Eight features you didn’t know about in Ubuntu

10 12 2007

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79 responses

10 12 2007

how do you link the Evolution calendar with Googls calendar – that’s really interesting

10 12 2007

Just go to calendar in evolution, add a new one, choose from internet. Then copy and paste the link from google calendar (the private ical one – you’ll see what I mean when you are in google calendars settings!) and paste that in.

If you can’t get it, I’ll do a post on it tomorrow!

10 12 2007

The Google Calendar in Evolution sounds great! Can you manage the calendar from Evolution too? Or just display it? I’m guessing that now that GMail has IMAP support, integrating it into Evolution would be cake. Can you make Evolution run in the background and have it only come up clicking on the clock or the like, preferably without another dang system tray icon, or can reminders at least get shown with Evolution closed?

Sorry for all the Evolution questions, I used Thunderbird until I switch everything to iGoogle last year, but having a way of accessing all that on the desktop seamlessly is still something I’d like.

10 12 2007

The reminders do show in the clock/calendar no matter whether Evolution is running or not.

I have my evolution in the system tray by using Alltray.

Didn’t know about Evolution/Google integration. I’m betting that Evolution can’t write to Google calendar though, so it’s kind of worthless. I’d love to be able to integrate my PC with my Iphone, and I could do that if they could both write to google calendar.

11 12 2007

Awesome list! I didn’t know about the calendar integration, that is sweet! I now officially wish I was using this at work, that would be so convenient, unfortunately it’s not that practical at home. I’m also looking at Gnome DO as well see what that is all about. Very cool stuff.

11 12 2007

How are these Ubuntu features…? I mean, sure, they are in Ubuntu, but these are all features in software that are included with, or can be installed on any linux system…

11 12 2007

What’s up with the changing Icons for removable media? That doesn’t happen for me by default. Where did you set the pref?

11 12 2007

Umm Awn isn’t available in official gutsy.

11 12 2007

@Stephen: Well, they aren’t really Ubuntu features per se, though they are in ubuntu, and for most people, that’s where they will see them.

I’ve tested this all under Ubuntu as well, so I can guarantee that people will be able to get this to work.

@Daengbo: It just happens by default, try using a card reader. I was using Human icons, maybe that’s what makes the difference?

@Cormac: No, nor is Gnome Do.

11 12 2007

So, you’ve turned Ubuntu into Mac OS X Leopard, with Quicksilver…

I like it, but I use a Mac.

11 12 2007
Musab Bora

awn isn’t available in the official repositories but can easily be added. I googled and found this simple guide

11 12 2007

Mon the Biffy!

11 12 2007

Hi Richard,

Thanks for pointing out these features. I’m trying ubuntu out using vmware fusion on my macbook pro and it runs brilliantly but I haven’t had a chance to dig very much into all the extra features yet so this article is a bonus. I’m going to setup an inexpensive computer for a friend using ubuntu as they wanted something that does what they need but doesn’t cost much (and is also easy to use) and ubuntu looks great for them.
Also, I’m not a power user when it comes to linux but ubuntu is really easy to setup and is a great distro for beginners like me 😉

11 12 2007

I love ubuntu and use it almost as much as I’d like to, but seriously… Isn’t this starting to look a wee to much like a mac? 😉 (I use mac as well, but just couldn’t help it)

Great kudos to ubuntu for high eye-candy-factor!

11 12 2007

I agree with Stephen !!

11 12 2007

Mac’s are expensive

11 12 2007

MacOS has dreams about one day becoming Ubuntu when it grows up

11 12 2007
CCNA Exploration

A lot of Apps don’t work in Ubuntu, so I’m still sticking with Windows. It’s great to know that Ubuntu is improving though.

11 12 2007
Eight features you didn’t know about inUbuntu | Ruminations on the Digital Realm

[…] An interesting article about some not so well-known features in Ubuntu 7.10, like how to integratie Google Calendar and Evolution. Enjoy it: Eight features you didn’t know about in Ubuntu […]

11 12 2007

OK so I’m on gutsy and my evo-cal events are not under the gnome clock applet. Anyone want to illuminate me on how to enable or troubleshoot this? Googleing “gnome clock applet evo calendar” simply yield no usable information.


11 12 2007
James Justin Harrell

Gnome Do looks a lot like Katapult, which KDE has had for ages. And this list is all over the place.

11 12 2007

A lot of Apps don’t work in Windows, so I’m still sticking with Ubuntu. . It’s great to know that Linux is improving though.

11 12 2007
Ben Darlow

I have to say, I love how the dock rips off one of Mac OS X 10.5’s most reviled features; the pseudo-3D glass look. Do you know of the Myna bird? It is a group of birds which are renowned for their ability to mimic human language. However, despite startlingly close approximation, Mynas still don’t understand what they’re saying.

11 12 2007

lol @ Weelaah and CCNA, i use Gutsy 100% of the time and love it, quicker than the equivalent spec-ed Mac running full compiz, awn, web dev apps and even BOINC (highly recommend). Anyway i wanted to tell people that there is an expansion for the clock applet to make it international. Nice list, im gonna search for the custom drive icons, my onboard card reader comes up as USB thumbdrive icons.

11 12 2007

As pointed out, this isn’t Ubuntu specific information. Funny how people now conflate “Ubuntu” with “Linux” like they used to do with RedHat. Heck, you can install any number of window managers and X environments on Ubuntu and it won’t look a thing like this. Frankly KDE looks a lot better but to each his/her own. Libre!

11 12 2007

I concur with Don. Drop Ubuntu from the title and replace with Linux. Possibly just change title to ‘Eight apps you didn’t know existed for Linux if you just installed it today’. Also I would have thrown the slab menu in there.

sudo apt-get install gnome-main-menu or if you want something slightly more powerful but still buggy sudo apt-get install gimmie

11 12 2007

Damn! GnomeDo just install mono. 😦
sudo apt-get purge mono-common
to get rid of the .net stink!

11 12 2007
Dan Martin

With the title “Eight features you didn’t know about in Ubuntu”, you should probably stick to things that are actually IN Ubuntu. Awn and Gnome Do aren’t in Ubuntu at all. Yeah, I know how to add them, but they aren’t in Ubuntu. You have to go out of your way to put them on Ubuntu, which hardly makes them features in Ubuntu.

11 12 2007

Just two comments on the comments I’m seeing here:

1) The post clearly states that these options are probably available to every Linux distro so stop trying to act intelligent by pointing this out because it probably just means that you are a retard-child and didn’t read the whole post but instead just looked at all the pictures. You probably really enjoy a good pop-up book or coloring book in your free time.

2) To all of the retard-children talking about how great Mac is and how Ubuntu is trying to become a Mac – and especially to Ben Darlow: You’re a retard. If Ubuntu wanted to be a Mac it would install itself in a shiny white case and sell itself for about $1000.00 more than it is worth and then make trendy commercials so ass-hats like yourselves would believe that you’d become hip after purchasing it. DIAF.

11 12 2007

@Scott – well done for reading my post properly!

Obviously any of this can be done on any GNU/Linux system, but I happen to know that most blog readers tend to run Ubuntu, and that it’s nice and simple for most readers to get most of this working there.

It would be arcane to explain how to do these things on Gentoo for instance – the focus is on the feature, not the distro.

11 12 2007

@Scott – Do you enjoy being a dick to everyone online? I don’t see why you feel it’s cool to call everyone retards when in fact its totally true that Ubuntu is more and more looking and acting like Mac OS X. Which btw is a great thing for Ubuntu, being a Free OS getting sometihng similar to the quality of MacOS X is a huge “selling” point.

BTW, Mac’s are NOT over priced as you suggest. compare a dell or average PC manufacturer’s products to the Mac lineup. You’ll notice for the equivalent quality / power you will pay a very similar price.

Your second point almost seems as tho you concede that Ubuntu is similar or identical to the Mac OS just with different hardware?

Just a few things to point out about Ubuntu appearing to take on OS X appearances.
Gnome has (in the last few years) put the main system panel at the top of the screen
and (as useless as it may be) has shadows on the windows and the top menu bar to help separate the windows and panels from the desktop and each other.

The wireless setup and many other windows appear very similar and function very similar to mac OS X.

The above mentioned GNOMEDo (a clone of the QuickSilver (for Mac) interface), “Scale” plugin is identical to Exposé, “Wall” plugin is identical to “Spaces” in Leopard (Mac was slow to the race with this one, Compiz may have had this before Apple.. not sure) and the Dock alone forget the “glass” appearance with tilt and reflection.

I’m just saying you can’t look at the Gnome interface on a linux distro (not just Ubuntu) without saying it shares much in common with the Mac OS X interface. Which like I said is excellent. If I could switch I would! However Pro apps such as Photoshop and Flash do not natively function in Linux, a huge draw back for the Linux community; it’s all about what you can support on your OS. I was sick of Windows’ dated look and functionality.. tried linux for a few years and still use it for my servers… but the Mac OS is still king for the creative types that need the Pro apps.

11 12 2007

I thought this would be things I DIDN’T know. Not use daily.

11 12 2007

As long as one use the terminal and the command line, everything is fine with me.
I wish Linux ( Unix) would stop trying be windows.

11 12 2007

@Steve (and others, specifically Ben Darlow)
awn had the reflective glass thing before 10.5 was announced. Spaces happened after compiz did walls, too, and don’t forget that the whole multiple desktops thing has been around for years (there’s even an XP powertoy that has a go); it’s only recently that new ways of displaying it have happened (3DDesk is still in the 7.10 repositories, I believe. I was using it with 5.10).

Yes, some people copy things from other OSes, and Gnome Do does appear to be very similar to Quicksilver, but don’t automatically assume Mac OS has everything first. Besides, isn’t imitation supposed to be a form of flattery?

I realise Steve’s comments were far less confrontational that some, and I agree with quite a few of them. I don’t believe it is deliberately “looking and acting like Mac OS X” though. Until someone works out another way to interact using a GUI, all OSes are going to look similar to a greater or lesser extent. So no, having a bar at the top does not make it like Mac OS. If all window menus were stuck at the top of the screen, I certainly wouldn’t be happy, having had context sensitive menus on my primary OS since 1990 (when they were just called ‘menus’). If my panels weren’t (re)movable I also wouldn’t be too pleased.

11 12 2007

it has been said too many times already and I really fail to see the problem…

GNOME feels a lot like macos X… indeed, it’s OBVIOUSLY inspired by it’s interface, so it’s not a discovery, all you captains obvious…

you want a more windows-ish interface?… go for KDE

macs are over priced… you pay a couple hundred bucks more than an equivalent system from other vendors, just for the EFI and the bitten Apple… and even more compared to building your own machine from scratch… you could get your hackintosh for under $850: http://lifehacker.com/software/hack-attack/build-a-hackintosh-mac-for-under-800-321913.php …. for just $250 more than apple’s cheapest PC (macmini: 1.83GHz processor, 1GB RAM and 80GB hard drive) you get a 2.2GHz processor with 4GB of RAM and a 500GB drive….. it works great and here are some benchmarks for all you non-believers: http://lifehacker.com/software/benchmarks/hackintosh-vs-mac-pro-vs-macbook-pro-benchmarks-322866.php

about the “Ubuntu” in the title, I also fail to see the problem… ubuntu is the most popular distro and most non geeks just care for that… not the infinite number of linux distros available…
I bet that if the title read the name of the distro you like, you wouldn’t have complained

11 12 2007
Adoring fan

I have to agree. 3, 4, 6, 7 and 8 are all basically exact copies of features on OS X. I won’t argue that some of them were around long before OSX, but they were re-popularized by Leopard.

A lot of great features, and I’m glad you like them.

11 12 2007
11 12 2007

thanks for the insightful peace, I occasionally run Linux on a cd and next time I’ll sure try out the features you point out

11 12 2007

As a relative newbie to the Linux world I’m still over whelmed by the quality of open source s/w, and the progressive and generally supportive nature of the community. Some of these features maybe old hat to many of you, but it’s important for sites like this to continue to raise awareness for those of us who are still in our honeymoon period with this awesome OS.

Personally I don’t care who came up with the idea first or if it’s similar to OS X for even M$. It’s the ethos behind the development that’s most important (imho) and the most attractive aspect of Linux. This blog is a classic example of the open nature of this community and gets a big thumbs up from me.

If people really understand what’s going on here, they won’t mind the labels ‘Linux’ and ‘Ubuntu’ getting interchanged. Seeds have been sown and that’s what matters!

Up the revolution! 😉

PS – Thanks Richard, much appreciated

11 12 2007

You can also get the “virtual desktop wall” by pressing ctrl+alt+down. Then just continue holding ctrl+alt and use the left and right arrow keys to cycle through.

11 12 2007
Ubuntu Care » Blog Archive » Eight Features You Didn’t Know About in Ubuntu

[…]  Read more… Leave a Reply […]

11 12 2007

This article is full of glaring inaccuracies – I already knew about GNOME Do because I made it 😉

11 12 2007
11 12 2007

@David: Well done! It’s an awesome little app – seen a lot of dll and exe hate, some people really don’t understand computers…

Might have to have a go at writing a plugin for it when I can think of a good one!

11 12 2007

@Stephen: I agree
@Scott: True, but in today’s tl;dr society, I doubt anyone caught that (I didn’t)
@OP: I think in fairness (a lot of people are coming here from Digg btw), you should change the title at least to “..didn’t know about in Gnome/Compviz”. I understand people in your blog expect to hear about Ubuntu, but there are a lot of upstream developers that really deserve more credit than the guy that merely packaged the software.

11 12 2007

What’s the meta key?

11 12 2007

I was going to say that most of these I already knew but it was quite a surprise to see on here! Good work 😀

11 12 2007

dang, people are so mean. So there weren’t eight features I didn’t already know about, but since I’m totally frustrated that the panel clock can only talk to Evolution (not Sunbird) I’m testing out connecting it to my Google calendar.

11 12 2007

Oops I messed that link up – It was quite a surprise to see Blackened Sky on here! Good work!

11 12 2007

Just to possibly clarify the Quicksilver vs. GnomeDo comparison, it is stated explicitly that GnomeDo was (at least partially) by Quicksilver.

11 12 2007

Something I missed earlier; I almost don’t know where to begin regarding this little gem:

It would be arcane to explain how to do these things on Gentoo for instance – the focus is on the feature, not the distro.

1. Your post actually doesn’t explain how to do these things. Take AWN for instance. I’m assuming you need at least:
sudo apt-get install avant-window-navigator-bzr awn-core-applets-bzr
Also, does this look too arcane for you? From linked site:

Similarly, in GNOME go to System > Preferences > Sessions and add a new entry there.

2. If the focus is on the FEATURE, and not the DISTRO as you claim, then why is the DISTRO featured prominently in the title of the post??

11 12 2007

Nice… although it should have been titled:

“6 features you didn’t know Ubuntu had borrowed from OS X and 2 more that are in almost every Window Manager”

11 12 2007

hi, do you know if the evolution files can be exported to outlook?

11 12 2007

Mac is a great platform and Linux is a great platform, each having their respective pluses and minuses. What’s the beef?

Thanks for the article.

11 12 2007

A lot of this stuff does make it look a little more Mac like. Which is fantastic because Macs have some very elegant features. Some of which they thought up, others they mimicked from other systems. I think Linux developers should copy every single good idea from every computer in existence, in addition to coming up with their own innovations.

One of the points of a Linux distro such as Ubuntu, is that it can do virtually whatever a proprietary OS can do yet be completely open, modifiable, flexible and free. If Macs were fully libre, open source, free of onerous licensing restrictions, etc. I would probably buy one tomorrow. But they are very much closed, very much the opposite of Linux. That doesn’t bother a lot of people I guess, but it’s the reason Linux exists in the first place.

11 12 2007

Unless a Mac one day walks on water or singlehandedly cures cancer, I will never buy one. And, if that happens and I do, I will never admit to owning it. Just so no one can ever possibly associate me with the smooth Mac trendsters who seem to think they’re still part of some exclusive clique. The lovefest that swirls around any and all Apple-related products makes me throw up in my mouth. I’m going to take a shit, spray paint it white, call it an iCrap, and put it up for auction on ebay; or at the Apple Store, after I pay $5 to get in the door.

Apple is the new Microsoft as far as I’m concerned, and OS X has replaced Windows as the hot buy for computer illiterates. Mac is just another type of machine that does some slick stuff and things, but not enough to justify its cost to get me off Linux. But Mac Zealots, continue to rip other people’s system choices, while Apple blows its load in your face.

12 12 2007

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12 12 2007

Ya’ll keep saying drop Ubuntu and add Linux. These are GNOME features. Maybe change the title to GNOME Features……

btw I use all of these except the evolution and GNOME Do. But I’m fixin to give it a go 😉

12 12 2007
Dave Nofmeister

I LOVE the idea of the different icons for the different memory types! I mean, yes it’s so simple and dumb, but so helpful! I spend a lot of time trying to remember the difference between my “f:” drive and my “h:” drive on my multi media reader.

12 12 2007

I just installed the dock on my Ubuntu and it looks awesome thanks for the list.

12 12 2007

thanks a lot, it’s really useful

12 12 2007
12 12 2007
psychic readings

I love how you can keep the windows on top.
Brilliant post

12 12 2007

Knew most of these already but thanks for the Gnome Do tip! Using it now, very nice program!

12 12 2007

Good information. Thanks for the tips.

What and or where is the meta key?

Evolution can read the private ical feed of your Google calendar. It is read only and you cannot make changes in Evolution. Using Thunderbird, you can add an extension which will allow you to read and write the Google calendar from Thunderbird.

Evolution is tooooo much like outlook. I find it very cumbersome to use.

12 12 2007

when he says “meta” key, I think he means the super key. That’d be equivalent to the Sun (on a Sun Solaris machine), Apple (on an Apple machine), or Window (on a Windows machine).

13 12 2007
Llegó Ubuntu, cada vez mejor y más fácil « El blog de Gabriel Esteffan

[…] -Guía para sacarle el jugo a Ubuntu. En inglés. […]

18 12 2007

I seriously think your post converted some to Evolution. 😉

6 05 2008
Vicoden » Blog Archive » Eight awesome features you didn’t know about in Ubuntu

[…] fusion, rather than the things that actually make it such a enjoyable operating system to use.read more | digg […]

27 12 2009
Miquel Bloise

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19 04 2010
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I have to agree. 3, 4, 6, 7 and 8 are all basically exact copies of features on OS X. I won’t argue that some of them were around long before OSX, but they were re-popularized by Leopard.

A lot of great features, and I’m glad you like them.

19 04 2010
Website laten maken

I love how you can keep the windows on top.

Thnx for sharing this!

21 06 2010

I like blog about ubuntu.

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