May 2, 2016

ClassicMenu Indicator brings back the old school cool from GNOME2 in Ubuntu 16.04

Anyone here remember the massive community back clash when Unity was first introduced? A lot of that had to do with the replacement of GNOME2's rather straight forward menu system with a more modern Unity Launcher that we see today. ClassicMenu Indicator is a small plugin that could bring back some of that old glory.

gnome ClassicMenu Indicator ubuntu

ClassicMenu Indicator for Ubuntu 16.04

Every now and then, you stumble upon interesting little applications in Ubuntu Software Center. ClassicMenu Indicator is a lesser known plugin which I'm sure a lot of people here will appreciate. ClassicMenu Indicator was featured in USC's Editor's Pick category.  
ClassicMenu Indicator
As you can see, USC has went through some serious make-over in Ubuntu 16.04 LTS about which you can read here in detail. ClassicMenu Indicator lets you experience some of that old school awesomeness of GNOME Classic in your brand new Ubuntu 16.04 LTS (works on previous releases as well). ClassicMenu Indicator sits on the top menu as an indicator applet and houses GNOME2's classic menu system. Installation is just a click away. 


Why Microsoft needed to make Windows run Linux software

And how it could leapfrog Apple as the dev platform of choice.

Perhaps the biggest surprise to come from Microsoft's Build developer conference last week was the Windows Subsystem for Linux (WSL).
The system will ship as part of this summer's Anniversary Update for Windows 10. WSL has two parts; there's the core subsystem, which is already included in Insider Preview builds of the operating system, and then a package of software that Canonical will provide. The core subsystem is what provides the Linux API on Windows, including the ability to natively load Linux executables and libraries. Canonical will provide bash and all the other command-line tools that are expected in a Linux environment.

Microsoft is positioning WSL strictly as a tool for developers, with a particular view to supporting Web developers and the open source software stacks that they depend on. Many developers are very familiar with the bash shell, with building software using make and gcc, and editing text in vi or emacs. WSL will give these developers versions of these tools that are equal in just about every regard to the ones you get on Linux, because they'll be the ones you get on Linux running unmodified on Windows.
With that developer focus, Microsoft isn't supporting WSL as a deployment platform. It might be possible to run, for example, the Apache Web server under WSL, and it might even be useful to do so for development, but the intent is not that applications would ever be run in production with this configuration.

Making lemonade

WSL was derived from Project Astoria, the effort to enable Android apps to run on Windows 10 Mobile; we'd expect that, initially at least, its support is strongest for those APIs that Android needed and that it will be weaker in other areas. This means that while application support should be extensive, Windows won't be able to run every Linux program under the sun. There's no Linux kernel here, so this won't bring support for filesystems such as ZFS or btrfs to Windows. Applications demanding low-level access to hardware devices, such as Wireshark, seem similarly unlikely to run and will continue to need Windows ports. WSL also doesn't include X Windows or any other graphical subsystem; it's strictly for command-line applications only.

Microsoft deciding to support Linux software on Windows is a surprising move, and the obvious question is, why? Superficially, the answer is easy—developers like these tools, so supporting them makes developers happy—but the story runs a little deeper than that. Supporting Linux apps in Windows is a significant move for a company that has spent decades promoting its own APIs and application platform, and it's unlikely that the company would make such a move just to provide a few creature comforts to developers. The need goes deeper than that.
Wind the clock back 15 years and Windows was the only serious platform for software developers. Linux was already an important consideration for servers, but on the desktop was even less of a concern than it is today, reserved only for the most hardcore fans. OS X was in its infancy, and only ran on weird, expensive, underpowered PowerPC hardware. This made Windows the development platform of choice by default. There simply wasn't any good alternative.

This in turn had consequences for software, where solid Windows support could drive server-side usage. A prime example of this is the MySQL database server. While it is better today than it once was, MySQL has always been regarded as second-best when it comes to important considerations such as technical capabilities and data integrity, with PostgreSQL generally held to be the much better database. In spite of this, MySQL won considerable market- and mind-share because it was a much better development platform. It had an easy Windows installer, it had good Windows software for managing databases and writing queries, and it had good ODBC drivers. PostgreSQL's developers, on the other hand, didn't appear to prioritize any of these things, and while it wasn't impossible to run the database on Windows, doing so meant forfeiting the creature comforts that MySQL offered.

It's no great surprise, then, that MySQL proliferated in a way that PostgreSQL didn't.
But things don't work that way any more. Setting up a Ruby development environment on Windows is a wretched experience. Getting Ruby running well is awkward on any platform, but Windows is arguably the worst. The popular node.js environment was born on OS X and Linux, and for a long time could not be effectively run on Windows. Salvatore Sanfilippo, developer of top NoSQL data store redis, has refused to accept patches to make the software run on Windows, not out of any particular hostility towards Microsoft, but because he saw no need for it. He supported the idea of forks of the software that supported Windows, but nothing that would impede development of the core product.

It's still not the year, but it's also not not the year

Windows certainly hasn't disappeared completely from view, but it's no longer the essential, must-have platform that it once was. Why not? Because those two non-contenders in 2000 are more or less viable today. Linux for various reasons still may not be the most comfortable desktop platform (especially for anyone wanting to use it on a brand-new laptop), but it's much more livable than it used to be. And OS X, thanks to a combination of the switch to x86 and Apple's fine hardware design, has become an appealing option for a great many developers.
Indeed, for a number of years, it wasn't a huge exaggeration to say that Apple made the only x86 laptops that were both reasonably affordable and pleasant to use. The MacBook Air, in particular, set a new standard for size and weight, and while the initial release was expensive, subsequent iterations were much less so. The traditional PC world had little that could match, and even when PC OEMs did build good systems—as Lenovo often did—they tended to be high-priced "corporate" machines. Apple truly led the way when it came to offering that mix of price, power, and portability, and it did so with an operating system that just happened to use a large portion of FreeBSD's code. There are still, of course, differences between OS X's FreeBSD and Linux running on a server, but they're a great deal smaller than the differences between either of those and Windows.

What Apple did was to give every computer science and software engineering student a three-pound Unix workstation for not very much money, and unsurprisingly, they proliferated. This effect was compounded further by Apple's enduring popularity in San Francisco and Silicon Valley, and, related, the growth of iOS as an application platform. Smart kids fresh out of university (whether they dropped out or otherwise) weren't thrust into the Windows-centric world of corporate America. They could instead thrive in a culture that revered Apple and equipped them all with shiny new MacBook Pros. Windows wasn't reviled the way that the die-hard open source advocates reviled it; it just wasn't part of their life.

This is a problem that Microsoft has been slow to recognize. Microsoft is generally good at addressing the needs of Microsoft's own existing development community, but this came with a kind of myopia. Anything outside this constituency was ignored. The Visual Studio C and C++ compiler, for example, still lacks full support for C99, the version of the C language that was standardized about 17 years ago. In spite of repeated requests to the company that it add C99 support, there was always pushback. The rationale I was given more than once was that since Windows developers weren't writing C99 code, there was no reason for C99 support.
That Windows developers couldn't write C99 code because the main Windows C and C++ compiler couldn't compile it was apparently beside the point. And that the open source world had embraced C99, and was now producing code that simply couldn't be compiled on Windows—code that Windows developers might well want to use, if only it would work—was similarly ignored. The people writing this code weren't part of the Windows development constituency, and so addressing their needs wasn't a priority. In the last couple of years, there does seem to have been something of a realization within Redmond that it's missing out, and adherence to the newest iterations of the C++ specification has been made a priority, but full C99 support still hasn't been implemented, and it's not clear it ever will be.

The same is broadly true of Unix compatibility in general, and the Unix shell environment and workspace in particular. A hot young developer coming out of a top university is going to be comfortable with bash and make and all those other tools. Visual Studio may be great—Visual Studio is great—but it's irrelevant to this way of working. Microsoft was not completely blind to this problem—I've heard from a few people inside the company that there has to be a not insignificant education effort for new hires, because coming to Microsoft is literally the first time they're exposed to the Windows way of software development—but until last week's announcement, it seems that little was being done to address it in a systematic way.
What we had instead was individual porting efforts. And it's important not to discount these; Microsoft contributed money and developer time to node.js to help port it to Windows. The software was rearchitected to accommodate this—node.js relies heavily on asynchronous I/O, and the optimal approach for this is different on every platform—and I think most people would agree that the result is that node.js has become better software (it also turns out that Windows' approach to asynchronous I/O is really good). The asynchronous I/O parts were broken out into their own library, libuv, which is useful in its own right, and node.js is a client of that library. Microsoft has similarly developed a port of redis that runs natively on Windows.
These efforts were valuable, but it's not an effort that scales well. Microsoft can't port every project, and while Ryan Dahl, creator of node.js, recognized that supporting Windows was valuable and was willing to make considerable changes to node.js to support Windows, that's not true of every developer.

Better hardware calls for broader horizons


The hardware gap that Apple once enjoyed has largely gone away. Devices like the HP Spectre x360 and Dell XPS 13 are fine systems; there's a range of diverse, high quality, affordable PC hardware options that really didn't exist five years ago. There's also an interesting degree of diversity; you can get traditional laptops, or laptops with 360 degree hinges, or convertibles like the Surface Pro 4, or exotica such as the Surface Book. These are all solid choices. But the hardware alone isn't enough any more; Windows doesn't offer the development user experience that is now so commonplace. Microsoft needs to do something to appeal to this developer community, and maybe even win it over to Windows.

Windows Subsystem for Linux fixes that by bringing a large part of that user experience to Windows. Redis, for example, will work on WSL. Not a forked port of redis that's been altered to work around the differences between Windows and Unix systems; real redis. The Ruby experience, well, it won't ever be good, because it's a pain on every platform. But it will be better. The same is broadly true for most of the open source stack that powers a huge proportion of Web and cloud development these days. It'll work on Windows, just the same as it already does on Linux. Microsoft is working with Canonical initially, so all of these things will be an apt-get away just like they are on Ubuntu. It wouldn't be tremendously surprising to one day see other Linux flavors, too.

As WSL matures, it doesn't feel beyond the realm of possibility that there will be pressure on Microsoft to treat it as something more than just a development tool and address the desire to deploy onto WSL on Windows Server. Especially for small deployments, the ability to run redis within an otherwise Windows-based deployment without spinning up a virtual machine feels obviously desirable.

But even aside from this, WSL turns Windows into a remarkably strong development platform. The recent Xamarin acquisition and the announcement last week that Xamarin would be free with Visual Studio and released as open source to boot makes Windows a strong candidate for all kinds of software development. Visual Studio includes a high quality Android emulator and all the tools for developing on Android.

The iOS emulator on OS X doesn't support touch. But you can remote control it from a Windows box.
Genuine OS X systems are still required for building iOS software, as iOS applications must be compiled with Apple's toolchain and the iOS simulator only runs on OS X, but with Visual Studio and Xamarin the development can all be done in Windows, and this even offers some advantages that developing on OS X does not: Xamarin offers remote control of the iOS simulator from Windows, and that remote control supports multitouch. On a touchscreen PC you can use a finger or multiple fingers with the iOS simulator. Macs, with Apple's reluctance to add touchscreens to Macs, can't do that.

Developers writing for Apple's systems might even enjoy hardware that isn't tied to Apple's often awkward release schedules. Mac users are being left behind when it comes to virtual reality, because Apple refuses to build systems with fast, modern desktop GPUs. Its desktop machines are either laptops with massive screens, in the case of the iMacs, or languishing unloved and un-updated, in the case of the Mac Pro. A Windows development system that can handle VR—and development for Windows (a category that reaches as far as HoloLens and Xbox, Linux, iOS, and Android)—can be had for under a grand.

Microsoft's eye may be on Web developers right now. But what it's building won't just appeal to Web developers. It should make Windows into the developer platform for everyone.


April 26, 2016

How Ubuntu 16.04’s New Package Format Makes Installing Software A Snap

Ubuntu’s long-term support releases come with a trade off. New versions come every two years. During that time, your system stays consistent and receives the latest security updates. Unlike regular releases, you don’t have to update them every nine months.
But don’t try installing the latest version of software. Chances are your libraries will be out of date.

This isn’t a problem limited to LTS releases or Ubuntu in general. Even distributions running cutting edge code start looking dated before the next release. And some software never makes it into the repositories, regardless of age.
In version 16.04, Ubuntu is hoping to strike a balance between having stability and staying up-to-date. You won’t just have the option to install applications via debs. You will also be able to use snaps.

What are Snaps?

Snap packages can contain application binaries and any dependencies needed to run. They stem from click packages, which Canonical developed to package apps for Ubuntu Touch.
Snap packages are coming to Ubuntu 16.04 as a technology preview. Debs will continue to form the core of the classic desktop and its Unity7 interface. Click packages will remain the default in Unity8 (which is also a technology preview for now). Consider 16.04 a chance to meet snaps before developing a more intimate relationship in the future.

What are the Benefits?

Canonical views snaps as the next generation of apps for all Ubuntu devices. Here are some of the reasons why you may want to get excited.

1. Faster and Easier Access to Software

With snaps, developers will no longer have to supply a PPA for Ubuntu users to get an application and its dependencies. Instead, people can download a single package and know it will run on their system. This saves them from having to copy and paste lines of code into a terminal that they may not understand.
This doesn’t just apply to applications. Snaps could improve access to new versions of desktop environments like GNOME or KDE.

2. Long-Term Reliability

Linux desktop environments and libraries tend to change rapidly. As a result, software that worked in 2012 may not run on the same computer four years later. Don’t even bother trying to install an old version of Firefox, for example.
This is a pain for developers and discourages some of them from creating software for Linux. After creating an application once, they have to modify it regularly to keep working in a year or two. And that’s not even considering all the variations between different distributions.
Since a snap package provides its own dependencies, the application should have what it needs to run today, tomorrow, and a couple of years from now.

3. Isolation and Security




Snap packages run independently of the rest of the system. This means you don’t have to worry about installation impacting the rest of your setup. A developer can also patch a vulnerability and immediately send the fix out to users.
This is a double-edged sword. Since snap packages can make you run multiple copies of the same dependencies, you have to update each one when an issue is disclosed. If one developer doesn’t update an application, you’re left with a compromised version. Traditionally that would have been fixed when your distribution sent out security updates.

4. Paid Software Support

When you pay for an application, you expect it to work. This makes maintaining software for Linux especially unappealing to people selling software. Users expect you to support multiple distributions, with each changing in unpredictable ways every six months or so.
By using a snap package, a developer knows they have a version that works. It’s also easier to troubleshoot issues when each copy is the same.
For these reasons, Canonical plans to migrate paid applications to snaps by autumn of this year.

5. Familiar Development Experience




The mobile market has changed expectations around how software gets developed and distributed. The specifics may vary between working with Google Play, the Apple App Store, the Windows Store, and other marketplaces, but you’re still developing a package and uploading to a distribution center for review. Snapcraft, Canonical’s tool for building and packaging snaps, brings a similar experience to Ubuntu developers.

6. You Can Rollback

Not every upgrade goes as planned. Sometimes newer software introduces bugs that hamper the experience. In some instances, applications no longer launch at all. In these cases, developers can undo an update, and users have the option to re-install an old snap that worked.

How Will This Impact Other Distros?

Snap developers have built the format to work with Unity. Technically, this means the software can work on other distributions. But like Unity itself, snaps probably won’t see much adoption outside of the Ubuntu ecosystem.
This could stir interest in alternative but similar package formats. One example is AppImage, which you can already install on your Linux desktop today. A number of apps are available, such as Atom, Blender, Chromium, Firefox, and VLC.


AppImage is a continuation of Klik, which released back in 2006. It’s not the only one. PortableLinuxApps descended from Klik to create software you can boot from a flash drive.
Regardless of whether snaps appear elsewhere, they could encourage developers to distribute apps in a package format that works across distributions and regardless of dependencies. That’s the dream, anyway. What form reality takes remains to be seen.

Oh Snap, This Could Be Good

Installing software on Linux can be a pain. If it’s in the repositories, great! If not, you’re left hoping the developer provided a way to install software on your distribution. Each project has its own preferred method of managing applications and updates. It’s challenging to support them all. However at present, we have to be aware that the snap system could represent a security risk.

Image Credit: conveyor belt by Vivi-o via Shutterstock


April 17, 2016

Clementine Music Player Scores Juicy New Update

Can you believe that it’s been over 2 years since the last stable release of Clementine?
It’s also been over 4 years since we last mentioned the popular open-source music player on this site!

New Features in Clementine 1.3

Ripened for release this weekend, Clementine 1.3 brings a punnet’s worth of improvements, features and bug fixes to the cross-platform Qt-based music player.
It is also the first release of the app to formally support Ubuntu 16.04 LTS, which is due for release next week.
More than 150 changes are present in all, with some of the more notable being:
  • Support for
  • Seafile support (server >= 4.4.1)
  • Ampache compatibility (via Subsonic service)
  • New “Rainbow Dash” analyser
  • “Psychedelic Colour” mode added to all analysers
  • Various now playing widget tweaks, including option to hide song details
  • New & improved icons in various menus/dialogs
  • Option to remove missing/unavailable tracks from playlist
  • Various improvements to Spotify integration
  • Faster startup
  • Additional sources for lyrics
Podcast management also sees a selection of improvements:
  • Option to set podcast as listened sending to a device.
  • Order podcasts by age
  • Support for multiple podcast downloads
  • Cancel active podcast download
  • Option to hide listened podcast episodes
The app has also been updated to support GStreamer 1.0 and version 1.10.0 of the Taglib meta-data editor.
But it’s not all spit and polish. Some features are removed as part of the update, including integration with Canonical’s defunct Ubuntu One service and the recently retired Grooveshark music streaming service. Online music database Discogs is no longer used to fetch missing album artwork.
The full change-log for this release is available view on GitHub and gives a thorough overview of all the changes to ship in this update.

Download Clementine 1.3

Clementine .5
The official Clementine website hosts installer downloads for a number of Linux distributions, including .deb packages for Ubuntu 14.04 LTS and up.
As a cross-platform app you can also download a Windows installers (including a portable version) and a Mac OS X disk image.

Clementine PPA for Ubuntu Users

Prepare to use PPAs?
Add the official Clementine PPA to get this latest version, plus automatically receive any subsequent releases as and when they’re made.
To add install Clementine from PPA run the following commands in a new terminal window:
sudo add-apt-repository ppa:me-davidsansome/clementine

sudo apt-get update && sudo apt-get install clementine
Once install has completed you will be able to open Clementine from the Unity Dash (or an equivalent app launcher).


April 10, 2016

How to Install Rhythmbox Plugins in Ubuntu

This quick tutorial is going to show you how to install a list of plugins for Ubuntu’s default music player Rhythmbox in Ubuntu 14.04 LTS and later.

The plugins currently include:
  • rhythmbox-plugin-artdisplay – display art covers as per v2.96 rhythmbox
  • rhythmbox-plugin-countdown-playlist – Countdown Playlist
  • rhythmbox-plugin-close-on-hide – really exit rhythmbox when click close button
  • rhythmbox-plugin-coverart-browser – Browse your cover-art albums in Rhythmbox
  • rhythmbox-plugin-desktopart – show cover art on desktop
  • rhythmbox-plugin-equalizer – rhythmbox sound equalizer
  • rhythmbox-plugin-fileorganizer – Intelligently move files to folders according to track tags
  • rhythmbox-plugin-fullscreen – This python plugin gives you a stylish full screen window
  • rhythmbox-plugin-hide – rhythmbox_hide
  • rhythmbox-plugin-jumptowindow – JumpToWindow
  • rhythmbox-plugin-llyrics – rhythmbox alternative lyrics plugin
  • rhythmbox-plugin-looper – Loop part of the song in Rhythmbox.
  • rhythmbox-plugin-opencontainingfolder – open containing folder
  • rhythmbox-plugin-parametriceq – parametric equalizer with up to 64 Bands
  • rhythmbox-plugin-playlist-import-export
  • rhythmbox-plugin-randomalbumplayer – Random Album Player
  • rhythmbox-plugin-rating-filters – Rating filters for the library browser.
  • rhythmbox-plugin-remembertherhythm – Remember the rhythm
All these plugins are developed by fossfreedom and available in his PPA. As some plugins were developed for old Rhythmbox 2.9x, it may or may not work on Ubuntu 14.04 with Rhythmbox 3.0.2.

Press Ctrl+Alt+T on keyboad to open the terminal. When it opens, run the
command below to add the plugins PPA:

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:fossfreedom/rhythmbox-plugins
After that, you can install each plugin after checking for updates. Or install all of them by:
sudo apt-get update; sudo apt-get install rhythmbox-plugin-complete
Once installed, open Rhythmbox and go to Tools -> Plugins. Enable plugins you want from the list.


April 2, 2016

Where to download Chrome 32 bit since it has been discontinued by Google?

Many users have been looking for the last 32 bit build of Google Chrome browser. It is version 48. It came as part of Ubuntu Mate 15.10 recommended software from the Welcome Center. Below is a link where you can still find it.

I am using Chromium, which is still being updated and is at version 49 currently. However, Chromium does not support the Adobe Flash Player and Google Chrome does. So that is one reason a lot of folks like it.

If you are looking for the open source Google Chrome equivalent called Chromium, in both 32 and 64 bit versions, they are available still. You can also find the Chrome "Canary" developer beta builds in both 32 and 64 bit versions for Windows and Linux there. You can find them below. Enjoy.

March 6, 2016

Record Streaming Audio with Audio Recorder

I just became aware of this great program for recording streaming audio. It comes bundled in Ubuntu Mate 16.04 Beta 1.

Audio Recorder is an amazing audio recording program, this small tool allows user to record audio from microphones, webcams, system sound card, media player or web browser & etc. It can save recording in various formats listed: Ogg, Mp3, Flac, Wav (22khz), Wav (44khz) and Spx.

It allows to use sound source system card, microphone, audio/video player, any application (like: Skype calls with any user interaction) and user defined program for recording. It also can be configured to stop recording if output file limit is reached to user requirement. Audio threshold is supported by this program, which can record audio on sound/voice and stop/pause when silence (user can set up threshold and delay as per requirements). Additionally you can setup an timer manually within the audio recorder program to schedule recordings and the program will start/stop/pause recording at given time. Panel indicator support for Ubuntu, from where user can easily access some options like: show/hide window, start/stop recording and open recording location.

audio recorder audio recorder

audio recorder audio recorder

To install Audio-Recorder in Ubuntu/Linux Mint open Terminal (Press Ctrl+Alt+T) and copy the following commands in the Terminal:

To Install Audio Recorder use the Terminal

sudo apt-add-repository ppa:osmoma/audio-recorder
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install audio-recorder

Install additional codecs with this command:

March 4, 2016

How To Fix The (Annoying) ‘Failed to Fetch’ Chrome apt Error

Google announced plans discontinue 32-bit Google Chrome for Linux this March, and, bang on cue, it has.

The search engine has pulled 32-bit Chrome builds from the official Chrome repo, which gets added to Ubuntu Software Sources when the app is first installed.
Some 64-bit Ubuntu systems caught in the cross-hairs of the deprecation are now throwing a small, yet very annoying, error when performing an apt update.
The ‘failed to fetch error that appears in the Terminal says:
“Failed to fetch Unable to find expected entry ‘main/binary-i386/Packages’ in Release file (Wrong sources.list entry or malformed file)”
Are you seeing it?
If you are: do not panic. There is an easy to fix the ‘failed to fetch’ error and all it requires is 30 seconds and a few simple characters…
‘The fix takes just 30 seconds to perform, then no-more annoying error.’

Fix ‘Failed To Fetch’ Apt Error on Ubuntu

The tip comes to us by way of OMG! Ubuntu! reader Santiago Batista, who explains the situation in his e-mail to us:
“Since Google dropped support for 32-bit Chrome on Linux an error occurs when updating apt in 64-bit systems (with multi arch enabled).
“The solution,” he says, ”is to modify the sources.list file for Chrome.”
But how do you do that?
We can edit the sources.list in a number of different ways. Some of these take place at the command line, others through a GUI.
You may have your own preferred method, but for this walkthrough I will use Gedit.
1. Open a new Terminal window and run the following command (assuming you’re on the Stable Channel, if not, see the featured comment):
sudo gedit /etc/apt/sources.list.d/google-chrome.list
2. In the text file that opens edit the file so that the line reads:
deb [arch=amd64] stable main
The only addition you need to make is entering the [amd64] architecture after ‘deb’ but preceding the ‘http’. Do not edit or replace any other text in this file.
3. Hit Save. Close the Gedit window.
Now return to the Terminal and refresh your package list by running:
sudo apt-get update
The ‘failed to fetch’ APT error should no longer appear.

This post, How To Fix The (Annoying) ‘Failed to Fetch’ Chrome apt Error, was written by Joey-Elijah Sneddon and first appeared on OMG! Ubuntu!.

March 3, 2016

9 Good CD and DVD Burning Tools for Ubuntu/Linux

here is no dearth of good CD/DVD burning tools for Ubuntu. Brasero Disc Burner comes as default in Ubuntu and it is a good enough tool with almost all functionalities you expect from a basic CD/DVD burning application. But what really are the alternatives. Here is a quick listing of very good CD/DVD burning applications available for Linux(in no particular order). Read on.

K3B - KDE Burning Tool

top CD burn tools for Linux

K3B has been my favorite CD/DVD burning tool ever since I started using Ubuntu some 4 years ago. K3B is a Qt based application and it might look a bit out of place in Ubuntu GNOME desktop. But from a functionality point of view K3B is far ahead of all its competitors.
GnomeBaker Burning Tool

GnomeBaker Burning Tool

GnomeBaker is a free and open source CD/DVD authoring application for Linux. It is based on GNOME desktop environment. GnomeBaker comes equipped with functionalities like: Drag and drop to create data CDs (including drag and drop to and from the Nautilus file manager), Create audio CDs from existing WAV, MP3, FLAC, and Ogg files etc.
Brasero Disc Burner

brasero ubuntu

If you are an Ubuntu user, you don't need any introduction to Brasero Disc Burner since it comes as a default application in Ubuntu. Supports features like on-the-fly burning, multi-session, on-the-fly conversion of music playlists in all formats supported by GStreamer and so on. Brasero is my second favorite Burn tool available for Linux.
Xfburn for Linux
Xfburn for Linux

Xfburn is a tool to help burning CDs and DVDs. As the name indicates, Xfburn is better integrated with Xfce desktop though it can be used in any Linux desktop environment.
Nero for Windows, Linux

Nero for Windows, Linux

Yes, Nero indeed has a Linux version of its popular CD/DVD burning application. Nero Linux 4 costs US $19.99 and there is a demo version also, available for free download.
ImgBurn for Windows, Linux(under Wine)

top burn applications for Linux

Before getting excited, let me make it clear. ImgBurn is not an open source application and there is no official package for Linux as well. But ImgBurn is among the few applications which runs neatly under Wine and that is exactly why it is included in this official listing of Wine supported applications.
SimpleBurn for Linux

top CD burn applications for Linux

SimpleBurn is a minimalistic application for burning and extracting CDs and DVDs. SimpleBurn was designed to have minimal dependencies. It uses GTK2 libs for the interface for burning it uses CDRTools (cdrecord, cdda2wav, mkisofs) or CDRKit (wodim, icedax, genisoimage).
  • Installation in Ubuntu is a bit complicated since there are no DEB packages available AFAIK. You can compile and install SimpleBurn instead. Instructions here.
InfraRecorder for Windows

top burn applications for Linux

Although InfraRecorder does not belong to this list since it does not have a Linux version, it is a widely acclaimed open source CD/DVD burning tool for Microsoft Windows licensed under GNU General Public License. In 2007, CNET rated InfraRecorder the best free alternative to commercial DVD burning software.
CDRDAO Command Line Tool

top CD and DVD burn applications for Linux

CDRDAO(CD recording Disk At Once) is an open source CD burner application for Windows, Mac and Linux. CDRDAO records audio or data CD-Rs in disk-at-once (DAO) mode based on a textual description of the CD contents. The CDRDAO application is run from the command line and has no graphical user interface. 
Hope you enjoyed the listing. Interested in more such listing of useful applications? Check out this collection of top bit-torrent applications and media-center applications for Linux as well.


February 26, 2016

Ubuntu 16.04 Beta 1 Is Now Available to Download

The first Ubuntu 16.04 beta builds are now available to download.
Lubuntu, Ubuntu GNOME, Ubuntu MATE — oooh-argh — and Ubuntu Kylin are among the official Ubuntu flavors to stick their hands up for inclusion in this development milestone.
The regular version of Ubuntu, i.e. the one most of you are waiting for, only takes part in the second beta release.
Ubuntu 16.04 Beta 2  is set for a March 24 release date.
For this bout of beta level testing the following Ubuntu flavors take part:
  • Lubuntu
  • Xubuntu 
  • Ubuntu MATE
  • Ubuntu GNOME
  • Ubuntu Kylin
Not taking part is Kubuntu.

What’s New in Ubuntu 16.04 Beta 1?

ubuntu kylin login screen

Ubuntu Kylin 16.04 Beta 1 
improves on its alpha releases with a new version of the Youker assistant, a brand-new login screen (kylin-greeter, pictured) and benefits from general improvements to both the look and feel of the Kylin branding and theme.

Xubuntu 16.04 Beta 1 features a modest set of changes.
Testers of the lightweight spin will find new versions of key apps and components, including new versions of the Xfce 4 desktop, whisker menu applet and Orage calendar, plus support for controlling the Parole media player from the sound applet.

Ubuntu GNOME 16.04 Beta 1 features a more sizeable set of changes thanks to it shipping with ‘most of GNOME 3.18’, including GNOME Shell 3.18 and the new GNOME Software utility.
In line with Ubuntu, GNOME Calendar and GNOME Logs are now pre-installed, GNOME Builder is available through the main archive and an ‘experimental Wayland session’ is available to install (but keep it mind it requires open-source GPU drivers).

Lubuntu 16.04 Beta 1 ships with a massive set of changes — just kidding!
As always, Lubuntu ships with no new features. It does offer a selection of small bug fixes and benefits from being based on the Linux kernel (v4.4, fact fans).
A PPC version is also available, making Lubuntu perfect for resurrecting an old iBook, PowerMac or iMac. You could even don a lab coat and call yourself iVictor Lubuntkenstein.


Last (but never least) is Ubuntu MATE 16.04 Beta 1.
The retro revivalist once against delivers an impressive changelog for its latest development snapshot.
On offer is a brand new ‘Software Boutique’ (accessed through an updated version of Ubuntu MATE Welcome tool). The MATE desktop has been bumped to v1.12.1 and includes Caja 1.12.4.
Fans (both literal and figuratively) will be pleased to hear that the updated desktop sees reduced CPU usage ‘across the board’.
Also included is a Unity-style MATE panel layout is available to try. Head to MATE’s appearance settings and select the ‘Mutiny’ panel layout to take it for a spin.

February 18, 2016

Why You Need to Upgrade Ubuntu Every 9 Months

It’s that time again, when Canonical announce that support for one of its standard Ubuntu builds has come to an end. But what does this mean to the end user?
As of February 4th 2016, Ubuntu 15.04 Vivid Vervet will receive no future security notices, critical fixes, updated packages from the main archives, and instead will remain as it is, archived for posterity.
If any of this seems familiar to you, perhaps you’re a former Windows XP user. Microsoft has a long history of closing support for particular operating systems when they reach end of life, and Windows XP was famously given a reprieve to allow users time to move onto Windows 7 (and later to Windows 8).
But hold on. Windows XP was around for almost 10 years before Microsoft declared its time was up. Vivid Vervet was only released in April 2015, just nine months earlier. So what is going on?
Why an Upgrade Is Necessary
Just like Windows XP and other versions of Windows and Mac OS X, Ubuntu (and other Linux distros) has regular updates prepared for it by developers Canonical. These updates deal with all sorts of problems, from system security to software stability, and repair bugs in native and some third party apps.
But behind the scenes, while one group of coders is issuing fixes for system problems that you may not be aware of yet, another is baking these changes into a new, future version of Ubuntu. This is why the upgrade is necessary, in order for the operating system to evolve and focus be placed on maintaining the newer release.
Two Types of Ubuntu
Anyone new to Linux may not know this, but there are in fact two types of Ubuntu distro. First is the standard build, of which 15.04 Vivid Vervet and its successor 15.10 Wily Werewolf are both current examples. Such builds receive updates for just nine months, after which they’re put out to pasture and users are expected to upgrade to the next version.
Long Term Support releases, recognizable by the LTS acronym, are the versions of Linux Ubuntu that you should be aiming for if you want regular updates and support over a period longer than nine months. Ubuntu LTS occur every fourth release in even numbered years, and at the time of writing we’re looking forward to Ubuntu 16.04 LTS (Xenial Xerus), scheduled for April 2016. LTS releases are typically favored by power users and business.
As long as you know which version of Ubuntu you are using, the next step should be pretty simple.
Checking Your Ubuntu Version
You can check which version of Ubuntu your PC is running from the desktop. Simply open the System Settings either from the cog in the top-right corner, or by using the search function and select System Info (pre 12.04) or Details (12.04 and later).
A Terminal command will also reveal the current version:
lsb_release -a
For a formal release name:
cat /etc/issue
cat /etc/
To see the Debian code name, use:
cat /etc/debian_version
Kernel info can be displayed with
cat /proc/version
Now you know which version of Ubuntu you have installed on your computer, you can make an informed decision about what to do next.
Using an LTS version? As long as it is within the five-year lifespan of such a release, you should be safe to carry on with it. But keep an eye on notices from Canonical (perhaps follow @Canonical on Twitter) as they will give you an idea of what is going on.
However, if your version is not LTS, then you will need to prepare yourself for an upgrade. This might be a simple process, or it may need some system preparation first.
But Hey, Your Data Is Backed Up, Right?
Never upgrade a system without ensuring your vital data, your documents, music, photos, any projects, and even save games, are archived somewhere, backed up for easy restoration following disaster.
You might, for instance, be using Dropbox with Ubuntu, which will sync data to the cloud for efficient restoration later on. Other cloud solutions are compatible with Ubuntu.
Alternatively, you may prefer to keep regular backups of your Ubuntu data. This might be in the shape of a scheduled data backup, perhaps to an external HDD, or it might even be a complete disk image clone of your hard disk drive.
Whatever your preferred solution, restoring data efficiently should be the aim. If you don’t want to use regular backups, however, using a separate hard disk drive partition for all of your data needs is a good option. Note that this will not protect you from data loss following a device failure, however.
Upgrading from Ubuntu 15.04 Vivid Vervet
If you need to upgrade from 15.04 Vivid Vervet – or any other non-LTS release — then you should find that the process is pretty smooth. The correct path is from 15.04 Vivid Vervet to 15.10 Wily Werewolf, which was released in late 2015.
What this means is that you should be able to upgrade using the Software Updater (see our guide for any problems).
You can also issue the command to upgrade via the command line.
sudo do-release-upgrade
Once the upgrade is complete, you should find that everything is more or less as it was, but Ubuntu might look a little different, or offer a few new features. This isn’t always the case, however — as with Windows and Mac OS X, Linux distros don’t install perfectly every time. Perhaps a driver was missing, or there was an error with the upgrade.
In this situation, you would need to take matters into your own hands, and install the upgrade from scratch, downloading it from the Ubuntu website using a different PC and installing manually, perhaps from a USB flash device or DVD.
Ubuntu OS upgrades are as necessary as those for Windows and OS X. Don’t think that just because you moved to an open source operating system that you’re not subject to the whims and inconveniences of software developers – as long as you’re using a computer, you need it to be safe, secure and stable. That’s what the developers are for; that’s why we have upgrades.
Have you successfully upgraded from one Ubuntu version to another on a regular basis? Or do you prefer the LTS releases? Tell us in the comments