Archives For App Review

The popular audio manipulation tool, PulseEffects, finally adds supports for PipeWire sound server by re-naming to EasyEffects.

EasyEffects is a GTK4 app designed for only PipeWire sound server. For PulseAudio, default sound service in current Ubuntu releases, PulseEffects is still available.

The UI looks almost same as before, and it may apply effects including Auto gain, Bass enhancer, Bass loudness, Compressor, Convolver, Crossfeed, Crystalizer, De-esser, Echo Canceller, Equalizer, Exciter, Expander, Filter, Gate, Limiter, Loudness, Maximizer, Multiband compressor, Multiband gate, Noise reduction, Pitch, Reverberation, Stereo tools.

Besides manipulating sound output, it may also apply effects to an input device, such as a microphone. This is, for example, useful in audio recording, but it also works well during voice conversations.

The PipeWire tab contains the options to select input & output devices, edit presets, and test signal.

How to Install EasyEffects in Ubuntu Linux:

The tool has been made into official repositories for Arch Linux, Gentoo, openSUSE and NixOS. Since Ubuntu sticks to PulseAudio, you install EasyEffects only when PipeWire is present as sound server (Read this tutorial for more).

1.) EasyEffects so far is only available as Flatpak package. Firstly, search for and open terminal either from the Activities overview screen or by pressing Ctrl+Alt+T on keyboard. When it opens, run command to install the flatpak daemon first if you don’t have it:

sudo apt install flatpak

2.) Next add the flathub.org repository, the place hosts a large amount of Flatpak apps by running command in terminal:

flatpak remote-add --if-not-exists flathub https://flathub.org/repo/flathub.flatpakrepo

3.) Finally install EasyEffects flatpak package via command:

flatpak install flathub com.github.wwmm.easyeffects

If everything goes well, you may either launch it by searching for and opening from the overview screen, or run flatpak run com.github.wwmm.easyeffects command to start it from terminal.

Uninstall EasyEffects:

To remove the tool, open terminal, copy and paste the single command below and hit run:

flatpak uninstall --delete-data com.github.wwmm.easyeffects

For personal data backup, Pika Backup is a simple GNOME app with an elegant user interface.

Pika Backup is free open-source tool to save your personal data into either local disk (e.g., an USB stick) or remote server using secure shell or sftp. As modern GTK3 apps, it has an adaptive UI design which is resizable and works great on different screen sizes & devices.

The utility is based on BorgBackup (aka Borg), features data de-duplication technique to save time and disk space since only changes are stored for daily backups. With the power of authenticated encryption technique, it also supports password protect for your data.

The app starts in a clean UI with a “Configure Backup” button to get started creating repositories to store backups. The top-left ‘+‘ icon is also present to do the same job.

You data can be saved to a remote server via ssh remote file transfer by specifying URL, e.g., “ssh://[email protected]/~/backup“, however borg need to be installed in the server side. For choice, the “sftp://” prefix can be used without borg.

Data can also be saved in local folder or removable devices, such as an USB drive. It will create a sub-folder in selected directory or device and save backup either encrypted or not. And, it will recognize the USB repository once you plug it in, allows you to either edit or select use the repository.

Pika – create or select a repository to save backup

After creating / choosing the backup repository, it brings you to the file selecting screen. There you can choose any file folders, and exclude any for the backup. When you done data selection, click the green “Back Up Now” button to start. It indicates the process with how many percentage finished and how much time left.

Pika file select and backup process

Backups are stored in unreadable files in repositories. You have to open the Pika Backup tool to mount backups using “Browse saved files” under Archives tab. Then recover files or folder via opened file manager using copy & paste actions. This is not friendly in my opinion since no recover option present.

The utility has limitations. Scheduled backups are not supported so far, and excluding files from a backup via regular expressions and alike is not implemented yet.

Install Pika Backup in Ubuntu Linux:

The Pika Backup software is available for most Linux via the universal Flatpak package.

Open terminal either via Ctrl+Alt+T keyboard shortcut or by searching for and opening it from ‘Activities’ overview screen. When it opens, run following commands one by one:

1.) Install flatpak daemon, if you don’t have it, by running command:

sudo apt install flatpak

For Ubuntu 18.04, users have to add the Flatpak PPA first.

2.) Next add the flathub repository, considered as official place hosts flatpak packages:

flatpak remote-add --if-not-exists flathub https://flathub.org/repo/flathub.flatpakrepo

3.) Finally install the backup utility via this command:

flatpak install flathub org.gnome.World.PikaBackup

Like normal apps, you can search for and open it from ‘Activities’ overview screen.

Uninstall Pika Backup:

To remove the software, paste the command below into terminal and hit run:

flatpak uninstall --delete-data org.gnome.World.PikaBackup

And you may clear up unused run-time by running command:

flatpak uninstall --unused

YOGA Image Optimizer is a graphical tool to batch convert photos into JPEG, PNG and WEBP, and compress file sizes while having equivalent quality.

It’s a free and open-source tool based on YOGA command line tool, which can also convert and optimize 3D models from various formats to glTF and GLB.

YOGA:

The YOGA backend uses Python Pillow library to convert images into PNG, JPEG, or WebP as you prefer. And it uses Google’s Guetzli library to generate JPEG that are typically 20-30% smaller than libjpeg while having some quality. Google’s Zopflipng and libwebp libraries are in use for optimizing other two image formats.

The command line tool also support converting and optimizing 3D models using the Open Asset Import Library (Assimp).

YOGA Image Optimizer:

The official front-end for YOGA provides an easy to use graphical interface to do converting and optimizing process in Linux and Windows.

Simply open a batch of photo images (press Shift or Ctrl while choosing files), it shows the thumbnails, input file name and size, as well as output name and file format.

Before you clicking “Optimize”, you can choose output format and set compress level for each or a selection of images.

YOGA Image Optimizer also features:

  • Multi-thread support. You can set how many CPU cores to use.
  • GTK theme support. It allows to choose between all installed GTK theme for the app only.
  • Dark Mode.
  • Custom output pattern.

Install YOGA Image Optimizer in Ubuntu Linux:

For Linux, the software can be installed either via universal Flatpak package or using pip (Python Package Installer).

1. Flatpak Package

Open terminal by pressing Ctrl+Alt+T on keyboard, you can then run following commands one by one to get the software via Flatpak in Ubuntu 20.04 and higher. For Ubuntu 18.04, you need to add this PPA before getting started.

a. ) Install the flatpak daemon if you don’t have it:

sudo apt install flatpak

b.) Add the Flathub the preferred repository hosting Flatpak package:

flatpak remote-add --if-not-exists flathub https://flathub.org/repo/flathub.flatpakrepo

c.) Finally install the image converter and optimizer via command:

flatpak install flathub org.flozz.yoga-image-optimizer

(Optional) For any reason, you can easily remove the software by running command in temrinal:

flatpak uninstall --delete-data org.flozz.yoga-image-optimizer

2. Install the package via pip3:

For those don’t like the Flatpak package, use the Python pip3 package installer. It however does NOT create app shortcut for launching it from the ‘Show Applications’ start menu.

a.) Firstly, open terminal and run command to install required libraries:

sudo apt install git build-essential python3 python3-dev python3-pip libgirepository1.0-dev libcairo2-dev pkg-config gir1.2-gtk-3.0

b.) Next install the package via command:

sudo pip3 install yoga-image-optimizer

The pip package does not has app shortcut, you need to either run yoga-image-optimizer command to start it from terminal and create a .desktop file manually.

(Optional) To remove the package, use command:

sudo pip3 install yoga-image-optimizer

For Reddit users, Gtkeddit is another GTK app for Linux desktop and mobile.

It’s a free and open-source app written in C++. With the libadwaita library (formerly libhandy), it has an adaptive UI that works on Linux phones such as the Pinephone.

The software has dark mode for working at night, though I don’t find how to enable it in Ubuntu using the Flatpak package. And it allows you to browser without an account.

Compare to Giara, another Reddit App written in Python with GTK4, the UI navigation feels good and smoother in Gtkeddit. Though it freezes every time during loading new content, maybe due to my poor VPN network connection.

All functions including new post, rely and comment work in new navigation page instead of a pop-over dialog. And the developer promoted that it works better on Pinephone, boots and runs faster on slow hardware.

Other features in Gtkeddit:

  • Browse home feed
  • Search subreddits/users/posts
  • Submit Text/Url/Images/Videos
  • View images, galleries
  • Watch Reddit/Youtube videos in app
  • View and reply to posts/comments
  • Save posts / comments
  • Browse user Saved/Upvoted/Downvoted/Hidden/Gilded posts
  • Browse user Subreddits

How to Install Gtkeddit:

Most Linux can install the app via the Flatpak package from the flathub page. For Ubuntu users, there’s a step by step guide for Ubuntu 18.04, Ubuntu 20.04 and higer.

1.) Firstly, open terminal (Ctrl+Alt+T) and run command to install the daemon if you don’t have it:

sudo apt install flatpak

Flatpak supports Ubuntu 18.04 and even Ubuntu 16.04, you have to add the Ubuntu PPA first!

2.) Then add the flathub repository, the preferred place to get Flatpak apps.

flatpak remote-add --if-not-exists flathub https://flathub.org/repo/flathub.flatpakrepo

3.) Finally, install the Reddit App via command:

flatpak install flathub io.gitlab.caveman250.gtkeddit

Like normal apps, open it by searching from start menu and enjoy!

Uninstall Gtkeddit:

To remove the app, simply use command:

flatpak uninstall --delete-data io.gitlab.caveman250.gtkeddit

Remove the --delete-data if you want to keep the personal data for the app. And run command to run unused runtime which may free up more disk spaces.

flatpak uninstall --unused

For Gnome fans, Apostrophe is a clean and intuitive Markdown editor you should try!

Apostrophe is one of the Gnome Circle Apps that provides a modern and distraction-free writing environment for Linux.

The editor supports for inputting via Pandoc’s Markdown, CommonMark, GitHub Flavored Markdown, MultiMarkdown and Plan Markdown formats.

The app has Light, Dark, and Gray (maybe) UI appearance. The ‘Hemingway Mode’ is available which will disable the backspace key. And ‘Focus Mode’ will highlight the current line, remove header and bottom bar to provide a zen-like environment when writing.

With inline preview, it formats your text automagically for you. By Ctrl+Clicking on anything, it shows popover preview, links, footnotes, equations.

Live Preview can be set to full window, right / bottom part, or a separate window. In bottom right it indicates how many words you wrote. It also counts characters, sentences, paragraphs, and read time.

And you can save you work as PDF, HTML, ODT. An advanced export dialog allows exporting to more formats including:

  • LibreOffice Text Document.
  • Microsoft Word(docx).
  • EPUB v3.
  • HTML5 Slideshow (reveal.js, DZSlides)
  • LaTeX (tex)
  • LaTeX Beamer Slideshow (tex, pdf)
  • Textile, Texinfo, and more.

How to Install Apostrophe in Ubuntu Linux:

The software is available as universal Flatpak package. You can install it in Ubuntu 16.04, Ubuntu 18.04, Ubuntu 20.04 and higher via following steps:

1.) Open terminal from start menu, and run command to add the Flatpak PPA for Ubuntu 16.04 and Ubuntu 18.04:

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:flatpak/stable

And run sudo apt-get update command to update cache afterwards.

2.) Install the Flatpak daemon if you don’t have it:

sudo apt install flatpak

3.) Add Flathub repository (considered official) that hosts the package:

flatpak remote-add --if-not-exists flathub https://flathub.org/repo/flathub.flatpakrepo

4.) Finally install Apostrophe Markdown editor:

flatpak install flathub org.gnome.gitlab.somas.Apostrophe

Uninstall:

To remove the editor as well as your personal app data, run command in terminal:

flatpak uninstall --delete-data org.gnome.gitlab.somas.Apostrophe