Ubuntu / Linux news and application reviews.

HandBrake 0.9.6 Released [Video Transcoder]

HandBrake is a cross-platform video transcoder that supports most common multimedia formats, DVDs or Bluray-like sources that aren't copy-protected. The application can even create chapters or add subtitles.

After more than a year, a new HandBrake version has been released: 0.9.6, and it includes many improvements, such as:

USB Stick PC `Cotton Candy` Available For Pre-Order

Cotton Candy, a computer that looks like an USB thumb drive which runs Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich or Ubuntu for ARM is now available for pre-order at a price of $199 plus tax and shipping (the delivery is expected in March). It's a lot more expensive than Raspberry Pi, but it also has better hardware as well as Wifi and Bluetooth:

Raspberry Pi Computer Goes On Sale

Raspberry Pi

Raspberry Pi, the credit-card sized computers running Linux, are finally available for purchase. For now, only Model B, which costs $35 is on sale and the number of available units is limited to 10.000, so if you want one, hurry!

How To Add VLC To The Ubuntu Sound Menu

The latest VLC 2.0 got support for MPRIS v2, meaning it can make use of the Ubuntu Sound Menu or other docks / extensions that support it (like the GNOME Shell Mediaplayer extension):

VLC 2.0 ubuntu sound menu

Install LibreOffice 3.5.0 In Ubuntu 11.10 Or 10.04 Via PPA

libreoffice 3.5.0

A quick update for Ubuntu users: LibreOffice 3.5.0 is now available in its official PPA for Ubuntu 11.10 Oneiric Ocelot and 10.04 Lucid Lynx users.

Android-x86 4.0 RC1 Released (Android Ice Cream Sandwich Optimized For Netbooks / Laptops)

android x86 4.0 ice cream sandwich

Android-x86 is a project that provides Android support for x86, making it easy to install it on netbooks or laptops. You can use it like any other Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich device: install applications from the Android Market, add widgets and so on.

The Android x86 team has released Android x86 4.0 RC1, based on Android 4.0.3 (Ice Cream Sandwich) and features:

Desktop Syncing Comes To ownCloud Through Mirall And Csync

ownCloud is a free software alternative to some proprietary web services and it currently includes file management (with built-in file sharing), music streaming, calendar, contacts and more - all running on your computer or server.

Desktop file syncing is now possible with ownCloud, through Csync and Mirall:
  • Csync is a command line synchronization tool that comes with an ownCloud module
  • Mirall is a Qt tray sync client that uses Csync and allows you to synchronize data between the local machine and ownCloud.

MyUnity 3.0 Released With New GUI, Quicklist Editor [Unity Configuration Tool]


MyUnity, a tool to customize Unity, has reached version 3.0. The new version brings a new user interface, full support for Ubuntu 12.04 Precise Pangolin which includes some features that were recently added to Precise like hiding apps available for download from Dash, as well as some other new features.

More Information About Ubuntu For Android [Video]

Ubuntu for Android

Some more information regarding Ubuntu for Android was revealed today in an interview with one of the Canonical engineers by Engadget.

VLSUB: VLC Extension To Search And Download Subtitles

VLSub is a VLC extensions to search and download subtitles from opensubtitles.org. The extension can search either based on the video hash or its IMDB title.

The extension can download subtitles in about 49 languages, including English, Arabic, Bulgarian, Czech, Dutch, French, German, Greek, Hebrew, Hungarian, Indonesian, Italian, Japanese, Polish, Portuguese, Romanian, Russian, Serbian, Spanish, Swedish, Turkish and more.

Calendar Indicator Displays Google Calendar Events On The Ubuntu Panel (Without Evolution)

google calendar indicator

Calendar Indicator is a new tool to display your Google Calendar events on the Ubuntu / Unity panel.

You can already do that with Evolution and Indicator DateTime, but there are some differences: firstly, the obvious: you don't need Evolution to use Calendar Indicator. And secondly, Calendar Indicator displays the next 10 upcoming Google Calendar events at once, so you don't have to scroll through dates to see your Google Calendar events.

Install Tribler In Ubuntu Via PPA (Decentralized Bittorrent Application)

tribler bittorrent ubuntu

Tribler is a cross-platform, decentralized Bittorrent application which means it doesn't require any torrent website to find and download content. Another cool feature is that you can stream videos directly, without having to fully download them firstly (only with VLC 1.1.x for now).

Unity Greeter Gets A New Session Chooser Dialog [Ubuntu 12.04 Development]

unity greeter ubuntu 12.04

Unity Greeter 0.2.4 (the LightDM login screen theme) has been uploaded to the Ubuntu 12.04 Precise Pangolin repositories and it comes with a cool new session chooser dialog (screenshot above) which replaces the old menu.

Ubuntu One Gets A New Qt Interface For Ubuntu 12.04 Precise Pangolin

A new Ubuntuone-Installer version was uploaded to the Ubuntu 12.04 Precise Pangolin repositories today and with it, Ubuntu One has switched to a new Qt interface by default, replacing the old GTK version.

Alternative Cinnamon PPA For Ubuntu Users

cinnamon 1.3.1

Cinnamon 1.3 was released almost a week ago, with version 1.3.1 following shortly and for some reason, the PPA we've posted a while back hasn't been updated with either of these versions. A new PPA has been created so Ubuntu users can easily get updates without having to manually download the .deb files.

Adobe Flash For Linux Will Only Be Available For Chrome

chrome flash

According to a blog post by Adobe, after the 11.2 release, Flash Player for Linux will only be available through a new "Pepper" API as a part of Google Chrome, and won't be available as a separate download anymore. However, Adobe will continue to offer security updates for Flash Player 11.2 for Linux for five years.

Ubuntu For Android Demo [Video]

ubuntu for android

Here's a video demoing the new Ubuntu for Android:

Ubuntu For Android, Announced By Mark Shuttleworth

Mark Shuttleworth has announced "Ubuntu for Android", which brings Ubuntu to multi core Android phones.

Ubuntu for Android is a phone but also your own portable computer that you can plug in to any monitor to get a fully featured desktop:

Carry just the phone, and connect it to any monitor to get a full Ubuntu desktop with all the native apps you want, running on the same device at the same time as Android. Magic. Everything important is shared across the desktop and the phone in real time.

Firefox To Get A New Default Theme, Other Enhancements

According to the Firefox 2012 roadmap, Mozilla plans to introduce some major changes and new features this year, including a new default theme called Australis:

firefox new theme gnome 3 2012
Firefox - default GNOME 3 theme
firefox new theme ubuntu ambiance 2012
Firefox - Ubuntu (Ambiance theme)

SyncWall: Wallpaper Changer With Multi-Monitor And Synchronization Support


SyncWall is a cross-platform wallpaper change written in Qt which supports multiple monitors and wallpaper synchronization between workstations.

Install VLC 2.0 In Ubuntu 11.10 Oneiric Ocelot

vlc 2.0

VLC 2.0 "Twoflower" has been released with faster decoding, support for more video formats, a reworked web interface, experimental BluRay Discs support (without menus) and more.

Cinnamon 1.3 Released With More Customization Options

cinnamon 1.3 desktop

Cinnamon 1.3 has been released today, bringing even more customization options for its users.

Cinnamon Settings has a new look and it now includes all the GNOME Tweak Tool features and more: change GTK theme, cursor and icons, desktop icons, font settings, window settings (including window button order), change the menu text and icon and so on:

HUD Added By Default In Ubuntu 12.04 Precise Pangolin

unity hud menu

Back when Mark Shuttleworth announced HUD (Head-Up Display), a new smart menu for Unity, it wasn't sure if it will be added by default in Ubuntu 12.04 Precise Pangolin. Well, Unity 5.4.0 has just been uploaded to the Ubuntu 12.04 repositories and it comes with HUD by default. However, HUD doesn't replace the global menu so it you're not forced to use it!

Encrypt DNS Traffic In Linux With DNSCrypt (Via OpenDNS)

DNSCrypt, as its name suggests, encrypts DNS traffic between your computer and OpenDNS, in the same way SSL turns HTTP traffic into HTTPS encrypted traffic.

Initially, DNSCrypt was announced as being available for Mac only for now, but according to an OpenDNS article posted yesterday, the source code for DNSCrypt was published on GitHub when they've released the Mac preview and even though there's no user interface yet, Linux users can already install DNSCrypt.

`Window Applets`, Finally Available For GNOME 3 (Classic / Fallback)

window applets gnome 3 panel

Window Applets is a pack of two GNOME panel applets that lets you put the window title and buttons on the top panel. Since GNOME 3, Window Applets stopped working but today, a new version has been released with support for the GNOME 3 classic / fallback panel.

The Window Buttons applet is basically like the Ubuntu window buttons displayed on the top panel for maximized windows, except it's for the classic GNOME session and it's highly customizable:

Dropbox: Get Read / Write EncFS Support On Android Using Cryptonite

Dropbox is very popular - and for a good reason - it's fast, you get free storage space which can easily be increased, there are many additional tools that make use of Dropbox and so on, but unfortunately it doesn't encrypt the data on your computer. This is why, a while back I was suggesting to encrypt private Dropbox data using EncFS.

But what if you want to access an encrypted folder from an Android device? You can use BoxCryptor, but it has some limitations: the free version has read-only access so you can't upload / modify files, only the first two encrypted folder levels are accessible (deeper folders can't be accessed) and has limited EncFS support (you have to use custom EncFS settings to be able to use it).

Well, a new Android application has been released recently, solving all these issues: Cryptonite EncFS.

SpaceFM: Highly Customizable, Multi-Pane File Manager

spacefm file manager

SpaceFM is a highly customizable, multi-panel tabbed file manager, forked from the legacy PCManFM. It's currently in alpha, under heavy development, but it already seems pretty stable and usable.

SpaceFM features:

Humanity Icons Colors: 8 Different Colors For Humanity Icon Theme

humanity icons colors

A while back we've posted an article about Ambiance & Radiance Colors, a theme pack that provides Ambiance and Radiance available in 8 different colors. Well, since then matching GNOME Shell themes were added and the GTK themes got some fixes from Light Themes Evolved, like a dark sidebar for Nautilus or unified menu and titlebar.

The themes are beautiful, but a theme pack is not really complete unless you have a matching icon theme, so Jared, the Ambiance & Radiance Colors Theme Pack author, has released a recolord Humanity Icon theme called "Humanity Icons Colors", which comes in 8 colors, with support for both dark and light panels: blue,  graphite, green, orange, pink, red, yellow and purple.

And of course, the new icons look great with Ambiance & Radiance Colors. Here are a few screenshots:

Download Ronak, The Chakra Archimedes Plasma Theme [KDE]

ronak plasma theme

A quick update for those of you who use KDE: Chakra Archimedes has been released with a beautiful new plasma theme called Ronak - if you use some other KDE-based Linux distribution, you can download Ronak via KDE-Look.

Razor-Qt 0.4.1 Released With New Components, Panel Improvements

razor qt

Razor Qt, a new lightweight desktop environment that uses Qt, has reached version 0.4.1.

The new version brings 3 new components: razor-policykit, razor-power (power management tool) and razor-autosuspend (a tool to suspend/wake-up laptops on Lid events or power status events) as well as some panel improvements:

LibreOffice 3.5 Released, Install It In Ubuntu

libreoffice 3.5

LibreOffice 3.5 has finally been released today, bringing multiple improvements.

LibreOffice 3.5 highlights:

A New `Locally Integrated Menubar` Might Land In Ubuntu 12.04

It looks like a new "locally integrated menu" will make it into Unity, starting with version 5.6.0. There's basically no information about the new locally integrated menubar, except for two bug reports which link to some custom Unity, Compiz, Metacity and Light Themes branches so to see "LIM" in action, I've compiled all these branches and here's the result:

locally integrated menubar ubuntu

Nuvola Player Adds Built-In Last.fm Scrobbling

nuvola player

Nuvola Player integrates various cloud music services (Google Music, Grooveshark, Hype Machine and 8tracks) with your desktop: Mpris2 (Ubuntu Sound Menu integration), notifications, multimedia keys, Unity quicklists and more.

The latest Nuvola Player available in the Unstable PPA finally adds built-in Last.fm scrobbling for all the supported cloud music services. Until now, you had to use user scripts for this.

Unity: Dash To Get Cover Flow Support? [Ubuntu 12.04]

unity dash coverflow

According to a branch that was recently proposed for inclusion in Unity, it looks like Dash will be getting support for scrolling using a nice cover flow effect.

A More "Classic GNOME" Session Lands In Ubuntu 12.04 Precise Pangolin

The Indicator Applet port to GTK3 has finally landed in Ubuntu 12.04 Precise Pangolin. This, along with some changes to the GNOME Panel default settings, finally "fix" the Classic (fallback) GNOME session in Ubuntu 12.04:

Ubuntu 12.04 classic gnome session

As you can see in the screenshot above, the theme still needs some fixes. But it's great to finally have a fully working Classic GNOME 3 session without having to use PPAs.

VirtualBox Ubuntu 12.04 (Guest) Fixes

Ubuntu precise virtualbox

If you want to try the latest Ubuntu 12.04 Precise Pangolin alpha or a daily build in VirtualBox (guest), you'll stumble upon a few issues like: VirtualBox can't boot from the 32bit ISO because PAE is not enabled by default so you'll get a kernel error, the mouse or the Internet connection isn't working or the screen is glitchy and black in Unity 3D after installing the VirtualBox Guest Additions from the repositories (required if you want to use Unity 3D).

So here is how to fix these issues and run the latest Ubuntu 12.04 Precise Pangolin build with Unity 3D in VirtualBox.

Guayadeque Music Player 0.3.5 Released With Multiple Collections, CUE Support

guayadeque music player 0.3.5

Guayadeque is a fully featured Linux music player that comes with smart / dynamic playlists, iPod and portable device support, automatically downloads album covers, lets you play and record shoutcast radios,  Mpris v2 support and many more interesting features.

Ubuntu Tweak 0.6.1 Released With Support For Ubuntu 12.04 Precise Pangolin

Ubuntu Tweak

Ubuntu Tweak 0.6.1 has been released today, adding full support for Ubuntu 12.04 Precise Pangolin. The new version also comes with bug fixes as well as some minor new features:

How To Install Appmenu For KRunner In Kubuntu

Krunner appmenu kde hud

If you want to try out the new Appmenu Runner (HUD-like functionality for KDE) in Kubuntu, here's how to install it from source.

The instructions below have been tested on both Kubuntu 11.10 Oneiric Ocelot and 12.04 Precise Pangolin, using KDE 4.8 (see how to install the latest KDE 4.8 in Kubuntu 11.10, HERE).

Movgrab: Command Line Video Downloader

Update: movgrab seems abandoned. As an alternative, I highly recommend youtube-dl.

movgrab linux

Movgrab is a command line tool for downloading video clips from websites such as YouTube, Daily Motion, Break.com, Vimeo, Blip.tv, Liveleak and others.

Movgrab features:

AppMenu Runner: HUD-Like Functionality For KDE

HUD KDE appmenu runner screenshot

A while back, Alex Fiestas has implemented something very similar to HUD, Unity's new smart menu, for KDE. The initial implementation only worked for KDE applications and only if the menu was shown in the application window. After seeing HUD in action, he was motivated to continue his project, so he implemented this into KRunner.

NotifyOSD To Use The Same Colour As Dash [Ubuntu 12.04 Precise Pangolin]

NotifyOSD notifications have looked the same since they were first introduced with Ubuntu 9.04 Jaunty Jackalope. But NotifyOSD will soon get a new look: the notifications will use the same median colour and blur used for Dash (which depends on the colour of your wallpaper).

This change is already available in the latest NotifyOSD 0.9.33, released today, but it requires Unity 5.4.0 which hasn't been released yet.

Here are some screenshots by Mirco Müller:

notifyosd colour

How To Create A Standalone Compiz Session In Ubuntu

Custom compiz session ubuntu

This guide has been written by WebUpd8 reader Neil Rodgers and it shows how to create your own standalone Compiz session in Ubuntu (the instructions below are for 11.10, but they may work in other Ubuntu versions). Using a custom Compiz session gives you flexibility to load only what you want, so you can get a lightweight session, while still using Compiz.

Kubuntu To Become A Community-Only Ubuntu Flavor

kubuntu logo

Jonathan Riddell has announced that Canonical will no longer fund his work after Kubuntu 12.04, and Kubuntu will be treated just like Edubuntu, Lubuntu and Xubuntu. This means Kubuntu will be developed exclusively by volunteers.

Easily Create Impressive Presentations From PDF Files Or Images

Impressive is a cross-platform tool to display presentations in a stylish way. The application supports PDF files or a folder containing images and besides beautiful slide transitions, Impressive features some useful presentation tools like: highlight boxes, which can be used to draw attention to a specific part of the slide, spotlight effect which is kind of like a highlight box but dynamic, and a screen overview which you can use to easily select a slide.

How To Use A Launchpad PPA (Add, Remove, Purge, Disable) In Ubuntu

Here we are, talking about installing stuff from PPAs, but we've never posted more about the PPAs themselves. So here's a short guide on how to use a Launchpad PPA in Ubuntu.

Launchpad PPAs ("Personal Package Archive") are repositories hosted on Launchpad which you can use to install (or upgrade) packages that are not available in the official Ubuntu repositories.

Unity 5.2 Released With Multi Monitor Support [Ubuntu 12.04 Precise Pangolin]

Unity 5.2 has just been uploaded to the Ubuntu 12.04 Precise Pangolin repositories, bringing multi monitor support, a new SUPER+TAB Launcher switcher, per workspace alt-tab switcher, a new shortcut hints overlay, "push to reveal" launcher behavior, a new home dash and the window auto-maximize functionality has been disabled on monitors with a resolution above 1024x600.

elementary Music Player `Beatbox` 0.3 Released

elementary music player beatbox screenshot

Beatbox, the default music player in the upcoming elementary "Luna" release, has reached version 0.3 codename "Acolyte". The new version includes an improved album view, iPod sync, podcast and Internet radio support, among others.

Ubuntu 12.04 LTS Precise Pangolin Alpha 2 Released [Video, Screenshots]

Ubuntu 12.04 precise pangolin alpha 2 screenshot

Ubuntu 12.04 LTS Precise Pangolin alpha 2 is available for download, we'll do a recap of all the changes since the previous milestone (alpha 1).

Compare And Synchronize Folders With FreeFileSync

FreeFileSync is a muti-platform folder comparison and synchronization tool that comes with some very useful features like support for multiple folder pairs, binary files support, can create "batch files" which can be used to automate folder synchronization and others.

FreeFileSync Ubuntu

Radio Software Airtime 2.0 Released With Easier Icecast And SHOUTcast Configuration, More

Airtime is a free open source radio management application. The Airtime server runs on Linux, but the interface can be used from anywhere, using a web browser.

It features DJ management, playlists and shows, SoundCloud integration, supports Icecast and SHOUTcast and comes with a jQuery-based interface that supports drag and drop.

airtime radio management software 2.0

GNOME Components Version Clarifications For Ubuntu 12.04 Precise Pangolin

ubuntu 12.04 precise pangolin

Back at the Ubuntu Developer Summit, it was decided that Ubuntu 12.04 will continue to use some GNOME 3.2 applications and will only pick up some GNOME 3.4 components like GNOME Games, Gedit and others. 

Jeremy Bicha has posted an update on the versions of some GNOME components for the upcoming Ubuntu 12.04 Precise Pangolin.