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Updated: 2 hours 22 min ago

On the Personal Edition Controversy, LibreOffice Board Assures the Community That it Will Remain Free Software Forever

3 hours 10 min ago

LibreOffice 7.0 will be released in soon and you may see it labelled as Personal Edition. This labelling and its tagline have created a sort of controversy.

LibreOffice Personal Edition? What’s the issue?

LibreOffice is working on the major release of version 7.0. An alert beta user noticed that LibreOffice 7.0 is labelled as Personal Edition and the user opened a bug report seeking clarification on the ‘Personal Edition’ term.

Libre Office Personal Edition

This created some sort of controversy as some people pointed out that terms like “personal edition” and “intended for individual use” could hamper the growth and use of LibreOffice.

You can read in the bug report that many users were confused over the term “intended for individual use”. One user wrote:

I’m clearly against any of “personal use”, “individual use” or “private use” or similar. With such terms LibreOffice cannot be used in education and non-profit organization.

Another LibreOffice user a wrote a blog post expressing his displeasure over this.

LibreOffice clarification on “Personal Edition” label

The outrage forced the LibreOffice board to release an official statement.

The board assures that LibreOffice is not opting for a new license and users won’t lose any functionality.

None of the changes being evaluated will affect the license, the availability, the permitted uses and/or the functionality. LibreOffice will always be free software and nothing is changing for end users, developers and Community members.

They further clarify that this Personal Edition tagline is part of their upcoming marketing plan. They want to differentiate between “the current, free and community-supported LibreOffice from a LibreOffice Enterprise set of products and services provided by the members of our ecosystem”.

What is this LibreOffice Enterprise edition?

Today, LibreOffice is developed by volunteers and ecosystem companies (companies that use or sell product/services based on LibreOffice). Out of that, 68% of the contribution to source code if from the ecosystem companies, 28% from volunteers and only 4% from actual The Document Foundation (LibreOffice’s governing organization) developers.

Image Credit: Italo Vignoli

As per TDF marketing person Italo Vignoli’s presentation, the proposal (not confirmed yet) is to “to reduce the perception that The Document Foundation (TDF) is a software vendor, providing support and other services.”

So, he proposes using the term LibreOffice Engine for the core LibreOffice. LibreOffice Personal Edition becomes the community supported version.

The LibreOffice Enterprise is basically LibreOffice Personal edition with support offered by the ecosystem.

At the same time, effort is put to improve LibreOffice the ecosystem of members. These members may have “certified by LibreOffice” kind of stamp, and they could provide the “Libreoffice Enterprise” to their business customers.

The proposal is to let ecosystem brand their own product based on LibreOffice Enterprise. So let’s say an XYZ ecosystem member starts offering “XYZ Office Suite” based on “LibreOffice Enterprise edition” to its customers.

What do you think of LibreOffice Personal and Enterprise segregation?

The long-term plan to have an enterprise ecosystem model is a good thinking. However, using a tagline like “volunteers supported, not suggested for production environments or strategic documents” gives a negative impression.

It could be perceived as if LibreOffice Personal is an unstable product not safe for important works. This tagline must be rephrased.

What do you think of the entire episode? Are you satisfied with the explanation of LibreOffice board? How do you see the segregation of LibreOffice Personal and Enterprise edition.

How to Enable Snap Applications Support in Linux Mint 20 (If You Really Need to Use Snap)

Tuesday 7th of July 2020 04:14:20 AM

The newly released Linux Mint 20 doesn’t have Snap support enabled by default.

Sooner or later, you may encounter a situation where an application version is only available as Snap package and then you need to enable Snap support.

If you go about enabling Snap in Mint 20 like you do in other Linux distributions, you’ll encounter an error like this:

E: Package 'snapd' has no installation candidate Snap installation needs slight extra effort in Linux Mint 20

Normally, this error means that the package is not available in the repository but that’s not the case here. Snap is explicitly blocked here and you have to remove this block by removing the /etc/apt/preferences.d/nosnap.pref file.

If you are comfortable with Linux command line, you can easily delete this file and enable snap support.

If you are not comfortable with the terminal, I discuss a slightly safer way of doing it and that is to move the file instead of removing it.

Enable snap support in Linux Mint 20

In a terminal, type the following command to move the nosnap preference file to your home directory:

sudo mv /etc/apt/preferences.d/nosnap.pref ~

Now you can go on and install the snapd daemon like always:

sudo apt install snapd

Once the snap support is enabled in Linux Mint, you can use the snap commands to install applications in Snap format.

You can use the Nemo file browser and delete the file you copied in the home directory. Safer this way, if you are afraid of the rm command in terminal.

Why Linux Mint explicitly disabled Snap support?

Snap is a universal package format that can be installed in any distribution that supports snapd. This is one of the biggest advantage of snap packages.

These snap packages are ‘containerized’ meaning that these packages contain all the dependency within the package and they don’t rely on and interact with the system’s installed packages and libraries (mostly). Snap packages are automatically updated to newer versions.

But snap packages have some negative points as well. They are huge in size. If an apt package is 100MB in size, the snap package of the same application may have 1 GB of size.

Apart from that, snap applications take longer to load and they also take more disk spaces.

But that’s not the reason why snaps are banished from Linux Mint 20.

Linux Mint team took a hard decision of blocking Snap by default after Ubuntu went on to blurring the line between apt packaging system and snap packaging system.

When you use apt to install an application, you expect an apt package to be installed. But that’s not the case in Ubuntu 20.04 (Mint 20 is based on this Ubuntu version). In Ubuntu 20.04, if you use apt to install Chromium browser, it installs a snap version of this browser.

Mint team is clearly not happy with this violation:

A year later, in the Ubuntu 20.04 package base, the Chromium package is indeed empty and acting, without your consent, as a backdoor by connecting your computer to the Ubuntu Store. Applications in this store cannot be patched, or pinned. You can’t audit them, hold them, modify them or even point snap to a different store. You’ve as much empowerment with this as if you were using proprietary software, i.e. none. This is in effect similar to a commercial proprietary solution, but with two major differences: It runs as root, and it installs itself without asking you.

And hence they decided to explicitly blocked snap support from Mint 20.

To snap or not snap, that is the question

As always, there is a way in Linux to get what you want. So, you can bypass this blockage and enable snap package support in Linux Mint 20.

As I mentioned in the beginning, you may face certain situations where an application is only available as Snap and then you may need Snap support. But till then, you can enjoy Linux Mint 20 without snap.

What about you? Are you going to use snap or not? What do you think of the overall ‘no snap in my distro’ approach?

Meet RecApp, a New Screen Recording App for Linux Desktop

Monday 6th of July 2020 09:25:57 AM

Brief: RecApp is a simple open-source screen recorder tool. It doesn’t boast of huge features but gives you enough to record your screen with a simple user interface.

We have plenty of screen recorders available for Linux. Abhishek prefers to use Kazam while I like using SimpleScreenrecorder. Neither of us use the GNOME’s built-in screen recorder.

Recently we were contacted by the developer of RecApp, a new screen recording tool. Since I like experimenting with different applications, I took it upon myself to cover RecApp as this week’s open source software highlight.

RecApp: A fairly simple screen recorder for Linux desktop

RecApp is an interesting open-source screen recorder tool that does not depend on FFmpeg and utilizes free GStreamer modules. If you’re curious, it’s written in GTK.

If you were looking for a simple and open-source solution to record your desktop screen, RecApp could be a solution.

Features of RecApp

Even though RecApp doesn’t offer a lot, it does have the necessary features to record a desktop screen. Here’s what it lets you do:

  • Tweak frames per second settings
  • Add a delay to the recording
  • Select the screen region to record
  • Toggle between high quality and compressed quality.
  • Ability to record audio from apps
  • Toggle to record the cursor or not
  • Choose the folder for saving the video
  • Supports mp4, webm, and mkv formats

The best thing about RecApp is that you don’t have a separate preference box to tweak settings., which makes things less confusing. You get everything in just a single screen and that’s all you have to follow.

Installing RecApp on Linux

Primarily, it offers a Flatpack package. So, you can simply refer to It’s FOSS guide on using Flatpak to install it.

For Fedora, you can utilize the terminal and type in the command to install it:

sudo dnf install recapp Download RecApp Conclusion

Though RecApp is a fairly new project but it worked mostly fine in my usage on Pop OS 20.04. So, take that with a pinch of salt.

RecApp has a simple interface and is easy to use. However, the aspect ratio of the video recorded wasn’t perfect in my case. It was not completely 1080p and I couldn’t find a way to change that. Other than that, I didn’t have any other issues recording my screen.

What do you think about RecApp? What screen recorder do you use to capture your desktop?

How to Make a Transparent Background in GIMP [Step by Step Guide]

Sunday 5th of July 2020 04:14:33 AM

Removing the background is one of the most used graphic design procedures. There could be many reasons why you would want to do that.

For example, you don’t like the background, you want to add the image to another background, or you simply want to make the image transparent.

When you make the image background transparent, you can use the colour according to the background of the new image. If you put a transparent image on top of a blue image, the image will now have a blue background. This is quite handy in graphic designing.

You can use GIMP to remove the background from an image. I am going to show you how to do that step-by-step in this GIMP tutorial.

How to Make a Transparent Background in GIMP Step 1: Open up the image as a layer

As I have mentioned before, you need to get used to isolate different images and actions as layers. This tutorial is so simple that if you just open your image, it will still be fine. Although I want to maintain a good habit and open my image as following.

File -> Open as Layers

Open As Layers Step 2: Use the Fuzzy select tool

The Fuzzy Select tool is designed to select areas of the current layer or image based on colour similarity. This tool will help us to select the unwanted background with one click.

Step 3: Add Transparency

An alpha channel is automatically added into the Channel Dialog as soon as you add a second layer to your image. It represents the transparency of the image.

If your image has only one layer (like our example), this background layer has no Alpha channel. In this case, to Add an Alpha channel.

Layer -> Transparency -> Add Alpha Channel

Step 4: Delete the background

Press the Delete keyboard button to remove the background.

If you have other different coloured regions that you need to remove, click on them and delete them.

You might have to repeat the steps 2 to step 4 if necessary. I have to remove the blue background in this example.

Step 5: Export the image

To export the image go to File -> Export As, choose PNG file format and click on Export. All done!

Did it work for you?

I took a simple example in this case. If your image background has lots of colors, you may have to repeat step 2 to step 4, deleting each color one by one.

This was another tutorial in our GIMP series to help you accomplish common editing image editing tasks. We, at It’s FOSS, will be sharing more such tutorials. Stay tuned and do subscribe to our weekly newsletter.

Purism’s Ultra-Secure Linux Machine is Now Available in a New Size

Friday 3rd of July 2020 11:58:43 AM

Purism is well-known for its privacy and security focused hardware and software while utilizing open-source technologies. Not to forget the latest Purism Librem Mini.

After a good success with Librem 15 and 13 series laptops, Purism has unveiled Librem 14.

Librem 14 looks like a perfect laptop for an open-source enthusiast who’s concerned about the security and privacy of a laptop.

In this article, we will talk about Librem 14 specifications, pricing, and its availability.

Librem 14: Overview

Similar to other variants in the series, Librem 14 offers all the essential security features like the hardware kill switch to disable webcam/microphone and its secure PureBoot boot firmware.

Librem series is one of the rare few laptops that come preloaded with Linux. Purism uses its own custom distribution called PureOS. If you’re curious, you can also browse the source code for it.

As a key highlight of Librem 14 laptop, here’s what Purism mentions:

The most distinctive feature of the Librem 14 is the new 14″ 1080p IPS matte display which, due to the smaller bezel, fits within the same footprint as the Librem 13.

Even though that’s not something mind-blowing, it is good to see that they’ve made the laptop fit within the same footprint as its predecessor.

It’s a great decision targeted for users who do not want a lot of changes with their laptop upgrade or may appreciate a compact dimension of the laptop.

Librem 14: Specifications

Along with the key highlight, Purism’s Librem 14 offers an impressive set of specifications. Here’s what you get:

  • Intel Core i7-10710U (Comet Lake)
  • 14″ Matte (1920×1080) Display
  • Intel UHD Graphics
  • RAM Up to 32GB, DDR4 at 2133 MHz
  • 2 SATA + NVMe-capable M.2 slots
  • 1 HDMI Port (4K capable @60Hz max)
  • USB Type-C Video Out (4K capable)
  • 3.5mm AudioJack
  • Gigabit Ethernet Adapter with Integrated RJ45 Connector
  • Atheros 802.11n w/ Two Antennas
  • USB-C Power Delivery Port
  • Weight: 1.4 kg

It’s slightly disappointing to see Intel chipsets in 2020 — but considering the presence of PureBoot and other features that Librem 14 offers, an Intel-powered secure laptop makes sense.

Nevertheless, it’s good to see them including USB Type-C video port. Without dedicated graphics, it may not be a steal deal for power users but it should get a lot of work done.

Also, it’s worth noting that Purism offers anti-interdiction services to detect tampering during shipments for high-risk customers. Of course, that wouldn’t prevent tampering — but it’ll help you know about it.

Librem 14: Pricing & Availability

For now, Librem 14 laptop is available for pre-orders with an early big base price of $1199 ($300 off from its regular price) that features 8 Gigs of RAM and 250 GB of M.2 SATA storage.

Depending on what you prefer, the price might go up to $3,693.00 with the maxed out configuration with anti-interdiction services included.

You can expect the orders to start shipping in the early Q4 2020.

Pre-Order Librem 14

What do you think about Purism’s Librem 14 laptop? Feel free to let me know your thoughts in the comments.

openSUSE Leap 15.2 Released With Focus on Containers, AI and Encryption

Thursday 2nd of July 2020 12:20:49 PM

openSUSE Leap 15.2 has finally landed with some useful changes and improvements.

Also, considering the exciting announcement of Closing the Leap Gap, the release of openSUSE Leap 15.2 brings us one step closer to SLE (SUSE Linux Enterprise) binaries being integrated to openSUSE Leap 15.3 next.

Let’s take a look at what has changed and improved in openSUSE Leap 15.2.

openSUSE Leap 15.2: Key Changes

Overall, openSUSE Leap 15.2 release involves security updates, major new packages, bug fixes, and other improvements.

In their press release, a developer of the project, Marco Varlese, mentions:

“Leap 15.2 represents a huge step forward in the Artificial Intelligence space, “I am super excited that openSUSE end-users can now finally consume Machine Learning / Deep Learning frameworks and applications via our repositories to enjoy a stable and up-to-date ecosystem.”

Even though this hints at what changes it could involve, here’s what’s new in openSUSE Leap 15.2:

Adding Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning packages

Unquestionably, Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning are some of the most disruptive technologies to learn.

To facilitate that to its end-users, openSUSE Leap 15.2 has added a bunch of important packages for new open source technologies:

Introducing a Real-Time Kernel

With openSUSE Leap 15.2, a real-time kernel will be introduced to manage the timing of microprocessors to efficiently handle time-critical events.

The addition of a real-time kernel is a big deal for this real. Gerald Pfeifer (chair of the project’s board) shared his thoughts with the following statement:

“The addition of a real time kernel to openSUSE Leap unlocks new possibilities. Think edge computing, embedded devices, data capturing, all of which are seeing immense growth. Historically many of these have been the domain of proprietary approaches; openSUSE now opens the floodgates for developers, researchers and companies that are interested in testing real time capabilities or maybe even in contributing. Another domain open source helps open up!”

Inclusion of Container Technologies

With the latest release, you will notice that Kubernetes is included as an official package. This should make it easy for end-users to automate deployments, scale, and manage containerized applications.

Helm (the package manager for Kubernetes) also comes baked in. Not just limited to that, you will also find several other additions here and there that makes it easier to secure and deploy containerized applications.

Updates to openSUSE Installer

openSUSE’s installer was already pretty good. But, with the latest Leap 15.2 release, they have added more information, compatibility with right-to-left languages like Arabic, and subtle changes to make it easier to select options right at the time of installation.

Improvements to YaST

While YaST is already a pretty powerful installation and configuration tool, this release adds the ability of creating and managing a Btrfs file-system and enforcing advanced encryption techniques.

Of course, you must be aware of the availability of openSUSE on Windows Subsystem for Linux. So, with Leap 15.2, YaST compatibility with WSL has improved as per their release notes.

Desktop Environment Improvements

The desktop environments available have been update to their latest versions that include KDE Plasma 5.18 LTS and GNOME 3.34.

You will also find an updated XFCE 4.14 desktop available for openSUSE Leap 15.2.

If you’re curious to know all the details for the latest release, you may refer to the official release announcement.

Download & Availability

As of now, you should be able to find Linode cloud images of Leap 15.2. Eventually, you will notice other cloud hosting services like Amazon Web Services, Azure, and others to offer it as well.

You can also grab the DVD ISO or the network image file from the official website itself.

To upgrade your current installation, I’d recommend following the official instructions.

openSUSE Leap 15.2

Have you tried openSUSE Leap 15.2 yet? Feel free to let me know what you think!

How to Create a Pareto Diagram [80/20 Rule] in LibreOffice Calc

Thursday 2nd of July 2020 03:59:34 AM

Brief: In this LibreOffice tip, you’ll learn to create the famous Pareto chart in Calc.

The Pareto Principle, also known as the 80/20 Rule, The Law of the Vital Few and The Principle of Factor Sparsity, illustrates that 80% of effects arise from 20% of the causes – or in layman’s terms – 20% of your actions/activities will account for 80% of your results/outcomes.

Although the original observation is related to economics, it can be widely adopted and used across all aspects of business, economics, mathematics, and processes. In computer science, the Pareto principle can be used in software optimization.

Let me show you how to create a Pareto diagram in LibreOffice spreadsheet tool, i.e. Calc.

Creating Pareto diagram in LibreOffice Calc

To be able to create a Pareto diagram, you need these three basic elements:

  • The factors, ranked by the magnitude of their contribution
  • The factors expressed numerically
  • The cumulative-percent-of-total effect of the ranked factors

First, enter the data in a spreadsheet. Now let’s get started!

Step 1: Sort the data

Mark all rows from first to the last and at the Data tab click on the Sort option. At the Sort Criteria tab choose Sort key 1 and change the entry to Number of Errors or whichever name you choose. Make sure to tick Descending and finally OK.

Step 2: Create the Cumulative Percentage values

To calculate the cumulative percent of a total, you will need one formula for the first cell (C5) and a different formula for cells C6 and below.

Generic formula for the first cell

=amount/total

In the example shown, the formula in C5 is: =B5/$B$15

Generic formula for the remaining cells:

=(amount/total)+previous cell result

In the example shown, the formula in C6 is: =(B6/$B$15)+C5

By dragging the fill handle down, you will get the correct formulas for the remaining cells.

Step 3: Create the Pareto diagram

To create the chart go to Insert tab and then click on the Chart option.

In the upcoming Chart Wizard choose the chart type Column and Line with Number of lines set to 1 and click Next.

Select the correct data range $A$4:$C$14 by either using your mouse in the data range selector or by entering it manually. Leave the settings Data series in columns, First row as label, First column as label and click Next.

The following Data Series window should have everything filled in correctly, click Next.

In the last window enter titles and remove the legend:

  • Title: Pareto chart
  • X axis: Error Type
  • Y axis: Number of Errors
  • Untick Display legend
  • click Finish.

And this is the result:

If the red line appears without any value, select it, then right click > Format Data Series > Align Data Series to Secondary y-Axis > Click OK.

Step 4: Fine tune the chart

The range of the secondary y-axis is set to 0 – 120 , it needs to be up to 100.

Double click on the secondary y-axis . In the Scale tab, untick Automatic and enter 100 as the maximum value. Then click ok.

All done!

Conclusion

Using a Pareto chart to analyze problems in a business project allows focusing efforts towards the ones offering the most considerable improvement potential.

This is one of the many real-life scenario where I have used LibreOffice instead of other proprietary office software. I hope to share more LibreOffice tutorials on It’s FOSS. Meanwhile, you can learn these rather hidden LibreOffice tips.

Which LibreOffice functionality do you use the most? Let us know at the comments below!

Ex-Solus Dev is Now Creating a Truly Modern Linux Distribution Called Serpent Linux

Wednesday 1st of July 2020 04:06:15 AM

Ikey Doherty, the developer who once created the independent Linux distribution Solus has announced his new project: Serpent OS.

Serpent OS is a Linux distribution that DOES NOT want to be categorized as “lightweight, user-friendly, privacy-focused Linux desktop distribution”.

Instead, Serpent OS has “different goals from the mainstream offering”. How? Read on.

Serpent OS: The making of a “truly modern” Linux distribution

Serpent takes distro-first, compatibility-later approach. This lets them take some really bold decisions.

Ikey says that it this project will not tolerate for negative actors holding Linux back. For example, NVIDIA’s lack of support for accelerated Wayland support on their GPUs will not be tolerated and NVIDIA proprietary drivers will be blacklisted from the distribution.

Here’s a proposed plan for the Serpent Linux project (taken from their website):

  • No more usrbin split
  • 100% clang-built throughout (including kernel)
  • musl as libc, relying on compiler optimisations instead of inline asm
  • libc++ instead of libstdc++
  • LLVM’s binutils variants (lld, as, etc.)
  • Mixed source/binary distribution
  • Moving away from x86_64-generic baseline to newer CPUs, including Intel and AMD specific optimisations
  • Capability based subscriptions in package manager (Hardware/ user choice / etc)
  • UEFI only. No more legacy boot.
  • Completely open source, down to the bootstrap / rebuild scripts
  • Seriously optimised for serious workloads.
  • Third party applications reliant on containers only. No compat-hacks
  • Wayland-only. X11 compatibility via containers will be investigated
  • Fully stateless with management tools and upstreaming of patches

Ikey boldly claims that Serpent Linux is not Serpent GNU/Linux because it is not going to be dependent on a GNU toolchain or runtime.

The development for Serpent OS project starts by the end of July. There is no definite timeline of the final stable release.

Too high claims? But Ikey has done it in the past

You may doubt if Serpent OS will see the light of the day and if it would be able to keep all the promises it made.

But Ikey Doherty has done it in the past. If I remember correctly, he first created SolusOS based on Debian. He discontinued the Debian-based SolusOS in 2013 before it even reached the beta stage.

He then went out to create evolve OS from scratch instead of using another distribution as base. Due to some naming copyright issues, the project name was changed to Solus (yes, the same old name). Ikey quit the Solus project in 2018 and other devs now handle the project.

Solus is an independent Linux distribution that gave us the beautiful Budgie desktop environment.

Ikey has done it in the past (with the help of other developers, of course). He should be able to pull this one off as well.

Yay or Nay?

What do you think of this Serpent Linux? Do you think it is time for developers to take a bold stand and develop the operating system with the future in the mind rather than holding on to the past? Do share your views.

13 Things To Do After Installing Linux Mint 20

Tuesday 30th of June 2020 09:34:23 AM

Linux Mint is easily one of the best Linux distributions out there and especially considering the features of Linux Mint 20, I’m sure you will agree with that.

In case you missed our coverage, Linux Mint 20 is finally available to download.

Of course, if you’ve been using Linux Mint for a while, you probably know what’s best for you. But, for new users, there are a few things that you need to do after installing Linux Mint 20 to make your experience better than ever.

Recommended things to do after installing Linux Mint 20

In this article, I’m going to list some of them for to help you improve your Linux Mint 20 experience.

1. Perform a System Update

The first thing you should check right after installation is — system updates using the update manager as shown in the image above.

Why? Because you need to build the local cache of available software. It is also a good idea to update all the software updates.

If you prefer to use the terminal, simply type the following command to perform a system update:

sudo apt update && sudo apt upgrade -y 2. Use Timeshift to Create System Snapshots

It’s always useful have system snapshots if you want to quickly restore your system state after an accidental change or maybe after a bad update.

Hence, it’s super important to configure and create system snapshots using Timeshift if you want the ability to have a backup of your system state from time to time.

You can follow our detailed guide on using Timeshift, if you didn’t know already.

3. Install Useful Software

Even though you have a bunch of useful pre-installed applications on Linux Mint 20, you probably need to install some essential apps that do not come baked in.

You can simply utilize the software manager or the synaptic package manager to find and install software that you need.

For starters, you can follow our list of essential Linux apps if you want to explore a variety of tools.

Here’s a list of my favorite software that I’d want you to try:

4. Customize the Themes and Icons

Of course, this isn’t something technically essential unless you want to change the look and feel of Linux Mint 20.

But, it’s very easy to change the theme and icons in Linux Mint 20 without installing anything extra.

You get the option to customize the look in the welcome screen itself. In either case, you just need to head on to “Themes” and start customizing.

To do that, you can search for it or find it inside the System Settings as shown in the screenshot above.

Depending on what desktop environment you are on, you can also take a look at some of the best icon themes available.

5. Enable Redshift to protect your eyes

You can search for “Redshift” on Linux Mint and launch it to start protecting your eyes at night. As you can see in the screenshot above, it will automatically adjust the color temperature of the screen depending on the time.

You may want to enable the autostart option so that it launches automatically when you restart the computer. It may not be the same as the night light feature on Ubuntu 20.04 LTS but it’s good enough if you don’t need custom schedules or the ability to the tweak the color temperature.

6. Enable snap (if needed)

Even though Ubuntu is pushing to use Snap more than ever, the Linux Mint team is against it. Hence, it forbids APT to use snapd.

So, you won’t have the support for snap out-of-the-box. However, sooner or later, you’ll realize that some software is packaged only in Snap format. In such cases, you’ll have to enable snap support on Linux Mint 20.

Just because Linux Mint forbids the use of it, you will have to follow the commands below to successfully install snap:

sudo rm /etc/apt/preferences.d/nosnap.pref sudo apt update sudo apt install snapd

Once you do that, you can follow our guide to know more about installing and using snaps on Linux.

7. Learn to use Flatpak

By default, Linux Mint comes with the support for Flatpak. So, no matter whether you hate using snap or simply prefer to use Flatpak, it’s good to have it baked in.

Now, all you have to do is follow our guide on using Flatpak on Linux to get started!

8. Clean or Optimize Your System

It’s always good to optimize or clean up your system to get rid of unnecessary junk files occupying storage space.

You can quickly remove unwanted packages from your system by typing this in your terminal:

sudo apt autoremove

In addition to this, you can also follow some of our tips to free up space on Linux Mint.

9. Using Warpinator to send/receive files across the network

Warpinator is a new addition to Linux Mint 20 to give you the ability to share files across multiple computers connected to a network. Here’s how it looks:

You can just search for it in the menu and get started!

10. Using the driver manager Driver Manager

The driver manager is an important place to look for if you’re using Wi-Fi devices that needs a driver, NVIDIA graphics, or AMD graphics, and drivers for other devices if applicable.

You just need look for the driver manager and launch it. It should detect any proprietary drivers in use or you can also utilize a DVD to install the driver using the driver manager.

11. Set up a Firewall

For the most part, you might have already secured your home connection. But, if you want to have some specific firewall settings on Linux Mint, you can do that by searching for “Firewall” in the menu.

As you can observe the screenshot above, you get the ability to have different profiles for home, business, and public. You just need to add the rules and define what is allowed and what’s not allowed to access the Internet.

You may read our detailed guide on using UFW for configuring a firewall.

12. Learn to Manage Startup Apps

If you’re an experienced user, you probably know this already. But, new users often forget to manage their startup applications and eventually, the system boot time gets affected.

You just need to search for “Startup Applications” from the menu and you can launch it find something like this:

You can simply toggle the ones that you want to disable, add a delay timer, or remove it completely from the list of startup applications.

13. Install Essential Apps For Gaming

Of course, if you’re into gaming, you might want to read our article for Gaming on Linux to explore all the options.

But, for starters, you can try installing GameHub, Steam, and Lutris to play some games.

Wrapping Up

That’s it folks! For the most part, you should be good to go if you follow the points above after installing Linux Mint 20 to make the best out of it.

I’m sure there are more things you can do. I’d like to know what you prefer to do right after installing Linux Mint 20. Let me know your thoughts in the comments below!

What is End of Life in Ubuntu? Everything You Should Know About it

Monday 29th of June 2020 11:58:54 AM

If you have been following It’s FOSS for some time, you might have noticed that I publish news articles like Ubuntu XYZ version has reached end of life (EoL).

This end of life is one of those essential concepts that every Ubuntu user should be aware of.

This is why I decided to write this detailed guide to explain what does an Ubuntu release reaching end of life means, why it matters to you and how to check when your Ubuntu install has reaches end of life.

What is end of life in Ubuntu?

First thing first, end of life is not really an Ubuntu-specific concept. It is a generic term widely used in the software industry.

The end of life of a software means the software has reached the end of its predefined support period. Beyond this date, the software won’t get any feature, maintenance or security updates.

You may continue using the software past its end of life date but at your own risk. If there are security vulnerability, your system and data will be at risk.

Compare it to the use by date or the expiry date on a food item. You may consume the yogurt one day after its use by date but can you eat it after a week or a month?

Why end of life?

Software is not a living being then why they have an end of life? Why doesn’t Ubuntu just keep on supporting one version forever?

It is to maintain a balance between stability and features. You want new features in your system but you don’t want it to break your system. Software compatibility is complex and testing takes time.

So what Ubuntu does is to give you a release and takes the responsibility of maintaining it by providing security and other updates for a certain time period.

Ubuntu team and volunteers also work on the new release in parallel to add new features to the future release.

Support life cycle of Ubuntu releases

Ubuntu has two new version releases every year. These releases can be categorized into:

  • Regular release with 9 months of support period
  • Long-term support (LTS) release with 5 years of support period

A new LTS version is released every two years while the regular releases come every six months.

This table should give you a better understanding:

Ubuntu VersionReleaseEnd of LifeUbuntu 18.04 (LTS)April, 2018April, 2023 (5 years)Ubuntu 18.10October, 2018July, 2019 (9 months)Ubuntu 19.04April, 2019January, 2020 (9 months)Ubuntu 19.10October, 2019July, 2020 (9 months)Ubuntu 20.04 (LTS)April, 2020April, 2025 (5 years)Ubuntu 20.10October, 2020July, 2021 (9 months)

The long-term support release focus on providing stability for a longer period. You probably know that Linux distributions like Ubuntu are also responsible for providing applications to you. These distributions have thousands of applications/packages in their repositories.

The LTS versions often hold on to software versions as they cannot test every new version of so many software in the five years of support period.

When Ubuntu releases a new LTS version, it also updates a number of software to a newer version. For example, Ubuntu 18.04 LTS has PHP 7.2 whereas Ubuntu 20.04 LTS has PHP 7.4 available.

The regular release are short-live, but they bring new features (like newer versions of software like file managers, desktop environments, newer kernels etc).

Personally, I think of these regular releases as a stepping platform for the next LTS releases. For examples, the features introduced in Ubuntu 18.10, 19.04, 19.10 will eventually be added in Ubuntu 20.04 (but not in 18.04).

How to check how long your Ubuntu system will be supported?

The simplest way to check the end of life support in Ubuntu is using this command in the terminal:

hwe-support-status --verbose

It will show an output that mentions the support period of your Ubuntu version.

You are not running a system with a Hardware Enablement Stack. Your system is supported until April 2025.

The Hardware Enablement Stack in Ubuntu allows you to receive the latest generic Linux kernel supported by Ubuntu. The important part is the support status date.

If you want a detailed overview of how many software packages you have got and how long those packages will be supported, you can use the ubuntu-security-status command:

ubuntu-security-status

In older versions of Ubuntu, the same command is known as ubuntu-support-status. For both commands, the output is nearly identical:

abhishek@itsfoss:~$ ubuntu-security-status 2242 packages installed, of which: 1695 receive package updates with LTS until 4/2025 510 could receive security updates with ESM Apps until 4/2030 30 packages are from third parties 7 packages are no longer available for download Packages from third parties are not provided by the official Ubuntu archive, for example packages from Personal Package Archives in Launchpad. For more information on the packages, run 'ubuntu-security-status --thirdparty'. Packages that are not available for download may be left over from a previous release of Ubuntu, may have been installed directly from a .deb file, or are from a source which has been disabled. For more information on the packages, run 'ubuntu-security-status --unavailable'. Enable Extended Security Maintenance (ESM Apps) to get 0 security updates (so far) and enable coverage of 510 packages. This machine is not attached to an Ubuntu Advantage subscription. See https://ubuntu.com/advantage

As you can see in the above output, my system will majorly get supported till April 2025. Ubuntu can provide maintenance support for 510 packages till April 2030 but you’ll have to purchase the ESM.

The ESM is more useful to mission-critical business infrastructure where upgrading to a newer version of the OS will impact the business. For desktop users, upgrading to a newer version is easier and more sensible thing to do.

What happens when your Ubuntu install reaches end of life? What if you continue using Ubuntu even after its end of life?

When your Ubuntu install reaches end of life, it stops getting system updates including any security updates. There won’t be updates for installed software as well.

Without the security updates your system will become vulnerable to hacking attacks (if you connect to internet). Suppose a vulnerability gets discovered in one of the software you use or even in Linux kernel. You don’t get the update so this vulnerability is not patched and some malicious hackers take advantage of it to steal your data.

Eventually, you’ll not be able to use the Ubuntu repositories. If you try to install a new application, you’ll see ‘unable to locate package error‘.

So, basically, you won’t be able to install new software and your system will be at risk. Not a pretty scenario.

The worst part is that if you wait way too long, you won’t be able to upgrade to the newer version. For example, a system running 17.04 can no longer update to 17.10 because even 17.10 is not supported anymore. A fresh new Ubuntu installation is the only suggested option in such case.

What should you do when your Ubuntu install reaches end of life?

Ubuntu doesn’t just abandon you after your system reaches end of life. It notifies you either in terminal or on the desktop that your system is no longer supported.

Ubuntu No Longer Supported

It even provides a mechanism to upgrade your current Ubuntu version to the newer version. Most of the software you have currently installed and your pictures, videos and other documents remain as it is. Making a backup of your important data on an external disk is still recommended.

Upgrade to Ubuntu 20.04 From 18.04

The rule of thumb is:

  • if you are using an LTS release, you should upgrade when the next LTS version is available.
  • if you are using a regular release, you should upgrade whenever the next version is available.
Still confused?

I wrote this article because this is one of the most common confusion for It’s FOSS readers. I hope it clears the air and you have a better understanding of Ubuntu release cycle.

If you still have doubts, please feel free to ask your question in the comment section. I’ll be happy to answer your queries.

Linux Mint 20 is Officially Available Now! The Performance and Visual Improvements Make it an Exciting New Release

Saturday 27th of June 2020 05:49:02 PM

Linux Mint 20 “Ulyana” is finally released and available to download.

Linux Mint 19 was based on Ubuntu 18.04 LTS and Mint 20 is based on Ubuntu 20.04 LTS — so you will find a lot of things different, improved, and potentially better.

Now that it’s here, let’s take a look at its new features, where to download it, and how to upgrade your system.

Linux Mint 20: What’s New?

We have made a video about the initial visual impressions on Linux Mint 20 to give you a better idea:

Subscribe to our YouTube channel for more Linux videos

There’s a lot of things to talk about when it comes to Linux Mint 20 release. While we have already covered the new key features in Linux Mint 20, I’ll mention a few points here for a quick glance:

  • Performance improvements in Nemo file manager for thumbnail generation
  • Some re-worked color themes
  • Linux Mint 20 will forbid APT from using Snapd
  • A new GUI tool to share files using the local network
  • Improved multi-monitor support
  • Improved hybrid graphics support for laptops
  • No 32-bit releases anymore

In addition to all these changes, you will also notice some visual changes with Cinnamon 4.6 desktop update.

Here are some screenshots of Linux Mint 20 Cinnamon edition. Click on the images to see in full screen.

Upgrading to Linux Mint 20: What you need to know

If you are already using Linux Mint, you will have the option to upgrade to Linux Mint 20 in the first week of July.

  • If you are using Linux Mint 20 beta version, you can upgrade to Mint 20 stable version.
  • If you’re using Linux Mint 19.3 (which is the latest iteration of Mint 19), you can upgrade your system to Linux Mint 20 without needing to perform a clean installation.
  • There is no 32-bit version of Linux Mint 20. If you are using 32-bit Mint 19 series, you won’t be able to upgrade to Mint 20.
  • If you are using Linux Mint 18 series, you’ll have to upgrade through Mint 19 series first. A fresh install of Mint 20 would be less time-consuming and troublesome in my opinion.
  • If you are using Linux Mint 17, 16, 15 or lower, you must not use them anymore. These versions are not supported anymore.

It’s FOSS has a detailed guide showing the steps to upgrade Linux Mint version from 18.3 to 19. However, the upgrade from 19.3 to 20 will be available in next few days. It’s FOSS team will be doing some tests for Mint 19.3 to Mint 20 upgrade and update this guide as applicable.

Before you go on upgrading make sure to backup your data and create system snapshots using Timeshift.

Download Linux Mint 20

You can simply head on to its official download page and grab the latest stable ISO for yourself. You’ll find the ISO for the officially supported desktop environments, i.e. Cinnamon, MATE and Xfce.

Torrent links are also available for those who have slow or inconsistent internet connection.

Download Linux Mint 20

If you just want to try it out without replacing your main system, I suggest installing Linux Mint 20 in VirtualBox first and see if this is something you would like.

Have you tried Linux Mint 20 yet? What do you think about the release? Let me know your thoughts in the comments section below.

How to crop images in GIMP [Quick Tip]

Saturday 27th of June 2020 02:12:29 PM

There are many reasons you may want to crop an image in GIMP. You may want to remove useless borders or information to improve your image, or you may want the focus of the final image to be a specific detail for example.

In this tutorial, I will demonstrate how to cut out an image in GIMP quickly and without compromising the precision. Let’s see.

How to crop images in GIMP Method 1

Cropping is just an operation to trim the image down to a smaller region than the original one. The procedure to crop an image is straightforward.

You can get to the Crop Tool through the Tools palette like this:

Use Crop Tool for cropping images in GIMP

You can also access the crop tool through the menus:

Tools → Transform Tools → Crop

Once the tool is activated, you’ll notice that your mouse cursor on the canvas will change to indicate the Crop Tool is being used.

Now you can Left-Click anywhere on your image canvas, and drag the mouse to a location to create the cropping boundaries. You don’t have to worry about the precision at this point, as you will be able to modify the final selection before actually cropping.

Crop Selection

At this point hovering your mouse cursor over any of the four corners of the selection will change the mouse cursor, and highlight that region. This allows you to now fine-tune the selection for cropping. You can click and drag any side or corner to move that portion of the selection.

Once the region is good enough to be cropped, you can just press the “Enter” key on your keyboard to crop.

If at any time you’d like to start over or decide not to crop at all, you can press the “Esc” key on your keyboard.

Method 2

Another way to crop an image is to make a selection first, using the Rectangle Select Tool.

Tools → Selection Tools → Rectangle Select

You can then highlight a selection the same way as the Crop Tool, and adjust the selection as well. Once you have a selection you like, you can crop the image to fit that selection through

Image → Crop to Selection

Conclusion

Cropping precisely an image can be considered a fundamental asset for a GIMP user. You may choose which method fits better to your needs and explore its potential.

If you have any questions about the procedure, please let me know in the comments below. If you are “craving” more GIMP tutorials, make sure to subscribe on your favorite social media platforms!

Learn Shell Scripting for Free With These Resources [PDF, Video Courses and Interactive Websites]

Friday 26th of June 2020 07:18:50 AM

So, you want to learn shell scripting? Or perhaps you want to improve your existing bash knowledge? I have collected a few resources that will help you learn shell scripting for free.

A shell is a command-line interpreter that lets you type in commands to get an output. You’re already looking at a shell when you’re using the terminal.

Yes, a shell is a command-line interface that you can interact with to give some type of instructions to the operating system. While there are different types of shells, bash (GNU Bourne-Again Shell) is the popular one used by almost every Linux distro out there.

When talk about shell scripting, that means — a user wants to execute multiple commands to get an output using a script.

You may need to learn shell scripting as part of your course curriculum or as part of your job. Knowing shell scripting also helps you automate certain repeated tasks in Linux.

Whatever be the reason for learning shell scripting, let me show you the resources.

Top Free Resources to Learn Shell Scripting

Don’t have Linux installed on your system? No, worries. There are various ways of using Linux terminal on Windows. You may also use online Linux terminals in some cases to practice shell scripting.

1. Learn Shell [Interactive web portal]

If you’re looking for an interactive web portal to learn shell scripting and also try it online, Learn Shell is a great place to start.

It covers the basics and offers some advanced exercises as well. The content is usually brief and to the point – hence, I’d recommend you to check this out.

Learn Shell 2. Shell Scripting Tutorial [Web portal]

Shell scripting tutorial is web resource that’s completely dedicated for shell scripting. You can choose to read the resource for free or can opt to purchase the PDF, book, or the e-book to support it.

Of course, paying for the paperback edition or the e-book is optional. But, the resource should come in handy for free.

Shell Scripting Tutorial 3. Shell Scripting – Udemy (Free video course)

Udemy is unquestionably one of the most popular platforms for online courses. And, in addition to the paid certified courses, it also offers some free stuff that does not include certifications.

Shell Scripting is one of the most recommended free course available on Udemy for free. You can enroll in it without spending anything.

Shell Scripting – Udemy 4. Bash Shell Scripting – Udemy (Free video course)

Yet another interesting free course focused on bash shell scripting on Udemy. Compared to the previous one, this resource seems to be more popular. So, you can enroll in it and see what it has to offer.

Not to forget that the free Udemy course does not offer any certifications. But, it’s indeed an impressive free shell scripting learning resource.

5. Bash Academy [online portal with interactive game]

As the name suggests, the bash academy is completely focused on educating the users about bash shell.

It’s suitable for both beginners and experienced users even though it does not offer a lot of content. Not just limited to the guide — but it also used to offer an interactive game to practice which no longer works.

Hence, if this is interesting enough, you can also check out its GitHub page and fork it to improve the existing resources if you want.

Bash Academy 6. Bash Scripting LinkedIn Learning (Free video course)

LinkedIn offers a number of free courses to help you improve your skills and get ready for more job opportunities. You will also find a couple of courses focused on shell scripting to brush up some basic skills or gain some advanced knowledge in the process.

Here, I’ve linked a course for bash scripting, you can find some other similar courses for free as well.

Bash Scripting (LinkedIn Learning) 7. Advanced Bash Scripting Guide [Free PDF book]

An impressive advanced bash scripting guide available in the form of PDF for free. This PDF resource does not enforce any copyrights and is completely free in the public domain.

Even though the resource is focused on providing advanced insights. It’s also suitable for beginners to refer this resource and start to learn shell scripting.

Advanced Bash Scripting Guide [PDF] 8. Bash Notes for Professionals [Free PDF book]

This is good reference guide if you are already familiar with Bash Shell scripting or if you just want a quick summary.

This free downloadable book runs over 100 pages and covers a wide variety of scripting topics with the help of brief description and quick examples.

Download Bash Notes for Professional 9. Tutorialspoint [Web portal]

Tutorialspoint is a quite popular web portal to learn a variety of programming languages. I would say this is quite good for starters to learn the fundamentals and the basics.

This may not be suitable as a detailed resource — but it should be a useful one for free.

Tutorialspoint 10. City College of San Francisco Online Notes [Web portal]

This may not be the best free resource there is — but if you’re ready to explore every type of resource to learn shell scripting, why not refer to the online notes of City College of San Francisco?

I came across this with a random search on the Internet about shell scripting resources.

Again, it’s important to note that the online notes could be a bit dated. But, it should be an interesting resource to explore.

City College of San Francisco Notes Honorable mention: Linux Man Page

Not to forget, the man page for bash should also be a fantastic free resource to explore more about the commands and how it works.

Even if it’s not tailored as something that lets you master shell scripting, it is still an important web resource that you can use for free. You can either choose to visit the man page online or just head to the terminal and type the following command to get help:

man bash Wrapping Up

There are also a lot of popular paid resources just like some of the best Linux books available out there. It’s easy to start learning about shell scripting using some free resources available across the web.

In addition to the ones I’ve mentioned, I’m sure there must be numerous other resources available online to help you learn shell scripting.

Do you like the resources mentioned above? Also, if you’re aware of a fantastic free resource that I possibly missed, feel free to tell me about it in the comments below.

The New macOS Big Sur Looks Like…Deepin Linux

Wednesday 24th of June 2020 08:31:09 AM

Deepin Linux has been considered a macOS look alike Linux distribution for a long time. But it seems that design inspiration has taken the full circle here.

The upcoming macOS Big Sur has an uncanny resemblance to the upcoming Deepin Linux version 20.

I am not kidding. See it yourself. This is macOS Big Sur screenshot shared by Apple at WWDC recently:

And this is Deepin desktop version 20:

Both have same kind of application window styling with rounded corners. Emphasis on white background with blue accent. The dock/launcher at the bottom also look similar.

Apple’s macOS Big Sur has new visual approach. They have made the icons bigger. The icons also have plenty of space between them. This is probably their attempt to make macOS more touch friendly.

The new macOS icons also resemble iOS icons. This should give a uniform look to all the operating systems in the Apple ecosystem.

Moving on to Deepin Linux now. The upcoming Deepin version 20 is drop dead gorgeous. The developers have put a lot of focus on the design this time as well. I am not a UI designer so it is difficult for me to put it in correct technical terms. But the new design looks more clean and aesthetic.

Here are some more Deepin 20 pictures to gorge on:

With Deepin, you don’t have to put special efforts to make your Linux system look like macOS.

So, does this mean Apple is preparing a lawsuit against Deepin for ‘copying their design’? Considering that Deepin is based in China, Apple won’t take such action against them. Jokes apart, if Deepin was US-based, it could have been a possibility.

It is difficult to say who is inspiring whom. Like Netflix’s Dark web series, things are going in circle here as well.

Frankly, it doesn’t matter if macOS look like Deepin or not. I thought maybe it would be fun little news for the readers to read and smile.

How to Disable Dock on Ubuntu 20.04 and Gain More Screen Space

Tuesday 23rd of June 2020 03:31:46 AM

The launcher on the left side has become the identity of Ubuntu desktop. It was introduced with Unity desktop and even when Ubuntu switched to GNOME, it forked Dash to Panel to create a similar dock on GNOME as well.

Personally, I find it handy for quickly accessing the frequently used applications. But not everyone wants it to take some extra space on the screen.

Starting with Ubuntu 20.04, you can easily disable this dock. Let me show you how to do that graphically and via command line in this quick tutorial.

Disable Ubuntu dock with Extensions app

One of the main features of Ubuntu 20.04 was the introduction of Extensions to manage GNOME extensions on your system. Just look for it in the GNOME menu (press Windows key and start typing):

Look for Extensions app in the menu Don’t have Extensions app?

If you don’t have it installed already, you should enable GNOME Shell Extensions. The Extensions GUI app is part of this package.

sudo apt install gnome-shell-extensions

This is only valid for GNOME 3.36 or higher version available in Ubuntu 20.04 and higher versions.

Start the extensions app and you should see Ubuntu Dock under the Built-in extensions section. You just have to toggle the button off to disable the dock.

Disable Ubuntu Dock

The change is immediate and you’ll see that dock disappears immediately.

You can bring it back the same way. Just toggle it on and it will appear immediately.

So easy to hide the dock in Ubuntu 20.04, isn’t it?

Alternative Method: Disable Ubuntu dock via command line

If you are a terminal enthusiast and prefer to do things in the terminal, I have good news for you. You can disable the Ubuntu dock from command line.

Open a terminal using Ctrl+Alt+T. You probably already know that keyboard shortcut in Ubuntu.

In the terminal, use the following command to list all the available GNOME extensions:

gnome-extensions list

This will show you an output similar to this:

List GNOME Extensions

The default Ubuntu dock extension is ubuntu-dock@ubuntu.com. You can disable it using this command:

gnome-extensions disable ubuntu-dock@ubuntu.com

There will be no output message displayed on the screen but you’ll notice that the launcher or dock disappears from the left side.

If you want, you can enable it again using the same command as above but with enable option this time:

gnome-extensions enable ubuntu-dock@ubuntu.com

Conclusion

There are ways to disable the dock in Ubuntu 18.04 as well. However, it may lead to unwarranted situations if you try to remove it in 18.04. Removing this package also removes the ubuntu-desktop package and you may end up with a system with broken functionalities like no application menu.

This is the reason why I won’t recommend removing it on Ubuntu 18.04.

It’s good that Ubuntu 20.04 gives a way to hide the taskbar. Users have more freedom and more screen space. Speaking of more screen space, did you know that you can remove the top title bar from Firefox and gain more screen space?

I am wondering how do you prefer your Ubuntu desktop? With the dock, without dock or without GNOME?

Jitsi Meet: A Free & Open Source Video Conferencing Solution That is Also Free to Use Without Any Set Up

Monday 22nd of June 2020 10:08:52 AM

Brief: Jitsi Meet is an open-source video conferencing service that you can use for free to organize online classes, conferences and meet ups. You can also host Jitsi on your own server.

The remote work trend grew significantly amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. No matter whether you like it or not, video conferencing is proving to be a great solution for both individuals and businesses.

One of the video conferencing services that got insanely popular in last few months is Zoom. However, there are plenty of security and privacy concerns about Zoom video calls.

So, it’s important to choose a secure and easy-to-use video conferencing app that gets the work done. I’m sure there are numerous alternatives, but here — let’s take a look at an open-source option Jitsi Meet.

Jitsi Meet: Free to Use, Open-Source Video Conferencing Service

Jitsi Meet is a part of Jitsi, which is a collection of open-source voice, video conferencing, and instant messaging services.

The Jitsi Meet allows you to host group video calls, i.e. video conferencing in seconds. You don’t even need an account with them.

For desktop, it is mostly browser-based but it does offer an electron-based desktop app in the form of AppImage file for Linux. It’s also available for Windows and macOS.

And, for smartphones, it does offer both iOS and Android apps that you can install from the App Store and the Play Store respectively. In addition to these, you can also find it on the open source Android app store F-Droid.

If you want to go the extra mile, you can deploy Jitsi Meet on your server. This is ideal for businesses who don’t want to use a third-party server even if it is from the developers of the software.

Features of Jitsi Meet

Jitsi Meet is simple and yet feature-rich. Here’s the set of features that you’ll get:

  • Does not need user registration
  • Edit documents together using Etherpad
  • Gives you the ability to self-host
  • Supports Slack and Rocket.chat integration
  • Offers password protection if needed
  • End-to-End encryption (beta)
  • Background blur (beta)
  • Recording option
  • Live stream support
  • YouTube video sharing
  • View the network status of users
  • Google and Microsoft Calendar Integration
  • Chat feature
  • Screen sharing
  • Supports International dial-in connection to join
  • The session exists for you to continue the video call later without needing the meeting code.
  • Low-bandwidth mode option

For obvious reasons, you will find fewer options on the mobile app.

Do note that end-to-end encryption is still in beta. But, even without it, Jitsi Meet should be a privacy-friendly and secure video conferencing solution.

On mobile, I just wish if it had the screen sharing option — except that, everything else works just fine.

How To Use Jitsi Meet?

There’s nothing extra that you need to do in order to make it work on Linux. You just need to head over to their official Jitsi Meet instance and then type in the name of the meeting to create or join.

If you’re using the electron-based app, it’s all the same. Here’s how it looks when using the desktop app:

As you can see in the screenshot above, you can also find a list of your recent meeting rooms so that you don’t have to type or create the meeting room again.

If you’re creating it, it’s best to go with a unique name and also add a password protection to it if you do not need anyone else to join in accidentally.

If you’re joining someone else’s meeting, simply ask for the meeting name or the link of the meeting to be able to easily join using your desktop or smartphone.

It works the same way on desktop minus some options. I’ve been using it for a while and I’ve also encouraged and trained my dad’s employer (our neighborhood school) to use Jitsi Meet to host online classes.

Even though it has a limit of up to 75 participants, it holds up pretty well and works perfectly fine.

Jitsi Meet

Wrapping Up

If you’re looking to host your own Jitsi instance, I suggest you to follow their official self-hosting guide to get it up and running. You can also find a list of instances on their GitHub page.

Jitsi Meet is an amazing open-source video conferencing application. It’s a privacy-friendly alternative to Zoom and other video calling services of that kind.

I also suggest looking at NextCloud, an open source alternative to MS Office 365.

What do you think about Jitsi Meet? Have you tried it yet? What’s your favorite video conferencing tool?

Missing Photoshop on Linux? Use PhotoGIMP and Convert GIMP into Photoshop

Sunday 21st of June 2020 06:37:00 AM

Adobe Photoshop is not available for desktop Linux. GIMP is the best alternative to Adobe Photoshop on Linux.

If you have used Photoshop for sometime, you’ll notice that the GIMP has different settings, different keyboard shortcuts and layout than Photoshop.

And there is absolutely nothing wrong with it. After all, both are two different software, and they don’t have to look the same.

However, people who are used to Photoshop find it difficult to forget their hard learned muscle memory while switching to GIMP. This could frustrate some because using a new interface means learning numerous keyboard shortcuts and spending time on finding which tool is located where.

To help such Photoshop to GIMP switchers, Diolinux has introduced a tool that mimics Adobe Photoshop in GIMP.

PhotoGIMP: Give Adobe Photoshop like look and feel to GIMP in Linux

PhotoGIMP is not a standalone graphics software. It is a patch for GIMP 2.10. You need to have GIMP installed on your system to use PhotoGIMP.

When you apply the PhotoGIMP patch, it changes GIMP layout to mimic Adobe Photoshop.

  • Installs hundreds of new fonts by default
  • Installs new Python filters such as “heal selection”
  • Adds new splash screen
  • Adds new default settings to maximize space on the canvas
  • Adds keyboard shortcuts similar to Adobe Photoshop

PhotoGIMP also adds new icon and name from custom .desktop file. Let’s see how to use it.

.ugb-40783bc-wrapper.ugb-container__wrapper{border-radius:0px !important;padding-top:0 !important;padding-bottom:0 !important;background-color:#f1f1f1 !important}.ugb-40783bc-wrapper > .ugb-container__side{padding-top:35px !important;padding-bottom:35px !important}.ugb-40783bc-wrapper.ugb-container__wrapper:before{background-color:#f1f1f1 !important}.ugb-40783bc-content-wrapper > h1,.ugb-40783bc-content-wrapper > h2,.ugb-40783bc-content-wrapper > h3,.ugb-40783bc-content-wrapper > h4,.ugb-40783bc-content-wrapper > h5,.ugb-40783bc-content-wrapper > h6{color:#222222}.ugb-40783bc-content-wrapper > p,.ugb-40783bc-content-wrapper > ol li,.ugb-40783bc-content-wrapper > ul li{color:#222222}

Recommended Read:

.ugb-800808c .ugb-blog-posts__featured-image{border-radius:0px !important}.ugb-800808c .ugb-blog-posts__title a{color:#000000 !important}.ugb-800808c .ugb-blog-posts__title a:hover{color:#00b6ba !important}Someone Forked GIMP into Glimpse Because Gimp is an Offensive Word

GIMP editor has been forked into Glimpse project because some people found the name offensive. But they do have plans to make GIMP better. Read more about it.

Installing PhotoGIMP on Linux [for intermediate to expert users]

PhotoGIMP is essentially a patch for GIMP 2.10. You must have GIMP 2.10 installed on your system. You download and extract the zip file in Linux. You’ll find the following hidden folders in the extracted folder:

  • icons: which have a new PhotoGIMP icon
  • .local: which contain the personalized .desktop file so that you see PhotoGIMP instead of GIMP in system menu
  • .var : the main folder containing the patch for GIMP

You should use Ctrl+H keyboard shortcut to show hidden files in Ubuntu.

Warning: I suggest making backup of GIMP config files so that you can revert if you don’t like PhotoGIMP. Simply copy the content of GIMP config files into some other location.

At present, PhotoGIMP is mainly compatible with GIMP installed via Flatpak. If you installed GIMP using Flatpak, you can simply copy-paste these hidden folders in your home directory and it will convert your GIMP into Adobe Photoshop like settings.

However, if you installed GIMP via apt or snap or your distribution’s package manager, you’ll have to find the GIMP config folder and paste the content of the .var/app/org.gimp.GIMP/config/GIMP/2.10 directory of PhotoGIMP. When asked, opt for merge option and replace existing files of the same name.

I installed GIMP in Ubuntu 20.04 using apt. The location for GIMP config file for me was ~/.config/GIMP/2.10. I copied the content of the .var/app/org.gimp.GIMP/config/GIMP/2.10 directory here and started GIMP to see the PhotoGIMP splash.

Here’s the interface of GIMP after being patched by PhotoGIMP:

I tried a couple of Photoshop keyboard shortcuts to check the changes it made and it seemed to be working.

Download PhotoGIMP

I also found PhotoGIMP available as Snap package but its from 2019, and I am not sure if it works everywhere or just with snap install.

Conclusion

This is not the first project of this kind. Some years ago, we had a similar project called Gimpshop. The Gimpshop project hasn’t seen any development in past several years and it is safe to assume that the project is dead. There is a website in the name of Gimpshop but that’s from imposters trying to cash in on Gimpshop name.

I am not an Adobe Photoshop user. I am not even a GIMP expert this is why the GIMP tutorials on It’s FOSS are covered by Dimitrios.

For this reason, I cannot comment on how useful the PhotoGIMP project is. If you are familiar with both software, you should be able to judge it better than me.

If you try PhotoGIMP, do share your experience with it and let us know if it is worth the installation or not.

How to Make Ubuntu Look Like macOS in 5 Easy Steps

Saturday 20th of June 2020 08:40:00 AM

Customization is one of the main reasons why I use Linux. There is no end to the kind of customization you can do to your desktop Linux. You can change icons, themes, change fonts, change terminals, add screenlets, indicator applets, extensions and what not.

We have covered numerous desktop customization tips and tricks on It’s FOSS. In this one, I’ll show you how to make Ubuntu look like macOS.

Many people use macOS because of its simplistic and elegant look. You may disagree with it but it remains a popular opinion. Even there are Linux distributions that have macOS like look and feel.

One of the readers requested us to show how to make Ubuntu look like macOS and hence we’ve created this tutorial. In fact, this is a good example to show the customization capability of desktop Linux.

No, you don’t have to install a new distribution just for customizing the looks. You can do some tweaking on your own and give your system mac-like looks.

How to give your Ubuntu Linux a macOS makeover

Although this article suggests it’s for Ubuntu, you can follow it for other distributions with GNOME desktop with little or no changes. Please make sure to check your desktop environment.

To be honest, even if you are using some other desktop environment, you can still take some hints about what changes to do. But you have to make sure to follow the steps using your DE’s tools.

Prerequisites: GNOME Tweaks and GNOME Extensions

Please make sure to install GNOME Tweaks tool. You’ll need it for changing the themes and icons.

You’ll also need to enable GNOME Extensions for changing GNOME Shell and adding planks.

After you enable GNOME Extension, you need to install “user themes” extension from Gnome extensions or just go to this link and click on the switch to turn it on.

I also expect you to have some knowledge about installing themes in Ubuntu. I’ll briefly touch on this subject, though.

Let’s see the steps one by one.

Step 1: Install a macOS inspired GTK theme

Since the focus is on making GNOME look like macOS, you should choose a macOS like theme. There are plenty of themes which are macOS like.

Download a theme of your choice

You can go to Gnome-look site, and look for themes for GTK3. Don’t worry if you see “Pling” written on the Gnome-look website, they both are from same providers.

You can choose any theme you want. Here are some macOS themes I think you should take a look at:

mcOS 11 McHigh Sierra Catalina McMojave

I shall be using “McMojave” in this article. You can choose any theme you want. You will find dropdown download button on the right side of website, click on it.

McMojave Dark Theme

Here you may find various “.tar.xz” files. These different files contain same theme with small differences. Like in “McMojave” we have variations like dark and light theme. You can try them all, or just pick anyone you like from the carousel given in middle.

Set downloaded theme

Extract the downloaded theme and copy this extracted theme folder to .local/share/themes folder.

Open GNOME Tweak tool and change the Application and Shell theme. As soon as you change the themes, you can see those three yellow, green and red buttons, and that Apple logo on upper left corner. You can also notice come changes on panel items.

McMojave GTK and Shell theme Step 2: Install macOS like icons

The next step in this macOS makeover is to use macOS like icons.

Download icon set

Here are some icon sets I suggest that you can download from Gnome-look website:

McMojave-circle Mojave CT-icons Cupertino icons

I shall be using “McMojave-circle” in this article, feel free to use any icons you like.

Just like the theme, you can download it from “download” dropdown button from right side. Here you may also find various different versions of same icons.

Mcmojave Circle

Set icon

Now set the downloaded icon. For that extarct the download folder and copy it to .icons folder in your home directory. See this article on installing icon themes in Ubuntu.

This is what this icon looks like:

McMojave Circle Icons Look Step 3: Add macOS like dock

Without macOS like dock, your Ubuntu will not look like macOS. There are various docks available for Linux. I like Dash to Dock and I am going to use it here.

Dash to Dock is a GNOME extension. By now you are familar with GNOME Extensions. Just go to this link and click on toggle button to install it. Your native dock will be automatically replaced with dash-to-dock.

You can change settings by right clicking on “show applications” button (rightmost menu button), and selecting “Dash to dock settings”.

Dash To Dock Step 4: Use macOS wallpaper

Most of the complicated stuff are done. Now it’s time to set macOS wallpaper. You can download macOS default wallpapers from the link below:

Download macOS wallpapers

Change the desktop background

I shall be using “Mojave Day” wallpaper. Right click on the downloaded image and select ‘Set As Wallpaper’ option to change the wallpaper.

After setting this wallpaper, this is how my system looks like:

Change the lock screen Wallpaper

The lock screen background option is removed from the settings of Ubuntu 20.04. Now it uses blurred desktop wallpaper as the background of lock screen.

To set a custom lock screen wallpaper, you can use “Lock screen background” extension.

Open “Lock screen background” extension setting, and set lock screen wallpaper.

Lock Screen Background Setting

This is how the lockscreen looks now. If you are wondering, here’s how to take screenshot of lockscreen in Ubuntu.

Lock Screen Login Screen Step 5: Change system fonts

For several years, the primary system font in macOS is ‘San Francisco’. But this San Francisco font is not public domain but proprietary like so many other things in the Apple ecosystem. For this reason, you cannot use this font.

What you can do is to use an open source font that looks similar to the San Francisco fonts. I recommend using Roboto font by Google or Source Sans Pro by Adobe.

Installing fonts is straightforward in Ubuntu. Download the zip files of the fonts and just double-click on the ttf files in the extracted folder. It will give you the option to install the fonts one by one.

If you want to save time and install all the fonts at once, extract all fonts in it to the “.fonts” directory in your home folder (~/.fonts).

Installing fonts

Once you have installed the fonts, you can change the system wide font using GNOME Tweaks tool.

Set Fonts Bonus Tip: Spotlight like app launcher (if you want to go the extra mile)

If you are a fan of macOS Spotlight launcher, you may have something similar on Linux also. My favorite package for getting this kind of launcher is “Albert“.

You can find the installation instruction for Albert on its website.

After installing; open “Albert” and set hotkey (key combination you want for opening launcher) and you are good to go. I think in macOS, the Command+Space is to launch Spotlight. You may set Super+Space keyboard shortcut in Ubuntu.

You will get many themes in built, in picture below I’ve used “Spotlight dark”.

Albert won’t be able to launch apps directly, you have to give it permissions for where it can look for search results.

Albert Settings

After setting up, this is how it looks:

Albert dark theme

This is how my Ubuntu 20.04 looks like after making all the customizations. Does it look like macOS? You be the judge.

macOS Theme Ubuntu with macOS makeover

So, this is how you can make your GNOME desktop look like macOS. As I said in the beginning, this is a good example of Linux desktop’s customization capability.

If you have any new ideas or have any queries; the comment section is all yours.

Written by Sumeet with additional inputs from Abhishek Prakash.

Fixing “The following packages have been kept back” Error While Updating Ubuntu and Debian-based Linux Distributions

Friday 19th of June 2020 07:09:15 AM

The other day I was updating my Ubuntu system. I prefer the command line way of updating the system by using the combination of apt update and apt upgrade.

I encountered a strange update error in Ubuntu this time. It showed me that there are packages that can be upgraded but it could not upgrade those packages because of an error that read:

The following packages have been kept back:

Here’s the screenshot of the error I encountered:

As you can see in the image above, the problem is arising because of fwupd which is the firmware update manager daemon in Ubuntu and other Linux.

Let me show you how to handle this error in Ubuntu and other Linux distributions like Linux Mint, Debian, Kali Linux etc.

Fixing “The following packages have been kept back” Error

The fix for this error is really simple. All you have to do is to use the apt install command with package or packages in the question:

sudo apt install package_name

If you use apt install on an already installed package, it gets updated. In my case, fwupd package was kept back. So, here’s what I tried:

sudo apt install fwupd

As you can see in the below screenshot, it suggests two packages that will be installed and then those packages are installed as well.

Explained: Reason for the “The following packages have been kept back” error and how it was fixed

The above suggested fix should solve the problem for you. But are you curious what caused the error and how was it fixed? Let me explain that to you.

Normally, when you run the sudo apt update and sudo apt upgrade commands, it updates all the installed packages to their available newer versions.

However, if the dependencies of an installed package have been changed such that it requires installation of new packages, the installed package won’t be upgraded with the system update and you’ll see package kept back error.

In the example here, when fwupd was originally installed, tpm2-tools and tpm2-abrmd were not installed and fwupd did not depend on it. Later, a newer version of fwupd required the installation of these new packages.

This is a mechanism in Debian’s APT package manager that informs you that an already installed package now needs to install more new package as dependency. When you manually and individually update these packages, you see what new packages are going to be installed and the error is not shown anymore.

You may also use apt full-upgrade/apt-get dist-upgrade instead of apt install package_name in this case but I would not recommend that. The apt full-upgrade may automatically remove packages that it deems unnecessary while handling dependencies. This may lead to unwanted situations.

Did you fix this error?

Did this solution help you in getting rid of the “packages have been kept back” error? If yes, I welcome your quick ‘thank you’ message in the comment section. If not, let me know and I’ll try to help you out further.

Get Your Work Done Faster With These To-Do List Apps on Linux Desktop

Thursday 18th of June 2020 03:17:37 PM

Getting work done is super important. If you have a planned list of things to do, it makes your work easier. So, it’s no surprise why we’re talking about to-do list apps on Linux here.

Sure, you can easily utilize some of the best note taking apps on Linux for this purpose but using a dedicated to-do app helps you stay focused on work.

You might be aware of some online services for that— but how about some cool Linux apps that you can use to create a to-do list? In this article, I’m going to highlight the best to-do list apps available for Linux.

Best To-Do List Applications For Desktop Linux Users

I have tested these apps on Pop!_OS. I have also tried to mention the installation steps for the mentioned apps but you should check your distribution’s package manager for details.

Note: The list is in no particular order of ranking

1. Planner

Planner is probably the best to-do list app I’ve across for Linux distributions.

The best thing is — it is a free and open-source project. It provides a beautiful user interface that aims to give you a meaningful user experience. In other words, it’s simple and yet attractive.

Not to forget, you get a gorgeous dark mode. As you can see in the screenshot above, you can also choose to add emojis to add some fun to your serious work tasks.

Overall, it looks clean while offering features like the ability to add repeating tasks, creating separate folder/projects, sync with todoist etc.

How to install it?

If you’re using elementary OS, you can find it listed in the app center. In either case, they also offer a Flatpak package on Flathub.

Unless you have Flatpak integration in your software center, you should follow our guide to use Flatpak on Linux to get it installed.

In case you want to explore the source code, take a look at its GitHub page.

Planner 2. Go For It!

Yet another impressive open-source to-do app for Linux which is based on todotxt. Even though it isn’t available for Ubuntu 20.04 (or later) at the time of writing this, you can still use it on machines with Ubuntu 19.10 or older.

In addition to the ability to adding tasks, you can also specify the duration/interval of your break. So, with this to-do app, you will not just end up completing the tasks but also being productive without stressing out.

The user interface is plain and simple with no fancy features. We also have a separate article on Go For It — if you’d like to know more about it.

You can also use it on your Android phone using the Simpletask Dropbox app.

How to install it?

You can type the commands below to install it on any Ubuntu-based distro (prior to Ubuntu 20.04):

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:go-for-it-team/go-for-it-stable sudo apt update sudo apt install go-for-it

In case you want to install it on any other Linux distro, you can try the Flatpak package on Flathub.

If you don’t know about Flatpak — take a look at our complete guide on using Flatpak. To explore more about it, you can also head to their GitHub page.

Go For It! 3. GNOME To Do

If you’re using Ubuntu or other Linux distribution with GNOME desktop envioenment, you should already have it installed. Just search for “To Do” and you should find it.

It’s a simple to-do app which presents the list in the form of cards and you can have separate set of tasks every card. You can add a schedule to the tasks as well. It supports extensions with which you can enable the support for todo.txt files and also integration with todoist.

GNOME To Do 4. Task Coach

Task Coach is yet another open-source to-do list app that offers quite a lot of essential features. You can add sub-tasks, description to your task, add dates, notes, and a lot more things. It also supports tree view for the task lists you add and manage.

It’s a good thing to see that it offers cross-platform support (Windows, macOS, and Android).

Overall, it’s easy to use with tons of options and works well.

How to install it?

It offers both .deb and .rpm packages for Ubuntu and Fedora. In addition to that, you can also install it using PPA.

You can find all the necessary files and instructions from its official download page.

You may notice an installation error for its dependencies on Ubuntu 20.04. But, I believe it should work fine on the previous Ubuntu releases.

In my case, it worked out fine for me when using the AUR package through Pamac on Manjaro Linux.

Task Coach 5. Todour

A very simple open-source to-do list app that lets you utilize todo.txt file as well. You may not get a lot of options to choose from — but you get a couple of useful settings to tweak.

It may not be the most actively developed to-do list app — but it does the work expected.

How to install Todour?

If you’re using Manjaro Linux, you can utilize pamac to install Todour from AUR.

Unfortunately, it does not provide any .deb or .rpm package for Ubuntu/Fedora. So, you’ll have to build it from source or just explore more about it on its GitHub page.

Todour Bonus: Terminal-based Taskwarrior to do list app

A command-line based open-source to-do list program “Taskwarrior” is an impressive tool if you don’t need a Graphical User Interface (GUI). It also provides cross-platform support (Windows and macOS).

It’s quite easy to add and list tasks along with a due date as shown in the screenshot above.

To make the most out of it, I would suggest you to follow the official documentation to know how to use it and the options/features that it offers.

How to install it?

You can find it in your respective package managers on any Linux distribution. To get it intalled in Ubuntu, you will have to type the following in the terminal:

sudo apt install taskwarrior

For Manjaro Linux, you can simply get it installed through pamac that you usually need to install software in Manjaro Linux.

In case of any other Linux distributions, you should head to its official download page and follow the instructions.

Taskwarrior Wrapping Up

As an interesting mention, I’d like you to take a look at TodoList, which is an applet for KDE-powered distributions. Among mainstream to-do list applications, Remember The Milk is the rare one that provides a Linux client. It is not open source, though.

I hope this list of to-do specific apps help you get things done on Linux.

Did I miss any of your favorite to-do list apps on Linux? Feel free to let me know what you think!