Blog Archives

New KDE Connect Indicator Ubuntu / Linux Mint PPA

The KDE Connect Indicator (fork) PPA maintainer is not available any more, and I was asked to create a new PPA. 

KDE Connect Indicator

Since I’m a KDE Connect Indicator user myself, I couldn’t say no, so I created a new KDE Connect Indicator PPA, which provides packages for Ubuntu 17.04, 16.10 and 16.04 / Linux Mint 18.x.

I didn’t upload packages for Ubuntu 14.04 / Linux Mint 17.x because I couldn’t build the latest KDE Connect for this Ubuntu version due to newer dependencies, and Ubuntu 14.04 has a pretty old KDE Connect version.
The KDE Connect Indicator (fork) developer is also looking for someone that can create and maintain Flatpack and Snap packages too. If you can help, see THIS bug report.
In case you’re not familiar with KDE Connect Indicator, this is an indicator / tray for KDE Connect. Using KDE Connect, you can mirror Android notifications on the desktop, easily send and receive files from an Android device to your desktop (and the other way around), control desktop media players from Android, share the clipboard between your Android device and desktop, and more.
Check out our KDE Connect Indicator fork article for more information.

Install KDE Connect Indicator fork in Ubuntu or Linux Mint via new PPA

As a reminder, KDE Connect depends on quite a few KDE packages. You may want to save the KDE package list that’s installed to make it easier to remove in the future, in case you want to remove them (“apt autoremove” won’t remove all of them, at least in Ubuntu).
To add the new KDE Connect Indicator fork PPA and install the app in Ubuntu 17.04, 16.10 or 16.04 / Linux Mint 18.x, use the following commands:
sudo add-apt-repository ppa:webupd8team/indicator-kdeconnect
sudo apt update
sudo apt install indicator-kdeconnect

You can also download the latest KDE Connect Indicator deb from GitHub, but you won’t receive updates through your system’s update manager. For Ubuntu 16.04 and 16.10 / Linux Mint 18, you’ll also need a newer KDE Connect version for the indicator to work. KDE Connect 1.0.3 is available for Ubuntu 16.04 / Linux Mint 18 and Ubuntu 16.10 in the PPA.

If you encounter bugs, report them @ GitHub.

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Polo Is An Interesting New GTK3 File Manager (Beta)

Developed by Tony George, who’s also behind other fairly popular applications such as Selene Media Converter, TimeShift backup tool, and more, Polo is only available for users who donate for now. The stable release will be available for all users, however, those who donate will get a few extra features.

Polo File Manager

Polo is a new file manager that aims at providing features that are missing from popular file managers. The application is currently in beta, and it lacks some feature, but it already looks very promising.

For example, the developer wants to include built-in support for multiple cloud storage services like Dropbox, Google Drive and others, using rclone as a backend.

Another feature that’s missing in many graphical file managers is being able to browse archives as if they were folders. This is another feature that Polo should get before its first stable release. There should also be a built-in GUI for creating archives, similar to the one used by 7zip in Windows.
These two features are currently not available in Polo.
The current Polo beta 3 already includes quite a few interesting features though. The file manager supports tabs, along with multiple panes. You can use 2 panes, either vertical or horizontal, and even 4 panes:

Polo File Manager

There are context menu items to easily copy files or folders from one pane to another, as well as a middle toolbar that provides these, along with other options.
Another cool feature available in the Polo Beta 3 version I tested is session support. Polo remembers the last session and it reloads it the next time it runs. It restores not only open tabs and the pane layout, but also open directories.
The Polo toolbar and pathbar are highly configurable, allowing you to enable or disable various buttons:

Polo File Manager

You can also configure the toolbar to display large icons, show only labels, labels beside icons, and use a dark background.

Polo File Manager
Polo file properties – audio info

Polo File Manager
Polo bookmarks

Other Polo features worth mentioning:

  • multiple views: list, icons, tiles and media;
  • easily open folders as root (with pkexec support);
  • extended details when replacing existing files;
  • statusbar that displays the number of files, folders (including hidden), along with available disk space and a disk space indicator, and the filesystem type;
  • bookmarks support (web browser-like: a star is displayed at the right of the pathbar);
  • media view: when Polo detects you’re browsing a folder containing photos or videos, it switches to a 256×256 size icon view to make it easier to browse through items;
  • media info in the file properties dialog, which displays EXIF tags (such as exposure, iso, camera model and much more) and audio info (artist, album, track name, along with audio format, bit rate, etc.), PDF metadata, etc.
  • tabs can be renamed;
  • keyboard shortcuts;
  • toolbar button and context menu to open current folder in a terminal.

Work in progress

Besides built-in cloud service and archive support, the developer also wants to add support for Nemo extensions in the future. 
The audio preview feature that was available in Nautilus 2, which allowed hovering over audio files to preview them, might be implemented as well.
One feature that won’t be implemented is desktop handling (drawing the wallpaper / desktop icons).
I should also mention that in its current state, Polo is not suitable for daily use.

While in my test, I only encountered two major bugs (very slow copying folders with a large number of files and the app crashes when entering a folder with a large number of images), there are a few major features that are missing, like support for drag’n’drop and trash, along with many missing bits and pieces (like type-ahead). And, of course, there are some bugs as well. But that’s to be expected since Polo is beta software.

The next beta version is expected to be released on April 8.

Getting Polo file manager

Like I mentioned in the beginning of the article, Polo is currently only available for users who donate. The stable version will be available for all, with some extra features for donors.
Check out the Polo tag on Tony George’s website for how to donate, along with more information about Polo, including completed and pending feature status.

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Ubuntu 18.04 LTS To Use GNOME By Default; Unity 8 And The Phone To Be Discontinued

Ubuntu logo

Ubuntu 18.04 LTS will go back to using GNOME as the default desktop environment, instead of Unity.

In what comes as a big surprise for many, Mark Shuttleworh, the founder of Ubuntu and Canonical, explains on the Ubuntu Insights website that Canonical is ending their “investment in Unity8, the phone and convergence shell”.
Existing LTS releases will continue to be maintained, so Unity 7 should still see some bug fixes in the future. However, with Ubuntu 18.04 LTS (to be released in April, 2018), the default desktop environment will be GNOME, and not Unity 7 or 8.

“I took the view that, if convergence was the future and we could deliver it as free software, that would be widely appreciated both in the free software community and in the technology industry, where there is substantial frustration with the existing, closed, alternatives available to manufacturers. I was wrong on both counts.
In the community, our efforts were seen fragmentation not innovation. And industry has not rallied to the possibility, instead taking a ‘better the devil you know’ approach to those form factors, or investing in home-grown platforms. What the Unity8 team has delivered so far is beautiful, usable and solid, but I respect that markets, and community, ultimately decide which products grow and which disappear”.

– Mark Shuttleworth

Check out the complete article HERE.

What do you think?

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PB For Desktop 5.0.0 Brings Support For SMS Notification Mirroring

PB For Desktop 5.0.0 was released today, bringing some important enhancements and fixes, like support for SMS mirroring, improved reconnection (in case the network gets disconnected), and more.

PB For Desktop

In case you’re not familiar with PB For Desktop, this is an unofficial desktop application for Pushbullet, a service somewhat similar to KDE Connect (but with no KDE dependencies).
Using it, you can mirror Android notifications on your desktop, send and receive SMS using your Android devices from the desktop, with autocomplete for contacts, and more.

I wrote more about PB For Desktop HERE, so check out our previous article for more about both PB For Desktop and Pushbullet.


PB For Desktop SMS notification

The most important change in the latest PB For Desktop 5.0.0 is the addition of SMS notification mirroring (Android) and rich application pushes. Previously, mirroring notifications from Android to the desktop worked for most applications, but it didn’t work for SMSs.
Another important change is the addition of a more advanced automatic reconnect feature along with connectivity handling. This should fix issues with PB For Desktop not reconnecting automatically after Internet / network gets disconnected (including when resuming from suspend) in some cases.

If this still fails for some reason, there’s a PB For Desktop tray / indicator menu entry that allows you to reconnect it manually (this was available in previous versions), but hopefully that’s no longer needed. Furthermore, an offline state tray icon was added so you can easily see if the app is not online.

Other changes in PB For Desktop 5.0.0 include:

  • improved memory & CPU resource usage;
  • added interface font size control;
  • reduced download and application size by 1/3;
  • fixed application name and title of mirrored pushes;
  • fixed title and body for API url pushes;
  • fixed an issue related to snooze mode.

Also, with this release, the ARM package was removed due to an upstream issue.

Download PB For Desktop

Note that using PB For Desktop requires a Pushbullet account (free or pro). You’ll also need to install the Pushbullet mobile application on your Android or iOS (notification mirroring is not supported for iOS unless you use a MacOS device) device.

(binaries available for Linux: deb, rpm and AppImage, Mac and Windows, as well as the source)

Important: For new PB For Desktop installations, you may encounter an error the first time you run the application. This only occurs once and you can ignore it, as the application should still work. I reported this issue HERE.

Report any bugs you may find @ GitHub.

Fix PB For Desktop AppIndicator not being displayed in Ubuntu 17.04

Like I mentioned in the previous article on WebUpd8, AppIndicators doesn’t work for Electron applications (and PB For Desktop is an Electron app) in Ubuntu 17.04. To fix this manually, see our previous article or follow these instructions to fix it for PB For Desktop:

A. Fix the menu entry:

mkdir -p ~/.local/share/applications/
cp /usr/share/applications/pb-for-desktop.desktop ~/.local/share/applications/
sed -i 's/^Exec.*/Exec=env XDG_CURRENT_DESKTOP=Unity \"\/opt\/PB for Desktop\/pb-for-desktop\"/' ~/.local/share/applications/pb-for-desktop.desktop

B. Fix the autostart file.

To proceed, fix the application menu entry (see above), then make sure PB For Desktop is not already running. Next, start the application from Unity Dash – the PB For Desktop indicator should be working now. From the indicator menu, enable it to autostart on login.

Since PB For Desktop overwrites the the autostart file, we’ll make a copy and use that instead of the original file:
cp ~/.config/autostart/pb-for-desktop.desktop ~/.config/autostart/pb-for-desktop-fixed.desktop
sed -i 's/^Exec.*/Exec=env XDG_CURRENT_DESKTOP=Unity \"\/opt\/PB for Desktop\/pb-for-desktop\"/' ~/.config/autostart/pb-for-desktop-fixed.desktop
And finally, disable PB For Desktop from starting automatically on login from its indicator menu (it will still start automatically, using the newly created autostart file).

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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).

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