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Linux on Desktop : The Journey so far

First of all an Introduction, I am Ambuj Varshney, I have recently graduated with bachelors in Information and Communication Technology and for the past two years I have been working on Wireless Sensor Network and Embedded Systems.  I started Linux on Desktop close to five years ago.

I have been an ardent follower of GNU/Linux for close to eleven years now, and things have changed significantly over the past decade, from an operating system for hackers and programmers and being used on servers and potentially something that could be used on Desktops, GNU/Linux has matured into a credible desktop operating system, while conventional desktop usage might still linger around 2-3%, Google Android based  on GNU/Linux is widely used on Tablets/Smartphones which I believe are an extension and to some extent future of desktops.

Linux on Desktop started in 2006 as a hobby to make GNU/Linux on desktop more accessible to people not familiar with Linux. There were very few good source of informat…

TunesViewer : Access iTunes University easily on Linux

Over the years Linux has evolved from an operating system used by hackers and primarily used on servers, to being recognized as a viable alternative to popular proprietary operating systems on Desktop, the growth of Android, which is infact based on GNU/Linux has only made the case even stronger. The list of vendors that support Linux has grown, there are companies that are funneling in money for development of device driver for Linux, to companies releasing their products on GNU/Linux platform as well.

I am no Apple fanboy, I admire thought process they put in designing their products, but there are many things that I dislike about Apple, and not supporting GNU/Linux is one of them. I own iPod Classic, I have Rockbox running on it and hence I have never worried about iTunes being not available on GNU/Linux and this never forced me into looking for viable alternatives.

I have been following UC Berkeley's webcast for some time, I have thoroughly enjoyed some of their CS courses - for…

Bodhi Linux 1.1.0 : Ubuntu and Enlightenment based Promising Linux distribution

Bodhi Linux is a relatively new GNU/Linux distribution being developed by Jeff Hoogland. I had read couple of reviews of Bodhi Linux earlier, but comment from the maintainer of Bodhi Linux in the review of MacPup 520 Linux ( you can read this review here ) , made me take notice of Bodhi Linux, and I decided to give Bodhi Linux a try.

Bodhi Linux 1.1.0 is a distribution based on popular GNU/Linux distribution Ubuntu, Bodhi is a Sanskrit word which to some extent means enlightenment, it is widely used in Buddhism and thus the name itself for Bodhi Linux is positive. Bodhi Linux is based on Enlightenment Window Manager, I am huge fan of Enlightenment, I recently reviewed MacPup 520 and I was very impressed with what I saw, thus I had huge expectations from Bodhi Linux.

The test environment was very modest, I have a close to four year old Core 2 Laptop with 1.5Ghz processor, which runs VirtualBox, I tested Bodhi Linux in Virtual Machine with 768 Megabytes of RAM. Though, this is still w…

Music on Console : Midnight Commander styled Console based Music Player

Music on Console is a console based music player with interface inspired by the classic Mindnight Commander file manager, it allows you to play number of audio file format and yet is light on memory and is extremely simple to use.

Music on Console is written in C using POSIX system calls and uses a number of different libraries to decode different audio format, its interface is created using ncurses text based interface library.

Some of the supported audio formats include -
mp3Ogg VorbisFLACWAVMusepackSpeexAIFFThere are couple of more audio formats supported by MOC, The major ones I have listed above.

The interface of MOC is divided into two panes, while one pane on the left has all the MP3 files in the directory , the left pane has playlist, which you can create dynamically or load existing m3u playlist, bottom of the screen has information about the file like running time, file length, codec information etc.

To install Music On Console issue the following command in the Terminal Window…

BlueProximity : Awesome application to lock screen as you leave Computer

I spend most of my time in Embedded Systems and Wireless Sensor Network lab of the university where I am studying, there are many research engineers as well as Phd students there who work there, as well as assistant, it is a collaborative environment and frequently I move in and out of the lab and for privacy I keep my screen locked when I leave desk. This sometimes gets very irritating, having to lock screen, type in password to unlock as you come back to terminal, I often thought tool like the ones we use to change presentation could be very useful to lock/unlock screen remotely as you leave Desk.

BlueProximity is ideal tool for such scenarios, BlueProximity is a very neat, clever little application available for Ubuntu and other GNU/Linux operating systems,that allows you to lock screen as you ( carrying Mobile Phone which is paired to your Linux machine) move certain meters away from the terminal for a duration of time, and unlocks it automatically as you( with the Mobile Phone…

uGet download Manager updates to 1.8.0

One of the things that makes Linux so powerful is the terminal, and the level of control over the operating system it provides, I like to use terminal for most of the activities, from searching for files to finding out essential information about the system or for that matter downloading using wget or alex. However, using terminal is difficult for Linux newbies, and thus we have many graphical utilities/frontends to make life simpler, there are bunch of graphical download manager on GNU/Linux platform like d4x, kget, uget etc.

uGet is a cross-platform graphical Download Manager available for both GNU/Linux and Microsoft Windows platform. Recently, uGet updated to 1.8 stable version, I had tried uGet couple of months back, I wasn't impressed much back then, I decided to give uGet another try and test the new updated version.

To install uGet on Ubuntu 11.04 based system, issue the following command in the terminal window to add stable PPA, and then install uGet onto the system.
sudo …

Eye Candy: Make your Ubuntu 11.04 Desktop look like Mac OS X with Mac4Lin and AWN

I had written post earlier about how you can transform your Ubuntu Desktop into looking like Mac OS X, it become instant hit and to this day I get number of people looking for information about transforming their Ubuntu desktop to look like Mac OS X, and hence I decided to write an updated tutorial. Macbuntu is one alternative, though at the time of writing this post I could not find Macbuntu version for Ubuntu 11.04 and forcefully installing Macbuntu have lead to stability issues and hence I would avoid this approach.

The desktop should somewhat resemble interface of MacOS X, after following the below mentioned steps.

I would be assuming that you are using Ubuntu Classic here and not Unity, I have found Unity to be extremely irritating to work with and I dislike it very much. You can switch to Ubuntu classic by changing to Ubuntu Classic in GDM screen.

Mac4Lin is made by GTK Developer Anirudh Acharya, with the aim of bringing Aqua user interface to POSIX based platform, in simpler wor…