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Google Earth puts a planet's worth of imagery and other geographic information right on your desktop.

Google Earth is a virtual globe, map  and geographic information program that was originally called EarthViewer 3D, and was created by Keyhole, Inc, a company acquired by Google in 2004. It maps the Earth by the superimposition of images obtained from satellite imagery, aerial photography and GIS 3D globe. It was available under three different licenses, 2 currently: Google Earth, a free version with limited functionality; Google Earth Plus (discontinued),  which included additional features; and Google Earth Pro ($400 per year), which is intended for commercial use.<br /><br />The product, re-released as Google Earth in 2005, is currently available for use on personal computers running Windows 2000 and above, Mac OS X 10.3.9 and above, Linux Kernel: 2.4 or later (released on June 12, 2006), and FreeBSD. Google Earth is also available as a browser plugin which was released on May 28, 2008.

It was also made available for mobile viewers on the iPhone OS on October 27, 2008, as a free download from the App Store, and is available to Android (operating system) users as a free app on the Android Market. In addition to releasing an updated Keyhole based client, Google also added the imagery from the Earth database to their web-based mapping software, Google Maps. The release of Google Earth in June 2005 to the public caused a more than tenfold increase in media coverage on virtual globes between 2005 and 2006,[5] driving public interest in geospatial technologies and applications.

Google Earth puts a planet's worth of imagery and other geographic information right on your desktop. View exotic locales like Maui and Paris as well as points of interest such as local restaurants, hospitals, schools, and more.

There are two options to install Google Earth in Ubuntu with a package.
Medibuntu repository.
Google Earth is available packaged in the Medibuntu repository, however it might not have the latest version available.

As of 14 Feb 09, Medibuntu's jaunty repository contains the latest version available from Google's website, 5.0.11337.1968. The latest available version for intrepid is 4.3.7284.3916.

Make sure you have the Medibuntu repository added to your package sources, then install the googleearth package by clicking here or using your favorite package manager (Synaptic in Gnome or Adept in KDE, for example) or type the following in a terminal:

<i><big><big> sudo apt-get install googleearth</big></big></i>
Google Earth is also available from googleearth-package. This package installs a script called make-googleearth-package, which downloads the Google Earth installer from Google and creates a package for you. You can then install and remove the created package at will. You can find the googleearth-package in the multiverse  repository and, after installing the package, instructions on how to use the script can be found by running
<i><big> make-googleearth-package --help</big></i>
<i><big> man make-googleearth-package</big></i>
To have this package download the latest binary and create a .deb package on a 64-bit Ubuntu install (make sure you have the ia32-libs package installed), simply type:
<i><big> make-googleearth-package --force</big></i>
Be aware that a previously downloaded copy of the binary will not be overwritten, so manually delete any GoogleEarthLinux.bin file before running this command. Once you install the created .deb package Google Earth should be available in your menus.
Alternative Installation.
  1. Download Google Earth from the Google Earth website.
    The linux version will be automatically chosen when downloading from Ubuntu.
  2. Open a terminal from Applications -> Accessories -> Terminal.
  3. cd into the directory where you saved Google Earth. For example, if you saved it to the Desktop type:
    <i><big> cd ~/Desktop</big></i>
  4. Make it executable by typing:
    <i><big> chmod +x GoogleEarthLinux.bin</big></i>
  5. Run the installer by typing:
    <i><big> sudo ./GoogleEarthLinux.bin</big></i>
  6. Leave the default options and click Begin Install.

  7. When installation is complete, press Quit.
    Do not press Start as this will run it as root which is never a good idea.

A file named Google-googleearth.desktop will be installed on the Desktop. This file is safe to delete.
Hints and Tips.
Run Google Earth by selecting Applications -> Internet -> Google Earth.
Upgrading to a new version is the same as in the Installation section, except that you will not be asked where to install.
Assuming you installed Google Earth according to the Installation section above, Google Earth can be uninstalled by pasting the following command in a terminal:

This command is all on one line. Copy it and paste it in your terminal.

<i><big>sudo rm -rf /opt/google-earth && sudo rm /usr/share/mime/application/vnd.google-earth.* /usr/share/mimelnk/application/<br />vnd.google-earth.* /usr/share/applnk/Google-googleearth.desktop /usr/share/mime/packages/googleearth-mimetypes.xml /<br />usr/share/gnome/apps/Google-googleearth.desktop /usr/share/applications/Google-googleearth.desktop /usr/local/bin/googleearth</big></i>
You may also wish to remove your user preferences folder, although this is not necessary if you intend to reinstall later. This directory contains Google Earth settings and the cache:
<i><big>rm -rf ~/.googleearth</big></i>
Google Earth for Linux is still in beta. As such, many problems that you may encounter can be attributed to this.

Low performance with Google Earth 4.3
Users have been reporting major performance regressions after upgrading from 4.2. This is due to new atmospheric rendering effects in GE 4.3. Disable these effects if you experience this behavior. Menu>View>Atmosphere.

Google Earth and Compiz.
As with all OpenGL apps, Google Earth has issues running with Compiz. To resolve this issue, either run Google Earth in a normal GNOME session, or see this thread: http://www.ubuntuforums.org/showthread.php?t=176636

Google Earth and ATI.
Some people using the ATI fglrx driver have experienced a problem where Google Earth freezes at the splash screen and never starts up. See this post for a solution: http://n01getsout.com/blog/2006/11/21/google-earth-for-linux-freezing-with-ati

Google Earth and 3D acceleration.
Ensure that you video driver has 3D acceleration enabled. Display Hardware Drivers by selecting System -> Administration -> Hardware Drivers Select the Enable checkbox next to your graphics card. This may require a system restart.

Google Earth on Ubuntu x64.
If you get a "error 29", you may miss "lib32nss-mdns". Install this library like this:
sudo aptitude install lib32nss-mdns
You may also install other 32bit libraries. Note that google does not provide a 64 bit version of Google Earth. Thus installation on x64 system will take some extra efforts.

GoogleEarth 5.0.11337.1968 (beta) on Ubuntu x32.
If there is a serious performance issue due to graphics overloading, do the following:
1 - System -> Preferences -> Appearance: Visual Effects tab: set to None
2 - Start GE, try to get to View: remove Atmosphere, Water Surface
3 - By now some overload reduction should allow to change other options, like
  • Tools -> Options: 3D View tab: check Graphics_Mode checkbox to Use Safe mode
Now you should be able to enjoy Google Earth and the Flight simulator.

GoogleEarth 5.0.11337.1968 (beta) on Ubuntu x64.
/usr/lib32/i686/cmov/libcrypto.so.0.9.8 issue
<i><big>mv ~/google-earth/libcrypto.so.0.9.8 ~/google-earth/libcrypto.so.0.9.8.bak<br />ln -s /usr/lib/libcrypto.so.0.9.8 ~/google-earth/libcrypto.so.0.9.8</big></i>

Accidentally left the 'start automatically after install' checked.
If the installer was started with sudo, googleearth will be started as root, but still using the home folder of the normal user (who started sudo). Thus Google Earth will place its configuration files into the user's home folders, but with root as the owner. The normal user cannot use Google Earth, because the settings cannot be saved. The display will not contain a globe, but only a black space and some settings will be grayed out. To fix this problem, delete the Google Earth configuration directory:
sudo rm -Rf .config/Google .googleearth

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About Hugo Repetto

Ubuntu is a Linux distribution that offers an operating system predominantly focused on desktop computers but also provides support for servers. Based on Debian GNU / Linux, Ubuntu focuses on ease of use, freedom in usage restriction, regular releases (every 6 months) and ease of installation.
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