Tag Archives: tools


UI Prototyping and Mockup Tools for Ubuntu / Linux Mint

UI prototypes and sketches/mock-ups are really very useful in early stage of Application development (Mobile, Web or Desktop App), it works as a great communication medium between the designers, developers, customers and users. Most of the UI designers/developers prefer – starting with sketches before jumping into the code (HTML, CSS etc). Some designers prefer sketching on paper while some prefer using some tools or both.

Sketching on paper is a good practice but if you use prototyping tools, then you can easily create great-looking mock-ups, much faster and of course it’s easy to share and collaborate (for example, in a presentation to your fellow developers, VCs or investors). For Ubuntu, native tools are also available, or you can just use the web based mockup tools.

Pencil – Free and Open Source ‘Sketching Tool’

it’s a free and open source sketching/prototyping tool. it’s a cross-platform application, available in stand-alone form or as a Firefox Add-on. Pencil has lot of great features – UI elements, icons, etc that allow you to easily create sketches for desktop and web apps.

The sketches can be easily exported to pdf, png, odt or templates (such as HTML Templates, but first you need to install the templates, Go to pencil -> Tools -> Manage Export Templates and locate the template downloaded from official site).


Installing Pencil Prototyping Tool in Ubuntu / Linux Mint

Download This Add-On (Latest stable version : 1.3.4) and Open with Mozilla Firefox (requires version 4+) to install the add-on. Then restart the browser and go to Firefox -> Tools -> Pencil Sketching and start creating cool sketches as you want.

Download Standalone version of Pencil (From the Official Page)

Other prototyping tools that you may should checkout


If you want to quickly create mockups for you web/mobile apps, then you should try Keynotopia. They have lots of awesome templates and wireframing components – so you can transform your ideas into a prototype – in minutes. It works with Microsoft Power Point, Open Office and Apple Keynote.


it’s a cool web application, for creating mock-ups and prototypes. it’s easy to use and it has nice widgets and icons to sketch UI quickly. The application is based on Cappuccino, an open source framework for creating desktop like apps in a browser; so you don’t need any flash player or something to use this app. The personal plans starts at $9 but there is also a free plan to get started with (1 project with 10 pages).

Checkout The MockingBird App


“Distraction Free Writing” applications/tools for Ubuntu (12.04)

Most of the applications we use daily, have a lot of features but actually most of the features remains unused (in many cases). Those features/options are actually nothing but distraction, specially when it comes to writing (I mean creative writing). I love writing, for a writer – the most important thing is text (not the icons or buttons of the application).

So I prefer distraction free writing apps because it allows me to focus truly on text, nothing else. There are lot of such apps/tools available for Ubuntu and other GNU/Linux distributions – some are also available in software center. Additionally, you can also try apps (e.g Libre Office) in full screen mode for better concentration.

Why Go for a Distraction Free App ?

If you are a writer then here are some advantages –

  • concentration (obviously, due to less distraction)
  • inspiration (there’s nothing but text)
  • creativity
  • productivity
  • and, it’s more fun (and joyful)

Top 3 Distraction Free Apps for Ubuntu

1. Catlooking – When only text counts


Catlooking has very few options (that’s really good) – that you get in beginning or after the mouse hover to top. The file is automatically saved after few seconds (even if you accidentally close the file or Operating System crashes), later you can export to your hard drive. There are two options for theme – day (the default one, as you can see in screenshot) and night.


Download and Install Catlooking in Ubuntu (12.04)

Download Catlooking (From Official Website) , then open the *.deb package with Ubuntu Software Center or gdebi package installer, You can also check the Github Page (for latest version).

2. PyRoom – Distraction-less Full Screen Text editor


PyRoom is full screen – distraction free text editor. It has no icons or options in main screen, although there are few keyboard shortcuts to use the features available in pyroom. There are lot of themes available to try, you can even create your own theme (hit Ctrl+p).

Few Keyboard Shortcuts to get started with PyRoom

  • Ctrl+h => Help Manual
  • Ctrl+s => Save
  • Ctrl+p => Settings/Preferences (Fonts, Themes, Autosave, Writing Area etc)

Install PyRoom in Ubuntu

Fire up a terminal (Ctrl+Alt+t) and execute –

sudo apt-get install pyroom

3. FocusWriter – Focus on Writing


FocusWriter is also a distraction free environment for writers, with a some nice features including formatting options and lot more. It’s good if you want more features than the PyRoom or Catlooking. The main icons are hidden during the writing process. So it’s like a LibreOffice in Full Screen Mode, but with less distraction of course.

Install FocusWriter in Ubuntu (12.04)

sudo apt-get install focuswriter

Enjoy Writing :)

Precise Tweak (New Ubuntu Tweak)

How to Tweak Ubuntu 12.04 LTS

Ubuntu 12.04 LTS (precise pangolin) has released. If you’ve been using Unity desktop from the beginning then you might have noticed a lot of improvements (in Unity Interface). Gnome shell also seems better then it was before.

Anyway, after installing few basic things in Ubuntu 12.04  – now it’s time to tweak various settings/options according to your need. Many things has changed a lot in Ubuntu 12.04 e.g Customizing theme is now much harder as compare to older version of Ubuntu (e.g in 10.04, it was much simpler with GNOME 2.3).

Applications for Tweaking Ubuntu 12.04 LTS

1. Precise Tweak – The new version of  ‘Ubuntu Tweak’

Precise Tweak is the new version of Ubuntu Tweak. Ubuntu Tweak was very popular in older version of Ubuntu (with GNOME 2.* Desktop). Now, they have released the new version – suitable for newer version of Ubuntu i.e 12.04. It is a very feature rich application that allow you to customize a lot of things including – Theme, Login Settings, Common Administrative Tasks, Applications Settings (handlers), PPA etc. So using Precise Tweak, it’s very easy to customize Ubuntu 12.04, and it’s Fun :)

Precise Tweak (New Ubuntu Tweak)

In short, it’s a must have application for every one. To install Precise Tweak, simply execute the following commands –

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:tualatrix/ppa
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install ubuntu-tweak

2. MyUnity

MyUnity is a simple application for tweaking Unity Desktop settings. It has lot of options to configure Unity such as Launcher settings, Desktop icons, Font settings, Themes, Panel etc. So it’s recommended if Unity is your primary desktop.


Installing MyUnity in Ubuntu 12.04 LTS

In 12.04 LTS, MyUnity has been included in official package repository so you don’t need to add any external PPA. Open a terminal and execute –

sudo apt-get install myunity

3. Gnome Tweak Tool

Gnome Tweak Tool is recommended specially for those who use Gnome Shell Interface in Ubuntu 12.04 LTS. It allows you to configure themes, fonts, gnome shell extensions, etc. So it’s required for those who want to tweak Gnome Shell Interface.

gnome tweak tool

How to install Gnome Tweak Tool in Ubuntu 12.04 LTS

Open a terminal and execute (or you could use your preferred way of installing new things such as from Synaptic Package Manager) –

sudo apt-get install gnome-tweak-tool

4. Unsettings


Unsettings is a cool app for customizing unity settings, recommended for those who loves Unity shell in Ubuntu 12.04. You can easily change panels, dash, icons, themes, fonts, launcher, menu and other settings – without much hassle. To install Unsettings, simply execute the commands (it’s not there in system package repository, so you are recommended to install using the official PPA) –

sudo apt-add-repository ppa:diesch/testing
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install unsettings
dejadup-backup for Ubuntu 11.10

how to backup Ubuntu 11.10

Ubuntu 11.10 (Oneiric Ocelot) have a backup software installed by default – Deja Dup. Deja Dup is a simple, robust and automatic backup tool that will allow you to backup your files to local or remote location (such as Amazon S3), in a couple of clicks. Although, it doesn’t have any fancy graphical user interface like Apple’s Time Machine but it does its work (it supposed to do) very fast.

Having a backup of all your important files means – you’re safe from most of the upcoming disasters! Right? surely from the technical disasters like hard disk failures. so backup is really good for the piece of mind, So you’re supposed to have a regular backup of all critical files. So in this post, you’re going to learn about some great backup softwares for Ubuntu (although it is expected to work smoothly on other Debian based Linux distributions). Some of the most popular open source backup apps are Deja Dup, Back In Time, Flyback, luckyBackup (based on rsync) etc.

dejadup-backup for Ubuntu

Deja Dup is one of the most popular backup application among Linux users – that’s the reason why it comes as a pre-installed application with Ubuntu 11.10. So it means that you got the backup application installed, you just need to configure it – like what files/directories you want to backup? where do you want to backup all your data i.e locally or to a remote location such as Amazon Cloud, then select automatic backups (if you want) and finally click on Backup Now button to begin. So in short, I can say that – it’s the best backup software for Ubuntu.

Other Backup Applications you may want to try in Ubuntu

Back In Time

back-in-time backup tool

Back In Time is a simple and easy to use backup solution for Linux based OS such as Ubuntu, Fedora, OpenSuse, Linux Mint, etc. it creates backup of the specified files/directories in snapshots (like git – a version control system).

Install ‘Back In Time’ backup tool in Ubuntu

sudo apt-get install backintime-gnome



luckybackup is a backup tool with lot of advanced features. it is based on rsync protocol. it is very simple to use, fast, reliable and of course – fully customizable. The application is available in package repository, so you can install it either from the Ubuntu Software Center or fire up a terminal and execute –

sudo apt-get install luckybackup


Flyback is backup tool, trying to mimic the features of Apple’s Time Machine. Linux based OS has almost all technology already built in by default, so Flyback simply provides a GUI to use that. The project is hosted at code.google.com and if you want to try then download the debian package for Ubuntu. The installation is quite simple – either open it with Ubuntu Software Center or use the command –

sudo dpkg -i install package_name_goes_here.deb
eclipse for ubuntu 11.10

how to install Eclipse IDE on Ubuntu 11.10

Integrated Development Environment or IDE provides a very convenient environment for software development as it automates a lot of boring/complex tasks. Although some programmers do not prefer to use any IDE (specifically ruby programmers – they use TextMate or gedit or other powerful text editors) but java programmers uses IDE in most of the cases because having an IDE makes a lot of jobs much easier. So it means the need of IDE also depends on the type of programming language and the complexity of the project. Since, Java is based on configuration over convention paradigm so an IDE is a must have tool (for Java developers) to automate a lot of tasks, thus it saves a lot of time for coding the actual stuffs.

Ubuntu (latest version 11.10 beta2) has now become the most popular Linux desktop and it has pretty good reputation among programmers – specifically java programmers. Since the eclipse is the best IDE for java – a lot of java programmers uses Ubuntu as their application development platform, so this post will help a beginner java programmer in getting started on Ubuntu with Eclipse IDE. Eclipse is the most popular IDE, not only for java but also for other object oriented programming language such as C/C++, PHP, JavaScript, Ruby on Rails (Aptana plugin is available for Eclipse). Google Android SDK plugin is also available for Eclipse IDE – which makes the Eclipse a lot popular in developing apps for smartphones specifically Android based devices. it has lot of free plugins available to extend the feature as you want.

eclipse for ubuntu 11.10

Install Eclipse IDE on Ubuntu 11.10 (Oneiric Ocelot)

Open Terminal (Shortcut : Ctrl+Alt+t) and execute –

sudo apt-get install eclipse

Once you’ve installed the eclipse platform and its dependencies, you can install the required package/plugin for your job.

e.g if you are a java developer then install JDT (Java Development Tools) using the command –

sudo apt-get install eclipse-jdt

for C/C++ programming, install CDT plugin,

sudo apt-get install eclipse-cdt

or you can just search in Ubuntu Software Center and install it from there.

installing-eclipse on Ubuntu 11.10