The Digi.Wander.Lust blog posts a handy tip for users of Linux application launcher GNOME Do who find its default pop-up at logon a bit annoying. If you're rocking an Ubuntu system, head to the "Sessions" item in your "Preferences" menu, select GNOME Do and hit edit, then add —quiet (use two dashes, as shown in the pic) to the "Command" field (or edit whatever auto-launcher brings up GNOME Do in other distributions). It's a nice way to save a click and ensure a clean logon screen. QuickTip: How to hide Gnome Do during logon
Tagged With linux tip
Most relatively new Linux users might have used the wget command a few times while installing packages or grabbing specific files, but the little command word can be a pretty powerful tool. The FOSSwire open source blog points out how you can use wget to mirror a website, either one page at a time or with all the internal links available for offline browsing. As noted, however, grabbing large, multi-page sites can be a serious drain on bandwith (both yours and the site's), so adding a delay option is both considerate and wise. Hit the link for details on using wget for offline website access. Create a mirror of a website with Wget
When logging into Ubuntu or most any GNOME-based Linux system, users see a blank one-colour screen until the actual desktop is loaded—which can make you feel like something's broken, or at least make your boot experience less fluid. One intrepid Ubuntu hacker, however, shows how to banish the blank screen and have GNOME display your chosen background image or colour right away. The tutorial requires installing an "xloadimage" package in Ubuntu, but the open-source package is available in many distributions. HOWTO: (GDM) Show the user wallpaper/background colour, while logging in
The Tombuntu blog points out something many GNOME-based Linux users may not have known—the newest version of Totem (available in the Hardy Heron beta), the default multimedia player, can search and play YouTube videos directly through the video sharing site's API. Simply head to Edit->Plugins->Configure plugins, then check the "YouTube" plugin. Want some of the higher-res goodies web viewers are getting? Go ahead and grab a H264 plugin and activate it the same way. From my experience, search runs a little slower, but I haven't seen the occasional syncing/freezing problems once in Totem that I often spot at the Flash-based player.
The Anywired blog posts a good guide to using Ubuntu (and most any Linux distribution) productively, through both built-in but under-appreciated features and free software. We've covered a few of the suggestions before, including Compiz Fusion tools, a super-charged Gedit, and app launcher GNOME-Do, but Anywired points out the newest features and offers a few GTD-minded suggestions along the way. As is often noted, however, some tips are Ubuntu-specific, but most can be implemented in any Linux distro. Have your own must-have apps for cranking widgets, open-source style? Let's hear it in the comments. Full-throttle Productivity and Web-Work With Ubuntu
If you're already rocking the Hardy Heron/8.04 beta of the upcoming Ubuntu Linux release, or you plan to upgrade next month, the Tombuntu blog points out a small change in how to access customised window and desktop effects from the "Preferences->Appearance" menu. To get a simple options interface, you simply install the "Simple Compiz Config Settings Manager" (sudo apt-get install simple-ccsm from the command line). Those who like their hundreds of visual preferences laid out for them can still install the compizconfig-settings-manager to get an "Advanced Desktop Effects Settings" menu installed. Custom Compiz Effects in Ubuntu 8.04
Linux/Gnome application launcher Gnome-Do is turning into one mighty powerful app/data organiser, due in no small part to the wealth of plug-ins cobbled together by an eager fan base. To extend Gnome-Do's powers to music management, Gmail, system functions, and other tasks, Ubuntu Tutorials has put together a simple guide to installing plug-ins for the launcher, a trick that's not readily apparent for first-time users. There's also links to some of the neater plug-ins available, such as those found at the Ubuntu wiki. Found yourself using and digging Gnome-Do's functions? Have your own must-use plug-in? Share the alt-space wisdom in the comments. How To Install Gnome-Do Plugins
Many, if not most, of the newest and updated Linux applications out there are crafting Ubuntu/Debian-ready .deb packages that require just a double-click to install, but many apps are still available only in the .rpm files used by Red Hat and Fedora-based distributions. The Ubuntu Unleashed blog has a quick and simple tutorial on installing the Alien conversion tool and using it to convert packages to .deb format. Once you've got Alien installed, the command is simply:sudo alien -k name-of-rpm-file.rpmNote that this won't work for programs that are designed to utilise specific Red Hat/Fedora functions, but will save you a good deal of digging for alternate files. Howto: Convert Redhat and Fedora .rpm files to .deb files in Ubuntu
Few things can be as frustrating to non-expert Linux users as seeing the phrase "... or compile from source packages" on the download page of that killer app to try out (and we know that's often the case for you patient non-Ubuntu users out there). If you're looking for a nuts-and-bolts guide to installing software from those strange-looking Whatever.tar.gz files, Tuxfiles.org has a pretty good one. While the link takes you through the unpacking, compiling, installing, and cleaning up, there's a basic command line method for almost any package (replacing "package" with the appropriate downloaded file name):
Linux only: Expand OpenOffice.org's document opening, saving, and conversion powers to Office 2007 documents with the OpenXML Translator, a free plug-in intended for Ubuntu systems (although other Debian-based systems might be able to use it as well). Grab a package for your 32- or 64-bit system, install it (hitting the via link if you need help with that) and OpenOffice will be able to read and save files to the .docx format. Conversion from Microsoft Office-authored files remains hit-and-miss, but it's a nice step forward for the free and open-source office suite. The OpenXML translator is a free download for Linux systems only. OpenOffice.org OpenXML Translator
If you like to have ready-to-go access to remote machines (or a home server, perhaps) from your Linux desktop, you might have noticed that you can't always get what you want. Many home and office routers kill "idle" connections after a certain length of time, forcing you to log in again. The FOSSwire blog points out a one-line addition to the end of the client's SSH configuration file (found at /etc/ssh/sshd_config in many systems) to fix this:ServerAliveInterval 180That should send a little ping out every three minutes to ensure the connection is kept alive. This tip should work on most any OpenSSH server that allows access to its sshd_config file, but, as FOSSwire points out, it means any connections you leave open are just that—open to any nefarious passer-by, so use session-closing caution when needed. Keep Your SSH Connection Open
The Tombuntu blog does the yeoman's work for Linux users eager to try out the third beta release of Firefox 3. Using one terminal command, early adopters can get their hands on it and run it in a relatively safe way, although a backup of your profile is definitely recommended. To place a Firefox 3 folder in your home directory, run the command after the jump:
Tired of seeing just an "Empty file" option when you right-click to create a new document on your Linux desktop? In GNOME-based systems, the key to expanding your options lies in the "Templates" directory inside your home folder, according to the Tombuntu blog. Simply open a program you want to have available for right-click creation, save a blank file with the name you want to see in the menu (like "Text file" or "New GIMP image," for instance), and save it in the Templates folder. In my case, I ended up with a bunch of working templates but generic file icons, so I went in and manually changed them to reflect their opening programs. It's just another step in making your Linux desktop a familiar one, but it's also a decent time saver. Add Your Document Templates to GNOME
Want to rearrange the window-top buttons in your GNOME-based Linux system? The FOSSwire blog shows how to put your titlebar in any order you please, using the ever-helpful gconf-editor tool. Launch the editor, browse through the folder trees to Apps->Metacity->General, then find "button_layout" in the right-hand pane. Double-clicking on the "Value" field lets you rearrange (or remove) the four known buttons on either side of the windows (separated by a colon), so you can get Mac-style left-focused buttons, a minimalist menu-only look, or anything else you'd like. If you mess up too badly, you can right-click the button_layout item and "Unset" to restore its default values. Hit the link below for more guidance on using gconf-editor and tweaking the window settings. Customize your Titlebar
Linux.com has a great roundup of ways to use mouse gestures in nearly every corner of a Linux desktop. Newcomers who just want to try out a few shortcuts are walked through the previously mentioned Mouse Gestures Firefox extension and desktop corner activator Brightside, but those looking for universal gesture recognition can go further with the Gestikk and wayV packages. Both require a bit of terminal hacking to install and get running, but neither one will mess up your system if you decide to go back to the ol' trusty keyboard. Using mouse gestures across Linux
Most guides and tutorials for Ubuntu newcomers can help you get commercial DVDs playing on your system, but only through a series of terminal commands that install new repositories or through the use of Automatix or other automated tools that can sometimes mess up your system's dependencies. How-to site Tech-Recipes.com has been on a bit of a Linux streak lately and ferrets out a two-command, no-repository solution for installing DVD playback. Enter these in your terminal:sudo apt-get install totem-xine libxine1-ffmpeg libdvdread3sudo /usr/share/doc/libdvdread3/install-css.shThat, from a quick test, should be it. It must be mentioned here that the DVD decrypting tool you're installing is not licensed and definitely not supported by Ubuntu, so it's up to you whether it's kosher to install or not.
Ubuntu: Enable DVD Playback
Working with the command line can save time, but most of us non-programmers know only a few key commands to use. Using the apropos command, however, anyone can search for commands and programs that relate to whatever keyword you search for. If, for instance, you knew you had a video encoder handy but didn't quite know how to get at it, type in apropos mpeg and you'll get a list of commands and programs that have the words "mpeg" in their man, or manual, files. Great tip for beginners and terminal hackers alike, and apropos is installed on a wide number of Linux distros and other terminals. For more beginner help, check out Unix resources for newbies.
Use apropos to find the command you're looking for
The Tombuntu blog offers a tip that more than one reader was asking after in last week's screenshot tour of KDE 4, the latest desktop manager release for Linux—how to get rid of the Windows-style bottom taskbar. I pulled it off somewhat by accident, but the actual tweak requires removing one section from a configuration file. You can still get all the taskbar's functionality embedded onto your desktop, including app launchers, desktop and program switchers, a clock, and even a battery monitor. Those seeking a 100% complete, stable system, however, are still advised to hold off until KDE 4 goes through a few more revisions.
How to Remove KDE 4.0's Panel
Linux.com has a great roundup of cross-platform applications and GIMP plug-ins that can help make your not-so-great digital pictures into keepers. Among them is a free Java-based tool called Unshake, which does exactly what you'd think, but with a high degree of customisation—you show it the blurriest parts of your photos, and it gets to work making them crisper. Other suggestions include using third-party GIMP plug-ins like Refocus and Iterative Refocus. For those great photo moments that just don't come out that great, these tools can be a memory-saver. Photo by psd.
Unshaking and refocusing your photos
The Ubuntu Unleashed blog has a handy suggestion on how to add a helpful perma-delete tool to your right-click menu in Nautilus using the Nautilus-Actions plug-in. You just install the "wipe" package, which securely deletes a file multiple times to prevent later data-recovery efforts, and fill in a few text boxes to add it to your standard options in GNOME. After all, you don't just keep porn sensitive files on your Windows partition, do you? If so, check out DeleteOnClick for Windows and Permanent Eraser for OS X systems, which perform similar secure deletions.
Securely Wipe/Erase Files in Ubuntu