Category Archives: Linux Stuff

Linux Stuff

Entangle app gets stop motion preview

Not happy with available Linux apps for stop motion animation? You might like checking out StopMotion preview plugin for Entangle.

Entangle is a somewhat underappreciated free Linux app for remote capturing of images with DSLRs. The StopMotion Preview plugin, created by Manuel Quiñones, adds a window that plays the existing sequence of captured snapshots in a loop, with configurable framerate.

Since Entangle makes it possible to overlay the last captured image with live view stream, you can effectively preview the next frame while doing a stop motion animation.

While it still doesn’t solve the issue with the lack of DragonFrame-like software on Linux, it makes the basics easier to do. In other news, qStopMotion might have an official new release soon.

Grab the code at GitHub.

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Unity To Get An Option To Always Show The Menus [Ubuntu 15.04 Vivid Vervet]

Unity developer +Marco Trevisan is working on some tweaks for Ubuntu 15.04 Vivid Vervet and among them, there’s a fix for a three year old bug related to Unity’s menus. 

Marco’s work involves adding an option to always show the Unity menus (in Unity, the menus are currently displayed on mouse over). Furthermore, this option will work with both the regular Appmenu / global menu, displayed on the top Unity panel, as well as LIM (locally integrated menus), displayed in the application titlebar:

Ubuntu 15.05 Vivid Vervet Menu always visible

In the current implementation, the option to always show the menu is available via Dconf-Editor (com > canonical > unity > always-show-menus) and I don’t know if it will be integrated in System Settings, but I’m sure that applications like Unity Tweak Tool will get an option to make this easier to access and configure.

Here’s what the “always-show-menus” key description says:

When this is enabled, the application menus will be always shown (on the window decoration or in the unity panel, depending whether integrated menus are enabled), otherwise they will be shown only when the mouse cursor is over the relative mouse area.

The option to make the Unity menus always visible didn’t land in Ubuntu 15.04 Vivid Vervet yet (I installed Unity from Marco’s branch for the screenshot above), but Marco’s branch was proposed for merging, and it will probably make it into Vivid soon.

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Boudewijn Rempt on the state of affairs with Krita Foundation

Earlier today, Boudewijn Rempt, lead developer of Krita, announced leaving KO GmBH, one of major supporters of Krita Foundation. We reached out to him for some more details.

Boudewijn, first and foremost, are you staying with the Krita Foundation?

I’ve been maintainer Krita for ten years, I’ll go on. Either I’ll be able to make the foundation pay me my living costs, or not, but either way, I’ll continue managing its affairs.

Given that KO GmBH used to be a stakeholder in Krita’s affairs, what’s its future?

There’s one guy who’s still officially employed. What happens after, I don’t know — the goal of the current owner is to keep KO out of receivership, so the software we developed won’t be sold off. That’s mainly WebODF.

How is Krita Foundation actually doing?

Right now, we’ve got a bit of a buffer, around 3 months for Dmitry. So, it needs to be more — it always needs to be more, of course. But we’re doing quite well in many ways, donations are up, sales of the DVD are up, development fund is up.

What do you think needs most work to make matters even better, financially?

Well, code-wise, we’ve got a nice roadmap, marketing-wise, we’re doing really good, actually: in January’s ImagineFX we have a five-out-of-five, artist’s choice review. I really need to sit down and start planning the next kickstarter, though.

Are you going for community-voted features again?

I’m not sure. There are these 4 big features we really want: level-of-detail performance optimization, OSX port, animation plugin, Python scripting. Each of them is 3-4 months of work. And there are a host of smaller features, of course. We’ll also need another month to finish the layer styles feature and backport it to 2.9.1.

Back in March 2013, when you visited Double Negative in London, there were some ideas floating around like deep integration with Nuke, dynamic, file-based layers, an Adobe Bridge like image manager. What happened to that?

Well, part of it was implemented — we now have file layers. The other parts, well, we had discussions with The Foundry, but couldn’t come to a deal.

What was the disagreement about?

The GPL. They’d have loved to add Krita to their portfolio, but not under a copyleft license. And of course, if we’d done a BSD version of Krita, and The Foundry had gone with it, what chance it’d end up with Autodesk next year!

They really just didn’t want to touch GPL software with a ten-foot bargepole.

Shortly after that visit you announced that Krita Foundation had started doing commercial support for VFX companies and individual artists. But there have been very few (if any) news on that ever since. Why?

That’s because on the one hand, I knew KO was going under since May, so I couldn’t really reach out effectively. And on the other hand, because VFX companies are really good at “oh, if you implement this, then I’ll back you” type of thing.

Right now, we have about two dozen test accounts for companies, and half a dozen real, paying users.

The next major release, v2.9, seems to be shaping up nicely. Anything in particular you are excited about?

Actually, the announcement lists about half of the new features and improvements, and that was way too much. Some people thought it was just a large list of minor things, unlike 2.8 or 2.7 with big stuff like OpenColorIO. But I mean… we’ve got the first implementation of non-destructive transformation masks. That alone is pretty big!

Or the multi-view windows — the same image can be shown in more than one view, in more than one main window. It took me two years to develop and gave me a healthy appreciation for how much effort the single-window GUI in GIMP must have taken.

I remember sitting down at my first Libre Graphics Meeting with Joao and comparing notes on how GIMP users wanted a single-window GUI, and Krita users wanted a multi-window GUI — that was in 2007.

I mean — this is big! And it’s just one of the many things… We’ve managed to put so much cool stuff in for 2.9. And it wasn’t just done by Dmitry and me — our development community has really grown as well!


Krita 2.9 is currently expected to ship in late January. The first public beta is available for Linux, Windows, and Mac. Keep in mind that the OSX port is currently not officially supported.

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GTK 3.14, Nautilus 3.14 Land In Ubuntu 15.04 Vivid Vervet [Quick Update]

Quick update for Ubuntu users planning to use Ubuntu 15.04: GTK 3.14 has landed in Ubuntu 15.04 Vivid Vervet. And of course, the default Ubuntu themes, Ambiance and Radiance, have been updated with GTK 3.14 support.
Furthermore, Nautilus, an application that wasn’t updated in quite a while and was still at version 3.10, has been updated to version 3.14:

Nautilus 3.14 Ubuntu 15.05 Vivid Vervet

However, Nautilus isn’t the only application that was updated to version 3.14 in Ubuntu 15.04 Vivid Vervet. A while back, GNOME Terminal (Ubuntu was using an ancient version – 3.6), GNOME Screenshot, GNOME Calculator and Evince were also updated to 3.14.
As for Ubuntu GNOME, well, GNOME Shell, GNOME Control Center / Settings Daemon are still at version 3.12 (along with most of the GNOME apps like Weather, Clocks, Bijiben and so on), but these will probably be updated to 3.14 as well, considering that there’s still time, since Ubuntu / Ubuntu GNOME 15.04 is in alpha and it’s scheduled for release in April, 2015.
GTK 3.14 and Nautilus 3.14 are currently available in the Ubuntu 15.04 Vivid Vervet proposed repository, but they should be promoted to release soon.

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Paper: New Material Design Inspired GTK Theme

Paper is a new material design inspired GTK theme, which is currently in beta. “Its design is mostly flat with a minimal use of shadows for depth”, mentions its website, and it was developed primarily for the GNOME (Shell) and other desktops that make use of header bars.
Ideally, you’ll need a complete GNOME 3.14 / 3.12 desktop to see what Paper is all about, since the theme uses custom colors for header bars / client-side decoration apps.

Paper GTK theme
Paper under Ubuntu GNOME 14.10

Unfortunately, Ubuntu 14.10 (screenshot above) ships with GNOME 3.12 by default, mixed with some 3.10 bits and because of that,  some applications like Gedit or Calculator don’t use header bars, so here’s another screenshot, via Paper’s website:

Paper GTK theme

The theme looks pretty nice with traditional titlebar/menubar/toolbar applications, but it doesn’t compare with the experience it offers for header bars apps. Here’s a Paper GTK theme screenshot taken under Ubuntu 14.10 with Unity:

Paper GTK theme

And a couple of screenshots to get an idea on how the widgets look like with GTK3 and GTK2:

Paper GTK theme
GTK3

Paper GTK theme
GTK2

It’s important to mention that currently, there are a few issues with Paper GTK theme, especially on non-GNOME (Shell) desktops. For instance, the Nemo statusbar is not themed correctly, the Ubuntu Sound Menu buttons are not displayed and probably more (so I don’t really recommend it on Unity, at least for now). Also, the GTK2 theme still needs some work. However, the theme was developed with GNOME / header bar apps in mind and furthermore, it’s still in beta, so that’s understandable.
According to +Sam Hewitt, the theme developer, Paper will be a complete theme suite once it goes stable: the GTK theme will be accompanied by GNOME Shell, icon and Plank themes.

Download Paper GTK theme

Ubuntu users can install the latest Paper GTK theme by using its official daily buils PPA (unstable):
sudo add-apt-repository ppa:snwh/pulp
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install paper-gtk-theme

Arch Linux users can install Paper via AUR.

Once installed, use an application such as GNOME Tweak Tool to set the theme to Paper.

If you download the Paper GTK theme tarball, you’ll find an “install.sh” script that you can run to install the theme and set it as the current desktop theme however, note that if you run the script as root (that’s required if you want to install the theme globally, under /usr/share/themes/), the script can’t set the current theme to Paper because gsettings (which the script uses to change the theme) doesn’t work as root.
initially seen @ Marco’s Box; second screenshot via Paper’s website

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Get A Global Menu In MATE 1.8 With TopMenu (PPA For Ubuntu And Linux Mint)

One of the most requested MATE features is the addition of a global menu applet. However, such an applet (called TopMenu) already exists, though it’s not available in any PPA and that prevents many Ubuntu / Linux Mint users from installing it.
To make it easier to install, I’ve packed TopMenu in a PPA for Ubuntu 14.04 (requires using Ubuntu MATE or upgrading to MATE 1.8 via PPA) and 14.10 as well as Linux Mint 17 and 17.1 (MATE edition, obviously).

TopMenu is compatible with MATE 1.8 (a MATE 1.8 panel applet is shipped) and it fully supports GTK2. According to its Wiki page, GTK3 is partially supported (I didn’t encounter any functionality issues in my test) and there are additional plugins for Qt4 and Mozilla apps (Firefox and Thunderbird). I should also mention that unlike Unity’s AppMenu, TopMenu doesn’t autohide and it’s always visible when an application is focused.

Here are a few TopMenu screenshots taken under Ubuntu MATE:

TopMenu – GTK2 app

TopMenu – GTK3 app

TopMenu – Qt app

TopMenu Firefox extension

The PPA below provides both the GTK2 and GTK3 packages as well as the Qt4 plugin. I’ve also built the Firefox/Thunderbird extension, but I didn’t package it and it’s available as a separate download – or you can build it yourself.

For technical information about TopMenu, see its Gitorious page.

Important notes (please read!):

  • TopMenu is not considered stable and according to its wiki, GTK3 is only partially supported, so you may encounter bugs or it may not work at all for you;
  • I had to tweak TopMenu GTK3 to render properly (some colors were hard-coded and it didn’t respect the panel colors) but it’s still not perfect and some stuff won’t look properly – for instance, when using a transparent panel;
  • if you want to remove TopMenu installed from our PPA, use “purge” instead of remove (this should completely remove it: “sudo apt-get purge libtopmenu-*”) – that’s required to remove the script the package adds under /etc/profile.d/;
  • the PPA provides the latest TopMenu from Git;
  • TopMenu from our PPA only works with MATE 1.8. To be able to use it in Ubuntu 14.04 (if you don’t use Ubuntu MATE 14.04), you’ll have to install the latest MATE via PPA.

How to get a global menu under MATE 1.8 with TopMenu in Ubuntu or Linux Mint

1. Install TopMenu

Firstly, let’s install TopMenu. To add our PPA and install TopMenu for MATE 1.8 in Ubuntu 14.04 (if you don’t use Ubuntu MATE 14.04, you’ll have to install MATE 1.8 via PPA) / 14.10 or Linux Mint (MATE edition) 17 / 17.1, use the following commands:
sudo add-apt-repository ppa:webupd8team/mate
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install libtopmenu-gtk2 mate-topmenu

The commands above will add the PPA and install the GTK2 version of the TopMenu (required by the GTK3 and Qt modules) and the TopMenu MATE panel applet.

To get a global menu for GTK3 applications, you must install “libtopmenu-gtk3”:
sudo apt-get install libtopmenu-gtk3
To get TopMenu to support Qt4 applications, install “libtopmenu-qt”:
sudo apt-get install libtopmenu-qt

For Firefox and Thunderbird global menu support, download and install THIS extension (to install it, simply use drag and drop) or build the extension yourself.


Arch Linux users can install TopMenu via AUR: for GTK2 | GTK3 | Qt (you must load it manually as explained on the TopMenu wiki).

Other Linux distributions: see the instructions @ TopMenu wiki.

2. Once TopMenu has been installed, log out and log back in – this is required to load the TopMenu modules.
3. Adding the TopMenu applet to the MATE 1.8 panel.
Before adding the TopMenu applet to the MATE panel, it’s important to mention that the default MATE “Menu Bar” will stop working so instead of this applet, you’ll have to use either the “Main Menu” applet or the “MATE Menu” applet. If you have the Menu Bar applet added to the panel, remove it before proceeding!
To add TopMenu to the MATE panel, right click the panel in an empty area and select “Add to panel” and add “TopMenu Panel Applet”:

Then, open some application that has a menu (try it with a GTK2 app firstly, like Caja), move the menu to the position you want it to be displayed, right click it and select “Lock to panel”. If you don’t do this, the TopMenu applet position will reset after a logout.

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