Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Ubuntu Tweak and Ubuntu Appearance Tips

Ubuntu Tweak: Ubuntu Tweak is a third party software that easily allows you to change themes and settings for windows, the startup screen, etc. This is GUI friendly for those of us who are still unfamiliar or not use to working through the Command Line Window or Terminal. Ubuntu Tweak can be found here for downlaod: Ubuntu Tweak. Although, it is supposed to be available under the Ubuntu Software Center repositories, I couldn't find it. Supposedly, you should go under to Edit --> Software Sources, then to the Other Sources Tab and click the two options, that aren't checked (http://archive.canonical.com/ubuntu; http://archive.canonical.com/ubuntu). However, this did not work for me so I simply googled and typed in Ubuntu Tweak and went to the website for the download. It works great. I used it to change the Login Window screen background since I could not do it through System --> Administration --> Login Screen (which use to be Login Window and there use to be a tab under the Software Sources named Third Party Sources so don't freak out if they are or are not there, like me :) ). Also, I couldn't find where Ubuntu Tweak installs for a few seconds. It is under Applications --> System Tools.

A few websites to hopefully help out if needed:

Ubuntu Forums (.org): A forum I repeatably come across when googling stuff about Ubuntu

Main Menu:
I was trying to find the Configuration Editor under System Tools in order to follow some instructions for changing the splash screen (from what I understand the splash screen is the screen during loading). It wasn't there so I googled it and came across a post on Ubuntu Forums about the splash screen. Someone posted a few posts down how they couldn't find their System Tools menu and lots couldn't find in the GUI the Configuration Editor but could find it in the terminal. Someone graciously replied to go to System --> Preferences --> Menu Layout. However, in the latest Ubuntu 10.04 LTS, it is under System --> Preferences --> Main Menu, :).

Quick Ubuntu/Linux tip: Setting up icons

Some of the application "run" files do not come with icons, such as Foxit, Mendeley Desktop, etc. In order to put the image as the icon so you know what to click to run the file, as in Windows tradition, simply right click the file, go to preferences, double-click the icon in the top-left corner and insert the image file, usually a .png file. You may have to go to the internet and right-click and save image as in order to get the icon.

Here is the process for Scilab, a  free, open-source math software similar to MathWorks MATLAB and Wolfram Mathematica.  Note that I have already done this with the screen shots so your original icon will look different.  It will look like the "scilab-cli" file.  Actually, Scilab is in the Ubuntu software repositories so this install wasn't even necessary, :/.

Some Ubuntu

Ok, so I am fed up with Windows and Microsoft products. They keep crashing. Word is SUPER frustrating and hogs resources. More on Word later. My Windows 7 was running great until for some reason the product ID I got from school could not activate anymore. I have never had so many problems just as recently. Usually, this (crashing) would happen only now and then. I would fix it and return to normal operating conditions. However, this time is the straw that has broken the camel's back. Plus, I wanted to play around with Ubuntu more frequently and this gives me the excuse to do so. I also said to myself that if I can do everything on free/open source software, then I am not going back to having to deal with restriction-loaded paid or cracked software which ties you down to one mainstream path. So, I already had Ubuntu installed by Wubi and decided to make the switch.

So far I am glad I did. Ubuntu or most likely any Linux distro (distribution such as FedoraDebianKubuntuOpenSUSE, etc.) I have found everything I need to do my work just as well as in Windows and it is all free!!

As I continue my journey through Linux, I will update as much as possible. So far I have been sticking to the GUI (Graphical User Interface) just like any Windows version the desktop or whatever it is called is based on windows. I mention this because Linux/Unix uses an open shell or terminal were pretty much everything can be done by command lines. It reminds me of DOS. So far haven't done much with the terminal window except a few things that I found when googling for some help. One was the installation of KDE in Ubuntu. I believe though, that most things can be done through the windows desktop system in Ubuntu which is why Linux has been more appealing to computer users recently. This is also why I recommend giving Linux and specifically Ubuntu a try. Plus you can install multiple OS on a computer so you don't have to worry about losing a more familiar system if the other doesn't work out for you. Basically, I want to promote trying and experimenting with as many things on the computer as you can which gives you a edge and makes you more marketable. In the case, this post specifically, I am giving options for PDF readers/editors, OSes, and document editors (OpenOffice and Latex).

Ok off my soapbox and back to the installation of different desktops in Ubuntu (or any other distro for that matter). However, before I link the website where I found it and explain how it works or what it does, I will attempt to explain Linux, Unix, Ubuntu, Kubuntu, KDE, GNOME, etc.

So back to good old trusty Wikipedia, :). Ok, I will either quote or summarize what I find in Wikipedia. This benefits myself as well since I really do not know much about any of the things mentioned!

So the definition from Wikipedia gives, "Linux (commonly pronounced /ˈlɪnəks/ LIN-əks in American English,[3][4] also pronounced /ˈlɪnʊks/ LIN-ooks[5] in Europe and Canada) refers to the family of Unix-like computer operating systems using the Linux kernel." Linux is multi-device friendly which can be installed on devices ranging from mobile phones, computers (tablet, desktop, laptop, supercomputers, etc.), mainframes, and video game consoles. Linux is more popular for server use with a market share of 20-40% in 2009. Only about 1-2% market share in desktop computers is the range for Linux while Microsoft Windows and Mac OS X maintain the majority. Linux is, however, becoming more popular, especially in the past few years due to the development of Ubuntu and similar distros (Fedora, Mint, openSUSE). Linux shows the success of a completely free and open source software. "...the underlying source code can be used, freely modified, and redistributed, both commercially and non-commercially, by anyone under licenses such as the GNU General Public License."

Break...ok, wow, so this post has been a work in progress for about 2-3 weeks now! Maybe I can finish it today since I am transferring/backing up files to my redundant back up system (two 1TB hdds; one internal dethe other external; cheap too, around $55 each with shipping from Amazon!!).

More according to the Wikipedia entry is that Linux is usually distributed as a software package made for desktops, laptops, and servers. The distros usually contain the Linux kernel and package software including, utilities, libraries, the X Window System, either the GNOME or KDE desktop, and the Apache HTTP Server. Other frequently used software comprise of Mozilla Firefox (web browser), OpenOffice.org or OOo (full office sweet comparable to Microsoft Office if not better), and many others. Most distros (at least I know Ubuntu has it)also have a software repository full of most any applications you could think of needing including PDF readers/editors/creators, games, plotting software, text editors, fonts, Tex and LaTex software, etc., etc. All you have to do is locate the Ubuntu Software Center under the Applications tab at the top and begin browsing or enter a keyword to search for applications.

Next, before moving on, I am going to list some of the software. I found that there are many applications for the same thing (such as text editors). The best thing to do is to choose one and not worry about the others. You can browse them all, but I wouldn't recommend installing them all. You could choose a few, test them out, then keep the ones you want and delete the ones you don't want. Be decisive and choose one and stick with it unless convinced otherwise.

Compression/Decompression tools:
- 7zip
- Zipper

PDF Software:
- Document Viewer
- Okular
- gv
- ePDF Viewer
- PDF-Shuffler
- ViewPDF
- flpsed PDF Annotator
- PDF Editor
- PDF Chain
- DiffPDF

Multimedia Software:
- Brasero: Create and copy CDs and DVDs
- Empathy: Send and receive messages, an IM account manager; supports AIM, MSN, Google Talk (JabberXMPP), Facebook, Yahoo!, Salut, Gadu-Gadu, Groupwise, ICQ, and QQ
- Gnome CD Master
- DVD Styler
- QuteCom
- X-CD-Roast
- Desktop Flickr Organizer
- Fotowall
- GIMP Image Editor
- XSane Image Scanner
- Gnash SWF Viewer
- Kopete
- Camera
- GNU Denemo
- Aqualung
- Kid3-qt
- GPixPod
- GNUsound
- Gwenview

Office Tools:
- gedit
- Kate
- GVim Text Editor
- Mousepad
- Leafpad
- KWrite
- KWord
- SciTE Text Editor
- jEdit
- KPresenter
- NEdit
- Scribes Text Editor
- PyRoom
- TEA Text EditorQuick Ubuntu/Linux tip: Setting up icons
- Pyntor
- GWrite
- djvusmooth
- Zoho Webservice Word Processor

LaTex Software:
- LyX Document Processor
- Emacs
- Kile
- Texmaker
- Winefish LaTex Editor
- TeXworks
- DVI Viewer
- GNU TeXmacs Editor

- wxMaxima
- Bless Hex Editor
- CodeLite
- Chemtool
- mMass
- Gnumeric
- EasyChem Chemical Structures Editor
- RLplot Graph Generator
- Bless Hex Editor
- XTide Tide Predictor
- Cadabra
- GNU Octave
- QtOctave
- Oregano
- EdenMath
- PlotDrop
- Kayali
- Scilab

- GNU Paint
- E-book readerne
- KAlarm
- KTouch
- Verbiste
- DOS Emulator
- Subtitle Editor
- Fontmatrix
- KWordQuiz
- BasKet Note Pads
- Language Translator
- BibleTime
- Mupen64Plus
- NoteCase notes manager
- Gourmet Recipe Manager
- Qtstalker
- Zekr
- Translator
- Rhinote
- Kabikaboo
- RedNotebook
- pyRenamer
- TaskJuggler
- Dasher
- KMail
- GNUCash Finance Managment
- GKrellM System Monitor
- Grisbi
- Home Bank
- KNode
- FCE Ultra
- MultiGet

Terminals and Shells:
- Hotwire Shell

FTP Software:
- The FTP client
- Filezilla
- kasablanca
- bareFTP

Developer Tools:
- Kommander Editor
- Editra
- Scribes Text Editor
- medit
- PyRoom
- TEA Text Editor
- Qt Creator

...and much, much more. I will try to update and post on software I use and let you know what I think about it or any tips/ticks/ideas/etc.

Here is a good site providing some Windows equivalents available for Linux users on LinuxQuestions.org --> Linux software equivalent to Windows software

Blogger Application Issues and a Few Notes

Ah, quick bug fix. I keep getting the error: "Post was not saved due to form errors" in my blog "notifier" when it tries to save or autosave. Well, I though I had a quick fix. At first it went away when I selected everything and clicked default font and normal size. However, it seems that the blog application does not like some stuff that gets copied over if you copy and paste from somewhere else such as a webpage or Word document. To fix this go to the Edit HTML tab at the top of the blog post editor. I know it looks scary, but it should tell you what the error refers to at the top in a red box with red lettering. In this case it was something to do with META?! I don't know so don't ask me, :P. All I did was find the line of code and with META in it and deleted it. I wanted to post some screen shots, but I will have to do it later when the error appears again, :P.

Ok, so maybe forget all of that. I just found out that it is easier to edit in the Edit HTML tab so that way you don't get all the unnecessary junk.

Here is a snapshot of the image of the Ubuntu Software Center a little ways down and how it looks in Edit HTML format.  The second screenshot shows this first image pasted in html mode.

I don't quite understand the HTML editing code quite yet, but I can figure some stuff out with my adequate programming/engineering background. I will try to update when I figure something out or learn to do something, :).

Here is a screenshot of an error. This error pertains to a bold face font I was trying to add manually. I forgot to add the "/" so this is the error given (see the list above in the figure for the correct notation; for bold face type without the quotes and spaces do "< b >  Text here < / b >").

Ok I finally got the same META error. It appeared when i copied and pasted and website link with the link active (underlined, can click on it to go the website) in Compose mode. I guess the META is hidden under the copy and paste. The best way is to do this in the Edit HTML mode.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

More on PDFs

So I wanted to clarify something before adding some stuff to the PDF post. Apparantly, Adobe did develop the PDF or Portable Document Format according to Wikipedia, Portable Document Format wiki link (I know, I know a very reliable source, but it seems to give decent quick information). I guess this is the reason why the readers are free and other tools for editing are pay only.

Ah, see this excerpt from the Wikipedia post, "Anyone may create applications that can read and write PDF files without having to pay royalties to Adobe Systems; Adobe holds patents to PDF, but licenses them for royalty-free use in developing software complying with its PDF specification.[10]"

Nitro PDF Reader
Anyways, I wanted to update on the PDF post. I found another free PDF reader which gives you another choice rather than Adobe Reader or Foxit Reader. This reader is by Nitro PDF Software and can be dowloaded here: Nitro PDF Software Reader.  Here are a few screen shots.

Foxit PDF Reader
Specs for the Foxit Reader 4.0 can be seen here: Feature and Benefits. As I said before, it seems that you can comment, add textboxes, add arrows, highlight, etc. in Foxit Reader but with an watermark. However, the Features & Benefits section of their website don't seem to mention it, as in it is free without the watermark.

A pro for Foxit Reader is that is doesn't seem to be as resource intensive as Adobe Reader (same for Nitro). However, a con is that Foxit Reader is only available for Windows which is a no-no for us non-Windows users (more that later, I am transitioning from Windows 7 to Ubuntu!).

Here is a link to a comparison sheet for Foxit's software packages. Here are some screenshot images from Foxit's site.  I will share some of mine with the comments and whatnot when I get back to Windows.


All in all I think Foxit Reader is a GREAT alternative for viewing PDFs with slight editing features for Windows users, and I would recommend using it over Adobe for its lower resource usage and the fact that it gives you some freedom from having to use mainstream software.

Ok, I take back that Foxit doesn't work on Linux. It does, I forgot I just installed it on my Ubuntu partition. The version is low, 1.1, so I think they just released it. Anyways, points for Foxit, hooray! Ah, it's Nitro that doesn't have a Linux version yet, :/.

Big minus for Foxit on Linux that I just found out. Unfortunately, the Linux version just did come out, and they don't have the editing tools that are available on the web version. Booo, I must find something else!

Nitro PDF Reader (more)
Nitro PDF Reader, IMO, looks better aesthetically than Foxit, but like I said there is no software basis reason, just a personal eye catching choice. However, it does not support a version for Linux yet. Although, you can use it in Firefox as a plugin (addin whatever) to view PDF's outside the browser using your pdf reader/viewer of choice or in the browser by PDF Download created by Nitro PDF Software (this is their website www.pdfdownload.org) on a Linux OS. I know weird, I don't totally understand it, but it works.

Screenshot of Firefox and Nitro in action together: