Ubuntu / Linux news and application reviews.

PB For Desktop 5.0.0 was released today, bringing some important enhancements and fixes, like support for SMS mirroring, improved reconnection (in case the network gets disconnected), and more.

PB For Desktop

In case you're not familiar with PB For Desktop, this is an unofficial desktop application for Pushbullet, a service somewhat similar to KDE Connect (but with no KDE dependencies).

Using it, you can mirror Android notifications on your desktop, send and receive SMS using your Android devices from the desktop, with autocomplete for contacts, and more.

I wrote more about PB For Desktop HERE, so check out our previous article for more about both PB For Desktop and Pushbullet.

PB For Desktop SMS notification

The most important change in the latest PB For Desktop 5.0.0 is the addition of SMS notification mirroring (Android) and rich application pushes. Previously, mirroring notifications from Android to the desktop worked for most applications, but it didn't work for SMSs.

Another important change is the addition of a more advanced automatic reconnect feature along with connectivity handling. This should fix issues with PB For Desktop not reconnecting automatically after Internet / network gets disconnected (including when resuming from suspend) in some cases.

If this still fails for some reason, there's a PB For Desktop tray / indicator menu entry that allows you to reconnect it manually (this was available in previous versions), but hopefully that's no longer needed. Furthermore, an offline state tray icon was added so you can easily see if the app is not online.

Other changes in PB For Desktop 5.0.0 include:
  • improved memory & CPU resource usage;
  • added interface font size control;
  • reduced download and application size by 1/3;
  • fixed application name and title of mirrored pushes;
  • fixed title and body for API url pushes;
  • fixed an issue related to snooze mode.

Also, with this release, the ARM package was removed due to an upstream issue.

Download PB For Desktop

Note that using PB For Desktop requires a Pushbullet account (free or pro). You'll also need to install the Pushbullet mobile application on your Android or iOS (notification mirroring is not supported for iOS unless you use a MacOS device) device.

(binaries available for Linux: deb, rpm and AppImage, Mac and Windows, as well as the source)

Report any bugs you may find @ GitHub.

Fix PB For Desktop AppIndicator not being displayed in Ubuntu 17.04

Like I mentioned in the previous article on WebUpd8, AppIndicators doesn't work for Electron applications (and PB For Desktop is an Electron app) in Ubuntu 17.04. To fix this manually, see our previous article or follow these instructions to fix it for PB For Desktop:

A. Fix the menu entry:

mkdir -p ~/.local/share/applications/
cp /usr/share/applications/pb-for-desktop.desktop ~/.local/share/applications/
sed -i 's/^Exec.*/Exec=env XDG_CURRENT_DESKTOP=Unity \"\/opt\/PB for Desktop\/pb-for-desktop\"/' ~/.local/share/applications/pb-for-desktop.desktop

B. Fix the autostart file.

To proceed, fix the application menu entry (see above), then make sure PB For Desktop is not already running. Next, start the application from Unity Dash - the PB For Desktop indicator should be working now. From the indicator menu, enable it to autostart on login.

Since PB For Desktop overwrites the the autostart file, we'll make a copy and use that instead of the original file:
cp ~/.config/autostart/pb-for-desktop.desktop ~/.config/autostart/pb-for-desktop-fixed.desktop
sed -i 's/^Exec.*/Exec=env XDG_CURRENT_DESKTOP=Unity \"\/opt\/PB for Desktop\/pb-for-desktop\"/' ~/.config/autostart/pb-for-desktop-fixed.desktop
And finally, disable PB For Desktop from starting automatically on login from its indicator menu (it will still start automatically, using the newly created autostart file).