Tag Archives: tips n tricks

Fix AppIndicator Not Working For Electron Apps In Ubuntu 17.04 Zesty Zapus w/ Unity

Skype For Linux Indicator Ubuntu 17.04 Zesty Zapus

[Quick update] It looks like Dropbox isn’t the only AppIndicator that doesn’t work in Ubuntu 17.04 Zesty Zapus (under Unity) due to the change of XDG_CURRENT_DESKTOP from “Unity” to “Unity:Unity7”.

Update (thanks Martin): the Dropbox AppIndicator no longer has this issue.

Electron applications (such as the new Skype For Linux, WMail, PB For Desktop and many others) are affected as well, but in a different way. For Electron applications, the indicator is not displayed at all in Ubuntu 17.04 Zesty Zapus under Unity.

The fix is similar to the one applied to the Dropbox indicator. Simply run the application with “env XDG_CURRENT_DESKTOP=Unity”. For example, to start Skype For Linux, you would use:

env XDG_CURRENT_DESKTOP=Unity skypeforlinux

To make the fix permanent, copy the application desktop file from /usr/share/applications/ to ~/.local/share/applications/, then edit the file and change the “Exec” line by adding “env XDG_CURRENT_DESKTOP=Unity” (without the quotes) immediately after “Exec=”.

Some applications are set to start automatically and in that case, you’ll have to edit the desktop file from ~/.config/autostart/ in the same way.

Note that some applications overwrite any changes made to their autostart files, located in ~/.config/autostart/. A way around this is to rename the autostart file, then in the application settings, set the application not to start on login. This way, the modified autostart file will be used (which has a different name and contains the workaround).

Read More

Bypass ISP Website Censorship With Alkasir 2.0

Alkasir is a free, open source website censorship circumvention tool, available for Linux, Windows and Mac. Android and iOS versions are “main objectives for 2016”. For now it only works with Google Chrome.
alkasir website censorship circumvention tool

Besides allowing users to access censored websites, the application also keeps you informed about URLs that are still blocked and those which have been unblocked.
Alkasir was launched in 2009 as a Windows-only closed source application however, with version 2.0, released in 2016, the application became free, open source software, and it gained support for Linux and Mac.
It’s important to mention from the start that Alkasir was created to bypass restrictions imposed by ISPs, “to allow users to access information about their countries and regions that are concealed by the states mainly because of political reasons. An example would be news websites that cover protests, expose corruption, promote open online discussions and debates on political, social and cultural issues, etc.“.
Its goal is not to unblock websites / services that exclude certain countries on purpose, like Pandora, Netflix, Spotify and so on, and it will not work with such websites. Its developers can’t afford to support bandwidth-hungry websites and keep the service free.

Alkasir features:

  • to unblock restricted websites, Alkasir uses its own proxy servers (and the data is encrypted), which it activates only for blocked websites;
  • keeps you informed about which URLs are still blocked and which have been unblocked;
  • optimized for speed: since Alkasir does not support bandwidth-intensive websites, the strain on the proxy servers is reduced considerably, resulting in fast access to blocked websites;
  • it does not save IP addresses or any personal data that could directly identify a particular device or user on the Internet;
  • automatic updates.

Since the Alkasir website lacks some information that’s provided in its web interface, here are some useful links from its GitHub page:

Note that while I like to test everything I post on WebUpd8, I couldn’t test Alkasir because my ISP doesn’t censor / block any websites.

I decided to write an article about Alkasir because Lantern, a somewhat similar tool which I covered on WebUpd8 a while back, which was initially free to use, requires a paid subscription for unlimited usage for some time.

Download and usage

Alkasir is available for Linux, Windows and Mac. The GUI (tray / AppIndicator) is available on Mac and Linux for 64bit only. For Linux 32bit (without a GUI) there are separate instructions for how to setup Alkasir.
Setting up Alkasir (with a GUI) is fairly easy. Download Alkasir (in case the website is blocked by your ISP, here’s a direct link to its GitHub download page – you’ll need the “-gui” binary), extract it and simply double click the “alkasir” executable to run it. You’ll also need to install the Alkasir Chrome extension.
Next, from the Alkasir tray / AppIndicator menu, select “Open in browser”. This will open the Alkasir web UI in your default browser. For the first step, you’ll simply have to select the language and location.
In the next (and final) step, called “Browser integration”, click the “Copy to clipboard” button:

alkasir website censorship circumvention tool

… then right click the Alkasir Chrome extension icon, select “Options”, and on the extension options page, paste the code copied in the step above:

alkasir website censorship circumvention tool

That’s it!

The language/location settings as well as the browser integration code can be accessed later, from the Alkasir settings, which can be accessed both via the Chrome extension or by selecting “Open in web browser” from the Alkasir tray / AppIndicator menu.
If you’re running a 32bit Linux distribution, there’s no GUI binary available, but you can use the Alkasir Client binary, which is available for 32bit.

To set up the Alkasir Client (without a GUI), firstly install the Chrome extension, then download the 32bit alkasir-client binary from GitHub, extract it and run it.

E.g. if you’ve extracted it in your home folder, open a terminal and run Alkasir by using the following command:
~/alkasir-client-linux-386/alkasir-client_linux_386

Next, you’ll need the Alkasir client authentication key. You can find this in the settings.json file from the ~/.alkasir folder. To open this file in Gedit so you can copy the key, simply use the following command:

gedit ~/.alkasir/settings.json

The code you’re looking for should be on line 6 (“ClientAuthKey”) – copy this code, then right click the Alkasir Chrome extension, select “Options” and under “browser code”, paste this key and right after it, add “::8899” (without the quotes).
Now you should be able to complete the Alkasir setup process by clicking on the Chrome extension icon and following the instructions.

Read More

How To Prevent The Super Key From Opening Dash On Top Of Fullscreen Windows (Ubuntu /w Unity Only)

Unity Dash on top of fullscreen game

In Ubuntu (Unity), the Super (Windows) key is used to open Unity Dash. Accidentally pressing the Super key when playing fullscreen games can be quite annoying, because Dash covers quite a bit of the screen, so you can’t see what’s going on, and it also switches the keyboard input from the game to Unity.

If you’ve gotten used to using the Super key to open Dash and don’t want to change it, you can use a Python script, created by Sergiy Kolodyazhnyy for AskUbuntu, which automatically disables the Super key from opening Unity Dash, if there are any fullscreen windows. Note that the script has only been tested in Ubuntu 16.04.

The script does not disable Super key combinations, so for instance, Super + L will continue to lock the screen, etc. Only opening the Dash is disabled, which is triggered by pressing the Super key alone.

You can check out the script code HERE.

To download the script and install it in /usr/local/bin, use the following commands:
sudo apt install wget
wget http://raw.githubusercontent.com/SergKolo/sergrep/master/disable_super_key.py -O /tmp/disable_super_key.py
sudo install /tmp/disable_super_key.py /usr/local/bin/

Update: since the Alt key triggers the HUD by default, which causes the same issues as the Dash, I modified Sergiy’s Python script to also disable the Alt key while there are fullscreen windows. You can check out the script code HERE.

To install the modified script that disables both Alt and Super keys from opening Dash and Hud when a fullscreen window is focused, use the following commands:
sudo apt install wget
wget https://raw.githubusercontent.com/hotice/webupd8/master/disable_super_key.py -O /tmp/disable_super_key.py
sudo install /tmp/disable_super_key.py /usr/local/bin/

Once installed, you’ll need to add the script to startup.

To do this, open Startup Applications from Unity Dash, click “Add”, enter anything you want under “Name”, and for “Command”, use:
/usr/local/bin/disable_super_key.py

If you’ve installed it in a different location, click “Browse” and select the disable_super_key.py script. That’s it!

If you prefer to change the Dash keyboard shortcut, so it doesn’t uses the Super key, install CompizConfig Settings Manager (CCSM):
sudo apt install compizconfig-settings-manager
Then open CCSM, click on Ubuntu Unity Plugin, and on the Launcher tab, assign a different shortcut for “Key to show the Dash, Launcher and Help Overlay”.

Read More

Easily Share Files From The Command Line With transfer.sh

If you prefer doing things from the command line, transfer.sh is for you. Using it, you can easily share a file from the command line, without installing anything. Well, cURL or Wget are required, but you probably already have them installed.
The service is free, allows uploading files up to 10 GB in size, and it stores the files for 14 days. In my test, it was also very fast.

If you want to use transfer.sh with your own server, the code is available on GitHub.
To use transfer.sh, you’ll need to install cURL. In Debian-based Linux distributions (Ubuntu, Linux Mint, etc.), use the following command to install it:
sudo apt install curl

To upload a file to Transfer.sh and get a shareable URL, use the following command:
curl --upload-file ./myfile.txt https://transfer.sh/myfile.txt

Replacing “myfile.txt” with the file you want to share.

The shared file can be previewed in the browser, and it can be directly downloaded via the command line (e.g. using “curl -O https://transfer.sh/4ityD/myfile.txt”).

To make it even easier, you can use a Bash (should also work with Zsh) alias. To do this, open ~/.bashrc with a text editor, and paste this at the end of the file:
transfer() { if [ $# -eq 0 ]; then echo "No arguments specified. Usage:necho transfer /tmp/test.mdncat /tmp/test.md | transfer test.md"; return 1; fi 
tmpfile=$( mktemp -t transferXXX ); if tty -s; then basefile=$(basename "$1" | sed -e 's/[^a-zA-Z0-9._-]/-/g'); curl --progress-bar --upload-file "$1" "https://transfer.sh/$basefile" >> $tmpfile; else curl --progress-bar --upload-file "-" "https://transfer.sh/$1" >> $tmpfile ; fi; cat $tmpfile; rm -f $tmpfile; }

Then save the file and run the command below to source the ~/.bashrc file:

. ~/.bashrc

(there’s a dot, then a space before ~/.bashrc)

That’s it. You can now simply use “transfer” to upload a file, like so:

transfer myfile.txt

Here’s a screenshot too (screenshots of commands may be useless, but this article needs a preview on Google+ and Facebook):

For more examples, including using Wget instead of cURL, uploading multiple files, encrypting the files before uploading them, upload files to be scanned for malware or viruses using Clamav or VirusTotal, and more, see the transfer.sh website.

There are quite a few similar services, but for smaller files, like chunk.io, up.depado.eu, etc.

Read More

How To Safely Remove Old Linux Kernels In Ubuntu Or Linux Mint [Quick Tip]

Old Linux kernels can take up a considerable amount of disk space. Apt (“sudo apt-get autoremove”) tries to remove uneeded packages, including old Linux kernels, but it may fail to remove all of them.
Apt may fail to remove old Linux kernels when using an Ubuntu version that’s under development, if you encounter THIS bug (which still occurs in Trusty), or if you’ve installed the kernels manually.

There are various commands out there for mass removing old Linux kernels, but they complicated (and hard to remember), and not all are safe. So what’s the safest way of mass purging old Linux kernels in Ubuntu? Well, according to Dustin Kirkland, it’s the “purge-old-kernels” command.

The purge-old-kernels man page mentions that the command will never remove the currently running kernel. Also, by default, it will keep at least the latest 2 kernels, but you can override this using the “–keep” parameter (for instance “–keep 1” to only keep 1 Linux kernel).
In Ubuntu 16.04 and newer, the purge-old-kernels command is part of the byobu package. For older Ubuntu versions, it’s available with the bikeshed package. To install these packages, use the following command:

– for Ubuntu 16.04 and newer, Linux Mint 18 and derivatives:

sudo apt install byobu

– for Ubuntu versions older than 16.04, Linux Mint 17.x and derivatives:

sudo apt install bikeshed

Once installed, you can remove old Linux kernels on Ubuntu (or Linux Mint) desktops or servers, using the following command:
sudo purge-old-kernels

Read More

Fix Dropbox Indicator Icon And Menu Not Working In Xubuntu, Lubuntu Or Ubuntu MATE

I recently stumbled on an issue with Dropbox and the Ubuntu flavors that support AppIndicators (except Unity), like Xubuntu and Lubuntu: the Dropbox AppIndicator icon shows up as broken and the menu doesn’t work. This isn’t a new issue though, and it seems to occur starting with Ubuntu 14.04.
The issue occurs with the Dropbox packages in the official Ubuntu repositories (called “nautilus-dropbox”, which doesn’t depend on Nautilus and can be used to install Dropbox on any desktop environment) as well as the Dropbox package downloaded from its official website. 

It does not occur with the caja-dropbox package available in the official Ubuntu MATE 16.04 repository though (but it does occur in older Ubuntu MATE versions if you’ve enabled AppIndicators), because it was patched with a fix similar to the one in this article.
Below you’ll find a fix / workaround for this issue. Important: using the instructions below, Dropbox will use a tray (notification area) icon instead of an AppIndicator.

Here’s a screenshot with the issue (taken in Xubuntu 16.04):

And another screenshot taken after using the fix below:

Tested in Xubuntu 16.04, Xubuntu 14.04, Lubuntu 16.04, Ubuntu MATE 16.04 (the issue does not occur with the caja-dropbox package in this Ubuntu MATE version) and Ubuntu MATE 14.04.

To fix it, you need to add “dbus-launch” before the actual command for the “Exec” line in both the application autostart file and launcher. For Dropbox this is a bit tricky because it overwrites any modifications to its autostart file. So here’s what you need to do to fix this Dropbox issue:
  • if you’ve installed Dropbox by downloading the .deb from its website or by using the nautilus-dropbox package from the repositories:
    • rename the Dropbox autostart file, located in ~/.config/autostart/, and edit the file, changing the “Exec” line to “Exec=dbus-launch dropbox start -i”;
    • copy the Dropbox desktop file, located under /usr/share/applications/, to ~/.local/share/applications/, so it’s not overwritten when updating the package, and change the “Exec” line to “Exec=dbus-launch dropbox start -i”
    • disable the built-in Dropbox autostart (because it automatically creates an autostart file) using the “dropbox autostart n” command.
  • for the caja-dropbox package (except for Ubuntu MATE 16.04 which doesn’t have this issue):
    • rename the dropbox-caja autostart file, located in ~/.config/autostart/, and edit the file, changing the “Exec” line to “Exec=dbus-launch caja-dropbox start -i”;
    • copy the caja-dropbox desktop file, located under /usr/share/applications/, to ~/.local/share/applications/, so it’s not overwritten when updating the package, and change the “Exec” line to “Exec=dbus-launch caja-dropbox start -i”;
    • disable the built-in Dropbox autostart (because it automatically creates an autostart file) using the “caja-dropbox autostart n” command.

This sounds a bit complicated on a first look, right? Well, it’s not, but to make it easier, you can use the following commands to apply the changes I mentioned above.
If you’ve installed Dropbox by downloading the .deb from its website or by using the nautilus-dropbox package, you can fix the broken Dropbox appindicator icon and menu by using the following commands:
cp ~/.config/autostart/dropbox.desktop ~/.config/autostart/start_dropbox.desktop
sed -i 's/^Exec=.*/Exec=dbus-launch dropbox start -i/' ~/.config/autostart/start_dropbox.desktop
dropbox autostart n
mkdir -p ~/.local/share/applications/
cp /usr/share/applications/dropbox.desktop ~/.local/share/applications/
sed -i 's/^Exec=.*/Exec=dbus-launch dropbox start -i/' ~/.local/share/applications/dropbox.desktop

For Ubuntu MATE (except 16.04), if you’ve used the dropbox-caja package to install Dropbox, you can fix the broken Dropbox appindicator icon and menu by using the following commands:
cp ~/.config/autostart/caja-dropbox.desktop ~/.config/autostart/start_caja-dropbox.desktop
sed -i 's/^Exec=.*/Exec=dbus-launch caja-dropbox start -i/' ~/.config/autostart/start_caja-dropbox.desktop
caja-dropbox autostart n
mkdir -p ~/.local/share/applications/
cp /usr/share/applications/caja-dropbox.desktop ~/.local/share/applications/
sed -i 's/^Exec=.*/Exec=dbus-launch caja-dropbox start -i/' ~/.local/share/applications/caja-dropbox.desktop

Then restart the session (logout/login) and the Dropbox icon and menu should work correctly.
via / thanks to: TuxDiary and AskUbuntu

Read More

Access Blocked Websites In Censored Regions With Lantern

Lantern is a free, open source internet censorship circumvention software that was created to “give users fast access to the blocked Internet“. The application is available for desktops (Linux, Windows, Mac) and Android.
Lantern unblock websites

The application is not new, but I never got to write about it on WebUpd8. Lantern is built by Brave New Software, whose founder and lead developer is Adam Fisk, former lead developer of LimeWire and LittleShoot.
The project was started in 2013 and it was initially available through an invitation-only system, but with version 2.0, released in 2015, the application no longer requires an invitation to use.
Lantern relies on both its own servers and on the bandwidth of users (with connections to multiple users at once) in uncensored regions acting as access points, to unblock websites. According to its FAQ, Lantern encrypts all of your traffic when you are accessing a blocked site.
It’s important to mention that Lantern was not designed to be an anonymity tool and if that’s what you need, you should use Tor instead. Lantern’s goal is to provide fast, easy to use and secure access to blocked websites.
The application is very easy to use: simply install and run it, and it should automatically change your system proxy, allowing your web browser to access blocked websites. 
Its user interface consists of a tray / appindicator and a web interface (which opens automatically upon launching Lantern) that allows access to some options, like running Lantern on system startup, proxy all traffic, enable/disable anonymous usage statistics and manage system proxy:

Lantern unblock websites

By default, Lantern tries to use a proxy only for websites it detects as blocked. This didn’t work properly for most websites I tried in my test, like Pandora, CBS and others however, everything worked as expected after I enabled the “proxy all traffic” option.
Note: you may need to restart Lantern and your web browser after changing the “proxy all traffic” option.
Lantern used to allow customizing the proxied sites list, but that feature is no longer available with Lantern version 2, although this feature might return in a future release.

For more information about Lantern, check out its FAQ.

Download Lantern

Download Lantern (binaries available for Debian / Ubuntu and derivatives, Windows and Mac OS X as well as Android)
Arch Linux users can install Lantern from AUR.

For generic Linux binaries, source code, bug reports, etc. see the Lantern GitHub page.

Read More

Things To Do After Installing Ubuntu 16.04 LTS (Xenial Xerus)

Ubuntu 16.04 will be available for download in a few hours and since many of you will be installing it as soon as it’s released, here are some useful things you can do right after the installation.

Ubuntu 16.04 LTS

Get some Ubuntu AppIndicators

Every Unity user needs some AppIndicators – the tiny icons that sit on the top panel, next to the clock. Below you’ll find 3 such AppIndicators, two which add some missing functionality to the desktop and one for some eyecandy.

1. My Weather Indicator

My Weather Indicator Ubuntu

Probably my favorite indicator, “My Weather Indicator” displays the current weather on the Unity panel. From the Indicator menu, you can see a weather forecast and more. The application even supports adding desktop weather widgets.
To install it in Ubuntu 16.04, you’ll need to use a PPA. Add the PPA and install My Weather Indicator using the following commands:
sudo add-apt-repository ppa:atareao/atareao
sudo apt update
sudo apt install my-weather-indicator

2. Caffeine

Caffeine Indicator Ubuntu

Caffeine is a tool used to temporarily prevent the activation of the screensaver / lock screen / sleep mode, when using full-screen windows. The application is useful if you’re using a video player that doesn’t do this automatically, when listening to music, etc.
To install it in Ubuntu 16.04, click the button below:

Download for Ubuntu

Or install it from the command line, using:

sudo apt install caffeine
Note: After the installation, the command-line version of Caffeine is set to start automatically on login. If you want the indicator to start automatically, you’ll have to add “caffeine-indicator” to your startup applications.

3. Variety

Variety Wallpaper Changer indicator

Spice up your desktop with Variety wallpaper changer! Variety is not just an indicator, but a whole app however, you don’t really need to open the app to use it – simply configure it once, and then you can use the AppIndicator menu to change the wallpaper.
Tip: you can scroll up/down on the Variety indicator to change to the previous / next wallpaper.
To install Variety wallpaper changer in Ubuntu 16.04, you can click the button below:

Download for Ubuntu

Or, to install it from the command line, use:

sudo apt install variety
There are many other AppIndicators that you might find useful, like one that shows the system load (like System Load Indicator or Syspeek), an indicator that displays the CPU temperature (like Psensor) and even a simple todo list indicator.
You can browse our AppIndicator tag for more Ubuntu AppIndicators.

Tweak Unity

Some Unity options are available in System Settings, some in CompizConfig Settings Manager while others are only available via Dconf Editor (or from gsettings / the command line). To avoid having to switch between so many applications to find the settings you want to change, you can use Unity Tweak Tool.
Unity Tweak Tool
Unity Tweak Tool supports new Unity features like moving the Launcher to the bottom, as well as pretty much everything else you can change about Unity.
The application can be used to set the Launcher on autohide, change Unity Launcher size, set hot corners, change the number of workspaces, enable or disable minimize to click on Unity Launcher, change the GTK and icon theme, can be used to configure the desktop fonts and much more.

Unity Tweak Tool

To install Unity Tweak Tool, you can click on the button below:

Download for Ubuntu

Or install it from the command line, by using:

sudo apt install unity-tweak-tool

Install codecs, Java, and encrypted DVD playback

1. To be able to play most audio and video formats, install Ubuntu Restricted Extras by clicking the button below:
Download for Ubuntu

Or install it using the following command:

sudo apt install ubuntu-restricted-extras

2. I suggest to also install the unrestricted version of libavcodec so you don’t encounter issues with missing codecs when trying to use some video editors or transcoders – install them by clicking the button below:
Download for Ubuntu

Or by using the following command:

sudo apt install libavcodec-extra

3. You may also need Java, but you must figure out what you need. Most users will only need OpenJRE and the Java browser plugin which you can install by clicking the button below:

Download for Ubuntu

Or by using the following command:

sudo apt install icedtea-8-plugin openjdk-8-jre

For development, you’ll also want OpenJDK which you can install by using the button below:

Download for Ubuntu

Or by using the following command:

sudo apt install openjdk-8-jdk

If for various reasons, you need Oracle Java (the package includes JDK, JRE and the browser plugin), you can install Oracle Java 8 from the WebUpd8 Oracle Java PPA, by using the following commands:
sudo add-apt-repository ppa:webupd8team/java
sudo apt update
sudo apt install oracle-java8-installer
4. Encrypted DVD playback can be enabled by installing the “libdvd-pkg” package.

I recommend installing this package from the command line, as it’s an installer that automatically downloads and installs libdvdcss2, and you may want to see if something goes wrong. To install it, use the following command:

sudo apt install libdvd-pkg

Setup Cloud Sync (Dropbox or Google Drive), Skype, Telegram Desktop and Facebook Chat in Pidgin

1. Dropbox

Dropbox Ubuntu

Dropbox, one of the most popular tools for storing and synchronizing files in the could, is available in the Ubuntu repositories. If you use Ubuntu with Unity and Nautilus, you can install nautilus-dropbox, either by clicking the button below:
Download for Ubuntu

Or from the command line:

sudo apt install nautilus-dropbox

Then simply launch Dropbox from Unity Dash and follow the instructions.

2. Google Drive

If you prefer Google Driver over Dropbox, there are multiple ways of using it in Ubuntu 16.04.
There’s no native Google Drive client for Linux, but the there is a native application that’s as close to it as it gets: Insync.
Insync is not free though, but there’s a 15-day trial. Check it out @ insynchq.com.

Google Drive Nautilus

Another way of accessing your Google Drive files in Ubuntu 16.04 is by using the new GNOME 3.18 feature that allows integrating Google Drive with Nautilus (Files) – or whatever file manager you’re using -, via GNOME Online accounts. Check out our article about setting this up, HERE.

3. Skype

Like Dropbox, Skype can installed from the official Ubuntu repositories however, you’ll firstly need to enable the Canonical Partners repository.
Skype Ubuntu

To enable the Canonical Partners repository, open System Settings > Software & Updates and on the “Other Software” tab, click the box next to “Canonical Partners”:
Ubuntu Canonical Partners repository

… and make sure you click “Reload” when asked about reloading the information about available software.

Then, you can click the button below to install Skype:

Download for Ubuntu

Or, to install it from the command line, use:

sudo apt install skype

While we’re at it, let’s also fix Skype on 64bit not using the correct theme, by installing the missing dependencies using the following command:
sudo apt install gtk2-engines-murrine:i386 gtk2-engines-pixbuf:i386

4. Telegram

Telegram is another popular messaging tool that’s available for Ubuntu.

Telegram Desktop Ubuntu

The official Linux Telegram desktop app is available to download on its website (but it’s not offered as .deb). You can also a PPA to install the latest Telegram Desktop app in Ubuntu.

Add the PPA and install Telegram using the following commands:

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:atareao/telegram
sudo apt update
sudo apt install telegram

You may also need: Telegram plugin for Pidgin

5. Add Facebook Chat to Pidgin

Facebook shut down their XMPP service in 2015 and because of this, Pidgin/libpurple no longer supports Facebook Chat. For those of you who want to use Facebook Chat in Pidgin, there’s a new plugin which makes this possible, called purple-facebook.
Facebook Chat Pidgin

The plugin has its own Ubuntu repository, but it wasn’t updated to work with the latest Ubuntu 16.04. Until the repository is updated, you can download the deb files from here:

The deb files are for Ubuntu 15.10 but they should work with Pidgin in Ubuntu 16.04.

Once installed, add a new account in Pidgin (Accounts > Manage Accounts > Add) and in the Protocol dropdown, select “Facebook” (important: NOT “Facebook (XMPP)”). In the username field you can enter either your email, your Facebook username or phone number associated with your Facebook account.

Install GDebi GTK and Synaptic

GNOME Software (which is called “Ubuntu Software” in the final Ubuntu 16.04 release) is nice, but it doesn’t display command line tools. And that’s ok if you know the name of the tool you want to install, because you can simply open a terminal and type “sudo apt install APP-NAME”, but if you don’t know the exact app name, you’re out of luck.

Furthermore, the application has two pretty important bugs:

  • right now it can’t install deb files – bug HERE;
  • if you remove an application with GNOME Software, its dependencies are not removed- bug HERE.
Synaptic Package Manager

That’s why I recommend the good old Synaptic Package Manager (and GDebi for installing deb files – see below), which you can install by clicking on the button below:
Download for Ubuntu

Or by using the following command:

sudo apt install synaptic

To install deb files, you can use GDebi GTK, which displays details information about the packages, including their dependency, deb contents and so on.
Gdebi GTK

To install GDebi GTK in Ubuntu 16.04, you can click the following button:

Download for Ubuntu

Or install it from the command line:

sudo apt install gdebi

Then, to open a deb with GDebi, right click it and select Open With > GDebi Package Installer.
To open / install deb files with GDebi GTK by default, right click a .deb file, select Properties and on the “Open With” tab, select “GDebi Package Installer” and click the “Set as default” button.

Enable working PPAs from previous Ubuntu releases

When upgrading to a new Ubuntu version, all PPAs are disabled. Y PPA manager comes with a feature, called “Re-enable working PPAs after Ubuntu upgrade”, which re-enables all those disabled PPAs, but only if they are working for the current Ubuntu version.
Y PPA Manager

For those who upgrade in other ways or want to migrate PPAs, Y PPA Manager provides another feature, called “Update release name in working PPAs”, which lets you replace the Ubuntu version used in the PPA .list file with your current Ubuntu version, but only if the PPA supports your current Ubuntu version.
To use these, along with other PPA-related features, like searching for packages in Launchpad PPAs, you’ll need Y PPA Manager, which you can install by using the following commands:
sudo add-apt-repository ppa:webupd8team/y-ppa-manager
sudo apt update
sudo apt install y-ppa-manager

[Dev tool] Install Ubuntu Make

Ubuntu Make is an official Ubuntu command line tool created for developers, to make it easy to install the latest version of various IDEs, like IntelliJ IDEA, Eclipse, Android Studio, etc., as well as other developer tools.
Ubuntu Make

Even tough Ubuntu Make is available in the official repositories, it’s recommended to use its PPA so you always have the latest release. To add the PPA and install Ubuntu Make, use the following commands:
sudo add-apt-repository ppa:ubuntu-desktop/ubuntu-make
sudo apt update
sudo apt install ubuntu-make

Then run “umake –help” in a terminal to see all the available options.

More

A few other things I personally do after each fresh Ubuntu installation:

You can discover new and interesting software in Ubuntu 16.04 by using the new Software app. For any questions regarding Ubuntu, you can use AskUbuntu.
WebUpd8 is also a source of new and updated applications and tweaks for Ubuntu, so you may want to subscribe to get all the new articles (via RSS, Twitter, Facebook, and Google+).
What do you install and tweak after a new Ubuntu installation?

Read More

Create A Bootable USB Stick On Ubuntu With GNOME Disks [Quick Tip]

[Quick tip] Ubuntu Startup Disk Creator has been known to be buggy at times, so users have been looking for alternatives. Well, some might not be aware of this, but there’s another GUI tool already installed by default in Ubuntu (w/ Unity) and Ubuntu GNOME, as well as other GNOME-based Linux distributions, which allows creating a bootable USB stick: GNOME Disks.

GNOME Disks is reliable, very easy to use and should already be installed if you use Ubuntu with Unity or GNOME.
To create a live USB using GNOME Disks, open Nautilus, right click the Ubuntu (Fedora, etc.) ISO and select Open With > Disk Image Writer:

Ubuntu bootable USB stick gnome disks

Next, simply select your USB drive as the Destination (and double check to make sure the drive you select under “Destination” is correct because the data on it will be destroyed!) and click “Start restoring…”:

Ubuntu bootable USB stick gnome disks

Note that this method doesn’t support data persistence, so when starting up from this USB, the documents and settings will be discarded on shutdown.
And speaking of GNOME Disks and USB drives, you can also use this tool to format USB sticks, edit partition, create a disk image, change filesystem label and more.
In case you’ve removed GNOME Disks Utility or your Linux distribution doesn’t provide it by default, install the “gnome-disk-utility” package. In Debian / Ubuntu (and derivatives), install it using the following command:
sudo apt-get install gnome-disk-utility

Read More

How To Install Facebook (And Others) Emoticons In Pidgin [Quick Tip]

Quick tip: If you’re using the new Facebook Chat plugin for Pidgin, you may want to add support for Facebook’s official emoticons, so here’s how to do it.

To add Facebook (including secret) emoticons to Pidgin, you can use pidgin-EAP, a project which provides emoticon themes for most available protocols, including Facebook. The pack even contains some sound and buddy list themes.
To install pidgin-EAP emoticon themes in Linux, use the following commands in a terminal:
cd /tmp
wget https://github.com/Hernou/pidgin-EAP/archive/master.tar.gz
tar -xvf master.tar.gz
cp -rf pidgin-EAP-master/{.fonts,.purple} ~

Or, if you want to install it manually, go to the pidgin-EAP GitHub page, click “Download ZIP” on the right, extract the zip and copy its contents to your home directory (note that the zip contains two hidden “.fonts” and “.purple” folders so you’ll have to use Ctrl + H in your file manager to see them).
For Windows, see the instructions available on GitHub.
Then, open Pidgin, from its menu select Tools > Preferences and on the Themes tab select “EAP” under “Smiley Theme”:

This will use pidgin-EAP’s custom smilies for all the protocols it supports. If you only want this for Faceook, select “Facebook” from the drop-down instead.

Read More