Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Illumination Software Creator

No sooner did Ubuntu allow paid apps to appear on the Ubuntu Software Center than apps started pouring in! The new really cool software which I'm going to mention here is called Illumination Software Creator.

Its a one of a kind application in that it allows users to "create" applications not just for Ubuntu (Python/GTK Desktop apps) but also for Maemo (Nokia N900), Android as well as Adobe Flash ones. And the clincher? Well, here's the thing, you dont need to write a single line of code to create the softwares!

Here's what the description of Illumination Software Creator reads on the Ubuntu Software Center:
The idea is simple: Arrange colorful building blocks of functionality however you like to create your own, unique, piece of software. No reading large computer programming books. No steep learning curve.

As I mentioned earlier, its a paid app. Its $39.85 for he full version. If you want to try out the demo version, for free of course, you can get it from the official website here.

Paid Softwares start to appear on Ubuntu Software Center

Its more of a taste of things to come. Paid softwares have started to appear on Ubuntu Software Center. The only one currently in the Ubuntu Software Center is World of Goo. This is one incredibly popular game and has quite taken the Linux world, which is mostly devoid of path breaking games, by storm.


The Wikipedia page of World of Goo reads:

World of Goo is a physics-based puzzle game by 2D Boy, an independent game developer consisting of Kyle Gabler and Ron Carmel, both former Electronic Arts employees, released for Microsoft Windows, Mac OS X, Linux, and WiiWare. It was nominated for the Seumas McNally grand prize, Design Innovation Award, and Technical Excellence at the Independent Games Festival.


The game costs $19.95 on the Ubuntu Software Center. Although this is not a free game, there is a demo of World of Goo which can be found here. The demo is, of course, free. So if want to make sure that you're spending money for the right game, do download the demo and try.

Upon clicking the "Buy" button (which has replaced the "Install" button for this game) on the Ubuntu Software Center, you'll led to your Ubuntu account page where after signing in, the payment gateway will be seen. Thereafter its pretty simple.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010


Remember the much loved text editor WriteMonkey? Well if you've grown tired of running it using Wine, here's a Linux version which is more or less similar to WriteMonkey.

Its called FocusWriter and its got the same distraction free screen as WriteMonkey. The same typewriter sounds and the same flawless architecture.

Here's a screenshot:

How to install:

First you need to add the official repository. To do that add the following line to the Software Sources (if you need help adding repositories please check out this page:


Finally go to the Terminal and type the following:

sudo apt-get install focuswriter
Thats all. It should be available from the Office menu of the Ubuntu menu bar.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

HDR on Linux

Qtpfsgui is an awesome software which lets you do some pretty slick HDR tone mapping and editing. It has some pretty useful features which includes anti ghosting effects etc. For people into HDR and interested in a low cost (in this case, free) HDR editor, Qtpfsgui is a perfect option.

Check out the screenshot:


Search for "Qtpfsgui" in the Ubuntu Software Center and install. Thats it.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010


There is a really neat alternative to Corel Draw on Ubuntu. Its called Inkscape. I have been using it for quite some time now and have found it to be very useful. If you are into image editing/model creations/vector graphics you must have this application.



Its simple. Go to Ubuntu Software Center, search for Inkscape and install. Thats it!

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Install Sun Java for Ubuntu

Ubuntu 10.04, by default, installs the open source version of Java OpenJDK. However many users would want to switch to the standard version of Java from Sun. So, these are the following steps to install Sun Java for Ubuntu:

Go to System>Administration>Software Sources and add the following repository:

deb lucid partner

(If you're unsure about how to add repositories, take a look here for a detailed explanation with screenshots:

Finally go to Accessories>Terminal and type the following:

sudo apt-get update

And the following to finish the installation:

sudo apt-get install sun-java6-jre sun-java6-plugin sun-java6-fonts

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Torrent Search

Searching Torrents just got a whole lot easier. Torrent Search is a new software available for both Windows and Linux which searches for torrents from all popular sites and then lists the results along with all important seeds and leach info.

This basically reduces many irritating minutes worth of searching and analysing the health of torrents. I have been using it these past few days and frankly, I've fallen in love with it! It has loads of customisation options and I would urge you to try out the settings and then decide what suits you best.

Given below is a screenshot of a search result in the software:

Download Links:

You can access the official Sourceforge page of the application here:

To download the application, go here:


Thursday, August 19, 2010

How to use OpenDNS for Ubuntu

OpenDNS is a free ad-supported DNS (Domain Name System) resolution service. An opt-in service, OpenDNS offers faster resolution and advanced features, such as misspelling correction, phishing protection, and optional content filtering. - Wikipedia

In short OpenDNS is an important tool for your internet security and to gain more control over your internet experience. Installing OpenDNS for Ubuntu is easy but the guides are scattered all over the place and the OpenDNS site doesnt have all the necessary info. So here's a concise and accurate procedure of activating it on your Ubuntu desktop.

Step 1: Sign up. Go to OpenDNS site and sign up for a free/paid account.

Step 2: Apply the settings. You will have to apply the OpenDNS settings to your network manager. A detailed and simplified guide for that is given here:

Step 3: Setting up DDClient. This is where users get stuck the most since there are no proper guides regarding this. However Ubuntuforums has a detailed solution for this. Although its a bit lengthy, I would strongly suggest that you go through it and configure your settings for ddclient. The link is here:

Finally, enable the stats from your OpenDNS settings page and you're done. If you want to edit what you want/dont want to block, you can change it from the dashboard. Trust me, all this hard work is totally worth it.


Friday, July 30, 2010

Ubuntu 10.10 Maverick Meerkat alpha 2 - A closer look

The alpha 2 version of Maverick Meerkat 10.10 was released a few weeks back, so here's what seems to have changed and what doesnt:

1. Installation:

Pretty much remains the same (as in Ubuntu 10.04), except a few notable additions, including informations about the Ubuntu One Music Store. (Sequential screenshots from a virtual machine given below)

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2. Booting Process - The booting process is now insanely fast. It took me about 7-8 secs to start Ubuntu 10.10 alpha 2 on a virtual machine. Although practical booting time may increase, I doubt if it will be any more than 15 seconds.

3. Changes :

Ubuntu Software Center

It now has a History tab and better management of repositories, and now an all new "Whats New" section.

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Pulse Audio

The volume options are now looking better than ever.

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Other than that its pretty much Ubuntu 10.04. This is of course expected as its just an alpha 2 release. So, fingers crossed for a great release a few months from now.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Opera Browser for Linux

If you arent averse to using closed source softwares on Ubuntu, this is something to try out. Opera for Linux has taken gigantic steps since it was first launched and as of now it really is one of the better browsers out there.

Opera browsers arent open-source although they are free for downloads. Its the interface of the browser which has won it many fans over the years. The speed dial, Opera Turbo, Widgets etc. are all part of browser history now. The Linux version of it, although with a few modifications is more or less similar to its Windows counterpart. The installation is easy and hassle free and hence in my opinion, worth a try.

How to Install:

Go to the Download page and download the installation file. I would suggest using the Debian Package for easy installation.

After the download (in case of the Debian Package), its a matter of double clicking on the file and installing it.


Saturday, July 3, 2010

Ubuntu 10.10 Maverick Meerkat alpha 2 released

Ubuntu 10.10 has been making all the right noises recently and they have launched their latest alpha offering of the 10.10 version.

Its still in alpha 2, so dont expect things to work out of the box and dont expect it to be overly stable. Its currently for testing purposes only so just be careful.

Regular users stick to the latest stable version, i.e. Ubuntu 10.04

To see what changes have been made, including now archived changes check out this link:


Programming in Ubuntu

(Regular users can skip this)

I'm sure there are many developers here, wanting to create or develop Ubuntu applications. I'm also pretty sure that many of them want to create apps for other platforms as well.

Fortunately there are solutions for both. I will list here names of few IDEs that are available for both C++ and Java. And fortunately you can set them up and running in no time absolutely.

For C++, the preferred application is Code::Blocks. I have found this extremely user friendly and efficient. For Java, there are many good options. Most would say Eclipse as their preferred IDE, but I find Netbeans much easier to use. Both of them are available in the Ubuntu Software Center. There's of course a command line version, its called Pico. Its very easy to use and most of all will come in handy for people who are comfortable using the command line. Also note that the Ubuntu repositories may not have all the latest versions of these IDEs, so here are the links to their respective websites, in case you need to check out the latest version:


Good to be back

Sorry guys for the delay in posting stuff here. I have been quite busy lately, I do have a life beyond the web as you understand. :) Thanks for sticking with me.

So, just wanted to discuss a few things I figured out. Recently I got myself a new N97 Mini. Its not an iPhone competitor so dont think along those lines. But fortunately I got it working fine with Ubuntu 10.04. Sure, the Ovi Suite doesnt work, even with Wine and I am having to resort to downloading stuff from the Ovi Store mobile app. But thats a sacrifice I'm willing to make.

In the meantime, a lot has happened in the Ubuntu sphere and I will be posting them here and discussing them to the best of my abilities.

Thanks for reading guys. Really appreciate all the support.

(Just a note, there is a Facebook page of Explore Ubuntu. You can also access Explore Ubuntu on Twitter and and stay up to date with everything Ubuntu.)


Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Join .vob files

Joining .vob files is as easy as typing a single command. This is how you do it:

Say you have 2 files, file1.vob and file2.vob. To join these two files and create a new file, say file3.vob, you need to type the following in the Terminal:

cat file1.vob file2.vob > file3.vob
And thats pretty much it. Mind you this process can take some time depending upon the size of your files but usually it shouldnt take more than 10 mins for standard DVDs.

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Sunday, May 30, 2010


Okay I agree the name does seem odd. But the application isnt.

Histwi is a twitter management application allowing you to:

  • Download and save all your Tweets to Database.
  • View and export all saved tweets to html or txt file.
  • Compare your Following to Followers.
  • Follow/Unfollow any your friends.
  • Tracking new followers and unfollowers.
  • Advanced Twitter Search.
  • Managing multiple Twitter account

How to install:

Ubuntu 9.10 (Karmic) and later:

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:nikolay-blohin/histwi

sudo apt-get update

sudo apt-get install histwi

For older version Ubuntu your can make it manually by copying the lines below and adding them to your system's software sources:

deb karmic main

Thats it!


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Saturday, May 22, 2010

Extra Suggestions for 10.04

Here are some extra suggestions for 10.04.

1. Adobe AIR - Yes, its closed-source, but frankly if you leave aside Gwibber (which never worked for me), Ubuntu has no other way of integrating facebook and twitter into a single app. Tweetdeck is your only option.

For that you will have to install Adobe AIR (detailed instructions have been given here:, next go to the Tweetdeck site and download the .air file and simply double click and install.

You might also want to try Seesmic desktop, another useful Adobe AIR app.

Links: Tweetdeck (, Seesmic (

2. Compiz Plugins - Remember the much loved Burn effect of Compiz? Well it seems like in this edition Compiz will need a little more work to run properly, so type the following in the Terminal:

sudo apt-get install compiz-fusion-plugins-extra

This will install the Burn effect (Compiz fusion extra plugins). All you now need to do is go the Compiz Config Manager and enable Animation add ons andthen select your preferred animation from the Animations tab.

3. Remove Adobe AIR apps - Removing Adobe AIR apps is quite easy. You dont need to have the .air file with you anymore you can remove the app from the Ubuntu Software Center just as you would with any Ubuntu app.

4. Chromium - Chromium is the open source twist to Google Chrome. The default version of Chromium in 10.04 was something I didnt really like. So I installed the repository of Chromium. How do you do that? Simple. Go to System > Administration > Software Sources. Now go to the Other Software tab and simply Add the following line:

Thats it. You will get the latest version of Chromium delivered right to your desktop.

So much for now, stay tuned for more tips and tricks.


Ubuntu 10.04 - Post installation tips

Okay so you have installed 10.04 and you are ready to set it up and run your favourite softwares. But wait! Have you installed all the necessary plugins and extra stuff that you might need for a 'hassle-free' experience? After all who wants to see a "Plugins missing" message now and then?

So, here are a few post installation tips an suggestions.

1. Install Restricted Extras

Ubuntu Restricted Extras is a package which is the sort of one in all media solution for Ubuntu. You will be able to use media files of all types of formats (other than open source formats).

How do you install it? Well its simple. Type the following in the Terminal (it dwonloaded more than a 130 MB of data, so stick to that cup of coffee):

sudo apt-get install ubuntu-restricted-extras

I would also recommend installing VLC Media Player as its frankly, the most 'comprehensive' media players I've come across.

2. Install Medibuntu repositories:

Sometimes there are formats or processes which require additional libraries. For these you need to install Medibuntu repository. Its as easy as copying and pasting a single line. Type (copy/paste) the following in the Terminal:

sudo wget`lsb_release -cs`.list --output-document=/etc/apt/sources.list.d/medibuntu.list && sudo apt-get -q update && sudo apt-get --yes -q --allow-unauthenticated install medibuntu-keyring && sudo apt-get -q update


Remember in 10.04, GIMP's gone from the default installation, so make sure you install GIMP from the Ubuntu Software Center. Simply search for it in the Software Center and install. As simple as that.

4. Twitter Client

Gwibber has been chosen as the default Twitter client in 10.04. Somehow I never got it to work, hence my personal favourite and recommendation would be Pino. Its a sleek, super light-weight and most importantly a functional twitter client. Here's how you install it. Type the following in the Terminal:

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:vala-team/ppa

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:troorl/pino

sudo apt-get update

sudo apt-get install pino
Well other than that everything else's pretty much fine. More as I discover. Stay tuned.


Friday, May 7, 2010

Ubuntu alternatives to Windows Softwares

Lucid Lynx 10.04 has attracted a lot of attention. And frankly, a large number of new users are now part of the Ubuntu fraternity. A hearty welcome to all of the new converts.

This particular post is especially for the new users who might struggle to find the Ubuntu counterparts of Windows softwares. The list is only indicative and not in any way all inclusive, since in the open source field, its virtually impossible to keep a tab on development of every single project out of the billions being currently worked on.

1. Media Player - Totem (installed by default) is pretty awesome and plays nearly all formats especially once the Ubuntu Restricted Extras package has been installed (do go through this post: to find out more about how to install this essential package). Of course, if you need to play around a bit more, VLC Media Player, available in the Ubuntu Software Center is a safe bet.

2. Music Application - A dedicated music application is always better than an all inclusive media player. Rhythmbox (installed by default) is definitely my favourite. However if you're on the adventurous side, you might want to try out Amarok, Banshee and Kaffeine.

3. Burning Software - Although Brasero installed by default does a pretty good job and is very easy to use, its a fact that it lacks a lot of features (verification of discs being one of them). My personal recommendation would be K3b (available in the Ubuntu Software Center) which works like magic. It might not be that user-friendly but once you get the hang of it, you will find it very difficult to switch to another burning tool. Another application which is quite good is GNOME-Baker (available in the Ubuntu Software Center).

4. Video Converter - For this there are many options, I prefer to use DeVeDe (available in the Ubuntu Software Center). Other options include Avidemux, Handbrake, WinFF (all available in the Ubuntu Software Center). However when it comes to video conversion I would recommend a trial and error approach.

Do give these softwares a try and let me know what you like best.


Friday, April 30, 2010

Ubuntu 10.04 ... afterthoughts

For a change this isnt a tutorial of some sort. This is what I think about Ubuntu 10.04.

So, after a long wait, 10.04 released yesterday. Great news for all Ubuntu users this, because frankly this is the best Ubuntu release as yet. Not only did it trend on twitter, it trended more than Steve Jobs! :P

Anyway, the thing is, this is a giant leap for Linux. Ubuntu has now entered a territory where its become a really user friendly OS, not to mention the fact that, its dispelling a myth about Linux distros, the myth that all Linux distros are about geeks and nerds. Some might find this not a pleasing trend, but frankly, this can only mean bigger and better things. To be honest, I dont see Linux becoming a common man's OS unless it manages to draw the required attention. Making Ubuntu (since its already the most popular Linux distro) reach the forefront is just the first step in achieving that titanic feat.

So what has changed in 10.04? Well for starters its a lot more user-friendly. Its more social networking friendly, with custom applets etc. It supports a greater number of hardware and provides updates and support for a greater number of apps. Its definitely faster, although how-fast would depend on the user. But in short, its definitely faster than 9.10 (the previous release). The interface has changed completely and in my opinion, its gotten really slick! After the 9.10 release, there was a general outcry among users to stablise the next release. That has been done and more!

Before I conclude I would like to mention a few things. There were a few changes made earlier (changing of default search engine from Google to Yahoo! which has been 'undone' now, and the moving buttons to the left fiasco) which made me question Ubuntu's originality. Especially since Ubuntu is increasingly resembling the OSX. I hope my doubts are found to be untrue in the future. Ubuntu should progress and become popular but it should have its own identity as well.


Ubuntu 10.04 Released

After a long long wait, Ubuntu 10.04 unveiled itself infront of us. This is the download link:

Personally though I would suggest and request that you download via a torrent. That way you would be downloading faster (as currently the seeds are exceptional), you wouldnt clog the servers and you would be helping other download Ubuntu.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Its the big day

Its indeed the big day. Ubuntu 10.04 Lucid Lynx LTS will be released today amidst much fanfare and hype. I am a self confessed Ubuntu fan and like everyone else, I'm very excited about this release. 10.04 marks a paradigm change for Ubuntu as a brand as well as for the user interface of this most popular Linux OS. Although some of the changes havent been welcome, the positives have far overridden them.

Okay, now for some real insight. Frankly speaking 9.10 was very buggy when it came out. And some of the bugs even persist to this day. I hope Ubuntu 10.04 doesnt tread that path and consolidates Ubuntu's name as a stable user friendly OS. A lot has already been said about the release hence it would be boring for you, the reader, to go through all that if I were to repeat those.

Finally, these are instructions about the download:

How to Download:

Go to and download the appropriate file. It will be a .iso file. Then burn it to a CD.

How to Install:

A detailed step by step pictorial (with screenshots) illustration of the entire installation procedure has been provided in the following link:


Sunday, April 25, 2010

ImageShack Uploader

ImageShack Uploader is a software which helps you upload images to Only that now you can do so, from the comfort of your desktop without having to even open your browser.

Free Image Hosting at

Its really a cool app. Unfortunately there's no 64 bit version of the app for Linux. Fortunately though, there is getlibs (see - and that will help you install imageshack uploader on your 64 bit version of Ubuntu. (For 32 bit users, its a simple click and install process)

How to install ImageShack Uploader:

Install it.

If you're using a 32 version of Ubuntu you need not proceed any further. You can run ImageShack Uploader from Internet menu.

If however you're using a 64 bit version, install getlibs (

After than go to the Terminal (Accessories > Terminal) and type the following:

sudo getlibs /usr/bin/imageshack-uploader

Press "y" if you're asked to install packages. Thats it. You can now run ImageShack Uploader from the Internet menu.



getlibs is a program which will help you install 32 bit and 64 bit applications on 64 bit OS as well as 32 bit applications on 32 bit OS.

Its practically a lifesaver of a project. Somehow I never managed to install imageshack uploader (Linux version) on my Ubuntu 9.10 64 bit (which works fine on a 32 bit OS). But now, thanks to getlibs, I have managed to install it.

How to install:

To install getlibs download the following file:

Then simply install it.

How to use:
  • Use getlibs to install a 32-bit library using the library name:
getlibs -l

  • Use getlibs to install a 32-bit library using the package name:
getlibs -p libqt4-core libqt4-gui

  • Install a 32-bit library file (.deb):
getlibs -i ~/i386_library_1.deb

  • Download and install a 32-bit library file (.deb):
getlibs -w

For more information take a look at this thread on Ubuntuforums:

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Gourmet Recipe Manager

Yup its exactly what it sounds like. Its a shopping list generator and recipe organizer. It can import mealmaster files and export recipes in a variety of formats. Pretty cool app if you're into cooking.


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How to install

Its available in the Ubuntu Software Center and can be installed from there itself. Simply search for it and install.



This is a really cool app which will help you manage your open windows with the help of icons.

Here's a screenshot of the panel. Notice the small icons indicating open windows.

How to install

To install download the .deb file:

Now simply open the file and install it.

To activate Talika, you need to add it to the panel. Right click on your panel (top or bottom one, whichever may be your preference), and simply search for and add Talika.

Thats it. Its a pretty nifty thing, and frankly, very smart way to manage a large number of open windows. However its currently available only for 32 bit versions.