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Monday, January 28, 2008

Ubuntu Ultimate 1.6: Review - A Feature Rich Newbies friendly Desktop Linux distro

Ubuntu is undoubtedly one of the most popular Linux distributions , it is popular with geeks as well as Linux newbies and even big computer cos like Dell are shipping their laptops with Ubuntu preinstalled . However Ubuntu usually comes in a single cd(and i guess there is a DVD version too haven't tried it :( ) so it comes with pretty limited number of applications and because of licensing restrictions it comes with a number of codecs , drivers for hardware devices missing .

Now installing applications on Linux has been one of the most difficult part for the Linux newbies though things have been changing with simplified installation procedures but still most of the Linux newbies find installing applications tad difficult . So well Ubuntu Ultimate 1.6 plays a role to resolve this issue "Ubuntu Ultimate " which as the name suggests comes with all kind of applications , codecs , drivers preinstalled out of the box and is based on solid Ubuntu 7.10 distribution hence offers the same repositories as the Ubuntu 7.10 distribution . In this article/review we look further into Ubuntu Ultimate distribution .

Ubuntu Ultimate 1.6 comes as a 1.6 Gigabytes ISO image . The first thing you notice after booting into the Ubuntu Ultimate is it's black theme , though bit difficult to read the theme does make UUE look quite cool and sexy .

The entire installation process is quite simple and the installer is same as the one that comes with normal ubuntu 7.10 . I tried installing Ubuntu Ultimate 7.10 on a Core 2 Duo based laptop with 2GB of rams and the entire installation finished within 25 minutes which is pretty cool considering the number of applications UU comes with pre-installed .

After installation is over and you boot into your new UU installation the first thing you notice is that the login manager has a different look than what Ubuntu comes with . As with Gnome Desktop of UU the login manager also has the black theme .

Firefox in UUE with black theme (notice adsense ads in sidebar )
Nautilus with default black theme

Top Menu Bar in UUE

After logging in , you are greeted with all kind of configuration wizards to install flash player( that's good cuz www is very much incomplete these days without flash ) , drivers for ATI and NVIDIA(which is quite welcome addition because installing drivers for graphics cards is quite troubling for Linux newbies) and other miscellaneous softwares.
Envy allows you to easily install drivers for your ATI/Nvidia graphics card

After logging in this is how my UU 1.6 Desktop looks :
UUE Desktop

Now since UU is basically ubuntu 7.10 ++ , so there should'nt be any problem for some one moving from Plane Vanilla Ubuntu 7.10 distro to UU 1.6 . Anyways UU comes with all kind of applications preinstalled .

UUE comes with all the regular office productivity applications and adds a few more good applications like Lightweght word processor AbiWord and Lightweight spreadsheet client Gnumeric , Email client Evolution , money management software KMyMoney and GnuCash and the usual OpenOffice office suite .

UUE has a wide array of Multimedia tools and codecs allowing one to play all the popular media files without any hitch . Some of the cool multimedia applications ubuntu ultimate comes with preinstalled with are :

  • Mplayer, VLC & Amarok players with mp3 support
  • Mencoder, K9Copy, DeVeDE, DVD Shrink - dvd copying software.
  • Lemonrip - DVD ripping software , Dvdrip - Dvd ripping software
  • Audacity - Sound editor
  • Isomaster - CD / DVD ISO editor
  • Brasero - Disc burning tool
  • Gtkpod and Yamipod : - For managing music on your ipod
  • Songbird : - a graphically appealing music player based on same platform as Mozilla Firefox
  • Ogle DVD player

Multimedia Menu in Ubuntu Ultimate - Shows most of the audio/video applications Ubuntu Ultimates comes with

Audacity is a popular audio editor it comes preinstalled with UUE
Gtkpod and Yamipod are tools available to manage music on your ipod

Ubuntu ultimate comes with a host of multimedia applications like one to create CD/DVD , to play video (VLC ,MPlayer ) , audio player (amarok , banshee ,songbird etc) etc . The best part is all the audio/video applications comes with important codecs pre-installed .

Songbird one of the media player that comes preinstalled in UUE , other similar application UUE comes with preinstalled is Banshee , AmaroK .

UUE comes with a number of applications that enhances your internet experience like :

  • Lifrea - RSS feed reader
  • aMSN : - MSN Client for Linux
  • Aria : Download manager
  • Skype - VoIP application
  • Bit Tornado - P2P Software
  • gFTP - a gnome based ftp client
  • X-Chat - IRC Client
  • Wireless Internet integration
  • Bluetooth integration
  • PPP integration
  • Networking tools

UUE Internet menu

Besides this unlike ubuntu 7.10 which does not come with any tool for software development ,UUE comes with a number of applications that allows you to develop application easily on your Ubuntu desktop as well as create cool looking webpages on your ubuntu desktop.
UUE Programming submenu
Besides all this it has number of good applications that allow you to edit graphical images , including vector image editors , tools for graphic modeling etc .

Some of the important graphics application included with UUE are :

  • Inkscape - 2D vector drawing
  • Google Picasa - A tool for managing your collection of images
  • Qcad - Autocad wannabe
  • Blender
  • F-Spot - application that helps you manage your photo album properly

Blender - A Incredibly powerful 2D modeling software for Linux

UUE 1.6 also comes with WINE which allows one to run many windows application flawlessly in Linux . Besides WINE UUE also comes with Dosbox which allows you to run many of your old classic dos based games on Ubuntu as well as run classic dos applications inside ubuntu !!! .

Dosbox - A DOS emulator for Linux , allowing you to run your classic dos based applications and games inside Ubuntu

Besides all this there are number of configuration wizards , tweaks and customization that makes UUE really user friendly for linux newbies . Also since it is Ubuntu 7.10 with all kind of applications preinstalled so all the things valid for Ubuntu 7.10 is also valid for UUE .

Various System Menus in UUE
In Short UUE is one of the most feature rich and user friendly desktop linux distribuiton available . If you are one of those who find installing applications on linux difficult and want all kind of applications pre-installed on your linux distribution this distribution is for you.

Get Ubuntu Ultimate edition from the following link :

Want to see UUE in action here are couple of links to help you out :


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

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Installing KDE 4 on your Ubuntu 7.10 Gusty Gibbon(with lots of screenshots)

KDE 4 was released a few days back and well KDE 4.0.0 is one of the major releases of KDE . It has a number of new features that could revolutionize the entire Desktop Linux scenario . KDE4 has been in development for some time now , and well it is out now . It includes entirely new set of softwares and framework like
  • Phonon - Multimedia API
  • Solid - hardware API in KDE 4
  • new desktop and panel user interface tool, called Plasma, which supports desktop widgets
  • Oxygen - Rich Icon Set etc .
So here are the instructions to actually installing KDE 4 on your Ubuntu Gusty (7.10) Desktop : -

Adding KDE 4 Repositories : -

Type int he following command as an administrator/superuse(with root account logged in)

sudo echo "deb gutsy main" | sudo tee -a /etc/apt/sources.list
After completing above step type :

sudo apt-get update
and after completing above step type in the following command to start the installation process of KDE 4 (on my system the entire download size of core kde packages was arnd 110 Megabytes )

sudo apt-get install kde4-core

After completing above step log out of your current running desktop environment and , on the log in screen you should find KDE 4 listed . Chose KDE 4 and log in to your new KDE 4 system .

Installing Additional applications

The command listed above installs just the basic core applications of KDE 4 . Even though one could install them together easily , but well to avoid having to install all kind of nuisance applications that you might like or not like to install , i have given separate instruction to install few selected good applications below .

This is how my KDE 4 desktop looks like

Dolphin - it is one of the new additions in KDE 4 and is a versatile file manager replacing complex komqueror

1. Installing Additional Plasmoids (Desktop Widgets)

KDE 4 comes with ver limited number of desktop widgets preinstalled. So to install some more plasmoids type in the following command in the terminal screen: -

sudo apt-get -y install extragear-plasma
you can get more widgets from :

2. Installing Okular - Advanced Document Viewer

One of the glaring new addition to KDE 4 is Okular document viewer which allows one to view different type of document file easily . It is one of the first applications to fully utilize KDE's new architecture . Besides normal ability to view document files , okular allows one to scribble , underline , highlight , add notes etc while browsing documents .

To install okular type in the following command in the terminal screen :

sudo apt-get -y install okular-kde4


sudo apt-get -y install okular-extra-backends-kde4
A Screen Shot of Okular showing highlighting , Underline , Scribble and notes adding feature

Installing Koffice - The alternative to Openoffice

Koffice is a light weight open source office suite , it is extremely user friendly and is a viable alternative to OpenOffice on the Linux platform .

To install KOffice type in the following command :

sudo apt-get -y install koffice-kde4

KWord and KSpread , Word Processor and Spread Sheet package of KOffice

Installing KPhotoAlbum ,
KPhotoAlbum is a photo management software that allows you to easily manage and catalog your photographs, videos etc.

To install KPhotoAlbum type in the following command :

sudo apt-get install kphotoalbum-kde4

KPhotoAlbum one of the new application added in KDE 4

Installing Administrative tool KDE4

To install a number of administrative tools type in the following command in the terminal window :

sudo apt-get install kdeadmin-kde4

Installing gwenview - The new image viewer for kde 4

gwenview is one of the new application added to KDE desktop environment , it is a simple image viewer that allows you to view different type of graphic file easily . It offers a really simple graphical user interface and has a number of interesting features owing to new KDE 4 architecture .

To install gwenview type in the following command in the terminal window :

sudo apt-get -y install gwenview-kde4

Installing KDE Multimedia , KDE Graphics , KDE Games and KDE Educational Softwares

KDE 4 comes with a number of simple games and these games are included in the KDE Games module which could be installed by typing in :

sudo apt-get install -y kdegames-kde4
To install KDE Graphics package type in the following command :

sudo apt-get -y install kdegraphics-kde4

To install KDE Multimedia package which includes among other applications the popular juk media player type in the following command :

sudo apt-get install kdemultimedia-kde4

Juk Media Player - Application is similar to iTunes

and finally KDE 4 adds a number of new educational applications (you can find more information about them here : -
To Install KDE 4 Educational Package type in the following command in the terminal window :

sudo apt-get -y install kdeedu-kde4

NOTE : The above list is in no sense a complete listing of applications that come with KDE 4 , it's just some of the application i liked which you might like to install too . To install other applications launch " Synapic package manager " and search for packages starting with kde4 or ending with it and install them .

Some tips on using KDE 4 : -

Well KDE 4 does not enable cool graphic effects to enable them click on (KDE Application Button -> Applications -> Settings -> System Settings for KDE 4 )

You will get a Window like this , just click on the Desktop icon : -

and enable the Desktop Effects , your config dialog box should look somewhat like this :

After completing above step , you should be able to see desktop effects on kde 4.

Some of the shortcuts to cool desktop effects after doing the above steps are :

Press Cntrl + F-10 to get a view of all your running application like this :
To get Grid View of all the workspaces , press : Cntrl + F8

KDE 4 Includes an advanced runner application that allows you to run applications easily , to show krunner dialog box press : Alt + F-2

Article Written by : Ambuj Varshney (
For Desktop on Linux Blog ,
(C) 2007 , Ambuj Varshney

Monday, January 14, 2008

Couple of Interesting Linux Links - Issue 1

Hey since i don't get time to actually write articles these days on my blog(Well am in Undergrad college right now doing Bachelor of Technology course in Information and Communication Technology ) so well i guess i would in the meantime post good links related to Desktop Linux frequently on my blog hope you people find them interesting and useful :)

Review of EEE Laptop PC

Asus EEE laptop in past few weeks has received lots of press coverage and well has been selling like hot cakes . It's a compact laptop that sells around 400 $ and well comes with linux loaded .

Here is the review of laptop

and here is the site of the Asus EEE laptop PC

Some More Links about Asus EEE PC

Asus Says Eee PC is Most Successful Product Ever

Simple, tiny computers forcing Microsoft to make changes

Interview with Richard Stallman

Here is a nice interview with Richard Stallman that appeared in a popular indian newspaper .

Digital Colonisation curtailing right to creativity

Reasons why Schools should use free software

The article by Richar M Stallman the founder of GNU Free Software Movement discusses reasons why schools should be using free software as opposed to commercial proprietary softwares

Why schools should exclusively use free software


A few days back the much anticipated KDE 4 was released among much fanfare . KDE 4 has been in development for some time and has some really revolutionary features that's sure to propel desktop linux to new era in coming time .

Here is the link to the visual guide of KDE 4 .

Or if you want to try KDE 4 , here is the OpenSuse 10.3 based Live CD of KDE 4.

and here is the instructions on installing kde 4 on kubuntu/ubuntu .

and here is a nice review of KDE 4 from some one running KDE 4 on Ubuntu gusty gibbon

and Finally Ubuntu 7.10 Desktop Course

OK folks the long awaited Ubuntu 7.10 Desktop Course is ready, waiting and all yours for the taking! Thanks to all the community members who slogged over writing, reviewing, editing, proof reading and fixing the layout. This is just the beginning of the project which we hope will live and evolve with each new Ubuntu release. Yours to develop, enhance and branch off to your heart's content! There are 10 lessons in total. The course is modular - 2 days if all lessons are covered, however, topics and lessons can be selected as required. There are 2 versions of the course: an Instructor Guide, and a student guide

Here is the Students guide to the Desktop Course

and Here is the Instructor's guide to the Desktop Course

Article Written by : Ambuj Varshney (
For Desktop on Linux Blog ,
(C) 2007 , Ambuj Varshney