CenterIM - How to chat on terminal in Linux

Excessive usage of the command line is no doubt the trademark of Linux and you are not a true Linux geek if you're afraid of using the terminal. I have written articles about how to play music on the terminal and make the terminal transparently imbedded into the wallpaper, today I will show you another awesome trick about how to chat on the terminal. To give you a clue, it looks like this:

There are actually many ways to chat on the terminal in Linux, but my choice is to use CenterIM. CenterIM is a very lightweight text-based and window-driven IM client, it supports many popular IM protocols like ICQ, Yahoo!, AIM TOC, IRC, MSN, Gadu-Gadu and Jabber. It also allows you to receive and send, and forward messages, URLs, SMSes and, contacts, search for friends , view friends' details, maintain your contact list directly from the program (including non-icq contacts), view the messages history and update your details, have your own ignore, visible and invisible lists ... and many other features. It also has the sound system to alert you about new events, has support for many languages like Hebrew and Arabic and allows to arrange contacts into groups. There is also an internal RSS reader and even a LiveJournal client! And if you are not a Linux user, dot go away too quick because CenterIM can works well in other platforms like windows and MacOS too.

To install CenterIM in Arch Linux, simply run  pacman -S centerim
For Ubuntu or other Debian based distros, run  sudo apt-get install centerim

After installing, to run CenterIM, just open the terminal and type "centerim" then hit enter, the login screen of centerim will appear like this:


Just configure the settings as you prefer, everything is already clearly stated. After finishing with the settings, just hit done, en you will enter the login screen


Choose the chat protocol you want to use, I will use yahoo chat as an example here. Just enter the login username and password, then hit done, a yahoo chat window will appear


As you can see in the image, there are many options for you to choose, use the hotkeys F2, F3, F4,F5 to view the contact menu, change status or hide the offline friends ...

To chat with your friends, simply use the up and down arrow keys to find their nicks then hit enter to go into the chat windows. Type something then hit Ctrl + X to send the message. To choose other nicks to chat with when you're in a chat window with someone, hit the escape button twice and you can use the arrow key to find the nicks again. To quit CenterIM, just hit the letter "q" after leaving the chat window.

Some tips to use CenterIM:

- To customize the font and colors, go to ~/.centerim, there are config files like actions, colorscheme, keybindings ... , edit them as you prefer.

- To make your terminal look cool like mine in the image, read my article about how to imbed the terminal totally transparent into wallpaper

10 things to do after installing Archbang

2 days ago, Archbang 2011.10 was released and unlike the former bloated versions, this time Archbang 2011.10 really rocks. Archbang in short is a Linux distro based on Arch Linux (the geekiest Linux distro nowadays in many people's opinion) but it already got a desktop environment (Openbox) and some other softwares preinstalled. Installing Archbang is really eaiser than Arch Linux ( it took myself more than 2 days and many times of reinstallings to run Arch Linux successfully the first time I tried) but somewhat harder than Ubuntu or other newbie distros ( but not really hard). In this newest version of Archbang, many bugs are fixed and the ISO is less than 460MB. Archbang got all the cool features of Arch Linux and as the creator of Archbang said, it's really simple, fast and stable. So if you havent tried or are afraid of trying Arch Linux, Archbang should be your choice. And I can guarantee that after you step into the world of Arch, you wont want to go back to Ubuntu or Linux Mint.

Archbang can run quite well out of the box, however, you may face many problems and find it quite ugly if you are unexperienced with Linux. To fix these problems and make Archbang better and more beautiful, here are 10 things I did after installing Archbang 2011.10.

Update: for the new release, here is my review for Archbang 2012

1. Update the mirror list

This is the first thing you should do after installing Archbang because the maximum download speed you can get from the default mirror is 50kb/s. By updating new mirror list, downloading packages will be really faster. To do so, go to the mirror generator page and grap the newest list of mirrors that are nearest your location. If you dont know how to use Jumanji (the default browser of this version of Archbang), hit ALT + F2 and run this command

jumanji archlinux.org/mirrorlist

Next, use rankmirror to find the fastest mirror. After updating the mirrorlist, you now can go to the next step.

2. Update system

This is mandatory whenever you install a new Linux distro, but it's easy, just run

pacman -Syu

it wont take much time after you got the fastest mirror.

3. Get some other web browsers

Jumanji is cool and awesome but really hard to use. So I think you should install some other browsers.

To install firefox, run  pacman -S firefox
To install chromium, run  pacman -S chromium
To install opera, run   pacman -S opera

Note: if you got problems with Jumanji in step 1, you should consider doing this step first. But expect that it may take over 20 minutes to finish downloading firefox or opera :D.

4. Install CPU frequency scalling

This is very important because your CPU will run at highest (nominated) frequency after you install Archbang. That will waste power and generate a lot of heat and can be a very big problem if you install Archbang on a laptop. ( You wont notice this problem if you're a Ubuntu user, Ubuntu and many other distros have cpu frequency scaling preinstalled).

To install and configure cpu frequency scaling, go read read this article on Arch wiki. If you're using a laptop another option is to install laptop mode tools.

5. Install proprietary drivers for the video cards

Although Archbang offers the open-source drivers for all the graphic cards by default, you should always install the proprietary drivers if you are using an ATI or Nvidia graphic cards. Even when I am a big fan or open source softwares, I still have to admit that the open-source drivers cannot hold a candle to the proprietary drivers. You will notice an improvement in graphic and you CPU temperature will decrease after you install propieraty drivers for your graphic card.

For ATI cards, learn how to install ATI catalyst here
For Nvidia cards, the article is here

Note: Skip this step if you have an onboard graphic card.

6. Your desktop deserves a better theme and icons

It may be a matter of taste but I dont like the default theme and icons of Archbang. My choice for GTK theme would be Atolm and Area is always my favorite icon set.

Note: Atolm requires equinox egine and murrine engine

Here is my desktop with Atolm Gtk theme and Area icons


7. Edit the tint2 panel

The default tint2 panel is really ugly, you should change it as soon as possible. To learn how to configure your tint2 panel, read this article . If you are too lazy and think my tint2 panel in the above image looks good. Just copy paste my tint2rc to yours, the pastebin of my tint2rc is here

Note: my tint2rc requires DS-Digital and Sansation fonts, you can download them from dafont.com. After you copy pasta my tint2rc to yours, hit ALT+F2 then run pkill tint2 to kill the current tint2 panel, hit ALT+F2 once more and run tint2 to display the new tint2.

8. You need a launcher

You can rightclick and choose applications from the openbox menu, but to save time, I recommend you to use Synapse, a very fast and lightweight launcher. To install Synapse, get the AUR package of Synapse here.



Note: if you want to install Synapse in Archbang, you have to install libzeitgeist and gtkhotkey first.

9. Change or remove the default conky

Like the tint2 panel, the default conky of Archbang is ugly. Check my article about beautiful conky setups to get some real beautiful conky. To disable conky on startup, use leafpad to edit ~/.config/openbox/autostart, remove the line "conky -p &".

10. You need an IM client

things to do after installing archbang

This step is not really necessary, but I love the number 10 so I include it here. Archbang doesnt come with an IM client so you should install one. Pidgin is always my choice. To install pidgin, run pacman -s pidgin

7 new but very beautiful conky setups for your linux desktop

If you are a Linux user, you must already know about conky, one of the coolest Linux applications. Last year, Techdrivein introduced an awesome collection of beautiful conky configurations. But since we gradually have more Linux users, new conky setups have been created everyday. So here are 7 new but amazingly beautiful conky configurations that will make your Ubuntu/Linux destop look more awesome than ever.

Reloj Conky

conky configs
It looks like a group of screenlets but it is actually conky ( means that it will consume less hardware resources than screenlets). You can choose either the horizontal version or the vertical version, both look equally amazing. You can download package and find the installing instruction for Reloj Conky here.

Good Conky


As what the name suggests, this conky looks really simple and nice. If you just need a simple but still geeky conky, dont miss this one. Download package and installing instruction for Good Conky

Etched Conky

conky config

This conky will fit your Ubuntu desktop very well with its vertical style. The color and design are just awesome. Download Etched Conky here

Conky Comet

conky config

The strips that display info about swap memories, ram memories, processors work and internet speeds look really like the tail of a comet. Conky Comet is simple and beautiful, and wont bring any ominous news to you. Download Conky Comet here.

Space Conky

conky config

The idea is based on the good old conky-color but the style is really new and awesomely beautiful. Download Space Conky here


Conky S1mp3l

beautiful conky config

Very simple and stylish, it is conky S1mp3l. Download it here 

Conky Calendar

nice conky configs 
This one is created by me so I include it in this post. But it looks not bad, isnt it? :D Download this conky here

Also, here is another article about conky configs that you may be interested in.

How to start Opera, Firefox and Google Chrome in private browsing mode automatically

 Private browsing mode is a feature that all the popular browsers have. When you visit a site in private browsing mode, your browsing history and cookies will not be saved, however bookmarks and files downloaded will still be kept. If you have a constant need to use private browsing, automatically starting a browser in private mode will save you some amount of time. And here I will teach you how to start Opera, Firefox and Google Chrome automatically in private mode when you are using Ubuntu / Linux.
Opera

start opera private browsing automatically

To start Opera automatically in private browsing mode, the most primitive way is to use the command line. Just open the terminal and run this command:

start opera private automatically

However, this way is quite cumbersome because you have to type a command each time. If you want to start Opera in private browsing mode automatically when you click on the icon or launch it from a launcher application like GnomeDo or Synapse, here is how to do it:

First, you access /usr/share/applications as root. If you are using Ubuntu and the like distros, run sudo nautilus /usr/share/applications , enter the password and a window will be open. You will be accessing to this folder as root.

Next, find the Opera icon and right click on it, choose  "Properities" tab and a window will be open. Then you add the tag "-- newprivatetab" in the Command section just like in the image below, save and close and from now, whenever you launch Opera from a launcher or clicking on the Opera icon, Opera will start in the private browsing mode automatically.

private opera auto
Firefox

To start Firefox automatically in private browsing mode with the command line, run this command

To start Firefox automatically in private browsing mode when you launch it from a launcher or clicking on the icon, just do similarly to what we do with Opera, access /usr/share/applications as root and find the Firefox icon, right click, choose the Properties tab and edit the command section.


Chromium and Google Chrome

The process is the same with Chromium browser and Google Chrome. The only difference is that the tag will be "--incognito". To start Google Chrome in private browsing mode automatically with the command line, open the terminal and run this command:

And to start Google Chrome and Chromium automatically in incognito mode when you launch them from launchers or clicking on the icons, just edit the command section in the Properties tab after you access /usr/share/applications as root.


Linux street art around the world

We linux-loving geeks mostly express our love to this wonderful Operating System on forums and blogs. However, some aficionados have tried to show their love on the streets with awesome creativity. Here are some very cool Linux street arts I found on the internet.

1 - We do Linux 

linux art

linux street art

2 - Linux, the WOW start

3 - Peace, Love and Linux

linux street art


4 - No Windows and Born To Be Root

street art

5 - Linux hardcore Punks

linux arts


6 - Linux Rules in Germany

7 - Tux Graffiti

linux arts

How to install Ubuntu from USB

The most common way to install Ubuntu and other Linux distros is to use the live CD. However, this method has many disadvantages, ie it can be quite slow, the CD can be scratched and damaged over time and you sometimes dont have the CD driver in your computer. Today I will show you how to install Ubuntu (and other Linux distros) from USB, this way is really faster and more convenient than using the live CD.

There are many ways to create a bootable USB but the simplest way is to use a software called UNETbootin, it's very light, free and simple to use.

First of all, I assume that you already downloaded the ISO image of Ubuntu. To create the bootable USB, you go to the homepage of UNetbootin to download the package, there are three options for you regarding to the OS that you're using. In the images below, I use UNetbootin is Windows 7. Since there is no need to install UNetbootit, just double click on the downloaded package to run. In this example, I will create a bootable USB for PearOS, but the process is the same if you choose Ubuntu to install.

After inserting the USB, I double clicked on the UNetbootin and choose the ISO image of PearOS and my USB stick.

How to install ubuntu from usb

After that, I clicked the OK button and wait for UNetbootin to create the bootable USB. The process will extract the files from the ISO image and copy them to the USB and then install the bootloader.

 install ubuntu from usb

It took about 5 mins to finish the whole process ( it can take longer if you choose a big ISO image to install), after that, you will got this screen that ask you to reboot. You can choose to reboot if you want to install Ubuntu on the same machine. Choose cancel if you just need to create the bootable USB to use on another computer.

 install ubuntu linux from usb

How to boot Ubuntu from USB

After successfully creating the bootable USB, you can try installing Ubuntu from it. But first of all, you have to edit the boot options in the BIOS of your computer. To enter the BIOS menu, you have to hit a key, usually F1 or F2, depending on what computer you're using. In my case, I'm using a Vaio laptop and I used F2 to enter BIOS. After entering the BIOS menu, change the boot priority to External Drive:

how to install ubuntu linux from usb

Save the option then restart your computer. And you will enter the bootloader of UNetbootin then you can install the new OS just like how you do with the live CD but in faster speed.

how to install ubuntu linux usb

Note: In the image above, I use PearOS instead of Ubuntu, but the process is similar to every Linux Distro.

9 best applications in Ubuntu Software Center that are not preinstalled

best ubuntu applications

Since version 11.04, Ubuntu Software Center has a nice feature to allow users to rate and review the applications. It helps other people to find out which are the best available applications for their need. Besides the default applications, here is the list of the 9 applications that are not preinstalled but get the highest rating scores in Ubuntu Software Center. And even if you are not a Linux user, this post will still be very useful for you because some of these applications can be used in Windows and MacOS as well ( and of course, totally free).

1- Chromium Browser.

Chromium is the original open source idea on which Google Chrome is based. Though you can easily download and install Google Chrome in Ubuntu, I still recommend you to choose Chromium instead.

best applications of Ubuntu

2- GIMP ( GNU Image Manipulation Program)

Being nicknamed as the Photoshop for poor guys, but GIMP is more than enough to meet all of your needs if you are not a professional photographer or designer. Moreover, with the better looking single-window mode  and many new features in version 2.7.3, GIMP is surely a very good application for you. And if you are using Windows or MacOS and dont have money to buy the expensive Adobe Photoshop, GIMP will be your choice since it's totally free. Download GIMP for Windows and MacOS here.

best Ubuntu softwares


3- VLC Media Player

VLC is written by the VideoLAN project. It supports many audio many audio and video codecs and file formats as well as DVDs, VCDs, and various streaming protocols. In other words, it's really hard to find a media file (not broken of course) that VLC cannot play. VLC is also available and free to download for Windows and MacOS. Download VLC here.


4- Audacity

If you need an application to edit audio files, Audacity is always the best choice for you whether you are using Linux, Windows or MacOS. Audacity has many useful features and is always free. Download Audacity for Windows or MacOS here.

best ubuntu softwares

5- Inkscape

Another graphic editor dedicated to do vector graphics designing. It's also free and available for Windows and MacOS. Download Inkscape for Windows and MacOS here.


6- Openshot

Perhaps the best video editor for Linux. It provides a stable, free and friendly environment to edit video. Too bad that you cannot use Openshot on Windows or MacOS.


7- Rhymthbox

Though replaced by Banshee as the default music player in Ubuntu 11.04, Rhymthbox still has the favor of many users. It still one of the best music players with many cool features.


8 - Calibre

If you have a huge collection of ebooks, Calibre is a must-have application, it helps you organize, save and manage ebooks, supporting many ebook formats. Calibre also supports e-book syncing with a variety of popular e-book readers like the Amazon kindle. If you are using Windows or MacOS, download Calibre here.


9- Pidgin Instant Messenger

Though the Canonical guys choose Empathy as the default chat application for Ubuntu, Pidgin will always have my vote for the best Linux messenger application.

Linux and Life joined Facebook

facebook like button
Greetings to my beloved visitors and blogging friends. There will be no post about Linux today, instead I want to announce that I recently created a facebook fanpage for my blog. I havent used facebook for more than a year so it was quite a work for me though :D. I also have changed the theme of my blog to make it look more professional for a tech blog and have received many positive feedbacks from my visitors and blogging friends about this new look.

So if you are interested in Linux and like my blog, please give me a support by liking my facebook fanpage ( click the button on the top right). Thank you guys a lot. I love you all  <3.

Pros and Cons of Wubi

pros and cons of wubi

If you have only ever used Windows, the thought of installing Linux could be quite scary. And one of the reasons why Microsoft still dominates the operating system market is because people are afraid of trying out new OSes. However, with the aim of getting 200 millions users for Ubuntu by 2015, Canonical has developed Wubi, a very useful tool to help Windows users install Ubuntu with ease. Wubi allows people with very basic computer skills to explore Linux safely and conveniently. And here are the pros and cons of using Wubi in my opinion.

Pros

Wubi is a very useful tool for Windows users with only basic computer skills because of its convenience. No need to burn a CD or create an installing-USB, you just need to download Wubi from the Ubuntu hompage then just install Ubuntu like any other windows application. The package is very light (1.5 MB) and the configuration is really easy to understand. Wubi will download Ubuntu and install it into your machine. The process is just similar to how you install Adobe Flash into Firefox. And if you dont like using Ubuntu anymore, you can easily uninstall it through the Windows control panel.

Another benefit of using Wubi is that it's totally safe. New Linux users always love to tinker around and customize their system,  but because of insufficient knowledge, they can make many mistakes that can result in catastrophes. But with Wubi, Ubuntu is installed as an application so it's totally safe to mess around your Ubuntu system as you want. If something bad happens, just uninstall Wubi and your data and Windows will still remain untouched. And if you have read my post about dangerous Linux commands and are wondering how cool these commands can be, just try them on Ubuntu installed by Wubi.

Cons

Though Wubi is really cool and useful, it still has some disadvantages. First of all, because Wubi installs Ubuntu inside Windows, it wont perform as fast as it can when you install it as a dedicated OS. The difference in speed will be quite noticeable if your hardware is old.

Second, when Wubi installs Ubuntu in a specific windows partition ( c:\ or d:\ ..) you wont be able to access the data stored in this partition when using Ubuntu.

Third, you wont be able to try out the cool stuffs of Grub2. In other words, you cannot create the Batman boot screen like I did in the video below when using Wubi because Wubi still uses Windows as the bootloader.


And last but not least, because Wubi is an application for Windows, anything happens to Windows can effect your Ubuntu as well. That means if Windows is infected with viruses, your Ubuntu installed by Wubi could be broken. Moreover, disk fragmentation is another problem to face. Because when using Wubi, Ubuntu is installed inside a Windows partition so disk fragmentation can effect the Ubuntu image too. So if you dont defrag your hard disc frequently, your Ubuntu will run slower over time.

Conclusion

If you have visited my blog frequently and are curious about Linux, I recommend you to use Wubi to try out Ubuntu - the most popular Linux distro nowadays. It's very convenient and totally safe for your data and windows. And when you got enough knowledge and experience, you then can install Linux as a dedicated OS and got all the fun of the wonderful Linux operating system.

How to make Windows 7 look like Ubuntu

Going around facebook fanpages and forums, I found it's really funny (and pathetic as well) that there are many new Linux users who try to mimic the look of other OSes and then brag about how superior Linux is in comparison to other OSes. When I am still a devoted advocate for Linux, unlike these immature fanboys, I never have the thought that other OSes are inferior to Linux. Everything has its pros and cons. And I still see no problem if you are still a faithful user of Windows or MacOS.

However, I believe that you would feel annoyed when your Linux fanboy friend always tries to troll you by showing how cool he is to perform the 3D desktop tricks and fearlessly open any USB teeming with viruses in his "Windows 7" computer. I hate these fanboys too. So today I will show you how to make Windows 7 look like Ubuntu, the most popular Linux distro today. Then you can troll back your fanboy friend by showing how you can play any game or run Photoshop and MatLab natively with your "Ubuntu" computer.

First of all, here are the picture of the look of Windows 7 with the theme of Ubutnu 11.04
make windows 7 look like Ubuntu
Ubuntu-like login screen
How to make Windows look like Ubuntu
Windows 7 look like Ubuntu

To make Windows 7 look like that, just download Ubuntu Skin Package for Windows 7 and follow the instruction. And if you really like it and are generous, please give the author a small donation since the package is totally free.