The first public release of LXQt, the next generation of popular lightweight Linux desktop environment LXDE, has been made available to download.
Its arrives almost a year after the teams behind the LXDE Qt initiative and Razor-Qt desktop projects decided to merge. By pooling resources to focus on a single desktop environment, instead of two, the team say they “hope offer the best possible experience while reusing as much code as possible.”
Ten months on and number of core improvements have been made, both in the way the desktop works and in the feature set it offers. Today’s beta release, intended for early testers and developers, is already said to be ‘stable and usable’.
The Beginning of Something Beautiful
The unified development team behind the project are continuing to focus on offering a lightweight and user-friendly alternative to the heavier, increasingly complex shells. LXQt will remain well suited to lower speed computers using a leaner, faster and modular code base than that currently offered by the GTK+ based LXDE.
Several significant changes have bridged the previous formal release of RazorQt (0.5.2) and today’s debut, including a Qt port of the PCManFM file manager, improvements to system settings, new modular components, and on-going progress in supporting both Qt5 and the Wayland display protocol.
Development of the GTK+ version of the shell will, the team say, continue for the foreseeable future. Those running Lubuntu 14.04 LTS certainly have no need to panic, with Lubuntu devs committed to providing three years of ongoing fixes.
The team behind the Ubuntu spin have previously stated their intention is to transition to Qt-based desktop as early as Lubuntu 14.10. Whether this happens will be decided in the coming months.
Trying it Out
LXQt is in active development and so it is not recommended for use on any device you hold dear.
The Lubuntu Daily PPA plays host to the required packages for LXQt, including a meta-package to simplify installation.
A number of Qt dependencies will be pulled in as part of the installation process. Those wrestling with a particularly pathetic internet connection should plan accordingly.
Source tarballs, install details for Arch and Debian users, and links to more information can be found on the newly launched website for the project.
You can install it using the following commands:
sudo add-apt-repository ppa:lubuntu-dev/lubuntu-daily
sudo add-apt-repository ppa:gilir/q-project
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get upgrade
sudo apt-get install lxqt-metapackage
Once installed, log out current session and select log in with LXQt Desktop:
Visit the Official LXQt Project Website: LXQT.org
I always loved the default Blue on Black look that came with Ubuntu Studio, but never really liked the Desktop Environment, so after a little digging and trial and error I’ve finally found out how easy it is to install this beautiful theme on Ununtu Unity, I’ve yet to test the theme on other flavours of Ubuntu, so if you guys ever try it out on, let’s say Kubuntu, or Lubuntu, come back and let me know how it works.
To Install Ubuntu Studio Blue on Black, enter the following command into your Terminal:
Once installed it’s just a matter of going to System Setting – Appearance and selecting the “Adwaita” option from the theme selection menu:
Installing this theme will also install the standard Icons for Ubuntu-Studio, which I kinda like, but if you prefer they can be changed to a different Icon theme using either Ubuntu-Tweak or the Unity Tweak tool.
If you’ve recently installed or upgraded to Ubuntu GNOME 14.04 LTS then you will no doubt be enjoying a stable, dependable GNOME Shell experience.
But I suspect that the more nerdcore users among you would rather trade in the stability that’s offered up by default for a newer, badder, and potentially much buggier experience. You want to know how to upgrade to GNOME 3.12 in Ubuntu 14.04?
Well, I’m here to show you how. First though, I need to get all parental with you.
GNOME 3.10 is default for a reason
GNOME 3.12 was released in late March to much fanfare and some fantastic reviews. But despite going ‘stable’ before Ubuntu 14.04 LTS, released last month, it is not available to install from the Ubuntu 14.04 repositories — why?
Simply put it came too late in the development cycle to give enough time to thoroughly vet, test and ensure it was up to the standards an LTS release commands, and its users expect. Defaulting to the older 3.10 release makes sense as it benefits from having an extra cycle of thorough testing under its belt.
It’s for this reason that upgrading to GNOME 3.12 is not recommended.
Understood? Great, let’s move on to the fun stuff.
How to Upgrade to GNOME 3.12 in Ubuntu 14.04
To follow this guide correctly you need to be running the latest release of Ubuntu (14.04 LTS) or Ubuntu GNOME. If not, stop now; you must upgrade before you continue. If you don’t you can expect a whole world of hassle to follow.
If you’re running the regular version of Ubuntu (i.e., the one with Unity) then you should go ahead and grab GNOME 3.10 from the Ubuntu Software Centre before proceeding.
Add the GNOME 3.12 PPA
It was originally expected that GNOME 3.12 would be made available through the standard GNOME Team PPA following the release of Trusty. Three weeks hence, that hasn’t happened. As of writing it contains a handful of minor 3.10 packages and not anything related to the newest release.
However, the GNOME Team Staging PPA does contain all of the various 3.12 packages one needs to upgrade. Adding this archive should, the developers behind it say, result in a desktop that ‘runs smoothly’ but that packages included within have not been deemed ‘ready for general use’.
Providing you’re a dab hand with the PPA Purge tool you should be okay to continue. First, let’s check for and install any outstanding distribution updates:
Install any packages waiting by hitting the enter key.
Once complete, or if you have no pending updates at all, you can add the GNOME 3 Team Staging PPA. To do this, open a new Terminal window and enter the following commands:
You’ll be prompted to enter your password before the upgrade process can begin. Pay attention to any notices or alerts given. If all is acceptable agree to the installation by hitting the ‘y’ key.
For a true GNOME experience you may wish to grab some of the new GNOME applications, such as the Polari IRC client, GNOME Maps and the GNOME Web browser. To install these three in particular run the following command:
After everything has finished doing what it needs to, you’re safe to reboot!
If you’re coming from Unity, Xfce or another desktop environment don’t forget to select the GNOME session from the login screen before logging in.
GNOME Weather & GNOME Maps in 3.12
For me, in my lone experience, GNOME 3.12 on Ubuntu 14.04 runs pretty much fine. There do not appear to be any significant performance regressions after upgrading, though I do see the odd, infrequent visual glitch that occurs when opening the activities overlay, and the occasional disappearing drop shadow from under an app. But as bugs go these are hardly deal breakers.
Performance seems to be on par with GNOME 3.10; applications open with just as much pep and there are no noticeable drops in interactivity.
I was marginally disappointed to find that the all new GNOME Videos application has not been packaged up in this PPA. One suspects there are reasons for this (likely requiring a newer version of gstreamer).
With the lack of testing this has received, bugs are pretty much guaranteed. If you want stability stick with the thoroughly tested GNOME 3.10.
Downgrade from GNOME 3.12 to 3.10
But if you want shiny new features and access to the latest builds of GNOME apps then don’t be afraid to give the staging PPA a whirl. You can always ‘downgrade’ using PPA Purge if things go awry.
For years Gnome has been a favourite Desktop Environment among Linux users everywhere. But with the introduction of Unity within Ubuntu the veteran Ubuntu users started to panick. But now it is possible to get a Gnome2 Desktop Environment back with a few easy commands and programs. Here’s how:
1. Install the Flashback GNOME session:
To install the Flashback GNOME session, use the following command:
Once installed, log out and select this from the login screen session menu: “GNOME Flashback (Compiz)” if you want to use Compiz or “GNOME Flashback (Metacity)” if you don’t need Compiz and want to use Metacity:
2. Fix the Compiz Flashback session:
For GNOME Flashback Compiz session only: In my test, logging into the “GNOME Flashback (Compiz)” session, there were no window decorations. But I was able to fix it so if that also occurs on your system, here’s what to do. Firstly, install CompizConfig Settings Manager:
Then launch CompizConfig Settings Manager from the menu (Applications > System Tools > Preferences), enable the “Copy to texture” plugin, then log out and log back in.
If the window decorations still don’t work, you can also try to disable all the plugins from CompizConfig Settings Manager and then re-enable them (remember not to enable the Ubuntu Unity Plugin!).
3. How to add applets to the panel:
To add applets to the panel, you must hold the ALT key while right clicking the panel, then select “Add to panel”. In some cases, you must hold down both the ALT and the Super (Windows) keys while right clicking the panel so try this if just holding ALT doesn’t work.
If you want to get an Unity-like AppMenu (global menu), install the following package:
Then add the “Indicator Applet Appmenu” to the top panel (I’ve already explained above how to add applets to the GNOME Flashback session panels):
Note that in my test, adding the Appmenu applet to a panel makes the “Menu bar” applet disappear for some reason. The solution for this is use the “Main Menu” applet or Cardapio (see step 5 below).
5. Get a searchable menu: Cardapio:
Cardapio, a menu that comes with a search along with other useful features, doesn’t work with Ubuntu 14.04 any more, but I’ve found a version fixed by Eugene San fixed for Python 2.7 to which I’ve added a few fixes myself:
fixed the GTK3 bookmarks path;
fixed GNOME session logout/shutdown;
fixed panel icon not being displayed
fixed panel icon padding Cardapio using the wrong icon;
fixed “Applet” tab in Cardapio preferences not being displayed in GNOME Flashback session.
I’m not a developer so I couldn’t fix all the bugs: some of its plugins don’t work any more and launching Cardapio using the keyboard shortcut, the menu is displayed in the middle of the screen instead of being displayed where it’s supposed to – next to the panel (if you manage to fix this, let me know!).
You can install it in Ubuntu 14.04 by using the following commands:
Then, add Cardapio to the panel (see step 3 for how to add applets to the panel) and configure it to your liking. Note that after changing some settings, such as the ones in the “Applet” tab, you need to remove the applet from the panel and re-add it for the changes to take effect (or log out and log back in).
Ever since I left Windows I’ve been hunting for a perfect Twitter client, and thanks to Twitters new API rules that hunt failed. I;ve resigned myself to the fact that the easiest way to use twitter nowadays is to simply use a fast browser (Qupzilla is my weapon of choice for twitter), but there is one thing that I desperately missed from the old client days, and that was Desktop Notifications whenever a DM or Mention came in. So off I went again, looking for a way to get decent native notifications through browser plugins, or the new WebApps system, but that search became fruitless and I started to feel like Captain Ahab with his obsessive hunt for the whale. But, this time Ahab has caught his whale and I’ve worked out a neat workaround to get my notifications: To achieve this entails the installation of three programs, gFeedline, Python-Central (a dependency) and AllTray, none of which make much of an impact on performance I’m happy to say.
1: First off we need to install the dependency, Python-Central, download the app from here and install as normal using GDebi.
2: Next we install gFeedline, a Microblogging client that works with twitter, it’s not to functional, but it has the function we need, Desktop Notifications. Download it here and install with GDebi again.
3: The next step is to set up your account, there is a wizard for doing this so I wont explain it here. After you have your account set up, add the two feeds we’re interested in by clicking Feeds > New and selecting the feeds you want, ie. Direct Message and Mentions. Be sure to click “Enable Notifications” for both feeds.
4: Set gFeedline to start on boot in the preferences.
That’s the feed and notifications set up, the next part is just for convenience, since we won’t be using Gfeedline for anything but notifications it’d be nice to just have it out-of-the-way and forgotten about, the only way I’ve found to achieve this is by having a little program called AllTray installed and have it start on boot. To do this first install the program by entering the following command into the Terminal:
Then add AllTray to your startup applications by searching in the dash for “Startup Applications” and running it. Click “Add” and name the entry “alltray”, then simply enter the following line into the command box:
Click “Add” then reboot.
What you should have after you reboot is the gFeedline window open with an extra little window and your mouse cursor represented bu a cross:
Simply click anywhere in the gFeedline window and it’ll disappear entirely, and that’s it done. Now every time someone sends you a message or a reply through Twitter you’ll get a pop-up notification alerting you 🙂