Tag Archives: ubuntu basics

How to Use Emoji on Ubuntu

How to Use Emoji on UbuntuWant to quickly and effortlessly type emoji on Ubuntu? Well, you can — and in this short post we show you how. With the release of Ubuntu 18.04 LTS you can use emoji on Ubuntu right out of the box, so you already have everything you need. Nope, you won’t need to install third-party apps […]

This post, How to Use Emoji on Ubuntu, was written by Joey Sneddon and first appeared on OMG! Ubuntu!.

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How to Use GNOME Shell’s Secret Screen Recorder

So you want to record your Ubuntu desktop, but you don’t know which desktop screen recorder to use? Well, have you considered not using one at all? Don’t look at me strangely: I promise this makes sense. You’ve likely seen videos on YouTube where people share a screencast of their Linux desktops. Perhaps you want […]

This post, How to Use GNOME Shell’s Secret Screen Recorder, was written by Joey Sneddon and first appeared on OMG! Ubuntu!.

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How to Install Google Chrome on Ubuntu

how to install google chrome in ubuntu graphicAs the world’s most popular web browser it’s natural that new Linux users often ask how to install Google Chrome in Ubuntu. It’s not a silly question. With Linux distress being built around “repos” most users attempt to install Google Chrome in Ubuntu Linux from Ubuntu Software app. Obviously they come up short when they […]

This post, How to Install Google Chrome on Ubuntu, was written by Joey Sneddon and first appeared on OMG! Ubuntu!.

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How to Check Which Linux Kernel Version You’re Using

Want to check which Linux kernel version your distro is running on? Well, it’s pretty easy to find out. All you need is a working keyboard, a few fingers, and a pair of eyes. Oh, and a terminal emulator. But before we show you the command that lets you quickly find which kernel version you’re […]

This post, How to Check Which Linux Kernel Version You’re Using, was written by Joey Sneddon and first appeared on OMG! Ubuntu!.

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Finding Files in the Command Line

Unfortunately in Linux, certainly Ubuntu, the default GUI file search is not the most useful way to find files. With just a small amount of patience you can find files quickly and easily using the command line, and your options for this are really powerful if you want to learn a bit about it. Locate The […]

This post, Finding Files in the Command Line, was written by Nixie Pixel and first appeared on OMG! Ubuntu!.

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5 Keys to Press at the GRUB Menu

grub2-in-ubuntuWe don’t see as much of GRUB, the boot loader that is installed with Ubuntu, as we used to. Once upon a time it was shown on every boot. These days you only tend to see it when something has gone wrong with your install! GRUB remains a vital part of the Linux ecosystem, whether you intend […]

This post, 5 Keys to Press at the GRUB Menu, was written by Joey-Elijah Sneddon and first appeared on OMG! Ubuntu!.

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How To Install Steam on Ubuntu 16.04 LTS

how install steam ubuntuThis post will show you how to install Steam on Ubuntu 16.04 LTS. Now, before you say it, I know. You’re reading this with a slightly egregious look on your face because, after all, it’s easy to install Steam on Ubuntu, right? Perhaps not as easy as it could be. You asked for this guide Since Xenial’s […]

This post, How To Install Steam on Ubuntu 16.04 LTS, was written by Joey-Elijah Sneddon and first appeared on OMG! Ubuntu!.

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8 Simple Ways to Improve Battery Life on Linux Laptops

Zareason Ultrabook FrontDesktop Linux doesn’t have the best reputation when it comes to laptop battery life (or ‘power efficiency’ if you’d rather).

A laptop that might push 8 hours with Windows 10 might struggle to hit 4 hours with Ubuntu.

Quite why this is the case is a complex, caveated, and contentious issues. But given the multitude of laptops and PC set-ups out there that the Linux kernel has to support, it’s not surprising either.

Linux users’ propensity to extend the lives of older hardware — equipment whose battery packs have seen a fair few cycles — could also play a factor.

Don’t misunderstand me though. Linux is super power efficient when it is fine tuned to the hardware it is running on, as seen with Chrome OS, Android, Tizen, Ubuntu Phone and Sailfish OS.

But running an off-the-disc OS with a catch-all configuration means you may need to do a bit more tweaking yourself to improve battery life on Linux.

So here’s a few tips that will help extend battery life both when it’s dwindling down and before and keep the power cord at bay in the process.

1. Set Ubuntu’s Built-In Power Settings

Ubuntu Power Settings

You bought a powerful laptop and you want to use that power. But use it when it’s needed; when you’re just browsing Reddit on the sofa, or trolling us from a café don’t need to have your fans working overtime.

Ubuntu includes a small set of power behaviour settings than you can adjust to suit your needs. E.g., what to do when you close the laptop lid, what to do when battery is critically low, and how to behave you’re plugged in to AC power.

  • Open ‘System Settings’
  • Select the ‘Power’ icon
  • Adjust settings to suit your needs

2. Turn off Bluetooth


Toggle power-hungry bluetooth

Most of us with mobiles know that bluetooth is a big drain on power levels. Linux is no exception so, when you don’t need bluetooth, you should switch it off.

Obviously this tip isn’t so hot if you use a wireless keyboard and mouse to get stuff done!

On Ubuntu you can toggle Bluetooth on/off  through the bluetooth menu that shows in the system tray area. Simple click the Bluetooth icon and:

  • Switch slider to ‘off’ (more recent versions of Ubuntu)
  • Click ‘turn off Bluetooth’ (older versions of Ubuntu)

You can flick it back on the same way when you next need to use it.

Skip this tip if your laptop uses the newer, battery-friendly Bluetooth 4.0 LE (if it’s a modern laptop chances are uses this).

3. Turn off Wi-Fi


Don’t need Wi-Fi? Turn it off

If you’re not going to be online for a while remember turn off your Wi-Fi as it can be a big hit on battery.

Even in the background as you idle your Wi-Fi card or dongle will be scanning for new available networks.

In Ubuntu (Unity) this is as simple as going to the Network Indicator in the system tray, clicking, and selecting the ‘Enable Networking’ menu item to disable.

  • Click on the ‘Wi-Fi’ icon
  • Select the ‘Enable Wireless’ entry

4. Lower Screen Brightness

Another obvious one: the brighter your screen is the more power you’ll use.

One of the quickest and most effective ways to cut power usage is to turn down the brightness.

You don’t need a digital tan.

If your keyboard has brightness control keys give them a tap to find a brightness level that works for you. You can also use the slider tucked away in the ‘Brightness and Lock’ section of Ubuntu’s System Settings.

  • Open System Settings
  • Select Brightness & Lock
  • Adjust the Brightness slider

You may also want to check the ‘Dim screen to save power’ option that’s present beneath the slider, too.

Another offbeat suggestion is to use a lighter, brighter wallpaper. Why? The Ubuntu Kernel team once noted that LCD displays use more power to display dark colours than they do lighter ones:

‘A full black background may consume ~0.5% to 1% more power than a fully white background.’

5. Unplug USB Drives, SD Cards, Discs, etc


Unmount devices you’re not using

You look totally l33t with your Linux laptop oozing peripherals from every available port.

But each USB drive, SD card and smart phone you have plugged in is suckling away on your laptop’s precious juice.

Disconnect items you don’t need, and safely eject USB drives, MTP items, etc through Nautilus, Unity or, if you use one, an indicator-applet like indicator unmount.

  • Open a new File Manager window
  • Click the eject button on attached USB drives/SD cards

6. Quit Apps You’re Not Using

quicklist quit option

Quit apps when don’t need them

Running apps are making use of CPU and RAM, maybe network (however small) and maybe keeping your HDD awake — even if they don’t seem to be doing anything.

I always seem to have a gazillion apps open on my workspace, most of which stay minimised. Google Chrome, VLC, Rhythmbox, and so on.

Some of these apps sit in the background actively using my laptop’s resources, causing my device work harder, and thus use more power to keep itself cool.

If you’re the same try to remember to close an app when you’re done with it (at least until something like ‘App Nap’ comes to Linux proper).

Look in the Unity Launcher for apps with a small light beside them (this means they are open). Quit the ones you are no longer using by right-clicking on the respective launcher icon and selecting the ‘Close/Quit’ (wording may vary) option.

7. Avoid Adobe Flash (Where Possible)


Flash is a big battery killer

Watching Flash video on a Linux laptop is… Well, you might as well drill a hole in your battery and let the lithium-ion innards leak all over the floor!

Okay, using Flash is not that bad but it is fair to say that its use does give a noticeable hit on battery life.

If you want (or need) to watch online Flash video try to use a browser that configures Flash content to show ‘On Demand’.

Firefox will prompt you to ‘enable’ Flash elements, while Google Chrome has a hidden ‘Plugin Power Saver’ option in chrome:flags that you can try.

8. Install TLP

TLP is a popular tool that runs in the background.

It offers wealth of control over various power settings and hardware management processes. It lets you tune settings to your preferred levels.

Options include:

  • Kernel laptop mode and dirty buffer timeouts
  • Processor frequency scaling including “turbo boost” / “turbo core”
  • Power aware process scheduler for multi-core/hyper-threading
  • Hard disk power management level and spin down timeout
  • Runtime power management for PCI(e) bus devices
  • Wi-fi power saving mode
  • Powering off disc drive
  • Audio power saving mode

Overwhelmed? I’m not surprised.

For this reason TLP comes with a default configuration that should, for most, improve battery life a little.

Those who feel capable can tweak the available parameters or play with configurations further to suit the needs of their hardware. A full guide to using TLP can be found — shock — on the TLP wiki.

The app is available to install on Ubuntu 14.04 LTS and up from the official TLP PPA.

Sidenote: TLP is not something to play with willy-nilly. You may prefer to try the similarly focused by more approachable Laptop Mode Tools utility from the Ubuntu Software Center (though some debate exists as to whether this newer Linux kernels benefit from this).

Over to You

What are your tips for getting more battery life from your Linux laptop?

This post, 8 Simple Ways to Improve Battery Life on Linux Laptops, was written by Joey-Elijah Sneddon and first appeared on OMG! Ubuntu!.

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How to Change Font on Ubuntu

font change on ubuntu

The fastest way to give your desktop a fresh feeling is by changing GTK theme, icon set or loading up on desktop bling with Conky, Covergloobus and company.

All great ways to give a dull desktop a distinctive makeover but also drastic. But do you know what else can really affect the way your computer looks?

The choice of font.

The right font with the right theme and desktop wallpaper can really enhance a look.

Ubuntu Font

Ubuntu ships its own font (called Ubuntu. Genius.) by default. Many of its flavors also do this (not all).

Like getting a hand-written letter in a really fancy writing – the choice of desktop font can help make a big statement about your personality and your computer’s.

Whether you want something more legible, less rounded, or better reflect your personality, it’s super easy to do so using the Unity Tweak Tool app that is available for free in the Ubuntu Software Center.

How To Change Ubuntu Font

unity tweak tool fonts

If you don’t already have it installed you can install Unity Tweak Tool from the Ubuntu Software Center:

Install Unity Tweak Tool from Ubuntu Software Center

1. Open the app and head to the ‘Appearance‘ section.

2. Click the ‘Fonts‘ icon.

3. Choose  a new font for ‘Default font‘ by clicking the font field and selecting an alternative using the font picker. When you find a font you like you can adjust the font size to suit your tastes. Then, when done, click ‘Select’ to apply the change!

unity tweak tool font picker

If needed, repeat the same steps to pick a  new ‘Window Title Font‘.

You shouldn’t need to change the default ‘document font’ and ‘monospace font’ unless you really wish to do so. The former applies your chosen font to a selection set of applications, while the latter tweaks the font used in command line applications.

How To Reset Ubuntu Fonts

To undo your changes press the ‘Restore Defaults’ button. This will change all default, document and window titles fonts back to the desktop default.

resetting font settings on ubuntu

What desktop font do you use on your Linux desktop? Let us know in the comments below.

This post, How to Change Font on Ubuntu, was written by Joey-Elijah Sneddon and first appeared on OMG! Ubuntu!.

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