Sep 8, 2016

Vivaldi 1.4 Released With Theme Scheduling

Vivaldi, the web browser aimed at power users, was updated to version 1.4 (stable) today. There aren't as many changes as in the previous release, but a few interesting improvements.

The latest Vivaldi 1.4 ships with Theme Scheduling, a new feature that allows setting the browser to automatically change the theme based on the time of day. This is useful if you want to use a dark theme at night, change the theme based on your schedule, and so on.

To configure it, open the Vivaldi Settings (Tools > Settings), and under Themes, you'll find a new option called Scheduled Themes:

Vivaldi theme scheduling

Vivaldi 1.4 also includes improved Web Panels. With this version, you can have different widths for web panels, and choose to show all navigation buttons in its toolbar (this can also be completely hidden).

Vivaldi web panels

Web Panels allow adding individual websites to Vivladi's sidebar, useful if you want to have something like Twitter, or some news sites and so on, always visible while browsing other websites.

And finally, a minor but useful addition, is the ability to restore the last closed tab by middle clicking on the trash icon.

For a complete Vivaldi 1.4 changelog, see THIS page.

As a reminder, Vivaldi is built using open source technologies, but the browser itself is not open source software.

For a bit more about Vivaldi, see our previous article.


Download Vivaldi


Download Vivaldi (available for Linux: deb and rpm, Windows and Mac)

Debian/Ubuntu users: the latest Vivaldi 1.4 should already by available as an update via its repository, so check your Software Updater.


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Sep 7, 2016

How To Install Avant Window Navigator In Ubuntu 16.04 Or Linux Mint 18

Avant Window Navigator is a dock / task manager for Linux, which was very popular a while back. Its developers lost interest with the introduction of Unity, and after several years of inactivity, the project was taken over by a new maintainer.

Unfortunately, the new maintainer isn't too active either, but at least Avant Window Navigator was updated to work with recent Linux distributions.

Avant Window Navigator Ubuntu 16.04 Xenial Xerus

Mike Baum created an Avant Window Navigator PPA for Ubuntu 16.04, because the official AWN PPA wasn't updated in a while.

There are a few AWN applets from this PPA (system monitor, related, stack, and sysmon) that can't be installed in Ubuntu 16.04, due to some dependencies being updated in the mean time, so I decided to rebuild the packages in the main WebUpd8 PPA.

Before installing Avant Window Navigator in Ubuntu 16.04, note that if you encounter bugs, chances are they aren't going to be fixed. Also, some Avant Window Navigator applets no longer work, mostly those that rely on various web services, like the Weather applet or the Pandora Radio applet, or which were built for technologies that have seen significant changes in recent years, like the Indicator applet, Lock Screen or the Media Player applet.

Many applets do still work though, like AWN Main Menu, Cairo Main Menu, Hardware Sensors, Notification Area, SlickSwitcher, Stacks, System Monitor, Terminal, Volume Control, and even the Zeitgeist-based Related applet.

Avant Window Navigator is obviously not something you'd want to install if you use Unity, since you already have a dock that can't be removed, but it can be a nice addition for nostalgics (and not only) that use the Flashback session, or on other Ubuntu flavors, like Lubuntu, Xubuntu, or Ubuntu MATE.

I should also mention that a while back I removed the AWN applet from the DockBarX package (I maintain the official DockBarX PPA), but since you can now install AWN in Ubuntu 16.04, I re-enabled it for the Xenial package.

Note: for the screenshot above, I used AWN with the Lucido style (see THIS ancient article for how to customize the AWN Lucido style) and the the DockBarX applet (available in the DockBarX PPA for Xenial - after adding the PPA, install the "awn-applet-dockbarx" package).


Install Avant Window Navigator in Ubuntu 16.04 or Linux Mint 18


To add the main WebUpd8 PPA and install Avant Window Navigator in Ubuntu 16.04 or Linux Mint 18, use the following commands:
sudo add-apt-repository ppa:nilarimogard/webupd8
sudo apt update
sudo apt install --install-recommends avant-window-navigator

Important: if Avant Window Navigator crashes the first time you run it, use the following command to restart gconfd-2:
killall gconfd-2

Then, use Synaptic Package Manager to install the AWN applets you want to use (simply search for "awn applet" and you should get a complete list of applets).

Or, to install all the available applets (except the DockBarX AWN applet, which is not part of AWN), use the following command:
sudo apt install --no-install-recommends awn-applets-all

I used "--install-recommends" for the AWN package because on Linux Mint, recommended packages are not installed by default, and that would result in awn-settings package (among a few others) not being installed. For the awn-applets-all, I used "--no-install-recommends" to prevent it from installing Unity Control Center and other Unity / GNOME Flashback packages along with the AWN applets in Xubuntu, Ubuntu MATE, etc (this is not the case for Linux Mint).

For other Linux distributions, you can find the source code on GitHub:


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Sep 5, 2016

QOwnNotes Is A Note Taking And Todo List App That Integrates With ownCloud

QOwnNotes is a free, open source note taking and todo list application available for Linux, Windows, and Mac. 

The application saves your notes as plain-text files, and it features Markdown support and tight ownCloud integration.

QOwnNotes Ubuntu

What makes QOwnNotes stand out is its ownCloud integration. Using the ownCloud Notes app, you are able to edit and search notes from the web, or from mobile devices (by using an app like CloudNotes). 

Furthermore, connecting QOwnNotes with your ownCloud account allows you to share notes and access / restore previous versions (or trashed files) of your notes from the ownCloud server.

In the same way, QOwnNotes can also integrate with the ownCloud tasks or Tasks Plus apps.

In case you're not familiar with ownCloud, this is a free software alternative to proprietary web services such as Dropbox, Google Drive, and others, which can be installed on your own server. It comes with a web interface that provides access to file management, calendar, image gallery, music player, document viewer, and much more. The developers also provide desktop sync clients, as well as mobile apps.

Since the notes are saved as plain text, they can be synchronized across devices using other cloud storage services, like Dropbox, Google Drive, and so on, but this is not done directly from within the application. 

As a result, the features I mentioned above, like restoring previous note versions, are only available with ownCloud (although Dropbox, and others, do provide access to previous file revisions, but you won't be able to access this directly from QOwnNotes).

As for the QOwnNotes note taking features, the app supports Markdown (with a built-in Markdown preview mode), tagging notes, searching in tags and notes, adding links to notes, and inserting images:

QOwnNotes Ubuntu

Hierarchical note tagging and note subfolders are also supported.

The todo manager feature is pretty basic and could use some improvements, as it currently opens in a separate window, and it doesn't use the same editor as the notes, not allowing you to insert images, or use Markdown. 

QOwnNotes Ubuntu

It does allow you to search your todo items, set item priority, add reminders, and show completed items. Also, todo items can be inserted into notes.

The application user interface is customizable, allowing you to increase or decrease the font size, toggle panes (Markdown preview, note edit and tag panes), and more. A distraction-free mode is also available:

QOwnNotes Ubuntu

From the application settings, you can enable the dark mode (this was buggy in my test under Ubuntu 16.04 - some toolbar icons were missing), change the toolbar icon size, fonts, and color scheme (light or dark):

QOwnNotes Ubuntu



Other QOwnNotes features include encryption support (notes can only be decrypted in QOwnNotes), customizable keyboard shortcuts, export notes to PDF or Markdown, customizable note saving interval, and more.

Check out the QOwnNotes homepage for a complete list of features.


Download QOwnNotes


For how to install QownNotes, see its installation page (packages / repositories available for Debian, Ubuntu, Linux Mint, openSUSE, Fedora, Arch Linux, KaOS, Gentoo, Slakware, CentOS, as well as Mac OSX and Windows).

A QOwnNotes snap package is also available (in Ubuntu 16.04 and newer, you should be able to install it directly from Ubuntu Software).

To integrate QOwnNotes with ownCloud you'll need ownCloud server, as well as Notes, QOwnNotesAPI, and Tasks or Tasks Plus ownCloud apps. These can be installed from the ownCloud web interface, without having to download anything manually.

Note that the QOenNotesAPI and Notes ownCloud apps are listed as experimental, so you'll need to enable experimental apps to be able to find and install them. This can be done from the ownCloud web interface, under Apps, by clicking on the settings icon in the lower left-hand side corner.


thanks to Lionel R. for the tip!


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Google Earth For Linux Update Brings Fixes For Panoramio Pictures And Various Linux Crashes

Google has updated Google Earth recently, fixing some of the issues that were occurring on Linux, such as Panoramio pictures not working, as well as various crashes.

Google Earth Ubuntu 16.04

Google Earth had quite a few issues on recent Linux distributions. Back when Ubuntu 16.04 was released, Google Earth wasn't installable at all, and this was later fixed, but the app would still crash after a few seconds of usage, for many users. Furthermore, Panoramio pictures weren't working.

These issues should be fixed with the latest Google Earth 7.1.7.2600 for Linux. Furthermore, the update also brings support for the OAuth2, as well as updated Google and Google Earth logos.

Google Earth 7.1.7.2600 changes:
  • removed menu items for Google Maps Engine and the Google Earth Community.
  • new Google and Google Earth logos;
  • fixed crashes from rearranging items in My Places;
  • Earth Pro: Removed registration dialog as Pro no longer requires a license;
  • Linux: fixed font dialog and other crashes;
  • Linux: fixed cache data inconsistency between 32 and 64-bit builds;
  • Linux: fixed RPM installer problems with permissions in directory /usr/bin;
  • Mac & Linux: updated driver support for 3Dconnexion controller devices.

Download Google Earth



Thanks to Martin B. for the tip!


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