Running Windows Live Writer on Ubuntu

Windows Live writer is a blogging client that is just wonderful to use.  Microsoft makes a lot of good software.  We complain about it being buggy, too expensive, not open, etc.  But there is a lot of value in Microsoft software.

Personally I use Ubuntu instead of windows and open office instead of Microsoft office.  But the user experience on Windows and MS Office is much better than what I have been running.  The thing about Ubuntu and Open Office is that they are free, good enough, and there is the potential of me actually getting in there an making some modifications and understanding the code.  This is something that I hope to do.  Also, my web host runs Linux and I thought it would be best to keep the OS the same (similar) between my web host and my desktop.

I have not found a blogging client that even comes close to what Windows Live Writer has in terms of ease of use.  Especially when it comes to adding images to a blog post.  I am currently using the WordPress admin screen to write this, and dealing with images is a pain, Pain, PAIN.  Say, I want to insert a screen shot.  I have to start my screen shot tool, save it as an image, upload the image, and insert it into the post.  This is a 4 step process that can easily take a minute.

In Microsoft Live Writer, I take the screenshot, it is in my clipboard (don’t save it as a file), then paste it into the Live Writer.  It manages the uploading and linking automatically.  Plus I can easily re-size (great when dealing with the huge files from my camera), add effects like drop shadow, and add a water mark.

Well, now we got that out there… enough to start a flame war, let me get down to my journey of using Windows Live Writer on Ubuntu.

The solution to most problems begin with a Google search:  “running windows live writer on ubuntu” should do it.

This brought me to: where I can see that there are others that feel just like me:

Run Windows Live Writer in Ubuntu Using Wine

I want to use Windows Live Writer in Ubuntu, currently it is the only app due to which I have to go back using Windows. I have tried other Ubuntu blogging tools but none are as good as WLW. It is possible to run Office 2007 MS using Wine. Plz help me!
Reading through the post, it doesn’t seem like WINE will help.. though maybe a little wine would :-)  (WINE stands for “Wine Is Not an Emulator” and it is a native Linux implementation of some of the windows core components.  It allows for you to run some windows apps natively in Linux.  Wine on the other hand is a popular alcoholic drink that can help you develop a sense of detachment though Buddhist who are in search of detachment prohibit it.  If you get frustrated enough with getting WINE to work, an option is to turn to wine.  But I do not recommend this as it does nothing to solve your original problem.)
It seems that installing windows in a virtual machine like VirtualBox is one way to go about it:
The last user suggests using Flock – The Social Web Browser.
But this has been discontinued…
Another thread looking for an alternative:
Recommend “ScribeFire” a browser add on
I gave this a try, but it does not handle pasting images.  I must have the ability in Microsoft LiveWriter to allow me to paste images.
After doing some looking around, I can not find any other blogging client that allows for you to paste an image from the clipboard directly into the WYSIWYG/Visual editor.  They all make you upload a file then insert that file.  I want this to be handled behind the scenes like Windows LiveWriter, and there is nothing else out there that I could find that has this feature.
I can’t spend more time looking and figuring out an alternative.  I am in the process of installing Windows 7 in a VirtualBox and will install LiveWriter in this.  I am hoping that VitualBox’s shared clipboard will support images.   I will report back once I know more.

Ubuntu Linux Sound Problems – fixed – finally

(This is a journal about my journey to solve a problem with Ubuntu Audio.  It is not a step by step problem solving guide.  There are several mis-steps that I document, and there are surely better ways of doing this.  Therefore, read through the entire thing and read the comments before taking any steps.  And do only steps that you feel comfortable with.)

I did a fresh install of Ubuntu Linux last weekend on my desktop computer. I changed it from dual boot to being the only OS on the system. I plan to run any windows apps using WINE or in a OpenBox VM.

When my system was dual booted, the audio worked fine. After the re-install the audio has been causing me fits. (no doubt it is a different version, maybe I choose 32 bit the first time and this time I did a 64 bit install and perhaps it is using a different driver, or maybe there has been a release since the last time that I didn’t notice).

After doing some searching, I found this command line tool “ubuntu-bug”. Just go to the command line type in:

unbuntu-bug – audio

This will bring up a set of screens to help you resolve the problem:

Make sure you have a speaker or head phones hooked up to the port that you select.  Then Click OK.

Now it will ask you what the problem is.

In my case, I chose “No Sound At All” and hit OK.

At this point hopefully you get some useful information like I did.

Now I open another terminal and type in the suggested command.

alsamixer -D hw:Intel

That brings ups a text based graphical interface.  (Is that a contradiction in terms?  text based graphical?)

Navigating this screen can be a bit tricky.  Use the left and right buttons to change the channel that you are working with.  It will be highlight in red font at the bottom.  Notice “Headphon” (short for Headphone) is currently selected in the picture above.

My problem is that the “front” channel is currently muted.  This is indicated by the “MM” in the box above “Front”.   Press the right arrow two times selects it.  pressing “m” on the keyboard un-mutes it.  Pressing a number between 0-9 will change the volume for the channel.

At this point my audio works, and I am very happy.  (OK.. maybe happy isn’t the right word… relieved.)

That is until the next reboot.  Then the audio doesn’t work, and I have to go through these steps again.

Doing a little searching on Google brought me to this post:

Typing in this command as directed, did not solve the problem:

/sbin/alsactl restore

However, when the computer restarted and the audio was muted, I only had to type in “/sbin/alsactl restore” to get the audio turned back on.

I thought the idea of adding it to a startup script would be good, but I do not have a “~/.fluxbox” directory, so the suggestion in that post was not useful.

Reading on down to the last post provides a link to another post with a better solution:

The only problem with this is that I do not have a /etc/init.d/alsa-utils file.

Reading the posts above that seem to point the way:

  1. Run ‘alsamixer’ in the Terminal
  2. Get the settings where you want them and press Esc to exit
  3. Run ‘sudo alsactl store 0’ in the Terminal
  4. Run ‘sudo gedit /etc/rc.local’ in the Terminal
  5. Add “/sbin/alsactl restore” to the end of that file and save it
  6. Reboot and test the results!

I rebooted, and nothing happened!!!  But typing that added line in a terminal did restore my audio.  Then my eyes fell on this comment in the rc.local file:

# In order to enable or disable this script just change the execution
# bits.

That can’t be it though doing a “ls -l /etc/rc.local” shows that it has execute permissions.  Maybe my audio test was defective.  Reboot and try again.

Nope, still no audio on setup.  Maybe there is a typo in my /etc/rc.local file?

typing “/etc/rc.local” in a terminal to run it resolves the problem.  So for some reason the rc.local is not getting executed….

The idea of adding it to the fluxbox init script doesn’t do me any good.  I don’t use fluxbox… Googling for ubuntu startup scripts lead me to this page:

It seems that anything in the /etc/init.d directory gets ran on startup provided you follow some steps.

1) put the script in /etc/init.d

I did this by “cd /etc/init.d”

then “sudo vi sound-fix”

then insert the one line command in the file: /sbin/alsactl restore

Saved it.

2) add execute permissions

sudo chmod +x sound-fix

3) run “sudo update-rc.d sound-fix defaults”

Now lets give a reboot another shot…



If you have found this post useful, then please leave me a comment.  If you know of a better way of doing this, or a good resource to turn to when solving problems like this, please leave a comment for that too.