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

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.


Installation

sudo apt-get install docky

Ulauncher

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

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.

Installation

sudo apt-get install plank

GnomeDO

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.


Installation

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

DockbarX

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.

Installation

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: https://github.com/gaining/Resetter/releases/latest
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:

conky

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

conky



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:

conky-manager

This is how another beautiful Conky theme looks like. 



You can get hundreds of beautiful Conky themes from deviantart.com. 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.

Paper 

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

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.



Installation

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. 



Installation 

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!


How to Install Lynx web browser on Linux


Lynx is one of the best text browsers that can be used within the terminal to see any web site in plain ASCII text on the terminal itself. It do not deliver any images/multimedia/flash content and is used mainly by those who are mostly interested in reading texts and are distracted by the flash/graphical content.

Lynx text browser is also useful when you do not have a GUI installed on your Linux system. With only-text browsing, Lynx is much faster since it do not display any other bandwidth-consuming data. Navigation is done by using the arrow keys in Lynx and installing and using Lynx text browser is much easy.


It is a highly configurable text-based web browser in terminals. There is support for HTML and SSL in the latest version of Lynx web browser. Though it do not handles or renders images/videos from any web page, it can launch external programs to handle it, like an image viewer and or a video player.

How to install Lynx browser in Linux

Debian / Ubuntu / Mint :

sudo apt-get install lynx

Fedora

Lynx is available through yum for fedora user. To install it, use the below commands:

su -
dnf install lynx

Arch Linux / Manjaro

sudo pacman -S lynx


Now to open any website within your terminal, type the following command:

lynx <web-address>

e.g. if you want to open beopensource.com use the following command:

lynx beopensource.com

You can use the UP, DOWN arrow keys and tab to navigate to different links in a webpage.

Lynx text browser is particularly useful for low-specification system since it do not need any GUI support.

I have installed Lynx web browser in my Linux Mint. Here's how it renders my website www.beopensource.com in terminals:




Here's some important shortcuts while using Lynx browser :

Q : To close the Lynx browser
P : To print a page
/search : to search a string
M : To navigate to main screen of homepage
H : Help


Here's what Shaun Marolf has to say about the Lynx browser. Thanks a lot Shaun.
Lynx has a good speed advantage in rendering websites. However, its only useful with information related websites where the HTML code is mostly text. Using it on a graphically intense site is self defeating. That being said, as a research tool for gathering information it shines brightly as popups, ads, unnecessary video tags and graphics are ignored and the meat of what you are trying to get is seen. It has one major weakness though as click throughs (web sites where you have to click through a pop up before you can get to the actual information) can be a severe problem with Lynx. Lynx itself is a pure HTML, XML rendering browser and where sites use Ruby and AJAX and other script based apps that Graphical Browsers can work with Lynx will not and if the functionality is needed then Lynx is useless.
Lynx is not for, nor intended for, the average Internet User. Its geared for researchers and tech savvy users and that needs to be considered. Truthfully its made for nothing but the basics.

Tuesday, 26 December 2017

Amazon launches Amazon Linux 2

Amazon announced the release of Amazon Linux 2, a Linux server operating system from Amazon Web Services. Amazon promises to provide a modern application environment with the latest enhancements happening around in Linux community and offering a long term support with Amazon Linux 2.



Amazon Linux 2 is best suited for hosting web and desktop based applications, open source and proprietary database and more. It supports the latest Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (Amazon EC2) instance features and includes packages which can easily be integrated with AWS.

Features of Amazon Linux 2


  • Amazon Linux 2 provides support to latest Amazon EC2 instance and includes packages that helps in easy integration with other AWS services. 
  • Amazon Linux 2 is offered as a virtual machine and container image and can be used for a test and production environment for developing and testing application. It provides full integration to AWS services.
  • Amazon Linux 2 comes with AWS CLI (Command Line Integration) and cloud-init, designed to simplify the scripting tasks.
  • Amazon Linux 2 is a long-term support release without any extra cost. It includes security updates and bug fixes for 5 years and also include the API compatibility for the same timeframe. 
  • It provides the Amazon Linux Extras repository which includes additional software packages like Python, Go, Rust, PostgreSQL, MariaDB and others. 
  • It includes systemd init system to manage system processes and better booting time along with better performance.
  • Amazon Linux 2 uses 4.9 LTS kernel and has been tuned to run efficiently in any virtualized environment including AWS. 
  • There are virtual machine images for KVM, VirtualBox, Hyper-V and VMware, in case you want to test an application on your personal system before pushing it to AWS. 


The virtual machine images can be downloaded from Amazon Linux Page

Amazon Linux 2 is not a general purpose yet-another Linux distribution. The main purpose here is to design an enhance Linux distro best suited for AWS platform.

The fact that it offers virtual machine images and is not just limited to its own platform gives the users a choice to design, develop and test their application on their local machine. The Amazon Linux Extra provides a fully supported environment for the latest version of  a wide variety of application.

It clearly looks as a competitor to Intel's Clear Linux, being platform specific and Amazon is trying to improve its Amazon Web Services platform by providing a native Linux OS with optimized performance and support to newer versions of different applications.

Sunday, 24 December 2017

Spotify is now available for Linux as Snap

Spotify is a popular music, podcast and video streaming application which lets you play your favorite track from millions of songs. There are options to download music and listen it offline, and provides an unlimited and ad-free music experience. 



If you are a Linux user, it's a great news of availability of Spotify as a Snap. Any Linux distribution that supports Snap is just a click or a line of terminal command away from installing Spotify and using it. You can run Spotify natively on any Linux distribution that support snaps including Linux Mint, Ubuntu, Debian, Manjaro, openSuse and Solus. 

You can install it by clicking this link and opening it with Ubuntu Software.  

You will need an account already on Snap Store to install it, or you will be asked to provide your email address before you can start the installation. 

To install Spotify via command line:

snap install spotify 

Spotify also released a Debian package and to install it, copy paste the below commands in a terminal: 

1. Add the Spotify repository signing keys to be able to verify downloaded packages

sudo apt-key adv --keyserver hkp://keyserver.ubuntu.com:80 --recv-keys 0DF731E45CE24F27EEEB1450EFDC8610341D9410

2. Add the Spotify repository

echo deb http://repository.spotify.com stable non-free | sudo tee /etc/apt/sources.list.d/spotify.list

3. Update list of available packages

sudo apt-get update

4. Install Spotify

sudo apt-get install spotify-client

With several mainstream applications finally making a way to Linux and with Spotify the latest one as a snap, do you think it will help in gaining users who are confined to Windows wall because of the availability of their favorite apps? Let us know your thoughts in the comments. 

Saturday, 20 May 2017

Windows Subsystem for Linux : Suse and Fedora after Ubuntu!

Windows Subsystem for Linux is a compatibility layer developed to run Linux Binaries in a Windows 10 environment. Earlier, Microsoft and Canonical partnered together to bring Ubuntu to Windows Subsystem for Linux (WSL) giving the power of Bash and ability to run any Linux terminal application with ease in Windows. Microsoft then announced it's expansion by including Suse and Fedora along with Ubuntu and also the inclusion of all the three Linux Distributions in Windows app store. 



Microsoft in an attempt to lure Developers has done a great job by bringing the power of Linux in a Windows environment. Though I doubt someone who is using a Linux system for long would be interested in switching back to Windows and enjoying the power of Linux there, but for the new lot of developers who has been dual booting systems to be on Microsoft Windows for their general purpose tasks and Linux for development won't have to maintain two different Operating Systems. 

This is a smart move from Microsoft's side, for sure. But what about Linux?

Open Source enthusiasts are considering this a win for Linux. Penetrating in to the Windows world and gathering as many users to use an open source application (even if it's just a shell) is a positive thing. After all, it's serving the purpose of Open Source! Though the WSL is not based on Linux Kernel and is providing only a compatibility layer to run Linux binaries and shell and GUI applications are not supported, a user can still be able to use all the power that comes with a terminal. This is not a something in a virtual box and emulator like Cygwin but a complete, genuine, light weight environment. With two third of servers running on Linux, Microsoft is providing a tool for Sys Admins from Windows. 

With the availability of Ubuntu, Suse and Fedora in Windows App Store in coming days, the no. of users installing and using will increase over the time.

One of the Facebook users Brian Lagasse pointed out in a discussion to which I can't agree more.

I still can't wrap my head around why any one would want to use this. Is this like Cygwin or a Virtual Machine? Does this allow you to perform bash wizardry on windows servers? Did they realize Power Shell sucks and brought in the GNU to save face?
Any serious Open Source developer knows they just need an SSH terminal on any system to be able to tap into a massive amount of resources in a cloud, private datacenter or ghetto cluster in the basement made from recycled machines without licensing limiting the amount of processing power available or the amount of machines you can connect to or scale.
I don't see this affecting open Source Development in any way or actually benefiting it aside from windows users now able to learn bash and basic Linux locally instead of through SSH or a VM. We will probably continue to see an onslaught of backdoors and malware over the summer affecting the MS platforms which will hopefully result in more Open Source developers using Open Source.

On the other hand, some Linux users believe this is an attempt from Microsoft to move the Linux user base to Windows. Harsh reality is above 80% use Windows as their primary OS and most of the Linux users run Linux either in Virtual Box or dual boot it along with Windows. With the WSL, the need to keep two OS becomes irrelevant to a level (it's not if you are not a terminal geek and prefer the Linux systems over Windows). 

In coming years, we will know how the Microsoft strategy to bring Linux to Windows work for Linux. What do you think, is it a positive thing for the Linux world or we were better separate from the money-hungry Microsoft? Let us know in the comments. 

Tuesday, 16 May 2017

GPD Pocket : a 7-inch Laptop running Ubuntu

I was searching for a less than 10-inch Laptop which is easier to carry, has a long battery life and comes with a configuration that can run Ubuntu / Mint smoothly. Since, Unity is the most resource hungry DE, anything which can run it can pretty much run any other Linux distribution. There was not much option for below 10-inch screen, but found some Asus and Acer laptops within 10-11 inch screen size running on Atom processor and a mediocre specification. 



Though cheap, I was not satisfied with the hardware and the search led to GPD Pocket fund raising on Indiegogo.

GPD Pocket had started a crowd funding for a 7-inch laptop that fits in the pocket with a decent hardware running Ubuntu 16.04 LTS out of the box. The product is still in Prototype state and believed to release in June 2017. The funding has crossed the required numbers!

Running on Intel Atom x7-Z8750 1.6 GHz quad core processor, the GPD Pocket has 7-inch IPS Gorilla Glass 3 touch screen display. It has a 128 GB solid state drive and 8 GB of RAM. It will feature a full qwerty keyboard with a track ball and two buttons for left and right clicks. 

GPD Pocket features a silver uni body made of magnesium alloy and includes a 7000 mAh battery to run for about 12 hours without any charging. The laptop comes with active cooling design and supports HDMI cable to connect to other display monitor. 



The retail price for GPD Pocket is US $599 with a special Indiegogo price of US $399 and it will start shipping worldwide in the month of June. 


Pros : 

1. A uni body magnesium alloy gives it a premium look.

2. It has a compact 7-inch size weighing just 480g, easy to carry and use. 

3. With a resolution of 1920x1200 and 324 pixel per inch, the screen is crispy and Corning Gorilla Glass gives it a premium touch. 

4. Built in speakers and support for Microphone, 1 USB Type-C and 1 year warranty for Device and Charger. 

Cons: 

1. 7-inch screen size may not be sufficient. May hurt your eyes if you work for longer. 

2. Keyboard is too compact and needs some practice to type fast. 

3. Price is high. in $500, you can get a nice laptop and install Ubuntu. 


My Opinion : Since I was searching for a laptop with decent specification and less than 10-inch screen, I am going to buy one. 

What do you think, will you buy one for your self? Let me know in the comments.