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Saturday, May 24, 2008

APTonCD : Create local removable repository of downloaded packages

I have a really slow internet connection in the university i am studying in so for installing applications i have to usually keep my laptop powered on for considerable period of time this almost makes it impossible for me to remove my existing Ubuntu installation and do fresh new installation again as i risk losing all my downloaded packages.

APTonCD is a tool that can help you precisely in such situations . Whenever you install applications via synaptic/apt-get/aptitude the corresponding Debian files are downloaded and stored ( /var/cache/apt/archives) then they are installed on your system . APTonCD helps you create local repositories of these downloaded package files along with all its dependencies on a CD/DVD so that you could install these application on any computer whether internet connection is available or not using apt-get tool.

APTonCD is availble in Ubuntu official repositories and could be installed easily by issuing the following command in the terminal window :
sudo apt-get install aptoncd
After above step is completed you could launch APTonCD from (System->Administration->APTonCD ) .

Opening screen of APTonCD

Now to create ISO of packages presently availble on your system press "Create" button or to "Restore" from already created ISO/CD/DVD press "Restore" button .

When you click on "Create" button it shows all the packages available which could be used to create the local repository ISO . You can remove packages from the list or add more from alternate locations in this list.

After you have finalized packages with which you want to create local repository ISO clicking on the "Burn" button takes you to window where you finally chose what kind of media you would like to burn these files onto CD/DVD and location where to store this ISO created.

Once CD/DVD/ISO is created packages from it can be easily installed by clicking on the "Restore" button of the APTonCD . "Restore" basically copies files from CD/DVD back to APT cache so that when you install any package using apt-get/aptitude they can be installed quickly without having to download those packages from the internet.

Overall APTonCD is an extremely useful application that could help you reinstall ubuntu easily without having to worry much about downloading all the packages again .

Article Written by : Ambuj Varshney (
For Desktop on Linux Blog ,
(C) 2008 , Ambuj Varshney

Friday, May 23, 2008

Transforming your Ubuntu 8.04 Desktop to look like Mac OS X

Please read THIS, the link points to an Updated Article for Ubuntu 11.04.

MAC OS has been traditionally known for their impressive graphical interface and stability. Now even though i have been an avid Linux follower over the past 9 years I have been using Linux still i find my self attracted to MAC OS .Now even though these days it's possible to run Hackintosh on normal Intel hardware but it's not stable and well there are hardware compatibility issues . So well other alternative to using MAC OS is either to purchase MAC hardware(which would be naturally expensive) and run full fledged MAC OS or you could tweak and customize your Ubuntu desktop to look more like MAC OS X .

In this tutorial i describe step by step how to make your Ubuntu 8.04 desktop look more like MAC OS X Leopard :) .
Installing Cursor , GTK and Icon Theme

To install cursor,gtk and icon theme first download the package from the link given below :

Now to install the theme package we have created in the above step , go to (System -> Preferences -> Appearance) and click Install and point to our newly downloaded Mytheme.tar.gz archive.

This should start installing the theme package (Cursors/Icons/Theme) once installation is completed . Chose Customize in theme and click on Customize .

You will find a window like this:

Customize Dialog Box
In this window in Icons chose LeopardX , in Controls Mac4Lin_GTK_Aqua_v0.3 , in Window Border Mac4Lin_GTK_Aqua_v0.3 and in Pointers White Cursor .

If you have followed the steps properly the theme and icons should have been installed , and you should be able to see the new theme applied to your default desktop .

Enabling Compiz Graphic Effects and installing Mac4Lin Theme

Ubuntu 8.04 comes with Compiz Fusion pre-installed and on supported hardware offers a wide array of Visual Effect . Now depending on graphic hardware of computer one could chose from three level of Visual Effect (From
System -> Preferences -> Appearance )

None : - This mode causes Ubuntu to use Metacity instead of Compiz Fusion , with no visual effect

Basic : - Has only simple visual effects like shadows , fading windows-menus etc

Advanced : - Recommended for PC with descent graphic hardware , enables effects like wobbly windows, transparency , animated workspace switching etc
Visual Effect Dialog Box

However , compiz-fusion is capable of much more and you can enable more desktop effects /customize compiz by typing the following command in the terminal window : -
sudo apt-get install compizconfig-settings-manager
After completing above step , you can customize compiz by going to System > Preferences > Advanced Desktop Effects Settings .
After installation is over , open Terminal from (Applications -> Accessories -> Terminal ) and issue the following command to install emerald which is necessary for using themes in compiz .

sudo apt-get install emerald
After installation is over download MacOS X Emerald theme from this link :

Now open (System -> Preferences -> Emerald Theme Manager )

After Emerald theme manager opens click on import and point to the downloaded theme package from withing the Theme Manager , you will find Mac4Lin Theme listed select the theme , click on refresh and quit the application .

Emerald Theme Manager

Mac like Dock with Avant Window Navigator

IMPORTANT : - To use AWN Compiz-Fusion should be up and running as mentioned in the step above

Avant Windows Navigator is cool little tool that allows you to have a cute looking dock at the bottom of the screen . Even though AWN is still very buggy, still because it is so feature rich and cool looking you could install it .

To install AWN you need to add extra repositories, now adding any additional repository carries certain amount of risk of screwing up your system so follow these step at your own risk :

To add repository :

echo "deb hardy main" | sudo tee -a /etc/apt/sources.list


echo "deb-src hardy main" | sudo tee -a /etc/apt/sources.list

After issuing above command type the following command to update your repositories :

sudo apt-get update
anf finally to install AWN issue the following command in the terminal window :

sudo apt-get install awn-manager-trunk awn-extras-applets-trunk
Now after completing above mentioned steps AWN should be properly installed , To Launch AWN go to (Applications -> Accessories -> Avant Window Navigator )

Now you could customize AWN by choosing to add more applets , configuring 3D effects for AWN etc by going to AWN Manager (
System -> Preferences -> Awn Manager )

Three ScreenShots of AWN Manager
Though the theme which AWN comes with preinstalled is also good , you might like to try this it's cool and very Mac like

you could install this theme through AWN Manager go to (System->Preferences->AWN manager) and go to themes there and click on "Add" and point it to the downloaded theme.

You will see a confirmation dialog box that theme has been added properly. Close AWN Manager and start it again and chose the theme just installed and press apply button to make this theme default theme of AWN.

This is how my AWN Dock looks(with the above theme installed) like : -


Desktop Widgets with Screenlets
Screenlets gives user a collection of impressive widgets that can be placed on desktop this is similar to feature available on Windows Vista and Mac OS X Dashboard , it gives impressive look to the desktop.

To install Screenlets type in the following command in the terminal window :
sudo apt-get install screenlets

Now , After the installation is over you can add Widgets/Screenlets on your desktop by going to (System -> Preferences -> Screenlets ) , you will find a dialog box like this from where you could add Screenlets onto the desktop .Also you might like to tick the checkbox "Autostart on login" so screenlets starts automatically when Gnome starts.

Changing the Log In Screen / GDM Theme

To change the Log In Screen/GDM Theme download the package from website listed below :

After downloading the package , open (System -> Administration -> Log in Window ) and there go to Local and click on Add and point to the downloaded theme package (osx-login.tar.gz) . Now you would find OSX-Login theme listed in the window , select OSX-Login and close the window . Logout and Login again you should find the new theme installed .

Log-in Window allows easy changing of the Login Screen Theme

Getting MAC OS X Leopard Wallpaper
Finally you can get MAC OS X Leopard wallpaper from the following website :

This is how my desktop looks after following all the above steps :

Article Written by : Ambuj Varshney (
For Desktop on Linux Blog ,
(C) 2008 , Ambuj Varshney

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Displaying sorted list(size wise) of Files/Folder on Linux

Even though i have a 120 GB HDD on my laptop and have dedicated a significant portion of hard disk space to Ubuntu still somehow every three or four months i run out of disk space . Also i am particularly bad at organizing stuff and well files are cluttered over my entire file system this makes tracking large files i don't need very difficult . Lots of application create a number of temporary files and these files also take significant amount of disk space and could be hard to track down if they are not created in /tmp .

The command I am discussing below helps you solve precisely this problem by giving you an ordered list (ordered in terms of size) of files and folders taking up space in your computer thus helping you find files/folder which are taking up significant amount of space :

du -sm *

Above command would display all the files and folder as well as their size as a list, however this is not a ordered list . To order the list we would need to pipe (that is send output of this command to another ) the output of the "du" command to "sort" command giving out list of files and folders sorted in ascending order according to the size.
du -sm * | sort -nr

Still there is a problem this is an entire list of files and folder in your file system , so if you have number of files and folders it will take number of screens to display . A better way would be to pipe the output of above command to "head" command to display only specified number of lines of output generated by "du -sm * | sort -nr " command .

du -sm *| sort -nr | head -15
Now the above command would display the top 15 files and folder according to their size .

Article Written by : Ambuj Varshney (
For Desktop on Linux Blog ,
(C) 2008 , Ambuj Varshney

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Converting PDF to PNG/JPG using ImageMagick in Linux

Being an undergrad student a lot of the lecture notes and study related material i have is in PDF format now a lot of times i have felt the need of carrying this material around, however carrying laptop around all the time is just not feasible.I have a Video Ipod that could store images and one could view them on the go however it cannot display pdf files so my search began for a tool that could actually convert PDF files into PNG that could be later loaded on to the ipod and viewed at one's convenience .

Note : The installation instruction below are for Ubuntu however they should work perfectly well on any other distro as long as you have ImageMagik and Ghost Script installed.

Installing ImageMagick
ImageMagick is a powerful command line image processing package with a number of features you could install it using the following command :

sudo apt-get install imagemagick
After installation is over to convert say sample.pdf to sample.png issue the following command

convert sample.pdf sample.png

convert sample.pdf sample.jpg

Now if sample.pdf has multiple pages ImageMagick would convert each individual page into a separate file for example : 1st page as sample-0.png , 2nd page as sample-1.png and so on .

However ImageMagick internally uses Ghostscript to convert the file to graphics image so resolution might be bit less and if you want to convert document into higher resolution image you could do so by using Ghostscript directly.

There are number of options available in convert which you could inquire by issuing convert -? command.

Article Written by : Ambuj Varshney (
For Desktop on Linux Blog ,
(C) 2008 , Ambuj Varshney

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Displaying Trash , Computer , Home and Network icon on Ubuntu Desktop

gconf-editor If you have been using Windows for a long time and are making transition to Ubuntu one of the first thing you notice is absence of Icons like Trash , Computer , Home and Network icon on the desktop. Though not a big problem and as you start using Ubuntu more and more you get used to this still if you want to display these icons on your desktop providing you easy access to Trash and Mounted Drives you can do so really easily by typing in following commands in the terminal window.

First open the terminal window from (Applications -> Accessories -> Terminal ) and type in the following command to launch gconf-editor :


You will get a window like this :

Now on the left side of the Pane in the window expand apps , inside apps expand nautilus and chose desktop (apps -> nautilus -> desktop )you will get a window like this :
In this window enable "computer_icon_visible" , "home_icon_visible" , "network_icon_visible" and "trash_icon_visible" your window should look like this :

close gconf-editor and you should find four icons on your desktop.
This is how my desktop looks , see the four icons on the top left of the screen :)

Article Written by : Ambuj Varshney (
For Desktop on Linux Blog ,
(C) 2008 , Ambuj Varshney

Friday, May 16, 2008

Installing Adobe Flash Player 10 (Beta) on Hardy Heron

Adobe Flash is one of the most popular software used to distribute interactive media over the internet with approximately 95% of Internet Connected computers having flash preinstalled.
Adobe on Thursday released Beta version of their latest Adobe Flash Player for Mac OS X , Windows and surprisingly Linux simultaneously (they have even started supporting Ubuntu from this release which is really a welcome sign) . It is one of the major release of Adobe after their merger with Macromedia.

Adobe Flash Player 10 includes a number of revolutionary features like automatically adjusting video quality without the need of re buffering between video played between Flash Player and Adobe Flash Media server providing a video which could be played un-interrupted, new Text Engine paving way for creating interactive e-books and online publications in additional languages in future , improved visual performance , native 3-D transformation and animation capabilities ( which essentially means since it is native performance would be especially good and file size would be small as all the processing would be done in client side ) , an extensible rich-text layout, graphics processing unit hardware acceleration ,a new low level Audio API solving audio latency problem , Adobe Pixel Blender filters and a number of graphics related addition.

Here are new features in Adobe Flash Player 10 taken from Adobe Flash website :

Key New Features

3D Effects - Easily transform and animate any display object through 3D space while retaining full interactivity. Fast, lightweight, and native 3D effects make motion that was previously reserved for expert users available to everyone. Complex effects are simple with APIs that extend what you already know.

Custom Filters and Effects - Create and share your own portable filters, blend modes, and fills using Adobe Pixel Bender™, the same technology used for many After Effects CS3 filters. Shaders in Flash Player are about 1KB and can be scripted and animated at runtime.

Advanced Text Layout - A new, highly flexible text layout engine, co-existing with TextField, enables innovation in creating new text controls by providing low-level access to text offering right-to-left and vertical text layout, plus support for typographic elements like ligatures.

Enhanced Drawing API - Runtime drawing is easier and more powerful with re-styleable properties, 3D APIs, and a new way of drawing sophisticated shapes without having to code them line by line.

Visual Performance Improvements – Applications and videos will run smoother and faster with expanded use of hardware acceleration. By moving several visual processing tasks to the video card, the CPU is free to do more.

The Immediate change users would notice is website using flash would be much snappier owing to fact Adobe Flash Player 10 instead of using only CPU for processing now uses Graphic card also for processing. Though Adobe still hasn't released 64 bit version of Adobe Flash Player which is bit disappointing .

Impressed you can read more about new additions to Adobe Flash Player 10 from Release Notes provided here .

Note : Since Adobe Flash Player 10 is a beta version so it will be buggy , so use it at your own risk .

Install Adobe Flash Player 10(beta) on Ubuntu 8.04 Hardy Heron

Removing existing version of Adobe Flash Player

If you already have Adobe Flash installed you can remove it by issuing the following commands in the terminal window( Applications -> Accessories -> Terminal )

sudo apt-get remove flashplugin-nonfree

Now we download the v.10 Package :

and now

tar -xvzf flashplayer10_install_linux_051508.tar.gz
This will extract files in directory install_flash_player_10_linux. Now to install finally issue the following commands :

sudo mv install_flash_player_10_linux/ /etc/alternatives


sudo ln -s /etc/alternatives/ /usr/lib/xulrunner-addons/plugins/
or alternatively if you want to use installer that came with Adobe Flash Player 10 to install Adobe Flash Player issue the following command :

cd install_flash_player_10_linux


After completing above step start Firefox(if firefox was running close it and start again) and in address bar type "about:plugins" you should see Adobe Flash Player 10 listed as shown in the figure below :

To remove the package and Install Flash Player v.9 issue the following commands in the terminal window :

sudo rm /etc/alternatives/

sudo rm /usr/lib/xulrunner-addons/plugins/

and finally to install Flash Player v.9 back :

sudo apt-get install flashplugin-nonfree

Article Written by : Ambuj Varshney (
For Desktop on Linux Blog ,
(C) 2008 , Ambuj Varshney

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Installing Google Applications in Ubuntu 8.04 Hardy Heron

Google has released a number of interesting softwares for Linux platform now because all of these softwares are closed sourced :( and better free open source alternatives are available these packages are not installed by default in most of the popular Linux distributions. Also being closed source means they are not available in Official repositories too. In this article we discuss how to install these software inside Ubuntu 8.04.

Note : All the installation instructions below are for 32 bit processor .

Google Picasa 2.7

Google Picasa is one of the more user friendly photo management software available , it is available on both Windows and Linux . It runs on Linux on top of Application Layer called Wine that allows Windows application to run on Linux . However this has some disadvantage firstly some windows application don't work as well as they do on windows , there are occasional application crashes, application freezes , also UI is bit less responsive however applications are still usable .

With version 2.7 Google Picasa brings a number of interesting features not available in many free open source photo management software available on the Linux platform like integration with the Web Album , improved support for importing images from camera etc .

Now to install Google Picasa launch terminal from (Applications -> Accessories -> Terminal) and issue the following command in the terminal window:



sudo dpkg -i picasa_2.7.3736-15_i386.deb
After completing above step you can launch Google picasa from (Applications -> Other -> Picasa )
Google Picasa in Action

Google Earth

Google Earth is probably one of the most popular and controversial Google application providing you with satellite view of the world to install Google Earth on your Ubuntu desktop follow the steps below.

Below we are giving link to 4.3 Beta version of google earth so it might be bit unstable if you want a stable version you can download it from this link :



chmod +x GoogleEarthLinux.bin



After issuing the above command you will find a dialog box like this asking for location where to install Google Earth

After installation is over you can launch Googleearth from (Applications -> Internet -> Google Earth )
Google Earth in Action

Google Desktop

Google Desktop allows one to full text search of a user's e-mail, computer files, music, photos, chat, and Web pages viewed,OpenOffice documents , PDF files and more .Now similar tools already existed on Linux like beagle (supported by Novell ) , meta tracker etc .However Google Desktop search is not based on any of these tools and uses its proprietary algorithms to search for files on the computer. So to install Google Desktop issue the following command in the terminal window:



sudo dpkg -i google-desktop-linux_current_i386.deb
After completing above step you can launch Google Desktop from (Applications -> Google Desktop -> Google Desktop ) initially it will take bit of your computer's idle time resources as it indexes files in your computer and creates database of them. You can change setting of Google Desktop from (Applications -> Google Desktop -> Google Desktop Preferences ).

Now once you launch Google Desktop you will see a Google Desktop icon on the top right corner of the menubar at the top as shown in the screenshot below.

By rightclicking on the icon you can set various preferences , also by double left clicking the icon brings up search box allowing you to search for files among the indexed files.
Google Desktop Search box

Article Written by : Ambuj Varshney (
For Desktop on Linux Blog ,
(C) 2008 , Ambuj Varshney

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Weather Information on your Ubuntu 8.04 desktop with Weatherbug

Weatherbug operates one of the largest weather network in the world providing information like local temperatures, wind speed, radar, and forecasts etc .Weatherbug widgets were already available on the Windows and Mac OS platform and now they have released their widgets for the Linux platform also providing weather information through user friendly widgets to people using Linux.

To install weatherbug issue the following command in the terminal window (Applications -> Accessories -> Terminal )

Note : Weatherbug needs Java Runtime Environment to be installed since it is a java application , also i have found that weatherbug for some reason does not work with open source gcj instead it needs Sun JRE . Inorder to run weatherbug you would have to install Sun JRE which could be done by typing the following command in the terminal window :

sudo apt-get install sun-java5-jre libswt3.2-gtk-java

To install weatherbug issue the following command in the terminal window :


sudo dpkg -i weatherbug-1.0-1.deb

After completing the installation you can launch weatherbug from (Applications -> Accessories -> Weatherbug )

Weatherbug Widget
This is how my desktop looks with Weatherbug widget

Article Written by : Ambuj Varshney (
For Desktop on Linux Blog ,
(C) 2008 , Ambuj Varshney

Managing Book Collection with Alexandria

A number of applications are available for managing you audio/video collection, now being an avid reader of books i have always felt the need of a software that could index and catalog book collection. Alexandria is a software that does just that it allows one to easily catalog book collection and manage them.

Alexandria is an open source application that has been written using Ruby programming language. It's interface has been designed using the Gtk2 toolkit. It is available in the Ubuntu 8.04 repositories and hence can be easily installed using synaptic or apt-get.

To install alexandria issue the following command in the terminal window (Applications-> Accessories -> Terminal)

sudo apt-get install alexandria

after the installation is over you can launch alexandria from Applications -> Office -> Alexandria Book Collection Manager

This is how alexandria looks

As soon as alexandria loads the first thing you notice is it's interface is not cluttered, the interface has been divided into two panes while the pane on the left is divided again into two part one part has My Library and has your entire book collection while the other pane has smart library which is something like a play list that exist in media managers, you can group books in these smart libraries.By default alexandria comes with th following Smart Libraries and you can add more as you need them : Owned , Favorite , Wishlist , Read , Loaned

Smart Libraries

To add books you have two options either you can add books based on it's ISBN or Name and Alexandria will search the internet for those books and give you relevant results or you can add book manually providing all the details of the book.

Adding book manually in Alexandria and by search for Title

When you actually search for book using ISBN or Name of the book Alexandria finds all the information relating to the book like it's title , author , publisher , publishing year , if cover is found it's JPG cover too and other information relating to the book.
Alexandria after adding few books (note cover of books is also downloaded if found)

Once a book is added you can add more information or modify existing informatio about the book . You can assign Rating , tags , Smart Library , notes etc to a book you have already added by double clicking on the icon of the book in alexandria.
Modifying book info in Alexandria

Now alexandria searchs selected online sources for information related to books , now you can remove or add more sources from (Edit -> Preferences -> Providers ) you will find a dialog box like this .

Besides all this there is an option of exporting entire library into different formats like (CSV , ONIX XML , BibTex , iPod Notes , HTML Web pages) now of these the best option is exporting it to HTML web page where information about books name , isbn , cover , title etc are exported into a single webpage which could be quite useful if you want to take your information of collection of books to a PC which is not running Linux or doesn't have Alexandria installed.

This is how Library exported as WebPage looks

Conclusion :
Alexandria is an extremely user firendly application that makes the job of managing book collection really simple . With an attractive interface and ability to add books with ISBN or Title,Smart Libraries and Rating based sorting of books, Alexandria is really simple to use. If you are one with huge collection of books and find it difficult to keep track of them Alexandria is just the right software for you.

Article Written by : Ambuj Varshney (
For Desktop on Linux Blog ,
(C) 2008 , Ambuj Varshney

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Replacing Nautilus with quicker and faster PCMan File Manager in Ubuntu 8.04

Nautilus is the default file manager used in Gnome by most of the Linux distributions, now even though nautilus is extremely user friendly and has wide array of features(including ability to extend it's feature set with scripts and extensions) . All these features does make nautilus bit resource hungry especially if you are using older machine. In this article i discuss PCMan File Manger which is a lightweight alternative to nautilus and how to set various menus in Ubuntu to using PCMan File manager instead of using nautilus.

PCMan File Manager is extremely small and fast file manager that supports Tabbed Browsing. It is not as feature rich as Nautilus which probably helps it by making it much faster compared to nautilus which take a significant amount of time to load , however it does the job of file manager well . It uses multi threading to load large directories quickly and even shows thumbnails of images. It has been created using GTK2 Libraries and it's website claims it can start in one second .

Here is the list of features (Taken from it's website ) :-

* Extremly fast and lightweight
* Can be started in one second on normal machine
* Tabbed browsing (Similiar to Firefox)
* Drag & Drop support
* Files can be dragged among tabs
* Load large directories in reasonable time
* File association support (Default application)
* Basic thumbnail support
* Bookmarks support
* Handles non-UTF-8 encoded filenames correctly
* Provide icon view and detailed list view
* Standard compliant (Follows
* Clean and user-friendly interface (GTK+ 2)

To install PCMan File Manager issue the following command in the terminal window(assuming you are running Ubuntu 8.04 though it should work on any different version of Ubuntu )

sudo apt-get install pcmanfm

After issuing the above command launch PCMan File Manger from (Applications -> System Tools -> PCMan File Manager)

PCMan File Manager in Action

Now if you want to load all the entries in the Places menu of the bar at the top in PCMan File Manager by default instead of using nautilus you can do it easily by following these steps below :

Firstly open PCMan File Manger now go to this directory by typing in :


in the address bar of the PCMan File Manager

Now go to ( Tools-> Open Current Folder as Root ) in the PCMan File Manager to open /usr/share/applications folder in super user mode.

PCMan File Manager warning about running in Super User mode

Now open the following files :




Open the above files in the text editor and find an entry starting with Exec and change it to look like this( you might like to make backup of these files before modifying ) :

For nautilus-computer.desktop: Exec=pcmanfm /

For nautilus-folder-handler.desktop: Exec=pcmanfm %U

After completing above steps any entry you click in Places submenu should open quickly in PCMan File Manager .

Article Written by : Ambuj Varshney (
For Desktop on Linux Blog ,
(C) 2008 , Ambuj Varshney

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Tweaking Ubuntu 8.04 Hardy Heron with Ubuntu Tweak

A few days back i discovered a really neat tool called Ubuntu-Tweak which allows one to tweak Ubuntu easily using wizard based approach and easy to use attractive interface, which otherwise might take a number of cryptic commands and modification to config file to do . The tool basically allows one to tweak a number of things in Gnome running on Ubuntu which is difficult to do otherwise.

Some of the features of Ubuntu-Tweak includes (taken from Ubuntu-Tweak website ):
Features of Ubuntu Tweak

* View of Basic System Information(Distribution, Kernel, CPU, Memory, etc.)
* GNOME Session Control
* Auto Start Program Control
* Show/Hide and Change Splash screen
* Show/Hide desktop icons or Mounted Volumes
* Show/Hide/Rename Computer, Home, Trash icon or Network icon
* Tweak Metacity Window Manager’s Style and Behavior
* Compiz Fusion settings, Screen Edge Settings, Window Effects Settings, Menu Effect Settins
* GNOME Panel Settings
* Nautilus Settings
* Advanced Power Management Settings
* System Security Settings

With Ubuntu-Tweak 0.3 there is additional feature of assigning applications/actions to short cut keys too :) .

So here are the instructions on how to install Ubuntu-Tweak on your Ubuntu 8.04 Installation :

Open up the terminal window(Applications -> Accessories -> Terminal ) and type in the following command :

First we add repository where Ubuntu-Tweak is located with the following commands

echo "
deb hardy main" | sudo tee -a /etc/apt/sources.list


echo "
deb-src hardy main" | sudo tee -a /etc/apt/sources.list

After this we actually install Ubuntu-Tweak with the following commands

sudo apt-get update

sudo apt-get install ubuntu-tweak

After issuing the above command Ubuntu-Tweak should be properly installed and you could launch it from (Applications -> System Tools -> Ubuntu Tweak )

Opening screen of Ubuntu-Tweak 0.3 on Hardy Heron

Some other screen shots of Ubuntu-Tweak

(C) 2008 , Ambuj Varshney (
For Linux on Desktop Blog

Monday, May 05, 2008

Converting and Transferring audio/video to iPod / iPhone on Ubuntu

Converting videos to a form playable on iPod/iPhone and managing music of iPod has always been a problem on the Linux platform.This problem is compounded by the lack of documentation available. Now after spending some time searching for solution to this problem of transferring and managing music on iPod i finally came up with a solution to this problem which i have tried documenting in this article.

Note : This documentation was written and tried on Ubuntu 8.04 so if you are using any other distro of Linux or version of Ubuntu there might be need of modifying the instructions.

Converting videos to iPod format

avidemux is a neat application that allows one to easily convert videos to a form capable of being played on iPod and a number of other gadgets. avidemux has a neat looking GUI and is very easy to use and install.

Installing avidemux

To install avidemux issue the following command in the terminal window :

sudo apt-get install avidemux

After installing you can launch avidemux from (Applicatons -> Sound & Videos -> Avidemux )

This is how avidemux looks

After loading avidemux open the file you want to encode in iPod format in avidemux by clicking on the Open button and selecting the file you want to convert.

Now after the video is loaded into avidemux , in avidemux go to Auto->IPOD(mpeg4) you will find dialog box like this.

Now depending on whether you are using iPod video (320x240 or 640x480) , iPod nano or iPhone(PSP 480x272 ) chose appropriate resolution and click Ok .

Now click on the Save button to actually start converting the file.

encoding in progress

Transferring videos/music to ipod

A number of tools are available on the Linux platform that allows you to manage music collection of your ipod however there are few that actually allows you to copy and manage music as well as video content of your ipod and gtkpod is one of them.It might not have as user friendly interface as iTunes available on the windows platform(and through Codeweavers Crossover office on linux too) nevertheless it does the job of transferring videos and songs to ipod and managing them.

Installing gtk-pod

To install gtkpod issue the following command in the terminal window

sudo apt-get install gtkpod

After installation is over go to (Applications -> Sound & Video -> gtkpod) to launch gtkpod application.

This is how gtkpod looks

Now after connecting launch gtkpod and you will find you ipod listed in the leftmost pane of the application. One thing i dislike about gtkpod is all the songs and videos are clubbed together into single list this makes managing music and videos a lot difficult.

Now to add audio/video to your ipod just drag the respective file/folder into ipod's playlist and press the save changes button and the files should be loaded properly in the ipod.

There are a number of other user friendly applications available too that allows you to manage music collection of your iPod and iPhone some of them are Rhythmbox(comes preloaded with Ubuntu and as soon as you connect ipod is loaded automatically), Juk , AmaroK , Songbird etc .

Article Written by : Ambuj Varshney (
For Desktop on Linux Blog ,
(C) 2008 , Ambuj Varshney