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The Perfect Desktop – Ubuntu 7.04 Feisty Fawn


With the release of Microsoft’s new Windows operating system (Vista), more and more people are looking for alternatives to Windows for various reasons. This tutorial shows people who are willing to switch to Linux how they can set up a Linux desktop (Ubuntu 7.04 Feisty Fawn in this article) that fully replaces their Windows desktop, i.e. that has all software that people need to do the things they do on their Windows desktops. The advantages are clear: you get a secure system without DRM restrictions that runs also on older hardware, and the best thing is: all software comes free of charge.

I want to say first that this is not the only way of setting up such a system. There are many ways of achieving this goal but this is the way I take. I do not issue any guarantee that this will work for you!

1 Preliminary Note

To fully replace a Windows desktop, I want the Ubuntu Feisty Fawn desktop to have the following software installed:

Graphics:

  • The GIMP – free software replacement for Adobe Photoshop
  • F-Spot – full-featured personal photo management application for the GNOME desktop
  • Google Picasa – application for organizing and editing digital photos

Internet:

  • Firefox
  • Opera
  • Flash Player 9
  • gFTP – multithreaded FTP client
  • Thunderbird – email and news client
  • Evolution – combines e-mail, calendar, address book, and task list management functions
  • aMule – P2P file sharing application
  • Bittorrent client
  • Azureus – Java Bittorrent client
  • Gaim – multi-platform instant messaging client
  • Skype
  • Google Earth
  • Xchat IRC – IRC client

Office:

  • OpenOffice Writer – replacement for Microsoft Word
  • OpenOffice Calc – replacement for Microsoft Excel
  • Adobe Reader
  • GnuCash – double-entry book-keeping personal finance system, similar to Quicken
  • Scribus – open source desktop publishing (DTP) application

Sound & Video:

  • Amarok – audio player
  • Audacity – free, open source, cross platform digital audio editor
  • Banshee – audio player, can encode/decode various formats and synchronize music with Apple iPods
  • MPlayer – media player (video/audio), supports WMA
  • Rhythmbox Music Player – audio player, similar to Apple’s iTunes, with support for iPods
  • gtkPod – software similar to Apple’s iTunes, supports iPod, iPod nano, iPod shuffle, iPod photo, and iPod mini
  • XMMS – audio player similar to Winamp
  • dvd::rip – full featured DVD copy program
  • Kino – free digital video editor
  • Sound Juicer CD Extractor – CD ripping tool, supports various audio codecs
  • VLC Media Player – media player (video/audio)
  • Real Player
  • Totem – media player (video/audio)
  • Xine – media player, supports various formats; can play DVDs
  • GnomeBaker – CD/DVD burning program
  • K3B – CD/DVD burning program
  • Multimedia-Codecs

Programming:

  • Nvu – WYSIWYG HTML editor, similar to Macromedia Dreamweaver, but not as feature-rich (yet)
  • Bluefish – text editor, suitable for many programming and markup languages
  • Quanta Plus – web development environment, including a WYSIWYG editor

Other:

  • VMware Server – lets you run your old Windows desktop as a virtual machine under your Linux desktop, so you don’t have to entirely abandon Windows
  • TrueType fonts
  • Java
  • Read/Write support for NTFS partitions

Ubuntu automatically installs the GNOME desktop.

Lots of our desired applications are available in the Ubuntu repositories, and some of these applications have been contributed by the Ubuntu community. The rest (except for Nvu) can be obtained by using Automatix.

I will use the username falko in this tutorial. Please replace it with your own username.

 

2 Installing The Base System

The installation of the base system is easy as 1-2-3 because the Ubuntu installer doesn’t offer a lot of options to choose from, so you cannot go wrong.

Download the Ubuntu Feisty Fawn Desktop (not Server!) iso image from http://www.ubuntu.com/download, burn it onto a CD, and boot your computer from it. At the boot prompt, select Start or install Ubuntu:

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The system boots and starts a desktop that is run entirely in the RAM of your system (the Ubuntu installation CD is also a Live-CD) without changing anything on your hard disk. This has the advantage that you can test how Ubuntu works on your hardware before you finally install it.

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After the Live-CD desktop has started, double-click the Install icon on the desktop to start the installation to the hard drive:

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The installer starts. First, select your language:

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Then choose your time zone:

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Change the keyboard layout, if necessary:

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Now we come to the partitioning of our hard disk. Usually Guided – use entire disk is a good choice, unless you need custom partitions and know what you’re doing. Erase entire disk will create one big / partition for us:

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If the installer finds a Windows partition on your hard disk, it offers you to import those settings to your new Ubuntu installation. If there’s no Windows partition, then of course there’s nothing to import:

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Type in your real name, your desired username along with a password, and click on Forward:

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The next screen shows us a summary of the installation settings. Click on Install to start the installation:

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The hard drive is partitioned, and the Ubuntu system gets installed. This can take a few minutes, so be patient:

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After the installation is complete, we must reboot the system to use it. Click on Restart now:

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The Live-CD desktop shuts down. At the end (when you see the blue text at the bottom of this screen), the Ubuntu CD is ejected. Remove it from the CD drive and hit the <ENTER> key to boot into your new Ubuntu desktop:

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Your new Ubuntu system starts. Log in to the desktop with the username and password you provided during the installation:

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This is how your new desktop looks:

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Now the base system is ready to be used.

3 Update The System

When you log in for the first time, you will most likely see an orange software update icon in the taskbar (in the upper right corner) which means that updates for the installed software are available. To install the updates, click on that orange icon:

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The Update Manager tells you which updates are available. Click on Install Updates to install them:

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Specify your password:

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The updates are being downloaded and installed (this can take a few minutes):

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When the update is complete, click on Close:

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Then close the Update Manager:

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The orange software update icon is now gone. The system is up-to-date.

4 Edit Menus

By browsing the Applications menu, you will get an overview of what is already installed on the system. Unfortunately, it doesn’t show all installed applications. For example, the BitTorrent client and the CD Player are already installed, but not shown in the menu. Therefore we will edit the menu now to make it list these two applications as well.

Right-click on Applications and select Edit Menus:

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Go to the Internet submenu and enable BitTorrent:

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Then go to the Sound & Video submenu and enable CD Player. Afterwards, click on Close:

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Now both items should be visible in the Applications menu (in their respective submenus).

 

5 Inventory Of What We Have So Far

Now lets browse all menus under Applications to see which of our needed applications are already installed:

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You should find the following situation ([x] marks an application that is already installed, where [ ] is an application that is missing):

Graphics:
[x] The GIMP
[x] F-Spot
[ ] Picasa

Internet:
[x] Firefox
[ ] Opera
[ ] Flash Player
[ ] gFTP
[ ] Thunderbird
[x] Evolution
[ ] aMule
[x] Bittorrent
[ ] Azureus
[x] Gaim
[ ] Skype
[ ] Google Earth
[ ] Xchat IRC

Office:
[x] OpenOffice Writer
[x] OpenOffice Calc
[ ] Adobe Reader
[ ] GnuCash
[ ] Scribus

Sound & Video:
[ ] Amarok
[ ] Audacity
[ ] Banshee
[ ] MPlayer
[x] Rhythmbox Music Player
[ ] gtkPod
[ ] XMMS
[ ] dvd::rip
[ ] Kino
[x] Sound Juicer CD Extractor
[ ] VLC Media Player
[ ] Real Player
[x] Totem
[ ] Xine
[ ] GnomeBaker
[ ] K3B
[ ] Multimedia-Codecs

Programming:
[ ] Nvu
[ ] Bluefish
[ ] Quanta Plus

Other:
[ ] VMware Server
[ ] TrueType fonts
[ ] Java
[ ] Read/Write support for NTFS partitions

So some applications are already on the system…

6 Install Additional Software

To install additional applications, go to Applications > Add/Remove…:

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The Add/Remove Applications window opens. Select All available applications in the Show: menu:

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Select the following packages for installation:

  • Amarok
  • aMule
  • aMule GUI
  • Audacity
  • Azureus
  • Banshee Music Player
  • Bluefish Editor
  • CD/DVD Writer GnomeBaker
  • dvd::rip
  • gFTP
  • GnuCash Finance Management
  • GStreamer extra plugins
  • GStreamer ffmpeg video plugin
  • GStreamer plugins for aac, xvid, mpeg2, faad
  • GStreamer plugins for mms, wavpack, quicktime, musepack
  • gtkpod
  • gxine
  • Java 1.4 plugin for mozilla/firefox
  • Java Web Start 1.4
  • K3b
  • Kino
  • MPlayer Movie Player
  • MPlayer Plugin for Mozilla
  • Printers
  • Print Jobs (CUPS)
  • Quanta Plus
  • Scribus
  • Sun Java 5.0 Plugin
  • Sun Java 5.0 Runtime
  • Sun Java 6 Web Start
  • Thunderbird Mail
  • Ubuntu Studio
  • VLC media player
  • XChat IRC Client
  • Xine extra plugins
  • XMMS

There are also lots of other applications available that you can install as well if you like.

A few packages require interaction when you select them. For example, some packages are maintained by the Ubuntu community, others are categorized as unsupported or restricted. Accept them by clicking on Install:

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Some other packages have dependencies that must be installed as well if you select such a package. For example, aMule GUI has some dependencies. When you select aMule GUI, a new window will pop up telling you about the dependencies. Install them as well by clicking on Install All:

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After you’ve selected all wanted packages, click on the Apply button in the lower right corner:

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Confirm your selection by clicking on Apply:

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Please type in your password:

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Afterwards all selected packages are downloaded and installed:

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Some packages require that you accept their licenses (for example j2re1.4 and sun-java5-bin):

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After all packages have been installed, click on Close:

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A small window opens where you can select to start any of your new applications. Close it and then leave the Add/Remove Applications window:

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7 VMware Server

With VMware Server you can let your old Windows desktop (that you previously converted into a VMware virtual machine with VMware Converter, as described in this tutorial: http://www.Kreationnext.com/vmware_converter_windows_linux) run under your Ubuntu desktop. This can be useful if you depend on some applications that exist for Windows only, or if you want to switch to Linux slowly.

VMware Server is available as an Ubuntu package in the feisty-commercial repository, but before we install it, we need to get an VMware Server serial number from http://register.vmware.com/content/registration.html. Fill in your personal details:

49

Afterwards you will get a page with a serial number for VMware Server. Write it down or print it out:

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Now open a terminal (Applications > Accessories > Terminal):

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We must modify /etc/apt/sources.list and add the feisty-commercial repository to it, therefore we open /etc/apt/sources.list in a text editor:

sudo gedit /etc/apt/sources.list

We add the following line at the end of the file and save it:

[...]
deb http://archive.canonical.com/ubuntu feisty-commercial main

Then we update our packages database:

sudo apt-get update

and install VMware Server like this:

sudo apt-get install vmware-server

During the installation, you have to read through the VMware license agreement:

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Then accept the VMware Server license:

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Finally, type in your VMware Server serial number:

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You will now find VMware Server under Applications > System Tools:

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When you start it, select Local host:

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Afterwards, you can create virtual machines (or import your virtual Windows machine that you created with VMware Converter):

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8 Inventory (II)

Now let’s check again what we have so far by browsing the menus again:

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(If you don’t find some applications anywhere in the menu although you know you’ve just installed them, log out and in again to the desktop. Afterwards they should be listed.)

Our inventory should now look like this:

Graphics:
[x] The GIMP
[x] F-Spot
[ ] Picasa

Internet:
[x] Firefox
[ ] Opera
[ ] Flash Player
[x] gFTP
[x] Thunderbird
[x] Evolution
[x] aMule
[x] Bittorrent
[x] Azureus
[x] Gaim
[ ] Skype
[ ] Google Earth
[x] Xchat IRC

Office:
[x] OpenOffice Writer
[x] OpenOffice Calc
[ ] Adobe Reader
[x] GnuCash
[x] Scribus

Sound & Video:
[x] Amarok
[x] Audacity
[x] Banshee
[x] MPlayer
[x] Rhythmbox Music Player
[x] gtkPod
[x] XMMS
[x] dvd::rip
[x] Kino
[x] Sound Juicer CD Extractor
[x] VLC Media Player
[ ] Real Player
[x] Totem
[x] Xine
[x] GnomeBaker
[x] K3B
[ ] Multimedia-Codecs

Programming:
[ ] Nvu
[x] Bluefish
[x] Quanta Plus

Other:
[x] VMware Server
[ ] TrueType fonts
[x] Java
[ ] Read/Write support for NTFS partitions

9 Install Automatix

Automatix2 comes with a graphical interface, but in order to install Automatix2 there are a few steps we have to do on the command line. Go to Applications > Accessories > Terminal to open a command line window.

In the command line window, type in the following commands to install Automatix:

echo “deb http://www.getautomatix.com/apt feisty main” | sudo tee -a /etc/apt/sources.list

You might have to provide your password. Afterwards, run

wget http://www.getautomatix.com/keys/automatix2.key

gpg –import automatix2.key

gpg –export –armor E23C5FC3 | sudo apt-key add –

and update the packages database:

sudo apt-get update

Finally, install Automatix:

sudo apt-get install automatix2

Then close the command line window. After Automatix has been installed, you can find it under Applications -> System Tools -> Automatix:

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10 Install Further Packages With Automatix

Now start Automatix. You will have to provide your password:

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It comes up with a warning that you must not install the package AUD-DVD if you are from the USA because it is illegal there (so if you are from the USA, don’t install that package).

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After accepting the warning, Automatix starts:

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and adds some repositories to /etc/apt/sources.list:

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Afterwards, click on OK:

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In the left window you see all available package groups (File Sharing, Web Browsers, etc.), and in the right window there are all packages that belong to the package group and that can be installed by Automatix. Select the following packages for installation:

  • Skype
  • AUD-DVD Codecs
  • Flash Player
  • MPlayer and FF Plugin
  • Multimedia Codecs
  • SUN JAVA 1.6 JRE
  • RealPlayer
  • Automatix read/write NTFS and FAT32 Mounter
  • Extra Fonts
  • Acrobat Reader
  • Google Earth
  • Google Picasa
  • Opera Browser

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After you’ve made your selection, click on Start. The package installation begins, and it can take some time.

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Accept the Skype license:

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Automatix continues:

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To install NTFS read/write support (ntfs-3g), click on Yes when the following message comes up:

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Then click on OK. If you are currently using NTFS partitions, you might have to reboot the system after Automatix has finished to get read/write support on the NTFS partitions.

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Google Earth will ask you to accept its license, so click on I Agree:

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Google Earth’s default settings are ok, so click on Begin Install:

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After the Google Earth installation, you can either select to start it immediately or to quit. I select Quit here (although it doesn’t matter what you select):

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After the installation of all selected packages, we can leave Automatix by clicking on the cross in the upper right corner of the Automatix window. A new window pops up where we select Yes:

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11 Flash Player

To see if the Flash plugin (which we installed with Automatix before) is working, start Firefox. Then type about:plugins in the address bar. Firefox will then list all installed plugins, and it should list the Flash Player (version 9.0r31 which is the newest one at the time of this writing) among them:

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You can now open a web site of which you know that it uses Flash. For example, www.spiegel.de has video news in Flash. You should be able to see (and hear) the Flash movies:

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Another web site that uses Flash movies is YouTube, for example.

 

12 Inventory (III)

Browse the Applications menu again and check what you’ve got installed so far.

Your list should look like this now:

Graphics:
[x] The GIMP
[x] F-Spot
[x] Picasa

Internet:
[x] Firefox
[x] Opera
[x] Flash Player
[x] gFTP
[x] Thunderbird
[x] Evolution
[x] aMule
[x] Bittorrent
[x] Azureus
[x] Gaim
[x] Skype
[x] Google Earth
[x] Xchat IRC

Office:
[x] OpenOffice Writer
[x] OpenOffice Calc
[x] Adobe Reader
[x] GnuCash
[x] Scribus

Sound & Video:
[x] Amarok
[x] Audacity
[x] Banshee
[x] MPlayer
[x] Rhythmbox Music Player
[x] gtkPod
[x] XMMS
[x] dvd::rip
[x] Kino
[x] Sound Juicer CD Extractor
[x] VLC Media Player
[x] Real Player
[x] Totem
[x] Xine
[x] GnomeBaker
[x] K3B
[x] Multimedia-Codecs

Programming:
[ ] Nvu
[x] Bluefish
[x] Quanta Plus

Other:
[x] VMware Server
[x] TrueType fonts
[x] Java
[x] Read/Write support for NTFS partitions

So everything is installed except for Nvu…

13 Nvu

Nvu isn’t available neither in the official Ubuntu repositories nor from Automatix, but fortunately backports.org has an Nvu package for Debian Etch which works on Ubuntu Feisty Fawn, too. It can be found on http://backports.org/debian/pool/main/n/nvu/. Go to that address with your browser and download the latest Nvu package, e.g. nvu_1.0final-0bpo1_i386.deb. In the Firefox download window, select Open with GDebi Package Installer (default):

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A Package Installer window comes up. Click on the Install Package button to install Nvu:

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You must provide your password to start the installation:

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The installation begins:

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Afterwards, you can close the Package Installer window:

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Nvu is now installed as well.

 

14 Inventory (IV)

We have now all wanted applications installed:

Graphics:
[x] The GIMP
[x] F-Spot
[x] Picasa

Internet:
[x] Firefox
[x] Opera
[x] Flash Player
[x] gFTP
[x] Thunderbird
[x] Evolution
[x] aMule
[x] Bittorrent
[x] Azureus
[x] Gaim
[x] Skype
[x] Google Earth
[x] Xchat IRC

Office:
[x] OpenOffice Writer
[x] OpenOffice Calc
[x] Adobe Reader
[x] GnuCash
[x] Scribus

Sound & Video:
[x] Amarok
[x] Audacity
[x] Banshee
[x] MPlayer
[x] Rhythmbox Music Player
[x] gtkPod
[x] XMMS
[x] dvd::rip
[x] Kino
[x] Sound Juicer CD Extractor
[x] VLC Media Player
[x] Real Player
[x] Totem
[x] Xine
[x] GnomeBaker
[x] K3B
[x] Multimedia-Codecs

Programming:
[x] Nvu
[x] Bluefish
[x] Quanta Plus

Other:
[x] VMware Server
[x] TrueType fonts
[x] Java
[x] Read/Write support for NTFS partitions

 

  • Ubuntu: http://www.ubuntu.com
  • Automatix: http://www.getautomatix.com

 

 

 

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