Archive | November 2006

Linux Tool Highlight: Desktop Data Manager

Desktop Data Manager Clipboard HistoryI found this great utility for Gnome that I just can’t keep as a secret! 🙂 It is called the Desktop Data Manager and includes “a clipboard history for many different types of content” like text and images that sits in your notification area (system tray), and an application to take screenshots of a single window, a region of the screen, or the whole desktop. Being able to select the region of the screen is VERY important to me and it’s a huge time-saver.

The clipboard application is like Klipper, but for Gnome. Wickedly sweet!

Wow! This is the best Linux gem I’ve found in a while!

In Windows, I used a little old program called ClipCache Plus for years, which is also a clipboard extender that allows you to save ALL of your clipboard history. I couldn’t live without it. (By the way, they just recently released their first new version since 2003!) Migrating to Linux made it difficult to let go of ClipCache and Klipper doesn’t play well in Gnome. Desktop Data Manager has solved it and is even better than Klipper! It doesn’t hold ALL of your history — it has a user-specified limit — but it’s better than no history at all!

Screenshot ApplicationAnother thing I REALLY wanted ported to Linux is SnagIt by Techsmith. SnagIt, of course, is a screenshot application that does it all! It’s an amazing piece of software that allows you to take any kind of screenshot, add effects to it, add arrows, pointers, balloons, and so much more. Too much to list, and that’s not an exaggeration. This little gem doesn’t do all of this, it just captures regions or windows or entire screens, but it just makes it easier to send to Gimp for editing.

Desktop Data Manager is available as a .deb (Debian Packager), a .rpm (RedHat), and .tar.gz. Ubuntu users need to download the Debian Package (.deb file).

Get it now
and spread the news!


How to Change the Color of your Tooltips

With all the customization fun I’ve been having with my Ubuntu Desktop, one thing kept bugging me. There isn’t an easy way to change the color of the tooltips. I think this is important to have a consistent color scheme throughout your desktop so I went to find a solution.

I found the answer on the Ubuntu Forums yet again, posted by mcduck.

UPDATE: This may also work in other distributions, not just Ubuntu, since it is a GTK setting.

UPDATE: This seems to only work in Ubuntu 6.10 or lower. People have reported that it does not work in Feisty Fawn (7.04).

Now, when changing the color of the tooltips, it’s important to note that this will change it for ALL themes.

To change the color of the tooltips, do this:

  1. gedit ~/.gtkrc-2.0
  2. Copy and paste the following lines in that file:

    style “tooltip” { bg[NORMAL] = “#FFFFFF” }
    widget “gtk-tooltips” style “tooltip”

  3. Change the Hex code (#FFFFFF) to whatever color you want.
  4. Save the file.
  5. Log out and log back in (or do a CTRL+BACKSPACE). You can probably just do a Desktop Refresh:

    killall nautilus gnome-panel

    …and it may work. I haven’t tested it, though.
    …TESTED: It works. NOTE: You’ll have to change ALL the smart quotes ” to regular quotes after you paste. Just delete them and type in the quotes again. Then do another killall nautilus gnome-panel. (2007.02.12)

Test it by placing your mouse over the Date and Time applet.


Linux Shell Scripting for Idiots

Oooh… he makes it look so easy! The thing is, it is easy. 😮

Blessen Cherian, CTO and Executive Team Member of writes:

“Shell scripting is nothing but a group of commands put together and executed one after another in a sequential way. Let’s start by mentioning the steps to write and execute a shell script.”

He then goes into step-by-step instructions on creating a script in a way that any idiot can understand! 🙂

Cherian says, “This is just the first part of my article on shell scripting. The Advanced Part … will be published soon.”

I’m an idiot, so this will definitely help me! 😀

SCREENSHOT: November 26, 2006 – NBC’s Heroes Gnome Desktop

I am a HUGE fan of the new television series by NBC called Heroes. I created my own Theme for my Gnome desktop based on the show. Here are a couple of screenshots. I call her “Eclipse”:

NBC’s Heroes Gnome Theme: Eclipse1280 x 1024 – PNG

NBC’s Heroes Gnome Theme: Eclipse1280 x 1024 – PNG

Gnome (Ubuntu)

Click thumbnails to enlarge to full size.

Ubuntu Tool Highlight: StartUp-Manager – Configure GRUB and Usplash

While perusing the Ubuntu forums for a way to fix my disappeared bootup and shutdown usplash, I found this great new tool for Ubuntu 6.10 (Edgy) called StartUp-Manager or SUM.

StartUp-Manager Boot Options TabStartUp-Manager Appearance TabStartUp-Manager Security Tab

UPDATE (2007.02.12): Updated screenshots of the newest version of SUM can be found here.

SUM is a python-glade GUI tool for configuring the GRUB bootloader options, changing its appearance (like colors and background), and adding password protection to edit your GRUB menu.

SUM also allows you to configure your usplash and install new ones. This was great for me because I lost both the boot-up usplash and the shutdown usplash when I was trying to configure it. This fixed it in a cinch!

–> To download and install StartUp-Manager, download the DEB package attached to SUM’s official spot on the Ubuntu Forums here. UPDATE (2007.02.12): Homepage can be found here.

BUT A WORD OF CAUTION! It’s only for Ubuntu 6.10. It will NOT work with other Linux distributions!

The author warns:

If you are unlucky, this tool could make your system unable to start.

It is only tested with Ubuntu 6.10 (Edgy).
It might work with other versions of Ubuntu, but it is not recommended.

It will most certainly NOT work with any other Linux distro.
It will also most certianly NOT work with Ubuntu if anything else than the Ubuntu installer created your GRUB config files (ie some other distro is installed after Ubuntu and has overwritten the MBR).

Since my system is Ubuntu 6.10 (Edgy), I didn’t encounter any problems. All I had to do was install the deb file and that was it. No long installation process. Once installed, it can be accessed under System > Administration > StartUp-Manager.

Color Scheme Designer for Gnome Desktop

In Thomas Wood’s blog post about supporting color schemes in the gnome-theme-manager, a reader named Drew Kerr pointed readers to a nifty little tool that helps users and designers (even painters!) to select color schemes.

Agave ScreenshotAgave “allows you to generate a variety of color schemes from a single starting color.” It is free software licensed under the open-source GPL License.

Agave allows you to generate 6 different types of color schemes: Complements, Split Complements, Triads, Tetrads, Analogous, and Monochromatic from any base color you desire. It supports Drag and Drop between Agave and GIMP, as well as many other programs.

Other features allow you to save your schemes as favorites, generate random schemes, selecting colors outside of Agave with a dropper, and more.

Gnome-Theme-Manager to Support Color Scheme Customization

Gnome Theme Manager to Support Color Scheme CustomizationOne thing lacking in Gnome is the ability to change the color scheme of your chosen theme. More precisely, gnome-theme-manager doesn’t currently allow you to customize your colors. You can change your icons, window borders, and controls, but you can’t change the color scheme. The color scheme is set within the chosen Theme itself and currently cannot be easily changed/edited by a user.

This is about to change, and I, for one, will be one step closer to be fully Microsoft Windows-free!

Thomas Wood, the developer, also tells us:

“My current plans include the ability to specify a number of different color schemes in the theme itself (including translations of the colour scheme names). If you set your own colours, you will set the current colour scheme to ‘Custom’, and will always be able to pick one of the schemes from the theme again.”

Just like in KDE. Wicked sweet! That is one thing I love about KDE, though. Highly customizable. 🙂

Thank you, Thomas!

Ubuntu Founder’s Invitation Sparks Controversy

The invitation that Mark Shuttleworth politely extended to developers of the OpenSUSE Linux distribution has been met with mixed reactions by that community. Most are negative, some are positive. Mark anticipated the controversy when he said:

“I know that posting this message to an OpenSUSE list will be controversial. I’m greatly respectful of the long tradition of excellence in the SuSE product and community and have no desire to undermine that with this post. That said, I think the position taken by Novell leadership in their contract with Microsoft is hugely disrespectful of the contributions of thousands of GPL programmers and contributors to SuSE, and I know that many are looking for a new place to get involved that is not subject to the same arbitrary executive intervention. Ubuntu is one option, as are Gentoo, Debian and other communities. Please accept this mail in that spirit”

Despite this, it seemed to throw gas in the already raging fire.

My opinion? The negative reactions in that mailing list are more like OVERREACTIONS. Relax, people. It was a friendly invitation with GOOD intentions! You don’t have to accept it if you don’t like it. Seems like Ubuntu’s popularity (justified or not, profit or not) is making some other distro communities jealous?

Mark Shuttleworth Invites OpenSUSE Developers to Ubuntu Open Week

OpenSUSE LogoMark Shuttleworth, Ubuntu founder, invites OpenSUSE developers who are concerned with Novell’s decision to “circumvent the patent framework clearly articulated in the GPL” to the Ubuntu Open Week events taking place from Monday, November 27th to Saturday December 2nd on IRC.

Shuttleworth will be on IRC on Tuesday, November 28th, to answer any questions that participants may have about him specifically.

He says, “If you have an interest in being part of a vibrant community that cares about keeping free software widely available and protecting the rights of people to get it free of charge, free to modify, free of murky encumbrances and ‘undisclosed balance sheet liabilities’, then please do join us.”

Debian Package Directory Search

Debian If you’ve ever wondered where you can find a Debian package, look no more! This search engine for Debian packages allows you to “search the contents of Debian [Linux] distributions for any files (or just parts of file names) that are part of packages. You can also get a full list of files in a given package“. Wicked sweet!

Yes, you fellow newbie Ubuntu users! 😉 This is for you… these are the type of packages (programs) that you can download and install by double-clicking the file. 🙂

Bookmark it now!