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Daily Ubuntu / Linux news and application reviews
Updated: 2 hours 43 min ago

Vivaldi 1.4 Released With Theme Scheduling

Thursday 8th of September 2016 09:05:00 AM
Vivaldi, the web browser aimed at power users, was updated to version 1.4 (stable) today. There aren't as many changes as in the previous release, but a few interesting improvements.
The latest Vivaldi 1.4 ships with Theme Scheduling, a new feature that allows setting the browser to automatically change the theme based on the time of day. This is useful if you want to use a dark theme at night, change the theme based on your schedule, and so on.
To configure it, open the Vivaldi Settings (Tools > Settings), and under Themes, you'll find a new option called Scheduled Themes:

Vivaldi 1.4 also includes improved Web Panels. With this version, you can have different widths for web panels, and choose to show all navigation buttons in its toolbar (this can also be completely hidden).

Web Panels allow adding individual websites to Vivladi's sidebar, useful if you want to have something like Twitter, or some news sites and so on, always visible while browsing other websites.
And finally, a minor but useful addition, is the ability to restore the last closed tab by middle clicking on the trash icon.
For a complete Vivaldi 1.4 changelog, see THIS page.
As a reminder, Vivaldi is built using open source technologies, but the browser itself is not open source software.
For a bit more about Vivaldi, see our previous article.

Download Vivaldi
Download Vivaldi (available for Linux: deb and rpm, Windows and Mac)
Debian/Ubuntu users: the latest Vivaldi 1.4 should already by available as an update via its repository, so check your Software Updater.

How To Install Avant Window Navigator In Ubuntu 16.04 Or Linux Mint 18

Wednesday 7th of September 2016 12:17:00 PM
Avant Window Navigator is a dock / task manager for Linux, which was very popular a while back. Its developers lost interest with the introduction of Unity, and after several years of inactivity, the project was taken over by a new maintainer.
Unfortunately, the new maintainer isn't too active either, but at least Avant Window Navigator was updated to work with recent Linux distributions.

Mike Baum created an Avant Window Navigator PPA for Ubuntu 16.04 / Linux Mint 18, because the official AWN PPA wasn't updated in a while.
There are a few AWN applets from this PPA that can't be installed, so I decided to rebuild the packages in the main WebUpd8 PPA. Update: I added Ubuntu 14.04 / Linux Mint 17.x packages to the PPA.
Before installing Avant Window Navigator in Ubuntu 16.04, note that if you encounter bugs, chances are they aren't going to be fixed. Also, some Avant Window Navigator applets no longer work, mostly those that rely on various web services, like the Weather applet or the Pandora Radio applet, or which were built for technologies that have seen significant changes in recent years, like the Indicator applet, Lock Screen or the Media Player applet.
Many applets do still work though, like AWN Main Menu, Cairo Main Menu, Hardware Sensors, Notification Area, Shiny Switcher, Stacks, System Monitor, Terminal, Volume Control, and even the Zeitgeist-based Related applet.

Avant Window Navigator is obviously not something you'd want to install if you use Unity, since you already have a dock that can't be removed, but it can be a nice addition for nostalgics (and not only) that use the Flashback session, or on other Ubuntu flavors, like Xubuntu, Ubuntu MATE, etc.
I should also mention that a while back I removed the AWN applet from the DockBarX package (I maintain the official DockBarX PPA), but since you can now install AWN in Ubuntu 16.04, I re-enabled it for the Xenial package.
Note: for the screenshot above, I used AWN with the Lucido style (see THIS ancient article for how to customize the AWN Lucido style) and the the DockBarX applet (available in the DockBarX PPA for Xenial - after adding the PPA, install the "awn-applet-dockbarx" package).

Install Avant Window Navigator in Ubuntu 16.04 or Linux Mint 18
Avant Window Navigator is available in the main WebUpd8 PPA, for Ubuntu 16.04 / Linux Mint 18. Update: I added Ubuntu 14.04 / Linux Mint 17.x packages.

To add the PPA and install Avant Window Navigator, use the following commands:sudo add-apt-repository ppa:nilarimogard/webupd8
sudo apt update
sudo apt install --install-recommends avant-window-navigator
Important: if Avant Window Navigator crashes the first time you run it, use the following command to restart gconfd-2:killall gconfd-2
Then, use Synaptic Package Manager to install the AWN applets you want to use (simply search for "awn applet" and you should get a complete list of applets).
Or, to install all the available applets (except the DockBarX AWN applet, which is not part of AWN), use the following command:sudo apt install --no-install-recommends awn-applets-all
I used "--install-recommends" for the AWN package because on Linux Mint, recommended packages are not installed by default, and that would result in awn-settings package (among a few others) not being installed. For the awn-applets-all, I used "--no-install-recommends" to prevent it from installing Unity Control Center and other Unity / GNOME Flashback packages along with the AWN applets in Xubuntu, Ubuntu MATE, etc (this is not the case for Linux Mint).

For other Linux distributions, you can find the source code on GitHub:

QOwnNotes Is A Note Taking And Todo List App That Integrates With ownCloud

Monday 5th of September 2016 01:26:00 PM
QOwnNotes is a free, open source note taking and todo list application available for Linux, Windows, and Mac. 
The application saves your notes as plain-text files, and it features Markdown support and tight ownCloud integration.

What makes QOwnNotes stand out is its ownCloud integration (which is optional). Using the ownCloud Notes app, you are able to edit and search notes from the web, or from mobile devices (by using an app like CloudNotes). 
Furthermore, connecting QOwnNotes with your ownCloud account allows you to share notes and access / restore previous versions (or trashed files) of your notes from the ownCloud server.
In the same way, QOwnNotes can also integrate with the ownCloud tasks or Tasks Plus apps.

In case you're not familiar with ownCloud, this is a free software alternative to proprietary web services such as Dropbox, Google Drive, and others, which can be installed on your own server. It comes with a web interface that provides access to file management, calendar, image gallery, music player, document viewer, and much more. The developers also provide desktop sync clients, as well as mobile apps.
Since the notes are saved as plain text, they can be synchronized across devices using other cloud storage services, like Dropbox, Google Drive, and so on, but this is not done directly from within the application. 
As a result, the features I mentioned above, like restoring previous note versions, are only available with ownCloud (although Dropbox, and others, do provide access to previous file revisions, but you won't be able to access this directly from QOwnNotes).
As for the QOwnNotes note taking features, the app supports Markdown (with a built-in Markdown preview mode), tagging notes, searching in tags and notes, adding links to notes, and inserting images:

Hierarchical note tagging and note subfolders are also supported.

The todo manager feature is pretty basic and could use some improvements, as it currently opens in a separate window, and it doesn't use the same editor as the notes, not allowing you to insert images, or use Markdown. 

It does allow you to search your todo items, set item priority, add reminders, and show completed items. Also, todo items can be inserted into notes.
The application user interface is customizable, allowing you to increase or decrease the font size, toggle panes (Markdown preview, note edit and tag panes), and more. A distraction-free mode is also available:

From the application settings, you can enable the dark mode (this was buggy in my test under Ubuntu 16.04 - some toolbar icons were missing), change the toolbar icon size, fonts, and color scheme (light or dark):

Other QOwnNotes features include encryption support (notes can only be decrypted in QOwnNotes), customizable keyboard shortcuts, export notes to PDF or Markdown, customizable note saving interval, and more.
Check out the QOwnNotes homepage for a complete list of features.

Download QOwnNotes
For how to install QownNotes, see its installation page (packages / repositories available for Debian, Ubuntu, Linux Mint, openSUSE, Fedora, Arch Linux, KaOS, Gentoo, Slakware, CentOS, as well as Mac OSX and Windows).
A QOwnNotes snap package is also available (in Ubuntu 16.04 and newer, you should be able to install it directly from Ubuntu Software).
To integrate QOwnNotes with ownCloud you'll need ownCloud server, as well as Notes, QOwnNotesAPI, and Tasks or Tasks Plus ownCloud apps. These can be installed from the ownCloud web interface, without having to download anything manually.
Note that the QOenNotesAPI and Notes ownCloud apps are listed as experimental, so you'll need to enable experimental apps to be able to find and install them. This can be done from the ownCloud web interface, under Apps, by clicking on the settings icon in the lower left-hand side corner.

thanks to Lionel R. for the tip!

Google Earth For Linux Update Brings Fixes For Panoramio Pictures And Various Linux Crashes

Monday 5th of September 2016 09:12:00 AM
Google has updated Google Earth recently, fixing some of the issues that were occurring on Linux, such as Panoramio pictures not working, as well as various crashes.

Google Earth had quite a few issues on recent Linux distributions. Back when Ubuntu 16.04 was released, Google Earth wasn't installable at all, and this was later fixed, but the app would still crash after a few seconds of usage, for many users. Furthermore, Panoramio pictures weren't working.
These issues should be fixed with the latest Google Earth for Linux. Furthermore, the update also brings support for the OAuth2, as well as updated Google and Google Earth logos.
Google Earth changes:
  • removed menu items for Google Maps Engine and the Google Earth Community.
  • new Google and Google Earth logos;
  • fixed crashes from rearranging items in My Places;
  • Earth Pro: Removed registration dialog as Pro no longer requires a license;
  • Linux: fixed font dialog and other crashes;
  • Linux: fixed cache data inconsistency between 32 and 64-bit builds;
  • Linux: fixed RPM installer problems with permissions in directory /usr/bin;
  • Mac & Linux: updated driver support for 3Dconnexion controller devices.

Fix Google Earth crashing in Debian
Update: according to WebUpd8 reader G.Willems (thanks for the tip!), Google Earth crashes in Debian (and probably other Linux distributions as well) when using the search feature. 
To fix this Google Earth crash in Debian, open its launcher script with a text editor (as root) - I'll use Nano below:sudo nano /opt/google/earth/free/googleearthAnd in this file, above the line starting with LD_LIBRARY_PATH (should be the last line), add the \
After editing the file, this is how its last two lines should \
LD_LIBRARY_PATH=.:$LD_LIBRARY_PATH ./googleearth-bin "$@"Then save the file (to save the file in Nano, use Ctrl + O, then Enter; to exit, use Ctrl + X).
You'll also need to install libssl1.0.0:sudo apt-get install libssl1.0.0That's it. Google Earth should no longer crash when searching on Debian.

Download Google Earth
Download Google Earth
Thanks to Martin B. for the tip!

Multiload-ng 1.2.0 Released With Color Schemes Support, More

Tuesday 30th of August 2016 01:21:00 PM
Multiload-ng, a graphical system monitor for Xfce, LXDE, and MATE panels, was updated to version 1.2.0 recently, getting color schemes support, a redesigned preferences window, and more.

The latest Multiload-ng 1.2.0 includes color schemes support, and ships with 18 buil-in color schemes, including Solarized Light and Dark, Ubuntu Ambiance and Radiance, Linux Mint, Arc, Numix Dark and Light, and more. Here are a few of these color schemes in action:

Other changes in Multiload-ng 1.2.0:
  • redesigned preferences window;
  • each graph can now have its own custom size, tooltip style, update interval, and double click action;
  • the double click action can now parse arguments;
  • fixed temperature graph behavior under some circumstances;
  • fixed LXDE panel applet not saving settings on some occasions;
  • minor UI improvements;
  • various other fixes and new supported languages (French, German, and Russian).

Here's the new preferences window:

The latest Multiload-ng 1.2.0 also includes an experimental Unity AppIndicator. I didn't enable it for the PPA packages yet since this is still experimental - I'll enable it once it's considered stable -, but you can use it if you build Multiload-ng yourself.
Also, since our initial article, Multiload-ng has seen yet another release, which brought GTK3 support for all Multiload-ng applets. Since Ubuntu MATE 16.10 includes MATE built with GTK3, I built the Multiload-ng MATE panel applet for 16.10 with GTK3. The other applets are built with GTK2.
Here's the Multiload-ng MATE applet built with GTK3 running under Ubuntu MATE 16.10 Yakkety Yak:

Install Multiload-ng
Arch Linux users can install Multiload-ng via AUR: stable | git.

Note that Multiload-ng can't be built on Lubuntu 14.04 due to its dependencies.

Multiload-ng is available in the main WebUpd8 PPA. To add the PPA and update the software sources, use the following commands:sudo add-apt-repository ppa:nilarimogard/webupd8
sudo apt updateThen, install the applet using the following command:
- for MATE (Ubuntu MATE, Linux Mint MATE):
sudo apt install mate-multiload-ng-applet- for Xfce (Xubuntu, Linux Mint Xfce):
sudo apt install xfce4-multiload-ng-plugin- for LXDE (Lubuntu; not available for Lubuntu 14.04):
sudo apt install lxpanel-multiload-ng-plugin- standalone app:
sudo apt install multiload-ng-standalone
After installing the applet, add it to the panel for your desktop environment, like any other applet. 
In LXDE, you'll need to restart the session or the panel for Multiload-ng to show up in the panel applet list. You can restart the LXDE panel by using the following command:lxpanelctl restartMultiload-ng Standalone can be launched from the menu, like a regular application.
To download the source, report bugs, etc., see the Multiload-ng GitHub page.

How To Install And Configure Bumblebee In Ubuntu 16.04 (With Nvidia-361 Or Nvidia-370)

Tuesday 30th of August 2016 12:25:00 PM

The Bumblebee package available in the official Ubuntu 16.04 repositories needs a tweak to work with Nvidia 361 graphics drivers. Furthermore, if you want to use a newer Nvidia graphics drivers version, such as 370 (which is currently in beta), the discrete card is not turned off, resulting in it being used all the time, and not just when running apps or games with "optirun", as it should.
So here's how to properly install and configure Bumblebee in Ubuntu 16.04, to get it to work with nvidia-361 and nvidia-370 (the latter from the Graphics Drivers PPA).
Bumblebee is a daemon for managing Optimus hybrid graphics chipsets. It allows running applications and games using the discrete GPU (on demand - e.g. using "optirun some-game").
Ubuntu already provides a way of switching between Intel and Nvidia GPUs, by using Nvidia Prime (with Nvidia Prime installed, you can select which GPU to use from Nvidia Settings > PRIME Profiles), but this sets the GPU for the whole desktop, and not just for specific applications and games. For instance, if you select Nvidia, the desktop and every application you run will use the Nvidia GPU.
For some (like me), using the whole desktop on the Nvidia GPU can cause excessive heating, making Bumblebee a better option for running games.

Install and configure Bumblebee in Ubuntu 16.04
Please read the whole article very carefully, and follow the instructions exactly as mentioned in this article. Misconfiguring Bumblebee can have results the desktop not loading, or the display manager not showing up, and you'll have to recover from this via TTY. So use this at your own risk and only if you know how to debug it and recover from any issues that may occur!

Bumblebee seems pretty unstable when it comes to getting it to work, so while these instructions have been tested on my laptop, it may not work for you (it can depend on hardware, installed packages and other factors). These instructions are for those familiar with Bumblebee, who know how to debug it. Don't install it unless you know exactly what you're doing.
The instructions below assume you've already installed some Nvidia graphics drivers (nvidia-361 or nvidia-370). 
I tested this on a Dell XPS L702x laptop running Ubuntu (w/ Unity) 16.04, with nvidia-361 from the official repositories (and Bumblebee from the official repositories), and with nvidia-370 from the Graphics Drivers PPA (with Bumblebee from the Bumblebee Development PPA).

1. Install Nvidia Prime and set it to "intel"

In my test under Ubuntu 16.04, not having Nvidia Prime installed and set to "intel" results in an xorg.conf file being created under /etc/X11/ upon each reboot (or LightDM restart), which causes a black login screen.

To install nvidia-prime and set it to use the Intel graphics card, use the following commands:sudo apt install nvidia-prime
sudo prime-select intel
Do not use Nvidia Settings to set the Prime PROFILES to Nvidia, because it will cause issues after a reboot (in my test, it causes a black login screen)!
2. Install Bumblebee

In my test, I needed to edit a configuration file to get Bumblebee from the official repositories to work with nvidia-361 drivers (step 3).

For nvidia-370 from the Graphics Drivers PPA however, the Nvidia graphics card wasn't turned off (this can be checked with "cat /proc/acpi/bbswitch" - it should say "off" when no app is using the Nvidia graphics card, e.g. if you didn't run any app or game using "optirun") and I was unable to find a workaround for this.

I did get it to work though, by installing Bumblebee from its development PPA. So to get Bumblebee to work properly with nvidia-370 in Ubuntu 16.04, you'll need to install Bumblebee from THIS PPA.

If you want to use Bumblebee with nvidia-361, install Bumblebee from the official Ubuntu 16.04 repositories:
sudo apt install bumblebee
To get Bumblebee to work with nvidia-370, install it from the Bumblebee Development PPA (read the PPA description before adding it!):
sudo add-apt-repository ppa:bumblebee/testing
sudo apt update
sudo apt install bumblebee
3. Blacklist the the Nvidia driver you're using by adding it to /etc/modprobe.d/bumblebee.conf (bit via AskUbuntu)

Open /etc/modprobe.d/bumblebee.conf with a text editor (as root) - I'll use Gedit below:
gksu gedit /etc/modprobe.d/bumblebee.confAnd at the end of the file, add the following:

- for nvidia-361 (assuming you've installed Bumblebee from the official repositories; the Bumblebee package in the Bumblebee Development PPA already has this):
# 361
blacklist nvidia-361
blacklist nvidia-361-updates
blacklist nvidia-experimental-361- for nvidia-370 (from the Graphics Drivers PPA):
# 370
blacklist nvidia-370
blacklist nvidia-370-updates
blacklist nvidia-experimental-370... and save the file.

Important: if later on you install some newer Nvidia graphics drivers (e.g. nvidia-371, nvidia-372, etc.), you'll need to add them to /etc/modprobe.d/bumblebee.conf, in the same way as explained above, but for the new driver version.

4. Configure Bumblebee

Open the Bumblebee configuration file with a text editor (as root) - I'll use Gedit for the command below:
gksu gedit /etc/bumblebee/bumblebee.conf... and in this file, change the following options so they look like below:

- for nvidia-361:
  • Driver=nvidia
  • KernelDriver=nvidia-361
  • LibraryPath=/usr/lib/nvidia-361:/usr/lib32/nvidia-361
  • XorgModulePath=/usr/lib/nvidia-361/xorg,/usr/lib/xorg/modules

- for nvidia-370:
  • Driver=nvidia
  • KernelDriver=nvidia-370
  • LibraryPath=/usr/lib/nvidia-370:/usr/lib32/nvidia-370
  • XorgModulePath=/usr/lib/nvidia-370/xorg,/usr/lib/xorg/modules

... and save the file.

Important: just like step 2, if later on you install some newer Nvidia graphics drivers (e.g. nvidia-371, nvidia-372, etc.), you'll need to change all "nvidia-xxx" occurances in /etc/bumblebee/bumblebee.conf with the new driver.

Update (thanks to Philippe and user-az for the info!): it appears that the BusID is not set properly for some users, causing Bumblebee not to work. To check / correct this, open the /etc/bumblebee/xorg.conf.nvidia file as root with a text editor (I'll use Gedit again below):
gksu gedit /etc/bumblebee/xorg.conf.nvidiaAnd in this file, make sure that the "BusID" line is commented out (it shouldn't have a "#" sign in front of the line), and that it matches your Nvidia graphics bus ID. If it's not, change it, then save the file.

To check the graphics bus ID, use the following command (make sure you look for the line with Nvidia, and not Intel):
lspci | egrep 'VGA|3D'

5. Reboot

That's it. After rebooting, the "cat /proc/acpi/bbswitch" command should display "OFF" as ouput, meaning that the discrete card is turned off by default.

To try out Bumblebee, use "optirun some_app_or_game". To configure the Nvidia settings for Bumblebee, launch the settings using the following command:
optirun -b none /usr/bin/nvidia-settings  -c :8
I should also mention that if you later want to remove Bumblebee, make sure to purge it ("sudo apt purge bumblebee"), to make sure its configuration files are removed, or else you'll experience issues, like the Nvidia drivers remaining blacklisted.

If you encounter issues, see the DEBIAN.readme file (/usr/share/doc/bumblebee/README.Debian on Debian/Ubuntu systems with Bumblebee installed) which explains some possible solutions, as well as the Bumblebee wiki.

More in Tux Machines

today's howtos

Leftovers: Ubuntu

  • Ubuntu Phone, Sep 2016 - Vorsprung durch Touch
    The Ubuntu Phone is getting better, and with every new iteration of the OTA, my little BQ Aquaris E4.5 is gaining more speed and functionality. Like in the air force, with an avionics upgrade, which transforms ancient wings into a powerful and modern bird of prey. Only the pace of advancement is lagging behind the market. See what Android and iOS can do, even Windows Phone, and you realize how late and insufficiently meaningful the Ubuntu Phone really is. This has to change, massively. This latest round does bring some fine goods to the table - more speed and stability, better icons, more overall visual polish, incremental improvements in the applications and the scopes. But that's not enough to win the heart of the average user. A more radical, app-centric effort is required. More focus on delivering the mobile experience, be it as it may. Ubuntu cannot revolutionalize that which is already considered the past. It can only join the club and enjoy the benefits of a well-established reality. And that is a kickass app stack that makes the touch device worth using in the first place. Still, it's not all gloomy. E4.5 is a better product now than it was a year ago, fact. Ubuntu Phone is a better operating system than it was even this spring, fact. So maybe one day we will see Ubuntu become an important if not dominant player in the phone and tablet space. It sure is heading in the right direction, my only fear is the availability of resources to pull off this massive rehaul that is needed to make it stand up to the old and proven giants. And that's it really. If you're keen on Linux (not Android) making it in the mobile world, do not forget to check my Ubuntu tablet review! Especially the convergence piece. On that merry note, you do remember that I'm running a wicked contest this year, too? He/she who reads my books might get a chance to win an M10 tablet. Indeed. Off you go, dear readers. Whereas I will now run the same set of tests we did here on the Aquaris tablet, and see how it likes the OTA-12 upgrade. The end.
  • Ubuntu 16.10 Unity 8 - new window snapping feature
  • Ubuntu Online Summit for Ubuntu 17.04 is Taking Place In Mid-November
  • Ubuntu Online Summit: 15-16 November 2016

Leftovers: OSS and Sharing

  • 10 Top Open Source Artificial Intelligence Tools for Linux
    In this post, we shall cover a few of the top, open-source artificial intelligence (AI) tools for the Linux ecosystem. Currently, AI is one of the ever advancing fields in science and technology, with a major focus geared towards building software and hardware to solve every day life challenges in areas such as health care, education, security, manufacturing, banking and so much more.
  • List of FLOSS International Conferences September 2016 Materials
  • This Week In Servo 78
    Our overall roadmap is available online and now includes the initial Q3 plans. From now on, we plan to include the quarterly plan with a high-level breakdown in the roadmap page.
  • Firefox 49 Release: Find out what is new
    Firefox 49.0 is the next major stable release of the web browser. Firefox 48.0.2 and earlier versions of Firefox can be updated to the new release.
  • Open-Source Climate Change Data From NASA, NOAA, & Others Available For 1st Time
    Climate change has many components — rising sea levels, alterations in rainfall patterns, and an increase in severe storm activity, among others. Communities around the world are faced with the need to plan for climate change but don’t have the information available to do so effectively.
  • Another Setback for 3D Printed Gun Advocate Cody Wilson as Court of Appeals Rules That National Security Concerns Outweigh Free Speech
    It’s been a long, drawn-out battle, beginning in 2013 when Cody Wilson, founder of Defense Distributed, published the open source files for his 3D printed handgun, the Liberator, online. The State Department ordered that he take the files down, and Wilson complied, but not before thousands had downloaded them and spread them elsewhere on the Internet. In 2015, with the help of gun rights organization The Second Amendment Foundation, Wilson filed a federal lawsuit claiming that the State Department had violated not only his Second Amendment but his First Amendment rights. By suppressing his right to share information online, Wilson argued, the State Department was violating his right to free speech.
  • In 3D-Printed Gun Case, Federal Court Permits Speech Censorship in the Name of Alleged National Security
  • Oracle tries playing nice with Java EE rebels
    With Oracle now trying to get back on track with advancing enterprise Java, the company is seeking rapprochement with factions that had sought to advance the platform on their own. The two groups involved are mostly amenable to patching up the relationship. Oracle's Anil Gaur, group vice president of engineering, said this week he had already been in touch with some of the concerned parties. The two factions include Java EE Guardians, led by former Oracle Java EE evangelist Reza Rahman, and, which has included participation from Red Hat and IBM.

GNU News