Tag Archives: linux

Tip: Missing "Custom" option in Ubuntu Visual Effects?

In the Visual Effects tab in Ubuntu (System -> Preferences -> Appearance -> Visual Effects), there’s a neat little option called ‘Custom’ which can be used to tweak most compiz-related settings. It can be used to change the animations (eg: window closing animation),  configure the desktop wall/cube, assign commands to windows edges, and such.

This option doesn’t come pre-installed with Ubuntu, so if you’re missing it all you have to do is installing the Simple CompizConfig Settings Manager or simple-ccsm.

sudo apt-get install simple-ccsm

Now go to the Appearance settings dialog and you’ll find the new Custom option in the Visual Effects tab.

Installing Xilinx in Linux 64 bit

I explained the method to install Xilinx in a previous post, but that method only works for 32 bit systems. If you followed that procedure in a 64 bit machine it will install you’d not be able to compile projects.

Installing Xilinx for 64 bit linux is quite like the 32 bit method, only that you have to set your working directory to bin/lin64 in your Xilinx ISE directory. There’s a similar setup in this directory for 64 bit machines. So the steps to follow would be,

sudo ./setup

. settings64.sh

Notice that you have to run the settings64.sh file instead of the settings32.sh

Windows woes

My laptop’s power pack is broken. Gave it to a repair place, but there’s little hope. A new one would cost at least 3.5k. 🙁
So I move to the desktop computer which the others of the family use. It’s evil, it runs Windows XP.
First, you have to manually open an app and connect to the internet, while Ubuntu automatically connects once plugged in.
Once connected, it started downloading something. I was baffled for some time until I found out it was updating the antivirus. Antivirus! And you don’t have multiple workspaces to work in.
For the work I was going to do, I wanted to keep an instance of Notepad always on top. But apparently there’s no option when you right click on the title bar.
I turned off the computer and wrote this blog post from the phone.

task – The best to-do list manager ever

task is a console-based to-do list manager with facilities to do everything you can imagine with the lists. As a student I’ve used dozens of to-do list managers and have never come across a better application.
The fact that this is console-based can be daunting to some, but believe me, getting used to task is a piece of cake.
In Ubuntu, you can install task by running

sudo apt-get install task

To add a task, run

task add Buy soap

To view the task list, run

task ls

To mark the first task as done, run

task 1 done

All other tasks are similarly simple. You can duplicate, prioritize, manage in projects, tag, modify and annotate tasks. For a more comprehensive tutorial check the Taskwarrior site.


Installing Xilinx in Linux

Xilinx is the most widely used FPGA simulator available and can be installed in multiple platforms. Here’s how I installed it in my linux system which runs Ubuntu 10.10.

In the Xilinx folder, select the archive that contains the ISE data and extract it. In my case it was named ise_SFD.tar

Open up a terminal, go to the extracted directory and type:

sudo ./setup

A installer will open and follow the simple instructions given. The install takes up more than 5GB in the drive. After the setup is completed, go to the ISE directory inside the installation directory and enter the following command in the terminal:

. settings32.sh

Notice the space after the first dot and the letter s. Now you’re ready to run the ISE. Just enter the following command:

ise &

This should start the ISE. However you’ll have to run the above two commands in order to start ISE each time. What I did was to write a bash script with the two commands above and gave it executable rights with chmod.

Good luck!

A sudden "Desktop effects could not be enabled" problem in Ubuntu 10.10

UPDATE: If you ran into the “desktop effects could not be enabled” error, try one of the following:

  1. Check if you have installed the recommended drivers for your video card in System -> Administration -> Additional Drivers
  2. In case of NVidia cards, install the latest driver as showin in this post
  3. Remove any theme-related software you installed recently. Eg: compositing managers, themes
  4. Install the compiz-fusion-plugins-extra package
  5. Try the command: compiz –replace
  6. Completely remove all the  compiz stuff and reinstall
  7. Try this: http://ubuntuforums.org/showpost.php?p=9212078&postcount=10
  8. Install Ubuntu Tweak

The above are some of the methods different people around the world have solved the issue. But there’s no guarantee these may work for you.

When I switched on the laptop today evening I had no idea that I was in for a shock. All the desktop effects had gone; the desktop cube nowhere to be seen; no animations or effect whatsoever; and docky reports some compositing problem.

Then I go to my Appearance Preferences and find out that Visual Effects option has been set to None. Trying to change it resulted in the age-old problem: “Desktop effects could not be enabled”.

I do some googling and find out that I’m not alone and there’s an easy remedy, too. Just go to the Package Cleaner in Ubuntu Tweak, click Purge PPAs and purge the Compiz package out of the list. And everything’s back to normal.

No, wait. Not everything. I had once installed the extra compiz plugins package which added some cool new effects, and it’s gone missing. Apparently this and the update I did in the last boot has resulted this.

And later found out that it was actually the update that messed up the things. All you have to do is to go back to the previous version.

Saving a video into a sequence of images

I wanted to create a GIF out of a part of a video sequence. But how could one extract a sequence of images from a video? After some googling FFMPEG turned out to be the savior. Here’s a sample command for taking a series of snapshots out of a video using ffmpeg:

ffmpeg -ss 23 -i kids.mp4 -f image2 -vframes 50 a%2d.jpg

23 is the position in the video to start extracting images (in seconds). kids.mp4 is the input video file. image2 says that the output would be in JPEG format. 50 is the number of frames to capture. a%2d.jpg is the format of the output file, i.e. in this case the files would be saved as a01.jpg, a02.jpg, etc.

The next step would be to convert the sequence of images to a GIF, which can be easily done using GIMP.

Installing Matlab 2008a on Ubuntu 10.10

Update: This method also worked in Ubuntu 11.04.

So I successfully installed Matlab on Ubuntu after much ado. Here’s how I did it.

First mount the matlab ISO:

sudo mkdir /media/matlab

sudo mount matu2k8a.iso /media/matlab/ -t iso9660 -o loop

Create a base directory for Matlab manually:

sudo mkdir /usr/local/matlab

Go to where the ISO is mounted and run the installer:

sudo ./install

Give the path of the directory we’ve already created for the Matlab base directory. Give the serial key and the license file when prompted.

After the setup is completed, don’t start Matlab. Create a .matlab directory in your home and give user permissions.

mkdir ~/.matlab

sudo chown -R ${USER}:${USER} ~/.matlab

Done! Now you can run Matlab using the command:

sh /usr/local/matlab/bin/matlab

You can of course add a shortcut to your main menu.

EDIT: When you’re adding a shortcut to the main menu or desktop, add the “-desktop” option (without quotes) at the end of the command, otherwise only the popup screen will be displayed.

puddletag – Cool MP3 tagger for linux

I’ve been using Kid3 for my audio tagging needs for a long time. The in-built tagging functionality of Rhythmbox isn’t suitable for tagging multiple items. Then UbuntuGeek tells me about puddletag.

Puddletag is the best tagger I’ve seen. It’s got almost all the functionality you’ll need to manage your music collection. The options include downloading tag data from various online sources and renaming the file names. The app’s still in its beta and the deb installer can be downloaded here.









Installing abandoned software

The software the programmers have stopped developing, what do you call them – abandonware? When you’re going to install this certain app and you get to know that its further development is halted, would you still install that software?

Today I wanted to install this clipboard manager for gnome called Parcellite and went to its website only to find out that the developer has lost interest in developing it further. It felt like eating some expired food. 😐