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Friday, July 31, 2009

Linux Migration Support - The Missing Strategy.

It is very disheartening when you cannot get most corporate organizations to make the migration to Linux in general and Ubuntu in particular due to a lack of formal support in the field of corporate migration to Linux. I strongly believe that part of the strategy to get Linux to the mainstream users should have to do with some form of formal support that is made easily available and accessible to organizations that are considering making the switch to Linux.

 I know there are pockets of such migration support services, but I really believe it should be made more widespread and easily accessible. Most organizations are simply put off of migrating to Ubuntu and Linux due to the cost of switching. But if those companies that are behind the various Linux distro projects can aggressively develop services that make the switching and deployment of Linux as easy and cost effective as possible, then we can be rest assured that more companies that have put on hold their intention to make the move to Linux will do so sooner than later.

It is in this regard that I was very glad to read on Workswithu about Canonical's imminent announcement of an Ubuntu migration support service for those who want to deploy the world's most popular Linux distro. The more of those services we have, the more we are likely to see more commercial deployment of  Linux.
Please share your thoughts.

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By Seraaj Muneer with 1 comment

Easily deploy Ubuntu on Windows systems easily.

If you are a system administrator, have heard of Ubuntu as being a powerful free alternative to Windows and want to give it a try, then do so with these simple tools without affecting your current Windows installation.
This application makes it easy to run both Ubuntu and Windows on the same computer while sharing the same desktop. It runs on Windows Xp, Vista and 7. Ubuntu runs as a native Windows application and gives you the ability to cross edit documents in both OSs. You enjoy incredible speeds and flexibility. You would not need to alter your existing partition to get Portable Ubuntu to work. Try it out.
Ubuntu can run on Windows without the need for visualization through andLinux. It allows you to run a full featured install of Ubuntu Linux alongside Windows giving you native speeds without the need for any visualization.
This is a Windows application that automatically creates a bootable Ubuntu  usb drive.You can also run Ubuntu and Windows simultaneously without the need for any installation on your PC. Try it out.
Wubi is an officially supported Windows Ubuntu installer. It gives the option of booting into either Ubuntu or Windows on start up. Try it. 
Let me know what you think of the above tools for making Ubuntu isntalltion on Windows as easy as it can get.

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By Seraaj Muneer with No comments

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Africa- A Fertile ground for Open Source and Linux.

I believe the Open Source Movement in general and Linux in particular stand a chance of getting entrenched in Africa due to some reasons that I will espouse shortly. It is up to companies like Canonical and other global FOSS leaders to take advantage of the global economic crisis and a slide in the fortune of Microsoft to entrench themselves especially here in Africa.

Over here, due to our low incomes and low technological penetration, most of our softwares are pirated and our IT hardware are mostly outdated and substandard. There are some exceptions though, but that is the case with the majority of IT users here. This is where I think projects like Ubuntu can make a head way. Due to its low resource usage and ability to run on very old computers, it is just a matter of embarking on an education campaign to introduce it to the masses here.

Also, most businesses here in Africa do not simply know that there is an alternative to MS Windows and they simply get locked up with high overhead costs of maintaining Windows run enterprise network. Even those who know of Linux and Free Software have never thought of it as a viable alternative to Windows due to the perception of Linux being for geeks alone.

Again, I strongly believe that if basic schools here can be introduced to ICT using Open Source software, it will go a long way into helping create an awareness among the next generation of IT users in Africa that there is a very powerful, reliable and free alternative to MS and other closed source commercial applications. 

Then there is the issue of African governments trying to modernize their IT resource bases. This is also another great opportunity for FOSS evangelists to lobby hard for the governments to opt for Open Source and Free Software to save money on both licenses and hardware costs since it costs more to run MS Windows on a unit of computer than it costs running an OS like Ubuntu on the same unit of computer.

There is  some progress being made in terms of evangelizing  Open Source  and Ubuntu to Africa and Africans. Examples can be seen here,  and here. I was also really happy when I heard of another project aimed at bringing FOSS to young basic school pupils in rural parts of Africa called Rural Internet Kiosks.
There is a great opportunity to grow FOSS in Africa and its up to we those who believe in Foss to take advantage of it. Comments and opinions are welcome.

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Wednesday, July 29, 2009

How to install VLC 1 (Goldeneye) in Ubuntu.

VLC media player is one player to rule all the rest. It is one of the best efforts of the  Open Source movement. It gives most of its commercial counterparts a good run for their money. It is in short all you will need to enjoy your digital media.

It is free, open sourced, cross platform, uses its own built in codecs and plays virtually every media format you can think of. Just give it a try and you will be glad you did. If you are using Ubuntu 9.04 or 8.10, the following steps will get it installed on your system.

1)  Edit /etc/apt/sources.list file with this command at the terminal
              gksudo gedit /etc/apt/sources.list

2) Add the following line (Januty)
             deb http://ppa.launchpad.net/c-korn/vlc/ubuntu jaunty main
For Intrepid users use this line instead 
             deb http://ppa.launchpad.net/c-korn/vlc/ubuntu intrepid main

3) Save and exit.

4) Install GPG key with this command
            sudo apt-key adv --recv-keys --keyserver keyserver.ubuntu.com 7613768D

5) Update your sources' list with this command
           sudo apt-get update

6) Now install VLC with this command
      sudo apt-get install vlc mozilla-plugin-vlc

7) Enjoy your VLC and digital media without sweat.

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By Seraaj Muneer with 3 comments

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Openoffice.org- The rise and rise of Open Source.

There is a storm that is taking the software industry by storm. The name of this storm is Free and Open Source and one of its flagship products is called Open Office. Yes its an open office. A full featured open source free software. It is in my view better than MS Office.

Its development started about 20 years ago and has seen remarkable progress since then. It has a consistency of development that other products cannot match. A completely open development process means that anyone can report bugs, request new features, or enhance the software. The result: OpenOffice.org 3 does everything you want your office software to do, the way you want it to.It is free to download and install, modify and pass on to your friends and colleagues.

OpenOffice.org 3 contains all the office software you need, in one single package. You don't have to worry which version to install: one installation program provides everything. The installation also includes features which some expensive rivals do not - for example, the ability to create .pdf files when you want to guarantee what the recipient sees on their computer. There is also a growing range of extensions: additional features that any developer can provide. OpenOffice.org releases release software several times a year so you can take advantage of new features as quickly as possible.

Developed over twenty years, OpenOffice.org is a mature, reliable, product. OpenOffice.org was designed from the start as a single piece of software - not bolted together from separate software packages. This makes it very consistent and easy to use - what you learn in one application is immediately usable in another. The context-sensitive help works across all applications, unobtrusively providing the precise help you need. You can even open any type of document from any application - OpenOffice.org 3 is really one piece of software. It also runs on all major computing platforms - Microsoft Windows, GNU/Linux, Sun Solaris, Apple Mac - isn't that great!

It can be installed on an unlimited number of PCs. It has all the software you need to make your office complete. One installation and you have a word processor, spreadsheet application, database management, presentation and drawing. You only need a single installation file to get all these great softwares for free.

OpenOffice.org 3 is developed using an open-software, "no secrets" approach. Anyone can look at the programs and suggest improvements, or fix bugs. Anyone can report problems or request enhancements, and anyone can see the response from other users or developers. The status of current and future releases is displayed on a public wiki, so you can decide if and when you want to upgrade to take advantage of new features. Anyone used to commercial software and its hyping and marketing speak will find OpenOffice.org 3 refreshingly different. Enjoy the benefits of open-source!

 Go ahead and save money while enjoying  one of the best products of the Free Software Movement. Go on and have an OpenOffice.
 Credit Openoffice.org

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By Seraaj Muneer with No comments

Monday, July 27, 2009


In my post yesterday, I had some complaints about Linux and its ability to take on Microsoft's Windows OS due to its heavy reliance on the terminal and much technical jargon that scares away the average user. Today however, I intend touching on some ten reasons why in my view, despite Linux's set backs, it is still worth a try especially by my African brothers and sisters. The distro I am going to base my assertions on is the Ubuntu Linux variant (thats my primary OS) all the assertions are equally applicable to other distros too.

Linux if free from viruses and other malware, trojans and rootkits that infect Windows systems on a daily basis. This is because of the authorization management system used. When you install Windows, your account is automatically given administrative powers. You have almost total control of the system and can easily tweak it. Ubuntu Linux however is not like that. When you make an installation of Ubuntu, two sets of accounts are created. You the user's account is given limited authority over the system. Only the root account has full access to the system. So any time you have to do something that requires an administrative power, you would have to enter your password to certify to the system that you really are the one authorizing the task. Thus no virus can infect in the system without asking for your password. The kernel moreover, is built from ground up to be resistant to viruses.

Also. because the Linux kernel is an Open Source project, it is under the watch of thousands of programmers from all over the world and thus anything that looks the least suspicious is quickly discovered and weeded out.

Why use a pirated software when you can have a very secure, reliable and great one for free. And by free I mean free as in both free beer and free drink. All you need to get Ubuntu is just go to the Ubuntu site and download. That's it. If you don't have a fast internet access, just ask Ubuntu to ship one to you and they will be glad to. Most of the Windows softwares that are used here in Africa are  I believe pirated since i doubt the average African can cough up about  $300 to pay for a license. So just go ahead and get your copy of Ubuntu for free.

There is a massive repository of softwares in Ubuntu. And by massive I mean over 25000 applications that you can install on your system for free. When you need any software, all you have to do is to go to Add/Remove software, search for what you want and just click apply and you are good to go. No need to Google and scour the internet for anything. You have everything at your finger tips. All you have to do is install. And they are all free of charge.

De-fragmentation basically means the sectors in which your system and programs are installed gets scattered. So when you tell your system to perform a task for you, it would have to take time to look for all the pieces of the command you issued it. This slows your system down very much over time. Ubuntu, on the other hand, does not experience such issues due to it's very organized and systematic way of handling system and program files.

You don't need up to 2Gb of Ram and 15Gb of  HDD space to optimally run an OS. Ubuntu can run and perform well even on a system with just 128 Mb of Ram. So why buy a new PC when you can still use your old one?

Ubuntu Linux users have a superb support system made up of the users themselves.  The Ubuntu Forum is in my view one of the most superb forums on the internet. Just post your problem and in not more than 20 minutes, you will have someone willing and able to help. There is always some form of help for anyone. From the beginner to the geek, every one heads to the forum for help. And its not just a geeky forum, you can talk about virtually everything with just about anyone from any part of the world.

Because all  the softwares that run on you Ubuntu system are centralized, you only need to run just one update to get all your applications and system updated with the latest patches and upgrades. No need to waste time running update after update for every single program on your system.

With Ubuntu Linux, you only need to do one installation, and all your hardware just work out of the box. Your Bluetooh, wireless, network manager, screen resolution and all your other hardware just work. You don' t have to fiddle with drivers to get things to work. Its all built into the kernel.

Ubuntu makes it very easy to reinstall your system in case of any such unlikely incident. This is because you can choose to install your root (/) files a directories on a separate partition of your hard drive and then have all your home folder also on another partition. The Ubuntu root is the Windows equivalent of C:\ and the home the equivalent of Windows My Documents. So in case you have reinstall your system, you wont have to worry about your personal documents since they are on a separate partition of your HDD.

Ubuntu comes on a live CD which you can try without having to touch your existing installation. And if you like it, there is an icon right on the desktop where you can install the system as you are testing it.

These are just a few of the reasons why I would very much encourage my African brothers and sisters to give Ubuntu Linux and other Linux distros a try. After all, they are free, great, safe and you become part of a worldwide community.
I would very much like to know your thoughts of Linux OS and your experiences with it.

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By Seraaj Muneer with 2 comments

Sunday, July 26, 2009


I am an avid fan and faithful user of Ubuntu Linux OS. It is the only OS on my laptop. I personaly do not use MS Windows except at the work place where all the machines are configured with it. I love Linux and the level of security and reliability it gives me. I no longer think of installing all the "antis" that I would have to if I were using MS Windows. No doubt Linux is a great OS platform. But I have my reservations about its ability to take on the Redmond giant or be a viable alternative OS.

The reason is that in my opinion, it is too much of a "geeky" deal. You see, with MS Windows, virtually all the work is done by just pointing and clicking. The average Pc user, who I must admit are the majority, have no time for lots of things that unfortunately Linux requires you to do. 

For instance, if I want an application which is not available in the system repositories, then I would have to Google it. That sounds simple and innocent. But wait a minute, the file I downloaded is in some compressed form where I have to "compile it from sources". How many home PC users can make sense of that? Or you have a problem with your network and you have to do some "Sudo" this or that to just get things fixed.

Most people are used to just clicking next, next and then finish. Thats it and they have their application installed. Most of the Linux repositories I must admit have vast numbers of applications. But its not always that one finds what he wants and hence to the big G for help.

And then there is the issue of the terminal. Even after using Ubuntu for close to a year, there still are times when I shudder when I have no option than to head to the terminal to get things fixed. The terminal is an integral part of the Linux kernel that is very vital to the system. Unfortunately too, it is the number one thing that drives people away from anything that has to do with Linux. I frankly don't think people should have to memorize lots of terminal commands just to get basic things like seeing a detailed list of their hardware done. I personally have tried to get some of my friends and colleagues to try Ubuntu, and most of the time they like it initially only to turn away from it completely when it things require the use of the terminal.
You see, I have nothing personal against the use of the terminal, what I wonder however, is whether it can't just be relegated to the backseat. Where calling on it will always be the last resort. Windows has the command line, but I can't remember the last time I had to use it when I have a problem on my PC at the work place.

It is very sad to see that Linux has been around for close to 20 solid years but still has less than 1% of the desktop market. I think this alone calls for a rethink in the way that the Linux kernel works. To put is simply, it is just not friendly enough for the average home user who does not care much about the uderlying nitty gritty of the OS. All that lots of people want is to have a PC that works and thats it. When they need something, they just Google it and click next,next and finish. No compiling anything from any sources or "Sudoing" anything. Linux is seen too much as an OS for hobbyists and geeks who just don't understand why people do not use their creation.

I however have to admit that lots of work has been done to make Linux as friendly to the average user as possible.This is especially true of distros like Ubuntu and Fedora that have made great strides. But there is more work to be done, and I frankly believe that the rise of Linux as a viable OS alternative to Windows will start from the day that it relies less and less on the command line to get things done.

I really love Linux and want to see more and more people use it, but as it things are now, it makes it nigh impossible to effectively evangelize it. I know there are lots of you out there that will disagree with me. But these are just my views and I would very much like to see your comments on what I think.

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By Seraaj Muneer with 5 comments

Saturday, July 25, 2009


I love my mother. That is not just another cliche. Hardly a day goes by without me thinking of how much I love her so much. Seeing how she never hesitated for once to part away with her very last savings just to see me through my education, I really don't for once believe that I can love her back as much as she did me.

There are millions of women all over the world who are just like my mother, women whose efforts day in and out makes the lives of so many people a worth while one. Women who sacrifice all they have just to make the lives of their children and family a comfortable and bright one.

I doubt if I can get the right words to describe the kind of effort that women put into making this world of ours keep going. There is no doubt, that every single person on earth has benefited from the efforts of some woman before.Women to me, play a multi task role in life. They are our mothers, wives, sisters and very good friends.
Yet, it looks to me as if all the efforts that these great and wonderful creations of God Almighty put into the lives of all of us, is yet to be appreciated. Go to many parts of the world, and the kind of evil, cruel and senseless brutality that is meted out to these gems is unthinkable. In many parts of Africa for instance, the stupid, nonsensical tradition of female "circumsition" is still very widespread. Why subject women to such an ordeal all in the name of some stupid cultural belief?
That is not all the woes that lots of innocent women bear, there is the innumerable cases of women having to always be the bread winners of families after their irresponsible husbands have absconded or shirked their duties of being bread winners of the fammily. Walk to any market in Ghana, for instance, and you will be sad to see the ardous tasks and struggles that women go through to make ends meet. You find them sitting on the scorchy sun, yelling their hearts out to call at customers, some carrying very heavy loads on their heads which has been converted into mobile stores among others.

Then there is the most abhorring, pure stupid and senseless brutality of domestic violence and violence against women in general. I still can't understand why anybody will ever lay hands on such great and magnificent gems. I really wish there were very harsh laws than we have right now to deal with this menace. Ah, I believe most men have the strength to only hit women. They such cowards that they just can't stand up to their problems and the only way out for them is violence. To such men, I say the the strength of a man is not measured by his ability to hit a woman but rather by his magnanimity and patience with a woman in times of misunderstandings.

I ask myself this question, and perhaps you can help me with an answer, why are women subjected to so much brutality and ill treatment from men? I just can't fathom the answer and I hope you have an idea that you will share with me. I have  written this post in the hope to starting a debate amongst young men like myself and women to just delibrate over this issue of women and how they are treated.

Perhaps what most people who do not respect or regard women as much as they ought to be regarded and respected is that they have not imagined for once what life on earth would be like without women. They are a very vital part of life and it is time that all of "menkind" begins to cherish these wonderful and magnificent beings whose efforts touches the lives of every single one of us.

I do not agree with the belief that just a day be set aside to mark  "mother's day" or "women's day". I belive every single day must be mother's day and women's day. We must shower all the love, compassion and care we can muster on our women every single day that we are blessed to live with them. They are very much priceless gems that we have to start appreciating and adoring. To all women, I say "ayekoo" and thank you very much for your unrelenting effort to make the world comfortable for all those in your lives. I love you all.

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Friday, July 24, 2009


Dear Mr. Google, I write these few words of mine to tell you how pleased I am with you and how much I love you. Just recently, I read on  your African blog about the good initiative you have taken in  Uganda to make technology accessible to my fellow African brothers and sisters. To say your effort is commendable would be an understatement.

Mr. Google, I really admire you a lot for so many reasons. The first of which is your very powerful email service that you have Christened Gmail. She is in my view, the best email service around. She really is a service that actually thinks and makes the task of organizing my mail account very easy, fun and an enjoyable task. I will forever be a Gmail evangelist and fan. I have done  my best to get as many of my friends and colleagues as possible to use your baby Gmail.

The second reason why I adore you so much is for another of your children called Picasa. This is really a very great child that makes organizing my photos a great hobby. In fact, I have taken more pictures not for any reason other than to just get to use Picasa.You even gave me the option to download him to my PC. I have also come across lots of very nice people from all over the world, seen a lot of weird stuff and have filled my e-album with tonnes of pictures thanks to this wonderful child of yours.

Another of your children that has made me admire you so much is your geo location son called Google Earth on my PC and Google Maps on my phone. He is really breath taking and captivating to say the least. He flies me to any corner of the world in seconds, gives me the chance to dive under the ocean, explore ship wrecks, visit historical sites and more things that I could only dream of and thought was only possible in Hollywood sci-fi movies, all from the comfort of my sofa. This son of yours is really great and is now my friend for life.

Google Docs is in my view, the most incredible of your children. A full fledged office suite in the cloud that makes document generation, manipulation and storage so easy, simple, time saving and so irresistible that I sometimes hardly believe such a thing could exist since I have spent all my "office suite" life using one that only worked as it chose to and could not be relied upon for long. I can work on my  stock report update in the office, not bother to save anything to any media, and get home to continue with it. I now do all my word processing and spread sheet work with this wonderful daughter of yours. Please tell her i said hi.

There are other children of yours that I just wish I could write about but can't due to time constraint. Blogger and Youtube readily come to mind among others. Then there is your genuine interest in putting money in the pockets of nobodies like me with your Adsense for small, corner web publishers, thoughi have not yet earned my first pay check. In fact Mr. Google, I could spend the whole day writing about how i love you and never run out of words.

Recently there have been rumors that the US DOJ intends to scrutinize you for being too "big" and that you are getting too powerful. Please Mr. Google, don't mind them. You have attained your "bigness" by making ordinary people like me from all over the world the cardinal focus of your life. You strive day and night to bring forth to children that are of real benefit to us and for that we the nobodies love you with all our hearts.

To those who say you are becoming too "big" and powerful, I say to them that please leave Mr. Google alone for us. We love him and he loves us. He does not force us to be his friends. We are so on our own will because he has given birth to wonderful, powerful children that he makes us benefit from from absolutely free and I mean FREE. If you don't like him, there are always others you can befriend. For us, we are Googlers for ever. This is just the beginning of the surge of Mr. Google as a major world player.

Mr. Google, I wish I had the time to sing you a song of appreciation. But don't worry. In my next letter to you, I will include a special song I have composed for your enjoyment. I wish you a lovely day and the best of brains to keep having such wonderful, powerful and intuitive children for the benefit of ordinary people like me. Thank you and always know that I love you so much. Take care.

A lover, admirer and friend from Ghana.

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By Seraaj Muneer with 2 comments

Thursday, July 23, 2009


This is a question that I am asked time and again by my friends and colleagues both at home and in the office . So today I intend talking a little about what the concept of Free Software means. This is in no way an exhaustive post, neither am I an Open Source Expert. I am only sharing with you my knowledge and experience of FOSS and will provide appropriate links to relevant sites as much as possible.

So what does Free and Open Source Software mean?
The concept of Free and Open Source software refers to the right of the end user to modify a FOSS software however they want without any restriction provided the output will also be made available freely to other users.
So if you are Muslim, you can choose to modify an operating system like Ubuntu as the guys here have done. Christians can also check out what is here, also a derivative of Ubuntu. There are hundreds of softwares that are are available free of any restriction for you to use.

Free as in free beer or as in free speech?
Both. There are thousands of Foss softwares that are available both free as in free beer and free speech. From full fledged operating systems, office suites, graphics softwares , just name it. All you have to do is download them and use them. No licensing fees, no product keys, nothing. Just download and use. Simple as that.
Then there are those that are available as for free only as in free speech but have to be paid for to use them. So you would have to pay to use the software but can modify it as you wish.

Why should i use FOSS?
Simple. Aside from it being free, you can be assured of very quality and up to date products. This because almost anyone can contribute to the development of FOSS and thus people from all over the world help to develop any given software which enriches the diversity and flavor that go into it. Also, because open source softwares have their source code in the public eye, it makes it nigh impossible to add any malicious line of code without it being detected and eliminated quickly. This makes open source softwares more secure than their closed counterparts.

Do i need a particular OS in order to use FOSS?
No. There are FOSS softwares for almost all OS platforms around today. There are softwares for Windows, Mac OS and Linux. Just search for the softaware relating to your OS.

So what makes FOSS unique from other softwares?
In my opinion, what makes FOSS unique is the massive, dedicated community that you can choose to become part of when you use FOSS. An OS like Ubuntu has a very loving, dedicated and superb community that is just willing to help you with every single problem you may encounter with the OS and there hundreds like the Ubuntu Forums that to me, make FOSS such a joy to use.

OK. I want to try some out. Where do i begin?
I will just make a small list of some great FOSS that you can try out for yourself. You will be happy you did.

Web browser try Firefox if you are not already using it.
Image editor try Gimp. Also a free alternative to Photoshop.
Multi media player, try VLC.
I also suggest you try Ubuntu, a free, powerful and fully customizable OS.
You can also visit OSALT for all the free softwares you can think of.

Check out the video below. Enjoy using FOSS and I hope to see you on one of the really great FOSS forums around. Let me know what you think about open source.

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By Seraaj Muneer with 1 comment

Wednesday, July 22, 2009


I have been using Ubuntu and open source software for some time and have discovered some few killer tricks to optimizing an Ubuntu system for speed and efficiency. This list is aimed at Ubuntu newbies and geeks alike.

1) Disable unessential services.
Services like Bluetooth may be running even if you don't have the hardware installed.Go to Services window from the System>Administration menu. Be careful not to disable services you may rely on.

2)Monitor the CPU usage
Kill processes that are not essential but using up lots of resources. Go to System> Administration> System Monitor.

3)Trim the menu.
Lots of installed applications may make the Menu a bit "fat". Trim it by right-clicking the Menu and deselecting Applications that you don't use.

4)Add more work spaces.
If you use lots of applications and have your desktop cluttered, you may consider adding more work spaces to your desktop. Just right-click on the workspace area to see the Preferences window.

5)Move windows to work spaces.
You can press and hold Ctrl+ALT+cursor left or right key to switch to a new work space.If you hold down the Shift key, the active window will move to the new work space too.

6)Choose to remember running sessions when shutting down.
You can choose to let your system remember your last working session when you shut down to quickly launch into your working environment next time you power up. Just switch to Sessions Option and select "Automatically Remember."

7)Add frequently used applications to the panel.
Add applications that you frequently use to the top panel for easy access.Just click the Menu and highlight which category you want then just drag the application you want to the panel.

8)Try XFCE
Gnome is nice and powerful but a bit cumbersome compared to XFCE, the default Xubuntu desktop. Search for the "Xubuntu-desktop" meta package in Synaptic.

Try these tips to optimize your sweet Ubuntu system and stay tuned for more. Please feel free to share your comment.

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By Seraaj Muneer with No comments

Tuesday, July 21, 2009


Dear Sir, it is with great sorrow and agony that I put these words of mine on paper to you. There is no doubt about the bravery of you and your warriors. Your country was invaded- in the 21st century- by another country that claims to be the beacon of law and democracy on earth, the reason for the invasion being a subject in its own right. You have every right to defend your country from marauders and stooges. On that score, I agree with you and you have my fervent prayers.

However, your legitimate fight against the invading forces should not blind you towards your responsibilities to your very own country men and women. On countless occasions, your own compatriots have leveled allegations of monstrous proportions against your forces. You have been accused of using some entire villages as human shield against the mighty missiles of the invader. This is an unacceptable behavior on your part since the very creed in which you believe in makes it absolutely clear in its rules of engagement that unarmed men, old aged people, the young and women especially, be protected as much as possible from any collateral damage during a conflict.

It has also been reported that any time you enter a village or town, you impose your own interpretation of Sharia, which I vehemently disagree with you on. You see, if it is Islam you aim to establish in Afghanistan, then I honestly believe you do more harm than good to your cause when you go about amputating, beheading, mercilessly beating women for stepping out of their houses, destroying people's stores for selling music among a host of basic, fundamental human rights abuses that the very Islam you want to establish speaks against.

To put it in simple terms, your very treatment of your own people has actually given Islam a bad image

on an epic scale that all the propaganda machinery of the so called enemies of Islam can only dream of. You also use the abhorring tactic of suicide bombing, which needless to say, is in direct contravention of the very Islam you seek to establish.

The list of allegations against you and your group can easily fill an accounting text book. But that is also why I write you this letter, to tell you my view of what a Jihad is meant to look like in my limited knowledge of Islam. First, I believe you know that the Laws of Islam cannot be altered or modified by anyone, including the rules of engagement. Islam’s laws were codified 1431 years ago and will remain so till eternity. So next time you engage the invading forces, please make sure that you protect non-combatants and women especially from all collateral damage. Neither should you use them as human shield. It is very despicable of you to do that.

Also, the imposition and enforcement of Sharia Law is the sole duty of an established Islamic state, none of which is on the Earth today. You have not yet established your Islamic utopia. You are only a a guerrilla force, and so to shove your “radical” interpretation of Sharia on people just because you have the guns and you believe you have been anointed to be their leader is a gross violation of their fundamental human rights to choice of living. Islam was spread by someone through a methodology, over a period of 22 years after which it had become a force to be reckoned with.

If you want to establish Islam, then you have to necessarily follow the methodology of the founder and first leader. The very first step is not to force laws down the throat of people but rather to purify them from inside out. That was how the founder of Islam went about his duty. He purified his people through the Revelation he received, educated them, showed them respect, protected them and loved them dearly. I can’t say you have done even one of these and yet you want Islam to be the order of the day in your country.

Your indiscriminate beheading of your fellow compatriots and Muslim brothers is, to say the least, very shameful both to you and to the Islam you want to establish. You don’t have the right to condemn someone to death in your sham “Islamic courts”, that is also the duty of an established Islamic State. Afghanistan is not an Islamic State because there is no Islamic government in place. So please don’t just go about beheading people, chopping of arms and limbs. It is simply wrong.

Now to my final point, women are not second class citizens in the Islam that was brought by Mohammad. They are the very helpers and mates of men. Your treatment of women is so appalling. You treat them as if they are robots who can’t think on their own. If no one told you, women are very intelligent and capable as men. There are instances in the history of Islam that women taught the companions Islam, the famous of which is the incident of Umar and the issue of bride money.

Instead of spending so much energy on keeping the women inside, I suggest you channel that energy into helping them establish small scale businesses to cater for their children since the men are too busy fighting off the invaders. Help them earn a sustenance, educate them, show them respect, stop beating them in public when their burqa falls off , and above all, know that they were created to be helpers of men and not their slaves.

This is just an observation I have made about your cause in Afghanistan and just want to share them with you. May you have the heart to change and follow strictly the Islamic rules of engagement with regards to your own compatriots. I whish you all the best in your struggles.

Yours truly,

A concerned citizen of Earth.

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Monday, July 20, 2009


The government of Ghana, together with other third world governments all over the world have signed on to the One Laptop per Child project. There is no doubt that the project in itself is a laudable one. To make the effort of making ICT available to children in the third world is a very noble cause. However, I believe it is very important for us as a nation here in Ghana to get and set our priorities straight.

Some few months ago, there was a scandal involving the payment of some huge sums of money by the government for the OLPC project. In an age where the whole world is moving at a pace that is unprecedented in the history of mankind, here in Ghana, you get school children who have to KNEEL under TREES to take lessons. That in my opinion is very much unacceptable and i believe against the fundamental rights of those innocent children.

So my piece of advice to the government is that instead of committing resources to the OLPC project, it should rather focus on making sure every school going child in this country sits under a roof and on a desk. Give the children the chance to take lessons even when it rains since a lot of the children in rural Ghana have to close lessons as soon as it begins to rain because they are sitting under trees. Give the children the basic necessity before giving them laptops. In any case, what will be the use of a laptop to a child who sits under a tree to study and has no electricity in his or her town.

In short, i say to the government, please, first things first. Share your thoughts.

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Sunday, July 19, 2009


On 7th July 2009,Google announced its intention to join the operating system market with the announcement of Chrome OS, an extension to its seemingly disappointing Chrome web browser.I had honestly been asking myself for sometime back as to when Google would get into the OS race.I just want to see another giant take on the Redmond giant that has enjoyed so for so many years.To me, the failure of MS Vista was a big turning point in my view of the company. Since then i had always wanted another viable and alternative to MS.

So it was not surprising when there was so much rumor on the blogosphere that Google was entering into the OS market, a move that is seen by many as a direct challenge to MS.So reading that news from the Google blog was both heart warming and disappointing to me for a few reasons.

Google Chrome OS is meant to be a thin client that is meant "to start up and get you onto the web in a few seconds", so says the official post.Also "Google Chrome {will be} running within a new windowing system on top of a Linux kernel". OK, so the thrust of the OS will be "speed, simplicity and security", but the question i ask myself is "do we need yet another Linux distro in the already fragmented less than 1% share in the desktop market?" well,i believe no.

You see, there are distros out there that can do all that Google is designing Chrome to be. My favourite distro, Ubuntu, is virtually, in my view, a fast forward release of the yet to be born Chrome OS.I can get my Ubuntu laptop to be up and running in 45 seconds after pressing the power button. I don't have to worry about viruses or other security issues. I am able to run web apps in my browser as Chrome OS is meant to be. I am already a "cloud man",with all my data in the cloud. So all i do with my Ubuntu machine is run my stuff in the browser. And it works perfectly and flawlessly.

To me, it is not so necessary to have Google risk its reputation on a new OS that may take so many years to to establish itself since people will not suddenly move to cloud based computing in the near future. There are hundreds of millions of people who will still want to watch a movie with VLC on their machines, edit photos, play their music collection and lots of other things that they wont need to have to get onto the net to do. So it is safe to say that Google will have a lot of work to do, with the launch of its Chrome OS, which is not expected to ship untill the second half of next year, given the fact that there has been so much hype surrounding the OS.

Since Google wants to take on the software behomoth in Redmond, it opted for Linux, an Open Source project. This means that the Chrome OS code would have to be released to the public for any one to use under the relevant licenses. That sounds good, but my question is, couldn't the big G just buy off a solid distro like Ubuntu which has a good user base and a solid record of being reliable. After all, the distro has the speed, runs fine with web apps, is built on the Linux Kernel and is very popular. I honestly believe Google could have done better with an outright purchase of a distro like Ubuntu rather than stake its reputation on the line with the introduction of a new OS . After all, Ubuntu can be used both as a platform to the web and can also run apps offline.

All the same, Chrome OS is not yet out and only time can tell if Google made the right decision to build an OS from scratch.If you are wondering what Ubuntu is, what it looks like and what it can be used for, check out this Youtube video.

What do you think of Google's up comming Chrome OS, share your thoughts.

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Saturday, July 18, 2009


In my honest opinion ,and speaking from my experience as an African, i believe Africa general and businesses in particular have a lot to benefit from the deplyment of Open Source softwares.This is even more true for African businesses that use modern IT systems.My reasons for believing so can be summed up in these few points -

    The cost of maintaining an Open Source OS like Ubuntu for instance is close to nil.This is because of the very architecture of the OS which makes maintenance on a daily basis highly unlikely.FOSS can run for a very long time without the need for any human intervention.This can be a big boon to African businesses who have to always call on so called experts to fix their system deployments for them at very prohibitive costs.Also most FOSS can run on even very old machines.This again reduces the need to have to overhaul the entire IT hardware infrastructure of businesses for a long time.This,there is no gain saying,is a big cost saver.

    IT will be very easy with FOSS,for African businesses to customize their softwares to suit their specific needs given the divergent number of customers they cater for.This will also make it easy for business to deliver essential services at very reduces costs because system resources have been customized for the business.

    Because of the relative flexibility of FOSS, African govenments can take such the opportunity to encourage their citizenry to show interest in computing especially the young ones.This can be done by setting up good,public computer schools to teach children the mechanics of computer and programming based on Open Source ideals and benefits, which in the future can be of immense benefit to the continent as a whole given the fact that Africa is far,far behind the rest of the world in in terms of IT.

    Since FOSS is free as in free speech,African governments can again encourage their young ones to go into progamming so as to be able to also write new code from existing ones which they can sell as long as their new code will also be made available to others. A government that actively uses Open Source not only saves money but also helps both its employees and and the public in general to learn new skills and open the doors of great insight for them as a nation.
    I strongly believe that it is time African businesses and governments wean themselves off the MS and save money,extend the life of their IT infrastructure,improve efficiency and help their employees and populace learn new skills and knowledge.

    Do you know of a better way that Africa can use to benefit from FOSS.Please share your thoughts in the comments form below.

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    Friday, July 17, 2009


    My understanding of the word success was formed by my teacher in high school who once told us that it is an acronym and that it will be good to have it incorporated into our daily lives .Over the years,i have pondered so much over it and tried in every single way to personify every one of the eight words in the acronym and now i have come to believe i have incorporated it into my life as much as possible.I write this piece of knol to share my small life experience in the context of the acronym for success with the whole world.

    S- Sense of direction.
    Every one who knows how to drive always has a direction before climbing behind the steering wheel.If something as simple as driving requires us to have a direction before we can use that very skill of driving, then how come most people go through life without any direction in their lives?Until you have a detailed direction in your life as to how to achieve success, then you will keep on going in circles throughout your life.

    U- Understanding
    Most people assume they have understanding when in actual fact they don't. Understanding in this context means having a deep insight into life and its ways of dealing with people.Life most of the time deals randomly with people how it wants and it is up to us to understand in proper perspective the how and why of what life hands to us.

    C- Courage
    Courage here does not mean the ability to see danger and jump into it but rather how to be able to withstand and pass the toughest of life's lessons and tests.Courage means the strength to obey laws, the ability to forgive the gravest of wrongs done against us and the strength to face tomorrow despite our disappointments today.

    C- Charity
    The strength and ability to always have and make room for others in our lives.To genuinely share in the pain of others and rejoice in their happiness.The heart to know how to forgive even when we know we have our rights trampled upon.The ability to have a heart full of real love for those around us .

    E- Esteem
    The ability to respect ourselves and not demand it from others.

    S- Self Confidence
    The knowledge to know who we really are and why we must be proud of ourselves.The ability to love ourselves even when others choose to hate us.

    S- Self Acceptance
    This is the ability to accept ourselves as who we are and not live our lives as who someone or the society wants us to be.In short,the ability to live our lives by our own blueprint instead of that of others.

    This is my small understanding of what success is and how a successful person really looks like.
    Please let me know what you think of my understanding.Thank you for reading.

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    Thursday, July 16, 2009


    Before you think anything else,my heading is simply a curiosity i have as to how enthusiastic women are about open source software in general and Ubuntu linux in particular.I just wonder if ladies are also as passionate about open source as we guys are.

    I know there are quite a number that use open source,but are they as passionate as we guys are?I am also wondering how the Open Source movement can benefit from the active involvement of women.

    This is just a curiosity that has been nagging my mind for some time now because in my part of the world,open source,even among guys who are into IT,is something new and is not very common to come across street talk centering around open source.

    Is open source only for guys?Why do you think ladies are not as enthused about open source as guys do?Do your know of ladies who use solely open source software?Are you a lady who is as passionate about open source as a guy can be,please get in touch and share your opinion.

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    Why i love Ubuntu Linux

    Yesterday evening i had to reinstall my Ubuntu Jaunty after PclinuxOS messed up my partitions pretty bad.I had installed it the previous night with the intention of dual booting with ubuntu just to get a feel of it.But after installing it(PClinux),it just hijacked my Ubuntu installation.I could not boot into ubuntu again.I tried to reinstall GRUB,that did not help either.So i decided to backup and do a clean reinstall of ubuntu.That was wheni realized how far advanced ubuntu was as compared to other linux distros.
    My love for ubuntu can be summarized in the following points.

    Ubuntu is,in my view the only linux distro that is so easy to master.I started using it without any experience whatsoever,but after about two months,i can say though i am not a linux geek,i can confidently tweak my system somewhat.It is in so many ways like Windows albeit it has a long way to go to catch up.Also the installation process is so easy and simple that even a newb to computers can do it.Again,its ability to recognize other OS is a big plus.

    Just after installation,i was ready to use my system even though i had to install some codecs to play multimedia.That is not a problem for me since Ubuntu prides itself on being a completely free and open source software and thus does not come with any proprietary software installed.I had my office suite ready which i needed to do some work.

    My wireless,touchpad,bluetooth and all my other hardware just worked after installation.I did not have to look for any wireless drivers or any thing else.I mean it just worked out of the box.

    Ubuntuforums.org is in my view the best software community in the world.The speed at which my questions have been answered is so heart warming.And anytime i have an issue with the OS,i just search for it and find that it has already been addressed.Also if you dont find what you want on the forunms,then you can turn to the big G for help-just google it.

    In my opinion,Ubuntu's biggest advantage over other distros and almighty windows is their shipit service,where they send you a free ubuntu cd anywhere you are in the world.And by free i mean free,as in free beer or lunch.To me that is the killer function of Canonical that has worked so much in making it so popular.It so of so much benefit to those of us who do not have high speed internet to download large iso files.It also makes it easy to convince others to try it using the cd you receive it from shipit since a friend is likely to try a professional looking cd than one that i make on my own.
    There are countless other reasons why ubuntu is set to be the next windows and why i love the distro so much.But these are what make me tick and give a thumbs up for the worlds most popular linux distro.
    Have a different opinion.Please share it.

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    Wednesday, July 15, 2009

    Why is it so hard?

    I am just wondering why its so hard for our parliamentarians here in Ghana to just do what we waste money on them for.I just cant understand why we pay them so much money for just saying "yea,yea" and argue like kids over unnecessary things.When someone like Ampem Darko tells them in the face what they really are,they have the guts to demand an apology from him.
    All i want them to know is that respect is earned and not demanded.So if they want to earn the respect of normal people like me and the other 22m Ghanaians out there,then they should do what we waste money on them to do and let us see their output in our day to day lives.Then they would have earned the title of "honorable" that they so much crave to be called.
    Have a different thought on our hopeless MPs? Please share it.

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    My PClinuxOS experience

    Yesterday evening i burned my downloaded iso image of PClinuxOS 2009 to cd and gave it a try.Here is my take on it.
    As an avid Ubuntu fan,i just wanted to try other distros to get a feel of how things are on the other side or the river.Well,i would say on a scale of 1-10,i would give pclinux 5.And these are my reasons.
    I chose to boot into the livecd with KDE desktop.It was eye candy i would admit.It looks very much polished and eye candy than Kubuntu(Ubuntu with K desktop).But thats all about it that is good.The installation process leaves much to be deisired.The partitioner failed to see my ubuntu partition.The chance to create my own partition was so limited that i just chose to to wipe out my ubuntu install to make things simple.
    The installation also took quite too long to complete compared to ubuntu's.And boot up and shut down times too are very long.Unlike ubuntu that comes with a complete office suit thanks to Openoffice.org,Pclinux just comes with the weird looking Abiword and no more.Though its nice to look at,i would still recommend ubuntu to anyone who wants to try out linux.
    PClinuxOS can also make a mark,but it has a long way to go to catch up to other distros.
    Have a different experience? Share it.

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    Tuesday, July 14, 2009

    Why Africa must enbrace Open Source

    I think its about time Africans started getting into the technological race by embracing open source.The simple reason i believe this to be imperative is that with the emergence of the open source movement as a viable competitor to Microsoft,Africa can ride on the back of such an opportunity to emerge as a powerful software house.
    So i think governments should without delay start adding the tutorials of open source softwares to the curriculum of their schools to prepare their kids for the future of IT,which i believe is about to be taken by storm by the open source movement.
    Have a different opinion.Share it.

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    Africa and Open Source

    The other day i read on the news that the Ghanaian government intended to cough up money to pay for some MS windows licenses in its drive to computerize its MDAs(ministries,departments and agencies).This decision,which was denied by the Deputy Information Minister,is in itself not bad.What however,irks me is the fact that at a time when the global economy in a crisis and governments all over the world are cutting down costs,i find it difficult to understand why our government should be running to that behemoth called Microsoft.
    MS is not the only OS vendor around in case our government is dumb enough not to know.There are others.And the others i am inetersted in are the free ones.There are dozens of free linux distros out there that get the job done at the barest minimum cost.I would like to urge the government to look to those instead of looking for money to waste on a system that will only end up costing more to use.
    If it OS the government wants,it can use the most popular linux distro around found here www.ubuntu.com.If its office productivity it wants,well there is open office found here www.openoffice.org
    Whatever the government wants from MS has a free and open source equivalent which will be of benefit to all of us taxpayers.
    So please Professor Mills,live up to your mantra of cost cutting and simply go Open Source.It will be of good to us all.
    Have a different opinion,please share it in the comment below.

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    My take on Obama in Ghana

    Friday the 12th and Saturday the 13th of July will forever remain on the minds of many of my compatriots. You may ask was was so special about those days. Well,the supposed most powerful man on earth visited Ghana. It was a very nice experience in that it made us know clearly those of our so called Ministers of State who suffer from a disease called inferiority complex.
    Though i have nothing personal against the US president, i was just not as enthused as most of my folks were. Why? i hear u ask. Ok heres why. His visit was yet another opportunity for useless talk and noise making, and this time on an epic scale.
    You see i laugh my heart out when people, in their attempt to prove that they are so smart, end up displaying their ignorance. The coming to Ghana of Obama was well touted, no doubt. But was his coming to Ghana anything of interest to the life of the roadside Ghanaian? I don't think so.
    10000 Police officers were deployed to cover his visit,roads were blocked,all TV stations were singing Obama. Then i ask myself, whats so special about his visit? And i got an inspired answer : nothing. He will absolutely be of no benefit to me and my old parents and young siblings.
    Last year the monster called George W. Bush was here, gave us $17m to battle it out with mosquitoes. This year there are more mosquitoes in town than ever before. Where did that money go? Hm.Maybe to kill Akrantie (grass cutter) instead.
    Billions upon billions of dollars in the form of aid have come onto this God forsaken continent. Yet people still have to struggle hard, and i mean hard, to get one meal a day.And what do we see?We have stupid, useless crooks who brand themselves as politicians and milk the people to the worst of their ability.Politics in Africa is a big business.Infact bigger than Exxon Mobil and the rest.
    So you see,i dont think any of the sweet words uttered by Obama at the Accra International Conference Center to the useless and resource hog parliament of Nkrumah's God forsaken Ghana will not make any difference. This is simply because the very people he was directing his speech to are not humans.They are wolves,lions,tigers and leeches in the form of men and women with human names.Simple as that.
    To me, Obama's visit to Ghana was another waste of his time and that of his nice looking secret service agents, a waste of TV air time,a waste of security personnel and a big waste of the international medias time.Time that could have been used to cover better stories from other parts of the world.
    Have a different view or opinion. Please share it the comments below.

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    My migration to Ubuntu

    It was on the 22nd of February that i got back home from the office,turned on my Acer laptop, and horror: bsod.For those of you who are wondering what the blue screen of death is,it is when almighty Microsoft Windows decides to take a break and gives you a blue screen instead.
    Imagine getting home form work, very stressed up, and turning on your pc to while away the time and all you get is.....well nothing!That was when i realized how hopeless the OS called Windows is.
    I started using computers in late 1999 when they were seen here as some myeterious little boxes that can make the world go round.You know in Ghana, which is a tiny country in West Africa, technology is lagging far behind.SO when i started using computers, i tended to believe MS Windows was synonymous with computer.
    It was what i was taught in school, what i paid money to learn, and what i have know since.But i have a natural compulsion to know and do things differently.So one day i was just whiling away my time on the net when i remembered having the the term "open source". SO i just found my way to my beloved big G and googled the term with OS at the end. And wham.
    The first result was something called Ubuntu and honestly speaking, i was caught by the name. I clicked on it and was taken to the Ubuntu homepage where i navigated through the site. I then requested for a free cd through Canonical's shipit service. My cd took about 4 weeks to arrive. I just tried it and put away.
    So on that fateful night when i got the MS bsod,i quickly dug out for my Hardy Heron Ubuntu cd and booted, wiped out my monstrous WinXP and installed Ubuntu linux.Though i lost some data, and the learning curve was very steep, i am now a happy Ubuntu Jaunty user.I no longer have to worry about worms, trojans, viruses and malware.
    My advice to all those who are having a hell of a time with MS Windows;the most resource hog operating system in the world is to try Ubuntu found here
    www.ubuntu.com and u would be glad u did.
    Have an Operating System esperience, please share it.

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    Monday, July 13, 2009

    About Us

    Ghabuntu started out as a personal ranting blog but quickly found itself becoming Africa's global opensource-centric blog. We currently cover a lot of contemporary technological news, analysis and tutorials on the use of technology by both individuals and small scale businesses.

    The theme of this blog is the creation of awareness in Africa about the immense benefits of Free and Open source software to both the user with regards to freedom and businesses with regard to cost saving and shortening of development time. We cover quite a lot of ground, and you're welcome to join us!

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    Sunday, July 5, 2009

    Book Reviews

    Here is a list of very great Linux/Open Source books that I believe will be of immense benefit to you and will add great value to your personal library collection.

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    Wednesday, July 1, 2009

    Contact Us

    There are a number of ways to get in touch with us over at Ghabuntu.com. You can write to us: ghabuntu @ gmail dot com. You can also reach us on Twitter.

    If you prefer snail mail, you can do so

    P.O. Box TA 263
    Taifa - Accra

    If you prefer telephone, you can also call us on +233243552098. You may also choose to add us on Skype via the user handle sinaisix6.

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