Ubuntu / Linux news and application reviews.

0 A.D. Reaches Alpha 8, Finally Gets Save Feature For Single-Player Games

0 A.D., a historical real-time strategy game, has reached alpha 8. The new version brings a new civilization: Persian and also, single-player games can finally be saved / restored.

Install Amarok 2.5 In Kubuntu 11.10 Oneiric Ocelot (PPA)

Amarok 2.5 has been recently released and is now available in the Kubuntu Backports PPA for Kubuntu 11.10 Oneiric Ocelot users.

Amarok 2.5 comes with a many improvements like re-written USB Mass Storage support, GPodder.net podcast synchronization, many iPod plugin fixes as well as an integrated Amazon MP3 store.

Nuvola Player 1.0 (Stable) Released

Nuvola Player (previously Google Music Frame) is a music player especially designed for cloud music. Even though it's only a "frame", it's a great application that comes with features such as Ubuntu Sound Menu (mpris2 - also works with some GNOME Shell extensions) support, notifications, multimedia keys, Unity quicklists and many extra features thanks to user scripts (like last.fm scrobbling for Google Music, etc.).

Nuvola Player got Grooveshark, Hype Machine and 8tracks support recently (in addition to Google Music) and we've talked about this already, but if you like using stable releases, you'll be glad to know that Nuvola Player 1.0 has finally been released.

TeamViewer 7 Beta Available For Linux [Remote Desktop Tool]

teamviewer 7 linux

TeamViewer is an application for remote control, desktop sharing and file transfer between computers, great for meetings, presentations, support and more. It runs on Windows, Mac OSX, Linux (even though it comes in a .deb or .rpm, it uses Wine which comes bundled with it) as well as Android or iPhone. The application is free for personal use only.

Cairo Dock To Get A Global Menu Applet

Cairo Dock is evolving to something more than just a dock. After getting its own custom GNOME session a while back, the latest alpha got a feature that I for one didn't expect to see in a dock: global menu (Application menu).

Ubuntu Tweak 0.6 Has Been Released

Ubuntu Tweak 0.6 (stable) has finally been released. The new version comes with a revamped user interface and many new features, but also without some of its old features: App and Source Center are no longer available in Ubuntu Tweak because, according to the Ubuntu Tweak developer, even though these features were liked by many users, they caused a lot of problems and also, they weren't exactly tweaks.

By the way, if you want to search for PPAs, you can use Y PPA Manager.

Create A Wallpaper Slideshow With XML Background Creator For GNOME 3

nautilus script xml background creator

"XML Animated Background Creator" is a Nautilus script to easily generate XML wallpaper slideshows (wallpapers that change automatically) for GNOME 3.

There used to be many such applications for GNOME 2, but they can't change the background anymore because they still use GConf, while the background settings are now stored in DConf. And since XML Animated Background Creator is easy to use and install on any Linux distribution, I've upgraded it to work with GNOME 3 (it works with any "shell": Unity, GNOME Shell, fallback session).

pyLoad: Lightweight Download Manager For One-Click Hosters

pyLoad is a lightweight, cross-platform download manager for one-click file hosting websites such as RapidShare, MegaUpload and many others as well simple http/ftp links.

Among its most important features are captcha recognition, automatic archive extraction and reconnect (useful for most file sharing websites: pyLoad disconnects your Internet connection and then reconnects so you get a new IP so you can continue downloading, bypassing limits imposed by various websites).

Make A Video From Pictures And Music Using ffDiaporama

ffdiaporama ubuntu

ffDiaporama is a multi-platform application for creating videos from photos or movie clips. It supports various transition effects, titles/annotations, music and more.

The application has been created by one of the Videoporama developers (by the way, the Videoporama development has stopped), but unlike Videoporama, ffDiaporama is written in C++ instead of Python.

Cinnamon: GNOME Shell Fork With A GNOME2-Like Layout

Clement Lefebvre, the Linux Mint founder, has started working on a GNOME Shell fork called Cinnamon, which tries to offer a layout similar to GNOME 2, with emphasis on "making users feel at home and providing them with an easy to use and comfortable desktop experience":

Firefox 9 Released With Improved JavaScript Performance [Quick Update]

firefox 9 ubuntu

Firefox 9 has been released today (is already available for download via direct links but the website hasn't been updated yet) with improved JavaScript performance (by 20 to 30%) thanks to Type Inference, some additional HTML5 and CSS support, support for querying Do Not Track status via JavaScript and the usual bug and stability fixes. More info, HERE.

Razor-Qt: A New Lightweight Desktop Environment Based On Qt

Razor Qt is a new lightweight desktop environment - think of it as an early LXDE, but using Qt. It doesn't come with a display manager or window manager and its developers recommend using it with Openbox, but it should work with any WM, like Kwin, Metacity, etc.

Easily Batch Convert And Resize Images With Converseen

Converseen is a multi-platform GUI tool that lets you easily resize and convert single or multiple images. The application uses Imagemagick so it supports a huge list of image formats, including: GIF, JPEG PNG, PDF, DPX, EXR and so on.

Unity 3D (Launcher, Top Panel) Doesn't Load - Possible Fixes

While testing various stuff, I've managed to break Unity 3D quite a few times (by "breaking", I mean: the launcher, Dash and the top panel don't load and you log in to an empty desktop), like a recent bug that was fixed in Ubuntu Tweak 0.6 pre-release that caused Unity to crash. So I though I'd write a post with a few basic solutions for this, in case it happens to some of you too. 

This usually occurs if somehow the Unity plugin has been unchecked in CompizConfig Settings Manager: manually, by enabling an unsupported Compiz plugin that disables it, by some third-party application and so on.

Skype For Linux With Tabs Support Using SkypeTab NG (Next Generation)

SkypeTab-NG (NG stands for Next Generation) is a tool that adds tabs to Skype for Linux. Besides providing a tabbed chat window, the SkypeTab-NG also embeds both the conversation and the main Skype windows in a single window.

SkypeTab is not new, but it was recently rewritten, fixing most bugs from the previous SkypeTab, like the annoying laggy window movement bug. Also, SkypeTab used to only work with Compiz, Openbox and Xfwm but the new version should work with other window managers too, like Kwin, etc (I've actually tested it under Kubuntu 11.10 Oneiric Ocelot and it worked just fine).

GNOME Shell Labeled Workspaces Mockup

WebUpd8 reader Nanley Chery has submitted a very interesting proposal for labeled / tagged workspaces to the GNOME Shell mailing list.

Nautilus Actions Extra: A Pack Of Useful Scripts For Nautilus 3

Nautilus Actions Extra provides a set of useful scripts for Nautilus 3. Among the included scripts/actions are: advanced search, open file with Gedit as user or root, set image as wallpaper, mount or unmount ISO files, verify checksum, convert image and audio files, batch rename (pyRenamer), add emblems and more.

Work Started On LightDM KDE Integration

LightDM will probably replace KDM in Kubuntu 12.04 and David Edmundson has started working on Qt bindings and a KDE front end for LightDM. The greeter (theme) allows the use of Plasma widgets, can be configured independently and is still very fast, says David.

Executive: Beautiful Theme Pack With Matching GNOME Shell / Metacity Themes

Executive for GNOME Shell is a new theme pack that comes with 2 GTK themes (grey and green), a GNOME Shell theme and two icon themes.  

Currently there aren't many matching GNOME Shell / Metacity / GTK2/3 themes, so Hhhorb, the Executive pack author, has modified some already existing themes to do just that. And the result is great:

Executive Green

How To Install Spotify In Ubuntu (Native Client)

Spotify is a music streaming service that comes with a client which supports Microsoft Windows, Mac OS X, Linux as well as mobile devices such as iOS, Android, BlackBerry, Windows Mobile, Windows Phone, S60 (Symbian), webOS and more. The service is only available in a few countries for now, such as USA, UK, Spain, Sweden and more - check out the Spotify website for more info.

The (official) native Spotify Linux client got support for free accounts recently. Here is how to install it on Ubuntu and fix some bugs such as not being able to play local music in Ubuntu.

Update: the instructions below should work with Ubuntu 14.04, 13.10, 13.04, 12.10 and 12.04.

Test Ubuntu Tweak 0.6, Now With Unity Settings, Theme Changer And More

Ubuntu Tweak 0.6 is almost ready and the new version will be getting some cool new features such as Unity settings, an option to change the GTK or icon theme, a package cleaner ("Janitor") and more. The new version will only support Ubuntu 11.10 or later and will come with tweaks for three desktop environments: Unity, Unity 2D and GNOME Shell.

Transmission Remote GTK

Transmission Remote GTK is a cross-platform tool for controlling Transmission Bittorrent Client remotely, through its RPC interface.

The application is very similar to Transmission Remote GUI in terms of Bittorrent functionality, however, Transmission Remote GTK integrates better with the GNOME desktop (since it's a GTK app; sadly it's GTK2 only), comes with torrent added/downloaded notifications as well as tray / Ubuntu AppIndicator support.

How To Enable Mac OS X Like Natural Scrolling In Ubuntu [Indicator]

Mac OSX Lion comes with "natural scrolling" (reverse scrolling) and if you're using it on one of your computers, you probably got used to it. But switching between computers can get really confusing so maybe you want to use Apple's Natural Scrolling in Ubuntu too.

Radio Tray Gets Plugins Support

Radio Tray is a minimalistic radio player for Linux that runs in the systray (can also use an AppIndicator for Ubuntu). The application is very lightweight and straightforward to use and comes with notifications support, multimedia keys and a sleep timer.

Light Themes Evolved: Ambiance And Radiance With Many Improvements And Tweaks

Light Themes Evolved initially started as an Ambiance theme modification for Nautilus Elementary. Later on, it became a full package that brings fixes and improvements to both Ambiance an and Radiance themes.

Light Themes Evolved - Ambiance and Radiance - include improvements like an uniform dark toolbar and titlebar, elementary applications tweaks, better scrollbars for applications that don't support overlay scrollbars and lots more. The themes were ported to GTK3 a while back, but they didn't include my favourite "fix": a dark sidebar for Nautilus (Ambiance). This fix is, however, finally available in the latest version.

Here are a few screenshots:

How To Manually Add Emblems In Nautilus 3

The option to manually set emblems in Nautilus has been removed starting with Nautilus 3.0. Applications can still add emblems (like Dropbox or Ubuntu One) through libnautilus-extension and gvfs but the option to add them via the preferences dialog has been removed from Nautilus.

Fortunately, if you really want to manually set emblems in Nautilus 3, there is a python script that lets you do that.

Guide To Classic GNOME Session In Ubuntu 11.10 Oneiric Ocelot

Dmitry Shachnev has written a small guide to get a fully working classic GNOME session in Ubuntu 11.10 Oneiric Ocelot, similar to Ubuntu 11.04 Natty Narwhal.

The guide includes: use the GTK3 indicator applet instead of the standard systray, fix the panel background for Ambiance, get Compiz to work and use the Ubuntu logo in the applications menu applet.

Check out Dmitry's guide @ http://mandriver.users.sourceforge.net/classic-gnome-guide.html

Get Unity-Like Window Buttons On The Top GNOME Shell Bar

Window buttons on top GNOME Shell bar

I'm using a netbook these days and by default, GNOME Shell isn't great for screen real estate, so to get more vertical screen space I'm using GNOME Shell Window Buttons extension and Maximus (along with GNOME Shell Global Menu).

Window Buttons is a GNOME Shell extension that tries to replicate the Window Applets (or Unity) behavior for GNOME Shell: it adds the minimize, maximize and close buttons on the top GNOME Shell panel.

The window buttons can be customized: you can select from 5 built-in themes (or create your own theme), place them on left or right or change the buttons order.

GPaste Gets Image And File Copy Support

GPaste (native GNOME Shell clipboard manager) 2.1 has been released recently and is now available in the WebUpd8 GNOME 3 PPA.

Zukini: New GTK2/3/GNOME Shell Theme Pack By lassekongo83

Zukini is a new GTK2/GTK3/GNOME Shell and AWN theme pack created by lassekongo83, who's also behind Zukitwo.

Portable Software Center: Create A Custom Repository For Computers With No Internet Access

Portable Software Center (PSC) is an application that lets you create a "portable" local repository (works with Debian-based systems, tested on Ubuntu) to which you can add any packages you want, with the purpose of installing them later on a computer that's not connected to the Internet.

With PSC you can add packages to your custom local repo from any repository enabled on your computer and it automatically downloads the dependencies for each selected package. You can even add .deb packages which you've manually downloaded. Then, you can copy the Portable Software Center folder to other computers that aren't connected to the Internet and install the packages you've added to your repository.

AirDroid: Manage Your Android Device Using A Browser

AirDroid is a free application that lets you control your Android device from your desktop, tablet or anything else that can run a browser. All you have to do to use it is start the application on your Android device, then open a web browser on your computer and enter the url and password displayed by AirDroid.

The application can be used to read and quickly send messages, browse / download / upload files, preview photos, import or export ringtones, music and lots more.

New Epiphany Browser Design, Probably Without Visible Tabs [Mockup]

Epiphany (GNOME Web), like most GNOME applications, will be getting a new design, similar to that of GNOME Documents, Music and so on which you've seen in our previous GNOME apps mockups post (with no titlebar for maximized windows and no menu inside the main window).

According to its GNOME Design page, among the primary objectives are to provide inter page navigation and to focus on the current page content (removing as much chrome as possible).

Satya's GNOME Shell / GTK Themes PPA

Satya, who has created some beautiful GNOME 3 / GNOME Shell themes such as Ambiance Blue, Minty, Dark Shine and many more, has uploaded all his themes to a PPA so it's now easier to install and stay up to date with the latest versions of his themes.

Lossless Audio Split Tools Updates: Flacon, Split Lossless Nautilus Script

Split Lossless is a Nautilus script created by WebUpd8 reader CokiDVD to split single lossless audio files (ape, flac, wavpack) by .cue file into flac or mp3 (320kbps or 192kbps). Further more, the script also adds tags to the new files so all the resulting flac or mp3 files will have the artist, album, title and genre tags set up automatically.

GNOME Shell Extensions Website Launched

GNOME Shell got support for one click extensions installation starting with version, but the GNOME Shell extensions website wasn't ready until yesterday, when extensions.gnome.org has finally been launched as public alpha.