Ubuntu 17.04 has been released
The new version brings updated applications and various under-the-hood improvements, along with bug fixes. As expected, Compiz and Unity have only received minor improvements and bug fixes.
On the other hand, Ubuntu 17.04 includes the GNOME 3.24 stack for the most part (GTK3 along with Totem, Disks, Calendar, and so on). There are some missing bits, but this is still pretty important, as Ubuntu didn't use the latest GNOME since around Ubuntu 11.10 / GNOME 3.2.
Unity and Compiz in Ubuntu 17.04
As you probably know, Ubuntu will switch to GNOME (Shell) by default starting
with Ubuntu 18.04 (to be released in April, 2018).
However, even before this announcement, Unity 7 was in maintenance mode, with the focus being Unity 8. It did receive some features, like the option to move the launcher to the bottom in Ubuntu 16.04, but only bug fixes for the most part.
Ubuntu 17.04 (Zesty Zapus) is no different. Both Unity and Compiz only had some minor changes and bug fixes, such as:
- keep the screen locked if autologin or nopasswdlogin is enabled;
- if scale-factor is not set, find and set right scale for HiDPI displays;
- dropped click scope from the default list of favourites;
- fixed lock screen not covering the entire desktop on HiDPI display with draw-user-backgrounds unchecked;
- fixed issue that made it impossible to exit screensaver if a menu or application grabs the screen;
- fixed bug preventing switching to the copy / move dialog;
- fixed bug that caused users to be asked to unlock the screen twice after closing the guest session;
- Compiz Move plugin: add options for only showing the window shape (outline, rectangle);
- Compiz: added option to disable blend in grid plugin.
Complete changelogs for Unity
I should also mention that while Mark Shuttleworth, the founder of Ubuntu and Canonical, has recently
said that Canonical is ending their "investment in Unity8", Ubuntu 17.04 ships with an experimental Unity 8 session by default, just like Ubuntu 16.10.
Here's a Unity 8 screenshot I took under Ubuntu 17.04 (by the way, Unity 8 now works in VirtualBox):
Defaults and other changes
Ubuntu 17.04 Zesty Zapus ships with GTK 3.24 and GNOME 3.24 applications for the most part.
Not all the bits were updated to version 3.24 though. The exceptions are Nautilus (3.20), Terminal (3.20), Gedit (3.22), Software (3.22) and Evolution (3.22).
Besides the applications mentioned above, Ubuntu 17.04 ships with Firefox 52.0.1, Thunderbird 45.8.0, LibreOffice 5.3.1, Transmission 2.92, Shotwell 0.22+git, Rhythmbox 3.4.1, Totem 3.24.0, GNOME Disks 3.24.0, GNOME Calendar 3.24, GNOME System Monitor 3.24 and Evince 3.24, on top of Unity 7.5.0 (+17.04.20170407) and Compiz 0.9.13.1 (+17.04.20170109).
Under the hood, Ubuntu 17.04 (Zesty Zapus) ships with Xorg server 1.19.3, Mesa 17.0.3, Ubuntu Linux Kernel 4.10.0-19.21 based on the upstream 4.10 Linux Kernel, PulseAudio 10.0, and systemd 232.
Here's a quick list of changes in the Linux Kernel since the version used in the previous Ubuntu release (Linux 4.8 for Ubuntu 16.10):
Other changes in Ubuntu 17.04:
- Linux 4.9 (more information: Kernel Newbies | Phoronix):
- AMDGPU virtual display support;
- better AMDGPU GPU reset support;
- shared data extents and copy-on-write support for XFS;
- support for new ARM machines, including Raspberry Pi Zero and LG Nexus 5;
- Linux 4.10 (more information: Kernel Newbies | Phoronix):
- initial Intel Graphics Virtualization Technology support;
- improved writeback management;
- Nouveau Boost support, which allows new graphics cards to go up to their "boost" frequencies, and not just the highest standard frequency;
- support for Intel Turbo Boost Max 3.0 and Intel Cache Allocation Technology.
- Ubuntu now includes support for printing without printer-specific drivers. Among the supported printers are IPP Everywhere and Apple AirPrint printers, but also some PDF, Postscript, and PCL printers;
- the default DNS resolver is now systemd-resolved;
- for new installs, a swap file will be used instead of a swap partition;
- gconf is no longer installed by default;
- this release does not include 32bit powerpc.
Download Ubuntu 17.04 (Zesty Zapus)
Important: all non-LTS Ubuntu versions are only supported for 9 months. Ubuntu 17.04 will be supported until January 2018.
Official release notes and download links for the Ubuntu 17.04 desktop flavors:
Posted on 14 April 2017 | 5:06 am
Pithos 1.3.0 was released recently and is now available in its official PPA, for Ubuntu 17.04, 16.10 and 16.04. The new version brings support for MPRIS playlist and tracklist interfaces, improved accessibility UI, and more.
Pithos is a Pandora Radio
(only available in Australia, New Zealand and the United States) client that supports Pandora features such as love / ban / tired, allows creating, editing and switching between stations, and more.
The application integrates tightly with the desktop, providing notifications, MPRIS v2 support (it integrates with the Ubuntu Sound Menu / GNOME Shell, etc. ), media keys, can inhibit the screensaver and so on.
Pithos 1.3.0 includes a complete MPRIS implementation thanks to the addition of playlist and tracklist MPRIS interfaces.
With the GNOME Shell Media Player Indicator
extension, Pithos exposes the current playlist and station list in the indicator (these need to be enabled in the extension settings):
This feature does not work with the Ubuntu Sound Menu due to an upstream bug.
Another change in Pithos 1.3.0 is the addition of a new plugin that allows controlling the systemd logging level (or completely disabling it) for Pithos. The logs since last reboot can be printed by running Pithos with the "--last-logs" command line argument.Other changes in Pithos 1.3.0 include:
- added dynamic rating and cover icons based upon theme colors;
- added symbolic icon;
- added man page;
- improved handling playlist expiration;
- improved search in stations list;
- improved UI accessibility;
- improved libsecret support;
- removed libnotify dependency in favor of a custom notification implementation (the reason for this is that libnotify does blocking I/O);
- fixed disabling keybindings plugin when using keybinder;
- fixed notification icon trying to load on Wayland;
- fixed failure to reconnect on login expiration;
- fixed some plugins not being enabled by default;
- fixed handling error on MPRIS plugin failure.
Also, compared to the Pithos version available in the official Ubuntu / Linux Mint repositories (1.1.2 for Ubuntu 17.04 and 1.1.1 for Ubuntu 16.04 / Linux Mint 18), the application has received quite a few improvements, including a keyboard shortcuts window, more quality options, the password is now stored with libsecret, along with bug fixes.
The UI was also updated to use header bars and the stations dropdown now uses a popover.
Pithos currently has only 2 contributors and it could use more devs. If you can help, see its GitHub page.
Install Pithos in Ubuntu 17.04, 16.10 or 16.04 / Linux Mint 18.x
An older Pithos version
is available in the official Ubuntu repositories. To install it, simply use the following command:
sudo apt install pithos
Ubuntu 16.04, 16.10 or 17.04 / Linux Mint 18 users can install the latest Pithos by using its official PPA. To add the PPA and install Pithos, use the following commands:
sudo add-apt-repository ppa:pithos/ppa
sudo apt update
sudo apt install pithos
If you don't want to add the PPA, you can grab the deb from HERE
For installing Pithos in other Linux distributions (including Flatpak), see the install section on its homepage. Report any bugs you may want @ GitHub.
Posted on 13 April 2017 | 8:33 pm
The KDE Connect Indicator
(fork) PPA maintainer is not available any more, and I was asked to create a new PPA.
Since I'm a KDE Connect Indicator user myself, I couldn't say no, so I created a new KDE Connect Indicator PPA, which provides packages for Ubuntu 17.04, 16.10 and 16.04 / Linux Mint 18.x.
I didn't upload packages for Ubuntu 14.04 / Linux Mint 17.x because I couldn't build the latest KDE Connect for this Ubuntu version due to newer dependencies, and Ubuntu 14.04 has a pretty old KDE Connect version.
The KDE Connect Indicator (fork) developer is also looking for someone that can create and maintain Flatpack and Snap packages. If you can help, see THIS
In case you're not familiar with KDE Connect Indicator, this is an indicator / tray for KDE Connect. Using KDE Connect, you can mirror Android notifications on the desktop, easily send and receive files from an Android device to your desktop (and the other way around), control desktop media players from Android, share the clipboard between your Android device and desktop, and more.
Install KDE Connect Indicator fork in Ubuntu or Linux Mint via new PPA
As a reminder, KDE Connect depends on quite a few KDE packages. You may want to save the KDE package list that's installed to make it easier to remove in the future, in case you want to remove them ("apt autoremove" won't remove all of them, at least in Ubuntu).
To add the new KDE Connect Indicator fork PPA and install the app in Ubuntu 17.04, 16.10 or 16.04 / Linux Mint 18.x, use the following commands:
sudo add-apt-repository ppa:webupd8team/indicator-kdeconnect
sudo apt update
sudo apt install indicator-kdeconnect
You can also download the latest KDE Connect Indicator deb from GitHub
, but you won't receive updates through your system's update manager. For Ubuntu 16.04 and 16.10 / Linux Mint 18, you'll also need a newer KDE Connect version for the indicator to work. KDE Connect 1.0.3 is available for Ubuntu 16.04 / Linux Mint 18 and Ubuntu 16.10 in the PPA.
If you encounter bugs, report them @ GitHub
Posted on 7 April 2017 | 10:56 pm
Developed by Tony George, who's also behind other fairly popular applications such as Selene Media Converter, TimeShift backup tool, and more, Polo is only available for users who donate for now. The stable release will be available for all users, however, those who donate will get a few extra features.
Polo is a new file manager that aims at providing features that are missing from popular file managers. The application is currently in beta, and it lacks some feature, but it already looks very promising.
For example, the developer wants to include built-in support for multiple cloud storage services
like Dropbox, Google Drive and others, using rclone
as a backend.
Another feature that's missing in many graphical file managers is being able to browse archives as if they were folders. This is another feature that Polo should get before its first stable release. There should also be a built-in GUI for creating archives, similar to the one used by 7zip in Windows.
These two features are currently not available in Polo.
The current Polo beta 3 already includes quite a few interesting features though. The file manager supports tabs, along with multiple panes. You can use 2 panes, either vertical or horizontal, and even 4 panes:
There are context menu items to easily copy files or folders from one pane to another, as well as a middle toolbar that provides these, along with other options.
Another cool feature available in the Polo Beta 3 version I tested is session support. Polo remembers the last session and it reloads it the next time it runs. It restores not only open tabs and the pane layout, but also open directories.
The Polo toolbar and pathbar are highly configurable, allowing you to enable or disable various buttons:
You can also configure the toolbar to display large icons, show only labels, labels beside icons, and use a dark background.
|Polo file properties - audio info|
Other Polo features worth mentioning:
- multiple views: list, icons, tiles and media;
- easily open folders as root (with pkexec support);
- extended details when replacing existing files;
- statusbar that displays the number of files, folders (including hidden), along with available disk space and a disk space indicator, and the filesystem type;
- bookmarks support (web browser-like: a star is displayed at the right of the pathbar);
- media view: when Polo detects you're browsing a folder containing photos or videos, it switches to a 256x256 size icon view to make it easier to browse through items;
- media info in the file properties dialog, which displays EXIF tags (such as exposure, iso, camera model and much more) and audio info (artist, album, track name, along with audio format, bit rate, etc.), PDF metadata, etc.
- tabs can be renamed;
- keyboard shortcuts;
- toolbar button and context menu to open current folder in a terminal.
Work in progress
Besides built-in cloud service and archive support, the developer also wants to add support for Nemo extensions in the future.
The audio preview feature that was available in Nautilus 2, which allowed hovering over audio files to preview them, might be implemented as well.
One feature that won't be implemented is desktop handling (drawing the wallpaper / desktop icons).
I should also mention that in its current state, Polo is not suitable for daily use.
While in my test, I only encountered two major bugs (very slow copying folders with a large number of files and the app crashes when entering a folder with a large number of images), there are a few major features that are missing, like support for drag'n'drop and trash, along with many missing bits and pieces (like type-ahead). And, of course, there are some bugs as well. But that's to be expected since Polo is beta software.
The next beta version is expected to be released on April 15 (initially it was April 8, but it was delayed).
Getting Polo file manager
Like I mentioned in the beginning of the article, Polo is currently only available for users who donate. The stable version will be available for all, with some extra features for donors.
Check out the Polo tag on Tony George's website for how to donate, along with more information about Polo, including completed and pending feature status.
Posted on 7 April 2017 | 10:19 pm
Ubuntu 18.04 LTS will go back to using GNOME as the default desktop environment, instead of Unity.
In what comes as a big surprise for many, Mark Shuttleworh, the founder of Ubuntu and Canonical, explains on the Ubuntu Insights website that Canonical is ending their "investment in Unity8, the phone and convergence shell".
Existing LTS releases will continue to be maintained, so Unity 7 should still see some bug fixes in the future. However, with Ubuntu 18.04 LTS (to be released in April, 2018), the default desktop environment will be GNOME.
While Mark doesn't explicitly says "GNOME Shell", I assume that's what he means, especially since Unity 7 has been in maintenance mode for quite a few Ubuntu releases.
"I took the view that, if convergence was the future and we could deliver it as free software, that would be widely appreciated both in the free software community and in the technology industry, where there is substantial frustration with the existing, closed, alternatives available to manufacturers. I was wrong on both counts.Check out the complete article HERE.
In the community, our efforts were seen fragmentation not innovation. And industry has not rallied to the possibility, instead taking a ‘better the devil you know’ approach to those form factors, or investing in home-grown platforms. What the Unity8 team has delivered so far is beautiful, usable and solid, but I respect that markets, and community, ultimately decide which products grow and which disappear".
- Mark Shuttleworth
What do you think?
Posted on 6 April 2017 | 11:24 pm
PB For Desktop 5.0.0 was released today, bringing some important enhancements and fixes, like support for SMS mirroring, improved reconnection (in case the network gets disconnected), and more.
In case you're not familiar with PB For Desktop, this is an unofficial desktop application for Pushbullet
, a service somewhat similar to KDE Connect
(but with no KDE dependencies).
Using it, you can mirror Android notifications on your desktop, send and receive SMS using your Android devices from the desktop, with autocomplete for contacts, and more.
I wrote more about PB For Desktop HERE, so check out our previous article for more about both PB For Desktop and Pushbullet.
The most important change in the latest PB For Desktop 5.0.0 is the addition of SMS notification mirroring (Android) and rich application pushes. Previously, mirroring notifications from Android to the desktop worked for most applications, but it didn't work for SMSs.
Another important change is the addition of a more advanced automatic reconnect feature along with connectivity handling. This should fix issues with PB For Desktop not reconnecting automatically after Internet / network gets disconnected (including when resuming from suspend) in some cases.
If this still fails for some reason, there's a PB For Desktop tray / indicator menu entry that allows you to reconnect it manually (this was available in previous versions), but hopefully that's no longer needed. Furthermore, an offline state tray icon was added so you can easily see if the app is not online.Other changes in PB For Desktop 5.0.0 include:
- improved memory & CPU resource usage;
- added interface font size control;
- reduced download and application size by 1/3;
- fixed application name and title of mirrored pushes;
- fixed title and body for API url pushes;
- fixed an issue related to snooze mode.
Also, with this release, the ARM package was removed due to an upstream issue.
Download PB For Desktop
Note that using PB For Desktop requires a Pushbullet
account (free or pro). You'll also need to install the Pushbullet mobile application on your Android
(notification mirroring is not supported for iOS unless you use a MacOS device) device.
(binaries available for Linux: deb, rpm and AppImage, Mac and Windows, as well as the source)Report any bugs you may find @ GitHub.
Fix PB For Desktop AppIndicator not being displayed in Ubuntu 17.04
A. Fix the menu entry:
Like I mentioned in the previous article on WebUpd8, AppIndicators doesn't work for Electron applications (and PB For Desktop is an Electron app) in Ubuntu 17.04. To fix this manually, see our previous article
or follow these instructions to fix it for PB For Desktop:
B. Fix the autostart file.
mkdir -p ~/.local/share/applications/
cp /usr/share/applications/pb-for-desktop.desktop ~/.local/share/applications/
sed -i 's/^Exec.*/Exec=env XDG_CURRENT_DESKTOP=Unity \"\/opt\/PB for Desktop\/pb-for-desktop\"/' ~/.local/share/applications/pb-for-desktop.desktop
To proceed, fix the application menu entry (see above), then make sure PB For Desktop is not already running. Next, start the application from Unity Dash - the PB For Desktop indicator should be working now. From the indicator menu, enable it to autostart on login.
Since PB For Desktop overwrites the the autostart file, we'll make a copy and use that instead of the original file:
cp ~/.config/autostart/pb-for-desktop.desktop ~/.config/autostart/pb-for-desktop-fixed.desktop
sed -i 's/^Exec.*/Exec=env XDG_CURRENT_DESKTOP=Unity \"\/opt\/PB for Desktop\/pb-for-desktop\"/' ~/.config/autostart/pb-for-desktop-fixed.desktop
And finally, disable PB For Desktop from starting automatically on login from its indicator menu (it will still start automatically, using the newly created autostart file).
Posted on 6 April 2017 | 2:03 am
Polychromatic, an unofficial GUI and tray applet for configuring Razer peripherals on Linux, was updated to version 0.3.8 today, bringing a completely overhauled tray / AppIndicator applet which only shows options relevant to your device(s), along with other changes.
Polychromatic uses Razer Drivers
(unofficial) under the hood, which supports quite a few Razer peripherals, including:
- keyboards: BlackWidow Chroma and Chroma v2, BlackWidow Ultimate 2013 and 2016, BlackWidow Classic, BlackWidow X Ultimate, Ornata, DeathStalker Chroma;
- mice and mousemats: DeathAdder Chroma, DeathAdder Elite, Firefly, Mamba, Mamba Tournament Edition, Naga Hex and Hex v2, Razer Ouroboros 2012;
- other devices: Blade Pro, Blade Stealth, Kraken 7.1 Chroma and v2, Razer Core.
For a complete list of supported Razer peripherals, check out THIS page.
Using Polychromatic, you can change effects, brightness and color modes, and create application profiles, though this doesn't seem to be supported for mice - or at least I don't have this option for my Razer Ouroboros mouse.
From the Polychromatic tray applet, you can quickly set effects, brightness and modes, change application profiles and DPI on the fly, and more.
Changes in Polychromatic 0.3.8 include:
|Polychromatic tray applet running in Linux Mint 18.1 (Cinnamon)|
- overhauled tray applet / AppIndicator:
- only show options relevant to the selected device;
- you can now use it to change the mouse DPI;
- mproved support for devices that have separate logo/scroll lighting options;
- displays the current status for effects, brightness, DPI and color;
- displays saved colors and allows switching between them;
- a new option was added which allows restarting the Razer Drivers daemon;
- improved selection for changing icons;
- macros, game modes and profiles only show if the device supports them;
- ultimate (non-RGB) keyboards present shades of green;
- UI improvements and various under the hood fixes.
Two features were temporarily dropped with Polychromatic 0.3.8. Startup Settings is no longer available because it was unreliable, though this should come back with the next major release. The second feature that was temporarily dropped is the daemon options, because the latest daemon version doesn't read them.
Furthermore, with this release, there are Polychromatic packages available for Fedora and openSUSE.
Note that the new option to change the mouse DPI from the tray applet doesn't seem to have an option to configure the DPI values. For my Razer Ouroboros mouse, it lists 5 scan resolutions, which I suspect are what the mouse provides by default.
Also, in my test under Ubuntu 17.04, when changing the DPI from the Polychromatic tray applet, the current DPI value it displays is "0" instead of the actual value. This didn't occur in my test under Linux Mint 18.1 though.
For an alternative to Polychromatic for mice only, that doesn't use Razer Drivers
under the hood (useful if Razer Drivers doesn't support your device or if you're having issues with it), you may want to take a look at RazerCfg.
Install Polychromatic (and Razer Drivers) in Ubuntu or Linux Mint
Before installing Polychromatic, you'll need to install Razer Drivers from its official PPA. Note that to be able to install Razer Drivers, you'll need to make sure the "universe" repository is enabled (via Software & Updates)!
To add the PPA and install Razer Drivers in Ubuntu 17.04, 16.10 or 16.04 / Linux Mint 18, use the following commands:
sudo add-apt-repository ppa:terrz/razerutils
sudo apt update
sudo apt install python3-razer razer-kernel-modules-dkms razer-daemon razer-doc
sudo modprobe razerkbd
Note: the Razer Drivers PPA provides packages for Ubuntu 14.04 / Linux Mint 17, but Polychromatic doesn't work with this Ubuntu version because it depends on webkit2gtk, which is not available for Ubuntu 14.04.
Now you can install Polychromatic, by using its official PPA. To add the PPA and install it in Ubuntu 17.04, 16.10 or 14.04 / Linux Mint 18, use the following commands:
sudo add-apt-repository ppa:lah7/polychromatic
sudo apt update
sudo apt install polychromatic
If you don't want to add the Polychromatic PPA, you can download the deb from its GitHub releases
The Polychromatic Tray Applet and Controller are available as separate items in the menu / Unity Dash, so you'll have to launch them separately.
If your Razer device is listed in the supported peripherals list but is not detected by Polychromatic, try restarting the daemon, either from Polychromatic Controller (on the Daemon tab > Daemon Service > Restart) or the tray (Advanced > Restart Daemon) and / or try restarting your computer.
For installing Razer Drivers and Polychromatic in other Linux distributions, see the following pages:Report any bugs you may find on GitHub: Polychromatic | Razer Drivers.
Posted on 6 April 2017 | 1:22 am
Streamlink 0.5.0 was released yesterday, bringing support for streaming videos from Google Drive / Google Docs, along with other improvements.
Forked from Livestreamer
, which is no longer maintained, Streamlink is a command line tool (and API) that can be used to stream videos from various streaming services, such as Twitch, YouTube Live and many more, and play them using your favorite video player, be it VLC, mpv, and more.
It is is available for Linux, Windows, and Mac OS.Changes in Streamlink 0.5.0 include:
- added support for streaming videos stored on Google Drive / Google Docs;
- added support for BBC iPlayer live and VOD, along with support for HLS streams;
- add support for Beam VOD and HLS streams for live;
- added support for camsoda.com;
- added new plugin: canlitv;
- added new plugin: garena;
- Aliez plugin now accepts any TLD;
- added support for avi/mov VOD streams for rtve;
- removed dead plugins such as blip.tv, gaminglive.tv, leon.tv, livestation.com and more.
For a complete list of supported streaming services, see THIS page.
Since our initial article about Streamlink, the tool has seen quite a few improvements, including support to use FFmpeg to mux separate video and audio streams, along with new plugins and much more. Check out the Streamlink GitHub releases page for a complete changelog.
Using the Streamlink command line interface is very simple. Here's an example using a Google Drive video. The first thing you need to do is run Streamlink with the link you want to stream, to see the available streams:
This should list the available formats:
[cli][info] Found matching plugin googledrive for URL https://drive.google.com/open?id=0B0tRrdcY7CwJWGdVdHEyYWpfTTQ
Available streams: 360p_alt, 480p_alt, 360p (worst), 480p, 720p, 1080p (best)
Next, simply add one of the available streams at the end of the command, and Streamlink will start streaming:
streamlink https://drive.google.com/open?id=0B0tRrdcY7CwJWGdVdHEyYWpfTTQ 1080p
By default, Streamlink uses VLC to play the stream, but you can specify a different video player by using the "--player" argument, e.g. "--player mpv" to use mpv
For more about using the Streamlink command line interface, check out THIS
Ubuntu / Linux Mint users can install Streamlink by using the main WebUpd8 PPA. To add the PPA and install Streamlink, use the following commands:
sudo add-apt-repository ppa:nilarimogard/webupd8
sudo apt update
sudo apt install streamlink
I didn't add a direct deb download link because the PPA provides quite a few dependencies required to install Streamlink.
For how to install Streamlink in other Linux distributions, Windows or Mac OS, see THIS page.
Report any bugs you may find @ GitHub
Posted on 6 April 2017 | 1:20 am
[Quick update] It looks like Dropbox isn't the only AppIndicator that doesn't work in Ubuntu 17.04 Zesty Zapus (under Unity) due to the change of XDG_CURRENT_DESKTOP from "Unity" to "Unity:Unity7".
Update (thanks Martin): the Dropbox AppIndicator no longer has this issue.Electron applications (such as the new Skype For Linux, WMail, PB For Desktop and many others)
are affected as well, but in a different way. For Electron applications, the indicator is not displayed at all in Ubuntu 17.04 Zesty Zapus under Unity.The fix
is similar to the one applied to the Dropbox indicator. Simply run the application with "env XDG_CURRENT_DESKTOP=Unity". For example, to start Skype For Linux, you would use:
To make the fix permanent
env XDG_CURRENT_DESKTOP=Unity skypeforlinux
, copy the application desktop file from /usr/share/applications/
, then edit the file and change the "Exec" line by adding "env XDG_CURRENT_DESKTOP=Unity" (without the quotes) immediately after "Exec=".
Some applications are set to start automatically and in that case, you'll have to edit the desktop file from ~/.config/autostart/
in the same way.
Note that some applications overwrite any changes made to their autostart files, located in ~/.config/autostart/
. A way around this is to rename the autostart file, then in the application settings, set the application not to start on login. This way, the modified autostart file will be used (which has a different name and contains the workaround).
Posted on 5 April 2017 | 3:36 am
Update: this issue was fixed (thanks Martin), although you may still encounter it in other applications.The Dropbox indicator is broken in Ubuntu 17.04 Zesty Zapus (currently in beta): the menu doesn't work and Dropbox uses a different icon
, probably because it tries to use the tray instead of the indicator.
This is caused by the fact that the XDG_CURRENT_DESKTOP environment variable was changed from "Unity" to "Unity:Unity7" for Ubuntu 17.04.Until this is fixed in Dropbox, here's a quick fix / workaround
. To get the Dropbox indicator to work in Ubuntu 17.04 Zesty Zapus (with Unity), you'll need to launch Dropbox with "env XDG_CURRENT_DESKTOP=Unity", like this:
env XDG_CURRENT_DESKTOP=Unity dropbox start -i
To get this to work automatically is a bit tricky because Dropbox overwrites any modifications to its autostart file.
Here are all the steps required to fix the Dropbox indicator menu in Ubuntu 17.04 Zesty Zapus so that Dropbox works when you login / when launched from the menu:
- rename the Dropbox autostart file from ~/.config/autostart and edit it, changing the "Exec" line to "Exec=env XDG_CURRENT_DESKTOP=Unity dropbox start -i";
- disable the built-in Dropbox autostart because it automatically creates an autostart file.
- optional: if you want to also fix the Dropbox menu entry (this isn't used in most cases since Dropbox starts automatically), copy the Dropbox desktop file from /usr/share/applications/ to ~/.local/share/applications/, so it's not overwritten by updates, and change the "Exec" line to "Exec=env XDG_CURRENT_DESKTOP=Unity dropbox start -i"
Initially this article mentioned using "dropbox autostart n" to disable Dropbox from autostarting using its default desktop file, but that apparently only works once now. So here are exact step by step instructions on fixing the Dropbox indicator menu in Ubuntu 17.04, with commands to simplify things.1.
Create a new autostart .desktop file for Dropbox, based on the default one, but modifying the Exec line to use XDG_CURRENT_DESKTOP=Unity
cp ~/.config/autostart/dropbox.desktop ~/.config/autostart/start_dropbox.desktop
sed -i 's/^Exec=.*/Exec=env XDG_CURRENT_DESKTOP=Unity dropbox start -i/' ~/.config/autostart/start_dropbox.desktop
Stop Dropbox and start it using XDG_CURRENT_DESKTOP=Unity
so you can access its settings:
env XDG_CURRENT_DESKTOP=Unity dropbox start -i
In the Dropbox AppIndicator menu, select "Preferences", then disable "Start Dropbox on system startup".4.
Optional: modify the Dropbox menu entry to use XDG_CURRENT_DESKTOP=Unity
mkdir -p ~/.local/share/applications/
cp /usr/share/applications/dropbox.desktop ~/.local/share/applications/
sed -i 's/^Exec=.*/Exec=env XDG_CURRENT_DESKTOP=Unity dropbox start -i/' ~/.local/share/applications/dropbox.desktop
The next time you login, the Dropbox indicator menu should now work and it should use the correct icon.
Posted on 5 April 2017 | 3:32 am
GNOME Twitch (not an official GNOME app) 0.4.0 was released recently, bringing improved chat moving and resizing, re-enabled notifications, along with improved stability and more.
The application was updated 3 days ago, but there was a bug that prevented it from building in Ubuntu 16.10, so I preferred to wait until it's fixed so I could update the PPA.
GNOME Twitch is an application to watch Twitch
streams on your desktop, without using Flash or a web browser. It requires GTK 3.20 or newer so it only works in fairly new Linux distributions, e.g. Ubuntu 16.10 and newer.
Using it, you can easily search for channels and games, follow streams with or without a Twitch account (it supports logging in to your Twitch account) and more. The application supports 4 player backends (GStreamer Cairo, OpenGL and Clutter, as well mpv) and it ships with a customizable chat.
Changes in GNOME Twitch 0.4.0 include:
- the chat can now be easily moved and resized when it's undocked (see screenshot above). To do this, select "Move & resize chat" (which will add a red outline around the chat), then drag / resize the chat using your mouse;
- the notifications are enabled again - you can click them to start playing a channel (in Unity, a GTK dialog box is displayed as a notification so you can click it to open the stream - that's because Unity's notifications don't support click actions);
- you can now filter channels by language. To do this, you'll need to select a language in the Language filter drop-down, available in the GNOME Twitch settings;
- the application now supports searching for offline channels - this can be done by clicking on the drop-down at the right of the search bar;
- display all stream qualities, including special ones like 720p60;
- display all chat badges, including temporary ones;
- dynamic loading of items in containers, which speeds up the startup and refresh times;
- the notification bar can now queue notifications and it can also display errors now;
- the viewer count is now displayed for games (just like channels, this is displayed on hover);
- improved build system.
Even though it includes quite a few enhancements, the latest GNOME Twitch 0.4.0 release is mainly focused on stability and better error handling and reporting. Even so, according to the release
notes, there are still bugs and crashes, "but hopefully there will be a significant decrease in both
Install GNOME Twitch 0.4.0 in Ubuntu 16.10 or 17.04
GNOME Twitch is available in the official Ubuntu 16.04 and newer repositories, but it's an older version (0.1.0 for Ubuntu 16.04, 0.2.1 for Ubuntu 16.10 and 0.3.1 for Ubuntu 17.04). To install the version from the official repositories, use the following command:
sudo apt install gnome-twitch
To install the latest GNOME Twitch in Ubuntu 16.10 or 17.04, you can use the main WebUpd8 PPA. To add the PPA and install it, use the commands below:
sudo add-apt-repository ppa:nilarimogard/webupd8
sudo apt update
sudo apt install gnome-twitch
If you don't want to add the PPA, you can grab the deb from HERE
(note: you'll need GNOME Twitch as well as at least one player backend - make sure both are the latest version).
By default, installing GNOME Twitch should also install the GStreamer Cairo backend. If you want to install the other player backends as well (you can remove those that you don't plan on using), use the following command:
sudo apt install gnome-twitch-player-backend-mpv-opengl gnome-twitch-player-backend-gstreamer-clutter gnome-twitch-player-backend-gstreamer-opengl
Note that no player backend is selected by default and enabling one is required to play a stream. To enable a player backend, open the GNOME Twitch Settings and on the Players tab, select a backend:
For other Linux distributions, see the GNOME Twitch package section @ GitHub. Report any bugs you may encounter @ GitHub.
Posted on 5 April 2017 | 3:09 am
The application, which was originally developed by Adobe, is available for Linux, Windows and MacOS.
Since I haven't written about Brackets in a while, here's a quick list of its main features:
Changes in Brackets 1.9 include:
- live preview: see your changes in real time in a web browser (by default, this only supports Google Chrome, but there's also experimental support for other browsers - you can enable it from the Brackets File menu);
- inline editor: simply put your mouse cursor on a CSS ID, press Ctrl + E and Brackets displays the CSS selectors inline;
- supports extensions and comes with a built-in extension manager, with hundreds of themes and extensions available to install.
A complete changelog is available HERE.
- reverse inspect in Live Preview (clicking an element in Live Preview highlights the corresponding tag in the source code);
- the application now supports "Replace All" in Find & Replace along with batch operation;
- the Extension Manager now displays the download count for listed extension, and it allows sorting based on download count or published date. Thanks to this, you can easily find the most popular and the latest extensions;
- focus can now be swapped between panes using a keyboard shortcut (Alt + w);
- language mode can now be changed for untitled documents (and code coloringand code hints are now supported for such documents);
- GitHub organizations can now own Brackets extensions and update them.
Important! There are two issues with Brackets on Linux.
The first is that to close the application, you must click the close button twice.
And the second issue is that the official Brackets Debian / Ubuntu debs depend on libgcrypt11, which is not available in Ubuntu versions newer than 14.10.
This last issue is fixed if you install libgcrypt11 from an older Ubuntu version, if you upgraded from Ubuntu versions older than 15.04 (so libgcrypt11 is still installed on your system), or if use the WebUpd8 Brackets PPA (there are also direct PPA deb download links below), which should work in any Debian-based Linux distribution, including Ubuntu, Linux Mint and so on.
For more about Brackets, check out its website and wiki.
(32bit and 64bit debs - only work with Ubuntu 14.10 or older unless you install libgcrypt11 manually or use the PPA -, MacOS and Windows binaries)
To install the latest Brackets in Ubuntu 17.04, 16.10, 16.04 or 14.04 / Linux Mint 18.x or 17.x / Debian 8+ (see how to add a PPA in Debian HERE) by using the WebUpd8 Brackets PPA, run the following commands:
sudo add-apt-repository ppa:webupd8team/brackets
sudo apt update
sudo apt install brackets
Alternatively, download the WebUpd8 Brackets PPA debs from HERE
users can install Brackets by using an unofficial copr repository
(not yet updated to version 1.9 at the time I'm posting this article).Arch Linux
users can install Brackets from AUR
(not yet updated to version 1.9 at the time I'm posting this article).
Posted on 24 March 2017 | 3:38 am
After being in development for six months, GNOME
3.24 was released
today, bringing improvements such as Night Light, weather information in the date / time indicator, along with updates to its applications, and more.
Changes in GNOME 3.24
One of the most interesting changes in the latest GNOME 3.24 is the addition of Night Light, a feature that is aimed at preventing eye strain.
With the Night Light option enabled, the color of the display changes based on the time of day, making the screen color warmer in the evening. It is is set to automatically follow the sunset and sunrise times for your location, but there's also an option to customize it.
The option to enable Night Light can be found in Settings > Displays:
With GNOME 3.24, the GNOME Shell notifications area (date time indicator) was improved, featuring a cleaner layout. Furthermore, Weather information for the current day is now displayed in the notifications area:
Note that the weather information gets its location from the Weather app. The location can be set to automatically follow your location, or you can specify it manually.
Another fairly important change in the latest GNOME 3.24 is the revamped user interface for Online Accounts, Printers and Users settings. More Settings improvements are planned for the future.
Other changes include:
Here are the new Printers (image via GNOME 3.24 release notes
because I don't currently have a printer to try it) and Settings:
- on machines with two graphics cards, you can now select the GPU to use when launching an application (via right clicking the app / game in the Activities). Under the hood, this uses vga_switcheroo with the switcheroo-control package . Note that switcheroo-control is not available in Ubuntu 17.04, at least for now, but is available in the GNOME 3 Staging PPA;
- icon theme (Adwaita) updates: improved various device, file type and application icons, including document and folder icons. The high resolution icons are now 512x512px (up from 256x256px);
- Wacom settings are now compatible with Wayland. Furthermore, Stylus configuration was improved, allowing styli to be configured independently;
- Flatpak now supports downloading URIs as a part of application installation. This allows applications like Spotify and Skype to be supported;
- toggle between power-off / suspend button on long-press;
- the mouse cursor size can now be changed (this should be available in Settings > Universal Access according to the changelog, however, it's not there in Ubuntu 17.04 for some reason, which does have gnome-control-center 3.24.0, but it's still available via Dconf: org > gnome > desktop > interface > cursor-size).
Here are a few of the updated Adwaita icons (the blue icon is the new Nautilus / Files icon and it's shipped with Nautilus, and not the icon theme):
GNOME 3.24 applicationsRecipes
is a new application added with GNOME 3.24:
The application includes recipes contributed by the GNOME community members and it allows adding and editing recipes, exporting and printing shopping lists, configurable quantities based on the number of servings, notes, as well as a hands-free cooking instructions mode.
, a game manager app that was available as a preview
for a while, is now considered stable, and it gained support for Libretro
While not available in Ubuntu 17.04 Zesty Zapus (currently under development) yet, GNOME Games is available in the GNOME Staging PPA
. However, it doesn't work properly on my system (no games are displayed, not even the default GNOME games), so here's a screenshot from the GNOME 3.24 release notes
The application includes extensions for Game Boy, Nintendo 64 and DS, and even Steam:
For more about GNOME Games, check out THIS
- can now automatically ask for a password if additional permissions are required to open a file or folder (e.g. a system folder where only root has access). There's no context menu to open files or folders as root - for that, see THIS article;
- F2 can now toggle between selection modes, full file name or only file name without extension;
- recent files are now always files that only the user accessed, rather than any program/daemon like Dropbox updating the access time.
Web (default GNOME web browser):
- improved overview with bigger thumbnails that automatically resize to fill the available space;
- includes new exposure and blacks editing tools;
- can now display GPS information.
- new address bar which is now visible at all time, except in web app mode;
- redesigned user interface for bookmarks management. Smart bookmarks support was removed;
- new popover that displays a list of open tabs;
- a more visible warning is displayed when accessing insecure password forms;
- Web now includesEasyList filters;
- added a new personal data dialog that allows viewing and clearing tracking data;
- added a new search engine dialog along with support for search engine bangs;
- experimental HTTPS Everywhere support. This is disabled by default and needs to be enabled at build time;
- experimental support for bookmarks sync between Web (Epiphany) browsers via Firefox Sync (it cannot sync with Firefox). This is disabled by default and needs to be enabled at build time.
- it can now handle apt and snap URLs;
- new icons that indicate when applications are installed;
- updated presentation for user ratings;
- it now displays the disk space an application is using in the installed view;
- added a setting for downloading updates on metered connections (available via Dconf under org > gnome > software > refresh-when-metered).
Other GNOME applications changes include:
- a new popover is displayed when clicking on a username, allowing you to start a conversation if the user is online, or request a notification when an offline user comes online;
- spell checking;
- can now run in the background.
- Builder includes ehanced support for various build systems, including Flatpak, Cmake, Meson and Rust. The app can now install and update SDKs and toolchains for Flatpak or Rust;
- Calendar now includes a week view.
Getting GNOME 3.24
Ubuntu GNOME 17.04 (currently in beta, to be released in April; it will ship with most of GNOME 3.24 with a few exceptions, such as Files / Nautilus and GNOME Software) and Fedora 26 (alpha release expected at the end of March) are among the Linux distributions that will ship with GNOME 3.24.
openSUSE Tumbleweed and Arch Linux should get the GNOME 3.24 update soon.
, GNOME 3.24 is 53% ready in unstable and 51% in testing. See THIS
page for more information.
For more information about GNOME 3.24, check out the official release notes.
Posted on 23 March 2017 | 11:42 pm
Albert, a Qt5 quick launcher, was updated to version 0.10.0 (and then 0.10.1 to fix some issues), introducing completion using the Tab key, two new extensions, and more.
The latest Albert 0.10 ships with two new extensions: MPRIS and SSH.
extension allows controlling MPRIS-capable media players, like Rhythmbox, VLC, Audacious and so on. It currently supports play, pause, next, previous and stop.
Note: the MPRIS extension is disabled by default so you'll need to enable it in the Albert Settings > Plugins.
To use it, a MPRIS-capable media player needs to be running, then simply type one of the supported commands in Albert, like pause:
extension makes ssh hosts from /etc/ssh/config
accessible by Albert. To use it, make sure the Secure Shell extension is enabled in Albert, then type the trigger (ssh) and Albert should list available ssh hosts, allowing you to connect to them.Other changes in Albert 0.10 include:
- tab completion using the Tab key. E.g., type 2+2, then select the calculator item, press Tab and Albert will display the result. Alternative actions have been moved to the Alt key (you need to hold Alt to show alternative actions);
- scrolling using the mouse wheel in the Albert input box now allows navigating through history;
- the files extension now allows browsing through paths not index by Albert - simply start your query with either / or ~, and Albert will assume it's a path. Thanks to the new tab completion, this makes it easy to navigate the filesystem;
- the application extension has a new option that allows ignoring OnlyShowIn and NotShowIn keys from desktop files (so you can access applications that are set not to be displayed in your current desktop environment)
- a new group of themes was added, called Spotlight (there are 3 themes available: Bright, Dark and Space);
- the terminal extension now supports aliases.
Install Albert in Ubuntu or Linux Mint via PPA
To install Albert in Ubuntu (in all supported versions, including the latest 17.04) or Linux Mint, you can use the main WebUpd8 PPA. Add the PPA and install Albert by using the following commands:
sudo add-apt-repository ppa:nilarimogard/webupd8
sudo apt update
sudo apt install albert
Alternatively, you can download the Albert deb from HERE
To use Albert, you'll have to assign it a keyboard shortcut, such as Ctrl + Space (make sure it's not already in use!) to invoke it. Also, Albert doesn't start automatically on login, so you'll have to add it to your startup applications manually.For installing Albert in other Linux distributions, how to use it, etc., see its documentation. If you encounter bugs, report them @ GitHub.
You may also want to check out Kupfer quick lauuncher
, a similar application that was recently ported to Python 3 and GTK 3 after 4 years of inactivity.
Posted on 23 March 2017 | 2:21 am
Streamlink Twitch GUI (previously Livestreamer Twitch GUI) is a multi-platform Twitch.tv browser.
The application is powered by Node.js, Chromium and Streamlink, though it can still use Livestreamer (which is no longer maintained) too.
Using it, you can easily browse Twitch.tv and open streams in your favorite video player, like VLC, Totem, mpv and others.Streamlink Twitch GUI features:
- supports both Streamlink as well as the deprecated Livestreamer;
- watch streams in the video player of your choice;
- watch multiple streams at once;
- integrated Twitch.tv login (OAuth) with access to subscriptions and followed channels and games;
- follow your favorite channels and games;
- filter streams by channel or broadcaster language;
- displays desktop notifications whenever a followed channel starts broadcasting;
- join the Twitch chat using different chat applications;
- customizable settings for streams (like default quality and buffer), video player parameters, GUI and more;
- individual channel settings;
- tray / appindicator which allows pausing the notifications;
- light and dark themes.
Streamlink Twitch GUI 1.2.0
Streamlink Twitch GUI 1.2.0 was released recently, upgrading to Twitch API v5. Thanks to this, the application has received support for browsing communities and accessing team pages.
Another fairly important change in this release is the addition of basic hotkeys:
- 0: go to homepage
- 1-8: visit various main menu routes (9 reserved for future VODs menu)
- F1: about
- F10: watching
- F11: login/logout
- F12: settings
- Slash: focus search bar
- Esc/Backspace: close modal dialog (or cancel action)
- Enter: confirm modal dialog and close it
- C: open chat (stream popup or channel page)
- F: follow / unfollow channel
- E: open Twitch emotes website (stream popup or channel page)
- U: copy channel URL (stream popup or channel page)
- S: subscribe channel (stream popup or channel page)
- Q/X: Close stream (stream popup)
- L: Toggle Streamlink/Livestreamer log (stream popup)
Other changes in Streamlink Twitch GUI 1.2.0 include displaying a confirmation when unfollowing a channel or game, restructured main menu as well as channel pages and followed games menu, along with various bug fixes.
A complete changelog is available on GitHub.
Note that Streamlink Twitch GUI uses VLC to play Twitch streams by default. if VLC is not installed or you want to use a different player, go to the app Settings > Player > Video player, then enter the executable for a different video player (e.g.: "mpv" - without the quotes).
Download Streamlink Twitch GUI
For how to install Streamlink Twitch GUI, see THIS
Note that to be able to use Streamlink Twitch GUI, you'll need Streamlink or Livestreamer. However, Livestreamer is no longer maintained and you may encounter issues, so Streamlink is recommended!
To install Streamlink Twitch GUI in Ubuntu, Linux Mint and derivates, use the following instructions.1. Install the required dependenciesInstall Streamlink
from the main WebUpd8 PPA (recommended)
Alternatively, you can also install Livestreamer:
sudo apt install livestreamer
If you want to use Livestreamer instead of Streamlink you'll need to open the Streamlink Twitch GUI settings, and on the Streamlink tab, select Livestreamer.
You'll also need x11-utils and xdg-utils. Install these packages in Ubuntu / Linux Mint using the following commands:
2. Download and install Streamlink Twitch GUI
sudo apt install x11-utils xdg-utils
Download the latest
Streamlink Twitch GUI binary from GitHub, place it in your home folder and extract it. Then, you can use the command below to move it to /opt:
3. Create a menu entry for Streamlink Twitch GUI
cd && sudo mv streamlink-twitch-gui /opt/
To create a menu entry, simply run the menu entry creation script that comes with Streamlink Twitch GUI:
If after running the command above you can't find Streamlink Twitch GUI in the menu / Unity Dash or the icon is missing, restart the session (logout / login).
Posted on 21 March 2017 | 4:10 am