November 6, 2015

3 Fresh & Lightweight Music Players For Enjoying Your MP3s on Linux

Nearly every article about music players for Linux starts with an observation that there are “so many” of them. And it’s true – if you’re a Linux user, you’ve probably noticed they come in all shapes and sizes, from iTunes alternatives and feature-packed media organizers to simple, lightweight music apps.
Speaking of lightweight, have you heard of Pragha? What about Yarock? Does Qomp sound familiar? Those three names refer to three (relatively) new music players for Linux. We know it can be hard to choose a single app from a myriad of options, so here we’ll help you decide whether any of these apps is worth your time.

Theory: What Is a Lightweight Music Player?

Before we examine the features of our new apps, let us make sure we’re on the same page when it comes to defining a lightweight music player. Fellow MakeUseOf writer Joel provided a sensible explanation in his round-up of music players two years ago:
Let me first define what I mean by lightweight: good performance even on older systems, does not suck up loads of CPU while running, and requires no more than 75 MB of RAM.
I would also include the total installed size of the app on your hard drive, but other than that, this definition is excellent. Many other attempts at defining a lightweight app fall into the trap of being too specific as they reflect personal preferences of their authors. In the case of our definition, all the factors are easily measurable on any system. You can check the CPU load, monitor RAM usage and see how well the app performs, without having someone else try to convince you that the app is “really light” on system resources.

Conflating the terms is another common mistake. “Lightweight” doesn’t have to mean “minimalistic” or “bare-bones”. Music apps that don’t do much more than just play music do have their userbase. However, when an average user searches for a lightweight music player, they’re usually looking for an app that works smoothly yet doesn’t give up on features. If you want the best of both worlds (performance and functionality), music players with a modular approach offer an ideal solution. They rely on plugins for the majority of their features, which means you can turn off anything you don’t need and make the app lighter.


You might wonder why would anyone want a lightweight music player in the first place, since computers these days have all the power you need and then some. Several scenarios are possible; first off, not everyone can afford a high-end computer or an upgrade for their current setup. It’s also a common practice to revive an old computer with Linux, in which case you’ll need all the lightweight apps you can get. Whatever your situation might be, if you’re determined to use such an app, here’s some advice on how to find the right one.

Methodology: How to Choose a Lightweight Music Player?

When we set out to find new software, we often decide which app to install without any special preparations. However, it might be useful to keep a list of desired features that you can quickly consult when comparing and trying out new apps. Use your favorite note-taking app or just a piece of paper and organize your priorities.
What features are essential to you? Which ones can you do without? Establish your own criteria and then simply eliminate the apps that don’t satisfy them. Here are some categorized suggestions on what you should consider.
Pre-Installation Concerns
  • Is the app available in a repository, or do you have to compile it yourself?
  • How many dependencies does it have?
  • Is it based on the default widget toolkit (Qt or GTK) of your DE, or does it require a lot of packages from another DE?
  • Is the app light on system resources?
  • How much RAM does it use while idle, and how much when it’s playing music? What about CPU usage?
  • Where and how does the app store information about your music library?
  • How quickly does it load and scan your music library?
Basic Features
  • Which file formats does the app support?
  • Can it import playlists from other music players?
  • Does it support smart/dynamic playlists?
  • Can you search for music and sort the results?
  • Does the app offer shuffle, randomize, and repeat options in playback mode?
  • Does the app support online services like, SoundCloud, and Spotify?
  • Does it have an equalizer?
  • What about ReplayGain and gapless playback?
  • Does it let you listen to Internet radio stations and podcasts?
  • Can the app perform audio conversion, MP3 tagging, or CD ripping?
Interface and User Experience
  • Can the app display album art, song lyrics, and artist info?
  • Is the interface easy to configure and customize?
  • Does it support skins? Can you switch between standard and mini player modes?
  • What about navigation – is it intuitive, traditional, or unconventional?
  • Does the app feel responsive and snappy?
Of course, the most reliable way to get the answers to all these questions is to install the app and try it out yourself. Still, you might not have the time or a particular desire to test every music app that’s out there, which is understandable.
In that case, turn to online sources. Get recommendations from other users and read their experiences. Visit the official websites of different music players and compare their features to the ones on your wishlist. Last but not least, read reviews: if they’re detailed enough, they’ll spare you the trouble, and you’ll grasp the general look & feel of the app from the screenshots.
As an exercise, pick the best app based on the following descriptions of three lightweight music players for Linux.

Practice: Pragha vs Qomp vs Yarock




A descendant of a discontinued music player called Consonance, Pragha looks fairly simple, but offers plenty of features. The interface is traditional, reminiscent of a file manager, with panels which you can toggle and move around to create different layouts.


Pragha can manage your music library, and you don’t have to keep all your music in one folder because it lets you add multiple folders as library sources. It can import M3U, XSPF, PLS and WAX playlists which you can edit, save, search, and crop. There’s an equalizer and a tag editor, as well as statistics about your music library. Pragha can fetch lyrics and artist info, display album art, and manage music on removable devices. You can also define custom keyboard shortcuts and activate scrobbling.
Pragha is the only GTK-based app of the three, and most of its functionality is provided by plugins which you can disable at will. This makes it a great choice for users who want a lightweight player with a familiar interface and a personalized set of features.


Qomp stands for Quick Online Music Player. Although still in beta, it already looks promising and works stable enough for everyday use. Sadly, the interface is not visually attractive, and it relies on icons instead of menus, so it might not be immediately clear what the options are.



Still, the basic set of features is present: you can save playlists, create custom keyboard shortcuts, scrobble to, and stream music directly from an URL. Like Pragha, Qomp also draws its power from plugins, though the selection here is slightly less impressive. Qomp should be able to stream music from three Russian services, but this doesn’t always work as advertised.


Qomp could be a good choice for undemanding users who don’t want to go beyond the basics. They’ll get a fast and simple Qt music player that delivers the tunes in a retro package.


Yarock is the most modern-looking music player among the apps we’re comparing. It has a bright, spacious interface that you can customize by changing the accent color. There are several different layouts and sorting options for your playlists and music library, and Yarock is clearly focused on album art and other visual goodies.


Navigation, however, is not as crystal-clear. There are icons on the left that lead you to Context (info on what’s currently playing), Dashboard (shows stats about your library and provides quick access to top rated, most played, and favorited music), and File Browser (from which you can access music anywhere on your system). Yarock takes some time to get used to, but if you’ve tried Tomahawk or Atraci, you should be familiar with the look and feel of this “new generation” of music players.


Yarock lets you tweak quite a lot of its settings, and some of the features worth mentioning include an equalizer, gapless playback, ReplayGain, custom lyric sources, scrobbling, adding your own radio streams or connecting to TuneIn, Shoutcast and Dirble, downloading missing album art, creating smart playlists, and building a music library from multiple folder sources.
This interesting Qt-based player will appeal to users who like the features that Pragha has, but dislike its conventional interface. Yarock has enough power to manage large music collections, and looks good enough that you’ll want to keep it maximized on your Linux desktop.

Now it’s your turn: which music player do you like the most—Pragha, Yarock, or Qomp? Would you consider using any of them? Can you think of some other tips for choosing a music player that we should have included here? Tell us about your favorite lightweight music apps in the comments, and let’s have a fun discussion!


November 5, 2015

Pragha - lightweight Music Player based on Gtk

Pragha is a very light and fast music player with the necessary features for comfortable listening to music in Linux
The player is well integrated in GTK3, but at the same time the program is independent of the working environment, has a built-in folder structure, search, filter, sequence, EQ, simple user interface, the ability to edit tags. Interface Pragha translated into 21 languages.
Music playback can be conducted both from a local file or from a CD-ROM drive, supports: MP3, M4A, OGG, FLAC, ASF, WMA, as well as, manage play lists, command line, export/import playlists, integration with LastFM.
  • Full integration with GTK+3, but always independent of Gnome or Xfce.
  • Two panel desing inspired on Amarok 1.4. Library and current playlist.
  • Library with multiple views, according tags or folder structure.
  • Search, filtering and queue songs on current playlist.
  • Playing and edit tag of mp3, m4a, ogg, flac, asf, wma, and ape files.
  • Playlist management. Exporting M3U and read M3U, PLS, XSPF and WAX playlists.
  • Play audio CDs and identifies this with CDDB.
  • Playback control with command line and MPRIS2.
  • Native desktop notifications with libnotify.
  • And much mored..
Pragha - lightweight Music Player based on Gtk

Installation into Linux Mint 17/17.1:
sudo add-apt-repository ppa:ubuntuhandbook1/pragha
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install pragha

Remove from Linux Mint 17/17.1:

sudo apt-get remove --purge pragha

Good Luck!!

October 30, 2015

5 Tweaks You Can Use to Speed Up Ubuntu Today

You’ve installed Ubuntu on your PC. Perhaps you’re a long-term Linux user, or you’ve just swapped from Windows. Either way, you’ve noticed that things could be faster.
Don’t worry – here are five ways you can tweak Ubuntu to speed things up!

Show Hidden Startup Applications

Software that is configured to run at system startup can slow things down incredibly, whether you’re using Linux, Windows or OS X. Or even Android.
Ubuntu users can fix slow startups by opening the Startup Applications screen, but on first glance you’ll notice that things are a little sparse. To prevent mistakes, the majority of startup applications are hidden, but you can tweak this by opening the Terminal and entering:
sudo sed -i 's/NoDisplay=true/NoDisplay=false/g­' /etc/xdg/autostart/*.desktop
You should then see a refreshed list of startup apps. Take care with apps you reconfigure here, however, as changing some items can result in system stability issues.
The best thing to do is stay away from system items or anything that was preinstalled, and only adjust those that you have installed and don’t want to slow down your system startup. We previously looked at Startup Applications when Danny gave you four ways to speed up Linux — worth a read for some additional ideas.

Fix Bugs That Slow You Down

This might seem both vague and obvious, but if you stay up to date with conversations online about the latest releases, you’ll be able to spot problems that other users are having. If these chime with issues you’ve also experienced, you’ll be able to take action.
For instance, the File Browser Panel can slow things down, so it is worth toggling its status to see if disabling will improve performance.
Do this by opening gedit, then open Edit > Preferences and switch to the Plugins tab. Here, you should scroll through to find File Browser Panel and uncheck it, clicking Close to finish.

Install Adaptive Readahead (Preload) Daemon

Another great way to speed things up is to teach Ubuntu what you use often, so that the operating system loads apps in advance. You can do this using the Adaptive Readahead Daemon, which will identify the apps you use the most.
Just open the Software Manager (one of several ways of finding new apps on Linux), search for “preload” and install the app.
One obvious beneficiary of preloading will be your browser. If you’re not convinced by how much of a change preloading will make, check how long it takes to open the browser after booting your PC, then install the daemon, and load the browser again. It should open 50-75% quicker.
(Note that this tool may not work in Ubuntu 14.04 LTS.)

Change Swappiness Value

Okay, if you installed Ubuntu with a swap partition, this is intended to help your system manage memory, which is especially useful if your PC doesn’t have much RAM installed.
The swappiness value determines how much data is written to the virtual memory on the hard disk drive, which can slow your system down. Begin by opening a Terminal and entering:
cat /proc/sys/vm/swappiness
The default swappiness value in Ubuntu is 60.
Next, open the /etc/sysctl.conf file in a text editor:
gedit /etc/sysctl.conf
Scroll to the bottom and add the following parameter (and the associated note as a reminder):
# Decrease swappiness value
With this done, save the file. Unusually for Linux, you’ll also need to restart the computer. Once booted up again, confirm the swappiness value has changed. Less data will now be written to the virtual drive, but keep in mind that this is a tweak that is really only intended for older computers.

Upgrade Your Hardware

As with Windows, adding hardware to your Linux computer will improve performance.
This might mean swapping your HDD for a newer model (or for a solid state drive) or adding RAM to your system. On a modern system, additional RAM will usually have a great impact than a new CPU, and is usually cheaper than a new HDD, so explore this option first. When it comes to a HDD, it’s worth considering an SSD as a faster replacement.
While a new CPU can also have a strong impact, also consider upgrading your graphics card, ensuring you select a replacement that will run happily under Linux.
Of course, if you’re using a laptop, all of the above (including RAM, increasingly) will remain out of reach, leaving upgrades therefore unavailable.


October 21, 2015

How to get the latest version of Flash on Firefox for Linux after Adobe's abandonment

Adobe abandoned Firefox for Linux users years ago, but new compatibility layer software can help you ditch your outdated Flash version for the latest code.

Mozilla will stop supporting most browser plugins in Firefox by the end of 2016 . But for Linux users, that won’t make a major difference for one of the biggest plugins in the browser world—Adobe Flash.
You may not know it, but Adobe axed most support for Flash in Firefox on Linux back in 2012. Fear not, though: An open-source wrapper allows Firefox to use the fresh Flash code that Adobe’s still pumping out for other browsers.
Want to stay up to date on Linux, BSD, Chrome OS, and the rest of the World Beyond Windows? Bookmark the World Beyond Windows column page or follow our RSS feed.

Adobe thinks you should use Chrome on Linux

Mozilla has announced plans to stop supporting most NPAPI plugins in Firefox by the end of 2016. But they’re still going to support Flash, because it’s still—sadly—a big part of the web.
That said, if you’re using Firefox on Linux, your Flash player is alreadyyears out-of-date. Adobe stopped supporting the NPAPI version of Flash on Linux back in 2012, and now only updates it with security fixes—and even those will end on May 4, 2017, five years from the release date of the last supported version released. Adobe points Linux users at that Pepper (PPAPI) version of Flash, which is included with Chrome and can be installed in Chromium and Opera.
outdated flash 11 from repositories
The outdated Flash 11 available in official repositories.
But Mozilla doesn’t want to support Pepper. It would rather try to push new web standards instead of creating new frameworks for old-style plugins. This leaves Firefox users on Linux with Flash 11.2 while other platforms—including Chrome and Chromium—are already up to Flash 19. Want the latest version of Flash on Linux? Switch to Chrome, Chromium, or Opera. That’s the Adobe party line.
Really, we should be happy this is even an option, as Adobe hasn’t had much love towards Linux in general. That PPAPI-on-Linux code is used when the Flash player runs on Google Linux-based Chrome OS, however, so Adobe can’t afford to snub Chrome on Linux.

Fresh Player Plugin to the rescue

If you want the latest version of Flash in Firefox, the Linux community has come to the rescue. Fresh Player Plugin is an open-source PPAPI-to-NPAPI compatibility layer. Basically, it’s a way to use the up-to-date Pepper version of Flash for Linux in Firefox on Linux. It can even use hardware-accelerated decoding of videos on the latest Linux distributions, including Ubuntu 14.10 and 15.04.
Fresh Player Plugin has now been in development for more than a year, and it should be fairly stable for most people. It doesn’t implement any sandboxing, however, meaning that all those Pepper sandboxing security benefits aren’t available to Firefox users, so beware. It’s still safest to run the latest version of Flash in a Chromium-based browser like Chrome, Chromium itself, or Opera.
flash 19 in firefox on linux web page
Adobe Flash 19 in Firefox for Linux, courtesy of Fresh Player Plugin.
You can choose to compile Fresh Player Plugin from source with the freely available code, but the folks over at WebUpd8, an Ubuntu-focused blog, provide it in a PPA so you can easily install it on Ubuntu. It’s easy to do—just open a terminal and run the following commands in order:
sudo add-apt-repository ppa:nilarimogard/webupd8
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install freshplayerplugin
You now have the compatibility layer installed. All you have to do is install Google Chrome and launch it—it will download the latest version of the Pepper plugin. When you launch Firefox, Firefox will automatically load Fresh Player Plugin, and it’ll check the directory Chrome stores its plugins in and automatically load it. You now have the latest version of Flash in Firefox on Linux.
flash 19 in firefox on linux
Adobe Flash 19 in Firefox for Linux, courtesy of Fresh Player Plugin.
Just uninstall the freshplayerplugin package from any software management tool if you decide you’d rather not use it.
If Adobe does end security updates for the NPAPI version of Flash on Linux in May 4, 2017 without proving a path forward for Linux users, Fresh Player Plugin will become the only way to use a patched version of Flash in FIrefox on Linux at all. It’s good this software is being developed, as it may become very important soon. Hopefully most of us can just dump Flash by then.


October 9, 2015

Zukimac Is a Flawless Mac Theme for Ubuntu


If you’re hunting out a decent Mac theme for your Ubuntu desktop you need look no further than Zukimac — an OS X-inspired GTK3 theme that is uncanny in its appearance.

‘If Apple made a GTK3 theme it would look like this’
(tweet this)
Unlike other attempts at aping the appearance of Cupertino’s finest OS, this one actually looks and feels like it was made for Linux and not the half-hearted mish-mash of OS X assets laid over basic theming that other themes of this ilk tend to resemble. If Apple made a GTK3 theme chances are it would look like Zukimac.
From pixel-perfect handling of Nautilus to suitably styled maximised Unity controls – the developer of Zukimac has clearly put a lot of thought and attention into fashioning their theme to work as well as it can.

Why Do This?

Whenever we cover a theme that apes the appearance of another operating system the question of why you might want to do it will arise. Motivation is subjective, as is taste, so the short answer is: “Don’t like it? Don’t use it!”
There’s nothing ‘traitorous’ or ‘anti-Linux’ in mimicking the design of another platform. Most Linux desktop environments are versatile enough to allow extensive theming. Blatant imitations like Zukimac as well as those that simply take a few cues from elsewhere, all take advantage of this opportunity. Other operating systems require tinkering with inner parts of the system to achieve what those of us on Linux can do in just a couple of clicks.
And as knee-jerk as some may find it, the designs of Windows, OS X, iOS or Android do have fans and do have years of expertise and reasoning behind them.

Screen Shot 2014-06-08 at 20.33.29
Nautlius under Zukimac GTK Theme

Pairing accurately styled ‘traffic light’ window controls and the faux metal sheen in app headers, the theme also features a nice blue highlight, stark white menus and does a standout job of handling Nautilus — a key app many themes fail to pay attention to.
Unity integration is also fully supported. Integrated and app menus work fine, and on Ubuntu 14.04 LTS launcher items are displayed without the rounded bounding box (see top screen). Depending on your favoured icon theme the latter tweak can look particularly slick.

Zukimac for Linux

Zukimac is a free download available from GNOME-Look and provides support for both GTK 3.10 and GTK 3.12. It does not include an icon theme or any assets copyrighted to Apple.
Zukimac — OS X GTK3 Theme


October 4, 2015

October Desktop- Ubuntu GTK2 Metal Theme

I have a rich library of GTK2 themes from older Ubuntu installs and they are all usable again on Ubuntu Mate. Below is an old favorite called Metal. I'm also using the Brushed Metal metacity theme. Below are links where you can still get them. Enjoy.






You can still get these GTK2 themes here:

With some OSX wallpaper they look great too...



October 1, 2015

9 Great Linux Mate Themes

I have really been enjoying the MATE desktop. Below are some great themes made to take advantage of the GTK2 environment. Enjoy.

One of the best things about being a MATE user is the fact that everything is super stable and reliable. This desktop environment hasn’t changed its looks in quite a long time. Everything is nearly like the way it looked in 2002.
This can be a good thing when it comes to usability. It’s tried and true. On the other hand, the MATE desktop doesn’t look very modern. The default themes it ships with aren’t very attractive, and overall it seems like it needs a face-lift.
Check out these nine themes that look great in the MATE desktop environment!
Note: the instructions to install each one of these themes are located on the page in which you downloaded them from.

Color UI Mate theme
If you didn’t notice from the picture above, Color UI was designed with the XFCE desktop in mind. That being said, it still looks awesome in MATE. Everything is very modern-looking and colorful. I know some people aren’t huge fans of using themes designed for other desktops. I get that. Still, if using a theme designed for another desktop doesn’t bother you, consider checking out this theme.
Absolute Mate theme
Absolute is a simple, grey theme. It’s not the most advanced and stylish theme ever created, but it certainly is fairly modern looking. The window manager style is top notch, and overall it’s just pleasant to look it. Do you like simple? Check out this theme.
Ubuntu Dust Mate theme
When it comes to GTK 2.x themes, they seem to all run together. A good chunk of them seem to fall into three categories: black/dark, transparent, or grey/white styled themes. Ubuntu Dust doesn’t fit that criteria. It’s a sort of shiny brown/dark sort of thing with some really neat user interface choices. It’s certainly different. If you like different, you might like this theme.
Ambiance & Radiance Flat Colors Mate theme
Flat is the latest design trend that everyone has been going crazy over. I can’t blame them as I think flat is cool too. To satisfy your craving for flat themes on MATE, Ambiance & Radiance Flat Colors exists. It’s a flatter take on the classic Ubuntu themes Ambiance and Radiance. It comes with several different color choices too. If you want a flat theme, this should be your first stop.
Orta Mate theme
Orta is a theme that has been around for quite a while. It’s one of the most famous ones too. There’s a good reason as to why everyone loves this particular theme: it’s beautiful. Even today it feels really modern. The window manager style is reminiscent of Mac OS X’s, and it has a nice metallic thing going on.
BSM Simple Mate theme
BSM Simple is a pack of simple GTK 2.x themes. The pack comes with Dark and Classic themes.
Elegant Gnome Pack Mate theme
Are you interested in making MATE elegant? Check out the Elegant Gnome Pack. It’s specifically designed to make GTK 2.x look beautiful. Many different themes are included so there’s most certainly something for everyone to choose from!
Zuki Mate theme
Zuki is a fairly solid theme. It has sort of a glass/transparent look to it, but it does it right. That’s not something I can say about all the glass themes I’ve seen. They always seem to look tacky. If you’re in need of a transparent-esque theme for your MATE setup, look no further.
Elegant Brit Mate theme
I’ll be frank. Elegant Brit is at the bottom because it’s not the most professionally-designed theme. That being said, it does manage to look cool and modern for what it is. I especially like the way this theme handles the task bar. If you’ve checked all the themes out above and still haven’t settled on one, try this one!
The MATE desktop is great, but it’s built on aging technology and is in dire need of a new look. These GTK 2.x MATE themes in this list can help with that. With this list I hope that you, too, will be able to make your desktop environment great.


September 30, 2015

9 Great Linux XFCE Themes

XFCE4. It’s everyone’s favorite lightweight desktop environment. This desktop environment has been around for quite a while. For much of the time that this desktop has been around, it hasn’t exactly looked the greatest. The default look for XFCE is frankly not that great.
Since the XFCE Desktop is in dire need of a facelift, we decided to go out and find nine really great themes for XFCE4. Check them out below!
Note: the instructions to install each one of these themes are located on the page in which you downloaded them from.
Axe theme for XFCE4.
Not all of the themes on this list are full themes. The XFCE4 desktop is an interesting one. You can theme the window manager and the panel independently. Axe is one of the many window manager themes in this list.
Axe is a clean and really minimal window manager theme. When it’s not in focus, the entire window is transparent which is a really cool effect. Want a clean, simple Xfce window manager theme? Check out this one.
Tango theme for XFCE4.
A lot of XFCE4’s window managers that come pre-installed are unimpressive. They’re all old-looking and frankly just not something visually appealing on any level. Tango is an XFCE WM theme pack that hopes to change that.
It’s an elegant, colorful and minimalist approach to window themes. It also sort of reminds me of the Windows 8 window manager. Are you in search of a decent-looking XFCE window manager theme? Tango might be for you.

Numix Holo is a pleasant re-spin of the Numix GTK theme. The creator of this theme has substituted the famous “Numix Orange” color scheme for a light blue Android Jelly Bean-inspired setup. If you love Numix, but also prefer blue over orange, definitely check out this theme.
Ambience theme for XFCE4.
Some people love the default look of Ubuntu. Others don’t. Ambiance for the XFCE desktop is a theme for those looking to make their XFCE session more like Ubuntu. If you think the Ambiance style suits you, this should be your first stop.
Glare theme for XFCE4.
Glare is a simple theme for the XFCE4 desktop environment. It doesn’t have a whole lot going for it in terms of eye candy, but that’s not necessarily a terrible thing. Sometimes its hard to find a very simple theme with no frills, shadows or anything like that. If you’re in search of a simple look for XFCE4, you might want to check out this theme.
Macbuntu theme for XFCE4.
Macbuntu is a suitable XFCE4 theme for those who want to turn their desktop into something very close to OS X. This theme isn’t 100% similar to the way the Mac looks, but it most certainly is very reminiscent of it. Searching for an Apple-like theme for your XFCE desktop? Try out Macbuntu.
Rele theme for XFCE4.
There certainly isn’t a shortage of dark themes. It’s hard to browse and not run into more than twenty-five dark themes. Still, if dark is what you want, Rele is one of the best out there. The theme uses the darker colors in a really nice way and everything is really easy to read (which I can’t say about some other black/dark themes out there). Are black themes your thing? If so, you might want to install Rele.
XFWM KDE4.8 Oxygen theme for XFCE4.
It’s hard to deny that the KDE desktop environment has it right when it comes to their Oxygen theme. Honestly, it’s one of the better default themes out there for Linux. Are you a fan of the Oxygen theme like me? If so, install XFWM KDE4.8 Oxygen.
Win8-FirstTry theme for XFCE4.
Some Linux users love the way Windows 8/8.1 looks. No this isn’t a joke! There are dozens of Windows themes for Linux desktops. For those on XFCE, the Win8-FirstTry theme is a good place to start out. Be warned, the creator of this theme said it’s his first shot at a theme, so there might be a few discrepancies here or there. Still, if you want your desktop environment to look like Windows 8.1, you should give this theme a go.
XFCE4 is a great desktop environment. Overwhelmingly, it’s the most popular lightweight desktop out there. That being said, it’s not exactly the best-looking. The overall design of XFCE4 seems to be stuck in the mid-90s/early 2000s. I hope that with the help of this list you’ll be able to take your existing XFCE desktop and make it a little better looking.

September 19, 2015

How to adjust screen brightness in linux

This tip came from the current issue #59 of Full Circle Magazine. There are no brightness controls in Gnome GTK3.x  I'm running Ubuntu 11.10 under the Gnome Classic desktop. It fixed an aging CRT monitor I have and use in one of my rigs. Many thanks ! Enjoy.

Q: When I try to reduce the brightness on my laptop using System Settings, it doesn't change.

A: Open a Terminal, and enter this command:

xgamma ­-gamma .5

You can try different values than .5, to see what works for you. ( .8 works great for my monitor. )

The other available values are:

usage:  xgamma [-options]

where the available options are:
    -display host:dpy       or -d
    -quiet                         or -q
    -screen                      or -s
    -gamma f.f                Gamma Value
    -rgamma f.f               Red Gamma Value
    -ggamma f.f              Green Gamma Value
    -bgamma f.f              Blue Gamma Value

If no gamma is specified, returns the current setting

September XFCE OSX Theme Desktop

I've been enjoying the simplicity of Xubuntu 15.04 and thought I would give it a OSX theme this month. The great thing about linux is the ability to make it look anyway you want. So below are my results and where you can get the Minty Mac OSX XFCE theme. I'm using the Minty Mac OSX metacity theme and icons, and the installed Greybird theme and an old wallpaper and Docky. I installed Clementine music player, Deluge bittorrent client, Chromium browser, and Screenlets. Enjoy.








And two more different wallpapers....

You can get the Minty Mac OSX theme here: