Ubuntu / Linux news and application reviews.

Ubuntu GNOME Remix 13.04 Replaces GNOME Packagekit With Ubuntu Software Center

Ubuntu GNOME Remix 12.10 uses GNOME Packagekit ("Software") as the default package management application, but this will change in Raring Ringtail.

A recent update in Ubuntu GNOME 13.04 Raring Ringtail (currently under development) has removed GNOME Packagekit from the default applications, replacing it with Ubuntu Software Center and Ubuntu's Update Manager.

Ubuntu GNOME Remix Software Center

Install PPA-Purge With Multi-Arch Support In Ubuntu

The ppa-purge package available in the official Ubuntu repositories is not multi-arch aware, so purging PPAs like xorg-edgers or gnome3 doesn't work correctly on 64bit systems.

A few hours ago, thanks to Tim Lunn's work, a branch that adds multiarch support has been merged into the main ppa-purge branch, fixing this bug. The fix should be available in Ubuntu 13.04 Raring Ringtail soon, but I don't know if it will be backported for older Ubuntu versions so to make this fix available for Ubuntu 12.10 and 12.04 users, I've uploaded the latest ppa-purge from BZR to the main WebUpd8 PPA.

For those not familiar with PPA Purge, this is a command line tool that downgrades all the packages installed from a PPA to the versions available in the official Ubuntu repositories

Hamachi GUI For Linux `Haguichi` 1.0.18 Released

Haguichi is a GUI for the Hamachi Linux client which features fully customizable commands, network list, notifications and an optional Ubuntu AppIndicator.

For those not familiar with Hamachi, this is a VPN tool that's useful for establishing direct links between computers that are behind firewalls. Basically, Hamachi creates a connection over the Internet that emulates a local area network. It can be used for online gaming, remote desktop access, file sharing, etc.


Variety Wallpaper Changer Sees New Release

Variety, a cool wallpaper changer that works with most desktop environments (KDE, LXDE, Xfce, Unity, GNOME Shell, Cinnamon or Pantheon), has reached version 0.4.12.

Variety wallpaper changer

Google Calendar Indicator Adds Options To Create, Edit And Delete Events, More

Google Calendar Indicator

Calendar Indicator, an Ubuntu AppIndicator for Google Calendar, has been updated to version

The new version brings options to add, edit and delete Google Calendar events as well as to create new calendars. Until now, Calendar Indicator would only display Google Calendar events in the indicator menu and through notifications. There's also a new option to select the calendar to be used from all your Google calendars (or you can select all of them).

GNOME Control Center 3.6 Available In The GNOME 3 PPA [Ubuntu 12.10]

GNOME Control Center 3.6 (along with GNOME Settings Daemon 3.6) has finally made it into the GNOME 3 PPA for Ubuntu 12.10. This was the last piece that was missing for Ubuntu 12.10 users to get a truly complete GNOME 3.6 experience.

Here's what's new in GNOME Control Center 3.6 (version in the PPA is 3.6.3) compared to the previous version available for Ubuntu 12.10 users (3.4.2):

How To Install Ubuntu 12.10 On Non-PAE CPU

Ubuntu 12.10 and 12.04 use the PAE Linux Kernel by default for 32bit ISOs and while you could use the mini ISO to install Ubuntu 12.04 on computers that don't support PAE, that's not possible in Ubuntu 12.10.

Further more, with 12.10, Xubuntu and Lubuntu no longer come with a non-PAE Linux Kernel, so by default, you can't install any Ubuntu 12.10 flavour on computers using CPUs that lack PAE support (such as Intel Pentium M).

ubuntu 12.10 non-pae

Below you'll find instructions on how to install Ubuntu 12.10 Quantal Quetzal on computers that don't support PAE. The instructions have been tested on the default Ubuntu 12.10 ISO (with Unity), but they should work with any Ubuntu flavour like Lubuntu, Kubuntu, Xubuntu and so on and probably Linux Mint 14 as well.

Using the resulting bootable Ubuntu 12.10 USB stick, it should also be possible to upgrade from Ubuntu 12.04 to 12.10, but I've only tested it on a clean installation.

GNOME Shell 3.8 To Get A `Classic` Mode

Classic GNOME Shell

Two weeks ago, we were telling you that the fallback mode will be dropped from GNOME 3.8 and that some extensions which provide a GNOME 2 like layout might be maintained by the GNOME developers for those who are used to the classic interface.

Well, it's now official: a few GNOME Shell extensions which bring back some "classic" features will be supported by GNOME. Among the extensions included are: classic alt tab, task bar, min/max buttons and a main menu.

New Icons For Ubuntu Software Center, Nautilus, Software Updater And Unity Launcher Revealed [Ubuntu 13.04]

A bug called "Update the default wallpaper in 13.04" has been reported on Launchpad today, revealing the new Ubuntu 13.04 wallpaper which, like we're used to, is just a slightly modified version of the previous default wallpaper:

Ubuntu 13.04 default wallpaper

But the bug report I was talking about revealed something a lot more interesting than this: it links to bug reports about some new icons which will be used for Ubuntu Software Center, Nautilus, Software Updater and some launcher icons like the BFB icon (the Launcher icon that's used to open Dash), or the workspace switcher (the new icon should change depending on which workspace is currently being utilised, but this hasn't been implemented in Unity yet) which you can see below:

Ubuntu 13.04 new icons

Install MPlayer With VA-API (Hardware Acceleration For Intel / AMD GPUs) Support In Ubuntu

VA-API is an open source library/API which enables hardware accelerated video processing. It uses the GPU to accelerate video processing in order to offload the CPU.

Supported hardware includes Intel HD Graphics and G45 chipsets and newer as well as AMD Radeon GPUs (there's also a Nvidia VDPAU backend for VA-API). You can find a list of supported hardware, drivers and video codecs HERE.

Here's an example: on my laptop (Ubuntu), the CPU usage is around 40-50% when watching an 1080p H.264 video using MPlayer without VA-API and around 2-5% when watching the same 1080p video using MPlayer with VA-API. You can see some screenshots below:

Primus: Better Performance And Less Power Consumption For Bumblebee [Optimus Hybrid Graphics Chipsets]

Nvidia Optimus is a technology used to increases battery life by switching between two graphics adapters (a low-performance integrated Intel graphics adapter and a high-performance one by Nvidia) within a computer system. Optimus GPU switching is officially only supported on Windows, but it's also unofficially available on Linux thanks to the Bumblebee project.

Primus brings better performance and less power consumption when using Bumblebee, by replacing VirtualGL. According to the Bumblebee G+ page, this has the following advantages over the optirun (VirtualGL) solution used by default in Bumblebee:

Team Fortress 2 Available On Linux For Non-Beta Steam Accounts

Team Fortress 2, a free to play first-person shooter (FPS) multiplayer game, is now available for everyone using the Linux Steam client, and not just those who have received a beta invitation, so non-beta users shouldn't see the "server is too busy" error when trying to download the game any more.

Team Fortress 2 Ubuntu

How To Use Multiple Monitors In Xubuntu / Xfce (Extended Display Instead Of Mirror)

xubuntu dual screen

In multi monitors setups, Xubuntu / Xfce clones (mirrors) instead of expanding the display to the external monitor. So here are two ways of getting proper multi monitor support in Xfce / Xubuntu.

How To Use Netflix In Ubuntu Through Wine (PPA Available)

Netflix is finally working on Linux! No, there's no native Linux Netflix application, but with a patched Wine build, you can now use Netflix under Linux.

netflix ubuntu

XBMC Media Center 12.0 Beta 1 Released With Raspberry PI And Android Support

XBMC Media Center, a free, open source digital media hub and HTPC (Home theatre PC) software has reached version 12.0 beta 1.  

Besides new features and improvements, the latest XBMC 12.0 beta 1 codenamed "Frodo" is now available on some new platforms like Raspberry PI or Android.

Xbmc 12 Ubuntu

How To Install Avant Window Navigator In Ubuntu 13.04 Or 12.10

Avant Window Navigator, a very popular dock a while back, has been deleted from the official Ubuntu 12.10 repositories, so to make it easier to install, I've uploaded it to the main WebUpd8 PPA.

Avant Window Navigator

How To Use Hybrid Suspend In Ubuntu

Firstly, here's what hybrid suspend does:
  • initially, the computer is suspended to RAM, which is quick to suspend / resume but it also uses some power
  • if the computer doesn't wake up after a configurable amount of time, suspend to disk is used so the computer stops using any power (it's the same as if it was powered off) - this is also known as hibernation

Basically, using the hybrid suspend method from this article, the system initially enters suspend which is quick to resume and after the time you set, the system hibernates so it no longer uses any battery power. This is useful if for example you close the lid when you move from one room to another (between meetings, classrooms, etc.) and you need the system to resume quickly, but you also want to preserve battery power if you don't use it.

Skype 4.1 For Linux Released, Adds Option To Chat With Windows Live Messenger Users

Skype 4.1 for Linux has been released yesterday. Unfortunately, there's no official changelog, but one new feature is obvious: an option to sign in with a Microsoft account and chat with your Windows Live Messenger friends from Skype.

Skype 4.1 ubuntu

elementary OS Luna Beta 1 Available For Testing

After more than a year and a half since 'Jupiter', elementary OS 0.2 Luna beta 1 has been released today.

Build on top of Ubuntu 12.04 LTS and using its own shell called "Pantheon", elementary OS Luna introduces a huge number of changes, including new default applications created especially for eOS or a new window manager called "Gala".

elementary OS luna beta 1

Patched NotifyOSD With Close On Click And Other Customizations Available For Ubuntu 12.10, 13.04, 13.10

Configurable notifyosd notifications Ubuntu

Using this patched NotifyOSD package, Ubuntu users can customize the NotifyOSD notifications bubbles color and size, position on the screen, close the notifications on click and tweak many other options.

Add a "New Empty File" Entry To Nautilus 3.6 Context Menu

As you probably know, a small but useful feature - at least for me -, was removed from Nautilus 3.6 (and newer): the context menu option to create a new empty text file. So here's a quick tip on how to get this feature back.

nautilus 3.6 new empty file

8 GTK 3.6 Compatible Themes Available In PPAs For Ubuntu 12.10

GTK themes need to be updated to work with each new major GTK version, and because of this, some beautiful themes available for GTK 3.2 or 3.4 like Zukitwo and others, don't work with the latest GTK 3.6 available in Ubuntu 12.10 and other Linux distributions.

There are, however, a few cool themes which work with the latest stable GNOME / GTK (3.6). Below you'll find 8 GTK3.6 compatible themes which are available in PPAs / repositories for Ubuntu 12.10 and work with both GNOME Shell and Unity.

Oracle (Sun) Java 6 Installer Available For Ubuntu And Debian Users [PPA]

Update: Java 6 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 6 installer in this article will continue to work only if you manually download Oracle JDK 6 (version 6u45), place it in the /var/cache/oracle-jdk6-installer/ folder on your computer, then install "oracle-java6-installer" as explained below in this article.


As you know, we maintain a PPA repository which hosts Oracle Java 7 and 8 installers for Ubuntu and Debian users. WebUpd8 reader Eugene San has modified the package to install Oracle (Sun) Java 6, which is required for Android development, and he has asked us to upload it to our Java PPA.

So you can now install Oracle Java 6 (includes JDK and JRE) in Ubuntu or Debian using the WebUpd8 Java PPA repository.

oracle java 6 ubuntu

How To Install The Latest MDM Display Manager From Linux Mint 14 In Ubuntu 12.10 or 12.04

The latest MDM 1.0.6, the display manager used by default in Linux Mint 14, is now available in the main WebUpd8 PPA, for Ubuntu 12.04 or 12.10.

MDM is a fork of GDM 2.20 and supports themes; the latest 1.0.6 version is fully compatible with the old GDM themes available on websites such as gnome-look.org.

Here are a few of the MDM themes that are available by default in Linux Mint 14 (and in our PPA):

mdm themes

Linux Mint 14 RC Available For Download

linux mint 14

Linux Mint 14 "Nadia" release candidate, based on Ubuntu 12.10, has been made available for download yesterday and, like the previous version, is available for download in two editions: MATE and Cinnamon.

Steam For Linux: Download The First Ubuntu-Like Skin

WebUpd8 reader Martin Kozub has created an Ubuntu-like skin for the new Linux Steam client which includes the Ubuntu font, default Ubuntu colors and window buttons (Ambiance), thin scrollbars as well as Ubuntu (Humanity) back and forward icons.

Martin says his skin is incomplete, but, as you can see below, it looks great already:

steam ubuntu

Here's how Steam for Linux looks like by default:

steam linux

Fallback Mode (Classic Session) To Be Dropped From GNOME 3.8

gnome fallback mode

The fallback mode, also known as the classic GNOME session, will no longer be included starting with GNOME 3.8, the next stable GNOME release. Users running computers without graphical acceleration can use GNOME Shell through llvmpipe, which is already supported for some releases.

Install GNOME Mplayer 1.0.7 In Ubuntu 12.10

gnome mplayer

GNOME MPlayer 1.0.7 has been released recently, getting support for MPRIS v2 (e.g. Ubuntu Sound Menu integration), along with other enhancements.

GNOME MPlayer is a GTK2/GTK3 frontend for MPlayer which, besides playing audio and video files, it supports DVD and MKV chapters, cover art retrieval from Amazon.com for audio files and other useful features.

How To Use Steam For Linux Right Now, Without A Beta Account

steam for linux

Steam for Linux beta has been released today and for now is only available to 1000 lucky users who have applied using the Steam beta survey. But there's a way to run Steam for Linux even if you didn't receive an invitation. Read on!

Highly Customizable, Chameleonic GNOME Shell theme `Elegance Colors` Sees New Release

elegance colors gnome shell

Elegance Colors, a chameleonic, highly customizable GNOME Shell theme, has been updated today, the new version bringing an option to export a customized theme for later use.

The latest Elegance Colors 0.3 works with GNOME Shell 3.6 and the best thing about it is that the theme changes its colors according to the current GTK theme, wallpaper or an user-defined color. The theme also comes with a configuration tool which can be used to customize it: use light or dak menus, change the panel or menu opacity, font size and other options.

How To Find Out To Which PPA Repository A Package Belongs To

There are various reasons why you may need to find out to which PPA a package belongs to, for instance, in case a package in a PPA breaks something on your system, if you want to install a package which is already installed on your computer on some other machine but you don't know the PPA you've used to install it and so on.

So here's a quick tip on how to find out to which PPA a package belongs to. 

Pin Notes To Your Desktop With StickyNotes Indicator

indicator stickynotes

StickyNotes Indicator is a simple appindicator which can be used to place post-it (sticky) notes on your Linux desktop.

How To Customize GDM 3.6+ Login / Lock Screen (Change Theme, Wallpaper)

GDM3Setup, a tool to tweak the GDM3 login screen / lock screen, has been updated recently to support the latest stable GDM 3.6.

Install Thunar 1.6.0 With Tabs Support In Xubuntu 12.10 Or 12.04 [Xfce]

Thunar, the default Xfce file manager, has reached version 1.6.0, getting a much-requested feature: tabs.

thunar 1.6.0 tabs

Ubuntu Tweak Gets Full Ubuntu 12.10 Support With Version 0.8.2

ubuntu tweak

Ubuntu Tweak, a popular tweak tool, was updated yesterday to version 0.8.2, which brings full support for Ubuntu 12.10, so the features that weren't working in the previous version, like changing the window titlebar theme, broken quicklist editor or the option to change the window button order, should all work now.

Ubuntu 13.04: Only Some GNOME Components To Be Updated, GTK Not One Of Them

Ubuntu 13.04 raring ringtail logo

According to an UDS session held a few days ago, it was decided to stay with stable GNOME for Ubuntu 13.04 and only update some components. 

This means Ubuntu 13.04 Raring Ringtail will ship with GNOME 3.6 for the most part, and not 3.8 (currently under development as 3.7.x), at least according to the current plans. But this might change.

GNOME Shell: How To Enable Notifications In The Lock Screen

gnome shell lock screen notifications

GNOME Shell 3.6 got a neat feature which allows notifications to be displayed in the lock screen.

The lock screen notifications are turned off by default in GNOME Shell 3.6 due to privacy concerns, although the actual notification text is not displayed in the lock screen and only the number of notifications and the application reponsible for sending the notifications show up. So here's a quick tip on how to enable it. Open a terminal and copy/paste the following command:

How To Set Up Compiz In Xubuntu 14.10, 14.04 Or 12.04

xubuntu compiz

This article shows how to set up Compiz in Xubuntu (w/ Xfce) 14.10, 14.04 or 12.04.