May 14, 2017

Using Pidgin for multiple chat protocols simultaneously in GNU/Linux

Pidgin is a wonderful application used for connecting to multiple chat protocols through a single application, making it much easier to chat to more people at once, and saving on system resources at the same time.
I’m a multitasker, I always have multiple windows open and multiple things on the go simultaneously, but one thing I can’t stand is having to use multiple apps with similar purposes, separately, when I can find a way to link them all together.
Pidgin satisfies this for me, and allows me to have my Skype, Facebook Messenger, and almost any other messaging related service all under all one handy little application.
Note: Piding is a cross-platform application. It is available for Linux, but also for Windows.

Installing Pidgin

Depending on your distro of choice, you can install pidgin by using your GUI package management tool, or try the following commands:
sudo apt install pidgin
Arch Linux/Manjaro:
sudo pacman -S pidgin
If you’re using a different distribution not listed, use your typical installation command when choosing to go the CLI route.

Install the necessary plugins for Skype and Facebook Messenger

The next thing we need to do, is install the packages needed for Facebook Messenger, and Skype. They are purple-facebook and purple-skypeweb. However, these are not available in the official repositories for Ubuntu, and so we will use a PPA, which is a community made repository. Arch users have it much easier since both packages are available via pacman.
For Arch users:
sudo pacman -S purple-skypeweb purple-facebook
For Ubuntu users, we first need to add the PPA, and install the Facebook plugin:
sudo sh -c "echo 'deb$(lsb_release -rs)/ /' >> /etc/apt/sources.list.d/jgeboski.list"
cd /tmp && wget$(lsb_release -rs)/Release.key
sudo apt-key add - < Release.key
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install purple-facebook
Next, we add another PPA for the Skype plugin:
sudo add-apt-repository ppa:nilarimogard/webupd8
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install purple-skypeweb pidgin-skypeweb
Once everything is said and done, open Pidgin and add new accounts. When selecting the protocol, you want to select “Facebook” NOT “Facebook (xmpp)”, and you’ll want to use “Skype (HTTP).”

Final Thoughts

Pidgin also has the ability to connect to other protocols, such as but not limited to:
  • AIM
  • Bonjour
  • Google-Talk
  • Hangouts
  • ICQ
  • IRC
  • Steam
  • Zephyr
There are multiple other plugins available for Pidgin across the net, so other chat programs you use may quite likely be able to be added as well.
I personally only use Pidgin for Skype and Facebook, I prefer to use a command line IRC client connected to one of my VPS’ for my IRC use, that way even when my laptop is shut down, my IRC client is connected 24/7 remotely, and I can SSH into a my server, connect to a screen session I have with the IRC client, and snap into my IRC chat anytime I want.
Something to note about Pidgin and Skype however, is that video and audio calls are not supported. If a friend of yours tries to call you, they will be notified you are unavailable, but you will not even see that they called you, so adding your account to Pidgin is only useful for text conversations.
It can be rather helpful to have everything connected at once like this though, rather than having your web browser open for Facebook, Skype, and however many other chat programs included!  Happy chatting!


April 23, 2017

HandBrake 1.0.3 Has Been Released

For those who don’t know, HandBrake is an open-source multiplatform multithreaded video transcoder. It is used for converting DVD or Bluray discs to formats like MP4, MKV, H.264, MPEG-4 or other formats. You can also encode audio files like AAC, MP3, Flac, AC3 etc

The latest version available is HandBrake 1.0.3, which brings only bug-fixes and stability improvements.
All platforms:
  • Fixed H.264 decoding using Libav where the initial GOP was dropped
  • Fixed 2-pass x265 encoding where the source header incorrectly specifies frame rate
  • Fixed 2-pass encoding with bob deinterlace and constant frame rate
  • Fixed a seek issue in Libav while reading MKV sources with embedded subtitles
  • Fixed multiple issues preventing Libav from opening WMV sources properly
  • Fixed miscellaneous issues in Libav
  • Fixed memory leaks in OpenCL
  • Improved sync for streams delayed by a large amount
  • Fixed a Libav crash encoding AAC at very high bitrates
  • Fixed a potential hang in Libav while decoding AAC
  • Improved Libav audio sync with MP4 sources containing edit lists
  • Improved mapping of single channel layouts to single channel layouts
  • Fixed a potential crash when selecting video encoders
  • Fixed various controls not applying values properly

Installation instructions:

Up to date handbrake packages are available via some third party PPA, so installing the software and keeping it up to date on Ubuntu 16.10, Ubuntu 16.04, Ubuntu 14.04, Linux Mint 18.x, Linux Mint 17.x and derivative systems is easy. Just add the PPA to your system, update the local repository index and install the handbrake-gtk or handbrake-cli packages, depending on what you need to install:

$ sudo add-apt-repository ppa:stebbins/handbrake-releases
$ sudo apt-get update
$ sudo apt-get install handbrake-gtk

Or, to install only the command-line tool, do:
$ sudo apt-get install handbrake-cli

Optional, to remove handbrake, do:
$ sudo apt-get remove handbrake*


April 22, 2017

This Simple Tweak Will (Apparently) Make Firefox Faster

Want to make Firefox faster on Linux? There’s apparently an easy way to do just that.
Forcing Firefox to use hardware acceleration on Linux results in a noticeable boost in the application’s overall responsiveness, according to a recent post on Reddit.
I can’t say I’ve ever noticed Firefox to be particularly unresponsive on my system, but then I probably don’t use it enough to be able to tell.
Naturally this fix is not going to improve a flaky internet connection, but it might result in an appreciable boost in interaction and general responsiveness.

Enable Hardware Acceleration in Firefox

Firefox comes with hardware acceleration disabled on all Linux distributions (alright, citation needed, but anecdotally this does seems to be the case).
Firefox 57 will apparently be the first release to enable hardware acceleration in Firefox on Linux out of the box — but as Firefox 53 has only recently popped out of the release hatch, that’s still some way off.
So, to enable hardware acceleration in Firefox on Linux, right this flame-tailed second (but first be aware that WebGL has security risks or something).
Pop open your browser, type about:confg in the address bar, and hit enter/return.

Using the search box to find the layers.acceleration.force-enabled setting. Double-click on the ‘false’ listed under the ‘value’ column to set it to ‘true’.

Be sure to quit the browser completely before relaunching it.
Now, with layer acceleration turned, carry on your web browsing as normal. Do things feel fractionally faster? Is switching between multiple tabs more fluid?
I’m interested to know, so share your experiences in the comments.
PS. If things go wonky after enabling this (e.g., screen blanks, unresponsiveness, high CPU usage, etc) just repeat the steps above, this time changing  the ‘value’ setting from ‘true’ to ‘false’.


April 8, 2017

Install MakeMKV Beta in Ubuntu to Play DVD/Blu-rays Discs

MakeMKV is tool converts video clips from DVD / Blu-ray disc into a set of MKV files, preserving most information, so that it can be played on your favorite OS with VLC or MPlayer.
MakeMKV is proprietary software with a free 30-day trial. It’s free to use while in beta, and it’s been in beta for a few years. The software features:
  • Reads DVD and Blu-ray discs
  • Reads Blu-ray discs protected with latest versions of AACS and BD+
  • Preserves all video and audio tracks, including HD audio
  • Preserves chapters information
  • Preserves all meta-information (track language, audio type)
  • Fast conversion – converts as fast as your drive can read data.
  • No additional software is required for conversion or decryption.
  • Available for Windows, Mac OS X and Linux
  • Functionality to open DVD discs is free and will always stay free.
  • All features (including Blu-ray decryption and processing) are free during BETA.
How to Install MakeMKV (Beta) in Ubuntu via PPA:
Besides building MakeMKV from source, an Ubuntu PPA for Ubuntu 16.04, Ubuntu 15.10, Ubuntu 14.04, and Ubuntu 12.04 is available to make it much easier to install.
1. Add PPA
Launch terminal (Ctrl+Alt+T) and paste below command and run to add PPA:

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:heyarje/makemkv-beta
Type in your password (no visual feedback when typing) when it asks and hit Enter to continue.

MakeMKV Beta PPA

2. Update and install the tool via:

sudo apt-get update

sudo apt-get install makemkv-oss makemkv-bin
For those who don’t want to add PPA, grab the .deb packages for both makemkv-bin and makemkv-oss from THIS PAGE.
Once installed, launch it and register the software by going to Help -> Register. Get the Beta key from this forum post.
You can now select your Blu-ray disc drive in MakeMKV window, and click the Steam icon on the toolbar.


Wait the converting process to be finished, or play the given url (looks like below) while it’s being decoded in background using VLC or MPlayer:




February 9, 2017

February Desktop

It has been a while since I posted my current Linux desktop. My favorite Linux distros are Ubuntu Mate 16.04 and ChalletOS 16.04 (64-bit versions). The XFCE features and included applications in ChalletOS have won me over and it now is my favorite Linux distro. It looks polished based on the included Styles theme changer, includes classy icon and font sets, and everything works great. Included "must have applications" are Audacious Music Player, Synaptic Applications Manager, and the Firefox browser. Recent posts for ChalletOS speak about the Windows 7 easy transition to Linux. But ChalletOS is based on XFCE. You can add as much new applications as you like from Synaptic Applications Manager. I have added LibreOffice 5.3, Deluge bittorrent client, Rhythmbox Music Player, Caja File Manager, Devedee video creator, Screenlets desktop gadgets, and the Chrome browser. Below are my desktop screenshots. Enjoy.

You can download ChalletOS here:

February 8, 2017

Use Google Hangouts With Extra Features In Pidgin With Purple Hangouts Plugin (Ubuntu PPA)

Purple Hangouts is a libpurple plugin which adds support for the proprietary protocol that Google uses for its Hangouts service.

Using it, you can get extra Google Hangouts features that aren't available through the XMPP interface in Pidgin and other applications that use libpurple.

Among the extra features (compared to using XMPP) provided by Purple Hangouts are group chats, self messages, synchronized history between devices and SMS support via Google Voice.

You can see a feature comparison between using Google Hangouts in Pidgin via XMPP and using the Purple Hangouts plugin, HERE.

To use it (after installing the plugin, obviously - see below) in Pidgin select Accounts > Manage Accounts, click "Add" and from the "Protocol" drop-down, select "Hangouts":

Then enter your username and click "Add".

For authentication, Purple Hangouts uses Google OAuth, and upon adding your username in the Pidgin Hangouts settings and clicking "Add", an authentication box should pop up and a new page should open in your default web browser, asking you to authorize the application with Google.

After authorizing it, a code is displayed in the web browser. Copy this code and paste it into the Pidgin authorization box:

That's it!

Tip: install Unicode Emoji for Pidgin. 

For a complete experience, I recommend installing Unicode emoji for Pidgin. Download unicode-emoji from HERE (click "Download ZIP" in the top right) and extract the downloaded archive in the ~/.purple/smileys/ folder (if it doesn't exist, create it).

Once installed, restart Pidgin, go to Tools > Preferences and on the Themes tab, select "Hangouts" for "Smiley Theme":

Purple Hangouts is not considered stable yet, so you'll find missing or incomplete features and bugs. Report any bugs you may encounter @ BitBucket.

Install Purple Hangouts in Ubuntu via PPA

Ubuntu, Linux Mint (and derivatives) users can install Purple Hangouts by using the main WebUpd8 PPA. To add the PPA and install Purple Hangouts, use the following commands:
sudo add-apt-repository ppa:nilarimogard/webupd8
sudo apt update
sudo apt install purple-hangouts pidgin-hangouts
If you don't want to add the PPA, grab the deb files from HERE (you'll need both purple-hangouts and pidgin-hangouts).

Purple Hangouts is also available in a Fedora Copr repository. Arch Linux users can install Purple Hangouts via AUR.

See the Purple Hangouts BitBucket page for source and installation instructions for other Linux distributions as well as Windows downloads.


February 7, 2017

Chat With Your Skype Friends From Pidgin With SkypeWeb Plugin (Ubuntu PPA)

SkypeWeb Plugin for Pidgin` allows communicating with your Skype contacts using the SkypeWeb protocol. Right now, the Pidgin plugin doesn't support voice or video calls.

Developed by Eion Robb, the Skype4Pidgin developer, SkypeWeb Plugin for Pidgin has a major advantage over the old Skype4Pidgin plugin: it doesn't require Skype to run in the background.

According to its GitHub page, the plugin supports Live email address logins (as well as regular logins), group chat, file transfers, and allows setting "mood" messages. Unfortunately I couldn't find a complete list of features.

Voice and video calls support might be added later on, after the developer finishes implementing this in another plugin he's working on, Purple Hangouts (which allows using Google Hangouts in Pidgin, with extra features compared to the XMPP interface).

Install SkypeWeb Plugin for Pidgin

To make it easier to install, I uploaded the latest SkypeWeb Plugin for Pidgin (Git) to the main WebUpd8 PPA. Add the PPA and install the plugin in Ubuntu 16.04, 15.10 or 14.04 / Linux Mint 18 or 17.x by using the following commands:
sudo add-apt-repository ppa:nilarimogard/webupd8
sudo apt update
sudo apt install pidgin-skypeweb purple-skypeweb

For other Linux distributions and Windows, see the instructions on the SkypeWeb Plugin for Pidgin GitHub page (binaries available for Windows and packages for Fedora, CentOS/RHEL, Arch Linux along with instructions for building it from source).

Once installed, to add your Skype account in Pidgin select Accounts > Manage Accounts from the menu, click "Add", and from the Protocol drop-down, select "Skype (HTTP)":

Then simply enter your Skype username and password.

Report any bugs you may find @ GitHub.

More Pidgin plugins in the main WebUpd8 PPA:

February 6, 2017

Screenlets (Desktop Widgets) Fixed For Ubuntu 16.04, Available In PPA

Screenlets desktop widgets Ubuntu 16.10

Screenlets, a widget framework for Linux, was updated to work with Ubuntu 16.04 recently, and new packages are available in its official PPA.

The Screenlets package was removed from the official Ubuntu 16.04 (and newer) repositories because it no longer worked, however, Hrotkó Gábor fixed various issues that prevented the application and some of its widgets from working, and uploaded a new version to the official Screenlets PPA, for Ubuntu 16.04.

While the PPA doesn't officially support it, you can also use it in Ubuntu 16.10.

According to Hrotkó, he could not fix everything, so you will find bugs / screenlets that don't work, but most things should work now. One issue is that the indicator icon doesn't show up in Ubuntu (with Unity). This does work on my computer, but it doesn't work on a fresh Ubuntu installation, and I couldn't yet figure out why.

Quick Screenlets intoduction

Screenlets Ubuntu 16.10

Screenlets is a framework that allows adding widgets to your desktop. The Screenlets PPA provides numerous screenles (desktop widgets), such as RSS readers, weather, clock, countdown, a Conky-like system information widget, folder view, calendars, sensors, and much more.

The application allows creating multiple screenlets (widgets) of the same type, each with its own individual settings.

Note that Screenlets requires an X11-based composite manager, so for instance if you run Lubuntu, you'll need something like Xcompmgr or Compton, or else the widgets won't show up on your desktop.

Using Screenlets is fairly easy: launch Screenlets, select the screenlet you want to add to the desktop and check the "Start / Stop" option on the left to start it (you can also double click the screenlet).

To get the screenlet to start automatically on login, make sure to also check the "Auto start at login" option:


Install Screenlets in Ubuntu 16.04 or 16.10

To add the Screenlets PPA and install Screenlets as well as all the available widgets in Ubuntu 16.04, use the following commands:
sudo add-apt-repository ppa:screenlets/ppa
sudo apt update
sudo apt install screenlets screenlets-pack-all

To install Screenlets and all the available widgets from the same PPA in Ubuntu 16.10, you must add the PPA and then change it to point to Xenial instead of Yakkety (there are no Ubuntu 16.10 packages yet). To do this, use the commands below:
sudo add-apt-repository ppa:screenlets/ppa
sudo sed -i 's/yakkety/xenial/g' /etc/apt/sources.list.d/screenlets-ubuntu-ppa-yakkety.list
sudo apt update
sudo apt install screenlets screenlets-pack-all


February 3, 2017

How to Install LibreOffice 5.3 in Ubuntu 16.04, 14.04

LibreOffice 5.3, a new stable series of the open-source office suite, was released today on February 1. The official binaries are available for download. And Ubuntu PPA will build the packages soon.

What’s New in LibreOffice 5.3:

  • Many UI/UX improvements and the MUFFIN interfaces (Microsoft Ribbon UI)
  • First source release of LibreOffice Online, that offers basic collaborative editing of documents in a browser
  • Faster rendering performance
  • New text layout engine
  • And much more, see the release note.

LibreOffice Writer with Sidebar


How to Install LibreOffice 5.3 in Ubuntu / Linux Mint

Although LibreOffice website offers official DEB binaries, the best way to install or upgrade to LibreOffice 5.3 in Ubuntu 16.10, Ubuntu 16.04, Ubuntu 14.04, and Linux Mint 17 & 18 is using the LibreOffice Fresh PPA.
Once the PPA updated with the new packages, follow the steps below to install it:

1. Open terminal (Ctrl+Alt+T) and run command to add the PPA:

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:libreoffice/ppa

Type in your password when it prompts and hit Enter.

LibreOffice Fresh PPA

2. After that, launch Software Updater (Update Manager) and after checking for updates you’ll see new release of LibreOffice packages available:

Or also look in Synaptic Manager for the new versions.

upgrade LibreOffice office suite


How to Install LibreOffice 5.3 on Ubuntu (With One Command)

Wondering how to install LibreOffice 5.3 on Ubuntu? We’re gonna show you — and all it takes is a single command.

And no, before any wisecrackers chip in, we don’t mean using the venerable ‘apt update && apt upgrade‘ command combo. LibreOffice 5.3, the latest stable release, is not available in the standard Ubuntu archives (excepting Zesty, which is in development).

Instead, we’re going to show you how to install LibreOffice 5.3 on Ubuntu as a Snap app.
This will leave your existing LibreOffice install (assuming you have one) untouched and in place should you want to continue using it alongside the newer, snap-ier version. You’ll be able to benefit from all of the latest features (including the experimental LibreOffice Ribbon UI) right away.

Install LibreOffice Snap App

On Ubuntu 16.04 LTS and above it takes a single command to download LibreOffice 5.3 and install it on your system:

sudo snap install libreoffice

This fetches the very latest stable release of the office suite. You won’t silently updated to a bleeding edge release in the background using this command, which is a risk you run if you’ve installed the app using the --edge flag.

The download starts as soon as you hit return, and is roughly around ~300MB in size. Keep this in mind if you’re on a slow or capped data connection or happen to be running low on disk space.

Why Use LibreOffice Snap?

Asking why use the LibreOffice Snap over a PPA? It’s a fair question.
For me, answering as me, and only me, the single biggest upside to the LibreOffice Snap versus a PPA is convenience. I don’t need to hunt down the correct PPA, add it to Ubuntu’s software sources, wait for the PPA maintainer to add the relevant packages, then update and upgrade.

With Snappy it takes one command (and a couple of minutes of waiting) and bam: it’s done.
But there’s also an insurance factor. New releases of any app introduce new, unseen bugs. With Snappy I can run the latest version alongside the old version without any sort of conflict — perfect if a rather annoying issue presents itself.

There are a couple of drawbacks too, though.
For one, I couldn’t get the ‘insert image’ picker to find any folder outside the Snap’s sandbox. The Snap version simply couldn’t see my ~/Pictures folder — or any folder, come to that. This may be an issue with my install. Your own mileage may vary.
This doesn’t solely affect folders and directories. You’ll also notice that far fewer fonts available to the app when running in a sandbox. This is partly by design. You can (however) make things integrate a little better by letting the app run unconfined:

sudo snap install libreoffice --devmode

Secondly, regardless of which way you install it, if you have LibreOffice installed from the archives you’ll end up with duplicate entries in the Dash.
If you’re not using a custom icon theme it might not be immediately clear which is the apt version and which is the snap version. There is a logic though: in general, the second set is the Snap version, and the former the apt, e.g., if you type ‘Writer’ and see two Writer icons, the second of these is the Snap version.

The snap version also doesn’t allow you to pare back the suite. I never use Draw, for example, and apt remove it after a fresh install. I can’t do that with a snap, not without removing the entire suite. Keep that in mind if unwanted apps bug you.

Other than that there seems to be no perceptible difference in performance; global menus and HUD work just fine;  and so on.


February 2, 2017

LibreOffice 5.3 ships with experimental Office-like Ribbon UI

LibreOffice 5.3 is the newest version of the popular open source Office suite, and one of the "most feature-rich releases in the history of the application".
The Office suite, available for Windows, Mac and Linux operating systems, is now also available as a private cloud version, called LibreOffice Online.

LibreOffice, at is core, is an open source alternative to Microsoft Office. It features Writer, a text editing program similar to Word, Calc, the Excel equivalent, Impress which is similar to PowerPoint, and Draw, which enables you to create graphic documents.
LibreOffice 5.3 ships with a truckload of new features. One of the new features is a new experimental user interface called Notebookbar. This new interface resembles Office's ribbon UI, but is completely optional right now.

libreoffice 5.3

In fact, the new user interface is not enabled by default, and if you don't look for it or know where to look, you will probably notice no difference at all to previous versions.
First, you need to enable experimental features by checking "Enable experimental features" under Tools > Options > LibreOffice > Advanced > Experimental features.
To enable the new Ribbon UI, select View > Toolbar Layout > Notebookbar.  The UI you see on the screenshot above is enabled by default, but you may switch it using View > Notebookbar to either Contextual Groups or Contextual Single.
The former displays grouped items in the UI, the latter icons in a compact horizontal row. Excellent for small resolution devices.


As far as other features are concerned, there are quite a few that deserve mentioning. One interesting option that the developers built-in to LibreOffice 5.3 is the ability to sign PDF documents, and to verify PDF document signatures.
You find both options under File > Digital Signatures in the interface.
PDF documents can be embedded into documents now as well. They are added to documents as images, with the first page being shown by default.
If you like to use the keyboard shortcut, you may like that the Windows and Linux versions of LibreOffice 5.3 highlight shortcuts now in context menus. So, whenever you use the mouse, you see the corresponding keyboard shortcut as well.

libreoffice 5.3 keyboard shortcuts

The Writer application got some exciting new features. It supports Table styles now for instance, and there is a new Page deck in the sidebar to customize the page settings quickly and directly.
There is also an option to use the new "go to page" box, and arrows in the drawing tools which were not available previously in Writer.
Calc got a new set of default cell styles offering "greater variety and better names", a new median function for pivot tables, and a new filter option when you are inserting functions to narrow down the selection.
Impress & Draw start with a template selector when you start  them, and two new templates have been included for use.
Another interesting option is the ability to link to images or photos of photo albums, so that they are not saved in the document directly.
LibreOffice 5.3 supports better import and export filters to new and legacy Microsoft Office Documents.

Check out the following videos that highlight the new features of LibreOffice 5.3:
LibreOffice 5.3 Writer
LibreOffice 5.3 Calc
LibreOffice 5.3 Impress

Check out the official blog post on the Document Foundation website. There you find links to download pages, and information about LibreOffice Online.


February 1, 2017

5 Cool Internet Radio Players For Linux

There are quite a few Linux applications that can play Internet radio, but I thought I'd make a list of some of the most interesting apps that focus on this.

The list includes lightweight tray Internet radio players, a fully fledged desktop application, a command line radio browser and player, as well as a GNOME Shell extension.

Radio Tray

Radio Tray Linux

Radio Tray is a minimalist Internet radio player that sits in the system tray (it also supports Ubuntu's AppIndicator). The application is not new, but I couldn't make a Radio Players post without it, since it's a great lightweight radio player.

Radio Tray comes with a list of built-in radio stations, and allows you to easily add new ones. There's no GUI for the actual player - the application is controlled from the tray/AppIndicator or using the media keys.

Radio Tray features:
  • comes with a built-in radio station list (though since the application hasn't been updated in a long time, some no longer work);
  • plays most media formats (based on gstreamer libraries);
  • configurable radio stations with a GUI;
  • extensible by plugins (current plugins include: Sleep Timer, Notifications, MATE and GNOME Media Keys and History);

I didn't list the playlists formats supported by Radio Tray, because I'm not sure if all those listed on its SourceForge page still work. That's because the application doesn't seem actively maintained, with the latest commit dating back to January, 2015.

For instance, playing ASX streams didn't work in my test under Ubuntu 16.10, even though this is listed as supported on the Radio Tray page (playing ASX streams works with RadioTray Lite - see below).

There are also reports that Radio Tray pauses sometimes and it appears this hasn't been fixed although I didn't encounter the issue.

Radio Tray is most likely available in your Linux distribution official repositories. In Debian, Ubuntu or Linux Mint, you can install it by using the following command:
ssudo apt install radiotray python-xdg

Without installing python-xdg, the application will fail to start (and it's missing as a dependency in most Ubuntu versions, like 16.04).

Radio Tray Lite

Radio Tray Lite Linux

Because Radio Tray doesn't seem actively maintained, I searched for an alternative and stumbled upon Radio Tray Lite. According to its developer, this is a Radio Tray clone, rewritten in C++.

Just like Radio Tray, this application uses GStreamer, so it should play most media formats, however, it lacks some of the features available in the original Radio Tray, like plugins support (so no media keys support, etc.) or a GUI to add new radio stations.

Radio Tray Lite ships with a radio list and to add new radio stations you must edit a file. The application uses the same bookmarks.xml (radio station list) syntax as Radio Tray, so if you already have a custom one, you could use that instead of its built-in list.

To add new radio stations, edit the ~/.config/radiotray-lite/bookmarks.xml file.

I should also add that using Radio Tray Lite, I was able to play ASX steams (as opposed to the original Radio Tray running in Ubuntu 16.10). So if Radio Tray fails to play some streams, give Radio Tray Lite a try.

Radio Tray Lite features:
  • runs on a Linux system tray / AppIndicator;
  • desktop notifications;
  • minimalist user interface;
  • plays most media formats (it uses gstreamer);
  • supports PLS, M3U, ASX, RAM, XSPF playlists;

To install Radio Tray Lite in Ubuntu 16.10, 16.04 or 14.04 / Linux Mint 18.x or 17.x, you can use the main WebUpd8 PPA. To add the PPA and install the application, use the following commands:
ssudo add-apt-repository ppa:nilarimogard/webupd8
sudo apt update
sudo apt install radiotray-lite
If you don't want to add the PPA, grab the deb from HERE.

For installing Radio Tray Lite in other Linux distributions, bug reports, etc., see its GitHub page.


Gradio Linux

Gradio is a GTK3 application for discovering and listening to Internet radio stations.

Gradio features:
  • uses for its built-in radio station list;
  • filter radio stations by language, country/state or tag (which includes genres, etc.), as well as most popular;
  • after finding a radio station you like, you can easily add it to your library by starring it;
  • MPRIS v2 support (integrates with the Ubuntu Sound Menu, GNOME Shell, etc.);
  • optional desktop notifications;
  • connection popover that displays the used codec, bitrate, channel mode, etc.;
  • includes options to resume playback on startup, close to tray, enable background playback, use dark design, etc.

Gradio is the most complete Internet radio player in this list, but also the most heavy on system resources. It's also the best for discovering new online radio stations thanks to its extensive radio station database and filters.

The application does lack a feature though: it doesn't allow adding your own custom radio stations from the application user interface. The radio station must exist in the database to be able to play it.

Ubuntu 16.10 and 16.04 / Linux Mint 18.x users can install the latest Gradio by using its official PPA:
sudo add-apt-repository ppa:haecker-felix/gradio-daily
sudo apt update
sudo apt install gradio
If you don't want to add the PPA, grab the deb from HERE.

For how to install Gradio in other Linux distributions, bug reports, etc., see its GitHub page.

GNOME Shell Internet Radio extension

GNOME Shell Internet Radio extension

This may not be a stand-alone application, but it's basically the Radio Tray equivalent for GNOME Shell, so I had to add it to this list.

GNOME Shell Internet Radio (or GNOME Shell Extension Radio) is a simple extension for listening to Internet radio streams, which supports GNOME Shell 3.18, 3.20 and 3.22.

The extension only ships with 4 Internet radio stations by default, but it provides a built-in search for (radio directory), so you can easily add new radio stations from within the extension user interface. You can also add your own radio stations:

GNOME Shell Internet Radio extension

GNOME Shell Internet Radio extension

GNOME Shell Internet Radio extension features:
  • manage (add/edit/remove) radio stations;
  • mark stations as favorite;
  • built-in online radio directory search (it uses;
  • middle click to start/stop last played station;
  • support for multimedia keys;
    • Play / Stop
    • Next / Prev cycles through the channels list;
  • optional desktop notifications;
  • cyrillic tag support.

Install Internet Radio extension from the GNOME Extensions directory or from source, from GitHub.



A Linux application list, even a small one like this one, wouldn't be complete without a command line alternative.

Curseradio is a command line Internet Radio browser and player which uses a curses interface, and mpv for audio playback. The tool makes use of the TuneIn directory found at for its radio station list.

Unfortunately Curseradio doesn't support adding your own radio stations, however, the built in list is quite extensive and provides radio stations for any taste. Furthermore, the TuneIn directory it uses has a Local Radio section which tries to list radio stations based on your location.

Curseradio features:
  • interactive curses interface with radio categories, currently playing and bitrate information;
  • keyboard shortcuts (see its GitHub page for a list);
  • extensive built-in radio station list (via, including local radio stations;
  • supports adding stations to favorites (press "f" to add it to favorites), for quick access.

To install Curseradio in Ubuntu 16.10, 16.04 or 14.04 / Linux Mint 18.x or 17.x, you can use the main WebUpd8 PPA. Add the PPA and install the application using the following commands:
sudo add-apt-repository ppa:nilarimogard/webupd8
sudo apt update
sudo apt install curseradio
If you don't want to add the PPA, grab the deb from HERE.

For installing Curseradio in other Linux distributions, grab the source from its GitHub repository.

January 30, 2017

ChaletOS 16 Review: The Easiest Way to Switch From Windows to Linux

Switching from Windows to Linux presents a challenge. Linux offers increased flexibility, customization, and security. But there’s a higher learning curve. Knowing certain tips and tricks aids the transition. Still, a simple Linux distribution benefits new users the most.

Switching from Windows to Linux presents a challenge. Linux offers increased flexibility, customization, and security. But there’s a higher learning curve. Knowing certain tips and tricks aids the transition. Still, a simple Linux distribution benefits new users the most. Tired of Windows? Switching to Linux Will Be Easy If You Know This Tired of Windows? Switching to Linux Will Be Easy If You Know This There are many reasons to migrate from Windows to Linux. For instance, Linux might offer a lightweight environment. If you're tired of Windows and want a change, switching to Linux should be easy. Read More

Enter ChaletOS 16. This operating system simplifies the foray into Linux. ChaletOS 16.04.2 provides the look and feel of Windows 7 with the power of a Linux endoskeleton. Learn why this distro is the easiest way to switch from Windows to Linux in this ChaletOS 16 review!

ChaletOS Background

ChaletOS embarks on a continuing mission to ease the switch from Windows to Linux. While ChaletOS 16 derives from Xubuntu, the user interface (UI) departs drastically. ChaletOS appears deceptively like Windows 7 or even Windows XP. According to the website, priorities for this distro are simplicity, aesthetics, and familiarity. At these, ChaletOS succeeds.

What’s New in ChaletOS 16

Chalet0S 16 UI

In April 2016, ChaletOS 16.04.2 debuted. This Long Term Service (LTS) iteration features a new Software Center and kernel. As the 16.04 implies, it’s based on the Ubuntu 16.04 Xenial Xerus. So ChaletOS benefits from the LTS Linux 4.4 kernel. The lightweight Ubuntu derivative Xubuntu serves as the foundation for ChaletOS so system requirements are pretty forgiving.

ChaletOS Environment

ChaletOS16 System Resources

Upon first firing up ChaletOS, you’re greeted by a decidedly Windows appearance. While Linux distributions like Elementary OS take after Windows, ChaletOS even has a start menu. Even its color scheme feels plucked from Microsoft. Yet despite similarities, ChaletOS 16 remains unique among Linux distros. It’s based on Xubutu and employs a version of Xfce. ChaletOS comes in two flavors: 32-bit and 64-bit. This should provide ample compatibility.

ChaletOS 16 Start Menu

ChaletOS 16 Start Menu

Similarities to Windows start with the, well, Start Menu. You’ll find the Start Menu in the bottom left corner of the screen. Windows 8 nixed this iconic feature. However, the 8.1 update brought it back. Opening up the Start Menu yields recognizable options. You’ll see links to Favorites, Search, Settings quick access, and a Recently Used tab. Navigation remains incredibly intuitive. Sure, a Start Menu is pretty simple. But when switching operating systems, small touches like a recognizable layout ease the transition.
Additionally, the Start Menu on ChaletOS 16 ensures you’ll be able to find what you’re looking for. Many common initial setup options are readily available. For instance the Application Center, Settings, and File Manager. So the Start Menu serves multiple purposes, providing a familiar atmosphere and aiding navigation.

Windows 7-Esque

ChaletOS 16 features an array of Windows 7 attributes. Aside from the Start Menu, you’ll find desktop icons, a system tray, and widgets. These are not necessarily unique among Linux distros. Yet it’s rare to find a Linux distro configured with these out of the box. There’s even a Windows 7 Silver Classic style that applies system-wide.
The Windows vibe radiates even in the default color scheme. You’ll notice the blue taskbar replete with pinned programs. Upon first booting into ChaletOS 16, I felt as though I’d plunged into Windows XP. As I quite enjoyed Windows XP, this was a pleasant surprise. In the bottom right corner, there’s even that “minimize everything and display the desktop” icon. Even the battery icon models itself after Windows.

ChaletOS Settings and Tweaks

ChaletOS 16 Conky

Regardless of your opinion on Windows, it’s really simple to customize. So too is ChaletOS 16. Largely, this comes a la Conky and the impressive Settings array. With Conky you can add widgets such as a clock. These vary from clocks to CPU use widgets. They remind me of the “Gadgets” from Windows 7.
Playing with these showed just how low my resource consumption stayed with ChaletOS. CPU and RAM usage remained pleasingly light. So much so that I might swap out my Ubuntu 16.04 install for ChaletOS 16. Moreover, there’s a lot of choice amidst the ease of customization. Alongside Conky is the Style Changer. As its name implies, this is a simple yet gorgeous means of altering the ChaletOS appearance. There’s everything from Canonical layouts to a Windows 7 derivative, and even Facebook styling.

ChaletOS 16 Apps

ChaletOS 16 Apps

Yet again, pre-installed apps prove why ChaletOS 16 makes a viable Windows alternative. Notably, ChaletOS arrives out of the box with loads of programs. Moreover, these are likely apps you’ll use especially if coming from Windows. Wine is standard which allows you to run many Windows programs on Linux or macOS. Additionally, for gaming the Wine frontend PlayOnLinux is a default app.

Common multimedia programs like VLC come installed as well. There’s also Firefox. Most likely if you’re switching from Windows, you’re used to straightforward program installation. Linux is a bit different. Although certain programs do feature a package installer, some distros are more command line heavy. ChaletOS 16 does include the Ubuntu Software Center as well as the Gnome Software Center.

If you’re adding new programs, the simplest means is via the Software Center. This eschews the terminal which can be tricky for newcomers. But this is where ChaletOS shines: you retain full command line access for APT installs. Though you can use ChaletOS without delving into the terminal, you have the flexibility to utilize it completely.

Why ChaletOS Makes Switching From Windows Easy

What makes ChaletOS the quintessential Linux replacement for Windows is its intuitiveness and familiarity. Booting into ChaletOS 16 presents a recognizable facade. There’s the Start Menu, desktop icons, and taskbar. Navigating this Linux distro and tweaking settings relies on Windows-like menus. Conky and the Style Changer are similar to the Settings in Windows.
By including Wine and PlayOnLinux, ChaletOS is ready for Windows program installation. Therefore Windows users retain maximum compatibility. You can even get along fine sans-command line. But if you’re going to use a Linux distro, you absolutely should learn the command line.
Overall, ChaletOS 16 is simple for Linux first timers but intuitive to customize for Linux pros as well.

Final ChaletOS Review Thoughts

While evaluating ChaletOS 16, I kept forgetting that I was using a Linux distribution. Make no mistake, you won’t confuse ChaletOS with Windows 10. Rather, it’s a Windows 7 interface. I enjoyed the layout a lot. After suffering through the agony of Windows Vista, Windows 7 arrived as a savior.
It’s pleasant to revisit a Windows 7 or even XP environment through the ChaletOS 16 medium. While I’m familiar with the command line, it’s simple to install most programs with the Software Center. Possibly my favorite aspects are the inclusion of Wine, and the low resource consumption. Despite having a Windows machine as well, it’s great to switch seamlessly between devices and continue using Windows programs. This is even more necessary if you’re switching completely from Windows to Linux.
Ultimately, it’s the familiar landscape, simplicity, and default inclusions that hone ChaletOS 16 as the perfect Windows replacement. While Elementary OS remains a solid pick, something about the mirror image of Windows 7 just eases the transition. If you’re debating the jump to Linux, you’ve got plenty of reasons to switch. But you should probably know these seven differences first. ChaletOS 16 is just one more incentive to dive into Linux.


January 14, 2017

Want to burn all kind of discs (Blu-ray, DVD, CD, etc)? Here are burners for Ubuntu/Linux Mint

Install Silicon Empire and K3b Burner in Ubuntu/Linux Mint/other Ubuntu derivatives

There are applications available for Linux which can burn Blu-ray discs. Ubuntu has installed Brasero burner by default but I don't know if that burns Blu-ray discs. K3b and Silicon Empire burners works fine for me in this case, these two burners does everything what you expect for Nero.

1) Silicon Empire Burner

Silicon Empire is set of tools to Burn, Copy, Backup, Manage and so on... your optical discs like CDs, DVDs and Blu-Rays. When you start working with silicon Empire Just feels everything done easily and quickly with high quality. You Burn, Copy, Mount and so on... your discs in few clicks and short time.

silicon empire


  • Cdrtools Burn Engine: Highly portable CD/DVD/BluRay command line recording software.
  • MySQL Database: The world’s most popular open source database system.
  • Qt4 Cross Platform: Cross Platform application framework that is widely used for developing application software.
  • Hardware Abstract Layer: Use HAL (Hardware Abstract Layer) to found and detects hardware devices.
  • Image Mounter: Mount/Unmount Discs Images with help of fuseiso technology. It’s fast, easy and high quality mounting.
  • Multimedia System: They are Applications that allow you to play your favorite musics ,see your pictures and in future play your videos.
  • Animated User Interface: Silicon has beautiful User Interface. It’s use many animations effects to make silicon User Interface The more beautiful.
  • Themes, Icons, Plugins, Colors: It’s high customizable. You can make customize silicon with Style themes that make with css, Icon theme or color themes.
  • Drag & Drop: Support Drag & Drop functions in the main menu and most of the applications.
  • Multi Task and Application Manager: This is a technology that runs and manage number of Special Applications (Not Process) on the silicon Empire.
  • Burn and Copy Optical Discs: Silicon Empire Can Burn and Copy Optical Discs with help of the cdr-tools engine. Because The Disc Burner of the silicon Empire builds on the low level layers , silicon can Manage and Queuing overlapping burn or copy processes.

To install Silicon Empire in Ubuntu 12.04/Linux Mint 13 open Terminal (Press Ctrl+Alt+T) and copy the following commands in the Terminal: