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How to Run a Shell Script in Linux [Essentials Explained for Beginners]

Tuesday 26th of January 2021 07:07:00 AM

There are two ways to run a shell script in Linux. You can use:

bash script.sh

Or you can execute the shell script like this:

./script.sh

That maybe simple, but it doesn’t explain a lot. Don’t worry, I’ll do the necessary explaining with examples so that you understand why a particular syntax is used in the given format while running a shell script.

I am going to use this one line shell script to make things as uncomplicated as possible:

abhishek@itsfoss:~/Scripts$ cat hello.sh echo "Hello World!" Method 1: Running a shell script by passing the file as argument to shell

The first method involves passing the script file name as an argument to the shell.

Considering that bash is the default shell, you can run a script like this:

bash hello.sh

Do you know the advantage of this approach? Your script doesn’t need to have the execute permission. Pretty handy for quick and simple tasks.

Running a Shell Script Linux

If you are not familiar already, I advise you to read my detailed guide on file permission in Linux.

Keep in mind that it needs to be a shell script that you pass as argument. A shell script is composed of commands. If you use a normal text file, it will complain about incorrect commands.

Running a Text File As Script

In this approach, you explicitly specified that you want to use bash as the interpreter for the script.

Shell is just a program and bash is an implementation of that. There are other such shells program like ksh, zsh, etc. If you have other shells installed, you can use that as well instead of bash.

For example, I installed zsh and used it to run the same script:

Execute Shell Script With Zsh .ugb-4037db6-wrapper.ugb-container__wrapper{border-radius:0px !important;padding-top:0 !important;padding-bottom:0 !important;background-color:#f1f1f1 !important}.ugb-4037db6-wrapper > .ugb-container__side{padding-top:35px !important;padding-bottom:35px !important}.ugb-4037db6-wrapper.ugb-container__wrapper:before{background-color:#f1f1f1 !important}.ugb-4037db6-content-wrapper > h1,.ugb-4037db6-content-wrapper > h2,.ugb-4037db6-content-wrapper > h3,.ugb-4037db6-content-wrapper > h4,.ugb-4037db6-content-wrapper > h5,.ugb-4037db6-content-wrapper > h6{color:#222222}.ugb-4037db6-content-wrapper > p,.ugb-4037db6-content-wrapper > ol li,.ugb-4037db6-content-wrapper > ul li{color:#222222}

Recommended Read:

.ugb-16406c5 .ugb-blog-posts__featured-image{border-radius:0px !important}.ugb-16406c5 .ugb-blog-posts__title a{color:#000000 !important}.ugb-16406c5 .ugb-blog-posts__title a:hover{color:#00b6ba !important}How to Run Multiple Linux Commands at Once in Linux Terminal [Essential Beginners Tip] Method 2: Execute shell script by specifying its path

The other method to run a shell script is by providing its path. But for that to be possible, your file must be executable. Otherwise, you’ll have “permission denied” error when you try to execute the script.

So first you need to make sure that your script has the execute permission. You can use the chmod command to give yourself this permission like this:

chmod u+x script.sh

Once your script is executable, all you need to do is to type the file name along with its absolute or relative path. Most often you are in the same directory so you just use it like this:

./script.sh

If you are not in the same directory as your script, you can specify it the absolute or relative path to the script:

Running Shell Script In Other Directory That ./ before the script is important (when you are in the same directory as the script)

Why can you not use the script name when you are in the same directory? That is because your Linux systems looks for the executables to run in a few selected directories that are specified in the PATH variable.

Here’s the value of PATH variable for my system:

abhishek@itsfoss:~$ echo $PATH /home/abhishek/.local/bin:/usr/local/sbin:/usr/local/bin:/usr/sbin:/usr/bin:/sbin:/bin:/usr/games:/usr/local/games:/snap/bin

This means that any file with execute permissions in one of the following directories can be executed from anywhere in the system:

  • /home/abhishek/.local/bin
  • /usr/local/sbin
  • /usr/local/bin
  • /usr/sbin
  • /usr/bin
  • /sbin
  • /bin
  • /usr/games
  • /usr/local/games
  • /snap/bin

The binaries or executable files for Linux commands like ls, cat etc are located in one of those directories. This is why you are able to run these commands from anywhere on your system just by using their names. See, the ls command is located in /usr/bin directory.

When you specify the script WITHOUT the absolute or relative path, it cannot find it in the directories mentioned in the PATH variable.

Why most shell scripts contain #! /bin/bash at the beginning of the shell scripts?

Remember how I mentioned that shell is just a program and there are different implementations of shells.

When you use the #! /bin/bash, you are specifying that the script is to run with bash as interpreter. If you don’t do that and run a script in ./script.sh manner, it is usually run with whatever shell you are running.

Does it matter? It could. See, most of the shell syntax is common in all kind of shell but some might differ.

For example, the array behavior is different in bash and zsh shells. In zsh, the array index starts at 1 instead of 0.

Bash Vs Zsh

Using #! /bin/bash indicates that the script is bash shell script and should be run with bash as interpreter irrespective of the shell which is being used on the system. If you are using zsh specific syntax, you can indicate that it is zsh script by adding #! /bin/zsh as the first line of the script.

The space between #! /bin/bash doesn’t matter. You can also use #!/bin/bash.

Was it helpful?

I hope this article added to your Linux knowledge. If you still have questions or suggestions, please leave a comment.

Expert users can still nitpick this article about things I missed out. But the problem with such beginner topics is that it is not easy to find the right balance of information and avoid having too much or too few details.

If you are interested in learning bash script, we have an entire Bash Beginner Series on our sysadmin focused website Linux Handbook. If you want, you may also purchase the ebook with additional exercises to support Linux Handbook.

Movim: An Open-Source Decentralized Social Platform Based on XMPP Network

Monday 25th of January 2021 11:31:10 AM

Brief: Movim is an open-source decentralized social media platform that relies on XMPP network and can communicate with other applications using XMPP.

We’ve already highlighted some open-source alternatives to mainstream social media platforms. In addition to those options available, I have come across another open-source social media platform that focuses on privacy and decentralization.

Movim: Open-Source Web-based Social Platform

Just like some other XMPP desktop clients, Movim is a web-based XMPP front-end to let you utilize it as a federated social media.

Since it relies on XMPP network, you can interact with other users utilizing XMPP clients such as Conversations (for Android) and Dino (for Desktop).

In case you didn’t know, XMPP is an open-standard for messaging.

So, Movim can act as your decentralized messaging app or a full-fledged social media platform giving you an all-in-one experience without relying on a centralized network.

It offers many features that can appeal to a wide variety of users. Let me briefly highlight most of the important ones.

Features of Movim
  • Chatroom
  • Ability to organize video conferences
  • Publish articles/stories publicly to all federated network
  • Tweak the privacy setting of your post
  • Easily talk with other Movim users or XMPP users with different clients
  • Automatically embed your links and images to your post
  • Explore topics easily using hashtags
  • Ability to follow a topic or publication
  • Auto-save to draft when you type in a post
  • Supports Markdown syntax to let you publish informative posts and start a publication on the network for free
  • React to chat messages
  • Supports GIFs and funny Stickers
  • Edit or delete your messages
  • Supports screen sharing
  • Supports night mode
  • Self-hosting option available
  • Offers a free public instance as well
  • Cross-platform web support
Using Movim XMPP Client

In addition to all the features listed above, it is also worth noting that you can also find a Movim mobile app on F-Droid.

If you have an iOS device, you might have a hard time looking for a good XMPP client (I’m not aware of any decent options). If you rule that out, you should not have any issues using it on your Android device.

For desktop, you can simply use Movim’s public instance, sign up for an account, and use it on your favorite browser no matter which platform you’re on.

You can also deploy your instance by using the Docker Compose script, the Debian package, or any other methods mentioned in their GitHub page.

Movim Concluding Thoughts

While the idea of decentralized social media platforms is good, not everyone would prefer to use it because they probably do not have friends on it and the user experience is not the best out there.

That being said, XMPP clients like Movim are trying to make a federated social platform that a general consumer can easily use without any hiccups.

Just like it took a while for users to look for WhatsApp alternatives, the craze for decentralized social media platform like Movim and Mastodon is a possibility in the near future as well.

If you like it, do consider making a donation to their project.

What do you think about Movim? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below.

How to Uninstall Applications from Ubuntu Linux

Wednesday 20th of January 2021 11:37:00 AM

Don’t use a certain application anymore? Remove it.

In fact, removing programs is one of the easiest ways to free up disk space on Ubuntu and keep your system clean.

In this beginner’s tutorial, I’ll show you various ways of uninstalling software from Ubuntu.

Did I say various ways? Yes, because there are various ways of installing applications in Ubuntu and hence various ways of removing them. You’ll learn to:

  • Remove applications from Ubuntu Software Center (for desktop users)
  • Remove applications using apt remove command
  • Remove snap applications in command line (intermediate to advanced users)

Let’s see these steps one by one.

Method 1: Remove applications using Ubuntu Software Center

Start the Software Center application. You should find it in the dock on the left side or search for it in the menu.

You can see the installed applications in the Installed tab.

List installed applications

If you don’t see a program here, try to use the search feature.

Search for installed applications

When you open an installed application, you should see the option to remove it. Click on it.

Removing installed applications

It will ask for your account password. Enter it and the applications will be removed in seconds.

This method works pretty well except in the case when Software Center is misbehaving (it does that a lot) or if the program is a software library or some other command line utility. You can always resort to the terminal in such cases.

Method 2: Remove programs from Ubuntu using command line

You know that you can use apt-get install or apt install for installing applications. For uninstalling, you don’t use the apt-get uninstall command but apt-get remove or apt remove.

All you need to do is to use the command in the following fashion:

sudo apt remove program_name

You’ll be asked to enter your account password. When you enter it, nothing is visible on the screen. That’s normal. Just type it blindly and press enter.

The program won’t be removed immediately. You need to confirm it. When it asks for your conformation, press the enter key or Y key:

Keep in mind that you’ll have to use the exact package name in the apt remove command otherwise it will throw ‘unable to locate package error‘.

Don’t worry if you don’t remember the exact program name. You can utilize the super useful tab completion. It’s one of the most useful Linux command line tips that you must know.

What you can do is to type the first few letters of the program you want to uninstall. And then hit the tab key. It will show all the installed packages that match those letters at the beginning of their names.

When you see the desired package, you can type its complete name and remove it.

What if you do not know the exact package name or even the starting letters? Well, you can list all the installed packages in Ubuntu and grep with whatever your memory serves.

For example, the command below will show all the installed packages that have the string ‘my’ in its name anywhere, not just the beginning.

apt list --installed | grep -i my

That’s cool, isn’t it? Just be careful with the package name when using the remove command in Ubuntu.

Tip: Using apt purge for removing package (advanced users)

When you remove a package in Ubuntu, the packaged data is removed, but it may leave small, modified user configuration files. This is intentional because if you install the same program again, it would use those configuration files.

If you want to remove it completely, you can use apt purge command. You can use it instead of apt remove command or after running the apt remove command.

sudo apt purge program_name

Keep in mind that the purge command won’t remove any data or configuration file stored in the home directory of a user.

Method 3: Uninstall Snap applications in Ubuntu

The previous method works with the DEB packages that you installed using apt command, software center or directly from the deb file.

Ubuntu also has a new packaging system called Snap. Most of the software you find in the Ubuntu Software Center are in this Snap package format.

You can remove these applications from the Ubuntu Software Center easily but if you want to use the command line, here’s what you should do.

List all the snap applications installed to get the package name.

snap list

Now use the package name to remove the application from Ubuntu. You won’t be asked for confirmation before removal.

sudo snap remove package_name Bonus Tip: Clean up your system with one magical command

Alright! You learned to remove the applications. Now let me tell you about a simple command that cleans up leftover package traces like dependencies that are no longer used, old Linux kernel headers that won’t be used anymore.

In the terminal, just run this command:

sudo apt autoremove

This is a safe command, and it will easily free up a few hundred MB’s of disk space.

Conclusion

You learned three ways of removing applications from Ubuntu Linux. I covered both GUI and command line methods so that you are aware of all the options.

I hope you find this simple tutorial helpful as an Ubuntu beginner. Questions and suggestions are always welcome.

Highlighted Text Not Visible in gedit in Dark Mode? Here’s What You Can Do

Tuesday 19th of January 2021 03:41:16 AM

I love using dark mode in Ubuntu. It’s soothing on the eyes and makes the system look aesthetically more pleasing, in my opinion.

One minor annoyance I noticed is with gedit text editor and if you use it with the dark mode in your system, you might have encountered it too.

By default, gedit highlights the line where your cursor is. That’s a useful feature but it becomes a pain if you are using dark mode in your Linux system. Why? Because the highlighted text is not readable anymore. Have a look at it yourself:

Text on the highlighted line is hardly visible

If you select the text, it becomes readable but it’s not really a pleasant reading or editing experience.

Selecting the text makes it better but that’s not a convenient thing to do for all lines

The good thing is that you don’t have to live with it. I’ll show a couple of steps you can take to enjoy dark mode system and gedit together.

Making gedit reader-friendly in dark mode

You basically have two options:

  1. Disable highlight the current line but then you’ll have to figure out which line you are at.
  2. Change the default color settings but then the colors of the editor will be slightly different, and it won’t switch to light mode automatically if you change the system theme.

It’s a workaround and compromise that you’ll have to make until the gedit or GNOME developers fix the issue.

Option 1: Disable highlighting current line

When you have gedit opened, click on the hamburger menu and select Preferences.

Go to Preferences

In the View tab, you should see the “Highlight current line” option under Highlighting section. Uncheck this. The effects are visible immediately.

Disable highlighting current line

Highlighting current line is a usable feature and if you want to continue using it, opt for the second option.

Option 2: Change the editor color theme

In the Preferences window, go to Font & Colors tab and change the color scheme to Oblivion, Solarized Dark or Cobalt.

Change the color scheme

As I mentioned earlier, the drawback is that when you switch the system theme to a light theme, the editor theme isn’t switched automatically to the light theme.

A bug that should be fixed by devs

There are several text editors available for Linux but for quick reading or editing a text file, I prefer using gedit. It’s a minor annoyance but an annoyance nonetheless. The developers should fix it in future version of this awesome text editor so that we don’t have to resort to these worarounds.

How about you? Do you use dark mode on your system or light mode? Had you noticed this trouble with gedit? Did you take any steps to fix it? Feel free to share your experience.

Haruna Video Player: An Open-Source Qt-based MPV GUI Front-end for Linux

Monday 18th of January 2021 02:06:15 PM

Brief: A Qt-based video player for Linux that acts as a front-end to mpv along with the ability to use youtube-dl.

Haruna Video Player: A Qt-based Free Video Player Haruna Video Player

In case you’re not aware of mpv, it is a free and open-source command-line based media player. Okay, there is a minimalist GUI for MPV but at the core, it is command line.

You might also find several open-source video players that are basically the GUI front-end to mpv.

Haruna video player is one of them along with the ability to use youtube-dl. You can easily play local media files as well as YouTube content.

Let me give you an overview of the features offered with this player.

Features of Haruna Video Player

You might find it a bit different from some other video players. Here’s what you get with Haruna video player:

  • Ability to play YouTube videos directly using the URL
  • Support playlists and you get to control them easily
  • Ability to auto-skip based on some words in the subtitle.
  • Control the playback speed
  • Change the format to play (audio/video) using youtube-dl
  • Plenty of keyboard shortcuts
  • Easily take a screenshot from the video
  • Option to add primary and secondary subtitle
  • Change the file format of the screenshot
  • Hardware decoding supported
  • Color adjustments to improve the quality of what you watch
  • Ability to tweak mouse and keyboard shortcuts to be able to quickly navigate and do what you want
  • Tweak the UI (fonts, theme)
Installing Haruna Video Player on Linux

Unfortunately (or not), depending on what you prefer, you can only install it using Flatpak. You can install it on any Linux distribution using the Flatpak package.

You can find it in AUR as well if you’re using an Arch-based system.

But, if you do not prefer that, you may take a look at the source code on GitHub to see if you can build it yourself like a normal Gentoo user.

Haruna Video Player Concluding Thoughts

Haruna Video Player is a simple and useful GUI on top libmpv. The ability to play YouTube videos along with various file formats on the system is definitely something many users would like.

The user interface is easy to get used to and offers some important customization options as well.

Have you tried this video player already? Let me know what you think about it in the comments below.

KDE Customization Guide: Here are 11 Ways You Can Change the Look and Feel of Your KDE-Powered Linux Desktop

Sunday 17th of January 2021 11:24:02 AM

KDE Plasma desktop is unarguably the pinnacle of customization, as you can change almost anything you want. You can go to the extent of making it act as a tiling window manager.

KDE Plasma can confuse a beginner by the degree of customization it offers. As options tend to pile on top of options, the user starts getting lost.

To address that issue, I’ll show you the key points of KDE Plasma customization that you should be aware of. This is some

Customizing KDE Plasma

I have used KDE Neon in this tutorial, but you may follow it with any distribution that uses KDE Plasma desktop.

1. Plasma Widgets

Desktop widgets can add convenience to the user experience, as you can immediately access important items on the desktop.

Students and professionals nowadays are working with computers more than ever before, a useful widget can be sticky notes.

Right-click on the desktop and select “Add Widgets”.

Choose the widget you like, and simply drag and drop it to the desktop.

2. Desktop wallpaper

This one is too obvious. Changing the wallpaper to change the looks of your desktop.

At the wallpaper tab you can change more than just the wallpaper. From the “Layout” pulldown menu, you can select if your desktop will have icons or not.

The “Folder View” layout is named from the traditional desktop folder in your home directory, where you can access your desktop files. Thus, the “Folder View” option will retain the icons on the desktop.

If you select the “Desktop” layout, it will leave your desktop icon free and plain. However, you will still be able to access the desktop folder at the home directory.

In Wallpaper Type, you can select if you want a wallpaper or not, to be still or to change and finally in Positioning, how it looks on your screen.

3. Mouse Actions

Each mouse button can be configured to one of the following actions:

  • Switch Desktop
  • Paste
  • Switch Window
  • Standard Menu
  • Application Launcher
  • Switch Activity

The right-click is set to Standard Menu, which is the menu when you right-click on the desktop. The contents of the menu can be changed by clicking on the settings icon next to it.

4. Location of your desktop content

This option is only available if you select the “Folder View” in the wallpaper tab. By default, the content shown on your desktop is what you have at the desktop folder at the home directory. The location tab gives you the option to change the content on your desktop, by selecting a different folder.

5. Desktop Icons

Here you can select how the icons will be arranged (horizontally or vertically), right or left, the sorting criteria and their size. If this is not enough, you have additional aesthetic features to explore.

6. Desktop Filters

Let’s be honest with ourselves! I believe every user ends up with a cluttered desktop at some point. If your desktop becomes messy and can’t find a file, you can apply a filter either by name or type and find what you need. Although, it’s better to make a good file housekeeping a habit!

7. Application Dashboard

If you like the GNOME 3 application launcher, you may try the KDE application dashboard. All you have to do is to right click on the menu icon > Show Alternatives.

Click on “Application Dashboard”.

8. Window Manager Theme

Like you saw in Xfce customization tutorial, you can change the window manager theme independently in KDE as well. This way you can choose a different theme for the panel and a different theme for the window manager. If the preinstalled themes are not enough, you can download more.

Inspired from MX Linux Xfce edition though, I couldn’t resist to my favourite “Arc Dark”.

Navigate to Settings > Application Style > Window decorations > Theme

9. Global theme

As mentioned above, the look and feel of the KDE plasma panel can be configured from the Settings > Global theme tab. There isn’t a good number of themes preinstalled, but you can download a theme to suit your taste. The default Breeze Dark is an eye candy, though.

10. System Icons

The system icon style can have significant impact on how the desktop looks. Whichever is your choice, you should choose the dark icon version if your global theme is dark. The only difference lies on the icon text contrast, which is inverted to the panel colour to make it readable. You can easy access the icon tab at the system settings.

11. System fonts

System fonts are not at the spotlight of customization, but if you spend half of your day in front of a screen can be one factor of the eye strain. Users with dyslexia will appreciate the OpenDyslexic font. My personal choice is the Ubuntu font, which not only I find aesthetically pleasing but also a good font to spend my day in front of a screen.

You can, of course, install more fonts on your Linux system by downloading them for external sources.

Conclusion

KDE Plasma is one of the most flexible and customizable desktops available to the Linux community. Whether you are a tinkerer or not, KDE Plasma is a constantly evolving desktop environment with amazing modern features. The best part is that it can also manage on moderate system configurations.

Now I tried to make this guide beginner-friendly. Of course, there can be more advanced customization like that window switching animation. If you are aware of some, why not share it with us in the comment section?

Looking to Ditch WhatsApp? Here are 5 Better Privacy Alternatives to WhatsApp

Thursday 14th of January 2021 11:21:46 AM

After the latest WhatsApp privacy policy updates, many users who trusted the service seem to be making the switch to alternatives like Signal.

Even though WhatsApp tries to clarify and re-assure the change in the policies, users have made their mind while considering the benefits of using privacy alternatives to WhatsApp.

But, what are some useful and impressive alternatives to WhatsApp? In this article, let us take a look at some of the best options.

Private messengers that do not violate your privacy

There could be plenty of private messaging services. I have kept my focus on messaging services with the following criteria in mind:

  • Mobile and desktop availability
  • Group chats and channels
  • Voice and video calls
  • Emojis and sticker support
  • Privacy and encryption

Basically, private messaging app that cater to the need of a common user.

Note: The list is in no particular order of ranking.

1. Session

Key Features:

  • End-to-end Encryption
  • Blockchain-based
  • Decentralized
  • Does not require phone number
  • No data collected by Session
  • Lets you create and manage open/closed groups (open groups are public channels)
  • Voice messages
  • Cross-platform with desktop apps
  • Open-Source

Session is technically a fork of Signal and tries to go one step further by not requiring phone numbers. It isn’t a typical WhatsApp replacement but if you want something different with privacy options, this could be it.

You will have to create a Session ID (that you can share to add contacts or ask your contacts to share theirs). If you delete the app, you will lose your ID, so you need to keep your recovery pass safely.

Unlike Signal, it does not rely on a centralized server but blockchain-based, i.e. decentralized. That’s good for reliability technically, but I’ve noticed some significant delays in sending/receiving messages.

If you’re tech-savvy, and want the absolute best for privacy, this could be it. But, it may not be a great option for elders and general consumers. For more information, you can check out my original Session overview.

Session 2. Signal

Key Features:

  • End-to-End encryption
  • Almost no data collection (Except your phone number)
  • Supports Emojis and Stickers
  • Lets you create and manage Groups
  • Voice/Video calling supported
  • Cross-platform support with desktop apps
  • Open-Source

Signal is my personal favorite when it comes to privacy alternatives to WhatsApp. I’ve made the switch for years, but I didn’t have all my contacts in Signal. Fast-forward to 2021, I have most of my contacts on Signal.

Signal is the best blend of open-source and privacy. They’ve improved a lot over the years and is safe to assume as a perfect alternative to WhatsApp. You get almost every essential feature compared to WhatsApp.

However, just because it does not store your data, you may not be able to access all the messages of your smartphone on Desktop. In addition to that, it relies on local backup (which is protected by a passphrase) instead of cloud backups. So, you will have to head to the settings, start the backup, safely copy the passcode of the backup, check where the local backup gets stored, and make sure you don’t delete it.

You can explore more about Signal in our original coverage and learn how to install Signal in Linux.

Signal .ugb-a215c1d-wrapper.ugb-container__wrapper{border-radius:0px !important;padding-top:0 !important;padding-bottom:0 !important;background-color:#f1f1f1 !important}.ugb-a215c1d-wrapper > .ugb-container__side{padding-top:35px !important;padding-bottom:35px !important}.ugb-a215c1d-wrapper.ugb-container__wrapper:before{background-color:#f1f1f1 !important}.ugb-a215c1d-content-wrapper > h1,.ugb-a215c1d-content-wrapper > h2,.ugb-a215c1d-content-wrapper > h3,.ugb-a215c1d-content-wrapper > h4,.ugb-a215c1d-content-wrapper > h5,.ugb-a215c1d-content-wrapper > h6{color:#222222}.ugb-a215c1d-content-wrapper > p,.ugb-a215c1d-content-wrapper > ol li,.ugb-a215c1d-content-wrapper > ul li{color:#222222}

Recommended Read:

.ugb-6429a95 .ugb-blog-posts__featured-image{border-radius:0px !important}.ugb-6429a95 .ugb-blog-posts__title a{color:#000000 !important}.ugb-6429a95 .ugb-blog-posts__title a:hover{color:#00b6ba !important}9 Decentralized, P2P and Open Source Alternatives to Mainstream Social Media Platforms Like Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and Reddit 3. Telegram

Key Features:

  • End-to-end Encryption (with Secret chat option)
  • Cloud-based (no need to back up your chats, it’s all in the cloud)
  • Ability to create public channels
  • Create and manage groups
  • Voice/Video Call
  • Offers a better privacy policy to WhatsApp
  • Supports Emojis and Stickers
  • Client-side Open-Source

Telegram may not be the best bet for privacy, but it is certainly better than WhatsApp in several regards.

By default, the chats aren’t end-to-end encrypted but the convenience of having all the history in the cloud without needing to backup while having the secret chat option for encryption is a good deal for common consumers.

Not just limited to that, you also get native desktop apps and the client-side apps are open-source.

Of course, I won’t recommend it over others for privacy-conscious users, but sometimes you just need a messenger that works, offers convenience, and respects the user’s privacy even if the chats are stored in the cloud.

Telegram 4. Threema (Paid)

Key Features:

  • End-to-end Encryption
  • Does not require a phone number
  • Lets you create and manage groups
  • Ability to add polls
  • Voice/Video calls
  • Switzerland-based (known for best privacy policies)
  • Cross-platform (with Threema Web for PC, no native desktop apps)
  • Open-Source

Threema was among the best choices in the list of private messengers available out there. Initially, it wasn’t open-source, which was a bummer.

But, now, Threema is completely open-source!

Threema offers the best features that you’d always want in a messenger. However, it is a paid-only app.

Of course, if your friends/contacts do not mind paying for one of the best privacy alternatives to WhatsApp, you can easily recommend them this!

Threema 5. Element

Key Features:

  • End-to-end Encryption
  • Does not require phone number
  • Supports creating large public groups and closed groups as well
  • Utilizes Decentralized Matrix network
  • Voice/Video Calls
  • Cross-platform with desktop apps
  • Open-Source

Element is yet another fantastic WhatsApp alternative that is built keeping privacy in mind. It may not be a perfect replacement for a few contacts but if you’re looking for an “All in One” platform for personal messaging and work as well, Element can be the perfect pick.

It was originally known as Riot, and then it rebranded to Element. Do note that it can be a little overwhelming if you wanted a simple alternative, but it’s great for privacy and security.

Element Wrapping Up

With the transparent policy updates to WhatsApp, more users are getting aware about the disadvantages of using a product owned by big tech companies. Hence, we need WhatsApp alternatives more than ever.

Of course, it is not easy to switch and convince other less tech-savvy users. But, it is certainly worth it.

What do you think about the best WhatsApp alternatives which offer better privacy? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below.

Install Privacy-friendly WhatsApp Alternative Signal on Linux Desktop

Wednesday 13th of January 2021 09:41:13 AM

It’s been more than a year since we covered Signal as an ideal choice for instant messaging. While privacy-aware and tech-savvy people were already aware of the existence of this awesome application, Signal got the much deserved fame after the latest WhatsApp privacy policy updates.

Whatever maybe the reason if you are new to Signal and you are wondering if you can use Signal on desktop, the answer is yes. You can install Signal on Linux, Windows and macOS systems along with your smartphone.

Signal Messenger on Pop OS Linux distribution

I am not going to highlight the features Signal offers because you might already be aware of them. I am going to show you different methods of installing Signal application Linux desktop:

  • Install Signal on Linux using Snap (snap applications take longer to load but get automatic update and hassle-free installation)
  • Install Signal on Debian and Ubuntu-based distributions using apt (additional efforts in adding the repository but installed apps get automatic updates)
  • Install Signal on Arch and Manjaro Linux using AUR
  • Install Signal on Fedora and other Linux using Flatpak package

You can choose one of the methods based on your distribution and preference:

Method 1: Installing Signal on Ubuntu and other Linux using Snap

If you are using Ubuntu, you can find Signal desktop app in Snap package format in the Software Center.

Alternatively, you can use the Snap command to install Signal on any Linux distribution that has Snap support enabled.

sudo snap install signal-desktop

You can remove it using snap remove or from the Software Center.

Some people do not like Snap packages because they take too long to start. The good news is that you can use apt command to install Signal. The next section discusses that.

Method 2: Install Signal on Debian and Ubuntu-based distributions via APT (using official Signal repository)

Here are the steps you have to follow to install Signal from its official repository on Debian, Debian, Linux Mint, elementary OS and other distributions based on Debian/Ubuntu. You can copy the commands and paste it in the terminal.

First thing is to get the GPG key for the official Signal repository and add it to the trusted keys of your APT package manager.

wget -O- https://updates.signal.org/desktop/apt/keys.asc | sudo apt-key add -

With the key added, you can safely add the repository to your system. Don’t get alarmed with the use of xenial in the repository name. It will work with Ubuntu 18.04, 20.04 and newer version as well as Debian, Mint etc.

echo "deb [arch=amd64] https://updates.signal.org/desktop/apt xenial main" | sudo tee -a /etc/apt/sources.list.d/signal-xenial.list

Thanks to the tee command in Linux, you’ll have a new file signal-xenial.list in the sources.list directory /etc/apt/sources.list.d. This new file will have the Signal repository information i.e. deb [arch=amd64] https://updates.signal.org/desktop/apt xenial main.

Now that you have added the repository, update the cache and install Signal desktop application:

sudo apt update && sudo apt install signal-desktop

Once installed, look for Signal in application menu and start it.

Since you have added the repository, your installed Signal application will be automatically updated with the regular system updates.

Enjoy encrypted messaging with Signal on your Linux desktop.

Removing Signal

The tutorial won’t be complete if I don’t share the removal steps with you. Let’s go through it.

First, remove the application:

sudo apt remove signal-desktop

You may leave it as it is, or you may remove the Signal repository from your system. It’s optional and up to you. With the repository still in the system, you can install Signal again, easily. If you remove the repository, you’ll have to add it again following the steps in the previous section.

If you want to remove the Signal repository as well, you can opt for the graphical method by going to Software and Updated tool and deleting it from there.

Alternatively, you can remove the file with rm command:

rm -i /etc/apt/sources.list.d/signal-xenial.list Method 3: Installing Signal on Arch and Manjaro from AUR

Signal is available to install on Arch-based Linux distributions via AUR. If you are using Pamac on Manjaro and have enabled AUR, you should find Signal in the package manager.

Otherwise, you can always use an AUR helper.

sudo yay -Ss <package-name>

I believe you can delete Signal in the similar function.

Method 4: Installing Signal on Fedora and other Linux using Flatpak

There is no .rpm file for Signal. However, a Flatpak package is available, and you may use that to get Signal on Fedora.

flatpak install flathub org.signal.Signal

Once installed, you can run it from the menu or use the following command in the terminal:

flatpak run org.signal.Signal

Signal and Telegram are two mainstream and viable options to ditch WhatsApp. Both provide native Linux desktop applications. If you use Telegram, you can join the official It’s FOSS channel. I use Signal in individual capacity because it doesn’t have the ‘channel’ feature yet.

Super Productivity: A Super Cool Open Source To-Do List App with GitHub Integration

Monday 11th of January 2021 12:58:22 PM

Brief: Super Productivity is an awesome open-source to-do app that helps you manage tasks, track tickets, and manage time.

No matter what you do, improving productivity is a common goal for most of the people. Usually, you would end up trying various to-do list apps or a note-taking app to help yourself organize and remind things to efficiently keep up with your work.

Sure, you can check out those lists and try them as you like. Here, I’ve come across something unique that you also may want to try if you wanted a desktop to-do application with a solid user interface, GitHub/GitLab integration, and a list of essential features.

Super Productivity seems to be an impressive to-do list app with some unique features to offer. In this article, I’ll let you know all about it briefly.

Super Productivity: A Simple & Attractive Open-Source To-do App

Super Productivity is an open-source app, and it is actively maintained by Johannes Millan on GitHub.

To me, the user experience matters the most, and I’m completely impressed with the UI offered by Super Productivity.

It also offers a bunch of essential features along with some interesting options. Let’s take a look at them.

Features of Super Productivity
  • Add to-do tasks, description
  • Track time spent on tasks and break
  • Project management (with JIRA, GitHub, and GitLab integration)
  • Ability to schedule tasks
  • Language selection option
  • Sync option to Dropbox, Google Drive, or any other WebDAV storage location
  • Import/Export functionality
  • Auto-backup functionality
  • Ability to tweak the behavior of timers and counters
  • Dark Mode theme available
  • Add attachment to tasks
  • Ability to repeat tasks completely for free
  • Cross-platform support

In addition to the features I mentioned, you will find more detailed settings and tweaks to configure.

Especially, the integration with JIRA, GitHub and GitLab. You can automatically assign tasks to work on without needing to check your email for the recent updates to issue trackers or tickets.

Compared to many premium to-do web services that I’ve used so far, you will be surprised to find many useful features completely for free. You can also take a look at the video below to get some idea:

Installing Super Productivity on Linux

You get a variety of options to install. I downloaded the AppImage file to test. But, you can also get the deb package for Debian-based distros.

It is also available as a snap. You can find all the packages in the GitHub releases section.

If you’re curious, you can check out its GitHub page to know more about it.

Download Super Productivity Concluding Thoughts

I found the user experience fantastic with Super Productivity. The features offered are incredibly useful and considering that you get some premium functionalities (that you’d get normally with to-do web services) it could be a perfect replacement for most of the users.

You can simply sync the data using Google Drive, Dropbox, or any other WebDAV storage location.

It could also replace a service like ActivityWatch to help you track the time you work on your tasks and remain idle. So, it could be your all-in-one solution for improving productivity!

Sounds exciting, right?

What do you think about Super Productivity? Let me know your thoughts in the comments section below.

9 Decentralized, P2P and Open Source Alternatives to Mainstream Social Media Platforms Like Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and Reddit

Sunday 10th of January 2021 02:24:47 PM

You probably are aware that Facebook is going to share the user data from its ‘end to end encrypted’ chat service WhatsApp. This is not optional. You have to accept that or stop using WhatsApp altogether.

Privacy cautious people had seen it coming a long time ago. After all, Facebook paid $19 billion to buy a mobile app like WhatsApp that hardly made any money at that time. Now it’s time for Facebook to get the return on its $19 billion investment. They will share your data with advertisers so that you get more personalized (read invasive) ads.

If you are fed up with the “my way or highway” attitude of the big tech like Facebook, Google, Twitter, perhaps you may try some alternative social media platforms.

These alternative social platforms are open source, use a decentralized approach with P2P or Blockchain technologies, and you may be able to self-host some of them.

Open source and decentralized social networks Image Credit: Datonel on DeviantArt

I’ll be honest with you here. These alternative platforms may not give you the same kind of experience you are accustomed to, but these platforms would not infringe on your privacy and freedom of speech. That’s a trade off.

1. Minds

Alternative to: Facebook and YouTube
Features: Open Source code base, Blockchain
Self-host: No

On Minds, you can post videos, blogs, images and set statuses. You can also message and video chat securely with groups or directly with friends. Trending feeds and hashtags allows you to discover articles of your interest.

That’s not it. You also have the option to earn tokens for your contributions. These tokens can be used to upgrade your channel. Creators can receive direct payments in USD, Bitcoin and Ether from fans.

Minds 2. Aether

Alternative to: Reddit
Features: Open Source, P2P
Self-host: No

Aether is an open source, P2P platform for self-governing communities with auditable moderation and mod elections.

The content on Aether is ephemeral in nature and it is kept only for six months unless someone saves it. Since it is P2P, there is no centralized servers.

An interesting feature of Aether is its democratic communities. Communities elect mods and can impeach them by votes.

Aether 3. Mastodon

Alternative to: Twitter
Features: Open Source, Decentralized
Self-host: Yes

Mastodon is already known among FOSS enthusiasts. We have covered Mastodon as an open source Twitter alternative in the past, and we also have a profile on Mastodon.

Mastodon isn’t a single website like Twitter, it’s a network of thousands of communities operated by different organizations and individuals that provide a seamless social media experience. You can host your own Mastodon instance and choose to connect it with other Mastodon instances or you simply join one of the existing Mastodon instances like Mastodon Social.

Mastodon 4. LBRY

Alternative to: YouTube
Features: Open Source, Decentralized, Blockchain
Self-host: No

At the core, LBRY is a blockchain based decentralization protocol. On top of that protocol, you get a digital marketplace powered by its own cryptocurrency.

Though LBRY allows creators to offer l kind of digital content like movies, books and games, it is essentially promoted as an YouTube alternative. You can access the video sharing platform on Odysee.

We have covered LBRY on It’s FOSS in the past and you may read that for more details. If you are joining LBRY, don’t forget to follow It’s FOSS there.

LBRY 5. KARMA

Alternative to: Instagram
Features: Decentralized, Blockchain
Self-host: No

Here’s another blockchain based social network governed by cryptocurrency.

KARMA is an Instagram clone built on top of open source blockchain platform, EOSIO. Every like and share your content gets, earns you KARMA tokens. You can use these tokens to boost your content or convert it to real money through one of the partner crypto exchanges.

KARMA is a mobile only app and available on Play Store and App Store.

KARMA 6. Peertube

Alternative to: YouTube
Features: Decentralized, P2P
Self-host: Yes

Developed by French company Framasoft, PeerTube is a decentralized video streaming platform. PeerTube uses the BitTorrent protocol to share bandwidth between users.

PeerTube aims to resist corporate monopoly. It does not rely on ads and does not track you. Keep in mind that your IP address is not anonymous here.

There are various instances of PeerTube available where you can host your videos or you host it yourself. Some instances may charge money while most are free.

PeerTube 7. Diaspora

Alternative to: Facebook
Features: Decentralized, Open Source
Self-host: Yes

Diaspora was one of the earliest decentralized social networks. This was back in 2010 and Diaspora was touted as a Facebook alternative. It did get some deserving limelight in its initial years but it got confined to only a handful of niche members.

Similar to Mastodon, Diaspora is composed of pods. You can register with a pod or host your own pod. The Big Tech doesn’t own your data, you do.

Diaspora 8. Dtube

Alternative to: YouTube
Features: Decentralized, Blockchain
Self-host: No

Dtube is a blockhain based decentralized YouTube clone. I use the word YouTube clone because the interface is way too similar to YouTube.

Like most other blockchain based social networks, Dtube is governed by DTube Coins (DTC) that creator earns when someone watches or interact with their content. The coins can be used to promote the content or cashed out from partner crypto exhcnages.

DTube 9. Signal

Alternative to: WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger
Features: Open Source
Self-host: No

Unlike the end to end encrypted chats in WhatsApp, Signal doesn’t track you, share your data and invade your privacy.

Signal rose to fame when Edward Snowden endorsed it. It got even more famous when Elon Musk tweeted about it after WhatsApp sharing user data with Facebook.

Signal uses its own open source Signal protocol to give you end-to-end encrypted messages and calls.

Signal What else?

There are some other platforms that are not open source or decentralized, but they respect your privacy and free speech.

There is also Element messenger based on Matrix protocol which you may try.

I know there are probably several other such alternative social media platforms. Care to share them? I might add them to this list.

If you had to choose one of the platforms from the list, which one would you choose?

Homura: A WINE-based Game Launcher for BSD

Friday 8th of January 2021 08:27:49 AM

BSD isn’t just for servers. People use it for desktop as well and perform common tasks including casual gaming. To help make that possible, we are going to look at an app that allows you to run Windows games on FreeBSD.

What is Homura?

Homura is a tool that allows you to play Windows games on FreeBSD. It was inspired by Lutris. It allows you to install and manage several Windows game and game store launchers. It mainly uses Wine, but also comes with a number of fixes and workarounds to get the games working.

Homura’s creator, Alexander Vereeken, said that he created the application because “when I started using FreeBSD, there was no useful utility to set up games or launcher in wine, so I created one myself.” At the time, Wine was the only option. The Linux version of Steam did not exist.

Homura install list

Here is a list of the things you can install with Homura:

  • Anarchy Online
  • Arc
  • Bethesda launcher
  • Blizzard launcher
  • Diablo II
  • Discord
  • Drakensang Online
  • GOG
  • Growtopia
  • League of Legends
  • Origin launcher
  • PokeMMO
  • Pokemon Uranium
  • RuneScape
  • Steam
  • Subway Surfers
  • Teamspeak
  • Tropix 2
  • UC Browser
  • Uplay
  • Wargaming Game Center
  • Itch.io

Homura is named after a character in an anime named Madoka Magica. It was originally hosted on GitHub before the creator moved to GitLab. It is currently hosted on Codeberg. Hopefully, it will stay there for now.

Homura Installing Homura Game Launcher on BSD

You can install Homura from the FreeBSD repo with this command:

pkg install games/homura

You can also build and install it from the ports collection using this command.

cd /usr/ports/games/homura/ && make install clean

Once it is installed, you can run Homura by selecting it from the menu or typing Homura in the command line. (The name must be capitalized in the terminal or it will not work.)

If you install Steam via Homura, you need to launch it from Homura. If you launch it from the operating system’s menu, it won’t display currently.

Steam’s library and store tabs are displayed by a built-in web browser. For some reason, that does not work on FreeBSD. But if you launch Steam from Homura’s menu, it will use a list mode that works without issue.

Experience

I installed Homura on GhostBSD and used it to install Steam. Afterward, I installed a couple of games to test it out. Not all of the games I tried worked, mainly because they tried to use or install a Windows-specific piece of software that was unavailable. However, I was able to play one of my favorite games, Microsoft’s Rise of Nations, without any issue. (My test turned into a couple of hours of gameplay.)

Homura Main Menu

I also tried to install the GOG launcher. For some reason, it didn’t work for me. The loading screen would pop up and nothing would happen. I’m planning to file an issue. I didn’t test any of the installer/launchers because I don’t use them.

Final Thoughts

Not everything worked smoothly with Homura, but I could play some of my favorite games.

Rise of Nation on BSD

This app is the classic case of a user who had a need and decided to fill it. In doing so, he makes life easier for others. Hopefully, this application will make it a little easier for people to start using FreeBSD as their operating system.

If you found this article interesting, please take a minute to share it on social media, Hacker News, or Reddit.

The Definitive Guide to Using and Customizing the Dock in Ubuntu

Thursday 7th of January 2021 01:06:43 PM

When you log into Ubuntu, you’ll see the dock on the left side with some application icons on it. This dock (also known as launcher or sometimes as panel) allows you to quickly launch your frequently used programs.

I rely heavily on the dock and I am going to share a few tips about using the dock effectively and customize its looks and position.

You’ll learn the following in this tutorial:

  • Basic usage of the dock: adding more applications and using shortcuts for launching applications.
  • Customize the looks of the dock: Change the icon size, icon positions.
  • Change the position: for single screen and multi-monitor setup
  • Hide mounted disk from the dock
  • Auto-hide or disable the dock
  • Possibility of additional dock customization with dconf-editor
  • Replace dock with other docking applications

I’ll use the terms dock, panel and launcher in the tutorial. All of them refer to the same thing.

Using the Ubuntu dock: Absolute basic that you must know

If you are new to Ubuntu, you should know a few things about using the dock. You’ll eventually discover these dock features, I’ll just speed up the discovery process for you.

Add new applications to the dock (or remove them)

The steps are simple. Search for the application from the menu and run it.

The running application appears in the dock, below all other icons. Right click on it and select the “Add to Favorites” option. This will lock the icon to the dock.

Right-click on the icon and select “Add to Favorites”

Removing an app icon from the doc is even easier. You don’t even need to run the application. Simply right click on it and select “Remove From Favorites”.

Right-click on the icon and select “Remove from Favorites” Reorder icon position

By default, new application icons are added after all the other icons on the launcher. You don’t have to live with it as it is.

To change the order of the icons, you just need to drag and drop to the other position of your choice. No need to “lock it” or any additional effort. It stays on that location until you make some changes again.

Reorder Icons On Ubuntu Docks Right click to get additional options for some apps

Left-clicking on an icon launches the application or bring it to focus if the application is already running.

Right-clicking the icon gives you additional options. Different applications will have different options.

For browsers, you can open a new private window or preview all the running windows.

For file manager, you can go to all the bookmarked directories or preview opened windows.

You can, of course, quit the application. Most applications will quit while some applications like Telegram will be minimized to the system tray.

Use keyboard shortcut to launch applications quickly [Not many people know about this one]

The dock allows you to launch an application in a single mouse click. But if you are like me, you can save that mouse click with a keyboard shortcut.

Using the Super/Window key and a number key will launch the application on that position.

If the application is already running, it is brought to focus, i.e. it appears in front of all the other running application windows.

Since it is position-based, you should make sure that you don’t reorder the icons all the time. Personally, I keep Firefox at position 1, file manager at 2 and the alternate browser at 3 and so on until number 9. This way, I quickly launch the file manager with Super+2.

I find it easier specially because I have a three screen setup and moving the mouse to the launcher on the first screen is a bit too much of trouble. You can enable or disable the dock on additional screen. I’ll show that to you later in this tutorial.

Change the position of the dock

By default, the dock is located on the left side of your screen. Some people like the launcher at the bottom, in a more traditional way.

Ubuntu allows you to change the position of the dock. You can move it to the bottom or to the right side or on the top. I am not sure many people actually put the dock on the top or the right side, so moving the dock to the top is not an option here.

Change Launcher Position

To change the dock position, go to Settings->Appearance. You should see some options under Dock section. You need to change the “Position on screen” settings here.

Go to Settings->Appearance->Dock Position of dock on a multiple monitor setup

If you have multiple screens attached to your system, you can choose whether to display the dock on all screens or one of chosen screens.

Ubuntu Dock Settings Multimonitor

Personally, I display the dock on my laptop screen only which is my main screen. This gives me maximum space on the additional two screens.

Change the appearance of the dock

Let’s see some more dock customization options in Ubuntu.

Imagine you added too many applications to the dock or have too many applications open. It will fill up the space and you’ll have to scroll to the top and bottom to go to the applications at end points.

What you can do here is to change the icon size and the dock will now accommodate more icons. Don’t make it too small, though.

To do that, go to Settings-> Appearance and change it by moving the slider under Icon size. The default icons size is 48 pixels.

Changing Icon Size In Ubuntu Dock Hide mounted disks from the launcher

If you plug in a USB disk or SD Card, it is mounted to the system, and an icon appear in the launcher immediately. This is helpful because you can right click on it and select safely remove drive option.

Mounted disks are displayed In the Ubuntu Dock

If you somehow find it troublesome, you can turn this feature off. Don’t worry, you can still access the mounted drives from the file manager.

Open a terminal and use the following command:

gsettings set org.gnome.shell.extensions.dash-to-dock show-mounts false

The changes take into effect immediately. You won’t be bothered with mounted disk being displayed in the launcher.

If you want the default behavior back, use this command:

gsettings set org.gnome.shell.extensions.dash-to-dock show-mounts true Change the behavior of dock

Let’s customize the default behavior of the dock and make it more suitable to your needs.

Enable minimize on click

If you click on the icon of a running application, its window will be brought to focus. That’s fine. However, if you click on it, nothing happens. By default, clicking on the same icon won’t minimize the application.

Well, this is the behavior in modern desktop, but I don’t like it. I prefer that the application is minimized when I click on its icon for the second time.

If you are like me, you may want to enable click to minimize option in Ubuntu:

To do that, open a terminal and enter the following command:

gsettings set org.gnome.shell.extensions.dash-to-dock click-action 'minimize' Auto-hide Ubuntu dock and get more screen space

If you want to utilize the maximum screen space, you can enable auto-hide option for the dock in Ubuntu.

This will hide the dock, and you’ll get the entire screen. The dock is still accessible, though. Move your cursor to the location of the dock where it used to be, and it will appear again. When the dock reappears, it is overlaid on the running application window. And that’s a good thing otherwise too many elements would start moving on the screen.

The auto-hide option is available in Settings-> Appearance and under Dock section. Just toggle it.

Auto-hide the dock

If you don’t like this behavior, you can enable it again the same way.

Disable Ubuntu dock

Auto-hide option is good enough for many people, but some users simply don’t like the dock. If you are one of those users, you also have the option to disable the Ubuntu dock entirely.

Starting with Ubuntu 20.04, you have the Extensions application available at your disposal to manage GNOME Extensions.

Look for Extensions app in the menu

With this Extensions application, you can easily disable or re-enable the dock.

Disable Ubuntu Dock Advanced dock customization with dconf-editor [Not recommended] .ugb-33aadc1 .ugb-notification__item{border-radius:5px !important;background-color:#bee6ff !important}.ugb-33aadc1 .ugb-notification__item:before{background-color:#bee6ff !important}.ugb-33aadc1 .ugb-notification__icon svg:not(.ugb-custom-icon){color:#007ac1 !important}.ugb-33aadc1 .ugb-notification__icon .ugb-icon-inner-svg{color:#007ac1 !important}.ugb-33aadc1 .ugb-notification__title{color:#007ac1 !important}.ugb-33aadc1 .ugb-notification__description{color:#222222 !important}.ugb-33aadc1 .ugb-notification__icon .ugb-icon-inner-svg,.ugb-33aadc1 .ugb-notification__icon .ugb-icon-inner-svg svg *{color:#007ac1 !important;fill:#007ac1 !important}Warning

The dconf-editor allows you to change almost every aspect of the GNOME desktop environment. This is both good and bad because you must be careful in editing. Most of the settings can be changed on the fly, without asking for conformation. While you may reset the changes, you could still put your system in such a state that it would be difficult to put things back in order.

For this reason, I advise not to play with dconf-editor, specially if you don’t like spending time in troubleshooting and fixing problems or if you are not too familiar with Linux and GNOME.

The dconf editor gives you additional options to customize the dock in Ubuntu. Install it from the software center and then navigate to org > gnome > shell > extensions > dash-to-dock. You’ll find plenty of options here. I cannot even list them all here.

Replace the dock in Ubuntu

There are several third-party dock applications available for Ubuntu and other Linux distributions. You can install a dock of your choice and use it.

For example, you can install Plank dock from the software center and use it in similar fashion to Ubuntu dock.

Plank Dock in Ubuntu

Disabling Ubuntu Dock would be a better idea in this case. It won’t be wise to use multiple docks at the same time.

Conclusion

This tutorial is about customizing the default dock or launcher provided in Ubuntu’s GNOME implementation. Some suggestions should work on the dock in vanilla GNOME as work well.

I have shown you most of the common Ubuntu dock customization. You don’t need to go and blindly follow all of them. Read and think which one suits your need and then act upon it.

Was it too trivial or did you learn something new? Would you like to see more such tutorials? I welcome your suggestions and feedback on dock customization.

QuiteRSS: A Free Open-Source RSS Reader for Linux Desktop

Monday 4th of January 2021 12:49:58 PM

Brief: A lightweight open-source RSS reader for desktop Linux with all the essential features.

Personally, I utilize services like Feedly to keep up with the latest happenings across the globe. But, it is a web-based service offering some optional premium features that I may never require.

So, I looked at some feed reader apps available for Linux and QuiteRSS seemed like an impressive solution as an alternative to web-based services.

In this article, I’m going to share a few key highlights about QuiteRSS along with my experience with it.

QuiteRSS: A simple RSS reader for Linux desktop

QuiteRSS is a quite useful open-source feed reader that is absolutely free and easy to use. Yes, all you need to do is just grab the ULR of the feed and add it.

It has most of the essential features that you would expect from a standard desktop-based RSS reader. This includes offline reading. You can download articles of your choice in a click and read it later even if you are not connected to the internet.

Don’t worry about adding RSS feeds one by one in QuiteRSS. The Good thing is that you can import feed list in OPML file format and add a bunch of RSS sources without making lots of efforts.

You can ‘add star’ to articles or add labels to them for organizing it better.

As you can already notice from the screenshot above that it offers a minimal user experience, let me also mention some of the other features that you get with it.

Features of QuiteRSS
  • Embedded Browser
  • Feed and news filters
  • User labels
  • User filters
  • Theme options (Dark/others)
  • Ability to customize fonts and colors
  • System tray icon support
  • Proxy configuration (optional)
  • Feed import wizard
  • Automatic update feed on startup
  • Mark/Unmark
  • Import/Export feeds (OPML files)
  • Pop up notification on updates
  • Sound notification support
  • Quick news filter
  • Quick search feature
  • Cross-platform
  • Portable version (Windows)

In a nutshell, starting with filtering the feed to cleaning it up, you get all the useful abilities. You can also configure a proxy if that’s what you need.

The embedded browser is really helpful to prevent switching back and forth to check out any linked resources in the feed stories.

Considering it as a feature-rich cross-platform feed reader, every feature listed should come in handy.

Installing QuiteRSS on Linux

QuiteRSS is available in the universe repository of Ubuntu and you can install it using the following command:

sudo apt install quiterss

You might not get the latest version all the time from Ubuntu’s repositories. For that, you can easily add the official PPA in Ubuntu-based distributions:

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:quiterss/quiterss sudo apt update sudo apt install quiterss

It is also available to install on Fedora using the default repository. In addition to that, you can use Pacman command to install QuiteRSS on Arch Linux or get it from AUR.

You can refer the official installation instructions to get started. If you’re curious, you can also check out their GitHub page.

QuiteRSS My experience with QuiteRSS

It is a simple feed reader with a clean user experience. You do not get a rich formatting for the RSS feed you follow but it is good enough for readable experience.

I find the ability to add labels quite useful to be able to filter out the stories I’ve read and enjoyed. For some reason, whenever I minimize the application or switch the workspace, the application closes automatically. It does appear in the system tray, but I do want it to stay active unless I manually minimize it or close it.

So, I have to re-launch every time I move from it. If you face this issue, you might want to head on to their GitHub page to raise a new issue (unless they are already working on a reported issue).

The ability to switch themes (especially having a dark theme) is fantastic. You can also customize the fonts and colors to tweak the experience of your feed. Overall, it is a great feed reader to have on Linux.

If you use QuiteRSS extensively or like the idea of this open source software, please consider making a donation to the project on the developer’s website.

Have you tried it already? What do you think about QuiteRSS? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below.

Rocket.Chat: An Amazing Open-Source Alternative to Slack That You Can Self-host

Monday 28th of December 2020 12:02:52 PM

Brief: Rocket.Chat is an open-source team communication application with features and looks similar to Slack. You are free to self-host it or opt for their managed service for a fee.

Slack is a useful and popular team communication app that potentially replaces emails for work. A lot of big and small teams use it, even we at It’s FOSS relied on Slack initially.

However, we needed a good open-source alternative to Slack and that’s when we came across Rocket.Chat. Sure, there are several other open-source slack alternatives, but we opted for Rocket.Chat for its similarity with Slack and ease of deployment.

Rocket.Chat: An Open Source Communication Platform

Rocket.Chat is an open-source communication platform for team collaboration.

You get all the essential features to facilitate proper communication along with the option to get started for free, opt for hosted service by the Rocket.Chat team or deploy it on your server.

You can totally customize as per your requirements when deploying it on your server. No matter what you choose to do, the feature-set is impressive.

Let us take a look at what it offers.

Features of Rocket.Chat

Rocket.Chat is a powerful and flexible team communication tool. Here’s what you can expect from it:

  • Easy file sharing (drag and drop support)
  • Audio file sharing support
  • Video conferencing with Jitsi Meet integration
  • Separate channels (private and public options)
  • End-to-End encryption support
  • Customize the theme of the service (including the ability to customize it)
  • Guest access support
  • Unlimited message history (depending on the storage of your server for self-managed setup)
  • Broadcast channel support
  • RSS Integration
  • Several 3rd party app integration support
  • White label (optional if you want a custom branding)
  • Read receipt (Enterprise plan)
  • Push notifications support
  • Customizable user permission
  • 24 x 7 Support (depending on the pricing plan)
  • LiveChat integration support which you can add on your website
  • Real-time translation
  • Self-host support
  • Cross-platform support (Windows, macOS, Android, iOS, and Linux)

In addition to all the key points mentioned above, there are a lot of little nifty features that should come in useful in Rocket.Chat.

Installing Rocket.Chat client on Linux

If you have a Rocket.Chat instance deployed or hosted by Rocket Chat itself, you can access it through web browser, desktop clients and mobile apps.

Can’t self-host Rocket.Chat? Let us help you

Deploying open source applications and managing Linux servers takes some expertise and time. If you lack either but still want to have your own instance of open source software, we can help you out.
With our new project, High on Cloud, you can leave the deployment and server management part to us while you focus on your work.

On Linux, Rocket.Chat is available as a snap and a Flatpak package. You can go through our guides on using snap or Flatpak on Linux to get started.

I would recommend installing it as a Flatpak (that’s how I use it) to get the latest version. Of course, if you prefer to use it as a snap package, you can go with that as well.

In either case, you can explore the source code on their GitHub page if you need.

Rocket.Chat My Thoughts on Using Rocket.Chat

I’ve been using Rocket.Chat for quite a while now (for our internal communication at It’s FOSS). Even though I was not the one who deployed it on our server, the documentation hints at a swift process to set it up on your server.

It supports automation tools like Ansible, Kubernetes, etc and also gives you the option to deploy it as a docker container directly.

You will find plenty of administrative options to tweak the experience on your instance of Rocket.Chat. It is easy to customize many things even if you are not an expert at self-managed projects.

Personally, I appreciate the ability to customize the theme (it is easy to add a dark mode toggle as well). You get all the essential options available on smartphone as well. Overall, it is indeed an exciting switch from Slack and it should be a similar experience for most of you.

What do you think about Rocket.Chat? Do you prefer something else over Rocket.Chat? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below.

Font Manager: A Simple Open-Source App for GTK+ Desktop

Monday 21st of December 2020 11:59:52 AM

Brief: A dead simple font manager app that lets you focus on tweaking the fonts on your Linux system.

If you are an experienced Linux user, you might be utilizing the terminal or the tweak tool to manage fonts on your Linux system.

Honestly, no matter how useful the GNOME tweak tool is — it could be a little too overwhelming just to manage fonts. So, a separate application would be perfectly fine to help you manage fonts.

Font Manager: An Open-Source App To Help Manage Fonts

Font Manager (that’s literally the name of the app) is a dedicated application to help you manage the fonts.

You get the details of the font family, variations available, and the ability to filter and tweak based on their height, width, spacing, and more. Considering it is a simple app, you do not find a bunch of features but I’ll briefly highlight a few things below.

Features of Font Manager
  • Ability to add fonts
  • Ability to remove fonts
  • Easily filter fonts based on family, vendor, spacing, height, etc
  • Tweak the scaling factor of fonts
  • Adjust the anti-aliasing (softness/sharpness) of the font
  • Add font sources to preview them before installing it
  • Offers keyboard shortcuts to quickly manage things
  • Google fonts integration available out-of-the-box
  • Get detailed information on characters available in the family font, license, size of the font, vendor, file type, spacing, width, and style

Overall, you can easily install or remove fonts. But, you get quite a few perks while managing the fonts as shown in the screenshot above.

Installing Font Manager on Linux

You get a variety of options (depending on the Linux distro you use) for installation.

If you have an Ubuntu-based distro, you can easily add the PPA through the commands below to install font manager:

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:font-manager/staging sudo apt update sudo apt install font-manager

In case you’re not a fan of PPAs (which is how I prefer to install this), you can also install a Flatpak package available on any Linux distribution.

You just need to enable Flatpak on your Linux system and then search for it on your software center (if it supports Flatpak integration) or just type in the following command to install it:

flatpak install flathub org.gnome.FontManager

In case you’re an Arch user, you can find the package in the AUR.

For further installation instructions, you might want to refer its official website and the GitHub page.

Download Font Manager Wrapping Up

Font Manager is a simple solution for any GTK+ based desktop environment. Primarily for GNOME but you can also utilize it for other desktop environments as well.

You get a lot of useful information while being able to add or remove fonts and it is clearly a no-nonsense font manager, I think.

What do you think about Font Manager? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below!

Troubleshooting “No Bootable Medium Found” Error in VirtualBox

Saturday 19th of December 2020 06:04:35 AM

Many VirtualBox users have experienced at least once the message ‘FATAL: Could not read from the boot medium! System halted.‘ Sometimes it is also shown ‘No Bootable Medium Found! System halted‘.

This error is more common when trying to start a new virtual machine, but it is not impossible to happen at an existing virtual machine if the virtual hard drive is missing.

Note: This problem has to do purely with VirtualBox, and can be experienced on any host operating system be it Windows, Mac OS or Linux.

What causes this “Could not read from the boot medium” error?

There are two main reasons behind this issue:

  • VirtualBox doesn’t point to an operating system, either a mounted iso or a virtual hard disk with a bootable OS. When you create a virtual machine for a first time, you need to mount a bootable iso like Ubuntu. If you mount a bootable iso before you start your virtual machine, you will be successful booting up the system.
  • The CD/ DVD storage device controller is configured as SATA. Another issue can be appeared, if you mount accidentally the bootable iso to a SATA storage device controller instead of IDE. VirtualBox works without any problems when a SATA storage device points to a virtual hard drive, but this is not the case for a bootable iso.
How to solve it?

If you are not sure which of the 2 reasons apply to you, I can show you a solution that covers both, and finally stop receiving the error message.

Step 1: Right click on the virtual machine that isn’t a bootable state and click on settings.

Step 2: Once the settings menu is open, follow the steps access storage > Controller:IDE > Choose the bootable iso and click ok.

Step 3: Start your virtual machine and you should be able to boot normally from the mounted iso.

Conclusion

VirtualBox boot issue is very common, and easy to fix but can be frustrating if you don’t know what to do. If you are a regular reader of It’s FOSS, you know already that virtualization technology is among my interests. If you discovered us recently and you are curious to start exploring the features of VirtualBox, I suggest to start experimenting with this guide that covers Fedora installation on VirtualBox, as you can go beyond a simple installation.

How to Install RPM Files on Fedora Linux [Beginner’s Tutorial]

Thursday 17th of December 2020 10:22:41 AM

This beginner article explains how to install RPM packages on Fedora and Red Hat Linux. It also shows you how to remove those RPM packages afterwards.

When you start using Fedora Linux in the Red Hat domain, sooner or later, you’ll come across .rpm files. Like .exe files in Windows and .deb files in Ubuntu and Debian, .rpm files enable you to quickly install a software from it on Fedora.

You could find and install plenty of software from the software center, specially if you enable additional repositories in Fedora. But sometimes you’ll find software available on their website in RPM format.

Like .exe files in Windows, you download the .rpm file and double click on it to install it. Don’t worry, I’ll show you the detailed steps.

Installing RPM files on Fedora and Red Hat Linux

I’ll be showing you three ways to install RPM files:

Method 1: Use software center

The simplest method is to use the default software center in Fedora. It’s really simple. Go to the folder where you downloaded the .rpm file. It is usually the Downloads folder.

Just double click on the RPM file and it will be opened in the software center.

Alternatively, you can right click on the file and choose to install it via Software Center.

Either double click or right click and choose Software Install

When it is opened in the software center, you should see the installation option. Just hit the install button and enter your account’s password when prompted for it.

Install RPM via Fedora Software Center

It’s easy, right?

Method 2: Use DNF command to install RPM file

This is the command line method. Fedora uses the new DNF package manager and you can use it to install downloaded RPM files as well.

Open a terminal and switch to the directory where you have the RPM file downloaded. You can also provide the path to the RPM file. Use the DNF command like this:

sudo dnf install rpm_file_name

Here’s a screenshot where I installed Google Chrome on Fedora with dnf command:

Installing RPM files using DNF command Method 3: Install RPM files in Red Hat using Yum command

Unlike Fedora, Red Hat still uses the good old Yum package manager. You won’t find the DNF command here, yet.

The process is the same as DNF command. You go to the directory where the RPM file is located or provide its path.

sudo yum install path_to_RPM_file

That’s it. Nothing fancier.

How to remove RPM packages

Removing a RPM package isn’t a big deal either. And no, you don’t need the original rpm file that you used to install the program.

You may find the installed package in the software center and remove application from there.

Removing RPM Package

Alternatively, you can use the DNF or YUM command with remove option.

With DNF, use this command:

sudo dnf remove rpm_package_name

With Yum, use this command:

sudo yum remove rpm_package_name

You probably won’t remember the exact package name and that’s fine. What you can do is to type the first few letters of the package and then hit tab. This is assuming that you have tab completion enabled which usually is.

And that’s all you need to do here. Pretty simple, right? Being a beginner, you may struggle with a simple task like this and I hope you feel more confident with Fedora thanks to quick tutorials like this.

Radicle: An Open-Source Decentralized App for Code Collaboration [P2P GitHub Alternative]

Tuesday 15th of December 2020 04:32:32 AM

Brief: Radicle is an open-source project that aims to facilitate peer-to-peer code collaboration without depending on a centralized server. In other words, it’s a P2P alternative to GitHub.

Most of the open-source projects that we talk about are usually hosted at GitHub or other GitHub alternatives like GitLab. Even though you get many benefits and features from such platforms (not to mention the potential exposure), there are also downsides of using it.

For instance, youtube-dl project was taken down by Microsoft to comply with a DMCA request.

With a centralized approach, you do not have a lot of control and privacy. Of course, this may not be a big deal for many folks but if you are someone who does not want centralized servers, want to have peer-to-peer code collaboration feature, and something that works offline, Radicle will be a good tool for them.

Radicle: A Peer-to-Peer Code Collaboration Platform

Radicle is an open-source project that aims to provide a decentralized app for code collaboration. You can connect peer-to-peer if you need to share the project and work along with someone else.

It is still something in beta but it is definitely worth looking at. I did some quick tests without our team to see if the basic features to share the project works or not.

But, before you try it out, let me highlight the important features that you get with Radicle and what you can expect from it in the near future.

Features of Radicle
  • Ability to add multiple remote peers
  • Manage multiple peers
  • Feature to follow a project from a specific peer
  • Share your project using a unique ID
  • Does not depend on central servers
  • No censorship
  • One network interconnected with peers
  • Ability to work offline
  • Local issues & patches
  • Built on Git to make it easy and comfortable for most developers
  • Your infrastructure
  • Ability to receive funding from your supporters (Ethereum)
  • Manage codebases together

Expect more features for bug reporting and code review in the near future considering that it is still in early development.

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Recommended Read:

.ugb-4994de2 .ugb-blog-posts__featured-image{border-radius:0px !important}.ugb-4994de2 .ugb-blog-posts__title a{color:#000000 !important}.ugb-4994de2 .ugb-blog-posts__title a:hover{color:#00b6ba !important}Meet LBRY, A Blockchain-based Decentralized Alternative to YouTube

LBRY is a new Blockchain-based, open source platform for sharing digital content. It is gaining popularity as a decentralized alternative to YouTube but LBRY is more than just a video sharing service.

Installing Radicle on Linux

It provides an AppImage for Linux distributions. So, no matter whether you have an Ubuntu-based system or an Arch system, you can easily use it on your Linux system. In case you do not know, please refer to our guide on using AppImage in Linux to get started quickly.

Download Radicle Thoughts on Using Radicle

If you are familiar with Git version control system, using this should be a breeze. I just did some basic testing where I created a test repository and shared it with my teammate.

It works quite well. But, you need to configure Git with your name and email address before you get started.

Of course, you will need the terminal to configure and use the git version control, but the GUI is easy to use and understand. It is easy to manage remotes, copy the unique ID to share the project, and you can explore more when you try to use it for your projects.

I’d advise you to experiment with it and go through the documentation, official site, along with their GitHub page before trying it out for an important project.

What do you think about Radicle? Even though it is in BETA phase, do you think it will gain traction and be something popular among the open-source developers?

Let me know your thoughts in the comments below!

Here are the Worthy Replacements of CentOS 8 for Your Production Linux Servers

Monday 14th of December 2020 10:19:26 AM

CentOS is one of the most popular server distributions in the world. It is an open source fork of Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) and provides the goodness of RHEL without the cost associated with RHEL.

However, things have changed recently. Red Hat is converting a stable CentOS to a rolling release model in the form of CentOS Stream. CentOS 8 was supposed to be supported till 2029 but it is now forced discontinued by the end of 2021.

If you are using CentOS for your servers, it may make you wonder where to go from here.

See, the first and foremost choice for replacing CentOS 8 is CentOS Stream. The process to upgrade CentOS 8 to CentOS Stream is simple and you don’t have to worry about reinstalling anything here.

However, since CentOS Stream is of rolling release nature, you may want to consider something that is more stable for a production server. I’ll help you with that decision by suggestion some recommendations in this article.

RHEL-based server Linux distributions you may want to consider for replacing CentOS

I’ll start the list with some of the RHEL forks that are being developed with the sole purpose of replacing CentOS 8. After that, I’ll list the server distributions that you may use right away.

Rocky Linux (under development)

The same day Red Hat announced its plans to replace stable CentOS 8 with rolling release CentOS Stream, the original developer of CentOS announced a new project to provide RHEL fork to CentOS users.

This new project is called Rocky Linux. It is named in the memory of one of the co-creators of the original CentOS project. It’s been forked from RHEL 8 and aims to be “100% bug-for-bug compatible with Red Hat Enterprise Linux”.

The project is under rapid development and may not be usable at the moment. But this is one of the top choices to replace CentOS 8 when the support ends by the end of 2021.

Project Lenix (under development)

This is another RHEL fork created on a day after the announcement of CentOS Stream becoming the default.

Project Lenix is being created by CloudLinux, an enterprise oriented service that has been providing customized CentOS server for several years now. Cosnidering their years of experience with CentOS and enterprise servers, Project Lenix should be a promising RHEL fork to replace CentOS Stream.

Oracle Linux

Probably the only RHEL fork in this list that is read to use in the best possible manner. Not only ready to use, you can even migrate from existing CentOS install to Oracle Linux without reinstalling it.

Oracle Linux has been available since 2006. It is 100% application binary compatible with Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) and it provides an equivalent to each RHEL release. And no, you don’t need to sign any agreement with Oracle for using Oracle Linux.

Oracle Linux comes with two choices of Linux kernels: the Unbreakable Enterprise Kernel (UEK) for Oracle Linux or the Red Hat Compatible Kernel (RHCK).

It’s just that track record of Oracle is not very good with open source projects and probably this is the reason why a true community fork in the form of CentOS was preferred over Oracle Linux. With CentOS being replaced with CentOS Stream, perhaps it is the right time to give Oracle a chance?

ClearOS (from HP)

ClearOS is offered by HP on its HPE ProLiant servers. Though it is not clearly mentioned on their website, ClearOS is based on RHEL and CentOS.

Clear Center and HPE have partnered on this project. The open source ClearOS available for free to the community. They have their own app marketplace with a mix of free and paid applications. You don’t pay for the OS but you may have to pay for the apps, if you opt for a paid one.

It might not be that popular but with CentOS Stream becoming default, ClearOS stands to gain some user base, if HP plays its cards right. Will they do it? I am not so sure. Oracle is trying to lure CentOS users but I have seen no such efforts from HP.

Springdale Linux (academic project from Princeton University)

A Red Hat fork maintained by academicians? That’s Scientific Linux, right? But Scientific Linux has been dead for over a year.

Springdale Linux (SDL) is another such project by Princeton University. It was previously known as PUIAS (Princeton University Institute for Advanced Study).

There is no RHEL 8 equivalent of Springdale Linux yet which gives some hint about the speed of development here.

Server distributions that are not based on Red Hat

Alright! So far, the list mentions the distributions based on Red Hat. It’s time to look at some of the server distributions that have nothing to do with RHEL but the are still a good choice for your production server.

YunoHost (Specially customized for web servers)

YunoHost is based on Debian and customized for the purpose of provide you a system for hosting your web servers.

You can use it on ARM boards like Raspberry Pi, old desktops and computers of course on virtual private servers.

YunoHost also provides a web-based admin interface (inspired by Webmin?) so that you can manage the system graphically. This is a great relief for someone who wants to host a web server but without getting too much into the command line stuff.

Debian Linux

The universal operating system provides a rock-solid server distribution. An ideal choice for those who want a stable system.

If you had invested too much time and skill in CentOS, you may find Debian slightly different, specially the package management system. Though, I believe, it should not be much of a trouble for a seasoned Linux sysadmin.

openSUSE

SUSE is one of the direct competitors of Red Hat. They have the enterprise offering in the form of SUSE Linux Enterprise. Their open source offering openSUSE is also quite popular, both as desktop and server.

openSUSE makes up a good choice for a server Linux distribution. People these days won’t understand what a relief YAST tool of SUSE brought for users in the last 90s and early 2000s. It is still a handy utility for managing the SUSE system.

openSUSE comes in two formats: the rolling release Tumbleweed and the stable point release Leap. I am guessing you are looking for stability so Leap is what you should be aiming for.

Ubuntu Ubuntu

Ubuntu is the most popular distribution in the world, both on servers and desktops. This is the reason why this list could not have been completed without Ubuntu.

Since I have been using Ubuntu for a long time, I feel comfortable hosting my web servers on Ubuntu. But that’s just me. If you are coming from the RHEL domain, package management is different here along with a few networking and management components.

Ubuntu LTS version come with five years of support which is half of what a CentOS release provided. You may opt for a paid extended support for an outdated LTS version if you don’t want to upgrade versions.

What’s your choice?

I have listed some of the top recommendations for RHEL based distributions as well as for generic server distributions.

Now it’s your turn. Which of the above listed distributions you liked the most? Do you have any other suggestions to add to this list? The comment section is all yours.

Garuda Linux Provides a Hassle-free Arch Experience With a Beautiful Neon Look [Review with Video]

Saturday 12th of December 2020 04:37:31 AM

Many Arch-based Linux distributions have mushroomed lately. I am pretty much satisfied with Manjaro and Arch Linux, so I couldn’t care less until I came across Garuda Linux. This beautiful Linux distribution shows some promises.

Garuda Linux is fairly new to the Linux world and is aiming to provide the greatest performance, offering all the modern and attractive features. Even though you can choose various desktop environments, it is clear that their flagship desktop is a heavily customized KDE Plasma with a dark, neon look. Cyberpunk, anyone?

Its Ultimate edition is optimized for gaming, and the recently introduced Dragonized (Dr460nized) version is aesthetically “lavish”.

Arch Linux installation can be a milestone for many Linux users, let alone to optimize your system at the level that Garuda Linux offers behind the convenience of Calamares installer.

As I like a more traditional desktop, I started to test the MATE version of Garuda Linux, but I ended up taking the screenshots to the beautiful Dragonized edition.

Garuda Linux Review: Beauty and the Arch

We made a video showing Garuda Linux in action. The video is not a review but it highlights the main features of Garuda Linux KDE edition.

Subscribe to our YouTube channel for more Linux videos

Now, let me my experience with Garuda Linux. There are so many desktop environment options available with Garuda Linux:

  • KDE Plasma
  • Xfce
  • GNOME
  • Cinnamon
  • LXQt
  • MATE
  • Deepin
  • UKUI
  • Wayfire
  • BSPWM
  • i3WM

I settled with MATE and KDE Plasma for my testing. I am including KDE screenshots because that’s the one which looks the most beautiful of them all, in my opinion.

Easy installation with Calamares installer

Though I encourage everyone to install Arch Linux the “traditional” way as part of their learning process, I can understand that this task is time-consuming and intimidating to some users. Like the most popular Arch-based distribution Manjaro, Garuda Linux is up and running within a few clicks, thanks to Calamares installer.

Garuda Installer B-tree file system (BTRFS)

“Better F S” as I prefer to pronounce it, might not be used by default to the majority of Linux distributions. It is more than a decade old and considered stable although. It was introduced to address a number of lacking features of the Linux file system like snapshots and checksums.

Garuda Linux comes with BTRFS as the default filesystem.

Automatic snapshots accessible from GRUB

Garuda Linux is a bleeding edge rolling release and less tested software might break your system after an upgrade. Timeshift backs up the system automatically before each update, and you can access the latest 5 snapshots of your system directly from the GRUB. Now that’s something cool, right?

Garuda Snapshots Pamac package manager

Inherited from Manjaro, graphical package manager Pamac is a great alternative to command line package manager pacman. Support for the AUR is enabled by default, and you have also the option to enable Snap and Flatpak support.

Garuda Pamac Garuda Assistant to easily access admin settings

Garuda Assistant is a graphical interface that makes the operating system’s administrative tasks, a simple point and click process. In the example below, you can see how easy is to enable the systemd services.

Garuda Assistant

You can also use it to update your system, clear logs, remove database lock, refresh mirrorlists and edit repositories. It’s handy tool for those who don’t want to go into terminal.

Garuda settings manager

Manjaro Linux users will have a deja vu once they open Garuda Settings Manager, as it is identical to Manjaro Settings Manager. Though Arch wiki offers a solution to every problem, the convenience of selecting a different kernel or the proprietary Nvidia driver through Garuda settings manager is second to none.

Garuda Settings Manager Garuda Gamer – GUI for curated gaming packages

Arch Linux is a distribution that made me to stop distrohopping but when it comes to gaming on Linux, my suggestion to a new Linux user is Pop OS. The package selection of the Garuda Gamer GUI can make the Linux gamers to chuckle when they open it.

Garuda Gamer .ugb-a4274a1-wrapper.ugb-container__wrapper{border-radius:0px !important;border-style:solid !important;border-color:#000000 !important;border-top-width:1px !important;border-right-width:1px !important;border-bottom-width:1px !important;border-left-width:1px !important;padding-top:0 !important;padding-bottom:0 !important}.ugb-a4274a1-wrapper > .ugb-container__side{padding-top:35px !important;padding-bottom:35px !important}

Trivia

In Hindu mythology, Garuda is the king of birds and vehicle mount of Vishnu, one of the principal Hindu Gods. Garuda is a cultural symbol in India, Myanmar, Thailand, Cambodia and Indonesia.

Now, you can understand why Garuda Linux uses a Hawk/Eagle-kind of bird for its logo and mascot.

Conclusion

Garuda Linux is one of the Linux distributions that represents a real passion from the developers side, and this can be observed from the amazing selection of tools, features and configurations.

The focus on providing GUI applications for most common tasks makes Garuda Linux an ideal choice for users who want to try Arch Linux but not comfortable using terminal all the time.

With only one extra repository on top of Arch Linux repos, it is very close to pure Arch. I have to admit that I was amazed by Garuda Linux, and definitely extend my testing period to unravel every hidden spot.

Have you experienced Garuda Linux? How’s your experience with it? If not, after reading this Garuda Linux review, will you be willing to give it a try?

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  • How To Install Observium on Ubuntu 20.04 LTS - idroot

    In this tutorial, we will show you how to install Observium on Ubuntu 20.04 LTS. For those of you who didn’t know, Observium is a Network Management and Monitoring System that collects data from multiple devices using SNMP and allows you to monitor all of the network’s devices via an easy-to-use interface. It is PHP-based and uses a MySQL database to store data. This article assumes you have at least basic knowledge of Linux, know how to use the shell, and most importantly, you host your site on your own VPS. The installation is quite simple and assumes you are running in the root account, if not you may need to add ‘sudo‘ to the commands to get root privileges. I will show you through the step by step installation of Observium on Ubuntu 20.04 (Focal Fossa). You can follow the same instructions for Ubuntu 18.04, 16.04, and any other Debian based distribution like Linux Mint.

  • How to Exclude Specific File Extension While Copying Files Recursively

    As you might already know, ‘cp’ is the command line program in Linux to copy files and directories.

Contributing to KDE is easier than you think – Bug triaging

Today, 2021-01-28, is the Plasma Beta Review Day for Plasma 5.21, that is to say, Plasma 5.20.90. Right now it’s a bit after 2 a.m., so after this I’m going to bed so I can be present later. This month I’ve mostly been enjoying my post-job vacation as last year I was bordering burnout. As such I didn’t help much. Before bed I’ll be providing a few things I’ve learned about triaging, though. While this blog post isn’t specifically about the Beta Review Day, this should make the general bug triaging process clearer for you, making it quite timely. Read more

Audiocasts/Shows: Coder Radio, TLLTS, and FLOSS Weekly

  • Testing the Test | Coder Radio 398

    The guys can't help but laugh when they hear the test tests one well-known online giant is testing. You might say they get a bit testy.

  • The Linux Link Tech Show Episode 891

    brave browser, gnome 40, lottalinuxlinks is back, tablets

  • FLOSS Weekly 614: Ethics and Open Source - Openbase, Elastic vs AWS

    Matt Asay believes we need a new way to think about open source. This comes on the heels of the Elastic vs AWS controversy. Shawn Powers and new co-host Katherine Druckman join Doc Searls in a lively discussion of ethics and open source on FLOSS Weekly. The panel takes a look at three efforts currently making news: the Ethical Source Movement; Matt Asay's Infoworld post titled A New Way To Think About Open Source; and Openbase, which Venturebeat says "wants to be the Yelp for open source software packages."