Ubuntu / Linux news and application reviews.

Kazam Screencaster 1.0 Released

Kazam Screencaster 1.0, a cool screencasting application for Linux, has been released today.

The Kazam Screencaster development has stopped a while back, but luckily a new developer has taken over the project and Kazam is updated frequently again. With the new 1.0 version, Kazam is finally GTK3 ready, but that's not all. Here are the changes since the previous Kazam version we wrote about (a long time ago, I know):

SMPlayer 0.7.0 Brings YouTube And Mplayer2 Support

smplayer 0.7.0

SMPlayer may have been dead for a while, but it seems very active now, with two releases in just one month. The latest SMPlayer 0.7.0 brings basic support for YouTube and MPlayer2 as well as other new features.

ownCloud 3 Gets Built-In Text Editor, PDF Viewer, Other Improvements

ownCloud is a free software alternative to some proprietary web services that includes music streaming, file management which supports sharing, calendar, contacts and more:

ownCloud offers the ease-of-use of Dropbox and box.net with a more secure, transparently managed offering. As an open source project ownCloud 3 offers innovative features, a flexible architecture and no vendor lock in.

Google Earth 6.2 Released With A New Way Of Rendering Imagery, More

Google Earth is an application that provides a virtual globe, map and geographical information which you can use to travel the wold virtually, see images, 3D buildings, maps and more.

google earth 6.2

Google Earth 6.2 was released a few days ago and the most important change is a new way of rendering imagery which fixes an old bug that was causing a so-called "quilt effect". This effect was caused by images and photographs taken at different times or even days (and thus, different weather conditions, etc.) and made the Earth look like a mosaic from high altitude. Here's a screenshot (before / after):

OpenShot Video Editor 1.4.1 Released

OpenShot is a popular, easy to use video editor for Linux. It supports clip resizing, trimming, snapping, and cutting, Video transitions with real-time previews, compositing, image overlays, watermarks, 3D animated titles using Blender, digital zooming of video clips and more.

Holo: Android Ice Cream Sandwich Like Theme Pack For GNOME 3 (GTK/Shell)

holo gtk3 theme

Holo is a cool new GNOME 3 theme pack created by Tiheum (the Faenza icon theme designer) that tries to mimic the Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich theme.

Holo was initially called "Ice Cream Sandwich" and only included a GNOME Shell theme, but a recent update brought matching GTK3 and GTK2 themes too.

Beets Music Tagger: Command Line Tool To Fix Metadata And Organize Your Music Library

beets is a cross-platform command line music tagger and organizer which you can use to "get your music collection right once and for all".

It can improve your music collection metadata by using MusicBrainz, download cover art for all your albums, reorganize your music files, fix filenames and more.

Further more, beets is extensible through plugins which add extra functionality like  embedding or extracting album art from files, fetch lyrics for all your songs, clean up tags and and there's even a HTML5 web player (though it's very basic and can't do too much for now).

KDE 4.8 Released, Install It In Kubuntu 11.10

kde 4.8

KDE 4.8 has been released today and includes many changes, such as: multiple improvements for Dolphin, Kate, Kmail and Gwenview, adaptive power management, multiple layouts available for the ALT + TAB window switcher, Kwin optimizations and more.

TeamViewer 7 For Linux Released

teamviewer 7 linux

Quick update: the latest TeamViewer 7 for Linux* (application for remote control and desktop sharing) has finally been released today, after being in beta for over a month.

Orion: A New, Clear GTK 2/3 Theme

Orion gtk theme

Orion is a new, clear GTK3 theme created by Satya, who's also behind other beautiful GTK and GNOME Shell / Cinnamon themes like Evolve, Shine, Minty, Ambiance Blue and others.

Get Better Looking Qt Applications In Xubuntu 11.10 (XFCE)

Qt-based applications like Puddletag, SMPlayer, VLC and many others, look poorly in Xubuntu 11.10 (and probably in other XFCE based Linux distributions too) by default, so here's how to improve their look.

Jailbreak iPhone 4S and iPad 2 On Linux With Absinthe

Absinthe 0.3, an iPhone 4S and iPad 2 (iOS 5) untethered jailbreak tool, has been released a few days ago and it includes a Linux version too.

HUD: Ubuntu`s New Smart Menus, Announced By Mark Shuttleworth

unity hud menu ubuntu precise

Mark Shuttleworth has announced HUD, or Head-Up Display, an alternative to application menus especially designed for Unity, which should solve many issues with existing menus "by connecting users directly to what they want":

Say hello to the Head-Up Display, or HUD, which will ultimately replace menus in Unity applications. [...] The HUD concept has been the driver for all the work we’ve done in unifying menu systems across Gtk, Qt and other toolkit apps in the past two years. So far, that’s shown up as the global menu. In 12.04, it also gives us the first cut of the HUD.

- Mark Shuttleworth

Cinnamon 1.2 Released With Desktop Effects, Multiple Layouts, More

Cinnamon, the GNOME2-like GNOME Shell fork, has reached version 1.2, which is considered fully stable. The new release brings many new features, but also separates Cinnamon even more from GNOME Shell.

Puddletag 1.0 Beta Released With Fixed MusicBrainz and Discogs Tag Sources

Puddletag is an audio tag editor for Linux, very similar to the popular Windows application Mp3tag.

The MusicBrainz and Discogs music tag sources stopped working in the latest stable Puddletag version for quite some time because of API changes but today, a new Puddletag version has been released (1.0 beta), finally bringing support for the latest MusicBrainz and Discogs APIs.

Manage Your PDF Documents With Mendeley

mendeley desktop ubuntu

Mendeley is a free to use, cross-platform PDF organizer with some extra features that make document management and research easier:
  • Reference manager (generate citations and bibliographies in Microsoft Word, OpenOffice / LibreOffice)
  • PDF viewer (can also add annotations, etc.)
  • Import and organize PDFs
  • Collaborate / share documents
  • Backup and cloud sync

Updates: Audacious 3.2, Gnome Pie 0.4, Xnoise 0.1.31

Audacious 3.2

audacious 3.2

Audacious 3.2 has finally been released. You probably already know what's new since Audacious 3.2 beta was already available in our unstable PPA, but here's the changelog again, just in case:

Bumblebee 3.0 Released (Nvidia Optimus GPU Switching For Linux)

Nvidia Optimus is a technology available for notebooks, used to increases battery life by switching the dedicated GPU off when it's not needed and then switching it on again when it's needed. When the dedicated GPU is off, the integrated graphics chip is used.

Nvidia Optimus GPU switching is officially only supported on Windows 7, but it's also unofficially available on Linux thanks to the Bumblebee project.

How To Install Wunderlist In Ubuntu 12.10, 12.04 Or 11.10

wunderlist ubuntu

Wunderlist is a cool task manager (to do list) available for Windows, Linux, Mac OSX, iOS and Android that supports task synchronization, sharing lists with friends and colleagues and more.

The application is available in the Software Center for Ubuntu 10.10 and 11.04, but it's missing for Ubuntu 11.10, 12.04 and 12.10. That's because Wunderlist is not yet compatible with these Ubuntu versions, but it can be manually installed by using some tweaks.

To make it easier to install Wunderlist in Ubuntu 11.10 Oneiric Ocelot, 12.04 Precise Pangolin and 12.10 Quantal Quetzal, I've created a script that does everything you need to run it (for both 32bit and 64bit).

Xorg 1.11 Vulnerability: Bypass Screen Lockers With A Keyboard Shortcut

ubuntu lock screen

A Xorg server vulnerability which makes it possible to kill any screensaver / screen locker using the CTRL + ALT + Multiply (multiply is the "*" character on the Numpad) keyboard combination has been discovered yesterday

LibreOffice 3.4.5 Available To Install In Ubuntu 11.10 Oneiric Ocelot Via PPA

A quick update for Ubuntu 11.10 Oneiric Ocelot users: the latest LibreOffice 3.4.5 is available in its official PPA.

Epiphany 3.3.4 Released With New Menu And Toolbar, More

epiphany 3.3.4

Epiphany 3.3.4 has been released today with many user interface changes which bring it closer to the mockups we've seen about a month ago.

The new version features a much cleaner, unified user interface that's optimized to offer the user as much vertical space as possible. The old-style menu and statusbar have been removed, being replaced with a menu integrated into the top GNOME Shell bar (that will be used by the whole GNOME application stack: Music, Documents, etc.), a new "super menu" and a Nautilus-like floating statusbar.

Rhythmbox (2.95) Finally Ported To GTK3, Install It In Ubuntu 11.10

Rhythmbox 2.95 gtk3

After a year, we finally have a new Rhythmbox release - 2.95, and the major change is that it has been ported to GTK+ 3. For the past year, most Linux distributions have packaged Rhythmbox from GIT because even though the Rhythmbox development is active, there were no new releases.

Install Oracle Java 7 in Ubuntu Or Linux Mint Via PPA Repository

Update: Java 7 is no longer supported by Oracle. The binaries are no longer available for download, but if you have an Oracle account, you can still download it after logging in. 

The Oracle Java 7 installer in this article will continue to work only if you manually download Oracle JDK 7 (version 7u80 for 32bit and 64bit or 7u60 for arm), place it in the /var/cache/oracle-jdk7-installer/ folder on your computer, then install "oracle-java7-installer" as explained below in this article.


We've previously written about installing Oracle JDK 7 in Ubuntu using a script with a GUI provided by Zenity. Some may find this method hard to use and also, it comes with GTK dependencies. So as an alternative that doesn't have any GTK dependencies and comes with automatic updates too, I've set up an Ubuntu PPA for the latest Oracle Java 7 (JDK). The PPA should work not only with Ubuntu but also Linux Mint and other Ubuntu-based Linux distributions.

If you really need to use Oracle (ex Sun) Java instead of OpenJDK in Ubuntu, here's an easy way to do it: a PPA repository to install and keep your computer up to date with the latest Oracle Java 7 (Java JDK which includes JRE).

oracle java

Oracle JDK7 itself is not hosted in the PPA because that's not allowed by the new Java license (which is also the reason why it has been removed from the official Ubuntu repositories); the package in the PPA automatically downloads Oracle Java JDK 7 from its official website and installs it on your Ubuntu / Linux Mint computer, just like the flashplugin-installer package does.

New Unity Features: Shortcut Hints Overlay And Launcher Switcher [Ubuntu 12.04]

The latest Unity from BZR got two very interesting new features: shortcut hints overlay and new launcher switcher.

The keyboard shortcut hints overlay (a list of Unity keyboard shortcuts that nicely blends in with the desktop by using the same Dash style) is displayed when pressing and holding the SUPER key. Here's a screenshot:

ubuntu keyboard shortcut hints overlay unity

Install Emerald In Ubuntu 11.10 Oneiric Ocelot Via PPA


Emerald Window Decorator is not available in the Ubuntu 11.10 Oneiric Ocelot repositories so to make it easier to install, I've uploaded the latest stable Emerald version (0.9.5) to the main WebUpd8 PPA.

LightDM: Unity Greeter Update Brings Support For Reading User Background [Ubuntu 12.04 Development]

A new Unity Greeter (the default LightDM greeter for Ubuntu) version has been released for testing in the Ubuntu Desktop PPA, and it brings support for reading the user background, along with other minor tweaks.

Cinnamon Available To Install Via PPA For Ubuntu, More News

cinnamon desktop settings

Cinnamon, the GNOME2-like GNOME Shell fork is now available in a PPA so Ubuntu users can easily get updates without having to manually download the .deb files.

Besides Cinnamon itself, the PPA also provides Cinnamon Settings, a new GUI tool that lets you configure Cinnamon: enable/disable panel autohide, tweak the date on the panel, enable/disable overview icon or hot corner, enable/disable themes and extensions.

Easily Sync Your Local Documents With Google Docs Using Super Flexible File Synchronizer

Super Flexible File Synchronizer

Super Flexible File Synchronizer is a cloud backup and synchronization tool that supports FTP, SSH, WebDAV, Amazon S3, and Google Docs. The application is cross-platform, but only the Linux version is free (though it's proprietary).

Super Flexible File Synchronizer uses ZIP compression and data encryption and comes with multiple synchronization modes, like Standard Copying, Exact Mirror, and SmartTracking.

Probably the most interesting thing about Super Flexible File Synchronizer is the Google Docs support which you can use to easily synchronize your documents from / to your computer, so any changes you make on Google Docs an be synced with your computer as well as the other way around. The application also supports synchronizing files between two Google Docs accounts, or between any of the supported services / protocols.

Unity 5.0 Available For Testing In Ubuntu 12.04 Precise Pangolin [Video]

(that's not the default Dash color, just some random color I've used for testing)

A new Unity version (soon to be 5.0) is available for Ubuntu 12.04 Precise Pangolin, but not in the official repositories but the Unity Team PPA. Besides felling a lot smoother and being regression-free (according to Didier Roche), the new Unity testing version also comes with some new features.

Tool To Create Windows USB Install Stick From Linux: WinUSB


WinUSB is a tool that lets you create a Windows USB install stick from Linux in just two clicks. The application supports Windows an Vista and can use either an ISO or a DVD as a source. Update: WinUSB supports Windows 8 as well.

The Raspberry Pi Computer Is Finally Being Manufactured


Raspberry Pi, the "$25 computer" running Linux, is finally being manufactured and the first units will be available at the end of January. I've used "$25 computer" in quotes because most of you know it by that name, however, the $35 computer known as Model B is the one is being manufactured. Model A ($25) will follow later on:

Spice Up Your Desktop With These 5 Cool GTK2/3 Themes [PPA]

Are you bored with your current theme? Here are 5 cool GTK2/3 (some also come with a Shell theme) themes that are optimized to work on any "shell": Unity, GNOME Shell or the GNOME 3 fallback session.

Geary: Yorba Working On A New Lightweight Email Client For GNOME

geary email client

Yorba, the team behind Shotwell, has started working on a new project called Geary, a lightweight, feature-rich email client for the GNOME desktop written in Vala.

How To Install Ubuntu TV From A PPA

Ubuntu TV

Ubuntu TV can already be compiled - instructions available on the Ubuntu wiki, and using those instructions, you can run it without installing it, which is actually the best way to do it (since it doesn't replace Unity 2D), but if you don't like to compile stuff, you can use a test PPA I've created for Ubuntu 11.10 Oneiric Ocelot.

GRUB2 Editor 0.5.5 For KDE Released With BURG Support

grub2 editor kde

GRUB2 Editor for KDE is a KDE Control Module that lets you configure the GRUB2 bootloader: manage the default boot entry, boot timeout, resolution, menu colors and theme, Linux Kernel arguments, recover GRUB2, remove old entries, create and preview GRUB2 splash images and more.

Easily Discover And Install Plugins In Sublime Text 2 or 3 With Sublime Package Control

Sublime Text 2 / 3 is an excellent TextMate-like text editor that runs on Linux, Windows and Mac OSX.

If you like Sublime Text 2 / 3, you'll love Sublime Package Control, a cross-platform package manager that lets you easily discover, install and update various packages (plugins) for both Sublime Text 2 and Sublime Text 3.

Here are some of the plugins that you can install using Sublime Package Control: GIT, Mercurial or SFTP/FTP support, CSS Less (code folding and nesting for CSS), GoTo Recent, HeX viewer and editor, jQuery snippets pack, Vim / Emacs like modelines, SCSS bundle, Open Terminal, JSLint, PowerShell Utils, LaTeX Tools, HTML5 bundle, Zen Coding and many others. 

YouTube Scope For Unity Video Lens With Support For VLC, Minitube, More

Youtube unity lens scope

Lorenzo @ Atareao.es has created an Unity video lens and a YouTube scope for it, which lets you easily search and even play YouTube videos in either an external player (and thus, without using Adobe Flash) or your web browser.

The latest YouTube scope for Unity Video Lens comes with a tool which lets you select the external player you want to use for playing YouTube videos and it currently supports yviewer, VLC, Minitube (you'll need the latest 1.7 version) or your default web browser.

Ubuntu TV Demoed At CES [Video]

Ubuntu TV, a TV-optimized Ubuntu version, was demoed by Canonical at CES in Las Vegas earlier today. The Ubuntu-powered television is planned to initially target the US and China (but will expand to other countries if Canonical can get local content deals) and is said to be available by the end of this year.

Install Cinnamon On Fedora Or openSUSE

Cinnamon desktop fedora

Cinnamon, the GNOME Shell fork created for Linux Mint by Clement Lefebvre, is available for openSUSE and Fedora.

Audacious 3.2 Beta Released With New Music Library Plugin, Ubuntu Sound Menu / GNOME Shell Mediaplayer (MPRIS v2) Support

Audacious is a highly configurable music player for GNOME that has a very low memory footprint and comes with many plugins as well as two interfaces: a GTK and a Winamp2-like interface (it also supports Winamp 2 skins).

Audacious 3.2 beta has been released recently, featuring a new music library plugin which lets you search your whole music collection and easily create playlists. 

The new beta also finally adds partial MPRIS v2 support which allows Audacious to integrate with the Ubuntu Sound Menu or GNOME Shell (via extensions like GNOME Shell Mediaplayer).

Oxygen Font, The New KDE Desktop Font Family, Available For Testing

oxygen font

After Ubuntu and GNOME, KDE will get its own font too: Oxygen.

Oxygen font family is already available for testing (currently in alpha!) and comes with regular, bold and monospace variants, however, only the basic character shapes are done for now and the font is currently using the basic 'auto spacing' from FontForge.

Minitube 1.7 Released (PPA)


Minutube, a simple application which you can use to download and play YouTube videos without Flash, has reached version 1.7.

Ubuntu One Files Now Available For iOS

ubuntu one files ios

Canonical has released Ubuntu One Files for iOS (iOS4+ only), an application to easily access, sync and share any file on your Ubuntu One account from your iPhone, iPod Touch or iPad.

Install MPlayer2 And SMPlayer2 In Ubuntu

MPlayer2 is a fork of MPlayer that "contains significant further development and supports a number of features not available in other Unix players".

Ambiance And Radiance Colors Theme Pack Available In A PPA

A quick update: Ambiance and Radiance Colors theme pack, which provides Ambiance and Radiance available in 8 different colors, is now available in a PPA for Ubuntu 11.10 Oneiric Ocelot and 12.04 Precise Pangolin users.

LibreCAD 1.0.0 Released (Cross-Platform 2D CAD Drawing Software)

LibreCAD, a 2D CAD drawing tool has reached version 1.0 more than a year of work. LibreCAD, previously known as CADuntu, works natively on Mac OSX, Windows and Linux and is based on the community edition of QCad.

Spotify Scope For Unity Music Lens

spotify scope for unity music lens

After Grooveshark, another music scope is available for the Unity Music lens: Spotify scope.

SMPlayer 0.6.10 Released With Minor New Features

SMPlayer is a popular front-end for MPlayer and can play videos, DVDs and VCDs, featuring configurable subtitles, audio track switching, video equalizer, filters, playlist, audio and subtitles delay adjustment and much more.

After almost 2 years, a new SMPlayer version has been released: 0.6.10. The new version only brings some minor new features like:

Install Picasa 3.9 In Linux And Fix Google Sign In Issue [Wine]

picasa 3.9 linux google plus share

Picasa 3.9 was released a while back and among the new features are: share pictures to Google Plus, Picasa name tags for Google Plus, new photo editing effects and side by side editing.

Download Ambiance And Radiance Themes In 8 Different Colors

Ambiance & Radiance Colors is a theme pack that provides Ambiance and Radiance available in 8 different colors: red, orange (different from Ubuntu orange), yellow , green , blue , purple , graphite (grey) and pink.

Cinnamon 1.1.3 Released With Panel Autohide, More

Cinnamon is a GNOME Shell fork created by Clement Lefebvre, the Linux Mint founder, which tries to offer a layout similar to GNOME 2: a bottom panel with launchers, GNOME2-like systray and notifications and more.

Clementine Music Player 1.0 (Stable), Finally Released

A while back, Clementine music player got Grooveshark and Spotify support and these, among many other new features are finally available in a stable release (1.0). You'll need a Spotify Premium / Grooveshark Anywhere account though.