Accessing shared files on Linux from Windows (trouble shooting / if solutions were always that simple)

The problem

I work in a shared Linux – Window environment and sharing files between computers has always been somewhat cumbersome. Most of the time I was able to access files in a shared folder on the Window machine from my Linux computer. But I never got it to work the other way around. The Windows computer simply did not see the shared folders on my Linux computer.

There are numerous blogs, email threads and forum articles dealing with similar problems. Solutions, if any, often involved tweaking Samba configuration. Alas, none ever worked for me.

The solution

And then I came across this observation in an email thread on Ubuntuforums that “a computer name in excess of 15 characters becomes invisible on the network”. Sure enough, my computer name was longer than 15 characters.

Could the solution really be that simple!? Yes, it was that simple! After changing my computer name it immediately was visible in Networks on the Window computer!

How to

If you have similar problems with your Windows computer not seeing your shared folders on your Linux computer, you may first want to check the length of your computer name before diving into more complicated solutions. You can see your current hostname by opening a terminal and typing on the command line:


If the name turns out to be longer than 15 characters, you can change it temporary by typing on the command line:

sudo hostname NEW_HOSTNAME_HERE

This will change the hostname until next reboot. To change the name permanently, you need to edit the host files. You can do this by running

sudo gedit /etc/hostname
sudo gedit /etc/hosts

Instead of using gedit, you can of course use your favourite text editor. In both files, change the name to what you want and save them. You need to restart the computer to apply the change.

QGIS 2.10 Pisa is out!

The new QGIS 2.10 (Pisa) has been released, with many great new features, tweaks and enhancements. Check out the changelog for the highlights (you’ll need some time, it is again an impressive list of improvements and new features).

The source code and binaries for Windows, Debian and Ubuntu are already available via the large download link on the QGIS home page.  More packages will follow as soon as the package maintainers finish their work.

A big thanks to the developers, this is again an impressive piece of work!

First release candidate of the upcoming GRASS GIS 7.0.1 version is out

GRASS GIS 7.0.1 RC1 is the upcoming stability release and provides a series of stability fixes, manual improvements and a few language translations. This first release candidate GRASS GIS 7.0.1RC1 provides 168 fixes and improvements with respect to GRASS GIS 7.0.0. See here the announcement and further information.

If you want to help testing or just want to make sure to have all the latest improvements and fixes, go to the announcement page where you’ll find the download links for your system.

Another stab at creating a Tanaka-style contour map

In a recent post Anita Graser (aka underdark) showed how to create illuminated or Tanaka contours in QGIS using various functions available in the toolbox and some custom functions.

Here I want to explore a slightly different way to achieve the same, using GRASS GIS to compute the azimuth, brightness and line width. I’ll use the command line, but you can do the same using the menu in GRASS, or the corresponding GRASS functions in the QGIS processing toolbox.

Continue reading

New publication: Environmental Gap Analysis to Prioritize Conservation Efforts in Eastern Africa

Breugel2015Just got an article out in PlosOne. Analysis were carried out and maps and figures created using a stack of open source tools, including GRASS GIS, R, and QGIS. The article addresses the question whether protected areas in Eastern Africa are representative of the diverse range of species and habitats found in the region and whether they protect those areas where biodiversity is threatened most? The paper uses a recently developed high-resolution potential natural vegetation (PNV) map for eastern Africa as a baseline to more effectively identify conservation priorities. It examines how well different potential natural vegetations (PNVs) are represented in the protected area (PA) network of eastern Africa and used a multivariate environmental similarity index to evaluate biases in PA versus PNV coverage. In addition, levels of threat to different PNVs are assessed. Results indicate substantial differences in the conservation status of PNVs and particular PNVs in which biodiversity protection and ecological functions are at risk due to human influences are revealed. The data and approach presented here provide a step forward in developing more transparent and better informed translation from global priorities to regional or national implementation in eastern Africa, and are valid for other geographic regions.

Citation: van Breugel P., R. Kindt, J.-P.B. Lillesø, M. van Breugel (2015) Environmental Gap Analysis to Prioritize Conservation Efforts in Eastern Africa. PLoS ONE 10(4): e0121444. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0121444

GRASS 7.0 is out, but the development continues unabated

Just a thumbs-up for the developers of GRASS GIS, who evidently do not rest on their laurels since their release of GRASS GIS 7.0. Below one of those more visible new features in the GRASS GIS development version which make live just that much easier.

nice new feature

A really welcome addition to the drop-down menu for selection of raster or vector layers. It now shows the open maps under a separate header.

QGIS live layer effects is propelling QGIS to the next level in the cartographic realm

This new feature created by Nyall Dawson and funded through crowd funding really sets new limits in terms of what is possible in terms of cartography. Check out Nyall’s post Introducing QGIS live layer effects! for a walk through of the new possibilities that this features brings to QGIS. It will be available in version 2.10, or if you can’t wait you download a QGIS development snapshot from the QGIS website to help in testing.