Install The Ubuntu Tips Applet To Get Useful Ubuntu Tips On Your Desktop

Ubuntu Tips Applet is an application developed by Alexandr Gudulin. The application regularly displays useful Ubuntu tips on your Ubuntu desktop. The tips displayed are fetched using fortunes-ubuntu-server and are displayed using Notify-OSD (the notification you see when you receive new IM, track change in music players etc.). These tips are actually for Ubuntu server, but it can also be a great way for new Ubuntu users to discover new features and tips in Ubuntu.

Ubuntu Tips Applet is available as a .deb file, so installation is very simple. There is no PPA available yet. Follow the steps below to install:

Command line way:

$ wget
$ sudo dpkg -i ubuntu-tips-applet_0.1.2.deb

If, you prefer to install it from the GUI, follow these steps:

1. Download the .deb package by clicking here.

2. Go to the location where you have saved the file and double-click on the downloaded file.

3. If you are in Ubuntu 10.10 and above, the Ubuntu Software Center will open. Otherwise, gdebi will open. In both the cases, you will be asked for the password. Enter the password and the installation will start.

After installing, you can launch the application from Applications > Accessories > Ubuntu Tips Applet.

The application does not auto-start when you start a new session. To make it auto-start, go to System > Startup Applications. In Startup Programs, click on Add and in the dialog box, enter “Ubuntu Tips Applet” (without quote) in the Name field and /usr/share/ubuntu-tips-applet/ in the Command field. Finally click on Add.

After starting the application, you can click on the icon in the System Tray to make it show a tip, disable the auto display, quit the application etc.

By default the application is set to display a new tip every minute. That can be a bit irritating and you can set the time you desire from Preferences.

How To Install VLC 1.1.6 In Ubuntu 10.10 Maverick Meerkat

The VideoLAN Project has released a new version of its very popular media player – VLC. The new release, VLC 1.1.6, is an incremental update from the previous version and has a few new features.

Although mainly a bug fix update, VLC 1.1.6 has some improvements from the last realease. These improvements in VLC 1.1.6 include:

  • Improvements in KDE and PulseAudio integration
  • Faster WebM/VP8 decoding
  • Support for MPC SV7/SV8 on Windows and MacOS builds
  • Improvements in visualisations and interfaces

Beside these, there are also a few minor improvements such as updated codecs, security updates in demuxer and codecs, better subtitles and an updated language translation.

The VLC available in the main Ubuntu repository has not been updated to this new release yet. However, Ferramosca Roberto has already made the new version available in his PPA. The build is, however, available only for Ubuntu 10.10 at the time of writing this.

So, to install VLC 1.1.6 in Ubuntu 10.10, follow these steps:

1. Open the Terminal (Applications > Accessories > Terminal). If you are using Kubuntu, you will need Konsole. To open the Konsole in Kubuntu, press ALT+F2 to open KRunner and type “konsole“.

2. Now we need to add the PPA. To do this, execute the command given below in the Terminal/Konsole.

$ sudo add-apt-repository ppa:ferramroberto/vlc

3. After the PPA has been added, update the software list with:

$ sudo apt-get update

4. Finally install VLC 1.1.6 with the command given below

$ sudo apt-get install vlc mozilla-plugin-vlc

After installation, you will find VLC under Applications > Video & Sound > VLC. In Kubuntu, you can use the KRunner again to launch it.

LibreOffice Finally Lands As Default In Ubuntu 11.04 Natty Narhwal

After what Oracle has been doing recently, it is no surprise that most of the open-source projects want to distance  themselves  from Oracle. So, when LibreOffice was announced as an alternative to the Oracle controlled Open Office, many Linux distributions offered their support for it. In fact, Mark Shuttleworth even  announced that LibreOffice will be shipped in the place of Open Office in a future Ubuntu release.

Today, Canonical has finally done it by replacing OpenOffice with LibreOffice in the daily build of Ubuntu 11.04 “Natty Narhwal”. This follows the earlier announcement that Canonical is planning to give LibreOffice a run in Ubuntu 11.04 Alpha 2 to see if it can replace OpenOffice in the final release.

The second alpha of Ubuntu 11.04 is to be released 3rd February. LibreOffice will remain as the default office suite throughout the second alpha phase. There is no confirmation that LibreOffice will remain the default office suite in the final release – that decision will be taken later. However, in all likelihood it will remain as the default – unless something very bad happen in between.

The replacement of Open Office with LibreOffice will create a lot of noise, no doubt. But for an Ubuntu user, there will not be that much of a difference. Both LibreOffice and Open Office has almost the same UI right now. And regarding features, at this point most of what LibreOffice has done is import the patches from Go-oo. Ubuntu has always shipped Open Office with the Go-oo patches. So, there also users will not see much difference. However a big difference will be in the speed because LibreOffice uses a larger memory cache than Open Office.

If you cannot wait for Natty and want to try LibreOffice now, here is an easy way to install it easily.

Next Ubuntu Release to have Qt Applications

Ubuntu‘s founder and CEO of Canonical Ltd., Mark Shuttleworth, declares the probability of including Qt applications in the release after the next (Ubuntu 11.10), of the popular Ubuntu distribution, which is based on the Gtk toolkit.

“As part of our planning for Natty+1, we’ll need to find some space on the CD for Qt libraries, and we will evaluate applications developed with Qt for inclusion on the CD and default install of Ubuntu.”

Ubuntu  logo
Gtk and Qt have traditionally been “rival” toolkits for the GNOME and KDE desktops respectively. Choosing either of the sides in any self-respecting Linux forum, is considered a sure-shot way to start a flame war. However, Mark Shuttleworth, as always, decides to wade through uncharted waters in proclaiming the co-existence of Gtk as well as Qt applications in a production, mainstream and popular OS like Ubuntu, notwithstanding the fact that there exists seperate distributions for each Desktop environment, viz. GNOME and KDE (Kubuntu)

In his blog, Mark explains his controversial decision by pointing out that Canonical is dedicated to providing best-in-class software to it’s users and to this effect, a “capable toolkit” like Qt could certainly be looked upon as a “divergence from the canonical way to maintain a vibrant ecosystem”.

Qt logo
Apart from aspects like sociological backlashes, Mark and his team of developers will also have to face some pretty daunting technical issues. For example, Qt-based applications will have to talk to GNOME’s dconf configuration system to have a seamless integration with the GNOME Desktop. Although projects like the GTK-QT Engine are already out there, their credibility of being more than “hacks” is yet to be verified for their inclusion in a mass-deployed project like Ubuntu.

Is the Gtk-Qt marriage possible ? And if this does turn out to be a successful venture, will Ubuntu see other toolkits and libraries like Enlightenment, being included in future releases ? With so many changes to Ubuntu, can Canonical manage to uphold Ubuntu’s status as one of the most popular Linux Operating Systems ?

Do let us know what you think ?

How To Install Unity 2D In Ubuntu 10.10 & 11.04

Yesterday, we told you that a 2D version of Unity will be available for computers which does not have hardware capable of 3D acceleration. Today a PPA containing the packages for Unity 2D has been created for early adopters to test it. The package itself is called Unity-Qt and the PPA contains packages for both Maverick and Natty.

Before you install it, keep in mind that this is an experimental package and could cause problems. So, install it only if you are willing to take that risk and cannot wait to see the new UI.

So, to install Unity 2D, open the Terminal (Applications > Accessories > Terminal). Then add the PPA with the command below:

$ sudo add-apt-repository ppa:unity-2d-team/unity-2d-daily

After that update the software list.

$ sudo apt-get update

Finally install Unity-Qt.

$ sudo apt-get install unity-qt-default-settings

After the installation, log out from your current session. In the login screen, you will see “Unity Qt” in a drop-down menu. Pick that and login again. You should have the new UI now.

And if you run into a bug, you can report it here.

Ubuntu 11.04 Will Have A 2D Version Of Unity

As you may be already aware, Ubuntu 11.04 “Natty Narhwal” will have Unity as the default interface. Unity in Natty is powered by Compiz and that will requires a graphics card capable of 3D acceleration. So, there were apprehensions that the new interface will not work with older hardware. It was suggested (and generally believed) that in the older hardware, it will fall back to the normal panel based interface.

This question was raised in Ask Ubuntu and none other than Mark Shuttleworth himself answered it. According to Shuttleworth, there will be a 2D version of Unity for those systems which are not capable of 3D acceleration. He also pointed to a blog post by Bill Filler, Software Engineer and Engineering Manager at Canonical, for more details.

Curiously, the blog post has been removed now. Did Filler jump the gun on this one? We do not know yet.

Anyway, according to the blog post, the 2D version of Unity is implemented using Qt/QML. Filler also noted that the 2D version is important not just for the older computers but many ARM devices as well.

This is what Bill Filler wrote:

Unity 2D’s main goal is to provide a Unity environment on hardware platforms that don’t support Unity’s Open GL requirements. Many ARM platforms fall into this category, so Unity 2D expands Unity’s goodness to a whole new set of platforms.

The software is implemented using Qt/QML for the UI portions of Unity, while utilizing the existing Unity core components, like indicators, bamf, dee, uTouch and places.

This will ensure that the Ubuntu desktops maintains uniformity and should come as good new to many.

[via: OMG!UBUNTU!]

Canonical Launching A Ubuntu Developer Portal – Can It Attract Developers?

There is no doubt about the plans Mark Shuttleworth has for Ubuntu (see Bug #1), but this should come as a pleasant surprise to many – Canonical is launching a Ubuntu Developer Portal. This shows that Canonical is planning to market Ubuntu as a viable platform for application developers. They already have the Ubuntu Software Center, which supports paid applications from Ubuntu 10.10, as a platform to sell the applications.

Right now the portal is under construction. But there are already a lot of pages to explore. The Create section introduces potential developers to Ubuntu as a platform and the tools that can be used to develop. It also has an introduction to Quickly, which combines project creation, code editing, GUI editing, running and debugging, as well as packaging and sharing via, all in one easy to use command line interface.

The portal also includes other sections such as Develop, Collaborate, Publish, Reference, Support and Manual. Except Reference and Manual, all the other sections have some sort of contents. Instead of me writing about them, I will leave it to you to explore them if  you want. You can see the portal at

Now, this raises the question if Ubuntu can become a platform which can attract developers. The answer to that question boils down to one thing – money. If they can make money from Ubuntu, developers will come. Sure many developers contribute to Ubuntu on their own without any pay, but if there is money involved companies/developers with commercial interest will get involved as well – and that is not always a bad thing.

In the past, contrary to popular perception, Linux users have demonstrated that they are not against paying for software. For example in the Humble Indie Bundle #2, Linux users paid on an average $13.77 which is far greater than the $6.68 and $9.27 paid by Windows and Mac users. The total contribution from Linux users was almost the same as that of Mac users.

Yes, this is just one example. But it shows that Linux users do pay – and they pay well – for quality free (as in freedom, not beer) software. So, I believe the Ubuntu Developer Platform can succeed if implemented right.

[source: Ubuntu Forecast]

puddletag Is Probably The Best Audio Tagging Tool For Linux

Most Windows users would be aware of MP3tag. In Linux the choice of audio tagging tools available is huge, but none of them seem to have all the features of MP3tag.

However, with a recent release, which added a plethora of new features, puddletag seems to have finally bridged the gap with MP3tag. In fact, puddletag’s website describes it as similar to MP3tag – except for the bit that it is built for Linux and MP3tag is a Windows application.

puddletag has an interface which is very similar to MP3tag. Users of MP3tag should at home right away in puddletag. In terms of functions available too it is very similar.

puddletag supports a number of formats, including some obscure ones. The formats puddletag supports are:

  • ID3v1 and ID3v2 in MP3 files
  • MP4 in MP4 and M4A files
  • VorbisComments in OGG and FLAC files
  • Musepack in MPC files
  • Monkey’s Audio in APE files
  • WavPack in WV files

puddletag supports all the functions you would expect from a tag editor like adding/removing tags, adding removing album artworks, tagging from filenames, renaming files based on tags etc. It also supports a lot more features in the form of Functions. puddletag’s Functions take care of things that you would have to do repeatedly. It comes with a number of pre-defined functions for tasks like numbering tracks, case conversion, importing test fields, merging fields etc.

Another great feature in puddletag is the mass auto-tagging. The auto-tagging feature uses database from Amazon, MusicBrainz, FreeDB and Discogs to tag your audio collection.

How To Install in Ubuntu

Debian package for puddletag is available so installation is quite simple. But before installing puddletag, install the dependencies with the command given below:

sudo apt-get install python-qt4 python-pyparsing python-mutagen python-configobj python-musicbrainz2

After installing the  dependencies, download the .deb file by clicking on the link below. The file has been compiled in Ubuntu 10.04 but I installed it in Ubuntu 10.10 and it is working fine.

Download puddletag (.deb)

After downloading, double-click on the file to complete the rest of the installation process.

You can find puddletag at Applications > Sound & Video > puddletag.

Angry Birds May Come To The Ubuntu Software Center

Although it had a humble beginning as a game for iOS, Angry Birds has become a huge product now. It is now available for Android, Windows and recently Mac OS X. It is also coming to consoles like PS3, XBox360 and Wii.

It seems like  Ubuntu users may also have reason to cheer as well as the popular game may be heading to the Ubuntu Software Center after the consoles.

The Ubuntu Software Center is actually a GUI front end  to apt-get which allows users, who are uncomfortable command line, to browser, install or remove applications through simple mouse clicks. While most applications available in the Ubuntu Software Center are free, support for paid applications has also been added in the recent release of Ubuntu.

When asked if they have plans of bringing Angry Birds to Ubuntu, the Rovio, the maker of Angry Birds, responded that they are looking into bringing it to the Ubuntu Software Center. Although this is not an outright confirmation that Ubuntu users will get Angry Birds, it is neither an outright denial which makes me hopeful.

Ubuntu already supports multi-touch on appropriate hardware and we may see Ubuntu tablets in the near future. So, maybe Ubuntu will be Rovio’s next target after the consoles.

(via: OMG!UBUNTU!)

LibreOffice Gets A PPA – Makes Installation In Ubuntu Super Easy!

LibreOffice is a fork of the popular OpenOffice. The fork was done due to differences between the OpenOffice community and Oracle.

Development for LibreOffice has been going on for a while now and it is currently in its second release candidate. LibreOffice and OpenOffice cannot be installed side-by-side. So, to install LibreOffice, users had to manually remove OpenOffice, which is quite bothersome, before installing the LibreOffice .deb file.

However, to make installation in Ubuntu and its derivatives easier, the LibreOffice developers has made a PPA. In addition to making it easier to install, installing from the PPA will ensure that users get the updates regularly.

Before you install LibreOffice through this PPA, remember that it will remove OpenOffice automatically. Also keep in mind that this is not the final release yet.

So, to install LibreOffice, open the Terminal and execute the following commands:

$ sudo add-apt-repository ppa:libreoffice/ppa
$ sudo apt-get update
$ sudo apt-get install libreoffice

If you start LibreOffice now, you will notice that it looks very ugly. To make it looks consistent with the other applications, execute the command below:


$ sudo apt-get install libreoffice-gnome


$ sudo apt-get install libreoffice-kde