Category Archives: Tips and Tricks

uninstalling-programs-spm

how to uninstall a program on ubuntu

Ubuntu 10.10(Maverick Meerkat) is the latest stable version; Ubuntu 11.04 (Natty Narwhal) is coming soon(it will be released in the end of this month). Linux distros were already very popular in Server and other computational/research field but now it is also a popular choice among common desktop users. All this happened, due to the Linux Distributions like Ubuntu,Linux Mint; that came with great desktop experience(with a lot of simplicity).

Installing/Uninstalling programs on Ubuntu is Really Difficult or Fun!

I have been using Ubuntu from years and I can certainly say that – Linux Mint/Ubuntu is simple to use like the Windows or Mac. Installing Program in Ubuntu is as(probably more) easy as windows, just in single click from the Ubuntu Software Center. That set, then where’s the catch ? The problem is the Dynamic Libraries. Ubuntu or any other Linux Distros are very dynamic and the libraries are shared(centrally) by all programs, so dependencies problem occurs. So the software packages(for Ubuntu)  are not shipped with all the dependent libraries so if you want to install a program then its dependent library must be installed in order to execute it successfully.

Thanks to the Advanced Synaptic Package Manager, which handles Dependencies in a much smart way, it automatically recommends all the required library when you try to install a software. Now you may think that installation is easy.. “ok dude I’m agree”, but what about uninstalling or removing a program,package or software ? Is it as easy installation ? Of course it is! Relax.

UnInstall/Remove software/programs in Ubuntu

Method #1 : Using Synaptic Package Manager

uninstalling-programs-spm

Open Synaptic package manager and search for the program/packages you want to remove then mark the box for removal/complete removal(it may create dependencies problem so better go with other). Then click on Apply button to remove the selected packages. In the above picture, I’ve selected the program named – ‘tango GPS’ for removal.

Method #2 : From Command Line

The most common type of syntax for removing a program/package is explored below but you need to authorize (Enter your login password)  and confirm (Type y for ‘yes’ or n for ‘no’, if you have changed your mind);  then wait for few seconds until the job is complete.

$ sudo apt-get remove program_name_you_want_to_remove

Here is one real example,which will remove the kdissert, a mind map tool, program with the command –

$ sudo apt-get remove kdissert
top-ubuntu-apps-1-gimp

Top 10 Ubuntu Apps

Ubuntu(Latest Version : 10.10(Maverick Meerkat)), the most popular Linux desktop, has become the great choice for students,developers and common users; probably due to its stickiness with free and open source software(FOSS). A lot of good open source applications(Apps) are available for Linux based Operating System – like Ubuntu,Linux Mint,Open Suse,Debian etc and most of them are free to use.

I’ve been using Ubuntu from last two years(started with Windows Vista,later, switched completely to Ubuntu within a year). Initially when I migrated to Linux platform, I was wondering – how will I do the common tasks like playing music/movies, creating/editing documents/photos, editing movies, etc. on Ubuntu 9.04(it was the latest stable release,code named as ‘Jaunty Jackalope’) ? Is there any equivalent(to windows) apps available on this new platform(Ubuntu) ? …. and the answer to all these questions are very simple – Yes! perhaps better than those of windows; the other advantage is that you will never spend a penny!(On the other hand, MS Office,Adobe Photoshop….and a lot of other similar apps, charge a lot of $$$) , plus source code of the apps is openly available to play!(it may be very important from developers point of view)

I have installed and used a number of open source apps on Ubuntu 9.04/9.10/10.04/10.10; based on my past few years of experience, I’ve prepared a long list of my favorite applications but it’s difficult to select 10 out of them. Anyway, here is my top 10 – best apps , that I use on Ubuntu 10.10; if you have any suggestion or idea then reply through comment.

Top 10 – ‘open source and free’  Ubuntu Applications

#1 : GIMP

GIMP(GNU Image Manipulation Program) is a powerful image editor application, equivalent to the Adobe Photoshop. It has a lot of advanced features with a simple and easy to use GUI(Graphical User Interface). GIMP is available for all major operating system. It is the most popular image processing program on Linux platform. The default features can be extended easily using plugins e.g ‘save for web’ plugin on gimp is used to optimize the image files.

top-ubuntu-apps-1-gimp

you can install GIMP on Ubuntu by one simple command -(More details on – installing gimp on Ubuntu)

$ sudo apt-get install gimp

#2 : VLC

VLC is the best media player because it can play all the common formats seamlessly. On Ubuntu it is not installed by default, due to the dependencies of vlc on  libdvdcss2 libraries(a proprietary library).

vlc-player-ubuntu-snapshotTo install vlc on Ubuntu, type the command given below(More details : installing vlc on Ubuntu)

sudo apt-get install vlc vlc-plugin-pulse mozilla-plugin-vlc

#3 : Google Chrome

Google Chrome is the fastest web browser on this planet(it may not be true for all platforms but I’m sure about Linux). By name itself, it implies that – it has been developed and maintained by Google Inc . it is free and open source, developed on the top of Chromium project.

google-chrome-snapshot

For Ubuntu — download Google Chrome and open it with Gdebi package installer(in older versions) or ubuntu software center(in Ubuntu 10.10) to install. For more help go here –  installing google chrome on Ubuntu.

#4 : LibreOffice

LibreOffice is developed by forking the OpenOffice(Probably due to the fact that Oracle had bought the Sun MicroSystems,therefore the future of OpenOffice wasn’t good in the hand of Oracle). It is free,open source and cross-platform(Linux,Windows and Mac). LibreOffice is the best substitute for Microsoft Office. LibreOffice is very useful for creating and editing Text Documents,Drawing,Spreadsheet,Presentation etc.

top ubuntu apps 4 - LibreOffice

Ubuntu ships OpenOffice by default so, if you want to install Libre Office then first remove the OpenOffice package(use Synaptic Package Manager). Then install the LibreOffice by typing the commands written below –

First Add the PPA Repository –

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:libreoffice/ppa

Then Update the Repository –

sudo apt-get update

Now install gnome version of LibreOffice –

sudo apt-get install libreoffice && sudo apt-get install libreoffice-gnome

#5 : Audacity

Audacity is a free and open source audio Editor/Recorder for Linux/Windows/Mac. it has a lot of features – Record Live Audio, Edit Audio Files(odd,mp3,wav etc), cut/mix audio files, control the pitch/speed of recording etc. it is very simple to use , with nice GUI.

audacity

On Ubuntu 10.10 you can install Audacity either from Ubuntu Software Center/ Synaptic Package Manager or from Command Line –

$ sudo apt-get install audacity

#6 : Compiz

Compiz is a compositing manager i.e it is used to add some cool effects to the windows. In the snapshot(given below) is an example of the cool effects – it is basically the 3D cube. it is available for GNOME as well as KDE desktops.
compiz-on-ubuntu
You need to install CCSM using the command –

sudo apt-get install compiz compizconfig-settings-manager

I’ve already discussed a lot about enabling 3D Effects in Ubuntu and Installing Compiz for cool Desktop Effects (Refer them for More details ).

#7 : Clementine

Clementine is my favorite music player on Ubuntu 10.10(The Ubuntu version, I’ve installed on my desktop). Clementine has developed on the Top of another popular music player – Amarok. Clementine is free and open source media player with a lot of advanced features like smart playlist, Fetching Lyrics from world wide web(www) etc. it is available for all major platforms ; the project is hosted on ‘code.google.com’.

top-10-ubuntu-apps-7-clementine

If you want to try Clementine then first Download Clementine the debian package and then install it by opening with Ubuntu Software Center or Gdebi package manager or from command line —

$ cd directory_where_you_have_saved_the_clementine_*.deb_package
$ sudo dpkg -i file_name.deb

More help on installing Clementine Media Player in Ubuntu.

#8 : Arista Transcoder

Arista is a simple and powerful multimedia transcoder. it is a free and open source application for Linux based operating systems. The main purposes of this apps is to generate/convert multimedia files for all common music devices like iPod, PlayStation 3, PSP, DVD Player. You can see the live preview of the output(target file).

arista-transcoder-on-ubuntu

To install Arista on Ubuntu –  Open Ubuntu Software and search for ‘arista’ ; then click on install button to begin. You can also use terminal to do the same thing –

 $ sudo apt-get install arista

#9 : Blender

Blender is a free and open source 3D creation suite. it has very sophisticated GUI with a lot of amazing features. Blender is specifically used in – modelling, Rendering, Animation, Shading, Realtime 3D/Game creation etc. it is one of the most popular tool, used in 3D creation. it is available for all common platforms.

blender-top ubuntu apps

On Ubuntu, if you want to use Blender then the most simple way is to install it from Ubuntu Software Center or Synaptic package Manager. More details on installing 3D Modelling tool blender on Ubuntu .

#10 : Getting Things GNOME(GTG)

GTG(Getting Things Gnome) is a very useful tool for managing/scheduling your daily life tasks. It is a good personal organizer for GNOME desktop. The main objective of this apps is to provide a simple to use apps with nice GUI and functionality.

getting-things-gnome-snapshot

On Ubuntu, you can find it in Ubuntu Software Center. Just Open USC and search for ‘gtg’; then click on install button! That’s All you are Done! Your Life Organizer is Ready! You can access it from Applications->Office->Getting Things GNOME!

best-linux-desktop-gnome

best Linux Desktop Environment

A number of Linux based operating systems are available with a lot of Desktop Environments. So what is the best Linux desktop environment ? ,well it is not an easy question to answer, but this post might help you in deciding ‘what is best for you?’. It depends on a lot of factors, like – your system’s hardware configuration,nature of task performed,…and of course the personal choice is the dominant factor.

The most popular desktops include – GNOME, KDE, XFCE, and LXDE (Arranged in the decreasing order of popularity). Most of the Linux Distribution uses GNOME as a default desktop e.g Fedora,Ubuntu,Debian,Linux Mint etc. KDE (Initially called as K Desktop Environment) is used by Open Suse ,Kubuntu etc. as default desktop. XFCE and LXDE are light weight and fast desktop environment ; specially useful for users who uses old computer(The computer with fewer resources e.g 256 MB RAM,no graphics card etc).

What is Desktop in Linux.. (based OS) ?

Desktop Environment(DE) , or Desktop is the style of GUI(Graphical User Interface) , runs on the top of operating system; the user interface which allows the users to perform the common tasks like execution of application,modification of OS features etc in a graphical environment. The common actions are click,drag and drop , by which a user control the os. Some of the features are still not available through GUI, in that case CLI(Command Line Interface) is the only choice. Desktop Environment relies on Windows managers,which controls the placement and appearance(or look) of window within a windowing system.

GNOME  : The Best Linux Desktop Environment

best-linux-desktop-gnome

GNOME (GNU Network Object Model Environment)  is the most popular desktop environment among the Linux users. it is open source and available free for all. it has no dependencies on any proprietary libraries unlike the other popular Desktop KDE ; made entirely on free and open source softwares(FOSS). GNOME is based on  GTK+ , a cross platform widget toolkit, used to create graphical interfaces.

Why GNOME is Best ?

#1 : Simplicity : it is simple to use and explore regardless of whether the user is technical or not.

#2 : Freedom : Gnome is available free and licensed under GNU GPL/LGPL i.e it’s an open source software,so you are allowed to use,modify or distribute the software as you want.

#3 : Appearance and Performance : The appearance of the gnome desktop is very appealing due to the availability of a lot of themes,icons etc. The performance is very high and it can be optimized in multiple ways. There is good balanced between the performance and appearance in Gnome; KDE desktop also have nice appearance but it is very heavy and performance is poor as compared to Gnome.

#4 : Extensibility : The structure of GNOME is very modular, so it is highly extensible i.e a extra features can be added in lot of ways.e.g Instead of the default window manager(Metacity) , compiz can be used to provide some 3D effects in GUI; The default theme (currently the default theme is Clearlooks) can be configured in the way you want. So you can make your Ubuntu look like a Mac OS X or Windows Vista/7/XP just  by installing some extra packages.

#5 : Accessibility : it can be used by anyone regardless of experience or physical circumstances/limitations.

#6 : Support : Along with the built in support(with GNOME), a number of online community and forums are available to explore and troubleshoot the common problems; to help the beginner users.

The latest stable version is Gnome vs 2.32 and the upcoming version – Gnome vs 3.0 will be released in April 2011. The official website of the GNOME is http://www.gnome.org/. Look at the snapshot below – a preview of gnome version 3.0 .

gnome-3-snapshot

Update

Gnome 3 or Gnome shell has released with a lot of new exciting features with totally different look and feel, available for Open Suse and Fedora. Ubuntu users can install gnome using PPA although it is very unstable now, but we can expect Gnome 3.0 as a desktop, in next major release of Ubuntu i.e Ubuntu 11.10.

Top 10 Ubuntu Games

Ubuntu 10.10/11.04 or any other Linux Based systems(such as – Open Suse, Linux Mint, Fedora etc.) has been lagging behind the windows when it comes to Games support. There are mainly two reasons that Linux based os isn’t the favorite platform of Gamers- First,Most of the commercial games are released just for Windows Platform; second the graphics card performance(probably due to the fact that Graphics Card Manufacturers do not release the appropriate drivers for Linux Platform,by the way if they releases proprietary(Closed Source) drivers then there is much possibility of compatibility issues with Linux based operating system).

If you’re building a Gaming Rig, checkout this tool for building a Gaming PC or this for best performing gaming laptops.

The time has changed now,Linux based OS like Ubuntu is now becoming the favorite choice for gaming; mostly,due to availability of a large collection of open source and free games. Some commercial games developers has also concentrated on Ubuntu as their target platform. Nvidia Graphics card provides good performance on Ubuntu.

So, in the end of this post, you will get an overview of some of the best/popular games(open source and commercial).it is not an easy task to select top 10 games from a list, so if you don’t see your favorite game listed here don’t be panic, I’ve prepared the list based on my personal experience(2+ years) in gaming; submit your opinion/idea/recommendation through comments or contact.

Top 10 Ubuntu Games – at a Glance

# 0 : Open Arena

Open Arena is an open source (and free) multiplayer FPS (First Person Shooter) game based on ioquake3 fork of the id tech 3 engine. it is the free version of quake III arena and it can stand alone so Quake III Arena is not required to play this game.

ubuntu games 1 -open arena

Download and installation instructions

If you are using Ubuntu 10.04/10.10 then download open arena deb and open with ‘Ubuntu Software Center’ (or open with ‘gdebi Package Manager’ in older versions of Ubuntu)to install. Visit the official wiki  page of Open Arena- Installation Details for other Linux Distributions.

# 1 : Torcs

Torcs is a 3D Racing Car Simulation Game based on OpenGL. it is available free for all platforms e.g Linux based OS(e.g Ubuntu 10.04/10.10/11.04),Windows,Mac OS X,BSD; available as an open source software.it has more than 50 cars,20 tracks and 50 opponents available for racing with lot of other features that brings reality during simulation.

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Install Torcs on Ubuntu 10.04/10.10/11.04

>> Download the debian package – download torcs debian package

>> Open the *.deb with Ubuntu Software Center ; then click  on install.

# 2 : Urban Terror

Urban Terror is a free multiplayer and multi-platform FPS(First Person Shooter) game similar to Quake III Arena.The motto of the game is ‘Fun Over Realism’ , so the game is very funky,enjoyable and unique.

top ubuntu games 3-urban-terror

Download Urban Terror

# 3 : Tux Racer

Tux Racer is fun and easy to learn  – a 3D racing game(Licensed under GPL and available free to use) suitable for all ages.In this game you need to race through mountains; you will play the role of tux – Linux Mascot.it is available for all common platforms. The primary goal of the game is to slide-down a snow and ice-covered mountain as quickly as possible.

games-4-tux-racer

Download Tux Racer

On Ubuntu you can install Extreme Tux Racer(very similar to Tux Racer ) with one simple command(or from Synaptic Package Manager) – Open terminal and enter the command :

$ sudo apt-get install etuxracer

# 4 : Armagetron Advanced

Armagetron Advanced is a 3D game(open source,free and multi-platform), a clone of the movie Tron.This game is based on the light cycle racing which can take only 90 degrees turn(and leaves a solid wall behind the path) and the winner will be the one who will survive till last; without colliding with the walls.The other rule is that the it can’t stopped during the race.

top-ubuntu-games-armagetron-advanced

Installing Armagetron on Ubuntu 10.04/10.10/11.04

Open Synaptic Package Manager and search for ‘armagetron advanced’ ; mark the boxes to select the package for installation; Finally click on Apply button to begin installation procedure.Wait for the installation to complete,then you are ready to play the game from Applications->Game menu.

# 5 :  Vega Strike

Vega Strike is is a 3D space simulator game.it is free and open source; available for Linux/Mac/Windows.In vega strike,you can trade,fight and explore the vast universe with a lot of fun.it is developed on the top of OpenGL.

ubuntu games -5-vega strike

Download Vega Strike

# 6 : Battle of Wesnoth

it is a free turn based tactical strategy game with high fantasy theme.it is a multi platform game.

ubuntu-games-6-wesnoth

Download Battle of Wesnoth

# 7 : Nexuiz

Nexuiz is a 3D deathmatch game with very complex and high end graphics effects.it is open source and available free.You can play it using local network or Internet.

ubuntu-games-7-nexuiz

On Ubuntu you can install it in one click from the ‘Ubuntu Software Center’.

# 8 : Alien Arena

it is a 3D standalone online Deathmatch- FPS game based on Quake II/III Arena.it is open source and free.

ubuntu-games-8-alien-arena

it is also available in Ubuntu Software Center,so ubuntu users can install it from there.

# 9 : Vdrift

Vdrift is an open source and free game which simulates driving with vdrift features.The game is new and all the development goal haven’t been completed but it is still playable.

vdrift-snapshot

Ubuntu users can download the debian pckage of vdrift and install it by Right Click ->Open with Ubuntu Software Center and click on Install button.

plus this one (you may already have played this one) =>

# 10 : SuperTuxKart – 3D Kart Racing Game!

supertuxkart-snapshot

It’s my all time favorite game! I love it. Recently, they have launched the new version with lots of new tracks, graphics effect are also lot better now. It’s available there in official repository. So, you can install it from Software center or type the command –

sudo apt-get install supertuxkart

That’s All..If you have any suggestion or opinion then let us know through comments.

mac-theme-ubuntu

how to install Mac theme on ubuntu 10.10

Ubuntu 10.10 (Maverick Meerkat) comes with GNOME as a default desktop(Actually GNOME desktop is used in most of the Linux based distributions).GNOME is a open source,free and fully customizable.

The default look and appearance of Ubuntu 10.10 is very appealing(because there are lot of good looking themes,installed by default e.g Radiance,Ambiance,NewWave,Dust,clearlooks etc) but there is nothing wrong in doing some experiment in customizing it(Since there is no limit on how much we can customize an open source application on an open source operating system;it is fun!).

If you have ever used Mac OS then you probably understands why it is so popular(may be due to its highly appealing look).So won’t it be interesting if we make a Hybrid version of OS by combining the best features of Mac OS X and Ubuntu 10.10 ? Surely Yes!! Okay lets do that.

appearance of Mac OS X  +  performance of Ubuntu 10.10  =  Macbuntu 10.10(it really rocks!)

Let’s take a look on how your Ubuntu will look like,after installing the mac theme – A snapshot of my Ubuntu 10.10 with Mac Theme

mac-theme-ubuntu

Mac OS X Theme for Ubuntu 10.10

To get the mac appearance on Ubuntu 10.10, you need to download and install the macbuntu-10.10(complete package for transforming the default look of gnome desktop into mac like look and appearance) theme.it is free and will take a couple of minutes.Just follow the steps –

step #1 : Download the Macbuntu-10.10 theme package(Link is given below)

Download Macbuntu-10.10 theme

step #2 : Install the Macbuntu Theme

First,Extract the theme and move on to that directory.Then open terminal ( hit CTRL+ALT+T ) and execute the ‘install.sh’ script(as a normal user i.e without sudo),that you get within the theme package(After Extraction).Just drag the install.sh,and drop it to terminal,then hit enter.

rkjha@rkjha-desktop:~$ '/home/rkjha/Macbuntu-10.10/install.sh'

Then you will have to answer some simple questions during installation ,if you are not sure then select the default(hit Enter or answer y in y/n case).That’s All..you have installed the mac os x theme on Ubuntu 10.10.You may want to restart the system for optimal performance.(although it is not strictly required)