Archives For Howtos

For those prefer Gnome 3 style Activities overview, here’s how to bring back the vertical workspace thumbnails in Ubuntu 21.10.

Ubuntu 21.10 defaults to Gnome 40 and brings new design of the Activities overview screen. It now has large and horizontal workspaces locates across the center of screen. Along with thumbnails in the top, you can either click / use keyboard shortcuts or touchpad gestures to switch workspaces.

Personally I like the new design. But for those who are accustomed to the vertical view, here’s an extension to restore the change.

1. Prepare for installing Gnome Shell Extension:

Before getting started, make sure chrome-gnome-shell package is installed for GNOME Shell extensions integration for web browsers.

To do so, open terminal (Ctrl+Alt+T) and paste the command below and hit Enter:

sudo apt install chrome-gnome-shell gnome-shell-extension-prefs

The command also installs the app for managing Gnome Extensions.

2. Install Vertical Overview extension:

Next go to the link page below in your web browser, then turn on the slider icon to install the extension:

Don’t worry if you don’t see the slider icon, click the ‘click here to install browser extension’ link to install browser extension and re-fresh the web page.

3. Configure Overview Appearance:

After installed the extension, you can press Win/Super key and search for and open ‘Gnome Extensions app’ to configure its settings.

Click on the gear button, then you can change the workspace thumbnail size, position, as well as toggle on / off the big central workspace.

That’s all. Enjoy!

For those want to set the CPU TDP limit, a new Intel Controller app is available by Spanish Linux computer company Slimbook.

TDP stands for Thermal Design Power, in watts, and refers to the power consumption under the maximum theoretical load.

Similar to its AMD Controller app, the new app works by setting your CPU TDP value. That is, the amount of power measured in watts allowed for your CPU to either save battery or to improve the overall performance.

To use the app, you need to disable secureboot because it does not allow kernel access to CPU parameters.

As a new project, it so far supports for: i3-10110U, i3-1005G1, i5-8250U, i5-8265U, i5-10210U, i5-1035G1, i7-7500U, i7-8550U, i7-8565U, i7-1065G7, i7-10510U, i7-10750H, i7-1165G7.

You can however test your CPU by adding into the “~/.config/slimbookintelcontroller/slimbookintelcontroller.conf” file.

Search on the web to find out your CPU Specifications, including TDP, TDP-up and TDP-down. Then add your CPU and set the Low, Medium, and High performance in watts as the picture shows. You can then choose between them via either the desktop app or indicator menu.

NOTE: The software is still in early development, they may have bugs. And in higher performance, it drains the battery faster and makes your CPU hotter. USE it at your own risk!

Install Slimbook Intel Controller:

The slimbook PPA maintains the package so far only for Ubuntu 20.04.

1. Add the PPA.

Firstly open terminal either by pressing Ctrl+Alt+T on keyboard, or by searching for and open terminal from system app launcher. When terminal opens, copy and paste the command below and hit Enter:

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:slimbook/slimbook

Type user password, no asterisk feedback, when it asks and hit Enter to continue.

2. Install the controller app.

Next run command to install the Intel Controller:

sudo apt install slimbookintelcontroller

For AMD CPU, you can install another package instead:

sudo apt install slimbookamdcontroller

Once installed, open it from system app launcher. As I mentioned above, it won’t start if your process is not in the configuration file. For the source code, go to Github.

Uninstall:

For any reason, you can copy and paste the command below into terminal and hit Run to remove the software.

sudo apt remove slimbookintelcontroller

As well, do for removing the Slimbook PPA via the command below:

sudo add-apt-repository --remove ppa:slimbook/slimbook

Want to change the position of top-bar items, e.g., Activities button, app menu, date and time, and system tray icons?

A Top Bar Organizer extension now is available for Ubuntu 21.04 Gnome 40. With it, you can drag and drop to re-order top panel items as you prefer. For example, moving the Activities button or date & time clock menu to right corner.

Install Top Bar Organizer:

1.) Firstly open terminal by pressing Ctrl+Alt+T on keyboard. When terminal opens, run command to install Gnome extension integration for web browser, as well as Gnome Extension management tool:

sudo apt install chrome-gnome-shell gnome-shell-extension-prefs

2.) Next go to the extension web page, and turn on the toggle icon to install it:

Don’t see the slider icon? Install browser extension by clicking on ‘Click here to install browser extension’ link and refresh the web page.

3.) Finally search for and open ‘Extensions‘ from system app launcher. And click on the gear icon to open the extension settings.

Next drag and drop to re-order all panel items and enjoy!

Need the most recent HPLIP to get your HP printer or scanner working in Ubuntu? Here’s how to install guide as well as workaround to fix the python-pyqt5 dependency issue.

HPLIP is an open-source Linux drivers for HP’s inkjet and laser printers. The project is initiated and led by HP Inc. While the package in Ubuntu repositories is always old, you can install the official binary to get new devices support.

However, the most recent releases refuse to install in my Ubuntu 20.04 due to python-pyqt5 dependency issue. If you’re facing with the similar issue, then this tutorial may help!

Download & Install HPLIP in Ubuntu 20.04

1.) Firstly, download the latest binary from the link below. It’s ‘hplip-3.21.6.run‘ at the moment.

2.) Next, add executable permission by pressing Ctrl+Alt+T on keyboard to open terminal. Then run command:

chmod u+x ~/Downloads/hplip*.run

And try to install it via command:

~/Downloads/hplip*.run

Follow the terminal output and answer some questions to start installing the driver.

3.) Fix python-pyqt5 dependency issue.

As I said, it refuse to install in Ubuntu 20.04 because it tries to install old Python 2 binding for Qt5 as dependency in my case.

Thanks to Christoph Mueller, I found it has something to do with python symbolic links.

As you may know, python2 and python3 in /usr/bin are symbolic links. While python2 is python2.7, python3 links to python3.8 (or 3.9 depends on Ubuntu edition), python is not exist out-of-the-box. However, it will be created in some cases and links to either python2 or python3.

And the point is when Python links to Python2, HPLIP will mistakenly try to install Python 2 libraries as dependency.

Before HPLIP fixed the issue, the solution is either remove /usr/bin/python if you don’t need it or make it link to Python3.

Make Python to be Python3:

There are two choices to create symlink for python: install python-is-python3 or use update-alternatives command.

Option 1. Open terminal and run command to install ‘python-is-python3’:

sudo apt install python-is-python3

Option 2. Use ‘update-alternatives’ to choose which to link to. Firstly, add both python2 and python3 as alternatives:

sudo update-alternatives --install /usr/bin/python python /usr/bin/python2 1
sudo update-alternatives --install /usr/bin/python python /usr/bin/python3 2

You can then choose which to use anytime via command:

sudo update-alternatives --config python

Finally, re-do step 2.) to install the HPLIP-*.run file.

4.) Fix make command failed issue:

This seems to be HPLIP 3.21.6 only issue, that it outputs ‘error: make command failed with status code 2‘.

By re-running ‘make’ command from the source folder (see Uninstall section), it tells that “/usr/bin/ld: cannot find -lavahi-core”.

And it can be fixed by installing libavahi-core-dev package via command:

sudo apt install libavahi-core-dev

How to Remove HPLIP from Ubuntu:

While installing HPLIP via step 2.), it extracts the .run package into the source folder. And you can find it in Downloads folder.

The folder contains an uninstall script allows to remove HPLIP from your computer.

To do so, go to the source folder, right-click on blank area and select ‘Open in Terminal’.

Finally, run the uninstall script in pop-up terminal window:

sudo python3 uninstall.py

That’s all.

Want to access your Ubuntu desktop remotely from a Windows 11 computer? It’s easy to do the job with built-in screen sharing function.

Ubuntu uses Vino as default VNC server to share your existing desktop. With it, users can access Ubuntu remotely either in or out of local network via a VNC client.

Enable Vino VNC in Ubuntu:

1. Firstly, click on ‘Activities’ in top bar, search for and open terminal from system app launcher. When it opens, run commands:

Make sure Vino is installed by running command:

sudo apt install vino

To allow computer outside of local network to access, enable upnp is your router support it:

gsettings set org.gnome.Vino use-upnp true

Vino requires encryption by default. However, VNC clients from Windows computer does not support the encryption type. So you may disable the feature via command:

gsettings set org.gnome.Vino require-encryption false

There are more settings, e.g., change listening port, disable background, lock on disconnect. And you can control them via Dconf Editor (install from Ubuntu Software), by going to ‘org -> gnome -> desktop -> remote access’.

2. Secondly, open System Settings and go to Sharing in the left pane. Toggle on the slider icon on header, and then click ‘Screen Sharing’ to go to its settings page.

3. Finally, turn on ‘Screen Sharing’ function, and do:

  • Allow remote control by enabling “Allow connections to control the screen”
  • Set ‘New connections must ask for access’ if you’re sitting at Ubuntu computer.
  • Or set a hard-to-guess password for choice.
  • If you have both wired / wireless network connected, choose one to share with.

Remove Access Ubuntu from Windows 11:

Windows uses need a VNC client to get access remote computers. And I use TigerVNC which is available to download at the link below:

Download & install the exe. Launch the client, and type either IP address or hostname of Ubuntu machine:

If password was not set in Ubuntu, it will pop up a window asking whether to allow access. Or, type password in next dialog to get access.

That’s all. Enjoy!