Ubuntu 14.04: Misc Utilities & Settings



This is part of my series on installing Ubuntu 14.04 on my laptop.  In the previous post, I configured my hybrid graphics card.  In this post, I am walking through various settings and utilities that I like to install to make the final tweaks on my installation.

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MenuLibre in Ubuntu 13.10

Update:  If you want the 2.0 version, check out this post.

I had some trouble getting the “Main Menu” program (alacarte) to work in Ubuntu 13.10, so I went exploring for an alternative.  That’s when I ran across MenuLibre.

MenuLibre

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First Steps in Ubuntu 12.04

I just installed Ubuntu 12.04 on my main laptop.  Clicking the buttons to walk through the Ubuntu install wizard is only the tip of the iceberg.  Now comes the job of installing all of the programs and tools to make it what you want.

Read on to see what I did first with my new installation…

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Software to Watch: Vi Everywhere!

Vimprobable Search

I made an effort several years ago to learn the vi key commands, and I have learned to like that user interface.  The key combinations may take a bit to learn, but once you learn them, you can move around and edit quickly.  I am always up for adding the Vi interface to more and more.

I found a web browser that uses similar key combinations:

S3hh Blog: Vimprobable web browser

You can read more about Vimprobable on the SourceForge Project Homepage.

To install the browser, I added the repository with this command:

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:serge-hallyn/vimprobable
sudo apt-get update

I used the Software Center to install it:

Installing Vimprobable

Or, you could just run:

sudo apt-get install vimprobable2

After it installs, you should find it in your menu:

Vimprobable in the Menu

Here’s what the browser looks like:

Vimprobable

You can use J and K to move up and down in the page.  o will open a page in the current window.  / will search.  f will follow links.  y will copy the URL of your current page.  H goes back to the previous page.  You see the complete list on the Keybindings page.

The f command is pretty cool.  You can select your link with a number.  I pressed f on the project home page and I can go to the keybindings page by pressing 4.

Follow mode in Vimprobable

The open command will also search when you don’t enter a URL.  I typed “o digitaleagle”, and I got this:

Vimprobable Search

If you’re not ready to bite off a whole new browser, you can settle for a plugin.  S3hh also mentions a few more plugins to Chrome and Firefox:

I’ll spend some time messing with the vrome.  I’ll have to report back after some time using it.

If I had a request for a vim-like tool, I would ask for a compiz-fusion tool.  I want something where I can use vim-like keyboard shortcuts to navigate and control windows.  Maybe it could use the F12 key or scroll lock instead of Escape.

If you’re still not satisfied with these tools, here are some more that I ran across in my search.  (I didn’t have a chance to try all of them out):

Great Link: App List for Ubuntu

I ran across this link recently, and I always want to share great lists of applications.  Building your toolbox is always fun.  Or should we say loading the app under the Christmas tree!

Ubuntu Linux Help: More Useful Open Source Applications 2011

PDF Mod is the new app that I picked up right away off the list.  I haven’t had a lot of chance to use it yet, but I think it will come in handy.  Install it with this link: apt:pdfmod.

 

To Watch: Free Software University

I would say Software to Watch, but it’s more learning to watch.  I made it through college.  Do I really want more punishment?  Well, I guess I am a nerd.  Bring it on!  Knowledge is always something I can use more of.  Maybe I will even get the chance to teach.  In any regard, keep an eye on this Free Software University.

Links:

Software to Watch: SchoolTool

I came across this tool on the Edubuntu website that looks worth checking out.  It’s one of those things I need to come back to:

SchoolTool

Sword Bible on Android

I have been using the Sword Bible project for years, and so, it was only natural for me to ask if it exists on Android for my phone.  The short story is that a project exists at Google Code, but it doesn’t quite look like it is ready for prime time.

First, if you want to know a little more about the Sword project, you can read up on it at this Wikipedia article.  I think I first started with it when I bought a Bible program from our college bookstore.  Now, in Linux, I use a program called Xiphos, which is a Linux/Gnome frontend for the Sword Project.  The program used to be called Gnome Sword.  You can also find more information from the main Sword Website including a small list of sofware.

My first find was this post on Werx Limited.  The post mentions a project named Bishop, but that project is more of a tech test than an actual application for use.  So, I read through the whole conversation thread discussing Bishop and the development of an application.  To my delight, I hit Martin Denham’s message about his And-Bible project.

I haven’t had a chance to install it or anything.  For now, I just wanted to capture these links, but I hope to mess with it some more.  For now, I am just using Virtue Bible FE.  I will keep you updated.

Shutter Upgraded

I have been using Shutter a lot recently.  It is a great tool for sending screenshots — a picture is worth a thousand words!

This post is a little old, but it had a lot of great information in it.  After seeing it and looking on the Shutter website, I thought I should write another post on Shutter.

 

I just checked, and I have version 0.85.1 installed.  I just have the version installed from the 10.04 repository.  On 9/12/2010, they released version 0.86.4 according to this post.

So, I decided to try to upgrade.  The website has a nice instruction page to show you how.

Basically, I just ran the following commands:

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:shutter/ppa
sudo apt-get update

Then, update manager popped up and offered to update Shutter.

Here are the new features or changes that this gives me:

 

The coolest part is that I learned that I can drag a screenshot from shutter and drop it into GMail.  Before, I would have to copy the filename, and then I would have to insert an image in GMail, browse, and paste the path in the browse dialog.

 

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Explorations in Ubuntu Unity Desktop Environment

I finally got my desktop in my living room working, and I thought I would try the Unity Desktop on it.  Here is a nice little article that gives you some information about it:

First Look at the Ubuntu Unity Desktop Environment

My computer is rather old, and I mistakenly thought it would be a good fit.  These descriptions threw me off: “Ubuntu Light”, “simpler Unity desktop”, and “stripped down Ubuntu”.  What I found instead is that the Light and simpler interface is designed to make it easier to work with in smaller screen environments, not necessarily light on the hardware.

Unity uses the Mutter Window Manager, which is a compositing Window Manager.  According to this article, the name comes from combining Metacity and Clutter together.  This article mentions the hardware issue: “Interesting as the new directions may be, some people fear that Mutter will not run on older hardware.”  I agree with the reasoning: “Almost any desktop or standard laptop built within the last 5 years has sufficiently good graphics.”, but that just means that it isn’t what I originally thought it was.

Now, Clutter caught my attention on a totally different angle.  “Creating fast, compelling, portable, and dynamic graphical user interfaces” sounds great to me.  Unfortunately, I didn’t see Java bindings.  On the wiki page, I only see Python, Perl, C#, C++, Vala, and Ruby.  The javascript option looked pretty interesting also.  I may have to do some experimentation with Seed.  For Java support, I found some references to jClutter, and I found someone else working on something.