Ubuntu / Linux news and application reviews.

DockBarX Available As An Xfce Panel Plugin

DockBarX Xfce

DockBarX, an application launcher / switcher available for the MATE panel, Avant Window Navigator or as a stand-alone dock, is now available for Xfce, as a panel plugin.

Steam March Survey Stats: Linux Usage Has Decreased

In February, the Valve Steam Hardware & Software Survey stats have revealed that 2.02% of Steam users run Linux, a huge increase from January (1.12%). Oddly, the survey stats for March have revealed a decrease and Linux users running Steam are now at ~1.70%.

steam survey stats march 2013
Steam survey: OS usage stats for March 2013 (the survey is optional)

GNOME 3.8 Released - See What's New [Video, Screenshots]

gnome logo

GNOME 3.8 has been released today, the new version bringing many new features and enhancements, including a new application view and overhauled window layout for GNOME Shell, new setting panels for privacy, search and notifications and of course, many updates to the core GNOME apps like Web (Epiphany), Boxes, Documents and more.

Let's take a look at what's new!

Get A Classic Style Menu In Unity With The Latest Drawers

drawers stacks unity

Drawers, an application that lets you create drawers ("stacks") on the Unity Launcher for quick access (or just to unclutter / better organize the Unity Launcher) to various app shortcuts, files, links and so on, has been updated today with a much requested feature: AppMenu Drawers.

Unofficial Google Drive Client `Insync` Pricing Revealed, Out Of Beta For Windows And Mac

insync ubuntu appindicator

Insync, an unofficial, cross-platform Google Drive client is out of beta for Windows and Mac OSX and with this, the pricing has been revealed.

Since Google hasn't yet released a Google Drive client for Linux and Grive seems to have been abandoned, many Linux users are using Insync. However, the Insync developers have stated that their tool will only be free while in beta, and the price hasn't been known until today.

Open Source FPS Game `Red Eclipse` 1.4 Brings Graphical And Gameplay Enhancements

red eclipse

Red Eclipse is a cross-platform, open source first-person shooter game that supports both single (against bots) and multi-player modes. The game runs on the Cube Engine 2 and it's very flexible, allowing players to extend the existing game modes (Deathmatch, Capture the Flag, etc.) with "mutators", changing how the game is played.

Cairo Dock 3.2 Released With Improved Multi-Screen And GNOME Shell Support, More

Cairo Dock (Glx Dock) is a launcher / task manager that comes with a huge list of applets and configuration options.

cairo dock

It can be used with any desktop environment / shell, so it works with GNOME Shell, Unity, Xfce, KDE and so on. There's also a stand-alone Cairo Dock session - select "Cairo Dock" from the login menu to use it.

elementary OS Gets Its Own AppCenter

The elementary OS team has released the first version of AppCenter, a tool used to install and remove software, designed to be beautiful, fast and lightweight.

elementary appcenter

SopCast Application TV-Maxe Adds Recording Feature, More

tv-maxe 0.09

TV-Maxe, an application to watch TV stations online using various streams, such as SopCast, has reached version 0.09.

The application comes with thow TV channel lists by default: an international and a Romanian one, but more unofficial lists are available on its wiki and of course, you can manually add more channels. TV-Maxe features HTTP remote control, Gstreamer, VLC and Mplayer backends and more.

Download The Ubuntu 13.04 Raring Ringtail Community Wallpapers

The Ubuntu 13.04 Raring Ringtail community wallpapers have been revealed today. They haven't landed in Ubuntu 13.04 by default yet but if you can't wait to use them, you can download them already.

The pack comes with 13 gorgeous wallpapers, most of which are beautiful nature pictures and of course, there's also a cool ringtail wallpaper:

ubuntu 13.04 raring ringtail wallpapers

Ubuntu Technical Board Meeting Decisions Regarding The New Release Proposals

Ubuntu logo

In a recent Ubuntu technical board meeting, it was decided to:
  • reduce maintenance period for regular (non-LTS) Ubuntu releases from 18 months to 9 months;
  • enable users to continuously track the development focus of Ubuntu without having to explicitly upgrade.

Beautiful Numix GTK3 Theme Released

The GTK3 theme many of you have asked about in our previous posts has been released: it's called Numix and it comes a flat, modern look with square corners, a dark panel and dark window theme with dark menus.

numix gtk3 theme

Easily Backup IMAP Email Accounts Using nopriv.py

nopriv.py is a Python script that allows you to back up your emails, which supports any IMAP compatible email accounts, such as Gmail for instance.


Unity Tweak Tool Available In The Ubuntu Repositories

Unity Tweak Tool

Unity Tweak Tool is a relatively new application that allows you to configure Unity, providing access to settings buried deep in Dconf-Tools or CCSM.

The tool developed by the freyja-dev team is now available in the Ubuntu Software Center, so there's no need to use a PPA any more, which should expose this excellent tool to a lot more users. The application is also available in a PPA for Ubuntu 12.10.

ownCloud 5 Released With New Design, Other Important Improvements (Personal, Open Source Cloud Server Tool)

owncloud 5

ownCloud is a free software alternative to proprietary web services such a Dropbox, Google Calendar and more. You can install it on your computer or web server and access (and share) your files from any OS, since ownCloud comes with desktop clients for Windows, Mac OSX and Linux as well as mobile clients for Android and iOS.

"Unlike Dropbox and other commercial sync and share apps, which store data in the cloud in remote, third-party data centers, ownCloud is deployed on-premise, seamlessly integrating with existing security, storage, monitoring and reporting tools. With more than 750,000 users worldwide, ownCloud offers the ease-of-use, flexibility, sophistication and security not available from basic syncing apps and third-party storage."

Today, a new ownCloud version has been released - 5 -, which comes with many new features and improvements as well as a new interface.

Ubuntu GNOME 13.04 Daily Images Available For Download

Ubuntu GNOME 13.04

Quick update: now that Ubuntu GNOME is an official Ubuntu flavour, it can make use of the Ubuntu infrastructure, and the first daily builds are now available for download:

Install Pulseaudio With Built-In System-Wide Equalizer In Ubuntu

About two years ago we had an article about a system-wide Pulseaudio equalizer. This tool is still used today but it's no longer developed and it doesn't work properly for everyone, so many users have been looking for alternatives.

Well, I'm not sure if you're aware of this, but Pulseaudio has, for a while, its own built-in system-wide equalizer. However, the Pulseaudio packages available in the official Ubuntu repositories are not build with equalizer support. In Ubuntu 13.04, Pulseaudio is finally build with equalizer support but the actual equalizer is missing from the package for some reason, even though it's available in the source.

So, to make things easier for you, I've create a PPA for Ubuntu with Pulseaudio built with equalizer support and with the actual equalizer enabled.

GNOME 3.8 To Ship With Reworked Folder Icons

The default GNOME icon theme isn't very popular among GNOME users, mainly because of the default folder icons, which many label as ugly (here's an example). However, with GNOME 3.8, the folder icons will use a different color which attempts to fix this, but is it enough?

Ubuntu GNOME Becomes An Official Ubuntu Flavour

Ubuntu GNOME logo

Ubuntu GNOME, an Ubuntu-based Linux distribution that ships with GNOME Shell by default along with other GNOME applications that aren't available by default in Ubuntu, is now an official Ubuntu flavour (starting with 13.04).

How To Chat With Your Steam Friends From Pidgin

Pidgin OpenSteamWorks is a plugin that allows you to chat with your Steam friends from Pidgin.

Why use it? Well, if you're both a Steam and Pidgin user, you may find it more convenient to chat with your Steam friends from Pidgin, without having to open Steam, especially since the Steam Linux client is very resource hungry.

Intel Releases Linux Graphics Drivers Installer

Intel Open Source Technology Center

Intel has released a tool that allows Linux users to easily install the latest graphics drivers to ensure the best user experience with Intel graphics hardware.

Unity To Get New Shutdown Dialogs, Scroll To Switch Between Windows Feature [Video]

Ubuntu 13.04 Raring Ringtail: it looks like two interesting changes will land in Unity soon: support for switching between windows of the same application by scrolling on the application icon in the Unity Launcher and a new Unity style for shutdown dialog boxes.

Here's are a few screenshots with the new Unity shutdown / restart / lock screen / suspend dialog boxes:

Unity style shutdown dialogs Ubuntu

Dropbox-Like Cloud Sync And Collaboration Tool Seafile Gets Command Line Support, More

Seafile is an open source cloud sync and collaboration tool, similar to Dropbox, OwnCloud or Sparkleshare that you can install on your own server or you can sign up for an account and get 5 GB of free space. We've talked about it a while back so for more information about Seafile, see our previous post.


Both the Seafile server and client have been updated recently, getting new features and bug fixes. Seafile Server 1.5 comes with two major new features: command line client support and LDAP, as well as some other features and improvements, such as:

Ubuntu 13.04 To Be Released As Scheduled

In his rolling release proposal, Rick Spencer, Engineering Director at Canonical, has said that the new rolling model should be implemented now, with Ubuntu 13.04 Raring Ringtail, which meant Raring wouldn't be released.

But according to Jonathan Riddell, the main Kubuntu developer, it was decided yesterday in an online Ubuntu Developer Summit session that Ubuntu 13.04 will be released as scheduled at the last UDS, especially since Raring is four months into development and people have put time and effort that would be wasted if it wouldn't be released:

Intermatrix U7: The First Ubuntu Touch Tablet Available For Pre-Order, To Ship In October 2013 [Updated]

Ubuntu Touch Intermatrix U7 tablet

Update: the Intermatrix folks have changed their mind and are not shipping Ubuntu Touch anymore, at least for now!

It looks like the first Ubuntu Touch tablet will ship in October 2013 (estimated). The news doesn't come from Canonical so I'm not sure how legit this is, but from a website that advertises "Intermatrix U7 and U10 Ubuntu Tablets" as the world's first Ubuntu tablets.

Terra Terminal Update Brings Improved Stability, New Features

Terra, a Python / GTK3 drop-down terminal emulator, has been updated today, bringing more stability as well as some new features.

Terra looks like a combination of Guake and Terminator so you can get a nice Quake-like drop-down terminal with terminal split views (multiple terminals in one window / tab) and more. Compared to Guake, it features a lot of extra options, such as configurable terminal width, select which monitor the terminal should be displayed on and more.

Terra Terminal

Ubuntu To Use Its Own Display Server Called Mir, Unity To Be Ported To Qt/QML

According to a recent announcement, Ubuntu will use its own Display Server called Mir, replacing X Window server. The reason Ubuntu will use its own display server is that "none of the existing solutions would allow us to implement our vision without taking major compromises which would come at the cost of user experience and quality" and obviously, to achieve full "convergence", a hot topic recently that has caused quite a bit of controversy.

Install LibreOffice 4.0 In Ubuntu 12.04, 12.10 Or 13.04 Via PPA

LibreOffice 4.0

LibreOffice 4.0 has been released almost a month ago and today, it's finally available in the main LibreOffice PPA, for Ubuntu 13.04, 12.10 and 12.04.

LibreOffice 4.0 comes with many changes, including Unity appmenu support, option to use Firefox Personas, better interoperability with DOCX and RTF documents, a new LibreOffice Impress Remote Android App and many other changes. For more info, see our LibreOffice 4.0 Available For Download article.

Install GNOME 3.8 In Ubuntu 13.04 Raring Ringtail [PPA]

A while back, it was decided that Ubuntu 13.04 Raring Ringtail will ship with GNOME 3.6 for the most part instead of GNOME 3.8.

Ubuntu 13.04 Raring Ringtail users can use the GNOME 3 PPA to upgrade to the latest GNOME 3.8, including GNOME Shell 3.8 and Nautilus 3.8.

Additionally, a second PPA (GNOME 3 Staging PPA) has been created recently and allows Ubuntu 13.04 Raring Ringtail users to upgrade other components that aren't available in the main GNOME 3 PPA. The GNOME 3 Staging PPA packages are work in progress or have known regressions so it's not as stable as the main GNOME 3 PPA. Also, if you want to use the GNOME 3 Staging PPA, you'll have to firstly add the main GNOME 3 PPA.

AppIndicator Support For GNOME Shell With A New Extension

A new extension adds native-looking Ubuntu Unity like AppIndicator support for GNOME Shell, a feature for which some patches were submited more than a year ago, but they were rejected because the feature "conflicts with the design".

AppIndicators have are widely used now, with Ubuntu disabling the message tray (systray) by default, and popular applications like Dropbox or Steam come with AppIndicator support by default.

Steam February Survey Stats: Linux Market Share Has Almost Doubled Compared To January

Valve has published the Steam monthly Hardware & Software Survey stats for February and they reveal a considerable increase of Linux users, compared to last month.