inserting Ubuntu CDROM will display a start up application which enables you to install Ubuntu on your windows partition using a loopback device.

wubi ubuntu installer

umenu ubuntu installer using wubi

After installation, Ubuntu will be added as one of bootable operating system in your Windows boot menu.

Install Ubuntu without the need to repartition, format and hassle.

Fine-grained User Permission Control
Ubuntu Hardy Heron integrates PolicyKit on administrative user interfaces. This allows you to have better control over user access on specific administrative task. For example, you can assign privilege for one user to access network controls but not software installation.

PolicyKit in Hardy Heron

Easy to use host-based firewall
The new Ubuntu release, Hardy Heron also includes ufw (uncomplicated firewall) that is easy to setup and use by end users without bothering network admnistrators.

New default bittorrent downloader
Transmission replaced Gnome Bittorrrent as the default bittorrent downloader in Ubuntu Hardy Heron LTS. Transmission is a lightweight bittorrent client with automatic banning feature and protocol encryption.


Additionally, Ubuntu 8.04 LTS also includes GNOME 2.22 and Firefox 3 Beta, which is better integrated with GNOME desktop environment. I’m looking forward for the next Ubuntu release, due on April 24th, 2008, that is three weeks from now!