Ubuntu / Linux news and application reviews.

Wimlib: ImageX / DISM Alternative To Manipulate WIM Files In Linux [Ubuntu PPA]

Wimlib is a library that allows creating, modifying, extracting and mounting WIM (Windows Imaging Format) files. It comes with a free implementations of ImageX called "wimlib-imagex", available for both Linux and Windows.

Xfce4 Composite Editor: Easily Change Compositor Settings Not Available Via Window Manager Tweaks [Xfce]

Xfce4 Composite Editor is a tool that lets you easily tweak various Xfce window manager compositor settings that are not available in the Window Manager Tweaks settings panel.

Xfce4 Composite Editor

Ubuntu 13.10 Saucy Salamander Switching To Mir Display Server By Default

The Ubuntu developers have announced today that they plan to deliver Mir display server by default in Ubuntu 13.10 Saucy Salamander with XMir, an implementation of X running or Mir.

Unity 8 (also known as Unity Next) on the other hand, won't be available by default and instead, Saucy Salamander will use Unity 7, the codebase which is already in the Saucy development.

Kubuntu Not Switching To Mir Display Server

Kubuntu won't be switching to Mir / XMir, has announced Jonathan Riddell, the main Kubuntu developer, in a recent blog post.

Install GIMP 2.8.6 In Ubuntu [PPA]

GIMP 2.8.6 has been released recently, bringing many bug fixes and small enhancements. In this release, the single-window mode has received special attention and some annoyances, like the close button not quitting GIMP or the right docks not keeping their size, have been fixed.

GIMP 2.8.6

How To Install GTK3 With Broadway (HTML5) Backend Enabled In Ubuntu

GTK3 Broadway Ubuntu

Starting with version 3.2, GTK+ comes with an experimental "Broadway" backend that allows rendering GTK3 applications in HTML5-capable browsers, so you can run applications remotely, using only a web browser.

Ubuntu doesn't enable this Broadway backend by default, but thanks to Nicolas Delvaux's PPA, you can easily give this a try in Ubuntu 13.04, 12.10 or 12.04.

Portal Game Now Officially Supported On Linux, Exits Beta [Steam]

Portal, the popular first-person puzzle game developed by Valve, has moved out of beta and is now officially supported on Linux.

Portal game Linux

ffDiaporama 1.6 Released (Tool To Create Movie Clips From Photos and Videos)

ffDiaporama is an application written in Qt, available for Linux and Windows, that allows you mix videos, music, text and photos to create movie clips / slideshows. The application supports adding animations such as zoom, rotation or Ken Burns Effect, add titles (text), annotations and more.


Gufw Firewall 13.10 Released With New Features, Refreshed Layout

Gufw, a firewall that uses UFW (Uncomplicated Firewall) under the hood, has been updated recently, getting a new layout and some important new features.

MediterraneanNight Theme Pack Gets Full GTK 3.8 Support [PPA]

MediterraneanNight Series, a sleek GTK theme pack that comes with 12 beautiful themes, has been updated recently, getting full support for GTK 3.8.

Linux Deepin 12.12 Released With New Desktop Environment, More [Video, Screenshots]

Linux Deepin is a Chinese Linux distribution (English ISO files are available as well) based on Ubuntu, that ships with its own desktop environment and some unique applications, which integrate with the overall Linux Deepin look and feel.

Oracle Releases Java 7 Update 25 (7u25) With 40 Critical Security Updates, Ubuntu PPA Updated

Quick update: Oracle has released Java 7 Update 25 and the new version is available in the WebUpd8 Oracle Java PPA, for Ubuntu and Debian users.

Oracle Java 7 7u25

Synapse Indicator: New Search AppIndicator Based On Synapse Launcher

Synapse Indicator is a new, unofficial search indicator created for elementary OS. The application should also work under Unity, the Ubuntu GNOME fallback session or in Cairo Dock.

Synapse Indicator elementary OS
Synapse Indicator in elementary OS Luna

Like the name suggests, this is a front-end for Synapse, a semantic launcher used to start applications and find relevant files using Zeitgeist, extensible through plugins. It's a great, lightweight alternative to the once very popular GNOME Do or, more or less, to Unity's Dash.

How To Set Up A Wireless Hotspot (Access Point Mode) That Supports Android In Ubuntu

Update: While it may still work, AP-Hotspot is abandoned. That's because there are too many things that depend on the hardware and since I can only test it on one device, that makes the script unreliable for others and for me, pretty much impossible to fix some issues.

A wireless hotspot enables a computer to serve as a router over Wi-Fi. Ubuntu lets you easily create a wireless hotspot by using the Network Manager, but it uses an ad hoc network and most Android and Windows Phone devices can't connect to such networks.

For this reason, I've created (in collaboration with Satya) a script called AP-Hotspot that automatically creates an infrastructure (Access Point mode) wireless hotspot in Ubuntu that should work with Android and Windows Phone devices. The script uses hostapd and dnsmasq and it requires Access Point mode support for your wireless card - AP-Hotspot checks for this automatically and won't run if your wireless card doesn't support it.

Try The New LibreOffice Flat Icon Set

It looks like LibreOffice will get a new set of flat icons, based on Gnome's symbolic icons. The icon set isn't completed yet, but you can try it already - below you'll find instructions on how to easily try the new icons.

Lubuntu 13.10 Changes: Firefox, zRAM Added By Default, LightDM Used For The Lock Screen

Lubuntu 13.10 Saucy Salamander

After an update today, Lubuntu 13.10 Saucy Salamander, the LXDE Ubuntu flavour, has switched to Firefox as the default web browser, replacing Chromium, which is a bit of a surprise, considering that Ubuntu 13.10 may switch from Firefox to Chromium. Other Lubuntu 13.10 changes include the addition of zRAM by default and the removal of Xscreensaver, Lubuntu now using LightDM for the lock screen.

Variety Wallpaper Changer 0.4.15 Released With Cinnamon 1.8 And MATE 1.6 Support

Variety Wallpaper Changer

Variety is a wallpaper changer that automatically downloads wallpapers from sources such as Wallbase, Flickr, Wallpapers.net, Desktoppr, NASA Astronomy Picture of the Day as well as World Sunlight Map: a live Earth wallpaper which changes throughout the day. Using it, you can get a new, beautiful wallpaper automatically at the interval you set in the application preferences.

The application supports most desktop environments: Unity, GNOME Shell, KDE, LXDE, Xfce, Cinnamon, MATE and Pantheon.

Ezame: A New Menu Editor For Unity

Ezame is a new menu editor especially created for Unity, though it should work with other desktop environments as well.

Ezame menu editor

SimpleScreenRecorder: Powerful Screen Recording Software For Linux

SimpleScreenRecorder is a Qt screen recorder for Linux which, despite its name, comes with more features than other similar tools. The application is very easy to use and the default settings should be enough for most cases, so usually you won't need to change any settings.

Using it, you can record the entire screen (with multi-monitor support), record a fixed rectangle, follow the cursor or record OpenGL applications (can be used to record games).

Install The Latest VLC In Ubuntu Via PPA [Quick Tip]

Quick tip: new VLC versions are released quite frequently and even though some don't introduce any new features, there are important bug fixes in each release (you can find the VLC changelogs HERE). If you want to always have the latest stable VLC version in Ubuntu, here are some PPAs you can use.

Install OpenJDK Patched With Font Fixes [Ubuntu PPA]

While working on the Infinality article, I've noticed that "slow", who is behind the Infinality PPA for Ubuntu, maintains another PPA for OpenJDK7 and OpenJDK8 which comes with a patch that improves the font rendering for Java / Swing applications in Linux.

Unity Smart Scopes Feature Lands In Ubuntu 13.10 Saucy Salamander [Video]

The Unity Smart Scopes (also known as "100 scopes") feature has landed in Ubuntu 13.10 Saucy Salamander today. This feature tries to provide a smarter Dash search experience by returning results relevant to the search query.

Ubuntu 13.10 Unity Smart Scopes

Video Showing The Current Ubuntu Phone State

Jono Bacon, the Ubuntu Community Manager, has posted a video today in which he shows the current state of Ubuntu Phone OS running on a Galaxy Nexus.

Xfce Theme Manager: A Single GUI To Change Any Xfce Theme (With Previews)

Xfce uses multiple settings GUIs for setting the window border, controls, icons, mouse cursor theme and so on and it doesn't include any thumbnails. However, if you customize your Xfce desktop frequently, you can use a tool called Xfce Theme Manager which allows you to change the themes from a single GUI and it also includes thumbnails so you can see how the theme looks like before applying it.

Better Font Rendering In Linux With Infinality

Many of you have probably already heard of Infinality, but I've decided to write a post about it anyway, for those who aren't familiar with it yet, because it greatly improves the font rendering on Linux.

Infinality is a set of Freetype patches that try to provide an improved font rendering for Linux and also, to allow easy customization so the users can adjust the settings to their taste. Using it, you can easily set the font style to emulate OSX, OSX2, Windows 98, WIndows XP or Windows 7 or you can use the "Linux" or "Infinality" (default) styles.

How To Automatically Mute Music When Receiving VoIP Calls [PulseAudio]

By default, in Ubuntu and probably other Linux distributions, if you're playing music in Rhythmbox, Audacious and so on while receiving a call in applications such as Skype, Ekiga Softphone, SFLphone VoIP Client and other VoIP applications, the music continues to play even after answering the call. PulseAudio has a feature that allows pausing or muting the music when receiving a call, but it's not enabled by default, at least in Ubuntu, so here's how to enable it.

skype call audacious muted

Y PPA Manager 0.9.9 Released With Support For Linux Mint 15 And Ubuntu 13.10 [Quick Update]

Quick update: today I've released Y PPA Manager 0.9.9 with support for Linux Mint 15 Olivia as well as the latest Ubuntu 13.10 Saucy Salamander (currently under development).

For those not familiar with Y PPA Manager, this is a tool that lets you easily add, remove or purge PPAs as well as search for packages in Launchpad PPAs, a feature that should be very useful when you can't find a PPA for your favourite app on WebUpd8 or other similar websites. Other features include:

Highly Configurable GNOME Shell Theme `Elegance Colors` Sees New Release

Elegance Colors, a highly customizable, chameleonic GNOME Shell theme, has reached version 2.2.0, bringing some major configuration UI changes, new theme customization options, performance improvements and more. Since our last article, the theme has also got support for GNOME Shell 3.8 (it now supports both 3.6 and 3.8).

Elegance Colors GNOME Shell theme

File Sync App `SparkleShare` 1.1.0 Released, Install It In Ubuntu

SparkleShare, an open source file synchronization and collaboration tool similar to Dropbox, has been updated to version 1.1.0 recently, receiving many bug fixes and tweaks.