Korora’s Latest Release

The Korora Project has released version 25 (codename “Gurgle”) which is now available for download. There are quite a few changes with 25 and the release notice highlights many of them.

Korora Xfce 25 is still 4.12 but includes the latest release of many applications including Notifications and the Terminal. Notifications now includes a “Do Not Disturb” option as well as per application settings.

Korora 25 also adds Redshift for those who prefer to work late at night and 3D printing capability.

Give it a try.

Source: Korora Project

Using the Super Key in Xfce

Update: Ksuperkey is in the Korora repo now and included in Korora Xfce 24.

One of the restrictions in Xfce is that you can’t use a key as both a shortcut key and a key modifier. I have often seen questions about this particularly as regards the Super (aka Win) key. It is often set to open the menu whether the default menu or WhiskerMenu is used. If it is also used as a modifier, i.e. in a combination with another key as a shortcut, the menu will be opened as well as the action called by the shortcut.

A question from another Korora team member reminded me of Ksuperkey and looking at the Github page for the project I noted a comment that while it was written for KDE it should work in other Desktop Environments including Xfce. That sounded like it was worth checking out.

Unfortunately Ksuperkey is no longer packed for Fedora 23 so can’t just be installed in Korora. However it is simple to build. I followed this guide, replacing yum with dnf, and it worked without any issues.

If used without any options Ksuperkey calls alt + F1 which in Korora opens the menu by default. I removed that shortcut as I use whiskermenu. In Korora the Super key is used to open WhiskerMenu so in Settings – Keyboard – Shortcuts I edited that to use Alt + F1. Next I ran ksuperkey from alt + F2 and tested. I had previously configured some shortcuts to open applications using Super + other keys so I could easily test. The applications opened and the menu didn’t appear. When used by itself the super key opened WhiskerMenu. Exactly what I hoped to achieve and what was promised.

Lastly I added ksuperkey to Settings – Sessions and Startup – Application Autostart so I didn’t need to run it manually each session.

Ksuperkey adds useful and needed functionality to Xfce and probably other Desktops and is a worthy addition. It has a number of options that can tailor its operation to different situations, see the Usage section on the project page. Don’t be misled by the name, Ksuperkey doesn’t have a bunch, or even any, KDE dependencies that will be added to your system. Its name merely reflects it’s heritage.

Road to Xfce 4.14

It is rare that there is a post on the Xfce blog so when there is it is worth taking notice. Today there was a status report on the Xfce development. Those of us who use Xfce know that development is slow. It is probably an open secret that the next version will be ported to GTK3.

Today’s post clarifies what is happening and the current progress. There are some interesting comments such as no new features. Can we expect that 4.14 will be indistinguishable from 4.12 for most users? It appears so. Also there is no mention of Wayland so it appears that too will be pushed back.

It is good news that Xfce development is continuing and it is great to hear what is going on because communication with users is probably one area Xfce handles poorly.

Source: Road to Xfce 4.14

Desktops, Drivers and Other Stuff

Over the last couple of weeks I’ve spent some time switching back and forward between Xfce (my preferred Desktop Environment) and KDE. I once ran KDE almost exclusively but for various reasons I’ve been using Xfce for the last couple of years.

One of the reasons was the frequency of KDE to lock up. It would just stop running. I have long suspected it was a graphics problem but had no proof. I have  a nVidia GT240 video card and had been using the open source nouveau driver. After a recent lock up I was forcing a shutdown when the screen filled with nouveau errors. Although I prefer to use open source drivers where possible I decided to install the nvidia drivers from RPMFusion using Korora’s PharLap application.

All went well with the installation and it did solve the lock up problems. Doing a bit of research I found an old bug which has been kept current. As far as I can see there has been no action on it. Anyhow problem solved and now I have working Xfce and KDE desktops and can and do switch between them as I feel like it.

Speaking of old bugs a long time I reported a problem with landscape printing and after much investigation by many people it was narrowed down to cups-filters and an update provided which fixed the problem. Now some months later those packages were updated and the problem returned. I commented on the bug and straight away another update was provided along with an apology. Well done Jiri Popelka. I tested and provided karma to the update so hopefully it is making its way through the update system now.

I’ve been testing installations on a uefi system the last couple of days. I was surprised how simple it was with Korora and so also with Fedora. More details later but if you want a linux system on an uefi computer either as a single installation or a dual boot Korora is the way to go.

Latest Tilda

I did post some time ago about the disappearance of Tilda from Fedora. At the time this was due to the lack of upstream support and the fact that development had stalled. Since then development has again started and Tilda is being improved. While it is not (yet?) available for Fedora it is a simple procedure to add it. The following link covers compiling and installing it. I tested it in Korora 20 Xfce and it worked fine and I have the latest Tilda running now.

/kernel_reloaded/ » compile latest tilda and enjoy solarized terminal.

Xfce’s Drop Down Terminal

Screenshot - 011213 - 16:53:01As a followup to yesterday’s post on Tilda there is an alternative for Xfce users. The current Xfce terminal has a drop down option. However it is not obvious to most users.

It is a hidden option which is standard for Xfce4-Terminal. To access it you need to start the terminal with the command ‘xfce4-terminal –drop-down’. The man page gives more details and suggests you bind that command to a keyboard shortcut. That way you can press the key to open the terminal and pressing it again will hide but not close the terminal. This means there is no need to add it to your sessions or Autostart. The first time the key is pressed will launch and open it. Further presses will reveal or hide it.

I would suggest binding it to F12. To do this right click on the desktop, select Applications – Settings – Keyboard. Select the Application Shortcuts tab,  click on the Add button, type in the command as above. Click OK and it will open another window asking for the key, press your chosen key(s) and the window will close. Test the shortcut, the terminal should open as a drop down.

In the Edit menu (or right click in the terminal) there is a Preferences option with a new DropDown tab. Make your choices here for size, location etc. If you turn off the menu bar you can access the preferences and new tab etc. options with a right click. The Dropdown preference screen also has an option for Opacity this applies to the whole terminal including the text. The Opacity option on the Appearance tab only affects the background. The Duration option controls the speed of the animation as the terminal drops down and ascends.

There is an option for a panel indicator too, it will appear in the notification area. Clicking on the panel icon will open the terminal. Right clicking gives access to the Preferences and an option to close the terminal.

This is a great option for Xfce users wanting the convenience of a drop down terminal and may remove the need for Tilda in future versions.

Geotagging in Linux

You may ask why geotag images? I have some images I took on film 20 years ago and would love to know where they were taken. Often I have a rough idea but I couldn’t find my way back there if I wanted too. One image is marked ‘beside the Croydon to Georgetown Road, Queensland’. Not very helpful when you think those 2 towns are nearly 150k apart, that’s almost 95 miles for those from non metric places.

Recently I’ve been experimenting with automatically geotagging my photos, also known as GPS Co-relating. This requires having a gps track of where I have been and an application that can match that track with the appropriate photos.

First thing is to create a gps track. This can be done with a dedicated gps unit or with some other device. I chose to use my android phone because I always have it with me. To record the track requires an app. There are many available but I use ‘Open GPS Tracker‘ because it is open source, it’s free and it works. It has many options that I don’t use including real time streaming. It has the option to output .gpx files which is what the co-relating applications require.

After you have the track you need an application to read it and match it to your photos. As always there are a number of options in Linux. Digikam has this option but I couldn’t get it to work reliably so I use ‘GPS Correlator’. It is available in the repos of many Linux distros, just needs a ‘yum install gpscorrelator’ in Kororaa (and Fedora). It has more options than Digikam which is how I got it working.

One thing I should mention is that your camera and gps unit (phone in my case) must have the time settings synchronised as accurately as  possible. Doesn’t need to be to the second but as close as you can get it. As most phones handle their time settings automatically this means changing the setting on your camera. Check it before each use particularly if you live in an area with daylight saving.

In the gpscorrelator screen you can select photos to process then the gpx file you got from your gps unit. You should set the time zone your camera is set to as gps data is always in UTC. You can also set the time difference and offset. Fortunately gpscorrelator has tool tips which describe how to use these options. If you still get no match on some images try selecting the ‘Between Segments’, it compensates for any gaps in your track. Particularly useful for areas with poor gps reception like cities and wooded areas.

Gpscorrelator also has an option to remove gps data from images if you want your location to remain private. This is handy for phones and other cameras that automatically record your location. For images taken at home and at friends’ places you might prefer to keep the location private when you post them on photo sharing sites.

There are a couple of things I’ve learnt so far. First is allow some time between starting the tracker and taking your first image. Also between taking the last image and stopping the tracker. First time I tried it I stopped the tracker when I got back in the car after taking the last images. None of the images taken there would match as the last point in the track was some time before the images were taken. Today when I got it working I started the tracker when I left home and stopped it when I get back.

Second is if you are constantly moving you might need to adjust the ‘Logging Precision’ in ‘Open GPS Tracker’s settings. It defaults to normal but if you find this doesn’t give enough points try a more precise setting or set you own custom interval. Experimenting is the only way to know what works for you. Explore the settings for other options that may improve your accuracy or that you might find useful too.

If you are using the tracker for a long period, e.g. most of the day, you might need to consider battery life. So far I’ve been in the car and I can plug the phone into a charger so that isn’t a problem. But without the external power recording a track for several hours may result in a dead phone battery. This maybe a good use for an old android phone if you have one laying around, maybe you know someone who has recently updated?

Adding location tags to your images is useful now and so easy to do why not try it.

Favourite Linux Applications

Below is a list of the applications I use regularly. I don’t claim they are the best but they are the ones I prefer. Many are KDE based but there are fewer of them than previously. I use both KDE and Xfce as my desktop environments. The apps that come with Xfce are pretty basic so I prefer alternatives.

One of the complaints I have about many of KDE’s apps it that they have been combined with KDEpim which means you can’t install single apps. If you don’t use Kmail and its brethren then I would avoid Blogilo and Kjots, both of which I have previously used.

Chrome / Chromium is my browser of choice. Not perfect, it doesn’t integrate into the desktop too well. But it is fast and has the main extensions I like.

Conky – just calling Conky a system monitor really understates what it can do. Conky can do so much that it requires its own post. Since it introduced real transparency it greatly reduced the problems running it under KDE. One of the first things I set up on a new installation.

Krusader – twin pane file manager. Dolphin is good especially with the split feature but I like the power and retro style of Krusader. I’ve tried others like Midnight Commander which is quite good but nothing comes close to Krusader.

Gimp – it is all you need to edit images. To work with raw files just add ufraw and ufraw-gimp.

Digikam – adds digital asset management aka photo organiser. Has editor which works better for raw images than ufraw but I prefer Gimp. Has export to almost anything you can think of.

Cups-pdf – while Koffice and LibreOffice can create PDFs adding cups-pdf allows you to create them from anything that can print.

Kdenlive – the most stable video editor under Linux. A good balance between power and ease of use. Not perfect but there is nothing better at the moment.

Tilda – a drop down terminal emulator. Makes accessing the terminal so easy and you can hide it and let it get on with what is doing. KDE provides Yakuake which has many options and is a great application.

LibreOffice – the most polished FOSS office suite there is. If only Base was up to the standard of the rest of the suite.

Clementine – what can I say, can’t work without some music. A good mix of features and performance.

Zim – note taker / desktop wiki. I used Kjots for a while but it was integrated into KDEPim which meant it was near impossible to sync it between 2 systems so I switched to Zim. Just as good maybe better but I don’t use all its features and it has fewer dependencies.

So that is it. There are other applications that I use from time to time which work well too, things like Yumex and VLC but the ones above are those I like and use nearly every day. They are all available in Kororaa, a couple require extra repos to be installed in Fedora though.

Fedora and KDE 4.3

KDE 4.3 was released a few weeks ago and the update has finally made it into the Fedora Updates repo a few days ago. It had been in Updates Testing for a while. The update was worth waiting for, 4.3 is another improvement.

The release notes list hundreds of bugs that have been squashed and although most apparent changes are cosmetic the work done beneath the skin is obvious from the improved performance. I’ve noticed a speed increase to the extent that KDE isn’t much slower than Xfce on the same hardware. This is a condemnation of Xfce as much as a bouquet for KDE. I found Xfce 4.6 to be slow compared to previous versions while KDE has made big strides forward since 4.0.

The only small problem I had was I needed to change my startup script for Conky as it lost its transparency. It appears the config file that contains the wallpaper setting has changed. That fixed everything is back to normal, well a better normal.

KDE 4.3 is another (big!) step forward for KDE. It is now well and truly ready for everyday use. If you haven’t tried KDE for a while now is the time for another look.

More on Fedora 10 and KDE 4.2

I recently posted about updating to Fedora 10. After using it for a while on a couple of computers I have some more comments to share.

Desktop Managers

I have been switching between Xfce and KDE and so can offer a few comments on the differences. Much of the time I have been using KDE 4.1 while waiting on the update to 4.2 to appear in the repos. I updated as soon as it appeared and am pleased I did.

Xfce in promoted as a lightweight desktop and that it is noticeable as KDE uses around twice as much memory when doing something simple such as having just Firefox open. I have similar set-ups in both desktops so they are comparable in that way. I have their native desktop effects active not Compiz. KDE’s in more involved with a lot more options, similar but not as extensive as Compiz although with 4.2 it is a lot closer.

One good thing in KDE, actually there are quite a few, but the multimedia buttons on my laptop work after setting them up in Amarok. In Xfce the volume and mute buttons don’t work.

I like the quick launch bar in Xfce, setting that up in KDE is more difficult. I have my favourite apps in Favourites on the menu but that isn’t the same, two clicks instead of one. However with 4.2 the menu shortcuts are working again and so I can set them up as I used to have them. Using the keyboard to start my favourite apps is so much easier and quicker.

KDE is much more configurable, selecting colours and other options is so much easier then Xfce but still not as good as KDE 3.5. Again 4.2 is much better with more options available.

One feature of Xfce (and Gnome I believe) that I missed in KDE was the ability to switch desktops using the mouse wheel. Well 4.2 has introduced this feature.


Suspend to Disk works once I installed Kpowersave and set it suspend on lid close. It resumes without problem but I noticed a few things. Memory usage seems higher after resume and that is the only time Swap is used. I have 3 gig and as I rarely use more than one (its on 1.1 at the moment and I have OO Writer and Firefox are open and Amarok is playing, Miles Davis’ Walkin’ since you asked,) so Swap isn’t needed. Also the processor is more likely to run at full power. It usually sits on 1 gig and jumps to 2 gig when needed. After resume it sits on 2 much longer.


Along with the development of KDE4 most of the KDE apps have been updated. Just like early versions of KDE4 this has not been without pain but that is improving now. The new version of Amarok is great. I also like Digikam’s new upload to Picasa Web option. This means I no longer need Picasa as that was the main thing I used it for. I’m starting to sound like a broken record (is that saying out of date now?) but 4.2 introduced many improvement both to apps and widgets.

As you may have gathered I am very pleased with the update to KDE 4.2 and am using it most of the time now. It isn’t perfect but is much better than earlier versions and now has regained much of the functionality we were used to in 3.5. If 4.2 is this good just imagine what is coming in future versions.