Improve Gedit with three Extra Plugins (Part One)

The first thing you should always do after installing software (apart from viewing the manpages) is to check and see if it supports plugins. If you are not a programmer or hacker it really is the easiest way to extend capabilities. The Gnome text editor supports this feature out of the box.Here's three of the best.

Gedit is a text editor. The Gedit homepage list its full feature set.. It's my editor of choice when writing articles for FSM. By default, Gedit comes with bundled plugins but you can extend them via your distro's package manager. Search forgedit-plugins, install it, open Gedit and select Edit > Preferences. Click on the Plugins tab and scroll through them, checking the ones you want.

Burning a Data CD/DVD with Nautilus

Despite the rise of USB sticks for data storage and booting GNU/Linux distros, there's still a place for the humble writeable CD and DVD. Most readers, including me, probably fire up a big hitter like K3B (KDE) or Brasero (GNOME). For me K3B is up there with GIMP, LibreOffice and VLC. It's best in class. However, for simple, quick backup Nautilus gets the job done. Let's use it to burn a multi-session data CD.

Help create a new free standard, by funding a great Kickstarter project!

As part of a project to create a non-DRM fixed media standard for high-definition video releases, Terry Hancock has launched a Kickstarter campaign which will produce two Lib-Ray video titles and player software to support them ("Sita Sings the Blues" and the "Blender Open Movie Collection").

More details can be found on the Kickstarter page.

Lib-Ray Video Standard: Handling Languages and Localization

I'm used to thinking of region codes as an unmitigated evil, but they do serve one useful purpose: they divide DVD editions up so that any given regional edition has fewer languages to support. It's uncommon to find a DVD with more than just three or four languages in subtitles or audio tracks. Early on in the concept for Lib-Ray, though, I decided to do away with region-coding, and instead allow for broader localization in the design. This means there's just one edition worldwide, which is very helpful, but it does also mean that the subtitle menu in particular can become very cumbersome to navigate. How will we solve this user interface design problem?

QuiEdit: An Editor for Anyone Who wants a Quiet Life

Editors, like file managers and browsers, are legion. To carve out a niche for itself an editor needs to have some compelling or unique feature(s). QuiEdit is unique. No, really. It is. If you want to write, unplugged from the distractions of the digital world, it has to be a contender. How?

Write a simple launcher using Zenity

Nowadays, we mostly interact with our computers using a Graphical User Interface. The operating system as a whole uses several elements of the GUI to make the user experience more human-like. Can users get to unleash some of the GUI's power? The answer is yes: welcome to Zenity, a GTK+ application that works in GNU/Linux, BSD and Windows. In this short article I will show you how to create a simple script that interacts with the user using the GUI.

How to install Speed Dials in Firefox -- and how to back them up

When Opera invented "speed dials", they quickly became an important wish list item in all other browsers. Speed dials allow you to visually "see" (via screenshots) a list of most recently visited web sites when you open a new tab. Several Forefox plugins tried to fill this important niche, but none of them really stood out -- until now. This great plugin also allows you to back your Speed Dials up.

Basics of mapping with KML

Two of the most useful free (as in beer) software applications from Google are Google Earth, which runs on your computer, and Google Maps, which runs as a Web service. You can use both Google Earth and Google Maps to plot your own points, lines or shapes on an interactive map. You can also annotate these things with informative details. Unfortunately, the user interfaces provided by Google for doing this kind of DIY mapping are... well, clunky. They're slow, especially if you have a lot of items to add to a map.

DRM books need to disappear. NOW. (Or, my horrific experience with

DRM turned a 10 minute purchase into a 2 and a half nightmare (and counting). I wanted to buy a book: I ended up in a journey which made it dead clear that in a sane world, there is absolutely no space for DRM-protected contents. The only real warning I have about this article is that it may make you feel sick.

File Thingie: A No-Nonsense Web-Based File Manager

File Thingie is not the sleekest or feature-richest web-based file manager out there, but it's a perfect fit for those who need a no-frills solution that is easy to deploy and use. This is not to say that File Thingie skimps on features. All the essential functionality is there, including the ability to upload multiple files in one go, support for users and groups, file access control based on black and white lists, and more.

How to Purge Memory in Google's Chromium browser

Since its launch, Google's Chromium browser has proved to be immensely popular. Chromium introduced many new and innovative features but it also brought along with it a familiar problem. Memory hogging. However, as Google released subsequent versions they addressed it. This short article will show you how to gain some traction over Chromium when, after prolonged browsing, it starts to seriously hog that resource.

You don't need to be a web browser developer or a coder. All you need is Chromium's built-in Task Manager and a command line switch.

Gnome-Shell 3.2: Usable--but only with Gnome 2 shell extensions

If you hated Ubuntu's Unity desktop then the shock of your first encounter with the Gnome-shell likely caused your entire digital weltanschauung to implode. Make no mistake about it, it takes you right out of your comfort zone to a strange and unfamiliar place even if you've already tried Unity and decided to throw it back or put it in the keep net. Be shocked, very shocked.

How and How NOT to Re-License your Work for Free Culture

The last week has been terrific for "Lunatics". We've cleared the licenses on almost all of the music -- and certainly the most important pieces. However, for a moment, I want to focus on the little problem with the one minute of music we probably won't get to use, and the right and wrong way to relicense your art if you are ever in that situation.

Lib-Ray Video Project Now on Kickstarter -- Let's Make it Happen!

Today is the Free Software Foundation's "Day Against DRM" and it seems like an auspicious time to launch a Kickstarter campaign to support the completion of the Lib-Ray standard for publishing high-definition videos on fixed media. I've been posting my progress on the prototypes here in Free Software Magazine, and it's clear to me that this is now just a matter of being able to dedicate the time and resources to finish the job.

A MediaWiki workflow for screenplay development using Labeled Section Transclusion

We use a common extension for MediaWiki for managing our script-development process on "Lunatics". It works quite well, and it might not be obvious, so I thought I'd explain it here. The idea is to make it possible for the writer to work on the script in a single page while allowing the director to add shooting notes, storyboards, and other material to each scene -- and to keep everything synchronized so that we don't have two versions of the script.

Nagios Vs. Icinga: the real story of one of the most heated forks in free software

In March 14, 1999 Ethan Galstad released the first version of Nagios. Then, nearly exactly 10 years later (May 2009), Icinga (a fork of Nagios) was born. What happened there? Why a fork? In this article, I will shed some light about what made the Icinga developers decide to fork (although they still send patches to Nagios). In this article, I will talk to both Ethan Galstad himself, and Michael Lübben (one of the founding Icinga team members and Nagios addon developer). I will quote Michael and Ethan in the article. You get to read their points of view here.

Lib-Ray Video Standard: Assembling the Matroska MKV container file with mkvtoolnix-gtk

In my previous installments, I described the success I've been having with compressing "Sita Sings the Blues" with the VP8 video codec, and at the end I had a video file. Then I converted the audio to get a FLAC copy of the soundtrack (opting to retain this rather than compress into Vorbis format). Now in this installment, I'll show how I used mkvtoolnix-gtk to build a complete MKV file with VP8 video, FLAC audio, and named chapters. The result is the complete "main feature" multimedia file that will form the core of the Lib-Ray prototype.

Lib-Ray Video Standard: FLAC and Vorbis codecs for Sound

In my previous column, I described the success I've had with using VP8 for compressing the video for the Lib-Ray main feature multimedia file. At the end of that process, though, I still have a silent film. We also need to get the audio, and make a decision about the format. WebM calls for Vorbis sound, which probably makes sense for internet downloads, but this is where we part ways -- for my application, bit-perfect audio with FLAC seems to make more sense, at least for the main audio tracks (Vorbis is still in the picture for things like commentaries).

Oracle and the slippery bars of soap called Java and MySql

News about the lawsuit between Oracle (which owns Java) and Google (which uses aspects of Java in Android) are resonating far and loud at the moment. At this point in the article, I should summarise the story: the trouble is that a summary at this point is impossible. The main problem is with Oracle, and their inability to understand free software.

Programming effective reminders in GNU/Linux

There are some nice sticky-note applications for Linux, and they're good places to write down reminders, like Ring Fred or Pick up a litre of milk.

Unfortunately, sticky-notes are no help to me at all. I'm often forgetful, and I'm more than likely to shut down my computer without checking to see if I've written a note to myself. To get around this problem, I wrote a couple of very simple scripts, each launched by an icon on my Xfce panel.


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