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Updated: 2 hours 7 min ago

Fixing “Unable to parse package file /var/lib/apt/lists” Error in Ubuntu and Other Linux Distributions

Thursday 7th of May 2020 05:29:07 AM

I have discussed a number of Ubuntu update errors in the past. If you use the command line to update Ubuntu, you might run into some ‘errors’.

Some of these ‘errors’ are basically built-in features to prevent unwarranted changes to your system. I am not going into those details in this quick tutorial.

In this quick tip, I’ll show you how to tackle the following error that you could encounter while updating your system or installing new software:

Reading package lists… Error!
E: Unable to parse package file /var/lib/apt/lists/archive.ubuntu.com_ubuntu_dists_bionic_InRelease
E: The package lists or status file could not be parsed or opened.

A similar error can be encountered in Debian:

E: Unable to parse package file /var/lib/apt/extended_states (1)

There is absolutely no need to panic even thought it says ‘The package cache file is corrupted‘. This is really easy to ‘fix’.

Handling “Unable to parse package file” error in Ubuntu and Debian-based Linux distributions

Here’s what you need to do. Take a closer look at the name and path of the file the Ubuntu is complaining about.

Reading package lists… Error!
E: Unable to parse package file /var/lib/apt/lists/archive.ubuntu.com_ubuntu_dists_bionic_InRelease
E: The package lists or status file could not be parsed or opened.

For example, in the above error, it was complaining about /var/lib/apt/lists/archive.ubuntu.com_ubuntu_dists_bionic_InRelease

This gives you the idea that something is not right with this file. Now all you need to do is to remove this file and regenerate the cache.

sudo rm <file_that_is_not_parsed>

So in my case, I could use this command: sudo rm /var/lib/apt/lists/archive.ubuntu.com_ubuntu_dists_bionic_InRelease and then rebuild the cache with sudo apt update command.

Step by step for beginners

If you are familiar with Linux commands, you may know how to do delete the file with its absolute path. For novice users, let me guide you to safely delete the file.

First, you should go to the directory where the file is stored:

cd /var/lib/apt/lists/

Now delete the file which is not being parsed:

sudo rm archive.ubuntu.com_ubuntu_dists_bionic_InRelease

Now if you run the update again, the apt cache will be regenerated.

sudo apt update Too many files cannot be parsed?

This is fine if you have one or two files that are not being parsed while updating the system. But if the system complains about ten or twenty such files, removing them one by one is too tiring.

What you can do in such a case to remove the entire cache and then generate it again:

sudo rm -r /var/lib/apt/lists/* sudo apt update Explanation of how it fixed your problem

The /var/lib/apt is the directory where files and data related to the apt package manager are stored. The /var/lib/apt/lists is the directory which is used for storing information for each package resource specified in your system’s sources.list.

In slightly non complicated terms, this /var/lib/apt/lists stores the package information cache. When you want to install or update a program, your system checks in this directory for the information on the said package. If it finds the detail on the package, then it goes to remote repository and actually download the program or its update.

When you run the “sudo apt update”, it builds the cache. This is why even when you remove everything in the /var/lib/apt/lists directory, running the update will build a fresh cache.

This is how it handles the issue of file not being parsed. Your system complained about a particular package or repository information that somehow got corrupted (either a failed download or manual change to sources.list). Removing that file (or everything) and rebuilding the cache solves the issue.

Still facing error?

This should fix the issue for you. But if the problem still persists or if you have some other related issue, let me know in the comment section and I’ll try to help you out.

Ubuntu Studio To Replace Xfce With KDE Plasma Desktop Environment

Wednesday 6th of May 2020 10:26:01 AM

Ubuntu Studio is a popular official flavour of Ubuntu tailored for creative content creators involved in audio production, video, graphics, photography, and book publishing. It offers a lot of multimedia content creation applications out of the box with the best possible experience.

After the recent 20.04 LTS release, the Ubuntu Studio team highlighted something very important in their official announcement. And, probably not everyone noticed the key information i.e Ubuntu Studio’s future.

Ubuntu Studio 20.04 will be the last version to ship with the Xfce desktop environment. All the future releases will be using KDE Plasma instead.

Why is Ubuntu Studio ditching XFCE?

As per their clarification, Ubuntu Studio isn’t focused on any particular look/feel but aims to provide the best user experience possible. And, KDE proves to be a better option.

Plasma has proven to have better tools for graphics artists and photographers, as can be seen in Gwenview, Krita, and even the file manager Dolphin. Additionally, it has Wacom tablet support better than any other desktop environment.

It has become so good that the majority of the Ubuntu Studio team is now using Kubuntu with Ubuntu Studio added-on via Ubuntu Studio Installer as their daily driver. With so many of us using Plasma, the timing just seems right to focus on a transition to Plasma with our next release.

Of course every desktop environment has been tailored for something different. And, here, they think that KDE Plasma will be the most suitable desktop environment replacing XFCE to provide a better user experience to all the users.

While I’m not sure how the users will react to this as every user has a different set of preferences. If the existing users won’t have a problem with KDE, it isn’t going to be a big deal.

It is worth noting that Ubuntu Studio also mentioned why KDE is potentially a superior choice for them:

The Plasma desktop environment has, without Akonadi, become just as light in resource usage as Xfce, perhaps even lighter. Other audio-focused Linux distributions, such as Fedora Jam and KXStudio, have historically used the KDE Plasma desktop environment and done well with the audio.

Also, they’ve highlighted an article by Jason Evangelho at Forbes where some benchmarks reveal that KDE is almost as light as Xfce. Even though that’s a good sign – we still have to wait for the users to test-drive the KDE-powered Ubuntu Studio. Only then we’ll be able to observe whether Ubuntu Studio’s decision to ditch XFCE desktop environment was the right thing to do.

What will change for Ubuntu Studio users after this change?

The overall workflow may get affected (or improve) moving forward with KDE on Ubuntu Studio 20.10 and later.

However, the upgrade process (from 20.04 to 20.10) will result in broken systems. So, a fresh install of Ubuntu Studio 20.10 or later versions will be the only way to go.

They’ve also mentioned that they will be constantly evaluating for any duplication with the pre-installed apps. So, I believe more details will follow in the coming days.

Ubuntu Studio is second distribution that has changed its main desktop environment in recent times. Earlier, Lubuntu switched to LXQt from LXDE.

What do you think about this change? Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments below.

Ubuntu Cinnamon Remix 20.04 Review: The Perfect Blend of Ubuntu With Cinnamon

Wednesday 6th of May 2020 06:14:16 AM

GNOME 3 was introduced in 2011, and the GNOME Shell immediately generated both positive and negative responses. Many users and developers liked the original GNOME interface enough that a few groups forked it and one of those, Linux Mint team, created the Cinnamon desktop environment.

The Cinnamon desktop became the identity of Linux Mint. For years, Cinnamon has been synonymous to Linux Mint. It has changed slightly in the past few years as the popularity for Cinnamon grew. Now other distributions have also started offering Cinnamon desktop environment. Manjaro is one such example.

A few months back, we introduced you to a new Ubuntu flavor that provides an out of the box Cinnamon desktop experience. let’s take a deeper look at Ubuntu Cinnamon Remix today.

Why Ubuntu Cinnamon Remix and not Linux Mint?

It is true that Linux Mint is based on Ubuntu and Many Linux Mint users will have the question: Does it make any sense to switch over to Ubuntu as Linux Mint is such a mature project and the user experience will remain more or less the same?

Ubuntu Cinnamon Remix has a number of small differences from Linux Mint, but has has one key difference that a Linux enthusiast can’t ignore.

Linux Mint is based on “LTS” (Long-Term Support) versions of Ubuntu, meaning it stays behind the Canonical’s 6-month update cadence. Ubuntu Cinnamon Remix benefits from a newer kernel to other 6-month cycle feature upgrade and more recent software.

Another key difference is that Ubuntu Cinnamon Remix will “inherit” Snap support, and Linux Mint embraces FlatPak. Ubuntu Cinnamon Remix uses Ubuntu Software Center instead of Mint Software Manager.

That said, I am a huge fan of Cinnamon. So I chose to review this mix of Ubuntu and Cinnamon and here I share my experience with it.

Experiencing Ubuntu Cinnamon Remix

By any chance given, I will always mention how fast Calamares installer is and thanks to Ubuntu Cinnamon Remix Team for choosing so.

Calamares Installer

A fresh installation of Ubuntu Cinnamon Remix consumes approximately 750 MB of RAM. This is very similar to Linux Mint Cinnamon.

An idle Cinnamon takes 750 MB of RAM

I was also impressed by the beautiful Kimmo theme and the orange toned Ubuntu wallpaper which seems to be a result of a very meticulous effort.

Ubuntu Cinammon Remix 20.04 Desktop Enough tools to get you started

As with any other Ubuntu distribution, Ubuntu Cinnamon Remix is packed with the essential productivity tools, to name a few:

  • Firefox Web Browser
  • Thunderbird – Email Client
  • LibreOffice suite
  • Celluloid – Multimedia player
  • GIMP – Image processing software
  • Synaptic Package Manager
  • Gnome Software Center
  • Gparted – Partition Manager

Using Ubuntu Cinnamon Remix as my main runner for a few days, fulfilled my high expectations. Ubuntu is rock-solid stable, very fast and I didn’t face a single issue at my day to day tasks.

Ubuntu for Linux Mint Lovers

Are you enthusiastic about Ubuntu Cinnamon but got used to Linux Mint theme? Click below to see how you can get a full Linux Mint theme pack and how to configure it to keep the Ubuntu heritage.

Give Ubuntu Cinnamon Remix the real Mint touch

Firstly you have to download and unpack the following, easily done via terminal.

Get the Linux Mint-X icon pack

wget http://packages.linuxmint.com/pool/main/m/mint-x-icons/mint-x-icons_1.5.5_all.deb

Get the Linux Mint-Y icon pack

wget http://packages.linuxmint.com/pool/main/m/mint-y-icons/mint-y-icons_1.3.9_all.deb

Get the Linux Mint Themes

wget http://packages.linuxmint.com/pool/main/m/mint-themes/mint-themes_1.8.4_all.deb

Install the downloaded content

sudo dpkg -i ./mint-x-icons_1.5.5_all.deb ./mint-y-icons_1.3.9_all.deb ./mint-themes_1.8.4_all.deb

When done, click on the Menu button at the bottom left corner and type themes. You can also find themes in system settings.

Accessing Themes

Once opened replace the kimmo icons and theme as shown below. The Linux Mint default “Green” is the plain Mint-Y but the orange colour is a perfect selection for Ubuntu.

Linux Mint Theme Settings A treat for Cinnamon fans

Let’s accept it, aesthetics are important. Cinnamon has a clean and elegant look, easy to read fonts and nice colour contrast themes. Cinnamon offers an uncluttered desktop with easily configured desktop icons simply by accessing the Desktop menu under System Settings. You can also choose the desktop icons to be shown only on the primary monitor, only on secondary monitor, or on both. This also applies to a beyond two monitor setup.

Ubuntu Cinnamon Remix Desklets

Desklets and applets are small, single-purpose applications that can be added to your desktop or your panel respectively. The most commonly used among the many you can choose are CPU or resources monitor, a weather applet, sticky notes, and calendar.

The Cinnamon Control Center provides centralized access to many of the desktop configuration options. By accessing the themes section you can choose the desktop basic scheme and icons, window borders, mouse pointers, and controls look. Fonts can have a great impact on the overall desktop look and cinnamon makes the change easier than ever.

The Cinnamon Control Center makes the configuration simple enough for a new user, compared to KDE Plasma that can lead a new user to confusion, due to the massive number of configuration options.

The Cinnamon Panel contains the menu used to launch programs, a basic system tray, and an application selector. The panel is easy to configure and adding new program launchers is simply done by locating the program you want to add in the main Menu, right click on the icon and select “Add to panel.” You can also add the launcher icon to the desktop, and to the Cinnamon “Favourites” launcher bar. If you don’t like the order of the icons at your panel, just right click at the panel bar, enter panel’s Edit mode and rearrange the icons.

Conclusions

Whether you decide to “spice” up your desktop or thinking to move from Windows to Linux, the Cinnamon Community has made plenty of spices for you.

Traditional yet elegant, customizable but simple, Ubuntu Cinnamon Remix is an interesting project with a promising future, and for existing fans of the Cinnamon Desktop who love Ubuntu, this is probably a no-brainer.

What do you think of Ubuntu Cinnamon Remix? Have you used it already?

After More Than 3 Years, Inkscape 1.0 is Finally Here With Tons of Feature Improvements

Tuesday 5th of May 2020 10:54:35 AM

Even though I’m not an expert, it is safe to say that Inkscape is one of the best vector graphics editors.

Not just limited to the reason that it is free and open-source software – but it is indeed a useful application for digital artists creating something on it.

The last release (version 0.92) was about 3 years ago. And, now, finally, Inkscape announced its 1.0 release – with a bunch of new features, additions, and improvements.

Inkscape 1.0: What’s New? Inkscape 1.0

Here, let me highlight the important key changes that you need to know about Inkscape 1.0 release:

First native macOS application

It’s always good to have a proper cross-platform support for amazing tools like Inkscape. And, with the latest release, a native macOS application has been made available as well.

Do note that the macOS app is still a preview version and has room for a lot of improvements. However, with a better system integration without needing XQuartz, it should be a promising progress for macOS users.

Performance Improvements

Any kind of application/tool benefits from a significant performance boost. And, so does Inkscape.

With its 1.0 release, they mention that you will be able to notice the smoother performance when using Inkscape for all the creative work you do.

Except on macOS (which is still a “preview” version), Inkscape should run just fine on Linux and Windows.

Improved UI and HiDPI Support

In their release notes, they’ve mentioned:

A major milestone was achieved in enabling Inkscape to use a more recent version of the software used to build the editor’s user interface (namely GTK+3). Users with HiDPI (high resolution) screens can thank teamwork that took place during the 2018 Boston Hackfest for setting the updated-GTK wheels in motion.

So, starting from GTK +3 user interface to the HiDPI support for high-resolution screens, it is a wonderful upgrade.

Not to forget, you get more customization options to tweak the look and feel as well.

New Feature Additions

On paper, the list of new features sounds good. Depending on your expertise and what you prefer, the latest additions should come in handy.

Here’s an overview of the new features:

  • New and improved Live Path Effect (LPE) features
  • A new searchable LPE selection dialog
  • Freestyle drawing users can now mirror and rotate the canvas
  • The new PowerPencil mode of the Pencil tool provides pressure-dependent width and it is finally possible to create closed paths.
  • New path effects that will appeal to the artistic user include Offset, PowerClip, and PowerMask LPEs.
  • Ability to create a duplicate guide, aligning grids to the page, the Measure tool’s path length indicator, and the inverted Y-axis.
  • Ability to export PDFs with clickable links and metadata
  • New palettes and mesh gradients that work in the web browser

While I’ve tried to compile the list of the key features added to this release, you can get all the nitty gritty details in their release notes.

Other Important Changes

Along with all the major changes, Inkscape 1.0 now supports Python 3. And, with that going forward, you might notice some extensions that don’t work with the latest version.

So, if your work depends on the workflow of your extensions, I suggest you to take a closer look at their release notes to get all the technical details.

Download & Install Inkscape 1.0 on Linux

Inkscape 1.0 is available in AppImage and Snap format for Linux. You can download it from Inkscape’s website.

Download Inkscape 1.0 for Linux

If you aren’t aware, you can check how to use AppImage file on Linux to get started. You may also refer to this Snap guide.

Ubuntu users can find the snap version of Inskcape 1.0 in the Ubuntu Software Center.

I used the AppImage file on Pop OS 20.04 and it worked just fine to get started. You can test drive all the features in detail to see how it works out for you.

Have you tried it yet? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below.

Browse the Peer-to-peer Web With Beaker Browser

Monday 4th of May 2020 03:44:33 AM

The Internet as we know it has existed unchanged (more or less) for the last 50 years. People across the globe use their devices to retrieve data from huge servers dotted around the world.

A group of dedicated technologists wants to change that to make the internet a place where people can connect and share information directly instead of relying on a central server (decentralization).

There are a bunch of such decentralized services that we have already covered on It’s FOSS. LBRY as YouTube alternative, Mastodon as Twitter alternative are just a couple of such examples.

And today I am going to cover another such product called Beaker Browser which is essentially for browsing the peer to peer web.

Beaker Browser What is the ‘peer-to-peer Web’?

According to one of the devs behind the Beaker browser, “The P2P Web is an experimental set of technologies…to give users more control over the Web.”

Further, they say that the peer-to-peer Web has three main principles: anybody can be a server; multiple computers can serve the same site; there is no back end.

As you can see from those principles. the idea of the peer-to-peer Web is very similar to BitTorrent where files are seeded by multiple peers and those peers share the bandwidth load. This reduces the overall bandwidth that a person needs to provide for their site.

Beaker Browser Settings

The other major part of the peer-to-peer Web is creator control of their ideas. In this day and age, platforms being controlled by large corporations, who try to use your data for their benefit. Beaker returns control to the content creators.

Browsing the decentralized web with Beaker

The Beaker Browser first came into existence in 2016. The project (and the technology that surrounds it) is created by a team of three at Blue Link Labs. The Beaker Browser uses the Dat protocol to share data between computers. All websites that use the Dat protocol start with dat:// instead of http://.

The strengths of the Dat protocol are:

  • Fast – Archives sync from multiple sources at once.
  • Secure – All updates are signed and integrity-checked.
  • Resilient – Archives can change hosts without changing their URLs.
  • Versioned – Changes are written to an append-only version log.
  • Decentralized – Any device can host any archive.
Beaker Browser Seeding

The Beaker Browser is essentially a cut down version of Chromium with built-in support for dat://addresses. It can still visit regular http:// sites.

Each time you visit a dat site, the content for that site is downloaded to your computer as you request it. For example, a picture of Linux Torvalds on the about page of a site is not downloaded until you navigate to that page.

Also, once you visit a dat website, “you temporarily re-upload or seed whichever files you’ve downloaded from the website.” You can also choose to seed the website to help its creator.

Beaker Browser Menu

Since the whole idea of Beaker is to create a more open web, you can easily view the source of any website. Unlike most browsers where you just see the source code the current page, you are viewing, Beaker shows you the entire structure of the site in a GitHub-like view. You can even fork the site and host your version of it.

Besides visiting dat-based websites, you can also create your own site. In the Beaker Browser menu, there is an option to create a new website or an empty project. If you select the option to create a new website, Beaker will build a little demo site that you can edit with the browser’s built-in editor.

However, if you are like me and prefer to use Markdown, you can choose to create an empty project. Beaker will create the structure of a site and assign it a dat://address. Create an index.md file and you are good to go. There is a short tutorial with more info. You can also use the create empty project option to build a web app.

Beaker Browser Website Template

Since Beaker acts as a web server and site seeder, any time you close it or turn off your computer your site will become unavailable. Thankfully, you don’t have to run your computer or the browser constantly. You can also use a seeding service named Hashbase or you can set up a homebase seeding server.

Though Beaker is available for Linux, Windows, and macOS. If you do start playing around Beaker, be sure to take a quick look at their guides.

Beaker Browser is not for everyone but it has a purpose

When I first got this assignment, I had high hopes for the Beaker Browser. As it stands now, it’s still very experimental. A number of the dat sites that I tried to visit were unavailable because the user was not seeding their site. Beaker does have an option to notify you when that site is back online.

Beaker Browser No Peer

Another problem is that Beaker is a really stripped down version of Chromium. There is no option to install extensions or themes. Instead, you are stuck with a white theme and a very limited toolset. I would not use this as my main browser and having access to the world of dat websites is not enough of a reason to keep it installed on my system.

I looked to see if there is an extension for Firefox that would add support for the dat:// protocol. I did find such an extension, but it also required the installation of a couple of other pieces of software. It’s just easier to install Beaker.

As it stands now, Beaker is not for me. Maybe in the future, more people will start using Beaker or the dat protocol will gain support by other browsers. Then it might be interesting. Right now, it’s kinda empty.

As part of my time with Beaker, I created a website using the built-in tools. Don’t worry, I made sure that it’s seeded.

Beaker Bowser Site Source

What are your thoughts on the Beaker Brower? What are your thoughts on the peer-to-peer web? Please let us know in the comments below.

If you found this article interesting, please take a minute to share it on social media, Hacker News, or Reddit.

How to Assign Static IP Address on Ubuntu Linux

Saturday 2nd of May 2020 07:08:28 AM

Brief: In this tutorial, you’ll learn how to assign static IP address on Ubuntu and other Linux distributions. Both command line and GUI methods have been discussed.

IP addresses on Linux Systems in most cases are assigned by Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol (DHCP) servers. IP addresses assigned this way are dynamic which means that the IP address might change when you restart your Ubuntu system. It’s not necessary but it may happen.

Dynamic IP is not an issue for normal desktop Linux users in most cases. It could become an issue if you have employed some special kind of networking between your computers.

For example, you can share your keyboard and mouse between Ubuntu and Raspberry Pi. The configuration uses IP addresses of both system. If the IP address changes dynamically, then your setup won’t work.

Another use case is with servers or remotely administered desktops. It is easier to set static addresses on those systems for connection stability and consistency between the users and applications.

In this tutorial, I’ll show you how to set up static IP address on Ubuntu based Linux distributions. Let me show you the command line way first and then I’ll show the graphical way of doing it on desktop.

Method 1: Assign static IP in Ubuntu using command line

Note for desktop users: Use static IP only when you need it. Automatic IP saves you a lot of headache in handling network configuration.

Step 1: Get the name of network interface and the default gateway

The first thing you need to know is the name of the network interface for which you have to set up the static IP.

You can either use ip command or the network manager CLI like this:

nmcli d

In my case, it shows my Ethernet (wired) network is called enp0s25:

Ubuntu> nmcli d DEVICE TYPE STATE CONNECTION enp0s25 ethernet unmanaged -- lo loopback unmanaged --

Next, you should note the default gateway IP using the Linux command ip route:

ip route default via 192.168.31.1 dev enp0s25 proto dhcp metric 600 169.254.0.0/16 dev enp0s25 scope link metric 1000 192.168.31.0/24 dev enp0s25 proto kernel scope link src 192.168.31.36 metric 600

As you can guess, the default gateway is 192.168.31.1 for me.

Step 2: Locate Netplan configuration

Ubuntu 18.04 LTS and later versions use Netplan for managing the network configuration. Netplan configuration are driven by .yaml files located in /etc/netplan directory.

By default, you should see a .yaml file named something like 01-network-manager-all.yaml, 50-cloud-init.yaml, 01-netcfg.yaml.

Whatever maybe the name, its content should look like this:

# Let NetworkManager manage all devices on this system network: version: 2 renderer: NetworkManager

You need to edit this file for using static IP.

Step 3: Edit Netplan configuration for assigning static IP

Just for the sake of it, make a backup of your yaml file.

Please make sure to use the correct yaml file name in the commands from here onward.

Use nano editor with sudo to open the yaml file like this:

sudo nano /etc/netplan/01-netcfg.yaml

Please note that yaml files use spaces for indentation. If you use tab or incorrect indention, your changes won’t be saved.

You should edit the file and make it look like this by providing the actual details of your IP address, gateway, interface name etc.

network: version: 2 renderer: networkd ethernets: enp0s25: dhcp4: no addresses: - 192.168.31.16/24 gateway4: 192.168.31.1 nameservers: addresses: [8.8.8.8, 1.1.1.1]

In the above file, I have set the static IP to 192.168.31.16.

Save the file and apply the changes with this command:

sudo netplan apply

You can verify it by displaying your ip address in the terminal with ‘ip a’ command.

Revert the changes and go back to dynamic IP

If you don’t want to use the static IP address anymore, you can revert easily.

If you have backed up the original yaml file, you can delete the new one and use the backup one.

Otherwise, you can change the yaml file again and make it look like this:

network: version: 2 renderer: networkd ethernets: enp0s25: dhcp4: yes Method 2: Switch to static IP address in Ubuntu graphically

If you are on desktop, using the graphical method is easier and faster.

Go to the settings and look for network settings. Click the gear symbol adjacent to your network connection.

Next, you should go to the IPv4 tab. Under the IPv4 Method section, click on Manual.

In the Addresses section, enter the IP static IP address you want, netmask is usually 24 and you already know your gateway IP with the ip route command.

You may also change the DNS server if you want. You can keep Routes section to Automatic.

Once everything is done, click on Apply button. See, how easy it is to set a static IP address graphically.

If you haven’t read my previous article on how to change MAC Address, you may want to read in conjunction with this one.

More networking related articles will be rolling out, let me know your thoughts at the comments below and stay connected to our social media.

Pop OS 20.04 Review: Best Ubuntu-based Distribution Just Got Better

Friday 1st of May 2020 06:16:23 AM

Brief: Pop OS 20.04 is an impressive Linux distribution based on Ubuntu. I review the major new features in this review and share my experience with the latest release.

Now that Ubuntu 20.04 LTS and its official flavours are here – it’s time to take a look at one of best Ubuntu-based distro i.e Pop!_OS 20.04 by System76.

To be honest, Pop!_OS is my favorite Linux distro that I primarily use for everything I do.

Now that Pop!_OS 20.04 has finally arrived. It’s time to take a look at what it offers and whether you should upgrade or not?

What’s New In Pop!_OS 20.04 LTS? Subscribe to our YouTube channel for more Linux videos

Visually, Pop!_OS 20.04 LTS isn’t really very different from Pop!_OS 19.10. However, you can find several new features and improvements.

But, if you were using Pop!_OS 18.04 LTS, you have a lot of things to try.

With GNOME 3.36 onboard along with some newly added features, Pop!_OS 20.04 is an exciting release.

Overall, to give you an overview here are some key highlights:

  • Automatic Window Tiling
  • New Application Switcher and Launcher
  • Flatpack support added in Pop!_Shop
  • GNOME 3.36
  • Linux Kernel 5.4
  • Improved hybrid graphics support

While this sounds fun, let us take a look at a detailed look on what has changed and how’s the experience of Pop!_OS 20.04 so far.

User Experience Improvements in Pop OS 20.04

Undoubtedly, a lot of Linux distros offer a pleasant user experience out of the box. Likewise, Ubuntu 20.04 LTS has had top-notch improvements and features as well.

And, when it comes to Pop!_OS by System 76, they always try to go a mile further. And, the majority of new features aim to improve the user experience by providing useful functionalities.

Here, I’m going to take a look at some of the improvements that include GNOME 3.36 and Pop!_OS-specific features.

Support For System Tray Icons

Finally! This may not be a big change – but Pop!_OS did not have the support for system tray icons (or applet icons).

With 20.04 LTS release, it’s here by default. No need of any extension.

There may not be a whole lot of programs depending on system tray icons – but it is still something important to have.

In my case, I wasn’t able to use ActivityWatch on Pop!_OS 19.10 – but now I can.

Automatic Window Tiling

Automatic Window Tiling is something I always wanted to try – but never invested any time to set it up using a tiling window manager like i3, not even with Regolith Desktop.

With Pop!_OS 20.04, you don’t need to do that anyway. The automatic window tiling feature comes baked in without needing you to set it up.

It also features an option to Show Active Hint i.e it will highlight the active window to avoid confusion. And, you can also adjust the gap between the windows.

You can see it in action in their official video:

Subscribe to our YouTube channel for more Linux videos

And, I must say that it is one of the biggest additions on Pop!_OS 20.04 that could potentially help you multi-task more efficiently.

Even though the feature comes in handy everytime you use it. To make the most out of it, a display screen bigger than 21-inches (at least) should be the best way to go! And, for this reason – I’m really tempted to upgrade my monitor as well!

New Extensions App

Pop!_OS comes baked in with some unique GNOME extensions. But, you don’t need GNOME Tweaks the manage the extension anymore.

The newly added Extensions app lets you configure and manage the extensions on Pop!_OS 20.04.

Improved Notification Center

With the new GNOME 3.36 release, the notification center includes a revamped look. Here, I have the dark mode enabled.

New Application Switcher & Launcher

You can still ALT+TAB or Super key + TAB to go through the running applications.

But, that’s time-consuming when you have a lot of things going on. So, on Pop!_OS 20.04, you get an application switcher and launcher which you can activate using Super key + /

Once you get used to the keyboard shortcut, it will be very convenient thing to have.

In addition to this, you may find numerous other subtle improvements visually with the icons/windows on Pop!_OS 20.04.

New Login Screen

Well, with GNOME 3.36, it’s an obvious change. But, it does look good!

Flatpak Support on Pop!_Shop

Normally, Pop!_Shop is already something useful with a huge repository along with Pop!_OS’s own repositories.

Now, with Pop!_OS 20.04, you can choose to install either Flatpak (via Flathub) or the Debian package of any available software on Pop!_Shop. Of course, only if a Flatpak package exists for the particular software.

You might want to check how to use Flatpak on Linux if you don’t have Pop!_OS 20.04.

Personally, I’m not a fan of Flatpak but some applications like GIMP requires you to install the Flatpak package to get the latest version. So, it is definitely a good thing to have the support for Flatpak on Pop!_Shop baked right into it.

Keyboard Shortcut Changes

This can be annoying if you’re comfortable with the existing keyboard shortcuts on Pop!_OS 19.10 or older.

In either case, there are a few important keyboard shortcut changes to potentially improve your experience, here they are:

  • Lock Screen: Super + L changed to Super + Escape
  • Move Workspace: Super + Up/Down Arrow changed to Super + CTRL + Up/Down Arrow
  • Close Window: Super + W changed to Super + Q
  • Toggle Maximize: Super + Up Arrow changed to Super + M
Linux Kernel 5.4

Similar to most of the other latest Linux distros, Pop!_OS 20.04 comes loaded with Linux Kernel 5.4.

So, obviously, you can expect the exFAT support and an improved AMD graphics compatibility along with all the other features that come with it.

Performance Improvements

Even though Pop!_OS doesn’t pitch itself as a lightweight Linux distro, it is still a resource-efficient distro. And, with GNOME 3.36 onboard, it should be fast enough.

Considering that I’ve been using Pop!_OS as my primary distro for about a year, I’ve never had any performance issues. And, this is how the resource usage will probably look like (depending on your system configuration) after you install Pop!_OS 20.04.

To give you an idea, my desktop configuration involves an i5-7400 processor, 16 GB RAM (2400 MHz), NVIDIA GTX 1050ti graphics card, and an SSD.

I’m not really a fan of system benchmarks because it does not really give you the idea of how a specific application or a game would perform unless you try it.

You can try the Phoronix Test Suite to analyze how your system performs. But, Pop!_OS 20.04 LTSshould be a snappy experience!

Package Updates & Other Improvements

While every Ubuntu-based distro benefits from the improvements in Ubuntu 20.04 LTS, there are some Pop OS specific bug fixes and improvements as well.

In addition to it, some major apps/packages like Firefox 75.0 have been updated to their latest version.

As of now, there should be no critical bugs present and at least none for me.

You can check out their development progress on GitHub to check the details of issues they’ve already fixed during the beta testing and the issues they will be fixing right after the release.

Download & Support Pop!_OS 20.04

With this release, System76 has finally added a subscription model (optional) to support Pop!_OS development.

You can download Pop!_OS 20.04 for free – but if you want to support them I’d suggest you go for the subscription with just $1/month.

Pop!_OS 20.04 My Thoughts on Pop OS 20.04

I must mention that I was rooting for a fresh new wallpaper with the latest 20.04 release. But, that’s not a big deal.

With the window tiling feature, flatpak support, and numerous other improvements, my experience with Pop!_OS 20.04 has been top-notch so far. Also, it’s great to see that they are highlighting their focus on creative professionals with out-of-the-box support for some popular software.

All the good things about Ubuntu 20.04 and some extra toppings on it by System76, I’m impressed!

Have you tried the Pop!_OS 20.04 yet? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below.

How to Handle Automatic Updates in Ubuntu

Thursday 30th of April 2020 01:00:56 PM

Brief: This tutorial teaches you how to handle the unattended upgrade i.e. the automatic system updates in Ubuntu Linux.

Sometimes, when you try to shutdown your Ubuntu system, you may come across this screen that stops you from shutting down:

Unattended-upgrade in progress during shutdown, please don’t turn off the computer.

Unattended Upgrade In Progress In Ubuntu

You might wonder what is this “unattended upgrade” and how come it is running without your knowledge.

The reason is that Ubuntu takes your system’s security very seriously. By default, it automatically checks for system updates daily and if it finds any security updates, it downloads those updates and install them on its own. For normal system and application updates, it notifies you via the Software Updater tool.

Since all this happens in the background, you don’t even realize it until you try to shutdown your system or try to install applications on your own.

Trying to install a new software when these unattended upgrades are in progress leads to the famous could not get lock error.

As you can see, the automatic updates present a couple of minor annoyance. You may choose to disable the auto updates but that would mean that you’ll have to check and update your Ubuntu system manually all the time.

Do you really need to disable auto updates?

Please note that this is a security feature. Linux allows you to do practically everything in your system even disabling these security features.
But in my opinion, as a regular user, you should not disable the automatic updates. It keeps your system safe after all.
For the sake of your system’s security, you may tolerate the minor annoyances that come with the automatic updates.

Now that you have been warned and you think it is better to take up the additional task of manually updating your system, let’s see how to handle the auto updates.

As always, there are two ways to do it: GUI and command line. I’ll show you both methods.

I have used Ubuntu 20.04 here but the steps are valid for Ubuntu 18.04 and any other Ubuntu version.

Method 1: Disable automatic updates in Ubuntu graphically

Go to the menu and look for ‘software & updates’ tool.

Software & Updates Settings

In here, go to Updates tab. Now look for the “Automatically check for updates”. By default it is set to Daily.

You can change it to Never and your system will never check for updates on its own again. And if it won’t check for updates, it won’t find new updates to install.

Disable Auto Updates in Ubuntu Completely

If you do this, you must manually update your system from time to time. But that’s an additional chore to do and you may not remember it all the time.

Slightly better way to handle auto updates in Ubuntu

Personally, I would suggest to let it check for updates on its own. If you don’t want it installing the updates automatically, you can change that behavior to get notified about the availability of security updates.

Keep “Automatically check for updates” to Daily and change “When there are security updates” option to “Display immediately” instead of “Download and install automatically”.

Get notified for security updates instead of automatically installing them

This way, it checks for updates and if there are updates, instead of installing them automatically in the background, the Software Updater tool notifies you that updates are available for your system. Your system already does that for normal system and software updates.

Get notified about security updates

With this setup, you won’t see the “unattended upgrades in progress” when you shutdown your system However, you may still encounter the ‘could not get lock’ error because two separate processes cannot use apt package manager at the same time.

I believe this is a better solution, don’t you you think?

As I promised both GUI and command line methods, let me show you how to disable unattended upgrades in the terminal.

How to disable automatic updates in Ubuntu using command line

You’ll find the auto-upgrades settings in the /etc/apt/apt.conf.d/20auto-upgrades file. The default text editor in Ubuntu terminal is Nano so you can use this command to edit this configuration file:

sudo nano /etc/apt/apt.conf.d/20auto-upgrades

Now, if you don’t want your system to check for updates automatically, you can change the value of APT::Periodic::Update-Package-Lists to 0.

APT::Periodic::Update-Package-Lists "0"; APT::Periodic::Unattended-Upgrade "0";

If you want it to check for updates but don’t install the unattended-upgrades automatically, you can choose to set it like this:

APT::Periodic::Update-Package-Lists "1"; APT::Periodic::Unattended-Upgrade "0";

In the end…

The automatic security updates are enabled automatically for a reason and I recommend you keep it like this. A couple of minor annoyances are not really worth risking the security of your system. What do you think?

Fedora 32 Released! Check Out The New Features

Wednesday 29th of April 2020 05:10:00 AM

Fedora 32 has finally arrived! Just a few days after Ubuntu 20.04 LTS release, fedora fans can get their hands on the latest Fedora 32 as well!

In this article, I am going to highlight the new features available on Fedora 32.

What’s new in Fedora 32? EarlyOOM Enabled

With this release, EarlyOOM comes enabled by default. To give you a background, EarlyOOM lets users to easily recover their systems from a low-memory situation with heavy swap usage.

It is worth noting that it is applicable to the Fedora 32 Workstation edition.

GNOME 3.36 Added

The new Fedora 32 Workstation also comes included with the new GNOME 3.36.

Not just limited to Fedora 32 Workstation – but you’ll find it on Ubuntu 20.04 LTS as well.

Of course, the improvements in GNOME 3.36 translates to Fedora’s latest release as well – providing a faster and better experience, overall.

So, with that being said, you get some of the following visual highlights:

Re-designed Lock Screen

The lockscreen is completely something new with a focus on better and faster user experience.

Supports The New Extensions App

You no longer need to utilize the GNOME Tweaks tool to separately install/manage extensions. Fedora 32 features the new extension app which lets you manage GNOME extensions directly.

However, you won’t find it pre-installed. You will have to look through the software center to get it installed or simply type in the following command:

sudo dnf install gnome-extensions-app Revamped Settings Menu

As part of the new GNOME 3.36, you will find the Settings app to be re-organized and more useful than ever before. You can get more information about your system and access the options easily.

Notifications Area Redesign With Do Not Disturb Toggle

The best thing about GNOME 3.36 is the notification area or the calendar pop-over redesign. And, Fedora 32 has it nicely set up as well in addition to the Do Not Disturb mode toggle if needed.

Redesigned Clock App

Fedora 32 also includes an overhaul to the design of the clock app. The latest design also fits well with smaller windows.

Package Updates

Fedora 32 release also updates a lot of important packages that include Ruby 2.7, Perl, and Python 3.8. It also features the latest version 10 of the GNU Compiler Collection (GCC).

Other Changes

In addition to the key highlights, there’s a lot of things that have changed, improved, or fixed. You can take a detailed look at its changelog to know more about what has changed.

Upgrade Fedora 31 to Fedora 32

You can simply head to the software center to find the latest update available or head to the terminal to upgrade your system from Fedora 31 to Fedora 32.

If you need help with that, we have an article on how to upgrade a Fedora version to assist you.

Download Fedora 32

Now that Fedora 32 has finally landed. You can get started downloading it.

However, before you give it a try, I’d also suggest taking a look at the official list of know bugs for the current release.

In the official announcement, they mentioned the availability of both Fedora 32 workstation and the server along with other popular variants.

To get the Workstation and the Server edition, you have to visit the official download page for Fedora Workstation and Fedora Server (depending on what you want).

Fedora 32 Workstation Fedora 32 Server

For other variants, click on the links below to head to their respective download pages:

Have you noticed any other new feature in Fedora 32? Feel free to leave a comment below.

Encrypt Your Files Before Uploading it to Cloud With Cryptomator

Tuesday 28th of April 2020 12:52:10 PM

Open source software highlight of this week is Cryptomator. It is a unique free and open-source encryption software that lets you encrypt your data before uploading it to the cloud.

There are several cloud services available for Linux and almost all of them do not offer end to end encryption, at least not by default.

Usually, the connection between your device and the server is secure. But your data stored on the server is not encrypted. Employees with direct access to the infrastructure at your cloud service providers may access this data.

Of course, these companies have strict policies against such intrusion but a rogue employee can do a lot of damage. Remember the incident when a departing Twitter employee deactivated the account of US President Donald Trump.

If you are one of the privacy cautious people, you would want the ease of cloud storage but with the added security layer of encrypted storage.

Now some services like pCloud do provide end to end encryption but that comes at an additional cost. If you could afford that, well and good. If not, you can use a free and open source tool like Cryptomator.

Cryptomator helps you secure your data by encrypting it before uploading it to any cloud storage services. In this article, I’m going to highlight the key features of Cryptomator along with instructions to use it.

Cryptomator: Add an encryption layer to your cloud data

Cryptomator is a solution to encrypt your data locally before uploading it to the cloud.

With this, you can create vaults locally and sync them to the cloud storage services you use.

It’s very easy to use and you don’t need to have any specific technical knowledge to encrypt your data – that’s what Cryptomator is tailored for.

Features of Cryptomator

Cryptomator is a simple encryption tool with the essential features. Here’s what it offers:

  • AES and 256-bit Encryption for files.
  • Ability to create a vault and sync it with the cloud storage service
  • Optional recovery key for your master password of the vault
  • Cross-platform support (Linux, Windows, macOS, Android, and iOS)
  • Supports the dark theme for a one-time license fee.
  • Supports WebDAV, FUSE, and Dokany for easy integration with your operating system.

Do note that the Android and iOS apps are paid apps that you have to purchase separately while the desktop program is completely free to use. Also, you need to purchase a one-time license to unlock the dark mode. Don’t blame them please. They need to make some money in order to develop this open source software.

Installing Cryptomator on Linux

Cryptomater provides an AppImage file that you can download to get started on any Linux distribution.

You can get it from its official download page. In case you don’t know, please read how to use an AppImage file to get started.

Download Cryptomator How To Use Cryptomator?

Attention!

Encryption is a double-edged sword. It can protect you and it can hurt you as well.
If you are encrypting your data and you forgot your encryption key, you’ll lose access to that data forever.
Cryptomator provides a recovery key option so please be careful with both password and the recovery key. Don’t forget it or lose the recovery key.

Once you have installed Cryptomator, it’s really easy to use it following the user interface or the official documentation.

But, to save you some time, I’ll highlight a few important things that you should know:

Setup Your Vault

After launching Cryptomator, you need to create the vault where you want to have your encrypted data.

This can be an existing location or a new custom directory as per your requirements.

Now that you proceed creating a new vault, you will also observe that you can open an existing vault as well (if you had one already). So, always have a backup of your vault, just in case.

Here, I am assuming that you are a new user. So, obviously, proceed to create a new vault and give it a name:

Next, you need to specify a storage location. If you already use OneDrive, Dropbox, Google Drive, or something similar, it might detect it automatically.

However, if it doesn’t, like in my case (I use pCloud), you can select the cloud-synced directory or any other custom location manually.

Once you select the location, you just need to create a password for it. It’s best to create a strong password that you can remember.

Also, I’d suggest you to opt for the recovery key and store it in a separate USB drive or just print it on a paper.

And, that’s it. You’re done creating your secure vault that you can sync with the cloud.

Now, how do you add files to it? Let’s take a look:

Adding Files To A Vault

Note: You can’t just go into the folder that you created from the file manager and files there. Follow the steps below to add files properly in your encrypted vault.

Once you’ve created your vault, you just need to unlock it by typing the password as shown in the image below. If you’re on your personal computer, you can choose to save the password without needing to enter it every time you access the vault. However, I advise not to do that. Manually entering the password help in remembering it.

Next, after unlocking the vault, you just need to click on “Reveal Vault” or reveal drive to open it using File Manager where you can access/modify or add files to it.

Backup / Recover Your Vault

You should simply copy-paste the folder you create to another USB drive or somewhere else other than your cloud storage folder to ensure that you have a backup of your vault.

It’s important to have the masterkey.cryptomator file of the vault in order to open it.

Upgrades, Preferences & Settings

Note

You should enable the auto-updates feature to ensure that you will have the most stable and error-free version automatically.

Apart from the most important functions of the Cryptomator app, you will get a couple of other features to tweak, such as:

  • Change the type of your virtual drive
  • Tweak the vault to read-only mode

You can explore the Vault options and the settings on Cryptomator to know about what else you can do.

Wrapping Up

Now that you know about Cryptomator, you can easily encrypt your important data locally before uploading them to the cloud.

What do you think about Cryptomator? Let us know your thoughts in the comments down below!

Manjaro 20 Lysia Arrives with ZFS and Snap Support

Tuesday 28th of April 2020 06:54:14 AM

Manjaro Linux has refreshed its ISO with Manjaro 20 “Lysia”. It now supports Snap and Flatpak packages in Pamac. ZFS option is added in Manjaro Architect installer and the latest kernel 5.6 is used as the base.

It’s raining new distribution releases. Ubuntu 20.04 LTS was released last week. Fedora 32 will be releasing shortly and Manjaro has released version 20 codenamed Lysia.

What’s new in Manjaro 20 Lysia?

Plenty actually. Let me show you some of the major new features in Manjaro 20.

New Matcha theme

Manjaro 20 has a new default theme called Matcha. It gives the desktop a more polished look.

Snap and Flatpak support in Pamac and terminal

Snap and Flatpak package support is improved. You can use them in command line if you want. If you are already using Manjaro, make sure to install the required plugins using pacman command.

sudo pacman -Syu pamac-snap-plugin sudo pacman -Syu pamac-flatpak-plugin

You can also enable Snap and Flatpak support in the Pamac GUI package manager.

Enable Snap support in Pamac Manjaro

Once enabled, you can find and install Snap/Flatpak applications in the Pamac software manager.

Snap applications in Pamac Pamac offers to install new software based on search (in GNOME)

In the GNOME variant, if you search for something, Pamac software manager will now offer to install software that match the query. GNOME Software Center does that in other distributions that use GNOME desktop.

ZFS support lands in Manjaro Architect

You can now easily use ZFS as root in Manjaro Linux. The ZFS file system support is available in Manjaro Architect.

Do note that I am saying Manjaro Architect, the terminal based installer. It’s not the same as the regular graphical Calamares installer.

Linux kernel 5.6

The latest stable Linux kernel 5.6 brings more hardware support for thunderbolt, Nvidia and USB4. You can also use WireGuard VPN.

Miscellaneous other features
  • New desktop environment versions: Xfce 4.14, GNOME 3.36 and KDE Plasma 5.18
  • zsh is the new default shell
  • Display-Profiles allows you to store one or more profiles for your preferred display configuration
  • Improved Gnome-Layout-Switcher
  • Latest drivers
  • Improved and polished Manjaro tools
How to get Manjaro 20 Lysia?

If you are already using it, just update your Manjaro Linux system and you should already be using version 20.

Manjaro uses a rolling release model which means you don’t have to manually upgrade from one version to another. You don’t have to reinstall as soon as there is a new version is released.

If Manjaro is rolling release distribution, why does it release a new version every now and then? It’s because they have to refresh the ISO so that new users downloading Manjaro will not have to install updates for last few years. This is why Arch Linux also refreshes its ISO every month.

Manjaro ‘ISO refreshes’ are codenamed and have a version because it helps the developers clearly mark each stage of development.

So, the bottom line is that if you are already using it, just update your Manjaro Linux system using Pamac or command line.

If you want to try Manjaro or if you want to use ZFS, then you can install Manjaro by downloading the ISO from its website:

Download Manjaro Linux

Enjoy the new release of Manjaro Linux.

Lubuntu 20.04 Review: Lightweight, Minimalistic, Polished

Monday 27th of April 2020 07:02:48 AM

Lubuntu 20.04 LTS is significantly different than its previous LTS version. It is aiming to give you a more polished experience rather than just focusing on older computer. Read more about it as I review Lubuntu 20.04.

Lubuntu 20.04 Review: First LTS release with LXQt

I have been using Lubuntu 20.04 from a few days before the release. I usually dwell in Arch world with Manjaro and Cinnamon desktop so using Lubuntu was a pleasant change for me.

Here’s what I have noticed and felt about Lubuntu 20.04.

Bye bye LXDE, Hello LXQt!

For a long time, Lubuntu relied on LXDE to provide a lightweight Linux experience. It now uses LXQt desktop environment.

LXDE is based on GTK (the libraries used by GNOME) and more specifically on GTK+ 2 which is dated in 2020. Dissatisfied with GTK+ 3, LXDE developer Hong Jen Yee decided to port the entire desktop to Qt (the libraries used by KDE). LXDE, the Qt port of it, and the Razor-qt project were combined to form LXQt. Although today, LXDE and LXQt coexist as separate projects.

Since LXDE developer itself is focusing on LXQt, it makes no sense for Lubuntu to stick with a desktop environment that had its last stable release more than three years ago.

Lubuntu 18.04 is the last version of with LXDE. Fortunately it’s a long term support edition. It will be supported officially by Lubuntu team till 2021.

Not exclusively for older machines

As the definition of “older machine” has changed in 2020 Lubuntu 18.04 is the last 32bit version. Nowadays even a 10 year old machine comes with at least 2 gigabytes of ram and a dual-core 64bit processor.

As per that, Lubuntu Team will no longer provide minimum system requirements and will no longer primarily focus on older hardware. Although LXQt is still a lightweight, classic yet polished and feature rich desktop environment.

The First Lubuntu release with LXQt was 18.10, giving the developers three standard releases to perfect the LXQt desktop before the Lubuntu 20.04 LTS release, which is a good development strategy.

Not the regular Ubiquity, Lubuntu 20.04 uses Calamares installer Lubuntu 20.04 Calamares Installer

A fresh installation begins with the new Calamares installer, in place of the Ubiquity installer that other official Ubuntu flavors use.

The whole process is done in approximately 10 minutes, slightly faster than the previous Lubuntu releases.

As the .iso comes with the essential applications pre-installed you can get your system fully configured pretty fast too.

No upgrade from Lubuntu 18.04 to Lubuntu 20.04

Normally, you can upgrade Ubuntu from one LTS to another LTS release. But Lubuntu team advises not to upgrade from Lubuntu 18.04 to 20.04. They recommend a fresh install and rightly so.

Lubuntu 18.04 used LXDE desktop while 20.04 uses LXQt. Due to the extensive changes in the desktop environments, upgrading to 20.04 from 18.04 will result in a broken system.

More KDE and Qt applications

Here are some of the applications that are available by default in this new release and as I can see, not all of them are lightweight and most of them are Qt-based.

Even the software center used is KDE’s Discover instead of Ubuntu’s GNOME software center.

  • Ark – archive manager
  • Bluedevil – bluetooth connector
  • Discover Software Center – package management system
  • FeatherPad – text editor
  • FireFox – web browser
  • K3b – CD/DVD burner
  • Kcalc – calculator
  • KDE partition manager – partition manager
  • LibreOffice – Office suite (Qt interface version)
  • LXimage-Qt – image viewer and screenshot tool
  • Muon – package manager
  • Noblenote – note taker
  • PCManFM-Qt – File manager
  • Qlipper – clipboard manager
  • qPDFview – PDF viewer
  • PulseAudio – audio controller
  • Qtransmission – bittorrent client (Qt interface version)
  • Quassel – IRC client
  • ScreenGrab – Screenshot creator
  • Skanlite – scanning
  • Startup Disk Creator – USB boot disk maker
  • Trojita – email client
  • VLC – media player
  • MPV video player
Testing Lubuntu 20.04 LTS

Boot times on the LXQt version of Lubuntu are under a minute, booting from an SSD though.

LXQt currently requires slightly more memory than the Gtk+ v2-based LXDE, but the alternative Gtk+ v3 toolkit would also have required more memory.

After a reboot the system runs approximately at a very low of 340 MB for the modern standards, 100 MB more than LXDE.

htop running on Lubuntu 20.04

LXQt is not only for users with an older hardware but also for those who are seeking a simple and classic experience at their new machine.

The desktop layout looks similar to KDE’s Plasma desktop, don’t you think?

Lubuntu 20.04 Desktop

There’s an application menu in the lower-left corner, a taskbar for pinned and active applications, and a system tray in the lower-right corner.

Lubuntu in its LXQt version can be easily customized and everything is in the menu under preferences, with most key items under LXQt Settings.

It is worth-mentioning that LXQt uses the popular Openbox window manager by default.

Like the last three releases, 20.04 LTS comes with a default dark theme Lubuntu Arc, but it is quick and easy to change it if it doesn’t suit your taste.

In daily use, Lubuntu 20.04 has proven to me completely trouble-free as every Ubuntu flavour in fact.

Conclusion

Lubuntu team has successfully made the transition to a modern, still lightweight and minimal desktop environment. LXDE looks like abandoned and it is a good thing to move away to an active project.

I hope that Lubuntu 20.04 makes you as much enthusiastic as I am, and if so don’t hesitate to let me know at the comments below. Stay tuned!

Using Files and Folders on Desktop Screen in Ubuntu

Sunday 26th of April 2020 07:25:32 AM

This beginner tutorial discusses a few difficulties you may face while adding files and folders on the desktop screen on Ubuntu.

I know a few people who are habitual of putting all the important/frequently used files on the desktop screen for quick access.

I am not a fan of a cluttered desktop screen but I can imagine that it might actually be helpful to some people.

For the past few releases, it has been difficult to add files on the desktop screen in Ubuntu’s default GNOME desktop. It’s not really Ubuntu’s fault.

The GNOME developers thinks that there is no place for icons and files on the desktop screen. There is no need of putting files on the desktop when you can easily search for it in the menu. And that’s part true.

This is why the newer version of GNOME’s File Manager Nautilus doesn’t support icons and files on the desktop very well.

That said, it’s not impossible to add files and folders on the desktop. Let me show you how you can still use it.

Adding files and folders on the desktop screen in Ubuntu

I am using Ubuntu 20.04 in this tutorial. The steps may or may not vary for other Ubuntu versions.

Add the files and folders to the “Desktop folder”

If you open the file manager, you should see an entry called Desktop in the left sidebar or in the folders list. This folder represents your desktop screen (in a way).

Desktop folder can be used to add files to the desktop screen

Anything you add to this folder will be reflected on the desktop screen.

Anything added to the Desktop folder will be reflected on the desktop screen

If you delete files from this ‘Desktop folder’, it will be removed from the desktop screen as well.

Drag and drop files to desktop screen doesn’t work

Now, if you try to drag and drop files from the file manager on the desktop, it won’t work. It’s not a bug, it’s a feature that irks a lot of people.

A workaround would be to open two instances of the file manager. Open Desktop folder in one of them and then drag and drop files to this folder and they will be added on the desktop.

I know that’s not ideal but you don’t have a lot of choices here.

You cannot use Ctrl+C and Ctrl+V to copy-paste on the desktop, use the right click menu

To add salt to injury, you cannot use Ctrl+V the famous keyboard shortcut to paste files on the desktop screen.

But you can still use the right click context menu and select Paste from there to put the copied files on the desktop. You can even create new folders this way.

Right click menu can be used for copy-pasting files to desktop

Does it make sense? Not to me but that’s how it is in Ubuntu 20.04.

You cannot delete files and folder using the Delete key, use the right click menu again

What’s worse is that you cannot use the delete key or shift delete key to remove files from the desktop screen. But you can still right click on the files or folders and select “Move to trash” to delete the file.

Delete files from desktop using right click

Alright, so now you know that at least there is a way to add files on the desktop with some restrictions. But it doesn’t end here unfortunately.

You cannot search for files with their names on the desktop screen. Normally, if you start typing ‘abc’, files starting with ‘abc’ are highlighted. You don’t get it here.

I don’t know why so many restrictions have been put on adding files on the desktop. Thankfully, I don’t use it a lot otherwise I have been way too frustrated.

If interested, you may read about adding application shortcut on the desktop in Ubuntu as well.

What Happened to IPv5? Why there is IPv4, IPv6 but no IPv5?

Friday 24th of April 2020 05:50:28 AM

If you have spent any amount of time in the world of the internet, you should have heard about the IPv4 and IPv6 protocols that our computers use every day.

One question that you might be asking is: Why there is no IPv5? Why IPv6 came after IPv4 and not IPv5? Was there ever a IPv5 and if yes, whatever happened to IPv5?

The answer is yes, there was an IPv5…sort of. Let me quickly explain a few things around it.

The early history of the internet ARPA Logical Map in 1977 | Image courtesy: Wikipedia

In the late 1960s, the US Department of Defense’s Advanced Research Projects Agency (ARPA) started a project to link computers across the country. The initial goal was to create a networked system of all of the ARPA-funded computers across the country.

Since this was the first time a network of this scale was put together, they were also creating the technology and hardware as they went. One of the first things they worked was an internet protocol (IP) named Transmission Control Protocol (TCP). This protocol “reliable, ordered, and error-checked delivery of a stream of octets (bytes) between applications running on hosts communicating via an IP network”. Basically, it made sure data got where it needed to go safely.

Originally, TCP was designed to be “a host-level, end-to-end protocol and a packaging and routing protocol”. However, they realized that they needed to split the protocol to make it more manageable. It was decided that IP would handle packaging and routing.

By this time TCP had gone through three versions, so the new protocol became known as IPv4.

The birth of IPv5

IPv5 started life under a different name: Internet Stream Protocol (or ST). It was created to experiment with streaming voice and video “by Apple, NeXT, and Sun Microsystems”.

This new protocol was capable of “transferring data packets on specific frequencies while maintaining communication”.

So what happened to IPv5?

IPv5 was never accepted as an official internet protocol. This was mainly due to the 32-bit limitation.

IPV5 used the same addressing system as IPv4. Each address was made up of four sets of numbers between 0 and 255. This limited the number of possible addresses to 4.3 billion.

In the early 1970s, that might have seemed like more than the world would ever need. However, the explosive growth of the Internet proved that idea wrong. In 2011, the world officially ran out of the IPv4 addresses.

In the 1990s, a new project was started to work on the next generation of internet protocol (IPng). This led to the 128-bit IPv6. An IPv6 address contains a “series of eight 4-character hexadecimal numbers” that can contain numbers from 0 to 9 and letters from A to F. Unlike IPv4, IPv6 had trillions of possible addresses, so we should be safe for a while.

Meanwhile, IPv5 laid the groundwork for the voice-over-IP technology that we use to communicate all over the world today. So, I guess in some small way, you could say that IPv5 still survives to this day.

I hope you liked this anecdote about internet history. You may read some other trivia article about Linux and tech in general.

If you found this article interesting, please take a minute to share it on social media, Hacker News or Reddit.

Ubuntu 20.04 LTS Released. Download Now!

Thursday 23rd of April 2020 03:37:26 PM

Brief: Ubuntu 20.04 LTS Focal Fossa has been finally released. Here is a quick recap of the new features and the download links for Ubuntu 20.04 and the official flavours for it.

The wait is finally over. Ubuntu 20.04 LTS has finally arrived and is available to download!

If you were already using Ubuntu 19.10, you may not notice a lot of noticeable differences – but the list of improvements that I’m looking at is indeed impressive.

If you’re curious about what’s new, I’ll mention a few key highlights for this release.

Ubuntu 20.04: What’s new?

Considering the previous 18.04 LTS release, Ubuntu 20.04 LTS involves a lot of visual changes and under-the-hood improvements as well.

Of course, with the addition of GNOME 3.36, a major visual upgrade and the performance improvement is quite obvious. Here’s a video highlighting what’s new in Ubuntu 20.04:

You can also dive into one of our articles highlighting new features of Ubuntu 20.04, if you’re curious.

In either case, let me just give you some highlights:

  • GNOME 3.36 is the default desktop
  • The performance has improved a lot
  • The new Yaru theme is gorgeous, comes in dark mode as well
  • You won’t have to see the Amazon app anymore, it’s gone for good!
  • Improved ZFS support
  • You get the latest Linux Kernel 5.4 (LTS)
  • Adds exFAT support
  • Improved hardware and graphics support
  • GameMode for better gaming performance for compatible games
  • Updated software Python 3.8.2
  • Wireguard is being backported to Linux Kernel 5.4 to be utilized on Ubuntu 20.04

If you want to see the features in detail and in action, please watch this video highlighting the best features of 20.04 LTS:

Subscribe to our YouTube channel for more Linux videos

In case you’re new to Ubuntu and have questions about Ubuntu 20.04, we also have a quick Ubuntu 20.04 FAQ article for you.

Upgrade to Ubuntu 20.04 from 18.04 and 19.10

If you are already using Ubuntu 18.04 or 19.10, you can easily upgrade to Ubuntu 20.04 from within your system.

This way, your files and most of the applications settings remain as it is while you start using the new version without reinstalling it from the ISO.

You can read this detailed tutorial to learn how to upgrade Ubuntu to a newer version.

Please note that if you are using Lubuntu 18.04, you must not upgrade to Lubuntu 20.04. Lubuntu 18.04 used Lxde desktop while later versions use LXQt desktop. Upgrading this way result in conflicts and possible broken system.

Download Ubuntu 20.04 LTS

You can grab the ISO or the torrent file, depending on what you prefer:

Ubuntu 20.04 LTS (ISO) Ubuntu 20.04 LTS (Torrent)

Please follow this tutorial to learn how to install Ubuntu.

Download Ubuntu 20.04 LTS Official Flavours

If you want to grab an official flavour of Ubuntu with a different desktop environment, please follow the links below.

Ubuntu MATE 20.04 LTS Kubuntu 20.04 LTS Xubuntu 20.04 LTS Ubuntu Budgie 20.04 LTS Ubuntu Studio 20.04 LTS Lubuntu 20.04 LTS

If you don’t find the latest ISO/torrent file listed in their respective official sites, simply head to cdimages.ubuntu.com to find all the flavours listed. Next, navigate to the name-of-the-distro -> releases -> 20.04 -> release and then you should find the links to the ISO and the torrent files listed.

If you have questions, please refer to this article that answers frequently asked questions about Ubuntu 20.04. If you are going to install it, do check our recommended things to do after installing Ubuntu 20.04.

Enjoy Ubuntu 20.04 LTS Focal Fossa!

16 Things to do After Installing Ubuntu 20.04

Thursday 23rd of April 2020 11:47:08 AM

Here is a list of tweaks and things to do after installing Ubuntu 20.04, to get a smoother and better desktop Linux experience.

Ubuntu 20.04 LTS brings plenty of new features and visual changes. If you choose to install Ubuntu 20.04, let me show you a few recommended steps that you can follow to get started with it.

16 Things to do after installing Ubuntu 20.04 LTS “Focal Fossa”

The steps I am going to mention here are my recommendation. You may ignore a few customization or tweaks if they don’t suit your need and interest.

Similarly, some steps may seem too simple but essential for someone completely new to Ubuntu.

A number of suggestions here are suited for the default Ubuntu 20.04 with GNOME desktop. So please check which Ubuntu version and which desktop environment you are using.

Let’s get started with the list of things to do after installing Ubuntu 20.04 LTS codenamed Focal Fossa.

1. Get your system ready by updating and enabling additional repos

The first thing you should do after installing Ubuntu or any other Linux distribution is to update it. Linux works on a local database of available packages. And this cache needs to be synced in order for you to be able to install any software.

It is very easy to update Ubuntu. You can run the software updater from the menu (press Windows key and search for software updater):

Software Updater in Ubuntu 20.04

You may also use the following command in the terminal to update your system:

sudo apt update && sudo apt upgrade

Next, you should make sure that you have universe and multiverse repositories enabled. You’ll have access to a lot more software with these repositories. I also recommend reading about Ubuntu repositories to learn the basic concept behind it.

Search for Software & Updates in the menu:

Software & Updates Settings

Make sure to check the boxes in front of the repositories:

Enable additional repositories 2. Install media codecs to play MP3, MPEG4 and other media files

If you want to play media files like MP3, MPEG4, AVI etc, you’ll need to install media codecs. Ubuntu doesn’t install it by default because of copyright issues in various countries.

As an individual, you can install these media codecs easily using the Ubuntu Restricted Extra package. This will install media codecs, Adobe Flash player and Microsoft True Type Fonts in your Ubuntu system.

You can install it by clicking this link (it will asked to be open in software center) or use this command:

sudo apt install ubuntu-restricted-extras

If you encounter the EULA or the license screen, remember to use the tab key to select between the options and then hit enter to confirm your choice.

Press tab to select OK and press enter 3. Install software from the software center or the web

Now that you have set up the repositories and updated the package cache, you should start installing software that you need.

There are several ways of installing applications in Ubuntu. The easiest and the official way is to use the Software Center.

Ubuntu Software Center

If you want some recommendation about software, please refer to this extensive list of Ubuntu applications for different purposes.

Some software vendors provide .deb files to easily install their application. You may get the deb files from their website. For example, to install Google Chrome on Ubuntu, you can get the deb file from its website and double click on it to start the installation.

Note: There is an issue in Ubuntu 20.04 and double-clicking on .deb file doesn’t open it in software center. Read how to fix the issue of .deb file not working in Ubuntu 20.04.

4. Enjoy gaming with Steam Proton and GameMode

Gaming on Linux has come a long way. You are not restricted to a handful of games included by default. You can install Steam on Ubuntu and enjoy a good number of games.

Steam’s new Proton project enables you to play a number of Windows-only games on Linux. In addition to that, Ubuntu 20.04 comes with Feral Interactive’s GameMode installed by default.

The GameMode automatically adjust Linux system performance to give more priority to games than other background processes.

This means some games that support the GameMode (like Rise of Tomb Raiders) should have improved performance on Ubuntu.

5. Manage auto-updates (for intermediate and experts)

Recently, Ubuntu has started to automatically download and install security updates that are essential to your system. This is a security feature as a regular user, you should leave it as it is,

But if you like to do everything on your own and this auto-update is frequently leading you to “Unable to lock the administration directory” error, maybe you can change the auto updates behavior.

You can opt for the Show immediately so that it notifies you of security updates as soon as they are available instead of automatically installing.

Control the auto updates settings 6. Control automatic suspend and screenlock for laptops

If you are using Ubuntu 20.04 on a laptop then you may want to pay attention to a few power and screenlock settings.

If your laptop is on battery mode, Ubuntu will suspend the system after 20 minutes of inactivity. This is done to save battery power. Personally, I don’t like it and thus I disable it.

Similarly, if you leave your system for a few minutes, it automatically locks the screen. I don’t like this behavior as well so I prefer disabling it.

Power Settings in Ubuntu 20.04 7. Enjoy dark mode

One of the most talked about features of Ubuntu 20.04 is the dark mode. You can enable the dark mode by going into Settings and selecting it under Appearance section.

Enable Dark Theme Ubuntu

You may have to do some additional tweaking to get full dark mode in Ubuntu 20.04.

8. Control desktop icons and launcher

If you want a minimal looking desktop, you can disable the icons on the desktop. You can also disable the launcher from the left side and the appindicators in the top panel.

All this can be controlled via the new GNOME Extensions that is already available by default.

By the way, you can also change the position of the launcher to the bottom or to the right by going to the Settings->Appearance.

9. Use emojis (smileys) and special characters or disable it from the search

Ubuntu provides an easy way to use smiley or the emoticons. There is a dedicated application called Characters installed by default. It basically gives you Unicode of the emojis.

Not only emojis, you can use it to get the unicode for French, German, Russian and Latin characters. Clicking on the symbol gives you the opportunity to copy the unicode and when you paste this code, your chosen symbol should be typed.

Emoji Ubuntu

You’ll find these special characters and emoticons appearing in the desktop search as well. You can copy them from the search results as well.

Emojis appear in desktop search

If you don’t want to see them in search results, you should disable their access to the search feature. The next section discuss how to do that.

10. Master the desktop search

The GNOME desktop has a powerful search feature. Most people use it for searching installed applications but it is more than just that.

Press the super key (Windows key) and search for something. It will show any applications that matches that search term, followed by system settings and matching applications available in the software center.

Desktop search

Not only that, the search can also find text inside files. If you are using the calendar, it can also find your meetings and reminders. You can even do quick calculations in the search and copy its result.

Quick Calculations Ubuntu Search

You can control what can be searched and in which order by going into Settings.

11. Use nightlight feature to reduce eye strain at night

If you use your computer or smartphone at night, you should use the night light feature to reduce eye strain. I feel that it helps a lot.

The night light feature adds a yellow tint to the screen which is less pinching than the white light.

You can enable night light in the Settings -> Displays and switching to Night Light tab. You can set the ‘yellowness’ as per your liking.

Nightlight feature 12. Got a 2K/4K screen? Use fractional scaling to get bigger icons and fonts

If you feel that the icons, fonts, folders everything looks too small on your HiDPI screen, you can take advantage of the fractional scaling.

Enabling fractional scaling gives you more options to increase the size between 100% to 200%. You can choose the scaling size that suits your preference.

Enable fractional scaling from Settings -> Displays 13. Explore GNOME Extensions to extend the usability of GNOME desktop

The GNOME desktop has tiny plugins or add-ons called Extensions. You should learn to use GNOME extensions to extend the usability of your system.

As you can see in the image below, the weather extension shows the weather information in the top panel. A tiny but useful thing. You may also take a look at some of best GNOME extensions here. Don’t install all of them, use only those that are useful to you.

Weather Extension 14. Enable ‘do not disturb’ mode and focus on work

If you want to concentrate on work, disabling desktop notifications would come handy. You can easily enable ‘do not disturb’ mode and mute all notifications.

Enable ‘Do Not Disturb’ to get rid of desktop notifications

These notifications will still be in the message tray so that you can read them later but they won’t pop up on the desktop anymore.

15. Clean your system

This is something you don’t need to do right after installing Ubuntu. But keeping it in mind will help you.

Over the time, your system will have significant amount of packages that won’t be needed anymore. You can remove them all in one go with this command:

sudo apt autoremove

There are other ways to clean Ubuntu to free disk space but this is the easiest and safest.

16. Tweak and customize the GNOME desktop to your liking

I highly recommend installing GNOME Tweaks tool. This will give you access to a few additional settings to tweak.

Gnome Tweaks Tool

For example, you can display battery percentage, fix right click in touchpad issue, change shell theme, change mouse pointer speed, display date and week numbers, change application window behavior etc.

There is no end to customization and I cannot probably most of them here. This is why I recommend reading these articles about customizing GNOME desktop.

You can also install new themes in Ubuntu though personally, I like the default theme in this release. This is the first time that I have stuck with the default icons and theme in an Ubuntu release.

What do you do after installing Ubuntu?

If you are an Ubuntu beginner, I recommend going through this collection of Ubuntu tutorials to get started with it.

So these were my recommendations. What are the steps you follow after installing Ubuntu? Share your favorite things and I might update this article with your suggestions.

Debian’s Decision to Drop Old Drivers has Upset Vintage Hardware Users

Wednesday 22nd of April 2020 09:41:33 AM

It is always a tough decision to drop support for older hardware for the latest Linux distribution releases. Just like Ubuntu decided to drop support for 32-bit systems, Debian’s X Strike Force (XFS) team decided to drop a list of input and video drivers.

Debian is considering to drop support for really old hardware

In case you didn’t know, the XFS team is responsible for maintaining packages the X Window System in Debian. And, the list of drivers that they want to remove are:

  • xserver-xorg-input-aiptek
  • xserver-xorg-input-elographics
  • xserver-xorg-input-mtrack
  • xserver-xorg-input-mutouch
  • xserver-xorg-input-void
  • server-xorg-video-ast
  • xserver-xorg-video-mach64
  • xserver-xorg-video-neomagic
  • xserver-xorg-video-r128
  • xserver-xorg-video-savage
  • xserver-xorg-video-siliconmotion
  • xserver-xorg-video-sisusb
  • xserver-xorg-video-tdfx
  • xserver-xorg-video-trident

So, Mach 64, ATI Rage R128, Savage, Silicon Motion, SiS, Trident, and NeoMagic are some of the graphics chipsets that would be affected. The reason (as stated by them) to drop these drivers is:

They are either unmaintained upstream or provide no value to the distribution.

Now, that could make sense, if the packages are no longer maintained. But, upstream some of these X.org drivers are still maintained even if there are no frequent updates to them. For instance, in 2018, a new display driver update was released for the ATI RAGE 128, as reported by Phoronix.

Vintage hardware owners are going to be upset

Obviously, the vintage hardware users aren’t quite happy with the decision because a handful of people still own (or actively use) old hardware i.e. around 20 years older.

From the original list of drivers mentioned in the bug report, Geode display driver was initially decided to be removed but wasn’t dropped.

It was also reported that the “xserver-xorg-video-r128” driver is required for older Apple hardware (iMac). And, a user reported about the missing video driver on his iMac.

For most of the users, this decision may not actually affect any “production” systems because I don’t think anyone is probably going to utilize 20-year old hardware for commercial purposes.

The hobbyists and collectors who like to preserve older tech are surely going to be impacted by this decision.

Wrapping Up

In my opinion, dropping the support for incredibly dated hardware is not entirely a bad move.

But, if there is a demand for the support of vintage hardware, the fair share of users who want the drivers to be added in Debian should help maintain those packages. If not, I don’t think it won’t be a wise choice to have an unmaintained piece of code in Debian.

What do you think about this? Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments below!

Things You Should Know About Ubuntu 20.04

Tuesday 21st of April 2020 04:15:00 AM

Ubuntu 20.04 release is just around the corner and you may have a few questions and doubts regarding upgrades, installation etc.

I hosted some Q&A sessions on various social media channels to answer doubts of readers like you.

I am going to list these common questions about Ubuntu 20.04 with their answers. I hope it helps you clear the doubts you have. And if you still have questions, feel free to ask in the comment section below.

Ubuntu 20.04: Your Questions Answered

Just to clarify, some of the answers here maybe influenced by my personal opinion. If you are an experienced Ubuntu user, some of the questions may sound silly to you but it not to the new Ubuntu users.

When will Ubuntu 20.04 be released?

Ubuntu 20.04 LTS is releasing on 23rd April 2020. All the participating flavors like Kubuntu, Lubuntu, Xubuntu, Budgie, MATE etc will have their 20.04 release available on the same day.

What are the system requirements for Ubuntu 20.04?

For the default GNOME version, you should have a minimum 4 GB of RAM, 2 GHz dual core processor and at least 25 GB of disk space.

Other Ubuntu flavors may have different system requirements.

Can I use Ubuntu 20.04 on 32-bit systems?

No, not at all. You cannot use Ubuntu 20.04 on 32-bit systems. Even if you are using 32-bit Ubuntu 18.04, you cannot upgrade to Ubuntu 20.04. There is ISO for 32-bit systems for past several years.

Error while upgrading 32-bit Ubuntu 18.04 to Ubuntu 20.04 Can I use Wine on Ubuntu 20.04?

Yes, you can still use Wine on Ubuntu 20.04 as the 32-bit lib support is still there for packages needed by Wine and Steam Play.

Do I have to pay for Ubuntu 20.04 or purchase a license?

No, Ubuntu is completely free to use. You don’t have to buy a license key or activate Ubuntu like you do in Windows.

The download section of Ubuntu requests you to donate some money but it’s up to you if you want to give some money for developing this awesome operating system.

What GNOME version does it have?

Ubuntu 20.04 has GNOME 3.36.

Does Ubuntu 20.04 have better performance than Ubuntu 18.04?

Yes, in several aspects. Ubuntu 20.04 installs faster and it even boost faster. I have shown the performance comparison in the video below at 4:40 minutes.

The scroll, Windows animation and other UI elements are more fluid and give a smoother experience in GNOME 3.36.

How long will Ubuntu 20.04 be supported?

It is a long-term support (LTS) release and like any LTS release, it will be supported for five years. Which means that Ubuntu 20.04 will get security and maintenance updates until April 2025.

Will I lose data while upgrading to Ubuntu 20.04?

You can upgrade to Ubuntu 20.04 from Ubuntu 19.10 or Ubuntu 18.04. You don’t need to create a live USB and install from it. All you need is a good internet connection that can download around 1.5 GB of data.

Upgrading from an existing system doesn’t harm your files. You should have all your files as it is and most of your existing software should be either have the same version or upgraded versions.

If you have used some third-party tools or additional PPA, the upgrade procedure will disable them. You can enable these additional repositories again if they are available for Ubuntu 20.04.

Upgrading takes like an hour and after a restart, you will be logged in to the newer version.

Though your data will not be touched and you won’t lose system files and configurations, it is always a good idea to make backup of important data externally.

When will I get to upgrade to Ubuntu 20.04?

If you are using Ubuntu 19.10 and have correct update settings in place (as mentioned in the earlier sections), you should be notified for upgrading to Ubuntu 20.04 within a few days of Ubuntu 18.04 release.

For Ubuntu 18.04 users, it may take some weeks before they are officially notified of the availability of Ubuntu 18.04. Probably, you may get the prompt after the first point release of Ubuntu 20.04.1.

If I upgrade to Ubuntu 20.04, can I downgrade to 19.10 or 18.04?

No, you cannot. While upgrading to a newer version is easy, there is no option to downgrade.  If you want to go back to Ubuntu 18.04, you’ll have install Ubuntu 18.04 again.

I am using Ubuntu 18.04 LTS. Should I Upgrade to Ubuntu 20.04 LTS?

That depends upon you. If you are impressed by the new features in Ubuntu 20.04 and want to get your hands on it, you should upgrade.

If you want a more stable system, I advise waiting for the first point release Ubuntu 20.04.1 release that will have bug fixes in the new release. 20.04.1 should typically be coming approximately two months after the release of Ubuntu 20.04.

In either case, I recommend upgrading to Ubuntu 20.04 sooner or later. Ubuntu 20.04 has newer kernel, performance improvement and above all newer versions of software available in the repository.

Make a backup on external disk and with a good internet connectivity, the upgrade should not be an issue.

Should I do a fresh install of Ubuntu 20.04 or upgrade to it from 18.04/19.10?

If you have a choice, make a backup of your data and do a fresh install of Ubuntu 20.04.

Upgrading to 20.04 from an existing version is a convenient option. However, in my opinion, it still keeps some traces/packages of the older version. A fresh install is always cleaner.

Any other questions about Ubuntu 20.04?

If you have any other doubts regarding Ubuntu 20.04, please feel free to leave a comment below. If you think some other information should be added to the list, please let me know.

MystiQ: A Free and Open Source Audio/Video Converter

Monday 20th of April 2020 10:19:03 AM

Brief: MystiQ is a new open-source video converter tool available for Linux and Windows. It uses FFMPEG underneath and provides you a neat and clean graphical interface based on Qt.

MystiQ, a QT-based GUI Frontend for FFmpeg

An audio/video conversion tool always comes in handy for every computer user across multiple platforms.

For that very same reason, I thought it would be a great idea to highlight the MystiQ app – which is a relatively new video/audio converter tool available for Linux and Windows users. As of now, there’s no support for macOS – but it could arrive in the near future.

MystiQ is a graphical frontend for FFmpeg based on Qt 5 user interface. Now, you can always install and use ffmpeg in Linux command line but that’s not very comfortable, is it? This is why tools like Handbrake and MystiQ exist to make our life easier.

Since MystiQ is based on FFmpeg, you can use it for some basic video editing like trimming a video, rotating it etc.

Let’s have a look at its features.

Features of MystiQ video converter

Even though the MystiQ app is fairly new to the scene – it packs a good set of essential features. Here’s an overview of what it offers:

  • Video conversion
  • Audio conversion (extracting the audio from the video as well)
  • Formats supported: MP4, WEBM, MKV, MP3, MOV, OGG, WAV, ASF, FLV, 3GP, M4A, and a few others.
  • Cross-platform (Windows & Linux)
  • Packages for both 32-bit and 64-bit systems available
  • Ability to tweak the audio quality (sample rate, bit rate, etc,.) for conversion
  • Basic video editing capabilities (clipping the video, inserting a subtitle, rotating the video, scaling the video, etc)
  • Convert your color video to black and white
  • Several presets available to easily convert a video for the best quality or for the best compression.
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Recommended Read:

.ugb-f0e7462 .ugb-blog-posts__featured-image{border-radius:0px !important}.ugb-f0e7462 .ugb-blog-posts__title a{color:#000000 !important}.ugb-f0e7462 .ugb-blog-posts__title a:hover{color:#00b6ba !important}Easily Convert Audio File Formats with SoundConverter in Linux

If you are looking for converting audio file formats to wav, mp3, ogg or any other format, SoundConverter is the tool you need in Linux.

Installing MystiQ

You may not find it listed in your software center – but it is quite easy to get it installed on a Linux distro.

It provides an .AppImage file and .deb/.rpm files (with 32-bit and 64-bit packages). If you’re curious, you can read how to use the AppImage file if you want to use that.

You can also find their GitHub page and look at the source code or any recent pre-release packages if you want to help them test the software to improve it.

You can download the installer files for both Linux and Windows from its official website.

Download MystiQ

Wrapping Up

For this quick highlight article, I used Pop!_OS 20.04 to test the MytiQ converter app and I had no issues converting video and audio files. And, the conversion was fast enough for an average user like me.

Feel free to try it out and let me know your thoughts on it! Also, if you’ve been using another tool to convert videos and audio on Linux, what is it?

Getting Started With Pacman Commands in Arch-based Linux Distributions

Saturday 18th of April 2020 03:21:52 PM

Brief: This beginner’s guide shows you what you can do with pacmancommands in Linux, how to use them to find new packages, install and upgrade new packages, and clean your system.

The pacman package manager is one of the main difference between Arch Linux and other major distributions like Red Hat and Ubuntu/Debian. It combines a simple binary package format with an easy-to-use build system. The aim of pacman is to easily manage packages, either from the official repositories or the user’s own builds.

If you ever used Ubuntu or Debian-based distributions, you might have used the apt-get or apt commands. Pacman is the equivalent in Arch Linux. If you just installed Arch Linux, one of the first few things to do after installing Arch Linux is to learn to use pacman commands.

In this beginner’s guide, I’ll explain some of the essential usage of the pacmand command that you should know for managing your Arch-based system.

Essential pacman commands Arch Linux users should know

Like other package managers, pacman can synchronize package lists with the software repositories to allow the user to download and install packages with a simple command by solving all required dependencies.

Install packages with pacman

You can install a single package or multiple packages using pacman command in this fashion:

pacman -S _package_name1_ _package_name2_ ... Installing a package

The -S stands for synchronization. It means that pacman first synchronizes

The pacman database categorises the installed packages in two groups according to the reason why they were installed:

  • explicitly-installed: the packages that were installed by a generic pacman -S or -U command
  • dependencies: the packages that were implicitly installed because required by another package that was explicitly installed.
Remove an installed package

To remove a single package, leaving all of its dependencies installed:

pacman -R package_name_ Removing a package

To remove a package and its dependencies which are not required by any other installed package:

pacman -Rs _package_name_

To remove dependencies that are no longer needed. For example, the package which needed the dependencies was removed.

pacman -Qdtq | pacman -Rs - Upgrading packages

Pacman provides an easy way to update Arch Linux. You can update all installed packages with just one command. This could take a while depending on how up-to-date the system is.

The following command synchronizes the repository databases and updates the system’s packages, excluding “local” packages that are not in the configured repositories:

pacman -Syu
  • S stands for sync
  • y is for refresh (local
  • u is for system update

Basically it is saying that sync to central repository (master package database), refresh the local copy of the master package database and then perform the system update (by updating all packages that have a newer version available).

System update

Attention!

If you are an Arch Linux user before upgrading, it is advised to visit the Arch Linux home page to check the latest news for out-of-the-ordinary updates. If manual intervention is needed an appropriate news post will be made. Alternatively you can subscribe to the RSS feed or the arch-announce mailing list.

Be also mindful to look over the appropriate forum before upgrading fundamental software (such as the kernel, xorg, systemd, or glibc), for any reported problems.

Partial upgrades are unsupported at a rolling release distribution such as Arch and Manjaro. That means when new library versions are pushed to the repositories, all the packages in the repositories need to be rebuilt against the libraries. For example, if two packages depend on the same library, upgrading only one package, might break the other package which depends on an older version of the library.

Use pacman to search for packages

Pacman queries the local package database with the -Q flag, the sync database with the -S flag and the files database with the -F flag.

Pacman can search for packages in the database, both in packages’ names and descriptions:

pacman -Ss _string1_ _string2_ ... Searching for a package

To search for already installed packages:

pacman -Qs _string1_ _string2_ ...

To search for package file names in remote packages:

pacman -F _string1_ _string2_ ...

To view the dependency tree of a package:

pactree _package_naenter code hereme_ Cleaning the package cache

Pacman stores its downloaded packages in /var/cache/pacman/pkg/ and does not remove the old or uninstalled versions automatically. This has some advantages:

  1. It allows to downgrade a package without the need to retrieve the previous version through other sources.
  2. A package that has been uninstalled can easily be reinstalled directly from the cache folder.

However, it is necessary to clean up the cache periodically to prevent the folder to grow in size.

The paccache(8) script, provided within the pacman-contrib package, deletes all cached versions of installed and uninstalled packages, except for the most recent 3, by default:

paccache -r Clear cache

To remove all the cached packages that are not currently installed, and the unused sync database, execute:

pacman -Sc

To remove all files from the cache, use the clean switch twice, this is the most aggressive approach and will leave nothing in the cache folder:

pacman -Scc Installing local or third-party packages

Install a ‘local’ package that is not from a remote repository:

pacman -U _/path/to/package/package_name-version.pkg.tar.xz_

Install a ‘remote’ package, not contained in an official repository:

pacman -U http://www.example.com/repo/example.pkg.tar.xz Bonus: Troubleshooting common errors with pacman

Here are some common errors you may encounter while managing packages with pacman.

Failed to commit transaction (conflicting files)

If you see the following error:

error: could not prepare transaction error: failed to commit transaction (conflicting files) package: /path/to/file exists in filesystem Errors occurred, no packages were upgraded.

This is happening because pacman has detected a file conflict and will not overwrite files for you.

A safe way to solve this is to first check if another package owns the file (pacman -Qo /path/to/file). If the file is owned by another package, file a bug report. If the file is not owned by another package, rename the file which ‘exists in filesystem’ and re-issue the update command. If all goes well, the file may then be removed.

Instead of manually renaming and later removing all the files that belong to the package in question, you may explicitly run pacman -S –overwrite glob package to force pacman to overwrite files that match glob.

Failed to commit transaction (invalid or corrupted package)

Look for .part files (partially downloaded packages) in /var/cache/pacman/pkg/ and remove them. It is often caused by usage of a custom XferCommand in pacman.conf.

Failed to init transaction (unable to lock database)

When pacman is about to alter the package database, for example installing a package, it creates a lock file at /var/lib/pacman/db.lck. This prevents another instance of pacman from trying to alter the package database at the same time.

If pacman is interrupted while changing the database, this stale lock file can remain. If you are certain that no instances of pacman are running then delete the lock file.

Check if a process is holding the lock file:

lsof /var/lib/pacman/db.lck

If the above command doesn’t return anything, you can remove the lock file:

rm /var/lib/pacman/db.lck

If you find the PID of the process holding the lock file with lsof command output, kill it first and then remove the lock file.

I hope you like my humble effort in explaining the basic pacman commands. Please leave your comments below and don’t forget to subscribe on our social media. Stay safe!

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