Saturday, January 31, 2009

Make Wine Beautiful In Ubuntu!

Wine is UGLY! Here is how you can make it beautiful.
For those of you who don't know what is Wine, here is a short introduction:
Think of Wine as a compatibility layer for running Windows programs. Wine does not require Microsoft Windows, as it is a completely free alternative implementation of the Windows API consisting of 100% non-Microsoft code, however Wine can optionally use native Windows DLLs if they are available.  
In short use Wine to run Windows software on Linux.
Wine is amazing. Many top notch softwares like Microsoft Office, Adobe Photoshop and various Windows games run on Linux thanks to Wine. That too with out any slow downs associated with emulators. However there is one big drawback  of using Wine. The windows applications look as ugly as Maggie Gyllenhaal. (Wish Katie Holmes had been there in Dark Knight!)
Thankfully the Wine developers have kept a wonderful feature by which you can use Windows themes to decorate Wine! So without any hacking you can get beautiful Windows applications on your beautiful Ubuntu desktop.
Here is Foxit running under Ubuntu thanks to Wine. Looks as ugly as Windows 95!
Now install SegoeUI on Ubuntu, in my opinion SegoeUI is 'the' best font out there currently. You can install SegoeUI by following these tips: Install Vista Fonts in Ubuntu
 Download the Royal Theme from Softpedia it comes with 3 inbuilt themes: Royal, Royal Noir and Royale Zune.
Install RAR support  in Ubuntu and extract the file. Install the extracted Royal Remixed.msi file as you'd install any other Windows application.
Now go to Applications >Wine >Configure Wine
In there  select the Desktop Integeration tab. Select the theme 'Royale Remixed' from the drop down box.
Now look for another drop down box called 'Item'. In there search for these items and change the font to SegoeUI.
Active Title Text
Menu Text
Message Box Text
ToolTip Text
Here is Foxit after making all these changes.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Linux & Teachers - Part II

This is the second part to the Linux & Teachers written by my friend Ankur who blogs here:
This piece might come across as one intended to bad mouth my own college, but I have a sneaking suspicion that things aren’t all rosy in other parts of the country either.
I suppose every geek has had this same feeling before. You take a seat in the front row of your first Introduction to Programming lecture, all worked up about the fact that here, finally, is a class you can be on top of. The professor walks in, gives a little introduction, and you realize it’s going to be a long, long semester.
Today I decided to make a list of all the atrocities committed by my Introduction to Programming professor. I wasn’t expecting much because, even though he sounded like a complete knucklehead to the geek inside me, I was sure he at least knew the textbook inside-out. I was, as one would expect, wrong. So, hackers, get ready to cringe. Here’s my list.
  • … Linux is basically a DOS based OS.
  • These days we are using 128 and 256 bit processors.
  • A compiler is a software that converts code written in a particular programming language to machine code. To compile a program, you must hit ALT+F9. (It took me a while to realize he was talking about the Borland Turbo C++ IDE from 1992, a prehistoric compiler Indian colleges use for all C and C++ courses.)
  • The object code generated by a C++ compiler is almost identical to that produced by a Java compiler.
  • The first high level language was Ada, also known as Smalltalk. (This was a big WTF moment.)
  • The second high level language was COBOL, which was an improvement over Ada. (Cringe, cringe, cringe.)
  • FOTRAN came after COBOL. (No, “FOTRAN” is not a typo. This is what he said.)
  • FOTRAN, COBOL, Ada and Smalltalk were not general purpose languages.
  • This one is classic: C was the first language to run on UNIX systems. All languages before C ran only on Windows.
I still haven’t completely recovered from the shock.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Reduce Boot Menu Delay In Ubuntu

If you dual boot between Ubuntu and Vista/XP you would must have noticed (and became frustrated) by the 10 second delay at the boot time where you can make your selection between Ubuntu or Windows.
Normally you only use one preferred OS and the other OS is rarely used. So you may want to reduce this selection period.
To do this fire up your terminal and type in the following
gksu gedit /boot/grub/menu.lst
Now enter your password.
Now look for the following lines:
## timeout sec
# Set a timeout, in sec seconds, before automatically booting the default entry
# (normally the first entry defined).
timeout    X

Where the X is some number, mostly 10 sec
Change it to something like 2 or 3 (I use 3). 
Save the file and close it. 
Now if you ever want to boot into Vista or XP simply hit any key (up, down etc) wile the count down timer runs, to stop the count down timer then choose your OS.
Let us calculate how much time do you save by using this hack:
Suppose you start your PC 3 times in a day. You have changed the timeout to 2 sec, thereby saving 8 sec per boot. So in one day you save approximately 30 sec so at the end of the month you save around 15 min. However the real benefit of using this hack is the amount of frustration the boot menu gives is reduced.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Make Sudo Applications Beautiful

Have you every faced this problem wile using Synaptic, when Synaptic looks like some old Windows 95 application? The reason for this is that once you start changing the ugly Ubuntu themes those applications which run using the sudo command still use the ugly Windows 95 like sudo theme. To make it look pretty like your other applications do this.


Fire up your terminal and paste these commands in one by one:

sudo ln -s ~/.themes /root/.themes
sudo ln -s ~/.icons /root/.icons
sudo ln -s ~/.fonts /root/.fonts

Now your theme, fonts and icons will be carried on to your sudo account and applications running under sudo account will also look better, like this:


Saturday, January 10, 2009

Gwget:Download Manager For Gnome

What Ubuntu really lacks, is a good download manager. I wanted one and no, Firefox extension 'Downloadthemall' wouldn't work for me. So I decided to look around for a decent download manager. You must have read about 'wget' and most of you must have it already installed on your PC. It is required by many software as an required library. It is a powerful tool for downloading files. However it is a command line tool, so unless you are a super-geek you won't be able to make much out of it.

However there is one software Gwget which gives wget a GUI so that terminal illiterate people like me can use it.

Here is a screenshot :



Powerful: Since Gwget is based on wget it is a powerful software. It is a download manager for Gnome.

Resume: By default, gwget tries to continue any download.

Notification: Gwget tries to use the Gnome notification area support, if available. You can close the main window and Gwget runs in the background.

Recursivity: Gwget detects when you put a html, php, asp or a web page dir in the url to download, and ask you to only download certain files (multimedia, only the index, and so on).

Drag & Drop: You can drag & drop a url to the main Gwget window or the notification area icon to add a new download.

Features I wish were there:

Drop-box (I hate the drop-box but still it is useful for some people).

On screen display for telling the download stats.

Facility like Grab++ like in Orbit Downloader.


You can install Gwget via Synaptic or y typing the following command.

sudo apt-get install gwget

You can find the tar balls here

Final Thoughts:

Gwget is a decent download manager. Users from Windows background would find it a bit lacking as compared to Windows software like Flashget, Orbit Downloader and Free Download Manager (my favorite, alas it doesn’t work with Wine). Orbit works well with Wine but the Grab++ feature doesn’t work.

But still it is a good thing to have around.

Monday, January 5, 2009

Linux & Teachers

As few of you know, I'm a Computer Science student currently studying in F.E..
The other day I was taking print outs from the college PC lab (as we call it). The official college time was over. Apart from me there was another friend of mine and our Computer Programming teacher. She was busy checking our assignments. I booted one PC and was pleasantly surprised to find good ol' Ubuntu booting up. Normally here in India Windows is the norm in  schools, universities and colleges. Hell, we still use Borland Turbo C compilers which are the relics from the stone age of modern computing.
I asked my teacher , "Miss, who installed Linux on that PC?"
and she replied, "That isn't Linux - It is Ubuntu."
I found it hard not to laugh, I was almost ROFL.
Some other guys from other colleges too have experienced such experiences.
One of my friends teacher believes that Linux is a DOS based OS.


You must have read about this particular teacher named Karen who punished a student because he was giving away free Linux CDs. She believes that Linux is illegal.

Guess teachers and Linux will always be at odds.

I blog about my college at Vartak Blogs

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