Daily Ubuntu / Linux news and application reviews.


DockBarX Live Window Previews Finally Work With Compiz 0.9.x

DockBarX live window previews

DockBarX is a lightweight taskbar / panel replacement for Linux. It works as a GNOME panel applet (for GNOME 2.x), as an Avant Window Navigator applet or as a stand alone dock (called DockX) that you can use in any desktop environment: KDE, XFCE, GNOME 3 (with GNOME Shell), etc.

DockBarX has been updated today with a work-around for the bug that caused live windows previews not to work with Compiz 0.9.x in GNOME (well, for most of us anyway because it seems it worked for some of you).

Ubuntu Font Family (W/ Monospace Variant), Emesene 2.11.9, GNOME Shell Mousewheel Zoom [PPA Updates]

Mousewheel Zoom, a Gnome Shell tool that enables a Compiz-like ALT + mousewheel zoom, is now available in a PPA for Ubuntu 11.10 Oneiric Ocelot.

Add the PPA and install GNOME Shell Mousewheel Zoom using the following commands:
sudo add-apt-repository ppa:tobias-quinn/gsmz
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install gnome-shell-mousewheel-zoom

Thanks to Tobias for the tip!

Ubuntu Font Family Monospace

Ubuntu Font Family 0.80 (which includes a monospace variant) is now available in the official Ubuntu 11.10 Oneiric Ocelot repositories. 

To make it easier to install and stay up to date with the latest versions, I've also uploaded the new font version to the WebUpd8 Ubuntu Font Family PPA, for Ubuntu 11.04, 10.10 and 10.04 - add the PPA and install it using the following commands:

Ubuntu Indicator For Qt Applications (Skype, VLC, Etc.) In Ubuntu 11.10

Here is something you might already know, but I for one didn't notice it until today (thanks to Georgi and Rolandixor!): Skype, VLC and other Qt applications have an indicator in Ubuntu 11.10 Oneiric Ocelot thanks to a package called "sni-qt" that converts (automatically) Qt systray icons into indicators.

Skype qt appindicator Ubuntu

(Both Skype and VLC icons are indicators - notice the border on the Skype icon, that's indicator-specific)

Jupiter Applet Finally Available For Ubuntu 11.10 Oneiric Ocelot

Update: Jupiter has been discontinued. I suggest trying TLP instead.

Jupiter Ubuntu 11.10

Jupiter is an applet designed for netbooks and laptops that you can use to switch between maximum and high performance and power saving mode, change the resolution and orientation, enable or disable the bluetooth, touchpad, WiFi and so on. If you own an Asus EeePC netbook, there's also a separate package that adds support for Asus Super Hybrid Engine (SHE) as well as some other EeePC tweaks.

Jupiter doesn't work by default in Ubuntu 11.10 Oneiric Ocelot due to some Mono changes, but you can now use it thanks to a "hack" provided by WebUpd8 reader mtron. If you want to help getting Jupiter to work in Ubuntu 11.10 Oneiric Ocelot without this "hack", get the Jupiter source code from HERE.

Please note that because of a bug in Unity 2D, the Jupiter icon won't show up in the systray (it works just fine in Unity 3D though).

Sublime Text 2 GIT Plugin

Sublime Text 2 Git plugin

Sublime Text 2 is an excellent TextMate alternative (text editor) that runs on Linux, Windows and Mac OSX. The application is not free, but you can evaluate it for an unlimited amount of time.

I've recently stumbled upon (via HK) a GIT plugin for Sublime Text 2 which can display a log or diff, do a quick commit and a few more basic Git commands. It doesn't support every Git command, but it's a nice addition for those of you who are using Sublime Text 2. 

Cairo Dock 2.4.0 Released With Custom GNOME Session, Support For Unity Quicklists, More

Cairo Dock 2.4

Cairo Dock is a highly customizable launcher / task manager for Linux which comes with a huge list of themes and plugins, being able to fully replace / replicate the functionality of an old GNOME 2 panel.

It includes plugins / applets such as: keyboard indicator, weather, Messaging Menu, system monitor, stacks, notification area, a recent events plugin that makes use of Zeitgeist, clipboard manager, note taking applet, screen luminosity, terminal and many more.

Firefox 7 Available In Its Stable PPA For Ubuntu 10.10 And 10.04

Firefox 7 ubuntu

A quick update for those of you are using Ubuntu 10.10 Maverick Meerkat or 10.04 Lucid Lynx and want to upgrade to the latest Firefox 7: the new version is now available in the Firefox stable PPA.

Firefox 7 should be available in the official Ubuntu 11.04 Natty Narwhal and 11.10 Oneiric Ocelot repositories very soon.

Google Calendar GNOME Shell Integration

GNOME Shell Google Calendar

GNOME Shell Google Calendar is a tool that integrates Google Calendar into GNOME Shell.

The python script uses GNOME Keyring for storing your password and automatically fetches new Google Calendar events when you click the GNOME Shell calendar on the top panel. For now, you can't configure which calendar is imported (all are used) and there's no configuration GUI (but it's still very easy to use).

You can already do this through Evolution, but using this script, Evolution is not required.

Ubuntu 11.10 Oneiric Ocelot Beta 2 Ready For Download [Video]

Ubuntu 11.10 Oneiric Ocelot

Ubuntu 11.10 Oneiric Ocelot beta 2 is finally available for download. There aren't too many visible changes since beta 1, but we'll try to review what's new anyway.

For previous changes in Ubuntu 11.10 Oneiric Ocelot, see: Ubuntu 11.10 beta 1 | Ubuntu 11.10 alpha 2 | Ubuntu 11.10 alpha 1

Changes in Ubuntu 11.10 Oneiric Ocelot beta 2 since beta 1:

Windows 8 Certified Computers May Not Be Able To Boot Linux

According to an article by ITWorld, Microsoft requires that Windows 8-certified machines use UEFI (Unified Extensible Firmware Interface) with support for secure booting instead of the BIOS firmware.

This means that both the firmware and software used in the boot process must be signed by a trusted Certificate Authority and at the moment, none of the EFI Linux bootloaders is signed. So basically, if you buy a computer that includes the manufacturer's keys and Microsoft's keys, you won't be able to boot a Linux distribution.

Dropbox Share Updated For Ubuntu 11.10 [Fedora Installation Instructions Too]

Dropbox Share is now available for Ubuntu 11.10 Oneiric Ocelot. This is a tool I've created a while back to easily share files or folders using Dropbox and automatically copy their public links to the clipboard.

Dropbox Share comes with a custom Unity launcher as well as two Nautilus scripts (so you don't have to use Unity to run Dropbox Share):

How To Install Nuvola Player (Ex Google Music Frame) In Fedora

Google Music is a service that allows you to upload up to 20,000 songs which you can then listen from any computer and even your phone, for free (it currently only works in the US and requires an invitation which you can request from here).

Google Music Frame was created to make it easier to control Google Music via the Ubuntu Sound Menu or multimedia keys, comes with user scripts support (so you can add last.fm support among others), notifications and more.

Even though Google Music Frame was initially built to only work with the Ubuntu Sound Menu, later on, the Ubuntu Sound Menu dependency was removed and it can now run on non-Ubuntu systems too. Here's a screenshot with Google Music Frame running in Fedora 15 (and with a tweaked Media Player Shell extension that works with Google Music Frame):

Google Music Frame Fedora Gnome Shell

Update: Google Music Frame has been renamed to Nuvola Player and now supports other services too, like Grooveshark, etc.

Audacious 3.0.3 And 3.1 Alpha 1 Available For Ubuntu Oneiric (PPA)

Audacious is a versatile music player for GNOME that has a low memory footprint and a clean GTK interface. It also comes with a Winamp-like interface that supports Winamp 2.x skins.

You can switch between the GTK / Winamp interface by going to View > Interface.

Here is the Audacious GTK interface:

Audacious 3.0.3

And the Winamp-like Audacious interface:

Audacious winamp interface

Synapse Launcher 0.2.8 Released With A New Theme, More

Synapse 0.2.8

Synapse is a semantic launcher similar to Gnome Do or Kupfer, powered by Zeitgeist. It comes with many plugins for controlling Rhythmbox or Banshee, connect to SSH hosts, upload to Imgur, search the web, Dictionary and more.

To use it, press Ctrl + Space (you can configure this in it's options), and start typing the name of an application you want to launch - Synapse will display the applications matching what you type, based on how frequently you've used them. Or start typing the name of a file and once you select it, press TAB and select an action to perform like: copy it to the clipboard, open the file with some application and so on.

Zenity For Appindicators: Ubuntu Indicator For Commands Or Bash Scripts

WebUpd8 reader Reda El Khattabi has created a small tool that makes it very easy to create an Ubuntu AppIndicator for Zenity, YAD (a Zenity fork with many improvements) or basically any bash script or command.

  • supports submenus and separators
  • you can specify a custom icon
  • persistent mode or quit after executing command

0 A.D. RTS Game Reaches Alpha 7

0 AD
(New 0 A.D. main menu)

0 A.D. is an Age of Empires like real-time strategy game. The game is open source and is available for Linux, Windows and Mac OS X. 

0 A.D. is still in alpha stages, but is already looks great, with excellent graphics and sound. There are still some missing features though, like campaigns, lack of settings, no multiplayer matchmaking service and more.

HTC-Like Clock / Weather Conky Configuration

Conky HTC

Conky-HTC is a really cool Conky configuration inspired by the HTC weather / clock widget. It displays nice weather icons along with a 7-day weather forecast which can be configured to use either metric or imperial units.

Setting up Conky-HTC is not hard, but it requires quite a few steps and because some of them weren't specified in the Conky-HTC readme, here is everything you need to do to get it working:

Fuduntu Becomes A Rolling Release Distribution, Continues With GNOME 2


Fuduntu (despite it's name, it has nothing to do with Ubuntu), a Linux distribution based on Fedora, is now officially a rolling release Linux distribution, meaning you won't have to upgrade / do a clean install each time a new Fuduntu version is released to be able to use the latest software versions. As an example, if you've installed Fuduntu 14.1, you should have Kernel 3.0.1, Chromium 12 and Firefox 6 just like those who are just installing Fuduntu 14.10.

How To Install Oracle Java 7 (JDK) In Ubuntu

As you probably know, Oracle Java (JVM/JDK) will not be available in the Debian / Ubuntu repositories anymore because Oracle retired the "Operating System Distributor License for Java" (JDL) and the only release available in the repositories will be OpenJDK.

But of course, Oracle Java can still be downloaded from its website if you really need it and don't want to use OpenJDK:

Unity Reboot (Ubuntu Unity Launcher To Reboot In A Different OS) Available In A PPA

Unity Reboot in other OS

A while back I wrote a custom Unity launcher to reboot in a different OS, useful if you dual boot.

Let me remind you how it works: 
  • when GRUB starts, the first GRUB menu item is highlighted - selecting to reboot from this custom launcher will highlight the menu entry you set and will boot it if you don't select a different option in the GRUB menulist (so the GRUB menu will still be displayed if you've set a GRUB timeout higher than 0 but you can set it to 0 and directly boot into the selected OS).
  • This only applies for one reboot, then everything is back to normal.

GNOME Shell: Make Applications Start On A Certain Workspace


GNOME Shell Auto Move Windows extension can be used to get some applications to always start on a specific workspace. The extension is not new, but it is a bit difficult to use so I though I'd write a post explaining exactly how to get it working (tested on Ubuntu 11.10 Oneiric Ocelot and Fedora 15).

Unity Mail Gets Ubuntu Messaging Menu Support, More

Unity mail

Unity Mail is a Unity-specific application to display the email unread count on the Unity launcher.

A new Unity Mail version (0.8.5) was released today for Ubuntu 11.04 (the 0.8.x series was already available for 11.10) which adds some of the features some of you have requested, such as: Messaging Menu support, an improved configuration dialog which allows you to set custom URLs, custom mail check interval, turn on/off the notifications and more.

Update Manager Indicator For Ubuntu Brings Old Update Manager Behavior With Extra Features

Update Manager Indicator

Update Manager Indicator is an appindicator that brings back the old Update Manager behavior (an orange icon is displayed on the panel when updates are available) with some extra features like displaying a list of updates in a submenu, option to refresh the repositories or display NotifyOSD notifications.

Install Lubuntu Software Center (Lightweight USC Alternative For Lubuntu 11.10)

Lubuntu Software Center

Lubuntu Software Center is a new project that aims to be a lightweight alternative to Ubuntu Software Center, for Lubuntu (Ubuntu based on LXDE).

The project is in its early development stages, but you can already browse various software categories, install or remove software or see detailed package information. To install some applications you must click the "Add to the Apps Basket" button and then head over to the App Basked where you must click the "Install" button.

Test Websites In Internet Explorer 9, 8 and 7 Under Linux / Mac OSX

IE9 VirtualBox

Microsoft has created some customized Windows VHDs with the purpose of allowing web designers to test websites in Internet Explorer 9, 8 and 7, for free. To make it easier to set up, xdissent has created a Mac OSX / Linux script that will download the required files, extract them, install the latest VirtualBox guest additions and so on.

GIMP Plugin Registry 3.5.4 Brings 4 Updated Plugins

GIMP Plugin Registry

GIMP Plugin Registry is a collection of plugins for GIMP image editor, available as a Debian package. Some of the included plugins: Film Grain, El Samuko GIMP Scripts (which includes effects such as "Obama Hope, Movie 300", antique photo border and more), GIMP FX Foundry (a huge collection of scripts for GIMP), Liquid Rescale, Save for Web plugin, Refocus, X11 Mouse Cursor, Warming and Cooling Filters and lots more.

Armagetron Advanced: Tron-Inspired Multiplayer Game

Armagetron Advanced

Armagetron Advanced is an open source game inspired by the movie Tron. For those who haven't seen Tron: in this game, two or more players use a vehicle called "light cycle" which leaves a coloured trail behind; making contact with the trail or the walls is fatal, so the goal is to "box" your opponents.

Get A Global Menu In GNOME Shell

GNOME Shell global menu

Remember Gnome2 Global Menu? It's an applet that adds a global menu (the menu is displayed on the top panel) for Gnome 2 that wasn't very active for a long time because Ubuntu built its own global menu. But it's back!

Gnome Global Menu is currently being ported to GTK3 and an alpha version is already available for download so you can get a global menu in GNOME Shell. Here's a video with the new Gnome Global Menu running in Ubuntu 11.10 (with GNOME Shell):

Dropbox: Access EncFS Folders On Android Using BoxCryptor

A while back we wrote about encrypting your private Dropbox data using EncFS. And that's a really great way to keep your private Dropbox data safe, but what if you want to access some encrypted files from an Android device?

That's where BoxCryptor comes in. The first public BoxCryptor version for Android was released a few days ago so you can finally access EncFS folders in your Dropbox from any Android device (there's also a BoxCryptor version for Windows and an iPhone / iPad app is currently under development). The application is currently in alpha and for now it can only read encrypted files, but according to it's Android Market page, write support will be added in a later version.