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Get Your Work Done Faster With These To-Do List Apps on Linux Desktop

Thursday 18th of June 2020 03:17:37 PM

Getting work done is super important. If you have a planned list of things to do, it makes your work easier. So, it’s no surprise why we’re talking about to-do list apps on Linux here.

Sure, you can easily utilize some of the best note taking apps on Linux for this purpose but using a dedicated to-do app helps you stay focused on work.

You might be aware of some online services for that— but how about some cool Linux apps that you can use to create a to-do list? In this article, I’m going to highlight the best to-do list apps available for Linux.

Best To-Do List Applications For Desktop Linux Users

I have tested these apps on Pop!_OS. I have also tried to mention the installation steps for the mentioned apps but you should check your distribution’s package manager for details.

Note: The list is in no particular order of ranking

1. Planner

Planner is probably the best to-do list app I’ve across for Linux distributions.

The best thing is — it is a free and open-source project. It provides a beautiful user interface that aims to give you a meaningful user experience. In other words, it’s simple and yet attractive.

Not to forget, you get a gorgeous dark mode. As you can see in the screenshot above, you can also choose to add emojis to add some fun to your serious work tasks.

Overall, it looks clean while offering features like the ability to add repeating tasks, creating separate folder/projects, sync with todoist etc.

How to install it?

If you’re using elementary OS, you can find it listed in the app center. In either case, they also offer a Flatpak package on Flathub.

Unless you have Flatpak integration in your software center, you should follow our guide to use Flatpak on Linux to get it installed.

In case you want to explore the source code, take a look at its GitHub page.

Planner 2. Go For It!

Yet another impressive open-source to-do app for Linux which is based on todotxt. Even though it isn’t available for Ubuntu 20.04 (or later) at the time of writing this, you can still use it on machines with Ubuntu 19.10 or older.

In addition to the ability to adding tasks, you can also specify the duration/interval of your break. So, with this to-do app, you will not just end up completing the tasks but also being productive without stressing out.

The user interface is plain and simple with no fancy features. We also have a separate article on Go For It — if you’d like to know more about it.

You can also use it on your Android phone using the Simpletask Dropbox app.

How to install it?

You can type the commands below to install it on any Ubuntu-based distro (prior to Ubuntu 20.04):

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:go-for-it-team/go-for-it-stable sudo apt update sudo apt install go-for-it

In case you want to install it on any other Linux distro, you can try the Flatpak package on Flathub.

If you don’t know about Flatpak — take a look at our complete guide on using Flatpak. To explore more about it, you can also head to their GitHub page.

Go For It! 3. GNOME To Do

If you’re using Ubuntu or other Linux distribution with GNOME desktop envioenment, you should already have it installed. Just search for “To Do” and you should find it.

It’s a simple to-do app which presents the list in the form of cards and you can have separate set of tasks every card. You can add a schedule to the tasks as well. It supports extensions with which you can enable the support for todo.txt files and also integration with todoist.

GNOME To Do 4. Task Coach

Task Coach is yet another open-source to-do list app that offers quite a lot of essential features. You can add sub-tasks, description to your task, add dates, notes, and a lot more things. It also supports tree view for the task lists you add and manage.

It’s a good thing to see that it offers cross-platform support (Windows, macOS, and Android).

Overall, it’s easy to use with tons of options and works well.

How to install it?

It offers both .deb and .rpm packages for Ubuntu and Fedora. In addition to that, you can also install it using PPA.

You can find all the necessary files and instructions from its official download page.

You may notice an installation error for its dependencies on Ubuntu 20.04. But, I believe it should work fine on the previous Ubuntu releases.

In my case, it worked out fine for me when using the AUR package through Pamac on Manjaro Linux.

Task Coach 5. Todour

A very simple open-source to-do list app that lets you utilize todo.txt file as well. You may not get a lot of options to choose from — but you get a couple of useful settings to tweak.

It may not be the most actively developed to-do list app — but it does the work expected.

How to install Todour?

If you’re using Manjaro Linux, you can utilize pamac to install Todour from AUR.

Unfortunately, it does not provide any .deb or .rpm package for Ubuntu/Fedora. So, you’ll have to build it from source or just explore more about it on its GitHub page.

Todour Bonus: Terminal-based Taskwarrior to do list app

A command-line based open-source to-do list program “Taskwarrior” is an impressive tool if you don’t need a Graphical User Interface (GUI). It also provides cross-platform support (Windows and macOS).

It’s quite easy to add and list tasks along with a due date as shown in the screenshot above.

To make the most out of it, I would suggest you to follow the official documentation to know how to use it and the options/features that it offers.

How to install it?

You can find it in your respective package managers on any Linux distribution. To get it intalled in Ubuntu, you will have to type the following in the terminal:

sudo apt install taskwarrior

For Manjaro Linux, you can simply get it installed through pamac that you usually need to install software in Manjaro Linux.

In case of any other Linux distributions, you should head to its official download page and follow the instructions.

Taskwarrior Wrapping Up

As an interesting mention, I’d like you to take a look at TodoList, which is an applet for KDE-powered distributions. Among mainstream to-do list applications, Remember The Milk is the rare one that provides a Linux client. It is not open source, though.

I hope this list of to-do specific apps help you get things done on Linux.

Did I miss any of your favorite to-do list apps on Linux? Feel free to let me know what you think!

Recommended Books to Learn and Master Linux [For Beginners to Advanced Linux Users]

Tuesday 16th of June 2020 08:52:19 AM

I have written about free Linux books in the past. That article has some good collection of Linux books that are available for free.

The saying goes that best things in life are free. That might not be entirely true when it comes to books. There are many excellent Linux books that you may have to buy, but they are worth the money.

I am going to list some of my favorite Linux books that I own and have read to improve my understanding of various Linux related topics. Some of them are generic while some cover specific areas of Linux systems.

I have mentioned which book covers what topic so that it helps you in deciding whether you should get the book or not.

The Amazon links in the article are affiliate links. You are of course free to get it from the publisher’s website directly, your local book store (support local business) or your favorite online book store.

Recommended books to improve your Linux knowledge

Tip

Despite everything, these are my recommendations influenced with my opinion. Suppose I suggest that a Linux book is easy to understand. You got the book online and found it complicated instead. That will be waste of money, won’t it?

I recommend that before you get a book, read some sample pages of the book. You may download the sample chapter from the publisher’s website (if they have it). You may also use a service like Google Books. Search for the book and you’ll find some pages of the book are available to read for free.

Read the sample pages and decide yourself whether the books are good not.

How Linux Works

This is what I recommend if you want to learn and understand the core functioning of Linux. How Linux Works is the perfect book if you are absolutely new or if you want to improve your Linux knowledge.

The book is written in simple and easy to follow language. It starts with giving you the basic idea about Linux, kernel, shell etc and then go on to explain the filesystem, hierarchy etc. After covering the basics, the book goes into core Linux knowledge about how Linux kernel boots, how user space starts, system logging etc.

The book also discusses resource utilization and network configuration before briefly touching the shell scripting part.

You can download the chapter 4 of the book about disks and filesystems for free. Read and see if the book is a good choice or not.

Preview Product Price How Linux Works, 2nd Edition: What Every Superuser Should Know $26.49 Buy on Amazon Linux Bible

This is perhaps the most comprehensive Linux book that covers a wide variety of topics. Running over 800 pages, you get everything from learning the basics of Linux command line to advanced sysadmin topics.

Each chapter in the book ends with exercises to use your newly learned knowledge in a certain scenario. Answers are included at the end of the book.

If you are preparing to become a sysadmin, if you are preparing for a Linux certification exam or if you just want to improve your Linux knowledge, Linux Bible will prove to be an essential resource.

Preview Product Price Linux Bible $51.43 Buy on Amazon Learn Linux Quickly

I got this book as a gift from its author Ahmed Alkabary. If you remember, Ahmed used to give his “Linux Command Line Basics” course for free to It’s FOSS readers until Udemy changed its policies on coupon code.

Unlike How Linux Works, this one doesn’t explain the functioning of Linux. It directly jumps into Linux command line.

The book reads like a collection of blog posts and in a good way. You’ll find the chapters and topics covered in “How to” style with plenty of command examples, explanation of the outputs and necessary schematic diagrams.

Each chapter ends with a knowledge check section where you are given a simple set of exercise to perform along with a set of true/false question set. This is a good way to test your newly acquired knowledge. The answers are included at the end of the book.

The language of book is conversational and easy to follow. If your aim is to learn Linux commands, this is a good book to have on your desk.

Preview Product Price Learn Linux Quickly: A Friendly Guide to Easily Master the World's Most Powerful Operating System. $39.99 Buy on Amazon Linux for Developers

Linux for Developers is a small book with less than 200 pages. The book is intended for software developers, not Linux kernel developers.

If you are a software developer using Windows as your main workstation, this book is for you. In most organizations, the developers use Windows for their development tools but when it comes to deployment, the infrastructure exists on Linux machines.

As a software developer, you may not want to spend a lot of time wondering about how to configure network, mount disks etc. Not that it is not good to know, it’s just not essential to your main coding job.

Linux for Developers gives you a glimpse of Linux command line and shows only the absolutely essential Linux commands required by regular developers. You get to know about the filesystem, path navigation, understanding file permissions, essential commands for listing content, viewing files, finding text in files etc.

This book also discusses how to use common terminal based editors like Vim before moving on to tell you about software packaging (if you need to package your software on Linux).

There are also sections on various scripting language. So, you get the very basics of Bash, Perl and Python scripting. Book ends with a few chapters on using Git, managing files with Git and understanding the file differences with Git.

As I have worked as a software developer, I can relate to the author’s thinking of only providing what’s essential for most software developers. This lets the developers focus on their programming while knowing enough Linux command line to get their work done.

Preview Product Price Linux for Developers: Jumpstart Your Linux Programming Skills (Developer's Library) $44.99 Buy on Amazon Linux Pocket Guide

As the name suggests, Linux Pocket Guide is a small, pocket book for quickly referencing the Linux commands and their functioning.

It doesn’t teach you how Linux works in detail. It is merely a collection of Linux commands. The commands are grouped in various sections such as commands for file viewing, navigating directories, user management, networking etc.

There are quick and short examples of the commands along with their syntaxes and brief description.

Linux Pocket Guide also has alphabetical index at the end of the book. This way, you can quickly see which command is mentioned on which page.

Consider it a huge Linux cheat sheet and an alternative to the manpages. Keeping it at your desk comes handy and saves you from searching on the internet for the command examples all the time.

Preview Product Price Linux Pocket Guide: Essential Commands $9.39 Buy on Amazon Linux Hardening in Hostile Networks

Usually books on advanced topics like Linux security is written in complicated technical language suitable for seasoned sysadmins. This book is slightly different. From a non-technical manager to seasoned DevOps/SecOps to CTO, this book is a fine read for every experience level.

Every chapter in this book has three sections. The first section gives the general, high-level overview of the security topic and easy to implement best practices that almost anyone can understand and follow.

The second section then take it to next level with intermediate to advanced hardening steps for the sysadmins. Even if you don’t follow all of them step by step, you could still read it to have a better idea on the topic.

The third section discusses advanced hardening tips that are complicated and consume time.

It starts with covering general security concept, securing workstations and hardening Linux servers and networks. It then moves on to discuss hardening of essential (and often vulnerable) services like web servers, email, DNS and databases.

The book ends with a chapter on incident response. This gives you some practical advice on what to do when your server is compromised. How to investigate what happened, what the attackers did, how they did it and what to do to prevent such incidents in the future.

Remember, this is not really a cookbook. In fact, I used it as bedtime reading rather than a DIY manual.

The author Kyle Rankin right says that today’s advanced threats tend to find their way into tomorrow’s script kiddie toolkits. It is important to have a security mindset and this book gives you a good perspective on that.

Preview Product Price Linux Hardening in Hostile Networks: Server Security from TLS to Tor (Pearson Open Source Software... $35.99 Buy on Amazon UNIX and Linux System Administration Handbook

This book requires you to have a good idea about Linux and have knowledge of the Linux command line. In fact, it is more suitable for you if you are already working as a sysadmin.

Running over 1000 pages, this book covers advanced topics suitable for seasoned sysadmins. From core Linux sysadmin stuff to DevOps oriented topics, this book has it all.

Highly recommended for experienced sysadmins.

Preview Product Price UNIX and Linux System Administration Handbook (5th Edition) $51.05 Buy on Amazon Linux Firewalls

Another advanced Linux book in this list. No prizes for guessing that this book is all about firewalls in Linux.

As a sysadmin or network engineer, if you want to secure your network or test for vulnerabilities, this is a good book to learn the core concept of firewalls.

Preview Product Price Linux Firewalls: Enhancing Security with nftables and Beyond: Enhancing Security with nftables and... $40.57 Buy on Amazon What Linux books do you recommend?

I haven’t included excellent books like The Linux Command Line in this list. Not that it’s not a good book but because it is available for free and I have mentioned it in the list of free Linux eBooks.

There are numerous Linux books available. I have certainly not read all of them neither I’ll be able to read them all. It is possible that I have missed some of your favorite book.

Why not share your favorite Linux book in the comment section? I’ll add a section of reader recommendation based on your feedback.

Perform Common PDF Editing Tasks Like Merge, Split, Rotate With Free and Open Source PDF Mix Tool

Monday 15th of June 2020 08:48:19 AM

Brief: PDF Mix Tool is a simple, lightweight open-source PDF editing application that lets you extract pages from PDF, merge two PDFs, delete pages from PDF files among a few other things.

PDF Mix Tool: A Simple Open Source PDF Editing Tool

There are several PDF editors available for Linux. I usually categorize them in two categories:

  • PDF editors that let you edit the content (annotate, highlight, change text, add/remove images etc)
  • PDF editors that let you modify the files by merging files, splitting files, extracting pages from files etc.

PDF Mix Tool falls in the second category. It is an open source software written in C++ and uses Qt5. It lets you merge two or more PDF files specifying a page set for each of them, rotate pages, add white pages, delete pages and extract pages from PDF files.

In this week’s open source software highlight, let’s take a look at using PDF Mix Tool.

Using PDF Mix Tool for editing PDFs in Linux

PDF Mix Tool does not boast a bunch of features but a handful of things that are incredibly important.

Merge PDF files

You can easily merge multiple PDF files while specifying the exact pages as well. It gives you the ability to tweak the number of pages, rotation, and also the option to reverse the order of pages to merge with “Alternate mix“.

You just need to click on “Add PDF File” to add the files and then edit it with the options available (as shown in the image above) and finally generate the edited PDF.

Rotate pages

You can rotate pages of a PDF file while merging multiple files or when simply operating on a single PDF file.

For merging files, you can refer to the screenshots above — but when you select a single file, this is how it looks:

You get a variety of options, but to rotate the pages, you need to select the “Edit page layout” option as shown in the screenshot above.

Add or delete pages

To add new pages from a different PDF file, it’s best to utilize the option.

But, if you want to add an empty page, you can do that when selecting a single file to process. Not just limited to the addition of empty pages — but you can delete specific pages as well. Here’s a screenshot that highlights the delete option:

Extract pages from a PDF file

In addition to all the other options, you can also extract a certain page (or all) from a given PDF file. You can then generate a new PDF file for all the extracted pages or make separate PDF files for every page you extract. It should come in handy in a lot of use-cases.

Other functionalities

With all the features mentioned above, you can generate an entirely new PDF of your choice, reverse the order, extract the pages, make separate PDF files, and so on.

It does not reduce size of the PDF file. You’ll have to use other tools for compressing PDF files on Linux.

So, it’s a mixed bag of things when you combine and use the options available.

Installing PDF Mix Tool on Linux PDF Mix Tool in Ubuntu Software Center

PDF Mix Tool is available as Snap and Flatpak packages. This means you may find it in your distribution’s software manager if it supports either of these packages.

Alternatively, if you have Snap package support enabled, you can use the following command to install it:

sudo snap install pdfmixtool

If you want to use Flatpak, you can use:

flatpak install flathub eu.scarpetta.PDFMixTool

In case you’re using Arch Linux, you can get it from the community repository.

sudo pacman -S pdfmixtool

You can also choose to take a look at their GitLab page for its source code.

Download Source Code for PDF Mix Tool

Wrapping Up

It may not be the most feature-rich PDF editing tool — but considering it as a lightweight open-source tool, it is a very useful application to have installed. We have also covered a similar tool PDF Arranger in the past. You may want to take a look at that as well.

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

Manjaro Linux Review: ‘Arch Linux for Human Beings’ Provides Rolling Release for Every User

Saturday 13th of June 2020 01:02:43 PM

Manjaro 20.0 Lysia has been released lately. In this article, I’ll take a look at the features of Manjaro Linux in general, discuss why people like Manjaro and compare the performance of Cinnamon desktop with Linux Mint 19.3 Cinnamon edition.

Manjaro Linux: Why so popular? Image Source

To every stereotype there is some element of truth. One of the main reasons that Manjaro is so popular has to do with its roots. Manjaro is based on Arch Linux and inherits many elements of Arch Linux but it is a very distinct project.

Unlike Arch Linux, almost everything is pre-configured in Manjaro. This makes it one of the most user-friendly Arch-based distributions. A lot of new users get attracted to this idea and I can’t blame them.

Will Manjaro then can be the new Ubuntu for a new comer? My answer is Yes!

Ubuntu and Canonical will always have my utmost respect as it has a huge success on making Linux easily accessible to newcomers.

Just as Ubuntu made “Linux for human beings”, Manjaro made “Arch Linux for human beings”.

But his doesn’t mean Manjaro is a Linux distribution for beginners only. Manjaro can be suitable for both and experienced users.

Let me go over some of the main features of Manjaro.

Easy installation

Installing Arch Linux can be a nightmare for many users. On the other hand, installing Manjaro Linux is easier thanks to the Calamares graphical installer.

Manjaro Linux graphical installer

If you want to take control in your own hands, you can use Manjaro Architect. It provides a terminal-based installer. It is still easier than installing directly through commands.

Desktop environments and Window Managers of your choice

Officially Manjaro Linux supports Xfce desktop as the default choice. The Xfce in Manjaro looks good thanks to the customization. Manjaro also offers GNOME and KDE Plasma variants.

If that is not enough, Manjaro community maintains Awesome, Bspwm, Budgie, Cinnamon, i3, LXDE, LXQt, MATE and Openbox.

Desktop flavors available via Manjaro Architect X86 architecture is not a limitation for Manjaro

You are not limited to X86 architecture with Manjaro as it is ARM architecture friendly.

Images for PineBook Pro, Raspberry Pi, Rock Pi 4, Rock Pro 64, Khadas Vim 1 & 3 and other single board computers are available in Xfce and KDE Plasma flavors.

Rolling release but not rolling blindly

Manjaro is a stable bleeding edge rolling release and is claimed to be more tested than Arch Linux because it performs some additional testing before releasing the updates.

New hardware? One click and it’s done.

Manjaro comes with a hardware detection tool known as MHWD. If you need drivers for your hardware, just open it, click on “Auto Install” and wait until it’s finished. That’s it.

Manjaro hardware configuration GUI tool Ease to switch Linux kernels.

Power-users and people who need special features of the Linux Kernel that don’t come with the default one, can just switch to a different Kernel with one click.

  • RT-Kernel (Real Time) is suitable for a multimedia user and for applications real time features.
  • LTS kernel is the way to go if stability your priority.
  • Latest kernel has the latest features and supports the latest hardware. Did you get a recently introduced to the market graphics card? The newest kernel is for you.
Manjaro kernel GUI switch

Manjaro supports multiple installed Kernels at the same time. Just re-boot your system and make your selection in the boot menu.

Access to the massive Arch User Repository (AUR)

What doesn’t work so well with Ubuntu-based distributions is managing Personal Package Archives (PPAs). A PPA is a repository for a single or several applications, usually from an independent developer.

Managing PPAs can become troublesome. They should be purged as they can become abandoned and orphaned without notice. You need to reinstate them if you reinstall Ubuntu.

If you use Manjaro, you also have access to the Arch User Repository (AUR). The AUR is probably the largest repository catering for any distribution. It’s certainly stocked with the freshest produce.

Snap and Flatpack support in the Pamac software manager Snap applications in Pamac

Pamac 9.4 series has enabled Snap and Flatpak support by default. You can now install snaps or flatpaks with Pamac in GUI or terminal and access an even larger selection of the Linux applications.

Global set of mirrors

No-matter your location Manjaro has a great number of servers which is known as mirrors and you can choose the closest available.

Top tip!

If you are a frequent traveler all you have to do is to open the terminal and run the following command:

sudo pacman-mirrors –geoip && sudo pacman -Syyu

This simple command will ping a list of mirrors for your country only, rating each one and reordering the list so the faster mirrors are at the top. Don’t forget to run the command once you get back home!

ZFS filesystem support

As mentioned previously, command line interface installer is called Manjaro Architect and if you are an experienced user there is a guide to follow. You can use ZFS filesystem as root in Manjaro 20.0 Lysia Architect.

Performance comparison of Manjaro 19 Cinnamon with Linux Mint 19.3 Cinnamon

I am not an expert on performance comparison and other low-level stuff. So, please forgive me if you dislike this comparison.

Manjaro feels snappier than Ubuntu and its derivatives. So, what can explain the speed benefits?
A possible explanation could be the RAM and active tasks usage on idle.

Here are the stats for idle Manjaro Cinnamon. The idle memory usage is 577 MB.

htop running on Manjaro 19.0.2 – Cinnamon 4.4.8

Here are the stats for an idle Linux Mint Cinnamon. The idle memory usage is 656 MB.

htop running on Linux Mint 19.3 – Cinnamon 4.4.8

By running the below command you can check the running services in Linux:

systemctl list-unit-files --state=enabled --no-pager

The results on Manjaro:

Manjaro running services

The results on Linux Mint:

Linux Mint running services

Each of these services consume system resources, and more specifically system memory and kernel time.

Conclusion

Manjaro takes most of the risk out of the rolling model by delaying the release of new applications and features for several weeks. The rolling distribution, out-of-the-box Arch experience will win you over.

  • No-hassle experience
  • Kernel management
  • Superior packaging system
  • Excellent hardware detection
  • Fast & responsive

Let me know your thoughts on Manjaro on the comments below and don’t forget to subscribe to our weekly Linux newsletter.

How to Use Microsoft OneDrive in Linux With Rclone Open-Source Tool [For Intermediate to Expert Users]

Friday 12th of June 2020 06:36:04 AM

Brief: A step-by-step tutorial showing how to use the rclone command line tool to synchronize OneDrive in Linux.

There are several cloud storage services available for Linux. There is Dropbox that gives 2 GB of free space. You can also use Mega where you can get 15 GB of free storage.

Microsoft’s own Cloud storage service, OneDrive gives 5 GB of free storage to any Microsoft account holder. The one major problem is that unlike Dropbox and Mega, Microsoft does not provide a desktop client for Linux.

This means that you’ll have to resort to using web browser for accessing your files in OneDrive which is not very convinient.

There is a hassle-free, GUI application Insync that lets you use OneDrive on Linux easily. But it’s a premium software and not everyone would like that.

If you are not afraid of the Linux terminal, let me show you a command line tool rclone that you can use for synchronizing Microsoft OneDrive in Linux.

What is rclone?

Rclone is an open source command line tool that enables you to synchronize a local Linux directory with various cloud storage services.

With rclone, you can backup files to cloud storage, restore files from cloud storage, mirror cloud data, migrate data between cloud services, use multiple cloud storage as disk.

You can use it with Google Drive, OneDrive, Nextcloud, Amazon S3 and over 40 such cloud services.

Rclone is an extensive command line tool and using it could be confusing with so many options. This is why I wrote this tutorial to show you how to use rclone with Microsoft OneDrive.

Sync Microsoft OneDrive in Linux with rclone

Using Rclone in Linux is not that complicated but requires some patience and familiarity with the Linux terminal. You need to tweak the configuration a little to make it work. Let’s see how to do that.

Step 1: Install Rclone

I am using Ubuntu 20.04 in this tutorial but you should be able to follow this tutorial in pretty much any Linux distribution. Just the rclone installation instruction could be different but the rest of steps remains the same.

In Debian/Ubuntu based distributions use:

sudo apt install rclone

For Arch-based distributions, use:

sudo pacman -S rclone

For other distributions, please use your distribution’s package manager.

Step 2: Adding new remote

Once you have installed rclone successfully, you need to configure rclone. Enter the following command in the terminal:

rclone config

If it’s your first time using rclone, you have to add a new remote to rclone. Select ‘n‘ to add new remote.

Configuring Rclone

Now you have to enter the name of remote. You can enter any name here that matches the cloud service so that it is easy to identify. I am using ‘onedrive‘.

Configuring Rclone
Step 3: Select cloud service you want to sync with rclone

After entering name and hitting enter, you will see a list of cloud services like Google cloud storage, Box, One Drive and others.

You have to enter the number of the service you want to use. In this case, it’s ‘One Drive’. Make sure you enter the correct number.

Selecting Cloud Service

As you don’t need to enter client ID or secret ID hit Enter twice.

Next enter ‘N’ for selecting no for advanced configuration. Of course, if you want to configure something very specific, you can go ahead with Y.

Configuring OneDrive

When you’re asked for ‘Use auto config’, press Y.

Step 4: Login to OneDrive account

When you enter ‘y’ and hit enter, your default browser will open and here you have to log into your Microsoft account. And if it asks for permission click on ‘yes’.

One Drive Logging In Step 5: Enter account type

Now you have to select account type. For most of the users it will be the first one, ‘One drive Personal or business’. I believe it is personal so go with 1.

After that, you will get a list of ‘Drives’ associated with your account. So, for the most part, you need to select ‘0’ to select your drive and enter ‘Y‘ for yes in next step.

It will ask for one last time if this configuration is okay? Hit ‘Y’ if it is.

And then enter ‘q’ to exit the Rclone configuration menu.

Step 5: Mounting OneDrive int file manager

Create folder in your home directory where you will mount OneDrive. I will name the folder “OneDrive”. You can name it whatever you want, but please make sure you change the name to yours in the commands.

Create a new folder with mkdir command in your home directory or wherever you want:

mkdir ~/OneDrive

Now you have to use the following command:

rclone --vfs-cache-mode writes mount "one drive": ~/OneDrive

In above command “one drive” is the name of the “remote”, so you should use the correct name there if yours is different. You can check the name of the “remote” in step 2 of this tutorial.

Mounting One Drive

This command will mount one drive in given location and will continue to run in terminal. When you stop the process with,ctrl + c the one drive will be unmounted.

To mount one drive on startup, follow the next step below.

Step 6: Mount One Drive on startup

Every Linux distribution gives some way to manage startup application. I am using Ubuntu’s Startup Application Preferences tool here.

Open “Startup Applications“. And click on “Add“. Now, in the command field, enter the following:

sh -c "rclone --vfs-cache-mode writes mount \"onedrive\": ~/OneDrive" Mounting OneDrive On Startup

That’s it. Now, you can easily use OneDrive on Linux without any hiccups.

As you can see, using OneDrive in Linux with rclone takes some effort. If you want an easy way out, get a GUI tool like Insync. and use OneDrive natively in Linux.

I hope you find this tutorial helpful. If you have any questions or suggestion, we’ll be happy to help you out.

Sumeet

Computer engineer, FOSS lover, lower level computing enthusiast. Believe in helping others and spreading knowledge. When I get off from computer (it rarely happens) I do painting, reading and watching movies/series. Love the work of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, J. R. R. Tolkien and J. K. Rowling. BTW, I use Arch.

How to Install Opera Browser on Ubuntu [Easy Way]

Thursday 11th of June 2020 05:43:41 AM

Learn how to install Opera browser easily and safely on Ubuntu and Debian based distributions.

Opera browser was among the first few browsers to have a speed dial feature for quickly accessing most visited websites from the new tab.

Opera still offers several interesting features such as a free VPN, ad-blocker, social media messengers in the sidebar, battery saver, grouping tabs in workspaces etc.

Personally, I do not use Opera. It is not open source. It’s so-called free-VPN is not that good (it’s hardly even a VPN). After its acquisition by a Chinese group, transparency took another hit. It collects a vast amount of data, same as Alibaba’s UC Browser.

Anyway, I am not here to make a case against Opera. If you want to install and use Opera on Ubuntu, let me show you how to do that easily and safely.

Non-FOSS alert!

Opera browser is not open source. It is covered here because it is available on Linux and the article’s focus is on Linux.

Installing Opera browser on Ubuntu

Installing Opera Browser in Ubuntu and Debian-based distributions is as simple as installing the DEB file from its download page and double-clicking on it.

Go to Opera’s download page and click on Download button to download the .DEB installer file.

Download Opera Browser

Once you have downloaded it, double-click on it to install the application from deb file. In Ubuntu 20.04, you may have to right click and select “Open With Software” option.

It will open Opera in Software Center and you can just lick on the install button to install Opera.

The good thing about this method is that it automatically adds an entry in the repository list. This way, you’ll get all the future updates to the Opera browser with the regular system updates.

Opera source added to repository list to provide you regular updates

This is same as installing Google Chrome on Ubuntu as an entry is adding for Chrome to provide you regular updates.

See, how easy it was to install Opera?

How to remove Opera browser

You can look for the installed applications in the software center and uninstall Opera from there.

Remove Opera from the Software Center

You may also use terminal to remove it in this fashion:

sudo apt remove opera-stable

You may also choose to remove the additional Opera repository added in the sources list.

Remove Opera Repository Installing Opera browser via command line (for intermediate to expert users)

Installing Opera browser graphically as described above is simplest and easiest method. If you want to take the command line route, you can do that as well.

First, make sure to install Curl on Ubuntu:

sudo apt install curl

Download and add the Opera repository key:

curl https://deb.opera.com/archive.key | sudo apt-key add -

Now add the Opera repository in your sources list directory (not file):

echo deb https://deb.opera.com/opera-stable/ stable non-free | sudo tee /etc/apt/sources.list.d/opera.list

Update the package cache so that your system is aware of the packages available by the newly added repository:

sudo apt update

Finally, install the opera-stable package to install Opera.

sudo apt install opera-stable

During the installation, you’ll be prompted for adding Opera repository to sources list. Select NO because you already did that.

To remove Opera browser installed this way, you should use the following commands one by one:

sudo apt remove opera-stable sudo rm -f /etc/apt/sources.list.d/opera.list Opera as Snap

Opera browser is also available as a snap package officially. If you have Snap support enabled in your Linux distribution, you may install Opera via Snap:

sudo snap install opera

Conclusion

One of It’s FOSS readers contacted me with a repository issue that was caused by the incorrect Opera browser installation.

I had to write this straightforward tutorial because some other websites on the internet are suggesting methods with unnecessarily complicated commands that might end up with a corrupt sources.list. I do hope it helps new Linux users.

Hurry up! $100 PineTab Linux Tablet is Finally Available for Pre-order

Wednesday 10th of June 2020 03:22:31 PM

Most of you must be already aware of Pine64’s flagship products PinePhone and Pinebook (or Pinebook Pro).

PineTab was planned to be made available back in 2019— however, PinePhone and Pinebook production was prioritized over it. Also, due to the factory lines closing for COVID-19 pandemic, the plan for PineTab was further postponed.

Finally, you will be happy to know that you can now pre-order the PineTab Linux tablet for just $100.

Even though PineTab is meant for early adopters, I’ll give you a brief description of its specifications and what you can expect it to do.

PineTab specification

PineTab is a Linux tablet for $100 with which you can also attach a keyboard and some other modules to make the most out of it.

So, for just $100, it isn’t aiming to be “just another tablet” but something more functional for the users who prefer to have a useful tablet.

Before we talk more about it, let’s run down through the specifications:

  • Display: 10-inch 720p IPS Screen
  • Quad-core A64 SoC
  • 2 GB LPDDR3 RAM
  • 2 MP front-facing camera and 5 MP rear camera
  • 64 GB eMMC flash storage
  • SD Card support
  • USB 2.0, USB-OTG, Digital video output, Micro USB
  • 6000mAh Battery

You can also add a magnetic backlit keyboard with PineTab for an additional $20.

You can see it in action here:

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For the first batch of PineTab, they are shipping the tablet with UBports Ubuntu Touch. In their recent blog post, Pine64 also clarified why they chose UBports Ubuntu Touch:

The reason for this choice being that Ubuntu Touch works well for a traditional tablet use-case and, at the same time, converts into a more traditional desktop experience when the magnetic keyboard is attached.

They’ve also mentioned that the PineTab’s software will be convergent with both PinePhone and PineBook.

PineTab Expansion Options

To expand the functionality of PineTab, there’s an adapter board available on which you will be able to attach the expansions you want.

The adapter board will already be present inside, you just need to remove the back cover, work on a single screw to swap/add expansions.

The following expansions will be available to start with:

  • M.2 SATA SSD add-on
  • M.2 LTE (and GPS) add-on
  • LoRa module add-on
  • RTL-SDR module add-on

It is worth noting that you only use any one of the expansions at a time no matter how many expansions you have attached to the board.

Some extensions like LTE or LoRa module will probably make PineTab a great point-of-sales terminal as well.

As of now, there’s no information on what it would cost per add-on for the expansion board — but hopefully we’ll get to know more about the details right before the pre-order starts.

How to get PineTab Linux tablet

PineTab is now available for pre-order. If you are planning to get one, you should hurry up. From my experience with Pine devices, the pre-order might close in a couple of days. You can order it from their website:

Pre-order PineTab

What are your thoughts on PineTab? Are you going to order one when it goes live? Let me know your thoughts in the comments.

Nextcloud Vs ownCloud: What’s the Difference? Which one Should You Use?

Wednesday 10th of June 2020 05:31:43 AM

Nextcloud and ownCloud are two of the most popular names that you will come across when we talk about self-hosted open-source cloud storage services.

Now, Nextcloud and ownCloud are similar in so many ways that it often confuses people.

And this is why we at It’s FOSS thought of creating this comparison of Nextcloud and ownCloud. I’ll discuss the difference between ownCloud and Nextcloud. I’ll also share how both services are similar.

The history of ownCloud and Nextcloud

In 2010, Frank Karlitschek started the ownCloud project by announcing it during a Camp KDE keynote session.

ownCloud interface

It started off as a personal cloud storage solution to give users the ability to have control of their own data without relying on other cloud storage providers which then translated to the start of ownCloud Inc.

Unfortunately, Frank Karlitschek, along with several original developers left ownCloud Inc. They didn’t officially state any reason for that – but they hinted about the problem of having a business model that did not compliment an open-source solution.

Now, ownCloud focuses primarily on Enterprise offerings and offers a separate sever edition (to self-host) for users.

Frank Karlitschek started Nextcloud as a fork of ownCloud right after leaving ownCloud Inc.

Nextcloud interface

Considering that it’s a fork, you will find many similarities, however, the product has evolved a lot over the years arguably making it more popular than ownCloud. It is striving to become a collaboration platform like Microsoft Office 365 and Google Docs.

Similar to ownCloud, you will find a self-hosted option and an enterprise-tailored solution.

Nextcloud vs ownCloud: Similarities Nextcloud Vs Owncloud

Let’s talk about the similarities between Nextcloud and ownCloud.

User Interface

It’s safe to consider that the user interface offered by Nextcloud and ownCloud is very similar to each other.

Yes, you might find some under-the-hood changes and maybe several subtle differences. But, overall, it looks/feels very much the same.

Collaboration Features

Unless you consider all the nitty gritty features that they both offer, fundamentally, it’s more or less the same.

You can manage tasks, upload files, have a calendar, and do a lot of basic collaboration activities in both Nextcloud and ownCloud.

Self-hosting Option

It’s quite obvious — but just for your information, you can easily deploy either of them (Nextcloud and ownCloud) on your own server without opting for enterprise services.

Use a cloud service like Linode or DigitalOcean. They even have one-click installer option to deploy a full-fledged Nextcloud or ownCloud server in minutes.

Cross-platform support

Both ownCloud and Nextcloud offers support for desktop clients and mobile apps (iOS & Android) to enhance the convenience of collaboration activities.

So, you should be good to go with either of them if you’re looking for cross-platform support for yourself.

Nextcloud vs ownCloud: Key Differences

Now that you are aware of the similarities, let’s see how Nextcloud and ownCloud are different.

License Differences

For most of the users, being a truly open-source solution matters a lot. And, that is why it is important to know the license a service comes under.

ownCloud offers the standard edition (or the community edition) under the AGPLv3 license but the enterprise edition comes under ownCloud’s commercial license.

While Nextcloud’s both enterprise and community editions come under the APGPLv3 license.

So, depending on what you’re looking for, you need to make a choice here.

Exclusive Features

Sometimes it’s a deal breaker or a selling point to have a set of enterprise-exclusive features on a service.

So, when I looked around, I found out that ownCloud does offer a set of exclusive features only for the premium subscribers.

On the other hand, Nextcloud offers the complete set of features for both community and enterprise editions and the premium subscription only includes support or technical help for enterprise deployments.

Documentation Owncloud Documentation

Documentation is a very important part of a product/service like ownCloud and Nextcloud where a lot of users manage the instances themselves.

Of course, depending on your technical expertise and preferences, you might find any of the documentations to be better than the other.

Nextcloud Documentation

However, in our case, Avimanyu Bandyopadhyay (Research Engineer at It’s FOSS) felt that ownCloud’s documentation is more useful and easier to follow when compared to Nextcloud’s documentation.

ownCloud has provided a ready-to-deploy configuration file for enterprise use at the bottom of its docker documentation page. But, Nextcloud has kept it separately on GitHub – which might be a little inconvenient to find.

So, Nexcloud’s clarity on the documentation part could definitely improve.

Pricing Plans (for enterprise edition)

No matter how a good a service is — the pricing plans always influences the final decision for enterprises to choose a solution that suits their requirements within a budget.

If we compare the pricing plans of Nextcloud and ownCloud, you will notice that ownCloud starts offering enterprise services at $3,600 for a team of 50 users.

In contrast, Nextcloud’s enterprise services start at €1900 (which is roughly $2050) for a team of 50 users.

Of course, it all comes down to your preferences on what exactly are you looking for.

App Marketplace Nextcloud Marketplace

The availability of apps to extend the functionality of Nextcloud or ownCloud plays an important role to help you choose the best for your use-case.T

Theoretically, you should find a bunch of useful apps on Nextcloud and ownCloud’s marketplace.

However, you might find a few things missing on ownCloud’s app marketplace like Kanban styled board Deck and W2G2 (File/Folder locking app).

Owncloud Marketplace

At least, depending on what I look for on a collaboration platform — I couldn’t find anything similar on ownCloud.

Similarly, I might have missed something that’s available on ownCloud but not on Nextcloud. So, this should be one of your primary factors to consider before deploying ownCloud or Nextcloud for yourself or for your enterprise.

Potential Issues or Bugs

It’s obvious that both Nextcloud and ownCloud can have their own share of issues. So, if you’re going to self-host either of them, you should check out their GitHub pages to scroll through the active issues.

For instance, while writing this article, Nextcloud has an active issue where the files in a sub-folder of an encrypted folder are not encrypted. Similarly, ownCloud also has a bug with syncing the files when the user hits the reload button.

Of course, these are just examples that I took from their list of issues. But, you should keep an eye on some active issues before deploying it yourself that could ultimately help you decide what to choose.

So, which one do you choose? Nextcloud or ownCloud?

Now that you’ve known about what’s different and what’s similar between Nextcloud and ownCloud — it should be slightly easier to choose one.

However, given the potential of both the services and the number of add-ons they offer, I could have missed a few points here. So, I’d recommend you to go through the documentations for each of them for enterprise-use. For personal usage, you can choose either Nextcloud or ownCloud as per your preferences.

At It’s FOSS, we use Nextcloud for storing files, task management and recently for collaborating on documentation.

What do you think? Nextcloud or ownCloud? Do share your thoughts in the comment section.

How to Change Folder Color in Ubuntu 20.04

Tuesday 9th of June 2020 10:06:39 AM

The default Yaru theme in Ubuntu 20.04 gives it a polished, modern look. The folders in the default Yaru theme have a purple-aubergine touch to keep in line with the branding of Ubuntu.

If you are not a fan of the purple shade, you have the freedom to change the color theme in Ubuntu.

You may change the theme of Ubuntu to give it a different color but that would mean ditching Yaru theme.

If you just want to change the folder color in Ubuntu 20.04, there are two ways to do that:

  • Give a different color and emblem to selected folders (for better organizing the files and folders)
  • Change the colors for all folders by changing the Yaru color theme

Let me show you both methods.

Change folder colors and emblem for selected files and folders

I know that some people keep their folders in different color/location to indicate whether a work is in progress or pending or completed.

If you are one of those people, you can use the Folder Color utility and change the color of the folders. You may also add emblem to the folders (the green tick sign for competition, + sign for new, exclamation mark for important etc). You can see some examples in the previous image.

You can also use the Folder Color utility on files. You cannot change the color files icons but you can add emblems to them.

If you are using Yaru theme in Ubuntu 20.04, you can use the official PPA:

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:costales/yaru-colors-folder-color

Now install Folder Color with Yaru compatibility package.

sudo apt install folder-color yaru-colors-folder-color

Once installed, you’ll have to restart Nautilus file manager using nautilus -q command. After that, you can go to the file manager, right click on a folder or file. You’ll see a Folder’s Color option in the context menu. You’ll see the color and emblem options here.

You can also restore the original folder color by choosing Default in the menu.

For Ubuntu 18.04 or older versions, Folder Color is available to install from the software center. The Folder Color utility is also available for Linux Mint/Cinnamon desktop’s Nemo file manager and MATE desktop’s Caja file manager.

How to remove Folder Color tool?

If you don’t want to use Folder Color, you may remove the app and delete the PPA. First remove the app:

sudo apt remove folder-color yaru-colors-folder-color

Now remove the PPA:

sudo add-apt-repository -r ppa:costales/yaru-colors-folder-color Yaru Colors theme pack to change the color variant of Yaru theme Yaru Colors Blue Theme Variant

If you want to keep on using Yaru theme but with a different color variant, Yaru Colors theme pack is what you need.

Yaru Colors consists of 12 color variants of Yaru. The colors are aqua, blue, brown, deep blue, green, grey, MATE green, orange, pink, purple, red and yellow.

The themes consist of GTK theme, icons, cursor them and GNOME shell theme.

  • Icons- Changes the accent color of folders
  • GTK themes- Changes the accent color of the application windows
  • cursor theme- Adds an almost negligible colored outline to the cursor
  • GNOME Shell theme- Changes the accent color in the message tray and system tray

You can download Yaru Colors theme pack from its GitHub repository:

Download Yaru Colors theme pack

When you extract the content you’ll find icons, Themes folders and both of these folders contains the twelve mentioned color variants. You can copy the icons and Themes folder in ~/.local/share/.icons and ~/.local/share/themes folders respectively.

If you are not comfortable doing it all by yourself, you’ll find the install.sh shell script in the extract folder. You can run it to install all or selected few themes via an interactive terminal session.

To change the GNOME Shell theme, you’ll have to use GNOME Tweak tool. You may also use GNOME Tweak to change the icons and themes back to the default ones.

Enjoy adding color to your Ubuntu life :)

How to Configure Gaming Mouse on Linux Using Piper GUI Tool

Monday 8th of June 2020 02:57:31 PM

Brief: Piper is a nifty GUI application that helps you configure your gaming mouse on Linux.

Usually, when you switch from Windows to Linux, you lose access to a lot of GUI (Graphical User Interface) tools to manage gaming peripherals. You can still enjoy playing games on Linux, but the ability to configure your mouse is a big deal if you are more than a casual gamer.

Recently, I came across a handy tool that lets you configure your gaming mouse on Linux. Let me share how it works and whether it is worth trying.

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Piper is an open-source tool that you can use for configure gaming peripherals on Linux. Technically, Piper is a graphical frontend to the ratbagd DBus daemon — but you don’t need to worry about it if you aim to use the GUI.

In this article, I’ll give you a brief overview as I test it on my Logitech G502 gaming mouse.

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It’s a dead simple tool. You get the ability to configure the following things of your gaming mouse with the help of Piper:

  • Change DPI (Resolution) and Polling rate
  • Map buttons
  • Control LEDs
  • Add multiple profiles

Please note that not all gaming mouse work with Piper at this time. Please check the list of support devices before you try it out.

Here’s how it works and looks:

Change DPI & Polling Rate

With Piper, you get to set different DPI levels to switch from. It’s quite easy tweak it because of the slider present.

Not just limited to the DPI settings, but you can also control the polling rate (or the sensitivity). Of course, depending on your mouse, the option may look different, but you don’t really need to change the sensitivity of your mouse for the most part.

Configure Buttons

This is extremely important for most of the users, especially, if you want to utilize macros or simply want to change the mapping of your buttons.

As you can observe in the screenshot above, I was able to tweak each and every button.

I’ve re-mapped the DPI increase/decrease button and replaced it with a macro to dabble between multiple workspaces on Pop OS 20.04.

Control LEDs

Well, there’s no use of having RGB lighting if you can’t tweak or control them. With Piper, you can easily control the LED lights of your gaming mouse (if your mouse has this feature). It works pretty well for my G502.

Multiple Profiles

You also get the ability to manage multiple profiles to switch from — so you don’t have to fiddle around with the settings always.

In case you didn’t know, each profile can have different button mapping, LED setting, and DPI settings.

Installing Piper On Linux

To get started, you need to ensure that you have libratbag installed. Some Linux distributions have it pre-installed, like Pop!_OS.

For Ubuntu-based distros, you can type in the following command to install it if you didn’t have it already:

sudo apt install ratbagd

You can follow the official installation instructions if you need it for Debian, Arch or Fedora.

Once done, you can finally install Piper by typing the following command (for Ubuntu-based distros):

sudo apt install piper

You can get installation instructions for other Linux distributions in their wiki on GitHub.

You also get a Flatpak package available. In case you don’t know how to install it, I suggest you to refer our Flatpak guide to know more.

Download Piper Wrapping Up

Piper is an amazing GUI tool to easily configure a gaming mouse on Linux considering that you have one of the supported devices.

You will find many supported devices from Logitech, Etekcity, GSkill, Roccat, and Steelseries. So, I’d say it should come in handy for serious Linux gamers.

Have you tried Piper yet? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below.

How to Remove Title Bar From Firefox and Save Some Precious Screen Space

Monday 8th of June 2020 06:29:56 AM

Mozilla Firefox is the default web browser in numerous Linux distributions. It is free and open-source software and the obvious choice when you don’t want to use Google’s privacy-invading Chrome browser.

If you open Firefox in Ubuntu or some other operating system, you will notice that it has an additional title bar at the top that displays the information about the active tab.

This feature could be useful to some people but for me, it is an annoyance. It takes up a few pixels of additional screen space and I don’t like it.

If you find it irritating as well, let me show you how to disable this additional title bar in Firefox and save the precious screen space.

How to remove title bar of Firefox browser

Getting rid of the title bar from Firefox is very easy and it can be done in two simple steps.

Step 1

Open Firefox browser and click on the hamburger menu. Choose the customize option from this menu.

Go to Customization option Step 2

Firefox opens the customization menu in a new tab. Move to this new Customize tab and look at the bottom. You’ll see Title Bar option checked.

You just need to uncheck this Title Bar option. That’s it.

Disable Title Bar Option Firefox

You’ll notice that title bar disappears immediately. No need to even restart the browser.

You can enjoy the open source Firefox browser with more screen space now.

I know it’s not really a big issue but small things sometimes make big difference. Firefox gives the option to customize everything to your liking and you can tweak the look and feel as per your requirement.

For example, you can enable backspace for going back in Firefox or even enable dark mode. There is no end to tweaking Firefox.

I hope you find this quick Firefox tip helpful. If you have any suggestions or questions, feel free to ask in the comment section.

How to Create Curve Text in GIMP in 5 Simple Steps [GIMP Beginner’s Tutorial]

Sunday 7th of June 2020 07:01:27 AM

When you are working on a badge, poster or any other composition in GIMP and you need to bend or curve some text. The versatile GIMP tool offers several ways to create curved text. Depending on how you will use it and the curvature you want to give to your text, some methods are better than others.

In this GIMP tutorial, I’ll show you my preferred way of creating curve texts.

How to create curve text in GIMP

Please make sure that you have GIMP installed on your system already.

Step 1: Create a path that matches the type of curve you want

Create a new image or open an existing one. Select the paths tool and then having in mind roughly the position of the curved text, create your path by clicking once for the start and then for the end of path point.

Create a path

Then give to your path a curvature. First drag the line in the middle either up or down, and fine tune by moving the adjusting points. This will give it an arch.

Curving the path Step 2: Create the text you want to curve

When you are satisfied with your curved path, you can move to the next step and create your text.

You may want to change the font and the font size. My selections are for demonstration purpose only.

Create a text Step 3: Create a new layer

I strongly suggest separating each different element of a GIMP image in different layers, in order to manipulate them easily like move, turn on/off an element etc.

Following this rule our curved text will be placed at a new layer. It is recommended to name your new layer like “Curved Text” or something similar to easily identify it.

Create a new layer for the curved text Step 4: Curve the text

Now you need to click on the layer that your text is and right click on it and then click on “Text along path” to bend your text. The curved text will be placed at the newly created layer.

Text Along Path

You just curved the text! Let’s make the text more presentable by filling it with colour.

Step 5: Final touches and export

Click on the curved text layer and then go to the path tab to select the text boundaries.

Path To Selection

Finally, select the bucket tool, a colour of your choice and apply your selection as per below.

As the last step, turn the visibility of the layers that you don’t want and keep only the curved text. Then you are ready to export your file as your preferred image format.

Bonus Tip: Create shade effect

I have an additional step as an exercise/challenge if you want to go the extra mile. Let’s create a shade effect to the curved text by outlining the text in GIMP.

I will give you some hints:

  • Turn all the layers back on
  • Click on the curved text layer and the use the move tool to move the text away
  • Create another layer and repeat the bucket fill procedure with a black colour
  • Overlay the layers in a way that they mimic a shaded position (you may need to change the layers order)
  • Turn off the auxiliary layers

The final result!

Let me know in the comments below your thoughts about this GIMP tutorial and how many of you tried the bonus step.

Don’t forget to subscribe to the newsletter as It’s FOSS team has much more for you in the near future!

SoftMaker Office 2021 is an Impressive Alternative to Microsoft Office on Linux

Saturday 6th of June 2020 02:15:38 PM

While we have amazing open source alternatives to Microsoft Office, it’s always good to have more options supported for Linux.

For that very same reason, the latest release of SoftMakerOffice 2021 grabbed my attention.

SoftMaker Office suite is a collection of TextMaker (word), PlanMaker (spreadsheets), and Presentation program.

It is a cross-platform solution which is available for Linux, Windows, and macOS.

Planmaker on Linux

Non-FOSS alert!

SoftMaker is not open source software. We have covered it because they cared to make their software available on Linux. Not many developers care for desktop Linux, unfortunately. Sometimes we cover such software that are helpful to desktop Linux users even if they are not open source.

SoftMaker Office 2021: What’s New? Textmaker 2021

With the latest release, I found some very interesting changes which you may find useful for yourself.

Intuitive language and research tools

In the word processing program (i.e. TextMaker), they have added new features to facilitate the creation of extensive scientific work.

As per the press release, they mention the details as:

The literature management program Zotero is now integrated directly into the program and thus provides powerful support in terms of managing citations, bibliographies and literature sources.

In addition to the integration of Zotero, you will also find it very easy to search for online dictionaries and references from within TextMaker without endlessly browsing the Internet.

Improved support for database files Mysql Sample Planmaker

With SoftMaker Office 2021, you can now easily manage SQLite, XLSX, PMDX, and dBASE files.

Subtle & useful improvements

While this is a major overhaul, you will notice some good attention to details when we talk about the addition of automatic fold marks in a document and pre-made templates to help you quickly make a document.

Similarly, the latest release includes a bunch of improvements under-the-hood. I’ve mentioned some of them here:

  • Improved file version control
  • New page break preview simplify the printing of spreadsheets
  • Ability to create portable slideshows
  • Improved navigation within a document
Improved pricing structure

For the 2021 version, the manufacturer has made its licensing policy far more generous: The purchase of SoftMaker Office 2021 will now entitle you to install it on Windows, macOS, and Linux — on up to five computers in total.

And, this is a very good offer for a cross-platform Microsoft Office alternative that asks for a one-time fee of $59.95 for Office 2021.

You need to pay for the upgrade if you need to get the next major version. But, you also get an option to subscribe for $2.99 per month which includes free upgrades as long as your subscription is active. You can learn more about its pricing in their official website.

My Thoughts On SoftMaker Office 2021

I’ve tried the latest SoftMaker Office 2021 on both Linux (Pop OS 20.04) and Windows 10. It works as expected in my basic usage for sometime to test it out.

SoftMaker Office 2021 offers both .deb / .rpm package along with a .tgz archive file for 64-bit systems only.

If you want help installing the .deb file on any Ubuntu-based Linux distribution, you can always refer to our solutions to install deb files on Ubuntu.

Personally, I still prefer LibreOffice because they are open source in true sense. However, I understand that some people have to work with MS Office documents regularly and SoftMaker provides a mean to edit those documents on Linux.

What do you think about SoftMaker Office 2021? Is it something that sounds good to have for Linux as a replacement to Microsoft Office? Let me know your thoughts down in the comments!

Top Arch-based User Friendly Linux Distributions That are Easier to Install and Use Than Arch Linux Itself

Saturday 6th of June 2020 07:14:12 AM

In the Linux community, Arch Linux has a cult following. This lightweight distribution provides the bleeding edge updates with a DIY (do it yourself) attitude.

However, Arch is also aimed at more experienced users. As such, it is generally considered to be beyond the reach of those who lack the technical expertise (or persistence) required to use it.

In fact, the very first steps, installing Arch Linux itself is enough to scare many people off. Unlike most other distributions, Arch Linux doesn’t have an easy to use graphical installer. You have to do disk partitions, connect to internet, mount drives and create file system etc using command line tools only.

For those who want to experience Arch without the hassle of the complicated installation and set up, there exists a number of user-friendly Arch-based distributions.

In this article, I’ll show you some of these Arch alternative distributions. These distributions come with graphical installer, graphical package manager and other tools that are easier to use than their command line alternatives.

Arch-based Linux distributions that are easier to set up and use

Please note that this is not a ranking list. The numbers are just for counting purpose. Distribution at number two should not be considered better than distribution at number seven.

1. Manjaro Linux

Manjaro doesn’t need any introduction. It is one of the most popular Linux distributions for several years and it deserves it.

Manjaro provides all the benefits of the Arch Linux combined with a focus on user-friendliness and accessibility. Manjaro is suitable for both newcomers and experienced Linux users alike.

For newcomers, a user-friendly installer is provided, and the system itself is designed to work fully ‘straight out of the box’ with your favourite desktop environment (DE) or window manager.

For more experienced users, Manjaro also offers versatility to suit every personal taste and preference. Manjaro Architect is giving the option to install any Manjaro flavour and offers unflavoured DE installation, filesystem (recently introduced ZFS) and bootloader choice for those who wants complete freedom to shape their system.

Manjaro is also a rolling release cutting-edge distribution. However, unlike Arch, Manjaro tests the updates first and then provides it to its users. Stability also gets importance here.

2. ArcoLinux

ArcoLinux (previously known as ArchMerge) is a distribution based on Arch Linux. The development team offers three variations. ArcoLinux, ArcoLinuxD and ArcoLinuxB.

ArcoLinux is a full-featured distribution that ships with the Xfce desktop, Openbox and i3 window managers.

ArcoLinuxD is a minimal distribution that includes scripts that enable power users to install any desktop and application.

ArcoLinuxB is a project that gives users the power to build custom distributions, while also developing several community editions with pre-configured desktops, such as Awesome, bspwm, Budgie, Cinnamon, Deepin, GNOME, MATE and KDE Plasma.

ArcoLinux also provides various video tutorials as it places strong focus on learning and acquiring Linux skills.

3. Archlabs Linux

ArchLabs Linux is a lightweight rolling release Linux distribution based on a minimal Arch Linux base with the Openbox window manager. ArchLabs is influenced and inspired by the look and feel of BunsenLabs with the intermediate to advanced user in mind.

4. Archman Linux

Archman is an independent project. Arch Linux distros in general are not ideal operating systems for users with little Linux experience. Considerable background reading is necessary for things to make sense with minimal frustration. Developers of Archman Linux are trying to change that reputation.

Archman’s development is based on an understanding of development that includes user feedback and experience components. With the past experience of our team, the feedbacks and requests from the users are blended together and the road maps are determined and the build works are done.

5. EndeavourOS

When the popular Arch-based distribution Antergos was discontinued in 2019, it left a friendly and extremely helpful community behind. The Antergos project ended because the system was too hard to maintain for the developers.

Within a matter of days after the announcement, a few experienced users palnned on maintaining the former community by creating a new distribution to fill the void left by Antergos. That’s how EndeavourOS was born.

EndeavourOS is lightweight and ships with a minimum amount of preinstalled apps. An almost blank canvas ready to personalise.

6. RebornOS

RebornOS developers’ goal is to bring the true power of Linux to everyone, with one ISO for 15 desktop environments and full of unlimited opportunities for customization.

RebornOS also claims to have support for Anbox for running Android applications on desktop Linux. It also offers a simple kernel manager GUI tool.

Coupled with Pacman, the AUR, and a customized version of Cnchi graphical installer, Arch Linux is finally available for even the least inexperienced users.

7. Chakra Linux

A community-developed GNU/Linux distribution with an emphasis on KDE and Qt technologies. Chakra Linux does not schedule releases for specific dates but uses a “Half-Rolling release” system.

This means that the core packages of Chakra Linux are frozen and only updated to fix any security problems. These packages are updated after the latest versions have been thoroughly tested before being moved to permanent repository (about every six months).

In addition to the official repositories, users can install packages from the Chakra Community Repository (CCR), which provides user made PKGINFOs and PKGBUILD scripts for software which is not included in the official repositories and is inspired by the Arch User Repository.

8. Artix Linux Artix Mate Edition

Artix Linux is a rolling-release distribution based on Arch Linux that uses OpenRC, runit or s6 init instead of systemd.

Artix Linux has its own package repositories but as a pacman-based distribution, it can use packages from Arch Linux repositories or any other derivative distribution, even packages explicitly depending on systemd. The Arch User Repository (AUR) can also be used.

9. BlackArch Linux

BlackArch is a penetration testing distribution based on Arch Linux that provides a large amount of cyber security tools. It is specially created for penetration testers and security researchers. The repository contains more than 2400 hacking and pen-testing tools that can be installed individually or in groups. BlackArch Linux is compatible with existing Arch Linux packages.

Want real Arch Linux? Simplify the installation with graphical Arch installer

If you want to use the actual Arch Linux but you are not comfortable with the difficult installation, fortunately you can download an Arch Linux iso baked with a graphical installer.

An Arch installer is basically Arch Linux ISO with a relatively easy to use text-based installer. It is much easier than bare-bone Arch installation.

Anarchy Installer

The Anarchy installer intends to provide both novice and experienced Linux users a simple and pain free way to install Arch Linux. Install when you want it, where you want it, and however you want it. That is the Anarchy philosophy.

Once you boot up the installer, you’ll be shown a simple TUI menu, listing all the available installer options.

Zen Installer

The Zen Installer provides a full graphical (point and click) environment for installing Arch Linux. It provides support for installing multiple desktop environments, AUR, and all of the power and flexiblity of Arch Linux with the ease of a graphical installer.

The ISO will boot the live environment, and then download the most current stable version of the installer after you connect to the internet. So, you will always get the newest installer with updated features.

Conclusion

An Arch-based distribution is always an excellent hassle-free choice for the many users, but a graphical installer like Anarchy is at least a step closer to how Arch Linux truly tastes.

In my opinion the real beauty of Arch Linux is its installation process and for a Linux enthusiast is an opportunity to learn rather than a hassle. Arch Linux and its derivatives has a lot for you mess up with, but It’s FOSS will unravel the mystery behind the scenes. See you at my next tutorial!

Open Source Password Manager Bitwarden Introduces Two New Useful Features: Trash Bin & Vault Timeout

Friday 5th of June 2020 06:49:42 AM

Bitwarden is unquestionably one of the best password managers available for Linux. It’s also a cross-platform solution — so you can use it almost anywhere you like.

You can also read our review of Bitwarden if you want to explore more about it.

Now, coming back to the news. Recently, Bitwarden introduced two new major features that makes it even better.

Bitwarden Password Manager: What’s New?

You will find two new useful additions to Bitwarden. Here, I’ll highlight those for you:

Trash bin to store deleted items for 30 days

Before this update, if I deleted something on Bitwarden, there was no way I could recover that. Hence, it was an irreversible process.

But, now with the addition of Trash section, your deleted items will now reside in the Trash for 30 days unless you delete it from the Trash manually.

Bitwarden Item Trash

So, you don’t have to worry about losing your important items on Bitwarden vault. You have 30 days to easily recover it.

To be clear, the trash will include your complete item including the attachments, recovery codes, and the two-factor authentication tokens.

You can access the Trash items on your web vault, standalone app, and on the browser extensions as well.

In my case, I utilize a Firefox add-on and I can perfectly access the Trash items and restore/delete it when needed.

Timeout feature to lock or log out user

Usually, when you restart the browser or refresh the session, you had to log back in to Bitwarden.

Depending on what you use — browser, app, or the web vault, this behavior may be different. But, now, you can actually control the timeout from your end.

For starters, you can set the timer for timeout from the predefined options. Some of those options are:

  • Timeout immediately
  • Timeout in 1 minute
  • Timeout in 5 minutes
  • Timeout in 15 minutes
  • Timeout on browser restart
  • Never timeout

In addition to this, you also get to decide the action of the timeout feature. After the timeout period ends, what do you want to happen?

Do you want to lock the Bitwarden app/vault? Or, do you want to log yourself out? This definitely sounds to be something very useful and should help you keep things secure as well.

To explore more about the vault timeout feature, trash feature and other features on Bitwarden, you can also check out their official help articles.

Wrapping Up

It looks like Bitwarden is shaping up pretty good as one of the most competitive offering as an open-source password manager when compared to other big players like LastPass.

What do you think about the latest additions to Bitwarden? Let me know in the comments below!

Linux Foundation Launches Cloud Engineer Bootcamp to Make You Job Ready for Cloud Industry

Thursday 4th of June 2020 06:18:01 AM

Linux Foundation, the official organization behind Linux project, has launched a 6 months online training program to prepare more cloud engineers as the demand for cloud-skilled people grows in the IT industry.

These days, when the IT infrastructure revolves around cloud computing, traditional Linux sysadmin knowledge is not sufficient anymore.

Sysadmins need to know the newer technologies related to Linux containers, the backbone of cloud servers.

No one understands the technology trend in this field better than Linux Foundation. They work closely with industry giants like IBM, Microsoft, Google, Cisco to lead, to guide and to set industry standards.

Their latest training module Cloud Engineer Bootcamp is another step in this regard to bridge the demand and supply in the IT industry.

Cloud Engineer Bootcamp from The Linux Foundation

The course is designed in a way that you could start learning from scratch. It starts covering the core, traditional knowledge of Linux system administration and then moves on to networking. You may take the certification exam at this point but that’s not mandatory and you can do it later.

The second part of the course module introduces you to containers (heard of Docker?) and then goes on to educate you on DevOps and SRE (Site Reliability Engineering). You’ll then learn about Kubernetes, the latest hot topic in the DevOps world.

When you cover the DevOps courses, you can take the certification exam. Linux Foundation certifications are one of the most valued in the industry, and it would help you boost your resume and your job prospect.

Here’s what you’ll get if you join the bootcamp:

  • Hand-on labs and assignments
  • 12 months access to the online courses
  • Dedicated discussion forums to ask for help with option to live chat with the instructor (within office hours)
  • Retake for both certification exams within a period of a year
  • 30 days money back guarantee

The course is self-paced and you should cover it in 6 months with an effort of 15-20 hours a week.

Cloud Engineer Bootcamp is priced at $999 but if you join before 17th June, you can get it for $599 (saves you $400). Individually, these courses and exams will cost you around $2000.

You may also use ITSFOSS15 coupon code at check out to get additional 15% discount.

Cloud Engineer Bootcamp Should you sign up for the Cloud Engineer Bootcamp?

Frankly, this could not have come at a better time. Due to the coronavirus pandemic, economy is in poor state. People are losing jobs everywhere.

But the pandemic has also given boost to remote working and cloud computing business. As more companies prepare to adopt remote working, cloud servers will be more in demand.

It is high time to improve or learn skills that are sought after in the industry.

$600 may not be a small amount but considering that it can lend you a new job or promotion at your current work, Cloud Engineer Bootcamp is worth the investment.

If you don’t like the training or think it’s not worth the money, you can use the 30-day money back guarantee and get your money back. It cannot be safer than this.

Though Linux Foundation hardly makes any effort for “desktop Linux”, they are constantly working to promote Linux in the IT industry. Their training and certification programs are part of their effort to make more and more people job ready.

It’s FOSS is an affiliate partner with Linux Foundation. Please read our affiliate policy.

Now You Can Buy Linux Certified Lenovo ThinkPad and ThinkStation (For the Best Possible Out of the Box Linux Experience)

Wednesday 3rd of June 2020 10:57:36 AM

There was a time when ThinkPad was the preferred system for Linux users.

But that was when ThinkPad was an IBM product. When Beijing-based Lenovo acquired New York-based IBM’s personal computer business in 2005, (I feel that) things started to change.

ThinkPad was/is an amazing series of laptops, reliable, trustworthy and rock solid. Just ask a person who used it before 2010s.

But around 2010, Lenovo ThinkPad started to lose its charm. It was filled with issues after issues and consumer complaints of poor performance.

Things were even worse for Linux users. Its secure boot with UEFI created problems for Linux users. The controversy with Linux would just not end.

Why am I recalling all this? Because Lenovo seems to be working on improving Linux compatibility. The latest announcement from Lenovo is an excellent news for Linux lovers.

Entire range of Lenovo ThinkPad and ThinkStation will be Linux certified

Lenovo announced that it is going to certify the full workstation portfolio for top Linux distributions from Ubuntu and Red Hat. This is valid for all models and configuration.

What does it mean to you as a Linux users? It means that if you buy a Lenovo computer, you will have the best possible out-of-the-box Linux experience.

Wait? Can you not just install Linux on any computer be it Le-novo or The-novo? Of course, you can. But when you wipe out existing (Windows) operating system and install Linux on your own, you may encounter hardware compatibility issues like audio missing, Wi-Fi not working etc.

The out-of-the-box experience matters because not everyone would be willing to spend time in fixing sound, graphics card, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth issues instead of focusing on their real work for which they bought the computer.

The developers from Ubuntu and Red Hat test and verify that each hardware component of Lenovo system works as intended.

Ubuntu, Red Hat and more

Lenovo has chosen two of the top Linux distributions for this purpose. Red Hat is a popular choice for Linux desktop and servers in enterprises. Ubuntu is of course popular in general.

This means that Lenovo system would work the best with Ubuntu LTS versions and Red Hat Linux. Lenovo will even offer the choice of Ubuntu and Red Hat preinstalled on its systems.

But it just doesn’t end here. Fedora is a community project from Red Hat and Lenovo is going to offer Fedora preloaded on ThinkPad P53 and P1 Gen 2 systems.

There are so many Linux distributions based on Ubuntu LTS release. Most of the time, these distributions differ in looks, applications and other graphical stuff, but they use the same base as Ubuntu.

This should mean that the Ubuntu-based distributions like Linux Mint, elementary OS etc also better hardware compatibility with Lenovo devices.

Lenovo is also going to upstream device drivers directly to the Linux kernel, to help maintain stability and compatibility throughout the life of the workstation. That’s superb.

Will it help increase the Linux user base?

Out of the box experience matters. It lets you focus on the important tasks that you are supposed to do on your system rather than troubleshooting.

I have a Dell XPS laptop that came with Ubuntu preinstalled. This is the only device that has required pretty much no hardware troubleshoot from my end even when I have installed Ubuntu-based distributions manually.

I am happy to see Lenovo doing the extra effort to improve Linux compatibility on its end. There is one more option in the list of Linux preloaded computers now.

I don’t know if Lenovo offering Linux on its systems will help increase the Linux user base. Most of the time Windows will be highlighted and Linux version won’t get the prime focus.

It is still commendable of Lenovo for their efforts to make their devices more Linux friendly. I hope other manufacturers do the same. There is no harm in hoping :)

Devuan Beowulf 3.0 is the Latest Stable Release Based on Debian 10.4 Buster (and Free From systemd)

Wednesday 3rd of June 2020 05:48:22 AM

Devuan GNU+Linux is a fork of Debian without systemd. If you are wondering what’s wrong with systemd — that’s a discussion for another day.

But, if you are someone who wanted a systemd-free Linux distribution, the release of Devuan Beowulf 3.0 should be good news for you.

Devuan Beowulf 3.0: What’s New?

Devuan is normally appreciated for providing alternative init software such as SysV.

In this article, we’ll take a look at the key highlights in Devuan Beowulf 3.0.

Based on Debian 10.4 Buster

Debian 10 Buster is undoubtedly an impressive series of releases while Debian 10.4 being the latest.

And, with Devuan Beowulf 3.0, you’ll be happy to know that the release is based on the latest Debian 10.4 Buster update.

In case you aren’t aware of it, you may check out the official announcement post for Debian 10.4 Buster release to know more about it.

Linux Kernel 4.19

It’s also a great addition to have Linux Kernel 4.19 LTS baked in the latest release.

Of course, not the latest because we are in ‘Debian land’ and things are not always latest here but more stable. The new kernel should fix several issues that you may have had with previous releases.

Support For ppc64el Architecture

The support for ppc64el may not be a big deal for the most part — but having the support for PowerPC and Power ISA processors is a plus.

Not to forget, Devuan GNU+Linux already supports i386, amd64, armel, armhf and arm64 architectures.

Added runit & OpenRC as optional alternative

To consider more init software alternatives, runit and openrc is now an option in the latest release.

Other Changes

In addition to the key highlights mentioned above, you will also find the addition of standalone daemons eudev and elogind.

The boot screen, the display manager and the desktop theming also includes subtle changes. For example, the boot menu says “Debian” instead of “Devuan“.

You might want to look the official release notes if you want more technical details on the changes with Devuan Beowulf 3.0.0.

Trivia

Devuan releases are named after minor planets. Beowulf is a minor planet numbered 38086.

Wrapping Up

The latest stable release of Devuan Beowulf 3.0 counts as good progress with systemd-free distributions available out there.

If you want to support Devuan project, please make some contribution to their project either financially or by other means.

What do you think about this release? Feel free to let me know what you think in the comments below!

How to Install Nvidia Drivers on Fedora Linux

Tuesday 2nd of June 2020 08:21:09 AM

Like most Linux distributions, Fedora does not come with the proprietary Nvidia drivers installed by default.

The default open source Nouveau driver works in most situations, but you may encounter issues like screen tearing with it.

Display issue in Fedora with Nouveau graphics driver

If you encounter such graphics/video issues, you may want to install the official proprietary Nvidia drivers in Fedora. Let me show you how to do that.

Installing Nvidia drivers in Fedora

I am using Fedora 32 in this tutorial but it should be applicable to other Fedora versions.

Step 1

Before you do anything else, make sure that your system is up-to-date. You can either use the Software Center or use the following command in the terminal:

sudo dnf update Step 2

Since Fedora doesn’t ship the Nvidia driver, you need to add the RPMFusion repos to your system. You can use the following command in the terminal

sudo dnf install https://download1.rpmfusion.org/free/fedora/rpmfusion-free-release-$(rpm -E %fedora).noarch.rpm https://download1.rpmfusion.org/nonfree/fedora/rpmfusion-nonfree-release-$(rpm -E %fedora).noarch.rpm Don’t like terminal? Use GUI method to add RPMFusion repository

If you are using Firefox, you can also add the RPMFusion repositories from your browser. Go to the Configuration page and scroll down to the “Graphical Setup via Firefox web browser” section. Click the link for the free and then the nonfree repo. This will download the .rpm file, which will eventually install the repository.

RPMFusion Browser Installation

You can double click on the downloaded RPM file to install it.

RPMFusion in the Software Center Step 3

Now you need to determine what graphics card (or chip) you have in your Linux system. Pull up the terminal and enter the following command:

lspci -vnn | grep VGA Video Card Lookup in Fedora

Next, you need to look up what driver corresponds to that chip. You can find a list of the Nvidia chips here. You can also use this tool to search for your device.

Note: Keep in mind that there are only three drivers available to install, even though the Nvidia list shows more. The most recent cards are supported by the Nvidia driver. Old devices are supported by the nvidia-390 and nvidia-340 drivers.

Step 4

To install the required driver, enter one of the commands into the terminal. The following command is the one I had to use for my card. Update as appropriate for your system.

sudo dnf install akmod-nvidia sudo dnf install xorg-x11-drv-nvidia-390xx akmod-nvidia-390xx sudo dnf install xorg-x11-drv-nvidia-340xx akmod-nvidia-340xx Nvidia terminal installation Step 5

To make the changes take effect, reboot your system. It might take longer for your system to reboot because it is injecting the Nvidia driver into the Linux kernel.

Once you log in to your system after reboot, you should have a better visual performance and no screen tearing.

Fedora with Nvidia drivers Bonus Tip:

This is an optional step but it is recommended. When you add the RPMFusion repos, you get access to multimedia packages that are not available in the regular repos.

This command will install packages for applications that use gstreamer:

sudo dnf groupupdate multimedia --setop="install_weak_deps=False" --exclude=PackageKit-gstreamer-plugin

This command will install packages needed by sound and video packages:

sudo dnf groupupdate sound-and-video

Hopefully, you find this tutorial useful in installing Nvidia drivers on Fedora. What other Fedora tutorials would you like to see on It’s FOSS?

Using the Lightweight Apt Package Manager Synaptic in Ubuntu and Other Debian-based Linux Distributions

Monday 1st of June 2020 10:36:47 AM

This week’s open source software highlight is Synaptic. Learn what this good old package manager can do that the modern software managers cannot.

What is Synaptic package manager?

Synaptic is a lightweight GUI front end to apt package management system used in Debian, Ubuntu, Linux Mint and many other Debian/Ubuntu based distributions.

Basically, everything that you can do using the apt-get commands in the terminal can be achieved with Synaptic.

There was a time when Synaptic was the default graphical software manager on almost all Debian-based Linux distributions. It was considered to be a user-friendly, easy to use way of managing applications.

Things changed as modern software manager tools like GNOME Software and KDE Discover came up with more modern and intuitive UI. These software managers have better interface, display the package information in a more friendly way with thumbnails, ratings and reviews.

Eventually, Synaptic got confined to mostly lightweight Linux distributions.

Why would you use an ‘ancient’ software like Synaptic package manager?

You don’t have to. Not most of the time, of course.

But Synaptic is still a lot versatile than the likes of GNOME Software. Remember, it is basically GUI front end to apt which means it can do (almost) everything you do with apt commands in the terminal.

For example, if you want to prevent the update of a specific package in Ubuntu, you can do that in Synaptic but not in GNOME/Ubuntu Software Center.

Also, I have noticed some issues with the Software Center in Ubuntu 20.04. It’s slow to load, it’s slow when searching for software and it is full of snap application (that not everyone prefers).

Synaptic is also one of the lightweight applications you can use in Ubuntu to speed up your system a bit.

Synaptic package manager features

Here is a summary of what you can do with Synaptic:

  • Update the package cache
  • Upgrade the entire system
  • Manage package repositories
  • Search for packages by name, description, maintainer, version, dependencies etc
  • List packages by section, status (installed), origin or more
  • Sort packages by name, status, size or version
  • Get information related to a package
  • Lock package version
  • Install specific version of a package

There are more features that you may explore on your own.

How to install Synaptic package manager on Ubuntu

Synaptic package manager is available in the Universe repository in Ubuntu. If it is enabled, you may find it in the Software Center:

Synaptic in Ubuntu Software Center

You may also install Synaptic via command line. Make sure to enable universe repository first:

sudo add-apt-repository universe

And then update the cache (not required in Ubuntu 18.04 and higher versions):

sudo apt update

Now, use the command below to install synaptic package manager:

sudo apt install synaptic

That’s it.

How to use Synaptic package manager

Once installed, you can search for Synaptic in the menu and start it from there:

You can see that the interface is not among the best-looking ones here. Note the color of the checkboxes. White means the package is not installed, green means it is installed.

You can search for an application and click on the checkbox to mark it for installation. It will also highlight packages (in green) that will be installed as dependencies. Hit apply to install the selected packages:

You can see all the installed packages in Ubuntu using Synaptic. You can also choose to remove packages from this view.

You can see packages available in individual repositories by displaying them based on Origin. Good way to see which PPA offers what packages. You can install or remove packages as described above.

Usually, when you update Ubuntu, all the packages are updated at once. With Synaptic, you can easily choose which packages you want to update/upgrade to a newer version.

You can also lock the version of packages so that they don’t get updated along with the system updates.

You can also search for packages using Synaptic. This is like searching for packages using apt-cache search command.

If you think you made the wrong selection, you can click Undo from the Edit menu.

There are plenty more you can do with Synaptic and I cannot cover all the possible usages. I have covered the most common ones here and I leave you to explore it, if you are going to use Synaptic.

Synaptic is not for everyone

If you don’t like Synaptic, you can remove it from the Software Center or using this command in terminal:

sudo apt remove synaptic

There was another lightweight software manager for Ubuntu called AppGrid. It hasn’t been updated in recent times as far as I know.

Synaptic is certainly not for everyone. It lists libraries and packages that you won’t otherwise see in the regular Software Center. If you removed a library that you were not aware of, it may cause issues.

I think that Synaptic is suitable for intermediate to advanced users who want better control over the package management without going the command line way.

What do you say? Have you ever used Synaptic for package management? Do you rely on software center or you just dive into the terminal? Do share your preference in the comment section.

More in Tux Machines

Linux, Twitter look remove ‘blacklist/whitelist’ from code

Coding terms like ‘master’, ‘slave’, ‘blacklist’, and ‘whitelist’ could soon be a thing of the past as the likes of Linux, Twitter, Git, and IBM’s Red Hat begin purging non-inclusive phrases from their code. Twitter Engineering announced last week that it wanted to “move away from” certain phrases that the social media company said was not reflective of its values. “There is no switch we can flip to make these changes everywhere, at once,” the company said. “We will continue to iterate on this work and want to put in place processes and systems that will allow us to apply these changes at scale.” Along with terms like ‘blacklist’ and ‘whitelist’, Twitter said it wants to move away from gendered pronouns and even ‘dummy value’. Read more

GNOME 3.36.4 released

Hello, GNOME 3.36.4 is now available. This is a stable bugfix release for 3.36. All distributions shipping GNOME 3.36 are advised to upgrade.The GNOME 3.36 flatpak runtimes have been updated as well. If you want to compile GNOME 3.36.3, you can use the official BuildStream project snapshot: https://download.gnome.org/teams/releng/3.36.4/gnome-3.36.4.tar.xz The list of updated modules and changes is available here https://download.gnome.org/core/3.36/3.36.4/NEWS The source packages are available here https://download.gnome.org/core/3.36/3.36.4/sources/ Regards, Abderrahim Kitouni GNOME Release Team Read more Also: GNOME 3.36.4 Released With Faster Mutter Fix Back-Ported

Python Programming

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  • Python 101 – Learning about Dictionaries (Video)
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  • A Hundred Days of Code, Day 000 - Begin Again

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  • A Hundred Days of Code, Day 001 - Beginning With Classes

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  • Object Oriented Programming in Python: Complete Tutorial

    Python is a powerful programming language used for web application development. It is also a widely popular programming language used for machine learning and artificial intelligence applications. With Python, complex programming problem-solving becomes simpler. There are several approaches to problem-solving in Python. OOP is one of those approaches. In this article, I will introduce you to some fundamental OOP principles in Python development.

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Games: Black Ice, BOMBFEST, Albion Online

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    Enter a futuristic, TRON-like environment, where your goal is to try and save your friend’s daughter from…something. From getting hacked, perhaps? Who knows. Per the press sheet, Black Ice is inspired by cyberpunk novels from the 80s and 90s, including Snow Crash by Neal Stephenson and Neuromancer by William Gibson. It’s a game developed by Garrett Cooper and Eric Ford. Their company name is Super Duper Game Company and is based in Austin, Texas.

  • Like sumo wrestling with explosions, BOMBFEST is pretty amusing

    BOMBFEST, an explosive party game that released last year seems to have been missed by most and it's seen very few user reviews which is a shame due to how fun it actually is. Note: key provided by the developer. The developer says it's like 'sumo wrestling with explosives' and that's hilariously accurate. Four players run around a small map, while throwing around blocks and bombs to attempt to knock the other players off. Simple, highly accessible as it only needs a few buttons and it's also hilarious. A sweet style too, with everything made to look like children's toys as you battle across wooden forts, on folding chairs, and inside the kitchen sink.

  • Albion Online's upcoming Corrupted Dungeons sound fun

    With the next massive update 'Rise of Avalon' coming to Albion Online in August, Sandbox Int have started giving out more in-depth details about the new features coming to this MMO. Some big new features are arriving and one of these are the Corrupted Dungeons, finally giving solo players something truly interesting to play with as Albion has somewhat lacked dedicated content aimed at solo players. I'm genuinely excited about them too! As you explore the world, you will come across entrances that appear like regular dungeons but they look 'a good deal more sinister' with plenty of demons and corrupted creatures inside.