Newcomers to Ubuntu will only really know about installing software via the Ubuntu Software Centre. Synaptic is no longer bundled by default (though still available) but all us, veterans and newbies alike, should also consider installing Deepin. It's similar to Ubuntu's tool but it has some really nifty and useful features.
Okular is the PDF reader for the KDE desktop. You can run it under any other desktop environment too, but you can also get some more mileage out of it with these three simple tips.
PDFs are very common and popular but with the rise of smartphones and tablets the EPUB format has risen to prominence too. Okular has some very neat features not available to other PDF readers and you might want to combine them with this relative newcomer on the block.
For my money Calibre is one of the most indispensible pieces of software in GNU/Linux. It can handle all your e-books in all the major formats, including PDF, EPUB and Mobi. It supports up to thirty e-reader devices but this article will tell you how to use Calibre to convert RSS feeds to EPUBs (which can then be read in Calibre's own E-reader or synced and transferred to your external reader of choice).
Gwenview is the default image viewer for the KDE desktop. Out of the box it's good looking but nothing obviously exceptional. Except for two things: Phonon and plugins. That combination really does make Gwenview a pretty useful bit of kit. Let's see what it can do.
In my last article on Chromium I explained how to add a command switch to the desktop icon's launcher tab to add a Purge Memory button to the task Manager. Browsers need memory, like memory and in fact love it. They don't give it up without a fight. I'm not belligerent by nature but it's my memory, I paid for it and I want it back. So, here's another trick in a similar vein to force Chromium to relinquish some more.
In Part One about Gedit I covered three neat plugins to make it more productive and user friendly. More recently, I discovered another plugin that I simply couldn't ignore. The good news is that it really is cool; the not so good news is that the plugin is not available from the repositories, there is no PPA and no third-party stand-alone binary (yet). Bummer--but it can be installed from a source tarball. Easily. So, what is Dashboard and how do you install it?
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 for
gedit-plugins, install it, open Gedit and select
Edit > Preferences. Click on the Plugins tab and scroll through them, checking the ones you want.
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.
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?
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.
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.
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.
I'm sure I don't need to explain SOPA or ACTA to regular readers of Free Software Magazine. They're toxic. End of. But RWA? It stands for Research Works Act. It's not the big sexy beast of the other two but it is, in its way, just as insidious and as harmful to the freedom of scientific publishing as SOPA and ACTA are to internet freedom and it's all interconnected. Here's why.
A tablet has been on my to do list since forever. Two things held me back: the priority to replace my terminally ill eight-year old laptop and the unhappily well known fact that the current crop of tablets are tied down more securely that a latter-day Gulliver in Jonathan Swift's tale.
Lovers and users of free and open source software are a hardy bunch. They've seen it all: Microsoft EULAs, DRM, UEFI, proprietary software and constant attempts to prevent end users jailbreaking and rooting the devices they paid for with hard-earned cash. If you think you've seen and heard it all, well, you haven't. Apple may have trumped them all with a possibly unique EULA.
You've just got to love those crazy Swedes. Liberal, progressive, cool and politically correct. What's not to like? They've excelled themselves this time though. As dedicated filesharers they applied, and succeeded at the third attempt, to register filesharing as a religion.
This is getting seriously ridiculous. Relative to the power and feature sets computers are getting cheaper and cheaper. But they don't come much cheaper than the Raspberry Pi, a $25 computer designed specifically to encourage children to program. My colleague, Ryan Cartwright wrote about it right here on FSM.
The wilder shores of the internet are awash with bizarre stories but the one I'm about to relate just has to be one of the most extraordinary things I have ever heard in relation to FOSS. You will have heard about SOPA and the reaction against it in the open source community including petitions, boycotts of GoDaddy etc. Look, that's small potatoes. What these guys are plannng is out of this world. Literally. Read on.
Just how do you establish a niche in the browser market when it is already saturated with so many competitors? Well, you could use Webkit and QT, throw in a few neat features and see where that takes you. That's exactly what the developers at QupZilla did. So, I decided to take a look at the substance behind that quirky name.
If your computer is so old that it was last spotted in the wild roaming with the dinosaurs before they were flamed by an extinction-level event, then (like me) you just might just be grateful for Unity (2D) to extend the lifetime of your machine. Since the doctors switched off the life support on my best, though ageing laptop (private funeral only, no flowers, donations in lieu) I've had to switch the hard drive into my second best machine. The problem is that it's even older, at seven or eight years (probably about sixty eight in dog years).