Ubuntu / Linux news and application reviews.

Argos Lets You Create GNOME Shell Extensions From Scripts (W/ BitBar Plugin Support)

Argos is a tool inspired by the BitBar app for Mac, which makes it easy to create your own GNOME Shell extensions, using information provided via scripts.

Being a GNOME Shell extension itself, Argos adds a button with a dropdown on the GNOME Shell top panel. This button can display or expose functionality provided by a script, be it Bash, Python, Ruby, and so on (remember to make it executable or else Argos won't use it).

Here's Argos in action (gif via Argos GitHub page):

Argos GNOME Shell script extension

Terminal Emulator `Terminator` Sees New GTK3 Pre-release 1.91

Version 1.91 (GTK3) of the powerful terminal emulator Terminator was released yesterday, bringing a few enhancements, as well as numerous fixes.


Terminator terminal emulator

Ubuntu 17.04 Zesty Zapus Beta 1 Flavors Available For Download

The official Ubuntu 17.04 flavors are available for download. Here's a quick look at what's new in the latest 17.04 beta release of Ubuntu Budgie, Xubuntu, Ubuntu GNOME, and Kubuntu.

GNOME Pomodoro: A Pomodoro Timer With AppIndicator And GNOME Shell Support

GNOME Pomodoro (not an official GNOME app) is, like the name suggests, a Pomodoro timer for GNOME. The application website mentions that it's currently only for GNOME Shell, however, an AppIndicator is also available.

GNOME Pomodoro AppIndicator
GNOME Pomodoro AppIndicator

Shotcut Video Editor Available As A Snap Package [Quick Update]

Shotcut video editor is available as a snap (64bit only!), making it easier to install in multiple Linux distributions, including Ubuntu, Fedora, and so on.

Shotcut video editor Ubuntu

Shotcut is a free, open source Qt5 video editor developed on the MLT Multimedia Framework (it's developed by the same author as MLT), available for Linux, Windows and Mac. Under the hood, Shotcut uses FFmpeg, so it supports many audio, video and image formats, along with screen, webcam and audio capture.

Tilix (Previously Terminix) 1.5.0 Released With Initial Bookmarks Support, Other Improvements [PPA]

Terminix 1.5.0 (update: the app is now called Tilix) was released recently and it includes initial bookmarks support, a reworked terminal menu, a new feature to raise a notification when inactivity is detected after a specified period of silence, and more.

Terminix terminal emulator

Terminix is a GTK3 tiling terminal emulator. The application allows splitting terminals horizontally and vertically, arranging them using drag'n'drop, save and restore terminal layouts and more.

The so called "Quake" mode feature is also supported. Using this, Terminix behaves like a drop-down terminal, invoked and hidden using a key.

How To Use Plex To Cast Local Videos To Chromecast (From Your Desktop w/ Optional Mobile App)

This is a long overdue article and I decided to post it so I can simply send it to all those who ask me about the best but also easiest way to play local videos on a Chromecast.

Some may prefer other ways of playing local videos on Chromecast, including using a command line tool such as stream2chromecast, pulseaudio-dlna to  play music from a computer to a Chromecast, as well as the VideoStream Chromecast extension (which I hear is unreliable lately).

Plex Ubuntu

Plex is, however, the complete solution for all local media streaming to Chromecast needs, and is fairly easy to set up, despite my long article.

It can be used to stream local videos (and can transcode videos not supported by Chromecast), music, and photos, both in your local network as well as remotely, e.g. to a hotel or a friend's house.

Furthermore, Plex Media Server is cross-platform, so it can be installed on an a Linux, FreeBSD, Windows or Mac computer, as well as on NAS.

Rclone Is Now Available As A Snap Package [Quick Update]

cloud storage

[Quick Update] Rclone is now available as a snap package, making it easy to install and update on a wide range of Linux distributions which support Snaps, like Ubuntu, Debian, Fedora, Gentoo, Arch Linux, openSUSe and more.

Rclone is a command line tool for synchronizing files and folders to multiple cloud storages (either from your machine or from one cloud storage to another). It supports Dropbox, Google Drive, Amazon S3, Amazon Drive, Microsoft One Drive, Yandex Disk, and more.

Alternative Global Menu For MATE And Xfce: Vala Panel AppMenu [PPA]

A while back I wrote about TopMenu, a panel plugin that provides global menu (AppMenu) support for MATE, then also included support for Xfce and LXDE.

The problem with TopMenu is that it only partially supports GTK3, it doesn't support LibreOffice, and with Ubuntu 16.04, it doesn't support Qt (4 or 5) applications.

Here's where Vala Panel AppMenu comes in.

Vala Panel AppMenu is a global menu panel applet for Xfce, MATE and Vala panels, which uses unity-gtk-module as its backend, and it works with all the applications supported by Unity's AppMenu.

Global Menu Linux Mint Vala Panel AppMenu

WeatherDesk Changes Your Wallpaper Based On Current Weather Conditions

WeatherDesk is a Python3 tool that allows using a wallpaper that changes based on the weather and optionally, time of day. It supports most Linux desktop environments as well as Windows and Mac.

WeatherDesk weather-based wallpaper Linux

Penguin Subtitle Player 1.0 Released With SSA/ASS Subtitles Support [Quick Update]

Penguin Subtitle Player is an open source, cross-platform, standalone subtitle player that can display subtitles on top of any window.


Penguin Subtitle Player

Penguin Subtitle Player is especially useful for online video streaming websites that don't support subtitles or don't allow custom subtitles. You can also use Penguin Subtitle Player to display subtitles in a custom position, like on the black top/bottom bands, or to display multiple subtitles in the same time.

Computer Eye Strain Prevention App `SafeEyes` Sees New Release

SafeEyes is a Linux application which tries to protect your eyes from eye strain by reminding you to take breaks, while also providing some simple exercises.

SafeEyes Ubuntu

The application was updated to version 1.1.5 (then quickly to 1.1.6 to fix a bug) recently, bringing some new features, like an option to disable SafeEyes - you can now choose to disable it for 30 minutes, 1, 2 or 3 hours, or until system restart.

Jam: Listen To Google Play Music From The Console

A couple of weeks ago I wrote about GPMDP, a Google Play Music desktop application that integrates Google Play Music with the desktop and adds various features on top. If you don't need all those desktop features and all you need is a lightweight, console Google Play Music client, you can try Jam.

Jam Google Play Music console player

Jam is a new Google Play Music console player for Linux and Windows. The application, which is written in Go, had its first alpha release about two weeks ago, and it's currently at version 0.4.0.

LosslessCut Is An Easy To Use Video Cutter (Cross-Platform)

If you find video editors to be confusing and all you need is to just cut a portion of a video, you can try LosslessCut, an application available for Linux, Windows and Mac.

LosslessCut video cutter Ubuntu

LosslessCut was especially created to make it easy to quickly extract parts of video files from a video camera, GoPro, drone, and so on, without losing video quality.

Kupfer Quick Launcher Ported To Python 3 And GTK 3, Sees New Release After 4 And A Half Years [PPA]

After around 4 and a half years of inactivity, a new Kupfer (quick launcher) version was released 3 days ago, followed by 3 more releases since then.

The application has a new developer who ported the application to Python 3, GTK 3 and GObject Introspection, while also fixing various bugs.

Kupfer v300

Install GIMP 2.8.20 In Ubuntu Or Linux Mint Via PPA

GIMP 2.8.20 (stable) image editor was released recently, bringing various bug and small enhancements, and today it was uploaded to a PPA for Ubuntu.

GIMP 2.8.20 Ubuntu GNOME

Hide Files And Folders In Nemo Or Nautilus Without Renaming With This Extension

I recently stumbled upon Nautilus Hide, an extension that adds a context menu option to hide / unhide files or folders without renaming them, and I decided to port it to Nemo file manager.

The extension hides files or folders without renaming them (without adding a dot prefix or a tilde suffix), by adding them to a file called ".hidden", which can be used by most major file managers to hide files.

Screenlets (Desktop Widgets) Fixed For Ubuntu 16.04, Available In PPA

Screenlets desktop widgets Ubuntu 16.10

Screenlets, a widget framework for Linux, was updated to work with Ubuntu 16.04 recently, and new packages are available in its official PPA.

The Screenlets package was removed from the official Ubuntu 16.04 (and newer) repositories because it no longer worked, however, Hrotkó Gábor fixed various issues that prevented the application and some of its widgets from working, and uploaded a new version to the official Screenlets PPA, for Ubuntu 16.04.

While the PPA doesn't officially support it, you can also use it in Ubuntu 16.10.

Apt Update Indicator For GNOME Shell Keeps You Informed About Available Updates [Ubuntu GNOME / Debian]

Apt Update Indicator GNOME Shell

Apt Update Indicator is a GNOME Shell extension that keeps you informed about available updates in Ubuntu GNOME / Debian.

Using it, you get a new icon on the GNOME Shell Top Bar which displays the number of package updates, while from its menu you can see exactly which updates are pending, apply the updates, and more.

Take Your Writing To The Next Level With Writefull (Cross-Platform)

Writefull is a tool that helps improve your writing by comparing your text against databases of correct language like Google Books, Web, Scholar and News. 

The application is free to use but not open source software, and is available for Linux, Windows, Mac, as well as a Chrome extension.


Easily Use Free VPNs From VPN Gate In Linux With These 2 Tools

Below you'll find 2 tools that make it easy to use free OpenVPN servers from VPN Gate in Linux.

In case you're not familiar with VPN Gate, this is project that offers free VPN servers that are ran by volunteers who use SoftEther. It was designed with the Great Firewall of China in Mind and is sponsored by the University of Tsukuba, Japan.

It's important to note that free VPNs are insecure, and they shouldn't be used for sensitive / important stuff!

6 Cool Internet Radio Players For Linux

There are quite a few Linux applications that can play Internet radio, but I thought I'd make a list of some of the most interesting apps that focus on this.

The list includes lightweight Internet radio players, a fully fledged desktop application, a command line radio browser and player, as well as a GNOME Shell extension.