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.

Source: http://www.webupd8.org/2016/04/use-google-hangouts-with-extra-features.html

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

Source: http://www.webupd8.org/2017/02/screenlets-desktop-widgets-fixed-for.html

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

Source: http://tipsonubuntu.com/2017/01/31/install-libreoffice-5-3-ubuntu/

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.

Source: http://www.omgubuntu.co.uk/2017/02/install-libreoffice-5-3-ubuntu-snap?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+d0od+%28OMG%21+Ubuntu%21%29

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.

Source: http://www.ghacks.net/2017/02/01/libreoffice-5-3-ships-with-office-like-ribbon-ui/

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 radio-browser.info 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 radio-browser.info 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 http://www.radio-browser.info (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 https://www.radio-browser.info);
  • 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 http://opml.radiotime.com/ 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 http://opml.radiotime.com/), 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.
Source: http://www.webupd8.org/2017/02/5-cool-internet-radio-players-for-linux.html

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.

Source: http://www.makeuseof.com/tag/chaletos-16-switch-windows-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:

January 13, 2017

Convert Audio / Video Files with Selene Media Encoder

Selene is a GTK3/Vala media converter tool developed by Tony George (who's also behind Conky Manager), which "aims to provide a simple GUI for converting files to popular formats along with powerful command-line options for automated/unattended encoding".

Selene Media Encoder

Besides supporting most popular audio/video formats, Selene supports 2 types of presets: JSON presets (which determine the audio/video format, codecs, bitrate, quality and so on) as well as Bash script presets which can be used for converting files using any command line utility, useful for integrating tools that aren't directly supported by Selene, as well as for automated / unattended encoding.

It's also important to note that Selene can also crop / resize / resample videos or embed subtitles.

The application is under constant development, with the latest version (2.4) being released about 10 days ago with SOX Audio Processing support, an option to check for missing encoders (see screenshot below) and bug fixes.

Selene Media Encoder
Selene - encoders status

Selene Media Encoder
Selene Presets - filter options

Selene Media Encoder features:
  • Encode videos to MKV/MP4/OGV/WEBM formats;
  • Encode music to MP3/AAC/OGG/OPUS/FLAC/WAV formats;
  • Option to pause/resume encoding;
  • Option to run in background and shutdown PC after encoding;
  • Option for SOX Audio Processing;
  • Customizable presets;
  • Preview file before converting;
  • Bash scripts can be written to control the encoding process;
  • Command line interface for unattended/automated encoding (run "selene --help" for a list of available commands);
  • Support for copying audio tags (Artist, Album, etc) to the the output file;
  • Option to check for missing encoders.
Update January 26th, 2015: Selene has received VP9 and H.265/HEVC encoding support. Note that You need to have ffmpeg/avconv compiled with VP8/VP9 support to be able to use the new VP9 encoder (Ubuntu 14.04 and above should have this enabled by default).

Install Selene Media Encoder in Ubuntu or Linux Mint

Ubuntu / Linux Mint (and derivatives) users can install the latest Selene Media Encoder by using its official PPA. Add the PPA and install Selene using the following commands:
sudo apt-add-repository ppa:teejee2008/ppa
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install selene
If you don't want to add the PPA or you're using Debian, etc., grab the Selene Media Encoder deb from HERE.

For encoding AAC/MP4 format, Selene needs NeroAAC encoder which you can install by using the following commands:
cd /tmp
wget http://ftp6.nero.com/tools/NeroAACCodec-1.5.1.zip
unzip -j NeroAACCodec-1.5.1.zip linux/neroAacEnc
sudo install -m 0755 neroAacEnc /usr/bin
sudo apt-get install gpac

Arch Linux users can install Selene via AUR.

Other Linux distributions: grab the Selene source code via Launchpad (BZR).

For more information, usage, how to use bash scripts for encoding and more, see Selene's homepage.

Source: http://www.webupd8.org/2014/06/convert-audio-video-files-with-selene.html

January 12, 2017

How to Play DVDs and Blu-rays on Linux

Commercial DVDs and Blu-ray discs are encrypted. The Digital Rights Management (DRM) is designed to prevent you from ripping them, copying them, and watching them on unsupported players. You can get around this protection to watch DVDs and Blu-rays on Linux, but it’ll take some tweaking.
DVD discs work well, and all DVDs should work after you install a single library. Blu-rays are much more hit-and-miss, and only some will work–particularly older Blu-ray discs. Also, both of these require that you have the right disc drive in your PC–a DVD drive if you’re looking to just play DVDs, and a Blu-ray drive if you’re looking to play DVDs and Blu-ray discs.

How to play DVD on Linux with VLC

The free VLC media player can play DVDs on Linux, but it requires a special library known as libdvdcss. This library effectively breaks the CSS encryption on DVDs, allowing you to watch them. The status of this library is legally unclear–it’s potentially illegal under the DMCA in the USA–so Linux distributions don’t generally include it in their software repositories.
But this is actually the same method many Windows users use. Windows 8 and 10 no longer include DVD playback functionality, and the standard advice is to download and install VLC. The Windows builds of VLC have libdvdcss built-in, so you just need to download, install, and start watching. Linux is a tad more complicated.
NOTE: You can also buy a licensed copy of Fluendo DVD Player for $25 on Ubuntu’s Software Center, but most people won’t want to bother. You can get DVDs for free if you’re willing to take just a few extra steps.
On Ubuntu 12.04 to Ubuntu 15.04, you can install libdvdcss by opening a terminal window and running the following commands:
sudo apt-get install libdvdread4
sudo /usr/share/doc/libdvdread4/install-css.sh
On Ubuntu 15.10 and up, run the following command instead. Follow the instructions that appear in the terminal to install libdvdcss:
sudo apt-get install libdvd-pkg
For other Linux distributions, perform a web search for “install libdvdcss” and the name of your Linux distribution. You’ll find instructions and third-party repositories that should make the process easy.

You can then install VLC from the Software Center if it isn’t installed already. (Alternatively, you can run sudo apt-get install vlc to install it from the command line.)
Once installed, insert your DVD and launch VLC. Click the “Media” menu in VLC, select “Open Disc,” and select the “DVD” option. VLC should automatically find a DVD disc you’ve inserted and play it back. If that doesn’t work, you may need to specify the device path of your DVD drive here.
If it doesn’t appear to work, try restarting your computer. That should ensure VLC is correctly using libdvdcss.

How to Play (Some) Blu-rays on Linux with VLC

Blu-rays are a bit more complicated. While there are technically paid DVD players you can purchase for Linux, there’s no officially licensed way to play back Blu-rays on Linux.
The older your Blu-ray disc is, the more likely it will work. Newer Blu-ray discs use BD+ disc encryption, while older ones used the more easily bypassed AACS encryption. Newer Blu-ray discs also blacklist some of the known keys used to play older Blu-ray discs in this way. If you have a very new disc, you may not get it to play at all.
To install VLC and its Blu-ray support on Ubuntu, open a terminal window and run the following commands in order. You can copy and paste them into a terminal window using your mouse.
sudo apt-get install vlc libaacs0 libbluray-bdj libbluray1
mkdir -p ~/.config/aacs/
cd ~/.config/aacs/ && wget http://vlc-bluray.whoknowsmy.name/files/KEYDB.cfg
If you’re using another Linux distribution, you’ll want to install VLC and the appropriate libaacs0, libbluray-bdj, libbluray1 libraries. You can then run the second two commands to download the KEYDB.cfg file into the configuration directory.

You can now open VLC and attempt to open a Blu-ray disc like you would a DVD. Click the “Media” menu, select “Open Disc,” and select “Blu-ray.” Leave the “No disc menus” option checked.
If you see a message saying the disc isn’t decrypted and you need a key, or a message saying the AACS host certificate has been revoked, your Blu-ray disc is too new and isn’t supported.

How to Play Blu-rays on Linux with MakeMKV and VLC

If you need to play a wider variety of Blu-ray discs, there’s another method that people report more success with: you can use MakeMKV to decode the Blu-ray and VLC to play it as it’s being decoded.
MakeMKV isn’t an open-source tool. It’s proprietary software with a free 30-day trial, and will theoretically cost $50 to continue using after that. However, MakeMKV is free to use while in beta, and it’s been in beta for three years. You’ll just have to check this forum post every month and refresh the beta key to continue using MakeMKV, assuming it stays in beta.
Another forum post provides instructions for installing MakeMKV on Linux. However, Ubuntu users can install MakeMKV using the much easier apt-get command. Currently, the most up-to-date PPA we’ve found for this is the makemkv-beta PPA. To install MakeMKV from this repository, open a terminal and run the following commands:
sudo add-apt-repository ppa:heyarje/makemkv-beta
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install makemkv-bin makemkv-oss
You’ll also need VLC installed, as described above. Once you have both programs, open the MakeMKV application from your menu, select your Blu-ray disc drive, and click the “Stream” icon on the toolbar. You’ll be given a local address.

Open VLC, click the “Media” menu, click “Open Network Stream,” and provide that address. It will look similar to the following address:
The main movie is usually either “title0” or “title1”–choose the one that looks larger in MakeMKV.

MakeMKV will decode the Blu-ray video and stream it to VLC. Despite the word “stream,” this all happens on your computer, no internet required. VLC plays the video, but MakeMKV is doing the heavy lifting in the background.

Playing Blu-ray discs is both unreliable and a hassle. Only people who have actual commercial Blu-ray discs in their hands will have to go through this trouble–if you’ve ripped the Blu-ray discs on another computer, or downloaded the ripped files, you should be able to play them in VLC just like any other video.
In an age where you can get Netflix to work on Linux just by downloading Chrome, or use a quick tweak to make Hulu or Amazon Instant Video work, this is a lot of work to play a legitimate disc. It’s possible, but you’re better off getting your media in other ways on Linux, or using another device to play Blu-rays if you must use those physical discs.
Image Credit: Andrew Booth on Flickr

Source: http://www.howtogeek.com/240487/how-to-play-dvds-and-blu-rays-on-linux/