Ubuntu: Turn a keyboard shortcut into a desktop shortcut

I wanted to add a deskbar search icon to a Ubuntu desktop. Mostly because I could see that the users were very desktop icon orientated so despite me having placed a shortcut in the task bar I was still being asked where the search option was.Everybody learns a different route to intuitive use.

The solution was quick and painless.

Open the terminal and type

sudo apt-get install xdotool

Now create a desktop launcher (right click on the desktop-create launcher).

Where it asks for a command  use

xdotool key

followed by the combination of keyboard shortcuts

In this case the keyboard shortcuts for deskbar were Alt+F3
so I used:

xdotool key Alt+F3

Now all that needs to be done is to replace the default launcher icon with a deskbar search icon.



A Minty LXDE desktop at last

Linux Mint have issued a release candidate of their popular open source operating system based on the ultra lightweight LXDE desktop environment which is ideal for use on lower specification computers and netbooks. A quick test even from the live CD shows that the desktop is still fully featured though in common with the Xfce desktop it may not be fully compatible with running Adobe’s air platform. Otherwise everything else works very well.

I easily added the required Nvidia graphic card drivers and was able to add shortcuts to the desktop though found a familiar minor irritation in the shape of a missing Firefox shortcut icon which I have encountered before (some jigging about in the icons folder will fix that but it is a known bug).

The final release will be well worth downloading for extending the use of older computers (recycled or reused), together with laptops and netbooks. Linux Mint 8 ‘Helena’ LXDE is a free download.

Linux Mint 8 ‘Helena’ LXDE RC1

Standing In The Light Of The MoonOS


I love the modular nature of linux desktops and distributions even if  the growth of the ‘if it’s linux then it must be Ubuntu’ fan-boyism can become annoying (I love Ubuntu but oranges, as they say, are not the only fruit). I’ve been getting close to modifying and customising a linux desktop myself  via remastering and was intrigued to find a desktop that had been built on top of Linux mint, itself a modified variant of Ubuntu.

MoonOS is a project started by Cambodian artist Chanrithy Thim and currently offers desktops based around the fast E17 and LXDE desktop window managers. Both are light enough to be used in virtualised environments with LXDE particularly suited to netbooks, thin client ,remote desktop solutions and low spec computers.It even runs on Google’s Android phone technology.

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Linux Mint 6 XFCE Community Edition RC1

A new release candidate for Linux Mint community edition has been released. Mint is based on Ubuntu but includes some free but closed source extras (codecs, adobe flash etc) in order to provide a better ‘out of the box’ computing experience (Mint does make ‘universal’ pure open source versions too).

I’m normally a Mac user but increasingly I’m using Linux Mint for sheer speed and customisation ability and even enjoy running Mint purely from CD on our Intel Mac.It can equally be installed on a USB drive or alongside an existing Windows or Mac operating system.

This new XFCE based linux desktop adds a user configurable firewall and Mint Nanny which lets people filter web sites by domain for a simple way to control where others (children for example) can roam on the Internet.

For the first time this version of Mint can be installed from within an existing windows desktop using Mint4win which is similar to Wubi used in Ubuntu.

More feature details are available on the Linux Mint site.

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Flock Gloss Eco gOS And LXDE

Flock Eco Edition

Flock Eco Edition

A clutch of items have grabbed my technical attention over the past few days. The Flock Internet browser, a variant of the Firefox browser has launched two custom versions. One is Flock Eco aimed at accessing eco related information online and the other is Flock Gloss which is aimed at the maybe less worthwhile ‘Entertainment & fashion’ online offerings.

Flock Gloss Edition

Flock Gloss Edition

Next on my radar is yet another version of the Ubuntu sourced linux variant gOS. Version 3 beta has quickly integrated the new lightweight LXDE lightweight X11 desktop. This makes it ideal for legacy low specification computers and emerging netbook and net-top computer systems. This time they’ve integrated Google gadgets into the offering. Downloading is very in demand at the moment and this is only a beta preview Live CD and not recommended as a full install.  A more complete installable version is expected sometime in September.

gOS 3

gOS 3

Parallel to this is UbuntuLite, another version of Ubuntu for legacy hardware and again based around LXDE. The 9Mb iso enables a lightweight install via a series of command line terminal instructions and the installer can then make a customised install. Worth investigating , again, for those of us who help refurbish pre loved computer systems.

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gOS Space Targets My Space Generation

Another version of gOS desktop has been released this time targeting the My Space generation and available pre installed on a small but powerful Everex PC or as a curiously slightly over sized iso that many will need to burn onto a DVD.Web applications feature heavily though this time the emphasis is on My Space applications though the usual Ubuntu desktop applications are still there albeit slightly hidden away in the top left menu with OpenOffice and gimp , add/remove programs and access to the AWN dock’s preferences and usual Ubuntu features available. This may go some way to answering critics the the previous enlightenment based versions.

This radical revamp is based on the Gnome linux desktop with Ubuntu origins and brings together the eye candy desktop effects of Compiz with the the AWN dock and a very OS X stacks look to the various web application launchers.

The DVD I burned ran fine booting direct from DVD on an intel Mac Mini and I was able to connect to a Webdav folder easily and write this post entirely with the live version.Installation to hard drive was easily available.

May of the TV and radio sites featured are not available to computer users outside of the US so there will be a reduced appeal outside of North America where these sites cannot be accessed.The desktop is clearly targeting a certain demographic and if you don’t feel that the Perez Hilton blog, Popsugar, ValleyWag, the Superficial or MTV news qualifies for iplacing in the ‘news’ desktop shortcut then without a little personal modification this desktop is not likely to be for you.

It’s another radical change of direction for the gOS desktop which is not the answer to the controversial Everex Cloudbook’s limited specification but certainly a much more complete desktop experience than any of the previous two public releases so far.

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gOS Rocket Finally Launches

gOS Rocket

gOS – the Ubuntu derived alternative free linux desktop OS that caused a bit of a splash a while back has finally released version 2 of their E17 modified desktop which continues to be focused around Web applications from google and others. The release was slightly delayed today and currently iso downloads are via BitTorrent only.This edition refines the existing desktop experience by adding Google gears technology for offline work and online storage provided by Box.net. Webcam support has also been added.Like many Ubuntu derived operating systems it can initally be run entirely from CD for assesment before deciding if you want to install permanently to hard drive.


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