Sunday, 11 March 2018

4 Best Display Managers for Linux

A display manager often referred as login manager is a graphical user interface you see when the boot process completes. It is responsible for loading the login window and then the desktop environment once you enter the credentials. 

In a X Windows System, a display manager presents the graphical login manager which starts a X server session once the username / password are entered. 

Being a Linux user, you never run out of alternatives; same is the case with Display Manager. There are many display managers which you can install and switch between, just to give yourself a new login screen. 

Question is, why would you like to switch your default display manager, and the answer is simple. 
  • You need a new login interface. 
  • You have to choose a display manager by yourself to set up for some distributions like Arch Linux. 
  • Your primary OS replaced the default display manager and you want the earlier one back - Ubuntu has switched to GDM3 from lightdm from Ubuntu 18.04. 
  • You want a lightweight display manager.
  • You love to be a minimalist, and want a console based display manager. 
In this article, we will see some of the popular display managers and the steps to install and switch between them. 

GDM3 : GNOME Display Manager

GNOME Display Manager 3 (GDM3) is the default diplsay manager for GNOME desktops and a successor to gdm.

  • In consistent to the look and feel o GTK/GNOME themed application. 
  • Options to select various desktop environments and windows managers. 
  • Virtual keyboard support. 
  • Regional settings and keyboard layouts can be set on per-login basis. 
Install GDM3

sudo apt-get install gdm3

Remove GDM3

sudo apt-get remove gdm3

Customizing GDM3

You can perform some basic customizations to GDM3 like changing the logo icon, display background and GTK theme. 
  • Edit the below file as root
  • Modify / Uncomment the desired settings, save and exit. 
  • Run the below command to reconfigure it, 
    sudo dpkg-reconfigure gdm3
  • Reboot and you will see the changes. 

X Display Manager - XDM

XDM is the default display manager for X Windows System. It's perhaps the oldest display manager introduced in 1988 and is very minimalist, both in feature and interface. 

  • It can manager X servers running on local machine or a remote X servers using XDMCP. 
  • It is highly configurable and most of the behaviour can be controlled by resource files and shell scripts. 
  • It provides a simple and straight forward graphical login prompt.
Install XDM

sudo apt-get install xdm

Remove XDM

sudo apt-get remove xdm


LightDM is a display manager from Canonical which was the default for Unity desktop environments. Being a lightweight, it is configurable and various themes are available. 

  • Cross desktop and allows multiple GUIs
  • Supports for all display-managers use cases
  • Simpler code base than GDM3, doesn't load GNOME libraries to work. 
  • Standards compliance (PAM, logind etc).
Install LightDM

sudo apt-get install lightdm

Remove LightDM

sudp apt-get remove lightdm

SDDM : Simple Desktop Display Manager

SDDM became the default display manager from KDE5 replacing kdm and comes by default with systems that run KDE like Kubuntu.

  • It is fast, simple and beautiful, with smooth, animated user interfaces.
  • Supports themes. 
  • Designers have premade components like textbox, combox for theme creation. 
Install SDDM

sudo apt-get install sddm

Remove SDDM

sudo apt-get remove sddm

How to replace your default Display Manager

I hope you already have installed a different display manager than the default one your system comes with. Lets see how you can replace it. 

Debian / Ubuntu based : 

sudo dpkg-reconfigure <display-manager-name>

You can repeat this process to switch between different display managers. Changes will take effect only after a reboot. 

Troubleshooting : In case something goes wrong in trying any of the above display manager in Linux, use CTRL + ALT + F1 to switch to console mode and then run the above command with the display manager that was working fine earlier!

Saturday, 10 March 2018

How to install Unity in Ubuntu 18.04

Since Canonical has dropped Unity with Ubuntu 18.04 Bionic Beaver and switched to GNOME as default desktop environment, there is a mix response from its users. Some believe this is for better since Unity is always resource hungry. However, others feel it was Unity which had made Ubuntu stand different to other Linux distributions.

I am in the later category. The reason I use Ubuntu as primary OS is because of the ease of use of Unity. The dash search has propagated in my life and GNOME environment looks alien to me. I had installed Ubuntu 18.04 in VirtualBox to try the GNOME desktop and wanted to switch back to Unity after a day! After all, if I want GNOME, I can always install it with a simple terminal command; why to make it default when Unity is your exclusive desktop environment. 

There is a good news though. Unity's development will continue and you can easily install Unity in Ubuntu 18.04. 

In this article, we will see how to install Unity in Ubuntu 18.04. 

Installing Unity 7 in Ubuntu 18.04

Unity 7 is not the latest one, however if you want none other than Unity 7, open a terminal and type in the below command : 

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:unity7maintainers/unity7-desktop 
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install ubuntu-unity-desktop

During installation, choose lightdm as your default display manager. Reboot to login to Unity.

Installing Unity 8 in Ubuntu 18.04

If you want the latest of Unity, you can install Unity 8 in Ubuntu 18.04 with below command : 

sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install unity

This will install Unity in your system. 

Now, to switch to Unity Desktop Environment, reboot your system and on the login screen, click on the button to display the available desktop environments.

Choose Unity and you will login to it. 

Let me know in the comments if you face any issue while installing Unity in Ubuntu 18.04. 

Monday, 5 February 2018

Elementary OS to charge a conveyance fee for App Updates

Elementary OS has its own AppCenter with some high quality and open source applications. There are many free and open source software; some as complex as GIMP and LibreOffice (complex as in development, not in use). 

However, there are people behind the development of these software who devotes their time and hard work to make these work. Well known and widely used applications are still able to get some money in the form of donations but for a small team (or a single developer), it's really a tough thing. 

The founders at Elementary OS believe this may prove a hindrance in the expansion of their AppCenter and has decided to start a conveyance charge for the apps which you use through their AppCenter.

This will apply from Elementary OS Juno release.

How it works?

For each time you navigate to the AppCenter to "Update All" your apps in one go, it will list out the paid apps and asks for the amount of money you want to donate before you can update them. This will only apply while updating, and not when you download an app for the first time which means if you liked an app and continuing to use it, you are prompted for a small donation of your choice for the next update.

What if I don't want to pay?

If you don't want to pay, you can simply fill it up with 0$ and move on with the update. However a small donation may help Elementary OS to have a sustainable AppCenter. 

There won't be annoying notifications and the free apps will still be available without any restrictions. 


  • This could be a great idea to attract developers to the community and generate at least a sustainable amount to keep on going with it. Moreover you always have an option of not to pay. 
  • This could bring in the necessary funding the developers need to sustain!


  • On the other hand, it may frustrate some of the users who has a long list of installed software. Entering 0$ (or any other amount) for each application before it can be updated can be a pain. 

What about the system updates?

As a Elementary OS user, you will still get all the critical updates and bug fixes free of costs without any ask of donation. This conveyance charge applies only for the "Update All" from AppCenter. You can still use a Terminal to updated them skipping the donation part.


There are users on both side of free beer and free speech. Most of the free and open source software are relying on the donations they receive from their users. AppCenter of Elementary OS gives an option to developers to monetize their apps and get some money in return. This additional step can bring them some more of it, without limiting those users who don't want to pay. 

What's your opinion on this, we would like to hear in the comments.

Source : announcement

Friday, 2 February 2018

How to install Ubuntu 18.04 in a Virtual Box [daily build]

Canonical is all set to launch Ubuntu 18.04 LTS (Long Term Support) in April this year and the Ubuntu fans like me can't wait anymore. I went ahead and tried a daily build in virtual box and it seems quite stable already. 

The GNOME desktop environment did not disappoint me, and the installation steps are same as any other Ubuntu release. There's a new Ubuntu theme and Canonical is finally moving to Xorg as default display server in Ubuntu 18.04.

If you are new to Ubuntu and want to install Ubuntu 18.04 in a virtual box, you can find below a step-by-step tutorial. Remember that its a daily build and is still in alpha-release phase; expect some bugs and glitches. 

Setting up Virtual Box [pre-installation task]

If you have not installed VirtualBox, download a copy from here and install it. Once done, launch it and click on New. A dialogue box appears asking for the Name and Type of Operating System. Enter a name, select Type as Linux and Version as Ubuntu (64-bit).

The next screen asks for the RAM you want to assign to the Virtual Machine. The recommended size is 1024mb but I would suggest using at least 2 GB of RAM for a better experience.

Next step asks for the storage you want to allocate to Ubuntu 18.04. Make sure to allocate sufficient space for the updates and applications to not run out of storage at a later part.

Click on Create to navigate to next screen. It asks for the hard disk file type. You can leave it to the default choice - VirtualBox Disk Image which will create a image file with the size you specified in the previous step.

In the next screen, you can select if you want your physical device to be dynamically allocated or a fixed size. A dynamically allocated hard disk only takes up the space your Ubuntu OS is taking, from your primary storage. A fixed size means you assign that particular memory size to the guest OS and can not use outside to it. However a fixed size disk type is faster to use.

Next step will ask the amount of storage you want to assign to Ubuntu 18.04 LTS.

Once done, click on Create to finish up the set up.

Installing Ubuntu 18.04 LTS in Virtual Box 

Once the Virtual Machine set up is done, Start it. It will ask you to select the start-up disk. Click on the folder icon and select the ISO file you have downloaded from the Ubuntu's website.

It will take some time to boot from the ISO. Once it boots, it will ask either to Try Ubuntu or Install it. Select your preferred language from the left sidebar and click on Install Ubuntu.

Next step asks whether you want to download update and install third party software for graphics and other media codecs. I would suggest to check both the options to get the latest of Ubuntu 18.04 and to save yourself from the pain of downloading and installing each drivers and codecs by yourself.

Next option is the Installation type. Since you are using a virtual disk for installing Ubuntu 18.04 LTS in a virtual box there won't be any another operating system detected. Erase disk and install Ubuntu will be selected by default. You can select to encrypt your new Ubuntu installation drive and/or use a logical volume management. 

Once you select the options and click on Install Now it, the installer will display a warning. You can ignore it and click Continue. 

The next screen asks your geographical location. 

And the keyboard layout which you want to use. 

Before you start with the installation, you will have to create a user and password protect it. Fill all the details and click on Continue. 

Ubuntu 18.04 installation will begin. It will take some time depending upon the updates and your broadband speed. Wait for it finish. 

Once the installation for Ubuntu 18.04 completes, restart your system and you will see Ubuntu booting. 

Ubuntu 18.04 LTS has a new Login interface that looks kinda cool. You are all set to login and use!

This is the home screen. 

If you are not aware, Canonical has ditched Unity and has switched to GNOME for Ubuntu 18.04. However the launcher is continued and there are different settings for the launcher which can be changed. 

My Reaction to Ubuntu 18.04

Ubuntu 18.04 is set to release in April and this is a daily build, which is yet not ready for production. However the experience is smooth - though its eating up my RAM. I had always been a Unity fan but GNOME is not disappointing me. Good to see the launcher in it's place and the customization options integrated in the Settings, for changing icon size moving it either top / bottom / right / left. 

Can't wait anymore for the Ubuntu 18.04 LTS. :)

Did you try the daily build? What's your reaction, tell us in the comments. 

Saturday, 27 January 2018

Ubuntu 18.04 LTS to use Xorg as default display server

Ubuntu 18.04 LTS codenamed Bioninc Beaver is all set to release in April this year and Canonical has decided to ship it with Xorg as default display server in place of Wayland.

In a blog post, Canonical announced the move from Wayland to Xorg, stating both of them will be available but Xorg will be the default display server. The last release Ubuntu 17.10 has Wayland as default and Canonical believes Xorg will be more suited for a long term support release.

Preferring Xorg over Wayland has some advantage. Using Xorg means you can use software like Google Hangouts, Skype etc for screen sharing, and remote desktop control works well in Xorg. The other significant reason is; when a shell crashes inside Wayland, it kills all processes and application and returns you to the login screen. This means anything you are working on, is lost and this could in some cases be very frustrating. On the other hand, in Xorg the shell can be restarted independently without affecting the applications and processes.

The crashing issue is currently being addresses in Wayland but Canonical believes it is going to take some more time and it doesn't want to use it as a default display server for a Long Term Support release.

For those who still prefers Wayland over Xorg , you can still use it as Canonical is changing just the default display server. You can choose to use Wayland on the login screen, and for those who will be upgrading to 18.04 LTS from another release will still have Wayland has default display server.

What do you think about this move for Ubuntu 18.04 LTS from Wayland to Xorg? Let us know in the comments. 

Friday, 5 January 2018

5 Best App Launcher for Ubuntu

Unity and GNOME has nice app launchers by default. However, at any point of time if you get bored by the default app launcher for either of them, feel free to pick one from the below list of best app launchers for Ubuntu.


Docky is a full fledged dock application integrated fully with GNOME desktop. It provides an application launcher and docklets like CPU monitor, weather report and clock.

You can create more than one Dock and there are some predefined docklets which you can add to each one of them. You can also drag and drop an item to docky. There are options to increase / decrease icons size, choose transparency and 3D effects.


sudo apt-get install docky


Ulauncher is another great App launcher for Ubuntu and other distribution. It provides instant search results and an application can be run by typing the name in the search box. You can search files or directories by starting with /. You can search Google directly and there are various other helpful features.

You can grab a DEB file from here or install through the official PPA.

sudo apt-add-repository ppa:agornostal/ulauncher
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install ulauncher


Plank claims to be the simplest dock on the planet with doing just what a dock should do. The interface is pretty simple and so is the configuration. You don't have fancy features here which is the primary reason why it is a very light weight application.

You can drag and drop any application from the Dash Search to Plank Dock.


sudo apt-get install plank


GnomeDO is fee and open source application launcher for Linux which allows you to search for items from your system or web. You can send emails, play music  and get notified when one of your friends post something on Twitter. You can search your Google contacts and control playback music.


sudo add-apt-repository ppa:do-core/ppa
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install gnome-do gnome-do-plugins


DockbarX is a lightweight application launcher for Ubuntu and other Linux distributions. It resembles to Windows 7 task bar and its grouping feature. Latest release has added support for media player control for all music players. 

It can be run standalone and actually a fork of dockbar licensed under GPL3.


sudo add-apt-repository ppa:dockbar-main/ppa
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install dockbarx

Xfce panel applet and some themes with

sudo apt-get install xfce4-dockbarx-plugin
sudo apt-get install dockbarx-themes-extra

Do you use any application launcher or the default Unity Dash or GNOME menus are sufficient for you? Let us know in the comments. 

Thursday, 4 January 2018

How to reset Ubuntu without a reinstall

Brief : Ever messed up your Ubuntu system? There is an application that resets your system without a clean install.

Resetter is an application built with python and pyqt which can help to reset Ubuntu without a clean reinstall. It works with other Debian based distributions too like Linux Mint, Elementary OS, Deepin Linux, Debian GNOME Edition. There are two different options, Automatic reset where it resets everything including your file system and the custom reset where proposes various settings to resets. 

In this article, we will see how we can use Resetter to reset Ubuntu without a reinstall. 

How to install Resetter

Grab a debian copy from the download page:
Don't forget to download both apt key and the resetter deb file.

Navigate to the Downloads directory and type the below command to install it:

sudo apt install gdebi
sudo gdebi add-apt-key_1.0-0.5_all.deb
sudo gdebi resetter_1.1.2-stable_all.deb

Once done, you can launch Resetter by typing the below command in terminal. 

sudo resetter

Resetter needs root access, so you won't be able to run it without sudo.

The launch screen list out your operating system name and version and gives you the three options : Easy Install, Automatic Reset and Custom Reset.

Easy install asks you to select an app to install it. I didn't find this option any usable though. 

Automatic Reset resets everything to the factory defaults. Local user accounts and home directories are also removed.

Custom Reset displays all the packages installed and you can select which one to remove. There is option to remove old kernels too and for viewing the dependencies of each package installed. In the next screen, its shows all the users whether you want to delete a user and its home directory or only the user preserving the home directory. 

Resetter is simple and handy app. Sometimes grabbing a pen drive, burning to a media drive and reinstalling Ubuntu takes much of our time and Resetter simplifies the processor. Some other time, we only want to remove some of the application which we know is causing trouble for our system. 

What do you think about Resetter, let us know in the comments. 

Tuesday, 2 January 2018

How to install and configure Conky in Ubuntu

Conky is a free system monitor tool for Linux, FreeBSD and OpenBSD. It includes options to monitor system variables like CPU and RAM usage, swap space, processes, CPU temperatures, battery status and much more. 
Conky also gives a cool look to your desktop by displaying all these system variables in run time updates. In this article, we will see how to install and configure Conky.

Installing Conky

Open Terminal and use below commands to install Conky.

sudo apt-get install conky-all

Once installed, you can run it from the command line:


This will show the default Conky display. In the below screenshot, you can see Conky displaying System Up time, Frequency, RAM usage, SWAP usage, CPU usage, Storage information and the processes in order of their CPU usage. To exit, you can just press Ctrl + C in terminal. 

Configuring Conky manually

Conky usage ~/.conkyrc file for the configuration inputs. However, by default this file is not present and it usage the default configuration from /etc/conky/conky.config file. 

Lets just try to configure and use this qlocktwo for Conky. 

Download the file and extract it anywhere. 

Rename the file to .conkyrc and move it to home folder. 

mv .conkyrc_clock ~/
mv .conkyrc_clock .conkyrc

Once done, run conky from the command line


It shows the time on your desktop!

Manual configuration is a pain for installing and configuring Conky themes specially when there are multiple configuration files and missing one thing means something will be wrong. 

There is a GUI application called Conky Manager that handles all these tasks for you. All you have to do is download the theme and put it in a folder. You don't need terminal to run it each time and you can easily configure the different properties like size, width etc from the application itself.

To install Conky Manager, type in the below command in Terminal:

sudo apt-add-repository -y ppa:teejee2008/ppa
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install conky-manager 

Once done, you can use any theme and configure it according to your preference. Move the themes you download to ~/.conky folder and use Conky Manager. 

You can run Conky Manager by searching in Dash or running below command in terminal:


This is how another beautiful Conky theme looks like. 

You can get hundreds of beautiful Conky themes from There are many contributors who has spend some time to design nice, clean and awesome themes for you. If you are not satisfied, there are more on github which you can find with some Google. 

Do not forget to tell us the best theme you found out and screenshot of your pretty desktop in the comment section. Also, let us know if you face any issues while installing or configuring Conky.

Monday, 1 January 2018

Which is the best Ubuntu theme?

Every user has its preference and what one feel is the best Ubuntu theme may not be liked much by the other user. However, there are some themes which are liked by a good number of Ubuntu users and look beautiful. In this article, I am covering the best Ubuntu themes which I personally liked. If you think the list is missing something, just comment yours favorite one and I will give it a try and add it here.

If you are using Ubuntu, you are most probably using GNOME or Unity Desktop Environments. Both provide nice user interface along with better looking icons. However, if you are bored and need some new look and feel for your Ubuntu system, you can pick any theme from the below list and install it. 

I would suggest you to install Unity Tweak Tool first. Unity Tweak Tool will help you in changing themes and icons along with other customization features.


Although the development of Paper GTK theme has ended, it's still one of the favorite Ubuntu themes. It has been developed primarily for modern GTK3 (GNOME-based) desktop environments and is available under GNU GPL license.

Mainly focusing on Material Design; Use of bold colors and geometrical shapes are its primary features. There is a light and dark background option to choose from and it has its own sets of icon and cursor theme.

Ubuntu based distributions can add it from a PPA and install. Copy paste the below commands in a Terminal to install Paper theme.

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:snwh/pulp
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install paper-icon-theme
sudo apt-get install paper-cursor-theme
sudo apt-get install paper-gtk-theme

Alternatively, You can grab a DEB package from here and install it.

sudo dpkg -i paper*.deb
sudo apt-get install -f 

Arch Theme Icon

Arch theme is another modern and clean looking Ubuntu theme with nice icons and UI. You can install Arc Theme on Ubuntu and Ubuntu-based distributions with below commands:

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:noobslab/icons
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install arc-icons

Or you can download the copy from here, extract it to /usr/share/themes and the the icon to /usr/share/icons and use Unity Tweak Tool to set it as default theme.


Flatabulous is a flat theme for Ubuntu and other debian based systems. Based on Ultra-flat theme, it provides a nice UI and icon sets.


sudo add-apt-repository ppa:noobslab/themes
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install flatabulous-theme

Numix theme

Numix is my personal best Ubuntu theme. With beautiful icon set, and its own wallpapers, you will just love it. 


sudo add-apt-repository ppa:numix/ppa
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install numix*

Once the installation completes, you can select any of the variant from the Unity Tweak tool and set it as you theme. There are several wallpapers bundled along with Numix. 

Which theme you are using and would like to be in the list? Let us know in the comments!

How to install Ubuntu Tweak Tool in Ubuntu 16.04 / 17.04

Note : Ubuntu Tweak Tool project has been discontinued. However, some users still find it a great tool to work with themes and some system properties. 

Ubuntu Tweak is a handy tool for making changes in configuration and desktop settings. It allows tweaks for desktop and system configuration which are not natively supported. I was trying some best Ubuntu themes for my Ubuntu 16.04 system and I missed the Ubuntu Tweak tool to pick up a theme once I installed it. 

There's a PPA still alive from where we can install Ubuntu Tweak Tool in Ubuntu 16.04  and for later releases. Let's see how you can do that too.

Features of Ubuntu Tweak Tool

  • Provides options to change themes and font. 
  • Under the Tweak Settings, there are options to choose Fonts, Sounds, Themes, login settings, desktop icons and much more.  
  • Janitor is an awesome feature from Ubuntu tweak tool to clean out cache and recover disk space. 

How to install Ubuntu Tweak Tool

The official repo has been discontinued and you need to add a third party ppa to install it. Open Terminal and type in the below command:

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:trebelnik-stefina/ubuntu-tweak
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt install ubuntu-tweak

Once done, you can open Ubuntu tweak by searching it in Ubuntu Dash. 

There are various categories and options in Ubuntu Tweak. 

The Overview sections list your CPU and RAM along with Ubuntu OS information. The Tweaks tab is what is most important. Lets see what all things we can do. 

There are options to change Fonts, Sounds and Themes. Under themes, you can find options to select the cursor pack, icon pack and the themes you want to use. Manual themes can be set here. There are options for login screen, Desktop, Unity and System. 

Another useful feature of Ubuntu Tweak Tool is the Janitor option. 

You can select the caches to clean for your browser and system and free up some disk storage. Once in a while I find it useful to clean up. 

Final Words

Though the development for Ubuntu Tweak has stopped long way back, it is still a useful application to me. In my very personal opinion, it should have continued. It's sad to see such a useful application shutting down!